Harry Potter and the Winning Marketing Strategy

I solemnly swear I am up to no good … A fab phrase for activating a magical, omniscient map; not so great if you’re talking about your marketing. Here are some of the key takeaways we can learn from the Hogwarts School of Marketing and Advertising.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good …

A fab phrase for activating a magical, omniscient map … not so great if you’re talking about your marketing.

Here’s the deal: I’m FINALLY going to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter this week! That means I’ve got my mind on Harry Potter and Harry Potter on my mind. (“But Dani,” says everyone who has ever met me, “That’s just like, business as usual for you.” “Fight me,” I say.)

Anyway, to commemorate the occasion, I thought I’d spin a little Harry into my post this week. Those of us who grew up with the series are always eager to tell anyone who will listen about the impact it had on our lives, about the imagination it inspired and the lessons it taught. But did you know that Harry Potter can even teach us a thing or two about our marketing campaigns?

Here are some of the key takeaways we can learn from the Hogwarts School of Marketing and Advertising. (PS, I need to give a shoutout to colleague and fellow HP-phile Alexis Henderson for helping me compile this list.)

Whether it’s direct mail or email, don’t flood the mailbox.

letters

Good copy is key. The right words in the right order can make the feather float.

leioooooooosa

Leviosa
We’ve all been there, Ron.

Experiment! Not every idea will be a winner …

beans

… but eventually you will cough up the gold.

snitch

If you’re really stuck, though, there’s no shame in turning back to tried and true methods

timeturner2

After all, one reader’s old sock could be another reader’s treasure.

sock

Make sure your piece isn’t a howler!

Ron_Weasley's_howler
Be enthusiastic, be passionate, but your audience doesn’t want to be yelled at.

Some goals call for a major rebrand — embrace it!

iamlord

And once you’ve rolled out the rebrand, yell it from the rooftops — recognition is key.

Morsmordre

tattoo
Hey, Say what you will about his morals, but your brand game’s got to be on point to successfully go by “You-Know-Who.”

Think outside the box — you might just see what no one else has.

luna

Don’t shy away from a little humor either 🙂 

shop
(These guys built their business on it!)

Something about the creative not working? Try a bold design change.

banners

Personalization is a powerful tool … but don’t take it too far.

Marauders-Map-GIF-harry-potter-28884333-500-324

snape map

NEVER underestimate the importance of tracking!

peter

Stay fascinated, keep asking questions, keep looking for the next great tool!

rubber duck

Finally, perhaps most importantly … you don’t get rid of the Banding Banshee by smiling at her.

banshee
There’s probably a marketing lesson in here about making sure your piece is as substantial as it is eye-catching. I really just wanted to use this quote.

With that, I trust you’ll all go off and make magic with your mailings and potions with your prestitials! I’m off to Hogwarts and hope you have a very Harry Labor Day as well!

Mischief Marketing Managed.

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14 Quick Takeaways From #IMV16, ICYMI

We’ve already arrived in August, and this has been one busy whirlwind of a summer. Between major elections, summer vacations and Pokemon catching, we’ve all had our hands full. Point being, it’s entirely possible you missed out on some quality, free marketing education.

We’ve already arrived in August, and this has been one busy whirlwind of a summer. Between major elections, summer vacations and Pokemon catching, we’ve all had our hands full. Personally, I can’t focus on anything for longer than an hour until I finally get my hands on a Jigglypuff. (Millennials, amirite guys?)

Point being, it’s entirely possible you missed out on some quality, free marketing education. You might remember I wrote a little about the Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference, an event near and dear to my heart, in a post a few weeks ago. The virtual conference in all its expert marketing glory was live on June 23, and now you can access it on demand whenever your schedule clears up until September 27.

In the meantime, I took to the Tweets and compiled some of the best little nuggets of integrated marketing goodness that show attendees took from the numerous sessions and resources offered throughout the day. Ready for some lightning round takeaways and tips? Here goes!

