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Category Archives: The Future

Do you need a new outfit?

Do you need a new outfit?

By | Culture, Customer Service, Email Marketing, Sales, Technology, The Future | No Comments

You know your audience, but does your audience know you?

We have some shocking information:
“Nearly half of all small business owners do not have a website.” [Clutch]

Without one, as small business author Jim Blasingame said: “You might as well be a ghost.” [Inc.]

That’s bad news for them. But you’re in luck – because you’re reading this blog. Which means you likely are in the market for an exceptional website. That puts you light-years ahead of the competition.

If you don’t have a website, you aren’t giving your audience a chance to know you.

A website is the equivalent of buying a new outfit and revamping your portfolio for a prospect meeting: It’s your chance to make a fantastic first impression. As in life, appearance counts for a lot – 75% of users admit to judging a company’s credibility based on their site design [Stanford] – but that doesn’t mean you can slack on substance. Design draws people in, but quality content keeps them.

Remember: A website is a handy marketing tool for you, too. Tracking activity and buying behavior via Google Analytics makes it easy for you to create the content people are looking for. Which is crucial, considering 96 percent of visitors don’t come to your site prepared to buy. [Hubspot]

Obviously, you want to create an awesome online experience that will turn your prospective customer into a loyal one. Your first step? Answering these three simple questions about your website:

  1. Does it clarify what you do?
  2. Is your contact information clearly displayed?
  3. Does it positively and attractively represent your business?

If your answer to any of the above is “No” or (gasp!) you have no website – it’s time to get started. Your website is the one online destination over which you have complete control – don’t neglect it!

 

 

 

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

By | Culture, Economy, Fun, Sales, Strategy | No Comments

“Have you played Pokémon Go?”

Unless you’ve spent the two weeks hiding under a rock (which is a totally legitimate pastime, of course), someone has asked you this question by now. Released on July 6th, the tremendously popular app has already been downloaded at least 15 million times [Heavy] and is worth approximately $29 billion [MoneyNation]. There’s no doubt that Pokémon has been a financial success for its developer, Niantic, and rumor has it that McDonald’s is already preparing to pounce on this marketing opportunity [Gizmodo]. But what about the rest of us? Is there a way for small business owners to get in on the game that so quickly made its way to the top?

Turns out, there are several – and most of them are free!

  • Pick a side. If you haven’t already played Pokémon Go, the basic premise is this: 1) Create your trainer (i.e. avatar), 2) Choose one of three teams: Team Instinct (yellow), Team Valor (red) or Team Mystic (blue), and 3) Scurry about collecting and training Pokémon in various locations. Once you’ve picked your team, you can get in on the fun by providing corresponding deals to other “team members.”
  • Buy a lure. Purchasable in-game, lure modules last 30 minutes each and attract a bevy of “wild” Pokémon to a specified location. As many business owners have already discovered, they’re also a great method of enticing patrons. Inc estimated that it only costs $1.19/hour to keep the lures (and the humans that follow them) coming all day – and you can bet you’ll make that money back in no time!
  • Connect with millennials. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to appeal to marketing-wary millennials by actually playing the game, sharing your finds on social media, and offering discounts on products to people who’ve caught certain valuable Pokémon. Your younger audiences will appreciate the fun vibe!
  • Work that Pokéstop. If you’re fortunate enough to have a storefront near a landmark, monument or other prominent building in your town, advertise it. People flock to these spots in order to restock in-game items, and if you happen to be nearby…well, you just found yourself a whole bunch of potential customers.

We don’t know exactly when this idea might be implemented, but Niantic CEO John Hanke has already expressed interest in further monetizing the app with sponsored locations. “Pay us to be locations within the virtual game board – the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic” [Financial Times]. In the meantime, let the above suggestions keep you busy.

Happy hunting!

Make that Pokémon-ey: Monetizing the World’s Pokémon Go Obsession

 

The Polished Approach: Why Uber Doesn’t Scare People

The Polished Approach: Why Uber Doesn’t Scare People

By | Branding, Culture, Customer Service, Economy, Technology, The Future | No Comments

A few days ago I was watching a Comedy Central show called Nathan For You, in which a guy named Nathan “helps” struggling small business owners. Part of the show’s charm is that Nathan often has pretty good ideas, but (primarily for comedic effect) he implements them all wrong. In this particular episode, Nathan decides to initiate a motorcycle taxi service. At its core, the idea isn’t bad – bikes have lots of advantages over cars (namely the ability to legally weave throughout traffic), and the cool factor never hurts. So Nathan recruits a couple of biker-looking bikers in a bar and sends them out onto the traffic-riddled Los Angeles streets, instructing them to pull up alongside stopped cars and offer their services.

