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Zodiac Marketer: Scorpio

scorpio zodiac marketer_featured

by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Our next zodiac sign is Scorpio: birthdays between October 23 – November 21.

Scorpio is a water sign with the strengths: resourceful, brave, and passionate. Scorpio weaknesses are distrustfulness and jealousy. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

Resourcefulness in Marketing

Being resourceful is beneficial in any occupation, but let’s look at it from the marketer’s perspective. In marketing there are a lot of problems to solve, a multitude of creative and technical projects to execute. There are also many ways to tackle these projects, many types of software to choose from, and a host ways to organize and communicate during the process. Marketing changes with the wind; as quickly as new technology is released, marketing changes. A resourceful marketer keeps up with technology, but doesn’t have Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). This is when you try so hard to keep up with EVERYTHING (it’s impossible these days), that you end up spreading yourself thin and being a generalist at all of it rather than an expert at a few things. Make sure to be well-versed and keep up with cutting edge tech and software, but adopt only those that are essential to your business. You’ll get to know these quickly over time – ever-changing technology requires a rubric for assessment, and you’ll streamline this process according to your business’ needs. This is, itself, resourcefulness; being able to quickly assess whether or not a new gadget is going to benefit your business.

Bravery in Marketing

Creativity almost always involves bravery. When you’re presenting a new set of logo sketches to a client, you have to put on your brave cap, because you are attempting to define a business’ entire personality and mission/vision with a single mark and perhaps some words. Be bold, be brave, be confident! This is no time to have self-doubt or second guess yourself. Your client needs to feel your confidence. For some clients this is a huge decision in their business, so they really need you to be brave for them. Likewise, in any business, there are times when the stakes are high and you have to put on the brave face so that your clients can have confidence in you and thus their choice to hire you.

Passion in Marketing

Is your business thriving? If the answer is yes, chances are you are passionate about what you do. Even if you are not the business owner, being a passionate employee of a company means you take ownership of the company and your work. Make no mistake, passion is palpable and contagious. If you are pitching a new client, a project to your boss or even a logo like I mentioned above, your passion will infect the people to whom you are speaking. People will catch your excitement! If you are not exactly passionate about what you do or your company, find some element of your work to be passionate about. Not only will you be happier, so will your coworkers, your boss, and your clients.

Avoid: Distrust in Marketing

Now, we may have been burned a couple times in business and relationships, but let’s keep an open mind for our clients and colleagues. Distrust is such a negative state that it may affect many aspects of your life and business. For example, I was about to start a new project with a client who has proven to be slightly difficult in the past; I didn’t trust that they were going to be respectful of me or my team. Going into the project, I predicted all the ways the client would be difficult and kept practicing in my mind all the responses I would have to their negativity. It was so bad that I lost sleep the night before a big meeting and felt anxious the next morning. Well, we had our meeting that morning, and it went so smoothly that I had to kick myself for all the negative energy that I suffered through for the 24 hours leading up to the meeting. That was self-inflicted, and thankfully no one felt my negativity. Don’t make my mistake – try to give people the benefit of the doubt. It will be more pleasant for you.

Avoid: Jealousy in Marketing

Jealousy is such an unpleasant emotion and can stem from self-doubt. Steer clear of this one in all aspects of life, but I’ll tell you why it’s especially important in business. Jealousy can turn you into a petty person, and this will ward off clients, recruits, and even friends. No one wants to be around or work with a petty person. Find your niche, find your passion, and do the best you can in that. If someone is doing it better, study how they do what they do, and seek to improve. The only way to overcome jealousy and self-doubt is to work harder at what you do and when you’re on the path to be the best, you won’t have time to be jealous.

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

Some Things to Know About Marketing Automation

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by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Marketing automation has been around for a while. There are a lot of platforms available, and it’s become more affordable for small to midsized businesses. And, we have seen a growing interest in these amazing marketing tools because they work really well, especially when you’re looking for more data on what your customers want.

This is not a review of automation platforms because there are so many available and each one has its unique characteristics at a wide range of price points. I want to focus on what you should expect when using marketing automation.

 

Believe the Hype

You’ve probably seen the numbers on marketing automation already, but here are a few important statistics if you haven’t.

