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FutureNow Article
Monday, Jan. 14, 2008

Infomercial Techniques that Work (or Your Money Back!)

January 14th, 2008

It slices AND dicesAfter finishing my last post on “100% Risk-Free,” I couldn’t shake a nagging feeling that I’d unfairly slammed the infomercial and the people who generate large sums of money from them. (Apparently, many of you agree.) The simple fact is that infomercials work. Against some unenviable odds, infomercials manage to convince viewers to buy a lot of product. So why not learn from them?

Here’s what I meant to suggest:

1.) DO borrow from what’s best about infomercials, with an eye on…

...continue to read "Infomercial Techniques that Work (or Your Money Back!)"

FutureNow Post
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Comparing Personal Brands: Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs

January 9th, 2008

Well earlier this week Bill Gates said goodbye to his daily grind at Microsoft. He also gave his last speech at CES.

In case you missed his farewell tribute, enjoy…

But will Gates actually stop making headlines? Probably not so much.

Gates still retains his title as one of the richest dudes in the world and, of course, he will now focus on making the world a better place. It’s enough for even the biggest Mac fanboy to have a few warm fuzzies…

...continue to read "Comparing Personal Brands: Bill Gates vs. Steve Jobs"

FutureNow Post
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008 at 11:25 am

Does Your Website Sound Like Hillary Clinton?

January 9th, 2008

Love Hillary. Hate Hillary. It’s up to you. But I saw something interesting in her New Hampshire campaign, and she summed it up in the beginning moments of her victory speech.

“…over the past week, I listened to you, and in the process, I found my own voice.”

There was a lot of chatter about Hillary’s emotional moment in a coffee shop caught on video. Watching that moment, many people thought, “Wow, I think for the first time ever, I just saw…

...continue to read "Does Your Website Sound Like Hillary Clinton?"

FutureNow Post
Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008 at 7:00 am

Would You Like a McFrappuccino With That?

January 9th, 2008

AFP photoAs you may know, McDonald’s is trying to beat Starbucks at its own game — or at least steal some market share. According to The Wall Street Journal, the fast food giant is now hiring baristas and, starting this year, they’ll begin putting coffee bars in some 14,000 U.S. locations.

This isn’t the dumbest thing they’ve done lately, but it’s weird.

Starbucks, meanwhile, also hopes to emulate Starbucks — as it once was, anyway — now that Howard Shultz has returned as CEO, renewing…

...continue to read "Would You Like a McFrappuccino With That?"

FutureNow Article
Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008

The 7 Deadly Claims (Part 5) — “100% Risk-Free”

January 8th, 2008

set it and forget itWant to sound like an innnnfomercial?

Want to make your product or service sound too good to be true, and in a way that adds no value to the sale?

Then this deadly claim is for you.

But wait, there’s morrrre!

Not only will “100% Risk-Free” put you in the august company of infomercial Valhalla, it’ll even alienate your readers, causing them to suspect all your other claims as well!

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Jeff, that’s amazing! But how can 100% Risk-Free possibly…

...continue to read "The 7 Deadly Claims (Part 5) — “100% Risk-Free”"

FutureNow Article
Monday, Jan. 7, 2008

Marketing Lessons from Huckabee and Obama

January 7th, 2008

Obama wins the first marathonThey said our sights were set too high,” proclaimed Sen. Barack Obama to a crowd of supporters after winning the Iowa Caucus, the first real test on the road to the White House.

It’s true. Obama was underestimated, as was his Republican counterpart, Mike Huckabee, who beat his closest rival, Mitt Romney, by huge margin despite being outspent on the order of 15-to-1. Although Huckabee, the Christian evangelical former Governor of Arkansas, had risen sharply in the polls headed into the…

...continue to read "Marketing Lessons from Huckabee and Obama"

FutureNow Article
Friday, Jan. 4, 2008

Marketing Lessons From Apple

January 4th, 2008

In the technology universe, two companies dominated most of 2007′s headlines and lined many pockets. Writes Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, “This has been a good year for Apple believers — the stock is up a whopping 138%. In comparison, Google, the other stock market darling is up a mere 54%.”

And 2008 also looks to be another sweet year for Apple. Stephen Coleman, CIO at Daedalus Capital, which is invested heavily in Apple, told Bloomberg News, “There’s so…

...continue to read "Marketing Lessons From Apple"

FutureNow Article
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2008

Sinatra and Social Proof: Rethinking the 4th Deadly Claim

January 2nd, 2008

chairman of the board“If Oprah uses it, it must be amazing.”

Now, you may disagree with that statement, but there’s no arguing with the sales boosts and success that Oprah’s “Favorite Things Show” routinely bestows upon her selected items. And while this falls more nearly under the principle of appeal to authority than social proof, the mental shortcut involved is largely the same — it’s what Chip and Dan Heath coined the “Sinatra Test.”

When Frank crooned, “If I can make it there, I’m gonna…

...continue to read "Sinatra and Social Proof: Rethinking the 4th Deadly Claim"

FutureNow Post
Friday, Dec. 21, 2007 at 10:03 am

The Whopper is dead. Long live the Whopper!

December 21st, 2007

whopper.jpgWant to see what happens to Americans when their favorite fast food is taken away?

Of course you do. But if you want to live dangerously, try telling a hungry customer who can’t wait to bite into 670 glorious calories that their favorite sandwich (over half of which is fat) has been retired. Capturing such a moment requires skilled actors, coordinated planning, hidden cameras, and preferably, a cardiologist standing by. But most of all, it takes confidence.

Burger King’s “Whopper Freakout” campaign…

...continue to read "The Whopper is dead. Long live the Whopper!"

FutureNow Article
Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2007

The 7 Deadly Claims (Part Four) — “We’re #1″

December 19th, 2007

Now, here’s a claim that does for persuasive copy what Jonestown did for grape Kool-Aid: “We’re #1 in our industry.”

Not only will this particular (unsubstantiated) claim poison your copy, but the copywriter’s desire to use it stems from the same psychological principle that’s said to have caused so many Jonestown believers to have tragically drained their own deadly draught: Social Proof.

To paraphrase Robert Cialdini, we tend to view behavior as being correct to the degree that we see others performing it. (Salting…

...continue to read "The 7 Deadly Claims (Part Four) — “We’re #1″"

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