Friday, October 23, 2020

Drive Exponential Growth Through Omnichannel Marketing

The more technology advances, the more it is integrated into our daily lives.


From customized print ads to apps that help you find the kitchen section in your favorite IKEA store, customers are no longer confined to a single channel or platform as they interact with a brand. And as entrepreneurs become increasingly responsive to individual customers' needs, the lines between what we do on- and offline will continue to blur.


Omnichannel Marketing in Action


An omnichannel experience is a multichannel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers that unifies many mediums to work together.


Here your print marketing, onsite displays, mobile marketing, and testimonials all tell a consistent story while providing an integrated shopping experience. The focus is on building a stronger relationship between consumers and the brand by smoothing the customer experience, generating consistent content, and multiplying conversions.


What might this look like? The possibilities are as varied as your imagination! Here’s just one example from Coca-Cola:


According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, Romania ranks amongst the top 10 unhappiest countries in Europe.


To turn the Romanian’s attention to the country's overlooked positive news, Coca-Cola Romania launched an inspiring campaign with the hashtag #halffull and an innovative package.


The special bottle, full from the half up, displays positive news about Romania, and urges people to share their “half full story.” Two hundred bottles were sent to Romanian influencers, and the campaign appeared in contextual outdoor displays, social media videos, and websites.


Marketing manager Luliana Nedelcu said this:


“Optimism and positivity are the heart of the Coca-Cola brand, and what better way to launch a conversation about seeing the half full side than through Coca-Cola’s most iconic asset, the glass bottle? We believe this idea has the power to make a true impact, and the reactions and engagement with the campaign so far are a testament of its success.”


Customers on the Move


Why is omnichannel marketing so important?


Because today’s consumers are always on the move! For example:



  • 98% of Americans switch between devices on the same day

  • 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research in-store say this has become an important part of their shopping experience

  • Today’s consumers average six touchpoints with a business before making a purchase, with nearly 50% regularly using more than four communication channels

The difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing is small, but mastering omnichannel marketing can work wonders for your bottom line. 


Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t. And companies with robust omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, combined with a 7.5% decrease in cost per contact.


Why Print Prompts Action


Weaving your print and digital marketing together is an integral part of the omnichannel approach.


Print continues as a catalyst to drive online research and buying practices, and it can spark interest at crucial points in your sales funnel. Data shows that 44 percent of customers visit a brand’s website after receiving direct mail marketing (10 percent more than people who visit landing pages after receiving an email). While under half of all consumers act on an email immediately, almost four out of every five customers will act on direct mail right away. And half of all consumers hold on to print marketing materials for future reference.


Ready to expand the role of print in your omnichannel marketing? We’re here to help you integrate the “moving parts” of your campaigns and point customers to their next best action!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

How to Ask for Help at Work

Were you forced to work from home in 2020?


What were your biggest challenges? Perhaps it was learning the necessary technology – or teaching it to others. Maybe it was forming a new business plan. Or perhaps you struggled to meet the workday demands while homeschooling your kids.


If you weren’t stretched this year, you were probably in the minority! And as you reached the end of your abilities, you probably faced a question most people prefer to avoid:


“How can I ask for help without looking weak?”


Though an independent attitude is great, at some point, everyone needs to lean on others. And sometimes, a can-do spirit can push you to take on more than you can reasonably handle, leading to failure or burnout. According to a 2018 Gallup study, 23% of full-time workers reported feeling burned out at work very often or always. And one major reason for this burnout was an unmanageable workload.


Examples of How to Ask for Help


Do you need more help but struggle to verbalize this? If so, having a script to start from can be a push in the right direction. Here are some principles and example “asks” that might be helpful:


Keep it Simple


When you beat around the bush, people sometimes feel manipulated or deceived. Instead, lead with a simple phrase like, “I’m stuck,” or “Can you please help me?”


Be Specific


When you want a clear answer, lead with a specific request.


For example: “Are you free Wednesday morning? I need feedback on my sales report and would greatly value your input.”


Or: “Can you give me a warm intro to Russ Colton? He’s your head of marketing, and I would love to collaborate with him.”


Give the “Why” Behind Your Request


People are much more likely to help you out when they know why your request is important. Try leading with a need, like this:


"I'm awful at design, and my slides look terrible. Could you help me tweak this presentation?”


Or: “This project needs to be done by Friday, and I have no idea how that will happen. We are juggling three proposals, and I can only manage two projects this week.”


Use Examples of Effectiveness


When you compliment someone during your request, they realize you truly value their input.


Try leading with a specific example of their competency, like:


“Would you please review this before I send it to XYZ? Your input really helped my previous pitch to ABC succeed.”


Begin with a Question


When you want to ask for help, start your request with a discussion and a clarifying question.


For example: “I’m still learning the ropes on this – could you give me an idea of how long this task should take me?”


From here, you can follow up with natural questions, press into another’s expertise, or pose a specific request about where you need assistance.


Say Thanks in Advance


Gratitude is always a powerful way to appeal to others.


A recent study of 350,000 e-mail exchanges found that sign-offs like “thanks in advance” and “thanks” yielded average response rates from 63-66%, compared with 51-54% for other popular options (including “best,” “regards,” and “cheers”). Even expressed preemptively, gratitude can keep people invested in helping you, as long as you focus more on their generosity and selflessness—and what that says about them as people—than on how you’ll personally benefit.


Together is Better


Finally, remember that when you need help, it’s best to be as honest as possible.


Being authentic and truthful makes people trust you and increases their desire to pitch in. And when you ask for help, you increase your team’s likelihood of succeeding and thriving.


Teamwork benefits everyone – so don’t be afraid to ask!

Friday, October 16, 2020

Command Results with These 4 Direct Mail Brochure Formats

Ready to open doors and grab leads for your business?


Direct mail brochures are a great piece of any marketing plan and are especially useful in building consumer confidence. According to the Direct Mail Association, 56 percent of consumers consider print marketing the most trustworthy form of advertising, and 65 percent of consumers have bought something from a direct-mail piece.


When considering your next direct mail campaign, here are some reasons brochures might be best:


Clear Comprehension


The human brain is designed to understand more when something looks “real.”


As a time-tested commodity, brochures offer an easy-to-follow layout that builds instant connections with all types of people. Brochures also connect well with memory because they engage people’s spatial memory networks.


Increased Brain Response


In this busy age of low attention spans, physical materials increase the brain response of every viewer.


There’s something blissful in physical opening print pieces: the smell of the ink, the texture of a product. And that sensory stimulation has big benefits – people continue reading longer from a physical page and retain information better from print than from digital media.  


Enduring Presence


Direct mail brochures are ideal for customers who weigh a decision because people can read them many times or store them for future reference.


Brochures offer an attractive, compact option to get your advertising read or handed around to others. Every time someone new picks up your brochure, your message makes an impression. And brochures are far more likely to be saved or filed when someone needs more time to consider.


Bring Your Message to Life


When you’re building a concept for your next direct mail brochure, here are a few schematic options to consider:


1. Product/Benefit Layout


When you want to share more information about your business or its benefits, brochures provide a clean, logical layout.


Your brochure panels might tout your firm’s professional capabilities, your product’s unique selling points, or the practical advantages of your services.


2. Testimonial Brochure


Personal endorsements are extremely valuable, as prospects value others’ opinions more than any direct claims you make.


Use your brochure panels to feature pull quotes, before and after success stories, or reviews from real people (featuring names, photos, or dates). Best fit customers are influencers that prompt your readers to think, “I can relate to this person, and I trust their opinion.”


3. Question/Answer Format


Similar to a testimonial design, the Q/A format is very versatile.


Use it to address target customers’ felt needs, disarm suspicion, or present interviews with key company executives. Answering questions reduces buyer tension and creates an immediate bond with readers.


4. Fold-over Mailer with Postcard


Want to double your impact?


Try a fold-over mailer with a postcard inside. Fold-over mailers serve as both a brochure and a mini-poster and allow for heightened reader engagement as postcards are removed. Either piece can be passed to others or posted for later reference, allowing flexibility in concept and design.


Hook, Story, Offer


No matter what format you use, every direct mail piece needs a strong hook.


Most people will scan your external copy looking for a reason to read (or toss!) your brochure. State significant benefits upfront, or ask a question that must be answered. Start headlines with active verbs and keep this big question central: “What’s in it for me?”


Lead with this perspective, and you’ll entice them every time!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

How to Use Normalization to Change Behavior

If you grew up in the early eighties, you’re probably familiar with the “Mikey likes it” Life cereal campaign.


This capstone commercial centered on three young brothers eating breakfast. Before them sits a heaping bowl of Life. Two brothers question each other about it, noting that it is supposed to be healthy. Neither has any desire to taste it (“I’m not gonna try it—you try it”), so they test it on their brother (“Let’s get Mikey . . . he won’t eat it, he hates everything!”).


Mikey briefly stares at the bowl, then starts devouring the cereal, as his brothers excitedly exclaim, “He likes it!” 


Strategically Shaping the Internal Narrative


If you are a professional marketer, your job exists to do one key thing: to make change happen.


Finding an agent to trigger change – like Mikey demonstrating healthy cereal is delicious – is the key to persuasion. But this can be harder than it sounds because all people act in accordance with their internal narrative. You can’t get someone to do what they don’t want to do! And most of the time, the action a person takes is one that reinforces their internal narrative.


In sales, your fundamental goal is to tap into someone’s internal narrative and strategically shape it. Some people have a narrative that makes them open to changing their behavior (e.g., Martin Lloyd votes for various individual candidates, not a specific political party), while others are very resistant.


But for most people, behavior change is driven by a desire to fit in (people like us do things like this) and perception of status (affiliation or dominance). People don’t make decisions in a vacuum – instead, they base them on the perceptions of their cohort.


Actions are primarily driven by one question: “Do people like me do things like ____?” For example:



  • People like me don’t speed in residential neighborhoods.

  • People like me avoid debt.

  • People like me love funky accessories.

  • People like me buy organic.

Normalization creates culture, and culture drives choices, which leads to more normalization.


So marketers can prompt change by normalizing new behaviors among a specific cohort of people. In the “people like us do ____” paradigm, the “us” matters. The more specific you can be about who “us” is, the better.


Here are three steps toward normalizing new ideas:


1. Map and understand the worldview of the cohort you seek to change.


2. Focus all your energy on this group. Ignore everyone outside this persona and build stories that will resonate with your target (soccer moms, granola hippies, techie teens, etc.).


3. Within this subculture, build an exclusive cohort. Exclusive is an internal measure (us versus them, insiders versus outsiders) that members resonate with. Exclusive organizations thrive when members are clearly identified, and inclusion is perceived as valuable or beneficial. People love to belong and to gain status as they link up with others “like us.” And when you market to “we” or “us” cohorts, your message carries much greater weight.


Case Study: The Blue Ribbon School District


Ready to see normalization in action? Here’s one example from marketer Seth Godin:


My little town had a problem. Despite having extraordinary schools (our elementary school won the national Blue Ribbon School designation), there was a schism over the upcoming budget vote. Many were upset about rising school taxes and, for the first time in memory, the first school budget failed.


Before the final budget vote, school proponents stopped trying to defend budget numbers and took a new tack: they tied one hundred blue ribbons to a big tree in front of the middle school in the center of town. Within days, the idea spread. In the week before the election, dozens of trees around town had blue ribbons hanging from them. Thousands of blue ribbons hung by dozens of families.


The message was simple – “people like us, people in this Blue Ribbon district, support our schools.”


The budget passed two to one.


When you target the smallest viable market, you maximize your chance of changing behavior. This subset of people, enriched and connected by the change you promote, can then organically share the word with the next layer of the market.


That is the power or people like us.

Friday, October 9, 2020

3 Companies with a Killer Brand Identity

Trust builds confidence.


That is why a strong corporate brand identity can make or break a business. Brand identity is more than key values or approved color palettes; it is the collection of all elements that a company creates to portray the right image to its consumer.


When a company has a strong brand, it is easily recognized, which grows people’s trust. Trust builds confidence, and confidence begets loyalty. When a business has built superiority in a particular niche, repeat customers are more willing to buy in other areas. When you have loyalty from your base, you have space to increase prices or ask for bigger commitments. 


Want to craft a style that is timely and relevant to your audience? Here are three inspiring examples of brands who have nailed it:


Tesla


Tesla is an electric vehicle and clean energy company with long-range, eco-friendly electric cars. 


They are also very expensive. To build customer confidence, Tesla leaves price out of their branding and focuses on combining its fun personality combined with its incredible quality. CEO Elon Musk has built himself up as a Tony Stark-like character, and the brand promotes its uniqueness through ads and quirky features (like Super Cars with a “Ludicrous Mode”).


