Create a Killer Brand-ExactTarget Connections 2010

Parthenon Publishing provides email marketing solutions to meet clients’ unique needs.  One way we do this is as a Partner and Reseller of ExactTarget, a robust email marketing software. For some clients, our digital media team handles the entire email marketing campaign including template design, content development, email build, testing, sending and tracking results. Other clients handle the email creation and send and rely on our team for new designs, troubleshooting issues and analytics.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Connections 2010, ExactTarget’s email marketing and social media conference in Indianapolis. The conference was an excellent chance for me to learn about ExactTarget’s new features, hear interesting case studies from marketers and meet fellow ExactTarget partners and clients. I came back with a lot of valuable information and look forward to implementing new strategies with Parthenon’s clients.

For now, I’ll share one of my biggest takeaways from the conference that is applicable to any brand.

Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and author of “Content Rules: How to Create Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Ebooks, Webinars (and More) That Engage Customers and Ignite Your Business,” shared advice at the Partner Forum for creating “killer content.” I thought her best advice was to do something unexpected and have an occasional surprise. In many industries, content can get dry and mundane but the occasional surprise can bring it back to life. Doing something unexpected reengages consumers and makes them notice you.

Keynote speaker Sir Richard Branson, entrepreneur behind the Virgin Group of more than 360 companies,  shared the ultimate example of implementing this strategy. He shared the following story on promoting Virgin Atlantic airlines, “When British Airways sponsored London’s Millennium Wheel in the late 1990s, it planned to make a big splash for the official opening. On the day the wheel was to be raised, the engineers had great trouble lifting it. We jumped at the chance to cause a stir. We scrambled a small airship to drag a banner across London’s skyline emblazoned with ‘BA can’t get it up’. It was cheeky, all right, and we — not BA — grabbed the headlines that night.”

I think this example, though slightly inappropriate (and therefore fitting), shows what it takes to get your brand noticed.  In addition, Richard Branson’s story exemplifies the Virgin brands and their heedless marketing strategies. They have created brands in saturated markets and survived in unstable industries such as airlines. And despite economic crises, they are on their way to outer space with Virgin Galactic. They’ve gotten there by doing something different.

In the online world where everyone is vying for attention, doing something different can go a long way. Think about how to make your brand stand out in the World Wide Web.

Feel free to contact us if you’re interested in learning more about our email marketing solutions and social media strategies to help establish or strengthen your brand’s online presence.

Also check out these other blogs: Ann Handley ( and Richard Branson (