Back to Basics: What is your Marketing Objective?

When it comes to this whole marketing thing, do you sometimes feel like you’re in over your head? Maybe you’re new to the “branding” concept? You hear so much talk about “engaging your audience” via Facebook and social media, but are you completely lost in where to even start?

I’m not surprised. Go ahead, just try Googling “marketing ideas.” You’ll get 40,200,000 search results.

Talk about information overload. No wonder most business owners don’t even want to think about their marketing, so they put it off for as long as possible. I’m thinking you need a little direction. Am I right?

I’m gonna level with you – doing it right is not as easy as it looks. That’s why there are millions of professional marketing firms out there. And for the most part, the professionals will do a good job for you. But whether you’re coming up with the creative ideas, or you’re paying someone else to do it for you, you should NEVER go into your own marketing strategy blindly. It’s EXTREMELY important that you get involved. After all, who knows your clients, your product and your company’s needs and goals better than you do?

So before you delve into the details of how often to Tweet and which keywords to base your SEO around, let’s start with the basics. I just want to get your feet wet and get you thinking. Always start by figuring out what your marketing OBJECTIVE is. Everything else will come from there.

What’s your Objective?

1. Awareness – Potential customers must know of, or be reminded of your existence, your location, your product, your price range, and what makes you stand out from the competition

2. Build Contact List – Your mailing list is like gold. It’s what you rely on for promoting any campaign, and it takes a lot of nurturing to build and keep.

3. Get Involved – Your business is not soul-less. Companies are made up of people, and people like to patronize companies that they know go out of their way to help other people. Your company’s positive image reinforces the perception that you are genuinely caring and sharing.

4. Staff Incentives – A cared for and happy team makes for a harmonious, smooth operation. Customers can tell when your employees don’t want to be there. Think about the grouchy, frowning cashier at the supermarket. Make sure your employees feel appreciated!

5. Excitement – This is the kind of energy and excitement that makes you stand out from the competition. This is when you need to turn on your thinking cap and come up with some really creative promotions.

6. Frequency – When you’re trying to be “the place to go.” This is a brand loyalty thing, and keeping them coming as frequently as possible.

7. Publicity – For this one you’ve got to be interesting and newsworthy. Maybe you’re doing BIG things for the community, or you’re doing something so completely out of the box that it’s a story too good to pass up.

8. Generate Traffic - Simply getting people in the door or on the website is your goal here. Contests are great for this! You want to get potential customers to complete some sort of action, whether it’s entering the contest or downloading a form.

9. Branding – Image is everything. Period. If you don’t define your company and your brand, the market will define it for you. And that’s never what you want!

10. Increase Sales – a.k.a. Up-selling – This is every CEO’s favorite! From the sneaky but ingenious psychological tactics (a la putting candy, gum and magazines in the grocery checkout line) to having an in-depth understanding of how your industry works, there are really unlimited opportunities to do this one.

11. Creating Activity - Most industries have their “slow” periods during the year, but that’s not set in stone. This is where you will get creative to make the slow season profitable.

12. Trial Offer – Who’s gonna turn down a free sample? Come on, you’ll love it. This is when you really want to get those potential customers who are living on the edge to finally make the plunge – but without any of the risk.

(Great list compiled by Tom Feltenstein – And if you’re looking for a good book on the basics, try Tom’s “Encyclopedia of 401 Proven Killer Promotional Tactics”)

Neighbor marketing when you’re the new kid in town

When I started high school I didn’t know anybody. Literally, the first day I school I walked through those hollow halls and did not know a single soul. We had moved that summer, to a brand new house in a brand new town and a brand new state. Everyone else around me had known each other since kindergarten. They already had their clicks and social classes established. I was the new kid in high school. I bet you don’t envy me that.

And I don’t regret it a bit. Trust me, being the new kid has its perks. It’s a fresh start. You can create your image and define yourself to your neighbors. You can be whatever you want to be! That’s what I liked about it in high school, and that’s what i like about it still today, as we settle in to our great big new office space in a new neighborhood and new part of town. We get to be the new kids again, and meet a whole new set of neighbors!

I don’t just mean the local businesses near our Columbia office. I mean our new friends who work in the other offices of our complex. I never had trouble making friends back in high school, and things haven’t changed since then. If you’ve ever spent time in our office, you know that we aren’t shy.

So how do we plan on meeting the new neighbors in style? The same way we carry out any serious initiative… By planning an (inexpensive) full campaign around it, of course. What better way to get acquainted to our new surroundings (and network with people who know other people) than to host a “conversations and cocktails” office-warming party.

We’ll share a few drinks and funny stories, compile a list of birthdays,

I can’t even emphasize how important first impressions are. So be excited to be the new kid in town!

Grand Prix is a Boost for Business, but a Pain in the Butt for Baltimoreans

Is the economic boost really worth the HEADACHE for people living in the city?

Crazed drivers high on adrenaline will be speeding through the Baltimore city streets at ridiculous speeds, drafting around sharp turns and probably resulting in several head-on collisions with the wall and other drivers. So what makes this scene different from any other day in Baltimore City? This time it’s sanctioned. It’s Baltimore’s Grand Prix, baby!

In case you haven’t noticed the precariously placed sets of bleachers that have magically erected in the harbor over the last few weeks, and inconvenient road closures that you’ve been swearing at for weeks now, something exciting is coming to town. Exciting, that is, unless you have to navigate anywhere in a hurry this weekend. Even getting to work this morning was a frustrating experience.

