Categories

Recent Posts

Zodiac Marketer: Leo

Our next zodiac sign is Leo: birthdays between July 23 – August 22.

Leo is a fire sign with the strengths: generous, cheerful and humorous. They are also creative and passionate, but we’ve had quite a few zodiac signs with these traits, so we decided to go with some we haven’t done before. Leo’s weaknesses are arrogance and self-centeredness. We’ll explore some of the obvious, and not so obvious reasons, that you should embrace the positive and avoid those negative behaviors.

 

Generosity in Marketing

Generosity is definitely something to have in abundance for your business and marketing campaigns. In fact, some forms of generosity are great marketing tactics!

There are many ways to be generous from a business perspective. As a business owner, sometimes you have to be generous to your customers or clients. Generosity could be a free coffee giveaway or a plate of cookies waiting at the door. You could support a charity once a month by donating 10% of sales.

Have you considered offering a membership with perks or recurring visitor discount? This can mean giving them discounts, offering coupons or other promotions. After all, these are the people who support your business, so why not reward them with incentives.

Think about the generosity you receive from the businesses you frequent. What can you do that is similar to say “thank you” to your clientele?

 

Cheerfulness in Marketing

Being cheerful and positive is always putting your best foot forward. Do this naturally and try not to fake it. People want to be around cheerful people. They are uplifting, have a positive outlook on life, and thus a positive outlook on many things.

In one of our previous Zodiac Marketer articles, we talked about avoiding moodiness by leaving all your bad day blues at the door, particularly when meeting with clients. What better way to approach a potential client than with a genuine smile and greeting.

This applies to customer service as well. Would you rather buy something from a grumpy, negative person? Making people feel comfortable and cared for is a large part of the customer service recipe. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and think about how would you want to be treated.

 

Humor in Marketing

Who doesn’t enjoy someone with a good sense of humor? As long as the theme is appropriate and not offensive, go ahead and toss out those quippy one-liners to get the board room roaring with laughter (or at least a good chuckle).

Don’t force it! Again, it’s important to be natural here. There is nothing more painful than a terrible or inappropriate joke that falls flat. If it’s a meeting with a prospect, you will not be getting a call back and you certainly won’t win the business.

In your marketing campaigns, humor is a welcome and wonderful thing, but be careful not to overdo it or make anyone uncomfortable. Your marketing and advertising team should be pros at this and have no problem discerning the good humorous copy and design from the bad.

 

Avoid: Arrogance in Marketing

There is the obvious arrogant behavior that no one likes to be around. Also, be aware of some more subtle behavior that could be misconstrued as arrogance (particularly in marketing campaigns).

Let’s assume that we are all striving to be the best at what we do and make. You truly believe your product or service is better than anyone else’s and you want to shout it out to the world. Be wary of stating it in a way that can come off as arrogant, such as bashing your competition, dismissing negative feedback from customers (we wrote an entire article on negative feedback!), flipping the bird to naysayers, and all manner of similar bad behavior that is rude and offensive.

This goes for your employees too! They are brand ambassadors and should conduct themselves as responsible stewards of the brand at all times.

 

Avoid: Being Self-Centered in Marketing

Being self-centered as an individual is already bad enough. Being self-centered as a business can be downright fatal to your brand. Think about it this way. We live in a diverse world with people from a mosaic of backgrounds, preferences, and needs. It is possible that your target audience is quite specific, therefore you are trying to appeal to a certain demographic of people. Don’t let this be the catalyst for a narrow vision in your marketing campaigns.

In other words, think outside of yourself and your target audience, by always putting yourself in the shoes of other potential audiences who may not be your particular target. Are you alienating or offending them? Are your campaigns inclusive enough to perhaps draw in a new client base? If you can step outside your own bubble and take a bird’s eye view of your marketing campaign, you may find that a self-centered approach that was born inside a vacuum is actually harming your efforts.

Being more inclusive and thoughtful can create a richer business environment with more prospects for you, and at the very least, you will be in harmony with the diverse community in which we live.

Have you ever experienced any of the above traits in your marketing campaigns or business? We’d love to hear your stories!

Zodiac Marketer: Pisces

zodiac compassion in content marketing_news

In astrology, people belonging to each zodiac sign allegedly have individual inclinations in personality, relationships, and even fate according to the alignment of the stars at the time of birth. Whether or not you believe in astrology, it can be interesting to read about the different personality traits, relationship tendencies, career paths, and the various aspects of a person’s “sign.” In this series, we will approach marketing using the different characteristics of the zodiac signs.

Pisces is a water sign, with the strengths: compassion, creativity, intuition, gentleness, wisdom, and they are musically inclined. This is a no-brainer. So much of marketing encompasses so many of these traits. Let’s also take a look at Pisces’ weaknesses: fearful, overly trusting, desire to escape reality, can be a victim or a martyr.

Compassion in Marketing

How do you apply compassion to marketing? The truth is, we marketers do it every day, probably without even knowing it. If you really think about the word compassion, at its root is empathy and understanding. In a sense, compassion is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. A good marketer will do this with every piece of marketing material she or he creates.

