Squirrel PhotoEarlier today, I stepped outside to enjoy some fresh air and pester two of our developers about a few website changes when I noticed they were utterly transfixed by quite a ruckus in the nearby trees.  As I continued to stare, I couldn’t believe what I saw – 12 or more squirrels were chasing each other through the trees and they seemed…well…mad. Really mad, as in the Montagues and Capulets.
These squirrels were chattering, squeaking and flying through the air in what seemed to be a territory dispute.  Amused, we watched them for several minutes.   As I returned to my desk, I began to think about the improbability of watching a full-blown squirrel fight.  Cat fight?  Yes.  A bar fight.  Yep.  Squirrels though?  Not until today.
The whole hilarious (and dramatic) incident made me think about other things I have observed recently that seemed counterintuitive but valuable.  In no particular order, I wanted to share a few marketing truths that fit this category of ‘strange but true’:
1.    Long emails are Ok if the content is compelling. As a marketer, I like using bullet points and keeping it short and sweet.  Earlier this summer, I dug my heels in as a colleague proposed an email marketing campaign that I secretly (or not so secretly) dubbed the Sominex Special.  The email was at least 400 words, lacked bullets and seemed endless.  But we sent it because the content was direct and purposeful.  Guess what?  The click thru rate was an impressive 37%!  Lesson: if the content is great, people will read it and respond.
2.   Share the love. No, I don’t mean it in a dirty way.  The more I participate in forums, comment on Q&A, post answers, etc, I realize that almost all of our marketing automation competitors are using the same places to share expertise and promote themselves.  At times, LinkedIn Q&A can closely resemble a vendor comparison matrix.  But, marketing automation is relevant for companies of all sizes, and that translates to a pretty big pool, so there’s plenty of room for us all.  Lesson: A good attitude and good manners go a long way so play nice.
3.    You don’t need 140 characters to express yourself. About 18 months ago when I started Tweeting, I found the character limitations oppressive.  I would struggle to optimize every Tweet, ensure hash tags were perfectly placed, etc.  These days, if I need to share something socially, I try to keep it to the point and interesting…and 140 characters is plenty of room to accomplish that task. Lesson: don’t use 12 words if you can say it in 5.
4.    Old school marketing still has a place.  Yep, I said it.  Traditional marketing still has a place, and regardless of how much I love online marketing — event sponsorships, chamber of commerce events, speaking engagements, etc. still prove themselves as valuable ways to educate audiences, develop relationships and generate leads.  Lesson: don’t keep all of your marketing eggs in one online basket.
With these thoughts in mind, I think I’ll head outside and see if Squirrels Gone Wild Part II is playing.  Trust me, it’s a great show!  What truths have you seen in your own marketing efforts this summer?  Please comment or Tweet.

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