A Thought4Your Consideration
Unless you are one of a few devout underground music fans, the group Portugal The Man probably hadn’t passed by your ears prior to 2017. Last year, they burst upon the scene with their hit song “Feel It Still” and this band from Alaska became a common name among millions in America.Any guesses why?
For decades, successful marketers have been using music to drive their messaging. If you’re my age (spoiler alert – I’m in my 50’s), you remember Heinz Ketchup using “Anticipation” and Coca-Cola worked to “Teach the World to Sing” in their TV commercials.
Whether the music is original, re-purposed for a specific reason, or picked because an ad person likes it, the fact is many of the commercials we remember are aligned with music that sticks in your brain.
With this particular iPad Pro campaign, Apple, a technology powerhouse pulling in billions of dollars every year, became a vessel for the worldwide fame of Portugal The Man (which is actually a whole band). The funny thing is, this band has been playing music together since the early 2000’s. Hardly a new act, Portugal The Man had already made a name on the festival scene and was being recognized through their years together for their abilities.
They just didn’t become a “household name” until June of last year when Apple used their song in a TV commercial.
I remember watching the iPad Pro commercial and thinking, man, that’s a fun song. Shortly after, I began hearing it on obscure radio stations. It wasn’t long before it was everywhere and being played repeatedly. It peaked at #4 on theBillboardHot 100 songs at one point in 2017.
Imagine that – a catchy tune, combined with clever video and a creative concept, executed by a trendsetting company that makes really cool things. Sounds like a recipe for a winner. And it was for both Apple and Portugal The Man.
Your organization may not have the kind of pull to launch a band into fame. What it does have, though, is the ability to choose original or special music to drive your next big campaign.
Splinter audiences, narrowcasting, multiple channels, niche marketing…these are all relatively new terms used to describe the extreme targeting of smaller, more interested audiences. Useful tools in getting your message to a carved out segment of the audience. As the ability to drill down into your focused target has emerged, so has another trend.
The return of the Big Ticket Event.
It seems that while people like their own iPod playlists and their personal favorites, there is still a longing for community. Nothing brings a group together like a shared viewing experience. Nothing. “Say, did you see Avatar?” “That was some game last night!” “How did you like that acceptance speech during the awards show on Sunday?” According to recent articles in the New York Times and The Economist, the big audience events are as popular as ever – if not more so.
People still love to gather, watch and then discuss and they like doing it in community.
Too many business owners think they can’t afford to achieve “REACH” in their schedules so they settle for “FREQUENCY”. Instead of stepping out and targeting that Big Ticket Event, they place hundreds of small, inexpensive commercials in places they think they can afford.
Recently I found a way to work some of my clients into things like American Idol, ABC Prime Time, The Olympics and other big events. To learn how this concept can work for your business simply email me a reply to this or call me at 540.986.8766 or 419.377.0643. If you’d rather be taken off this newsletter list, you can use the same contact methods. A combination of frequency AND reach is especially powerful.
Sometimes it’s easier to know the right thing to do than to actually do it.
For years I have explained to clients that it isn’t necessary to put all their information and statistics in a commercial or have the staff standing in front of the business waving --- in order to get viewers to notice them. Everyone knows consumers are assaulted by more images than ever before - the true challenge is to find a way to cut through. As a marketer, your competition isn’t the guy down the street so much as it is the commercial message right before and right after you.
One of my newer clients – Robert Kulp of Blue Ridge Residential and Black Dog Salvage – made a break from the normal commercial and focused on communicating his message directly to his audience. Just like you won’t see a location listing at the end of a UPS commercial or after that “Five Dollar Footlong” jingle, you’ll notice the simplicity of this message. Click on this link and see how Robert had the courage to break away from local commercials done the way they typically are:
Here is a gentle reminder – to get a bigger impact you may have to take a new approach. Communicate more with less clutter.
There seems to be a bit of a flurry lately. In the past three or four months I have had a number of companies and organizations reach out to me to ask about their web sites. Everyone in interactive business recognizes the need for a web site as a tool to engage communication and grow a base of business. The problem seems to be related to sites that have been built a few years ago – or before. Back then “programmers” wanted to use complicated language to make clients dependant on them for future changes. Sure the sites may look good and they may even be easy for the user to navigate, but a small little change, or a new picture, or a new employee always seemed to create a hassle because the original web design company had to make all the changes.
