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A city billboard, with the quote, "Great advertisements bring in customers. Bad ads waste money."

The small business guide to making a great advertisement.

Let’s talk about advertisements. On a macro level, there are two parts to effective marketing: deciding the right things to do, and then doing them well. Or, in other words, strategy and execution. We talk a lot about strategy around here (maybe too much?), so it’s probably time to talk a little more about the execution part. For instance, let’s talk about ads. Let’s say you’ve decided where to place an ad, and bought the ad placement (in the local...
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A sports referee with the quote, "Don't let one bad call derail your marketing campaign. Real progress comes when you learn from your mistakes."

Bad calls are gonna happen: a small business guide to marketing campaign fails.

What do marketing campaigns and sports have in common? If you pay attention to any broadcast sports on a regular basis, you’ve been impacted by the so-called Bad Call. The refs make an absolutely insane ruling that leaves the fans absolutely flabbergasted, screaming things at the TV like: “There’s no way that wasn’t a catch!” “Come on, refs, whattya have to do to get a pass interference penalty in this league? He was flat-out mauling the guy!!” “He had it...
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Two twins, with the quote, "So what if you've said it before. Say it again. In marketing, repetition is actually a good thing."

In marketing, it’s OK to repeat yourself. Really. It’s OK to repeat yourself.

Important newsflash: using messaging once, or covering a topic in a blog post once, or executing a brilliant marketing strategy once, does not make it off-limits for the rest of all time. As humans, we tend to get bored with things that we experience on a regular basis, whether it’s eating at the same place for lunch every day, listening to the same songs on the way to work on your way home, watching Star Wars 76 times in a...
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Small business open sign, with the text, "It's always easier to business plan with the marketing basics in mind than try and figure out how to reach customers after the fact.

The new small business marketing checklist

Let’s talk about new businesses. Specifically, the marketing planning they (ahem!) should be doing. First of all, trust me, I know how many things a business founder has to think about. General business planning, of course, but also legal things. And tax things. And how you’re going to serve your customers best, and how you’ll make sure your product is the highest quality it can be, etc, etc. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that marketing can wait until after...
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A businessman holding a christmas tree, with the quote, "Why would you put a lot of resources into something you'll be publishing right when people are the most distracted?"

Our gift to you: do you really need that holiday marketing video?

‘Tis the season for corporate holiday cheer, which in this day and age means holiday email after holiday email, from every business contact you have ever made—and even probably some you haven’t. And a high proportion includes their version of the dreaded holiday video. Now, I’ve done competitive research on corporate holiday videos. They range from the mind-numbingly boring (the vast majority), to cringe-inducingly awkward (a healthy second), to the occasionally truly brilliant. Yes, brilliance is possible, but let’s just...
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