Individuality: Use Your Voice to Emphasize What Makes You Special in a Crowded Marketplace

Elevated Studio Shot of a Well Dressed Man Standing in a Crowd of People With Their Backs Turned, Looking at the Camera

When you begin to create marketing materials and send them out into the world, one of the most important aspects to focus on is your voice. You can describe “voice” in marketing in many ways – from the word choices that you use to the feeling that you’re trying to unlock in your target audience. Even if you’re operating in a crowded marketplace and competition is incredibly stiff, we believe that your voice is one of the best opportunities that you have to emphasize what really makes you special to your readers. By not shying away from this built-in sense of individuality, and instead, embracing it head on, you can really do wonders for your marketing return on investment at the same time.

The Impression That You’re Trying to Create

One of the most important things to understand about your voice in marketing is that it isn’t necessarily something that you can artificially create. It’s something that you’re going to have to find as your business continues to grow and evolve. Once you do discover exactly what that is, however, you’ll want to grab onto it, use it, and refuse to ever let it go.

Consider the example of Nike as a recent example of a powerful voice in action. Nike’s “Find Your Greatness” campaign played up the idea that amazing things typically have small beginnings and sometimes you really only need a simple “push” to unlock your full potential. Obviously, as one of the premiere footwear manufacturers on the planet, the thesis of the campaign itself is, “If you want to be a great athlete, your journey begins with a pair of Nike shoes.” But, the use of Nike’s voice as a reflection of their own brand and individuality is unmistakable: what Nike is telling its audience is that the shoes themselves are not necessarily great, but the combination of the shoes and the undying will and perseverance of the individual are what will accomplish great things. Nike’s voice in this case has created an emotional connection with its audience. They aren’t saying, “Buy these shoes because they’re the comfiest or longest lasting shoes that you will ever have.” They’re saying, “If you want to accomplish the impossible, step one is buying a pair of Nike shoes.”

Is it bold? Yes. Is it almost brash in its confidence? Absolutely. But regardless of whether or not you buy into the marketing line as a consumer, you can’t argue with the fact that it is a startlingly simple campaign that distills what makes Nike unique into one positive message of empowerment.

Your Voice is as Unique as Your Business

Never forget that the form your voice takes depends on the impression that you’re trying to create. If you sell shoes and you want to come off like a friendly neighbor who just happens to be a clothing manufacturer, you would want your marketing language to take a much more casual and flowery approach. If you want to come across as a professional expert, you would essentially go in the other direction and prove yourself trustworthy through word choice. The key is experimenting and finding the voice behind your company and then using it to separate yourself from the rest.

These are just a few of the key reasons why embracing your voice and emphasizing what makes your business unique in marketing are so important. It isn’t necessarily what you sell that makes you successful – it’s how you choose to sell it. There are a million different companies that sell widgets out there, but what is it that really makes people want to buy YOUR widgets above anyone else’s? The answer is your voice. If you can master that, everything else will fall into place.

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Finding the Recipe for Successful Marketing

Finding the Recipe for Successful Marketing

Girl cooking as a master of symphonic orchestra

Sara was excited. Her grandmother had just given her the recipe for her famous peanut butter cookies, and she could not wait to make them for her friends at school. She had never been much of a cook, but she figured that with the recipe she should be ok. After all, how hard could it be?

Sara enters the kitchen and begins to gather her ingredients. She notices that the recipe says she needs two bowls, but when she looks in the cabinet and sees that she only has one, she figures that should be ok. She then sees that she needs some baking soda, but only has baking powder– that should be close enough.

Sara begins to get everything into the bowls. The recipe calls for her to mix the sugar with some softened butter, so she sticks the butter in the microwave. Thirty seconds later, the the butter is just a puddle. Well, that will make it even easier to mix it into the recipe, right?

Twenty minutes later, she sticks everything into the oven and triumphantly sets the timer. When she returns after the ding, she pulls them out eagerly and then stops. Wait a minute, these do not look right. They did not rise properly and just look ‘off’. Confused, Sara thought back to her cooking. Did those little details about the butter and baking soda really matter that much? She supposed so. She decided to try again the next day. Tonight, she would pick up some more butter and some baking soda.

Developing Your Marketing Recipe

If you have ever made cookies, you most likely noted Sara’s mistakes right away. You knew that those cookies would not turn out right. Recipes use very specific ingredients because they have particular roles. If you do not use the right ingredients then the food will not act the way it is supposed to.

