Take away Value: Promotional Products

In our last blog we took a look at some of the more traditional physical ways of getting your products in front of audiences and grabbing their attention with balloon displays and window dressing. We’re continuing this theme of real world marketing approaches this month, with a low down on some ideas for giveaway marketing materials.

The first pointer we’d make here is not to be derivative with the choice of materials you create to distribute. Whilst for business to business marketing, perhaps more office oriented freebies such as the traditional go-to option of branded pens might be appropriate, is this going to stick in the memory of a business to consumer audience? It’s likely to be lost and forgotten and unless your business is oriented around stationary then your unlikely to trigger any sort of memory or association in the mind of your audience, which is the real purpose of this marketing strategy.

Tying the giveaway product to your business somehow ought to be a priority in your planning. Have a brainstorm. You’ll be surprised at the variety of marketing products which are available to brand with your logo or messaging. Everything from memory sticks, small toys, booklets bags, gloves, pet products, puzzles and various other novelty items can be found. For inspiration, have a look through the catalogue of a promotional products creator, GoPromotional and OutstandingBranding are two recognised suppliers, but a quick Google search will likely find a more local supplier who’ll be able to guide you through the process.

Promotional Badges

For non governmental organisations, charities and other groups promoting membership for example, pin badges are a good method, allowing people to display their support and creating a public familiarity with the branding of different groups and contributing the awareness drive. This isn’t just an approach to be taken for charities and other organisations. Brands can also benefit from this kind of exposure and with several options for different styles of badge presentation to suit your brand and messaging, from classic button badges to enamel pin badges, you can be sure to find something which is ideal for a giveaway to the public.

Finding your audience

Once you’ve settled on promotional product which properly matches your brand and objectives, the next stage is to settle on a location to give these away where they’ll find a relevant audience. Giveaways in public spaces with heavy footfall is one approach for mass market promotion. If your product or service is more niche however, a more targeted strategy might be required to ensure that your giveaways aren’t wasted. Finding a specialist agency in promotion or product sampling might be a good start and take some of the logistical pressure off getting your product out to the chosen market. This is especially true of those who opt for a product sampling direction.

Otherwise, a good tack is often to target trade shows, conferences and other occasions where relevant audiences are gathered together within the framework of an event. Getting in touch with organisers and offering to contribute free materials to attendees can nail you a winning delivery channel through to your target audience. We’ve all been given a canvas bag with course materials and branded products at the end of a conference or training course and this is a great place to start when targeting select groups.

The lesson here is that whilst getting a good choice and good quality of product made is vital, unless these reach a relevant audience it is money wasted! Both sides of the equation need to be brought together to ensure success.

Marketing Materials for Events- Get Yourself Recognised

There’s an old rule in marketing, that you might have come across before. The rule suggests that a consumer has to see a brand or name seven times before they feel a familiarity enough to buy. This is known as the rule of seven, you can read a little more about it here. Whilst paying for advertising through traditional means is one way to get your name in front of customers whether in a Business to Business or Business to Consumer context, a more efficient way to get your name in front of people who matter is through using marketing materials well in events where you have a captive or passing audience. Eye grabbing branded displays have a gradual and subtle effect in establishing your name and brand with your target groups.

Where does this approach work?

So how about some practical examples of how to implement this approach? Well, a clear example is a trade events or fairs. If you’re a young company especially, this can be a vital opportunity to get your name and brand impressed upon other visitors and displayers. With passing foot fall responding to attention grabbing displays, drawing the eye of visitors and letting them know who you are.

Similarly, this is a great way to attract some attention to shop windows. With the Tour de Yorkshire coming up, Norton and Townsend, a tailors in Ilkley put together the below image in anticipation. This is a great way to grab some attention towards a business and create a conversation. Whilst traditional marketing materials such as balloons are suitable here, for props and other dressing materials for a window display, try a visit to the nearest theatre or playhouse. West Yorkshire Playhouse is a useful Leeds example who rent out materials for displays, photo shoots and window displays.

Window display marketing

What options are there?

Above your stand or display, consider a balloon arch for example. More often than not suppliers will be able not only to brand materials in your colour scheme, but customise them with names and messaging. Look up suppliers in your area, within Leeds many work with Funky Muppet. Balloon lettering is another way to grab attention and help to establish a brand and name familiarity.

Typically, a local supplier will have a wide variety of more specific options for corporate balloon choices. With arches and displays in the shape of a house outline being ideal for an estate agents for example, use your imagination and consider what might best represent your brand or draw the attention of your audience.

Having foot fall and an audience in front of your to target presents a different challenge from reaching them through other channels, but can offer great value for money if you make the most of your presence. An investment in physical marketing materials can pay dividends if you make an impression and stick in the minds of the right people.

The Importance of Marketing in Recruitment

The discipline and industry of marketing and PR are broadly divided into two areas. Business to Consumer marketing and Business to Business marketing. An area of Business to Business (or B to B) marketing that is sometimes overlooked, or rather an advantageous side effect of it, is the way it aids recruitment.

The art of managing your reputation and building your profile within your industry and to other businesses requires a different set of skills and emphasis from selling to consumers and to the public at large. Whilst B to B marketing will enhance the impression that potential clients and partners in the industry will have of you, it also shapes the way you’re considered by the employees of rivals. You need to project the qualities and culture of your company it such marketing materials, not only because this will be a factor in other business’ making decisions on whether they want to work with you, but because an industry is made of up of potential future employees.

If you’re a marketing agency with an emphasis on B to B clients then this is a factor which you need to make the most of when making a case to your clients. In terms of selling the merits of your work, curating a positive impression of your clients business to the industry’s talent pool is often overlooked but actually significant. Most companies you’ll deal with will consider this an element of human resources work, and it might not even be something that an in house marketing team would consider. To them, this is something that a recruitment agency will deal with, rather than a marketing one.

The lesson here is that a good agency in either marketing or recruitment will understand the relationship between the two. If you look at an agency such as Peak Recruitment for example, who specialise by industry and region, an element of their work which they emphasise is the way that they sell the company to the talent pool in their respective industry’s. Enticing the best talent for the top positions, especially for younger company’s requires an element of marketing to really sell the benefits and opportunities of working at your or your client’s company.

Don’t undersell the benefits that your B to B marketing work has on creating a promising and enticing profile of your clients business, not just to the market but to the industry’s top talent, if they want their company to thrive, their reputation amongst industry professionals is the corner stone to their success. Make sure this is another factor you can flag to hit home the quality of service you offer.

The Use of Video in Marketing – Using an Agency

People respond to video. This of course includes your potential customers. This is particularly true online, where studies have found many users are reluctant to read extended pieces of text content. Whilst it may be important for your websites visibility through search engines to have text content on your page, when it comes to real users’ behaviour on your site, video content conveys information quickly, persuasively and keeps them there longer.

Agencies are the Cost Effective Solution

The vast majority of companies won’t have in house teams to put together video content, whether it is for online purposes, on the landing page or home page of a website for example, or whether it is for a broadcast commercial. This is both for reasons of budget (why pay for a team of experts on your wage bill for a whole year when you’re only likely to need them for short periods of it) and also because agencies offer a level of additional expertise having done this so many times before, and likely for clients, or purposes, like yours. This previous knowledge of what’s required to make your video work is part of the expertise that you pay for with an agency, whereas an in house team might not be able to boast experience from working with the breadth of projects.

Using an agency is the cost effective solution for creating tailored video content for your needs, without having to put up the money for a permanent in house team. Depending on your budget, there are also further ways to make your money go further.

Considering the Different Video Options

Many video agencies offer a variety of different services when it comes to the creation and style of the video. Using character animation and motion graphics for example is a very cost effective way of creating video. The reduced cost from camera equipment and editing, lighting and the need for a team either in the studio or on site is noticeable in the price. That’s not to say that all video that use some digital graphics are cheaper.

