Marketing and advertising can be a confusing arena for many. One of the largest sources of confusion stems from the number of companies that classify themselves as a marketing/advertising group. Under the marketing/advertising label, we see everything from major media outlets to a guy who can put your logo on a coffee mug. Obviously when a company is looking for a professional ad agency to strategize, develop, execute and report results on marketing or advertising, they are generally not looking for “Bob’s Marketing & Vacuum Repair”. However, we still see people who struggle to understand what a full-service agency entails.
In today’s culture of instant communication, people are bombarded with hundreds of marketing messages each day at home and at work, on their phones, computers, TV, and even on their commute. Whether marketing takes place with a full-page magazine ad, a small black and white ad in a local community newspaper, a 5-page website or a 120-page website, good design ultimately increases results and ROI for your bottom line.
Good design communicates your message clearly and captures the attention of your target audience. It stands out in the marketplace. On the other hand, bad design hinders communication.
So what is good design?
Good design can be found in any marketing medium and incorporates these essential ingredients: hierarchy, color, balance, contrast and space.
Commercial offset printing has been widely available for decades and has been refined to a point where incredibly intricate and colorful images can be reproduced with amazing clarity and detail, and in very large sizes and quantities. Digital printing on the other hand is a relatively new comer to the party but is based on established Color Xerographic principals common to most laser printers and copiers we use in our daily lives at the office, but this technology is usually limited to smaller print sizes and lower quantities.
In talking to various clients and individuals about our industry, we find that many people are confused on the distinctions between advertising and marketing. At first glance they may seem to be one in the same, but understanding the differences can help you when developing a growth strategy for your business.
Here are some basic definitions:
Advertising - the act or practice of calling public attention to one's product, service, need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.
Marketing - The systematic planning, implementation and control of a mix of business activities (including advertising) intended to bring together buyers and sellers for the mutually advantageous exchange or transfer of products or services.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, it's not just about the number of people you can reach with your brand and message. What determines the success of your efforts is being able to effectively reach and connect with those who are most likely to respond to it. How do you do that? By finding your target demographic and crafting your messages to match their self-interests, you have a much higher chance of maximizing your marketing dollar. After all, you don't want to be throwing your money away on people that don't need, or even want your services or products.
Here are a few questions to get you thinking about your target demographic:
The short answer to the question is "yes". Your brand and your customers' awareness of what you offer are a large part of your marketing presence. To keep "top of mind" awareness, you need to be familiar to the target demographic your product and services are catered to. In order to do that, you need to be seen or heard from often. I could be as simple as a pen with your business name and logo on it, but it's usually a little more complex than that.
Epic Marketing suggests using this approach: "Get in at the beginning of the process when the consumer is gathering facts relating to her/his problem or need . . .and stay there!"
When it comes to advertising, the thought of where the ad is going to be placed in the magazine, newspaper, mailer, or even on the computer screen is often overlooked. Of course, the type of medium you choose for your advertisements is important, but placement can make the difference between the success and failure of an ad. Understanding reading patterns and how the human eye is naturally drawn to certain areas of a page or monitor is an important factor in getting the most out of your marketing budget.
Customer Relationship Management, also known as CRM, is a vital part of every business. No matter the industry, every business has a group of past and current clients, as well as an audience of future clients that need to be reached. Effective customer relationship management is a strategy that spreads across all departments of a business, including everything from sales and accounting to customer service. While some businesses have an effective internal method of keeping their customer relationships organized, other businesses often miss out on new customers and profits because of their lack of detail with customer relationship management.
How CRM Software Can Help
“I don't think that will work in my area—my market is pretty unique,”-- Joe Average Client
While each market does in fact have unique features, there are lessons that can be learned from other similar markets, too. As we have helped over 100 clients in dozens of cities, we have learned that markets have more in common than they have in differences.
Every market has similar mix of media outlets to carry your message, including: