Keep The Marketing Mind

I want to talk about your marketing mind, and why it’s important.

I just saw a really decent ad placement for Field Notes, a little writing pad that looks like everyone’s favorite Moleskine products. It was on my Twitterific for iPad app, up at the top. I liked the look of the ad. I liked the tag line they used. I clicked through and checked out the site and found that it was themed really nicely, and that it compelled me to want to buy some.

After I experienced all that, I stopped and asked myself why it worked so well.

The ad copy was simple and hit me in my emotions. From memory (a good test of whether the copy was effective), it said something like this: I don’t write down things to remember later; I write them down to remember them now. Whatever it was exactly, the thought was a personal thought, felt like a David Ogilvy mindset, and got me interested in the product.

The look of the product makes one nostalgic. Nostalgia often sells. We have this passion for paper in an iPad world. This worked, too. The site design matched the product exceptionally.

The call to action to order the product was simple and direct. ( I think Christopher S. Penn would maybe recommend the “buy” button be a better distinguishing color for a better call out, but otherwise, it was delicious.

The Marketing Mind

We go from this into the mode of asking, “So how can I learn from this and apply it to what I’m doing?”

In this exact case, the answers would look something like this:

  • Make sure your ad look and feel matches the emotions intended to be stirred by the product.
  • Use copy that hits our gut, not our analytics.
  • Make your online presence an extension of your product’s promise.

We could add more, but you get the point.

The larger point, because this isn’t a post about a set of notepads, is that we all (not just marketers) need to keep our minds open to understanding the mechanics of how such things work. If we need to convince people to make a decision, what can we apply from the above to that cause? If we see something that appeals to us, how can we learn to emulate it for our own needs? If something appeals at first, but you catch on to the deception, how can you defend against it?

Even higher up, can you see the market? What’s the market for the above product? Maybe it’s trendy 30-somethings. Maybe it’s hipsters. But I think it’s more likely the perfect product to offer to those who have had enough of the over-screened world we live in. I think it’s an emotional appeal to paper and pen (or dare I say, pencil).

Keep your marketing mind. It will deliver so much to you, if you leave it running in the background more often. Oh, and make sure to try/execute something with such discoveries when you can. Collecting recipes is no longer part of the plan, remember?

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  • lynn blumenfeld

    Nice post CB – all proves (again) that you need to know your brand's essence – it's personality – that ad wouldn't have worked for many products that aren't as textural, nostalgic and 'personal.' Kleenex has a campaign that works well right now for the same reasons….if you don't know who you are- you rarely know the right thing to say.

  • maryellengrom

    Absolutely true!!! Coincidentally, I just had a discussion with my creative / copy writing team on how to write copy for an email blast with the ultimate end frame layout in mind. Use bullets, format quick gets with easy to digest copy, include engaging calls to action. The emotional side of marketing is often overlooked and it should be the first place we start – even when we ask the question: why are we doing this in the first place.

    Chris – looking forward to your Thought Leadership Marketing web event today!

  • Matt Ridings

    For me, the reason I respond so strongly to this type of product is due largely to the impact a friend of mine (Dave Gray) has had in the way I perceive “efficiency”. Take his Visual Note-Taking as an example. There is no equivalent in technology when it comes to quickly capturing the essence of a meeting, a speech, etc. It got me thinking how some of the very things that make digital files so effective (convenience, portability, etc.) also tends to make them less valuable. I have thousands of files and couldn't tell you half of what is contained within them, they were immediately lost to me the moment I pressed “Save”. However, items that I've sketched out, diagrammed, or described in pencil on quality paper invariably are retained. And while we tend to consider “digital” a more permanent form of archiving the reality is that it has none of the same sense of permanence. I look forward to a time in which we can achieve the same visceral emotional response we have to pencil and paper in the digital realm.

    My point is that if it hadn't been for Dave this specific “desire” that I didn't even know I had, would not have been triggered. As a marketer, if you can find those triggers, especially ones that surprise the intended recipient you will always win. But it takes original thought to accomplish, otherwise you're just throwing your hat into a ring already full of contenders.


    Matt Ridings – @techguerilla

  • Chris Brogan

    Want to see how I blend the two?

