Tag Archives: ideas

What Are A Call Center’s Compelling Home Page Headlines?

I read this on a marketing website “If you want people to read what you have to say on your website, you must start each webpage with a compelling headline and use sub headlines to keep your visitors reading your text”

I am developing a web site and need to headlines for the front page. We are a call center for outsourcing telemarketing inbound and outbound services. We are nationwide and have the top technology in the industry. Our service is superb and we have a state of the art facility.

Any suggestions for headlines to the front page introduction to us headline, then a secondary headline with what content would be most important? If you were going to outsource to a call center what would you be looking for?


Is Your Business Overwhelmed With Phone Calls?
Tired Of Answering The Phone?
Tired Of Cold-Calling?
Rather Be Working Than Calling?
Wasting Too Much Time On The Phone?
We Love To Find You New Customers
Because Calling Isn’t Everyone’s Cup of Tea
Leave Phone Calling To the Pros
Do What You Do. We’ll Answer The Phone.
Stop Phone Interruptions.

How Can I Communicate The Benefits Of Our Cement?

I have recently joined in marketing department of a company which is into manufacture of cement. The brand is good but is a bit more costly as compared to the brands of other competitors. It is justified by the good quality our cement have. But what is the best way to send this message to the consumers through our communications? And what promotions could be run to support the brand?


What specifically does an improved quality of the cement mean? Durable? Less likely to crack? More/Less flyash?

You need to highlight the key benefit(s) to the consumers. For example, if the cement is more durable, that would translate into stronger, more lasting foundations (that won’t need to be replaced as often). Perhaps it’s able to withstand acid rain, etc.

If it’s less likely to crack, then it’s great for both interiors (where a large surface area is hard to create) as well as for earthquake prone areas.

The flyash content would make it more eco-friendly.

The key is to identify what the consumer cares about for cement in general, and therefore highlight the benefit (especially when you have to get over the price concern).

Who Can Help Create A Personal Direct Mail Campaign?

The other day I received a postcard in the mail that was clever. The postcard was personalized with my name front and back. It pointed me to a URL which also included my name: myname.company.net. When I followed the URL the landing page greeted me with my name as well. This was I imagine done with a single technology that generates the postcard and the web site address and populated the page with my name.


The personalized postcard was produced using variable data printing (VDP). A number of companies also package VDP with direct marketing (as you saw). Here are some leads:


Marketing in a Flash

In A FlashLet’s say that business is slow, so you want to market a new product you’re selling. How can you get the word out “yesterday” and get measurable results?

Direct mail. A simple flyer can be created in a day or so. Printing and attaching labels (if you do this in-house) is another day or so (depending on your mailing list size). If you’re sending via bulk mail, or you need to use a printer’s services to print postcards, etc., you’ll need more time. Minimum time until seen: 1 week.

Print. If you already have a regular print campaign (in a publication), then it’s simply a matter of creating the new advertisement and waiting until the next submission date. Minimum time until seen: 3 days (for a daily publication).

Radio/Television. If you already have a campaign, then you need to record (and edit) a new message. If you need to create an ad, it’ll take time to interview agencies, hire talent, negotiate contracts, etc. Minimum time until seen: 2-3 weeks.

Press Release. To create a press release and submit it to the “wire” takes less than a day. There’s no guarantee that your press release will ever be published.

Blog. Respond (on-target) to a well-visited blog and introduce your solution. Minimum time until client contact: immediately (if your comment is approved).

Telephone. You can start calling your existing clients as soon as you’ve crafted your “message”. Minimum time until client contact: immediately (once you’ve got them on the phone).

Email. You can start emailing your existing clients as soon as you’ve crafted your “message”. Minimum time until client contact: 1 hour.

Internet Pay-Per-Click (or Pay-Per-Action). Creating a campaign is as simple as signing up, bidding on your keywords, and establishing an account. Minimum time until seen: 1 hour (immediately, once the account is established).

Internet Viral Video. Create a (series of) funny or novel (short) videos. Upload them to a free video directory. Start blogging (or have your friends blog) about the video. Minimum time until seen: immediately (once you’ve uploaded it and told people about it).

Improved Brainstorming With Introspection

The Thinker

Many people have been commenting about Frans Johansson’s The Medici Effect:

“Brainstorming [is] used in nearly all of the world’s largest companies, nonprofits, and government organizations. And the reasons seem obvious… “The average person can think of twice as many ideas when working with a group than when working alone.”… But is it true?