That isn’t the way web sites need to work anymore.
You can have a populated, lively, interactive and easy to find and navigate web site that uses the latest technology to make the “back end” edits so much easier. You do not need a degree or have to understand how to write “code” or anything like that to change, edit or update your own web site – by yourself.
We love to help our clients and partners.
In this type of situation, the best help we can provide is to build it right and give you the tools to make small changes as you desire in the timing you want. Plus, by giving you the “keys to drive the web site”, we maintain a good relationship with you and are still available to help with strategy, Search Engine Optimization and any other problems or opportunities you face. It’s the best approach.
The concept of social media marketing, web site marketing, or even that very first and most simple step of building a web site should start with an even more basic question.
Do I really need a web site?
If you can answer that question in the affirmative, the next important one is "What do I hope to accomplish with my web site?"
It seems sometimes too many companies and organizations are doing "hip" and "cool" new media for the simple purpose of being hip and cool. There doesn't seem to be a vision or a purpose. Like any other business decision a company makes, that's a bad reason to do a good thing.
There Must Be a Reason4It
Recently I saw a TV commercial directing the viewer to a web site for toilet paper. Yes, toilet paper. My daughter and I laughed out loud when we were instructed to "check it out online".
Check out the copy above..."Charmin wants to make going to the bathroom more enjoyable." It's actually kind of funny really.
This is a classic case of a company being told by their advertising people "all current advertising need to have accompanying web sites and Facebook pages". Your's may not.
If you want someone to take a fresh, strategic look at what you are advertising and where you are advertsing it, simply click on the the contact information below or visit my website and begin a conversation.
Things have been interesting in the Middle East this year. That’s an understatement.
Like many of you, I have been following the activity over there and watching what happens. Back in the spring Facebook was an integral part of the Egyptian revolution as we witnessed a government in place for decades crumble in days.
Just last week rebels in Libya moved into Tripoli.
What was their first move? They marched right in and took over the state run television station. A lot of media can have a big impact, but even in Libya nothing moves public opinion and communicates with the masses quite like television. It’s the reason those rebels went there first.
Most of my clients use a mix of media and communications.
Public relations, direct mail, social media, email blasts, radio, the web, mobile messaging, outdoor, newspaper, SEO, magazines and even telemarketing can all be successful tools and help you move your image and product. When you need to rapidly establish a brand or product or “win the battle of the mind” with current or prospective clients, nothing moves people like television.
Many organizations are intimidated by the language or production process involved with TV. We can help. If you think you’d like to review your overall marketing plan or want to consider including TV in 2012, let’s start the conversation.
While I am no expert in the area of Food & Wine, even I know good wine needs time to breathe. A steak fresh off of the grill needs a few moments to settle before being served.
In our busy lives that same space can be most helpful in planning for growth, creating an idea or developing a strategy. It is a part of the normal flow of thinking and in turn a part of every successful organization's culture.
The concept also applies to print advertising. Internally you wrestle with the knowledge you need lots of white space in your ad and the need to shove every possible feature and benefit into what you are selling. It truly is a battle - in this case for space. The purpose of a print ad is to either generate response or to build awareness. In either situation you need to get the attention of the reader.
That is generally best done through space and copy.
Resist the temptation to put another selling feature into your advertisement.
Use some of that white space to create compelling and engaging copy - pull the reader in. Let people who are reading get a break - for a moment - from the information. Then you can communicate a few simple concepts, sales or ideas to them. All the statistics in the world say we are daily overwhelmed by information - use thatinformation to your organization's benefit.
Keep it simple - and clean.
For the longest time I believed people bought primarily on price. The lower the price the better the chance someone would buy. Everyone loves a bargain right?
These days there are smart phone aps that allow you to stand in one store and check a competitor’s price right then. If the other location has something cheaper – you leave, go across town, and buy the same item for less money. As a retailer – you needn’t be afraid, but it should be on your mind as you do business. Be aware of price.
My Dad is a good consumer and he price shops (he also reads this newsletter). He’d drive across town to buy gas that is five cents per gallon cheaper. But even my Dad has his limits and as price conscious as he may be, it isn’t always the lowest priced place that gets his business.
