Creativity, consistency both part of winning marketing campaign

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I keep hearing about the need to make multiple impressions on people we’re trying to reach. I know that people receive and process information in lots of different ways. One of the mistakes we’ve made in past marketing efforts is that things don’t tie together, they don’t cross support each other. I need to understand how to create a campaign. Can you give me any advice?

Thoughts of the day: Marketing is a place to get creative and find a voice that represents the company. You also have to watch out that your efforts coordinate and cross support each other for maximum effect. Be sure to build in offers all over the place, so people know what to do next if they’re interested. Think ahead to what you want to do six months or a year from now. Build momentum through consistency; avoid the temptation to jump from one idea to the next.

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Rebranding business takes thought and preparation

It’s time to rebrand – at least I think it is. We’ve been through a lot of changes the last few years in terms of customers, markets, services and employees. Time to do a reality check on what we stand for. Any suggestions on do’s and don’ts?

Thoughts of the Day: Make it clear what your company stands for in order to pull in the right customers, employees and market opportunities. Make the look of the brand reflect the tone of your company. Appeal to emotion – which means taking into account colors that reflect the tone. Include all brand components.

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Branding Your Business Requires Homework

My husband and I have worked hard to build the business. Now we are learning more about how marketing can help us grow. Everyone we talk to says that we have to start with a clear image and message,. As you can tell, we don’t have the identity of the company defined.

Thoughts of the Day: A picture does speak a thousand words. Give your business a physical representation by figuring out what image best conveys what your company stands for. Work through a series of exercises to get clear about messaging. Decide on a symbol that represents the company now and for the future. Be consistent in the use of identifiers.

Bring consistency to what your company stands for by developing your company’s identity. Think about how some pictures help you get in touch with the personalities of the people in the photo. Make your company image represent the unique personality of your company.

Customers want to know what your business is about. Use color, image, and messaging to give customers a snapshot. Unify. Inform. Identify. Engage. Electrify. Represent. Visualize. These are all words you might want to consider when working on your company’s identity.

Define the market sectors your company operates within – professional services, retail, government contractor, manufacturing, product distribution. If you’re not sure how to define the sector, look up your company’s sic code. Then look at other companies in the same sector to gather ideas.

Start to create your own messaging by putting into words what your company is all about. Develop a mission statement that explains the purpose of the business
• Gather customer quotes that explain the value they receive from your company
• Ask employees to contribute statements about what they believe the company stands for
• Ask key vendors to submit 5 words that best define what they know about the company
• Ask the founders why they got into the business in the first place
• Ask everyone to brainstorm what the business’ future is all about
Put all of that information into the hat, and begin to pull out words and phrases that can be used to create a one-paragraph representation of the business. Make sure the description ties together where the company has come from and where it is going next, who it serves and why.

Once you have a clear written understanding of the company’s purpose in the form of a mission and vision statement, it’s time to turn that into a picture that says it all. Look for a core symbol that fits the written description you’ve created. Decide if that symbol should be contemporary, formal, humorous, ancient, off-beat, classic, etc., depending upon the tone you want to convey. Pick colors that send a message.

Consider hiring people to help you with the design of a logo, layout of letterhead and digital imaging. One of the big mistakes many business owners make is trying to do it themselves even though they have had no formal education on effective use of colors, layout and artistic design. The last thing you want is to put out a bad design that backfires in terms of what you are trying to convey.

Develop multiple concepts. Show customers, employees and key vendors various designs and ask them what they see. Don’t go with what you like, go with what your customers and employees identify with. Take enough time and expend the effort necessary to build an icon that will last for many years. Give your customers a reason to select your company and pay a premium when they do so. Give employees something to be proud of and to rally around.

Once you’ve decided on the mission, the logo and layout, be consistent in their use. Customers want re-assurance that your company is well organized. Build customer and employee confidence by demonstrating that you understand how important it is to properly represent your company.

Looking for a good book? Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind, by Al Ries, Jack Trout, and Philip Kotler

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Keep Marketing in the Mix

When it comes to marketing, we are caught between a tight budget, and the need to know what to continue, what to change. We know that when you stop doing marketing you lose all the momentum. But we’re having trouble figuring out how much is enough, too much, too little. Help!

 

Thoughts of the day: The goal is to increase demand by working on your marketing programs, and there are lots of ways to do that. Develop a specialty to pull new clients in. Keep in mind that in marketing, you need to have several initiatives going at the same time. Finding the money for marketing is essential.

Marketing is a broad field. It is the one discipline that most business owners feel overwhelmed by. It’s hard to measure results, it takes time and persistence to get anywhere, there are lots of things to try, and mistakes can be costly.

It’s all about building a set of complimentary activities that build awareness and increase the number of people who pay attention to you. Whether your business sells B-to-C (Business to Consumer) or B-to-B (Business to Business), marketing is all about grabbing individual eyeballs and keeping their attention fixed on your business.

Here’s a simple list of ideas to get your started. Define 1 thing to accomplish in each area. Research the cost to do it. Decide on the order in which to do each.

  • Email information campaign
  • Direct mail campaign
  • Key word advertising
  • Logo, Look and Feel
  • Print advertising
  • Proposal development
  • Public Relations
  • Public Speaking
  • Referrals Program
  • Sales Force Tools, Handouts, Scripts, Qualification Process
  • Telemarketing campaign
  • Trade shows
  • Vertical Market Plan
  • Videos on YouTube
  • Website development

Put emphasis on internet marketing tools, as they are generally the cheapest, but don’t avoid complimenting those efforts with hard copy and direct mail. Avoid the mistake of leaving marketing to last, as you plan your company’s overall budget, allocate resources, and think about the upcoming year’s plans. If your funds are very limited, pick 1 or 2 simple things to try.

While you know very well what your company does well, don’t assume your prospects are as well informed. Break your customers into groups. Define common needs of each group. Gear a marketing message to the specific needs of each of those groups. Make your product or service look like it’s customized to the group. Do research to find more companies with similar demographics. Ask your customers where and when they look for information about the products or services available from companies like yours. Use marketing tools to push customized promotions to specific prospects in the most likely venues.

Keep in mind that in marketing, you need to have several initiatives going at the same time, you’re working to build brand awareness and recognition. It takes 6-8 impressions to break through the noise and clutter, so that a specific target becomes aware of your company. When budgeting for a marketing campaign, it’s better to have multiple efforts targeted at a smaller group, than to have one effort targeting a larger group. Start small, test to see what gets a reaction. Build on the successes.

Marketing can be the fuel for the future growth of your business. If your business has new prospects, it can grow. Without enough clients in the door, it struggles. Put money, time and effort towards marketing in order to build a strong pipeline of new business opportunity. As clients come in from one successful campaign, that builds the funds for the next marketing effort.

Looking for a good book? Incremental Marketing on a Micro Budget, by Michelle Chance-Sangthong.

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