    : )

  • Cynthia C. Cutright

    Thanks for the post Chris and especially for the link to Field Notes. Even though the posts focus is marketing and that is why I was here to read it, I happened to have a need for a small field notebook. The Field Notes site has a feel of the yesteryears which inspires you to buy.

    Your post is spot on. The product, the site design and layout, and most especially the the tag line creates a desire for the site visitor to purchase the product. All too often we marketers seem to jump head first into how to market a product and forget who they are marketing to.

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  • tojosan

    Keeping the 'marketing' mind is a hard habit to make.
    Speaking for myself, I've found that cramming my head full of great ideas, tips and strategies isn't enough. It's a whole other level of work and living to be mindful.

    Approaching this through practice is key. Your endorsement of reviewing each thing we observe and take part in and relating it to what we've soaked up is a strong one. So often we get caught up in things and forget to step back and analyze. (I recommend less analyzing while at Disney Land but instead while you're on the plane trip home.)

    Another aspect you bring up is not ignoring how something makes us feel. It's easy to be clinical about ads, appeals and other things we encounter on the web. We talk about colors, patterns, and grammar and lose the human emotional side of things. Cheers on that.

    Thanks for the thoughtful share.

  • zaneology

    No wonder you & @morganb are two of my favorite people. You both wrote excellent posts on Field Notes based on your own personal experience from two completely different angles. You: The value you found in your pre-purchase experience. Morgan: The magic he felt in his post purchase experience.

    Too Cool.

  • Matt Ridings

    Love it, no really, love it. A bit too time consuming to produce for me I think but god i wish I could. It certainly appears Dave has stuck his hands into your head at some point as well?


  • Charles

    Excellent post. Well thought out and very informative. Thanks for the info!

  • Chris Brogan

    Now that's cool. : )

  • Chris Brogan

    It's a really great question/concern, Todd. Filling one's head is never useful. Figuring out how to push it into a box to use for later might be. Collecting too many recipes without execution, however, is back to being not so useful.

    That's my thinking anyhow.

    And you're good people. : )

  • Chris Brogan

    I've loved Dave since 2005. : )

  • Eileyah Zen Jenkins

    nice…very well can really be applied in lot of ways..thinking the way how the target audience will appreciate your product…and i guess the secret behind all this is if ill be in the shoes of one of the target audience, would i buy it?…that's it!!

  • Dara Bell

    Nice brand and nice meduim for them to exibit in. All the thoughts you and the interactions all move me along in my execution of my marketing needs, the delivery seems important and at looking good examples moves me along to in this regard, especially for my understanding.

    Thanks for helping in the art

  • Dara Bell

    The Afterthought

    There is a theme on Tumblr called Field Notes.

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  • annmariebland

    Your “Field Notes” experience reminds me of the basics of Inbound Marketing and why it works so well. Permission marketing as opposed to interruption marketing. My “marketing mind” is so deeply seeded in my being that I personally can not help view anything that attracts me and not try to understand why. More times than not, it's because it served a need when I needed it, or it hit me to the emotional core somehow. Thanks, as always, for your insight.

  • Maxiosearch

    Great post Chris, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  • Jamie Gorman

    I love marketing! This suprises me because of my early engineering and analytical background. But marketing is one big engineering problem really. All that to say I love the way you broke down that ad.

    My question. Are copy that hits our gut and copy that hits our analytics exclusive? In selling to engineers, technology offices and CFOs, my impression has been that the analytics and logic often drive the gut. As sick as it seems the logic and numbers create the love! Thoughts?

  • Simon Mainwaring

    Hi Chris,

    Great post and yes, the more you engage your marketing mind the quicker it becomes second nature. And once that happens your effectiveness and that of those around you at work goes through the roof. Thanks for the great advice,


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    this may help and encourage business but one thing to consider is also to the <a href=”… the cashflow..

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    this may help and encourage business but one thing to consider is also to the… netflow..and the cashflow..i would want you to re-think..

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    The new book that @Julien and I are writing has a lot to talk about with regards to reframing. : )

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  • A Marketing Mind

    Still a great post, even after a year.