Brand or Be Branded - Austin AMA

Customer Archetypes & Irrational Loyalty with Deb Gabor from Sol Marketing

Thanks to all who joined us last month to hear Sol Marketing’s Deb Gabor discuss brands, customer archetypes and developing irrational loyalty in your audience! We’re not going to recap the event, as Sol Marketing has a great post on their blog. You can also find a link to Deb’s presentation: Your Ideal Customer Archetype. Read the blog.

We did, however, want to share some of our favorite sentiments and quotes from Deb’s excellent presentation. Enjoy!

Hope to see everyone on Feb. 26th at our next luncheon with TV personality and business superstar, Jeffrey Hayzlett! For something more interactive and focused, join us on Feb. 18th for our SIG event on how to create presentations that don’t suck.

Brand or Be Branded - Austin AMA


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Global Marketing

5 Great Tools to Reference When Creating Your Global Marketing Strategy

Taking a business into new international markets is challenging for even the most experienced marketing professionals and entrepreneurs. Great tools that quickly put key information in front of you are vital while identifying regions with the greatest potential for revenue growth.

The five tools outlined below will aide you information to make an informed decision regarding which markets are interested in your product, how and where to reach them, guidelines and considerations for moving into a new region, and extensive background details and data for each target region.

Business Case Builder

The Business Case Builder is a map-based tool which allows you to select multiple countries to a report and see aggregated information including internet population and key languages, as well as search and social market share. BCB quickly provides details on market potential, as well as key search and social platforms for any country or group of countries you wish to target.

Check out this example of a report for BRIC countries.

Google Global Market Finder

Google Global Market Finder is a free, online application that identifies markets where selected keywords rate highest by incorporating Google Search data, Google Translate keyword translation, and AdWords keyword bid and competition. Data acquired from GMF allows you to compare cost of new customer acquisition with your product margins, thus enabling you to determine which markets may be a good investment for your business.

Consumer Barometer

The Consumer Barometer provides a number of questions in regards to what devices people use, where they shop, and what they view. For each questions, you can filter responses by country, various demographics, product categories, context of most recent video watched, and internet usage.

21 Elements of International Marketing

The 21 Elements of International Marketing are best practice guides outlining the most suitable approaches to global marketing. A selection of topics includes search, social, market intelligence, public relations, domain selection, and systems infrastructure. Each guide includes global examples, tools, tips, and key takeaways.

The World Factbook

The World Factbook is your place for all the details and metrics for 267 world entities that relate to government, economy, geography, history, communications, and transnational issues—plus an extensive selection of maps.

susan-andrusSusan heads up US Marketing for global language and translation services company, TranslateMedia. She directs customer relationship strategies, online marketing initiatives, and brand management for the company. In addition to working for TranslateMedia, Susan has actively volunteered with the Austin AMA for the past five years, and currently sits on the board as President.

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10 capitalization rules everyone should know

By Laura Hale Brockway, ELS


If you were standing outside my office door, you would hear a loud banging noise. That’s my head banging on my desk out of sheer frustration. The reason? Capitalization.

I have documents to edit that are filled with words that shouldn’t be capitalized — such as “federal,” “state,” “statutes,” “deadlines,” “laws” — but are uppercase. I have documents to edit that are filled with words that should be capitalized — such as “West Texas” and “Supreme Court” — but are not.

So to keep the head banging to a minimum, let’s go through the rules of capitalization.

1. Capitalize the first word in a sentence.

This is the most basic rule of capitalization.

2. Capitalize the pronoun “I.”

Another basic one, but in today’s text-message driven world, it bears mentioning.

3. Capitalize proper nouns: the names of specific people, places, organizations, and sometimes things.

For instance, “Austin, Texas,” “Patrick O’Brian,” “Ragan Communications,” “Supreme Court.”

This seems to be the rule that trips up many people because they don’t know whether a word is a proper noun. But as the Associated Press Stylebook points out:

“Capitalize nouns that constitute the unique identification for a specific person, place, or thing: John, Mary, America, Boston, England. Some words, such as the examples given, are always proper nouns. Some common nouns receive proper noun status when they are used as the name of a particular entity: General Electric, Gulf Oil.”

There are also derivatives of proper nouns. Capitalize words that are derived from a proper noun and still depend on it for their meaning, such as “American,” “French,” and “Shakespearean.”

But lower case words that are derived from proper nouns that no longer depend on it for their meaning: “french fries,” “pasteurize,” “darwinian.”

