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Video Tells a Meaningful B2B Company Story

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by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

People prefer watching a video to reading text on a screen. We process visual images faster than text—up to 60,000 times faster—and build strong emotional connections through the combination of sight and sound. What this means is that you can tell your company story quickly and in more meaningful ways when you use video.

 

Think about Your Audience

It’s safe to say that a potential client watching a video about your company is interested in your company. They are already aware of your products and services. The purpose of the video is to move them further down the sales funnel. So, when creating your company story, you want to think about common challenges they face and the value you bring.

Too many times, companies make the mistake of focusing on themselves and their services. Not only is this boring, but it also takes the viewer back up the funnel to where they started.

Your audience needs to know what makes you unique. Your services aren’t the only thing that separates you from your competition. Is it your mission? Your company culture? Or both? Video presents stories about your company through creative and original ways that do more than simply capture a viewer’s attention. It motivates them.

 

Bring It Together in a Story

Your audience wants an honest, authentic story, one they can relate to and believe. At this point in their journey, they are looking for someone they can trust. Good storytelling brings all of this information together in a highly engaging and meaningful way. The more emotionally compelling a story is, the more likely your audience will remember it.

 

How to Start

Two emotionally charged stories can start your video. The first being a story about the deeper reasons why your company does what it does. It has to have a strong “human element” to be engaging. Plus, it highlights your mission and purpose. Just remember that it will work only if the story is unique and not profit-driven.

The other one is about helping a client overcome a major challenge. These are highly relatable, which ignite an emotional connection to the challenges they are currently facing. Case studies focusing on particular clients are a great way to showcase this type of story.

What if you’re a start-up? Or, you don’t have compelling stories to tell? Then, you’ll need to be creative and talk about your vision for the future and how you’ll make their lives better. You can personify the problem or create conflict. There are other ways to bring your story to life.

 

Show, Don’t Tell

You have their attention, now what? Video makes your story creative and unique through the combination of images, motion, and sound. The story should come from what your audience wants to know, so stick to the emotions and values you need to communicate. Resist the urge to talk about yourself. Nobody wants to hear a lecture or a cheesy sales pitch.

 

Think about Platform and Pacing

There are many platforms where your video can appear:

  • Website
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Each one requires different pacing. For example, your website can host a longer video, one that goes beyond two minutes. This requires a slow pace to tell a longer story so you can give an in-depth look at your company. Compare this with an Instagram story or LinkedIn video, which average 30 seconds. With these, you have to get to the point right away and make every second count!

 

Video Production Affects Storytelling

The quality of your video will have an impact on your story and the audience. Good stories have unique settings and compelling speakers. Good stories have seamless transitions, high-quality images, sound, and graphics. You probably don’t have a production team on staff that’s experienced enough to pull all of these together. That’s why you should consider hiring a video production company. Remember, your investment in a professional video will drive more traffic to your website, as well as tell an engaging story.

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their video production needs. We specialize in discovering their 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 video you envision.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

What is Pay Per Click or PPC Marketing?

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by Nikki Devereux, Director of Account Management

In short, if you own a business, it’s something you should be doing! Pay Per Click (PPC) marketing is digital advertising, usually using Google Ads (formerly Google Adwords). Google Ads are the internet’s form of the paid advertisements you find in printed newspapers and magazines.

 

Why Google Ads?

Google search commands the online search market. What did you use the last time you did an internet search? The answer is likely, Google. Therefore, if you’re going to spend your money on PPC advertising, stick with Google Ads for now. It’s the mainstay of pay per click advertising. It’s also made vast improvements to the interface over the years, and as usual, Google is constantly looking for ways to improve the end user’s experience.

 

Who Needs Google Ads?

Everyone who sells a product or service should consider Google Ads as part of their marketing efforts. They can be very inexpensive if executed properly, and the ability to use data to target your audience is priceless. Combined with solid search engine optimization (SEO), Google Ads can increase traffic to your website, at a fraction of the cost of traditional print advertising.

 

What Are Google Ads?

Google Ads can use video content, or they can be text ads. They are brief and to the point, and will contain keywords relevant to the users’ search. They appear on search results pages at the top, the right hand of the page, or the bottom of the search results. They may also appear on other websites, depending on the type of campaign you are creating.

You create a series of text ads using keywords that apply to the product or service you’re offering. Those ads direct your audience to specific pages on your website, called landing pages, designed for the ad. The call to action (CTA) is to the point and achieves the goal of your ad, and the pages are usually quite headfirst.

 

Where Are Google Ads?

First, if you want to set up a Google Ads account, you most likely won’t have a hard time. Anyone with a Gmail account is already halfway there. Google Ads are one of many applications offered in the Google suite – a full list is located in the top right of your Gmail account. Click on the grid of mini white squares.

Second, if you are curious where exactly these Google Ads show up on search pages, chances are you’ve seen them many times. They appear on the first page of search results, either at the top, right, or bottom of the page, depending on their ranking, which is determined by one of Google’s famous algorithms. They have the word “Ad” in a box next to them.

