The Registration Plus of the Personal Touch

Late today I got a call from a young man striving to get the same sort of business levels here in the Pacific Northwest that he and his wife had been enjoying in Texas. I agreed to meet with him and immediately turned to my files to see if there were tips I had passed along in articles that might help him.

This was first posted in 2013.

Bill got right to the point. He asked, “You’re the expert at on line marketing how can I put my half of the seminar attendees in their seats?”

“Back up,” I said. “Your half?”

Bill explained, “I’ve worked out a deal with a client to host a seminar and they will put 10 people in the room and I have to provide the other 10. I’ll present and they will host the room and the lunch. It’s a win-win if I can get those other seats filled without having to buy the room.”

“Buying the room is a theater expression for providing free tickets to an event to fill the room so it looks like it is a hit.”

“So,” I asked, “Why are you buying me coffee?”

He reviewed his plan to send out e-mails to his list of connections that had opted into his newsletter and even showed me the rough outline of his message.

Bill got a blank expression when I asked him, “What is the subject line?”

He was so wrapped up in the message that he forgot that you have to get the e-mail opened. There are two things people look at before opening an e-mail:

  1. Who it is from
  2. The subject line

The more personal the message appears, the more often it is opened and the easier it is to accomplish your objectives.

I told Bill, “If you have to put 10 people in the room the process they are going to go through is:

  • Open the e-mail (Open rates from a Newsletter list are good, up to 50% but don’t count on more than 20%)
  • Read the offer. Reject you, look for more information or register (Rejections—80% at least. The measure here is click-throughs)
  • If they look for more their options are to reject or register. (About 20%, with luck will register).”

Bill, who is a numbers guy said, “So if I hear you correctly, if I went out to 100 people only 20 would open the message. A best 4 would look for more information. Of those maybe 1 would register.”

“Right, “I said, “so the number you go out to is critical. With those analytics you need to go out to 1000 to get your ten. BUT I can increase our odds. Put their name in the subject line and you get a 15% to 25% increase in opens.

Do the math. That gets you 40 opens, 8 click-throughs and 2 registrations per 100 e-mails sent.”

Bill said, “Thanks, with the personal touch it now seems possible.”

How you handle the click through (CTA) to more information and the page which that delivers can also increase your odds but the single most important factor is getting them to open your message. Personalizing does that.

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Consulting: Speaking:



Brand Demands Focus

Brand FocusFor starters who is really the customer?

That sounds like a simple question but it isn’t. The world is more complex today than it has ever been. The way products and services are delivered today, especially digital products, is revolutionizing industries.

They call it disruption.

The digital transformation is rolling across industries like a tsunami. Businesses that don’t recognize the possibility are disappearing. Blockbuster is gone. Uber and Lyft have become the go to transporters for a new generation.

Complexity makes it hard to Focus.

Southwest Airlines operates in what would seem to be an easy to understand market. Passengers are the obvious customers but founders of the airline understood that in order to compete and build a brand they had to instill a love of passenger service in everyone that worked for them. They said their employees were their primary customers. They “luv’d” them and changed the industry. Success is why, in 1977, their stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “LUV.”

Airbnb is an alternative to hotels and bed and breakfasts and so the customer at first appears to be the person looking for an overnight or multi-night stay away from home. This disruptive service works because it handles the infrastructure of advertising space availability, booking the visitor, paying the owner of the space and taking a commission on the deal. The real customer is the person with space to book, like a Silicon valley investor on vacation with his extended family in Europe who earned enough through an Airbnb booking for part of his home to pay for the trip and make a profit at the same time.

Where the money is defines the customer.

A client which must remain nameless because of non-disclosures is a good case in point. It requires a distributor and allows contributors to provide content and is used by consumers delivered in the form of an app for smart phones.

Who is the customer? Is it the distributor, the contributor or the consumer?

  • We know that the consumer is not going to pay for the app even though it could have great advantages. The consumer is not the customer.
  • Contributors would have to distribute the app in order for it to be of value to them. Could they recoup that expense and make a profit? Possible, but a tough sell.
  • The distributor can use the app to generate additional revenue from current users and expand their service to new users. At the same time they can recoup the costs by charging a small fee to implement the app for their users. This is the customer.

