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2010 Archives - d.trio marketing group

The 12 days of marketing

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The end of the year is a time of reflection and review, so the next time you find yourself humming along with the 12 days of Christmas, make it productive. Here’s a perfect opportunity to review and renew your marketing for next year.

In the spirit of the season, here are my 12 days of marketing action.

  1. On Day 1, you look back at 2010 and take stock of the good, the bad and the ugly. What can you do differently in 2011? Did you stop or cut back on marketing to save money – it’s time to start again to gain visibility. You’re behind.
  2. Day 2. Now look forward. Make a plan based on what you achieved with your marketing in 2010 and need to accomplish next year. Did you try a new media? Did you measure the results? Yes? Then you have a benchmark for 2011.
  3. Day 3. Review your customer list and contact your customers to thank them in some way.  It doesn’t have to be big, just heartfelt. Maybe you’ll get a testimonial.
  4. Day 4. Examine your failures. Don’t just blame loss of clients or revenues on the bad economy. Make sure you understand what didn’t work and why. Make a plan to fix the issue(s). You don’t want to lose next year’s marketing budget because you don’t understand what happened this year.
  5. Day 5. Thank your employees, vendors, freelancers, and others who helped your business run smoothly in 2010. They matter in the success of any business and can make the difference between being good and great.
  6. Day 6. Think about what didn’t get done that you wish had and why. Make a wish list and prioritize what you want to get done.
  7. Day 7. Find more visibility – there are many ways to help people find you – from running ads, to email, mail and PR campaigns, to redoing your website for better search results, to kicking up attention to your social media platforms.  Embrace the new marketing scene and aim for multiple touches.
  8. Day 8. Read, learn, and find out what your competition did and is doing in terms of marketing and innovation. What did they accomplish in 2010? Are you ahead or lagging them?
  9. Day 9. Take some time to look up and out of the minutia. The big picture never presents itself to someone staring at details all day long. We all need to take a break, go to a seminar or take an improv class. Do something to kick up the creative juices so you can hone your vision. Your marketing will be more successful if it’s built on vision.
  10. Day 10. Once you’ve created your marketing calendar, publish it so there is buy-in and input from your organization. Create excitement!
  11. Day 11. Ok relax. You’ve earned it. And enjoy your holiday season! Volunteer your time and get refreshed to take on your 2011 marketing plan.
  12. Day 12. We’d love to hear from you! Tell us what you learned from 2010 here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

Marketing Intervention – 24 Hours Free

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Can you feel the excitement in the air? What is it? Optimism? Growth? Creativity? Yes – it ’s the Marketing Intervention!

On the heels of updating our brand and morphing our business, we decided we must share the creativity and momentum generated with some deserving company in need. Thus was born our Marketing Intervention contest.

marketingIntervention

Fun video, serious message

This is not just some dry call for entries. We recruited one of the best improvisational troops in the area (in our humble opinion), Stevie Ray’s Improv, to help tell the story of a company with a marketing need. The best part is we included things that we’ve seen in real life, in previous companies we’ve all worked for (because that’s funnier). The result is an amusing video a la “The Office” of the trials and tribulations of getting a rebranding or cohesive marketing campaign accomplished in a company that is stuck.  The video and contest rules are at:

http://www.dtrio.com/intervention/

Free agency services

Please watch it and pass it on to anyone you think would enjoy it and benefit from an inspired group of agency creative types and strategists looking at their marketing needs – Logo, tagline, branding, stationery and collateral systems, need to develop marketing programs, Web, email, etc. – anything that agency services cover (strategy and creative, not production of hard goods).

This is meant to jump start change in companies that don’t know where to start, but know they need to start somewhere – and give them something tangible to take home. A couple of lucky companies will also get a consultation with us to create a plan.

We love what we do and we do it well, but we need your help to make this successful. Please pass on this link along virally and help this offer land in some deserving hands.

