The Invisible Brand, with William Ammerman

With William Ammerman on The Strand Review of Books. Listen to author William Ammerman for ten great minutes, as he talks about his fascinating book The Invisible Brand. As we enter the age of mass customization of messaging, power and influence will go to those who know the consumer best. Whether you are a marketing…


Predictably Irrational

By Dan Ariely, Predictably Irrational must be the closest to “If you read no other book this year, read this one!” https://www.amazon.co.uk/Predictably-Irrational-Hidden-Decisions-Paperback/dp/B002SL0SLU/


Bees; sentient, but not as we know it

Yes, bees are sentient – and so are slugs, fish, monkeys, dogs and people.  Being sentient comes in degrees. Generally, I accept that other people are sentient because they are likely to be somewhat similar to me; their me-like behaviour persuades me that they are sentient. That’s the case we make for dogs. Exhibiting happiness,…


What ChatGPT says about Strand

Unlock Your Business Potential with Expert Technology Copywriting! Are you tired of struggling to create compelling content that truly showcases the power of your cutting-edge technology solutions? Look no further! Our world-class technology copywriting service is here to revolutionize your marketing efforts and help you soar to new heights in the competitive landscape of software…


Season 1, The Strand Review of Books

On Apple, Acast, Amazon, Deezer, Spotify and Strand – and wherever you get your podcasts. The Strand Review of Books https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-strand-review-of-books/id1710370430https://shows.acast.com/6426bd9a0cfcac00117aa9d0https://music.amazon.co.uk/podcasts/4ab39ceb-cd36-4845-b255-d0d0bcc9a1bf/the-strand-review-of-bookshttps://www.deezer.com/show/6006717https://open.spotify.com/show/1O2xAyTBCQvkyhTRS2WuBThttps://strand-uk.com/strand-reviews/


Using Behavioral Science in Marketing

With Nancy Harhut on The Strand Review of Books On this week’s show, Nancy Harhut delivers amazing insight into how behavioral science applies directly to marketing, turning instinctive responses into action! Using Behavioral Science in Marketing shows how to apply behavioral science principles in key areas of marketing, including marketing communications, email, direct mail and ad…


Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results

Ten minutes with Brad Borkan on The Strand Review of Books talking about “Audacious Goals, Remarkable Results,” co-authored with David Hirzel. Brad explores what it takes to get things done even in the face of extraordinary diversity, looks at decision-making, and considers how the lessons may be carried over into business life. Buy the book:…


The Customer-Base Audit

by Professor Peter Fader on The Strand Review of Books. Continuing my series of super-short book reviews, you may like to listen to Professor Peter Fader (quite a scoop, by the way!) speaking about his book The Customer-Base Audit. In essence, Professor Fader suggests that establishing genuine metrics are essential to understanding your customers, simply…


Influencer Marketing Strategy

With Gordon Glenister on The Strand Review of Books. Influencer marketing can no longer be ignored.  The enthusiastic, entertaining and energetic Gordon Glenister brings a fresh eye to influencer marketing for B2B companies in his book Influencer Marketing Strategy, the ultimate guide to developing a successful influencer marketing strategy—and building campaigns that create real value….


The Customer Catalyst

Interview with author Daniel Bausor on The Strand Review of Books Ten insightful minutes from an engergetic, enthusiastic and expert practitioner: Daniel Bausor comments on his book The Customer Catalyst, and how market power has shifted forever from seller to buyer. Really ground-breaking stuff! Daniel is an enthusiastic advocate of the change in B2B and…


The Laws of Brand Storytelling

Interview with author Ekaterina Walter on The Strand Review of Books Ekaterina Walter talks about the themes of her book The Laws of Brand Storytelling. As one commentator put it, “Filled with valuable insights, tools, and frameworks, The Laws of Brand Storytellilng is sassy, strategic, and chock-full of great brand stories!” The big question: is…


Account-Based Marketing

Nothing helps kick-start my New Year’s planning like a little holiday reading! If you’re searching for inspiration, I recommend “Account-Based Marketing: Unlocking Sustainable Value Through Extraordinary Customer Focus” by Bev Burgess and Tim Shercliff (Amazon). Many of the examples and case studies in the book refer principally to the enterprise technology world, including Fujitsu, IBM,…


Welcome to 2022!

Prediction for the year: the first AI will be considered ‘conscious,’ and it will pass all tests designed to prove otherwise.