Tesla also relies on communities to tell its story, and passionate ambassadors have sprouted up worldwide to shout their love for the brand. Spain’s Tesla Club on Facebook has more than 7,300 members, and user-generated content is some of the most effective marketing in Tesla’s toolbox.


Dollar Shave Club


When you see this name, what comes to mind? Probably value.


At its core, Dollar Shave Club (DSC) is an everyman’s brand with a simple proposition: name-brand razors cost too much, but DSC offers quality alternatives at a rock-bottom price.


The brand bills itself as smart and stylish, conforming perfectly to customer needs. Each month, customers receive beautifully branded boxes with playful welcome notes and dapper products. When you join DSC, you’re not just subscribing to low-cost products; you’re investing in the monthly delight that comes with them! 


To reinforce this tone, the brand snubs highbrow marketing and pursues a cheeky, casual vibe. While other shaving brands go for a sleek image (with men who look like actors and models), Dollar Shave Club features average looking people across a wide age range. 


Parkinson’s Foundation


For many nonprofits, design can be an afterthought. 


But the Parkinson’s Foundation has created a fresh visual identity that reflects the exciting, dynamic organization it is. A unique logo resembles a brain in a head, a subtle nod to the neurological disorder. The bright blue is a vibrant hue, communicating excitement and zest for life and the promise of “Better Lives. Together.” 


The brand’s fundraising hinges on a promise of hope and progress and designs highlight this sense of cooperation. Custom imagery features a wide range of real individuals from throughout the Parkinson’s community—doctors, caregivers, donors, and people living with Parkinson’s — united by a single bright blue color that symbolizes their optimistic approach to fighting the disease.


In a spirit of community, the foundation logo is specifically designed as a platform for community expression, offering an open space (like a speech bubble) for individuals to handwrite messages or personalize materials (like, “For Dad”). Parkinson’s supporters love customizing it to share their own messages on social media and engage others in the fight.


A Voice All Your Own


Corporate branding has the power to attract, engage, and communicate just what you want with your clients. 


But you can only do this by connecting with customers where they are. Strong brands succeed because they resonate with a portion of their market better than anyone else.


When you’re working to shape designs, use a voice that resonates with your audience. If your brand was a person, how would it communicate? Be consistent, confident, and unique, and your voice will shine through on every occasion!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Shout Your Brand Identity with Strategic, Clever Imagery

If a picture paints a thousand words, then brand imagery is one of the most dynamic means for communicating with your customers.


From stained-glass church windows to the world-renowned Nike swoosh, images add immediacy, power, and clarity to your ideas, with a transformative effect on a brand’s overall impact. Colors and graphic metaphors have surprising staying power, so it’s important to consider every element you include in your brand imagery.


Brand Identity vs. Brand Imagery


So, what is the difference between brand identity and brand imagery?


Brand identity is the image or character of your business as people relate to it. For example, the BMW image of elite luxury has grown naturally from customers’ repeated exposure to BMW’s ads, endorsements, and products.


Brand imagery is the aesthetic appearance of your brand’s core identity and messaging. This is a result of all the visuals that represent your brand’s identity. These visuals may include anything from billboards to print ads or website banners to product packaging. Great imagery goes beyond simple appearance; the idea is to connect the right messages with your target audience so that they will have strong feelings that prompt a response.


Choosing brand imagery isn’t rocket science, but it takes some careful planning. Before you start slapping images on the page, think about these foundational elements:


Consistent Photography


How do the best brands convey their identity? They use graphics consistent with their brand character.


Burt’s Bees, an international personal-care company, has focused its products on nature from day one. Whether it’s their infamous lip balms or their newer makeup line, Burt’s always sticks to this mantra: “Providing customers with the best nature has to offer.”


From their “Whoa, Natural” print ads to their “unfiltered” social media posts, every image they use has an element of nature. Sometimes it’s through an eye shadow pencil held against a background of trees, while in others, it’s a little bit of honey accompanying a facial scrub.


On-Brand Colors


While colors offer a great deal of flexibility, it helps to define larger color palettes that encompass your brand.


