Making a splash: win an iPod Nano.

Making a splash: win an iPod Nano.

When we launched our website at getlucid.net, we wanted it to be more than an online brochure, to be a place for business owners and marketers to visit often for useful information, challenging professional insights, and a little inspiration.  Now would be a good time to visit, because we’re giving away an iPod Nano and some other business gifts over there. It’s easy to enter: just answer three little questions in the Message/Comment box on the Contact form: 1.  There’s a case study in Resources > Knowledge Drops; what is the name of the chef’s blog?  (Hint: it’s on page 3.) 2.  In the Portfolio > Branding section, what is Axium’s tag line? 3.  What’s the #1 biggest mistake in advertising, according to the ‘lucid at random’ blog on the home page? There are four more ways to enter to increase your chances of winning: Become a Facebook fan…click here Subscribe to the ‘lucid at random’ blog via email or RSS (look to your right) Comment on on this post Subscribe to the Clarity newsletter…click here Enter all five ways and you could win a $50 Amazon.com gift card.  We respect your privacy and will never share your email address publicly; we only need it to stay in touch with you. Does your company’s marketing integrate email marketing, website, blog, social media and special promotions for the biggest effect?  It can.  Give us a call.  And good luck! Contest details and rules. Website powered by Design(615) | Design and graphics by Lucid...

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Simple is hard.

Simple is hard.

A drummer will tell you it’s not about when to play, it’s about when not to play.  It’s the white space – and a single focus – that gives an advertising message impact.  Yet, it’s tempting to put everything about a product in an ad.  The thinking behind kitchen-sink advertising is, if we don’t list all the features of the product, we may miss one that appeals to the target.  Actually, the more you say, the less they want it.  Think of every advertising message like it’s a billboard and targets are whizzing by at 85 mph; if they see it at all amongst the myriad things competing for attention, can they take it in, and will it stick? It takes a lot of work, and courage, to find the one thing that will make someone want your product and say only that.  If you’re a business owner, you’re mighty proud of all that stuff you sell, and you have your own capital in it, so you want it all sold asap.  If you’re an advertising writer in a large organization, you’ll have product managers breathing down your neck to put all their brilliantly conceived features into the ad.  If you’re a freelancer slaving away at your desk in the basement, you don’t want to challenge the client’s urge to say it all, because you want to get paid. Resist the urge to say everything.  Find the one thing and let it scream.  Remember Volkswagen’s “Think Small” campaign?  Probably no one has ever topped it. Thinking small is hard but not impossible.  There’s help here. (use “back” button after viewing each ad) Thanks to veerle’s blog for...

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The #1 biggest mistake in advertising.

The #1 biggest mistake in advertising.

You’ve seen those commercials, “Thank you for making us the #1 car dealer in Middle Tennessee!”  Or, South Jersey, or the Panhandle, wherever.  The line is usually delivered by the car dealer himself, standing in front of a sea of vehicles on his lot, with lots of cheesy graphics.  Realtors, HVAC and aluminum-siding concerns also favor this type of “you made me great” messaging.  The problem is, it’s not the customer’s job to make you a success.  It is the seller’s job to make the buyer a success, to give him or her what he or she really wants… a hot car, a cozy home, peace of mind, a firmer butt, a full head of hair. The biggest mistake?  Asking the prospect to make you a success. Pretty soon, I’m going to need a new car.  I think I’ll get another of that super-reliable brand from the nice guy with the cute dog that orders pizza delivery.  And I won’t care who else he sold a car to, or how many he sold this year. What type of ads miss the mark for...

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How (and when) to fire a client.

How (and when) to fire a client.

Clients are hard enough to come by, much less good ones, so firing one is a really big deal.  Think hard about it, then fire them well.  The first step is recognizing when it’s actually time to part company.  Here are some warning signs. You are often angry with the client. If you feel like putting your fist through the wall every time you talk with the client on the phone, maybe it’s time to go.  If you’re mad, they probably are, too.  And even if they aren’t, they will be soon.  Buyers don’t tolerate bad attitudes from sellers for long.  You may be a good enough actor to hide your frustration from the client, but it will eat you up.  Some things aren’t worth it. The client doesn’t keep up his or her end of the deal. If the client constantly owes you direction, input and/or feedback, talk to them about it—once.  If it doesn’t get better immediately, it won’t ever.  You will waste great wads of time trying to regain momentum and you won’t be able to bill for that time. Payment is slow. This may not be a deal-breaker if you have a way of recouping losses and you can charge more for the loan you are basically making them.  (Banks do this all the time.)  Still, clients who don’t manage their finances well can leave you high and dry.  A sudden change in payment behavior is likely a sign of real trouble.  Don’t let the client use you as a bank. So, you’ve made up your mind to cut the client loose.  Be very sure, because you are surely burning a bridge.  If it’s time to hit the road, do it the right way. Be professional. Don’t threaten, throw a fit, or lie about why you’re ending the relationship.  Tell them you’ve thought hard about it and it’s not working out in either of your best interests.  Don’t say, “I’m changing my business model” when what you really mean is “you’re driving me crazy.” Make the transition a smooth one. Gather up all the client’s resources, the things you’ve created for them (if they’ve paid for them), and any related files.  Give them to the client neatly and in a pleasant way. Offer alternative solutions? No.  Don’t pass off a problem client to some poor, unsuspecting colleague. Wish the client well. Breaking up is hard to do, but it doesn’t have to be nasty.  It was a bad fit, and it could also be that you had some responsibility in letting the relationship go south.  Suck it up and say, sincerely, “I wish you all the good fortune in the world.”  If you can’t honestly...

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