Posted by Christine Birkner (staff writer for Marketing News), A Simple Plan
From the American Marketing Association
The gulf between B-to-B marketing and B-to-C marketing is getting narrower. While business practices for complex industries and B-to-B services often require formulaic approaches coupled with a great deal of caution, more and more such companies are experimenting with marketing strategies that aren’t so “by the book.” Vendors like Newark/element 14, a Chicago-based electronic components distributor, take cues from Amazon when crafting their e-commerce sites to make them more user-friendly. Others, like Kinvey Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based backend as a service company for mobile app developers, experiment with creative content marketing, producing funny blogs to personalize their brands.
B-to-B marketers are right to simplify, to shake up the status quo and take cues from their B-to-C counterparts, experts say, because although there are distinctions between B-to-B and B-to-C offerings, there are no distinctions between buyers, when it comes down to it. “Every B-to-B customer is also a B-to-C consumer,” says Andy Hoar, senior analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. “They’re comparing their experiences. They’re looking at the B-to-B experience and wondering why, as a rule of thumb, it falls so far short of the B-to-C experience. [B-to-B] companies need to simplify, to re-think how they present things. They do it in a far too complex manner.”
What do you need to consider when searching for integrated marketing?
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Posted by Brad VanAuken, The Blake Project
From the Brand Strategy Insider
Choosing a brand consultant can be tricky. First, you must determine what you are seeking in a brand consultant. Do you want to know how your brand stacks up against competitive alternatives? Are you concerned about an emergent competitor? Has your brand lost its competitive edge? Do you need to reposition your brand? Has your brand’s architecture gotten too complicated? Are you seeking an updated identity? Does your brand need a new tagline? Do you want to create a new marketing campaign? Are you trying to rally employees in support of the brand? Are you trying to create an improved brand building culture within your organization? Do you need to understand your brand’s customers better? Are you looking for ongoing education for your marketers? Be specific and clear about what you are seeking in a brand consultant.
Next, find out what the consultant’s skill sets are. Marketing research? Brand equity measurement? Brand valuation? Marketing strategy formulation? Brand (re)positioning? Brand identity development? Brand plan development? Advertising campaign development? Brand extension? Ask not only for a client list, but also for case studies on the services in which you are most interested. What type of person is the organization mostly comprised of? Brand strategists? Marketing researchers? Graphic artists? Copywriters? Account executives?
And, know this, if the consultant’s tool is primarily a hammer (or copywriting or marketing research) every one of your problems will seem like a nail (or a copy writing exercise or a research exercise) to him or her. People and organizations mostly use the tools with which they are most familiar.
While a list of big name clients can be impressive, ask what project or projects the consultant did for specific clients. Many of the biggest brands have used multiple consultants over time and even in a given year depending on the division or specific need. Sometimes a consultant’s best work may be for a smaller, lesser known client for which there is a greater chance for enterprise-wide impact.
We often are asked if we have extensive experience in category XYZ. Sometimes the same people also want us not to have worked with one of their competitors recently. Other than the pharmaceutical industry, I have found that brand work does not vary much across branded entities, from consumer packaged goods, B2B, healthcare and professional services companies to universities, museums, municipalities and start-ups. While there are some differences, deep knowledge of a specific industry or product category is generally far less important than specific brand consulting knowledge and experience.
A good consultant is good at listening. Have the consultants you are considering feed your situation and issues back to you. The one who has the deepest understanding and insight is the one most likely to do the best job for you. That is probably also the one who asked the most probing questions before crafting a proposal. Watch out for the consultants whose approach is “cookie cutter” – replace the last client’s name with your brand’s name and the proposal is “good to go.”
Client references and testimonials are also very helpful. Don’t hesitate to ask the references detailed questions about their branding projects and the value that the brand consultant added to those projects.
Be wary of large consulting companies that send in their business development “A” team to make the pitch. They will knock your socks off (because that is what they are supposed to do), but you will likely never see those people again. Someone else will be assigned to your project. Make sure you have met the people who will be assigned to your project and especially the day-to-day team leader. That is the person on whose shoulders your project’s success will rest.
I wish you great success in selecting the brand consultant who is right for your brand’s specific needs.
Sponsored By: The Brand Positioning Workshop
by Megan Plaksiy
A recent intern at PeakBiety branding+advertising, Megan Plaksiy, wrote her thesis at the Art Institute of Tampa on sustainable packaging. We found the information interesting and valuable and wanted to share it. Here’s an excerpt.
