Political Marketing: David Englin Does It Right

david-englan-letter.jpgYou may not know who David Englin is. I didn’t – until I moved into his district and received an astonishingly well written welcome letter.

Dear Andrea,

Thank you for registering to vote here in the 45th District! As your representative to the Virginia House of Delegates — the world’s oldest continuously meeting elected legislature — my goal is to provide open, responsive, energetic leadership that makes government work for you. Enclosed with this letter is a guide to some of the services my office can provide. I hope you will take a few minutes to look up my website, http://www.DavidEnglin.org, where the “Constituent Toolbox” section can connect you to a variety of state agencies and services.

While you are at my website, you can also find information about my background and legislative priorities and about my ongoing work for progress in our community and across Virginia. I believe that, whatever your background or political affiliation, we are joined together as neighbors, and I work hard to strengthen our economically and socially diverse community, to defend our community’s progressive values, and to invest in a bright and prosperous future.

It is an honor to represent you, and I hope you will always feel free to share your thoughts and ideas so we can continue down the path of progress together.

Sincerely Yours,

David Englin
Delegate – 45th District

P.S. — Also enclosed is my business card, which includes my home and cell numbers. Please don’t hesitate to call if I can be of service.  

Curious, I checked out his website and on the home page is a blog. Although he calls it “news” — it is certainly a series of short and personal posts arranged in reverse chronological order — therefore, it’s a blog.

Geoff Livingston of the Buzz Bin wrote an interesting post about the use of new media in the political arena. I highly suggest taking a peek.

This soft sell certainly made David stand out from the crowd. Always slow adopters, goverment officials are usually the last to catch on to new ways of operating. But it looks like David is pretty savvy and because of that, I like him and will most likely vote for him.

Politicians take note – we want to be treated as valued customers. You should check out Seth Godin’s take on Permission Marketing for further details.

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

New Media Conference in Washington D.C.

If you’re in the Metro DC area, mark your calendar for the New Media Nouveaux conference July 13th. The focus of the conference will be “how to get your audience to fall madly in love with you, your message and your business” through strategic use of blogs, social media releases, etc.

Yours truly will be moderating the “Specialists” panel discussion with Alice Marshall of Presto Vivace, Qui Diaz of Ogilvy and Jennifer Cortner of EFX Media

Here’s a peek at everyone who will be presenting:

Keynote Speakers:

  • Toby Bloomberg – Author of the Diva Marketing Blog
  • Geoff Livingston – CEO of Livingston Communications and Author of Now is Gone (to be released this October)

Panelists: 

If you’re a regular reader, I’d love to meet you – so try to stop by and introduce yourself after the conference. Hope to see you there – you can get more info/register here.

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Myragan.com: Here’s Why I’m Totally Addicted

I belong to a LOT of social networking sites and I love it. My latest craze is myragan.com – a social networking site specifically for communicators (folks in Advertising/Marketing/PR, etc.)

What sets myragan apart from the gads of other networking sites I belong to?

1. Industry focus – Marketing folks seem to have their own crazy way of doing things (which is part of the reason why I find my job so fun.) It’s engaging to be plugged into a community that genuinely “gets” the way you operate.

2. Content Quality – Myragan is resource-rich and well organized. The forums are outstanding and the quality of the posts reflects the professionalism of the community. My favorite spot to visit is the funny pages – where I can find clips from youtube or other media to make me laugh.

3. Community Involvement – Most social networking sites are pretty laissez-faire when it comes to direct communication with users. Not so with myragan. They have a dedicated staff that reaches out and makes you feel at home – so if you’ve never ventured into the online community, this would be a great place to start.

4. Intuitive Navigation – The menu bar makes myragan easy to navigate and operate. This may sound simple and “duh”, but trust me – with lots of sites it feels like you need to learn a second language just to understand the navigation. Myragan’s simple design has me sold.

So, if you’re a member you can check out my profile. Feel free to send me a friend request if you’d like to network. Cheers!

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Ghost Blogging Ethics Across the Globe

The world is getting flatter – as shown by my conversation at a recent party (same one from yesterday’s post) with a German publicist named Robert. Inevitably, the topic of blogging came up and Robert gave me an interesting perspective on the blogging beliefs across the pond. He explained that in Germany, blogging is seen more as serious journalism instead of the seemingly incoherent ramblings he runs accross in the U.S.

Robert also brought up the trend of ghostblogging, stating that so many American companies have a marketing/PR/communications person actually posting the content based on the ideas of the CEO. To Robert, ghostblogging is in violation of his PR ethics (typing that out sounds like an oxymoron…but I digress).

