MadAveGroup


  1. After Norm Macdonald died on September 14, 2021, praise for the writer / comedian poured in from all corners of social media.

    And one thought appeared more than any other: there was no one else like Norm.

    Talk show host Conan O’Brien: “Norm had the most unique comedic voice I have ever encountered.”

    Comedian Whitney Cummings: “Norm is the pinnacle of originality.”

    Actor / comedian Steve Martin: “One of a kind.”

    Comedian Sarah Silverman: “Norm was in a comedy genre of his own. He was derivative of no one.”

    Derivative of no one.

    What a compliment. It’s an acknowledgement that Norm was not only a different type of thinker, but that he also had the courage of his convictions.

    In an industry that’s filled with sound-alikes, sequels and a desire to appeal to the lowest common denominator, Norm dared to be his own type of creator. He made his individual art, presented it unflinchingly and signed off on it proudly.

    Did everyone get Norm or find him funny? No. But he didn’t need total buy-in to be successful or influential or lasting.

    And you don’t either.

    MadAveGroup CEO Jerry Brown often expresses this idea: "I'm okay if we actively alienate 25% of the audience. I'm okay if we don’t appeal to another 50% of the audience. I just want our agency to stand out and be meaningful to that last 25%." Because, like Norm, we’re not for everybody, whether you’re a prospective client or a potential employee. And we’re not willing to change our unique perspective or culture simply because “that’s not how everyone else does it.”

    What about you and your brand?

    Are you unafraid to be yourself, whether it’s in how you market your company or the type of work environment you encourage?

    Are you focused enough for your brand to be strongly associated with one quality as Norm was? If not, the benefit you provide might be watered down or too generic to stand out as memorable. As a result, yours may not be the first name that comes to mind when your audience needs what you sell.

    Are you cultivating what’s unique and special in your team members? In your ongoing brand story? In your marketing touchpoints? In your customer relationships?

    Are you bringing your singular personality and humanity to your work each day and looking for new opportunities to apply them? Norm did. And because of that, the world will be talking about him for a long time to come.

    RELATED POSTS: Marketing with Humor
    Are You Sounding Familiar? 
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  2. Each month, I have the opportunity to provide input on marketing-related questions for the Forbes Agency Council. This blog post features a few of those thoughts. It's the fifth in a series on content creation.

    Question: Positive emotions associated with a brand make consumers more likely to trust and purchase from that brand. What is one thing marketers can do to create an emotional connection between a brand and its customers that builds such a positive association in their minds?

    Answer: Use your advertising to give freely to potential customers. Deliver valuable, applicable information about your product category and related topics with the intent of building trusting relationships before people even walk through your door. Resist every urge to focus on "you." Instead, use your ad content to make your audience's life - and their buying decisions - easier. 

    Question: According to research from BrightLocal, “85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.” If applicable, how does your business “nudge” clients or customers for reviews?

    Answer: Most people are flattered when asked to share their opinion. It's a compliment to be told "I value what you think." So, when we know clients are happy with the experience we've delivered, we ask if they'll provide feedback. We encourage our clients to ask for input from their customers as well, and then make it easy for people to share their thoughts via links to Yelp and other review sites. 

    Question: With so many brands turning to inbound marketing, consumers have become inundated with an overwhelming amount of content. With so much saturation, what's one way for a brand to create differentiation in its content strategy?

    Answer: There's only one you and, especially if you're the face or voice of your brand, you are your own differentiator. Don't be afraid to let your true personality and perspective show via your online presence. Your style may not be for everyone, but those it does attract will likely be longer-term consumers of your unique content and, ideally, what you sell.

    Question: What are your main "go-to" resources for drawing inspiration for your work (i.e., industry publications, mentors, etc.)?

