Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Creating Effective Marketing Collateral

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

The trick to creating truly effective marketing materials is finding the right balance between form and function. As I have stated before, content is king but great content is useless if you don’t have anyone reading it. Enter Content’s flamboyant cousin, Design. Good design can have as much of an impact on the bottom line as content because the flash of a great design, like a carnival barker, is really what brings in the crowd.

So what can you do to make sure what you are creating is both visually and substantively powerful?

The 5 C’s of powerful marketing materials

  1. Clear Headline – Think about it, you are standing in line at the grocery store, you glance over at the magazine rack and see one headline that says “Cow has Human Baby” and one next to it that says “Beige is the new Off White” which do you gravitate toward? Unless you are planning on auditioning for the next edition of Project runway, you will likely be more intrigued by the former. Although this may not be a good example of a brochure headline, it illustrates the point that the right headline can make the sale.  A clear and catchy headline can be the difference between someone stopping to read your material and moving on to the next more “off white” marketing piece in the rack. Make sure your headline is clear and catchy. Make people want to read more.
  2. Clean Layout – A good layout bolsters that great headline and helps direct your prospects eye. It leads them through the content and helps them digest the material the way you want them to. Using short paragraphs that are broken up by larger (and sometimes colorful), informative headings allows your reader to get the point even if they only have time to scan the material. Good layout maximizes the efficacy of your content.
  3. Clever Graphics – There really is something to the old adage “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words”. Maximize your exposure with graphics that help to define the information you are trying to get across or at very least helps draw the reader further into the content you have worked so hard to develop. A nice graphic presentation can draw as much attention as the aforementioned “Cow has human baby” headline. Make the most of the little time you have and give those visual learners out there something to absorb. Whether you use drawings, maps, or photos as long as they help illustrate your products benefits, visuals can help tell the story when they don’t have time for the words.
  4. Call to Action – One place many marketers fall short on their materials is in the lack of an effective call to action. No matter how savvy your prospect base is, when you are marketing to them, they are sheep and you are the little pig asking them to kindly move along. Don’t be afraid to be forceful. They are looking to you for guidance so don’t disappoint. Make sure to tell them what they should do next. Click Now, Call Today or whatever is appropriate for your product or service. If you don’t tell them, how can you expect them to do what you want them to do?
  5. Contact – Don’t forget to tell them who you are. You got their attention, you have directed through the information, you have stunned them with your graphics and you told them what to do. Make sure they know who you are. Always include your branding and multiple ways to get in contact with you. You need to ensure that you don’t blow the excitement generated with your awesome graphics and brilliant prose.

Make a Memory
The bottom line for any type of marketing material is usefulness. The goal should be to create something that clients will want to hold onto. They might not be ready to purchase immediately but if you find the right balance between content and design, they will hold onto your materials (or bookmark your site) until they are ready and when that time comes you will be their first contact.

5 things to consider when creating marketing materials

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Whether you are creating a website, a brochure or a full on ad campaign there are a number of things that need to be considered before starting the process. Considerations vary depending on the type of marketing you are doing but some things stay the same.

  1. Know Your Audience. You have to know your ideal customer in order to effectively communicate with them. Putting yourself in their place will go a long way toward developing the type of relationship you want.
  2. Know Your Materials. The approach you take when putting together a particular type of marketing material or campaign will vary depending on what you are doing. The content that goes into an ad campaign is much different form that of a brochure. Make sure you have a complete understanding of the medium before you start so you can properly organize your selling points to maximize the effect on your indented audience.
  3. Know Your Audience. I can’t stress this enough. Stay away from jargon or any kind of industry specific language that may distance you from your customers. The more you know about your intended audience, the more effective your communications will be no matter what types of material you decide create.
  4. Know Yourself. Know your products and services inside and out. Be thorough in the information you give to prospects and above all make it meaningful. If the content of your brochure, ad, mailer, etc is not valuable to your target audience, your materials will quickly find their way to the recycle bin or worse, the shredder.
  5. Know Your Audience. I may have mentioned this one before but I thought I would mention it again because too many companies produce materials that are really good if you already know all there is to know about their product or service but they are not quite as meaningful if you are not in with the in-crowd. Knowing your audience well allows them to be let in on the joke and gets you one step closer to your goal…a sale.

Keeping these things in mind as you begin to develop your marketing plan will keep you on the right track and hopefully help you begin to build the types of relationships you are looking to build with your customers.

A business by any other name would SALE as sweet…not necessarily…

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

When developing a brand for a product or even for a new company, there are a number of things to consider. It is not as easy as just sitting around with your friends after a few too many and deciding that you just came up with the best brand name ever. I suppose it can be but it would be the very rare exception. Too many times business names assume too much of the market they are going after, especially in the age of the internet when anything you put out can go global. And it is not just small business that make this mistake.

The textbook case happens with Chevrolet way before the internet was even considered in its current form. Their new car the “Nova” was going to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. And what a Brand, the positively stellar name brought to mind POWER and SPEED..that is of course until they decided to go after the car market in Mexico. The car sold like gangbusters in the US, but south of he border the sales were flat. Why you ask, because they failed to consider the language issue when branding the product. In the US, people saw Nova, but in Mexico they saw No Va or No Go and who wants to drive a car that doesn’t go.

This is just a tiny example of mistakes that are made when developing a new brand.

A brand can be a very complex thing. It is less about singling you out amongst your competition and more about showing potential customers that yours is the only product or service that can satisfy their particular needs.

A good brand will:

  • Clearly deliver your message
  • Define you as an authority in the marketplace
  • Speak to your prospects on an emotional level
  • Motivate those prospects to buy
  • Build customer loyalty

A ready to be branded?

If you are then make sure to keep these 5 things in mind as you start the process.

Think – Before you do anything else, know your audience and yourself. Think it through. Make sure that you are talking in a way that prospective customers can understand you. And make sure the brand name is meaningful for both the product and its target market.

Plan– Consider all of the angles and try to put yourself in your customers shoes. Think like they do, not like your technical team does, too much jargon will turn people off. And don’t be overly clever. An inside joke only really works for people on the inside. If it is that important to use it, make sure to explain it so everyone can enjoy a laugh.

Commit – Once you have decided on a course for your brand, stick with it. Changing things up too often leave customers confused. And a revolving door of logos makes you seem indecisive and lessens the power of and brand penetration.

Maintain – Above all else you have to maintain your brand. There is nothing worse than having an incredibly identifiable symbol that peopl are not sure is yours. Set standards that everyone should follow when dealing with your brand so you are represented consistently across all mediums.

Repeat – Make sure you thoroughly consider any changes that are made to existing brands and then go through the process over and over to make sure what you are doing will have the desired effect.

Keeping these things in mind as you begin thinking about your brand whether it be a business, product or service will help guide you to better decisions along the way and don’t be afraid to ask for help along the way. You don’t have the budget for ad agency, no problem, there are a great number of experienced consultants that can ease you through the process of branding from company/product naming, to logo design and promotional development at very reasonable rates.