During the winters he’s out in the Phoenix area and while he could choose a .99 cent tostada from Taco Bell on his Monday Night Mexican dinners, he never does. The tostada at his favorite place probably costs five or ten times as much – and he doesn’t use a smart phone to do a price check analysis.
People can spend less, but can they get what it is you offer? While they can scan a price with their iPhone and see if it is less at the Big Box Store nearby, they can’t necessarily get the specific service you provide, the helpful tip your staff passes along, or the feeling of being known by name. They can’t count the economic velocity of keeping dollars “local”.
If you live by low prices – you’ll quickly learn – there’s probably someone who has them even lower.
Build value, offer a fair price and create an atmosphere people enjoy enough they’d pay a little more for the added experience. Then people will choose to do business with you – on purpose. Perhaps someday, Taco Bell will do fresh tableside guacamole and serve an ice cold margarita, but until then folks like my Dad are going to pay a few bucks more for their tostadas.
There was something at the front door. It was the 2012-13 Yellow Book, but it could have just as easily been the Easy to Use One, the Verizon one or some other one. Phone books.
There are so many times people ask me about advertising in the yellow pages (or some equivalent). First of all, let’s agree on one thing – it isn’t advertising. It’s a directory. Next try doing a quick calculation with me…to say you use your yellow page directory 1% of the time would mean you spent about 15 minutes each day reviewing the book. I’m not sure that’s even possible
There are times and places where it can make sense for a business, but those instances are becoming less and less frequent. The book is closed 99.9% of the time.
It did make it into my house, but within hours it was out the back door and being recycled.
A few weeks ago, I spoke with someone who told me their organization spent over $750,000 in directory advertising each year. It is the fear of loss driving that. If you’re not in the yellow pages people won’t know how to find you, what you offer or how to call…
Nonsense. (Otherwise you could show me the McDonald’s, FedEx and Facebook ads in your local book)
Advertising, marketing, public relations, referrals and repeat business are the elements of a successful growth pattern for most all organizations. The web and smart phones have actually made that consumer contact easier. Even the directory representatives will confirm theirs is a shrinking industry. Don’t be afraid --- embrace the new and craft your very own plan.
Talk2Whom You Need
Throughout the years I have written a lot about your message and how to craft what you want to say in your marketing, business development and advertising. Here’s a simple B2Seed reminder for your ongoing consideration…
The right message – built and honed – but sent to the wrong audience, will not accomplish the goal.
It’s not enough to be creative or pretty or even “remarkable” if you do not know exactly who you want to receive the advertisement or marketing piece. So much energy by so many people (many in the advertising community) is spent getting the outreach just so. Without the accompanying target work much of it goes to waste.
There are many ways to figure out who needs to receive the messages you are sending. I’d start with the first and simplest way --- look around. Take a break from the chaos of commerce and note who you are already doing business with on a regular basis. Begin to identify who they are and what they have in common – it’s the key to taking that first step OR reminding yourself of who your target really is.
Next, try to find more of those people. Most research and advertising firms can help you access information you can use to customize your approach. In the old days people in advertising grouped potential patients, customers and clients as ages --- 25-54, 50+, 18-34, etc. Go ahead and pay attention to that data, but let that start your target discovery not end it.
There is more information at your disposal than ever before. It’s time for you to start using it.
The Thought Came2Me
Recently I was watching the movie “Inception”. I had seen it before and understood most of the plot, but this time something else caught my attention. “Inception” is a movie about infiltrating one’s dreams to exhume secret information from the subconscious of important business people. It’s a bit of science fiction, but a fun distraction.
In the main part of the story you’re watching a dream, inside a dream, inside a dream, inside yet another dream. Obviously the viewer must pay close attention. As the action moves through all these different layers it can be a little tricky to track. Let me make the simple connection to this monthly e-newsletter.
I write the B2Seed to share information that will be helpful to people in a wide range of businesses and situations. The information is designed to provoke thought and inspire action. It’s an outlet for me, but there is more to it than to simply pass along tips. I wanted you to know why I write this monthly article.
