Categories

Recent Posts

Zodiac Marketer: Sagittarius

sagittarius Marketer_featured

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

creativity-squashers_featured

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

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

marketing-automation_featured

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

marketing-plan-checklist-2020

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!