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Zodiac Marketer: Capricorn

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by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Our next zodiac sign is Capricorn: birthdays between December 22 – January 19.

Capricorn is an earth sign with the strengths of responsibility and discipline. A couple of Capricon’s weaknesses are speaking in a condescending manner and being a know-it-all. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

Responsibility in Marketing

One of the tenets of marketing is that you are speaking to an audience of some kind or another. When you have this type of reach, the message you send will affect many lives, some of them who haven’t even seen your message. It goes without saying that you have a certain amount of responsibility to communicate a message that does no harm. Communicating honestly and with integrity will ensure that you are publishing a responsible message to your audience. Always consider the consequences of your campaigns and messaging.

Discipline in Marketing

Discipline comes in many forms and can be applied to so many aspects of business and marketing. We are going to focus on just a couple, including discipline in file organization and discipline in checking your work.

Discipline in file organization, you ask? YES! This seems like one of those obvious working items that no one even needs to think about. It is this assumption that creates filing and organization disasters. Even the most well-meaning, organized person can end up on a dark path of procrastination and neglect in filing, which leads to the dissolution of your filing system.

Start a system with intention and strategy and stick to it. In marketing, this is important because you will have a lot of creative files, including design, video and written content. It all needs to stay organized so you can access it when someone needs it.

We still receive calls from clients that we did creative work for a decade ago. They are requesting design files that were misplaced or accidentally deleted. Good thing we’re organized. Part of our service is to make sure that our file system is backed up by the cloud and easy to access.

Checking your work requires patience and discipline as well. This applies not only to project work, but emails you are sending to your colleagues and clients. Review what you’ve written once or twice for punctuation, spelling, and any other errors. People notice when you send something with spelling errors, no punctuation, or no closing. This could be seen as a reflection of your work and/or work ethic. As far as checking your creative work on projects, this should simply be part of your workflow.

Avoid: Condescension in Marketing

This one is so obvious that I almost didn’t include it, but I thought it worthwhile mentioning. Condescension can be an insidious act, one that you don’t even know that you’re committing. Be careful with your marketing messaging; ensure that you are not alienating a group of people with subtle condescension or other offensive content that was not intended to be received that way. We live in a diverse world with people of many different backgrounds—be sensitive and thoughtful with your messaging to avoid losing segments of your audience.

Avoid: Being a Know-it-All

No one likes a know-it-all. But, aside from being unlikable by virtue of thinking they know everything, know-it-alls keep themselves from learning new things and skills. In marketing, this can be detrimental, if not a downright fatal mistake. Learning something new is key to understanding your  industry, business and goals. If you resist learning new information because you’re a know-it-all, you are missing out on all that knowledge that can help elevate your marketing campaigns to new levels. This goes for your clients as well. There is no better way to get to know your client and their industry than listening and learning.

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!

Quick Tips to Stay on Track with Your Marketing Resolutions for 2020

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by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

It’s so easy to lose motivation on those marketing resolutions made in January. Problem is that so many things are working against us that we just can’t keep up. This year, you can change that by using a few tips we’ve learned over the years.

Start by Keeping It Simple

Because resolutions are goals, you have to treat them as such. Small, incremental steps are easier to achieve than big ones. Plus, it’s easier to monitor your progress. Smaller objectives lead to big changes, so plot out each milestone.

TIP: To make your resolution easier to achieve, break it down into objectives and milestones.

Let’s say that your resolution is to improve your digital marketing. Just remember that major changes to any marketing plan or process will take more time, energy and resources. That’s why smaller, more manageable steps will help you stick to your resolution throughout the year.

TIP: Take the time to reflect upon each milestone, so you can make adjustments.

This is simple enough, and you may be doing this already. But, what we fail to do is reflect upon each milestone. How did you get there? What’s next? What needs to change?

Deadlines Are Important to Keep

We all need a little motivation to keep our resolutions. One of the best ways to do that is by setting a deadline and sticking to it. No one likes the word—deadline—but it makes your resolution a priority. Any task, goal, or change without a deadline will get ignored or pushed away for other, more important tasks. Add these deadlines to your calendar.

TIP: Set a deadline to keep yourself motivated.

These are small changes, so the deadline shouldn’t feel like a weight around your neck. A deadline makes it important. Be realistic with your deadlines. If it needs to be adjusted, don’t beat yourself up over it. That just causes more anxiety.

TIP: Be realistic about your deadlines and adjust them when necessary.

Ask for Help

Your support network is critical to your success. Be open and honest with your coworkers and supervisors. This also works as motivation to follow through with your plan because you’ve made it public.

TIP: Let your coworkers and supervisors know about your resolutions.

Letting them know about your resolutions will allow them to serve as a support group, plus it gives you someone to reach out to for help or mentoring. Too often, we feel like we are on our own, which leads to apathy and even anxiety. When you share your struggles and successes, you make the journey that much easier.

TIP: Ask for help when you need it.

This will strengthen your relationships at work and build up resilience within your network. Following through on your resolutions for 2020 will build your confidence and strengthen your skill sets.

At Pinstripe, we strive to improve ourselves every year. That’s what keeps us creative—thinking of new and exciting projects for our clients. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. We are part of your support network, so feel free to reach out to us with any help you need to keep those resolutions.

Zodiac Marketer: Sagittarius

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by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

Our next zodiac sign is Sagittarius: birthdays between November 22 – December 22.

Sagittarius is a fire sign with the strengths: deep, honest and smart. A couple of their weaknesses are impatience and boastfulness. We’ll explore ways these positive and negative traits can be applied or avoided in marketing and business practices.

Depth in Marketing

Depth can take on many meanings. But, let’s take depth in this case to mean emotional depth. Why is that important in marketing and business? Since when do we bring emotion into our work lives?

