BETTER MARKETING FOR BETTER BUSINESS

Sharing our thoughts on the world of today's media.

Louvre Media

Be the Ball (Setting Realistic Objectives)

Measuring Marketing

Sure, it’s a great idea. The artwork is great, the media chosen is perfect, the sales person who signed us up was a great person and said it worked for everyone else they work with. Sound familiar? And then you wonder after a few months if this was good money spent. This is not an uncommon thought, no matter the size of the business.

Where to start

Agreed, all those things are perfect BUT results need to be measured. Should we do more? Should we do less? Should we keep it the same? The starting line begins with defining the objective as clearly as possible. What do you expect to happen three months after the advertising begins? Are you looking for direct sales or improved brand awareness? Increased repeat business or increased spend?

Close up hourglass on wooden background,vintage color tone

Direct marketing is easy to measure, like a Google ad (PPC) or a phone book ad. Use a tracking phone line to help easily identify the results of these types of campaigns. When at all possible, use a tracking line where the calls are recorded and you own the phone number. If you stop a campaign you may still need access to that tracking number for a while afterwards. For example in a phone book which may be lying around potential customers homes for sometime.

Magazines are a bit tougher. Do you expect direct calls, a bit of branding or both? Direct Mail can be the same, people seeing your message over and over may remember you when it is time for your product or service and not reference the media they have seen you in.

Unless you are a multi-million dollar company with a huge marketing budget, you probably won’t be able to afford a marketing study to see your brand’s awareness in the marketplace. You might not even have enough marketing to improve brand awareness. So the question is “How do you measure?”

Answer sheet

We always look at where the media is being advertised, as well as a target testing area where results can be measured. If you use direct mail in a specific city or zip code and other marketing in that zip code, you can see the results from this area compared to other areas you service. If the targeted city has 10% of your customer base and it grows to 15% after your ad campaign you’ve succeeded, well maybe. There are other factors which can influence the results that may be determined before, or upon review of the campaign.

This sounds like it could be a bit complicated. However, if you start with clear objectives, have some measurements in place, and take time to review the results, possibly even half way in to the campaign, you will be ahead of the game. It may not always give you the answer you want but it will be better than nothing at all.

Last note, when a campaign doesn’t seem to be working it may not be the media. There are many factors to consider and you should not discount the media on its own accord. It could be the message or offer, the time of year, or some event which effected the results. If you ran a campaign and there was a road closing you didn’t know about, a national/world event which changed people’s buying habits, or possibly a competitor jumping in to the same media/campaign outspending you, then your results could be better or worse for it.

Marketing & Advertising

Is There a Difference?

The real answer is yes. There is a difference between marketing and advertising even though these two terms get intertwined in their use. For many, they are used interchangeably without any problem in context to the conversation.

Our tag line: “Better Marketing for Better Business” is a part of our mission statement, and then we further identify ourselves as an advertising agency. This is because we do both – marketing as well as advertising. On a high level, marketing is the overall process – the strategy for growth for the coming year(s), identifying the target customer, as well as market research. Advertising is about the campaigns and decisions about which media to purchase (media planning), as well as the purchasing of the media, and the creative, which includes the words and graphics to be used.

Below you will find a definition of both, if this interests you. Keep in mind, people may use these marketing and advertising synonymously.

Bright idea for business growth
Marketing & Advertising – What’s the Difference?

Marketing is……

Marketing is the big umbrella, which everything else falls under. It is the overall process and involves first identifying the objectives of the business, and then planning the strategy to meet those objectives. Marketing then will establish metrics, when possible, on how to measure the results to see if the actual plan is accomplishing what it is intended to do. Is it driving the desired/anticipated results? Specific functions in the marketing arena may include market research, content marketing (what is the message), and then working to purchase the media – which may be done in house or through an advertising agency.

Advertising is…..

To put it simply, advertising is to get the end user (consumers) to purchase the product or service. To get them to buy something, or buy something more often. It facilitates the brand awareness, and depending on the company, will either purchase the advertising within the company or utilize an advertising agency to make the purchases on their behalf. Media planning, media buying, and artwork creation may fall under the responsibilities, as well as finding ways to creatively get the message out to consumers. This could be television, radio, newspaper, or the internet.

Statistics

Don’t Listen to Statistics

There are statistics everywhere. They can be very helpful in guiding us towards making better decisions. But, what happens if we listen to a statistic which isn’t correct?

