The Marketing Word | Differentiation Marketing

CAT | Copywriting

Delete, Delete, Delete

I am on a simplification rampage lately, throwing out, donating, shredding as much as I possibly can.  I am tired of all the excess.  Tired of too much (non) information, too much noise, too many possessions.

When the world gets too complex, we hide in the simple.  We like to say we relish simple things and maybe that’s a nicer way to put it.  But really, we go hide in our little nest or cave and let our brains quiet down, trying to get ourselves back to center.

To that end, I’ve started unsubscribing from as many marketing emails as I can.  I am throwing out the people who send me announcement after announcement of launch after launch.  I am getting rid of the people who are in a niche I am no longer interested in or have put on the back burner for now.  Mostly I am getting rid of duplicate marketers who are selling variations of the same thing.

Which brings me to my frustration with the world today.  We’re all doing variations of the same thing.  I have a friend who calls it “mowing each other’s lawns.”  We’re all selling something to the next guy.  But what I don’t see is people PRODUCING things.  And I don’t mean just tangible things.  I don’t see the innovation and creativity that are needed to turn this country’s and the world’s economy around.  I haven’t seen him, but I hope there is a farmer in Iowa who has been tinkering in his barn and is developing a new, cheap biofuel or an engine that really does run on water.  I hope that there are enough young people who still want to go into farming to produce our food, even though being a reality TV star looks like more fun.  I hope that there are people who aren’t waiting for the government to create jobs and are working to create jobs for others.  I hope that somewhere there is a researcher who is patiently trying and testing his ideas, which other scholars have scoffed at.

Everyone likes to think they “think outside the box” but really, how many people take the time to think at all, much less think creatively.  How often do you get a chance to sit quietly and wonder about the why and how behind the headlines or even people’s actions.  How often do you have a chance to slow down and observe how something works?  How often are you able to throw off the filters of your education, upbringing and social environment and truly think from a different perspective?

Doing the same stuff isn’t working.  The world is in transition.  This should be a time when you are not only allowed but encouraged to pursue “crazy” ideas.  But I think that first we have to clear out the noise, stop relying on what other people tell us we should be doing and just get our brains quiet.


I was behind a mattress company truck on the highway the other day and their slogan, written across the side of the truck was “Number one in customer satisfaction.”
On the surface, that sounds pretty good. Reassuring to a certain extent. And then I thought about it…

Far be it from me to be harsh… ok. Stop snickering, pick yourself up from the floor and keep reading! As I was saying, far be it from me to be harsh, but I don’t really care if the company is number one in customer satisfaction. I want to make sure I am satisfied. I mean really, if everyone else is enjoying their meal but yours has a cigarette butt sitting in the middle of it, do you really feel good that everybody else is happy??? See. It’s not just me.

You know what I’d rather see? A picture of a manager and a crew delivering a new mattress to a house in the dead of night with the message: “We don’t sleep until you sleep.” Or “If you’re not satisfied, we don’t sleep.” Heck, if I’m going to suffer because of shoddy workmanship, I want the company to suffer too.

How not to “tweet”:A judge running for reelection put this one out and it somehow caught my eye amid all the clutter on my “twit-stream”. (Don’t ask.)

@Judgesoandso: Join mailing list to receive information about re-election campaign, learn how you can volunteer! http://idiotslink

Oh Joy! Be still my beating heart! I can help this guy get a great paying job and not get paid myself? Where do I sign up? Well, not with the link which dropped me on his FaceBook page. If I didn’t have a FaceBook account, I wouldn’t have access to the information to volunteer. As it stood, I didn’t even have the inclination to sign into FaceBook and investigate further.

Not that I suspect he is a self-centered flaming jerk, because really, he looked like a nice guy, but let’s just say that he wasn’t aware of the necessity of benefit-driven marketing. Granted, it’s hard to work an entire political platform into 140 characters, but when you are going into a field which pretty much allows you to lie and lie big, why not take advantage of that leeway? How about “Volunteer for my re-election campaign and I’ll wipe out your first three speeding tickets. Sign up here.” Now that’s a benefit.

OK. So maybe that’s a little far-fetched but you see where I’m going with this. So how about “It’s time Joe Average got a fair shake in the legal system. Help make justice better for you.” A little more reason to help this guy get re-elected.

My point? People buy something or do something when it is to their advantage to do so. What YOU consider a benefit may not be what THEY consider a benefit. You need to really think about what your customer needs and wants and be able to present yourself in such a way that you bring value to them. A benefit isn’t a benefit when it doesn’t benefit the end user. Wasn’t that fun?


I Gotta Be I?