Life-giving water

  Here’s to the generous, the visionaries, the world-changers – to you! Your generous donation of $2,500.00 will make lasting safe water and sanitation solutions possible for people in need. Here’s to you and here’s to changing lives with safe water! To learn more, visit Water.org.


In praise of nuance

Marketing = ensuring your prospective customers know of your sales proposition. Enablement = ensuring your prospective customers have sufficient information to make a purchasing decision. Generally, marketing is proactive, outbound, and designed to generate attention and interest. Enablement responds to incoming enquiries (created by marketing) with nuture sequences, assets, and calls to action. The assets…


In praise of middle management

History is written by triumphant leaders and their acolytes. Lost in the miasma, middle management tends to get bad press, along the lines of “You can’t manage your way out of a crisis.” I’d argue that success arises from the capture marginal gains, and that’s where middle managers are at their strongest. Let’s take two…


Strand launches the Customer Catalyst Conference online

Are you ready for the New Customer Economy? It’s a world where *everything* is available as a service. The peril is that you can sign customers up quick, and in the next breath they quit for the competition. How do you respond, how do you drive growth?


Good-bye sales teams?

If buyers have better-than 75% decided on what to buy *before* they engage with a company, is there any room for the sales team? Some while back, the sales director of a large software company admitted to me that the customer support team brought in more revenue than the sales team. The support agents would…


The True Foundation of Business is Trust

Thoroughly modern management is focused, for the large part, on the definition, automation and industrialization of business processes. For example, today’s sales process is seen as a function of pipeline, qualification, and deal-closure, all to be measured and managed. And note the use of the word ‘process’ next to ‘sales.’ The true foundation of business…


Top Ten Technology Analysts 2020

Found this on the Apollo Research site, here: https://www.apolloresearch.com/blog/the-top-10-technology-analysts-2020/ “In total, we at Apollo Research recorded 3,960 different technology analysts quoted over the last year. With that much competition for coverage, Patrick Moorhead’s achievement in 2020 is quite exceptional.”


The content flywheel

Came across this: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/becoming-inbound-business-what-does-mean-fundamental-steps-maurice/ Worth five minutes of your time, perhaps.


The True Foundation of Business is Trust

Thoroughly modern management is focused, for the large part, on the definition, automation and industrialization of business processes. For example, today’s sales process is seen as a function of pipeline, qualification, and deal-closure, all to be measured and managed. And note the use of the word ‘process’ next to ‘sales.’ The true foundation of business…


The Customer Catalyst Conference

WOWSERS! Just finished the world-first Customer Catalyst Online Conference with speakers from Zoom, Cisco, Advanced, Slack, Ritz-Carlton, ServiceNow and many more. FOMO? If you are hungry for great content but short on time, ON DEMAND is the way to go. Pick and choose from TED-length presentations on a grab-and-go basis. REGISTER! To watch these world leaders, register…


The Customer Catalyst Conference

WHO? If you sell or market enterprise IT solutions, or are engaged in customer advocacy or reference programmes, then The Customer Catalyst Online Conference is specifically and exclusively for you. ONLINE? If you are hungry for great content but short on time, online is the way to go. Pick and choose from TED-length presentations on a…


Technology Marketing Managers’ Index, June 2020

Welcome to the survey results from the Technology Marketing Managers’ Index, June 2020. I invite you to compare the results with your own views. Should you be reining in, or trying to out-market your competitors? On that topic, the Budget Barometer hints that people may be increasing their marketing activity: Confidence has declined slightly, from…


Technology Marketing Managers’ Index, May 2020

Welcome to the survey results from the Marketing Managers’ Index, May 2020. Scroll/swipe down for the interesting bits! The results may give you some insight into current industry sentiment. I have not commented on the data, and leave you to draw your own conclusions. If you have any questions, please let me know and I…


Four Kinds of Value

How do we assign value to what we hear? How about this: 1 Zero Value: Me telling me how great I am 2 Some Value: Me telling someone else how great I am 3 Fair Value: Someone else telling me how great I am  4 High Value: Someone else telling someone else how great I…


K.I.S.S. my Content

Every day I try to think of new, gripping, ripping yarns to post: Five-Point-Plans, Fascinating Facts, Illustrative Alliteration for the Amusement of Muddled Marketers. You get the picture. But today I gotta tell ya about the Most Successful Marketing Campaign Ever – and it wasn’t even intended as a marketing campaign. We changed our switchboard…


