Before I dive in, a big virtual hug for those who sent get-well-soon messages.
I’ve fully recovered from my bad bout of COVID and your kind thoughts meant a lot to me!
Table of Contents | Volume 11, Issue 28
As summer draws to its Labor Day close the shorter days signal that change is in the air.
Many New Yorkers rush to cram in time off for summer activities.
I’m packing in more beach time since the very hot temperatures, rain and poor air quality limited our visits earlier this summer. Unlike the better-known Long Island beaches, especially the Hamptons, and New Jersey coast, New York City has a variety of beaches across its 5 boroughs.
My husband and I had hoped to visit many of them, especially Jacob Riis Park but it was under construction this summer. So, we visited Rockaway Beach. While there’s an hour ferry from Wall Street, we opted to take 3 subways and walk 6 blocks to the beach since it was faster.
For years, we took a one-hour subway ride to crowded Brighton Beach. It’s located off a residential area of Brooklyn. So, Rockaway Beach was a welcome change. While the trip took twice as long, the Queens beach was almost empty and very chill.
When my California-born nephew had a summer job in Manhattan during college, he stayed at our apartment. He woke up at 5:45 am to surf at Rockaway before showing up at work with his surfboard.
► 60th Anniversary of March on Washington
Six decades ago on August 28, 1963, about a quarter of a million people attended the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial. They heard Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his I Have A Dream speech focused on the need for racial and social equality.
King’s 1963 speech paved the way for major federal voting rights legislation and the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act. Despite these positive outcomes, the March also resulted in pushback and violence.
Last Saturday, tens of thousands of people returned to Washington, DC, to commemorate the 1963 gathering. While this year’s speakers and their issues were more diverse, they underscored that Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of less hatred and bigotry was at risk. Among the speakers were:
- Actor Sasha Baron Cohen who focused on putting an end to anti-semitism.
- Parkland School Shooting Survivor David Hogg who urged younger generations to run for office to respond to gun violence.
- President and CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group, Margaret Huang who acknowledged that the 1963 March on Washington opened doors and motivated the creation of new tools to fight discrimination.
Then, Huang underscored that new laws across the US “claw away at the right to vote.” Many of these laws target members of the LGBTQ+ community and threaten to erase some of those gains,
“These campaigns against our ballots, our bodies, our school books, they are all connected. When our right to vote falls, all other civil and human rights can fall too, but we’re here today to say ‘not on our watch.'”
► August 2023’s Blue Moon and Supermoon
August 2023 begins and ends with a full moon. When a second full moon appears in a single calendar month it’s known as a “Blue Moon.”
This occurs every 2 to 3 years because the moon’s monthly cycle is slightly shorter than an average calendar month. When the full moon occurs at the beginning of a month with enough days to complete the lunar cycle, there’s a blue moon.
Also, the August 30th blue moon is a supermoon. Since the moon’s orbit isn’t a perfect circle, its distance from the Earth varies. Perigee is when the moon is closest to the Earth. It’s about 14% closer than at its farthest point. When the full moon phase coincides with the moon’s perigee, about 3 to 4 times per year, it’s called a supermoon.
Technically, it appears a little bigger and brighter than an average full moon, but it isn’t noticeable to the naked eye. When a full moon nearly coincides with the perigee, tides are much larger than normal. For several days around that date, low tides tend to be unusually low and high tides tend to be unusually high. (Source: NASA 2023)
► What You Need To Know To Plan For The Rest Of 2023
As you finish and modify your Holiday Season 2023 Plans, examine your actual results to-date.
Check your actual results to-date against your budget and past year results. Include your new customer acquisition and existing customer sales data. Where possible, break out your marketing acquisition, onboarding and retention campaigns.
Actionable Marketing Factors to Check
♦ Customer Acquisition
- How did you acquire new customers? Include the average time from first touch to actual purchase. This is particularly important for B2B prospects that can take over a year to acquire.
- Did you change your promotional calendar? If so, did you keep a segment of your prospects separate to measure the change? Use a statistician to ensure reliable quantities. For help, read Nancy Harhut’s book, Using Behavioral Science in Marketing.
- What content or advertising started the purchase process? Did you test new presentations and offers?
♦ Customer Research
- When, where and what content format did they choose? Include social media, website and other owned media, including your sales team and retail outlet. This translates to online, voice and human contact. Despite AI’s hype phase, consider how customers talk and listen to your sales and service team, asking questions via smartphones, chat and calls to your IVAs.
- Who answered prospect’s questions across purchase stages? If customers had questions and turned to other platforms or formats, how did your team respond?Brooke B. Sellas recommends using social media listening and tracking software and having a trained social media service team to respond to your business, industry and competitors questions. Read her book, Conversations That Connect: How To Connect, Converse Through Social Media Listening and Social-Led Customer Care. Use this method to ensure you close sales and have a fighting chance of winning over competitor’s prospects.
- How many people were involved in the customer’s purchase process? For consumer products, this usually means family members and friends and, for business products, this involves a group of 6 to 10 people according to Gartner.
- How did you onboard new customers? While onboarding is more important for B2B products, it also supports B2C customer’s choice.In my opinion, onboarding is one of the most underrated steps in the purchase process. Often it doesn’t exist for many B2C products, including high-involvement decisions and/or expensive purchases from the consumer’s perspective.By contrast, for B2B purchases, the onboarding process gets handed off to a Customer Success team, another name for a specialized customer service group. The sale goes from the sales team working with senior executives to a lower level support team and users.