At the other end of the spectrum is the higher budget option of mixing camera footage with sophisticated animation or computer generated imagery. Some of the more spectacular adverts seen on television feature a mix of footage and animation, with the increase in cost of production largely dictated by the need for more photorealistic imagery to go along side real imagery. Whilst the blend of cartoon style graphics with organic footage might be an interesting look to play with, if the situation isn’t right, it can look incongruous.

Finding the Right Video Agency for your Needs

Ask colleagues or contacts in the industry for recommendations or search for an agency to work with in your area, most cities will have a concentration of video and content agencies to choose from, giving you options to consider and a variety of price points. In Leeds for example, there’s Manto Films , Motiv Productions  and Doodle Direct, who all specialise in creating video content, whether its animated ‘explainer’ videos, or client testimonials or case study films. So have a look at your agencies examples and consider whether the budget options might work for your campaign, or if you might need to invest in a top of the range piece of video.

Uniforms as Marketing? The brand messaging of staff clothing

Even though marketing is a creative industry, we can sometimes be a little closed-minded when it comes to considering exactly what marketing can constitute. Whilst we take for granted all the new facets of marketing and advertising that the 21st century has thrown at us, sometimes going back to the core principles of marketing as communication with the consumer can throw up some interesting new approaches.

Many experts in marketing and branding in particular, will be keen to point out that branding doesn’t simply cover marketing materials, company logos and colour schemes and packaging design. The brand of a company is the culture of the company, and this has to run through everything the company does. This is something that large international names such as Nokia take very seriously.

In this vein of though, a lot of establishments, particularly in the catering and hospitality sectors, invest a great deal of time considering the presentation of staff and what this communicates about the company and brand. This is of great importance in catering and food services in particular, where the reputation of the cleanliness of an establishment is deduced from the appearance of staff. There is an old adage about restaurants that you need to look at how clean the bathroom is to learn about the standard of hygiene throughout the business. The same is true of the appearance of staff. Get this wrong and you’ll put potential customers off eating at your restaurant or staying at your hotel.

So maintaining good standards of presentation is an important place to start when considering the message you’re giving to customers, but the opportunity to communicate your brand through the presentation of staff doesn’t end there. Again, to use an example from the hospitality sector, if you’re running a hotel, considering where the brand of that hotel sits amongst its competitors. Is it a casual modern hotel, is it boutique, is it a corporate hotel with a lot of business and conference guests? Is the hotel traditional? The uniforms of the staff ought to reflect these choices. What is the colour scheme and can your staff uniforms match the scheme? Do your concierge staff wear traditional waistcoats, double breasted suit jackets and pleated trousers or more modern fitting slim suits and flat front trousers? Are your bar staff in shirts and aprons or in branded polo shirts? These are all possibilities to be considered, and everything your staff wear will reflect on your business. As such, many suppliers of uniforms for hotels and restaurants will reflect this variation in what different establishments require from their uniforms. The same principles of marketing and communicating your brand through the stylistic choices you make in your staff’s work wear.

So whilst there may be a great deal of value in looking closely at online marketing materials and channels, social media, viral videos and screen advertising, let’s not forget that one of the key impressions that is made on our customers and potential consumers comes from the staff they deal with, which are the point of contact with the business. Shouldn’t this also be the territory of marketeers and branding experts and not just human resources?

Business Focus #1: Manufacturing & Packaging

We present a series of articies focusing on specialist industries.  Our first is the packaging industry, one which affects so many businesses.

