PepperMill February 2019

Tim’s Dishin’ ‘em Out

Have you been in an elevator lately? One where you get on with another rider and there’s that awkward silence? Do you pierce it? Or do you both break out your phones and act like you’re checking emails?

What about when you’ve got that train seat all to yourself and someone comes and sits down next to you? Do you greet them at all?

How about when you call up the local pizzeria to order that favorite pie on Friday night? Do you add to your ordering a compliment about their food?

I’ve had quite a few incidents like these lately that reminded me that we’re missing more and more opportunities like these to make someone’s day. They are instances that occur regularly to each of us, and I’d venture to say that 25 years ago we would find it almost inexcusable to choose silence in the above instances.

These are outstanding opportunities to warm a soul, give a giggle or lift a spirit. Each of these actions is a gift and costs us nothing to shop for, purchase or ship. It’s an easy opening to make someone feel good, appreciated or special in a variety of ways.

We don’t have unlimited resources to give to every person or organization that could use some help. What we do have, almost in a limitless capacity, is our humanity (“Good Morning!”), wishes (“Have a great day!”), appreciation (“You have the best pepperoni in the world!”), empathy (“How’s your day going?”) or curiosity (“Where did you get those gorgeous shoes?”).

The old saying about walking in another’s shoes comes to mind. You don’t know what that other person is dealing with that day, but any genuine attempt at sharing that brief moment in a positive manner, could bring cheer, a sense of pride or even that one thing they needed to put the dark side on hold for a few minutes.

How many gifts can you give today?

Tim Padgett

Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.

Get not your friends by bare compliments, but by giving them sensible tokens of your love.

Client Spotlight: Image Industries QuikLinx Campaign

Managing cables on heavy equipment has been a challenge for as long as there have been cables to manage. Over the years, engineers were forced to develop their own homegrown methods for cable routing because there has never been a good single solution.

The QuikLinx Cable Management system, however, changes the game. It provides a solution that is faster, more cost-effective, consistent and reliable. The mount can be welded in place in as little as 0.3 seconds and routes cables and cable bundles of almost any size. QuikLinx requires almost no training to use and has proven reliable under the most rugged conditions.

Image Industries needed to introduce this game-changing cable management solution to the market, so they turned to Pepper Group to create an attention-getting announcement and lead gen effort. The result was a clever mailer that directly demonstrated the product and provided an actual sample mount, using delicious Twizzlers as a stand-in for the cables.

The mailer, and associated digital outreach campaign, has helped put this “sweet solution” in front of hundreds of decision makers at the largest heavy equipment manufacturers nationwide. Initial results are encouraging. One engineer even called to learn more after his boss passed along the mailer to him—sans Twizzlers! Turns out the boss liked both the idea and the candy.

To learn more about Image Industries and the QuikLinx system, visit

George Couris

The Content Repurposing Cheat Sheet

Year after year, surveys of B2B marketers say that the #1 content marketing challenge is “Producing new content on a consistent basis.”

Creating new content is difficult, and as a B2B marketing agency, we understand that challenge. So not only do we help our clients create new content, we help them repurpose it as much as possible.  

Repurposing means taking that hard-to-create original content and producing it in different formats, and then using different channels for distribution—allowing you to leverage up the impact of every piece of content you create.

Consistently seeking the best marketing ROI possible, it’s in our nature to maximize the impact of every piece of content we create for our clients. With that goal in mind, we developed a cheat sheet for content marketing. It’s called the Content Matrix™, and it’s Pepper Group’s unique tool that helps us and our clients identify multiple combinations of content type, format and distribution method.

How does it work? For example, a content type could be a customer success story, education on a specific topic, a tip or a shortcut, or industry survey results. We identify the content types that we already have or can create. Then we consider various formats. Formats can include a brief article, a video, an infographic, or a slide deck. And finally, we look at various distribution methods, which might include organic social posts, email, a press release or sponsored ads.

For example, let’s say you have a customer success story. In addition to it living as a write up in the form of a blog post and posted on your website, that same content can also be repurposed into a short video, a PDF, an infographic and/or a slide deck. It can be distributed as an email, a sponsored post, a press release, a print out, or shared on multiple social platforms. In short, the impact of one blog post has now been amplified!

