Marketing & Branding
I t wasn’t so long ago that marketing existed as its own discipline, far removed from the more results-oriented world of public relations, communications, branding and even sales.
But in today’s dog-eat-dog world, marketing must be in lock-step with all of your efforts to generate profits, spur sales, increase market share and strengthen the overall value of your brand.
For those unfamiliar with the concept of marketing, here’s a basic definition:
“Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations and events to create and maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives.”
Sorry, we couldn’t help but fall asleep, bored out of our skulls. This is all senseless drivel taught by a professor at some obscure college who’s obviously never worked a day in his life in the real world.
We prefer to think of marketing as being much simpler and much closer to the core of what a business is trying to accomplish. Put simply, marketing is the awareness of your product or service, the understanding of its value by the purchaser and a clear communication of “need,” i.e., that the purchaser needs your product or service instead of your competitors’ to solve a problem.
To do that, you need to create an experience related to your product or service that is aligned with what you can deliver. In other words, what you are offering must meet, if not exceed, the expectations of the person using it. It’s great to say you offer Nordstrom-level customer service, but if your logo is clip art and your business cards are run through an ink-jet printer, the image isn’t matching the message.
Unfortunately, 9 out of 10 businesses fail in the first year because no one knows they exist. Worse, these failed enterprises didn’t create enough interest in their products or services – the target audience sees no compelling reason to seek them out, let alone become a customer. The entire company’s budget is eaten up by the expenses of opening the business and getting a product or service ready to sell – marketing, branding, publicity and advertising are afterthoughts.
Makes you kind of sad, doesn’t it? Researchers say an organization should be spending as much as 10% to 20% of its gross revenue each year on these strategies – building awareness, refining the brand, ensuring that the promise meets the experience and creating ways to follow-up with the customer to create secondary, repeat and referral sales.
Here are just a few of the strategies and tactics we employ as part of an overall marketing and branding initiative:
- Comprehensive Brand Management – We work with you to establish a consistent client and stakeholder experience from the point of the first contact until the last moment of the relationship.
- Internet Branding & Relationship Development – The web is a primary first point of contact for many clients, obviously. We help you assess the effectiveness of your site as a sales and marketing tool, providing guidance and counsel on how to improve its use as a branding and relationship management tool.
- Social Media – Every so-called “expert” says you should be on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. But how does it actually fit into your strategy? Are your customers really hanging out in these channels? And if so, which ones? Do they really want to have a relationship with your brand? We help you sort the facts from the hype and if social media is a good medium, then we help you hit home runs rather than just give you at bats.
- Logo & Collateral Development – A clean, memorable image begins at the first point of contact. We can review existing materials and realign them with the desired brand or create cohesive collateral from scratch, including logos, business cards, envelopes, stationery and sales materials.
- Marketing Plans & Campaigns – Many companies put this at the bottom of their list as it can be a daunting process. But a carefully devised marketing plan is the foundation of any organization’s long-term growth. We help businesses develop their marketing plan, from identifying target audiences, challenges and opportunities to creating executable marketing campaigns on all fronts.
- Collateral – Our award-winning design team can create anything in print, from brochures, pamphlets and sales sheets to posters, promotions and one-of-a-kind marketing tools.
- Tradeshows – The average business has just 10 seconds to gain and hold the attention of attendees. We work with you to create an effective and affordable tradeshow presence, from booth design and lead generation mechanisms to sales staff training and follow-up.
- Website Design & Branding – If you have an existing website, we can assess it and realign it to fit your unique brand and value proposition. If you don’t have one or yours is woefully out of date, we can whip you up a new one that is affordable, effective and which adds value to your sales efforts and client relationships.