Categories

Recent Posts

Zodiac Marketer: Virgo

virgo zodiac marketer_featured

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Virgo is our next sign for zodiac marketing: birthdays between August 23 – September 22.

One of the earth signs, Virgo’s strengths are loyal, analytical, and practical. Virgo’s weaknesses are a tendency toward shyness and being overly critical of others and self. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

 

Loyalty to Your Brand

The first thing that comes to mind when considering loyalty in marketing is brand loyalty. Consumers stick with a brand for a variety of reasons: great customer service, consistency in taste and feel, sturdiness, reliability, and price. Loyalty to a brand is often seen from a consumer goods perspective, but it can certainly apply to services as well, as in the case of Pinstripe Marketing. When thinking about Pinstripe, our clients choose us, again and again, for marketing services because of some of the best characteristics of our brand:

  • Tailored
  • Experienced
  • Leaders
  • Expertise
  • Quality
  • Strategic
  • Holistic

If taken a step further, loyalty in marketing can also be viewed as loyalty to your brand. What does that mean? Well, loyalty to your own brand means that you would buy your product and stick with your brand. If that’s not the case, then you need to bring your brand up to your own standards. After all, if you wouldn’t consistently use your own product or service, why should you expect anyone else to?

Consider performing a brand audit with a team within your company to determine areas of improvement and places where you can increase value so that company employees, and YOU, will be loyal to your own brand.

 

Analytics and Metrics

These days, marketing uses a lot of data, especially with digital marketing. As a primary way to reach potential and repeat clients, we collect a myriad of data to analyze and maximize every campaign we create.

Measurable data means more predictable sales, more accurate advertising, and more refined solutions and products, all delivered to the correct target audiences. Marketing is now, more than ever, a blend of creativity and metrics—a perfect storm of the two.

The ability to create more targeted campaigns, plus the low price tag on digital ads, means you can spend more time and money on the right strategy. Take advantage of this fact!

Fifteen years ago, your best option was a print ad and postcard mailers. You can spend thousands of dollars on printing, and thousands more publishing the ad in a magazine or newspaper, plus hundreds to thousands on a list of addresses.*

Today, you can define your audience , choose keywords and create ads, then measure your reach within a week. Rather than toss paper to the wind and hope that someone pays attention, you can make adjustments to your campaign, fine tune the target audience in order to spend your budget effectively. Engagement with your ads may cost as little as pennies. That’s the efficiency of digital marketing. As a Virgo, you should not pass up the opportunity to stretch your analytical skills and we all know you love efficiency.

 

Being Practical

Practicality is useful in any business, and it can be a big time and money saver for marketing projects. Project management for marketing involves a lot of moving parts and stakeholders.

Being practical means occasionally making decisions based on time and money, rather than creativity.** Being practical means prioritizing tasks, timelines, and adjusting when necessary. Being practical also means communicating frequently and clearly in order to set expectations, learning from your mistakes and those of others, and applying that knowledge to the next project. There are so many aspects to being practical; without practicality, nothing would ever get done!

 

Avoid: Being Shy

Shyness will get you nowhere with the creative work of marketing and certainly in business in general. If you’re a shy artist, no one will ever see your art. Creative work takes guts because you have to put your ego away and allow criticism to flow without flinching. Well meaning critique leads to growth and innovation; some artists actually seek it out!

If you’re a shy project manager, your project deadlines will extend and your budgets will be blown every time. I understand that some people may be naturally shy and introverted. Try challenging yourself to step outside your norm and be more assertive.

If you’re a shy business development person you won’t be able to build a relationship with the next biggest prospect. People may walk all over you. Business is competitive and you have to put yourself in the spotlight on occasion. Practice in personal relationships and with colleagues, and see how rewarding it can be to operate outside your comfort zone.

In general, no matter what your position or type of work, choose to conquer shyness in order to grow in your career.

