The world was such a more beautiful place before the evil “R” word came into all of our lives. Of course, by the “R” word, we mean recession. Unfortunately, both small businesses and major corporations alike have felt the financial pain of the recent recession. News outlets worldwide have reported that marketing and advertising budgets have been the first to be eliminated at many companies and corporations.
Many business owners and CEOs inaccurately identify marketing and advertising as a frivolous side expense in an economic crisis. However, it is extremely crucial to continue to invest in your marketing and promotional materials during an economic recession. Here are some quick ideas to consider when it comes to marketing during a recession.
• Without Customers, You Have No Business – This is an obvious sentiment, but it is deeply important to really consider this fact during an economic recession. Marketing is like gambling: you can indeed invest thousands of dollars, yet finish with no real profit. This is why it is crucial to be confident in your product before attempting to achieve any sales whatsoever. If you have firm confidence in the product you sell, then you should have a firm confidence in the fact that spending money on advertising will have a real turn around.
• Without Advertising, You Have no Customers – It is really important to consider why you ever put money into advertising and marketing in the first place. In a recession, many businesses decide to try and float on word of mouth and current customers, rather than new acquisitions. However, it is crucial to consider what will happen without a constant flow of customers. Word of mouth is only so effective – but it is really vital to continue to acquire new customers regularly to keep your bottom line healthy.
To really effectively budget for an economic recession, be sure to carefully consider what “frivolous” spending is for your business or company. Even putting money aside for something as small as “we’re still here” flyers can give your company a lucrative boost in revenues. At the end of the day, it is important to put enough money aside for marketing materials – even if all you can afford is something small and inexpensive.
Greeting cards are not reserved only for the winter holidays. Whether it is Valentine’s Day or the Fourth of July, each holiday presents a great opportunity to remind both old and new clients that they are never far from your thoughts.
However, it is important to avoid blatantly advertising your company or brand when sending holiday cards. If the recipient gets the impression that you are using a holiday as an excuse to bombard them with advertising, they may begin to view your brand as cheap. Instead, keep some important tips in mind when sending out promotional holiday cards.
• Don’t Excessively Repeat your Name – Don’t excessively repeat your brand name. For example, the card should read, “We would like to wish you and yours a wonderful and joyous holiday season. Sincerely, the Jones Group.” The card shouldn’t read “We here at the Jones Group would like to wish you a joyous holiday. The Jones Group has been in business for thirty years and hopes to enjoy a working relationship with…” Avoid repeatedly naming your company or brand. It reads less like a card and more like a commercial.
• Personalize It – The only way to really be successful at promoting your company or brand through holiday cards is to personalize each card for each recipient – plain and simple. People love to think that they are the special receiver of a unique message, rather than simply one of a thousand on a mailing list. This may not be possible if you indeed do have a thousand names on your company’s holiday list. However, if you can personalize at least a hundred of those cards, you will be amazed at the response you receive.
• Great Design – Don’t blindly select whatever stock holiday card is cheapest for a bulk purchase. Instead, spend a little extra on a truly quality glossy card. The point of these holiday cards is to gain new clients and bring back old ones. Ensure that your card will be regarded as a genuine holiday card, rather than just as junk mail.
When it does finally come time to send winter holiday cards, remember never to name any specific holidays. The point is to appeal to myriad clients, no matter what their backgrounds or personal beliefs.
It doesn’t take a genius to put together a set of marketing materials. However, it does take a genius to create a campaign that is so memorable and breathtaking that it not only interests customers, but captivates them.
Anyone can start a business, but it takes a great mind to truly become a brand. Companies like Apple and Coca-Cola didn’t simply dream up their billion dollar marketing strategies passively; rather, they truly analyzed the best and simplest way to convey their company’s overall message.
A successful marketing strategy is a tricky thing to dream up. However, if you’re savvy enough to attempt it, it can be the best asset you will ever provide your company. Here are some tips on how to make your promotional materials really stand out from the rest.
- So What? In any text that you create, there is always one big question surrounding it: so what? It is important to always keep this question in mind when putting together your promotional materials. You can make a thousand big, vast statements about why your company is superior to all others. But ultimately, the biggest question is why? Why is your business the best? What does it really provide? Anyone can think up a few cheesy ad slogans. It takes a special mind to come up with dialogue that not only promotes your company, but really captures the essence of why it is a great institution. Answer the “so what” question in your marketing materials, and you capture your customers’ attention.