 

How Do I Create a Campaign?

Even though I made all this sound very easy, it’s important to have a strategy in place when you are creating Google Ads. There is no better way to waste money (in any advertising campaign) than to dive in headfirst without a plan. Planning includes competitive and keyword research, building a keyword list, setting goals, and designing landing pages.

Google Ads should be considered an integral part of your marketing strategy. If you are ready to add Google Ads to your digital marketing strategy, get in touch – this is one of the many services Pinstripe Marketing offers.

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!

A Few Tips to Stay Out of the Grammar Slammer

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Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, by Mary Norris

Book review by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

 

In her book, “Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen,” Mary Norris, a long-time copy editor at The New Yorker magazine, has found a way to make reading about grammar interesting and fun.

I know what you’re thinking. How can a book about grammar be fun? Well, it is and especially when she writes about quirky coworkers and famous writers, who argued with her over the use of commas, hyphens, and other grammatical rules. In her book, she tackles big questions, such as when to use a colon or semicolon and devotes entire chapters to spelling, dashes, and other parts of speech that often confound us.

Over the years, I’ve grown to understand most of those rules, committed them to memory, but it’s still frustrating as ever. There are aspects of the English language, especially within our lexicon, that can be mindboggling. Spelling is one of them.

 

Spelling, Ugh!

In grade school, I was a horrible speller and hated diagraming sentences. It didn’t help that English is a rat’s nest of contradictions—exceptions to the rules and phonetic madness. Algebra seemed easier or at least more straight forward than learning parts of speech and punctuation.

 

“The English language is full of words that are just waiting to be misspelled, and the world is full of sticklers, ready to pounce” – Norris

 

Norris points out that “A misspelling can undermine your authority.” This is absolutely true. There really is no excuse for a misspelled word, especially with autocorrect. Yet, spelling mistakes do happen, and homophones are usually the culprit.

Even for the most attuned with this crazy language, spelling can be elusive because we may be a little too confident. While editing a story, Norris admits to changing terrine to tureen. Both are, in a way, similar, but tureen is much more common. “I had a skeptical streak and an ego,” writes Norris. “and at some level I thought that if I had never seen a particular word it didn’t exist.” Confusing one word for another can happen to the smartest of us.

 

“Spelling is the clothing of words” – Norris

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Norris’ telling of historical events that surrounded the orthography of the American dictionary. Samuel Johnson was England’s lexicographer; Noah Webster was America’s. Much of our language today rests upon their efforts centuries ago.

 

That or Which? Who or Whom?

Many writers fall into the trap of using that for which and which for that. It took years for me to understand their proper usage. Their definitions are fairly clear, but according to Norris, and some of the greatest writers of our time, when to use them is more ambiguous. She devotes an entire chapter to deciphering this conundrum through instructing us on what exactly a restrictive clause is, and what an independent one looks like.

The same can be said for who and whom. To know the difference, you’ll need to understand that who is used as a pronoun for “the subject or the predicate nominative, and ‘whom’ when it’s a direct object, an indirect object, or the object of a preposition.” A predicate nominative? The object of what? You’ll understand them better once you’ve read this chapter.

Yes, we should understand the difference and use them properly; however, as Norris points out, there are situations that are not as cut-and-dry as we’d like to think. There is also a movement to use “they” and “their” for a singular-genderless pronoun. My takeaway from these chapters was that we shouldn’t get so down on ourselves if we make a mistake when using pronouns because it’s not as easy as it seems.

 

To Comma or Not to Comma

The serial comma (aka The Oxford comma). Our teachers made sure we use the serial comma or else suffer those dreaded red marks. The Associated Press style guide says it’s okay to leave it out unless it causes confusion. I want to leave this one open for comments because my opinion can be swayed either way.

 

“One test for whether you need commas to set off a group of words is to see whether the sentence will stand without the phrase or clause between the commas” – Norris

 

Norris explains how some of the most famous American authors, specifically Melville and Faulkner, used commas as pauses of breath. “Charles Dickens is a prime example of a writer who punctuates by ear,” writes Norris. They were comma-philic. Their editing skills wouldn’t jive with today’s standards.

 

The Grammar Slammer

Sure, we’ve all read those jumbled sentences and understand what they say, but try that in an email to your CEO. I think not! You’ll end up in the grammar slammer.

While working in a professional environment, your credibility is on the line with each email that you write. There are grammar sticklers everywhere because proper grammar is the foundation of clear and concise communication.

Sometimes ignorance is bliss because the more you learn about grammar, the more complicated it gets. You start second-guessing yourself. You search the internet for a definitive answer on a tricky question, yet come up with too many opinions. Just remember that it’s a learning process, one that lasts a lifetime. Don’t believe me? Then read Norris’ candid book about how grammar has evolved over the centuries and how it may look years from now. I promise you will learn a few things about our language and reinforce your knowledge on things you already know. Plus there are some laugh-out-loud moments. Norris’ book gives us a personal and informative look at the American language in a very unique way that makes it fun and interesting.