Some examples:

  • We think about how the user will experience our website designs. Will the flow of the site and the content be easy to navigate? Is the text readable? Is the overall design pleasing to the eye, or are there clashing colors or fonts that will cause an unpleasant experience? We are concerned first and foremost with user experience.
  • When we are creating a new logo, we think about what the end customer is looking for in a company. Are they looking for a solid, trustworthy partner or a fun, cool experience? This will influence everything from the color palette to the font selection.

Creativity in Marketing

This one couldn’t be any simpler to apply to marketing. Creativity is at the heart of design, certainly, but it’s also a key part of marketing strategy. When we create marketing campaigns, creative problem solving is incredibly important. We start with the objective and a set of goals, and from there we develop a strategy of how to best reach those goals. The content development and design process is inherently creative, but applying creative thinking to public relations, media buying, and even management reporting can make all the difference between success and failure.

For example, in one client’s marketing mix, we reallocated a portion of their budget to create more digital ads with analytics. Our rationale for this move is to get a better sense of keyword performance from the digital advertising analytics and then apply those top performing keywords to other parts of the campaign to step up organic web traffic and eventually increase leads, sales, and ultimately revenue.

Intuition in Marketing

Intuition is defined as quick and ready insight or the immediate apprehension or cognition of something, without the need for conscious reasoning. It is one of those “soft skills” that thought leaders are tossing around a lot lately. How do we apply our intuition to a design project? Number one: WE LISTEN. We ask a lot of questions, and then we listen. We ask for a client’s favorite examples, and then we listen. We spend a lot of time listening, watching, notating reactions, passions, subtle hints. During this discovery process, we are experiencing what the client shares and says without judgment. Once we’ve collected our notations from this discovery meeting, we let the full weight of the experience set in and start the process of design or strategy outline. When you’ve spent the entire meeting listening, often there is little need to spend hours toiling over the next step. Sometimes it will even begin to manifest itself during the meeting so that it flows, intuitively, onto the page.

Avoid: Fear in Marketing

As in any business, fear is crippling to marketing and is to be avoided at all costs. Marketing is one of the fastest moving industries – the technology, applications, solutions, and tools are constantly evolving. This is no place for fear. A marketer must be curious, not fearful. You must be willing to try a new shiny tool and have the confidence to either adopt or discard it. You must trust your instincts when you make these decisions, and don’t be afraid to consult with colleagues, read up, take a course! Forge on, be spontaneous, educate yourself constantly – these are some ways to crush fear and thrive in the marketing world.

Avoid: Playing the Victim in Marketing

Let’s frame this from the perspective of online reputation management. Without going into great detail about this topic, which you can read more about HERE, we will touch on the one item that is most relevant to the Pisces victim role. That is – don’t respond to negative reviews or comments with anger, defensiveness, excuses, or any other immature chaff. This is placing yourself in the role of being the victim of someone else’s negativity. This type of response often leads to a pathetic comment battle, in which nothing is accomplished, except that your business looks petty and ridiculous. Instead, play the role of responsible, concerned customer service professional who wants to turn the negative into a positive.

By reacting in an authentic tone that shows that #1 – you want to try to make this right, #2 – you accept responsibility for the mistake and #3 – you plan on using the incident to improve future customer experience, you will often gain the trust and appreciation of the dissatisfied client. In some cases you will turn them into a raving fan. However, even if they are still not happy, at least you’ve demonstrated to other potential clients that you handle sensitive situations with genuine concern and the desire to improve.

We hope that you can take some of the above recommendations and apply them to your business or marketing plan. Stay tuned for the next zodiac sign, fiery Aries!

Creating a Positive Client Experience

positive client experience marketing_news

Recently, we read an article on the Fast Company blog about an Uber driver who had a 4.99 star rating, despite a whopping 5000 rides given. We were pretty impressed. Usually even a really good driver gets bumped down in rating by a couple drunks who are causing trouble or not getting what they wanted (we’ve heard lots of Uber stories!), or maybe the driver had the wrong radio station playing when someone enters the car and the passenger just didn’t like it. There are lots of ways to lower that perfect score, so seeing a score this high was unique. Reading the article really got us thinking – how can we use this Uber driver’s approach to client service in our work? How can we all apply this driver’s model behavior in our lives and work?

“We Cannot All Do Great Things. But We Can Do Small Things With Great Love.”

This Mother Theresa quote can apply to many situations, and we thought it particularly fit this one. In this case, the driver left his country and career as a corporate businessman with an MBA to move to Toronto. As is often the case with immigrants who are highly educated professionals, he had a tough time accessing the same positions that he had filled in his native country, so Uber was a second choice. However, that did not mean that he lowered his standards of performance. He treated his job as an Uber driver the way he would treat a job as a high-level corporate exec. He kept his car exceptionally clean and fragrance-free, he treated his customers with utmost respect and attention, and he paid attention to every last detail to improve his customers’ experience.