    Answer: I grew up in the 1970s, but always idolized the announcers and copywriters of the ‘40s and ‘50s. I often reference their work with mine: the rhythm, the word choice and what now feels like charming humor. I also love Stan Freberg’s advertising. And when I re-watched the 1970 Crocker Bank “Wedding” spot recently I found it inspiring in its concept and sincerity. So, try looking back to look forward.

    RELATED POSTS: 6 Tips on Using Testimonials
    Giving vs. Taking: A Fresh Approach to Advertising
    Forbes Forum: Content Creation - Part 4

  3. As a marketer, you may look for feedback and advice from senior members of your team, the trades, social media groups, or even a personal mentor. But, after reading this post, we encourage you to think back to one of your earliest sources of wisdom - your dad.

    In celebration of Father’s Day, we asked a few members of the MadAveGroup staff to share some of the business-related lessons their fathers imparted.


    April Rietzke / Director, Marketing Management

    “My dad had lots of advice for me growing up. The thought that sticks with me most is ‘a job worth doing is worth doing well.’ He gave work his all, and he’s the reason I’ll work late to get something completed as it should be. He’s why I push through when I’m faced with challenges.”

    April’s dad, Bill Zitzman, is a retired tool and die maker who was with Chrysler for 20 years.


    Steve Evert / EVP of Operations

    Steve recalls two lessons that have had a big effect on how he approaches life. “When I was a little kid, my dad said, ‘He who hesitates is lost.’ That sentence has made more of an impact on me than any other I’ve heard. It’s stuck in the back of my brain ever since.”

    The elder Evert also reminded his son that “’the world doesn’t owe you a living.’ It was his way of saying you’re responsible for your own lot in life and be grateful for anything you receive.”

    Steve’s dad - also a Steve Evert - is a semi-retired commercial tire sales rep and entrepreneur.


    Gwen Brassell / Marketing Specialist

    “If you’re on time, you’re late. Be early or don’t be there at all.”

    Gwen says she still carries her dad’s words with her to this day and applies them to her work. “I’m always early for in-person or Zoom client meetings because I constantly hear my dad’s reminder in my head.”

    Terry Brassell, Gwen’s dad, is a Regional Sales Manager at Silverback Supply.


    Cassandra Evans / Creative Consultant

    “My dad always pushed the value of a great education,” said Cassandra. “When I was in high school, I mentioned my interest in marketing and he became my biggest advocate. My dad set up personal meetings with college professors, went on campus tours with me and even attended my orientation.

    “Then, the constant learning opportunities began. My dad would point out weak TV commercials, point-of-purchase signs and billboards and say with a smile, “That’s why a good education is so important. If I ever find out you do bad marketing like that, I’ll call your job myself and tell them to fire you.”

    Cassandra’s dad, Paul Kaegi, is an AVP & Sr. Credit Analyst at Premier Bank. 


    Account Executive Victor Tehensky’s dad, Joe, reminded him to “always be a leader, not a follower.”

    “Only look up and forward, not backwards. You’re not going that way.” That’s the advice Jim O’Bryant gave his daughter Susan Harris, our Fulfillment Manager.

    And CEO Jerry Brown’s dad urged his son to “always question everything. Don’t blindly follow or implement something if it doesn’t make sense to you.”


    How did your dad encourage your business or marketing goals? Did any of his advice change the course of your life? Is it still a foundational idea for you today?

    And what ideas are you passing along to your kids or the younger members of your team? Tell us about the insight you share on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

    Happy Father’s Day.

  4. Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?

    A: To avoid running into the billboard.

    Like many forms of domestic fowl, you, too, may consider marketing and advertising content to be an interruption. It gets in the way of what you really want to watch, read or hear.

    You may try to avoid ads by reaching for the remote during commercial breaks or even moving to the other side of the street, as members of the poultry community so often do.

    Those are two of the reasons we work to make marketing funny.

    The Benefits of Humor

    Humor encourages people to actively engage with marketing content rather than turning away. It also increases the likelihood that the audience will enjoy their encounter with the brand. When they do, they may be willing to look at the company's future posts or listen more intently to their next radio spot.

    Jim Hausfeld agrees. He's an advertising agency Creative Director who heard our Humor On Hold while judging an awards show. Jim wrote, “Superbly written copy and extremely dry humor that was a perfect match for what could've been a dull subject. I laughed out loud at points, and when a caller starts with that reaction, it's a great way to start a conversation.”

    We create Humor On Hold through BusinessVoice, our Caller Experience Marketing agency. We use it to turn the negative of holding into a memorable, positively surprising moment for callers all over the country. Listen to the sample in the video below.

     

    More Than Laughs

    When applied skillfully, humor can make content about products and services more palatable to an audience. “The On Hold Marketing scripts BusinessVoice creates are not only funny, but also informative,” wrote Steve Eaton, CEO of Med-Line Express Services. “They provide valuable information about specific aspects of my operation that some may not be aware of. In the 15+ years I’ve been in business, this is by far the best marketing money I have spent.”

    This five-spot radio campaign we created for Ray's Trash in Indianapolis informs listeners of just about everything the company does, but with a humorous tone. 

     


    Using Humor Online 

    What about your company's online videos? Wouldn't it be great if more people watched, shared and remembered them?

    Incorporating humor can help you meet those goals, while still leaving plenty of room to inform and persuade. Take a look at this quick capabilities video we created for Binkelman Corporation. It's the first in a series.


    Here are a few of the comments LinkedIn users have posted about that video:

    • "I. Love. This. Period." - Jeff S.

    • "What a fantastic corporate video. Taking something that could potentially be stale to listen to and making it fun - not to mention memorable - is genius! Nicely done." - Amy J.

    • "Love it! Great video. We need more creative work like this today." - Kerrigan Q.


    The video above is a self-promotional piece we created. It won a 2021 Gold ADDY and a Judge's Choice Award. (Read the details.) Here's why Denver agency owner Jennifer Hohn singled out the work as award-worthy:

    "It's one thing to land just one joke, but to be able to stretch this joke over a minute and 42 seconds is a pretty huge feat, and this video does that brilliantly. Really well done. Really strong stream-of-consciousness copywriting. Loved how it's something that you don't see every day. It's always fun to see work that stretches your mind and makes you laugh a little bit."

    Before you as a marketer can hope to have a deeper conversation with prospective customers, you must first attract and keep their attention. Working with our team to put a humorous spin on what you do shows your potential buyers that you'll be fun to work with because you don't take yourself too seriously and that you make the effort to create content that people enjoy.

    When you're ready to stake out your unique position in the marketplace with humor, drop me a line at scott.greggory@MadAveGroup.com.

    For many more Humor On Hold samples and reviews, visit our dedicated humor page at BusinessVoice.com.

     

  5. As in the recent past, there were certain commercials that aired during this year's Super Bowl that looked like they cost a lot more money to produce than others. They were the spots that featured several celebrities or many locations or loads of computer-generated effects.

    But I found those spots to be the least effective at communicating a memorable message. They came off as all flash and no substance. ("Look at how many famous faces we hired!") Or they were so quickly edited or crammed with visual elements that they were tough to follow.

    Naturally, during the biggest television event of the year, advertisers want their commercials to stand out even more than usual, but within the game environment, the glitzy spots seemed to cancel out each other.

    As a contrast, imagine a Super Bowl commercial featuring a stagnant shot of one person reading quirky copy against a white background. If well executed, the spot would pop against all the others if only for its simplicity and divergent tone.

    A Few Takeaways

    1) When producing your advertising and buying media, think context. Is the landscape you'll be participating in loud and fast-paced? If so, consider taking a soft and slow approach with your content.

    2) Spending lots of money on the creation of your advertising doesn't guarantee success. Good ideas well executed can trump a big production budget.

    3) Strive to deliver value to your audience. Don't leave them wondering, "what was the point of that commercial?" Make them happy they invested their time and attention in your message.