Back to Basics
Updated: Aug 23, 2018
Simple concept: everything involved in getting the word out about your product or service.
Do you need a social influencer? What about a mobile campaign? Is your SEO optimized? What even is a push message? Is your UX on fleek? What about an app?
Like all industries, technology plays a huge role in the marketing world. But having all the bells and whistles available will not guarantee your product will sell or that your service will be seen as better than the next.
People get caught up in the new and fun. Marketers and their clients/employers alike. We all are lured by a fun new application or trend. But that doesn’t mean it is a good fit for your business.
Back to the basics:
Who is your customer?
What solution does your product or service provide to them?
How do you do this better than the competition?
Where does your customer spend their time (so that they will see your messages or product)?
What is your message?
What do your customers actually know about you—or what would they think if they saw your message?
Does your message resonate?
These are the important elements that you have to establish before you begin to decide how to spend your promotional dollars.
Sadly, however, for too many companies out there when we say the word ‘marketing’ they immediately jump to a list of demands they have of a designer like a new website, a newspaper ad, or a billboard on Highway 1. They forget about their customer. Or, perhaps even worse, they forget about their message.
That is where the importance of branding comes in. Establishing your brand addresses these key questions. It is entirely about figuring out who you sell to and what you sell (because, in the end, let’s face it—we are all selling something whether it is our service, our philosophy, or our widget).
Everything about your brand from the colors and words and fonts you use—should be about your customer.
Yellow French fries shaped into a familiar letter form was done to predispose the customer to wanting ‘fries with that’ when they go to their favorite ubiquitous burger joint. It is the built-in subtle upsell before you have even pulled into the drive through. You order knowing that aren’t just going to get a burger—of course you’re going to get a burger AND fries. The letter formed makes an “M”? Hmmmm. What does that burger chain start with? The colors of red and yellow? Red stimulates the appetite and is associated with energy and speed. Yellow makes you happy. Are you hungry? Want something fast that will make you happy? It is a great logo.
Or how about the legal maneuvering to protect the shape of a chocolate drop candy with a patent? You know the one—the little pyramidal squirt with the paper flag on top? This little gem wrapped in foil didn’t patent that shape because it was a manufacturing breakthrough. They patented it because that shape is immediately recognizable from the crowd in a candy shop window. It appears larger than a round or patty-shape (giving the customer a sense of value). It is easy to open (satisfying the customer’s craving more quickly). And that wrapping? Well that makes each individual candy sharable and portable. The affectionate name applied to the shape doesn’t represent smooching lips, but that protected shape with that repetitive, simple, lovable name solidifies that this candy is something you love. It is something you give to those you love, and makes you feel good.
These stories were not lucky mistakes. These were planned marketing moves. The burger joint realized that there was an opportunity to sell more to current customers (increasing sales to a current customer is less expensive than convincing a new customer to dine with you). The candy company was entering a market that had a lot of competition in it. When there is a lot of noise in an environment, you have to find a way to make your message heard.
What is your brand? Does it address customer needs? Do you know what your customer needs or do you just know what you sell?
Product Improvement and Packaging
You have a product. It may be a great one. But is there a need out there for it? Great! You can move forward two spaces. But what if you make a great product and it simply doesn’t seem to move off the shelves?
There are quite a few TV shows that show inventors and investors discussing products. Sometimes the news is good and deal is made. But what makes those shows so addictive is when the investors don’t get on board. That is where we learn the business lessons of the show. The product is too expensive. It isn’t different enough from the competition, or it isn’t defensible enough should competition decide to swoop in. The item is too complicated to sell or too expensive to make.
Do you have these problems? Would knowing what your customers really need and want help you? Would small adjustments make your offering appealing to your audience? That is a marketing basic.
Or, what about your packaging? Maybe you need to find your perfect little tin foil wrap and flag to perfect your already great product. Do you sell upscale cosmetics but your packaging looks cheap? Do you have great copy on your cardboard box but bad photography so the product looks unappealing? (Do you know what they do to all that food to make it camera ready? Believe me—you would NOT want to eat it by the time they are done.)
Packaging is a marketing basic that is so often overlooked. But what good will a great website or sales rep do if it convinces the retailer to carry your product but consumers just walk right past it because they don’t even notice it on the shelves? Ever wonder about the products at the end of grocery store aisles? They aren’t always the best deals. They are the ones who the store wants you to buy that week—either because the manufacturer is compensating them or because they are promoting upsell or cross sell. How about those coveted shelves where your eyes naturally rest at that store. Is that where the deals are? Or is that where you see the most advertised brands and/or colorful price strips? These premium places are well researched and well documented money makers. Smart retailers up their profitability by capturing your attention with the products that serve them best.
This isn’t trickery—it is science.
The same science that has taught stores to put the most expensive items around the outside of the store. Or that tells malls to tune into pleasant light ambient music in public spaces to make us all linger longer. Or that tells us that the smell of baked goods in a home that is on the market, or of perfume in a lingerie store, makes us want to buy and support that item.
Pause here. I have done what I am best known to do—going on far too long! This is a blog after all and chances are you’re ready to be done reading right about now. Tune in next week for Part Two of this epic posting and I will jump right in with proper messaging, marketing mix and budgeting!
Until then, reach out and call BRANDED if you’d like to discuss your brand, your product, or your packaging. We’re happy to discuss the basics or anything more at any time. We are ready to put our decades of experience to work for your organization today.
Calling an expert doesn’t have to be complicated and it shouldn’t be difficult. Consider it a project—not a marriage. Try us for something simple and let us earn your trust for the bigger issues we all have! firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-903-8535.