Marketing Is In The Packaging Too

Packaging Leaves a Lasting Impression

Packaging Leaves a Lasting Impression

Is your first impression a positive Lasting Impression?

While we seem to get lots of guidance regarding our “personal” first impression, what seems to be lacking is our first impression regarding presentation opportunities, delivery of special client gifts, sponsorship packages and presentations,  new Board Member guideline packaging, and much more. 

Let’s take a marketing strategy presentation you are putting together for a potential new client.  You and your partners are professionally attired, the conference room is neat and ready, your PowerPoint is flawless….but what differentiates you from your competitor.  Sure, the difference is hopefully within the presentation itself, however, what has captured their attention right at the START. 

You probably spent a whole lot of time, getting yourself presentable and groomed perfectly just prior to the meeting.  Why not treat the presentation itself to a “makeover”.   If you just stapled a few pieces of paper together and have them follow along with your PowerPoint presentation, you have done nothing to capture their immediate attention.  As soon as they walk into that room, your potential customers have to be drawn in by some sort of creativity.  Perhaps those same papers spiral bound in a journal with your company name on it.  How about laminated and held together at the top lefthand corner by a metal ring.  If prefer a binder….make it a full color binder with your company name welcoming the potential client.  Have notepads at each seat that are personalized for each attendee.

When creativity like this is shown, it becomes immediately evident to them that you will go the extra mile for any project they ask you to work on.  As they walk into the conference room, they will be remarking how great the table looks set up to greet them. If they don’t say it, believe me they are thinking it.

Same with sponsorship packages.  Don’t be like everyone else.  Make your package so interesting it will stand out on the potential sponsor’s desk.  You know they get numerous requests and everyone’s multi-tasking these days.  The individuality of your “ask” will put you on top of the pile.  Easiest way to get creative with your sponsorship packages is to come up with a theme.  If it is a get healthy initiative by moving more….tie your sponsorship package with sneaker shoelaces with your name repeating on the laces.  If it is a beautification project, put all your sponsorship materials in a “collapsible” foldable vase that can be brought to a potential sponsor or mailed.   Golf events specifically appeal to sponsors but why choose yours?  Capture their attention by mentioning 18 reasons they should sponsor your golf outing…..BUT printed on a velour Golf Towel.

DON’T FORGET THE PACKAGING!!  It’s powerful.

How Can Promotions Make You Stand Out

Wise Decision-making Helps You Stand-out from the Rest

Spending marketing dollars wisely gets you company recognition and client loyalty.

It is that time of year again where you may be asked to come up with a gift of appreciation for your employees and/or a gratitude gift for some key clients or just an overall gift of appreciation for all your customers.

We all know about budgets, however, a note of caution here….decision-making would best be made on quality NOT price.  Quality CANNOT be sacrificed.  Both of these can be achieved as long as you have engaged the services of a Marketing/Promotions expert that exhibits the following:

  1. Understands each level of client and/or employee you are recognizing
  2. Searches for product that will convey a uniqueness thereby exhibiting a caring thought process
  3. Vendor loyalty by a Promotions specialist will not give you the best chance at highest quality choices
  4. Choices from highest rated vendors.  Vendors are rated from A+ – F. 
  5. Listens to you, communicates directly and doesn’t always say “I can beat anyone’s price!”
  6. Builds a relationship not just sells
  7. Evident that YOU will always come first.  It is always about YOU. 
  8. Follow up after you receive product….is it what you expected?

After you are clearly comfortable with whom you are working, now you can discuss price because it doesn’t matter how little or how much you spend for a promotion or ad specialty.  If it is worthless and poor quality it is your hard earned dollar that was wasted.  A true promotions professional will guide you in the right direction.

If you follow the guidelines above, I am sure your Promotions Budget will be well spent.  You will stand-out among the rest and your client loyalty will be evident.

Retention… Benefit of Attention

Standout from the Rest

Standout From The Rest

We all know, don’t we, that our clients crave our attention and it is our full intention of giving them the attention they deserve.  However, intentions don’t always result in attention which in turn affects retention.

Every client is different and requires a certain amount of nourishing to keep your relationship flourishing.  In order for us to prosper and succeed, we have to value all the experts out there that guide us regarding the importance of retention of clients/customers and what we absolutely must do to achieve this all important goal.

There are some very simple basic guidelines that are worth reviewing:

  1. Truly listen to your clients’ needs
  2. Follow up with them in a timely manner (make sure you understand what their expectations are)
  3. Remember you work for them
  4. Understand their decision-making process
  5. Vary your contact with them; i.e. email, phone, in-person

I would like to address telephone calls separately because I have read some articles that advocate that you could save time and not answer the telephone.  This is so you can call people back on YOUR OWN time.  I view that is very selfish.  My clients time is just as valuable as mine and if we all did that, we would not connect at all.  The problem with that as well is people pick up on that very quickly and you have now jeopardized retention.  You may just stand out if you are accessible and respectful thereby giving your client the attention they deserve.

