Break the Rules – Part 4

Welcome to the latest edition of our brand new weekly series, Break the Rules. Each week our plan is to highlight something you will have heard from some marketing expert as a best practice to be disobeyed at your peril. And we’ll tell you why it’s a rule you should break.

Last week’s rule was Lower Your Prices.

This week’s rule = Keep Text Short and Sweet

The conventional wisdom these days when writing copy is do everything in your power to keep it short. People don’t like to read, they have no time for it, so you need to present something to them that is easy to grasp in a hurry.

Shorter = Better.

But it’s been too long now that we (read “marketers”) have been saying shorter copy is better. Too many of your competitors are receiving the same advice from the same group of people. And today, everyone writes short form copy. Whether it’s on their website, in their ads, in emails or direct mail pieces, companies are rapidly moving away from longer form copy and into bullet points, headlines, and lists.

So why should you buck that trend?

Because you want to stand out from the crowd. That’s what marketing is all about. Do something different and unique that gets people’s attention.

If you have something to say, say it and don’t worry how long it takes you. If you don’t have something to say, find something to say very quickly.

Give more detail than your competitors do on your product pages. Get more personal in direct mail and email. Don’t stop at five reasons to buy from you, give me ten.

In a world where everyone is speaking in tweets and vines, be the company who tries to forge a deeper connection with the marketplace. And don’t worry if it goes against the advice of marketing experts telling you to make it shorter, because your goal is to stop doing what everyone else is doing and be on the front lines in a shift back to long form copy.

Have a “rule” you think we should write about? Share it with us in the comments below or post it to Twitter @zheller using #marketingrules

“I” of the Consumer Week in Review

It’s easier to market a good product than a poor or inadequate one. Yet too many marketers ignore the product. They only see what comes after the product is already created. They look at the finished product and think, okay, this is what I have to market. Instead, we should be involved in every detail of the creation of that product. You make your job so much easier that way. Just food for thought.

Here is a recap of last week’s posts:

  1. If You Only Do One Thing – Part 8
  2. How to Market Your Team
  3. How to Gain Manager Buy In

Happy Saturday!

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Why You Should Always Listen to Marketing Experts


Did you read yesterday’s post? If you did, than you’re probably looking at the title of this post and wondering whether or not I lost my mind.

I didn’t.

The keyword in “Why You Should Always Listen to Marketing Experts” is listen.

Don’t tune them out. The best way for you to stay in the loop as far as new marketing ideas is to keep an eye on what other people are doing. And the so called marketing experts are the ones that are reporting on new trends, forecasting areas of growth, writing white papers on campaigns that went well, etc.

So listen to the marketing experts, so you don’t have to be one…

  1. They spend their entire lives in marketing.

  2. They are more likely to identify a new trend before you do.

  3. They can provide advice on how not to approach a campaign you had already planned.

  4. They can provide insights into what consumers are responding to in your industry.

  5. They will tell you how to do something you heard of, like getting started with SEO.  

Why You Shouldn’t Always Listen to Marketing Experts


It’s tough to do anything online and not run into so called marketing experts claiming that they have the one thing you need to do to succeed, or the reason why this certain brand of marketing is about to go extinct. Hey, you’re reading a blog post by one such marketing expert right now.

But I’m here to tell you not to listen to us, at least not all the time…

  1. Every industry is different. What works for me in the industries I am familiar with might be crazy in other industries, where the market is completely different.

  2. Every company is different. A company like Apple doesn’t have to sell people on the Apple brand anymore. So what they do in their marketing has nothing to do with a smaller company that does not have that kind of brand appeal.

  3. Technologies change. With the rate of change in new technology, “new” marketing ideas or channels might be gone before you even read about them.

  4. Consumers change. What works to get someone’s attention today might not work on that same person a year from now. People are so overwhelmed with marketing efforts today that they are getting good at tuning out things that they have already seen.

  5. Sometimes we get lucky. We have success and assume it’s because we had such a brilliant idea and executed perfectly. But maybe we just got lucky, and we couldn’t recreate that kind of success again if we tried. So how could you expect to? 

Email Marketing: The Living Dead

If email marketing is dead, it’s getting a lot done from the grave.

Halloween is just around the corner. Today I got invited to Zombie prom. I thought it an appropriate time to write this post.

We’ve been hearing from “experts” far and wide about the death of email marketing. Social media, among other things, was supposed to make the old email fogies obsolete. “Time to convert to social,” they said.

Where in the long line of marketing genius that came out of the Web 2.0 age did this come from? Who honestly thought that social media would eliminate email?

As most of us know (and certainly those of you who read this blog), email marketing is not dead. It’s alive and kicking. And it’s one of the first things I recommend to anyone looking to spread the word about their product or service.

Email marketing has tried and true techniques. It has champions and critics. It takes advantage of the most popular form of communication in today’s world. It’s non-intrusive, expected, and effective.

Are those same “experts” apologizing for being wrong yet?