 

Avoid: Being Overly Critical in Marketing

Dear Virgo, we all know that you strive for perfection in yourself and sometimes expect it of others too (take it from a fellow Virgo!!). Recently, I read an article with the theme – “Sometimes good enough is good enough.” It discussed perfectionism as an obstacle to progress and success.  This article resonated with me because it points out that extending deadlines and budgets and personnel to achieve the “perfect” design or product is sometimes a simple waste of time. As a project manager, I try to avoid this as often as possible.

Don’t get hung up on minuscule details that no one else will notice. If it’s not a life or death situation (where someone may be physically hurt by a decision), feel out your team and be prepared to let go. Then, take a deep breath and let go. Nothing bad will happen because we know you’ve already covered all the bases!

Being overly critical of yourself and others can backfire in other ways. If you are a creative director or managing a team and you are constantly critical of your team or designers, you could end up offending people and creating an atmosphere of discontent. Learn how to properly and effectively critique any work, creative or otherwise, so that your team can grow rather than feel offended and attacked.

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

* This is not to say that print advertising is pointless and dead. This is to say that lean budgets are best spent in digital advertising so as to maximize the reach. Print advertising, if done correctly, is a perfect supplement to digital advertising and helps to increase brand awareness, among other benefits.

**Though this is never to say that design is sacrificed, but sometimes a creative process can go on and on indefinitely. There needs to be an end so we can close the project and get some results!

Build a Recession Proof Marketing Plan

recession proof marketing_featured

Marketing tends to be one of the first things to go during an economic slowdown, but it shouldn’t be. We all know that the ups and downs in business are inevitable, so we should set in place a marketing strategy that is recession proof.

 

Saving Money Is a Priority

When marketing budgets get slashed, the CFOs are essentially preparing for less cash flow. They are also pulling back their spending on new projects and taking the planning of them in house, if possible. This has been especially true for those in the construction industry. They have to cushion their bottom line during times of a depressed economy.

 

Marketing Opportunity

In 2005, a year before the great recession, I remember how spending was cut way back in the marketing department of the company I worked for. This happens every time. To make matters worse, pulling funds away from marketing will hurt sales. But it’s hard for CFOs to loosen the purse strings.

So, marketing has to be a priority. That’s why we need to be strategic and plan ahead, because it’s actually a time for more opportunities to outshine the competition.

 

Digital Marketing

The online world has brought people closer. It’s created stronger relationships between people and the brands they love. All things digital are no longer an option, they are the norm, and they are necessities.

You really need to have your digital marketing game in play prior to a recession. Every aspect of your digital presence should be established:

  • Mobile friendly website
  • Pay-per-click advertising (Google Ads)
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Video
  • Email and text-based marketing
  • Social media
  • Organic search (content marketing)

If you don’t have your plan in place now, there probably won’t be any money for it in the budget when the recession hits. The great thing about digital marketing channels is that they are inexpensive. They tend to be much less expensive than traditional marketing and they are easier to measure, so you can take your great results back to your CFO and prove that every penny was worth it!

 

Be Innovative

To capture more attention and a little more share of the market, you’ll need to start doing a few things differently. Otherwise, you’ll end up getting the same results you’ve always had, which is not what you want during a downturn.

It’s time to get creative and step outside the box. Innovation often comes from shoestring budgets and lots of positive energy. That energy could be the differentiator in a client’s decision.

Start thinking about what you can do that no one else is doing in your industry. Making yourself more available through new lines of communication is one way. Creating authentic client success stories with an original twist is another. Show them that you’re expert in your field. Start telling your story in new ways, on new channels.

 

Maintaining Contact

One of the biggest challenges for any business during a recession is to maintain a contact with their clients. You don’t want to fall off their radar just because you are doing more with less.

When you maintain a steady presence online and at conferences or events, you’ll stay in touch with your clients. They’ll know that you’re still there for them. Your marketing can do this and there are cost-effective ways of doing it.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with every aspect of their marketing. We specialize in discovering their personal traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the marketing goals you envision.

