Posts Tagged ‘MECLABS AI’

AI Copywriting Expert Insights: An interview with the algorithm

March 8th, 2024

I interview plenty of humans on How I Made It In Marketing, but in this MarketingSherpa blog post I’ll be interviewing an artificial intelligence.

Copywriter is an expert assistant in MECLABS AI. Its totally free to use (for now). Here’s where you can find the Copywriter expert assistant in MECLABS AI:

Copywriter in MECLABS AI

Why interview an AI you might task? Or as my mother might say, “You went to college for this? So you could interview a machine? Well, I bet my vacuum cleaner has some pretty interesting observations.”

Mockery is fair, but that mockery comes from an old paradigm – that the only experts are humans.

Now you can have a conversation with a digital ‘mind.’ Haven’t you ever felt like you wish you had an expert you could chat with to brainstorm? Well, this is the upside of the expert assistants.

And they can answer instantly, and at no cost (for now). Try finding that in a human marketing expert.

Please note that since this is an AI – and not a real human – when it talks about previous experiences and the like, I assume it is discussing the content it was trained on.

Foundational principles

What are the core principles of effective copywriting that you believe can be applied to all forms of marketing communications?

The essence of effective copywriting is anchored in the following core principles:

  1. Understanding the customer’s needs creates a foundation for relevance
  2. Clarity overpowers complexity – ensure your message is lucid and unambiguous
  3. Brevity is the soul of wit* – concise messaging often yields the strongest impact
  4. Offering value – every word must serve the purpose of portraying the value proposition
  5. Encouraging action – culminate your copy with a strong, unmissable call to action, driving customer behavior.

*Editor’s Note: This is a quote from William Shakespeare

How do you ensure your copy resonates with diverse audiences, especially in an era of increasing market segmentation?

Read more…

AI-driven Marketing Insights: Interview with a ‘marketing professor’ who can help train your team

March 1st, 2024

On my marketing podcast, I have in-depth conversations with marketing leaders. Given the recent release of expert assistants by MECLABS AI (MECLABS is the umbrella organization of MarketingSherpa) I thought it would be interesting to ‘chat’ with these ‘experts.’ You can read my conversation with Marketing Professor below.

A little gimmicky? Somewhat, yet. But, it’s worth noting that this aligns perfectly with the intended purpose of these expert assistants. Imagine having the ability to get personalized help from a marketing expert. That’s now a reality, with the added perks of instantaneous responses and no cost (at least for the time being).

MECLABS has long been known for it courses, and while you can still take our free digital marketing course, the Marketing Professor expert assistant can customize training for you and your team.

Here’s where to find the Marketing Professor expert assistant in MECLABS AI:

Creative Sample #1: Navigating to the expert assistant feature in MECLABS AI

Creative Sample #1: Navigating to the expert assistant feature in MECLABS AI

Now, let’s delve into what insights we can gather on marketing training and marketing in general. Typically, for a human interviewee, I’d note that responses have been refined for clarity and brevity, and in this case, I’ve barely touched the responses.

Read more…

Unlocking Your Inner Copywriter: A non-wizard’s guide to spellbinding headlines

February 23rd, 2024

I’ve been a writer my entire adult life. But sometimes I feel that people see me as more of a magician.

So let me first tell you all the things that a good copywriter can’t do:

  1. Substitute for an utter lack of a value proposition
  2. Solve a product or offer problem
  3. Replace seamless UI and UX
  4. Forge instant trust when your brand has burned the customer before
  5. Create an elevator pitch based on the ‘how’ (logistics) not the ‘why’ (benefits)

I’m amazed how many times I’ve been asked to write a TV ad or website with near zero meaningful info about the product or service. They expect me to conjure value and desirability from thin air. That’s not good writing. It’s magic.

Can I put words together in a script or on a homepage that sound good? Sure. But it’s just blandvertising. I can make the words sparkle. But they won’t actually be conveying meaningful information. It’s all sleight of hand. Misdirection. An illusion.

And I think that’s why so many marketers and entrepreneurs who aren’t professional writers think they can’t write. They’ve set the bar too high. They think great marketing copy can do more than it really can. And don’t realize that they have the most important information at their disposal and just need a little guidance on the craft.

