Marketing versus Advertising

Marketing is creating a buzz – and in our connected world where customers can find each other and recommendations can reach millions, creating a buzz is becoming more and more linked to creating a fantastic product or service.

Advertising is marketing that you pay for, the fallback for marketers who are stuck promoting something that isn’t quite buzz-worthy.

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Thanks for Your Patients?

This is one of the funnier typos out there and quite common.

Do not say “thanks for your patients” unless you are a medical doctor and I am referring sick people to you for treatment. Then you may thank me for those patients I’m sending your way. If you want to thank me for being patient with you, the correct spelling is “thanks for your patience”.

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Job Interview Feedback

There are many “sorry” emails sent out for every one “congratulations” email after a round of job interviews. If you get one of the “sorry” emails, wouldn’t you want to know why? Perhaps it is poor form to ask why, but the feedback – if you get it – can be priceless. So write a polite reply, thank them for the opportunity to attend an interview and invite their feedback/suggestions for improving your future job applications. You may just get a goldmine of information back.

Here are some basic interview pointers, collected from my notes made during interviews:

1. An experienced interviewer can tell when you are simply giving answers that you think they want to hear. That’s very, very bad as it reflects on your honesty. For example, if I ask you where you see yourself five years from now, “right here” is the wrong answer unless you can convince me.

2. I love asking people what they consider to be their own worst attribute. It’s a trick question that tests honesty. Most candidates fall over this one with an answer like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I am a workaholic”. Wrong answer. Those are positives. That is not what the interviewer wants. Come up with a true negative. Honesty outweighs everything else in an interview.

3. Tell yourself that you will get this job if it’s the right job for you. Then relax. Treat the interview like a friendly discussion. If you are super nervous it is very hard for the interviewer to connect with you and see a potential co-worker behind the wall of nerves. If you appear desperate, that also raises questions.

4. Do not interrupt the interviewer. Seems obvious, doesn’t it? In my experience, about one in four candidates will answer before I finish the question – and sometimes end up answering the wrong question. In the workplace this habit will likely lead to misunderstandings and frustration. No thanks.

5. If you’ve had a bad experience with a previous employer, that is something you want to handle delicately. Every story has two sides. If you tell me that your previous boss was an inflexible and unreasonable troll, I have to wonder what she would say about you. After all, no employer would be mean to their superstar employee. If she was hard on you, I have to assume that you probably deserved some of it.

6. Read up about the company beforehand and prepare a few questions of your own. Trust me, this will lift you head and shoulders above 90% of the other candidates.

Bottom line:
You were invited to the interview, so you already have a thumbs-up from the company. Relax and go have an honest and open chat with the interviewer. That’s usually all it takes to land the job.

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Logo Colors

When clients ask us to match the colors in their logo design to colors on their web site it usually points to a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of color in branding.

It’s not about colors that look nice. It’s certainly not about taste. Color is an integral part of the message of your logo and brand. It pays to do the research and get a basic understanding of colors and their meaning before you go any further.

You must also consider the impact of your colors on the distinctness of your brand. If every one of your main competitors use blue, using green might be the perfect way to distinguish your brand. Using pink might be even better. My favorite surface cleaner comes in a pale pink bottle. They don’t have a catchy name, but they have this pale pink that makes up for it. Nothing else on the shelf has that color. It’s integral to their brand.

There are no rules here. There might be a good reason why everyone in your industry use blue. The point is, you have to think about, research and understand colors so that your final color choice is an intelligent, considered decision based on factors that will give your business the best chance of success.

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Nice Spam

It pisses me off even more than regular spam. It pretends to be nice. “I’m sorry for contacting you in this manner…”

No, you’re not sorry.

Nobody believes that you are.

Get a real job before you loose what self-respect you have left.

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Fat, Lazy and Stupid

Apparently the most searched for term in Bing is “Google”.

Why?

Most searched for term in Google? “Facebook”.

People open their browsers which default to MSN, where they use Bing to find Google to find Facebook.

“Fat, lazy and stupid” holds true.

I’m no longer sure about “stupid” though. I actually saw someone doing this. She has a degree in accounting, so “stupid” does not apply in her case. It comes down to it being easy enough and what she is used to. It works. Who cares if there is a better way. It’s only a few seconds that she wastes. She did not calculate, despite being an accountant, the total time wasted doing this three times a day, every day for the next 50 years.

So I’ll do that calculation for her, despite being a designer. Say it takes ten seconds and she goes to Facebook three times a day. Assuming she does this on weekends too, she will spend ±152 hours of her life between nowhere and Facebook. If a billion people did this, that’s 57,000 years wasted every single day.

But back to the point:
For those of us trying to sell to this group, assume that your site visitor could not find your site again and probably does not understand or care that you are better than your competitors. On average, she is just glad she found what she wanted to buy. Don’t give her obstacles. Give her a big order button and a pat on the back.

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Finding Clients

Online graphic design is becoming ridiculously competitive. Those who go out in search of clients have an uphill battle, trying to sell something that can probably be bought much cheaper elsewhere.

So stop trying to find clients. I think the future – in any online industry – is in giving clients a reason to find you. Not the means. I don’t mean “SEO” or ads or any other online marketing widget. I mean making them go “A-ha!” when they arrive on your site.

How you blow their socks off is the million Dollar question, but don’t focus on the value for money that you offer. That’s the most traveled route and it does not make people go “A-ha!”. It makes them go “Hm, not bad. I wonder if I can get this even cheaper.”

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Google & Privacy. It’s Bad.

I’ve been using the “incognito” mode in Chrome lately, hoping to restrict Google’s spying on my every move. I also have my search history turned off in my Google account. So I was puzzled when I saw dentist’s ads all over the web today. I searched for local dentists a few days ago.

Right at the bottom of Google’s page explaining search history, they claim that they store searches in a separate system in order to prevent misuse and “to improve our services”. Even if you delete your search history.

Oh, OK. My bad. So no matter what, Google may pull up a chair and take notes when I browse the Web. To benefit their advertisers. I see.

I’ve mentioned duckduckgo.com before. They now have image search too. It’s a nice alternative to Google. There is also startpage.com. I’ve never been a Microsoft fan, but even Bing is better.

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