B2B vs SEO

The internet is a land of numbers: hits, conversions, dwell, rankings & more. It is now possible to measure almost every aspect of our web interactions, holding out the prospect of validated ‘performance marketing.’ And, as we all we know, “What gets measured gets managed.” (Peter Drucker never said or wrote this, but thanks to…


Marketing Managers’ Index

Foreground The Marketing Managers’ Index is based on a four-question survey of execs in the enterprise technology sector. The aim is to build a picture of confidence and future prospects. The questionnaire link changes each month. Mail surveys@strand-uk to find out more. Background You may have heard of the Purchasing Managers’ Index, which surveys the…



LinkedIn is one of my favourite business tools right now. Yet with the sheer volume of traffic, how do you cut through the cr** and have your messages seen by the right folk? First, if you’re posting or advertising on LinkedIn, have a look at the scale of the challenge: https://blog.hootsuite.com/linkedin-statistics-business/ https://www.oberlo.co.uk/blog/linkedin-statistics https://kinsta.com/blog/linkedin-statistics/ How about…


Shoot a video without leaving your desk

Sorry to jump on the coronavirus bandwagon, but it’s on everyone’s mind…  These days, if you find customers are reluctant to host a visit from your video team (and their dirty germs), then all is not lost!  Create the video from stock, b-roll, animations and graphics.  You may be surprised at what can be done…


The power of a microphone

What’s the most-prized profile photo on Linked In? Yep, the one with the microphone. Why is that? A photo or video of yourself striding the stage, microphone in hand (or better yet, with a performer’s wearable set) sends a powerful message. And boy-oh-boy, that sure feeds the ego! Look at all those fawning acolytes, just…


A sense of purpose

Whatever you might think and whatever the customer might say, a good technology case study is *never* about the software – or the hardware, or even the services & support. A great case study is *always* about the outcome, and the outcome is *always* about something personal that somebody wanted to achieve. Why? Companies –…


Top Ten Tips for creating a great case study

Normally I avoid ‘top ten’ and ‘tips’ articles. It’s all too easy to say how *someone else* should write a case study; the only real test is to write the darn thing. On the shaky ground that two negatives make a positive, I am adding ‘top ten’ to ‘tips’ for my Top Ten Tips for…


How do you solve writer’s block?

Without question, Strand’s clients are among the brightest and best, easily capable of writing their own blogs, papers, case studies and clerihews. So why do clients, every single one of them an IT marketing leader, hire Strand? In economics terms, it’s down to the rules of comparative advantage, defined by David Ricardo in 1817. In…


How do you write a great case study?

Recently I read an article focused on the value of storytelling, couched in terms of a coherent, compelling, persuasive piece of writing. The author recommends that you create a connection, provoke the audience, offer evidence and empower action, etc etc. In one section, the author writes “implement these steps to craft your own stories and…


Case study writing: make a choice

Faced with case study writing, it’s all too tempting to report what the customer said. But is the customer always right? Take a case study sparked off by an ‘enforced upgrade,’ moving from out-of-support software (which works perfectly well) to a new version. The typical customer (often the CIO) will say “We needed to upgrade.”…


Nobody has to do anything

Here’s a story. Often we are commissioned to create case studies on your clients who are upgrading their software. You know, Version 2 to Version 4. SAP ERP to SAP S/4HANA. That kind of thing. And the upgrade is a big sale, and the team wants a case study to help push along the next sale….


Agreement, approval

Writing for clients can be a revealing exercise, especially when it comes to what we clumsily call ‘approval.’ When we send draft text to clients, we so often find ourselves drowning in a sea of feedback from multiple individuals, all with their equally valid opions. I realized that we usually invite clients to *approve* the…


Flash in the pan (and tilt and zoom…)

Does ‘digital marketing agency’ or ‘video marketing agency’ sound worrying? When faxes were new, new ‘fax marketing’ agencies sprang up, possessed with the immediacy and urgency of faxes. When email arrived, new ’email marketing’ agencies sprang up, determined that email was the way to grab people’s attention. Right now, video is a hot medium –…


Re-position yourself

A new client has asked to re-position the [perfectly good] brand. The fundamental point, though, is that while we can create video, written, infographic, press and social pieces until they come out of your ears, we believe that the first step is to re-position yourself. What on earth does that mean, ‘re-position yourself’? Here’s a…