Focus your business and your brand to succeed.

The more laser like you can be the better. Strip away the complexity. Figure out which of the parts of how you get your product or service to market has the most profit capability for you and for them. Go where the money is. Target them first.

Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.


Deja-vu Testing for On-line Success

The Marketing lunch bunch“It’s not a new idea” Kate said, “So don’t try to take credit.”

Rick groaned, took another sip of wine and nodded. Then he rose to the bait saying, “I know I didn’t invent the idea but at least give me credit for figuring out how to apply it to the funnel hacking e-marketing world we live in.”

“So what brilliance did you come up with?” I asked.

“Daily déjà-vu of simultaneous synchronized multi-variant testing of multiple elements is my claim to fame,” he said.

Gail guffawed looked him in the eye and said, “What a mouthful! Rick, my boy you are brilliant at times but this is not one of them. You know as well as I do that direct marketing copy controls have been tested every which way you can imagine over the years and that something as simple as an A-B split test is so easy online that anyone that can afford the software or the service can get it done. So what are you claiming?”

Kate piled on noting, “And don’t try to pull that tale of having to dumb down your ideas of how to test that the programmers couldn’t figure out 10 or 15 years ago because Fletch was sitting beside you in that meeting you’ve told me and as I recall he’s the one that had to explain what an A-B split test was.”

Rick swished his wine in the glass, carefully set it down and replied, “You all would agree that we need to find out the relative importance of the offer, the list of people you are addressing and the approach. That principle is true of direct marketing, e-mail marketing, e-commerce stores/catalogs on-line or even a web site developed to begin a relationship for a professional service.

My approach takes the ability of the internet to produce quantifiable data quickly and the need to look a multiple components of the message to new levels. There are entrepreneurs out there right now that are pushing the envelope. They test everything. They find a control that works and then start testing to improve it. Sometimes as simple shift can increase ROI by hundreds of points.

What are you doing to make your web-based marketing activities more successful? Why not try tests of formatting, subject lines, subheads, arrangement of paragraphs, captions, descriptions, addition or deletion of photos and a host of other variables. There is hard data that shows that at least half of these have increased response levels.

The time to test what works for your business is right now. And tomorrow. And the day after.

Testing ought to be Deja-vu, over and over again.”

Jerry Fletcher weaves the tales of the Lunch Bunch based on his experiences in advertising, direct marketing, consulting and helping build entrepreneur businesses.

Jerry Fletcher KeynoteJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at

How to Build a Killer Brand

How to Build a Killer Brand

Heart in sightsIt has been one of those months this week.

Planning. Candid conversations. Decisions to hire and fire. Web site assumptions and dialogues. Quality constraints and requirements. Analytics that spiral positive and those that went down in flames.

Brands suffer the impact because brand building is really not for innocents. Either you really understand marketing or you don’t.

Taking careful aim is at the heart of killer brand development.

What not to do.
Here are some mistakes I witnessed this week:

  1. Put a group of strangers in a room, brief them and expect them to walk out as a functioning collaborative team.
  2. Drop the ball on a project because of bad digital filing habits.
  3. Give a web developer 6 chances to respond to basic direction before deciding to fire him.
  4. Consider video approaches without looking at cost as part of the equation.
  5. Become ecstatic over an increased click through rate that didn’t generate sales.

The Killer Solution

Experience over the last 50 years tells me that to build a brand that captures hearts and minds successfully you have to understand how marketing professionals work in teams and their expectations of management. Clarity is what will make you successful.

