Recent Posts

Our Newest Web Project Launches

Aug 21—We are happy to announce the birth of our newest baby - a brand new website for Warkwyn Associates. Who? Warkwyn is an accomplished audio design and engineering firm. We are sharing this news with...Read More

Look Like Who You Really Are

Jul 30— Do you look like who you are? This question is not an “if a tree falls in the woods” Zen kind of question. What we are really asking is: "Do your graphics and other marketing...Read More

Redefining the word Customer

Jul 01—We recently attended the InfoComm trade show in Las Vegas and came away thinking about the meaning of the word “customer” and the way one’s definition influences a brand’s marketing...Read More

Point Of Sale Displays that Sell Product

Jun 17—You are already using the Internet, social networks and traditional media to reach the customer with your brand story. But if you’re not telling your unique brand and product story at bricks and...Read More

What do your customers think of you

Jun 03—A special guest blog by Wendy Price Some of you may say, “I already know what they think.”  Others of you might say, “I’ll just ask my sales people and account managers...Read More

Ten Print Advertising Tips

May 22—In our last blog we made a compelling case that print advertising is relevant and valuable even in this digital age. Now we turn our attention to a handful of basic techniques for making your print advertising...Read More

The Value of Print Advertising

May 07—We almost always include print advertising in our clients’ marketing and media plans. Sometimes we get the reaction “Print? Really? We hear that print is dead.”  There is no...Read More

Making Text More Readable

Apr 15—Words. Every marketer needs them. Sometimes you need a lot of words to get your sales message across. (In our imaginations) our readers hunger to fully understand the marketing techniques we...Read More

Retail Reality-Product Demos-and You

Apr 02—Remember when owning a decent stereo was a major life goal and when shopping in a hi-fi store was fun? We are unapologetically nostalgic for the days when retailers actively sold A/V products; when the...Read More

Ma Mark Marketing or the Importance of Email Subject Lines

Mar 19—Regular readers of the CE Marketing Prose newsletter may have noticed oddities in our last two emails. The February 19 edition went out with the subject line “Mark” in place of “Marketing...Read More

How to Stay out of the Trashcan or the Lessons Learned from a Parking Lot

Mar 04—Marketers of CE products should count themselves lucky. We have it easy; we’re selling fun stuff – toys that help people enjoy great music and entertaining movies and TV programming. But just...Read More

Five Ways to Make Time for Customer Outreach

Feb 19—“Time keeps everything from happening all at once." - Henri Bergson  If you’ve read our website or spoken with us about marketing you know that we’re absolutely rabid...Read More

Brands that Communicate Win

Feb 05—The most successful brands regularly keep in touch and stay top of mind with their customers (end-users and channel partners) via blogs, newsletters and social media. With the advent of new Google search...Read More

Content is Definitely King since Google Changed Search Algorithms

Jan 28—The word “algorithm” is the equivalent of Ambien – it puts most people right to sleep. So it is miraculous that we actually read the news about Google’s newest search engine algorithms...Read More

How Pawn Takes Queen

Jan 20—We would like all of our readers to believe we are the source of all marketing wisdom and insight.  While that is largely true, sometimes we stumble upon someone who has written an article that perfectly...Read More

Should High-End CE Companies Bother with Social Media

Dec 11—On several occasions clients have asked us whether it was worth their time and effort to participate in social media outreach. The tone in which the question was asked told us that the answer they wanted...Read More

Rants from the Frozen Tundra

Nov 25—A friend of ours from the land of baby seals* was inspired by our blog Turning Bad Consumer Reviews into Good  to send us a couple of rants regarding Big Mistakes he sees CE manufacturers consistently...Read More

Flying Without Navigation

Nov 13—Or how we learned to stop worrying and love the research bomb* Imagine you are on a jumbo jet for a 15-1/2 hour flight from LA to Australia. Just after takeoff the pilot announces, “Ladies and...Read More

Coal into Diamonds - Turning Bad Consumer Reviews into Good

Oct 26—We often advise our clients to allow consumers to post reviews on the company website. From the looks of horror on their faces you would think we had proposed offing Granny for the insurance money....Read More

Direct to Consumer Sales and Channel Stress

Oct 14—One of the many services we offer our clients is helping develop direct-to-consumer sales programs for their websites and email communications. When we’ve mentioned that option to some potential...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part Three

Oct 02—In our previous two blog posts we wrote about eight of the top twelve things a brand's website needs to do to be effective. If you didn't read Part One and Part Two you might want to...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part Two

Sep 17—In our last blog post we wrote about four of the top twelve things a brand's website needs to do to be effective. If you didn't read Part One you might want to do that now...................Done? ...Read More

The Top Twelve Things Your Website Needs To Do - Part One

Aug 28— It should be unnecessary to say it in this day and age but just for the record – Your website is the single most important weapon in your marketing arsenal. Don't believe it? When you're...Read More

Mar 04

How to Stay out of the Trashcan or the Lessons Learned from a Parking Lot

Marketers of CE products should count themselves lucky. We have it easy; we’re selling fun stuff – toys that help people enjoy great music and entertaining movies and TV programming. But just imagine if you had to market one of the least sexy commodities on the planet – a parking lot. Whew boy, how can I make that interesting enough to get people to open my marketing emails?