Statistics is defined as “the collection and analyzation of data, for the purposes of presenting and using this information to the masses.”

Many businesses use statistical data, including ourselves, as a way to make better decisions. If the data is correct, it can help improve our decision-making process in many areas. If it is wrong, the results could be bad.

One statistic we hear often is “Internet usage is greater on mobile phones than desktop computers.” This shouldn’t surprise anyone, but is it true for everything consumers search for?

We put our own data to the test and have come up with our own belief.

Statistics in Marketing blog

There is no “one size fits all”, and we all must be careful in understanding the data. Every business type is different, from geography to level of competition – which all affects the stats. Many statistics are broad based. We should understand “our data” and “our existing and potential customers” to see if this is true for us. For example, in a rural area where cell coverage is poor, we can agree mobile search is minimal.

Our data in working with local businesses shows something very different from this broad statistic. Local searches for businesses are happening on desktops, whether organic or paid. We find desktop search is still ruling. Our data shows desktop search is outnumbering mobile search by 2:1 – yes, 67% of the time people are searching for a local business on a desktop. And of course this varies from business to business. For example, a local restaurant we track is showing almost 85% of their web traffic comes from desktop searches.

As you hear future statistics on consumer behaviors, consider the source, and ask questions specific to your business. It is the only thing that counts! (p.s. – these statistics have a 72% chance of changing over time!)

New Year – New Goals

The New Year means many different things to different people. For some the new year brings new opportunities and for others a fresh beginning, a clean slate, a chance to do things differently, and chance to look back a year later and feel better about the year.

As most of us look to the coming year we have our 2016 business goals established, or at least have given it a lot of thought. The core goals shouldn’t have changed much: Increase customer satisfaction, increase revenue and profits, and growth for those in your organization both professionally and personally. What usually changes from year to year is the actions and measurements in working towards achieving these goals.

New Year - New You blog

For your company or department, what is your sales goal for the year? Could it be higher if you looked at things differently? Instead of asking “Can we double our sales this coming year,” the question needs to be “How can we double our sales this year and what needs to be accomplished to make this happen?”

Your People

The action steps for every business will vary, but the basics have always been the same. Your people will continue to be the differentiating factor. As you review your goals for 2016, are you including the development of your people as one of your keys?

As you look to the New Year, the development of your people will play a key role in your success. These are the Superstars who interact directly with your customers and who play a key role in product/service quality and development. The better your team, the better your product or service. If this is not a part of your 2016 goals, it’s not too late to add them. The investment in your people will yield you a solid return in achieving your goals this coming year.

Promotional Materials – How Can They Work for Your Business?

This piece of advertising is often overlooked by businesses today and the benefits are not thought of as much as in years past. It isn’t the effectiveness, as much as it may be just not budgeting for it or for promotional material being more of an afterthought.

Promotional Material is a great way for a business to promote itself for the following reasons:

  • A nice way to say thank you to an existing client
  • A great way to show appreciation to some of your better/best clients
  • Keeps your name in front of your existing clients after they purchased from you
  • Helps drive name/brand recognition
  • Sticks around for a long time

Today’s studies show businesses who use promotional material grow their business more than those who do not. This may be the chicken or the egg question, but certainly something to consider.

Promotional Materials have seen price decreases with the increase of a more global economy. There is fierce competition driving the prices of promotional items down, which has brought prices down for the local promotional companies, who are basically middlemen for these larger, sometimes international companies.

Corporate identity template set. Vector

Be Creative and Have Fun

Promotional Items can be effective with some of the basic things people think about when they think of promotional advertising. Things like pens, magnets, stickers and note-pads.

How about car air fresheners or chip clips, or toys with your brand on it? A little more creative possibly and less likely a chance of getting lost in the shuffle.

Find a way to make your give-away sticky. Make it something someone would use or have around for a while, keeping your name in front of them.

Who can’t afford to give a loyal customer something with your business name on it that costs less than a dollar? That dollar will, or should, give you a solid return on your investment and promote good will for your customers.

How to Make Your Customers Your Biggest Cheerleaders

In today’s fast world of communication bad customer service will spread like a wildfire. AND, so will great customer service. Repeat customers, and customers who refer you, are the epitome of a successful business.

In working with our clients, we often find our conversations turning to customer service. As someone who runs a business, either as the owner, manager, or both; you know how important great customer service is to your business. The questions we have to ask ourselves are:

  • How do we know we’re giving great customer service?
  • Are we asking our customers?
  • How is our referral and repeat business growing?