4. Capitalize family relationships when used as proper nouns.

Capitalize “Uncle John,” and “Grandma Jesse,” but leave it lower case when it’s not referring to a person’s name. For instance, “We visit my cousin every Christmas.”

5. Capitalize titles that appear before names, but not after names.

This is perhaps the greatest capitalization crime in corporate America. Remember, it’s “President of Writing Advice Laura Brockway” or “Laura Brockway, president of writing advice,” not the other way around.

6. Capitalize directions that are names; North, South, East, and West when used as sections of the country, but not as compass directions.

So capitalize “The Pacific Northwest” and “Central Texas,” but not “We drove west for two hours.”

7. Capitalize the days of the week, the months of the year, and holidays, but not the seasons used generally.

However, seasons are capitalized when used as a proper title. Some examples:

• “I will attend that conference in the fall.”

• “I have registered for three classes for Spring Semester 2013.”

• “We celebrate Valentine’s Day in July.”

8. Capitalize members of national, political, racial, social, civic, and athletic groups.

For instance, “Texas Longhorns,” “Libertarians,” “Chinese.”

9. Capitalize periods and events, but not century numbers.

So that would be “Victorian Era” and “Great Depression,” and “first century.”

10. Capitalize trademarks.

Examples would be “Subaru,” “Coca-Cola,” “Apple.”

Remember to follow the sage advice of The Associated Press Stylebook: “In general, avoid unnecessary capitals. Use a capital letter only if you can justify it by one of the principles listed here.” And when in doubt about a word that doesn’t fit under any of these rules, check the dictionary.

Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She works for Texas Medical Liability Trust and is a partner with Affynity Web Solutions, a web site development company. Read more of her work at .

Proofread Like a Pro

How many times has this happened to you? Your organization has printed a new brochure or launched a new web site. All your hard work has paid off and your message is out to customers. As you are taking a look at the finished product, you notice a glaring typo.

Proofreading can be tough. It seems not matter how much you read and re-read, your content errors still get through. On the web, these errors can be corrected easily enough, but in print . . . that’s another story.

Next time you are tasked with proofreading a document, consider the following tips:

Though proofing requires extreme focus and concentration, it can be boring.
Try something that relieves your mind of the pressure, but allows you to stay focused. This could be chewing gum, tapping your foot, or listening to classical music.

The more familiar something is, the less we tend to notice it.
This is why you can review something 10 times and still not notice that half a sentence is missing.  You expect the sentence to be there. Have someone unfamiliar with your project review and serve as your sanity check.

We tend to make the same mistakes repeatedly.
Know your weak spot. My weak spot is becoming so involved in making sure the language is correct that I often don’t notice that graphic elements (page numbers, headers, footers, logos) are wrong or missing. I need to complete a separate graphics check.

The “source” writer is the worst possible choice to review the work.
“Even a writer or editor who uses a disciplined, structured method to proofread can miss a glaring error because he or she is so close to the work,” according to an InternetTIPs article on proofreading advice. Again, have a disinterested third party review the draft.

Don’t check your work on the screen.
Print a copy and check the work from a printed copy, using strong, natural lighting.  Check for only one type of error at a time. For example, while checking for spelling errors, resist the urge to look for and correct any punctuation errors. Focus on one thing at a time. The same goes for word usage and grammar. These should be separate checks.

Don’t even consider proofreading when you’re tired or stressed.
If you’re distracted or inattentive, you’re wasting your time trying to proofread. I’m the least distracted when I first arrive at work, before I’ve checked email or voicemail. Unless there’s a tight deadline, I’ve started setting aside this time (and this time only) for proofing.

Find a quiet area to reduce distractions.
Tell your co-workers that you are proofing and that you need time and space to concentrate. Again, I find this is best accomplished first thing in the morning before anyone else arrives.[hr]



Laura Hale Brockway is an Austin-based writer and editor. She works for Texas Medical Liability Trust and is a partner with Affynity Web Solutions, a web site development company. Read more of her work at .

Marketer Spotlight: Michelle Taylor, Founder and CEO at The Zella Company

Interview by Angela Brutsche.

If there’s one thing you learn after speaking with Michelle Taylor, Founder & CEO of The Zella Company, it’s that any successful marketing strategy is built on a true understanding of the business challenges at play. In leading a marketing agency that puts clients’ business objectives first, Michelle uses her experience to help customers better understand and align their voices to match aims.

