Skip to content

The Practical Tactical Marketing blog has moved to

Practical Tactical Marketing

The Practical Tactical Marketing blog has moved to a new, permanent location at

If you have any problems reaching this new site, please let me know.



Your audience is watching

Puzzle pieces

Inspired by the iMedia article I shared on LinkedIn recently, I’d like to start explaining content marketing for new businesses.

What are you doing right now that your audience – prospective clients! – is watching?

Are you answering a customer’s questions, defining a new service, building a Powerpoint presentation, or meeting face-to-face?

What do they all have in common?

If they’re all part of the same business, you’d better have an answer.

Everything is content with a definable objective.
Everything is content with the potential of valuable information for your audience about who you are.

  • Customer support conversations
  • Off-hour outgoing messages
  • PPT presentations
  • Press interviews and releases
  • Networking event participation.

These are just a few of the often overlooked brand content pieces that cumulatively have a huge effect on how your audience sees you. They are always watching you. You take your business home with you every night and, if you are careful, so will they.


Story telling

Do you remember that time you were sitting around a campfire listening to ghost stories? You may not remember all the stories, but you know how they made you feel.

To paraphrase Michael Brenner, We need to tell more human stories. Companies need to show how they help customers to help their own customers and improve lives.

From the Business Innovation from SAP blog, The Art of Storytelling [Video]

Here’s a great video on the impact of storytelling. The examples show how your customer’s lives are the best demonstrations of your value, but also a great format for you to explain why your business does what it does and establish your company’s brand. These aren’t testimonials. They’re lives (albeit scripted).

A better copy writer

Music stand with baton

This article from MarketingProfs, “Is Your Email Subject Line Creative… or Deceptive?” and some recent conversations with (almost all of) my clients and some prospects has reminded me how universal the challenge of good copywriting is to marketing in every industry.

When interviewing potential new marketing employees, I have always asked them if they like writing and for examples of that – not whether they are good writers. Most people believe they write well – and most can for a particular audience – but it’s a marketer’s job to write well for each new audience they discover.

Each communication, whether a whitepaper, video or field sales collateral, needs to relate to some part of the business’s story and explain it in some new way. A practiced (yet always learning) marketing copywriter will extend the conversation you have with your market in every piece they write.

In email subject lines, both familiarity and shock will return great open rates for a little while, but over the life of a respectable company, familiarity needs to be earned and shock has no value. Writing a good heading, paragraph or page, is not the same as building a full brand story with recurring themes (the benefits you bring) and characters (your solutions and services).

Good copywriting can still incorporate proven, persuasive writing techniques like these from Unbounce, but only when they’re used as part of well thought-out communication plans. Otherwise, your content will quickly have all the value of spam with or without the inbox delivery.

Patriot’s Day

I’m watching the updates and replays of the Boston Marathon bombing right now online and on TV and, as I watch the police, SWAT and all the first responders rush in before they knew whether a third or even a second bomb was known, all I can think is, Thank you. I am grateful that there are people who are willing and trained to run toward the unknown danger in order to help the unknown human.

Just 20 minutes before the first detonation, I was 20 feet away from that spot with my 6 year-old daughter. We didn’t need your help today, but Thank You for being there.

A content marketing defense

A content marketing defense

A friend asked me the other day, “So, how does content marketing work? How does giving away all your proprietary business information make money? Why can’t people just copy what you tell them and use it themselves?”.

I asked her what her major was in college and whether she had been able to copy what was taught to her in so many classes and to use it herself. Of course, the answer was, “No”.

It takes a lot more than reading and instructions to really learn.  It takes real experience, a lot of practice, near-endless time, and a genuine, personal interest before we learn things well. Her classes had given her a foundation on which to understand a specific field, but they hadn’t prepared her to pickup where countless years of research had paused to write a text book.

A content marketing strategy works the same way. Without content from your company, your audience doesn’t know what you are capable of.  But, even with the most detailed story you tell them about your experiences – from varied perspectives and with multiple examples in widely publicized, syndicated media such as written case studies, videos, blog posts, interviews and more – they will never be able to reproduce what you accomplish every day.

Marketing with interesting content proves your value and your unique position in the market before you (or your sales teams) ever speak a word.

Where media is innovation

Telegraph Key

Most recently, my background is in the related industries of technology and online media. They were mid-sized to very large corporate environments. They were cutting edge market players in established spaces. And, they struggled to find a place for and comfort with social media.

As a Gen Xer, the shifts to “new” media, as it was called just 10 years ago, and now social media seemed natural, equal (albeit more convenient) to traditional media, and thoroughly unavoidable.

Now, I’m meeting many company owners from different industries — the small, new local business that make up 96% of all companies. While they certainly aren’t familiar with the intricacies and case studies on best and worst practices, they do understand the potential.

They have ideas, unique objectives and the entrepreneurial spirit necessary to try anything. Call it social business, referral engines, inbound marketing or anything else – these small businesses are the future of new media practices.

That brings me to a question. Do you think social media is forcing companies closer to their audience, or is it uncertain economic conditions that drive them to try anything new?

Marketing definitions

Marketing definitions

For some time now, I’ve noticed there’s a problem in the mind of everyone who tries to think about how to market their business. Sure, company owners know they need to find interested audiences and raise awareness, but they’re confused by the language of professional marketers. The poor definitions of marketing tools and practices are creating false expectations, barriers to success, and more than a little lack of faith in marketing.

One common point of confusion is around the use of the word “lead” or “sales lead”. Marketers call every name delivered by an online form a lead – instead of just an interested person or registrant. Without continuous and progressive nurturing, all you have are registrants and sales teams should NEVER waste their time calling unqualified online registrants. We fail our businesses by misleading the sales organization that our online forms are capturing sales leads.

Another marketing term causing confusion is “PR”. At many companies this term still translates into writing a traditional press release announcement and calling the same list of media contacts when (and only when) a new product is released. This siloed effort may get your release picked-up and produce occasional articles, but the results end there. Your public, your audience is social now. Any relationship with that audience must be social too.

Company owners and their sales teams don’t respect these marketing results and it makes our jobs of delivering and communicating real business value much harder.

So, how else are your marketing efforts struggling to explain their value within your company?

What expectations do you have from marketing that aren’t being met?

Marketers, what are we going to do about this perception?

This won’t be my last post on ways to define marketing practices to bring specific value to companies, but first I would like to hear more examples from marketers and owners alike of how companies are defining some standard marketing practices today.

The simple value of blogging


This will be my final post to the Practical Tactical Marketing blog. By this, you should know that I am not in business any longer…

I will no longer be helping you to succeed in your job, meet other people with similar challenges and interests, or get home from work earlier.

I will no longer be advancing thought and conversation about business storytelling, or creating any new information worth sharing.

It has been a good many years since I first went into business helping you find all the audiences that would benefit from your expertise, training you to express your unique value proposition to these varied audiences, developing practical go-to-market strategies, and building the tactical content you need in order to explain the value of your business. (you’re welcome)

But, when this blog disappears, it will all be over.

All of this (and less) is what you are telling customers and prospective customers if you don’t blog.

My point is simple: If you want customers to believe you know enough to create products and solutions that meet their needs, you need to show them that you understand their needs nearly every day.

Yes, this is my first post to this Practical Tactical Marketing blog, and yes, there will be many more.

Success In The Workplace

Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure

Big Think

continued at


continued at

McKinsey Insights & Publications

continued at

continued at

B2B Marketing Insider

Michael Brenner on Content Marketing, Strategy and Social

%d bloggers like this: