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marketing media Archives - d.trio marketing group

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

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.