Category Archives: Printing

Marketing is taking your business to the gym

You’re doing it wrong.

OK, well maybe not you, because you’re awesome – but most don’t do it right.

What is that you inquire? Marketing.

It’s interesting to actually think that there are successful business people out there that don’t understand marketing. And I guess I see how these people can think. Especially as  a business owner, it’s incredibly important to look at the balance sheet and try to minimize the not needed expenses. But how do you know it is not needed, and why does it seem like marketing the first on the chopping block?

It’s kind of funny because businesses that say they “don’t do marketing” actually do. Every business does, but they don’t really know it or think of it as such. For instance, word of mouth advertising is even marketing. For some businesses, it’s the ONLY marketing they do. They let their customers tell their story. It’s usually combined with location marketing – or in other words, being in a popular street with a lot of traffic. Only when you add a controlled marketing medium on top of word of mouth advertising, you start controlling the message being said about your company.

Usually the business owners that try to avoid marketing have been burned by it in the past. This is easy to understand. When you market to the masses or use the “spray and pray” method, you usually end up spending a LOT of money, and don’t really have fantastic results because you may be only hitting a small percentage of the target market, and you without any tracking, you have nothing to show for it in the end.

Here’s the key: start small, and start super-targeted.

I once worked for a business that did radio advertising once using “market to the masses” method. They tried it once, and after it was said and done, they said never again. This is too bad, because I think radio is one of the most powerful forms of advertising, if you have the right message targeted to the right audience. Granted it is expensive with the allure of being on the top 40 station because you think “Everyone listens to Katy Perry, therefore everyone will like my brand.” It’s a misguided way to start, and a solid crash and burn when the budget is depleted in the first month. Rather, fine tune your message to a smaller market segment using a lesser known channel that you know your target audience listens to at the non-expensive time time slots once a week or few times a month.

entrepreneurs-and-the-gym

Here’s the second key: Don’t give up.

Marketing is an ongoing activity – much like going to the gym. You don’t go every day for a week straight to walk out on Friday night saying “Yeah, I’m done for good!” No – It’s a starting point. And for some it’s just the beginning, while for others, it’s a great way to stay in shape. It’s your choice.

When you give up on the marketing, that’s when the problems start. Then you usually hear “See, it never really work from the start.” Actually it did, but when you pulled the plug on marketing, that’s when the problems arose.

bigstock-Image-of-strong-businessman-li-54594221-1024x716

The experts say that it takes roughly seven touches for a person being exposed to a brand to become a buyer. Keep that in mind constantly when doing your marketing activities – because each time a prospect is exposed to a brand, whether they see a logo or hear a jingle for your company, it counts. It starts building a story of your company in your prospects minds.

Marketing is storytelling. So tell a GOOD story. Tell YOUR story, and tell it OFTEN!

The Real Value to Being Special

What is the value of being special?

We remember things that are special. Special means important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, important events. All things that we prepare for…. think about what we’re going to wear… etc. It’s what makes it special. Pretty profound huh?

What makes it special is because it is different. It is outside of the norm. It stands out from the hum-drum.

What about business? How does the successful become? How do we not get stuck into the what’s normal and break through to becoming special?

Technology, to me at least, is becoming normal. Very few things really impress me when it comes to marketing from the digital sense. I think it’s because that’s what everyone does. And when I mean everyone, I mean virtually every business in every industry. Technology is the new norm. It makes sense because the internet is unlimited, and more graphics and text or other stuff doesn’t have material costs.

Now I’m not saying you should give up on technology. Don’t shut down your website because you want to be different. But what sorts of things are you doing besides using the norm? Marketing involves interaction. I really enjoy seeing really intricate designed and printed invitations, packaging and other real life stuff (not virtual on screen things created to look like real life things!). Real, clever, and thoughtfully designed packaging not only delivers a product, but it delivers an experience. That is a great thing to use to complement technology.

So it’s not about cost. It’s about value. Value lies in if you want to stand out from your competition. Value lies in if you want to be different. Value lies in being valuable to your customers.

This stuff is the new way to “think different” as Apple would call it.

This is the new way to be special.

 

07a29911ecc8babc434d5eada25cdd04 393a54ae188497f8bc02cf4411522e22 30de4847d8f908bc956afe1959e53574 ef99da8b0867fa170a6b2657e18fb8a1

Long live the poster!

