Profanity & Other Unnecessary Risks – 3 Tips from Image Marketing Consultants

“What a dumb thing I did and it was a risk I didn’t have to take.” 

That’s a regret we at Image Marketing Consultants are hearing more often.  That’s because just about everything, ranging from the economy to social norms, is in flux.  That means that much of what involves public interaction involves some degree of risk.   Of course, it’s not possible to avoid all risk.  Play it “too safe” and you can come across as inauthentic.

Yesterday, we at Image Marketing Consulting listened to a webinar that proved puzzling.  The expert who presented material about media, from the get-go, used industrial-strength profanity.  The audience numbered over a 1000.  Therefore, we have to assume some of them might have been quite turned off.  One of our staffe noted that the presenter’s credibilty was deep-sixed by that incredible lack of sensitivity about who might be in the audience.

Here are 3 tips from Image Marketing Consultants on how to approach risk in smart ways:

Know the audience.  It might consist of one, the job interviewer, or a 1000 as with the webinar.  Research their values, especially social norms and the organizational culture.  Then align what you say and write with those.  The best salespeople do exactly that.  They call it “mirroring” the prospects.

Trial-run everything.  In marketing, even small businesses test out several kinds of email communications before they launch a major campaign.  In your head or on a piece of paper a certain approach may seem great.  In reality it could fail to resonate or offend those you can’t afford to irritate.  Find trusted allies you can run material by and role play for.

Everything changes.  Just because a tactic worked last month or in a robust economy doesn’t mean it will be effective today.   That’s why it’s shrewd to investigate the mood of the audience.  If the company just lost a major defense contract and you are trying to sell your products to it, you will have to frame your sales pitch accordingly.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultants for Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Garbage Goes High Tech, Can Save World, Says Elena Cahill in MOTLEY FOOL

Elena Cahill is an attorney, Certified Energy Manager (CEM), owner of Globele Energy, and convinced planet earth doesn’t have to worry any more about energy.

Today, she published a think piece about the technology and business of trash-to-energy on the syndicated site of financial information company Motley Fool.  Here you can read it.  Since there is plenty of garbage – in the U.S. each person produces more than four pounds a day – there will be plenty of energy.

Elena is a client of Image Marketing Consultants.  We are mighty proud of this publishing accomplishment.  She is also a columnist for the syndicated legal blog Law and More, which is housed in the Library of Congress.

As the Globele Energy website says:

“Our mission is to teach and implement strategies for our clients throughout the world that will conserve energy, create energy, purchase cost-effective energy, and then save money.”

You can reach Elena at elena@globeleenergy.com.

Freebies: That strategy may be killing your business, advises Image Marketing Consultants

Those freebies used to be called “samples.”  In the specialty cheese store there was a tray of them.  If customers liked the taste, they could buy a pound of gouda and a half pound of chedder.  Today that kind of incentive to buy is called the “freemium.” And, as THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports, it could push a business into bankruptcy.

We at Image Marketing Consultants are advising our clients, both in B2C and B2B, to think long and hard about the kinds of incentives they are using.  Yes, the marketplace has become very competitive.  However, leveraging free might not result in attracting new business.  The possible disappointing results are analogous to how small businesses quickly found out that discounting through Groupon didn’t bring in longer-term customers.

On a very limited basis, like the tiny pieces of cheese, freebies might pan out.  However, research and experience are showing that many businesses will have to return to the drawing board and come up with other ways to get prospects to pay attention to what they are selling.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations on Marketing, Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events.F

E-Books: How service companies can get the edge, advises Image Marketing Consultants

Books still are, as they say, “the price of entry” for service providers to be taken seriously.

Books showcase the author’s expertise in a way which is directly useful to the target markets.  In that sense, the book is a public service since it passes on knowledge.  Grateful readers, who can do their work better, become the author’s fans. Give a person a fish and that human being eats for a day.  Teach that person how to fish and that human being eats for lifetime.

Through book publishing, authors also gain a new edge getting the attention of media, booking agents for the speaking circuit, and influentials.

The good news is that the heads of service firms don’t have to spend a year or more of their professional lives writing the book.  Also they don’t have to wait for the tedious print publishing process to produce the book.  Given that usual time lag, the content may be out of date by time the book is distributed to clients, prospects, and the others on the firm’s network.

E-books, which can be a short as 25 or 35 pages, can be written or ghostwritten in days, designed and published on a computer, and copyrighted for a small fee through the Library of  Congress.  They can be free or a price assigned. One mode of distribution can be through downloads on the author’s website, blog, Facebook fan page, Google+, and Twitter account.  When delivering talks and participating in panels, the author can mention the URL or have print copies on hand.

Promotion can be done in just the same ways print books are.  In addition, reviewers no longer differentiate between print and e-books.  A fast way out of the gate is to produce video trailers and video interviews which can be posted on YouTube, sent to media, and attached on digital communications.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations on Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868

Facebook: Avoid this mistake, says Image Marketing Consultants

One reason major religions endure for centuries is that they are slow to introduce change.  Human life has always been uncertain.  Religion provides comfort and inspiration precisely because it provides a setting in which followers know what what to expect.

So, when we at Image Marketing Consultants noticed that Facebook was systematically making so much change in its features we viewed that as possibly a red flag in both its business model and operations. Human beings can handle just so much change.

That’s why we advise you to do whatever you need, ranging from branding to policies and procedures, “right the first time.”  Once you put it out there, your prospects, customers, and clients are likely not to welcome change.  Therefore, please take the time to think through and test out what seems to be the best practices for your business.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations on Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com,