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Make it easy, and they will come.

Two and a half hours I won’t get back. That’s what I lost this morning when it was time to move from my preview version of Office 365 to a full version and troubleshoot an error that was freezing me out of Outlook. Okay, so I’m not an IT guy. But I bought my first […]

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15 things we learned in 15 years – the hard way

  To commemorate Outsource Marketing’s 15th Anniversary, last fall we decided it might be fun—and a little cathartic—to think about the things we’ve learned since 1997. We’ve learned a lot, but narrowed it to the following list, in no particular order: “Safe” is dangerous. Safe is invisible amid info glut. Safe fails. Creative must be […]

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Who begins too much accomplishes little.

I love this German proverb. This is the board next to my workspace, and I carry a copy of it in my wallet, too. I’m not sure why, but it’s seems to always be true: Marketing departments aren’t doing enough or they are trying to do WAY too much. The former is easy to tackle […]

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A Lost Generation of creatives? I think not.

My colleague Martin always says, “when you have a great concept, the design doesn’t have to work so hard.” Keep that in mind when you view The Lost Generation, a video that has now been viewed nearly 5 million times on YouTube. The design is minimal—the concept and clever copy carry the day. The first […]

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McDonald’s zags with new concept store

At a time when most companies are looking for ways to extend their brand to gain a greater share of the customer’s wallet, McDonalds has “secretly” introduced Quarter Pounder, a new concept store in Japan that sells only Quarter Pounders. That’s right, you can get a Quarter Pounder, or a Double Quarter Pounder, fries and […]

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Three fun videos that prove less is more

Here are three entertaining videos that illustrate why, when it comes to communications—whether it’s copy, design, color or imagery—simplicity rules: The Process shows what happens when corporate marketers tackle a simple problem: With apologies to our smart friends at Microsoft who know better, here’s a video called “Microsoft designs the iPod package”: “Make my Logo […]

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An old way to simplify a complex idea

Getting a prospect’s attention is tough enough, but let’s say you are able to break through. Now that you have their attention, can you keep it? Think your prospect will read four pages of copy to learn how you are different? Think again. We live in a sound-bite culture where scanning—not reading—is the norm. Sure, […]

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Creativity outside the lines

To raise awareness regarding the AIDS pandemic in South Africa and commemorate World AIDS Day, The Cape Argus newspaper used their page numbers to share statistics provided by UNICEF and the South African Department of Health. The statistics are chilling. The awesomely simple and creative execution is inspired. And it’s encouraging a conversation about this […]

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Twittering for good and The History of Evil

As I’ve been preparing my presentation for PodCamp Seattle regarding how social media can be used to help create social good, I decided to use social media to reach out and find some great examples. First, I posted a request through Twitter (follow me) and received a couple of good ideas. Then I realized it […]

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Keep it simple, smarty.

Last week, I spoke at the Northwest Career Colleges Federation Annual Convention about Responsible Marketing. It was the third time I’d spoken to the group, and quite frankly I was surprised I was invited back. You see, I’ve prattled on about how poor advertising is in the education category. So often, education marketing falls into […]

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Copywriting advice from “The Godfather of Gore”

#2 on my list of 10 ideas to simplify your marketing is “Don’t use big words when small words will do.” In the three minute video below, direct marketing copywriting guru Herschell Gordon Lewis attacks an undecipherable email, then shares how Mary Had a Little Lamb would have turned out had the email author written […]

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10 ideas to simplify your marketing

1. Communicate fewer ideas. Google’s initial success was due to the fact that they eliminated nearly everything from the search page. Remember what search engines looked like before Google? So often, less is more. Two ideas are better than three. But one idea is best. 2. Don’t use big words when small words will do. […]

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I’ll take “responsibility” for $14

Ask a room full of people to shout out the single word that comes to mind when you say “Volvo,” 90% will say “safety.” Owning a meaningful word or phrase in the mind of the consumer is the holy grail of marketing, I’d say. To own a word is expensive and time consuming, isn’t it? […]

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Good things come in small packages

Earlier this year, I asked you to Help define the buzzword marketers love (and I hate). Yep, that buzzword was (and remains) the word “branding.” Enter The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design by Marty Neumeier. The first thing you notice, the book is perhaps the shortest 200 pages […]

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Congrats on 25 years of usability leadership, Jakob Nielsen

Having a website that’s difficult to use is downright irresponsible. The first time I ever gave it a thought, I did a Yahoo! search (Google didn’t exist) and happened upon UseIt.com by Jakob Nielsen. It really opened my eyes to web usability, and since 1995, I’ve read just about everything Nielsen has published on the […]

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Swirly goodness? Pinkberry not all good

I like Pinkberry‘s marketing. The chain of frozen confection stores based in New York and California speak in an engaging, human voice. Their branding is clean and simple, and they know that less is more. But Pinkberry’s founder claimed less when there was more — more additives and more calories, to be precise. And that, […]

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Responsible or not? Apple, Inc.

Image from Wired Magazine I was interviewed by MacNews last week for their article The iPhone and Social Networks: Fast Friends? Read it and you might think I’m an Apple fanboy. I’m not. Apple has introduced some game-changing, highly usable, extremely cool products. But the company has a less than sterling reputation regarding the way […]

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I bet you’ll fail this test

Before you read ahead, play the video below and take the test. You won’t need paper or pencil, just your full concentration. It will take you one minute. This awareness test is powerful in so many ways. It’s short and simple: One video. One minute long. 30 words. No fancy graphics. Just a single powerful […]

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The best, worst and most responsible ads of Super Bowl XLII

The Super Bowl was indeed super this year. The ads? Not so much. The general consensus among the black-turtleneck-wearing ad types is it was a down year for Super Bowl advertising. Although my turtleneck is dark gray, I concur. The New York Giants weren’t the only winners. Advertisers saw their ads (good and bad) played […]

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Social networking in plain English (and the power of video)

After wrapping up my article and post Social networking is ready for business. Are you? I remembered a video from a few years ago that explains what social networking is and its benefits. It’s only 1:47, so you can get through it quickly. Explaining complex ideas with the written word takes a lot of energy […]

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