  • Be more responsive than customers expect to create a great customer experience. -Jay Baer #imv2016 #IMV16 — Melyssa, ABC (‏@melyssa57)  June 23, 2016
  • Hug Your Haters! 1/3 of customer complaints are never answered. #IMV16 @TargetMktg — Kendra Morton ‏(@KendraAtAllCom) June 23, 2016
  • A great #customerexperience = exceeding customer expectations. #IMV16 @jaybaer — Polaris Direct ‏(@PolarisDirect) June 23, 2016
  • Kicking off #imv16 by learning about organization haters. Need to answer every complaint in every channel, every time to + customer advocacy — KathyDanielsPearman ‏(@kathyldaniels) June 23, 2016
  • Most customer complaints on social media go unanswered. “Blow their minds and win their hearts” #HugYourHaters @jayBaer #IMV16 #IMV16 — Dani (‏@danidoll11) June 23, 2016
  • 80% of Americans trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, via @jaybaer #IMV16 — Daniel Burstein (@DanielBurstein) June 23, 2016
  • Avg time it takes for a company to reply to complaints on #socialmedia is 5 hrs, but users expect 1 @jaybaer #IMV16 — Sales&Marketing Adv (@SalesMktgAdv) June 23, 2016

salesmktgadv1

  • “Customer service is a spectator sport” … so follow @jaybaer’s rule and don’t feed the #trolls #IMV16 – Nancy Simeone ‏(@100indecisions) June 23, 2016

dontfeedthetrolls

  • [#digitalmarketing] Answering a complaint online can increase customer advocacy by 25%. #IMV16 – Cyfer Solutions ‏(@cyfersolutions) June 23, 2016
  • Solid #marketing intel with @DanielBurstein from @MECLABS. Finding the gaps and exploiting the heck outta them! #IMV16 #IMV16 – Mary Rose Maguire ‏(@MRMaguire) June 23, 2016  
  • Great information about bridging the gap between #marketing and customer expectations in #IMV16. – Kimberly Weitkamp ‏(@k_weitkamp) June 23, 2016
  • According to @annebot at #IMV16, most people start scrolling on mobile before the page loads. – mobilefomo ‏(@mobilefomo)  June 23, 2016
  • Speed is king when it comes to mobile; if you put in the time, you will reap the rewards. -@annebot #IMV16 – WearableFOMO ‏(@WearableFOMO)  June 23, 2016
  • Your content needs to DRIVE customer experiences to truly be successful (and with that comes so much more!) #IMV16 – Sass Marketing ‏(@Sass_Marketing)  June 23, 2016

There you have it, a fresh sampling of marketing granola, perfect for the pro on the go. And hey, when you have an hour or two of downtime from hunting that Geodude or counting how many Pokemon references the media can make in a week (Spoiler: don’t bother, the limit does not exist), you can check out the full show and all its sessions for yourself.

The agenda is full of more than a dozen webinars covering all the marketing topics on your mind in 2016, led by cream of the crop experts. There’s also a fully stocked virtual exhibit hall and resource center, where you’ll find tons of free resources you can download for immediate use.

Go on and have a little click. Totally worth it, I promise you. Let me know if you check it out, or tweet your takeaways with the #IMV16 hashtag to add to the growing pile.

Till next time!

10/10 Pets Approve! Creative Spotlight on Fluffy First Pet Care

Early in 2016, my good friend Patricia Cangelosi announced she’d be leaving her position as a marketing assistant at a fundraising agency to realize her dream of owning a pet care business. She is easily one of the most diligent and creative people I know, so I thought I’d SPOTlight (get it? Spot, because dogs?) her and her business on the blog.

Early in 2016, my good friend Patricia Cangelosi announced she’d be leaving her position as a marketing assistant at a fundraising agency to realize her dream of owning a pet care business, Fluffy First Pet Care, LLC. Of course there was a moment of shock, and (Patty won’t hold it against me for admitting) concern. But it wore off very quickly. Patty and I have known each other since college (shoutout to E-Town, home of the fightin’ Blue Jays) where we both majored in English on the Professional Writing track.

She is easily one of the most diligent and creative people I know, so it wasn’t hard to have confidence that she’d make this thing work. And she certainly has. I thought I’d SPOTlight (get it? Spot, because dogs?) her and her business on the blog, because it really showcases some fantastic copy and creative, all done by Patty herself. Also because I like to remind friends that they owe me.

Without further ado, let’s wag this tail.