When you are creating a marketing campaign, you will similarly need to follow a recipe. The difference is that you will need to develop the recipe yourself. You know that you need a variety of different ingredients, such as direct mail, social media, online content, and paid advertising. You then need to mix these different techniques together to engage your intended audience and create the perfect recipe.

Often, determining the exact recipe of success will require some experimenting. You will need to explore where your customers spend their time online and what types of information they are seeking. What types of designs and offers do they respond to best in direct mail? What social media platforms are the most important to them?

Unlike with baking cookies, when you mess up a marketing recipe, it will often not be as obvious that there was an error. If most of your marketing campaign has a decent amount of success, you might not notice right away that your paid advertising campaign was not bringing in customers unless you closely monitor your different channels. If you do not identify the problem, however, you risk needlessly spending money.

To be successful in marketing, you are going to combine several different techniques into a unique recipe that helps to get your message in front of the right people at the right time. To ‘taste’ the recipe, however, you need to make sure that you regularly use analytics to gauge how well the campaign works together. You can use this data to refine your efforts and become even more successful.

Creating a successful marketing campaign does require careful thought and the precise combination of different parts. If you are interested in starting a new campaign, contact us today to get started.

Finding Your Way in School and in Business

Finding Your Way in School and in Business

Imagine for a moment you’re the new kid at school. You arrive on the first day and take a few deep breaths before entering. Around you, kids are happily chatting and comparing notes from their summer breaks. From the rockers to the geeks, each and every group seeks to have a strong representation at the school. Each social group seems to have established its own social hierarchy, and everyone knows exactly where they fit and what role they play within the school community.

Alone student

As the new student, you nervously look at your schedule and make your way to your first class. It’s clear to you that you will have to find your own place of belonging within the already saturated student society. That’s never an easy task for new students.

Fortunately, you’ve been the new kid before, and you know the first step to finding your place is forming a few connections. You need to look for ways to demonstrate how you’re a worthwhile friend for people to have. You head into that first class with your head held high, confident you’ll be able to find new friends.

What It Means To Be A New Business

If you’ve ever experienced the above scenario, then you know just how stressful it can be. Once you’ve left school, you might even think you’ll never have to worry about finding your place again, but that would be untrue. New business owners must go through a similar process whenever they look to establish a new business.

A new business, like the new kid, is one that people are unfamiliar with, and therefore are reluctant to trust. You have not yet shown your value to anyone, so people are unsure about whether or not they should hang out with you.

Finding Your Way

The new student in the above story knew there were two key parts to becoming comfortable at the new school. First, connections with some other students had to be made. This typically involves getting to know a peer well enough that they’re willing to invite you back to hang out with the rest of the group. The second key part was proving you’re a fun person to hang out with and that you belong in that particular social group.

As a new business owner, you’ll also need to establish connections with other professionals. Networking is a critical component to becoming secure. These connections will be fantastic for providing referrals to your company, coordinating different projects, or generating new business directly by buying from you. New connections are your link to the established industry marketplace.

Just as the new student needed to prove their worth, you’ll also need to demonstrate how your products and services add value for your customers. You must have something to show that can intrigue people and encourage them to learn more about you. You might offer service to a new niche, better prices, a revolutionary product, or something else, but you must be able to show worth and value to get your foot in the door.

Being an entrepreneur is never easy. Finding your way when you first open your doors might be the hardest step. Similar to the new kid in a new school, you have to learn where you belong within your industry and establish yourself as a company worth your customers’ time. If you want to improve your brand reach with a marketing campaign, contact us today to get started.

The Quest for Quality Content in the Marketing World: Why the Need Isn’t Going Away and is Only Getting Bigger

The Quest for Quality Content in the Marketing World: Why the Need Isn’t Going Away and is Only Getting Bigger

pixel king from the red army

If you have any type of Internet presence for your business at all, the chances are high you’re always searching for relevant, high-quality content to put out into the world on a regular basis. Quality content accomplishes a number of different goals. It allows you to maintain an active presence on the Web, to engage with your target audience, and to establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. It also happens to be incredibly important for reasons that go above and beyond those — and will only get more and more integral to your strategy as time goes on.

