Recent Marketing Strategies Show Love, Boldness and Thought Leadership

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"If Valentine's Day didn't go as planned..."

That's the subject line for a special email yesterday from SIPA member Spidell Publishing to its large audience of tax preparers. The email offers a special 25% off Flash Sale for their Friday webinar titled, Divorce Tax Planning, Including Tax Reform Changes. And the headline in the email reads: Be Prepared When Crazy 4 U Turns Into U R Crazy.

Spidell has seen incredible success with similarly well-timed holiday emails. Museum Hack emailed me last week with this message, "Museums are incredibly romantic," trying to sell a private tour and a group workshop. "Got a team that's not quite feeling the love for each other? Our storytelling workshops are an amazing way to boost communication and reignite the love between your team members (in a way that's cool with HR, of course)."    

It may be too late to take advantage of Valentine's Day, but there are other days coming up with marketing potential. March Madness looms—check out an article I wrote last year about what Melissa Johnson of Informa did—April has Earth Day, which could be a good way to reach a younger audience. May has Teacher Appreciation Week and Mothers Day, of course.  

Specially timed marketing is just one of a host of creative strategies I've seen lately. Here are 4 others:

Be a thought leader. In October, SIPA member CadmiumCD sent out an email with the subject line, "3 Challenges Women Face in Advancing Their Careers." "CadmiumCD CEO and co-founder, Michelle Wyatt, shares her thoughts about the challenges women in events face while building their careers." That headline led to the CadmiumCD website and her excellent blog post on the topic. A pop-up advertised a free pop-up e-book titled Speaker Management 101. (CadmiumCD is an events and meetings management company.) Wyatt ended the article by inviting everyone to watch a webinar panel she would be on later in the month. It positions the company as a real thought leader.

Be bold and creative. This actually goes along with Spidell's headings. A huge conference now in its fourth year is called Collision. "...20,000 attendees from 119 countries. Attendees to the New Orleans event include CEOs of both the world's fastest growing startups and largest companies, alongside leading investors and media." Not only did they title their conference a word that has a negative connotation—I wish I had been sitting in on that meeting—but they timed it between the two weekends of Jazz Fest, one of the biggest music festivals in the country. Boldness can pay off.

Serve the greater good. "A special offer that supports independent journalism." That's the subject line that The New York Times used yesterday in a marketing email. "Become a Times subscriber and play an essential role in the reporting of news without fear or favor. Your subscription makes our reporting possible...," the email reads. We've read a lot lately about making clear the benefits to the customer in your marketing. But this approach goes after the greater good—probably, like Earth Day, geared a little more to younger people, who, surveys say, value that. Later on, the email becomes more personal: "It's the news you need and the journalism you deserve." It also presents interesting subscription options where All Access is shown more love than Home Delivery + All Access. (This comes after an article on CNBC Monday quoted Times CEO Mark Thompson as saying their print product may only last another 10 years.)

Put the event before the group. We've seen how good content can lead to profitable events, but the International Association of Lighting Designers went the other way when it decided to put its resources into building a European audience. They did this "through a series of 'Lighting Conversations,' low-key events in which experts around the continent convened for panel discussions and networking around trends in the industry," reports Associations Now. "No logistics-heavy tradeshow; no hard sell on membership... 'It was an environment that people found comfortable and wanted to be part of. And then they began to inquire about joining,'" said CEO Marsha Turner. In the past four years, IALD has seen its European membership increase on by 153%.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…