Fluffy First Pet Care's Patricia Cangelosi, with her dogs.
Fluffy First Pet Care’s Patricia Cangelosi, with her dogs.

1. Introduce yourself!

My name is Patty Cangelosi, and I’m the owner and founder of Fluffy First Pet Care, LLC. Based in New Britain, PA, Fluffy First serves Doylestown and surrounding areas in Central Bucks County.

2. When was Fluffy First born?

The first “real job” I had was on March 26, 2016; I’ll never forget it. The dog kept bolting away from me in the fenced-in yard, and I could not catch her. I had to call my Dad to come over and help. 😉

3. What was your marketing/business background before this? 

My first real taste of marketing was at Elizabethtown College, where I was president of the K9 Club (shock). I created flyers with images of cute dogs and sayings, like, “Hot dog, are we excited to meet you!” “Wanna play? Join today!” I loved it. Over a hundred students attended the first meeting that year after seeing those flyers around campus.

After I graduated with a degree in professional writing, I worked at a marketing/publishing firm as a proofreader. I saw all the creative work the company produced – emails, newsletters, ads, multimedia campaigns, social media and web promotions, and much more. I was inspired, and also a little frustrated that I couldn’t be part of that creative process.

I moved on to join the marketing team of a fundraising company, where, at times, I was able to write creative product descriptions, help with the layout of (and model for) the catalogs, and design some flyers and emails of my own.

4. I think you surprised a lot of us when you announced the plan to start up your business. What made you decide to go for it?

For many reasons, my most recent full-time job was not the right fit for me. I actively searched for something new for several months; however, I was unable to find a match. Starting a pet care business was sort of a pipe dream I’d had in the back of my head for years. I love animals tremendously. Making a living by spending time with them, well, it seemed like an amazing idea! I did not think it was realistic, but one morning in January 2016, something just clicked. I decided I was going to do it and didn’t look back.

The One About the Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference

Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference, the brainchild of my people here at Target Marketing, goes live on June 23. Please, take it from the girl who’s been adding every speaker, session, sponsor and giveaway to the website: This year’s show is inSANE.

Join us at #IMV15 !We’ve dipped our toes into June, and lots of exciting things happening already. Election things, hockey things, Starbucks’s new cold brew vanilla coffee, lots of equally important and life-defining events. And since a good marketing coordinator never misses out on the opportunity to subtly self-promote (aka blatantly announce when she’s about to do so) I thought I’d add one more notable event to the June pool.

Integrated Marketing Virtual Conference, the brainchild of my people here at Target Marketing, goes live on June 23. Please, take it from the girl who’s been adding every speaker, session, sponsor and giveaway to the website: This year’s show is inSANE. Every time I think we can’t possibly have another huge name or more impressive content, I get a notification in my inbox that it’s time to update the site again. With eight live sessions, 10 on-demand sessions, more than 20 speakers (and counting!), this is the biggest and most comprehensive IMV to date.

Wanna join the party? Click here

The up-to-the-minute agenda is here, and it all looks incredible, but for today’s post I thought I’d just give a shoutout to a few sessions that might be of particular interest to the copy/creative-focused marketer.


Messages That Move: How Video Should Play In Your Marketing Mix and Content Strategy

Starts: 12:00 pm | Ends: 12:40 pm

Video killed the radio star, and now it’s back to dominate the internet. But what makes a video a successful cog in the marketing machine? Learn it all in this session, featuring Jon Mowat, the owner of Hurricane Media — the UK-based video production and content marketing agency taking the world by storm (ha HA!!!!!!).

Jon will address points like:

  • How to adopt a “video” mindset
  • Trends in how marketing videos are being watched
  • Types of video marketers are using, and how to make them
  • How to make use of video across channels

Get ready for your closeup.


Online Marketing Strategies That Work

Starts: 12:55 pm | Ends: 1:30 pm

Self-explanatory title? You bet it is. You do marketing? Check. Online marketing? Check. Want it to work?

I’m guessing … check?

For this session, we’ve got Anne Ahola Ward, CEO of CircleClick and O’Reilly Media Author, to share how to make the sale with Image-centric content marketing, simple and mobile-centric messages, diverse social media usage and retargeting.


