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Become Market Ready!

Mary, Amy and Yvonne at ALA Chicago 2009-Workshop Girls

I have just returned from vacation and I am back to my desk and my emails, but I keep thinking about the energy, excitement and participation at our Become Market Ready! workshop at ALA in DC.  Even though it was 8:30 AM in the morning, the vibe in the air was electric with curiosity. Mary and I are decidedly not morning people and were dreading the fact that we were placed in the 8AM workshop slot. There was so much interaction, Mary and I felt like we were not leading the workshop, but facilitating it!  Everyone was asking questions and generating ideas, there was laughter and activity; but what really caught my sleepy eye was that with all levels of experience in the room, there was support and respect amongst all of us and I thank all of you who participated in that workshop.

So I have to tell you about what happened right afterwards.  I was in the bathroom, because my Venti Americano had done its job, and a participant stopped me to tell me that the workshop was both “valuable and entertaining.”

“Thank you,” I said, “we had fun too.”

Mary and I look forward to facelifting this workshop many more times and if you want us to come to your organization write to Mary @

In honor of the Copa Mundial

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FF at ALA in DC!

Mary and I will be signing our book, Bite-Sized Marketing, with our co-author Nancy Dowd at the Swap & Shop.
Come by and say hi!

Sunday, June 27, 12:30–1:30 p.m.
Swap & Shop Presents: PR X-change (Public Relations Exchange)
LLAMA—PRMS Washington Convention Center—Special Events, Hall C, Aisle 700

Also, at the Swap & Shop my colleague from American University Library and fellow Fearless Collaborator, Patricia West and I will be accepting our award for the Best of Show Annual Report we created together last year.
This annual report has also won two additional awards: The Graphic Design USA InHouse Design Award and the Award of Excellence from the Communicator Awards.

Internal marketing is really important to us at Fearless Future. It something we often talk about with people when we are conducting workshops around the country. Internal marketing is defined as everything you do to inform and include your internal staff in your marketing efforts. It is so important that we devote a chapter in our book to the topic.

Mary and her colleague and friend Amy Ward will conduct an interactive workshop on internal marketing as part of the Grassroots program called Become Market Ready!

Become Market Ready!
ALA Washington Convention Center -101 Staff Support Interests
Monday, June 28, 8–10 a.m

Libraries now understand the importance of articulating value deliberately and consistently; some call this marketing. Prepare for marketing to your users by sharing the why, how and when with your organization. This workshop will focus on making your institution “market ready.” Before your organization spends time and money on marketing, attend this workshop and discover the proven tools needed for staff buy in. Learn how to create and conduct a publication audit and open forums for the entire staff. Find out how to develop style sheets and templates that will bring professional consistency to your marketing.

Neither Mary or Amy are morning people so it will interesting to see them dargging their coffee in for this one. They are both skilled trainers and presenters, so this should not only be fun but also informative!

Marketing Workshop Inspires Immediate Action

May 19th, Mary and I presented an introduction to Marketing to the Southern Pennsylvania Information Exchange Source (SPIES). Beth McGuire, one of the event’s organizers, applied our principles before we had even finished the workshop! Inspired by our introduction to style sheets, she immediately began creating one for the SPIES group. It felt fantastic to see such a strong, enthusiastic response to our message. We know that creating a solid style sheet and sticking with it will only make their marketing efforts stronger. Thanks, SPIES, for inviting Fearless Future to speak with your group of dedicated librarians.

If you are interested in having the Fearless Future crew come to your organization for a workshop on staff development day or any other day, please contact me directly:

Martha and Luda: (Inter) Personal Brands

I am fascinated with Martha Stewart’s love of rap in general and Ludacris specifically. I first discovered Martha’s passion while watching her daytime show last year; her guest of honor was none other than the famous performer Ludacris. Yes, Martha does host a variety of guests but the rapport which she shared with Ludacris astounded me!

I had forgotten the titillating episode until a few weeks ago when Martha was playing a rap video clip for her  audience. Listening to the TV casually from the next room, I recognized Ludacris’s voice immediately and ran into the living room. And there they were, happy as clams, with Luda flirting demurely with the Craft Queen. They discussed his upcoming album over a glass of his new cognac, Conjure!

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I think what makes the pairing so intriguing is their distinctively different personal brands — and I mean distinct. There are a few brief definitions of personal branding on wikipedia. My favorite defines it as “the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual [that] includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.”

Martha’s personal brand can clearly be defined by the “knowledge contained within” her. Whether it’s how to cook a complete Thanksgiving dinner, fold those tricky fitted sheets, or how and what color to paint your boudoir, Martha’s your girl. She has a line of crafting tools and materials sold in Wal-Mart that is branded simply as “Martha Stewart.” Her name alone is enough to convey quality to her customers. Her personal brand gives you a warm, fuzzy, grandmotherly, traditional feeling, which is why her affinity for rap and Ludacris is so scintillating!

Ludacris, on the other hand, is known for his raunchy (but hilarious) lyrics that describe his love of women. By appearing on Martha Stewart’s show, Ludacris has the opportunity, helped by Martha’s “endorsement,” to reach a new market of women — women who might have the impression that the rapper’s lyrics are disparaging to, rather than celebrating, women. I hope to see him again soon with the Domestic Diva!

Dante’s Inferno and the 7 Circles of Marketing

While I haven’t had a chance to play the newest hack and slash, Dante’s Inferno, I’d be hard-pressed not to hear about the exciting marketing techniques they’ve implemented from big budget commercials to staged events.