Packaging in the modern world has changed the way companies focus on sustainability in an effort to minimize their overall carbon footprint. Companies are following the demands of stakeholders and investors, looking to “be green” and “do green,” by decreasing pollutants, lowering their carbon footprints, producing eco-friendly goods, reducing energy use, exploring alternative energy sources, and creating processes that augur for a long-term sustainable enterprise. The term “sustainability” has spilled over to the consumer world, leading to a global movement in reducing carbon emissions and preserving the planet. When searching for a potential company to do business with, consumers will often research the company’s green efforts, selecting the “greener” brand. This is the leading reason why corporations have begun to choose their materials wisely, constantly making sure that their products are as environmentally positive as possible. Eventually, every aspect of modern packaging ends up being impacted by one of the many sustainability precepts. Designers often collaborate on defining the best way to create an environmentally sustainable package.
Traditionally, packaging designers contemplated technical performance, expenses, presentation and regulatory compliance with national and international law when designing a package. Modern designers must now also consider what type of packaging the product will use right down to the materials and their ingredients. What sounds like a simple choice is not an easy task. Just because the designer thinks a certain material would be ideal for a particular product, it does not mean that when the development phase rolls in, the manufacturer will have the necessary resources to purchase such a material or if its attainability is even possible and sustainable at all. To distinguish the significance of design-phase decision-making, packaging professionals measure the environmental effect of their package designs against other common uses and agree thereafter on the best possible solution. Creating a completely and perfectly sustainable product can be very challenging. Every single phase must be considered right from initial idea to final distribution. The challenge of sustainability is that there are so many pieces to the puzzle of what makes a product or material sustainable.
Communication and informational flow play a great role in packaging. Not only does the consumer need to be informed, so do the warehouse and the distribution chain. However, due to the lack of information known about sustainable packaging by designers and businesses, many misconceptions exist. Packaging is considered to be a part of the product through the whole entirety of the supply chain, meaning the design of the packaging influences the information, features, functions, and cost aspect of a product. With this, packaging is an essential part of the product-selling process and is responsible for bearing information to consumers. There is an overload of recycle/sustainable symbols in the industry that are specific to either one particular subject or material. There needs to be a simple approach for designers, businesses, and consumers to differentiate a package’s sustainable metric between countless packages on the shelf today.
Purpose: To educate and inform designers, companies and consumers about the materials and frameworks which are currently in the industry for sustainable packaging, so that designers, companies and consumers are able to clearly distinguish sustainable metric for packaging.
Solution: Produce a manual informing designers, companies and consumers about the sustainable options that are currently available within the industry to educate them about the options available. Include the top sustainable and traditional materials to allow designers to be informed of selection available to them before the implementation stage is encountered. Present case studies about current sustainable packaging solutions that are being developed and implemented in the industry today, to show designers possibilities available to them. A framework for sustainable practice would allow the designer and consumer to quickly acknowledge the sustainable metric when comparing packaging. Showcase sustainable packaging through various advertising platforms such as iAd, will allow information to expand to an increasingly diverse body of users.
Although so much in media changes quickly, after watching this feature we were reminded that third-party borrowed interest techniques (i.e. imaginary characters) still work. Geico’s gecko offers one of the best examples of a more recent popular and memorable icon. The “return” of Mr. Peanut speaks volumes for effectiveness. Often, these icons derive from anthropomorphized versions of real creatures as in the case of the Tony The Tiger, Geico’s gecko and the Trix silly rabbit. Many win us over with a cute and lovable demeanor as in the case of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. What’s not to enjoy?
In the latest issue of Marketing News, Josh Bernoff (VP, Forrester Research and coauthor of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies) asks the question—Is Your Agency Relationship Past Its Expiration Date? He says it’s time for marketers to rethink your agency’s role, and then rethink your own.
Based on a new Forrester report titled “The Future of Agency Relationships”, his premise is that in a stable media era, agencies can specialize. As a result, many marketers have a silo-driven approach to their agency relationships—an advertising or creative agency, an interactive agency, a direct marketing agency, a PR agency, etc. While this approach creates additional effort for brand continuity oversight and often some internal squabbling, it is the price you pay for getting the best experts in each discipline.
According to Forrester Research, that approach works fine for a world where channels are relatively stable, campaigns have a beginning and an end, and customers respond to messages pushed at them. But that stability no longer exists. The number of channels continues to explode – today its Twitter and phone apps, but what will you need tomorrow? As word of mouth becomes more important and push marketing less effective, marketers will need a consistent, long-term relationship with an agency model that is more adaptive and understands the need to think more broadly than the current specialization model provides.
The new Forrester study concludes that with the rise of social media and digital proliferation, we are entering an Adaptive Marketing era. In this era, mass media is no longer the foundation of marketing communication, and will force a change in the expectations of what marketing agencies can and should deliver. Marketers will need agency partners that are more agile, can build long-term relationships with active customers and communities, and can use data to drive real-time decisions. The key needs marketers will require from their agencies are ideas, interaction and intelligence.
Agencies must think about ideas that not only build the brand, but will work across every appropriate platform. Instead of creating an idea and leaving it to the silos to plan and implement, creativity has to be collaborative so that all possible communications get considered at once. And as customers change, marketers and their agency must change along with them.
