When employees get in the way of messages

Most people don’t agonize about how communication works. We simply do it. If we leave agonizing to the academics, we can break communication into three parts. There’s the composition of what’s going to be communicated, the delivery of that message, and its reception by another party. As a writer who helps companies and other organizations […]

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Using downtime to tidy up your marketing

Every business has its slower moments. When they happen, instead of trying to find ways to kill time, use the opportunity to tidy up your website and other marketing materials and toss out the obsolete trash. That way, they’ll be updated when things get busy again.  I rarely find websites that wouldn’t benefit from a […]

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Solving the mystery: who killed our newsletter?

Remember when we started it? It was so exciting. The company was finally going to let customers know everything that was important. Each department had to contribute something. Management agonized for hours over the name. Sales came up with key customers to profile. The graphic designer presented a breathtaking layout. Finally, 20,000 emails arrived on […]

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Winston Churchill and white papers

Marketing tools emanate from a variety of sources, but only white papers can trace their history back to one of history’s most consequential figures. During the 1920s, the United Kingdom faced some tricky political issues in the Middle East. Then a Member of Parliament, Winston Churchill asked his staffers to develop a paper exploring the […]

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Stupid questions contain brilliant marketing insight

Many people will tell you there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Yes, there are questions that trigger involuntary eye-rolling. Sometimes they’re questions we’ve heard ten times too often. Sometimes they’re just plain dumb. But when it comes to communicating with prospects and customers, stupid questions are often a remarkably deep source of wisdom. […]

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“Storytelling” in marketing isn’t a new idea

Just as each generation believes it’s the first to discover the joy of sex, marketers and managers who stumble upon the power of storytelling often believe they’ve unearthed an extraordinary innovation. In reality, they’re simply learning what generations of their predecessors already knew and successfully employed. I chuckle every time I see a marketer promoting […]

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