The Content Show That Never Ends: Repurposing Like a Media Company

Starts: 1:35 pm | Ends: 2:10 pm

You’ve probably heard of Robert Rose, chief strategy officer at Content Marketing Institute. He’s kind of a big deal. We’re thrilled to have him at IMV this year, presenting a session titled after a Lamb Chop song.

We all know how key good content marketing is in the current landscape. Successful, solid content marketing pieces can continue to grab attention, inform and inspire long after their premiere. Feel like your assets might be stuck in a spin cycle, losing value and getting those nasty little sweater pills with each re-use? Carve out a half hour and join Robert in this session. He’ll share a new approach to building a content marketing media asset that never goes stale.


AR for Marketers: How to Implement Augmented Reality into Your Marketing

Starts: 2:15 pm | Ends: 2:50 pm

Okay, even though I pretty much know what Augmented Reality is at this point, to me it still absolutely sounds like it belongs in the Doctor Who universe. Like the TARDIS is bigger on the inside because of Augmented Reality, no??

If you’re like me, or even better, if you’re not like me and actually have a handle on the reality of Augmented Reality, how it can pump up your print and direct mail marketing, this will be an engaging and worthwhile session. Cindy Walas, Principal of Walas Younger Ltd., is leading the charge to discuss the latest and greatest in the AR world, and all the “how-to’s” you need to know to create and launch a killer AR program.

I’m still banking on alien involvement.


There you have it, just four of the eighteen sessions that will be available to you at the show on June 23. Plus, for the first time, the virtual conference will feature several on-demand sessions spotlighting marketing issues and know-how in several specific industries like travel, media and entertainment, and healthcare.

The opening and closing keynotes feature superstars Jay Baer (President of Convince & Convert) and Dr. Jerry Wind (The Wharton School,) and word on the street is attendees to their sessions can win a copy of one of their best sellers.

And so friends, here is where I leave you The Link, and bid you adieu.

THE LINK. CLICK THE LINK. YOU DO LIKE THINGS THAT HELP YOUR MARKETING, RIGHT? OF COURSE YOU DO.

Hope I’ll see you on June 23 — say hi to me in the networking lounge or info booth!

Adieu!

This One’s for the Moms: A Mother’s Day Swipe File

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and as is usually the case with holidays and special events, my inbox didn’t let me forget it. While we’re all sufficiently brunched and flowered out, let’s take a look at six of the best Mother’s Day themed emails that I’ve come across in the last few weeks.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and as is usually the case with holidays and special events, my inbox didn’t let me forget it. (Not that I would have anyway … love you Mom!) While we’re all sufficiently brunched and flowered out, let’s take a look at six of the best Mother’s Day themed emails that I’ve come across in the last few weeks.

From: Broadway Boosters
Subj.: Happy Mother’s Day from Golde

Why I like it: Partly because of personal bias; Fiddler on the Roof just happens to be one of my favorite musicals of all time. But this email was a winner anyway. The nice little video from the musical’s matriarch was a sweet and clever way to tie in the holiday and promote the show. The design and personalization are keepers too.

fiddler

From: LivingSocial
Subj.: Keep Calm and Shop for Mom

Why I like it: The whole “Keep calm and _______” meme is honestly a few years stale, but I give this one credit because it’s so catchy. Extra points for the simply pretty art and the creative sale itself.

livingsocial

From: TLCme
Subj.: Have You Bought Your Mother’s Day Gift Yet?

Why I like it: I love guilt-trippy reminder subject lines, they’re so to-the-point and effective. The clincher: “9 Perfect Mother’s Day Gifts Under $20” is sure to get those click rates high.

tlcme

From: Charming Charlie
Subj.: The flowers your mom really wants!

