The hidden opportunity in your PDF downloads

Posted on August 12th, 2009 by | Filed under: Integrated Marketing, Investor Relations, Marketing News, Soap Box

If your company is like most these days, you have numerous PDFs on your Web site available for download. With this cost effective and user friendly tactic, many companies are missing the opportunity to let the PDF help close the sale.

Newsletter PDF Download (Toyota Material Handling)

PDF Newsletter (Toyota Material Handling)

Too often, the downloadable PDF is not professionally designed because you’re not investing in offset printing. Such treatment can lead to missed opportunities. When uploading documents in PDF format to your Web site, ask yourself, “What does my audience do with those documents, and are my PDFs doing their job?”

From investor relations to sales collateral, your PDF downloads provide a convenient means for potential buyers and investors to collect the information they seek.  But do those documents rise to the level of your corporate identity? Do they enhance your brand? Do they build your image? Do they sell?

When researching a vendor, product or service, buyers commonly collect downloaded PDFs and spit them out of the office printer for later analysis. Product information, whitepapers, spec sheets, company fact sheets, annual reports – they’re all being downloaded and printed as we speak. While offset printing volumes are being reduced, the office printer is alive and well.

So treat the office printer like another media channel. When your company’s material comes out looking superior to the others in the prospect’s collection, you’ve just jumped to the top of the stack.

User or audience? Tailor your campaign to the behavior

Posted on July 28th, 2009 by | Filed under: Integrated Marketing
B-to-B Trade Ad

B-to-B Trade Ad

You’re about to launch a marketing campaign. You know the creative is on target, you know your message is compelling. You want an integrated, cross-media campaign. So, just take that ad creative and repeat it throughout your media mix and, voilá, we’re integrated! … Right?

A common but costly mistake.

While a good campaign has a distinctive look and memorable hook, the actual message must be optimized for each medium. For example, the most powerful and effective creative for a magazine ad can make for an ineffective email. This is due to the radical changes in audience mindset between the various media experiences.

When I’m paging through a magazine, I welcome ads that entertain and captivate me. If I receive an email with that same message, however, it could be an unwelcome intrusion in my in-box that has no value to me. With the same message, a marketer can score a favorable impression in one medium and completely turn off their target audience in another.

Response-Driven Email

Response-Driven Email

The passive medium of print begs for arresting creative, and in today’s world of shrinking print volumes it may be even more effective than ever. In the participatory world of online media, however, you are speaking to your audience in a completely different social context. The audience is actively engaged. They are in task mode. Social media is where they connect themselves to subjects of interest, and email is where they take action.

Think first about the purpose and context of each medium—Web sites, blogs, magazines, billboards, email, postal mail, T.V., social media—and then ask what value you need to bring to each. In going through this mental exercise, you may spark some promotional ideas that work better in the active media.

Tailoring your campaign for channel behavior can add promotional muscle to your offline efforts, and creative punch to your online communications.

Study: Sustained advertising in a soft economy leads to positive perceptions

Posted on May 25th, 2009 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Marketing News

A new study by Ad-ology shows that a vast majority of consumers view companies that sustained advertising through the recession as “being competitive or committed to doing business.” On the other hand, a given brand’s reduced advertising during a recession negatively impacts consumer perception.

This article makes it clear how, during a soft economy, buyers perceive an obvious pullback of advertising as a warning that a particular brand is probably in trouble, which, in turn, negatively affects the buying decision. A summary of the study’s findings can be found on the research firm’s blog, and the study itself can be purchased through the firm’s Web site.

As the economy shows some mixed signs of stabilization, make sure your company is not being viewed as having pulled your advertising. It is essential for a brand to remain visible throughout a soft economic period.

read more | digg story

When your message is compelling, you’re ahead of the marketing technology curve

Posted on April 30th, 2009 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Soap Box

As the tools of the advertising and marketing trade shift, some marketers may embrace it all with gusto, throwing away the ‘traditional’ models in favor of new media metrics. Some may resist or dread the new tools. Both positions are unwise.

The smart marketer knows:

  • We’re not replacing old channels with new–we’re redefining the roles of all new and traditional channels in the marketing mix.
  • Creative campaigns and branding concepts are essential across all kinds of media.
  • You can get ahead of your competition by bringing some tried-and-true principles to the new media.

Today we have blogs, social media, Webinars, email, and various avenues for making these media work together and talk to each other. However, as many did during the dot-com bubble back in the early 2000s, some get enamored with the technology and forget about the power of fundamental corporate image management and creative marketing campaigns.

When you step into marketing technology tools, don’t forget about the creative. It could jump you ahead of your competition.

Is your marketing plan ready for the upturn?

Posted on March 26th, 2009 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Marketing News

The industrial blogosphere was teeming with very cautious optimism about an economic turnaround somewhere on the distant horizon. An unexpected uptick in durable goods orders in February prompted some such blog entries, like this one posted by Jorina Fontelera, managing editor of ThomasNet, on TN’s Industrial Market Trends blog. The writer rightly cites far more negative indications, noting it’s way too early to get excited.