Tell us what you think of the Marketing Intervention video here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

The aftermath of recession marketing:

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How low can you go? I’m not talking the Limbo here. No – I’m talking about marketing campaigns (digital, direct, email and emerging media) that were created, launched and sent out in 2009, internationally. From what I’ve seen recently the answer is – very.

I just spent the week judging entries to the International ECHO Awards, the DMA’s highly respected marketing awards. Unfortunately, it was a dismal reflection of, and reminder of how hard the recession has been on marketing in general.

Six years of judging top marketing campaigns from all over the world has spoiled me. The groundbreaking campaigns that use new and traditional marketing channels brilliantly are inspiring. Spending days perusing the best and the brightest charges me up and gives me energy to go back and kick up the creativity in my job.

But this year was different.

Marketing is not dead, but it didn’t flourish in 2009. There were bright spots, sure and we reveled in them. And I know there were cuts. But budgets don’t dictate smart thinking. The recession not only knocked-out budgets, but apparently creativity, risk-taking and pride-in-work were also down for the count.

Bring back great marketing ideas.

As we move toward the middle of 2010, I hope you’ll strive to help the world turn marketing into the smart, creative pursuit it needs to be. Generate new ideas, try new things, test what you are doing, ask for feedback and get away from the “we did it last year so it must be ok” thinking. If you need a reason, here’s some food for thought:

·     Big ideas help cut through the clutter of 5,000 messages we receive every day

·     Me-too marketing dooms you to looking like your competitors

·     Creativity tied to smart strategies is the antidote to me-too marketing

In the end we judged and approved enough entries that could be winners. And, some of the entries that were very creative and willing to take a chance did inspire me. But I want to get the word out, and please help me spread it – this year, 2010, we all need to make a pact not to let fear keep us from doing our best work. Are you with me?

What break-through trends do you see in marketing?  Share with us your insights and creative thoughts – we’d love to hear what your experience has been, here or at our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

photoNew York in the spring time

2010 resolution follow-up #5 – What do customers think?

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What do your customers really think? If your company has changed in the last year (and most have), it’s a good time to look at your relationship with your customers. Learn what they really think about your company and the products and services that you offer.

Obviously what your clients think of your company is critical to your success. This isn’t a situation where what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But it’s tricky, because clients sometimes will not tell the whole truth – it’s hard to tell someone they work with every day that something is not working. And they are probably nice people who don’t want to hurt your feelings. In Minnesota, there’s a culture of being nice to a fault, where we might not be able to tell by talking to clients day to day that there’s something wrong.

But it’s our (the company, vendor, agency, consultant, internal vendor, etc.) responsibility to know what is going on. So ask. And, you might want to hire someone to help you get the full story. We did, and we learned a lot:

  • Customers know mostly just what you do for them day in and out
  • Although you may do a good job at one thing, they will not necessarily make the leap that you can do something related
  • Perceptions about what you do best may be different from customer to customer
  • History is history, what happens most recently is what people remember (what have you done for me lately?)

If you’re like us, we thought that as we changed our clients automatically understood the changes we had made (and benefit). Things move so fast that in a daily business that a “what’s new” discussion may not always happen.

So make a point of pulling your customers aside periodically and updating them on what you do. Pretend they only know about the services or products that they use or buy on a regular basis. Just because they are familiar, doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a well thought out recommendation or customized presentation. Especially if they have the opportunity to learn something in the process.

And connect with your customers in other ways – Facebook, Twitter, your Website – there are many ways to connect and find out what they want. The more you know, the more you can react to, fix and be proactive the next time.

We’d love to hear what your experience has been in getting feedback from your clients or customers here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio – tell us what you think.

2010 resolution follow-up #4 – Is it time to tweak your brand?

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Are you responsible for your company’s brand? When you look at it, do you see it – I mean really see it? Most of us see what we want to see or expect to see. If you’ve been living with the same branding for a while, yet your company has changed, you may need an update.