Why I like it:  I love an email that judges other emails. As a matter of fact, I did receive no less than 20 emails from flower services in the days leading up to Mother’s Day, and you’ll notice none of them made this post. Most just felt a little uninspired, same old. Charming Charlie assumed this would be the case, and took the opportunity to one-up them in this tongue-in-cheek promo for floral necklaces. And hey, they’re right — my mom would like this more than flowers.

ccflowers

From: Hallmark
Subj.: Send Mom Some Love

Why I like it: Speaking of flowers, Hallmark made use of them in this cute, colorful, cartoon design. Of course Hallmark is in its element during sentimental holidays, so it’s no surprise they came through on their Mother’s Day campaigns. Definitely a smart time to offer a good deal for their eCards subscription service. I had to cut the image off, but the email also showed thumbnails of some of the Mother’s Day eCards you can find in their collection, a convenient way to show rather than tell readers why they should sign up.

hallmark

From: Lush
Subj.: Everyone and their mother will love this

Why I like it: Okay first of all? That subject line, though. Cmoooooooooooon the puns are my weakness. Next — that present graphic is actually an animated gif, very nice touch. The copy is good, and the link to a curated Mother’s Day Collection is good. There’s not even a special deal involved here but they’ve got me clicking through anyway.

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lushmom

That wraps up my mini-swipe collection for today. I want to wish all the moms a truly fab belated Mother’s Day. If you got nothing else from this blog post, at least you now have a nice little collection of emails you can forward to any forgetful or procrastinating kids who might need an idea or a reminder of what they might owe you. You’re welcome!

Get Outta My Tweets (Don’t Get Into My Car, Though)

Is it annoying for a brand account to search/respond to indirect Tweets? Or is it in the name of good customer service, even a PR necessity?

Twitter ChatFor all intents and purposes, I’m pretty sure what I’m about to talk about is just the newest model of the age-old aggressive salesperson debate. You know the drill: You walk into a shop at the mall, or a handmade/organic soap store which shall remain nameless but is notorious for its overly enthusiastic salespeople. Maybe you know what you’re looking for, maybe you’re just browsing.

A greeter at the front of the store asks, “Can I help you find anything today?” “No thanks,” you answer, “Just looking.” Cut to 10 minutes later, you’re trying to decide which scent of bath bomb you like best, when another rep wanders over, “Have you tried this one before? Let me show you how it works! Also, have you thought about using it with this product over here?” Etc. Rinse, repeat.

If you’re anything like me, it’s more uncomfortable than it is helpful, and knowing it will happen makes me hesitant to go into a store. After all, if I wanted help, I’d ask for it. “Well, that’s your own socially awkward problem,” some might say. “They’re there to sell products, they’re doing their job.” And clearly, as this practice continues to thrive and stores continue to employ it, they have a point.

All of which brings me to the topic at hand: brands’ interaction with consumers on Twitter. First, a tiny bit of clarification: When a person tweets at a specific Twitter account with the intention of the tweet appearing in that account’s notifications, it’s known as a “direct” Tweet. (“Hey, @Starbucks, love the new flavor!”)

On the other hand, when someone tweets just the name of a person/service/company without directing it at the account via an @, the kids these days call it an “indirect” [tweet]. (“omg went to Starbucks this morning and the line was so long help.”) Indirects don’t show up in a person’s notifications, one would have to do a keyword search on Starbucks to find these. So, my question: Is it annoying, even intrusive, for a brand account to search for and respond to indirects? Or is it in the name of good customer service, even a PR necessity?

In my humble (Millennial) opinion, it’s totally the former. I know how Twitter works, I know how to get an account’s attention if I need to. If I make a passing comment, yes even a complaint, about a product, I didn’t deem it important enough to take further action and, in my mind, there’s no customer service necessary. And if it’s not a negative comment that seems necessary to address for reputation purposes, what’s the aim?

I once tweeted something like “Oh hey, there’s a School of Rock musical now, who knew?” And the School of Rock account responded minutes later: “Hey, glad to see you’re enjoying it, which song are you rocking out to??” Like … chill. You wouldn’t butt into a stranger’s conversation like that IRL.

Uber is somewhat notorious for this, usually on the basis of correcting some wrongdoing or keeping an eye on their drivers. Actually, this whole post was somewhat inspired by this guy who wouldn’t snitch. Now, again, I get it. Like the guy said, he knows Uber has a business to run and rules for their drivers to follow. But in this case, it totally backfired. And why wouldn’t it? The customer wasn’t even upset, he said right there, he was laughing so hard he had to apologize.

So now you have two things happening: The customer didn’t @ you, so clearly they didn’t feel the need to get your attention, AND the customer was perfectly content, even amused, with the situation. So … what was the point of playing customer service cop again?

