Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

#Adobesummit blog: Answer this: What’s the business purpose of this innovation?

Disclaimer: Adobe invited me to the Adobe Summit North America 2017. This post was not approved by them. They didn’t even get a preview. It’s my opinion and if you agree it’s yours too. 😂🤔 The Adobe Summit 2017 in Las Vegas knew how to throw a party. The production was fantastic and entertaining when […]

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How many brands get human to human marketing wrong and how to fix it

Whether you are in B2B or B2C marketing, it's really all H2H or P2P nowadays. You are trying to reach people afterall. This article discusses how to keep the people in mind.

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[FITNESS BLOG] What are the best headphones for the gym?

I work out about five or six times a week and I love listening to music while hitting the gym. Other people have told me they like listening to podcasts and others yet like to work out without any audio entertainment. But if you fall into the first two categories, chances are that you’ll need […]

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How to maneuver today’s world of churn

We live in a world of churn today. And we might as well get used to it and make it work for ourselves and our businesses. Because if we don’t understand the realities of churn, it can be quite stressful. OH NO. Another person unsubscribed or unfollowed. That doesn’t feel good. See. Ha. So what […]

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Here’s the only way to make sure your social media campaign does not backfire

A social media campaign might “backfire” from time to time and then some of us – usually those people not in charge of running campaigns – second guess and hold up that something negative happened. Usually a “backfiring” social media campaign looks like this: Company invites people to share their stories and experiences with the […]

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How technology companies can use content marketing to stand out and grow business 

Technology can be sticky, and once you use a particular technology that mostly works, it can be hard (mentally and practically) to move away from it.  A simple example is WordPress, which I use on this blog. It allows me to easily blog from my phone and desktop. I can easily grow my mailing list […]

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How many brands get influencer marketing wrong

Influencer marketing can be highly beneficial for all involved: The brand  The influencer  The influencer’s audience  Related: Influencer marketing defined  But it can also backfire and make us look less positive and relevant than was intended.  Here’s how influencer marketing often looks unfortunately:  A brand out of the blue messages an “influencer” and says:  Hi, […]

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Why did my Amazon order arrive in a Walmart box and why I actually am upset about it now 

When my wife and I shop together, that typically means that she sends me a link to buy something on Amazon. That was also the case with these pull ups that she wanted me to order for our two-year-old. I ordered them on Amazon and was slightly surprised when a box from Walmart arrived. At […]

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Prediction: A/B testing will disappear as experiences become truly personalized

A/B testing, of course, is a technique that marketers use to optimize their content and websites. It’s a somewhat easy way to figure out what works best: Are more people clicking on the blue box or the orange box? Do more people read this article if I post the picture here or there? A/B testing […]

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[CUSTOMER SERVICE] Customers should never have to repeat their request on the same phone call!


November 17, 2016

Customer service

It drives me crazy when I’m calling a company and get transferred and transferred and transferred. “Sorry, somebody else is in charge of that.” Every transfer usually means I have to repeat my request, restate my password, my name, remember where my wife and I met, etc. etc. Come on, people. This is not customer […]

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Even conversations with one-word “sentences” can lead to miscommunication 


November 13, 2016

Customer service, Words

In case anyone forgot how easy miscommunication actually is, here’s an example.  I bought something at a store. “Receipt?” the cashier asked.  “Yup.” “Okay, bye. Have a great day.” “Can I get my receipt?” Yup. I guess my yup sounded like a nope? Maybe I do pronounce my yeses in a no kind of way. […]

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Why not to shoot for being the next Uber or Amazon

I hear it all the time:  We want to be the next Uber … or Amazon … or somebody else that is successful in a newer niche.  But what if it’s not about being the next somebody else? What if we just focus on being a better and more succeful version of ourselves? It’s doable. […]

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[SOCIAL MEDIA] How your competitor’s Twitter account can be a lead generation tool


November 8, 2016

Customer service

Content, email and social media is most effective when it hits prospects and readers at exactly the right time. The time is of course when they need to solve a problem and are looking for a solution. That’s when lead generation is most effective.  That’s easier said than done and many digital strategy campaigns bank on […]

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Always do this when your website copy tells us how awesome you are!

Much of the copy I read on websites is so laden with self-congratulatory, back patting and superlative-driven that it even puts the perfect social media lives of some people to shame. Everything is oh-so perfect. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. It’s sentences and phrases like these:  We are the best in our field. […]

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How come nobody is sharing my POSITIVE brand story?

Influencer marketing and outreach. Brand ambassador programs. Social media amplification. You name today’s buzz phrase to help us (the brands)  get our stories shared.  All these tactics actually work. Seriously. But, they can and will backfire when the product stinks.  Marketing – whether content, product or traditional – isn’t usually in charge of product development […]

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What industries can benefit from content marketing or authentic storytelling?

It’s always dangerous to throw round absolutes, but I have yet to come up with an industry where content marketing is absolutely not possible or zero percent helpful. Basically authentic storytelling content marketing comes down to these pillars:

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[CUSTOMER SERVICE] Small gestures create great brand stories shared by customers

I really dislike travel late at night, which is why I usually try to fly during the day or early morning and then get to where I am at a reasonable hour. I need my beauty sleep. LOL. But sometimes there’s just no way around flying into somewhere late and that was the case when […]

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How to use content marketing to retain current customers

I hear lots of talk about how content marketing is great to acquire new customers for businesses or patients in healthcare. But one thing that is easily (and often) forgotten is that content marketing can also help us retain current customers. Some experts and thought leaders out there even compare content marketing to dating. We […]

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Why thought partnership is the next level of thought leadership

So many out there want to be experts, gurus or thought leaders. Some of the thought leaders out there are even worth following and listening to. They have good ideas. Some are entertaining. And some have no clue what they are talking about. I personally follow thought leaders and see the value in people branding […]

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Banking websites – sometimes saying the obvious is user-centric 

I needed to get some checks deposited and needed to find out how long the bank was open that day – a Saturday.  The bank’s website had all the information and it was easy to find. The hours and location page also mentioned this:  Online branch – Always open  Well, duh, I thought, of course […]

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How incorrect information on your website can lose you customers

It’s a long weekend in the United States with Independence Day on a Monday in 2016. With that some businesses have adjusted their hours this weekend to allow employees to spend a bit more time away from work. Good for them, but it’s still important to let customers know about that change.  Here’s how my […]

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[CUSTOMER SERVICE] How to get your nonrefundable hotel stay (or anything) refunded

My favorite rule is always the one that says: You may disregard our 5,252 rules when it helps you provide better customer service. And – just for the record – this is not a post about how to cheat businesses out of what you owe them. It’s about how to get refunded what you didn’t […]

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Why it’s important to document intent [CHANGE LEADERSHIP]

Because you did this one thing this other negative thing happened to me.  Grrr. It stings more if we think it was on purpose. And remember people jump to conclusions if they don’t know all the details.  Recommended reading:  When people jump to conclusions Our actions and stories impact others. Sometimes unintentional and sometimes we’ll […]

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How to find your organization’s content sweet spot [CONVERSION + ENGAGEMENT]

Digital marketers often fall into one of two categories: The engagement huggers – These are the marketers who report every like, retweet and comment they get. Success in their world is a feeling. People are hearing us and they are responding. The conversion overthinkers – How do we get people to do something next? Usually, that something […]

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The problem with letting actions speak for themselves

You’ve likely heard it: Actions speak  louder than words. And that is true in some instances. In cases where we say one thing but do another, actions absolutely can speak louder than words. Especially when people notice the action.  But a lot of times they don’t. For example, if somebody is producing a lot of […]

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CUSTOMER SERVICE: We will take your order however you like to give it 

On a trip to Boston to speak about storytelling at the Population Health Forum  I stopped at a Which Wich sandwich shop for lunch. I had never been to one and had no idea how to order nor did I download the app before I arrived. See, at Which Wich shops you order by filling […]

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If customers don’t agree with your “improvement” it’s not actually an improvement 

I was on the phone with a service I really enjoyed after they had increased rates by over 200 percent.  That’s crazy in itself, right?  So I tried to find out what would have prompted that kind of rate increase. It certainly wasn’t inflation. They were really nice on the phone and answered my questions. […]

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Why moments of vulnerable transparency are important in employee relations, innovation and customer service 

A moment of vulnerable transparency is when people say something true and honest but that is not necessarily traditionally acceptable to share or even politically correct. It helps people make decisions! Recommended reading:  Don’t mistake politically incorrect for actually incorrect (keynote video) This could include: Leaders sharing with employees a mistake they’ve made. Customer service […]

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Online #CustServ: Wording matters so we don’t think we were hacked! [EXAMPLE]

Traveling a lot gives us lots of opportunities to experience unique, interesting and sometimes weird stories. It also offers different glimpses what companies and organizations are doing when it comes to good, neutral and just bad customer service. I think of the travel industry in these buckets: You need them! These are airlines, train systems, […]

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How to protect your (personal) brand in the new digital (and offline) world 

Everyone now has and is a brand. Some people’s brands are worth following. Others stand for things that don’t align with our own values and some of us  look down on them – or at least disregard them.  Once you have the brand you want, life’s humming along at a good pace and  you are […]

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[CUSTOMER SERVICE] How and why to hire genuinely nice people who also own their performance

The best customer-centric people are also nice. This article discusses why that is and how to spot them.

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[EMAIL MARKETING] Picture-only emails aren’t user-friendly, mostly because they might not be readable 

In the last few months or so, I’ve noticed something new in email marketing land: Emails that appear to be blank. Some have even been sent by brands I love, trust and want to read content from. On a mobile device, they look like this:    You can see the outline of an image if […]

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[WEB METRICS] Why a high pages-per-visit number does not necessarily signal high engagement 

Some marketers are still using the number of pages people visit on one website visit as a measure of success.  The theory goes that the more pages people click to, the more engaged they are.  Certainly, I want people to click all around my site and read more of my stuff. But maybe, a low […]

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[INTEGRATION STRATEGIES] Online-offline cohesiveness is s sign of good  customer service 

   Being available and transparent about when companies and their experts are available is also a sign of good customer service. Customer service in the healthcare industry is  called patient experience. The same principles apply to both areas of customer service. In 2016, patients and customers expect full integration across all channels. For example, I […]

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How to decide which online reviews to respond to

Businesses, products, even doctors are reviewed online now. Everyone has license to be a critic is one way to look at it. Another way is that people have the right to participate, share their experiences and help others in our communities make better decisions about those things being reviewed. Of course with people sharing their […]

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How can somebody who knows everything be customer-centric?

Some people claim they know everything. And they believe it! I find it hard to believe that when you believe you know everything that you can be truly customer-centric. Let me give you an example I ran into.  I once was part of a conversation between three other guys. One worked for some mechanical-type company […]

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