Posters. They’ve been a part of our culture since as long as signage was a part of business. Posters have been captivating our world since the late 1800′s and conveying an ideal, a dream, or a way of life that inspires viewers to buy a product, attend an event, or support a cause.

Posters were probably the first medium that helped to convey an identity. Viewers would see the poster and  say “That is an identity I want to associate myself with.” Whether or not it was true or not with the viewer, it created an archetype in their minds that would have an effect on the products they buy and the lifestyle they would want to live.

640px-Henri_de_Toulouse-Lautrec_049

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec was probably the original most famous poster designers. He created imagery in his posters that was a sign of the high society of cool for the late 1800′s in Paris. His designs started a artistic movement, Art Nouveau, that inspired the world. Soon businesses used the style to promote events to products hoping to capitalize riding the wave of popular culture.

Absinthe-Ducros-Fils-110KB

Later, Jules Chéret and Alphonse Mucha helped propel the form even further with designs that became world famous. As lithography grew to include more vibrant colors, posters from that time became the popular choice for commercial promotion.

guinness-vintage-poster-solopress-design-printing-blog-pint

Today we still see movie posters and band posters and it still has the same effect. They become more than just an advertisement, but they can also become an object of desire itself. Super fans of the shown brand collect the posters, frame them, and display them in shrines all over the world.

uncle-sam   famous-movie-posters-of-all-time-16896

2012_classic_4_portrait      article-2175919-066686640000044D-941_470x661

Some posters bring back memories and think of a time when everything was great. I remember the Ferah Fawcett was hanging in my childhood friend’s woodshop.

farah-fawcett

A truly fascinating medium with a decorated history, posters will always be a definitive hyperbole that has proven power to entertain and captivate. When done right they have the ability to transform the brands that they promote into superstars.

In Printing, The Old Becomes New

How many of you have stuff in the wardrobe that is so old that eventually it comes back into style? I’m sure there is a few of you that ran across this phenomenon.

But if you’re anything like me though, you just can’t seem to wear it again even though it comes back. Maybe it’s the memories associated with the particular item. I have to give it away. Now, if it’s someone else’s used stuff, then game on!

Where am I going with this you ask? Let’s look at the printing industry. Printing has been around for centuries, and let’s be honest, not much has changed a lot in the past four or five hundred years. Sure we have cool new colors and the machines that put the ink on the paper look a little different, but the overall concept remains the same. So where does that leave us?

Enter the digital age. Today, everyone is bombarded by digital advertising, whether it is through an advertisement through an app or a Facebook page or mobile ad or a link through twitter. Well, if you’re like me again, those things can get very easily ignored simply from the sheer quantity of stuff out there. Eventually, nothing looks different. Nothing stands out. Nothing catches your eye… because you’re viewing it through the same 4″ screen.

That’s what excites me about printing. To me, it’s the most valuable advertising mediums, because it lasts. The things that are printed have staying power as though it seems. If something is well designed and has a clever concept, I may just keep it for a while just because I like the cleverness of it. All the while I keep it, that company’s brand image is being tattooed on my brain. Next time I think of that type of product or service, chances are I’ll think of that cleverly designed, printed message.

Beautifully designed brochure

Not only that, but there is a handmade movement happening right now in manufacturing and in the retail setting. People want to know that the stuff they buy is made by real people – not only that, but extremely skilled craftsmen – who have hopes and dreams, and also believe in creating something to the best of their ability.

I know a few press operators that truly believe in producing work at the highest level. They come in pushing buttons and turning dials on sophisticated printing equipment in order to lay that ink on that crazy textured or super glossy paper so your images look perfect. They are seeking the most vibrant colors. Their eyes are tuned to not seeing a picture of a family, but a series of dots with percentages of colors. It’s truly fascinating watching a master at work.

Pressmen operating printing press 1920s

Printed advertising will create a different experience that no digital advertisement can  match. Paper textures, ink colors, and overall size, pages, all create a story. The possibilities are endless. You can take them to a place, a moment when they felt young, or paint an image of something they want to achieve. Plus, viewers probably don’t see printed items as much as they did in years past, so this can be a whole new sense for them.

That is what excites me about the print industry. It’s not ever going away. It becomes more valuable to marketers. It may be changing, but that just means those who take advantage of it will get more out of it.

Focus – The real value in printed communications

This week I’m taking a step away from the Marketing Calendar Planning Series to focus on… well, focusing.