Businesses built around the philosophy that the customer is worthy of “whatever it takes” also builds an in-house respect for quality service and these companies, even in times of economic downturn, continue to grow.  There is a business culture established that we are in this together.  I’ve seen it!!

Re-examine your marketing strategy to see if you are implementing at least the basics for retention of your clients.  It is so much more costly to seek new clients and build relationships instead of nourishing those that you have at hand.

What are some of the key elements of retention you would like to share?

Social Media Positive Impact

Marketing by DM TV Interview on Social Networking

Social Media ~ It's All Good!!

Marketing by DM recent TV Interview  ~ I was recently asked to share my experiences with Social Media and how it impacted my business.  This TV interview is in 3 segments of approximately 7 minutes each.     

The breakdown is as follows:    

Segment 1 ~ My initial introduction to Social Media, in particular Twitter.  Click Here     Segment 2 ~ Marketing by DM beginning to engage on Twitter.  This segment  Click Here    make references to  Jamie Crager , Anne Deeter Gallaher, Deeter Gallaher Group  , Ford , Howell Marketing , and others.    

Segment 3 ~ Some of Social Media’s most recent impact on a small business such as Marketing by DM and the effects of truly being engaged.  Click Here .  Recommendations made to listeners regarding SMMmagazine   and Harrisburg Social Media Club.     

I was delighted to tell my story and in the end perhaps help others to view Social Media in a positive light.  It is worth the time investment….everything else will come.    

Love to hear your story.    

Think Investment Dollars When Considering Branding Initiatives




Branding Initiative like Promotional Product is an Investment

Branding Initiatives Deserve Investment Dollars


When working with clients on Branding intiatives, whether it is promotional products, events, wearables, connecting with clients and potential clients, missions and/or goals, it is so important to impress upon them the importance of viewing the dollars spent as Investment dollars as opposed to spending, buying or purchasing…or “it’s in the budget”!!


We wouldn’t just take money that was in the budget and invest in any stock because you were ready to purchase.  You would consult an expert, develop some scenarios, consider either short term or long term gain, understand the value as best you can, and make an educated decision.  Well, let’s take that thought process and apply it to Branding intiatives.


Who is your expert…really?


Again, your hard earned dollars would not be put in the hands of just any Investment Advisor, you would get a referral, ask many questions, see if they have earned your trust.  The same holds true when selecting a professional that you are consulting for promotional product.  Are they selling or advising?  Do they only have your interest in mind? They should! What makes them the expert?  This is so important because initially your are investing your time to even meet with them.


Is there a thoughtful discussion regarding what you expect as a return?


Getting to the heart of your needs takes a professional with marketing, PR, and/or branding experience to, what we call, “drill” down (not a popular term nowadays) to your true expectations.  Some rewards may not all be immediate.  Especially when it comes to events.  You should always have an expert that is considering the years ahead that will consistently propel you to the next level.


You are driving the decision…at all times?


Don’t let anyone else Brand you.  Let’s take the example of wearables.  The most popular fabric out there may be recycled polyester, but organic cotton supports your top client’s efforts or yours.  Your expert should be listening to your Branding message and not using their sales skills to get in the driver’s seat and swaying you to use an item that may be from their favorite vendor.  That is only an advantage to you, price-wise, IF you will get the expected return.  That return for the moment may be your top client’s respect and appreciation but we all know with that comes loyalty as a customer.  Besides, we are not at price yet!!  Experts invest a lot of energy in caring about your needs, they pride themselves in giving the best advice first. 


OK…the infamous ROI?


Certainly when we invest in stock we do expect a monetary increase in our original investment.  Upon examination of what you wish to accomplish when it comes to branding initiatives, if you are having a thoughtful discussion, you will conclude that at times the return you expect is greater name awareness, consistency of brand, future loyalty (especially when it comes to events), respect through choices, outreach to potential clients, convey Company positives, personal trust…notice we haven’t even mentioned monetary return but it is there.  The old “hard sales” way of doing things is over….certainly at least for now as I see it.


Bottom line…


So many business professionals are budgeting marketing/promotional/branding dollars and certainly delighted to hear that.  Please be sure your are working with someone that is interested in how your Investment will impact the success of your business.  Just because something is the hottest item, more expensive pen, cool tech item doesn’t mean you can expect a return.  Thoughtful decision-making must be part of initial discussion.

Twitter is the Cashew

    

Cashew and entire fruit

Twitter is the Cashew and Social Media is the Entire Fruit

This is the last of my 5th Anniversary posts.  I will discuss here my 4th and 5th lessons I have learned throughout my five years in business.

4th Lesson:  Always be open to change.  Your Business Plan must be in the NOW. 

5th Lesson:  Position yourself around positive, energetic, enthusiastic business leaders that are going to give you motivational feedback. 