Making It Work4You
As with “Inception”, B2Seed has this surface level of provoking thought and inspiration, but beneath that there is the deeper level. A message inside a message. It is a marketing tool for my company. There, now you’re inside – seeing why I do this each month. If a potential client subscribes I know I can touch them directly – for a few moments – each month. Over time, they’ll get used to hearing from me, hopefully acknowledge the value of what I write and when they need advertising, marketing or business development assistance, they’ll reach out to my company.
Some current clients get the email and take action themselves or pass it along to others who need help with their advertising. Either way, The B2Seed consistently helps me grow my business and connect with other businesses. Sometimes it’s directly; other times it’s indirectly. Either way – it’s purposeful.
Would it make sense for you to take a similar action in your situation? If you want to regularly connect with prospects or clients in a non-threatening way it would. Then you’ll be living the dream…
Excuse Me. I Want2Tell You Something…
In normal conversation it’s considered rude. In the middle of our work day it’s a barrier to accomplishment.
In advertising it’s exactly what is needed to get your message across to a busy, distracted audience. Attention is at a premium as our society navigates email, smart phones, texting, television, blue tooth technology and everything that competes for our brain space. If you’re message isn’t causing some sort of pattern break, you’re missing the most important of the process.
You can use music, humor, engaging copy, white space, silence or even kids and animals, but you must use something to catch the eye, ear or imagination of the audience. You must. Otherwise the best media buy or biggest audience is squandered.
Too often business-owners and managers want to use their precious time and space to educate or to promote colloquial phrases that rarely align with the needs of the people hearing, seeing or reading the message. Be strong. Avoid that common pattern and find a way – any legitimate way – to connect personally with your key audience. Once you’ve got their attention and they begin to recognize who you are and what you’re promoting, you’re ready to begin the educating and selling process.
After the interruption (advertising) comes the education (marketing). It’s important to know the difference and not to mix your messaging.
Pardon Me (again). I Want2Show You Something…
Last month I wrote about the power of interrupting when advertising.
This month I decided to show you an example of what I meant.
Two billboards – actually side by side. They are posted in Roanoke, Virginia where my business is located, but they just as easily could have been in your town or on a street near your office.
If you’re like most people your eye is drawn to the right. See what I mean?
There is a clear message – one that engages your brain and gets it going (I personally love the double meaning with creative billboard advertising). It is easy to read and you can generally catch the concept as you go by.
On the left is a confusing series of images, sponsors, copy and general confusion. Even the “all caps” font makes for slower interpretation. There’s too much information and a message that will take way too long to sink in.
It’s a great example of the power of interruption. You can actually see the difference. Perhaps as you review your next advertising sample or work with your creative team you will see this same snapshot and identify it with the power of simplicity.
Fight the urge to put everything you can into your ads – no matter the platform you use – and work hard to keep the messaging simple, provocative and direct. Once you’ve got their attention, you can find ways to market to them as potential customers, clients and patients.
You’ve heard it said and now you can apply the concept to your advertising. “Less is more.” You’ll quickly figure out that not only does Crime Pay, but so does streamlining your message.
This month B2C Ace Artist, Aaron Kelderhouse, takes his first crack as a guest columnist.
It's your identity. It's your way of sharing yourself with the world - who you are, what you do, why you do it. It sets you apart from everyone else and brings you to the forefront of their mind every time they come across it. It's your brand and whether you realize or not you do have one. Question is, are you controlling it or does it control you?
Often when someone thinks of "branding" they think of a logo... colors... a style of font. The truth is, while that may be where your branding begins, everything you do, or don't do, contributes to your brand. How you interact with customers, the type of environment you do your work in, the way you answer the phone, how organized your files are kept... like it or not it is all part of your brand.
A company that has a strong brand not only has a well implemented look and feel to their graphics, but that same look and feel is consistent with how they do business. Maybe someone has a nice, simple, clean logo but every time you interact with them they seem out of control. Or perhaps they have created an ultra-modern image for their company, but all their invoicing is done on a dot matrix printer.
The point is an organization's brand is only as strong as its ability to deliver.
Your brand creates a perception from the inside as well. In the same way that your brand helps others know who you are and what you do, it reminds you and your team who you are. At times in the business of "doing work" it becomes easy to lose sight of your goal and forget what it is you are really trying to accomplish. Your brand should be strong enough to remind you what it is that sets you apart and push you toward continuing to do those things. It should be something that boosts the morale of the people you work with and rallies them toward that common goal.