Everything has a time and a place – think big hair and short basketball shorts – we thought they looked good then…So how do you know if it’s time for a refresh or a redo? Take a look at your logo, materials, Web site etc. and ask some questions.

  • Does your logo look older or reflect a previous era in colors or font type? You may love your company’s brand, and why shouldn’t you, it got your company to where it is today. However, if your look is steeped in another, earlier age, before social media, mobile apps, iPhones and perhaps heavy, knowledgeable Web usage, it’s time for a tweak if not a total overhaul.

    Look at what Caribou Coffee has done to their logo and branding to reflect “optimism and an optimistic outlook on life.” http://bit.ly/ac2Epy

  • Have you broadened your offering or shifted your company focus? Here’s another reason to take a hard look at your brand. Old collateral and identity (whether it’s offline or online) will cause you to lose opportunities in today’s world. Are you still talking about your business, products and/or services in the same way you always have? If your business has changed your brand may need a refresh. Continuity is key.

    Hilton Hotel Corp. changed to Hilton Worldwide, to take advantage of the global economy: http://bit.ly/1f4m9s

  • How does your logo and color palette look online? Do they work for electronic media? Come across on a mobile app? How your brand shows up electronically is crucial in today’s world. It needs to shine in Web, mobile, and other online marketing tools.
  • Does your brand have social accessibility? Consumers want to help form brands and brand personalities. If you are participating in social media, or get feedback on your Web site, find out what people say about your brand and learn. Lowes has taken a very customer-centric approach in their advertising: http://nyti.ms/ahKUIb

A well-designed logo can be simple and carry the brand with one letter. Here are a few to get you inspired: http://www.graphicdesignblog.org/single-letter-logos/

If you can’t be objective about your brand then ask somebody you trust to look at it, or hire someone to do an evaluation for you. How you position your company brand and personality will determine whether you stand out or fade away in the new economy. Please tell us how it goes – here or at Facebook.com/dtrio – we’d love to hear about it.

2010 Resolution follow-up #3 – Get out of the one or two channel rut

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One-channel marketing is dead. If you are stuck on using only one or two channels, you are missing opportunities in today’s market. Marketing strategies to incorporate and maximize all of the new channels are moving at the speed of light. So it’s time to get educated and get on board.

Ask yourself, how do your customers really prefer to be communicated to? What are they comfortable with? This is ever changing because you can’t count on any group to be completely homogeneous anymore – the baby boomers have changed that forever. But what you can count on is people will select the ways they want to be communicated with if you allow them to.

So, if you are thinking of adding a new medium to the mix, choose one and start learning. Let’s take Facebook as an example. There are some interesting insights into Facebook demographics that you may not know. In a 2009 survey by iStrategy Labs (http://bit.ly/jvY0G) it showed:

  • With a 276.4% growth rate over 6 months, the 35-54 year old demographic group is growing fastest.
  • The 55+ segment grew at a rate of 194% over 6 months.
  • Although the largest group is still 18-24, they only represent 40.8% of the users now (down from 53.8% the previous 6 months).

So, even if you specialize in something geared toward the older demographic, it would be good for your company to have a presence on Facebook. Engaging customers and starting a conversation is going to be the focus of new marketing. Consumers are educated users of media and they want to manage where brands go. Brands are no longer defining themselves without input from customers. If they are, they run the risk of alienating their best customers who want to be more engaged with the brands they like.

Setting up a Facebook page does take time, planning and dedication. You can’t go on social media and scream your product promotions or company line. You need to make the site a place where people want to go and congregate, where they can get content that’s interesting, informative and fun – and share ideas. There are many good sites out there to look at. Here are a few:

http://www.facebook.com/frye

http://www.facebook.com/target

http://www.facebook.com/BuffaloWildWings

The best way to learn is by getting out there and doing it. Check out our Facebook page – join in and tell us how you’re doing!

http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

2010 Resolution follow up #2 – Try something new

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Does your marketing plan looking like it did 2 years ago, or have you added some new strategies? Is the year 2010 the year you embrace change? There are so many exciting, new things happening with new media. If you don’t understand what is out there (and why), then first you need to educate yourself. Fortunately, there are many great sources of information available.

