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Engaging Marketing Minds

The fall of the story


Vol 6, Issue 3, May/June 2016

Why the right brain ignites success







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Up Front Publisher’s Letter



ccording to the Winterbury Group, almost half ($27.3 billion) of the the $59.5 billion spent in digital advertising in 2015 was dedicated to search engine marketing. Another $24.9 billion was spent on display advertising, which means that over $52 billion of the total spend was used on vehicles that don’t necessarily conjure up images of high quality. The idea that digital advertising is the path to the consumer these days is odd. Consider the number of marketers that toss out an endless amount of content just so their search results escalate. While many of them may believe in the constancy of the social post and the EVERY CHANNEL IS perceived low cost of social CRITICAL THESE marketing, these strategies DAYS, BUT BEING A may be cheapening their TRUE RIGHT-BRAINED brands as a result. Permission-based marMARKETER AFFORDS keting respects the fact that YOU THE ABILITY TO we as consumers don’t want RETHINK ALL brands invading our lives OF THEM. and making unnecessary noise. There are numerous brands that have made their name on mass appeal, but the organizations that endeavor for a more sophisticated persona demand a deeper connection and a more intimate way to engage. Every channel is critical these days, but being a true rightbrained marketer affords you the ability to rethink all of them. Print, for example, still is the only vehicle that can literally touch us. It lets your clients know that you put a little extra time into PUBLISHER

Bill Barta President & CEO Rider Dickerson MANAGING EDITOR

Dean Petrulakis Senior Vice President Business Development Rider Dickerson

your message, and it shows that you are investing in the relationship and not merely trolling for bites. Our cover story, "Stoking Creativity," is focused on the kind of thinking needed to make hard decisions and elevate your brand. Our second feature, "The Fall of the Story," delves into the unwanted content that is clogging up our lives and lowering the value of your brand. Both stories remind us that utilizing vehicles and people who want to inflate your brand is critical in these noisy times. Enjoy. Warmest wishes,

BILL BARTA President & CEO Rider Dickerson

In This Issue


Brandon Clark


Conduit, Inc. printForum is published bimonthly by Rider Dickerson, copyright 2016. All rights reserved. For more information, contact 312-676-4119

DEAN PETRULAKIS Senior Vice President Business Development Rider Dickerson

01 Publisher’s letter Fish or cut bait 02 The Inbox

04 Stoking creativity Why the right brain ignites success By Michael J. Pallerino 08 The fall of the story Marketing is a house of cards without compelling content By Charles Lunan 12 Trending with... Bestselling author Joseph A. Michelli 13 What's your story Survey shows goals of content creation


Printed on 100# MPC Silk Text



News | Updates | Statistics

– Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank on the importance culture plays in the success of your company and your brand


The Inbox

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Culture is everything. Culture is the brand."





Survey shows the importance of customer experiences ince the days of the Mad Men, brand awareness has been the most important objective on a marketing to-do list. But according to Salesforce’s “State of Marketing” survey, things are methodically shifting toward customer engagement. The study, which surveyed nearly 4,000 marketing leaders worldwide, shows that 88 percent of marketing teams are starting to view the customer journey as the most critical goal to the success of their overall marketing strategies. Here’s a look at what today’s marketers deem as their top priority:

Brand awareness

Higher levels of customer engagement

Social media engagement


UP ALL NIGHT WITH DATA Technology. Sensitive budgets. Silos. Pick an area, any area, and today’s marketers will tell you how long it keeps them up at night. The biggest nightmare of all? According to Dun & Bradstreet’s “The B2B Marketing Data Report 2016,” 75 percent of more than 500 B2B marketers surveyed say it’s finding accurate and complete data to achieve their marketing objectives. Crucial pieces of missing data that most often are missing include revenue (87 percent), employee (86 percent) and industry information (77 percent), the survey found.