In 1958… psychologists let groups of four people brainstorm about the practical benefits or difficulties that would arise if everyone had an extra thumb on each hand after next year. These people were called “real groups” since they actually brainstormed together. Next, the researchers let “virtual groups” of four people generate ideas around the “thumb problem”, but they had to brainstorm individually, in separate rooms. The researchers combined the answers they received from each [virtual group] individual and eliminated redundancies… They then compared the performance between real groups and virtual groups…

To their surprise, the researchers found that virtual groups, where people brainstormed individually, generated nearly twice as many ideas as the real groups.

The result, it turned out, is not an anomaly. In a [1987 study, researchers] concluded that brainstorming groups have never outperformed virtual groups. Of the 25 reported experiments by psychologists all over the world, real groups have never once been shown to be more productive than virtual groups. In fact, real groups that engage in brainstorming consistently generate about half the number of ideas they would have produced if the group’s individuals had [worked] alone.

In addition, in the studies where the quality of ideas was measured, researchers found that the total number of good ideas was much higher in virtual groups than in real groups.”

I’ve found that interactive brainstorming groups generally suffer from the “too loud, too fast” phenomenon.

Groups tend to be dominated by the most vocal people. When someone else is talking you’re trying to balance listening to their ideas and thinking about your own. Furthermore, “group extroverts” can be intimidating.

The goal of brainstorming is to come up with as many ideas as you can as quickly as possible. The idea is by working quickly, you prevent the inner critic from stifling a (part of a) new solution. This means that the group operates a certain speed (which varies during the meeting, but it’s the goal of the facilitator to reduce the “lows”). One speed doesn’t work for all, frustrating both the quicker and the slower thinkers.

As a result, “real” brainstorming meetings aren’t harnessing the full creative power of the group.

Virtual groups don’t suffer from “too loud, too fast”. It operates at your speed, and is much more comfortable. In a parallel virtual group, each member goes to a different location for fifteen minutes and writes down ideas, then combines them into a single list. In a sequential virtual group, each member thinks for fifteen minutes, and passes their ideas to the next person, who then adds their ideas to the list. Examples of this are online bulletin boards and blog discussions.

Does this mean that you should discontinue “real” brainstorming sessions? Yes and No.

Yes, stop holding the “too loud, too fast” classic brainstorming meetings. They can produce results, but disenfranchise many people. Business management holds to look like they’re doing something (“Hey, we care enough to hold brainstorming meetings”).

No, don’t lose the human-ness of the meetings. The goal of the group is to continue to evolve into a community, working together to solve problems.

Creative Marketing Signs

I love seeing creative signs that underscore a business’s message. Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing:

Linen Ladies Bug LinenLadies.com caught my eye with a great moving billboard. The car is an 1973 Fiat 500 R shrink-wrapped with catchy graphics. The ladybug connects with the business name and immediately starts conversations.

Dr. Rabin Mailbox

Dr. Rabin’s mailbox does double duty. One glance is all it takes to get a sense of his business. It also is a great landmark.
Blackboard Sandwich Board What catches my eye with this sandwich board sign is the clean retro look. The blackboard is also quite functional.
Coca Cola Goggomobil A 1959 Goggomobil Transporter Pickup shrink-wrapped. The graphics reinforce the company’s product.

Innovation: The Five Disciplines For Creating What Customers Want

Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers WantCurtis Carlson (president/CEO of SRI International) and William Wilmot (director of the Collaboration Institute) share their system for innovating in business. While the book is written for larger corporations, their message translates to all types of businesses.

The book details their five disciplines and provides supporting stories. The authors claim that the chance that you’ll succeed is directly proportional to using all five disciplines simultaneously. Failing to address one of them will doom you to failure.

1. Important Needs. Your product or service must target a customer value (as opposed to a company, shareholder, employee, or public value). A customer’s value = benefits – cost. You can optimize either the benefit or the cost to achieve high value. Likewise, you can compare values using the formula: Value Factor = benefits / cost.

2. Value Creation. You need a value proposition. The value proposition is the core of your “elevator speech”. (NABC = needs + approach + benefits + competition) that addresses:

  1. What is the important customer and market need?
  2. What is the unique approach for addressing this need?
  3. What are the specific benefits per costs that result from this approach?
  4. How are these benefits per costs superior to the competition’s and the alternatives?

3. Innovation Champions. You need people who are passionate and committed. In a small business, this responsibility falls to the owner. One of the challenges in growing your company is finding employees (or partners) who share your “champion-attitude”.

4. Innovation Teams. To innovate, you need collective intelligence. In a corporation, you would have the team all in-house. As a smaller business owner, you’ll need to create your own ad-hoc innovation team in networking, mastermind, or friendship groups.

