gratitude practices

Krampus Approved Marketing Tactics

You're familiar with Krampus by now. The horned, goat-legged uber-creepy figure from European folklore terrifies kids who misbehave with a basket full of birch switches during the holiday season. Think Elf on the Shelf with the fear factor ramped up to eleven. He's the dark, gritty side to the jovial and loving St. Nicholas, who passes out presents.

We've advised a few of our medical marketing clients on some marketing tactics that have been a bit out of the mainstream, employing unconventional methods designed to evoke surprise and wonder and catch people off guard. We like to call them "Krampus-approved."

Let there be light. Long before the idea of projecting light shows to the sides of the building as a cultural event was de riguer, we had the idea to cast a medical device client's message on the side of a building where an ophthalmology/optometry convention was taking place. Signage inside the convention hall was crazy-expensive and very limiting in what you could say. But our light display, projected from a mobile van onto the building across the street, was eye-catching, attention-grabbing, and, dare we say, far less expensive and much more interesting.

Attack of the peacocks. How about marketing to the audience of an in-progress event to promote a product or service? We had folks dressed up like peacocks infiltrate a convention crowd to show off a range of new product colors.

Banksy-style. Got a prominent medical device convention in town? How about chalk-stenciling your client's logo on the sidewalks all around the convention center? And gamify it by holding a contest to see who can count precisely how many logos there are. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Product placement. Everyone's feeling a bit blurry-eyed by the end of a convention. It could be the fluorescent lighting or possibly the late-night entertainment. How about handing out branded energy drinks and your company's dry-eye solution eyedrops to the walking zombies?

The cool thing about these tactics and others like them is that they can be done at a low cost while having a surprising impact at the grassroots level. The key is to be creative and catch people a bit off-guard, much like a furry, goat-legged, tongue-wagging Christmas nightmare.

Social media policy

Lamborghini Swerves Off Brand

Think of the Lamborghini, the premier Italian sports car brand, and what pops up in your thought bubble? Speed blurs, winsome women, macho men with beard stubble, a big gulp of testosterone and a $400,000 price tag stripped down. The car is a vision, crafted over 59 years, that wraps its customer in high-performance luxury.

Maybe this video started out as a high-performance spot to feature the Hurricane’s unique power train, which rockets from 0- to 60 in under three seconds. As Lamborghini’s PR says, it’s “the first Super Sports Car with a V10 engine and all-wheel drive designed to deliver driving thrills on all terrains. Brave, authentic, and amazingly unexpected.” Really.

Taking names and kicking up the dirt.

So how did the spot devolve into a masterclass in going rogue on a brand? The takeaway is that Lamborghini combines a sleek sports car and a monster truck. The Hurricane goes off-road, tears up gravel, performs donuts in the desert, and chatters on ruts in the road. In between, there are awkward cuts from the attractive woman driver to features on the car navigating through the off-road mess.

Lost in Translation?

The video might be okayish with the sound turned off but check out the copy rendered by a histrionic voiceover.

This one’s for you:

  • Concrete yearner
  • Tamer of curves
  • Master of speed
  • Wear your finest suit
  • Dirt is made for it
  • Let the showoff begin
  • On this new concrete
  • Spray paint powder on tires
  • That thrive on the rim
  • Dust is gold
  • Dirt’s for the bold
  • Block out the sun
  • Raising red clouds
  • On that dry ground
  • Make gravel rain down
  • Let adrenaline and fun collide
  • Spraying grains of dust aside
  • It’s no filth
  • This is design
  • Any amount of grime is fine
  • The more you get dirty
  • The more you’ll shine
  • Dust is gold
  • Dirt’s for the bold
  • Dust is gold
  • Dirt’s for the bold

(via Adweek)

Perhaps alcohol and recreational drugs were involved, but the creative team likely got bored and abandoned the brand. This won’t dent the Lamborghini brand because the likes of this spot, ridiculed up and down the internet, will not see a second installment.

So, unless you’re seeking a rough and tumble off-road experience with your new 400-thousand-dollar Lamborghini, you’ll find this spot hilarious.

Why are we writing about high-performance sports cars? Hey, we need to get to work, too.

Content ideas for medical devices

Go Social with These 2023 Trends

What will social media look like next year? Here’s a look at what will be trending in the new year.