Agencies must develop a framework for a new level of interaction with customers. Agencies have always been good at outbound messages, but have not played a similar role with inbound interactions. Smart agencies will need to adapt their approach in order to listen to online discussions, identify and connect marketers with their online social community, and build brand experiences that allow for interaction.
Finally, agencies must find ways to monitor and assimilate customer intelligence from multiple channels and be flexible enough to respond quickly to this information. Marketers and their agencies will need a more comprehensive view of quantitative and qualitative information and insights in order to react in real time and across channels to maximize efficiency. The resultant need for even more data than marketers currently have will require a shared role in evaluating and recommending strategies and tactics.
The Forrester report predicts that these changes will have consequences for both parties. Specialty agencies will need to rethink the depth and breadth of their service offering if they expect to meet this new level of need based on ideas, interaction and intelligence. As interactive channels multiply and interactivity and the intelligence it generates become more available, metrics like gross rating points and clicks may go away in favor of more esoteric measurements like energized customers and share of influence.
At the same time, marketers will need to reconsider their own role and a new level of marketing collaboration with their agencies and this will surely require a re-evaluation of the current compensation model. Forrester predicts that successful marketers will need to focus more on long term relationships and on speedy, adaptive actions that take advantage of the fluid nature of consumer attitudes and responses. And if agencies continue to only deliver silo-based expertise rather than ideas, interaction and intelligence, they will soon be replaced by a new agency form that meets this need.
What do you think? Are you satisfied with your current agency service offering, or does this new model sound more appealing to you?
—From the Sound Marketing blog of the Pugent Sound Chapter of the American Marketing Association
by Amy Phillips
The American Advertising Federation (AAF) welcomed Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate and Radical Careering, as a guest speaker at the 2010 AAF Fourth District Annual Conference in Tampa on April 30th, 2010. As members of AAF Tampa Bay, we attended. The presentation and workshop following explored the subject of “fascination” and how it pertains to advertising messages that persuade and captivate.
Sally’s new book, Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation delves into how fascination works in the battle for consumer attention. According to her theory, the seven triggers to fascinate are: power, lust, mystique, prestige, alarm, vice and trust. The book describes these triggers and how they can be activated for a desired response. The author’s thesis is that many of the choices consumers make are not choices at all. She writes, “Our best friends and favorite foods, our pets and pet peeves, all are contingent upon the seven triggers.” She proposes, “We’re in control far less than we fancy ourselves to be, because our behavior is being pulled by seven unseen strings.”
Although an awful lot has been written on the psychology of marketing and related subjects—Seth Godin’s Linchpin, the Heath brothers Made to Stick, as well as several by Malcolm Gladwell to name a few good ones—Sally’s personable, humorous approach and disarming openness stands out. In an industry dominated by men, it’s great to see a woman making her mark as a leader in the field.
Overall, the new book, Fascinate, gives a fresh perspective to the traditional AIDA formula by examining how attention, interest and desire take hold in today’s sensory overload of cluttered advertising messages. What she presents is really an in-depth extension of long-held and practiced beliefs about effective messaging. Connect with people in real, emotional and personal ways, and you will win them over (i.e. fascinate them).
Speaker and author, Sally Hogshead is a brand innovation consultant having worked with clients that include Nike, MINI Cooper, Aflac, Cole Haan, Target, Coca-Cola and Godiva. Her accomplishments and insights have been profiled by The New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and MSNBC. She’s been described by the press as “intrepid” and an “advertising mastermind.” A sought-after speaker, Sally leads keynotes for companies such as Starbucks and Microsoft, as well as innovation sessions around the world. She spent 2006 touring the country as a motivational speaker for CareerBuilder.com.
Pop quiz! What is the most common, yet most easily corrected, mistake small businesses make?
B. Marketing myopia
C. Lack of branding
D. Failure to diversify
A recent article by Steve Strauss, one of the world’s leading small business experts, posed this question.
Based on his experience, Strauss concluded that the answer was C, bad branding. “To understand why, try this little experiment: Think about a major street that you drive down every day, and think about the row upon row of businesses you see on that street. OK, now, quick, which ones do you actually specifically remember?
If you are like most of us, the answer is zero, or maybe one or two, and that is sad, sad, sad. While every one of these small businesses represents someone’s dream, very few of them are actually businesses worth remembering.”
Finding a real difference that resonates with your target audience is hard work. Most businesses never do it—even many larger ones.
Strauss goes on in the article to talk about the importance of a unique value proposition, or what we like to call, a brand promise. It’s what gives your potential customers a clearly defined reason to choose you over the competition. A big part of that is owning a word or value in the consumers mind.
So how do you determine what your brand promise should be? Often, talking to current customers can provide important clues. You also need to understand what prospects are looking for, and study competitors positions to see what, if anything, they have aligned themselves with.
Small businesses can get bigger… the key is managing perceptions.keep looking »