Book Rec

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days By Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky & Braden Kowitz

The percent of salespeople who think marketers spend most of their time on branding/events, rather than directly increasing the lead pipeline, according to the “Crack the Code of Sales & Marketing Alignment” survey from InsideView and Demand Gen Report. Interestingly, 26 percent of the marketers surveyed believe salespeople are a bunch of “mavericks.” The survey was based on data from 995 sales and marketing professionals based in the United States, most of whom work for B2B companies.

ou face tough questions every day: Where do you focus your efforts? How do you start? What will your idea look like in real life? How many meetings does it take before you can be sure you have the right solution? The formula rests in a strategy created by three partners from Google Ventures called the “sprint.” No matter what size your business is, coauthors Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz will walk you through the one-week “sprint” process they used at Google Ventures to help startups. On Monday you map out your process, on Tuesday you sketch out competing solutions, on Wednesday you pick the winning strategy, on Thursday you create a realistic prototype, and on Friday you test your idea with your target customers. Together, they have executed more than one hundred “sprints” with companies in mobile, e-commerce, healthcare, finance, and more. This practical guide to answering critical business questions is for anyone with a big opportunity, problem or idea who needs answers today.




Why the right brain ignites success





Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. – ALBERT EINSTEIN

ark Donnolo doesn’t believe that thinking “outside of the box” inspires creativity. Creativity often is perceived to be about breaking through boundaries and replacing familiarity with innovation. But saying this to highly effective employees is like offering vegetables to a pack of wolves – it’s the wrong context. The managing partner of SalesGlobe, which helps companies connect their sales strategies to their bottom lines, says that when you take away your employees’ “box,” which represents tried-and-true processes and technical specs, you inadvertently create a major constraint – not being able to conduct business in a way that is familiar to them. Rather than promoting new thinking by creating an "outside of the box" environment, Donnolo recommends identifying a company’s creativity need ­– boosting functional creativity, which has constraints, but is targeted toward an issue or objective, or artistic creativity, which has minimal or no constraints and is targeted toward expression. Take, for example, the notion of coaching sales reps to think like artists. Using a right-brain approach helps them address the needs of today’s customer. This much we know – when it comes to sales, organizations always are looking for an edge. It’s how they differentiate themselves from their competitors and win deals. Unfortunately, Donnolo admits that sales organizations too often develop strategies and solutions that repeat the same old practices. That “do-what-has-been-done-before” approach can leave them vulnerable in today’s ultra-competitive business climate. “When it comes to strategies, salespeople usually veer toward one of two extremes – operating analytically or by the seat of their pants,” says Donnolo, who also wrote “The Innovative Sale,” which examines how to integrate the right-brain aptitude for innovation with the left-brain affinity for logic and process. “As sales organizations develop solutions for their businesses, they certainly have plenty of left-brain models,” Donnolo says. “But these models don’t help us to innovate. Salespeople can build upon their natural intuitive abilities with a right-brain model – a creative process to develop better customer solutions and sales strategies.”




Whether or not you can be creative depends on whether or not you choose to, or if you are empowered to act on those things you would do differently.” – MARK MONTINI, CEO, PROMIO The process begins by defining the specific sales challenge and considering all the current solutions, including what competitors are doing or the way someone used to do it. Once the tried-and-true ideas have been acknowledged, Donnolo says it’s time to step out of your comfort zone and consider unrelated ideas – how problems are solved in other industries, in other cultures, in other periods of history. “This is the discovery phase, and it’s what most people skip when they go through a typical brainstorming session,” Donnolo says. “Most jump straight to the final stage – application, where tried-andtrue ideas usually are plugged in. Every couple of weeks, I get calls from clients asking how companies in their industry implement cross-selling or how they motivate their sales teams. But they don’t really want to know how other companies are doing it. They want to know what to do, because right before they called me, they were grasping for solutions and replicating the status quo.”




“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.” – Edward de Bono The simplest approach to stoking the fires of creativity is to find strategies that take you beyond those “been-theredone-that” approaches. And most times, that process is harder than it has to be. Mark Montini, CEO of marketing-technology company Promio, believes that creativity simply is approaching something from a unique perspective. Think about it, and you will agree with Montini when he says that there isn’t a person alive who doesn’t see several things daily they would do differently. It can be as simple as how to speed up the line at the local Starbucks or as profound as a new brand position for a large corporation. “Everyone is creative, every day,” Montini says. “Whether or not you can be creative depends on whether or not you choose to, or if you are empowered to act on those things you would do differently.