8 Simple-Yet-Brilliant Copy and Creative Tips That Make a Huge Difference

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Copywriter/Copy Coach Pat Friesen speak on several copy-centered webinars in the last few years, so I knew I needed to make time for her session: Design & Copy: Little Things You Don’t Want to Overlook.

Hey hey hey, happy March, people of the marketing sphere! The month has been great for me so far. Among other things (cut my Comcast bill in half, SCORE!) just last week I got to spend my day at the annual Direct Marketing Day @ Your Desk Virtual Conference. Did you get to check it out? It was live on March 10, but is available on demand in its entirety starting today, so I’d highly recommend heading over there if you couldn’t make it!

Target Marketing snagged some seriously top-notch speakers (VP of Marketing at Cirque du Soleil, for one, daaang) to share their expertise on a whole slew of helpful and fascinating topics like marketing-first companies, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and of course — copy and design.

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Copywriter/Copy Coach Pat Friesen speak on several copy-centered webinars in the last few years, so I knew I needed to make time for her session: Design & Copy: Little Things You Don’t Want to Overlook. Pat, along with President and Chief Creative Officer of DM Creative Group Patrick Fultz, went through some of their tried-and-true design and copy tips to boost conversion and sales.

All the content presented at the show was fantastic, but since this is a copy/creative blog I thought I’d just speed through some of the key takeaways from Pat2‘s copy/creative session. (Hope they won’t mind I just deemed them Pat2.)

  • Specificity makes a difference! “Save $478.88 each year” has much more credibility and impact than “save money” or even “save hundreds of dollars.”
  • Numerals appear more impressive at a glance than numbers spelled out. Tip: Include decimals in money amounts for an extra kick:Ten thousand” vs. “$10,000” vs. “$10,000.00.”
  • Reverse type considerations! This requires the visual they gave, check it out:

reversetype

  • When it comes to photo captions, “features describe, benefits sell.” “Sewn stars and stripes” doesn’t mean as much to a reader as “Sewn stars and stripes look classic and add durability”.
  • Better CTAs stress immediate satisfaction (“Get it now,” “Download now,” “See it in action”) and are clear about what the action is (“Sign up” vs. “Submit”).
  • A/B test your CTAs! Don’t underestimate the difference every element can make, from button copy to text color to button color and shape.
  • Use an email pre-header. When viewing an email with no pre-header in the preview pane, a reader will see something like “To view this email in a browser …” etc. Instead, include a pre-header that briefly elaborates on the subject line or gives a hint what the email is about! They’ll be much more inclined to open and read.
  • Place offer above the fold. A great offer, like “Receive a free _______ for signing up,” should be in the upper half of your email; shrink or eliminate graphics if necessary to pull the offer up.

This is just a quick n’ dirty rundown of what was a fantastic session, I actually had to limit myself to eight so I wouldn’t just post the entire session transcript. Definitely carve out 40 minutes, register and check it out. Once you sign up, you’ll instantly have access to the rest of the show’s sessions and content on demand too, from now until June. It’s all can’t-miss material.

I will see all your shining faces back here in April. À Bientôt!

Can You Feel the Love Tonight? (It’s in Your Inbox)

Happy Day After Valentine’s Day! Known in some circles as “Singles Awareness Day Part 2,” “50% Off Candy Day” and the “National Flag of Canada Day.”

Happy Day After Valentine’s Day! Known in some circles as “Singles Awareness Day Part 2,” “50% Off Candy Day” and the “National Flag of Canada Day.”

Whatever Feb. 15 means to you, one thing is certain: Even the staunchest V-Day nonbeliever on Earth would know what yesterday was just from a quick peek in any email inbox. It’s like every shade of pink and all iterations of “feel the love” and “we heart ______” were having a massive mixer in there.

To be honest, I’m into it. I like pink, I like hearts, and my cat is the only valentine I need to enjoy the holiday. So please, join me on this frolic through some of the standout Valentine’s-themed promos that shot their arrow through the heart of my inbox.