You should take some lessons from Fast Park, a chain of 16 airport parking lots, including two at my home airport. This email showed up in my inbox; take a long look and let’s review all the lessons to be learned from it: see the email.

Lesson One
They had my email address. They got it by luring me into their frequent parker program to earn free parking. You can follow the example by entering all email signups into a drawing for something of value (a remastered record, or a gift certificate to HD Tracks, or something in your product catalog that is worth a couple of hundred bucks or so). If you have a product registration function on your site (you really should, you know), always ask for an opt-in to your mailing list. Make it a business-wide focus to get the email addresses of as many end-users, dealers, reps and salespeople as you possibly can. 

Lesson Two
A well-chosen subject line. I was a Nanosecond away from clicking delete when I saw the subject line “Travel Like a Pro.” I’ve been a frequent traveler for over 35 years but I’m always looking for ways to make it less painful and exhausting. They had me hooked. Good campaign manager software allows you to test subject lines with a sample of your list to find the one with the highest open rate and then automatically use the best one for the rest of the list. If your campaign manager service doesn’t have that feature, contact us.  If you don’t know what a campaign manager service is, read this.

Lesson Three
Relevant content that was about me, not them. I wouldn’t have gotten past the first bit of the email body if they started with blather about how great their parking service is or that they had a promotion going on. Instead I saw links to articles that could be of real use to me (the center of the universe). In fact, I did pick up some useful information from a couple of them. Start your emails with content that your customers would find interesting – like how to get better performance out of the gear they own now, or a review of a great sounding recording, and then move on to your propaganda later.

Lesson Four
They encouraged participation. Note the invitation for sharing road warrior stories on Facebook and Twitter. They’re amplifying their content and outreach through social media – good idea.

Lesson Five
They mixed in their propaganda. After softening me up with the useful content, I scrolled down and read they had had a new location in Indy, and that they run customer appreciation promotions and that they really, really love me. Awwww.

Lesson Six (the most important one) – They sent it.
Even if the email weren’t as well executed as it was, the very fact it was sent at all would have had value just by putting their brand name in front of my eyeballs for a fleeting moment. Your customers are being bombarded with your competitors' marketing messages through a variety of media. When your customers or dealers need the kind of stuff you sell, your brand name needs to be the first to pop into their brains. It will be only if you work tirelessly to stay top of mind through active outreach marketing.  

What Fast Park Could Have Done Better
I have nitpicks with a couple of their choices. First they packed all their travel tips into one email. I would have saved at least two of the travel tips for later emails. I may be less likely to open next email I get, based on my assumption that there is little else they can tell me that would hold my interest. But I may be underestimating the Fast Park marketing team. They could follow up with more travel articles like the wine tourism article lower down the page. The subject line will be the key.

Second, they don’t seem to have a regular publishing schedule. I get their emails infrequently. While I appreciate not being badgered with too-often emails, once a month would better serve the goal of staying top of mind.

Third, they don't have a Linkedin profile. Frequent parkers tend to be business people and professionals; Linkedin would be a better place to connect with that audience than Facebook and Twitter.

Last Lesson – I’m doing “it” to you right now.
You were lured into reading this far because you saw content that looked like it could be useful to you. Now that I have your attention, let me remind you that CE Marketing Pros offers a service to help you with all or some of your email and other customer outreach marketing. If you are not doing this kind of marketing with regularity, swallow your pride and ask for our help. If you just need help with interesting content, we recently opened CE Wire – a place for marketers to license articles written by the CE industry’s best writers. Click here and sign up as a member (there is no obligation to buy) to read entire articles and sample the wares. It’s good stuff.

And oh, like us on Facebook and Linkedin please.

About CE-Marketing Pros
We’re a full service marketing/advertising agency specializing in helping consumer electronics brands and retailers compete more effectively. Former marketing executives with two of the most successful CE brands, Al Ballard and Paul DiComo help brands STAND OUT in a crowded and confusing CE marketplace. 



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