Everyone has the ability to be creative but being creative is determined by whether or not you act.” From a leadership perspective, it’s about providing an environment where your employees are empowered to act on their creativity. And that means building a culture that embraces cleverness and the mistakes that come with it. One of Montini’s friends works for a company that regularly rewards employees who advocated concepts that ultimately failed. In addition to handing out rewards for achievement in various areas, it also presents awards for the best ideas that didn't succeed in the end. “It really illustrated that the company valued creativity and fully embraced the reality that failure is the primary risk” Montini says. “If you build a culture of fear, you’ll find that the status quo reigns. In my opinion, ‘management/process’ and ‘creativity’ are mutually exclusive. Creativity comes from empowerment and management/process, by definition,

is about providing clear direction and control. So, trying to manage creativity requires stifling it.” Montini believes leaders should cast a vision that provides the framework to make creativity productive. If employees know the company values inventive ideas and is willing to accept the mistakes that result from it, they will feel empowered to be creative. “At the end of the day, creativity from one inspires creativity from others, and the end result are solutions that have tremendous impact.”

“Creativity is the soul of the true scholar.” – Nnamdi Azikiwe Just how important is creativity to the success of a business? Lynne Vincent, assistant professor of management at Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, says that twothirds of Fortune 100 companies mention creativity or innovation in their mission or vision statements.

“Creativity is the production of an idea, solution or product that is novel and useful,” Vincent says. “It can be a very positive force. Creativity is a skill that can be learned similar to mathematics or logic. While some people may have a natural propensity for creative thought, people can learn the underlying skills for creative thought.” Tapping in to the creative vein is why companies like Google and IDEO have been able to inspire the masses. “Organizations recognize the power and potential of creativity,” Vincent says. “Research has consistently found that leadership behaviors affect employee creativity. The trick is to know how to appropriately manage and avoid micromanaging. While leaders are undeniably important, leaders will not be successful unless they have employees with relevant skills, knowledge and abilities.”

When it comes to strategies, salespeople usually veer toward one of two extremes – operating analytically or by the seat of their pants.” – MARK DONNOLO, MANAGING PARTNER, SALESGLOBE

Knock, knock. Who’s there? Creativity … In his book, “The Innovative Sale,” Mark Donnolo shows how a left-brained thinking process helps generate right-brain innovation. Donnolo says companies need the structure of such a method to address the range of variables that challenge constraints such as time, product, price and organizational capabilities, among others. Here are some actionable ideas that can help push you into a phase of discovering new ideas: Get comfortable with feeling lost. Push beyond what you know.

Assemble the right team. Define roles and include alternative views.

Combine unrelated ideas. Find parallels from different sources.

Collaborate as an individual. Avoid group thinking.

Become a student of history. The past is a great source of parallels.

Understand other perspectives. Embrace diversity on your team.

Produce an abundance of ideas. Think broadly beyond the status quo.

Get comfortable with criticism. Expect the skeptics to divert you.

Think in divergent directions. Include variety in your ideas.

Don’t accept the accepted. Push beyond and ask why.

Know that less is more. Bring your solution to its essence.

Walk away from the problem. Allow your mind to create new combinations and epiphany moments.

Grow with the flow. Don’t rush the process. Be patient and allow ideas to evolve. Ask the right questions. Questions are more powerful than statements. Use them intentionally. Be persistent. Don’t be dissuaded by doubt. The best innovators encounter resistance. Check degrees of change. Understand how your idea will fit with and enhance the current state.




Marketing is a house of cards without compelling content BY CHARLES LUNAN

lack of true content is killing the reputation of content marketing. That's the view of Joe Pulizzi, who is hearing more griping from the small business owners and executives attending his content marketing classes. They complain that their email newsletters, blogs and Facebook pages are not getting enough traction. When the complaints came up at a workshop a few months ago, an exasperated Pulizzi asked his audience how their content was different. He was greeted with silence. With a little prodding, one vendor said it had posted coupons on Facebook, another vendor had shared content with 300 of its dealers, and a third posted an article that was intentionally generic to avoid giving away his advice. He told them that until they became serious about creating original, compelling content, they’d be better off spending their money on advertising.

It’s hard to find a bigger content marketing evangelist than Pulizzi, who founded the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) in the late 2000s after deciding he could help global brands do a much better job with their marketing. Today, CMI offers content marketing education and training, produces the Content Marketing World Conference and Expo, publishes CCO [Chief Content Officer] magazine and offers its Content Marketing Master Class through a nationwide seminar series.




