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The ultimate marketing challenge: Final Fling helps plan your own death

By Maurice Smithfinal_fling

How do you get people interested in planning for their own death?

It sounds like the ultimate marketing challenge.

As Tom Farmer, the founder of KwikFit, the UK tyres-and-exhaust chain, once remarked, “Nobody wakes up in the morning and says ‘I wish I had a set of new tyres for the car’.” Very few of us really want to plan our own funeral.

But that convention is changing. Driven, perhaps, by the decline of traditional churches and the growth of agnosticism, people are more open to the idea of planning their funerals, just as readily as they might prepare a will or bequeath personal items to loved ones.

Funerals are becoming less religious and more like joyous celebrations of life. It’s not unusual to hear rock music at the end of a funeral ceremony these days. It is also becoming more common to find burials taking place in remote and beautiful parts of the country, with the deceased buried in environmentally-friendly cardboard or some other sustainable container.

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The only thing worse than not investing in marketing

By Francis Moranroulette

I’ve had more than a few conversations recently with startup and young technology companies — and with folks like me who try to get them to do marketing well — where the objection to hiring my services or those of other seasoned marketing strategists seems to come down to a question of affordability. It’s true, the services of an experienced technology marketing pro with a healthy track record under her or his belt do not come cheaply. But here’s the thing: Most of these companies are already spending considerable sums on marketing; they’re just spending them in a random and uncoordinated way with no coherent planning and no idea if they’re working or not.

The only thing worse than not investing in marketing is investing in the wrong marketing.

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Testimonials are great, but your marketing machine needs more

By Leo Valiquettetestimonials1

I love Tom Kumagai.

As a spokesperson for Toyota, that is.

He is the modest building inspector from Chatham, Ont. who has appeared in television commercials for Toyota with his 1998 Rav-4. His mileage on the vehicle is well past the 600,000-kilometre mark. Previously, he owned a 1980 Toyota Corolla that he took to more than 400,000 kilometres.

Kumagai attributes the reliable performance to the fact that he keeps to the manufacturer’s recommended service schedule and only trusts his local Toyota dealership to do the work.

There is nothing boastful about these advertisements. There is no need to be. The facts speak for themselves. And while not all Toyota owners have the same experience, and the automaker itself deals with quality issues and recalls like any other, the understated tone of these advertisements gives them weight and authority.

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Great articles roundup: Startup values, email & content marketing and startups in Asia

By Daylin Mantyka link

It’s time for Friday’s weekly roundup. Throughout the week, we’ve read some great content written by the creative folks at StartupCFO, Marketo, Velocity Partners and Tech In Asia.

On deck we’ve got an article that talks about the importance of defining and sticking to your values as your startup grows, followed by an interesting read on using behavioral targeting to get your customers opening emails. Third, we’ve got a slide presentation on one of the secrets to content marketing. In our fourth pick, one writer explores the reasons why some Asian startups no longer care about saving face. Enjoy! Read More

Never expect mission-perfect prose in the first cut

By Leo Valiquettewriting

Ernest Hemmingway once said in an interview, that he rewrote the last page of A Farewell to Arms 39 times because he was having trouble “getting the words right.”

Effective writing is about much more than appropriate comma use, subject-verb agreement, passive versus active voice, or avoiding exclamation marks and adverbs. These details are important. They are the nuts and bolts of writing, the technical stuff that, if diligently policed, gives prose its final polish.

But the essence of great writing is much more subjective. Great writing engages, entertains and educates. It distills ideas, opinions and concepts into provocative new forms that find resonance among audiences they haven’t before.

As Hemmingway’s timeless example illustrates, great writing seldom emerges in the first draft, no matter how skilled the writer. It is an iterative process. Review and revision by wise readers who are representative of the intended audience, as well as eagle-eyed editors, is crucial. Review and revision is the difference between good and great.

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