If you were to ask ten of your customers how they would they rate your business, what would they say? And how likely are they to recommend your company to a friend, family member, or neighbor? Lots of questions and yet no answers.

How to make your customers your biggest cheerleaders blog

What you can you start doing today (or in the near future):

  • Define excellent customer service. What does this mean for every employee/team member in your office?
  • Measure it! Ask your customers, create a questionnaire to see if you are giving the type of service you want to be giving.
  • Set expectations and provide any necessary training.
  • Reward improved performance by team members. Recognize improvements as they happen along the way. All positive reinforcement.
  • See if you can reward your current customers in a way which wows them. Maybe this is better service, maybe this is a gift (think outside the box), and if you need ideas, ask your team and your customers. They may have some great ideas you haven’t thought about.

If we invest in advertising our business, then we need to invest the time in checking on our customer service to answer these important questions. Our customers should be our biggest cheerleaders! Think about this: If your receptionist, cashier, sales person, service tech, etc., is not giving service to cheer about, how much more do you have to invest in advertising to hit your business goals for the year? It all starts with the person greeting your customer for the first time, whether on the phone or in person. Either way, this is the first impression your customer gets of your business. Is the impression your customers are getting a WOW or is it a dud? (P.S if it isn’t a WOW, then maybe it is a dud!) In many businesses, this first interaction with the customer may be the deciding factor towards making the decision to do business with you. Could the first impression improve? And if it can improve, what could this mean for your business?

An effective marketing plan will help your business and its goals. Even more importantly, an incredible customer experience from your team will really help your goals. The money spent in training and in rewarding your current customers will provide a solid return on investment, immediately and in the future.

 

 

Email Marketing

Advertising is a big play on the numbers game. With the thousands of e-mails people receive every day, it is an ongoing test to find the best e-mails, with the best time, to the best audience.

There are two different type of e-mail marketing:

  1. Newsletters to Existing Customers or Even Potential Customers – This type of e-mail marketing is used to engage your existing customers, to communicate things of value to them and to get them to be a more valued customer. It takes a bit of time to find the right message to communicate to your customers, but in doing so, you can help create a more loyal following of fans.
  2. E-Mail Blasts – This type of e-mail marketing allows businesses to target potential customers in their core demographics and send out an e-mail to promote their business, promote a new or existing product or to offer something of great value to get the consumer to try your product or service. E-Mail Marketing takes time. It takes time to come up with the content that will engage either audience. If you start off weak, it will take longer to get them engaged with your company and your brand. Other than time, it is relatively inexpensive and there are companies out there that help find your target client if this is needed. You can also create sign ups to newsletters to encourage people to sign up to get your newsletter. If you have something of value to offer or can create something of value, you can create a nice following this way and work to improve your existing customer base while generating new customers.

Email Marketing blog

E-mail marketing is a commitment to better understanding your customers or the people you are targeting with your e-mail blasts. This commitment needs to be understood on the front end so you don’t waste time trying something without a bit of time and money to fine tune it to help it work better for your company.

Some businesses feel they have had good success with e-mail marketing and others not. It takes time to test an e-mail campaign to understand how it is working for your business and then to spend time tweaking it to make it work to improve your results. Prior to starting an e-mail campaign, it is important to establish the goals and objectives and what you want to happen from this campaign so when you are reviewing the results, you have a basis for the measurement.

In today’s world of analytics, there are many measurements that help with understanding the actual engagement from your e-mails, so businesses can better see what is working, what is not, and work to improve the level of engagement. From the data, you can see how many people opened the e-mail, what links people clicked on, and what they did while they were reading the e-mail or visiting your links. A/B testing can be done to determine a better subject line, better content, and better layout to give insight to improve this as times goes.

Real Value or Hype

For e-mail marketing, this depends on businesses who have used this and their level of success. It isn’t for every business.
When we talk with a business about e-mail marketing, we will be open in looking at it and recommend only if it makes sense with the overall marketing picture. E-mail marketing is never “the” marketing plan: it can be a part of an overall marketing strategy.

We don’t send the e-mails ourselves. There are some great companies who do a fantastic job with e-mail marketing and we established a great relationship with them. They assist us in helping our clients for both e-mail newsletters (or e-zines,) or e-mail blasts, where together we purchase lists of e-mails based on the target demographics.