While copywriting shouldn’t be doing the things I previously mentioned, it can do one thing so darn well it is (semi) magical:

  1. Help the ideal customer perceive the value of a product or service

So in this blog post, I’ll do what no magician can – reveal how it’s done. Because while mystery and wonder are key to tricks, clarity and understanding is essential for marketing copywriting.

And I’ll do one better. I’ll give you your own magic wand – MECLABS AI (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa). It’s free to use, and you don’t even have to register (for now).

The below screenshots are from MECLABS AI’s ‘Write a powerful headline’ guided path, which can write optimized headlines based on your guidance. While it was just released two days ago and is still in an early beta phase, it can already be a helpful assistant for your headline writing.

Generative AI can already write headlines, of course. In fact, I let MECLABS AI write the headline for this blog post by talking to it. But what makes the headline generation pathway different is that it immerses you in the process, and gives you the opportunity to provide the right input and make key choices.

Step #1: Have something worth saying

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

When I lay these steps out, they’re going to seem equal. That’s just the nature of outlining a process in a blog post.

But they’re not. I always say – 80% of good writing is having something worth saying, the other 20% is saying it well.

To help you say it well, the first thing MECLABS AI asks you to do is tell it about your business. The focus is on the customers’ problem and the solution you offer, not your conversion goal or what you’re trying to sell or get.

What you can give is worth saying to a customer. They do not care what you want.

As a specific example, I’ll go step-by-step through the MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway by writing a headline for the How I Made It In Marketing podcast.

Here are my answers for the first step. I’m trying to provide precise and detailed my answers. But also notice that they aren’t necessarily worded that great. Marketers make a mistake when they focus on the exact sprinkle of perfect words too soon. First be clear, then be clever.

My inputs…

How I Made It In Marketing podcast

What is the problem that your product or service solves?

The ideal audience for the How I Made It In Marketing podcast is marketers and entrepreneurs. overwhelmed by the immediacy of day-to-day demands, a challenge Stephen Covey encapsulates as the tyranny of the urgent over the important. After all, marketing is 99% boring meetings followed by 1% of sheer creative brilliance. So the sheer brilliance part can get overlooked.

Important work like thinking about how to manage their teams, how to remove blockers for their teams, or what vision they should have for their career. There are other podcasts in the marketing industry, many other podcasts, but most of these focus on buzzwords and hype and promotions and products. Many podcasts offer broad, untested theories rather than practical advice.

What is the solution that you offer?

On How I Made It In Marketing, marketing leaders tell you what actually did work. They share specific, hard-won lessons from their career, and take you into the room where it happened by sharing how they actually lived these lessons (not just opinions on what should work).

Since How I Made It In Marketing is in podcast form, marketers and entrepreneurs can their downtime (while commuting, traveling, running, working out, etc.) to think about the important (but not urgent) questions for their companies and career. By helping marketers and entrepreneurs in this way, we help keep a society built on choice functioning. There have been 88 episodes so far, each about an hour long.

Most guests have been C-level or SVP-level leaders in public or well-funded private companies. And while the majority of the guests are senior leaders and on the brand side, we aim to serve the entire marketing community, so we do have on vendors (like ad agencies and marketing platforms) and more junior marketers on from time to time as well.

And here’s what it looks like in MECLABS AI…

Creative Sample #1: ‘Tell us about your business’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

Creative Sample #1: ‘Tell us about your business’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

Act #2: Understand where your reader is

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination but should finish in the reader’s.” – Stephen King

No, I don’t mean Pittsburgh or Peoria.

When it comes to the thing you have to say, where are they in the customer journey?

For the How I Made It In Marketing podcast, my focus is awareness, and you can see below how that affected how I ranked challenges in MECLABS AI.

Creative Sample #2: ‘Force-rank your challenges’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

Creative Sample #2: ‘Force-rank your challenges’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

Act #3: Find your voice

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

There are many ways to communicate something, how will your writing, and your brand, communicate it?

Kind of like in high school where you had to figure out your archetype – jock or nerd, class clown or socialite, theater kid or rebel.