Emotional intelligence is a language you will be speaking about more and more in the workplace. And, when it comes to creative areas of business like marketing, emotion can play a huge role in reaching your audience and converting them into clients. For example, those Hallmark commercials that bring a little tear to your eye every time? That timeless tactic and its success is the reason they are still using that same approach. The brand pulls at your heartstrings and has for decades. It works! We’re not saying go the super cheesy route, but consider using emotion to your advantage in your marketing campaigns.

Honesty in Marketing

Honesty is the best policy in your marketing campaigns. From professional services to household cleaning products, people crave truth and authenticity in their favorite brands—and rightfully so. Transparency has been withheld for long enough, so give people what they want and what they need.

The best way to use honesty to your advantage is to start with a great product that is worth bragging about. That way when you market that product, you’re not lying! It’s pretty simple, and you won’t have the unethical act of false advertising weigh on your conscience.

Wildness in Marketing

Being wild in marketing and business means taking risks. It could mean choosing to run a new campaign that is outside your normal style or redesigning your website using some of the latest trends in web design. What it doesn’t mean is getting drunk at a holiday social and doing a keg stand or filming yourself doing a stunt to get attention on social media. Wild can be tempered, mature, and professional. Think of wild as a creative stunt rather than a goofy, immature one.

Avoid: Impatience in Marketing

Business leaders and marketers alike should know that patience is a keystone of business. Marketing campaigns take time for the results to come in. Like that Google Ads campaign you just started. You’ll need to give it some time before it starts converting sales. Just started your business? You may not see a substantial profit for a couple of years.

Impatience during the creative process can be a mistake, as well. Creativity takes time. If you want the best from your artists, don’t rush them! Being impatient during these times, at the very least, will make your life miserable. But, worse than that, it could lead to making rash decisions that could be detrimental to your business or campaign.

Avoid: Boasting in Marketing

Okay, so there’s probably a fine line when it comes to boasting in marketing. After all, the very definition of marketing involves touting the highlights of your product or service and demonstrating to the world how awesome you are. But be careful not to go overboard. Try to toe the line between being humble and outright bragging.

If you’re unsure, put yourself in your audience’s shoes. If you were reading, hearing, or seeing the ad, social post, or a promotional piece, would you be rolling your eyes in annoyance? If so, tone it down a bit.

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!

How to Address the Creativity Squashers in Your Organization

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Being creative is not a “luxury that you can’t afford.” It’s not just something for the dreamers, the wanderers, the artists. As a matter of fact, creative marketing is a differentiator, especially with all of the messaging that’s out there. It is essential to the lifeline of your business, and anyone who thinks creativity is a waste of time is certain to fail at business.

 

The Internal Tension

Creative marketing strategies and strategic implementation may create a lot of internal tension during the early stages of development. So many different opinions collide when concepts are presented. These opinions often reflect the internal views of the firm. Any of these sound familiar?

  • We’ve never done it that way!
  • That won’t work.
  • The boss will hate it.
  • Don’t rock the boat.

These opinions are what we call “Creativity Squashers,” and they often hold back the true potential of a great marketing campaign. Unfortunately, none of them address the real problem, and that’s how to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

There are also some preconceived notions about what creative marketing is and how it needs to be handled. Here are some good ones that we hear all the time:

  • We don’t have the budget for it.
  • Let’s sleep on it.
  • It’s not in the plan.
  • There isn’t enough time.

These fail to recognize the need for eye-catching designs and unique concepts that gain more traction with the target market. Plus, you don’t have to spend more money when being creative. You just need to be more aware of what your competition isn’t doing and how you can capitalize on that.

 

Recognize “My” Organization

Creative marketing doesn’t change your firm’s identity, and it won’t require more work. It simply needs readjustment to standard ways of thinking—to step outside the box. To help your firm adjust to new ways of looking at things, you can respond quickly to this negative feedback by using the following techniques.

  1. Ask Open-Ended Questions

You need more information on why their opinion is the way it is. Yes or no answers won’t cut it, so learn how to ask open-ended questions to be more engaging and less adversarial.

  1. Listen Carefully

For this process to work, you need to be in the moment. Don’t let your mind wander and never look at your phone. Details matter, and you’ll need these details to reframe their negative opinions.

  1. Don’t Get Defensive

It’s their opinion, not yours, so don’t get defensive or attack. Most people will see this as a sign of conflict that they want no part of. The moment you get defensive is the moment you lose your opportunity.

  1. Reframe Negative Comments

You’ve listened to their opinions and exactly how they feel. Now, it’s time to transform their thinking and reconsider things in a positive light. Positive reframing is a skill that’s learned, and it will become invaluable to overcoming adversity.

  1. Use Data

It’s time to really drive your point home—to really convince them to change. There’s no better way than pointing to data that supports your argument. Using data is a great way to show changes in the market or consumer attitudes.

  1. Gather Consensus

Having more than one person’s opinion is more substantial and credible. It also shows organizational support. Take the time to bring others in on your side and use their opinions to show consensus.

Respecting everyone’s opinion is important, especially when you believe it’s misplaced.

 

Creativity: A Calculated Risk

Most creative ideas are never implemented. They typically end up on the cutting-room floor because our preconceived notions often get in the way. Creativity takes some risk, but it’s often a calculated risk when you rely on data and trends. Plus, you’re not losing or changing your brand identity to gain more attention. You’re simply trying to stand out from the competition in a crowded market.

At Pinstripe, we have some of the most creative people working for our clients. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. 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 in creative ways. Contact us to tell us more about what a creative campaign would look like for you, and we’ll help you get there.

Zodiac Marketer: Scorpio

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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!