Content Marketing Deconstructed: Legal Considerations at Every Stage of the Process

content-marketing-legal-and-creative-596x300

When a person, brand, or organization creates its own platform to share and influence, a content marketing initiative is born. This practice has been going on long before digital capabilities made it as accessible and mainstream as it is today. It’s also these digital aspects that make it all that more complex for the modern marketer and the companies driving the ecosystem.

  • Who (or what robot) is creating your content?
  • Who is the rightful owner of the content and the intellectual property inside it?
  • Where and how is this content being distributed?
  • Are the laws relevant to the content being followed (or do we even know what those are)?

As a content creator myself, through a variety of media including blogging, video, podcasts, newsletters, and more, I understand the level of detail that can go into each and every project. It’s a big investment of time, talent and treasure, and that’s why it’s worth protecting at every corner.

I’ve seen legal hiccups at virtually every link along this chain, with rising complexities around content ownership and licensing, and emerging risks with more automated content solutions and accountability.

If you break down the process, you’ll find there are various and unique legal issues at each phase that can get in the way of progress. What’s my strategy to beat them? Plan ahead.

Here are three key junctures with reminders to help keep your content marketing campaigns secure:

1. Strategy, Talent & Content Sources

Before the first word is written, or pixel is placed, think about your end goals. In addition to the brand building and sales nurturing aspects, content marketing offers the opportunity of creating intellectual property for your brand, including in both the outputs and processes.

  • Is this something you will own and use in the future, or repurpose for other business opportunities?
  • Are you creating content in-house, using outside partners, freelancers or partners, or possibly integrating external, more automated and AI-driven content services?

You will want to ensure you own the rights to your work, so you have complete freedom in the future for promotions, repurposing and other applications.

For your content strategy and execution, ensure the same levels of agreements are in place for any partners or employees creating content on behalf of your company.

2. Content Development

Beyond the clear copyright rules and plagiarism risks surrounding content creation, there are several less obvious aspects that companies need to watch out for:

  • When featuring any other existing content, first get written permission from whomever owns the content (you would be surprised how often this step is skipped), and then cite proper attribution of any content sourced from, or linked to, from third party resources.
  • Gather and track licenses and use rights for images or artwork incorporated into your content and know the limits of those licenses.
  • When making claims within content, in addition to being true, claims need substantiation. Misleading by omission is just as off-limits as making an express false claim. Ask yourself about the substantiation before you publish the claim.
  • Include all needed trademarks with permission, or with adequate disclaimers if they are the trademarks of some third party.

There are many resources out there for education and reference, including this Skyword article, Original and Accountable: How to Detect Plagiarism, and Avoid It in Content Marketing. What’s key is making sure everyone involved keeps a vigilant eye on this, because your company becomes liable for any infraction.

3. Publishing, Distribution & Promotion

There are various considerations and rules surrounding content of all types that your company is publishing and promoting.

  • Copyright infringement or the use of content without permission or improper attribution.
  • Compliance failures in disclosures of endorsements, testimonials and all things influence marketing.
  • Native advertising or failing to distinguish clearly between paid content placed in a native ad context and the surrounding editorial content. Confused about what that is? Check out Robert Rose’s overview on Content Marketing Institute: What’s the Difference Between Content Marketing, Branded Content, and Native Advertising?

Additionally, email and data privacy rules continue to reign, brought to the spotlight more recently in GDPR and the California Consumer Privacy Act (remember the CAN-SPAM act of 2003?). No one should be using purchased or rented lists for email or relying on the “opt out” at inception as law favors the initial “opt in,” and making sure that “opt outs” are managed properly.

To summarize, wherever your content is going… make sure the destination is legit!

Send the Right Message

With the massive flood of content pouring through digital channels for more than a decade, and more and quicker ways to produce and distribute it, companies continue to seek ways to get their messages through in an overly crowded environment.

