Your Brand is Everywhere

Your Brand is EverywhereI’ve seen a zillion different definitions of a brand but one of my favorites is:

“Your brand is everywhere you touch a customer, prospect, or influencer.”

Sadly, I don’t know who this quote came from. But it really aligns well with our philosophy here at PWB. It’s easy to think your brand is just your logo. Or, your advertising. Think about the world’s leading brands. Their brands have nuances that transcend traditional marketing considerations:

  • Sound: Harley Davidson has trademarked the unique rumble of their engines. Branding.
  • Color: UPS owns the color brown in not just transportation and shipping, but in society. Branding.
  • Smell: Abercrombie & Fitch and Tommy Bahama (along with a myriad of other retailers) have a trademark scent in every retail store. I swear you can even smell it on  clothing. Branding.
  • Sound: Intel’s classic “Intel inside” audio signature is unique, distinctive, and associated only with them. Branding.

While we’re not discounting the impact of your logo, or your advertising, we would encourage you to take a broader view. What do your invoices look like? How about your packaging? Now think deeper – where else to key audiences experience you? Years ago we rebranded a local transit authority. While the business cards weren’t unimportant, most customers interface with this brand by seeing their buses. A commercial developer asked us to first design their job site trailers and signage.

So, push harder. You’re interacting with important audiences every day, probably in ways you’ve never thought of. For example, we recently saw this vehicle parked outside a client’s office. Yup, your offices say something about your brand. What plants you have. The art on the walls. The water cooler (ours has a cover that alternates between the Packers and the Patriots – nod to a couple of hardcore fans on our team).

Now, most importantly pull it all together. In total, your brand needs to present a consistent image, aligned with your core brand values. You do have core brand values, right? Collect all of the elements you can think of, put them up on a wall and see if you look like one company, or like “fruit-striped gum” to borrow a phrase from a former client. Need help getting this all aligned? Let’s talk. We’d be happy to buy you lunch or a drink and discuss it.

Have You Hugged Your Salesperson Today?

Sales and Marketing: The Buyer's JourneyIn my first “real” job, my boss (head of sales and marketing) once said, “If you go on a sales call and they buy something, it’s sales. If they don’t, it’s marketing.” I’ve spent much of the balance of my career trying to counter that perception.

Once upon a time, sales and marketing were more discrete disciplines. Now, with marketing automation, demand generation, lead nurturing, and other strategies, the line is blurring. Marketing is now taking on the role that used to be handled by inside sales teams. We’re bringing leads to sales that are further along in the decision-making cycle, generally more qualified, and we can offer more knowledge when sales engages. In fact, we’ve represented this in the model shown below:

As you can see, in the New World Order, marketing engages prospects more fully early on, and then becomes less involved as the sales team ramps up.

Now you’re thinking, “That’s great; so what?”. A valid question indeed. Here are six actions we recommend:

  1.  If you haven’t been a salesperson, talk to some. Living with a number, and having your professional existence hinge on that number changes your perspective. If you haven’t seen the parody “A Few Good Expenses”, I highly recommend it. Cultivate relationships with the top performers in your sales organization. You’ll quickly learn the objections they face, the sales cycle they work in, and more about the subtle nuances that can make or break a deal. I can guarantee that you will learn valuable information for use in your marketing programs.
  2. A marketing-savvy sales force is your best ally. Many sales people I’ve encountered don’t fully grasp what we in marketing do, and how we do it. Make time to educate the sales force on your upcoming campaigns and the strategies that are driving it. Show them how your strategies tie to their objectives. If you have branding campaigns, give them the long-term vision so they understand that while this won’t give them leads tomorrow, it will make their next 3-5 years much more lucrative.
  3. Understand how the sales cycle differs from the marketing cycle. The sales cycle is a common topic. We all spend a lot of time talking about it. But, if you think about it from a sales perspective it starts when that prospect first enters into a sales dialogue. In reality, we should have started a marketing dialogue with them through branding and demand generation efforts months, or even years earlier. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend a marketing cycle that is 2-3x whatever you consider your sales cycle.
  4. Have a good filter. A lot of mediocre sales people become vocal when they’re not hitting their numbers. “The lead quality is poor.” Or, “I need a brochure.” Perhaps, “Google leads are lousy.”. While the top performers are investing that time into exceeding their sales goals. Also, remember that due to its more immediate nature and shorter cycle, sales is inherently more in the moment. Often, a salesperson’s biggest problem is the one they faced today. You don’t have to react to EVERY bit of feedback you receive.
  5. Align your planning. Marketing exists to fuel the selling process. Period. But that doesn’t mean you’re a slave to sales. It means working together. Finding out what sales objectives are, and finding ways to align marketing objectives. But don’t give up complete control and become sales’ lackey. This can quickly lead to a 3,245 fragmented campaigns. And, no marketing organization has the resources to support this effectively. Remember – you’re the Air Force, softening up the beachhead for the invading ground infantry.
  6. Don’t forget enablement. This seems SO simple, but it’s astounding how often it’s overlooked. When you’re planning a marketing campaign, be sure to review it with sales. Generating qualified leads when the sales force is unprepared to deal with them is wasted effort. Several years ago, we built a comprehensive integrated campaign for an industrial processing equipment manufacturer targeting a specific vertical market. Advertising. Direct mail. E-mail. Trade shows. AdWords. A dedicated web landing page. Then we launched it. And, the call center started getting inquiries. Unfortunately, no one on the marketing team had presented the campaign to sales, so they were totally caught unaware. Fortunately, within six months, the company had seen significant growth in this vertical, so there was clear evidence of marketing effectiveness.