In the business world there are countless things out of your control. Your brand shouldn't be one of them. As you make decisions be sure they line up with your vision. Treat your customers and partners in ways that are consistent in this vision. Surround yourself with employees that support the overall vision, not with people who frustrate it. And yes... absolutely have a great logo that conveys your image, with colors that compliment it, and a font that reflects your story.
It's Time2Watch Some TV Commercials
In the almost five years that I've been writing these monthly newsletters, I've repeatedly expressed that the most valuable advertisement interrupts the consumer. Successfully designed ads pull attention to your product or service in a creative and memorable way. Once the attention of the viewer is secured, you then have the opportunity to engage, sell and educate.
For those of us in the creative advertising field, it is part of our job and our entertainment to observe messaging others create and determine its effectiveness. This fall I noted two commercials that work at interrupting and I wanted to share them both with you.
#1 - Subaru
...takes you on a drive. Literally. The commercial pulls you into the relationship between two people. Then when you think you know the story the true hook is revealed. It is successful at creating an appealing experience before revealing the product. The viewer wants to watch it again because the characters are likable and the story clever.
#2 - Subway
Like it or not, they had your attention at Five Dollar...
Subway uses music to get you to remember their offer and their campaign. Music is a powerful tool in advertising. It's been used since the earliest of radio days. Like Subaru uses storytelling to capture interest, Subway has a quick musical hook and it works.
What It Can Mean4You
You have a new year and an opportunity for a fresh advertising approach as well as the chance to build, enhance or shift your branding. Always remember to interrupt THEN share the important messaging you want to convey. How you do it depends a lot on your product, service or specific needs.
Um, You May Want2Tell Someone
Recently a friend invited me to a very interesting wine dinner. I'd never been to one before and didn't really know what to expect until I got there. Basically, the winemaker explains the process of how they create the different flavors in each wine. During the meal, he and chef at the restaurant pair a specific wine designed to bring out the best flavors with each course.
Five amazing food courses.Five delicious wines to taste.
The group was seated at a long table and I happened to be seated near the winemaker. Being naturally curious, I asked him where most of his wine could be purchased. He told me the breakdown of sales - a percentage is sold at restaurants, another through grocery stores around the country, and obviously a large amount is purchased at the winery itself. The owner of the restaurant then chimed in --- "We sell it here." She then pointed to the shelves in the back of the restaurant which were full of bottles of wine.
One of the guests perked up and said, "I didn't know you sold wine here." I thought it was a decoration myself.
The End of the Story Just4You
Other patrons spoke up in agreement. Few knew that the restaurant sold wine for off premises use. A quick survey revealed about 15 of the 18 people had no idea. Most people bought some wine that night. These were some of the best customers of this restaurant - I myself have eaten there at least ten times - and about 80% had no idea they could buy a nice bottle of wine to take home. The lesson was real.
You have to tell people what you do. Then you have to remind them. Then you'd better tell them again. What you think is obvious may actually be news, even to many of your best customers.
When did advertising become a naughty word?
Most of us skip ads on TV, complain about them in the newspaper, fuss about them on billboards while driving down the highway, change channels when they come on the radio, and get irritated when they pop up on a favorite web site. That isn't even to mention the ones that are displayed in magazines, pulled behind airplanes at football games (starting this weekend), shown on the stalls at the neighborhood restaurant bathrooms, and we're just getting started.
People hate ads.
That's why it's so fun to be in advertising. It's a competition. A game.
How2Play the Game
Can we get your attention and interrupt you? Or will you stay on track and avoid our message?
People actually appreciate the good advertisements. Really. A well placed billboard for a restaurant at an exit when you are hungry is just right. An ad for that perfect pair of shoes on the web site you visited a few weeks back may be just the ticket. A radio spot that uses the "theatre of the mind" or the early February TV commercials that keep getting interrupted by that silly football game are both examples of the appreciation the American public has for advertising.
I've been told I'm weird before so you won't hurt my feelings, but I love advertising. There I said it. I love when a message is clear, clean, and makes me think. I love when someone tells a story or catches me off guard. I am thankful when I am on the highway running too low on gas and the sign up ahead tells me how much it costs.
