• 6 Marketing Tactics We Want to See End Now

    by Jim McAvoy | Jul 03, 2018
    Marketing Tactics that we want to see end now

    Have you ever rolled your eyes at the implausibility of a bombastic radio commercial? Or thought, “Wow! That’s just awful,” while watching a TV spot or reading a piece of mail? You’re not alone.

    We marketing and advertising folks have opinions. A lot of them, in fact. And we’ve had it up to here with some marketing and advertising trends that have simply become overused tactics. Allow my colleagues and I to elaborate.

    1) Chris McEntee, Marketing Communications:

    “I was already unsure about the concept of a commercial to promote your commercial that some brands have started doing for their Super Bowl ads,” Chris says. “But the new trend of teaser trailer before a movie trailer takes it to the next level. When a big movie releases its first trailer, it’s now preceded by or starts with a five-second ‘preview of the preview’ just so you know exactly what it is before having to watch the full two-minute trailer. Every major franchise is doing it.”

    Chris laments this interference with the natural progression of such things. “I understand that you need to capture attention instantly in the social media age. But this is just a pointless exercise to me. It eliminates one of the greatest things about a trailer – the buildup. Let the story unfold and then pay it off at the end of the trailer, to leave me excited for the actual product – the movie.” 

    2) Wil Spillane, Social Media Management:

    Wil thinks a lot of businesses miss the bigger possibilities that social media offers when compared with traditional advertising. “Personally, I believe a ton of opportunity is left on the table when marketers look at social as a space for paid media only. They are leaving out the opportunity to build and nurture potential and current customers in a real community. Social paid media is clearly a big deal, but social media can touch nearly every part of the business, and shouldn’t be looked at simply as the one-way conversation that advertising is.” Wil makes another thought-provoking point: “What are you going to do when people begin to engage with your ads? How do you support your community beyond your initial response to their comment?”

    3) Neil Dougherty, Marketing Solutions:

    Neil is not a fan of the “contrition commercials” that have become ubiquitous lately in today’s advertising landscape. “Recently I saw a bank, a car service, and a social network all run TV ads within the same commercial break that were basically apology ads with the ‘but we’re past that now and we’re going to come out of this stronger’ angle,” he says. “It shows that business ethics should be considered at all times and well before it gets to that level.”

    4) Holly Lee, Marketing Communications:

    Pre-recorded message telemarketing bothers Holly the most: “For me, it’s the worst.” She also finds radio advertising that uses adults to portray children cloying and dislikes “when someone says ‘smart’ to describe something that’s supposed to encourage me, like ‘Smart Marketers’ or ‘Smart Investors.’” Holly finds this to be the opposite of smart.

    5) Joe Kearns, Project Management:

    Joe is all for celebrating — but thinks that maybe not everything should be a sales opportunity. “Holiday sale emails for every holiday get to me. ‘It’s a Flag Day flash sale!’”

    6) Jim McAvoy, Marketing Communications:

    For me, there’s one guy that takes the cake. If you’ve watched TV or listened to the radio since the mid-2000s, then chances are you’ve experienced the “Dumb Dad” phenomena. This perpetually befuddled stock character has appeared in scores of commercials for products such as charcoal, laundry detergent and many, many others. Simply type “Dumb Dad” into YouTube and watch as tens of thousands of results appear. You’ve seen him in sitcoms and films too. In fact, this representation has become so prevalent that a few years ago an advocacy group protested the portrayal of fathers in a Huggies Diapers TV commercial. Surprisingly, the commercial was then re-edited to become a more positive portrayal of fathers. Bottom line? It’s high time we retire this guy.

    These are just a few of the overused tactics that have gotten under the skin of some of the veteran marketers here at Trellist. But there are scores more that can render your marketing ineffective and unoriginal.

    Stand out from your competition with insightful marketing strategies and tailored campaigns. Contact the Trellist team at

  • 4 Smart Tactics to Increase Email Opens & Engagement

    by Jim McAvoy | Apr 26, 2018

    Is your business taking full advantage of one of the simplest ways to get your customers’ attention? After all, every email has a subject line. But how you put it to work is up to you. Assuming you have clean customer lists and are sending relevant messages to a properly targeted audience, here are some effective ways to set your emails apart and encourage customers to engage with them.

    Keep it brief

    A good rule of thumb for winning subject lines is to keep them brief, bearing in mind that emails are increasingly viewed on phones and mobile devices, where text is likely to get cut off. Generally, 30-40 characters (including spaces) is optimal. Looking at it another way, marketing industry website Invespo reports that subject lines with a length of 6-10 words receive a 21% open rate, while those with five words and fewer score 16%. Anything beyond 10 words scored lower. Of course, bear in mind the industry you are working in and adjust accordingly.

    Personalize it

    A person’s interest in something is peaked when they see their own name attached to it, and of course that extends to email. When you address someone personally in a subject line, it implies a relationship and garners their attention. And that may mean they place more importance on what you’re sending. Personalized subject lines are 22% more likely to be opened than those that aren’t, according to Invespo. Other locations for personalization include the preheader, where more characters (typically a maximum of 80-90) are available, or in the email content itself.


    Inquiring minds want to know

    Take a look at the emails your inbox holds right now. Chances are, most have subject lines that are declarative statements like “Sale! 20% off today only” or “Sail away with 60,000 miles.” Try flipping the script with a question mark instead—it might help your email stand out. Marketing industry website reports that emails using a question rather than a statement as their subject line have an 11% higher overall open rate. But vet your choices thoroughly to avoid sounding “spammy” and ending up in the junk folder. For example, “free,” “credit,” “buy,” “cash,” and scores of other salesy terms have traditionally been known to trigger spam filters.

    Emote a little

    Like it or not, emojis are here to stay—they’ve even had their own movie (the less said about that, the better). But according to, brands using emojis in their subject lines have helped increase B2C open rates by as much as 31% (and 34% B2B). So, even if you’re not a big proponent of communicating with emojis, it may be time to take advantage of their ability to get people’s attention. 😇 According to an Econsultancy study, the top five emojis include a star, airplane, two kinds of hearts, and the good old smiley face. But employing lesser-used emojis may actually help your email stand out even more, so look for some different possibilities. Again, it’s a good idea to take into consideration the customers or industry you’re emailing for best results.

    There are many other ways to help your emails stand out. Want more information or other helpful marketing tips like these? Get in touch with us today.


    118 Critical Email Marketing Tips, volumes 1 & 2, (various reports)

Insights posts by: Jim McAvoy

Jim McAvoy

Jim brings more than 20 years of copywriting experience to Trellist. His extensive background of successful tenures with the area’s leading advertising agencies as well as numerous accolades for his work across a variety of industries have raised the standard of writing in marketing.