Before diving into my regularly scheduled letter, let me ask:
Have you felt like screaming at the world lately?
Why do I ask?
Because over the weekend, my husband and I discovered someone had drawn a
screaming spot with chalk at the southern end of Union Square Park.
At a usually busy area of the park, it seemed like a public service announcement.
As I passed it, I realized how much so many of us need an outlet for our feelings during these seemingly endless days of COVID.
Happy MLK Day.
Regardless of your background or worldview, take a moment to remember a great man who used his words to create societal change.
Monday night, my husband and I watched The Drum Major Instinct. It was a theatrical Zoom reading of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech given in Birmingham, Alabama in 1968.
The Drum Major Instinct is about the desire we all have to be first; to be at the head of the parade. King held that this was okay but you must be dedicated to doing good for others.
Produced by Theater of War Productions, the event included musical interludes and was followed by an open conversation with the community from around the world.
Why do I bring this up in a marketing newsletter
Because Theater of War’s goal is to promote dialog on difficult race issues while embracing the messy in-the-moment glitches and feelings.
Further, the message at the core of King’s speech focused on how to live your life within your means. This applies regardless of your background or economic level.
In today’s extremely partisan environment, Dr. King’s words carry more power since we need to learn to communicate with each other in a civil manner. So we can start to build ways to live together and thrive.
Today, people across the US and elsewhere believe that refusing to get a life-saving vaccine is their right. They don’t realize that this decision can cause them to wind up in a hospital ICU or worse dead.
The most notable case was the top seeded tennis player Novak Djokovic who was refused admission to compete in the Australian Open.
While his entry into Australia was handled poorly by officials, it serves as a global example of how to administer rules. Djokovic chose not to get vaccinated. But he still needs to respect the rules of the countries where he wants to compete for his income and global standing.
As a global influencer, his actions have broader implications.
Your words have more influence than you realize.
As an influencer I know that the people who follow me may put more credibility into what I write than I may realize. As a result, I have a responsibility to take care with my words, content and social media postings.
Actionable Marketing Lesson of The Week
► Breaking Through Barriers
Over the past few weeks, a number of high profile people have passed away. While it may be the time of year, I sincerely hope that you haven’t lost anyone close to you since death leaves the living with a hole in their heart.
Two people are worth noting. They broke through long held perception barriers: Betty White and Sidney Poitier.
Betty White died days before her 100th birthday, a major milestone regardless of who you are. She worked in a profession focused on being and looking young—especially if you’re female. In one film you can be a love interest and in the next you’re a mother. Ouch!
White gained a following on US sitcoms like the Golden Girls. She was the white haired actress her audience viewed as their favorite grandmother with a hip sensibility and wit. Her fans created a write-in campaign on Facebook to get her to host Saturday Night Live.
White’s commentary on Facebook:
“I think that it’s a huge waste of time!”
Women spend lots of money and time trying to look younger and relevant while their male counterparts get viewed as wiser.
Sidney Poitier was a Black actor who is known for breaking the color barrier in Hollywood. He was the first Black actor to get an Academy Award for Best Actor (Lilies of the Field). He also directed several films, including Buck and the Preacher and Stir Crazy.
In film after film, Poitier challenged the traditional roles that African Americans were assigned to play. The acclaimed actor was knighted in 1974 and honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.
Why do I spotlight these two actors?
Because your business needs to stand out to your audience in a positive, trust-building way.
Actionable Marketing Tip
- Ask how your business can help your audience to break through to be accepted for who they are.
New York Marketing Minute
► Make Your Local Business Stand Out
Last week my husband shopped for eyeglasses. To be honest, this is a high involvement, two-person purchase since I have to look at him the most.
While you can buy inexpensive prescription eyeglasses at Warby Parker and other competitors, this doesn’t work well when you need a more complex visual correction. Further, the greater the correction you need, the more expensive the lenses are regardless of the price of the frames or the seller.
In New York City, you have the choice of chains like LensCrafter and mom and pop stores. While the chains can reduce the overall cost, the independent stores promote their distinctive frames (aka: more expensive) and better quality lens.
We stopped by a few of the chain eyeglass stores but all we found were look-alike styles with limited options. In addition, I had had problems with one of the chains: they kept filling my mother’s prescription wrong.
So we visited one of the local specialty eyeglass shops in the neighborhood, 10/10 Optics. 10/10 carries a wide variety of high-end brands as well as a few less expensive options.
How did we decide to shop at this store?
I had brought from them in the past.
More importantly they were recommended by an acquaintance of ours. Think “word of mouth” marketing.
What made the difference?
Ruth Domber, the sales person who served us, understood that glasses are like cosmetics. People buy them to become visible and to leave an impression.
Recently they’ve sold a lot of glasses to customers who wanted to be visible on Zooms and in other virtual meetings.
When my husband decided on a pair of frames, he felt that they made him stand out without shouting “Me, me, me!”
Even better, Ruth planted the seeds for my husband to buy another pair of glasses to use when he worked on the computer.
Actionable Small Business Marketing Tips
- Offer specialized products and services. 10/10 Optics offers glasses for people who may have trouble finding eyewear that fits them. They have petite and plus size options.
- Provide a superior customer experience. Don’t just talk about what to do with your customers. Do it! Why because this is the most important factor that separates your business from other businesses providing similar products. BTW, check what author Dan Gingliss has to say about CX.
- Encourage your customers to contribute their content. After my husband purchased his glasses, Ruth asked if she could take his photo for Instagram in his new blue glasses.
Since many businesses and marketers are having a slow start to 2022, use the rest of January to get your marketing plans on track to succeed. Don’t worry that you’re late to the game since many marketers are in the process of leaving their New Year’s Resolutions behind.
Start by reassessing your 2022 sales forecast
Since coVID has caused irregular sales and business interruptions, use an average of the 2 years to get a better base for building your forecast.
Also re-evaluate your 2022 promotional calendar NOW!
Start by assessing what worked best in 2021 and what needs updating and/or other content formats with determining your key promotions.
BTW, it helps to examine the content marketing you already have with a Content Audit.
Due to crumbling cookies, take the time to ensure that you have a way to track results with a trackable CTA (or call-to-action).
Welcome new subscribers: Joanne, Nima and Ева.
Please stay healthy and safe.
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P.S.: Want Heidi Cohen to contribute a quote or other commentary to your next article, presentation, video, research and/or book? Then hit reply to this email and ask.