Tell us more about The Zella Company.

One of the greatest values we bring is our knowledge of solid marketing fundamentals. We provide our clients with the resources they need to be pro-active in addressing the needs of the markets they serve. We work with all types of organizations; many are mid-market companies that have strong, sustainable revenue but aren’t quite large enough to have a large marketing department.

When taking on a new client, where do you start?

We work with executive teams to provide guidance on how marketing can and should enhance their businesses. A client can really benefit by better understanding their voice and their story — we always start with the story. We work to translate integrate that  throughout the organization to convey a consistent message that resonates with each specific audience.

How did you know you wanted to be a marketing professional?

Starting my career about 20 years ago in New York, I met an entrepreneur at a networking event who mentored me and taught me a lot about the different aspects of business. Marketing was intuitive for me; I enjoyed looking at things from the perspective of both a consumer and a producer of goods. My background spans from marketing a fun, young Hispanic web portal in Puerto Rico to large companies like Microsoft.

What do you love most about your job?

As I’ve grown professionally, it’s become more important to show people a different way to do business. Bringing the marketing profession to life by showing people that it’s not just a cost center is essential. I also love nurturing an environment that is empowering to women. My company is named after my daughters Zoë  and Ella, and it’s been personally rewarding to create an environment that encourages women to grow and succeed.

What do you think is the most important characteristic of being a leader?

I’m still learning how to be a better leader every day. One of the most important things a leader can do is to listen. Giving as much run-way as possible for others to succeed is also critical. I dedicate time each week to my team so that they can talk about their projects and solutions. My personal investment in them helps me grow, too.

What advice would you offer to those who are new to the marketing profession?

Be open-minded…be open to anything! No matter where you are in your career, give what you can and don’t be afraid to keep learning. Early in my career, I tried to figure things out on my own and avoided asking questions. Now, I ask questions and encourage others to ask questions, too. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. They’ll help you grow. There are a lot of people in the industry who know a lot more than you do – you can learn from them. Respect and value that.

What is your favorite resource for staying current on marketing trends?

AMA publications do a great job of pulling together content in a meaningful way. MarketingProfs is also a great resource. I read a lot of newspapers, magazines and biographies. Biographies are an interesting way to learn how people think through problems. These resources give my brain fuel to look at challenges from a bunch of different perspectives.

What prompted you to join the American Marketing Association (AMA)?

I’m a big believer of networking, and I value what an organization like AMA delivers. AMA brings together marketing minds, regardless of background. Having a place where ideas new and old come together under one umbrella is pretty awesome.

The Zella Company holds a group membership to Austin AMA. We thank Michelle and her team for their time and support. To learn more about AMA group membership, visit or contact our VP of Membership Recruitment at

The Total Content Approach

Everybody knows you need content to make your 21st Century digital marketing strategy work. But the term ‘content’ has been used and abused. Most business owners and marketers roll their eyes when a marketing consultant tells them they have to use ‘valuable’ and ‘compelling’ content for their marketing strategy.

Content marketing has become the new social media. Overused and devoid of meaning.

But don’t go dusting off your old telemarketing or TV advertising playbooks just yet. Despite the fact that ‘content’ has been overplayed like a top 40 song, content is more important now then ever.

It’s not a question of ‘if’ you’ll ever implement a content-oriented approach into your marketing strategy. It’s a question of ‘when’ and ‘how committed’ are you to making content as ingrained into your company’s marketing fabric as cotton, wool and nylon.

Why content is so powerful

As Simon Salt said, it’s a myth that consumers have recently become savvy. They’ve always been savvy, but they didn’t always have the almost infinite variety of choices they have now.

But give consumers something they really want to know and learn about, something that excites them and speaks directly to their secret problems, needs and desires, and they can become yours.

Sonia Simone calls this “cookie content.”

Cookie Content, according to Simone, makes life better for readers, can be used right away, and tastes good.

It leverages powerful psychological persuasion techniques, such as reciprocity and authority, enabling you to make your consumers become willing participants in a conversation with you, and eventually customers.

What I advocate is a total content approach.

The 10 steps to the Total Content Approach

The total content approach consists of ten steps.

1. Content for one person

Produce all your marketing content: blog posts, articles, web copy, white papers, videos, as if you’re writing to one person. Brian Clark, Sonia Simone, Sean D’Souza, all accomplished content marketers, talk about that one person you should write for. How do you do this? First, choose an ideal target market. Then select one person who is representative of that market. Create a detailed profile of her, and write to her personally as if you’re writing to an old friend.