The Baltimore Business Journal has already reported about the traffic nightmares today, including Lombard St. traffic halting to a stop during this morning’s rush hour, and creating some cranky commuters. One woman complained about sitting in traffic one block from her office for an hour. That’s enough to drive any rational person way over the edge. Continue reading

Technology Wins – Top 10 Back-to-School Ads

1. Microsoft: PC or Mini Fridge?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uz5OdiXIV1M&feature=player_embedded

As a kid, the end of August was always full of anticipation and excitement – back to school time! I would actually look forward to school shopping – picking out fresh new binders and coordinating folders, setting up each binder with the necessary section dividers for each class. OK, I was a really odd, really organized little kid.

All grown up, and the end of summer is still exciting. It brings back all those familiar feelings of being granted a new opportunity and a fresh start – the world is your oyster.

Back to school is also one of the most important times of the year for brands and retailers. It’s the second-biggest selling season next to the winter holidays! Apparel, shoes, school supplies, technology -with $69 billion in sales to fight over, you better step up your marketing game.

But in an underwhelming ad season, most of the brands in the must-buys (clothing, supplies, etc.) showed up to the game with lack luster enthusiasm. It was by and far left to the technology categories to push the creativity this year – brands including Microsoft, Dell and Best Buy.

“Retailers go into announcement mode, and for the most part those don’t resonate well. Retailers aren’t developing [apparel] creative stories particularly well, and they’re missing out on an opportunity,” said Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix. “What really resonated well this year tended to be tech-oriented. Those ads either had an interesting product or an interesting new message.

Thanks to Ad Age for printing Ace Metrix’s list of top back-to-school ads. Creative effectiveness of ads is ranked by viewer reaction to national TV ads. Here’s the top 5 back-to-school ads…

1. See Microsoft above!

2. JC Penney: Turn your small change into Pennies from Heaven

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_3Kb9yHz4s&feature=player_embedded

Continue reading

The 5 Second Rule

Technically, it’s not the culinary type of mistake that advertisers make; it’s the less palatable kind and spoils easily. Some consumers might even develop an aversion to the stimuli, but that can totally be avoided with the 5 second rule. It’s crucial, it’s vital, it’s necessary and here at MOS Creative we make it delicious once again.

We’ve all heard the expression: “first impressions are usually the correct ones.” Well, this is soo true, especially for the ad world. You have 5 seconds to make the consumer 1) believe that this product will make them or their life better, 2) that they won’t find anything better and 3) their money and time is going to right place.

So how do you do this? Don’t let the value, originality, and creativity fall on the floor.

  • Make it clear
  • Make it fast
  • Make it real

Life is short. Make those seconds count.

You’ve Been A Bad, Bad Ad!

Next month, the FDA will be celebrating the first birthday of their brain child, the Bad Ad Program…

Whaaaat? You mean you’ve never heard of the Bad Ad program? Well, we wouldn’t blame you. Since the program began in May of 2010 there have been over 239 complaints. Nope, not 239,000… but 239 total.

The basic premise of this program is “to educate healthcare providers about the role they can play in helping the agency make sure that prescription drug advertising and promotion is truthful and not misleading” (source: www.fda.gov).

Launched by the FDA’s Division of Drug Marketing, Advertising and Communication, it has commissioned a small secret police, whoops, I mean agency, which takes into account the various sorts of advertising violations. Continue reading

Your Fear of Searching the Mobile Web has a Cure!

Don’t you hate when you’re surfing the web on your mobile phone, but the website does not fit perfectly on your screen? You may have to enlarge it and scroll to read the text, or try and zoom in? Looking at websites on your phone at times is not fun. However, there is a very simple answer to this conundrum. Web2Mobile, Inc. is the nations first mobile software in the United States that allows users build a mobile website in just three steps! Continue reading

Stop. Now read the next two questions.

Who am I? And why am I here?

These are the questions that circled through my mind as I read Ad Age this morning, as has become my habit to do just about every morning.

I especially love the “Small Agency Diary” articles because most of the things they talk about are experiences we’ve all had in the marketing world. It’s like my pals in Ad Age land have been spending time right here in our office.

But all I could think about as I read Derek Walker’s blog post this morning, “Who are you and why are you here?” was how would I answer that question?

It’s such a simple thing. A straightforward and direct request. Who are you? And now that I start to think about it, Derek is right in his point. You go to so many advertisers and marketers’ websites, and you get no idea about who they really are. What is their perspective and their raison d’etre? What do they think is their most powerful offering?

For goodness sakes, give us a little personality! I mean, as marketers we’re supposed to build brands and deliver messages for our clients. If we can’t tell you who we are and why we’re so special, how could you ever trust us with your own company’s image?

So with all of this reflection I digress. I take a step back to the MOS website and take a fresh look at how we represent ourselves as a company, as individuals, as creatives. And again I ask, Who am I? And why am I here?

Finally: Facebook brings you instant ads

Did you update your status recently?

Pay attention to the ads in the right column. You may soon notice an uncanny relevance to your instant desires. No, it’s not the universe giving you a sign. It’s Facebook’s newest advertising platform that is currently in testing (you know, a small study group of only 6 million users or so).

So what’s the big idea? It’s Facebook’s version of intent-based advertising. It basically delivers real-time ads based on your wall posts and status updates.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say you’ve got the munchies and update your status to, “Could really go for some pizza right now! Who’s in?”

You could get an instant ad or a coupon from Domino’s, Papa John’s or Pizza Hut. Continue reading