Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A Promotional Item That Spreads Your Message for 12 - 18 Months!

Look around your office. Among the normal work items in my office I see a lot of pens, a case with post-its and post-it flags, a letter opener and a few other items I’ve picked up from vendors over the years.

Most businesses at one time or another use some type of promotional item. Most of them have less than 2 inches of space to squeeze your logo into and you’re lucky if those who choose to keep them will even ever remember whose logo is on them.

Promotional items should have something to do with the business you are in or the event you are sponsoring – USB flash drive for software or IT businesses, water bottle for fundraiser walk/run and so on.

There is one promotional item that would work for any small business. A calendar. Custom design a calendar and include a special targeted message each month. Advertise an upcoming open house ahead of time, and with some strategic pre-planning, add your quarterly promotions and regular events to each month’s page. Include customer testimonials and photos specific to your business.

I know a lot of people use electronic calendars these days, but most people I know also have at least one printed calendar hanging in their home and/or office. Even my teenage daughters use them.

Think about your target audiences and how a 12- to 18-month calendar could benefit them and your business.

Kerry Brooks is Co-owner of ProfessionalEdge Associates, offering a wide range of marketing, event planning and support services to businesses that want to increase their success, but aren't in a position to add to their staff. Learn more at www.gettheprofessionaledge.com.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Marketing in the 90s, 2000s, and Today

My how marketing has changed. Even in the years we’ve been in business, we have seen a tremendous change in the way we help our customers market their products and services. It's difficult to keep up with the changes and to keep ahead of what's to come.
Marketing in the 90s
In the 1990s, marketing was costly. If you had money, and you knew where to spend it wisely, it usually worked for you. The more you spent, the more it worked.
Most small local businesses used the yellow pages as their primary marketing source in the 90s. If you weren’t in the yellow pages, you didn’t exist. Each year you’d sit down with your yellow pages rep and determine how big of an ad you wanted to place (read: how much money you wanted to spend) in order to stand out more than your competition.
Local businesses also used billboards, signage, and newspaper advertising to gain as much exposure as possible. With a little extra money, you could purchase space in a local advertorial and hope to get on the front page.
A little more money bought you radio, television, and magazine marketing.
And, of course, everyone was using direct mail. We mailed post cards, brochures, letters, and more, and they actually got people’s attention.
In the 90s, most companies had a designated PR/press relations staffer who regularly communicated with local media to gain the most exposure. We spent tens of thousands of dollars in hopes of building our brand recognition.
Marketing in the 2000s
The 2000s saw a big swing in how we spent our marketing dollars. With the Internet in full bloom, we concentrated on building web sites and e-commerce sites that would draw people in and give them an opportunity to hang around awhile. We added web site banner ads and Google pay per click ads, and made sure our press releases were published on major web sites.
Email marketing was a weekly or more often occurrence and we added email newsletters to the mix. We dabbled with Internet radio and YouTube in the early 2000s, wrote as many case studies and white papers as possible, and made sure to incorporate customer testimonials into everything.
Marketing Today
Today newspapers are a dying breed, magazines are now ezines, and the PR job title and press releases are becoming extinct. Why do they even print yellow pages and drop them at our doorsteps each year? They go straight to the recycle bin!
For the most part, email replaced direct mail a few years ago, although hand-written notes are making a big comeback, and the post office is making an awkward attempt to re-invent direct mail. We are beginning to see video streaming replace traditional TV and mobile is everything, including advertising on apps for every device. Even trade show attendance is going virtual and Twitter and event apps are adding to sponsorship exposure opportunities at conferences.
Social networks have become THE source for news and information, as well as for meeting new clients and keeping in touch. Your smartest marketing investment now is finding the best way to build and continue to reach your audience. And the investment of time is the most critical investment you can make. The more you put in (strategically of course), the better your return on investment.
Marketing and media strategies for businesses will only continue to change and change at a more rapid rate over the coming years (weeks, days, minutes?). Can you even imagine what your organization’s marketing will look like by 2020?
ProfessionalEdge offers a wide range of marketing and support services to those who want to increase their business success, but are not in a position to add to their staff. They write a regular blog to help businesses navigate the world of marketing and social media along with many other helpful business topics. Connect with ProfessionalEdge at http://www.gettheprofessionaledge.com, follow their blog at http://professionaledgeblog.blogspot.com/, follow them on Twitter @profedge, or connect with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.