- Flash is Great, But… Great logos, emblems, and designs are great. This is an absolute truth – advertising materials are worthless if they aren’t eye catching. However, be sure not to fall into the trap of compensating for a lack of rich and informative copy with flashy graphics. Make sure that there is worthwhile dialogue to back up your graphics.
- Capture Your Own Enthusiasm – Speak from the heart when it comes to crafting your marketing materials. You entered into your business for a reason, and use this passion to write your copy. Try jotting down some things that you love about the product you sell, and some reasons why you sell it. Afterwards, review the ideas you listed. You may see some great ideas to put in your marketing materials. You have the greatest passion of all for your product; try and capture your own enthusiasm and it will translate to the customer.
Above all else, have fun and be creative! Regardless of the industry, customers appreciate witty, honest, and fun messages.
While New Year’s resolutions may seem like history, don’t fall behind in 2009. Here are the three bright ideas for marketing materials in the New Year.
- Deals and Steals – The economy is not likely to instantly improve just because the number on the calendar has changed. Deals and steals will be a huge concept for marketing in the first quarter of 2009. However, it is important to remember some key concepts when promoting your special deals and savings. Keep the language positive at all times. Avoid mentioning the sour economic climate because all it does is cause the customer to associate your product with something negative. Rather, promote your deals the same way you would have five years ago – simply because it is truly great to save money on a splendid product. This is the approach you should take, saying nothing more, nothing less.
- Go Digital – Technology booms louder and louder every day. Don’t fall behind in the digital era. Make sure that your business or brand has a memorable website, and be sure to include your URL in all marketing materials. But don’t just stop with links to a website. Try sending DVDs rather than flyers to promote your products in 2009. A well made short commercial or demonstrative video is a great advertising tool. This method can be more expensive, but the results will pay for themselves. Think about it: the customer will put the DVD into their player or computer, if for no other reason than for curiosity. Even if they don’t watch it start to finish, they still took the time to take it out of the sleeve and pop it into the player. That is three minutes of them focusing on your brand, versus twenty seconds skimming a flyer.
- Happiness – No matter how you spin it, regardless how depressing the recession is, the world is gradually changing. Our political and economic climate is slowly improving, and people long to be cheerful again. In mid 2009, the trends in marketing will be cheerful, happy, and upbeat. We have been dwelling in doom and gloom for far too long now. It is time to be content again, and your marketing materials should reflect this. Go for bright colors and positive messages, and remind your customers of how just plain fun your product is.
While the economy may not be growing by leaps and bounds, with the right marketing strategies, you can still maintain a healthy and growing bottom line.
Are you gearing up to assemble your next round of promotional materials? We wish you the absolute best of luck, especially where your text and descriptions are concerned. Unfortunately, when it comes to promotional materials, the same mistakes are made over and over again. To avoid becoming a marketing mishap, here are five phrases to eliminate from your promotional materials.
- “We are Among the Best” – Why would you declare your competitors to be your equals, let alone potentially “the best?” Don’t feel the need to censor your overwhelming pride in your business or your brand. Declare yourself the best and nothing less!
- “Despite Popular Belief…” – Avoid sentences that qualify your company’s claims about their quality. For example, you don’t need to preface “Our shoe factory is the state’s best shoe factory” with “Unlike what you may have heard.” Don’t put doubt into your potential clients’ heads. Your promotional materials should leave them believing that they have never felt anything besides enthusiasm for your company or brand.
- “If You’re Not Satisfied…” – Avoid “no” speak. Sentences should always be positive, never negative. Even if you are setting up a money-back guarantee, try to use more positive language. For example, you could state, “Although you will be satisfied, we provide a money-back guarantee for all of our valued customers.”
- “Our Happy Employees” Avoid any text that labels your employees as “hard working” or “content with their jobs.” While your employees may indeed be very industrious and pleased with their careers, they are not Santa’s elves. Using them as marketing tools is dehumanizing, and your clients will pick up on that sentiment.
- “Our Product is Better than Their Product” – While you should certainly identify yourself as the leading resource in your market or field, avoid naming specific companies or products. No one likes a negative gossip, and bashing your competitor can often come across as annoying to potential customers or clients. You can gently hint that your rival companies are inferior, but don’t single anyone out. It’s petty.
If you can avoid these five marketing blunders, your marketing and promotional materials should turn out wonderfully and successfully.