Women Veterans: More marketing aimed specifically at this segment … and for good reason


Did you see this headline last week, Female veterans can now have special plates?” Pretty neat. Many states have honored its women veterans with a specialty license plate. Because women are the fastest growing veteran population, marketing campaigns targeted toward women vets are becoming more and more prevalent.

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Does your organization really need an online press room?

YES! Your media contacts can benefit greatly from a press room (a.k.a. news room) – managed by your PR team – to keep them abreast of your company’s latest endeavors, innovations, accomplishments and much more.

Press Room Contents
The best way to make use of an online press room is to make it an easy-to-find and user-friendly “asset” management tool for your media contacts. A place they can go to easily access information, images or videos about your company, its spokespersons and products/services.

In a typical press room, the media will appreciate the following information and materials:

Media Relations Contacts 

Current Annual Report

– Annual Report Archive


Company Backgrounder


Image & Video Library

– Executive Headshots

– Facility Interior and Exterior Shots

– Product Beauty Shots

– Product Application Shots

– Videos (by type)

Company & Product Fact Sheets 

Executive Bios


Recent News Releases

– Archive of Past News Releases


Resource Library

– Technical Papers

– Research Reports

– Company History

– White Papers

Ultimately your press room should be tailored to suit the specific needs of your media contacts, your business and your PR/marketing objectives.

Publicity Placement Archive
For your company’s own benefit, you’ll also want to maintain a page within the press room that provides a detailed list of publicity placements (name of media outlet, title of placement, publish date, type of placement, author) along with a link to each placement (a PDF copy of the placement or link to the media outlet’s archived version of the article/video/audio placement).

Your Press Room’s Home
When communicating with your media contacts, you’ll frequently and consistently point them to your online press room to access information, images, etc. In electronic communications, you’ll include a hotlink (hyperlink) that takes your media contact directly to your press room.

But don’t stop there. Any great resource to the media becomes accessible day or night. You never know when a story idea will hit an editor, and if your press room is useful and memorable, he or she may just firm-up their story idea by taking a look at the information you’ve made easily available online. So, make sure that the URL of your press room is short, sweet and makes total sense. For example, “WidgetsUSA.com/pressroom.” Or, “WidgetsUSAPressRoom.com.”

Of course, you’ll make sure your press room pages comply with all of the basic search engine optimization best practices so that when a reporter searches Google for “Widget USA annual report” she’ll be a click away from your press room.

Finally, you’ll want to make your press room easily available from your site’s Home Page and About Us section. Intuitively, the media will look for a Press Room link on these pages.

For public relations counsel, press room development guidance or media relations support, get in touch with the PR pros at Johnson Direct today.

What’s your E-mail Marketing Story?

Want to get better results from your email campaigns? Why not try telling a compelling story?

Yes, the list and offers you make are important to your success, but so are copy platforms and how you present the information you want to convey. But why test a story?

Marketers may not always put the topic of storytelling at the top of their to-do list, but they should. Storytelling, in this context, is the art of telling an emotional and compelling story in e-mail, or other advertising medium, to effectively convey a call to action that sells a product or service, or gains a donation from the recipient.

Stories engage people because they are entertaining, allow the recipient to relate and connect with the characters, draw on emotion and can lead the reader to a conclusion and often do a better job of being genuine and relevant. And in today’s over-communicated media landscape, when consumers tend to be more entertainment-oriented than ever, stories might be just what your email correspondence needs to lift your ROMI.

Psychologically, we also tend to remember stories. The Bible is based on stories. So are fairytales, most children’s books, many great songs, movies, plays and TV plots. “What’s the storyline” in news and sports? If it’s compelling we tend to migrate to it, or at least pay more attention. A story helps you break through the clutter.

Storytelling is more commonly used in long form, one-step emails where the products or services have a high price point, but even these marketers could benefit by telling different, more compelling stories to move their wares.

By incorporating storytelling in your efforts, you are really taking a back to the basics approach to your marketing. For centuries, the world’s greatest teachers and leaders have used stories to more successfully communicate with people and motivate them to take action. In direct mail, e-mail’s marketing cousin, you may have seen some of the top-performing storytelling direct mail packages, including those from The Wall Street Journal, Time-Life, Rodale Inc., Covenant House, Greenpeace, Nightingale-Conant and National Wildlife Federation, among many others. You continue to see them for one very simple reason: they work. That’s another reason to test this approach in e-mail.

