The Reason Purified Tap Water Exists [Hint: it has to do with you, the consumer.]

water bottle lids blurredLots of people like to hate on water brands like Aquafina or Dasani because their process consists of filtering tap water and bottling it. Mother Jones recently released an article that the water comes from the most drought-ridden places in the U.S, adding an opinion of disgust that it’s bottled tap water.

I’m here to tell you that’s the point. Maybe not that it comes from drought-zones in the U.S., but that it’s filtered tap water. It’s intentional. These brands aren’t trying to hide it from anyone.

  • Aquafina openly states that it’s purified water, and even provides buyers with the steps in their purification process.
  • Dasani does not market itself as water from a fresh mountain stream. It clearly says “purified water” on the label.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola did a ton of consumer research before launching their purified water brands. Consumers told them that they didn’t need their bottled water to be from a spring. In fact, many of them would drink the “spring water” and then fill up the bottle with tap water. Why?

Consumers wanted convenience.

They wanted to grab a bottle, know that it was safe to drink, and go to the gym, work, or stick it in their purse for later. These soda brands intelligently and deliberately extended their product lines to include an option for the health-conscious consumer. They positioned and designed their product differently and as a result, they are able to offer bottled water at a lower cost.

If you want spring water, then purified water brands are not for you. Choose a company that advertises “100% Natural Spring Water” such as Poland Spring or Deer Park.

No need to hate on purified water companies. We just need to read the labels, find out where our water is coming from, and make the best decision based on our knowledge and budget.

Everyone is different. That’s why we have so many choices.

Avoid losing email subscribers -give them options.

Avoid unsubscribes by giving the reader more options.

Avoid unsubscribes by giving the reader more options.

I’ve decided that I get too many emails that I don’t read, so it’s time to tidy-up my inbox. As I’ve been doing this, I noticed a few things. There are a lot of newsletters that I don’t actually want to unsubscribe from…I just want fewer emails!

You can avoid losing subscribers completely if you give the recipient more flexibility to manage their settings. Consider adding these options to your email campaigns:

  1. The “Frequency” option: This is the “I still want to receive emails from the ABC Company, but I don’t them everyday” option. If the only option you provide readers is to unsubscribe, then you are losing people unnecessarily. Add an option to receive daily, weekly, or monthly emails from your company.
  2. The “Categories” option: the recipient might like your emails notifying them of a HUGE sale, but don’t want emails about company news. Divide your emails into categories and give them more flexibility. The subscriber will pick and choose what communications they want to receive from you.
  3. The “Update Contact Information” option: The emails that include this option are minimal. What if I changed my email address but I still want to receive your correspondence? You need to make it REALLY easy for me to update my information, so that you don’t lose me completely. If I have to “unsubscribe” and then go to your website to subscribe with my new address, chances are I’m not coming back.

Remember, if you use email to market your business, you must be compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act. If someone wants to unsubscribe, let them unsubscribe. Don’t hide the link or make them go through unnecessary steps to get off your email list. They were never going to be a customer anyway.

Did I miss anything? Leave me a comment.

A Plea for Commercial Variety

I like to watch video segments from CNN or the Today Show on my computer while I multitask. It helps me get through mundane tasks. Like most viewers I’m watching for the show segments, not the commercials. I know commercials necessary, and that companies need to bring in revenue to support these shows we enjoy watching.

What I don’t understand is the complete lack of commercial variety. I want to watch the entire Today show online but it’s really difficult when I have to watch the same Charmin commercial 20 times. I end up turning it off, changing to a different website, or selecting only the videos that I really want to watch. (Or perhaps I should record it on DVR and then fast forward through the commercials.)

I wonder how many other people are just as frustrated. Can’t the stations see that a little commercial variety would be beneficial for everyone?


Words to Live By

Best practices. Mediocre results.

One of favorite quotes isn’t from a famous author or public speaker. It came from an advertisement in a marketing magazine a few years ago. I was skimming the articles when the full pager jumped out at me:

Best practices. Mediocre results.

That’s all it said. I stared at it for a few minutes. The text was black on a white background. How could an ad that is so simple bring so much meaning? The only artwork was a serious faced emoticon at the end of the sentence. What a boring life that emoticon must have; constantly doing the predictable. I knew that I didn’t want to be that emoticon.

We all want a baseline. It’s a false sense of security that says everything will be fine and your efforts won’t be wasted as long as you follow these steps. But if we all follow the same guidelines, we’re all destined to be mediocre.

What a genius advertisement. Four words. Two sentences. Changed me. Challenged me.

Your Personal Brand: Using LinkedIn for Messaging

LinkedIn endorsements launched in September of 2012, with the purpose of recognizing your 1st-degree connections’ skills and expertise with one simple click. It turns out that colleagues aren’t our only connections. We all have connected with friends and family members, as well as clients and partners on LinkedIn. What can we learn from their perception of our skills and expertise?

Connecting through LinkedInWhether it’s a problem with society (how do we not know what our best friend does for 40+ hours a week?) or a problem with our LinkedIn behavior (was I not supposed to connect with my mom?) remains unclear. What is evident is that a lot of the people care about you and want to do anything they can to show their support. How sweet is that?

Recently LinkedIn asked me to endorse someone for VMWare. I have no idea what this means, so I decided to click “skip.” That got me thinking–how many other people click “skip” when they don’t understand the requested endorsement? I decided to take a look at my profile.

You wouldn’t know that I’m a content marketer from my endorsements list. My top five endorsed skills are: online marketing, marketing, social media, social media marketing, and email marketing. My guess is that my connections aren’t familiar enough with the skill “content marketing” to endorse me for it.

How can we use this information?

Sometimes we get so advanced in our roles that we start speaking industry lingo without even realizing that it isn’t common vernacular. If you have a fair amount of endorsements from your connections, take a look at what skills they picked for you. Use those words or phrases as a basis for what a majority of people probably understand, and build your messaging around it. In my case, I should probably substitute “content marketing” for “online marketing,” whether I’m talking to family members at Thanksgiving or with potential clients who don’t live in the marketing world.

Use this section as a tool to get to know your audience, so that you can communicate in their language.