  • When using 3 or more channels, marketing campaigns increased engagement and purchasing by 250% while earning a 90% customer retention rate.
  • Targeted campaigns have a 35% higher open rate.
  • Dynamic sign-up forms have a 25% success rate on landing pages.
  • Over 60% of companies outgrowing their competitors are using automation.

What this means is that using one channel of marketing is good, but coordinating 3 together is great. For example, a 3 channel campaign would use text messaging, email, and social media.

Channels also involve data collection so that a good B2B campaign would look like this: email, social media, and behavioral tracking. There are many more combinations and activities to have in a campaign. I think the biggest takeaway is that successful marketing is targeted-frequency.

 

Understanding Expectations

Naturally, you’re going to want to set your marketing on auto-pilot. That’s one of the reasons why automation is so attractive—it drives itself. Though this may be true, it’s also a bit misleading. Automation takes resources to strategically develop and implement a campaign.

Here’s a list of things you need to be aware of:

  • People – You’ll need someone to be in charge of managing automation. This can be a part-time or full-time job for one person or several, depending upon the workload. Or, you can hire an outside firm to handle it, which can save you money. Regardless, these people will be coordinating all activities and in direct communication with management and sales.
  • Content – Automation runs on messaging. Without content, there’s no message. A range of content is needed for a successful campaign: promotions, photos, video, thought leadership, etc. You get the idea. Plus, it has to be fresh and new. Of course, you can repurpose old content, and that should be done after a couple of years.
  • Segmentation – Targeting the right message to the right person is far more successful than throwing it to the wind and hoping they catch it. You should already have your customer segments, so the message should fit their needs. If not, they might get annoyed with your lack of knowing who they are and what they want.
  • Patience – Automation is not like a grand opening. It doesn’t start with a “Bang!” It’s more like a drip. The biggest thing to avoid is being spammy. It’s easy for your audience to opt-out, so decide what the frequency should be by looking at some averages for your industry and market.
  • Data – A huge benefit of automation is the data it can gather about customer behavior. The numbers can be granular, specific and complex. You’ll need to know how to analyze them and then interpret what that means for your future campaigns. Statistical analysis is not easy, but it will improve your lead generation and conversion rates.
  • Feedback – Automation is a great tool for gathering feedback through follow up surveys and reviews. But, when you ask for feedback, your customers will want to hear authentic responses. This requires a set of rules for responding:
    • Timely responses matter
    • Apologize when necessary
    • Be open to criticism
    • Don’t argue
    • Offer solutions

 

Test Through Trial and Error

Successful automation campaigns don’t just appear because they’re automated. The statistics I listed earlier come from an average of robust and informed programs. A lot of testing is involved in optimizing the performance of each campaign. To get there, you’ll be going through a lot of trial and error.

Pinstripe understands what it takes to run an automation team. We have helped local and nationally-based businesses with their marketing needs for over two decades. We specialize in discovering your traits—your 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 what a successful automation campaign looks like to you, and we’ll help you get there.

Marketing Checklist for 2020

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by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Have you started thinking about your business in the new year, particularly from a marketing perspective? It’s definitely not too early to start doing so, because if you wait until December, it will be too late.

Now is a good time to come up with fresh, new ideas to promote your business. Planning ahead will allow you to seamlessly incorporate these ideas into your daily business activities. We’ve come up with a checklist to get the ideas flowing and get your 2020 marketing off to the right start!

  • Revisit your marketing plan – If you haven’t in a while, you’ll need to dust off that old marketing plan. Review the initiatives, goals, mission, vision, audience and strategy to see what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.
    • Audience – Consider how your audience may have changed and grown since the last time you really thought about them. What do they need now? What new technology has changed their lives? How can you better communicate with them? Are there any new audiences you would like to reach? Ask a lot of questions and add to your notes.
    • Goals – Consider some goals for 2020 and compare them to the original goals. Are they similar? Have they changed as the audience has aged? Take more notes!
    • Mission and Vision – Do these need to be rewritten? Who can you loop in to help you rewrite or reimagine?

During this process, gather colleagues and stakeholders and bring in your team . They all have something valuable to share and creative ideas you need. Remember to take lots of notes during your review and brainstorming.