Be perfectly clear that :

  • The owner/founder/CEO/President—the leader of any small firm owns the brand. Her or his understanding of the Vision, Mission, Position and Value Proposition is what will be applied to all organization communications.
  • Direction on any major project should be in writing and agreed to in advance. The directional document should be the reference point for approvals. Staff can provide additional information but is encouraged to do it before any work is done. If there is concern over the materials delivered the reference point is the direction.
  • A digital “paper trail” needs to be kept and used as the reference when anything goes sideways (as well as a way to assure continuing process improvement). With small clients I had eliminated my Action Reports on all meetings. I’m reversing that decision.
  • Budget, Quality and Outcome are interrelated. There are significant differences in delivery of digital capabilities, video production, and all communication vehicles based on what a firm is willing to pay, the level of excellence of the work and what the expectations of the item are. Too often, even though we have much better visibility of analytics the end results are not the key factor in evaluating marketing efforts.
  • Business Development objectives are the real measurements. Everything done in marketing needs to acknowledge contribution to the target numbers. Be as concrete as possible. For instance:
  • Optimize web site to make it as easy as possible for visitors to self-select the action which will give you a way to connect with them over the time to build a relationship leading to a “sale.” Track all actions. Track actual “sales” to determine the apparent customer journey.
  • Direct Social Media activities to continually tested landing pages that capture data to build relationships over time. Track actions by landing page. Track “sales” as with web site. Review results and test all contact activities to find the ones that lead to “Sales.”
  • Build better ongoing relationships with customers by monitoring opens, comments and direct contacts due to blog and newsletter postings. Modify content to take advantage of proven highest interest. Keep tracking.
  • Test automated sequences in support of direct sales staff. Monitor results.

Trial to buy ScorecardPost status versus your corporate goals on a scoreboard visible to all members of the firm.

Weekly results usually work best. Keep it simple: New info sign ups, New trials, New customers/clients.

Those few items will keep everyone in the game.


Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.


Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at

The Journey From Mad Man to Brand Poobah

Two MartinisKen asked me over lunch, “Was it really like Mad Men back then?”

Let’s just say I have a little more mileage than he does. He wasn’t born when I went to New York. He was fascinated by my experiences in the era popularized by the TV Series Mad Men.

Yes, I was there. I climbed the stairs from the IRT stop and walked a short distance to the entrance to 420 Lexington and the Offices of J. Walter Thompson when it was the largest advertising agency in the world. I still have the brass medal every employee was awarded on the 100th anniversary of the company.

That job, for a boy reared in southwestern Ohio, was a real eye opener. Everybody smoked. Men. Women. Youngsters like me. I’d worked construction to pay for college and picked up the habit, Phillip Morris Commanders—strong like Camels but longer. The scent of tobacco was everywhere.

Working in the mail room I was too young and too low on the totem pole to participate in the sexual hijinks but then I had a sweetheart back in Ohio.

Naïve? Yes. Stupid? No. I figured if I couldn’t get in on the physical side of things I could learn the lingo so I became the confidante of secretaries and traffic girls. I wound up having those lovely creatures buy me drinks since they made more than me.

I lucked out after a while and wound up becoming a TV paste-up guy who put the storyboards together for presentation and that put me into contact with some heavy hitter art directors.

That lead to my first (and last) two martini lunch. Ted took pity on me and asked me to join him for lunch on him. We went to an Argentine place he frequented. The waiter never asked. A martini for each of us showed up and so I clinked glasses and tried not to react. I thought I was going to be okay and then a refill magically appeared.

Ever see one of those cartoon rabbits that seems to have no bones and slide out of a chair to the floor? That was me. I believe the correct term is Blotto.

Working there was a great way to learn that even though I was getting a degree in Advertising Design the art side of the business was not where the power was. I quickly decided that being an Account Man with heavy knowledge of the art side of the business was what I wanted to do. I was lucky. That was the time when boutiques were giving the old line agencies fits. Powerful creative was being done by the upstarts that are now considered to be icons of the industry. That paid off when I made the switch.

Back then they had open training for all employees over lunch and you could learn about all and any parts of the business. I took advantage of the opportunity and made some friends at the VP level who gave me great advice on how to cross the divide from the creative to the management side of the business.

Ken really stirred up the memories including the summer of New York World’s Fair. The Ford exhibit became a Disney ride. The IBM exhibit synced up a battery of 35mm projectors and a couple of movie projectors. I think that was my first experience with that whole idea of multi-media. Years later I would use the same techniques with original scores for multiple clients.