Events, dear boy, events

Events, whether technical, sales or marketing, are huge opportunities to beef up your customer testimonials output – and yet so rarely are the opportunities truly siezed. We have found that even at the busiest events, your clients are surprisingly willing to find 30 minutes for a conversation that can lead to a reference either on…


Blockchain for a greener planet

Like lasers, blockchain started as a solution looking for a problem – and of course lasers are now ubiquitous (theodolites, DVD players, display pointers, scalpels, optical tweezers…). Practical blockchain applications are emerging – for example, blockchain technologies will enable automated, secure micro-trading of energy generation and consumption. What does it actually mean, though? It’s easy…


Robin Sieger, success, and customer satisfaction

World-renowned speaker and thinker Robin Sieger (https://siegerinternational.com/) asks “Would you go to a film if someone said it was satisfactory?” and “Would you go to a restaurant if someone said the food was satisfactory?” Why do we use customer satisfaction scores to measure success? By the way, if you’re looking for a conference keynote speaker,…


Social video

There is no question that video is hot, but the big debate is short- or long-form? Budweiser might spend millions on a 30sec ad to air at the Superbowl, and yet so many companies insist on four-minute product-focused, feature-led talking heads. Aaargh! My Ridiculous Video Rules: Shorter Cut out the intro Shorter, please It is…


Tell Mum (and the dog)

As a rookie journalist I learned the Iron Rule: get the punter’s name right. Why? Because in print, the first thing anyone checks is their name. Katherine not Catherine. Thompson not Thomson. MacDonald not McDonald. (I could go on…) Today, we’re more visual. When you see holiday snaps or video, who do you look for?…


Sheep dip

It’s an old theme of mine, but it comes up time and time again: the customer sheep dip. Creating a written or video customer reference, case study or testimonial takes time and effort, and that translates into love, care and attention. For a relatively short period, the customer is treated with super-soft kid gloves, encouraged…


The Entrepreneurs’ Marketing Manual

If you fancy a refreshingly direct view of marketing, I recommend The Enterpreneurs’ Marketing Manual by Chris Willman. Visit the site, too.


Testimonials: real proof

From: Susan Date: 26/06/2019 18:11 Subject: Re: Year to Date Report: Case Studies and Videos June 2019 ________________________________________ Wonderful work!!! Thank you so much for all you do and to your extended team of writers/designers etc. -Susan Global Product Marketing Manager


Sales psychology & relationships

In the past, perpetual licenses and support contracts were handled exclusively by sales teams, and the company Sales Director was responsible for near-100% of revenue. Speaking with many software companies, I now know that the effect of cloud and saas is dawning on many software companies. For them, more than 80% of revenue comes from…


Video vs Written

There’s a good deal of talk about video taking over the world, displacing the written word. Here’s my take on it: Yeeeaaars ago, when faxes (remember them?) were new, ‘fax marketing,’ blossomed. The idea was that faxes commanded immediate attention, and fax marketing was a way to cut through the clutter. Ring any bells? The…


Unpopular social media

In a recent client meeting, their social media guru reported in tones of breathless excitement – how hits, posts and tweets were soaring. Not only that, the rate of soar was itself soaring. Bearing in mind that I’m a miserable curmudgeon, the presenter – an enthusiastic, personable West Coaster – really had me interested. Gee,…


Writers never ‘need to’

Nobody ever needs to do anything. What about if I hold a gun to your head and demand you give me access to your super-secret codes? Even then, you have a choice – give the codes or be shot. There is no ‘need to.’ People want to avoid a consequence or achieve an ambition, and…


Nobody ever has ‘requirements’

It’s a commonplace to talk about ‘requirements,’ as in “to meet your business requirements.” Well, Yes and No. Using ‘requirements’ like this is lazy shorthand, which covers up the underlying decision points and motivations. It is far more powerful to spell out what is actually going on: maybe the company is drowning in costs or…


Get Shorty!

Brevity can be the heart and soul of clarity, for both video and written pieces. Here’s a thing: a 30-second TV ad lasts an aaaaage. You can grow a spare head watching a John Lewis ad (two minutes, twenty seconds). And even though the advertisers spend a TON of money on these efforts, they are…


Advocacy, trust, referrals and testimonials

Advocacy is somewhat like loyalty: if you have to ask for it, then you probably won’t get it – and you might even create the opposite effect. The next-best-things to advocacy are probably referrals and testimonials, because you can certainly ask for those. If the answer is positive, you may incidentally create advocates. If the…