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Zodiac Marketer: Pisces

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

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

Compassion in Marketing

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

Some examples:

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

Creativity in Marketing

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

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

Intuition in Marketing

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

Avoid: Fear in Marketing

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

Avoid: Playing the Victim in Marketing

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

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

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

Your Best Client is the One You’re With

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You’ve seen the meme. A young couple is walking down the sidewalk and he spins around to take a look at another girl walking by. The meme is funny because … well there is truth in the attraction to something new. The grass appearing to be greener on the other side of the fence. Of course, most of the people reading this article would never behave so atrociously. We would never fail to appreciate the wonderful person we’re already with. Or would we?

How much attention do you devote to your existing customers versus prospects?  It’s very easy to become so focused on new business development that we ignore the great catch right in front of us.

No one likes to feel unappreciated, but rather than sending you a meme (You. Me. New Business.), that customer will more likely decide to finally take that sales call from one of your competitors. And where does that leave you but frantically “wining and dining” a new prospect to bring a new business relationship to the level of the one you just lost.

The good news is that your customers know you have other clients. Our business relationship vs. dating analogy only goes so far, and rational people understand this. Most estimates are that the marketing effort necessary to retain a customer is only about 20% of that needed to land a new account.  Why not resolve to give your current customers at least that minimal amount of attention necessary to keep them satisfied and feeling “loved.”

Now you could assess your marketing budget and say one in five dollars needs to be devoted to existing clients, but it may be just as effective to look at the issue from the standpoint of hours rather than hard currency. Devotion doesn’t have to be measured in cash.

If you think it may be time to put the spark back in your existing relationships, here are a few tips presented as phrases that you’re probably familiar with. (And you’ll notice they aren’t costly at all.)

“How was your day?” Find out what’s new with your customers’ businesses, what changes they’re experiencing, and what trends they see. You may find an opportunity where you can help (or know someone who can – see below).

“You were on my mind.” Reach out to old clients you haven’t heard from in a while. It’s possible they’ve found someone new, but it’s more likely they just haven’t required your services. Ask them the same questions as those directly above to find out what is going on in their worlds. You’ll be surprised how often you hear, “I’ve been meaning to call you.”

“Let’s go out on the town.” For those of us in sales, we spend a lot of time at networking events. Ask your clients to join you and introduce them to the people you know. Networking isn’t always about what you can get, it’s also what you can give. Give the gift of new connections, and your clients will never forget it.

“This made me think of you.” Books, magazine articles, blogs or videos … there are likely dozens of things you read on a weekly basis that could be of interest to your clients. Pass them along.

“Have I told you lately …” We purchase a lot of goods and services in our daily lives — for work and for business. When was the last time you were thanked? A sincere ‘thank you’ or a handwritten note goes a long way.

As long as you are in business to make money it would be ridiculous to “stay true” to just one customer. Unfortunately, what’s expected is even tougher. You need to remain true to all of them. Love the one you’re with.

Public Relations Need to Be Transparent, Like Wonder Woman’s Jet

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Transparency is a very important policy for any public relations campaign. In this article we find a connection between transparency and Wonder Woman’s jet.

According to Wikipedia, it all started with an invisible plane that first appeared in 1942. Over the years, that plane evolved into a jet with the ability to travel almost three times the speed of sound and hover in place to allow for tricky landings. In the TV show, we could see Wonder Woman in her invisible jet depicted as a white wireframe that surrounded her. The symbolism of the invisible jet in the era in which it was born may still be relevant to this day, but today we’ll use it to explain a little bit about public relations.

The Principle of Transparency

Transparency in public relations is about how the public “can see how you got there.” People want to see through the fluff to the heart of the issue, just like we can see through Wonder Woman’s plane to find her and her passengers very much revealed. Bad things happen and often do, but it is how you handle those crisis situations that matters. It’s about openness and your ability to share the right information. This builds trust and makes everything you do visible to the public, so there are no questions or, even worse, insinuations from outsiders looking to mar the company’s reputation when something bad happens.

Building transparency shouldn’t appear contrived or fake, especially during a public relations crisis. Being open and honest about your challenges, as well as forthcoming with information, will demonstrate that you are managing the situation and lessen any damaging effects. Honesty, authenticity and requesting feedback are often used to show transparency. And it’s this transparency principle that builds trust and empathy.

Strategy for Communicating

The general public has become less trusting of advertising and marketing. That’s why it’s important to be honest or you may lose their trust and support.

Truth and honesty create authentic messages. You are being honest and forthcoming when you share your challenges alongside your successes. This humanizes your brand. Whether it’s during a crisis or not, clients can gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on, which allows them to be more forgiving and builds empathy for your situation.

Empathy is a powerful tool to help you gather feedback and build support. Gaining support can protect you against future challenges or repair any damage that may have occurred during a crisis.

Transparent Communications

The rise in social media has made it easier for PR campaigns to be more proactive and honest about challenges. These platforms can carry your authentic message to a larger audience and be a point of light during difficult times. To take advantage of this, make sure to be proactive rather than reactive. Social media is immediate – you must be agile and get ahead of any problems or social media can work against you. A great PR campaign spots potential issues and crises before they happen. Keep pushing out positive, honest messaging on all channels so when anyone searches for your company, they find the good things first, those authentic messages that build trust. It’s these kind of transparent communications that I believe in strongly, because they let others know that you really do care.