The Lost Art of Community Involvement

Businesses that are involved in their community are seen more positively by consumers. If your business is already active in the community, then you know how important it is to have great customer satisfaction. Every business at some point should look to get involved in their community, to help the community (or town or neighborhood) where their business is located. There are multiple benefits for businesses who are community involved:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Increase Positive Perception about Your Business
  • Increase Employee Moral by Team Involvement (even if you have to pay employees to participate)
  • Increase Word of Mouth Advertising

Who can remember the team they played on in little league (or another sport), and who some of the sponsors were? How many of these businesses are still around today?

Lost art of Community Involvement blog

Choosing the Right Cause

If you personally support a cause, you may want to look and see if it would be a good fit for your business to support that cause too. There are some groups or charities that donating money or time to will do little in promoting your business. There are other groups that when promoted effectively, donating time or money can bring positive results for that business. Think about how your business can benefit from being involved in your community. Making this a focus will provide a win-win for everyone.

TV and Radio – is it right for you?

Both of these have been around for many years. The invention of, and more importantly, the popularity and growth of cable and satellite TV, as well as satellite and internet radio,  has changed the landscape for those media.

With fewer people listening to traditional TV and radio, and the abundance of stations to choose from, this has made advertising in this media more challenging.

With the changes, has come some positives. With so many channels to choose from, the industry has had to lower prices to match their audience based on the rating systems from Nielson (for TV,) and Arbitron (for radio.) In 2013, Arbitron was acquired by Nielson, making Nielson the measurement of both ratings for TV and Radio viewer and listeners.
In addition to lower prices (to match a lower audience by channel/station,) TV specifically has changed with the cable and satellite industry. A business can now place advertising in a specific area of the coverage area, and not the entire coverage area, making this even more affordable. If they matched up to your client base, then it is even better. If it doesn’t, then the cost of advertising for these stations may not make sense. Radio has changed with many people listening via a computer or other internet connection and now affords the opportunity to better target the market that makes sense for a business and not the entire market area the radio station may reach.

Old Classic Television In A Room

Is TV or Radio right for your business?

Like any other media decision, this is going to be based on many factors, if we can take out the ego/cool factor. Of course it is great to see your business on TV or listen to the ads on radio, but is it the most effective spend of your advertising dollars?

The benefits of these two media are:

  1. They allow businesses to deliver a 15 to 60-second message and can gain trust in consumers.
  2. Trust is gained by consumers who believe what they see and hear on TV and Radio is credible, so these two media can add credibility to your business.

It is not the first place a business should look to advertise unless they have deep pockets for marketing. It should work in conjunction with a blend of other media so when someone sees the message, if they are looking for the business later, they can easily find it when looking for it by name, whether online or in a local phone book.

Who Needs To Leave Home To Shop Anymore?

Online shopping today continues to grow and an online store may be a solution to the capture that part of the market – which you may be losing currently.

With eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and many other places people shop online, this market continues to grow. Having an online store can compliment your existing efforts to grow your business and in some cases, help simplify it.

We spend time with our clients in understanding what they are looking for and help them in understanding everything that is involved in getting an online store up and running and how we will help with the process.

Who needs to leave thier home to shop blog

e-Commerce or e-Store

Today people are shopping and buying online. This may be an opportunity to grow your business and sell to first-time customers. You can sell your entire line or a select few. You can sell directly from your website, as well as integrate your products to be sold on other online websites like eBay, and others (such as Amazon, Google, etc). You can use your existing pricing structure or you can choose a different one online.

There are many decisions to be made when it comes to selling online. It can open new doors to deliver sales you aren’t getting today or it could make it more convenient for your existing customers. With our secure servers and software, we can help you get up and selling online quickly.
Starting and running an online store isn’t easy and takes involvement with our clients. Things we consider when running an online campaign are the following:

  1. Pricing and Inventory – Will This Match the Store
  2. Short Term and Long Term Goals – This saves money long term so double work (and time), is minimized
  3. How will the store be marketed? Is this more of a convenience for existing customers or is this a virtual or second location?
  4. Incorporation with existing software – Is this going to stand-alone or can it work with your existing software. Consideration of changes to existing software may be reviewed
  5. Set up of delivery system, packaging and shipping. Any local laws need to be understood and accounted for (flammable products, in and out of state differences, shipping challenges on larger or smaller orders.)