Take the time to educate yourself, your employees, and everyone else in your content universe on the legal risks at each step of the content journey, and stay on top of evolving rules and regulations.

Article by Sharon Toerek of Legal + Creative by Toerek Law.

Sharon is an intellectual property and marketing law attorney, with a national Firm based in Cleveland, Ohio.  She devotes her legal practice at Toerek Law to helping creative professionals protect, enforce and monetize their creative assets.

She has a particular concentration of clients in the advertising, marketing and creative services industries, and counsels them on legal issues including copyright and content protection, licensing of creative content, trademark and brand protection matters, marketing agency service contract issues, freelancer contract issues,  social media issues, advertising compliance, and direct marketing regulations. To learn more about Sharon, visit www.legalandcreative.com.

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: Cancer

cancer zodiac marketer_featured

Our next zodiac sign is Cancer: birthdays between June 21 – July 22.

Cancer is a water sign with the following strengths: loyalty, tenacity, and persuasiveness. Perfect traits for a strong marketer to possess. Cancer’s weaknesses can put a wrench in any marketing or business project. Being moody, pessimistic, and insecure are surefire ways to halt progress. In the following paragraphs we discuss how Cancer’s strengths and weaknesses apply to marketing.

Loyalty in Marketing

When we think of loyalty, we often think of clients’ loyalty to our brand. But, think about it; if you want someone to be loyal to you, shouldn’t you also be loyal to them? Loyalty to your clients can appear in many different ways. One of the most crucial is to always ask yourself if the product or service you provide is the best for your clients’ businesses. For example, we always look at our work with our clients not as isolated projects, but from the larger perspective. Is this one marketing project going to have the greatest impact on your goals, or is there another approach that will use your budget more effectively? We treat our clients’ businesses as if they were our own, which helps us make recommendations and decisions that are best for their business, not just ours.

Tenacity in Marketing

Tenacity is a useful trait to possess in creative endeavors, particularly marketing. Tenacity can mean that you back your design assertively, standing up and defending your work and its effectiveness. Tenacity can mean working long hours to meet a creative deadline or a website launch. Tenacity is constant learning in your field so that you can give your clients the best product or service possible. Tenacity is experimenting with new techniques to stay on the cutting edge of your field.

Persuasiveness in Marketing

This is a no brainer! Persuasiveness is the core of advertising and marketing. Put simply, when you market a product or service, you are persuading your audience that you are the best fit for their needs. Everything else follows from that.

Avoid Moodiness in Marketing

Moodiness should be left at home, no matter what. Let’s say we have a proposal presentation to the top three executives of a large prospect. One of us didn’t get much sleep and the other didn’t have her morning coffee. Yet another member of our team had a disagreement with her husband the night before. There are a lot of life issues that could put you in a bad mood, and they probably happen to most people on a daily basis. The point here is to leave all of that at the door, whatever it takes. Think of a funny story that lightens your mood, tell a joke, or repeat your personal mantra. If you don’t already have a bad mood eraser, consider adopting one. Don’t let a bad mood lose you prospects and even clients! No one wants to work with a person whose moods are unpredictable, right? I sure don’t. It halts productivity and can be passed on to other people. Pass on positivity instead.

Avoid Insecurity in Marketing

One thing we can’t be is insecure when we’re presenting a logo design or a website design to a client. In order for them to feel good about approving a design, they need to sense our confidence. And if we’re not confident about our design, we shouldn’t be presenting it. Having confidence starts with having a good product. If you feel even a little bit of doubt in your product or customer experience, consider an audit of your products and services to make sure you are offering the best possible experience. Offering the best possible product can eliminate your insecurity and will launch your marketing campaign to a whole new level. When you have confidence in your product, marketing becomes easy.

Have you ever experienced any of the above positive and/or negative traits in your marketing campaigns? We’d love to hear your story!