Whether or not we’ve hit bottom yet, good marketers are asking themselves two questions:

1. Has the recession changed your market and/or your competitors?

2. Will your company or brand be in a good marketing position prior to the rebound? (Is your marketing plan poised?)

If you can’t answer the first question in a half-second, chances are the answer to the second one is “no.”

Great brands strengthen their overall brand position by marketing specifically to the special needs created by the recession.  If your company keeps that mantra, your brand–even your corporate identity–stays present among its audience and fosters good will.

When it comes time for your audience to make buying decisions in the next economy, they will remember the brand who stuck with them when the times were tough.

Email will be an essential tactic in your marketing mix for 2009

Posted on February 2nd, 2009 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Soap Box

If you haven’t gotten serious about email marketing yet, 2009 is the year you will. It has become the cog in the engine of corporate marketing from first response to ongoing customer relationship management.

Whether consumer or business-to-business, email is one of the most critical touch points between a brand and its public. Good email marketing is not a “blast.” Rather, it is relevant and valuable to the recipient. In today’s economy, it’s not enough to push various sales messages out to your public. When done right, email is an effective, rapid way to build brand image and create loyal customers.

Email marketing is most effective when used in tandem with direct mail, Web landing pages, and a CRM system. And in 2009, a challenging economic year, smart marketers will be doing it. Why?

So with everyone trying their hand at email marketing, how can you avoid being lost in the noise? Careful attention to branding and message is the short answer. The following article has appeared on several blogs lately and offers timely tips:

How Can You Make Your Emails Stand Out?

Posted using ShareThis

Newsletters help maintain positive perceptions, stability

Posted on January 23rd, 2009 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Soap Box

Whether in a time of prosperity, a recession, or a tight labor market, never underestimate the power of a newsletter.

Ervin | Bell's redesign of Toyota Material Handling's newsletter. The Fall '08 issue saluted distributors and employees' heroics in the Midwest floods of ealier that year.

Toyota Material Handling's newsletter

These days many successful companies are using a blog, sometimes thought of as modern version of the newsletter. However, a printed newsletter still achieves something the blog cannot: the perception of stability. It’s tangible, powerful, and influences purchasing decisions. That’s why Toyota Material Handling recently hired Ervin | Bell to redesign their newsletter.

In the example shown, Toyota Material Handling saluted the heroics of their employees and distributors during the 2008 Midwest floods. The affect of the printed piece is profound in ways a blog or online presentation cannot achieve.

Blogs, with the added dimensions of search optimization and immediacy, demand a different set of writing styles and conventions. While newsletter content is often usable as blog posts, your blog is generally best used for time-sensitive and more industry-wide relevant material with shorter story length.

Make sure your company is not simply migrating your newsletter content into your blog. They are different media and demand their own specialized style and practices.

An old brand can be the ticket to new market share

Posted on January 23rd, 2009 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Marketing News, Soap Box

Looking for a shortcut to increased market share? If you have opportunity, buy an old brand. Building a dominant brand in any market segment can take decades. In today’s market, some savvy companies are looking for fire-sale prices on old school brands.

The following article shared from tells the story of an entreprenurial company who purchased, of all things, the Gold Bond brand of medicated foot powder. Instead of updating the brand, the company smartly milked the old-school look of the brand and extended it to a myriad of personal care products.

read more | digg story

Essential, affordable branding and marketing tactics during a recession

Posted on December 4th, 2008 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Soap Box

Email marketing can be a highly effective alternative when budgets are tight. When done properly, email is among the most cost-effective methods of enhancing and strengthening your existing client base. When done poorly, however, it can damage your brand.

A well executed email marketing program is the most economical way to market to, and build loyalty with, an existing customer base. But don’t expect to acquire new customers with direct emails from your company lest you be branded a spammer. A good in-house email list cannot be bought, only earned. When you earn it, it becomes a highly valuable asset.

Email lists can be built through advertising (that’s right, the “A” word) on targeted publishers’ online newsletters. This way your message is received via a trusted third party. Compared to print, these advertising products can be quite reasonable and far less costly than paid search. If your ad is well placed and has a compelling message, you can convert new subscribers to your in-house email list.

When budgets are tight, don’t cut the “What,” change the “How”

Posted on December 4th, 2008 by | Filed under: Marketing in a Recession, Soap Box

We often hear we should keep up our marketing activity during a recession to maintain–even improve–our market position. The reality, however, is that leaving your marketing budget intact while making cuts elsewhere is easier said than done, and in most cases it’s just unrealistic.

While all cuts are painful, a cut in the marketing budget is often seen as temporary and therefore livable. But to completely stop marketing activity is to surrender market position to your competitors. Can’t afford to maintain previous budget levels? The savvy thing to do during a recession is to switch to highly economical tactics while maintaining your brand integrity.

Bottom line: If you have to cut back your marketing budget, don’t cut the “What,” change the “How.” We’re in a recession and budgets are thin. Lean, economical marketing tactics executed with your existing brand integrity will protect your market share.