Blogs and white papers are full of information and instruction. Social media sites are a great way to keep in touch with friends, trends and attitudes – hear directly what people are saying, thinking and feeling. It takes some time, so set aside a half hour every day and soon you’ll be feeling more connected, engaged and gain an understanding of the what’s happening.

Get on Twitter and try following a few people.  You can start with me (I’ll follow you back): @megand3 and dtrio is @dtrio. This link also has a lot of good, topical information: http://twitter.com/mashable

This one has an ad agency bent but it offers a lot of links and ideas on new business generation: http://twitter.com/michaelgass

If you want to keep up with breaking news try: http://twitter.com/nytimes

Don’t throw out a medium or new idea because you think it doesn’t work for you or you personally don’t see the value. As they say, you are an “audience of one” and if you are not exactly like the consumer or business you are after then your personal beliefs are irrelevant. You can get in the way of your own great marketing opportunities.

As before, here are some Web site resources to help you: For new marketing media – http://www.marketingsherpa.com/ and for a mix of traditional and new media – http://www.the-dma.org/index.php

Try something new this week. We love this stuff so let us know what you’ve learned.  And join our Facebook page for more food for thought: http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

2010 Resolution follow up #1 – Stop Hiding

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You’re really going to have to make things happen for your company, and for job security this year. The depression may be over but the recession is slow to move. So things are not back to normal (whatever that is or will be) – it’s not as scary as it sounds, but you do have to act.

Visibility rocks
Have you made your marketing plan for 2010 yet? We’re more than a month in and your plans should be shaping up. I hope everyone has stopped hiding because that’s the first step. Don’t try to be invisible this year, plan to stand out.  And that means you will have to take some risks. Nothing’s accomplished – besides mediocrity – without taking risks. And, mediocrity does not sell products and/or serve your customers well. Plan to take smaller steps on a regular basis; it makes big challenges seem smaller.

So look at your company and see what differentiates it and start talking. Whether you choose new media (social media, blogging, email, etc.) or traditional media (TV, Radio, Direct Marketing, print, etc.) as your vehicle, you have to get out there and make some noise. If you haven’t changed your marketing creative in 2 years, it’s time to create a challenger. If you don’t have a budget, it’s time be an advocate for one.

Do you have a niche product or service? Those are perfect for the direct contact media such as email and direct marketing (not to mention social).

  • Build your opt-in email list on your Web site so you can communicate with people who are interested in your company.
  • Create a helpful white paper or
  • Develop offers for popular products and services to drive traffic to your Web site or store location.
  • Buy a specialty list and send some postcards or mini-catalogs out that showcase your unique products or services to people who are interested.

Here are some resources to help you: For new media – http://www.marketingsherpa.com/ and for a mix of old media and new – http://www.the-dma.org/index.php

2010 holds opportunities for all of us. We just have to go after them! And, please share with us what you’ve decided to do.

How to job-search in a hostile economy

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Lately I’ve been asked for advice on what to do to find a job in marketing in a down economy. I too graduated in a recession where too many people were vying for too few jobs. I’m one of the lucky ones – eventually I found what I love to do. I have the benefit of hindsight on what can be a frustrating job search and situation. So, I’ve reflected on some key things that I think make a difference when you are starting out (or out of a job) during a recession.

Learn something. It’s a recession. There are very few jobs out there – much less dream jobs waiting for you to arrive on the scene. So you may have to just find a job that will help pay the bills (or work for free at an internship). Even a job you don’t like can help you develop skills and understand your strengths and weaknesses.

Volunteer. There is a lot of need out there for volunteers at various levels in different organizations. This is also a great way to build business skills and network. Never underestimate the power of a great network.

Stand out. What makes you different and better than the next candidate? Show your stuff, but be yourself. If you are inauthentic it will show.