  • Bath & Body Works
  • Line: Ready for this? You’ve truly hit it big with an EXTRA $10 off!

bbworksThis was a fairly long HTML, I think you get the idea from this top section alone. The more classic Valentine’s Day imagery works for what B&B Works is all about, and those blossoms (sweet pea I think?) fit the theme while invoking some of the store’s most popular aromas. The subject line is good — it went outside the holiday language and straight up told you the deal you’d find within: Heart!

  • Apple
  • Subj. Line: Apple gifts say it best.

appl1On the other end of the spectrum, check out Apple’s simple, subtle nod to the season of romance. The message is simple: Nothing says romance like the cool, metallic touch of a rose gold iPhone. All kidding aside, the short copy with a focus on staying in touch and sharing puts just the right spin on things.

  • Hallmark Cards
  • Subj. Line: Valentine’s Day is just 5 days away. Don’t forget the people you love.

0209_ValNatlGreetings_8

05-FEAT-A-8903vAThe cynics will tell you: Valentine’s Day was invented by Hallmark to sell cards. Whether or not you agree, it wouldn’t be right to do a Vday Marketing Roundup without them. And if this email is anything to go by, they rightfully earned their claim to the holiday. That subject line is just the right blend of “gentle reminder” and “subtle guilt-trip,” and the creative gets right to the point by reminding you when the big day is. The animation gives a nice glimpse of your options without being overbearing, and we have a bright, direct CTA. Hallmark can have my X’s and O’s for this one.

  • World Wildlife Fund
  • Subj. Line: Save a Rose, Send Some Prose

WWFCardsValentine’s Day isn’t just for retail! Check out how the WWF took the opportunity to create these adorable e-cards, available for you to send after making any size donation to the fund. Love this idea — after all, you could donate the same amount you’d spend on a card anyway, and have it go to a great cause. That’s my idea of spreading the love! Bonus points for the awesome subject line.

  • Justice
  • Subj. Line: We ❤ you! Join us this weekend!

justiceSo we’re back to retail, but still on animals. I just thought this design was so cute, absolutely eye-catching. It’s a little more of a unique spin than much of the Valentine’s Day imagery I’ve seen. I do have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of this font. It’s a fitting style, but not the most readable; I kept thinking it said “We’ve got the pun” (which I’d be all for, to be honest). Two paws up for the romantic pup, though.

  • Lush
  • Subj. Line: For that special Valentine…

lush

I always like Lush’s emails. Here’s another company that tends to not slam you over the head with whatever the theme or message might be. The colors are muted, copy is short and punchy, and it was nearly impossible not to click “read article” about anything that claims to be “better than chocolate.”

  • Sally’s Beauty Supply
  • Subj. Line: Love Is In The Air: Take $5 Off $25

sallySo many beauty product companies in this post. Can’t say I blame them for using this approach though, it’s so easy to make the connection between beauty products and Valentine’s Day, both in concept and in design. I mean, look how nice it looks to have that arrangement of pink/red/purple products behind the heart. This design also went with the classic dotted-line as a border for the heart, which totally screams “elementary school valentine”, I love that. Plus: another example of an upfront subject line, what you read is what you get.

  • Zoya
  • Subj. Line: Valentine’s Day Bogo ❤

zoyaOK, I saved this one for last because I love it, I honestly love it. (Yes that was meant to be read in Olivia Newton John’s voice.) LOOK AT THIS DESIGN, JUST LOOK AT IT!!! It’s nail polish, but like, in a HEART-SHAPED POOL. I wish I had a technical explanation for what’s so great about this. I don’t, really, it’s just so aesthetically pleasing and strangely satisfying to me. Two Valentine’s Day colors, because it’s Buy-One-Get-One, AND they’re making a heart, because Valentine’s Day … who knew nail polish could be so nuanced? Also, it’s a good sale. If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some nail polish to buy…

I hope you all had a great month, and a great Feb. 14, whatever the day represents for you! If you need to get any discount candy off your hands, you know where to find me.

XOXO 4ever,

Dani

7 Marketing Resolutions for Younger Marketers in 2016

Fear not, I’m back for 2016 and will be posting again on a monthly basis. Starting right now, with my very own “2016 Marketing Resolutions.” I’ll also list a few great resources I’ve found to help me on the road to resolution glory!