Customers’ Happiness First

This driver put his customers above all else. He made personal sacrifices for the sake of their comfort, probably in ways that they didn’t even realize. For example, he would eat raw salads in order to keep his car scent-free. Ever ridden in an Uber in which the driver had just eaten a McDonald’s cheeseburger or even just smoked a cigarette? It can be downright offensive. When you get in a scent free car, you may not notice anything at all, but you’ll definitely notice when a car smells bad.

Other ways he showed respect and professionalism – using the customer’s name, asking what music they want to listen to rather than having the radio blaring when they entered the car, cleaning the car after each and every ride. All small things that can make a big difference.

Often, keeping a customer happy is much easier than you think. If you can always think in a way that the answer is yes, you can be agile enough to get your customer what they need, when they need it. For instance, they may have an extremely tight deadline on a particular project. Rally your team to work together, come up with a plan, be flexible and creative. Communicate well with your team and with the client. You may have to work late hours a couple nights to achieve this deadline, but you can make it up to yourself later if that’s what it takes. Be passionate about making your customer happy, and you will have a 5 star rating too.

Employees Are Also Brand Ambassadors, Not Just the Executives

brand ambassador_news

Pinstripe has seen, all too often, the mistakes people make when posting on social media. Everyone makes mistakes. We get it. Some mistakes are minor, like the usual typos and a forgotten word or two, while others take on a whole other dimension that can cause a firestorm of negative feedback. Then, even worse, it goes viral.

For the most part, these mistakes are somewhat ridiculous. However in some circumstances, they can have negative consequences for nearly everyone connected. Unfortunately, the individual’s employer could be attached to their profile, and in turn cause customer backlash.

Employee handbooks have whole sections devoted to these issues. Plus, more companies are adopting them. So, why don’t companies turn something that’s perceived as negative into a positive? Encouraging employees to post the great things about the company can have a huge advantage in the social media race.

In the Past…

Bad things said about a company or it’s employees were talked about among family and friends and were rarely found in the papers, which only had a regional effect. However, because of technology, the word-of-mouth systems of old have taken on a whole new meaning. So has the phrase “spreads like wildfire.” Anything posted on social media has the potential to do this. There are so many social media outlets today that monitoring them in order to defend a company’s reputation has turned into a growing industry.

Education and Training

The trick isn’t monitoring, it’s educating. This goes beyond company policies on proper etiquette. Think about creating a brand ambassador program to educate and train employees on how to accentuate the company’s marketing efforts. Instead of having a neutral social media policy with do’s and do not’s, you are creating a positive force of brand ambassadors.

Below are some very basic steps to setting up your employees as brand ambassadors. The possibility of a substantial return on this investment could exceed your expectations.

Communicate the Plan

Informing employees about expectations and repercussions will let them know exactly what the company’s vision is and how social media can highlight the company in positive ways. GE’s brand ambassador plan is a great example of how a company can increase customer engagement through employee engagement.

Provide Guidelines

Your employee handbook should already have social media policies against inappropriate posts. So, they need to know what they should post. Examples are an easy way to answer questions about content before they’re asked.

Permission and Content

You’ll need to reassure them that there are no repercussions for posting positive info and pictures. A little trust will go a long way. To help them along, you can have hashtags available and URLs for quick access on a company page.

Maintaining a Positive Reputation

When employees post good things about their workplace and services, people will take notice. This is especially true when bad things happen and the company goes into crisis management mode. If an overwhelming amount of positive information is out there, then that leaves very little for negativity to thrive on. A positive reputation is easier to uphold in the social arena, and employees as brand ambassadors are a great way to achieve and maintain it.

Everything I Know About Marketing, I Learned from Wonder Woman

WonderWomanMarketingIntro_news

It’s no secret that I have been a fan of Wonder Woman since an early age. And, for good reason. She symbolizes the strength and intelligence every woman possesses. My personal philosophy of Wonder Woman marketing goes into every project I’m a part of, every meeting I attend and every opportunity that comes my way.

More than a Super Hero

The Wonder Woman movie captivated audiences across the globe. It almost reached the billion-dollar mark at the box office. Not to mention, the comic book series has changed much since World War II, yet continues to be published for many adoring fans. Why? Because Wonder Woman had timeless qualities that women (and men) of all eras can admire: god-like strength and intellect, and a benevolent nature.

A Positive Symbol for Everyone!

Over the years, I’ve collected Wonder Woman themed goodies, like the wall mural with Diana making funny faces or the latest Pop! Comics figurine.

wonder woman photobooth

My friends have also given me some of the best gifts that depict her in fun and quirky ways I think everyone can relate with. They are all displayed prominently in my office. I can still look upon each gift and get inspired to do my best for my friends and clients. It makes me feel good to see Wonder Woman is also inspiring another generation of young women stepping forward to take on the world with confident intelligence.

More to Come

Did you know that Wonder Woman also had great powers of persuasion? She used her intuition and intellect, as much as her Lasso of Truth, to convince people that the truth was the best option. This got me thinking about how marketing has a lot in common with Wonder Woman’s super powers and gadgets. Over the next few months, look for our articles on how Pinstripe is inspired by Wonder Woman and hopefully she’ll inspire you to be a Wonder Woman in your own work, too.