Today it’s standard practice for businesses to list their social networks (facebook, twitter, instagram, etc.) on their marketing materials. Did you know that each social network has guidelines for its logo? These guidelines include what logo version you should and should not be using, and the proper way to display it. This is called a Branding Guideline and almost every business has one. For example, Twitter is commonly misrepresented with the small ‘t’ square logo. The small ‘t’ logo is not the official Twitter logo and according to Twitter’s Branding Guidelines, it should not be used. Twitter is very specific (as all Branding Guidelines are). Only the Twitter bird icon should be used when representing Twitter. It’s important to research the Branding Guidelines for logos included in your marketing material to make sure you are using them correctly. The proper use of logos is a contributor to making your marketing materials look current and up-to-date. Here is a list of links to the most commonly used social networks, and their Branding Guidelines:
We like coupons a lot! That’s what we said in our last Marketing post. And it’s true…for the most part.
There is one thing we don’t like about coupons, and that’s how they can turn into monsters by becoming the norm rather than the exception. Pizza provides a good example. Many pizza restaurants, especially the chain restaurants, make their coupons so available that it’s rare than anyone orders a pizza from them without using one. Essentially, the “special” price becomes the “regular” price.
That’s OK if you’re really willing to sell every pizza at those prices, but it’s not OK if the goal was to use special pricing as an incentive to get new customers to give you a try. In theory, they’ll be happy to pay full price once they “taste” your product or service, whatever it may be.
Here’s a special offer for you, and you don’t need a coupon to take advantage of it. Tell us what your marketing goals are, and we’ll apply this kind of expertise to help you to achieve them.
In an earlier post, we wrote about the difference between advertising and promotion. Advertising tells people what you hope they will buy from you. The role of promotion is to give them an incentive to buy now. It’s been proven over and over again in the marketplace that buyers love a deal, and coupons can be a very effective way to communicate that deal.
Beyond that, they can be a very effective way for you to keep track of who’s taking you up on your deal. The coupon becomes a record of the response, and simply counting coupons can give you an idea of whether a campaign is working.
Coupons can do even more than that, though. You can use them to capture information that goes beyond what you currently have in your mailing list or marketing database. For example, if you’d like to collect e-mail addresses, you can use coupons to do that. If you’d like to explore other areas of a customer’s interest you can use coupons to do that too. Think of a coupon as a blank canvas. You can send information out, using text and graphics. You can also bring information in, using words and graphics along with fields and check boxes.
We like coupons a lot!
Our last two “marketing” posts have dealt with “the generation thing” and “the trust thing.” Today’s post will attempt to bring those two things together, with a specific example. As we noted earlier, the two oldest generations — the Matures and the Baby Boomers — value stability. They like companies and organizations that have been around for a long time. So to a Mature or a Boomer, a statement like “serving our town since 1975” provides evidence of promises kept, and that evidence tends to reassure them that promises will be kept in the future.
How about the X’s and the Y’s though? They don’t seem to equate longevity with stability. After all, in their lifetimes, they’ve seen long-established companies fail — including companies that their parents and/or grandparents respected greatly!
The point of all this is that stability and longevity won’t help you with X’s and Y’s like it probably will with Matures and Boomers — unless you take it to the next level. Don’t just tell them that you’ve been in business for XX years, tell them why you think that’s important to them! Tell them about the problems you’ve solved during those XX years, and about the lessons you’ve learned. Tell them how you’ve evolved in order to serve them — or their community! — as well as they served your parents and grandparents and their communities.
In a large sense, marketing is about telling your story. The lesson for today is that you may have to tell more of your story to get the results you really want. Especially to the X’s and Y’s!
Leading marketers are spending a lot of their time these days thinking about the differences between the generations. For the first time in history, there are really four generations influencing the marketplace: the Matures, the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y (also called the Millennials).
The Matures are the last of the generation that won World War II and then came home and started the Baby Boom, which lasted from 1946 to 1964, putting the Boomers in the in the 50 to 68 age range right now. The X’s came along over the next 14 years, making them 35 to 49 right now, and the Millennials range from their teens to their middle 30’s. The Millennials are becoming a huge economic force, and they are, well, really different — certainly more different from the other three groups than any of those are to the other two.
So how do you market effectively to each group? The simple answer is to understand their values. The Matures like teamwork, appreciate stability, and respect a thorough job. The Boomers are very similar, but more open to change — especially if an established supplier lets them down! The X’s have been called the most cynical, pessimistic, unhappy and unfriendly generation ever. It has also been said that they don’t buy, they stalk—and while a big deal is usually made about the technical savvy of the Millennials who grew up with the Internet, from marketing perspective, it’s probably more important that the X’s embraced the Internet because it lets them shop on their own schedule, with access to huge amounts of information. The Millennials have taken that to the extreme, and seem comfortable buying just about anything with no direct human contact or assistance.
There a lot more to be said about the ”generation thing” but here’s the thought we want to leave you with today. The biggest mistake many marketers make is marketing to themselves. That doesn’t work when the people you’re marketing too have different core values!
In an earlier post, we stressed the importance of creating a Marketing Plan — as opposed to winging it. Do you remember WIDOW? (Winging It Doesn’t Often Work!)
OK, so how do you that? What are the steps involved in building a marketing plan? It turns out that it may be simpler than you thought, because the process of building a Marketing Plan really only requires you to answer three questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we want to be?
- How will we get there?
OK, it may not be all that simple, but it is pretty straightforward. Where are you now in terms of what you sell and who you sell it to? In terms of how much of it you sell? In terms of any threats or opportunities in your marketplace? Where do you want to be, in terms of revenue? In terms of any other metrics?
The Big Money Question, of course, how you will get there? We can’t tell you that today, but we can tell you that the “how” is usually easier to figure out once you clearly understand the starting point and the desired end point.
Dictionary.com defines advertising as the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc. Another way to say that might be advertising tells people what you hope they will buy from you.
Let’s take that another step, though, and add the element of promotion, to give them an incentive to buy now! It has been proven over and over again in the marketplace that buyers love a deal. That might mean a discounted price. It might also mean an increased quantity (buy one get one free!) It might even mean getting something tangible in return for a donation. The point is that “something extra” will often increase the response to a direct mail program.
We have written before about ROI, and you should never forget that just about any promotional element will change the ROI equation by increasing your investment. But let’s also not forget that a promotion can further change the equation by increasing your response. As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money, and by using promotion effectively, you can sometimes spend a little more and make a lot more.
It’s pretty well accepted that direct mail (or any other advertising program) tracks along a bell curve. In other words, the response comes slowly at first, then accelerates, then peaks, then declines and eventually disappears. If you don’t recognize and plan for this, you may fall prey to one of two classic advertising mistakes.
The first mistake is to expect too much for the first mailing. The impact of advertising is cumulative, which means that response increases as the message is repeated. To put it simply, the vast majority of people who see the first mailing will barely register the message, but more will take it seriously the second time they see it, and the third, and so on. Sadly, many businesses have put all their hopes on a single mailing, and they’ve come away with the attitude that they tried direct mail, and it didn’t work.
The second mistake is to keep mailing too far past the point of decline. No matter how successful a mailing may be, it will eventually saturate its market and bring in less and less response. When it stops working, you want to stop mailing it, but here’s a key point — you want to start mailing something else! Again, it’s sad, but many businesses have seen how well direct mail works but then sacrificed much of its value by letting the message get stale. It’s a far better strategy to freshen the message and then ring the bell again!