Admit it - when it's good, you like advertising too. When it's good that is.
So embrace advertising - don't call everything marketing or communications. Advertise. It's good for business - when it is done right, well, and smartly.
How will you use your marketing budget this coming year?
Recently, I've run into a particularly large number of businesses who are trying to do this on their own. TV? Digital? Radio? Newspapers? Magazines? Direct Mail?
Not to mention ad specialties, shopping carts, and all kinds of other options. Our team does this for a living and it can be a lot to keep up with. It's hard for me to imagine business owners tackling this on their own. Especially when deciding where to advertise is really only half the battle - and possibly not even the most important half...
Finding the most effective way to get your message in front of the right audience is essential. However, using the same advertising mediums you've always used is not a surefire way to grow your company anymore. Once you're confident of where you'll advertise, it's time to figure out what to say to your clients, patients, and prospects.
I spend a lot of time on the road - usually around 22,000 miles a year. When you're in your car as much as I am you notice things. To top it off, I'm in advertising so I tend to pay closer attention to ad campaigns more than most. Invariably the radio commercials, billboards, and outdoor advertising that best capture my attention use room and space to provoke my thoughts.
They interrupt me.
Lamar Advertising (the billboard company) does a particularly good job. Their self-promotion catches my attention. Then I wonder why they don't work harder to convince their advertisers to use similar simple messaging.
How about you? Where will you advertise next year? And what will you say?
I spend a lot of time on highways watching the mile markers fly by. As I’ve written before, being on the road gives me an opportunity to really think and process. One of my more recent trips reminded me how timing and order play an important role in not only our personal lives but our business lives.
For example, the exit informational signs on highways all follow the same basic pattern. The signs are positioned in a certain order for a reason – attractions, accommodations, restaurants, and gas stations.
It just makes sense. When on a trip, there are a variety of decisions you need to make at different intervals.
If you’re going to make an unplanned detour off the highway to visit an attraction, you need a significant amount of time to consider a change in your schedule. Then you may need to decide if you want or need to stay at a hotel for the night. Those two decisions need extra time. That’s why those blue signs come first.
As for the others…You know when you’re hungry and usually what you are craving. In many cases picking a restaurant can be a quick decision. Finally, gas is a necessary stop. When you need it, you need it right away and there’s not a lot of decision making that needs to occur. Now it’s almost time to exit.
What about the marketing you do for the organization? Does it make sense? Does it follow a logical order like the information signs placed as you approach the next exit? Make sure your marketing aligns with the buying process of those who seek out your business or the services you offer. If it doesn’t, it’s time to realign to make it match.
Then think about it again the next time you’re cruising down the interstate.
It was probably 2003 and I was working at BusinessVoice in Toledo, Ohio. I had one of those little desk calendars with quotes on it, and while I can't remember who said it, I clearly recall the daily message saying "The problem with life is there's no soundtrack." It's an observation that has stayed with me throughout my days...most things are better with music.
In fact, I'm writing this month's Seed with my own "soundtrack" playing in the background.
Nothing like a little Johnny Depp Rockabilly to get me in the writing mood.
Music can propel me to write more, help me to feel better, and sometimes cause a flashback to another period of my life. It impacts my life – and probably yours – in a myriad of ways.
An Application4Your Marketing
Whether it's your father's Firestone Christmas record collection, sheet music for a song you played in your high school band, or the newest song on your playlist (Mine is "Remember Home" by Sebastian Kole), music is intertwined with life.
It stands to reason music can impact your marketing too. If you're doing significant outreach advertising, you'd be smart to put a lot of consideration in what music is used to carry your digital, radio, or television commercial. Just as much as a logo, a combination or colors and fonts, or a tag line...music can and should be a part of your brand. Whether it is a catchy tune from an upcoming indie artist or a custom created five second jingle, music has the power to invoke any number of feelings as well as bring immediate recognition of who you are.
It might be called background music, but it can have a great impact on the foreground of how the world sees you.
The successful organizations and businesses have already figured that out. The ones we work with are at least paying attention to that part of their operation. When thinking of your outreach strategy for 2017, consider making music the soundtrack of your business.
Lots of Ways2Learn
I haven’t always been a marketing expert.
No, I haven’t. It’s taken years of observing, stumbling (at times), succeeding, building and developing to become one. It’s been decades of engagement in the advertising, communications, and marketing industry.
Nothing against the communications and marketing programs at colleges and universities…I’ve had the opportunity to address many students and have met with many interesting professors and teachers. Marketing theory is important and the studies released by those types of experts lead a lot of activity and drive many behaviors. It’s interesting stuff.
It’s just that I’ve found, as helpful as that information is, the axiom about rubber meeting the road really drives much more of our plans and the efforts we put in place to build our client’s brands, traffic, and sales. Theories are good, but practical seems to work even better for the medium and small sized organizations we typically work so closely with.
How are we going to sell more of this, bring more people to that, or tell our patients, customers, or clients we are now doing this new thing? Those are the practical questions most businesses are really asking. And those are the types of questions we work hard to solve with marketing (and advertising and communications).
Unlike so many types of industries, it’s not the acquisition of knowledge that helps clients win the battle for top of mind awareness. It’s what you do with that information and how strong your resolve is to stick with it when times get tough or challenges arrive.
Anyone can read books or listen to Podcasts. But does that really make them a marketing expert?
A marketing expert knows the foundational principals that drive business, can communicate them, can create a plan to reach them, and can execute the plan. The marketing expert knows challenges will come and temptations to cut or change the plan (before it may be time to cut or change) the plan will come. They’ll prepare for that and even plan for it, too. Knowledge does help. Experience is even more important.
Like I said, I wasn’t always a marketing expert.
There’s nothing like a county fair to distract the average teenager. Besides the bright colors, neon lights, rides, games, and girls (or boys), there is the food and drink. So much to capture one’s attention and, when you’re 15, it’s obvious you have limited amounts of attention to pay.
Earlier this month I picked up my son and his friend from the nearby event. Almost immediately I heard one of them say, “I’m hungry.” Naturally, I wondered why since I had sent them off with some money earlier in the evening. My young friend quickly shared his tale. “I was distracted by the Strawberry-Lemonade.” If you haven’t been to a fair lately, that’s $5 right there. The refill was shortly after and it was another $4 bucks or so. Later on he was tempted by the Watermelon-Lemonade and maybe one game and there you have it. No money left for dinner.
As I was practicing my short-order cooking skills at midnight – I reflected.
A Marketing Reminder4Us
Have you determined the core drivers in your marketing plan? Most of you have or, if pressed, could likely list them. Yet, I’m guessing that newest gadget, social media channel, or fad is distracting you from improving your core strengths. Facebook is a prime example.
For some businesses it is critical, for others I see an awful lot of energy put into a platform that tamps down your ability to communicate with your fans and followers. It’s a fun place and certainly business is done there (especially for some categories), but it’s a time suck for many humans and equally so for a lot of businesses.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend time there, I’m suggesting you make sure your marketing pillars are steady and in place first. Then give some attention to those neon lights and order your Strawberry-Lemonade refreshment.
What exactly is marketing and how is it different than advertising?
The answer is often like the reference to the oldest, biggest, revenue-generating internet business, “you know it when you see it”.
The same is true for many stores in Roanoke that do such a good job with their window displays. They are attention-getting, artistic, creative, and beautiful. It’s just a window display, but these shops have a reputation now for great presentation. I look on purpose every time I walk by these shops to see what they’ve done and how it looks.
That's great marketing.
Whether it’s packaging, a floor display, directional signage, sales kits, or brochures, marketing supports the way you do your business and how you want others to both view and engage with you.
Advertising is outreach. Marketing is reaching the hearts and minds of the people with whom you’re already connected. The two elements are perpetually interconnected and it’s critical both work strongly and in unison. Advertise to get the attention of the patient, consumer, or client – then market to more deeply involve them or build their warm feelings about your organization.
The thing about the window display is, like so many parts of the marketing and advertising world, it could possibly be labeled as either. I’m interested and curious about that business and, for me, it’s marketing. You are walking down the street and have no awareness of Urban Gypsy so for you it may be advertising. Either way, the window display is interrupting and reflects the business and how it is perceived. It’s a win-win.
So make the things you do to market and advertise your company consistent and interesting – and call it what you wish.