The Google of it All

One of the major reasons why high-quality content is so important to your website, your blog, or your social media presence has to do with Google. Google is essentially the “be all, end all” way of getting recognized by your target audience in the digital age. If your blog appears near the top of the search results for relevant keywords, you can expect a huge boost in visitors (and ultimately revenue) as a result. Because of all this, quality content is important for one simple reason: Google thinks it is.

How High Quality Content Ultimately Benefits You

Even going above and beyond website traffic, the quest for quality content is one that ultimately benefits your business in a wide range of different ways. For starters, it forces you to stop thinking of your website visitors as users and to start thinking of them as real people. This is a great approach to have, as it puts you in a better position to connect with them in a meaningful way and to form a meaningful, loyal bond in return.

Secondly, striving to generate high-quality content online can be a great mentality to take with you into the offline world, too. If you use the same practices when generating offline content that you do for your online content — an emphasis on readable, relevant, and interesting materials — you can form the same meaningful connection with those you’re targeting via direct mail and other materials as you do with Internet users.

Ultimately, however, the quest for high-quality content means one thing: everybody wins. You aren’t “faking your way” into the position of a thought leader in your industry. You aren’t “tricking” your customers into thinking you know more than you really do.

You ARE a thought leader in the industry and you ARE a voice to be listened to. Google and similar companies that emphasize high-quality content are essentially performing the biggest magic trick of all — they’re slowly forcing businesses in all industries to become better at what they do on a daily basis. When you look at it from that perspective, it’s a position that’s certainly hard to argue with.

The Millennials: How to Use Print to Capture the Attention of the Technology-Driven Generation

Four young adults sitting in booth (focus on couple in foreground)
Four young adults sitting in booth (focus on couple in foreground)

Officially, a person is a millennial if they reached young adulthood sometime around the year 2000. Also commonly referred to as Generation Y, these are people who are just now becoming the age where they matter most — at least as far as marketing demographics are concerned. They’re starting to break out on their own, live their own lives, and spend a great deal of money. Historically, they’ve also been the most difficult to market to for one simple reason: technology.

Chances are, if you happen to see a young person who can’t be bothered to look up from their smartphone or tablet for a single second to take a look at the world around them, you’re looking at a millennial — or at least a stereotypical one. In reality, it’s actually pretty straightforward to market to millennials, as long as you go about it in the right way.

Be Relevant

By far, the absolute best way to market to millennials is the same way you market to anyone — by being as relevant as possible. Go out of your way to understand Generation Y. Discover how they think and — more importantly — what they’re looking for. You can try all the flashy gimmicks you want or sink a huge amount of time and effort into social networking and similar bits of technology in an attempt to gain a foothold in this ever-important market, but none of it will mean a thing if your message is completely irrelevant to the people you’re after.

It’s Print’s Time to Thrive

Print marketing is actually one of the most powerful techniques you can use to attract the attention of the millennial generation for a very simple reason: it’s difficult to ignore. Whereas baby boomers have decades of experience sifting through direct mail and advertisements in general, it’s still something unique to the younger generation. This makes it more impactful, giving you a competitive advantage over those who forgo this route.

You can also make your print and digital campaigns work together. Use a QR code on your direct mailers, for example, to give millennials the opportunity to begin the conversation in print and finish it online where they feel most comfortable.

Personality Talks

Each new generation tends to be a little more informal than the one before it, but not necessarily in the way you might think. What this trend really means is that each new generation embraces a true sense of personality more than the one before it. Millennials are after a sense of fun and a company that represents a hipper image that they want to be part of. While injecting as much personality as possible into your mailers might not work for that 50-year-old housewife, it will absolutely capture the attention of a millennial.

With each passing year, the millennial generation becomes more and more important. They’re already poised to overtake the baby boomer generation in spending, sooner rather than later. Now is the time to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. By going after the millennial generation now, you’ll begin to amass an army of loyal followers ready to spend money on your products or services for decades to come.

Rebranding: What It Is, How You Can Do It, and What It Can Do For You

Rebranding: What It Is, How You Can Do It, and What It Can Do For You

rebranding word cloud

Even the strongest brands eventually go through some type of an identity crisis. Maybe the audience you’ve been targeting for all these years no longer needs the product or service you offer. Maybe you suffered a bit of a setback from a public relations perspective and are looking for a way to start fresh. Rebranding involves a whole lot more than just putting a new coat of paint on an old house — it’s about getting rid of the old so you can make way for the new in the freshest and most impressive ways possible. If you’re in the process of rebranding or are even considering it, your marketing materials will always play an important role in the proceedings.