What is contract packing?
http://www.marsdenpackaging.comIf you’re in the early stages of setting up your own business the chances are that you’ll have started to put some thought to how you’re going to package your products as well as to your manufacturing website. The world of packaging can prove to be a minefield for the uninitiated and if you’re feeling a little daunted, hopefully this article will shed some light on the world of contract packing and packaging services.
Contract packing (or co packing) is simply a cover-all term used to describe a range of packaging services, from gift packing for special events, through to hand packing and the assembly of packaged goods into point of sale displays. Contract packing services are offered by a range of professional packing companies based throughout the UK and by knowing which types of packaging services are available; you’ll be well on the way to finding the best packaging for your product.
The services offered by contract packing companies vary hugely according to the size and scope of their operation. However, bagging services are widely offered and involve filling and then sealing pre-printed or clear bags with products such as sweets, crisps or snacks. Bagging can also be used to package a number of smaller items such as toys, safety razors or household items.
You might come across contract packing companies who offer a multi-head weighing service, designed to be used in combination with a bagging service. Highly controllable computerised weighing machines are used to fill and then weigh bags to ensure complete consistency across each bagging ‘run’.
Flow wrapping is a highly cost effective way to pack multiple products together and is often used contain and protect items for insertion in a box or rigid outer-packaging. Flow wrapping is also ideal for wrapping small items for inclusion with larger items – think of the free gifts you often find in boxes of breakfast cereals – and can also be used to package food products or cosmetics.
Shrink wrapping is a way to wrap several items together, either for display or to reduce the risk of damage in transit or from tampering. Shrink wrapping products can also be used to attach a promotional item or a free gift to another item. Overwrapping is used to protect an inner package -usually cardboard – and can help to extend the shelf-life of the product within, whilst also being an effective way to contain the smell of highly scented products or perfume.
Point of sale assembly is a service which can be used to group items together for display, either at a supermarket checkout, on the end of an aisle or mid-shelf, behind a bar or on a counter or customer-service desk. The most widely used form of point of sale packaging is clip-stripping where bagged items are suspended from a plastic strip, ready for sale.
This article covers just some of the wide range of contract packing services available in the UK. If you would like further advice on the most appropriate packaging for your product, why not get in touch with a contract packing company near you? http://www.marsdenpackaging.com offer a nationwide service.

Social Media is here to stay!

http://www.marketingdoctorleeds.co.ukLove it or hate it social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to name but a few, is here to stray. So the old adage “If you can’t beat them, join them” rings true. We asked Social Media Marketing Specialist, Jodie Klein for her top tips to improve how your small business uses Facebook.

1. Spruce up your page
With just a small effort at housekeeping on your Page, you can make a big difference. Make sure that your business information is all up to date, including contact details and hours of business. It’s also a good idea to update your Page’s cover photo. Using either approriate seasonal images or Small Business themed images show that you care about your business and your fans and these little steps let visitors to your page know that it is an active extension of your business.

2. Post regularly
Maintaining a steady rhythm of posts can help keep your business in your customers minds. This is particulalry important in the days leading up to a big event. Be sure to highlight your best merchandise or services, but don’t forget not to restrict yourself to just self-promotional posts. There is great benefit in posting content that gives people some kind of extra value, such as highlighting other great businesses either nearby or taking part in the same event. Sharing interesting and informative content that relates to your business is also important.

3. Create photo and video Page posts
They say a picture tells a thousand words. Posting great photo or video content is an easy way to make your business come alive on Facebook. Photo or video posts generally have good levels of engagement and can become a key part of an ongoing relationship with your customers. If you can combine quirky motion graphics or whiteboard videos (such as these) with your marketing strategy you have the potential to go viral.  Another idea is to create a photo album with images of products that people can preview before coming into the shop, a sort of shop-window. It might be worth appointing a video production company Leeds or UK wide.  Visit manto.tv for more information.

4. Try an Offer
Posting special offers or discounts is a fantastic way of offering your customers even more value. You can start by offering a discount to people that mention Facebook when they come into your shop, or if your a web-based business, people who “Like” your page.

Or, if you’re looking for more reach, you could subscribe to Facebook Offers which make it easy for you to distribute your promotions to an audience beyond your fan base. Redeeming these is simple for your customers too, making them more likely to participate.