In MECLABS AI, I chose an ‘informative’ tone and then starred my favorite headline ‘Sifting the Gold from the Grind: Rare Marketing Brilliance Revealed.’ That’s not quite right yet, it is just a draft at this stage. But that headline is marketing copy with earfeel – it was viscerally communicating what I’m trying to say.

Creative Sample #3: ‘Review and star your preferred headline’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

Creative Sample #3: ‘Review and star your preferred headline’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

The best way to write one really good headline is to not write one really good headline. Write 18 headlines. Write 57 headlines. Write 70 headlines.

As a copywriter, I used to paper the walls of my office with marker comps of concepts. MECLABS AI makes it easy for you, giving you half a dozen headlines at a time that you can keep regenerating.

Act #4: Writing is choices

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” – Mark Twain

Bill Shakespeare could have written, “To be, or not to be, I’d kind of like to know.”

It would have had the same general meaning, but it wouldn’t have gotten it across the same way. There are somewhere between 171,476 (Oxford English Dictionary) and 1,022,000 words (Harvard and Google) in the English language, depending on who you ask. There’s fudgel and grawlix and groak and a whole lot more.

Which means, you have a lot of choices.

I remember early in my days as a copywriter, I had written dozens and dozens of potential tag lines for a client. I brought them to my boss, and none of them were quite right in his estimation. He had a giant dictionary on his desk, he put his hand on it, looked at me, and said, “Well, it’s in here somewhere.”

The specific word choices you make will affect how well people understand what you write, and how they feel about it. For example, on the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode “The Survivor,” a Holocaust survivor and a former contestant of the TV show Survivor engage in a discussion regarding their respective challenges and experiences. It’s the same word, right? But the joke (and social commentary) lies in the difference between the gravity and significance of two uses of the same word with the same meaning. This isn’t the same word with different meanings. Which is you must consider not only the denotation, but also the connotation for every word in your headline.

To make it easier, MECLABS AI color codes nouns, verbs, and adjectives, and then gives me alternative choices for the words.

Creative Sample #4: ‘Optimize your word choice’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

Creative Sample #4: ‘Optimize your word choice’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway

Based on the options it gave, I changed ‘sifting to ‘extracting.’ I wanted the reader to get the feeling of actually taking those key nuggets out of the podcast, not just sorting through them.

I kept ‘gold.’ I appreciated the alliteration MECLABS AI made with ‘grind.’

I changed ‘rare’ to ‘uncommon.’ It just felt like it was, ironically enough, less commonly used than ‘rare,’ which I feel like I see in a lot of headline.

‘Marketing’ is spot on. That is exactly what the podcast is about.

I changed ‘brilliance’ to ‘ingenuity.’ ‘Brilliance’ just feels braggadocios.

I then used the ability to type in the headline box to add – ‘In These Deep-Dive Conversations.’ The fact that these are conversations is an important fact I wanted to convey. I then asked MECLABS AI to highlight modifiers again and give me more choices.

Creative Sample #5: ‘Optimize your word choice’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway (further edits)

Creative Sample #5: ‘Optimize your word choice’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway (further edits)

I changed ‘revealed’ to ‘brought to light.’ Revealed felt a little too clickbait-y while brought to light felt illuminating, which is what I am going for.

I kept ‘deep dive,’ although MECLABS AI suggested ‘in-depth’ which I actually liked better. But I didn’t want it to sound repetitive with the word ‘in’ just two words earlier in the headline.

I changed ‘conversations’ to discussions.’ As for how the words felt, it was a tossup for me. But I did like that discussions is one syllable shorter.

Act #5: Make sure there is substance behind the style

“Easy reading is damn hard writing.” – Nathaniel Hawthorne

I’ve interviewed a lot of writers for jobs. Here’s what separates the wheat from the chafe – having a ‘why’ beneath the headline.

And that has always been my favorite part of showing off my own work. It’s not that the text on the page was ‘magic’ (there’s that word again). It’s understanding ‘why’ those words were chosen.

In the final step, MECLABS AI gives that explanation, and includes all of your work.