Since colors carry psychological weight, selecting color patterns in advance can help you convey the right emotions or moods. Start with identifying a base, accent, and neutral blend. Cohesive color schemes should be woven into your logo, store design, advertisements, and even uniforms, so choose carefully and have fun!


Viewer Perspective


The GoPro technology company is all about taking their cameras everywhere you go, no matter the journey.


GoPro photos scream adventure, with deep, natural blues or stunning orange reflections. But beyond the colors, many brand photos are taken from the perspective of the camera operator. For example, perhaps a landscape with bike handlebars in the perimeter or a shot of a pair of feet on the high dive as a viewer gazes down into an Olympic pool.


When you want to generate intense emotions, set your viewers in the driver’s seat as you put them behind the lens of the delightful experience you’re offering.


Authentic Messaging


Finally, it’s essential to ask whether your images are truthful.


Can you deliver on the experience you promise in your advertising? Aesthetic is important, but it’s not enough to win over an audience on its own. Brand loyalists will only arise when they see your brand imagery as authentic to the experience your business can bring.


Compelling Images Create Community


Successful brand imagery can build an internal narrative and external community, prompting customers not just to “buy” your product but to “buy into” to your brand image.


Finding images that perfectly represents your brand is more than a strategy, it’s an essential part of your identity. Spark consumer confidence and generational loyalty as you mobilize fantastic images to shout your identity in unique, inspiring ways.

Friday, October 2, 2020

4 Reasons People Don't Buy from You (and quick-fix solutions that can help!)

Your product is perfectly aligned to meet customer needs.


Your doors are open, the sales team is ready, and your marketing is top-notch. Your employees believe in your mission and are passionate about coming to work each day, but . . . sales still seem a bit sluggish. Why? When people aren’t buying, you could have a range of possible problems.


Here are four potential snags with tweaks that could make the difference:


Problem: They Think the Price is Too High


Solution: Sell the Value


Is the price of your product too high?


This is a subjective opinion. An item is only worth the price someone is willing to pay for it, and if some people are willing to pay your price, there must be a good reason.


If you don’t make the cheapest product on the market, it’s your job to figure out why it is worth more. Do your homework. Find out in advance what your competitors’ prices are like, and what advantages your company brings. Instead of focusing on price, draw attention to the benefits of your service compared to competitors. Your product quality or customer service may be the major differentiator that cannot be replicated!


Whether it’s convenience, bundled service options, or incredible durability, price-sensitive shoppers are willing to pay more if they just know WHY.  


Problem: Decision Paralysis


Solution: Simplify the Process


Some people never master good decision-making skills.


Marketers often assume that the more choices they offer, the more likely customers will find just the right thing. However, research shows that there can be too much choice. When there is, consumers are less likely to buy anything at all (and if they do buy, they are less satisfied with their selection!).


Decision fatigue is real, and it causes many consumers to give up on purchasing. To circumvent this problem, list customer “favorites” on your website, combine items into a small number of “value-bundled” packages, or have customer service representatives walk people through decisions so they can make suggestions on the most suitable products.


Problem: Lack of Reviews


Solution: Ask Existing Clients for Testimonials


According to Nielsen research, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.


People depend on reviews, and companies that publish testimonials dramatically increase the quality and quantity of their leads. Reviews not only help buyers make purchasing decisions, they also grow traffic and boost conversions.


To gather (and print) great testimonials, it’s important to ask clients for reviews directly, especially if you can do it face to face. People are easier to engage when they feel their opinion is valued. Instead of asking directly for a review, start with an open-ended, conversational approach. Try questions like, “what was it like before you had our product/service?” or, “what has exceeded your expectations since working with our company?” Testimonials will naturally flow from here.


Problem: Stopping Short a Sale


Solution: Ask for a Clear Commitment


When surveyed after non-sales situations, a high percentage of prospects say they were never asked to buy.


After pitching your product’s vision, benefits, or value, it’s time to take that ball to the hoop. Ask for a commitment. Clearly, concisely, and directly ask for their order, their money, or their business.


No matter what phrase is right for your business, the bottom line is this: you must ASK!


Simplify for Success


In a world that’s rife with competition, it’s crucial to pinpoint areas where your sales process is breaking down. Make the process from discovery to purchase as simple as possible, and don’t be afraid to close the sale.


In life and sales, sometimes you’ll only get what you dare to ask for!