Fresh Marketing Ideas Blog

Caution: Words Scream Louder Than Pictures

March 13th, 2012 | Author: Sandra Guile

Did you get the message? Did you get the email? Did you see what so-and-so said about such-and-so? We feel there is so much to say in so little time, that often the words that are used scream for our attention instead of providing the big picture of what’s going on around us.

I watched in horror a few weeks back as a bus crashed a news conference (literally) following a tragic event where several workers were injured at a construction site. Proper etiquette would have been to back out from the location and park it until the conference was over. Ah, in a perfect world, maybe. In this instance, the driver opted to jump out of the bus and scream to the world about the importance of keeping to the route and what in the world was the press doing there anyway? Read More

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Companies Make That Minimizes the ROI on Their Marketing Investment

Mistake No. 1

Not Developing a Marketing Plan

Think of your marketing plan as the foundation on which your business is built.  It provides the structure to guide your business to growth, profits and success!

Developing an effective marketing plan starts with answering the following questions:

  • What sets your business apart from the competition?
  • What are your goals? These need to be specific, measurable, attainable and realistic within a specified time frame.
  • Who is your target audience, your dream customer? A dream customer is typically your most profitable customer.
  • What are the marketing strategies and tactics to help achieve your goals? Think about what it will take to get the dream customer to want to choose you, then prioritize the most effective tactics to achieve the greatest ROI.
  • What is an appropriate marketing budget? Companies generally allocate 5-15 percent of their revenue for marketing efforts.

Mistake No. 2

 Not Marketing to Your Dream Customer

Sending the right message to the right eyes and ears maximizes your ROI.  Discovering your dream customer’s profile allows you to deliver a strategically targeted message and execute effective marketing strategies.

The first step is to identify your best customer:

  • Define the best customer for the product or service you sell
  • Understand your product or service from the best customer’s perspective
  • Pinpoint your best customer’s motivation when shopping for your product of service
  • Determine your best customer’s buying strategy for your product or service

The second step will allow you to strategically understand how your best customer views your business and its products or services relative to your competition.  This will help you build your consumer story.  Typical areas of focus may include:

  • The perception of your business’s product or service within the competitive landscape.
  • Expectations that your ideal customer target has for others in your industry and an evaluation of how your business competes in that regard.
  • An under met needs assessment to identify potential opportunities for your business.

Ask yourself if you are defining your ideal customer target as effectively as you can and if you know how they perceive your business and products relative to competitors.  Knowing your business’s consumer story is foundational information that is necessary to achieve success with your marketing strategies and tactics.

Mistake No. 3

Ineffectively Communicating Your Brand Story

Your brand story is the communication of the core message of your business to your target customers. There are four elements to an effective brand story – it must be clear, concise, consistent and compelling.  All are required.

Start by identifying your customer’s pain – the need or problem that your business can solve.  Your ability to solve this problem is your unique selling proposition (USP).  This is what you will communicate through your brand story.

The other elements to complete your brand story include:

  • Brand purpose – sharing passionately why the business exists, which is done by making an emotional connection with your targeted customer.
  • Brand promise – what your business delivers.  This is more that just a product or service, it’s the end result a customer derives from interacting with your brand.
  • Brand unique selling proposition (USP) – communicates your business differentiation in the marketplace.
  • Brand tagline – focuses on the brand’s unique selling proposition and serves as the anchor to your brand story, complimenting your marketing communications.
  • Brand authenticity check – the evidence list identifying the reasons to believe in your brand’s unique selling proposition.
  • Brand personality – describes the distinguishing characteristics or scope of your brand.

These elements will drive the communication of your brand story.

Mistake No. 4

Failing to develop emotionally compelling creative that moves people to take action.

It is important to create relevant, original and impactful communications that break through the clutter. In addition, it is critical to make sure the brand message is integrated across all marketing channels both internally and externally…from senior management to employees to vendors to customers.

Mistake No. 5

Missing out on critical information gained by measuring and monitoring your marketing programs

Today it is imperative that brands embrace analytics to understand what’s working. Our team customizes strategies for clients to help make data-driven recommendations for improving ROI. The measurement services and tools can include web analytics, landing pages, digital media analysis, direct response reporting, search engine marketing, phone analytics, traditional media management and goal alignment. Without supporting data, it becomes impossible to know what part of your marketing plan is effective, keeping you in the dark about what to keep in place, modify or eliminate.

Ignoring the Benefits of PR – It’s All Semantics

January 20th, 2012 | Author: Sandra Guile

Text. Email. Tweets. Newswire. Newspaper. Television. No matter how you get your information, chances are there was a little help from a practice that has been in place for thousands of years. Ancient Greeks called it sematikos, meaning semantics or how to get people to believe things and to do things. Eventually this practice translated to public relations.

Now before you ask “why should I even believe in semantics?” Ask yourself, how can I leverage semantics into good public relations? Answer: relevancy, messaging and strategy.

Relevance to a target audience

A good cup of coffee at a terrific mom and pop shop may be a great relevant topic to coffee lovers in your community. The same cup may not be of interest to a sommelier looking for the next best glass of wine. Ok, that’s a bit of a reach for comparison but the point is this: relate to the audience you are trying to reach. If you know your audience, then you know what they want. Now find what similar audiences would want and make it relevant to them. A question to ask is why should they care?


Messaging is by far the most important component. It’s like the subject line of an email. Based on what is written decides whether or not you will open it, read it then act on it or simply send it on its merry way to the delete file. The same concept is true for public relations. The audience will instantly know what they will do or what they are supposed to do if they understand the message. A poorly crafted message leads to well, the trash bin or worse yet, not read or not understood at all.


How many times have you gone to a movie where the character has gotten into a predicament with little to no idea of how to get out of it? Before you start yelling at the screen with helpful solutions, think about your own strategy. You’ve nailed the relevancy, crafted the message and identified the perfect audience. Great – now hit send and hope that whoever reads it will see it the same way you do. In a perfect world, that would work. In today’s world, there are massive numbers of individuals who have a different view and are not afraid to share it – instantly. Anticipate what direction your message will go with the audience you have selected. Good, bad or indifferent, thinking ahead of how to get out of a situation is much better than falling to a “no comment” or worse yet, no response scenario.

Bottom line is, ignoring the power and benefits of public relations is truly semantics but only if you harness it in your favor. To do so is to be relevant, have a clear message and be strategic. The rest is up to the theatre of public opinion.

Beware the Panda!

December 28th, 2011 | Author: Ken Saunders

In late February, 2011, Google released a substantial update to their ranking algorithm, known by many as Panda. This release was aimed at identifying low quality websites, and docking their rankings accordingly. Low quality sites are presumed to be those that have good content for search engines, but not for the user experience (think ‘content farms’). This change reportedly affected about 12% of all websites. So the question is: what can you do to your website to make sure it’s not negatively affected by Panda, or better yet, is positively affected by Panda. Read More

Women are Beginning to Rule Mobile Technology!

This power is beginning to drive trends in the mobile market and is an audience that marketers will not want to ignore!

Women are a growing category of daily users of mobile technology and are adapting it to fit their lifestyle of work, home and social activities. They also control the purchasing power. While they spend about $5 trillion, which is nearly half of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), they participate in 80% of all household purchases.



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