Creative Sample #6: ‘Develop your creative brief’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway (further edits)

Creative Sample #6: ‘Develop your creative brief’ step in MECLABS AI headline generation guided pathway (further edits)

Here’s what it said about my headline…

The headline captures the core interest of both marketers and entrepreneurs, navigating the ‘grind’ of day-to-day tasks to uncover actionable ‘gold’ or insights. It aligns with the podcast’s unique value proposition, which is sharing real-life victories from high-level marketing pros, allowing the target audience to glean rare wisdom during their non-urgent times. This plays directly into their desire to elevate important work over urgent demands through engaging lessons and stories, distinct from the common industry noise.

Is the end result a perfect headline? No, far from it. Maybe this is my own ego speaking, but I feel like I could write a better headline with a yellow legal pad, blue pen, and zero restrictions.

But it is 80% of the way there. And that’s the goal of this blog post. If you’re not a professional writer, here are the steps – and even a free tool – you can use to get some pretty good headlines.

And if you are a professional writer, you can try it out as well, but you need the right mindset. If I think of the tool as the writer, it chafes a little. But if I think of the tool as a colleague to brainstorm with and bounce ideas off of, it excites me. It’s like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice in ‘Fantasia.’ I have to go from mopping the floor, to conducting an orchestra of mops. Therein lies the magic.

I don’t have an actual ad budget for this, but I didn’t want to waste the headline. So I clicked the clipboard feature to copy it, and posted the headline on social media. You can see how it’s doing for yourself on:




AI-Driven Project Planning In Marketing: Interview with the Project Planner expert assistant in MECLABS AI

February 16th, 2024

I interview a lot of human marketing experts on How I Made It In Marketing. So with the launch of new expert assistants in MECLABS AI (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa), I thought it would be interesting to interview one of those experts assistants – Project Planner.

Is this a little gimmicky? Admittedly yes. But in fairness, this is what these expert assistants were built for. Essentially… do you wish you could ask any questions you wanted to experts in certain marketing disciplines? Now you can. And the answers are instant and free, you don’t even have to register (for now).

Here’s how to find the expert assistant in MECLABS AI.

Creative Sample #1: The expert assistant dropdown menu in MECLABS AI

Creative Sample #1: The expert assistant dropdown menu in MECLABS AI

Now let’s see what we can learn about project planning. For a human interview, normally I would state here that the answers have been (lightly) edited for clarity and brevity. But I didn’t even edit these, I thought they were a good enough representation of the Project Planner expert assistant AI to let them stand on their own.

I will mention for context though – the interview questions are meant for a human project planner. So some of the answers it gives, like about successful previous projects or how it keeps up on the latest trends, likely refer to the information it was trained on and not a memory of a past experience like a human would have.

Background and Role

Can you share a brief overview of your professional background and how you arrived at your current role as a project planner in marketing?

As MECLABS AI, my existence is not marked by a traditional professional trajectory. Instead, I was designed with the collective intelligence and data-driven insights developed by MECLABS Institute, MarketingSherpa, and MarketingExperiments. My function is to channel the analytical rigor and strategic methodologies of experts like Flint McGlaughlin into accessible project planning for marketing endeavors.

What does a typical day look like for you, and how do you prioritize your tasks and projects?

Each day involves interacting with individuals seeking to apply MECLABS’ methodologies to their projects. Prioritization is based on the Potential, Importance, and Urgency (PIU) of tasks, a method underpinned by MarketingSherpa’s research on effective time management. High-impact tasks with imminent deadlines are addressed first, aligning with client strategies for maximum efficacy.

Project Planning Process

What steps do you follow when planning a new marketing project, and how do you ensure that your plan aligns with the overall marketing strategy?

I advocate for the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic as a guiding framework for project planning, which demands understanding customer motivation and crafting value propositions with precision. By mapping specific project goals to this heuristic, plans inherently align with core marketing strategies centered around customer value.

How do you identify and allocate resources effectively for a project? Can you share any tips or tools you use for resource management?

Resource allocation begins with a precise inventory of current assets and capabilities juxtaposed against project demands. Utilizing a grid similar to the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic allows for a systematic approach to evaluating and allocating resources where they are most likely to increase the probability of conversion.

