10 Ways to Build Your Marketing Cred

As we enter an economic slowdown, credibility and trust are even more critical to the success of marketing activities and customer relationships. Here are 10 tips for building your marketing cred:

1. Eliminate hype and fluff.

2. Don’t overpromise.

3. Back up all marketing claims.

4. Offer a guarantee.

5. Poke fun at yourself or reveal a weakness.

6. Meet commitments.

7. Use testimonials and case studies.

8. Focus, focus, focus on prospects and customers.

9. Admit mistakes and apologize, when necessary.

10. Be consistent.

Take a close look at your marketing and sales efforts to uncover new opportunities to build credibility and trust.

Fear Sells

Nothing motivates behavior – including buying behavior, whether B2C or B2B – quite like fear. Being a glass-half-full kind of person I wish it weren’t so, but that’s the reality.

Some fear is healthy and legitimate, and some fear is the byproduct of manipulation, feeding on people’s insecurities, ignorance and prejudices.

One thing I know: We’re living in fearful times because of the widening financial crisis and highly charged political season. There are many who will use fear to their advantage and profit from it, some unscrupulously.

I’ve worked on several B2B marketing campaigns in which fear was a legitimate motivator. For example, consider anything that requires security and protection, such as valuable company data. The fear of loss and resulting financial ramifications are a valid entry point for a marketing dialogue.

The point? Fear sells. As a marketer, use it responsibly. And as a buyer, beware.

The Safe Money Is in Floyd

I was writing in my office yesterday afternoon when my ears perked up. Was that the Bank of Floyd president on NPR’s All Things Considered?!?


Here’s the story link and teaser:

Amid Financial Turmoil, Small Banks Thrive
“Leon Moore, of the Bank of Floyd in Floyd, Va., says his bank hasn’t taken a federal loan in 10 years.”

I got cross-country calls from relatives who heard the report. First, my brother-in-law in Seattle. Then, my brother who lives in L.A. Our tiny town is a safe haven in more ways than one.

In B2B, Shamelessly Market the Fulfillment

To market B2B products or services that are high ticket, complex, or simply take several steps to sell, providing more information — fulfillment — is the first critical step in the sales cycle.

As a result, the fulfillment becomes the offer.

Make the fulfillment a kit, a guide, a video, a brochure, a packet, a report, a white paper, a landing page. Give it an engaging name that promises a benefit or piques interest. Detail what’s included and how it will benefit the recipient.

Of course, this approach means your fulfillment must deliver on its promise. Your fulfillment needs to sparkle, inform and inspire further action. If it disappoints, valuable leads will slip through your fingers.

Shackleton Ad Has Virtuous Appeal

I saw this in Ivan Levison’s monthly e-newsletter, The Levison Letter. It’s a small ad that was placed by explorer Ernest Shackleton prior to his epic journey to Antarctica.

Men wanted for Hazardous Journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success — Ernest Shackleton

This small ad pulled like a freight train.

“It seemed as though all the men in Great Britain were determined to accompany me the response was so overwhelming,” Shackleton later wrote.

It’s 2008, not the early 1900s. Still, Ivan points out that small, well-executed ads continue to perform well for lead generation.

Ivan Levison is a top direct-response copywriter. You can sign up for his free e-newsletter at levison.com.

‘Bailout’ Is Not a Good Marketing Word

The economy and financial markets are a mess, and I realize that words and marketing can’t change those “fundamentals.”

But the word “bailout” has no upside, does it?

Hearing “bailout” over and over and over again is bound to make us feel so bad or mad that we want to publicly hang a CEO upside down (like that magician, David Blaine) until all his millions fall out of his pockets.

It seems to me that one of those shrewd political types would come up with some other term to put a less negative spin on this latest calamity.

Maybe — oh, I don’t know — “financial markets recovery act”?

Be Provocative

Be provocative and cut through the massive clutter and “me too” marketing. Get people thinking, feeling, reacting. I’m not advocating anything inappropriate. Good taste should prevail.

Here’s what marketing legend Ted Nicholas wrote in his e-book, 87 Marketing Secrets of the Written Word:

If copy doesn’t bother or offend someone it usually doesn’t work! When getting feedback on new copy from colleagues, advertising media and prospects, if everyone likes it, watch out! Nearly every time I write a breakthrough ad or sales letter, it pulls orders and bothers someone. Reason? Great copy gets attention by being provocative. And interrupting usual thinking habits.

Let’s face it, “safe” is usually boring and unmemorable. Instead, try to interrupt usual thinking habits and pump some new life into your marketing.