How to avoid costly marketing mistakes

Let’s start with a fairytale

Once upon a time, there was a girl called Cinders. Cinders always worked hard and thought herself practically perfect in every way. One night, Cinders found herself surrounded by boxes and boxes of brochures. Earlier that day, very angry people had called her, Cinderella illustrationwanting to know why their information was all horribly wrong and what  was she going to do about it! Cinders did her very best to calm the angry people and set to work righting the mistake.

She toiled long into the night, adding a corrections sheet to every single copy of the 5000 brochures, wearing her manicure down and wiping away her tears of frustration.

Cinders learned a great lesson that night. Never again would she boast about being practically perfect in every way. She would always check her work properly.*

Meanwhile, in real life, Continue reading


Seven ways to screw up a press release

Your business has some great news or an event you want to publicise. Whether or not you agree that the newspaper industry is dying, the public need for news is bigger than ever. With streaming sites and constant updates, websites need more news content than your local newspaper could ever contain in their daily or weekly edition. So, how best to get your company’s news into websites, newspapers and magazines? The press release (aka the media release or the news release if it’s feeling fancy (fair warning, I’m about to use all three terms as I like to keep you on your toes!)) still reigns no matter where the news will eventually be of newspaper stand

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This week’s rant: Facebook and the art of Plain English

Did you get that email, suspiciously sent during the Thanksgiving holiday, asking Facebookers to read the proposed privacy policy and data use policies and comment on them? I dutifully clicked on the link and took a gander at the documents. What have I learned? Not a thing about their proposed changes but an awful lot about language and Facebook’s inability to communicate well with their users. Continue reading


If you build your home page right, they will come!

Okay, so I’ve ripped off a line from Field of Dreams, but here’s the thing. These days, life moves pretty fast (sorry, Ferris). People don’t have the time to try and figure out what your business is all about so you’ve got to make sure that the first page they see on your site states one big thing:Quote from Ruskin

What’s in it for me? (no, not you, them, your currently hypothetical customers)

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Are your emails duller than a bag of butter knives?

Rant of the week!

In the last week, I’ve read a number of supposedly sales emails that made me want to fall asleep/whack my head against the wall repeatedly.  How do these people survive in  the real world?  Fifty buck words, long paragraphs of rambling sentences, It’s infuriating!

Now, most people will instantly delete these types of emails.  Not me, these are an education for me in how not to engage your audience.  So, here’s:

How to write a sales email that doesn’t make your reader want to whack their head against the nearest wall! Continue reading


Google thinks I’m a man – an experiment in gender and the internet

Google’s Gender Reassignment

You all saw the information about Google’s Ad Preferences last week – Facebook and Twitter were awash with people checking out what box Google had pegged them into.  For my part, I came up as 35-44 (correct) and a man (nope, definitely not).

What’s Google playing at?

Take a look at Sarah Kessler’s article on this and you’ll see a large number of commenters who are female in real life but, according to Google, male in their internet life.  Kashmir Hill, over at, explains how Google does it.

I very much doubt lowly little me would ever get an interview with the Google ad supremos or the giant market research companies, such as Neilsen, so I’m conducting an experiment instead. Continue reading