Both these lessons lead me to Social Media and Twitter which is my “cashew”.  Don’t get me wrong.  The entire plant is ALL GOOD but you have to decide which of the Social Media platforms are best for your business.  However, do not discard any of them because just like the Cashew plant here…..whoever may like the nut, would be making a huge mistake not to try the remainder of the delicious plant.

Last year, if I would have listened to most in the Promotional Product industry, who saw no value at all in Twitter, I would have denied myself the pleasure of  connecting with some of the most professional, knowledgeable, sharing, caring, intelligent, authentic business leaders in the Nation.  We must get past the hard sell, what is the immediate ROI in dollars, what’s in it for me in dollar compensation. 

Relationships create an energy that can’t be obtained more effectively than from each other.  Information sharing on Twitter cannot be matched by any other medium out there.  As an example, just recently @SocialNetDaily shared the following on blogging… http://ow.ly/1CB15.  This is packed with valuable information.   Just by this example should we understand what an impact Social Media can have on our business.

I am glad I didn’t get stuck in the 90’s and fortunate that I surrounded myself with leaders who understood the importance of adapting to the fast changing technology world.  Let’s help some of our clients, business colleagues, and entreprenneurs who are still hesitant about getting a taste of Social Media or at least taking a bite of the Cashew.

Have you had some resistance by executives?  What are some of their issues?

Name Awareness Is Serious Business


I’m so shiny and Red….pick me, pick me!!

Choose me please…don’t ask why!

Have you said this… “I/We need a pen” or “I/We need a mug” or how about “I/We need a notepad…maybe sticky notes”?   Now, you may very well like to have these for various reasons but there are so many questions to be answered before you invest in these promotional products….and how many!!

There are over 85,000 promotional products and all too often business executives are not working with a marketing consultant or promotions director when they are in the decision-making process.  No matter what your budget is, there are products that will represent your business more specifically, will have “hang around” time, and will successfully meet your branding goals…..and not just because it is the color of your logo.

Even if it is a tradeshow and you want to spend $.30/piece, a pen is NOT the only answer.   It could be if you are an accountant and you found a nice, smooth writing fine point or a real estate agent and it is a pen with several imprint areas or a corporate law attorney where many documents are signed.  Well you get the picture.  Questions to ask yourself:

  • Where are you giving these out
  • To  whom are you giving them
  • What value do you expect in return
  • Did you look at this promotion from a marketing perspective

In this economy, it is tempting to eliminate name awareness opportunities.  The dictionary says “…..tempt ~ draw into a foolish or wrong course of action“.   Well no one I know is foolish and positive that with the correct guidance would not make a wrong decision.  Consult with a marketing professional with promotions expertise so that you get the direction you need.  A recommendation would be cut-back but don’t cut-out either marketing, PR or promotions…..have to add Social Media as well.   By the way, I have a pen and a mug for retention and leave behind gifts…..very different than give-aways no matter what the event.

Branding Lessons Learned in Childhood

Count Artell, Aristocrat of Magic

Long before Branding was recognized as crucial to continued success, retention and referrals, my Dad, known as “Charlie” to all who knew him well, was practicing the best branding techniques and in turn I was learning.  He didn’t even realize he was teaching me.  Here is how Charlie and Count Artell, the magician, did it:

  • Basically believed everything and everyone was “all good”

Vaguely remember hearing him talking on phone with either agents or customers recommending his competition if he thought his act would not suit the audience as well. He never understood about nationalities either….if you asked him his background, he would say he was an American.

  • Reduce pricing, undersell, underquote a colleague

Also, overheard him many times being asked to “underquote” a colleague….he just would not do it.  Just wasn’t fair to him.

  • Code of Ethics

I am sure everyone knows the “Magician’s Code” and believe me, growing up we took it very seriously.  Kindof the right thing to do.  Growing up I traveled with my Dad to all the conventions and most of his shows.  He and I were buddies.  I learned early on in my youth that holding true to an ethical standard was truly rewarding.  Building TRUST resulted in respect…..and let me tell you Charlie was extremely respected.

  • Customer Service

No matter what….the show must go on.  Count Artell was always polite, upbeat, gave of himself and truly enjoyed pleasing all that came to see him.  Backstage we would only know that he had a cold, or his back was bothering him or we just came through a raging snowstorm….he never transferred his woes on anyone must less his customer.

  • Personal Image

As he got older, he started to get arthritis in his hands and couldn’t do card manipulation as well as he used to.  Instead of dwelling on the negative, he tailored his act with tricks that appealed to his audience just as well because his business (magic) was never about him but about his “customer” (audience).

Bottom Line: We are impacting our youth with everything we do and say.  They may seem as though they are engaged in listening to something else or not listening at all but the fact is they are better at multi-tasking than we ever were.  When I started my own business five years ago, I just knew what my standards would be as a business person but I recently realized, I learned everything from Charlie, Count Artell and my Dad.  In the end he got Alzheimer’s and didn’t even remember he was a magician but he knew me, “D”, and he provided me with  guidance, high standards, caring, accepting, right thing to do and marketing savvy that only a magician can.