Pulizzi has written two books on the topic and CMI’s site is chock full of great content about content marketing, which it describes as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” When done correctly, Pulizzi argues content marketing establishes an aura of authority and trust that are at the core of any brand promise and can help brands own their media channels, rather than rent them through advertising. In his 2015 book, “Content Inc.,” Pulizzi argues that finding and filling information voids online can help startup companies stake out leadership positions in fast-moving markets before they even ship their first product. The problem is that “99 percent” of marketers are not generating distinctive content.




"Somewhere along the line," Pulizzi wrote in a blog post earlier this year, “we marketers became infatuated with the tools and less concerned about what we put inside them. This, my friends, has got to change.”

The objective of storytelling is to earn trust. People buy products they think align with the people they want to be.” – KRISTIN CARPENTER-OGDEN, FOUNDER & CEO, VERDE BRAND COMMUNICATIONS

Many marketers have found telling real people’s stories to be one of the most potent tools for breaking through what Rutgers University Marketing Professor Mark Schaefer called “overwhelming information density. In his book, “The Content Code,” such stories are original and, therefore, authentic by definition. The way marketers create and distribute content is constantly changing, but the basic dynamics of storytelling – and their power to influence – have stood the test of time. “People still love a good yarn and, more importantly, they will remember it long after their memory of product specifications, endorsements and Facebook promotions fade,” Schaefer says. In helping small active lifestyle brands craft their voices, Verde Brand Communications CEO Kristin Carpenter-Ogden has found it particularly useful to start with the founder. Their stories nearly always follow one of the seven classic heroic themes marketers have exploited for centuries, such as overcoming giants, naysayers and scarcity. Even gear heads rarely remember the weight of every waterproof-breathable garment they use, what blend of fabrics it features or what awards it has won, but they can nearly always recall the story about the sudden mountain storm that inspired the founder to create the brand. The challenge for the marketer remains finding stories that will evoke the desired response from the target customer in a way that is consistent or enhances a client’s existing brand. “The objective of storytelling is to earn trust,” says Carpenter-Ogden, whose firm works with dozens of small active lifestyle brands, including K2, Keen, Mad River Canoe, Pearl Izumi and Raleigh. "People buy products they think align with the people they want to be.”

Seeing this, and under pressure from Greenpeace, United Students Against Sweatshops and other activist groups, a handful of forward-thinking athletic and apparel brands began incorporating corporate responsibility into their content marketing strategies in the 2000s.




Nike, Adidas, Patagonia and Timberland began publishing annual reports laying out progress they had made against sustainability goals, such as reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and use of energy and water to position themselves as leaders with their environmentally-minded consumers amid growing pressure from activists. Though fast fashion apparel brands and retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores, have since launched their own corporate sustainability programs, it’s unlikely they will gain significant mindshare with environmentally-minded consumers, even though their efforts will have a bigger impact due to their larger size.

Finding and filling information voids online can help startup companies stake out leadership positions in fast moving markets before they even ship their first product.” – JOE PULIZZI, FOUNDER, CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE

Athletic and outdoor brands own the space and they continue to raise the bar. In its annual corporate sustainability report, outdoor gear retailer REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.) now lists information still considered trade secrets by some brands, including a list of all its overseas factories by name and location, aggregate results of factory audits, and the percentage of factories they've placed on probation for failing to meet REI’s environmental and labor standards. Such transparency is fast becoming the new coin of the realm in a world where more and more middle and upper-class consumers expect to know not only where their products are made, but how the workers who made them are treated, what the brand is doing to lessen their carbon footprint and even what they are doing to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. Staking out a leadership position on sustainability also has created a steady stream of content, including stories about Timberland’s work reforesting Haiti and Grand Trunk’s efforts to begin sourcing some of its hammocks in the United States. Founded in 2002 by two surfing buddies to import hammocks they discovered while surfing in Thailand, Grand Trunk beat a much larger competitor to begin making nylon sling hammocks in the United States. It took the small company several years to piece together a U.S. supply chain capable of delivering hammocks that meet its quality standards and price points. The OneMade line ultimately will have to compete on quality and price. In the meantime, however, the venture has distinguished Grand Trunk in a rapidly growing, but increasingly crowded market. Skillful storytelling, which should generate some compelling content, sure beats adding to the torrent of "me-too" content that is softening the content marketing world.




