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What gift giving strategies actually get modern clients’ attention?

(Business Marketing) Gift giving is an age-old marketing tactic that most consumers see through, so how do you capture attention and earn referrals in the modern era?

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Getting attention the right way

In today’s information consumed marketplace, strategic gift giving provides you a unique competitive edge, for those who do it well. Unfortunately, most of the time the money is better spent on the lottery. For instance, I received the following ‘creative’ gifts at a recent conference: a stack of cheap wine (that I can’t carry-on the plane), books a reseller would charge me to give them, an inspirational poster (also can’t carry-on the plane), a chocolate bar with the company logo on it, pens!, and a rock. Yes, I received a rock.

I can empathize. I am a terrible gift giver, or so I hear from my better half. Then I met John Ruhlin, a leading expert in gifting. I know this not just because I’ve seen him speak on the subject, but because my wife received a customized set of Cutco Knives from him. The only mistake John made was that he couldn’t convince my wife the gift was from me.

John got my attention, and now I use the strategy to get others attention, something that has never been more difficult to do. As legendary researcher Herbert Simon wrote in 1971, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

The age of attention scarcity

Your customer (like all people) consumes more than three times as much information as people in 1960. You can send email blasts, tweets, Facebook posts, and even put up billboards, but it doesn’t change the simple fact: your customer is unlikely to pay attention to you. We live in an age of attention scarcity.

Enter gift giving as a strategy. Our brain’s are wired to be attracted to new, novel, and unexpected stimulus. We prefer to focus on experiences that create positive emotional sensation. We love to feel valued. We even feel an obligation to those who give stuff to us.

Gifting done well accomplishes all of these goals. So how do you do it well?

6 tips on gifting effectively

Here are some of the tips I’ve learned from John:

  1. Frequency. While the random gift is appreciated and helpful, the few who really succeed have a plan. They send gifts on an ongoing basis to keep the attention of their key potential customers.
  2. Unique. Your customer has received 14 bottles of wine and 349 boxes of popcorn during the holiday season. Find something different.
  3. Personalized. We respond and pay attention to things that are all about us. I am well aware that marketing should reinforce your brand, but if you don’t make this gift about THEM, then your gift can send the entirely wrong message.
  4. Spousal focused. John became the #1 sales person in Cutco on this principle. The executive whose attention you want is, believe it or not, tired of 75 dollar steaks and expensive scotch. Their spouse is even more tired of it. If you can send something that values the spouse, you get an advocate on your side. There’s no better advocate for you than the person your potential customer is sleeping with.
  5. World Class: People don’t respond to average. If you are going to send cheap or average, just send a personalized card instead.
  6. Shelf-life: One of the key benefits of a strategic gift is that the person thinks about you every time they use it. As amazing as the wonderful chocolates taste, the only lasting reminder of them is on the waistline Buy the gift that lasts and reap the rewards for years to come.

In a world of information overload, gift giving is an excellent route to grab and keep your customer’s attention. Just don’t send me a rock.

Curt Steinhorst loves attention. More specifically, he loves understanding attention. How it works. Why it matters. How to get it. As someone who personally deals with ADD, he overcame the unique distractions that today’s technology creates to start a Communications Consultancy, The Promentum Group, and Speakers Bureau, Promentum Speakers, both of which he runs today. Curt’s expertise and communication style has led to more than 75 speaking engagements in the last year to organizations such as GM, Raytheon, Naval Academy, Cadillac, and World Presidents’ Organization.

Business Marketing

Get a personalized daily checklist for your digital marketing strategy

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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Check!

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

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Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

How does ClearPath work?

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website. If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

A great start

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

ClearPath is currently in beta. Check out their website to learn more.

#ClearPath

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Business Marketing

Dolce & Gabbana apologize for racist ad, just in time for the holidays

(MARKETING) Dolce & Gabbana stepped in it, and are apologizing, but many aren’t in the mood to accept their words.

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Mere hours before the models were set to walk down the runway, Dolce & Gabbana cancelled their “Great Show” in Shanghai amidst a fervent backlash against racist marketing for the show. Several models and celebrities had threatened to boycott the show, forcing its cancellation.

The show was called a “Tribute to China,” and, according to brand founder Domenico Dolce, was supposedly “created especially with love and passion for China.” Unfortunately, Chinese critics weren’t feeling the love.

The backlash arose from a video ad, called “Eating with Chopsticks” that was posted on Dolce & Gabbana’s Instagram. The video, which has since been removed, featured a Chinese model using chopsticks to eat Italian foods such as pizza and spaghetti. Critics say that the ad relied on condescending stereotypes and was disrespectful to Chinese culture.

To make matters worse, a leaked screenshot of private messages sent by Stefano Gabbana showed the designer making disparaging remarks about the critics. Gabbana claims that his account was hacked and that he did not send those messages.

Three days after cancelling the show, Dolce and Gabbana issued a video apology via Instagram, promising that “We will never forget this experience and it will certainly never happen again.” stating “We love your culture and certainly have much to learn. That is why we are sorry if we made mistakes in the way we expressed ourselves.”

Many critics were unconvinced by the delayed apology, and are committed to boycotting D&G. A photoshopped D&G logo reading “Dead & Gone” with a poo emoji has surfaced on social media as many fashion fans believe that the outrage sparked by the racist ad will effectively kill the brand in China and other parts of Asia.

Estelle Chen, a French model of Chinese descent who has walked the runway for D&G in the past, responded directly to the designers’ apology. “You don’t love China, you love money,” she wrote. “China is rich yes but China is rich in its values its culture and its people and they won’t spend a penny on a brand that does not respect that.”

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Business Marketing

Ad agency crafts cheeky Amazon ‘apologies’ to rejected cities

(MARKETING) Famed Austin ad agency, Jessee McGarrah crafts hilarious “apologies” on behalf of Amazon, and they couldn’t be more perfect.

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It’s finally official: in case if you’ve been living under a rock, Amazon’s HQ2 will be split between Crystal City, Arlington, VA and New York City, shocking no one.

Cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Pittsburgh competed for the coveted HQ2 spot with generous tax incentives, and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo even said he’d change his name to to “Amazon Cuomo” if that helped New York’s case. Given the circumstances, there are bound to be some hurt feelings among the rejected cities.

For the 17 “finalist” cities that didn’t make the cut, the Austin-based ad agency, McGarrah Jessee created apologies from “Alexa,” on behalf of Amazon for each city. Even though the apologies aren’t actually from Amazon, you can still add the feature to your own Alexa through the Skills & Games menu.

Alexa’s apologies to each city are surprisingly snarky and on-point. Take LA, for example:

“Los Angeles, hi, you look terrific. Absolutely stunning. Have you been at spin class? No? Spin class is so last year? You’re already on to the next spin class? Look, you didn’t get the part. What?! No. It didn’t have anything to do with you…you’ve never done sequels well…and we need HQ2 to be a hit.”

The HQ2 announcement (or rejection) was no surprise to Austin residents, as many were actively campaigning against HQ2, citing infrastructure issues and rising housing costs. This still didn’t stop Alexa from sarcastically mentioning Austin’s love for tacos and artisanal graffiti. Ouch, but also…well played. She even asked: “Can you Prime Now us some Franklin’s? For old time’s sake?” Don’t make this harder than it has to be, Alexa.

Alexa definitely goes for the “sorry, not sorry” approach, and we’re here for it. On that note, McGarrah Jessee’s latest shenanigan reminds us of the importance of humor in advertising and not taking one’s business, or city, too seriously.

As customers increasingly value authenticity and humor in marketing, this is a tactic to keep in mind as you’re advertising your business. Alexa’s language was funny, sarcastic, but not caustic: a unique balance to strike when writing copy.

It’s obvious McGarrah did their research, resulting in some solid inside jokes and zings to each city, and it paid off.

Check out all 17 of the apologies here:

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