Not surprisingly, this approach is not met with much success.
Correction: this approach is not met with any success at all.

Why? Because it centers around a couple of biker-looking bikers grunting, “Hey, wanna get on my motorcycle?” And that’s it.

When you think about it, Uber is kind of a crazy idea too. You’re hopping into the personal vehicle of a stranger (often while inebriated) because they have a “U” sticker on their window. Sure, you have an app. They have an app. We all have apps, but what can the app really do if something goes awry? Yet somehow, Uber makes you feel safe. Uber’s app is cool. Uber’s ads are classy. Uber’s customer service is awesome. In short, Uber’s done a great job of marketing their services.

You need to give your customers a reason to trust your product, and a lot of that has to do with presentation. Even the best concept won’t get anywhere if it isn’t marketed properly – and that’s where we come in.

Don’t get in your own way. Call Counterintuity today!

Image by Mark Warner is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Struggle Of The Seasoned Marketer

By | Business Etiquette, Culture, Strategy, The Future | No Comments

Today’s fast-paced, technologically advanced world can make even the savviest 25-year-old feel inadequate. So what if you’re about twice that age and feeling about half as savvy? Fear not! There’s no need to let your birthday get the best of you. A couple tips for succeeding as a seasoned marketer in a youth-driven market:

  • Ask for help! Whether it’s requesting your teenaged daughter help you with your Instagram profile (she’ll roll her eyes, but will likely oblige) or observing how the new intern does it, you can learn a lot from the younger people around you who have come of age in this crazy-connected world.
  • Get involved. That new app everyone has been talking about? Try it out! Most are free or cheap and very user-friendly. The more time you spend with technology, the less intimidating it will become.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Remember that everyone is exploring a new technological frontier every day, and half the time they’re just as lost as you are.

If the struggle is all too much, we do like to think of ourselves as experts on the digital world: shoot us an email and let us give you a hand.

Image by Blake Patterson is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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Seal It With a Smiley Face

By | Business Etiquette, Culture, Facebook, Fun, Social Marketing, social media, Twitter | No Comments

The smiley face: bet you’ve never given this little guy much thought. So you may be surprised to hear that a recent study by the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory showed a simple smiley face has the power to positively influence your social media presence and alter a reader’s perception of you. Here’s why you might want to give the emoticon a space in your daily discourse:

  • Scientists have determined that looking at a smiley face activates the same parts of our brain as looking at an actual smiling face. It’s an easy way to add a human element to your email. Interestingly, this only occurs when the colon is put first; parentheses first doesn’t have the same effect.
  • Emoticons suggest a friendlier, more competent person is behind them. Not only can emoticons increase the likelihood that your reader will like you, but they can help the reader more easily remember what you’ve said.
  • There is a strong link between emoticon use and user influence on social media. The more powerful the user, the more likely they are to use emoticons in their online communications.

Are emoticons okay to use in your work emails? That’s a judgment call. But research shows that the writer’s credibility isn’t affected by the use of emoticons. So if something makes you smile, don’t be afraid to show it!

Image by PublicDomainPictures is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal.

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Something has changed today — but do you know what it is?

By | Change, News, Strategy, The Future | No Comments

Over the holidays, we tend to play board games at our house. Popular choices for my wife, our 23-year-year old son, 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son include Cosmic Encounter, Risk, Guillotine and Oxford Dilemma. This year we found ourselves playing a game called TriBond.

TriBond, which is theoretically for ages 12 and up (and therefore theoretically suitable for the entire family), is a game in which players hear three individual clues and must analyze and determine what all three words have in common.  Example:  Delaware, today, and George Washington. (Answer: They are all firsts.)

Here’s one none of my children, ranging in age from tween to adult, could get:   Fossil, Citizen and Timex. My wife and I were sputtering in confusion. How could anyone miss that? They’re all watches! Then I looked around and noticed that no one was wearing a watch:  not me or my older son or my daughter (smartphones all) or my wife or our youngest. They didn’t know what a Fossil or a Citizen or a Timex was because they’d never worn a watch.

Here’s another one that my kids couldn’t get:   Little, Sloppy, and GI. I know:  They’re all Joes! This time I broke it down and asked all three kids who Little Joe was. No idea. (Bonanza having gone off the air in 1973, I barely knew.) Then I asked them what were Sloppy Joes, the curse of many of my grade-school lunches. Again, no idea, so I had to explain again. GI Joe, a staple of my childhood, they’d heard of, but never played with and couldn’t fully explain.

Then I looked at the box and noticed that TriBond, while renewed recently and purchased in a new edition, was “copyright 1993.” Which explained why all the cultural references seemed to be aimed at people in their 40s or 50s. Note to the TriBond guys:  If you want teens and 20-somethings to play your game, it’s time to update the cards.