Video. This trend is not going anywhere. From TikTok to Instagram Reels, short-form video is here to stay. Feed algorithms are prioritizing videos, so marketers take note. And no need for fancy production values; audiences are looking for authenticity. Or at least the illusion of authenticity.

Close captioning your video. For those scrolling through videos when we should be paying attention on a Zoom call, captioning is a must so you can mute the sound. About 85% of social media videos are watched sans sound. Oh, and viewers are 80% more likely to watch a video to the end if it has captions.

TikTok. Not even security concerns seem to be able to slow down this juggernaut. This platform will continue to muscle its way into your life during 2023. Important note: A group of lawmakers in the U.S House of Representatives and Senate have introduced legislation that would ban TikTok in the U.S., following warnings from the FBI director and cybersecurity experts who have said China could use the social media platform for spying. If that bill becomes law, all bets are off.

User-Generated Content (UGC). As mentioned above, authenticity beats slickness and production values these days. Social media scrollers would rather see a shaky selfie video of someone putting a product through its paces than a high-end production. What's this mean for medical device marketing? Don't be afraid to do some product demonstrations with an iPhone on the fly, just keep it authentic. (If you'd like help with this, drop us a line.)

LinkedIn will get more personal. Remember when LinkedIn used to be where you added people to your business network, advertised open positions, looked for jobs, and occasionally shared an article from a business magazine? Well, it's getting a little more personal and loosey-goosey. Folks are sharing more personal anecdotes, speaking more colloquially, and even telling the occasional joke. We like this new trend. Like we've always told our clients, you don't lose your sense of humor when you put on a tie.

Say goodbye to GIFs. This remnant of the old-school Internet looks like it's headed for the boneyard. Updated operating systems only sometimes gibe with them, and the younger set doesn't find them cool. Buh-bye.

SEO gets social. Using keywords in social media posts is a great idea. More and more people are using social media (looking at you, TikTok and Pinterest) for search. Get those keywords in your posts if you want more eyeballs to see them.

Commerce. Social Media platforms will continue to look for ways to sell. If you see a product being used on TikTok or in a Reel and it piques your interest, wouldn’t it be great to buy it with just a click?

avoiding content decline

Anatomy of a Sales Email

Sales emails get the short shrift in favor of blunt-force, one-size fits all email blasts. After all, what salesperson has time to write them? In contrast, sales emails are scalpels. They're personalized, around 100 words, cut to the chase with a specific call to action, and make sales.

  1. The basic format, whether you're sending an initial email, a reminder, or a breakup email, is QVC:
  2. Question / Interactive Statement
  3. Value Proposition
  4. Call to Action
Questions come into play in your subject line. For example, "Question…", "Can I help?" or "Did you get what you were looking for?" By their nature, these prompts are interactive. The customer will want to finish the thought; to accomplish that, they'll need to open the email. Here are a few favorites:
  • [Referral name] loves us & thought you might, too
  • Will I see you at [event]?
  • We have [insert fact] in common ...
  • Hoping you can help.
  • Fellow [University] grad here!
Related: 25 Proven Email Templates


Though they are formulaic, and you see them in your email daily, they're proven to work. We encourage you to put your spin on these subject lines or A/B test them against one of your homegrown lines.

Opening up

Your body copy opens with a lede – the first sentence or paragraph --that pays off the subject line.

SUBJECT: Fellow Miami University alum here!

COPY: I don't know about you, but I enjoyed those hot buns every day before class.

Personalization is the key to effectiveness. It shows you care enough to learn about a prospect and her company. "Dear [Occupant]" emails won't fly anymore. So, where do you find these tidbits fast? Check LinkedIn profiles and company page posts and peruse other social media. You're bound to find a tidbit for personalization. It might be a statistic about their industry or a news article.

Seventy percent% of customers get frustrated when they are fed content that's irrelevant to them."

The body copy should set up a problem and a meaningful solution for your customer. It needs to be concise. For example, "Are you having a problem with throughput at your office? Our [product] can speed up your flow by 20%, boost your profits, and make your patients happier."

Nail the call to action

Be crystal clear about what you want the prospect to do. For example, learn how the [product] can accelerate your patient flow and increase profits. Call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX to schedule a demo. It will only take a few minutes.