The mileage check version of how I got here is straightforward:

  • Get job interviews for account work at 42 ad agencies at their expense based on a direct mail letter. Take the position offered by Campbell Mithun Minneapolis.
  • Become the fireman (one of the guys that pulls troubled accounts back into the fold).
  • Work in multiple offices and win your spurs as a new business guy.
  • Decide to leave CM when the agency is purchased by a British Conglomerate.
  • Move to Portland and in time become CEO of the largest B2B agency.
  • Hang out a shingle as a solo when you and your board agree to disagree.

I seldom ever look back even though those were great times. It takes a trigger like hurtling down the mountainside from the Medellin airport in a cab with Don Pepper and learning how often we just barely missed crossing paths. But that’s another story…

Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.


Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at

How to Quantify Your Brand

BRand can be QuantifiedYou can’t quantify brand!

Or can you?

We collect brand stories and outcomes at Brand Brain Trust that frequently defy the idea that you can’t hang an analytic on Brand.

The latest addition to the web site tells the story of TSA Pre-Check. You’ll learn how this service offered by a company you never heard of came to Anvil, Portland’s award-winning integrated marketing agency. Anvil rose to the challenge of generating a specific number of sign-ups for the year. They finished Q2 by obliterating the goal for the quarter and surpassing the entire goal for 2016.

What does it take to quantify a brand?

  1. Clear measurable objectives.
  2. Triggers that get actions you can count
  3. Practical and emotional value

Measurable Objectives:

For TSA Pre Check it was a specific sales goal to be delivered within one year. You should definitely have a sales goal. But you might also consider:

  • Having a gateway. Try incorporating a hard to get to way to get in touch with you or enter your establishment that requires social research on the part of the prospect. Keeping count of those that pass through the gate is your key analytic but you could also look at sales per visit or the number of services utilized.
  • Identifying and targeting meetings with ideal clients. Consultants and coaches continually need to develop relationships with prospects. Setting a number to identify and make contact with makes sense. Both numeric goals can prove to be predictors of business growth when your closing ratio and Lifetime value become known.
  • Stop counting intangibles. Take a tip from Montessori schools and use concrete terms. If you count actual items sold or given away you’ll be better off than merely counting customers that entered your store or your website. But, when you combine the two you’ll find yourself figuring out how to add value to everyone that enters.

Triggers that get actions:

TSA Pre Check took advantage of long wait time headlines and the fact that prospects were searching for TSA  Pre Check on Google. Beyond Key Word Research you might look at:

  • Borrow interest from the news. Mars research by NASA spiked requests for Mars Bars in supermarkets when a rover mission was reported. Year over Year data and anecdotal reports quantified he sales increase.
  • Become part of your prospects daily grind. Have you noticed how your local McDonalds is now the McCafe or how KitKat bars are tagging along with coffee?
  • If you offer services, adopt the good, better and best pricing and product presentation. Give ‘em the bare bones that solves their problem for x dollars and call it Basic. Build a Premium package that is priced at 2x, delivers everything in the basic and also provides a real value. Then put together a Platinum program. Price it at least 6x and make sure it includes way more than the prospect might want. (that way, you can let them add individual items from it to your Premium plan and make almost as much for the add-on as for the Premium plan alone.

Build in practical and emotional value:

The practical value of TSA Pre Check is that you don’t have to stand in those long lines at the airport. The emotional value is that you don’t feel like you’re on the Bataan Death March anymore. Other ways you can take advantage of human nature:

  • Make sure that if your product depends on a connection to a story that “everyone knows” that you provide a hang tag for the product that recaps the story. You’ll find the Time in a Bottle story on the Brand Brain Trust web site next week. Without the hang tag your product doesn’t sell as well.
  • YouTube videos that get the most views tend to have the words “How To” in their titles. Those that go viral also “How To” (Google: How to shuck corn) Other possibilities include questions like “Will it Blend?” or “Will it Crush?” from Arnold Shwarzenegger with over 4 Million views.
  • Show your emotions to get a reaction. Another YouTube example is the story of Dave Carroll’s run in with United Airlines. They smashed his $3500 guitar. He spent nine months negotiating with United over compensation and they lawyered up and refused him. He wrote United Breaks Guitars, posted it on You Tube. in 10days it was viewed over 3 million times. It was one of the top ten viral videos of 2009.


Jerry Fletcher is the founder of  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.


Get all the Brand Briefs. Sign up at