Be resilient. Sure it can be depressing to be in a job that is no longer working for you or to be out of a job altogether, but if you are early in your career, it won’t be the last time you encounter adversity. People who bounce back are the most successful in the long run.  You don’t have to be Pollyanna but keeping a positive attitude and sense of humor helps.

Embrace change. Everything changes. Period. Personal computers weren’t even used in business when I started out (ouch) and now I don’t know what I’d do without one.

Ask for help. People, even busy people like to help. Identify companies you would like to work for and ask a top executive or someone who is in the type of job you want if they will talk to you for a half hour. You’ll build your network and learn something in the process.

Ask “what’s in it for them.” Position your skills for the position you want. For example, don’t just put “writing skills” on your resume, but tell what kind of writing skills – proposals, blogs, copy, technical, research, etc.

I know it’s hard out there, but you have to have faith. Because of a recession, I took a job as a sales clerk at a department store to pay the bills out of college. I made some great friends, learned a lot about business by helping my manager and fell in love with downtown Minneapolis. Now I’m lucky enough to have my own company in the city I love!

Top 10 Resolutions for 2010

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Have you made your resolutions for 2010 yet?

Maybe you’re not the type that makes resolutions, or maybe you’re afraid to do anything that looks like a plan coming out of a year where everything changed and plans were scrapped in the Q1, 2009. Whatever your feelings about the year behind and the one ahead, there are things you should do to market your business and move forward. Here is my top 10 list of things to do to move forward in 2010:

1. Stop hiding. I know it’s scary out there but trying to hide from a bad economy is like lopping off a limb in hopes of losing weight. It makes things worse. Every month you are not out there promoting your company is another month you fall into obscurity.

2. Avoid the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mindset. This new economy has changed everything. If you don’t change you will be left behind.

3. Try something new. A logical step after #2! Even if you don’t have much of a marketing budget, you need to do something. Start a blog, get out on social media, or create an email newsletter to engage your customers.

4. Give new marketing time to work. It’s important to have a plan going into any new process. This goes back to the best practices of direct marketing that apply to most marketing – set something up to succeed: develop, test, learn, change, and repeat.

5. Get out of the one or two marketing media rut: I read recently that the winners of The Effie Awards (http://www.effie.org/ideas_that_work) this year used an average of 7 media in their advertising and marketing mix. They all work together. Email, direct mail and advertising push out to drive business to Web sites, social media and mobile. And with the advent of QR barcodes (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuVSpG-ZdkU) and other new developments the lines have blurred between old and new media – between print and electronic interaction.

6. Create continuity with your brand across media. If you are doing less marketing it is more important than ever to be an advocate for your company brand and make sure that everything you do is true to your brand look, tone and personality no matter what marketing or advertising media you choose.

7. Start fresh – update your brand. Does your logo look older or reflect a previous era? Or maybe you need to update your collateral with the new products or services you’re offering? Then it’s time for an update. If you’re rebranding, refreshing or refurbishing, just choose your palette carefully and don’t use the year’s trendiest color. There are a lot of great colors in the world, so please, please don’t choose turquoise as the agent of change in your logo this year. Not unless you want to hear (in a year or two) wow, that logo color is so 2010 (or 1990’s).

8. Conduct a customer survey. Sure, every company has weaknesses, so why not find out what they are so you can do something about it? Find out what your customers really think. Not just what you think (or worse, hope) they think.

9. Commit to being great in your job, continue to learn. Whether you are in a lower-level job or CEO, commit to being the best you can in your job. There is so much out there to learn and multiple media to incorporate into your marketing plan. Jim Collins, in his book “Good to Great” starts the book with one of the best lines I’ve heard: “Good is the enemy of great.” This is a year to learn, grow and take your marketing to the next level.

10. Go forth and make yourself proud. 2010 will be another year of change. Embrace it, get out of the “prevent defense” and go on the offensive. Learn, grow and kick some butt. You’ll look back and be glad you did, I just know it.