Shel Holtz posted a well thought out commentary on the ghostblogging debate. I agree with his points:

“The best analogy for good ghost blogging is signing for the deaf, which transmits the exact words and inflection of the speaker deaf members of the audience cannot hear.”

And…

“if a business leader ultimately does opt to have someone else handle the writing of the blog, he should disclose it. What’s the harm in a statement like this on an executive blog: “Welcome to my blog. Several times each week, I articulate my thoughts to Mary Jones, who runs communications for the company, and she posts them here ensuring that I make the points I want to make. But rest assured, while Mary makes me sound better, the messages you read are mine; they come from my heart and I read all the comments myself.”

To me, this is the bottom line – to commit to a quality blog takes an investment of time. If you are positioning the blog as the voice of one person – it should be THAT person who is posting to keep the voice authentic. S/he may have a team of people gathering research and submitting ideas (similar to a speechwriter) but the ultimate delivery is the decision of the blogger.

If time does not allow for this investment, why not turn the blog into the voice of the “company” instead of just the CEO? Time could be leveraged if multiple employees were encouraged to submit their thoughts on a  particular topic. Granted – an editor would make sense for obvious legal resasons.

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Annoying Business Buzzwords and Phrases

annoyed-woman.jpgWhen I hear one of these phrases, a part of me cringes. Are people still talking like this? Are they listening to what they’re saying?

“We offer excellent customer service” – OK, what else do you do. Excellent customer service is standard nowadays. This phrase does NOTHING to set you apart. Plus, “excellent” is such a vague term with little metric value (see post on boastful superlatives).

“We are never too busy for your referrals.” – I would hope not – your chances of closing the deal on a referral are much higher than a cold-call. Who in their right mind would be “too busy?” Are you attempting to solicit your current clients to send you referrals with this message? If so, you might want to try mentioning how your service will be different. Maybe something like, “We treat your referrals like family.”

“This is a ‘turnkey’ solution.” – Enough of the buzzwords. They are fads. They get old. They do not make you seem smarter. Check out Scott Ginsberg’s blog for more annoying buzzwords .

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

The Friendly DMV (no, really!)

smiley-sticker-004-thumbnail.jpgThis afternoon I stopped by the Alexandria, VA Department of Motor Vehicles expecting long lines, rude attendants and a big hassle.

I walked in and was politely greeted by a smiling woman at the information booth.

“Beautiful day, isn’t it? How can I help you today?”

At which point I mentioned that I needed to change my address since I just moved to the area.

“Don’t forget about your vehicle registration too. Here’s the form for that as well.”

“OK” I said to myself,  “maybe she’s just new here. I’ve never seen a DMV employee that happy.” I sat down, filled out my paperwork and waited for my number to be called.

After only 8 minutes I was speaking to the teller, a gentleman who was just as friendly as the lady at the information booth. At the end of the transaction he gave me a handshake and said, “Thanks, you’ll need to bring this form to the voter  registration station. It’s located just over there – have a great day.”

At this point I began to get a little suspicious. Aren’t these people supposed to hate their jobs? It feels so strange to get such excellent service at the DMV.

Still, the woman at the voter registration booth topped them all. After reviewing my paperwork, she placed an orange smiley sticker on my hand.

“What’s that for?”  I asked.

“You get a sticker because you completed your paperwork correctly.”

Really?! Cool. I know it seems elementary, but it was nice to be acknowledged. A smile, sunny disposition and a simple sticker was more effective (and way cheaper) than a marketing effort like direct mail or advertising claiming to have “great customer service.”

I walked away feeling like I needed to be pinched my experience was so satisfying. Maybe I moved to the Twilight Zone?

Love for All: Chemistry.com Taps eHarmony’s Rejects

rejected_picture.jpgMy friend Angela tried her hand at online dating last fall. She began her quest at eHarmony.com, mostly as a result of their compelling “Dimensions of Compatibility” campaign.

She logged on, spent about an hour taking the test, and to her surprise, received a “rejection” message.

No matter how kindly eHarmony worded it, Angela was crushed. She wondered what it was that made her inadequate. Was she too picky? Too needy? Too ambitious? Why wasn’t she “good enough?”

While eHarmony.com’ s tactic is one way to ensure quality control, it has opened a floodgate for their competition. In a recent press release, Chemistry.com announced their plan to target eHarmony’s “rejects” with a campaign that “playfully satirizes the exclusionary nature of eHarmony by depicting men and women who wonder aloud why they have been ‘rejected’ by this site.”

What’s at stake here is more than just the “rejects” – it’s the new users who may not be willing to invest in an hour-long test if there is the potential for rejection. In this game of love – it’s war.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com