What is Rebranding?

At its core, rebranding involves starting out with a new marketing strategy that differentiates your current company identity (or the one you hope to have) from the one you had in the past. A brand new symbol, design, visual aesthetic, and even name can all be employed to help accomplish this goal.

How Can I Rebrand?

To begin the process of rebranding, you must first answer the question, “why are we doing this in the first place?” Once you’ve come up with a concrete answer, you need to always keep that in mind as a goal you hope to achieve. Your answer will dictate every decision you make from here on out.

Are you rebranding in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience? Your marketing materials, the logo you’re using, and even your design need to reflect that. Remember that your marketing materials were originally created with your brand in mind — every element, right down to the font being used in direct mailers, was picked because it accurately reflected the brand you were trying to present to the world at that given moment. If your brand is in the process of changing, there is no element of your marketing too small that won’t need to change along with it.

What Can Branding Do For You?

If you want an example of exactly what a successful rebranding campaign can do for your business, look no further than one of the biggest companies on the face of the Earth: Apple. It’s hard to remember a time when Apple as a corporation was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. That period wasn’t too long ago, however, and Apple was indeed in dire straits as recently as 1997.

Their successful rebranding took the world by storm when they went from “just another electronics company” that put out products many people considered overpriced, to the hippest, most forward-thinking tech company around. Apple’s rebranding campaign got rid of all the complicated terminology in favor of a simplistic campaign that reflected the products themselves. They focused on rebranding themselves as a company that put out reliable and endlessly classy products that “just worked” and have benefited handsomely from that decision ever since.

Look at rebranding for what it is: an opportunity to start fresh. There’s nothing wrong with rebranding — it is not an admission of failure or defeat. It’s a true chance to reaffirm your corporate identity with your goals and take the world by storm in a way more meaningful and more impactful than ever before.

Ways to Increase Your Foot Traffic at Your Convention Booth

three businesswomen at an exhibition

Conventions are and always will be one of the best ways to grow your brand, build your reputation, and generate new leads and opportunities moving forward. Regardless of the type of industry you currently operate in, you won’t have to look hard to find a convention that fits your needs. Conventions aren’t only excellent networking opportunities — they’re also a great way to attract the attention of potential new customers on a massive scale as everyone in attendance is already interested in products or services like the ones you offer. It’s always important to remember, however, that simply showing up to a convention won’t be enough. If you want to generate the maximum amount of foot traffic to your booth, you’ll need to keep a few key things in mind.

Make Sure People Can Find You

When you sign up for a booth at a convention, you’ll likely be given a location by the people organizing the event. This will not only be your own little corner of the event to carve out and do with what you please, but will also be the main way people will find you during the show. The booth number you’re given by the convention organizers will be printed in the program that’s handed out when people file through the door.

One of the keys to generating foot traffic involves making sure people can find you in the first place. Remember that you’ll likely be packed in a section with potentially dozens of other businesses, all fighting for the attention of the people walking by. Things can quickly feel overwhelming for convention attendees with so much going on, so sometimes finding a vendor based on booth number alone is a lot easier said than done. The layout of the convention itself may also make this difficult, especially if sections aren’t numbered in any type of logical way.

As a result, you’ll want to make sure you have at least one element (like an oversized banner or large poster) that clearly displays your company’s name so people can find you, even if they’ve already gotten lost along the way. Make sure you place it as high above your booth as possible, so people can see it from several aisles away if necessary. Many times, you’ll find that just making yourself visible makes a big difference in improving foot traffic to your booth.

Make Sure Your Staff Is Friendly and Approachable

Once people do find you, one of the easiest ways to scare them away is to have people behind your booth who seem like they don’t actually want to be there. Conventions are tough on everybody, but can especially be tough on vendors. You’re constantly under the gun to set up your booth, deal with your neighbors, make sure all your materials are in order and more. Your staff will definitely be stressed out, but the key is to make sure they never come off that way. Everyone who walks up to your booth should always be greeted with a friendly smile and a sunny disposition. If they’re greeted with a negative attitude, rest assured your booth WILL develop a negative reputation that will spread around the convention center as the event goes on.

Conventions are excellent opportunities to grow your business — provided you’re approaching things from the right perspective. Remember, reputation alone will never guarantee convention success. Your reputation will only take you so far. You need to go out of your way to be as warm and inviting as possible to unlock the full business potential of these types of events.