PepperMill January 2016
Happy New Year! It’s a new beginning, an election year, global happenings and ever-present changes that will naturally occur without my input. I’ve got my seat belt on for all that. On Monday, our own Ann Natalino reminded us that we have to always pursue a sense of presence—be present. We need to all enjoy the moment and engage with whatever or whomever happens to be present. You never know what encounters you’ll have.
Anyone who’s known me for a while understands my love for trivia. Just last night, I was having dinner with my mom (at Dino’s on Higgins, just east of Harlem, northwest side of Chicago—outstanding pizza!). Mom is in love with their spaghetti, even saying, “Isn’t it interesting that angel hair tastes so much better than regular spaghetti?” Ponder that for a moment. Should be no difference in taste, right? But I have to admit, I feel the same way.
Anyway, before we could get our drink order in, our waitress, Kitty (an awesome waitress name) shared with us her love of the Cubbies, including a shoulder tattoo of the Cubs’ logo. I’d say she was about 55-60 years old and 90 pounds soakin’ wet.
I took the opportunity to share one of my favorite baseball trivia questions. “Which brothers hold the MLB record for combined home runs?” Her wheels got to turning, and it was apparent she knew her stuff. “The Alou brothers!” This is the most common answer because people want to stack the deck with three brothers. “Sandy and Roberto Alomar? The Brett brothers! The Boyers?”
Well, my mom was getting a big kick out of this. Eventually, Kitty didn’t come up with the right answer—and boy did that frost her pride. But, of course, she threw a few stumpers my way, too! Here’s her favorite, “How many homers did Ernie Banks hit?” Well, that’s relatively easy for this Chicago boy—512. She followed up with, “And how many were to right field?”
Ernie had some of the best “hands” in baseball history. His unique grip, stance and power nearly always produced shots to left field, so I was pretty confident in guessing “None.” I was only one off.
And by the way, it was the Aaron brothers. Hank’s little brother, Tommie, contributed all of 13 homers to Hank’s 755.
For Christmas this year, one of my favorite presents was The Ultimate Book of Trivia by Scott McNeely. The subtitle is The Essential Collection of Over 1,000 Curious Facts to Impress Your Friends and Expand Your Mind. And who wouldn’t want that?
“It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.”
“Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too.”
—The late, great, Yogi Berra
More than five million people prepare for their workday by putting on a uniform created by Cintas.
Yet, there are many companies, particularly within the Fortune 1000 sector, that have still haven’t adopted a defined uniform program. Cintas wanted to reach them.
Cintas began by developing a video titled The Power of the Uniform that demonstrated the impact that a uniform program can have. Armed with this exciting new sales tool, Cintas asked Pepper Group to find an effective way to share it with a select group of Fortune 1000 decision makers.
We needed something super-attention grabbing—something most people have never seen before, that they can’t ignore, delete or throw away. An email link to a video just wouldn’t cut it. We needed to make prospects watch the video again and again, stop them dead in their tracks, and make sure the Cintas message gets noticed.
A video brochure was a perfect solution. This unique format showcased the Cintas message while creating a unique and compelling experience for the recipient. As a prospect opens the hardcover brochure, they immediately see a video screen that automatically starts playing The Power of the Uniform video. These brochures included an insert that was tailored to one of four areas of interest.
In addition to designing and sending the mailer, Pepper Group developed a nine-month campaign around these brochures to keep Cintas top-of-mind throughout the buying cycle. This included a landing page that housed the video and thought-provoking articles, and monthly email communications written on behalf of members of the Cintas’ sales team. Through marketing automation software, Cintas’ sales team can view and track activity from these emails and follow up with recipients directly through phone calls.
The response has been positive and we’ll be sending another round of video mailers to a new set of prospects. With this powerful tool, the Cintas sales team can now open doors and reach top executives at F1000 companies … doors that otherwise would have remained tightly closed.
When ITSMA recently asked B2B buyers what role thought leadership content played in determining who made their short lists, only 5% said it was of no or minor importance. Twenty percent said “somewhat important” and a whopping 75% said this content was either “important” or “critically important.”
Cisco says that 90% of their B2B deals are buyer-initiated. CEB says buyers get 57% of the way through their own process before they talk to any suppliers. And Bloom Group says that 33% of professional services buyers would eliminate a firm disparaged online.
The fact is that B2B buyers do an alarming amount of research before contacting suppliers, and they act on what they find. It’s extremely important to reach and influence them during this phase, and that’s what content marketing helps you do.
The Content Marketing Institute recently released its 2016 survey results, reporting that 88% of B2B companies are currently doing content marketing and 76% plan to produce more content in 2016. Two-thirds of them reported that their program is not yet sophisticated or mature, however, so there’s definitely more growth ahead.
The report also contained these insights:
- The most effective content marketers have three key things in common—organizational clarity, a documented strategy and sufficient investment.
- The top three challenges are producing engaging content, measuring effectiveness and creating content consistently.
- One of the top priorities of respondents, listed by 57% of them, was finding better ways to repurpose content.
Content Marketing is the force electrifying our Revenue Tower™ model—a modern and much better alternative than looking at your marketing process as a “funnel.” It’s built to address these modern challenges and priorities.
It incorporates a matrix tool that helps you identify engaging topics and build a structure for consistent execution. It also helps uncover new opportunities to repurpose existing content. There’s a process for a monthly dashboard and quarterly strategic reviews. And finally, it drives the development of a documented strategy. Our clients tell us that it’s been incredibly valuable.
If you’re looking to increase the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, we’d be happy to share the Revenue Tower with you. Just let me know!
As marketers, we’re in the idea business. We look for inspiration everywhere in the physical and digital world. But every now and then, we find something so riveting, it makes us rethink what’s possible.
Blazing Forward is a new PepperMill feature that shares stories about today’s hottest innovators. They’re ideas that can help you see the world in a whole new way, without limits. Stories that open your eyes, and make you wonder how you can apply a smidge of their brilliance to your own business.
Instead of keeping them to ourselves, it’s time to share them with you. So go ahead. Roll them around in your brain, share them and see what ignites.
Read about Behnaz Farahi’s Caress of the Gaze, 3-D interactive clothing that behaves like an anemone-like human skin here.
Happy New Year! This month I’ve decided to drop an unlikely card trick on you that might just make you the hit of the next party you go to—or you might be asked to leave. The trick is simple: shuffle a deck of cards and proclaim that it is the first time in the history of the universe that any deck has ever been shuffled in that order!
As a mathophiliac, this concept (presented here by Stephen Fry) was quite uncomfortable for me to absorb, but in the end I couldn’t argue with the conclusion. It’s the idea of something having such an infinitesimally small probability of happening that it can clearly be deemed impossible. I’ll let Mr. Fry do the honor of explaining why.
If, after displaying your new magic trick at that next party, you find yourself being ceremonially shuffled towards the door... just blurt out the term “52 shriek.” Surely they’ll ask you to stay and explain it!
Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!