♦ Customer Retention
- How did you handle customer retention? Did you start retention with the purchase and onboarding? Do you have a series of emails and customer touchpoints? Did your existing customers purchase from your business again?McKinsey’s Loyalty Loop process of acquiring a customer depends on a second purchase. Otherwise, they may have chosen your offering because it was a last-minute decision or they didn’t have the time or other options.
I recommend offering an onboarding email series that integrates with your regular email series. It should be a content-only series and be mailed weekly or every other week. Your promotional emails should be separate.
For example, Modern Daily Knitting does a great job of this. They offer a Saturday article-filled newsletter and a Wednesday promotional email.
- What proportion of your customer base has churned? Specifically, how many of your existing customers are still buying from you and haven’t unsubscribed?According to McKinsey, 87% of customers shop around while 13% of customers remain brand loyal.
What Heidi Cohen Did This Summer
Ever since I was 8 years old, I’ve wanted to be an author and to write novels.
During the 1990s I took writing courses in Manhattan after my full-time marketing jobs. I also attended a lot of author readings at many independent bookstores.
In addition, I spent part of my vacation attending at least one writing conference. They included the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop, Bennington College and The Fine Arts Work Center. This unconventional writing studies enabled me to choose both instructors and topics. As a result, I studied with 3 Pulitzer Prize-winning authors.
Later, I supported Riverside Marketing Strategies by writing for third-party online publications; some of which I got paid for. Also, I crafted 1,600+ blog posts for the Actionable Marketing Guide.
During this period, I compiled the materials for and wrote partial drafts of marketing books several times but never finished developing a book.
This summer, I started to write a novel. To accomplish this, I searched Google for writing groups, programs and readings in New York City. The post-pandemic options were significantly fewer than during in the 1990s.
► How To Write The Zero Draft of Your Novel
While Ann Handley calls the initial draft of content, “The First Ugly Draft” (TFUD), here are the steps I took to write my Zero Draft of my novel.
- Attended Nanowrimo July Camp. While November is National Novel Writing Month, when participants aim to write a total of 50,000 words in 30 days, there’s a camp in April and July.The Nanowrimo Camp Sessions offer greater flexibility. You can choose your word count and writing goal. It can include planning or editing a book. I committed to 30,000 words and wrote about 13,000 due to the interruption of COVID. (BTW, I’m now past 21,000 words.)
- Took free writing classes in Bryant Park run by Gotham Writers Workshop. This series of classes covered a variety of types of writing. Each class was given by a different instructor and provided new perspectives.
- Joined a writers group. Run by a branch of the New York Public Library, I tried this group for 4 weeks. I dropped out since most of the members were writing memoirs.
- Read a lot. I focused on books, articles and podcasts on writing. I found these books through colleagues and Google. One of my best resources was the New York Public Library (NYPL.org).
► Writing Book Recommendations
Want to improve your writing?
Then based on my summer’s reading, here are 5 books on writing worthy of your time:
- Bradbury, Ray, Zen and the Art of Writing. In this short collection of essays, Bradbury explains how he built his writing habits.
- Brody, Jessica, Save The Cat! Writes a Novel. Based on Blake Snyder’s book for screenwriters, it guides writers through developing your main and other characters including how they’re transformed and the structure or order of the plot.This book made me change my main character based on Brody’s great questions at the end of each chapter.
- Lamont, Anne, Bird By Bird. This is a writing classic that I read when it was first published. I re-read it for inspiration.
- Mosley, Walter, This Year You Write Your Novel. This 25,000 word book is worth its weight in gold. After spending up to an hour a day doing morning pages or journaling, I stopped because Mosley advised writers to focus on their book first before they did any other writing. Recommended by AMG Newsletter reader, George Stenitzer.
- Ueland, Brenda, If You Really Want To Write. Ueland helps people of any background to write. My mother bought me this book years ago and I found a new copy at The Strand Bookstore.
- Zinsser, William, On Writing Well (Fifth Edition). This writing classic focuses on the basics of writing. It helps improve your basic writing whatever your writing goal.
Actionable Writing Tip
- Write about what happened to you every year of your school experience when you get stuck about what to write. This advice from Annie Lamont was based on Flannery O’Connor’s statement that “Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days.”
Note: To continue writing my novel, the AMG Newsletter will move to an every other week publication schedule starting in September.
Now is the perfect time to get your marketing organized for budget season and for the end of year promotional push.
► Budgeting. Just the mention of budgeting caused even the most seasoned marketer to break out in a sweat.
Instead, take a deep breath because you’ve got this. Budgeting is just a matter of collecting historical information by promotion and assessing how you can improve your results next year. Consider how your customers and business have changed.
► Promotional calendar. Lay out a week by week set of promotions to give your broader audience a reason to purchase from your business.
Start this exercise by laying out the promotions you’ve used over the past 3 years.Track them by week, including the number of people reached, the dollar results and unit results. Also note any tests and their performance on a separate tracking sheet.
Where appropriate include major annual promotions and other planned events.
Plan Ahead: Mark Your Calendar
► Voice and AI – September 5th to 7th in Washington, DC
► Content Marketing World 2023 – September 26 – 28 in Washington, DC
► MarketingProfs B2B Forum – October 4 – 6 in Boston, MA
► Are you hosting an event that you’d like us to add to the Marketing Calendar? If so, let us know by using our Contact Form with the Subject Line: Event For AMG Newsletter Calendar.
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And, please let me know what you’re doing for your Summer Vacation.
P.S.: Want Heidi Cohen to contribute a quote or other commentary to your next article, presentation, video, research, or book? Then hit reply to this email and ask.
P.P.S: Did you miss our last AMG Newsletter? Previous newsletters can be found in the AMG Newsletter Archive.