Free Marketing Advice - 2016

SkyLimit Marketing Logo

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facebook Twitter 

Holiday Season will be but a memory when a new administration leads our country effective January 20th. Many things will change for sure (keyword: Uncertainty). A recent issue of Ad Age takes a crack at the uncertainty issue. I’ve chosen a marketer-centric approach to share some thoughts of my own.

So let’s do a little “Marketer” December Role play. Get prepared for the immediate future.

Ask yourself…what would I do now if…

  1. I’m a marketing decision maker at a Global Company (names like McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Apple come to mind) – The whole issue of trade relations will take on a new meeting. What will this do to affect how I do business? How will these changes affect my brand image in other countries?

I am taking you back to my distant past and an idea that netted me McDonald’s very first Marketing Achievement Award. The concept still works today.

In 1975 my client McDonald’s Restaurants introduced BEAKFAST. They challenged our Boston agency team to come up with a promotion that would impact sales of breakfast entrees. Target audience: men 18-34. Coincidentally, Boston’s Gillette Company introduced a product of their own – the Gillette Good News disposable razor. Target audience: men 18-34. Hmmm.

A match was made in heaven. “Buy a McDonald’s Breakfast Entrée and Get a Free Gillette Good News Disposable Razor”. An amazing New England test resulted in a Spring National Rollout. Gillette produced 23 million razors for this campaign. In less than a year, McDonald’s became America’s number one breakfast restaurant, while the product trial catapulted Gillette to Huge Success in this new category.

One of my favorite marketing topics is the importance of creating, building, and maintaining your BRAND. So let’s talk about it this month.

There is a new book on the market, Kellogg on Branding, by the faculty of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. In my opinion, this is by far the leading institution of higher learning on the topic of marketing, and in this case, branding.

The Foreword by my favorite marketing guru, Philip Kotler (check him out) who asks us to take two steps to help you focus on the challenge of branding your own business (read slowly):

As a long time marketing professional I learn new things every day, combining “doing” with reading the work of experts. My recommended list of gurus includes Peter Drucker (strategic planning); Philip Kotler (marketing); and Jeffery Gitomer (sales).

Gitomer, in his latest weekly blog, covers an interesting question – “how deep is your brand?” He uses amazon as an example of a brand that has automatically become part of our lives. How many of us do “amazon shopping”, comparing retail store prices on our smart phones, and more often than not, make the final purchase decision via “Click it” or “Prime it” and get free 2-day shipping.

If you strive for “brand depth” amazon is the gold standard. They are in the mix for almost any purchase decision.

I have found in my experience that if you’re marketing a small to medium size businesses, marketing funds are precious. But your decisions have to be based on basic planning principles.

One of my favorite resources for this kind of thinking is a book called Duct Tape Marketing, by John Jantsch. He outlines the process in seven practical steps. Here, with brief comments by yours truly, are my top five:

1. Develop Strategy before Tactics – You have to have a clear picture of who you are trying to attract and only make offers that motivate them, Plan your ads, promotions, etc. only after you have a clear picture of needs you will fulfill.

I always keep my antennae up for quotes that trigger thinking. Here’s an example, a quote from Andrea Fishman, BGT Digital Experiences Solutions – “Brands must compete by delivery experiences that matter”. We dwell on this thought for our June Morsel.

Ok. Let’s establish you are the Brand (yes, you). Brand, per my favorite definition, is someone else’s gut feeling about who you are and what you do. So your job is to connect with this “someone else” and provide something that matters to him or her. It fills a need, but it also is a tool for you to establish a relationship. You can’t survive long-term in business unless you have the ability to understand where the other guy is coming from, and to win trust and loyalty every chance you get. When you are constantly sensitive to discovering and understanding needs, it becomes second nature to deal with issues like product or service development or customer service skills. This segues into some key tips to make sure your customer service is at the top of your list when it comes to building relationships that matter.

Ok. We’re in business, and intend to stay in business.

That means you reach your anniversary every year. So how can you turn this inevitable event into a marketing opportunity? Because of a recent project helping a client, I did some homework and share some thinking with you as you contemplate your next one. This is your May Morsel advice.

I found these five planning tips in an article recently published on (one of my “go to” idea resources.) I’ve added my input to them:

1. Give Something Back – You are celebrating your success. It could not have happened without the people you do business with, and the community where you are headquartered. This is a good time to find a local profit or charity organization, and make a donation as a “thank you” to your constituents and your community.

Word of Mouth (WOM) is the most effective form of marketing for a business. It is built on the endorsements of satisfied customers who do business with you and are proud to tell others about you.

That being said, how many of us include an actual WOM PLAN as part of their overall marketing plan? My guess is more don’t than do.

So start your April by examining the topic of WOM. Media advertising, an up-to-date website, a social media presence and glossy brochures are all legitimate tactics; but none are more cost-efficient and effective than good WOM.

In the universe of marketing and advertising agencies, you can actually find companies that specialize in WOM strategies. One prominent firm is Bostonbased BzzzAgent.

1. Look at your product or service from the perspective of my favorite definition of BRAND – “Someone else’s perception of who you are and what you do”. This requires you to think in terms of being the solution to someone else’s problem at all times. In marketing terms, this is called the “consumer-centric” approach.

2. Sometimes BRAND perception depends on the focus your area of expertise. No one is wrong if the thinking takes a consumer-centric point of view.

  • The product manager says it’s the product.
  • The PR consultant says it’s the reputation.
  • The copywriter thinks it’s the tagline.
  • It’s the visual identity insists the graphic artist.
  • The CEO is convinced it’s the culture of the company.

This month’s headline is especially true if you don’t want time to pass you by. If you call yourself a “marketing person”, you live with this challenge every day. The need to maximize today’s technology to communicate one-on-one as effectively as you can, drives us to keep up with advances, Fortunately there are resources available that help. One of my own “go to” learning tools is Fast Company magazine. The editorial team is always on a mission to find the innovators of the world and learn from them. The February 2016 issue is a good example. Check out the insights of Apple, Nike, Facebook, Google and more.

I find the basic attitude of their thinking comes from a consumer-centric point-ofview. In the issue, Rosie O’Neill, co-founder of Sugarfina, suggests that we question our goals. She uses the retail industry as an example. “We have to think of retail as less about a box that sells things and more about a box that brings people together in interesting and creative ways.” Thinking and planning always starts with the challenge presented to us by the end user.

SkyLimit Marketing

SkyLimit Marketing
19 Springhouse Drive
Myerstown, PA 17067

Tel:  (717) 269-0288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Facebook Twitter