(With apologies to Steve Lawrence and Sammy Davis, Jr.)


This is a  quickie post but it’s something that’s been bugging me for a long time.  When did people become afraid of using the word “me”?  (Except of course, for those self-proclaimed divas who have no problem stating that they need some “me time”.  But that’s another post.) 

So, I will just play the Grammar Fairy, come down, tap you on the head with my magic wand and tell  you how to use the word “me” with confidence.

Easiest one to remember:  After the words “to”or “for”.  Sure, I could go all the way back to first year Latin and impress you with my knowledge of the dative case, but hey – who cares?   To me; for me.  Give the ball to me.  The package came for me.   Simple.  And hardly anyone screws this one up.

But here’s where people have trouble.  When they add in another person.  For example:

Come down to the office and meet with Bobby and I. 

 Take out the “Bobby and” and read the sentence aloud.

Come down to the office and meet with I.

Kind of obvious now, isn’t it? 

Anytime you are unsure as to whether you should use me or I, take out the “whatever and” and read the sentence out loud without them. 

“But Barb,” you ask.  “What about predicate nominative?” 

Dear God, you warm the cockles of my heart. 

The predicate nominative is a noun that follows a linking verb that restates or stands for the subject. 

We had a running joke in our house.  No one would respond to the question “Who is it?” with “It’s me.”  We’d all say, “It is I, predicate nominative.”   My mother had corrected all of us enough times that we just added in the grammatical footnote automatically.

But for those of you who did not have the benefit of my mother correcting your grammar for 18 years, just think back to the song in Peter Pan:  I Won’t Grow Up.   The chorus was:  “I’ll never grow up, not me.”  “Not I.”  “Not me, so there.”   Peter could fly but his grammar sucked.  Not I. 

So, fear no more.  You are allowed to use the word “me.”  Just not in the context of “me-time.”

And that's the marketing word.

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This is actually one of my tips of the week, but it bears repeating.  OK.  Really, it's just working my last nerve this week.  (If you're not getting my tip of the week, look to your right ---> and sign up there.)

It has come to my attention that people have no concept of plagiarism.  At first I thought they just had no conscience – stealing other people’s materials was just their way of doing business.  I realized that the average plagiarist is not malicious – they REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT PLAGIARISM IS.

As a writer, this freaks me out a bit.  I spend a lot of time carefully choosing words (OK, most of the time I am choosy – sometimes I just rant), so my writing is concise, specific and clear.  To have someone just walk in and pass my words off as their own – well, it really cheeses me off.

So, let’s go over a few basics.

Anytime you use someone’s words verbatim, you should give credit.  Reference the person and the source.  For example, “All things being equal, people will do business with and refer business to those people they know, like and trust.”  Bob Burg, Endless Referrals.   I use that quote a lot.  And every time I do, I go to Bob’s website ( to make sure I have it right.

Anytime you paraphrase, you should give the person credit and mention that you are paraphrasing.

If you use an article distribution service such as to find articles to use for your website, blog, newsletter, etc., you must give the author of the article credit by including the author’s resource box with their bio and their links.  That’s your part of the agreement under the Terms of Service.

If you hire a freelancer to write articles for you, you are buying the exclusive rights to those articles and you may put those under your own name.  You will want to have an agreement with the freelancer that those articles will not be re-sold to anyone else.

If you are using PLR articles, ebooks or courses, you don’t have to change a word.  Just put your name on them. The author sold his rights to you.  You bought the rights to pass this material off as your own.  That being said, most article submission sites will kick your PLR articles right back to you.  They know what’s on the market and put articles through filters to weed out duplicate PLR material.  If you have bought PLR articles that you want to submit to article distributors you will need to re-write substantially – at least 40% is the number I have heard and I would go with 50% - 60% to be safe.

If an article appears on someone’s website, in a newspaper or magazine, it does NOT mean anyone can grab it and use it.  I actually had a client say to me, “Well, it was on their website so we can use it.”  No, we can’t.  A WEBSITE IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL!!!!  Sorry.  Sometimes I have to scream.  Just because you find a book in a public library doesn’t mean you can copy the whole damn thing and put your name on it as the author.

Deep breath…  OK.  Here’s what it comes down to.  If you didn’t write it yourself, hire someone to write it for you, or buy the Private Label Rights, you must give credit to the proper person.  If you want to reprint someone’s work or reprint the majority of a work, whether it’s an article, term paper or book, you must seek permission from the person who holds the copyright, either the author or the publisher.

So, hope this clears up a few questions for you.  I just feel better getting it off my chest.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect.  But it should be your own work.

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