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May 15, 2006
Blog Post

Big & Ugly Marketing -- What I Learned at the Subscription Summit in New York Last Week

SUMMARY: No summary available.
By Anne Holland, President

My big and ugly moment at MarketingSherpa's Subscription Summit in NYC last week occurred on Day One when I stepped back from the podium, tripped over a loose wire and crashed to the floor.

Ah, yes, nothing like falling on stage in front of 200 of your online publishing peers, including and 'The New York Times,' to make you feel like a got-it-together professional!

Later as I listened to the rest of the speakers from my moderator's perch in the front row, something began to dawn on me. To wit: Big & ugly often wins the day.

Creative, that is. Many of the marketers revealing their Case Studies at the Summit showed creative samples of test campaigns. Often what did *not* work were the prettier samples.

Example, tested email creative with a happy couple smiling in the corner versus just big text and a giant Go button. When asked which worked better, most of us in the audience voted for the happy couple to win. They didn't.

"The creative that to my mind is a lot less pretty often does better," noted Joanne Casley of Reuters on her landing page tests. Big, short, bold text, especially with bullet points, won in her tests over slicker creative.

In Hoover's tests, also revealed at the Summit, online registration pages with fewer words in larger typeface pulled significantly harder.'s Michael McCurdy explained that many marketers still OK creative that's too wordy, too over-designed for online or email. "They are used to designing for print. Print is totally different than email or online. Email is like a billboard. In fact, when I drive by billboards on my way to work, now I think, 'Would I click on it? Would I click on it?'"

So, how can you know whether your email or online is clickable before you launch it? Michael flashes his on a screen for just a second or two and then moves on to the next one, again just for a second or two.

I found the results of this simple test quite astonishing. When you review copy and creative using the two-second test, your perspective changes profoundly. At least mine did. Try it today, and then perhaps you'll find your campaigns becoming bigger and uglier (and way more clickable) in the future.

By the way, my bruises from the fall? Quite satisfactorily spectacular. If you're going to endure public humiliation, you want something big and bold to show for it.

Also, if you'd like to see more notes on the Summit's speeches, check out the link below. The complete two-day transcript, featuring creative samples and 13 Case Studies, is also available. Contact Sharon in Customer Service for info at (877) 895-1717.

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