I'm not writing, but I'm twittering

Yes, it has been too long since I’ve written. So long, I won’t even try to apologize, but ask that you know I want to be here writing. Life has just not been cooperating with that specific goal. I have however started writing snippets (or tweets as I believe they are called) via Twitter. You can see some samples on the right side of this, and choose to follow me via Twitter if you want. My tweets are little comments on what I’m reading, hearing or seeing at that moment, which is in a way “what are you doing”, but more “what are you thinking about what you are doing”.

Like other nights, it is 8:24p and I haven’t done my work out yet, my dog and husband need attention (not in that order) and I haven’t eaten for about 9 hours. But, I wanted to leave you with a product demo that I found awesome. This YouTube video of the ABC3D book is a great demonstration of a simple, but powerful, video of a product. It represents the product well, really shows you what it is, isn’t distracting, and had to cost very little to make (in terms of direct and indirect costs). Over 300k views in 2 months. The one problem… no link to where to get the book, though they claim preorders are available. If you are going to do an AWESOME job in promoting your product make sure you let people know how they can buy it, or at least give them the info that your product will be out soon, and get their contact info!

With that, I’m off to eat!

On my shirt today:


It is easy to catch a cold, not create one: Thoughts on viral marketing

Most viral marketing ideas go something like this:

a) We’ll create something really funny (outrageous, edgy), so people forward it around


b) We’ll add our logo and link to the bottom of every message our customers send from our product

Both of these end with:

…and we’ll sell lots/make lots of $$

Both of these techniques can be critical components of a viral campaign. But most often they become the focus — above the message or action you want taken — and that’s why 98% of viral marketing campaigns fail.

P&G has an example going viral, but missing the messaging/action point:

P&G’s ThermaCare Heat Wraps team created a campaign that went viral, because they listened to customers. (YAY!) They were looking for a way to promote their menstrual cramp relief line. In talking to women about menstrual cramps, the team learned that top issue from women is that they wanted men to get what having cramps felt like. The team had the idea that they could use this information to create something viral… something that hit the exposed nerve they had found. So, they created, MENWITHCRAMPS, a website devoted to the (fictitious) study of male menstrual cramps.

This campaign did hit “viral” status. Lots of talk, lots of website visits. But… people didn’t have any idea what it was selling. A typical quote:

“I am not quite sure what they are selling at menwithcramps.com, but I am buying it as soon as I can.”

Nice sentiment, but if you don’t know what you are buying, it is hard to buy, and you definitely can’t tell others to buy it. So, this team “sold” the site, but not the product. And most folks, thought it was funny and shared it, but wondered why someone had made the site, as they noted how professional it was. (Note: For awhile the site didn’t even link to the ThermaCare site, as it does now.)

Dove and Live Vault each have great examples of ads that became viral and got their message across:

Dove’s Evolution video hits both the emotion of how people feel, and goes to the core value of Dove’s message… real beauty. Even if it hadn’t gone viral, it would still be an awesome ad that got across their message, which has to be the foundation of your campaign.

Live Vault’s John Cleese video (requires registration) shows you can be funny and get across your message. They used Cleese as a doctor at the Back-Up Trauma Clinic. Every IT manager (their target) relates to this and it gets across the message of the pain that’s associated with “out-of-date, tape-based back-ups”.

So here’s my 3-step recipe for making something going for viral without wasting $$:

    1. Talk to prospective customers to find out:
      1. What is important to them about your product? E.g., ThermaCare’s [missing message] “relief”, Dove’s “real beauty”, Live Vault’s “easy, up-to-date recovery”
      2. Is there an emotional trigger for them around your product? E.g., ThermaCare’s “men understanding”, Dove’s “fake beauty”, Live Vault’s “out-of-date back-ups”)
    2. Make a campaign that you know nails what is important to prospective customers about your product.
    3. See if you can come up with a simple, unexpected, and concrete story around the emotional trigger. (For those of you that haven’t had a chance to read Chip and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick, these qualifiers, including emotional, come from that book. This is the clearest set of qualifiers I’ve seen for viral yet.)

And if this doesn’t work, you can always attend the Viral Learning Center. (Thanks to the Church of the Customer blog for that one!)

So, what’s on my shirt? Well, I have an idea for small business marketing that may or may not be viral. It gets across a key message that many small businesses want to get across to their customers and it brings up a funny childhood emotion:

I know something you don’t know

See most small business owners start their business because they have an expertise that they want to share/live… something they are passionate about. I believe, if they created fewer logo shirts, and instead wore a shirt like this, they would be better marketers. This shirt would spark the conversations that they want to have… telling people about their passion.

I’ll tell you how it works! I’m going to be wearing this one at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival this weekend. Evan got me this trip as a Christmas gift (we are foodies), but we will also be talking to the chefs about working with us on culinary cruises for SureCruise.

Other shirts we’ll be wearing this weekend say:

Ask me about sea + food

Sea the world
Eat the world

Of course, I’ll also be sharing that Spreadshirt is what enabled me to get these targeted messages across simply, unexpectedly, concretely. See… I have several of the points going for viral on this idea! 🙂

Fun words… emotive words

Over the holidays, I read Phil Dusenberry’s One Great Insight Is Worth a Thousand Good Ideas. If you are a brand/ad geek, you’ll enjoy this book. I’ll likely do a few posts with lessons and examples from it.

I wanted to start with one story that I think most of us can use immediately… use emotive words… words that excite. The example:

Best Cellars, a wine store near Phil’s home in Manhattan, doesn’t use regions or grape varietals to mark their sections, but rather words like juicy, smooth, big, fizzy, fresh, and soft.

I want a wine store like this in my area. I can feel these words, and I can’t feel Pinot Noir. I’ve stared at hundreds of bottles of Pinot Noir, trying to remember anything I could about the different regions where they are grown, the particular years that made them taste different ways, the vintner’s specialties, etc. I need something that helps me connect and Best Cellars words bring out more emotion for me.

This reminded me of one of my favorite shirts that Lukasz has. It is a black shirt that in silver type simple says:


Again, this brings out emotion!

I’m looking forward to working with the team to think of creative ways to apply this at Spreadshirt. Easily, we can have categories in our stores, and allow categories for shop partners, that express the emotions they had when creating the shirts, the emotions that they think people will get when buying them, the emotions that folks want to evoke with a gift, etc.

Question for you… Have you seen great examples of the use of emotive words? I’d love to know what’s worked for you.

So, let’s see, what’s on my shirt today?

I’m feelin’ it!