Sword and the Script

What BtoB and AdAge Says about Integrated Marketing; Journalism

by Frank Strong

BtoB, AdAge

Yesteryear’s marketing can still be found painted on buildings in downtown Durham, NC.

Journalists don’t read marketers’ press releases and it appears to me as if marketers don’t read journalists’ press releases either.

The announcement that BtoB magazine is merging with Advertising Age in 2014 would have slipped by if it weren’t for a work colleague who emailed the link to a group distribution today. A quick search shows there’s been very little coverage of the news.

So much for the mantra that nobody watches the media like the media. This time around, nobody was watching the media…and well, maybe that’s part of the problem. Read More…

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Ultimate Marketing Secret: Happy Customers Bring Friends

by Frank Strong

ulitmate marekting secret, Happy customers bring friends

When was the last time a business thanked you for your business?

Marketers are always looking for that home run:  the killer email that fuels the click-through rate, the viral video that brings a thousand registrants in for demos, or the latest offer, that deal that’s just bound to drive foot traffic.

It rarely happens that way.  And we can spend and awful lot of energy pursuing the perfect pitch, only to find it hasn’t quite gotten the mileage we had hoped and we’ve exhausted ourselves in the process.

A better strategy is base hits.  A consistent focus on the fundamentals.  Make customers happy and they’ll tell their friends.

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2 Billion Meetings a Year are a Waste of Time

by Frank Strong

meetings are a waste of time

Meetings make many sleepy.

In the United States, educated guessers say we hold about 11 million meetings per day, which adds up to 4 billion meetings a year. Those same educated guessers, Harvard historian types, point to survey research finding people believe about half of all meetings are wasted.

Net impact?  Two billion wasted meetings a year.

The problem isn’t education or a lack of resources. There are thousands of quality results for searches on “productive meetings.” Quora’s got a bunch of helpful answers too on the topic, so long as we don’t get distracted by fascinating questions such as If a tiger fought a lion, which animal would win?  (Spoiler:  Dant.  Dant-dant-dant).

The culprit then?  Email! Read More…

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House of Cards: Emmy Win Winks at the Future of Marketing

by Frank Strong

house of cards, emmy, future of marketing

What House of Cards says about the future of marketing (photo: screenshot of Netflix’s home page on 9/23/13)

House of Cards won an Emmy award.  That matters to marketers. In a big way.  It’s winking at the future of marketing.

First, some context:

NPR reported:

This win could help Netflix establish itself as it seeks to compete for eyeballs and talent, although the cable channels dominated the Emmys – especially HBO – which racked up 27 awards, more than any other outlet.

The Wall Street Journal said Netflix made history:

The Emmy win could boost Netflix’s prestige in Hollywood as an outlet for high-quality original series…

TechCrunch set it up:

Today’s Emmy win is a strong indicator that Netflix can compete with television’s major players, even though it redefines “primetime” by presenting shows in much different ways than traditional networks. Netflix does not have linear programming and all episodes in a season are made available at once.

And a paragraph or two later provides important perspective:

For many TV critics, the premiere of The Sopranos on HBO in 1999 heralded a new “Golden Age of Television,” with cable networks launching series, such as Breaking Bad, The Wire and Mad Men, that are more narratively complex and darker in tone than previous well-received TV dramas.

Behavior modification in the making

The tech savvy marketer will be quick to point out that content consumption habits have been changing for some time:  Netflix is anything but new.  That is certainly true…but it is true only for the early adopters and perhaps some of the early majority. Read More…

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4 PR Fundamentals Every Business Leader Needs to Know

by Frank Strong

PR Fundamentals business

In between bites of wood, PR donkey says, “There’s a reason it’s called earned media.”

There’s a reason why the outcome of good old fashioned media relations is called “earned media.”  It’s earned. It’s not paid or given.

Earned media means we cannot choose the timing, space, presentation or language. If those are the things you are looking for…go see the advertising folks.  Bring your checkbook.

The media relations component of PR is really hard work.  Often it is slow starting but tends to be cumulative. Media earns media.

On the other hand, it can also be derailed fairly easily. I’ve seen this happen several times over my career where a business executive carries the air and expectations of a celebrity, without the credentials. A couple stubborn moves later, and the coverage is bare.

We PR pros bite our lips and try to find a way to make things work but more often than not, it’s a waste of time and money.  It is entirely avoidable.

Here are four PR fundamentals that will ensure you get the most value out of your media relations program: Read More…

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The First Tweets from 26 PR Influencers

by Frank Strong

Topsy twitter search

Topsy allows users to search tweets from as far back as 2006.

What is said on Twitter, stays on Twitter, and if Topsy has anything to do with it, that might be forever. The social media tool recently announced it will allow us to search tweets as far back as 2006.