2. Content that speaks to their unique worldview

What is your one person’s worldview? What are the collection of beliefs that color the way she looks at the world? As Seth Godin said in his book “All Marketers are Liars,” it’s almost impossible to change somebody’s worldview. You can’t convert a vegan into an Atkins dieter, and you can’t convince a Yankees fan to become a Braves fan. So don’t. Instead, embrace and honor their world.

3. Content that expresses your unique approach

What is your passion, your purpose, your personality and your position? John Jantsch talks about the new 4ps of marketing as the modern way of expressing your uniqueness. It’s harder to convince your customers that your manufactured difference is authentic, so don’t even try. Embrace the authentic you, and your content will stand out and make your ideal customer crave more.

4. Content that attracts prospects

We’ve just covered marketing strategy. Now we’re getting into marketing tactics. The foundation to your ‘awareness’ marketing tactics should be content that attracts. When we think about our one person we’ve profiled, their problems, challenges, and goals, and their unique worldview, what content can we give them that they really want to read (or see or hear)? What will make their day when they find you? Produce articles, blog content, reports, eBooks, videos and podcasts that express a set of beliefs, or provides advice, tips, tutorials, resources, and how-tos that fulfill your prospects’ deepest desires.

5. Content that turns strangers into friends, and friends into buyers

Once they find you and feast on your attraction content, what can you provide them that will get them to know, like and trust you?

As Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, said:

Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.

But how do you do this? You must gradually convert your prospects from strangers to friends. Seth Godin recently said marketing to strangers is becoming harder and harder to do. And what better way to turn strangers into friends than with content? Can you provide a free course you can deliver over time via email? Can you offer a webinar? Can you produce case studies, white papers, and testimonial videos? Can you organize in-person seminars?

6. Content-oriented SEO

Google’s recent Panda and Caffeine updates have made fresh, relevant content even more important than before. This was a direct blow to content farms, with their crappy content on topics the writers hardly know anything about. Now its time for you to step up to the plate and create timely, high quality content.

7. Content-oriented social media

For all the talk of social media allowing you to build relationships online via ‘one-to-one engagement,’ the best approach for an effective social media marketing strategy is the content-oriented approach. As Brian Massey said, a content-oriented social media strategy allows you to educate people before they buy, and allows for much better measurement. Sharing links to content on social media is much easier to measure than ‘one-to-one’ marketing.

8. Content-oriented advertising

Most savvy marketers agree that direct response advertising is more effective and measurable than image advertising. But most direct response advertising asks prospects to “call for a free quote,” “download a free trial,” or “contact us for a complimentary consultation.” What if instead you provided a free report, or a video, or any other type of free content? Robert Rose cites two examples of clients who increased the quality of the leads they converted by offering content as the call-to-action for their PPC campaigns, instead of traditional offers.

9. Content that deepens the customer relationship

Don’t forget about content marketing after you’ve made the sale. Keep in contact with your customers by sharing valuable tips, tutorials or how-tos on how to use your product, or different ways they can take advantage of your service. Send an email newsletter, or maybe even a print newsletter. Keep your name in front of them so they can become repeat customers, and start to refer you to their friends.

10. Content to reach internationals markets

The Internet makes it possible to reach a global audience, and content is the way to create that soft landing before you commit resources to opening international offices. I obtained half a dozen international clients by taking a pure content marketing approach: I wrote a blog in Spanish, and published a 44-page eBook in Spanish. As a result I have a never-ending supply of leads who want more of what I have to offer. These are companies from Argentina, Costa Rica and Mexico. What international markets would you like to penetrate?


Embrace content marketing. Dedicate yourself to it wholeheartedly. Fall into it, with the confidence you have when falling backwards off a table into the arms of your friends who are waiting to support you and let you know they’re there for you.

Are you ready to embrace a Total Content Approach? When will you adopt the Total Content Approach? Will you adopt it now, when you can still get an edge over your competitors and dominate your niche? Or will you wait until you’re the only one left in your industry who hasn’t done it yet?

Hopefully it’s the former.

Original article published here.

About the author: Fernando Labastida, the current blog editor for the Austin AMA, has been involved in sales and marketing for almost 20 years. He has carried a bag as an account executive for start-up and established software companies, and he has led marketing efforts in the U.S. and Latin America. He specializes in content marketing and copywriting, is a marketing evangelist for the firm Leading Results.