Plug till the end

Did you know that the P.S. is one of the most read parts of your email? So, wrap up your missive with a tight P.S. that underscores one of your major points. For example, "Our product] requires no installation so that you can speed up your office throughput immediately."

Use a professional signature

Skip the clever quotes and images, which probably won't download anyway. They're just a distraction. Include your name, title, company name, and contact information, and you're good to go.

Help sales out with templates

Good templates will ease the implementation of your new sales emails. The template could standardize the subject line, lede, and all the body copy. The salesperson will need to look up the personalization tidbit, which they can do in a few minutes.

Follow these tips, and you'll see your open and engagement rates increase, leading your customers into a sale.

Here are a few more tips:

  1. Personalize. Personalize. Personalize.
  2. Keep it simple and around 100 words.
  3. Use subject lines that are proven to work.
  4. Give prospects deadlines to build urgency
  5. Keep the copy conversational, and don't be afraid to use humor.
  6. Read your email out loud and adjust to make it sound better.
  7. Track clicks and opens and other available metrics.
  8. Just press "Send."

P.S. Can we help you develop an email sequence? Call Susan at 513-967-6480.

piece of delicious chocolate cake

The Crazy Chocolate Cake

I love to bake, especially elaborate recipes. Four layers with two fillings and frosting, anyone? My only training was from my great-grandmother. She taught me to make a deep well in the flour and cornmeal for the perfect cornbread and to chop apples into small pieces for her Christmas gingerbread cakes.

While we baked, she told me stories about the Depression when millions of people lost their jobs, and it became difficult for families to support themselves. Many stood in charity sponsored soup or bread lines that stretched for miles.

Fortunately, people of the depression era were more patient than me. Americans adapted to the days of shortages and “just made do.” Some of the recipes created during the Depression survived through today, but others are long lost.

Crazy Cake appeared during the Depression when many ingredients were hard to find or expensive. The recipe is unusual but suspend your disbelief and bake one. The recipe yields a moist, chocolatey treat. It’s vegan with no milk, eggs, or butter.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 18
Yield 1 – 9x13 inch cake


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cold brewed coffee



  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a 9x13-inch ungreased baking dish; form 3 wells in flour mixture. Pour oil into the first well, vinegar into the second, and vanilla into the third. Pour cold brewed coffee over all and stir well with a fork.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Frost with your favorite icing.


—Susan Abramovitz

American Flag

The Magenta Universe 2023

The envelope, please. Pantone® Color Institute has announced that Viva Magenta (PANTONE 18-1750) is its 2023 Color of the Year. The Pantone Color of the Year is a color trend forecast utilized in design, fashion, and printing.

The program launched in 1999 to "highlight the relationship between color and culture. Colors of the year are chosen because they reflect the global culture at a specific moment in time," according to Laurie Pressman, the institute's vice president (via NPR).

The institute describes the year's hue as "assertive, but not aggressive, a carmine red that does not boldly dominate but instead takes a 'fist in a velvet glove approach. Exuding dynamism, PANTONE 18-1750 Viva Magenta is a transformative red tone capable of driving design to create a more positive future.

"Viva Magenta descends from the red family and is inspired by the red of cochineal, one of the most precious dyes belonging to the natural dye family as well as one of the strongest and brightest the world has known."

We also call it a nifty color.

The Color Communication Problem

Talking about color can be weird and highly subjective. Red, purple, pink, ocher, yellow and blue gives us an idea of what neighborhood a color lives in, but not the address.

For instance, MAC, the cosmetic company, boasts 209 different lipstick shades with fanciful names like Yum-Yum, Chili, Viva Glam, Rachel, and Powder Kiss. And Benjamin Moore's paints feature more than ten shades of white and light gray for your home interior. So, what is the difference between White Dove and Chantilly Lace? You can take a chip and match it to your drapes.

However, eyeballing isn't precise enough for design. But Pantone is. The Pantone numbers ensure that we're all using the same color language to make your logo appear in the same exact color, from coffee cups to printed material.

Today, the Pantone Color Book is ubiquitous in its iconic fan format on the desk of your nearest designer, right next to the can of ‘Red Bull’.