This made me wonder what else has changed at some companies that the people running those companies haven’t noticed.

Here’s something that we at Counterintuity find more often than you’d imagine:  a client telling us that a mobile version of their website isn’t necessary. Then my business partner or someone else at Counterintuity will look at the client’s stats and let them know just how much of their traffic is from mobile. For a small manufacturer recently it turned out to be 17% — almost one-fifth of their traffic was from mobile. For a construction firm, it was 52%. They had told us that these “construction guys” are never on a mobile device, but when we told them that 52% of their traffic was from a smartphone or a tablet, they looked at each other and said, “Oh, right, they’re all looking at our website while they’re on the job.” And who is “they”? Their prospects.

It’s easy to not know what you don’t know. I taught graduate writing at the University of Southern California for 10 years, and one night during the seventh year bemoaned the fact that I was always paying for parking. One of my students said, “Why don’t you park on…” and named a side street near campus. I explained that it was metered parking with a limit of two hours, and this was a three-hour workshop, so I’d get a ticket. “There aren’t any meters there,” I was told. So after class I went and looked — and indeed, there were no meters there. Why did I think that street was metered? Because when I was a grad student myself at USC in the late 1980s — 20 years earlier! — that street was metered. But it had changed, and I had never thought to look.

Why is it easy to fall into this trap of thinking that things are set, that once you know something you know it for life? Maybe it’s because, for most of history, that was true. But no longer.

We live in the greatest period of change in human history. I am part of the last generation on Earth to grow up in a pre-Internet world, so we’re the fulcrum class:  We fully appreciate the Internet, and know what it was like not having it. Everybody younger just expects it. Given how much change has occurred on our watch — just to start:  the rise and fall of nations, the transformation of economies, instant access to more than one billion people across the globe, easy and seamless transfer of funds electronically, instantaneous and constant delivery of news — it would be naive to think that other things haven’t changed right within our own households and businesses and careers and communities.

What does this radical change mean? Among other things, it means that all of us are better served by questioning our own facts every day before making decisions that accidentally reflect times long gone.

 

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Creative vs. non-creative

By | Culture, Design, Email Marketing, Fun, Holidays, Strategy, The Future | No Comments

Recently, we’ve been having discussions internally about the Counterintuity culture. We started that conversation in October as part of our planning for next year, brought it into our annual retreat, and now it’s feeding into our work writing and designing a new Counterintuity website (launching early next year).

Questions we’ve been asking:

  1. What makes Counterintuity different?
  2. What makes Counterintuity fun?
  3. What does Counterintuity do?
  4. What makes Counterintuity successful for clients?
  5. If you could tell someone one thing about Counterintuity, what would it be?

The idea that being fun and different should be a given is what leads us to things like, say, the image on our holiday invite this year:

 

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We’ve heard from a lot of people about how much they love this image. We’ve also heard from some of them that “of course” that idea came from Amy or myself, i.e., the owners.

Well, no. The idea to do an “awkward family photo” invite came from Jaclyn, our operations supervisor, who ensures that everything here operates like a well-oiled machine. And who started here four-and-a-half years ago as an assistant.

Her position here isn’t as what some marketing companies would call “a creative.” (Sure, she’s always been clever; that’s part of why she got hired.) We don’t believe in separating people into “creative” or (heaven forfend) “non-creative.” We put everybody together and ask for us all to be creative, whether you’re a writer or a designer or a primary phone-answerer. We’ve found out that that’s part of what makes us different.

 

 

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5 instant benefits of switching to WordPress

By | Design, Email Marketing, SEO, The Future, Websites | No Comments

Is your website hard to update, clunky, and static? It’s time to make the switch to a Content Management System and reap all the associated benefits. Here’s why we recommend WordPress to most of our clients:

1. SEO Friendliness
Search engines favor WordPress sites. This means that with WordPress, your site is inherently Search Engine Optimization-friendly — making it easier for prospective customers to find you.

2. Control
Update your website yourself, or give permission to multiple users in real time with full control. Make the changes you want, when you want, with no coding knowledge necessary!

3. Scalability
With all of the plugins, themes and features that WordPress offers, it’s simple to update the look, functionality and size of your website according to your needs.

4. Access Anywhere
Since WordPress is web-based, you can update from anywhere! Edit your website from any computer, smartphone or tablet.

5. Blog inclusion
Forget having to install a blog manually or manage one externally from your website—with WordPress, you already have a blog built-in. Simplify your life and blog in the same place you update the rest of your site.

Want to learn more about switching to WordPress? Email us!