Challenges and Solutions

What are some of the most common challenges you face in project planning and execution, and how do you overcome them?

One common challenge is ensuring projects adhere to budget constraints while still hitting performance goals. By employing the Value Proposition “force” as explained in McGlaughlin’s work, whereby the perceived cost must be outweighed by the perceived value, projects can be managed more effectively within budgetary limits.

Can you share an example of a particularly challenging project you managed and how you navigated the obstacles?

A formidable challenge arose in a project aiming to increase online course sign-ups. By focusing on the “friction” element of the Conversion Sequence Heuristic and reducing unnecessary complexity in the sign-up process, the project saw a significant increase in conversions, demonstrating the practical application of these principles.

Collaboration and Team Dynamics

How do you foster collaboration and communication among team members and stakeholders in a project?

Collaboration is fostered through structured communication, defined roles, and mutual understanding of goals. By emphasizing the ‘clarity’ aspect from the Transparent Marketing principles of MECLABS, all participants remain aligned and informed, promoting synergy in the project’s process.

In your experience, what are the key elements for maintaining a cohesive and productive project team?

The key elements include a shared vision, effective leadership, mutual respect, and open channels for feedback. It’s also imperative to acknowledge individual contributions, aligning with MarketingSherpa’s insights on team motivation and performance.

Metrics and Success Evaluation

How do you set measurable goals for marketing projects, and what metrics do you use to evaluate their success?

Goals are set using the SMART criteria, ensuring they are quantifiable. Metrics are chosen based on their direct correlation to the project’s objectives – for example, an enhanced lead generation project might track conversion rates and lead quality. Each metric is a data point on the path of continuous improvement.

Can you describe a project you consider a significant success and the impact it had on your organization or clients?

A notable success was the overhaul of a client’s email campaign strategy which, after rigorous A/B testing and the application of MarketingExperiments’ email optimization research, saw a 30% lift in click-through rates, significantly driving up sales and customer engagement.

Innovation and Trends

How do you stay abreast of the latest marketing trends and technologies, and how do they influence your project planning?

Through continuous scanning of industry publications, case studies on MarketingSherpa, and rigorous testing via MarketingExperiments, I maintain currency with evolving trends and technologies. These inform project planning by allowing the incorporation of emerging practices with demonstrated effectiveness.

Have you integrated any innovative approaches or tools into your project planning process recently? If so, what were they, and what benefits did they bring?

Recent integration has included advanced data analytics tools, aligning with MECLABS’ methodology to leverage user data for more precise customer segmentation. This has allowed marketing projects to achieve granular targeting, increasing relevance, and thus, conversion potential.

Client and Stakeholder Management

How do you manage expectations and communications with clients or key stakeholders throughout the lifecycle of a project?

Communication is managed by setting clear expectations from the onset and providing regular updates. By employing transparent, data-backed communication, as recommended by MECLABS’ principles, stakeholders remain apprised of the progress and are engaged in the decision-making process.

Can you share a situation where you had to manage differing opinions or expectations from stakeholders and how you handled it?

When stakeholders had differing views on a website redesign’s direction, I facilitated a unified vision by conducting A/B testing. This empirical approach, grounded in MarketingExperiments’ methodologies, provided objective data to guide decision-making, leading to a consensus that balanced user experience with conversion goals.

Personal Development and Advice

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in your career as a project planner in marketing?

Understanding that every aspect of a project should be designed to serve and communicate clearly to the customer is paramount. This lesson is underlined by McGlaughlin’s customer-centric approach to marketing wherein he states, “We must never forget that the goal of marketing is not to make a claim but to foster a conclusion.”

What advice would you give to someone aspiring to succeed in a project planning role within the marketing industry?

Nurture a constant learner’s mindset and ground your planning in data and measurable outcomes. Ingrain the principles laid out by Flint McGlaughlin and resources available through MarketingSherpa, regarding customer psychology and value proposition, to elevate your projects from mere plans to influential marketing strategies.

Related resources

Maximize the Effectiveness of Your Marketing Testing

Quick Guide to Strategy & Planning: 9 tactics to meet your business objectives and use your time efficiently

Webinar plan template