The last Poppermost blog you’ll ever read

 OK, don’t panic: We’re not closing up shop; we’re just TRANSFORMING a little.

As you know, sometimes you’ve gotta shake things up in order to get to the next level. So on January 1, 2015, Poppermost Communications is becoming VerbStudios. We’ll still be cranking out some of the industry’s most engaging copy every single day, plus we’ll be providing additional services, like content audits, and strategic counsel. We’ll also be able to pull some of the hottest and smartest minds in graphic and web design, video production, PR, content and direct marketing, and social media into projects whenever needed. Wherever you want to go, VerbStudios can get you there.

With this change, we’ll be better positioned to take on content development projects of all sizes, whether you need a single writing resource, or a cracking team that can deliver a GINORMOUS suite of ace content in a tight timeframe (or on an ongoing basis).

Our new home on the web will be We’ll also be blogging and chatting over at Come see us!

RIP Poppermost Communications, 2003 – 2014

Long live VerbStudios!


Why you need a geek marketer

.Technician sitting on floor beside server tower using laptop

A lot of companies think that, in order to kill it in their industry, they need to hire agencies with deep expertise IN their industry. Whether it’s travel, sports, consumer goods, or whatever, every brand is out there looking for the Golden Ticket marketing agency within their niche.

I’m here to tell you that they are looking in the wrong place.

If you want to differentiate yourself in the market, WHY would you want to hire the same types of agency expertise that your competitors are hiring? If all you want is to fit into what your customers have been lulled into wanting, great. If you want to simply ride on the coattails of the first-to-market in your industry, great.

But who has EVER been satisfied with sloppy seconds?!

Now I’m going to introduce you to the folks that brands really need to get in bed with in order to keep up (and stay relevant): Technology marketers.

What, GEEKS? Yeah baby, and here’s why:


Yes, digital. Marketers with an IT background get it. They’ve had their heads around it for years, while your agency was busy shoveling all of your social media strategy off to interns. Tech marketers know the lay of the land, and ways to get more out of your digital strategy than any of your competitors because they were sitting in the middle of digital while it was being built.

Personally, I’ve worked with some of the tech industry biggies, like Microsoft, HP, AMD, Dell, and others. And the digital strategy experience I gathered working with these brands have enabled Poppermost Communications to consistently knock it out of the park for non-tech clients, like Coca-Cola, Royal Caribbean, Allstate, and others. Today, we’re bringing this expertise to financial services, airlines, healthcare, manufacturing, and other industries that need to fully embrace the benefits of digital to get the pop they want in the market.

So what are you waiting for? Don’t undercut yourself with the same-old, same-old. A dynamic competitive environment is no place for business as usual. Or marketing as usual.


Turns out it IS easy bein’ green. . .


’nuff said.


Relax, I’m here to circumcise your content

long formthinksmall

One of the last bastions of what I call Old Marketing (aka “pre-digital”) that is slowly and finally giving way to 21st century best practices is long-form content. It’s been a long haul, and a few out there are still resistant to the change.

Remember the word-laden marketing campaigns that were popular before the 1960s? (OK, it was before my time too, but trust me, I’ve studied this.) Then Volkswagen came along and set marketing on its ear with Think Small.

In the 1990s, Volkswagen took that concept even further, cutting the original Think Small word count significantly in keeping with the exploding Internet culture. And this was before 140 characters was even a gleam in Jack Dorsey’s eye. . .

But who’s been left in the dust of all this anti-copy revolution? Those folks are still out there:

  • Claire, that woman in Marketing who is asking the writing team to crank out 4- and 5-page case studies that no customer will ever take the time to read
  • Phil, the technical sales guy who is getting ready for a trade show by producing six 22-page white papers that no customer will ever take the time to read
  • Lorelai, the CEO who is directing staff in an update to the 40-page Corporate Backgrounder document that no customer will ever take the time to read

Are they dinosaurs, or just uninformed? I’d like to think it’s the latter.

Often, an organization will call me in for a project, and I’ll find that a Claire, Phil, or Lorelai is large and in charge—and insisting on long-form copy that will end up getting deleted or trashed by the intended audience. It sometimes takes a bit of doing, but usually I can help them see that longer-form content today is a very specific choice. It only gets results in certain situations, like content marketing, omni-channel campaigns, and eBooks.

As far as case studies go, 2 pages max—there are even some brave and forward-thinking companies that are willing to pare it down to a 1-page solution brief. Scannability at its best!

White papers? Studies say that they usually don’t get read no matter how long or short they are, but if you must, 4-6 pages and no more!

Corporate Backgrounder? Meh. That’s what your website is for, Lorelai.

Today we move fast, we think fast, and we read (or better yet, scan) fast. Don’t waste your time developing long-form copy that burns through your marketing budget, doesn’t get read, and makes your company look like the T. Rex of its industry.


“Time to change. . .”


So. Remember when you had the idea to do that THING, and when summer rolled around you just KNEW you’d have time to get to it, and then there was that island and that beach. . .?

Anyway. In order to hold myself accountable, I’ll let you know here and now that we’ve got some changes a-brewin’ over here at Poppermost, so stay tuned. I’ll work as fast as I can, but in the meantime, there’s this:


“I’m pickin’ up Good Vibrations. . .”

White umbrellas against blue sunny sky


Is bad marketing better than none at all?


Well, is it?

The trendy hipster answer would probably be NO, but I disagree. Businesses that do nothing, get nothing. Businesses that do a little marketing—whether it’s great or lame—get something, regardless.

But how much do they get in return? That’s where the difference between bad-vs.-good marketing comes into play. If your marketing is confusing, or outdated, or not targeted to the correct audience, you’ll get a bit of exposure, but you won’t see huge ROI when the accounting department checks in at the end of the month.

And then there’s marketing that’s so bad, it’s good. These guys are the masters of badness:


Sounding Human – Why Can’t We?

First of all, let’s get this straight: I do not EVER ideate. I think of stuff, and sometimes it’s good stuff, so I use it. This means I have created something.

Customers are human, so why do companies always insist on broadcasting at them in a voice and tone best reserved for the robot from Lost in Space?

P.S. In that same vein, I also refuse to “take things to the next level,” “leverage” anything, or ever be “out-of-pocket.”


Sorry the blog’s been so quiet lately

But this has been my month thus far:


What sucks about marketing that you’d like to change?

(Please don’t say “mice on my head,” because that’s already been mentioned. Obviously.)




Is your social media selling too hard?

Car Salesman

According to a recent piece in Fast Company, the most annoying thing a brand can do on social media is SELL. So where does that leave your social strategy? Does this make you feel like a turtle on its back? It shouldn’t.

The thing to remember is this: If your entire brand is about the physical act of selling something and getting it from Point A to Point B (Amazon, Safeway, Walmart), then yes, DO SELL. Tell ‘em what cool new things you have and why they might like it. Sell, sell, sell!

But for the rest of us, social needs to be about something else. It needs to be about building relationships, trust, and value. It’s about taking the time to interact, demonstrate your industry knowledge, and provide a vision for the future. And sometimes, play.

Promoting your brand is WAY different than selling your stuff.