A good story is something the recipient can read easily and which effectively touches that something inside of them that urges them to take action. We can relate better to stories.

Let me give you an example. Imagine turning the this Omaha Steaks email into a story.

The sender might say, “How I saved 67% and used the savings to make my party even better…”

Look at another example here.

In this case, some compelling, credible stories could be featured on how the books above helped changed a mindset and were critical to the reader’s newfound success. It will be relevant to many of the recipients and will likely work better than shouting savings. Heck, you could even keep the savings and tell the stories.

A few guidelines to follow include not fabricating a story – the more real and true-to-life the better the results typically are, the more detail you provide, the more credible the story will be,  and be on the lookout for new stories all the time. They are like testimonials on steroids for your marketing.

Go ahead, pump up your e-mail marketing with storytelling starting today. Then, share your story with me and all of us at Johnson Direct.

Hey, (Your Name Here)!

In the ongoing search to find the next big idea to take our marketing performance to new heights, we can be forgiven for occasionally going overboard. This is especially true at a time when CMOs are among the most expendable members of the C-suite.

A study by executive search firm Spencer Stuart reported that CMOs’ tenure has averaged 22.9 months, compared with 53.8 months for CEOs. And just 14% of top-brand CMOs have been with their present company more than three years, vs. 50% who’ve been on the job for less than a year.

Clearly the CMO position is under intense scrutiny and is a volatile post at best. So in that headlong rush to find “the” way to keep business growing, our clawing fingernails may tend to hang on to whatever looks like the best chance to keep the bottom line on the upswing.

Is this the case with the trend to “personalize” everything? Clearly, personalization has shown significant value in a variety of marketing vehicles. But like everything else, it eventually has a saturation point.

Does simply slapping my name on a direct mail piece and referring me to a personalized URL guarantee success? Of course not. Just as with e-mail, which has clearly reached nearly laughable status in terms of over-personalization (“Grant Johnson, Now Get a Full Head of Hair!”), we’re beginning to see the same kind of overuse emerging across the marketing spectrum.

We need to remember that it’s customers — not us — who define what’s relevant and decide the channels through which they want to receive our brilliant marketing messages.

Is the short-term success of personalization sustainable, or are we better off using traditional direct marketing techniques such as face-to-face contacts and telephone calls?

I vote for the latter. Marketers need to use traditional DM methods in prospecting rather than just relying on personalized e-mails to do that essential task in an attempt to shortcut testing.

It can be annoying for consumers to receive mailings from a company or organization they don’t know that acts like it’s known them for years. It’s one thing to buy or rent a list with my name on it, but I’d rather you wait to be my buddy until I’ve purchased something from you, or requested information and defined the relationship parameters. Otherwise it’s just another version of that anonymous person calling on the phone and greeting you with “Grant, how are you doing today?” long before getting around to saying who he or she is, and what they want from me.

Let the target audience define how it wants to be marketed to and via what channels, then test various offers and messaging platforms based on that data to gauge results.

Want examples of marketers that know this to be true, and are the leaders in their respective segments? Look no further than:

•Starbucks : How I want my coffee is different from the way you want yours.

•Harley-Davidson: How I customize my bike is different from the way you do it.

•Apple: The music on my iPod is different from yours.

What makes these three brands the best? Personal relevance. They each seem to understand that their products are that much better because each user can make them their very own.

It might help to recall valuable, hard-earned lessons from marketing’s past whenever we consider using personalization: telemarketing (do-not-call legislation); e-mail (overuse and spam that’s negatively affected response and its use in prospecting); and misguided direct mail that inundates our mailboxes (think quality, not quantity, please!).

Is personalization a bad thing? No. But we need to let our customers and prospects tell us how to proceed.

They may say they love personalization; they might show us that there can be too much of a good thing; or they could decide that the answer is somewhere in between. The important thing is to pay attention and look at customers and prospects as the drivers of our continuing efforts.

Remember “The customer is always right?” It’s never been more true than it is today as we move into the world of new media. Keep testing and keep listening to your customers. Your reward will be long-term success, not just short-term spikes in response.