Our Content Matrix shows how one of 16 types of content we’ve identified can be repurposed into 16 formats and then distributed over 16 channels. That’s 4,096 possibilities. It’s helped us solve one of the biggest challenges companies face in a smart, effective and creative way.

The Content Matrix is part of our Revenue Tower® marketing framework, and if you’d like to learn more about the Revenue Tower, download our Revenue Tower eBook.

Ask yourself if you could be increasing your ROI by repurposing content. If yes, then send me an email or give me a call. We’ll review our Content Matrix together and no doubt identify some key opportunities to help you succeed.

George Couris

How the Science of Expectations Can Sell Your Products Or: Boy, That Super Bowl Stunk, Didn’t It?

How about that Super Bowl?

When I ask people what they thought of the big game, I get the same responses: Boring game … I fell asleep … Worst halftime show in years … Commercials were terrible …

I actually liked the halftime show, but it’s hard to disagree with the rest of the comments. The game was boring. The commercials were…uneven. For many in our industry, the Super Bowl is, well, the Super Bowl of Advertising. This is where the best-of-the-best commercials are supposedly displayed, where marketing legends are made and products soar because of them … or crash (who remembers the Just for Feet commercial in 1999? Anyone?).

One of the reasons for this year’s mass ad disappointment isn’t because many commercials are bad, but that our expectations are so huge. We all expect the next Apple 1984 commercial or Air Jordan spot, and we get … a confusing Planters peanut commercial with a Charlie Sheen cameo. Scientific studies repeatedly reinforce the notion that our impressions are not only affected by our actual experiences, but also our expectations going in.

For products, and advertising, this can be a good thing. Almost universally, studies show that people give higher impressions of products in which they are predisposed to like. For example consumers give Coke higher ratings when they drink it from a cup with the brand logo, as opposed to a regular cup. Studies have shown that someone’s preference for beer often disappears if the label is hidden or removed.

This is similar to the well-known placebo effect, where someone is magically ‘cured’ of an ailment by eating sugar cubes if he or she thinks those cubes are medicine.

Here’s one more example. A few years ago, MIT served coffee to different target groups–same coffee, different packaging. The fancier and nicer the packaging, the higher the tasters rated their coffee.

So, can you raise the price of your product by putting it in fancier packaging? Maybe. But, more importantly, this reminds us that most people raise or lower their expectations by what they expect. If someone tells us “this coffee is the best,” we’ll adjust our cognitive impressions to align with that thought. These marketing-adjusted impressions aren’t limited to consumer products, but to any B2B product as well.

We also tend to think higher of products we know and use. It’s human nature to gravitate towards the familiar. That’s why name recognition is such an important part of marketing. The well-known is safer, less risky, and must be well-known for a reason, right?

That’s called the science of expectations­–how what we expect controls what we say and how we talk about products, what we think about them and, ultimately, which we buy. Those expectations are established through name recognition, through packaging, through word-of-mouth, through longevity, and more.

Advertising and marketing are a big part of setting those expectations. Which is why I’m sure I’ll be watching the Super Bowl next year–the marketing will be huge and I’ll expect greatness, even if I’m likely to be disappointed once again.

Allan Woodrow


YouTubin’: Spinning a Tale

A thought-provoking yarn about workplace dynamics

As a devoted Pixar loyalist, I’ve yet to be disappointed by any of their short-subject films. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they’ve launched this latest endeavor as a free streaming video on YouTube. The short, titled Purl, is directed by Kristen Lester and features a female ball of yarn who gets a job in an exclusively male financial firm. The methods that Purl devises to fit in to her workplace are both cringeworthy and admirable, and in the end the film gives you plenty of reasons to think about your own experiences.

Happily, we’ll have opportunities to see more content in this vein as Pixar is unveiling their SparkShorts projects that are designed to highlight new storytellers and techniques without requiring the budget and fanfare of the major feature releases. These shorts will eventually be part of the Disney+ streaming service coming our way later this year. They’ve chosen a great one to start out the series with, I hope you like it too!

Got some YouTube videos of your own you’d like to share? Just send them my way!

Todd Underwood