5. Boost your important posts
Boosted Posts can help you reach wider audiences with greater accuracy. Simply enter whatever amount you can set aside for the promotion and Facebook will tell you instantly how many people your post will reach. Boosted Posts also has a built in feature which allows you to make sure the right people are seeing your posts. For example, you can direct your posts toward people who live nearby, or to people of the right demographic.

However you choose to use it Facebook is here to stay and with the right amount of effort and input from you, it could seriously improve not onlu how you engage with your customers, but the number of people who come to you.

Are you getting the most out of Twitter?

http://www.manto.tvThe idea behind Twitter is so simple: a great way to connect with clients or customers and get your message across in just 140 characters, Twitter is at the forefront of the social media revolution. However, although Twitter sounds simple, getting to grips with using it and then getting the most out of it can prove to be extremely confusing!
Whether you’re new to the world of Tweets and Twitter or have had an account for some time but feel that you’re not getting the most out of it, there are various things you can do to help you maximise the potential of what can be a powerful marketing tool.
The first thing to do is to fill in your Twitter profile as completely as you possibly can. Don’t try and get away with the bare minimum here: the more effort you put into this, the more success you’ll have and it’s worth bearing in mind that people (potential clients and customers) spend just three seconds deciding whether to follow someone or not. So make sure you what you write is well written.
The icon or image that you choose for your account needs to be good. Don’t use a ‘selfie’ that you’ve taken with your phone! If your business has a logo you should use it but if yours is to be a personal feed, a photo (ideally a professional photo) is the best option. Trust is important on Twitter and if you want to be trusted, respected and followed, you must include a link to your business website or blog. Without this vital link, people are unlikely to follow you.
Next we come to the potentially thorny issue of who to follow and whether to follow them back. When you start out on Twitter the temptation is to follow lots of people at random, organisations etc. However, if you connect with people you find genuinely interesting, friends, anyone connected with your field and organisations you respect, your feed will be of more interest and value to potential clients or customers. Following back is simpler: if someone follows you and you think that what they do seems interesting, following them back is a good way to find out more.
Advice can be found with http://www.marketingdoctorleeds.co.uk or similar UK wide and they will all tell you that Twitter is not the place to try and sell things. When thinking about what to write about, avoid a sales message at all costs. A little occasional promotion about your services every now and then won’t hurt but that’s all it should be: occasional. Telling people a little about you is good, though, and sharing news and views is great. Finding your Twitter voice can take time so try to relax and your ‘voice’ should begin to develop.
Last and by no means least is the question of how often you should Tweet. It doesn’t have to be a daily thing but you do need to make regular appearances. Make sure you keep tabs on what other people are saying about you and if you reply, make sure it’s quickly.

So What is Guerrilla Marketing?

animationSo what is Guerilla marketing and how does it help you marketing via social media?

Guerilla marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results.

The purpose of all marketing is to get the attention of your customers, drawing them away from your competition and converting sales. You probably wouldn’t want crazy marketing stunts to become the normal approach for your brand, but using them on an occasional basis occasionally can be highly fruitful.

Some big global brands have utilised the strategy with great success, but it is an approach which is also highly suited to small business enterprises. Lets take a look at how the big boys played it!

Challenge the competition!

If you’re confident that you have a number one product, you can gain a lot of attention by challenging your competition. Take Mini, the small UK-based car manufacturer. Having already successfully grown their presence in the USA with some outside-the-box marketing techniques, they upped the ante by challenging Porsche to a race. Porsche ultimately denied, making the other car company a winner, having broadcast their invitation on social media and in the press and making a huge deal out of Porsches refusal in the same way; double whammy!

Surprise surprise!

Collaboration paid off for dental hygiene giants Colgate when they appproached a local ice-cream manufacturer with a great marketing idea. They came up with a clever reminder for kids by having sticks shaped like a toothbrush inserted into ice cream bars. As kids licked down to the end, they saw Colgate’s logo and a reminder, “Don’t Forget.” A whimsical message from Colgate and a public service effort by the ice cream maker gave both companies a PR boost.