All too often, sales and marketing are enemies. Fighting for scarce resources and management attention. The reality is that if we can work as a team, while respecting the inherent differences in our roles, success will almost inevitably follow.

-Sean-

Lifeblood

referrals

Referrals are the headwaters of lifeblood for an agency – new business. We greatly appreciate our solid clients, but to survive and thrive, an agency needs new clients. Agency network Second Wind tells us that most agencies average 15% per year in lost billings due to client turnover.

What this means for us is a continual need to find new clients. And, what’s the best way? Agency development consultant John Heenan recently completed a survey of marketer preferences. In it he found that 51% of marketers prefer to learn about a new agency by way of a referral from a friend, colleague, or peer. The numbers for other methods of contact fall off dramatically.

Another interesting discovery from Heenan’s research is that you are being flooded by agency news business contacts. In this survey, 56% of marketers report receiving 3-10 new business inquiries per week from agencies. And, this was a tremendous reminder of how much we appreciate our loyal clients. Despite being bombarded by agencies promising you the moon, you choose to work with us. Our sincerest thanks for your loyalty!

This is where you come in – we both need and appreciate your help. If you feel you’re getting great work and solid results from PWB, why not tell a friend? We’re not looking only for people who are actively seeking an agency, we love to build solid relationships that grow and evolve. Know a peer at another company who might need our services? Please help us connect. Whether they’re in a marketing role or not (while marketing is best, leaders in other functions are also generally solid), this really helps us cut through the onslaught of agency inquiries.

We appreciate these referrals more than you know, and we’ll definitely show our appreciation in return. We’re not talking “send us a referral and you’ll get a gift card from _______.” We’ll show you in real, thoughtful ways that are personal and indicative of our gratitude.

As a closing thought, those of you who haven’t worked in an agency environment may not fully grasp the challenges of finding and acquiring solid new business. This quote, from one of Heenan’s respondent is both funny, and a bit depressing (if you’re an agency…):

“We do not like receiving unsolicited contact from ad agencies. We do not like them Spam you am. We do not like them in a boat or with a goat. We do not like them while stung with bees or up in a tree. We do not like them Spam you am.”

-anonymous-

How can you help? A conversation with your peer, friend, or colleague would be great. If you’re not comfortable with that, a simple e-mail connecting both parties would be equally awesome. Or we’ll buy you both lunch, or breakfast, or and adult beverage (or two…).

Thanks, in advance for any help you can lend in PWB’s continued success! And, thank you for your loyalty!

-Sean-

Don’t Be So Negative – Leveraging White Space

Leveraging White Space While I was attending the Digital Summit Detroit last week, the topic of white space came up in a few presentations. Meanwhile in some projects at the agency we had some discussions with clients who wanted to fill every available square inch.

Early in my career, I was taught that white space wasn’t what was left over after all the visual elements were used – it was a design element just like type or photos. Every day I see examples that illustrate the “cover every square inch” mantra. Like trade show booths with copy down at foot level. Or billboards with 20-word headlines, four URLs, and social media icons for every channel. Sometimes, quite simply:

Less is more.

See how I did that? You read that line because it was all on its own. It had impact, power, and simplicity. Three simple words. With space around them. A few other key benefits of white space:

  • It helps the reader prioritize – when the entire space is filled, the brain can’t process what to pay attention to first. So, your primary benefit could get overlooked entirely.
  • It improves readability – by making elements stand out, they are easily and quickly read and grasped.
  •  It separates and groups elements – keeping copy associated with the relevant visual is a key benefit of leaving some white space.
  • It creates balance – the reader’s eye likes order and balance, thus attracting greater readership.
  • It invokes imagination – by leaving some white space, the readers mind becomes freed to process what you’re saying and engages them to explore the possibilities.

An additional thought – “white space” doesn’t have to be white. When the term is used, it’s simply negative space. The color doesn’t matter, what does is the fact that it’s not filled by other elements.

So the next time you’re tempted to cram in just one more graphic to occupy that “empty” space, consider this:

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

-Sean-

New Year – New AdWords Campaign

It’s a new year so it is not surprising that businesses may be considering new marketing techniques to capture a desired audience. Today I want to share some thoughts on starting new online ads, specifically creating a new new adwords campaignAdWords campaign.