5. Organizational Alignment. Upper management needs to remove barriers and provide organizational support. This is the advantage of smaller businesses; the organization has a flat hierarchy and people are aware of their fellow team members.

The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life

The Luck FactorI recently read “The Luck Factor” (Dr. Richard Wiseman), a scientific study of luck. After three years of study, Dr. Wiseman determined that “Luck is something that can be learned”. His research boiled down to four principles:

  • Principle One: Maximize Chance OpportunitiesIn business, do you spend more time trying to sell your product than paying attention? Increase the number of people you interact with (not just the obvious business networking groups). Increase your relaxation. Listen more. Pay attention to what people are saying and doing.
  • Principle Two: Listening to Lucky HunchesIf you know what the return on investment (ROI) is, the decision-making is easy (“black and white”). Unfortunately, many business decisions have incomplete information (“gray”). To be lucky in business, increase your “centered-ness” to build (and trust) your intuition.
  • Principle Three: Expect Good FortuneWe create our own realities. If your expectation is an increase of sales, you’ll be less affected by problems and focus on things that can produce good fortune. Others will sense your focus on the positive, and will react accordingly.
  • Principle Four: Turn Bad Luck to GoodBig business opportunities come from fixing what’s broken or missing, not from improving the status quo a little bit. When something breaks, remember it could always be worse, and find the gift in the problem. Then fix it.

It’s all about changing our (business) attitude. Focus on the positive. Smile. Be thankful. Help others. Trust. Breathe deeply.

How To Brainstorm By Yourself

If you don’t have the luxury of others to brainstorm with, one technique you can use is mind mapping. Mind mapping, used for centuries, is a graphical way of recording, organizing, and displaying your thought process. It is a simple and fun tool for doing solo creative problem solving.

How To Make Your Own Mind Map

  1. Gather a bunch of (colored) pens and paper. Alternatively, you can use one of a myriad of mind mapping software packages. For me, pen and paper is more portable and directly tactile. Others may prefer using software to record their thoughts. The software packages’ resulting mind maps can be much more legible.
  2. Identify the core word (or phrase) you want to mind map.
  3. Write the core idea in the center of the paper (you can write ideas in the mind map using words, icons, or small pictures – whatever is most natural).
  4. What immediate ideas spring from this core idea? For each idea, draw a (colored) line radiating from the core idea and label the line with the idea. The colored pens can be used to color code each of these branches.
  5. Looking at each of these newly written ideas, what ideas spring from these? Continue branching organically, allowing yourself to bounce from one idea to another, remembering to maintain the color-coding of the core branches. Key ideas/milestones may be further indicated with small pictures.

Example Core Idea: “Business Networking Opportunities”

Further Reading

An overview of mind mapping

A brief introduction to mind-mapping, written by a college guidance counselor, with emphasis on using mind mapping to help you find a job.

A free online mini-course on making mind maps

Tips For Brainstorming

“A group problem-solving technique that involves the spontaneous
contribution of ideas from all members of the group”
— Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Brainstorming is one of many creative problem solving techniques. While you can use any size group, we believe it works best when done in a facilitated group of 5-10 people. The more diverse the group the more diverse the input. The group members don’t need to be experts in your field. In fact, they don’t need to know anything about the problem topic at all!

Step 1: Define Your Problem

You need to get really clear on what your problem truly is (and is not). Keep asking “why?” until you feel that you’ve identified the root of your problem. For example, if your problem is “I need more money?” Ask “Why? To do what? And then what?”. Once you have the problem, state the brainstorming topic as:

“I would like to _________ but it’s difficult because ________”

The more time you spend in defining your problem the better the results will be.

Step 2: Uncover Solutions

Now is when the group starts contributing ideas. The group should some pre-agreed rules. Here are some:

  • I will listen to others’ ideas.
  • I will not be attached to my idea.
  • I will attempt to find the good in someone else’s ideas.
  • I will give myself permission to be wrong, insane, and stupid.
  • I will respect that the person with a problem is best judge as to quality of the idea.
  • I will not tell someone else what to do, I will only offer suggestions.

Make sure you have someone responsible for recording the meeting (that person should definitely not be the person who’s presenting their problem).

Brainstorm for a set time. Initially, a lot of obvious ideas will be suggested. After this initial flurry, things will quiet down. Be patient. Risk saying something that makes no sense to you. The better ideas usually arrive after people have relaxed and listened to others.

Step 3: Evaluate Solutions

Here is where the solutions that were suggested can be evaluated. What ideas are the most exciting? If any of the ideas seem incomplete, go back to step 1 and re-brainstorm.

Remember that brainstorming can be an intensely intimate encounter. Thank everyone for their contribution.