Archive | April, 2010

VIA Idea #10: Push and Pull Marketing You Need Them Both

16 Apr

When companies buy traditional ads (newspaper, television or website banner ads), they are proclaiming a message to people who may or may not be actively seeking those goods or services and hoping the ad will trigger interest. With ever-increasing access to the Internet, relevancy plays a larger and larger role in bringing buyers and sellers together. With traditional advertising, information is “pushed” toward the potential buyer; “pull” marketing draws attention to your information because it answers a request.

Push marketing uses traditional tools like ads, brochures, press releases, etc. filled with product features and service benefits. The Internet is similar, filled with websites, banner ads and paid search word tactics. These messages are all created with outbound sales strategies.

billboard

Pull marketing uses the premise that people find companies and their products because they are looking for them. This method uses social sites to listen to, contribute information and otherwise engage people. Tools like organic search allow web content to be ranked according to the user’s keyword searches. You draw people in with relevant content in the hopes of engagement. Content strategies, optimization, keywords in articles and headlines, tag blog posts, etc. pull in your prospect rather than push out to them.

PR is an example of a tool that can be both push and pull marketing. No longer do you need to solely rely on rigid printed press releases (although they are still important). You can embed video, images, slide shows, and more into social media releases (SMRs) to be shared on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites.

While push marketing is more concerned with short-term results, pull marketing exists to create loyal supporters by setting a certain standard for their brand. At VIA, we’ve always talked about the media mix. These days, the mix needs to include both push and pull marketing strategies for getting customers to purchase your certain brand, product, or service.

pushpullchart

For more information about how we can help you market your service or process, give us a call at 219.769.2299 or send an email.

Let’s talk about it.

VIA Idea #9: Branding Your Process or Service

15 Apr

Not to be confused with branding your company, branding your services provides a great point of differentiation and perceived value. Two examples of this type of branding are found with UPS WorldShip™, their international shipping process, and UPS Quantum View®, created to help customers manage shipping information. UPS brands most of their processes as proprietary—available only at UPS.

Giving a company’s products or services different brand names is referred to as individual branding. One advantage of individual branding is that each product or service has a unique image and identity. This also facilitates the positioning of each product by allowing a firm to market its various brands differently.

VIA Marketing recently used individual branding to help Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana better publicize its programs and events. When we first met our new client, we took a look at each of their nearly 20 program flyers. Laying the flyers side-by-side, they didn’t look like a family of programs from the same organization. We went to work and created a separate brand for each category based on its target audience. Now each program area (youth, education, public, corporate) has its own logo. Flyers within each program area carry a cohesive look while publicizing different events and learning opportunities.

Another client, Vanco Construction Services, wished to bring attention to the proven, quality processes they use daily in their business. As this method favorably differentiates them from their competition, VIA created an individual brand and sales sheet for their process: Vanco Vantage 3D.

For more information about how we can help you brand your service or process, give us a call at 219.769.2299 or send an email.

Let’s talk about it.

VIA Idea #8: “You Have to Spend Money to Make Money”

14 Apr

I heard my father say this when I was six or seven; it puzzled me for days then but makes perfect sense now. Including the right number in your business’s budget for marketing communications is just as important now as ever.

Clients often ask me “How much should I spend on marketing?” There’s no one-size-fits-all. Do you offer a niche product with a loyal following? Are you one of three pizza restaurants on your block? Is your market local, national or worldwide? The figures below are ballpark numbers but give an idea of what your competitors may be spending.

When arriving at the dollar amount, take into consideration how you’ll spend the funds:

  • Developing and/or refining your brand and deciding how to best promote it (these include logos, websites, brochures, sales presentations, email campaigns, and more).
  • Promoting and advertising online, offline, through public relations and social media.
  • Educating your customer service people to be better advocates for your company.

Consider, too, the way that marketing is moving away from “push” toward “pull.” For example, instead of buying only traditional ads, you might add training articles or video clips to your website.

If you’re looking for direction in sorting through the best way to use your marketing communications dollars, email or call.

Suggested marketing communications budget for small to medium-size companies*

Annual gross income Marketing communications budget
Less than $5 million 7 – 8 percent
$5-10 million 6 – 7 percent
$10-50 million 5 – 6 percent
$50-100 million 4 – 5 percent
More than $100 million 3 percent

*Call VIA to discuss reviewing a report focused on your particular industry.

Via Idea #7: Partnering Direct Mail with Email

13 Apr

A client recently asked the question: Does direct mail or email marketing work best in reaching new and existing customers? Using both methods is often the best choice.

Consider that people receive less snail mail and more email than ever before. Even if you have a twenty percent open
rate from an email you’re still missing eighty percent of
that audience.

at image

Advertising is all about delivering the right message at the right time to those who want or need what you have to offer. The more times someone sees or hears from you, the more comfortable they’ll be with your product or service when it’s time to make a purchase.

Using more than one medium lets you target your message in different market segments as well. More mature audiences still prefer postal mail while younger audiences tend to respond to email, Facebook ads and other online messages.

Keep in mind that the ultimate success of any marketing effort depends on the relevancy and the offer. Tweak the offer and message to fit the audience. Track the results. Use what you learned to follow up with calls and additional email and paper mail communications.

Contact us for more ideas on reaching your target market.
Did you know?
We live in a mobile society!
• Every month, approximately three
percent of email addresses change.
• Approximately one percent of physical
addresses change every month.

VIA Idea #6: Taking a Moment to Say “Thanks”

12 Apr

Have you ever heard of a Thankathon? I recently heard the term for the first time during a nonprofit’s board retreat. The presenter asked how many people in the room had ever gotten a thank-you call after donating money or time to any organization or cause. Only one person raised her hand.

After a short discussion, this group decided to adopt the idea and soon will be splitting up their donor list to call to say thanks. Whether your business is nonprofit or for profit, whether you are a sole proprietor or have hundreds of employees, whether you make medical equipment or cut hair, it’s an initiative worth considering. No hidden agenda. No sales pitch at the end of the conversation. All that’s necessary is a pure and simple “thank you” to those who put their faith in you and your products or services.

If calling every one of your clients by yourself isn’t practical, think about other ways to connect and say thanks. Could you make two calls every day, year round? Split up the call list with key staff? Write notes? In this electronic age, receiving a handwritten note is something so unique that we post any we get to our break room bulletin board!

As VIA staff celebrates Thanksgiving with our families and friends, know that we appreciate and sincerely thank you.

VIA Idea #5: Tell it All, Tell it Fast and Tell the Truth

12 Apr

We’ve learned in Crisis Communications 101 that it is always best to admit a mistake up front and do whatever possible to re-establish credibility and confidence with your audiences. Never lie, deny or hide your involvement. If you ignore the situation it will only get worse.

David Letterman’s recent admissions were text book. We can’t say he came out with his reputation intact, but he beat his blackmailer by going public with the truth.

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