  • Consider adding digital or social media advertising – If you haven’t already incorporated Google Ads or social media advertising, consider adding it to your marketing plan to supplement (or replace) print advertising. It’s measurable, inexpensive, and you can set and track goals easily.
  • Revamp your content marketing – Chances are you’ve been blogging and posting to social media as part of your content marketing. Rethink your strategy for the new year and bring video or even a podcast into your repertoire. Make sure you keep your clients and prospects in mind when creating any content. Give them useful information, tips and resources that they can actually use and apply. This infographic brilliantly demonstrates different types of content and where/how they affect your prospects on their buying journey.
  • Consider new giveaways – When was the last time you selected items to gift to your clients and prospects? There are so many creative, fun giveaways out there—be memorable in 2020! Check out some ideas like these sporty backpacks or this adorable foldable fan.

These are just a few ideas to get your creativity flowing for your 2020 marketing strategy. Get in touch with our creative team if you want Pinstripe to help rejuvenate your marketing plan for the new year!

Zodiac Marketer: Libra

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by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Our next zodiac sign is Libra: birthdays between September 23 – October 22.

Libra is an air sign with the strengths: cooperative, diplomatic, social. Libra weaknesses are indecisiveness and self-pity. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

Cooperation in Marketing

Most creative practices are collaborative by nature, so cooperation is key. Cooperation between colleagues, clients, and other stakeholders in the design process leads to a smoother process. However, in marketing for any business, don’t let cooperation be an obstacle to unique, off-the-wall ideas that lead to innovation.

Think of incorporating cooperation in group settings, such as communicating with clients, and with your team, but go rogue with new ideas, brainstorming, and challenging the status quo when appropriate. You don’t always have to be an angel, and you don’t always have to be a rebel! Cooperating and abiding by the rules can hamper creativity, so keep this in mind.

 

Diplomacy in Marketing

You’ll find that relationships with some clients and colleagues will be more challenging than others. You probably won’t naturally “mesh” with everyone. When you find yourself working with someone who rubs you the wrong way (or vice versa), opt for diplomacy.

Think of diplomacy as neutrality, a happy medium, or peace-making. It may be up to you to do the peace-making, which could mean putting your opinions and passions aside for the sake of the relationship or the sake of the project. When you face a situation in which diplomacy is necessary, keep the big picture in mind and set aside your ego. This is where the phrase “be the bigger person” really comes into play and will make your life easier to help move things along without the drama.

 

Being Social in Marketing

To be successful at many businesses and in life, it’s important to be social, to expand your network. This can be very difficult for some people, especially those who consider themselves introverts. Introverts build energy by spending time alone, the classic “me time.” They need lots of it to recharge! I know this well. I am an introvert! But as with anything, practice makes perfect, even for networking.

The more you force yourself to go to networking events, the more you’ll realize several things:

  • There are many people who feel the same way that you do (you’re not alone!)
  • Just relax, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and TRY TO HAVE FUN!
  • Yes, you can have a lot of fun at networking events – as I’ve become more social professionally, I’ve built a network of not just business contacts but good friends!

Being social will do many things for you, personally and professionally. I recommend it to even the shyest of people. In fact, I recommend it especially to the shyest of people, because once you overcome the challenge of networking, you will feel empowered, and that alone will help you grow as a person.

 

Avoid: Indecisiveness in Marketing

Indecision kills many a timeline and budget. If you’re working on a client project, you’ll need to find methods of guiding the client towards decision-making and away from indecision. If you’re working on your project, be confident in your decisions, and stick with them.

This leads to a good point. Indecisiveness is the product of lack of confidence. If you are unsure of yourself and your ability to make the right decision, you will certainly fall into indecision. Practice with mundane things like clothes shopping or picking out an outfit for the day. If you’re pulling out every shirt in your closet every morning, you’re suffering from indecisiveness, and you need to put an end to it so you can spend your valuable time on more important things.

 

Avoid: Self-Pity in Marketing

Self-pity should stay out of marketing, out of business, and out of your personal life! There are fewer things in life as counterproductive as self-pity. This is an obvious one, but many people fall into self-pity when a perceived wrong has been committed against them, sometimes without even knowing it.

Self-pity often leads to seeking pity from others as well, which could result in a circle of gossip and hard feelings. Check your sensitivity at the office door, and if you’re feeling attacked or slighted, examine your intentions and try to reframe the situation more positively, or, as discussed previously in this article, choose to be diplomatic and just let it go. These negative feelings aren’t hurting anyone but you!

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

 

Zodiac Marketer: Virgo

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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!