I’m baaaaaaack! Did you miss me? Did you feel like 2015 was just a little darker and a little colder as it drew to a close? You may have assumed it was just a result of the earth’s regularly scheduled journey farther away from the sun, but I’m here to tell you that chill in the air was merely the lack of my presence in your life and on your screen.

But fear not, I’m back for 2016 and will be posting again on a monthly basis. Starting right now, with my very own “2016 Marketing Resolutions” (because there’s never enough “My New Year’s Resolutions” posts in the world, right?) I figure I’ll fare better with these guys than I will with “go to the gym 3x a week” or “limit myself to one season of a show on Netflix per night.”

I’ll also list a few great resources I’ve found to help me on the road to resolution glory!

Business group of people standing on the hill and looking aside
According to iStock, a significant number of people have a goal of climbing a mountain and/or doing the Rocky pose in business suits

 

1. Get to Work Earlier
Here’s the problem with having flexible work hours: you can actually take advantage of them. Add that to my just-two-blocks commute and you’ve got a perfect recipe for snooze-button-dependency. I’ve never been an early bird, and generally I’m of the mindset that I work better when I come in a little later and leave a little later. But I have to admit I feel an extra sense of pep and motivation when I manage to start my day an hour or two ahead of schedule, and having that extra time to enjoy my coffee and clear out the cobwebs logically results in more productivity. So I’ve decided: 2016 is the year I start getting to work before 9:00.

I recently found this simple yet brilliant post on LifeHack for people like me, and I’m eager to try these strategies out.

2. Better Time Management
Another daily struggle for me: deciding what on my list needs to be done and when, and how much time should be spent doing it. Since it’s a point I’m always looking to improve, I’ve found a few basic tools that seem to work best for me when used together.

I’m a visual person, so I always love a good to-do list; it really helps me to be able to look at my tasks laid out in front of me, and physically move them into an order that makes sense. My favorite of the many online options available is Wunderlist. You can create separate folders within your to-do list and categorize each task, set due-dates and alarms, enable email notifications, and sync your lists to the mobile app to access anywhere. Plus, that “ding” noise it makes when you complete a task is super satisfying. Oh, and it’s free!

Another must: The StayFocusd browser extension. No more “two minute web surfing breaks” that turn into ten or twenty; this app blocks all but your allowed websites after your allotted time runs out. Pro-Tip: Put the Chrome Extensions store on your block list, so you can’t cheat and remove the app 😉

All About eMail 15: The Great Twitter Roundup

Here’s the deal, fam: This past Thursday was the All About eMail Virtual Conference, the live virtual event that brings together the best and brightest minds in the industry for a full day of sessions, resources and chats that are (say it with me now …) all about email.

Here’s the deal, fam (and if you read my last blog post, you should already know this): This past Thursday was the All About eMail Virtual Conference, the live virtual event that brings together the best and brightest minds in the industry for a full day of sessions, resources and chats that are (say it with me now …) all about email.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend the show for its full course, and walked away from my desk stuffed full with new email tips and strategies, and a heaping side of downloaded resources to peruse even after the show had ended.

If you didn’t get to check it out, don’t you fret — the show and all its content is available on demand until Feb. 16. Click here for immediate access!

I also got to scope out the social scene during the show (try saying that 10 times fast). Lots of great activity in the #AAEM15 hashtag, and I thought I’d share a little roundup of bite-sized takeaways and observations from the show I found on Twitter.

A-five six seven eight!

Of course, there’s only so much 140 characters can tell you about 6.5 hours of content. So if you’re hungry for email expertise, be sure to sign up to check out the show on demand. I think these tweets do a good job of showing why it’s worth your while. Hope you enjoy!

And now for a little announcement unrelated to virtual shows or tweets. Recently I’ve taken over as marketing manager for one of Target Marketing’s sister publications, and it’s been an exciting and fulfilling whirlwind but, as you can imagine, busy and demanding. That being the case, I came to the difficult but necessary decision to put this blog aside for the time being.

My hope and my intention is to be back and better than ever in 2016 once I’ve gained my sea legs with this new undertaking, gotten all my ducks in a row, and other various water-related metaphors for “gotten my **** together.” Just think of it as … taking a short caffeine break! (Waka waka!)

Thanks so much for all the fantastic support so far — hope to see you back here in 2016!