Commercials for video games are common place, but Dante’s Inferno really made their mark when they purchased a prime-time 30 second spot for Super Bowl XLIV costing an estimated 3 million dollars and telling us to kindly “GO TO HELL”.

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While this was sure to get the attention of the masses, their staged events were much more provocative. At the annual E3 Gaming Conference they hired a fake religious mob to “protest” the official announcement of Dante’s Inferno holding witty signs like, “CHEAT CODES WON’T SAVE YOUR SOUL!!”.

Their next event, modeled from the circle of hell for greed, sent $200 checks to mainstream reviewers tempting them. To top it all off they ran a contest called “Sin to Win” in which they asked individuals to submit pictures of themselves in acts of lust to win. The winner would be promised “a sinful night with two hot girls, a limo service, paparazzi and a chest full of booty.”

Each of these controversial moves generated an immense amount of buzz from blogs to major news networks. No press is bad press!

Social Marketing & m.e.

Yvonne & I  are reading an excellent book on Social Marketing that has many great examples of successful campaigns. Run to the library to borrow it or to amazon to order it—Social Marketing : Influencing Behaviors for Good. We at Fearless Future are committed to making great social marketing and design that works for non profits but what if we are the target audience of a social marketing campaign—does it work on us—for sure!

I have a dirty secret! For many years I have been a secret smoker. Just one every now and then. But still this ad from Washington State Anti-Litter Campaign makes me think every time I think about lighting up in my car. It is a brilliant piece of social marketing. It is witty- Want to Litter ? Fine. It is specific—If you throw a cigarette butt out of your car in Washington State you could be fined 1,025 dollars.

It has made me change my behavior. Every time I think about smoking in my car, I wonder if there is a fine in Pennsylvania, the state where I currently reside. I wonder how much that fine is?  By the time I have thought through these things, well the knee jerk react to smoke has usually passed.

Heavy Rain: Marketing Snafu?

The addition of “The Taxidermist” DLC reminds me of the bittersweet story that is Heavy Rain. On Feb. 23rd Quantic Dream released Heavy Rain, the spiritual successor to Indigo Prophecy, and has since enjoyed positive sales and favorable reviews (87 from MetaCritic). What’s most interesting about this though is that Heavy Rain was largely marketed as an “Action/Adventure” game in which the player is asked, “How far would you go to save the one you love?”. What they neglected to mention was that to save the one you love, you’d have to memorize the PlayStation 3 controller and unblinkingly spasm key strokes for the length of the 6 hour storyline.

As an avid gamer, I watched with intrigue as this graphically-stunning, experimental game came close to release. The worst fear of every gamer is that their most anticipated game will be uncovered as a series of cinematics or quick time events (QTE) that has no meaningful gameplay. During an interview, the creator David Cage avoided mentioning QTE’s and instead used the term “Interactive Drama” to categorize his game. From a marketing perspective, this oxymoronic term was a wise omission from the commercials and packaging.

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This was clever because the title “Interactive Drama” inherently implies a certain amount of un-interactivity. But no matter how many talented writers you bring together to create a Choose Your Own Adventure book, the reader will still only be flipping numbered pages. As such, during Heavy Rain the player is restricted to the narrative presented and given a limited amount of choices to make (few with actual consequences). Thus, it very much mirrors a regular game but without varied gameplay mechanics and more squares (■) than a college library during finals week.

In the end, the gorgeous graphics and powerful story of Heavy Rain break new ground for the genre, but limited and repetitive gameplay keeps it from breaking any sales records.

Mario Halkyer is a guest poster from York, PA who
runs his own blog and regularly plays more games than needed.

Digital Publishing

Here is a wonderfully insightful piece on how digital publishing is helping to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Print is dying.
Digital is surging.
Everyone is confused.

[via DaringFireball]

Fully Engaged: Staff Training Can be Fun & Informative!

Kanawha County Public Library System, in West Virginia, hired Fearless Future to talk about marketing at their staff development day. One staff member remarked, “Everyone was dreading a 3 hour presentation, but Mary Evangeliste was such a dynamic speaker that I didn’t realize we spent so much time on marketing. I felt like we had time to actually settle into a topic and really discuss some issues with our library and how to resolve them.” 

I was particularly struck by Mary’s enthusiasm and gift for keeping the 150+ attendees engaged in lively discussion. The staff agreed, commenting that she was “just what we needed to get us going.” The first thing she did was get everyone up and moving so that they could work cooperatively in groups. The KCPLS staff was skeptical at first but soon found that Mary’s group activities were “engaging and fun.”

During the 3 hours, Fearless Future related marketing to everyday experiences, brought the concept of marketing down to an understandable (and fun!) level, and explained the why behind good marketing (instead of listing “commandments”) all with the purpose of increasing staff buy-in. Mary specifically discussed facebook for the benefit of staff members unfamiliar with this next phase in word of mouth marketing. She led the staff though an exercise to develop their own “elevator talks” in order to make all staff members advocates of their library.

The last hour was devoted to talking and listening to KCPLS’s specific marketing questions and concerns. The staff appreciated “the opportunity to voice marketing concerns without key department heads present,” which was at Mary’s suggestion. We later relayed those comments and concerns to KCPLS’s management.

Overall, Fearless Future had a blast working with the staff of the Kanawha County Public Library System! They were a fun and energetic crowd that clearly loves what they do and want only further success. A special thank you to Marsha Alford and Rachelle Beckner for all logistics and all-around good vibes. We hope to see them again soon—and any other institution interested in having Fearless Future work with their staff! If you are interested in having the Fearless Future crew come to your library for a workshop on staff development day or any other day, please contact me directly: