Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Consider for a moment your high school history teacher. In schools across the country, history teachers teach multiple classes with students at all different levels. One class might be filled with students who are ready to break down the information at a very high level. These students are capable of exploring difficult themes. Learning about the American Revolutionary War requires covering more than dates and names, and they will dive into motivations and outside influences.
Another class might be at a more introductory level of history. Rather than covering motivations, they might need to learn more about the major people who influenced the events of the day and focus on learning the timeline.
Both classes are covering the same topic, but if the teacher is going to effectively teach both groups, he or she will have to develop separate lesson plans for each class. If the teacher tried to create a common lesson plan for each group of students, neither group would receive the instruction they needed to succeed. It does require more work for the teacher to create separate lesson plans, but the teacher knows it's worth the effort. A teacher who keeps their eyes on the end goal -- to ensure that both classes walk away feeling challenged and with new knowledge about the founding of the United States -- will know their extra work helped them reach their students effectively.
The Takeaway for Marketers
The same concept applies to marketers. It does take a little more work to create separate content for each of your buyer personas, but if you want to effectively reach your potential customers, you have to be willing to go that extra mile.
Each of your customers comes to your site looking for different information. One customer might be concerned about finding an affordable solution to their problem. They feel as though they've spent too much money in the past, and their primary concern is budget. Another customer might focus primarily on utility. They trust that when they find a well-created solution to their problem, their return on investment will justify their cost. Each of these customers will respond better to different types of content and offers. Creating just one type of content will make it harder for you to reach all of your intended target audiences. It may have been less work upfront, but it will end up costing you more when you fail to bring in the profits and returns you had desired.
In a world where time is money, it makes sense to avoid spending unnecessary time and money whenever possible. What you need to remember, though, is that while efficiency is important, it cannot replace doing something correctly. Sit down with your team, outline your buyer personas, and draft a plan for reaching each one. You'll be amazed at what these additional steps can do to help you close more business.
If you're ready to start building a new marketing strategy, reach out and speak with us today. We'd be happy to help you get started.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Of course, as anyone familiar with advertising knows, the cars chosen for the James Bond movies, just like the conveniently placed Coca-Cola, Subway sandwich, or Apple computer in your favorite movies and shows, were not chosen by accident. It's all a part of something called product placement, and brands will pay a considerable amount of money to get their products featured in popular television and movie time slots.
Why Does Product Placement Matter?
It's all a part of tapping into the consumer's head in a process known as the bandwagon effect. According to the bandwagon effect, when we see people we admire or members of a group we're a part of (or want to be a part of) using a particular product, we want to use it, too. In other words, when we see people on our favorite sitcom sitting down to enjoy a Subway sandwich with an ice cold Coke, we think that sounds like a fantastic meal option the next time we want to find something easy and fast for lunch.
Tapping into this powerful phenomenon isn't reserved just for major brands with seemingly limitless marketing budgets. Even smaller companies can implement and reap the benefits of the bandwagon effect in their advertising. Here are some great ways to get started:
Use Images and Quotes from Real Customers
People enjoy feeling like part of a group. When you use images of real customers using your products, along with some reviews that use names (instead of just being anonymous), you help to build this type of group.
Build a Strong Social Network
People use social media to connect with their friends and family members as well as the brands they enjoy. Building a strong social network around a particular brand can help attract more people to your business. As people participate in your conversations and 'like' your products on Facebook, for instance, those activities will start to show up in their friends' newsfeeds, introducing them to your brand. Similarly, if people retweet you on Twitter or otherwise interact with your brand, they'll be spreading your company's message. With the bandwagon effect, people will be naturally drawn to the brands and interests of their friends.
Encourage Others to Share Their Experiences with Your Brand
Encourage people to share their experiences with your brand, particularly through social media. Hold contests, and invite people to submit pictures of themselves using your products or telling stories about their use of a service you provide. Such interactions naturally help to promote positive experiences with your brand and show the number of people who appreciate your company.
Movies and television are excellent platforms for brands looking to take advantage of the bandwagon effect through product placement. If you want to see how well this psychological phenomenon can work for you, consider using some of the above techniques. Building a strong following around your brand is an excellent way to grow any business.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
There Are Few Better Ways to Engage Than at a Trade Show
One challenge of any marketing campaign is grabbing the attention of your target audience. In a lot of cases, those who receive your mailers or who see your posts on social media aren't necessarily looking for your particular product or service at that time, which means you not only have to grab hold of their attention in a meaningful way, but you also need to do whatever it takes to maintain their attention until they are ready to buy.
In contrast, a trade show is essentially the exact opposite situation. Trade shows, by their very nature, are designed to bring both consumers and businesses together in a venue where interaction is the name of the game. You don't have to struggle to grab their attention -- they've shown they're already willing to give it to you just by walking through the door. As a result, trade shows are excellent opportunities to create lasting impressions.
Trade Shows Are Amazingly Effective at Generating Leads
If you want a clear-cut example of just how big an opportunity your next trade show is, look no further than the number of attendees. The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, for example, brings in over 150,000 people on an annual basis. Even niche shows like the San Diego Comic Book Convention, which is a bit of a mecca for all things entertainment and pop culture, draws over 100,000 people (and growing) annually.
This represents a massive opportunity for generating leads you literally won't find anywhere else. Every single person who walks through the door is a potential lead just waiting to do business with somebody like you.
Everyone Has an Equal Voice at a Trade Show
Perhaps the most important benefit of trade shows, however, is one of equality. A company with $1,000,000 to spend on marketing materials and a company with only $1,000 to spend are essentially on completely equal ground. If you can make a solid presentation and have your booth staffed with helpful materials and the right employees, you'll attract visitors who will stop and hear what you have to say.
From the lasting impressions they tend create to the face-to-face encounters you just won't find anywhere else, trade shows are truly an excellent opportunity to reach new customers. There are few better venues for finding like-minded individuals who are already interested in your particular industry. If you play your cards right, practice brand consistency, and put your best foot forward, you'll discover trade shows are an investment that can pay dividends for a lifetime.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Keep It Simple
If you're designing print marketing materials to send out into the world, one of your instincts may be to try to pack as much helpful information into those materials as possible. After all, you can only have one first impression, so you need to make it a good one. When it comes to in-store signage, however, you'll have better results if you dial back your instincts a bit and keep things as short and as sweet as possible.
Think about the language you're using on in-store signs the same way you would the headline in a newspaper. The brochures and other documents you're sending out into the world are like the newspaper articles themselves -- they contain all of the information required to answer any questions the customer may have and guide them further down the sales funnel. In-store signs are the headlines -- they give you just enough information to help you in that moment, but they don't try to tell the whole story.
It's All About the Focus
Because so much of your marketing focuses on selling yourself, it's natural for that instinct to carry over into the world of in-store signage, too. It's easy to forget you already have the customer right where you want them. Now it's up to the products (or, more specifically, the way you're showcasing those products) to finish the job.
Your in-store signage needs to showcase not only what a product might do, but why someone might need it. Your signs should sell people on the benefits of what you're offering, not necessarily on your brand. For maximum effectiveness, use your signs to provide quick answers to questions like "What can product X do for me?" and "Why will product Y make my day easier?"
Above all else, there's one key term you always need to keep in mind when designing in-store signs: compelling. If the types of signs you're creating are always compelling and are always created with the best interest of your customers in mind, they will succeed on multiple levels. Not only will they immediately attract the attention of anyone who looks at them, but they will also add to the overall value of the experience customers are having in your store. Good signage can help turn first time customers into repeat customers in the long run.
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Imagine parents trying to introduce their baby to new foods. Although they might focus on a particular food for a meal, they aim to create a rich and varied diet for their child. Each type of food has different benefits that help the child become healthy and strong. The different parts of the body all require different nutrients to keep them functioning properly. If a person's diet becomes too concentrated on a particular food, they'll end up short of the nutrients found in other types of foods. This can result in a variety of disorders resulting from nutritional deficiencies.
A Similar Concept Applies to Business Promotion and Marketing
It's easy in business to limit yourself to just a few marketing techniques. You might look at the success others are having on social media and want to confine your marketing to social media. Or, if your company's been around for several decades, you might feel reluctant to dive into new digital and inbound marketing techniques and try instead to keep growing your business using cold calls and other outbound techniques.
This level of restriction will seriously deplete your business of the growth it needs to succeed in the modern market. Just like a person who eats only pasta dishes, your business might continue to grow, but without many key nutrients needed to sustain that growth. Eventually, the person trying to survive on only pasta will notice they don't feel as healthy as they once did, and you'll notice the same about your business if you limit yourself to just one or two marketing strategies.
Developing a Well-Rounded Campaign
It's important in business to maintain a balanced diet of marketing techniques. This means integrating a variety of different marketing strategies to reach your targeted audience efficiently. Every company will have different marketing platforms and systems that work best for them. Finding the right balance can help your company stay healthy and prosper.
With that in mind, here are a few steps to consider as you begin to plan an integrated campaign across several platforms.
