Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category



Marketing and Technology Come Together: MarTech Conference

When I started The A Group more than 12 years ago, I had no idea I was giving life to a new type of business: martech.  We developed in-house technology to make sure our marketing efforts worked and were simple to use. We knew marketing could not live without technology. It was true a decade ago, and even more so now. Not only digital natives demand it, we all do. We browse online, on our mobile devices but often purchase at a physical store. We want the same information on our desktop computer, tablet and phone whenever, wherever. We measure our tolerance to wait for information in mere seconds. Today’s consumer has an attention span of less than 6 seconds. Last week I attended the first Martech Conference in Boston. The Martech Conference was an integrated conversation of marketing, technology, trends and best practices led by experts, often titled Chief…

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In Marketing Effectiveness Trumps Relevance

There is a lot of buzz about being relevant. Given the chance, I take being effective over relevant any day. The most basic tenet of any marketer is to connect the message to its intended audience. It’s that easy. It’s not that simple. My team at The A Group is currently working on a campaign targeting legacy donors: they have large-gift potential, are motivated by leaving a legacy behind, and are between 65 and 85 years old. A social media campaign is not going to reach them. Most likely, an email campaign will not do much better either. Traditionally, the “Builder” generation responds well to direct mail campaign with multiple pieces and telemarketing ( I can’t believe I just wrote down “telemarketing” but I did). I know that creating a new app would be a lot cooler than trying to print and stuff direct mail. Creating a dynamic microsite with…

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Thoughts from the Mobile World Congress 2013

Last week I attended the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. It’s the industry’s biggest event, drawing over 72,000 attendees from over 200 different countries. The event was massive in both size and scope: booths, the size of city blocks, from the likes of Samsung and Sony to small software developers for mobile devices. Everything mobile was covered. After learning my way around Barcelona’s metro system and fighting through the crowded train stations, I got several days of exposure to what’s happening, and what’s about to happen in the mobile world. Here are some overarching observations: The world is now mobile. While desktops might still have a place in business, the new day belongs to the untethered, highly portable world of mobile devices: phones, tablets, and phones the size of small tablets or small tablets with a phone built in. Payment through mobile devices has become streamlined. There are several…

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How to Write Marketing Copy that Works

Words are powerful. They can move people into action. They inspire, they challenge, they amuse, but words also sell. Regardless of your industry, you are in sales. We all are, especially those who are in the non-profit sector or church leadership. It’s perhaps the most important of all sales: hope for better days and the ultimate hope of eternal life. Here are some key points to consider when writing copy that’s going to be used to compel and motivate people into action. Write to a person. Unless you understand your target audience, you cannot communicate effectively. Writing to “everyone” guarantees that you reach “no one.” Have a person in mind as you craft your words. Are you writing to a 50 year-old business professional, or a 35-year old stay-at-home mom with snotty-nose kids running around the house? Understand your audience’s motivation. Forget your agenda for a minute and try to…

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Questions You Should Answer When Creating Your Marketing Plan

There is an audience for just about everything. Really.  Your job is to find yours. I was reading Smart Money magazine and ran across Bart Centre, a retired New Hampshire retail executive behind Eternal Earth-Bound Pets: The Next Best Thing to Pet Salvation in a Post Rapture World.” According to Mr. Centre, he has sold 263 pet-care contracts to Christians concerned about their dogs and kittens left behind in the upcoming rapture. For $135, clients can count on pet-rescue services provided by one of 46 atheists who are guaranteed to remain on earth after the Second Coming.  Yep. It’s for real. A good marketer’s job is to connect the product or message with the target audience. It’s simple, but not always easy. Before you put together your marketing strategy, ask yourself these questions: Who is my target audience? The more defined your audience, the easier it is to communicate your value proposition…

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A Case for the Best Job in the World: My Visit To Metro Ministries

Sometimes I am reminded why I have the best job in the world. This past week was one of those times. The marketing team of The A Group presented Metro Ministries in Brooklyn, NY with our proposed marketing and branding campaigns. While we had immersed ourselves in learning about the ministry, nothing truly prepared us to being in the middle of it all. Metro Ministries started over 30 years ago by the remarkable Bill Wilson, who after being abandoned by his mother on a street corner at a young age, felt the call to go back to the streets of one the nation’s most dangerous neighborhoods and share the gospel with at-risk-children.  Metro Ministries claims the largest Sunday school in the world with over 42,000 children in NYC, the Philippines and now an exploding number in Africa. But numbers often fail to tell the story of the people they represent.…

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The Death of The Advertising Agency

There’s no easy way to say it. The traditional Ad Agency is not going to stay around for long. As the big guys scramble to survive and as the little guys close shop, marketing agencies find themselves in a major shift. Some believe it’s a difficult transition, if not an impossible one under the current way most of these shops are setup. In order to survive agencies must: Stop being dependent on the 15% media buying revenue and print markup.  The days of clients spending hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars on traditional media are numbered. The new media mix is a lot more fluid and fragmented and requires more thinking than a media buyer can do in one afternoon. A direct mail campaign followed by radio and/or TV is no longer the answer for every problem. I’m not certain it’s the answer for any current dilemma. Make technology…

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Church Branding or Marketing? What’s the Difference?

If “marketing” was the church’s buzzword for the ‘90s, “branding” is definitely the new, upstart concept when it comes to communications these days. So what makes the new millennium’s branding better than last century’s marketing strategy? A lot, if we understand the differences between them. Branding and marketing both aim at communicating a product, an institution, even a person to a particular audience. This whole process happens solely in the mind. In this case, perception is reality—for good or bad. Most of what marketing does is build a brand—create a favorable reality in the minds of our target audience. A marketing campaign’s effectiveness is measured in months, but a brand’s strength is calculated in years, even decades. Each marketing effort should help define, position, and strengthen the brand. Recently, the Old Spice campaign featuring Isaiah Mustafa has sold a lot of deodorant to men who want to be more Isaiah…

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