Interview with Joseph A. Michelli


Trending with...

Bestselling author

Joseph A. Michelli

n his latest book, “Driven to Delight: Delivering World-Class Customer Experience the Mercedes-Benz Way,” bestselling author Joseph A. Michelli, PhD, provides an insider’s look at the iconic brand’s approach to creating and sustaining customer experiences. The sought-after speaker and organizational consultant has become a globally recognized thought leader in customer experience design by creating masterful roadmaps that help transform the relationship between leaders, employees, and the customers they serve. His books, which also include “The Starbucks Experience,” “The New Gold Standard,” “The Zappos Experience,” “Leading the Starbucks Way” and “Prescription for Excellence” have all hit No. 1 on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller lists. Here are his thoughts on the importance of building customer loyalty today:

Is it fair to say that loyal customers are hard to hold on to today?

Yes. After struggling through years of turmoil and uncertainty, the last thing you need is to take customers for granted. And yet, if your company is like many, all your fervent efforts to attract and retain them fall curiously flat. It’s not that they’re storming angrily out the door; it’s that their experience with your company is not enthusiastic – more “ehh,” than “wow.”





So, what are we doing wrong?

Companies have great intentions. They want to delight their customers. Some undertake these big service initiatives, only to see their efforts fizzle quickly or never take root. The problem is that their great intentions are at odds with their culture. When that’s the case, they’re doomed to make certain, predictable mistakes. The mistakes are inevitable. What’s worse is that companies don’t even know they’re making them.

Do companies spend too much time chasing new customers at the expense of existing ones?

Too many companies are directing too much money toward acquisition and hardly any toward retention. The ratio is lopsided. Consider car dealers that spend huge amounts on commercials that scream at people to come in. What they’re not spending money on is employee training to make sure that once these customers are in the door, they’ll come back. I’ve noticed companies that are good at acquiring customers often are not good at retaining them. The key is to be great at both – to use those you’ve retained to help with your acquisition curve. A lot of brands miss the message here. The cost of acquisition is

much higher than the cost of retention, so why not invest more in the cost – in the tools of retention – to maximize that multiplier?

Is the goal to not make your customers work so hard?

Yes, businesses are competing in an increasingly Uber-ized society. Uber customers simply pull out their phones, push the app, and then a car pulls up and takes them where they need to go. They get dropped off. No money is exchanged. Brands are being forced to find ways to make their customers’ entire experience as effortless, frictionless, and yet as personal as possible. Don’t forget how complex life is for your customers. From there, pick apart your deliverable and figure out how to maximize its ease. Customers leave because brands don’t think through the degree of effort it requires to do business with them. They don’t provide solutions. They don’t simplify every touch point. When it’s not almost effortless, customers leave. Wouldn’t you?

Isn’t it all about your brand being authentic?

Companies must strive to hire people who truly care about customers. And that’s just the beginning. Train your employees to connect on a human level. It’s not about scripting, but about helping them realize what customers really want and need, and then empowering them to provide it. While it’s essential to practice disciplined hiring in the search for people with emotional intelligence, those capabilities have to be awakened and reinforced through the training process. Immerse your employees in your brand so they truly understand what it’s like to be the customer. Collect and share stories of customer delight. Touch the hearts of team members as well as their minds. When you do, they’ll genuinely want to serve the customer.


Before You Go

SURVEY SHOWS GOALS OF CONTENT CREATION ontent. Ask any marketing department, and they’ll tell you that the quest for organic and compelling content is among their top priorities. According to the “2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends—North America” from Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, 82 percent are highly focused on creating more engaging content. The report surveyed 1,521 U.S. B2B marketers representing a full range of industries, functional areas and company sizes. Following are some of what marketers say are their top priorities for content creation:


Creating more engaging content Better understanding of what content is effective – and what isn’t


Finding more/better ways to repurpose content Creating visual content



Better understanding of audience


Becoming better sttorytellers

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May/ June 2016  
May/ June 2016