- Carefully identify the ideal buyer for your brand by analyzing current customers and using market research.
- Determine where your ideal customers can be found through research and speaking with existing customers.
- Implement a campaign across the key platforms identified.
- Measure what aspects of the campaign are most successful at bringing in new customers.
- Adjust the marketing strategies to account for these strengths and weaknesses within the campaign, then run a new campaign.
- If particular aspects of the campaign failed to produce enough results, don't be afraid to eliminate them and try something new.
- Allocate more resources to the most successful parts of the campaign to maximize the budget.
Building a successful marketing campaign is like eating a well-balanced diet. It's important to build a healthy mix to strengthen your business and maximize the opportunities for reaching new customers. If you're interested in learning more about beginning a new marketing campaign, contact us today. We'd be happy to help you get started.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Consistency is Key When it Comes to Your Brand
There's perhaps no more perfect example of the power of consistency in branding today than Marvel Studios. The company's films include such successful titles as The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor: The Dark World, and Iron Man 3. Marvel keeps churning out hit after hit, and the studio has learned how to leverage the power of its brand in a pretty interesting way.
For Marvel, it all begins with the Marvel Studios logo. Every single trailer for every single Marvel film begins with the Marvel Studios branding. Even the title cards on these previews don't say "From the Director of X" or "From the Producer of Y." Instead, they say, "From the Studio That Brought You The Avengers." What Marvel's doing is making their own brand synonymous with the type of quality entertainment people are coming in droves to see. They're making Marvel Studios a more powerful brand than the characters in the films, the stars of the films, and even the filmmakers themselves. Pretty soon, it won't matter which movie features which character. As long as it says Marvel Studios on the front, people are going to go.
In many ways, your brand is the most powerful marketing tool you have -- even more powerful than the products or services you provide. If you can turn your brand into one that people can't help but pay attention to through marketing consistency, your bottom line will benefit.
Leave Them Wanting More
Another important marketing lesson you can learn from movie previews is the idea of "always leave them wanting more." A movie trailer should never show all of the best parts of the film. Yes, it should show some of them, but not all. The best trailers leave audiences excited for a film and confident they'll find a whole lot more waiting for them when they go to see it.
Your marketing materials should be the same way. People should get a general idea of the benefits your products or services provide and a desire to experience those benefits firsthand. Your marketing can never recreate the feeling of joy customers get when they start using your products, but it can get them excited about giving those products a try.
Marketing lessons can be found in the unlikeliest of places -- even at the cinema on a weekend excursion with your friends or loved ones. Sure, you'll probably never make a Hollywood feature film and don't have hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, but you can still learn a lot just by paying attention to the way movie studios attempt to sell you on the next big blockbuster coming soon to a theater near you.
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
The stories didn't begin that way, though.
When the very first Curious George stories came out back in the 1940s, George was a monkey who had lived in Africa. The man with the yellow hat tricked George into coming out of hiding by playing on his curiosity. He originally planned to take George back to Europe and put him in the zoo. Instead, the two began to develop a relationship.
It's interesting to note the prevailing opinions of the time. Many people looked at explorers who went into the jungle as heroes. They wouldn't have had as many negative associations with an explorer kidnapping a monkey from the jungle as we would today.
The new books that children read today came out in the 1990s. These later books don't really talk about how George came to live with the man in the yellow hat. The authors of these later books, which are modeled after the original books, focus on George's curiosity and how he manages to solve his problems. The authors of the newer books recognized that people today wouldn't appreciate the story of the man with the yellow hat kidnapping George from the jungle.
When the newer books and television series first came out, the authors focused on creating a fun story centered around a lovable monkey and the trouble he could create. Rather than focus on how the monkey and the man with the yellow hat came together, they just developed an entertaining story focused around the present.
You could say this was a re-branding of Curious George -- and it was a complete success.
Successfully framing your company for success
When you set out to market your company to your customers, you must understand your audience and what they seek. The new audience of preschoolers in the 1990s and 2000s wanted an entertaining character without the baggage that came with the original, so that's what the authors delivered.
Similarly, you should familiarize yourself with your customers enough to predict what's going to resonate most with them. Use this to guide your marketing and re-branding efforts. Audiences might change over the years, particularly if your company's been around for several decades, so don't be afraid to shed parts of your original message and add in something new if it will help you reach your customers.
When it comes to advertising, nothing matters more than understanding your audience. Those familiar with the saga of Curious George will find the comparisons between the popular monkey and the marketing campaigns of evolving companies intriguing. If you're interested in developing a new marketing campaign, speak to us today. We'd be happy to help you get started.