The biggest challenge is often simple  – where to start? Will my Google AdWords ads focus on overall branding or target something more specific. By taking the time to develop a CLEAR goal, it will be easier to determine what kind of ad needs to be created. To get started, ask some of the following questions:

  • Are my ads intended to grow sales?
  • Will my ads focus on brand awareness?
  • Will my Google AdWords ads generate demand?
  • What action will a website visitor take when clicking on the ad?
  • Are my ads leading to a lead capture form? Should they lead to a purchase? Do I have a white paper to offer? Can my audience sign up for a newsletter?

In starting out, always identify a goal (or several goals) and know how the results will be measured. Now that the hard part is done, simply create a campaign. Yes, it really is that easy! I do not plan to recreate the wheel though, so be sure to check out this excellent step-by-step AdWords starter guide that Google has. It will get new advertisers started. I would like to add a couple quick tips though that I have learned through experience.

Creating a New AdWords campaign

  1. If possible, help customers take an action. Include a call-to-action then follow that by adding conversion tracking. Doing so will show you how effective your campaigns may be.
  2. Brainstorm a list (or lists) of keyword ideas associated with your brand/product. Certainly Google offers a tool to get you started but often they may not be the keywords that are best for a business.
  3. Consider using negative keywords to improve search. This eliminates those who may not actually be potential customers.
  4. Start with very specific targeting. That may be geographic targeting or AdGroups designed to attract a specific audience. Starting small will help create success early.

These are just a few tips, but they are some of the easiest to implement when creating a campaign, and I would argue that they are some of the most important.

I mentioned above, that measuring campaign results is important, ultimately though it is a must – When creating a new advertising campaign, advertisers need to know what works. Without analyzing results advertisers are flying blind! Test new ideas then build on campaign successes and failure, using a tool (Google Analytics) to help determine what is working and what is not.

Start with the basics and build a new AdWords campaign around success. The size of the campaign matters not if well thought out, so start today!

Does getting started with AdWords seem overwhelming or intimidating? Give us a call at 734-995-5000, we can help to get your campaigns set up or by offering ongoing campaign support.

 

Digital Advertising Assistance Needed?

Does someone need support for sagging kankles?

Digital Advertising

This example of digital advertising is a good reminder that before running ads, there are several key things to consider:

  1. How many characters are available in the title line?
  2. How many characters are available in the ad copy?
  3. How many lines of ad copy will be visible?
  4. How will my ad appear?
  5. What size image should I use?
It is also a good best practice to review of the ad before it goes live. Read the copy and how it flows, does it make sense to your intended target audience? In this case, we’d really like to know what an ankle bra is.

 

For more information on the specifics of Facebook advertising, be sure to read the Facebook Ad Guide. If you need help with your Facebook ads, Google ads or any digital advertising, please call us at 734-995-5000. 

When Advertising Fails

Apparently this bears repeating – KNOW your audience. This sign posted outside a contractor supply store that advertised an “Ex-wife sale” was taken down after drawing controversy. Is this an advertising win or fail?

Photo was taken from a Facebook post by Joe Rents & Contractors Supply employee Curtis Renner.

 

 

Facebook Changes Mobile Ad Management – NEW User Friendly Tool

Today Facebook announced the launch of a mobile ads manager that allows for greater management of accounts on the go. Need to pause or resume ad campaigns? Perhaps add to the daily budget or change when the ad is scheduled? These new Facebook changes in the Ads Manager will do all of that while allowing users to view insights and even respond to alerts.

The new Ads Managers (for users of the iOS and Android apps) will be rolled out globally in waves throughout the rest of the summer and will be available  through an Ads Manager bookmark within Facebook apps or on the Facebook mobile site.

Need help getting started in using Facebook ads? Can’t keep up with how quickly Facebook changes? Give us a call at 734.995.5000.

Know Your Audience: Advertising Fail

A competitor of one of our clients recently ran this billboard in a nearby market.

Yes, it’s funny (to some). Yes, it probably gets your attention. Many people I’ve shown it to outside the advertising and marketing world found it funny and some even called it “effective”.

But in my holistic view of marketing, this ad was an epic fail.

First, one of the key things I recommend is to understand your target market. And in plastic surgery, that market is females 30-54. While some in this demographic may appreciate the humor, the majority will likely not. Especially if they already have self-image issues that are causing them to consider a surgical solution.

In this era of social media, one has to consider issues like this with an even more watchful eye. After this billboard went live, social media completely lit up with negative comments and outrage. And as a result, the ad was taken down after only a couple of days.

The secondary issue is brand consistency. If you’re going to choose this path for your brand, you can’t dabble. Again, consider your target market. Are your prospects going to seriously consider what can be significant surgery (and expense – remember, these procedures usually aren’t covered by insurance) with a flip, smart-ass practice? I doubt it very much.

Don’t mistake my comments for advocating boring creative – I truly believe that impactful creative is a HUGE factor in a successful campaign. But there’s a line. And that line changes depending on your target market. Amuse them. Grab their attention. Make them remember you. But don’t offend them.

-Sean-