Deliver Happiness!

An extra special Coca-Cola vending machine was transformed to deliver surprising doses of happiness to unsuspecting university students in New York. The machine dispensed unexpected goodies including flowers, pizzas and sunglasses as well as the expected Coke and Diet Coke. Meanwhile hidden cameras filmed the spontaneous reactions of the campus students. The footage was used to create a video which became a global internet sensation.

Whilst these are examples of big comapnies who already have successful brands, the same approach can work well for smaller comapnies. Perhaps you can uniquely present your product, as one USA washing detergent did by sending out their product wrapped in a t-shirt. Maybe it’s simply about going the extra mile for clients by doing latte art rather than simply pouring lattes. Perhaps you can bind your presentations uniquely in materials which form a gift, or when handing a retail customer a bag, add something special like a ribbon to the handle.

However you go about it you should develop a balanced approach that includes tried and true marketing techniques, while supplementing these with the occasional attention-grabber. Create your crazy marketing plan with demographics in mind so you don’t sacrifice your audience in the process. The ultimate goal of a wild marketing scheme is similar to every other marketing ad…to draw the attention of potential customers and lead them to purchase your product or service.

Email marketing – making it work for you

Ask any marketing consultant in Leeds or UK wide and they will tell you that Email marketing has become an incredibly popular way for small businesses to reach new customers: cheap and very fast, email marketing is a great way to put your marketing message across.
Whilst increasing numbers of small businesses are tapping into email marketing, many are missing the opportunities that email marketing can offer to target their message to the right people at the right time and in the process are missing opportunities to bring in new business.
Email marketing offers a number of advantages over direct mailings: response rates to bulk emails are known to be higher than for direct mailings and results can be easily measured, making the fine-tuning of future campaigns much simpler. Marketing your products or services via email is perfect if you rely on your website for the majority of your business and emails can be used to showcase new products and publicise special offers.
However, when done badly, email marketing can be a disaster and unless you adhere to the watchwords of relevance and responsibility at all times, your email marketing campaigns will simply be seen as annoying spam by potential customers. To avoid this, you must always have permission to get in touch with the recipient of your email and if you want a positive response, your email needs to offer something that is of genuine interest or of value.
Building a database of customer or client email addresses should be the starting point of any email marketing strategy. Permission-based is the key phrase here: make sure your management of the database is vigilant at all times and that you delete the email address of anyone who wants to opt out, so don’t forget to offer an ‘opt-in’ box in your initial contact with them. Your email address database should not only include customer email addresses, finding out as much as you can will make it far easier to ensure that the emails you send them are relevant.
Email marketing databases are much easier to manage if they’re divided up into groups of people with similar interests. This can be done by categorising customers or clients into what they’ve bought in the past – this will enable you to send marketing emails to the right customers. If you sell footwear, for example, a middle-aged man is unlikely to appreciate a discount offer on kids’ wellies.
At this point it is important to note that sending spam emails is against the law; to receive emails from you, your recipient must have ‘opted-in’ and anyone who has registered their details with the Direct Marketing Association’s email preference service must be removed from your contact database.
Every message you send should be relevant and of interest to the recipient; if you send just one or two irrelevant messages and it’s likely that they’ll simply delete your messages or unsubscribe from your list. By all means grab the attention of the recipient but make sure you’re not offering over-exaggerated claims as this is likely to be perceived as spam. Try to keep things simple yet relevant and interesting with a call to action and a reason to respond or click through to your website.
Last and by no means least, make sure you spend time monitoring the response to your emails. This can be done two ways: either with specially designed software or through your internet service provider. You need to know how many of your emails were delivered, how many opted out (best practice is to remove these straight away), and how many recipients clicked through to your website. Remember that the response rate to email marketing campaigns is usually much higher than for other direct marketing methods and if your email is sent to large groups of customers, think about whether you can handle an increase in orders.