 

This article is part of a series on how Wonder Woman inspires our marketing philosophy. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic, so let us know how you feel about it in our comments section below.

 

Truth in Advertising: Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth

wonder woman lasso of truth marketing_news

Few things can heighten the suspense of a cop drama like a good ol’ fashioned lie detector scene. The machine has its tentacles on the perpetrator. A large needle jumps for every spike in their heart rate, confirming what was suspected all along.

William Marston, the co-inventor of the lie detector, went by the pen name Charles Moulton, and was the author of Wonder Woman. A bio-drama about Marston’s life, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, was released in 2017 and shows us how he invented the polygraph and why our favorite super hero uses a lasso of truth.

To Uphold the Law

She didn’t need a gun or a laser beam stare. An unassuming lasso was her weapon and one of the things we remember most about Wonder Woman. With her lariat, she could subdue anyone and force them to tell the truth. She even used it on the good guys, as we saw in the recent Gal Gadot film, because she needed the truth to understand more about what was going on in the world.

Seeking the truth is important for a crime fighter, like Wonder Woman, and it’s also important for marketing. We never want to mislead anyone, because that could have a negative effect on clients and customers. Plus, as an advertising agency, Pinstripe is held to the same laws and standards that dictate how companies are able to advertise their products and services.

Under the Florida Deceptive Trade Practices Laws, it’s illegal to make false claims. Things like bait-and-switch and spreading disinformation are also outlined in this law. Any company caught doing this can face extensive fines for each infraction. It’s best to tell the truth and follow the guidelines within your professional community. This is particularly true for the legal, financial and health care industries.

Just the Facts

Media outlets rely on truth and accuracy in their reporting. As you are probably well aware, they have been tested recently, so they’re getting better at snuffing out potential blowback from their audiences.

Because press releases are branding and credibility tools, it’s important for them to have verifiable facts. Any mistakes made could have the opposite effect. Reporters have an uncanny ability to find a different story than what had been intended, especially when the facts are misrepresented.

Nothing But the Truth

With blogs and social media, the delivery of content has been democratized. The messages we deliver to our audiences are a reflection of our brands and illustrate our knowledge, experience, and thought leadership. So obviously, it is critical that our missives are not only truthful, but unique. There are terabytes of content littered throughout the web, making it increasingly simple to cut and paste bits and pieces to make the job of blogging easier. However, plagiarism makes for a terrible brand image. Original work is truthful work. Think of these messages as having a lasso of truth, making your truth easier for others to see.

This article is part of a series on how Wonder Woman’s inspires our marketing philosophy. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic, so let us know how you feel about it in our comments section below.

Good Customer Service Isn’t That Hard

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Remember when getting something from an online store was a bit of a guessing game? Online shopping has changed quite a lot. And, I can appreciate it even more after a recent experience in a store that went sour.

The Customer Experience

I would say that buying something online has become a good experience, almost to the point where it resembles the in-store experience. Most retail websites provide multiple photos, sizes, dimensions, and weight. Checkout is quick and so is delivery. Plus, they have online reps that can answer quick questions, such as return policies and shipping. I consider this a good experience.

I have more expectations when I go to a store than simply finding what I need. A good sales associate can make a good experience great, simply by being nice (smiles are contagious) and offering suggestions when asked (knowledgeable staff). Going to the store also connects us with the brands we buy.

I think that’s still the difference between the two. The online experience always feel good, while the in-store one can feel great. Except when it’s not great—or even good. In fact, a bad experience makes me wish I had just gone online. A bad in-store experience feels like a bad investment, because my time could have been spent better. No one wants that feeling. This is why good customer service is more important now than ever before.

Good Customer Service

There’s not much to it. We just need to focus on only a few key points to have good service:

  • Friendly service is a must. I don’t want to be ignored and I certainly don’t need any attitude. And, research shows how 70% of all purchases are based on how we feel like we are being treated. Everyone has bad days, but they shouldn’t be taken out on others.
  • Knowledgeable staff that is available to answer questions. Odds are, if I’m asking a question about a product or service, it means I’m not 100% sure of it. So, when I need help, I want someone to be available.
  • Convenient and quick ways to pay. I don’t mind standing in line, but not for too long.

My most recent bad experience while shopping was because of an unfriendly service representative. There’s too much competition out there. Too many choices for me to take my business elsewhere. Their mistake cost them my business and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Be Polite, Be Honest

My bad experience only strengthens my belief in the value of good customer service. We can’t please everyone all of the time, but we can try our best to be nice and helpful. This also extends to managing some common marketing activities, like social media and customer feedback. When replying to customers, be polite, never rude, or misconstrued as rude. The best way to do this is to be honest. Admit mistakes. Provide alternatives. Give the right answer. Resolve problems in a calm manner. Your customers and clients will love you for it. That’s why good customer service goes a long way.