Brian Patterson, an SEO, had the ingenious idea of searching it for the first tweets by SEO influencers. And after having some fun by retweeting the first posts by Andy Beal, Barry Schwartz and Copyblogger, I thought I’d copy that idea for PR influencers.

These influencers come from this Twitter list which I curate for the purposes of producing this PR Thought Leaders Daily on Paper.li.  While I have created this Paper.li for me, it is an amazingly good summary of what’s was chattable among the PR elite on Twitter each day. The power is in taking good care of the Twitter lists.

This list is a completely subjective list that I have arbitrarily selected. None of the names here should be a surprise, but if you feel left out, please don’t. The names are listed merely in the order in which I did the searches; there is no order of merit here. If you don’t like the list, feel free to make your own.

One other caveat:  the Topsy search I found, is not perfect.  There are a couple tweets it displayed as the “first tweet” that I suspect are not. There are some, such as my own first Twitter post, which do not appear to be searchable.  Even so, it’s fun to see what some of these folks had to say on Twitter, 4, 5, 6, and even 7 years ago.  Read More…

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Reading: Ethos, Pathos and Logos, and Aristotelian PR Primer

by Frank Strong

morning power

A powerful morning sunrise in North Carolina.

And in a week in which we poke no matter who the grammar police is.  A grammatically incorrect sentence and two spaces following a period later, we realize at the end of the week we’ve remembered the 12th anniversary of 9/11 and survived yet another Friday the 13th.

What a week of news it has been!  Have you been reading? If you have, I probably don’t have anything for you here.  But If you haven’t this post will catch you up.

1.  Aristotelian concepts of persuasion.  This is what I call a lucky find, because my reading habits have branched out and I now read trade publications for lawyers.  This has completely flipped my lid too, because the parallels between what law firms are experiencing today, and PR firms experienced five or even 10 years ago, is amazingly similar.  At any rate, my reading brought me to this post, a primer on Aristotle’s concepts of ethos, pathos and logos.  Having read Rhetoric cover-to-cover several times, I’d reckon this primer is a great way to get a grasp of ethics, emotion and logic. I’ve got more theory on marketing to emotions in this guest post. Read More…

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9 Essential Reasons to Kill a Social Media Unicorn

by Frank Strong


Every time a “best time to post on social media” infographic is created a unicorn dies.

This post is something of a rant, but it’s also a bit of humor. Well, an attempt at humor, because generally, I’m perhaps far too serious to ever endeavor to be funny. Besides, can one have fun and rant at the same time?

The driver for this post is a two-fold combination.  First the nearby meme by WebSIGHT Hangouts that says every time a “best time to post on social media” infographic is created a unicorn dies. The second part is the growth phase that we are going through with Google+ and the “sharing of posts.”

Every time one user “shares a post” it triggers an alert that tells the other user that, well someone shared a post.  When I see these, I think oh, great, someone want to speak with me, then I click on the alert, look at the post, and realize, I’m just one of dozens, or perhaps hundreds, of people that post has been shared with.  Read More…

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A Better Expression of Outrage is Silence

by Frank Strong

A Better Expression of Outrage is Silence

Brands that market to anger will only reform if they are met with silence.

The fashionable marketing strategy for apparel makers is apparently, being insensitive.

Kenneth Cole of course is the latest to create a flap by using the debate over a response to Syria’s chemical weaponry use as a vehicle by which to promote his company.  Mr. Cole quite plainly admits it.

Let’s put Syria in context: thousands of people died horrifically painful deaths after inhaling sarin gas. Many of these people were children. No matter what our country does or does not do, more people will die in that conflict.

Mr. Cole seeks sales by juxtaposing marketing messages with a tragic event.  And according to PRNewser, he does it on purpose.

That’s pretty horrible isn’t it? Read More…

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Reading: Goat becomes Raleigh-Durham Publicity Hound

by Frank Strong

Turtle puts a juke move on

You know it’s football season, when you spot a turtle putting a juke move on a fallen maple leave on the American Tobacco Trail.

It’s a little later on Saturday than I typically aim for, but here’s my weekly roundup of savory marketing and PR reading material for the week — and a weekly random photo.

1. If Googling were over. And Chrome. And Gmail.  And Google Reader…oh wait, that’s gone already.  Even so, author Ken Hammond wrote a pretty though provoking post titled:  A World without Google.

The world is forced to return to their Yahoo! and Hotmail (now Outlook) accounts they haven’t used since 2004. They go to retrieve their email passwords and realize that their backup email where their password will be sent is their Gmail.

Don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.  It’s easy to beat up on Google, but it’s a good perspective to keep in mind where things would be without the company. Read More…

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