SIPA December Member News

A Clever insideARM Take


On insideARMMike Bevel, their director of education, lists some of the things that he is thankful for—after some fun Thanksgiving banter. It’s a nice way to speak to your audience. His first thankful burst is: “Everyone who reads our newsletter. Everyone who takes time to trust us, and our insights and opinions. Even you. Even the person who once wrote to me to tell me I had half a brain. I’m a brain half-full kinda guy anyway.” Well done.


Fantini Research Celebrates 20 Years


What started as a single emailed newsletter with six subscribers in January 2000 has blossomed into a multi-title publishing and research enterprise with global customers. “We are proud of our accomplishments in building our suite of products and services, and we are even more excited about the future as the gaming industry continues to grow and evolve,” says Fantini Research founder and CEO Frank Fantini.


On their Meet the Team page, you can watch a wonderful video interview with Fantini and associate publisher and executive editor Ashley Diem (pictured above). “Historically, our main product has been a daily newsletter that covers the gaming industry comprehensively… It’s become a must-read for a lot of people,” he says proudly. “We have that slogan, ‘More important than your morning coffee,’ because for some people it is.”


In response to the pandemic, they created Fantini’s Gaming Show: A Virtual Trade Show and Newsroom. “There is now a way for gaming industry suppliers to exhibit their products to decision-makers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”


Africa Confidential, Plain-English Media Offer Glimpses


We’re all playing with different paywall ideas this year. Africa Confidential features timely daily stories from many of the African countries. Usually there’s one paragraph and then it says this: “End of preview – This article contains approximately 1642 words.” They do choose about three free stories for visitors to read, highlighted with a red box. Good color choice.


Plain-English Media’s Community Association Management Insider—which they acquired from The Habitat Group—gives a headline and an opening paragraph before putting in big type: “The resource you requested is available only to current members.” Speaking about the acquisition, Matt Humphrey, president and founder of Plain-English Media, said at the time: “It helps us serve community associations in a new way that complements our flagship real estate publication,”


Ace Infoway, Money-Media Show They Are Good Places to Work


Ace Infoway has a section on their homepage titled Life @ Ace. “Hop on to see our activities because no amount of creative copy can justify our employee (ec)centricity!”


Of course, most of the ideas were pre-COVID though I’m sure most will continue at some point. They did a ThanksGiving day with people writing notes on hand cutouts of what they are thankful for. There’s also Yoga Day, Environment Day and Women’s Day.


And there’s still that moving and emotional, two-minute video of a desolate Broadway, an empty San Marco Square in Venice, a “Sorry We’re Closed” sign, and then a tribute to the “Heroes fighting the Coronavirus.” “For Ace Infoway, things are not the same as before. We really miss working together… We take this moment to thank our Ace Internal Heroes. Our dedication to our clients is the only motivation we thrive on.”


Money-Media uses a video to show why it’s a good place to work called, “Why should you work for Money-Media?” and it appears prominently on their homepage. We hear from employees about the career-growing opportunities, trust and camaraderie. Then we see pre-COVID laughter and food at staff gatherings, a softball title and comfortable meetings. “We are seeing video usage rise, especially as we test new formats,” said Money-Media managing director Dan Fink.


Utility Dive, Waste Dive & Smart Cities Dive Join Forces to Cover the Cost of Climate Change


“It seems like another lifetime, but it was just shy of a year ago when Industry Dive’s energy and environment teams gathered in our main conference room to start brainstorming and planning major projects we wanted to dive into in 2020.”


So starts a story on the Industry Dive site announcing how three of their verticals will partner to cover one of the biggest stories of the day—climate change. Waste Dive launched a tool to monitor the climate targets of major companies in the waste and recycling industry. Utility Dive unveiled an interactive tool that will allow readers to quickly learn critical information about the physical risks climate change poses to utilities.


Seconding That Emotion Can Be One of the Best Things You Do Now

“In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” begins a message on the SIPA member Ace Infoway site, “We take this moment to express our gratitude and support!”


What follows is a moving and emotional, two-minute video of a desolate Broadway, an empty San Marco Square in Venice, a “Sorry We’re Closed” sign, and then a tribute to the “Heroes fighting the Coronavirus.” “For Ace Infoway, things are not the same as before. We really miss working together… We take this moment to thank our Ace Internal Heroes. Our dedication to our clients is the only motivation we thrive on.”


With all the wonderful faces of Ace Infoway employees, it’s a powerful video. Marketing consultant Amy Africa once pleaded with us to use real faces from our businesses instead of canned ones, and you can see why. We respond to emotion, she said. “We have bartenders in our brain and they’re constantly mixing cocktails to become faster and smarter and more involved. We are not thinking machines that feel; we are feeling machines that think.”


Two years ago, at a SIPA Annual Conference, Rick Wilkes, OPIS director of marketing, talked about the importance of emotion in marketing.


“I think emotion is underrated in any kind of marketing, particularly with websites,” he said during a session titled Transforming Your Website into a New Prospect Magnet. “On the new OPIS site [and still today!] you see a refinery at sunset, and that’s the best a refinery is ever going to look. You’d be amazed in stock photography how many fuel places are within sunsets. It’s very soothing. So it’s a big bold image [and the words,] ‘Buy & sell oil & gas products with CONFIDENCE’—and the confidence is the emotional hook there.”


This was backed up by an article by Nick Hague, head of growth at B2B International: “A successful brand is based on a connection that includes trust and an emotional bond which fosters a long-term relationship. Indeed, with Harvard Professor Gerald Zaltman finding that a whopping 95% of all purchase decisions are made subconsciously, it’s clear that B2B brands cannot afford to forget the importance of emotion.”


If emotion had value before the pandemic, it has only multiplied since. Last week I stumbled on a video posted by a bundled-up Wylecia Wiggs Harris, CEO of American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA), standing in a park outside Chicago.


“Hi AHIMA members, this is Wylecia just checking in to see how all of you are doing… This is a period of uncertainty for all of us. And if we’re honest, there are fears and doubts and concerns that we’re all carrying. And yet the work that we do has never been more important. Know that AHIMA appreciates everything you are doing. We’re in this all together.”


Creating a New Vibe


Back in March and early April, many organizations moved quickly to build COVID-19 microsites to accompany their regular website. While many of those produced huge bumps in traffic, they also created a new vibe—we care about you, your health and how you are coping. Stephanie Williford of EB Medicine has talked about the pushback she got when their COVID site first appeared behind a paywall. They quickly moved it in front.


And, of course, EB Medicine is not alone. “PaperClip Communications knows how difficult and uncertain this time is, and we’re happy to offer these complimentary resources to help our colleagues during this crisis.” This appears on their homepage and then a very attractive resources page, where they list On-Demand Training, PDF Downloads, a Self-Care Calendar and Digital Newsletters.


It’s an emotional lift at a time when we all need it most.


“The best marketing doesn’t feel like marketing,” said the famous “Marketoonist” Tom Fishburne, quoted in an article on the site Instapage. They write: “Does it feel like marketing when you watch a poignant advertisement and connect emotionally with the subject? Does it feel like marketing when you read a genuine positive customer review of a kind waitstaff and great service?


“Emotional connections happen because we’re human, and we’re built for these connections, wired for them, and rely on them to live a rich, meaningful life. Despite our significant advances in science and technology, human emotion (mainly our subconscious) will always be core to our DNA. Marketing by appealing to raw and genuine human emotion is essential, smart, and pays off.”