After reading Erin Anderssen’s post “Digital overload: How we are seduced by distraction“, we can see how easy it is to get distracted through apps, iPads, smartphones and perpetual links to an endless internet.

So here’s what I found works for me:

Disconnect. Difficult to do sometimes, yes. I kind of equate it to going to the gym, only mentally. I subscribe to magazines. Books and other forms of printed media (not those e-readers either!) work also.

Printed communcations

For me, there is something extremely enriching about picking up a good book or magazine. I’m not sure about you, but I can get MUCH more out of a written magazine article than an online post. I think this is because when I’m on the internet, I’m usually skimming through material, and not really immersing myself in the writer’s content fully.

Marketers: that is a point that is BIG to consider.

When there are less distractions, you can focus completely. When I put all of your attention to one particular activity, I find I’ll not only retain the information better, but it also means more to me.  I think over time, it actually strengthens your “focusing muscles” so you can focus better.

Connect Fully by Disconnecting

So if I were you, I’d give it a try. Do yourself a favor at times and leave the TV off, and pick up a real book or magazine (with paper pages!)…or even a newspaper. If you incorporate this into your regular routine, who knows – you may rediscover a whole new world.

Marketing Calendar Planning Series: Step 1 – Getting Your Project Off the Ground

When taking the plunge into plugging your business into a marketing mentality, there are a few things to consider:

  1. How to get this project off the ground
  2. How do I bring the message to the audience (brand awareness)
  3. How do I get funding
  4. How do I keep focused on the goal
  5. Analyzing your results

The first four points are what I call the Marketing Fab Four – These are all very important things to consider. The fifth one could take on a life of it’s own. I will go into these as part of my Marketing Calendar Planning Series in the next few  posts.

I know that with myself, I have the hardest time on #4 – staying focused. Actually I find it easiest to launch something or get something off the ground. That’s easy. All you need is the look and a great message and voila – You have a program. But it’s really more than that. A lot more; in fact it can get quite complex. It’s kind of like “Transformers! More than meets the eye!” Oh yes… take me back to the 80′s. Happy times. Good stuff. But … what were we talking about? Oh yeah, the focusing part…

But we’ll start with #1 for today – like I said, we’ll cover these others in the next few posts as part of the Marketing Calendar Planning Series.

1. How to get a Marketing project off of the ground

This is the most fun part about marketing for me. It is the opportunity to really run wild. But let’s take a look at culture. Culture is a fascinating thing. I probably could write an entire blog post on culture itself. For building a campaign, we can take elements as part of our culture and use them in a way for people to relate to.

Sometime around the turn of the century, manufacturers saw benefits of placing names and slogans on products to differentiate theirs from other manufacturers. They began to recognize the way in which consumers were developing relationships with their brands in a social/psychological/anthropological sense. Campbell’s soup was one of the first companies to take advantage of branding.

campbells

Let’s take a look at a real-life example. Seasons are a popular theme. They are common, always changing, and something everyone can relate to. Now we can use this and just run with it by calling it a “Summer Sale” but we’re more creative than that. Let’s try to make this a little more dynamic.

Say you’re an ice cream vendor going to an outdoor film festival at a park. Your event promotions would could look something like this:

ice cream marketing promo

Now this isn’t what the promotion was originally used for. But admit it – it could’ve been cool!

The key is to play up on those familiarities and associations that people can relate to. Combine that with intriguing imagery and illustration from a talented graphic designer and you have yourself something memorable and timeless.

Now that you have your look and theme, it’s time to move on to #2 getting your message to your audience… stay tuned!

Print Marketing Boosts Brands by Bringing the Cool Factor

How many times have you saw a post on social media for an advertisement or product launch and have been less than impressed by the time you’ve been giving it? Me – too many times. The nice thing about social media is that it makes updates really fast and easy, but that much more difficult to leave an impact.

Louis Vitton PackagingRestaurant  Branding / Identity System

When creating a campaign, I prefer doing a multi-channel release – This way it gives many different types of prospects the opportunity to sense the cool factor you’re trying to convey. For me, I’m a very tactile person. I like the touch and the feel of something real in my hands. More and more we’re seeing trends of product packaging and marketing kits with great use of design, color and textures.  Marketing Kits

If the budget allows it, it almost always leaves a longer lasting marketing impact – sure to add to the bottom line.