Category Archives: Integrated Marketing

Brand Development Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning Uncategorized

S is for Strategy


strategy-f

Strategy First. Creativity Second.

Untitled2As a marketer for the past 25 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to move a client forward. Many clients want to go   straight to the creative but I always insist on establishing the strategy (and the budget) first. Because in the process of building a strategy we learn a lot about each other. Strategic marketing has a lot to do with defining who you are and what makes you different. Once that has been clearly articulated you’re in a better position to determine who your target audiences are. Many businesses do not go through this process. It’s not always easy. And even tougher if you have partners because what one person sees as the unique selling proposition is not always agreed to by the other parties. Gaining consensus is critical to building a strategy that will motor you forward. A lot of good stuff comes from this process. Everyone gets on the same page. You know who you are better than before and you’ve clearly identified your Brand Promise. You are focused on your goals and have a plan designed to get you there. All of this good stuff becomes the foundation for the creative ways you communicate your value proposition to the people who care.

So remember, strategy first.


Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Integrated Marketing

Q is for Quiet


quiet

Follow Your Own Voice.

phasdfasfoto 3So many companies vying for your attention makes the world a very noisy place. Sometimes, as marketers, we need to take a step back, get quiet and remember what we stand for. The most powerful brands are simple and really know what they stand for. Nike. Apple. Google. BMW. Disney. We all know who they are and what they mean to us. That’s the power of good branding backed up with ingenious ad campaigns and really smart integrated marketing strategy.

If you’re a business owner, or looking to expand your business, shhh. Take some time out. Think about what you stand for and write down, in five words or less, what you bring to your  customers. This will become the core of your Brand strategy and you’ll want to use it on everything you do to communicate who you are and what you offer to the world. True, it’s easier said than done. Just be quiet and trust your inner voice. It’s almost always right.

 

Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning

O is for Open


open

Essential Marketing for New Businesses.

ujujFew things can compare to the thrill of preparing to open a new business. It’s exhilarating and nerve-wracking all at the same time. There are so many decisions to make about the space, the displays, the prices, the merchandise, the services, the staff, the experience you want your new customers to have. The months leading up to opening a new business are likely to be remembered as some of your most exciting times ever. You find yourself leaping out of bed each morning and staying up late as you cross off and add new things to your to-do list. Good stuff.

So often, though, what is not considered is BRAND MARKETING. It’s usually not even in the budget. So many passionate entrepreneurs are dreamy in their visions of success. As they should be. But, the whole “if you build it they will come” concept doesn’t work so well in the bright light of day after you’ve officially opened your doors and are waiting for the phone to ring. The line out the door that you envisioned rarely happens on its own.

Opening a new business is like dating, in many ways. You have to understand what it is you’re offering. You have to understand who’s going to like what you offer. You want to try to look your best. You have to know what you will,  and will not, put up with. (Not all clients/customers are good for you.) And, you can’t expect great things will happen by simply being open. On the other hand, having absolute faith and knowing that miracles do happen won’t cut it either.

So what’s an excited/exhausted new business owner to do? Take a hint from our savvy clients who opened a new yoga studio about a year ago. This dynamic duo was courageous and smart. They had dreamed and they had planned. And when the right space showed up, they jumped in with all four feet. And, from the beginning, they knew they needed a strong marketing strategy. Lucky for them, they turned to us. Lucky for us, they were not afraid to invest in marketing. They already saw the value in it, and knew they had to find a way to distinguish themselves with memorable branding. To articulate a new and unique offering required a professional perspective — and together we hit it out of the park. If you’re considering, about to, or have recently opened a new business, please use the power of brand marketing to propel your vision into a profitable reality.

 

Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Copywriting Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning Uncategorized

N is for Novice


novice

Experience Gets It Done.

kkkkkkWe hosted our annual Holiday party last week, which by the way was also our 5th Anniversary celebration and an outstanding evening. While DARCI CREATIVE is still a relatively young business, I’m what you might call a “seasoned vet.” Having dedicated my professional career to helping businesses establish a strong marketplace position for nearly 25 years, I have a trick or two up my sleeve. That brings me to this past Sunday’s New England Patriots game. The Pats played the Broncos and I was introduced to the lightening rod that is Tim Tebow. I was fascinated, as, it seems, is most of the Nation.

So I did a little research. Tim Tebow was born on August 14, 1987. He’s a Leo. And still so young. But, a really good kid who plays football and does everything else in his life for God. Noble. And great fodder for the media. Tom Brady, our man here in New England, was born on August 3, 1977. Also a Leo and a bit more private about his spirituality. Brady’s got 10 years on Tebow, and has faced a lot more adversity than the current NFL ‘It Boy’. For those of you who are not fans of astrology let me explain to you that Leo’s love the limelight. They thrive on being in the spotlight. Leo’s symbol is a lion — which makes them proud warriors and born leaders. (Bill and Hilary Clinton are both Leos, btw.) So these two handsome guys are really well-matched from a psychological standpoint. The difference is experience.

Like a lot of inexperienced players (read: all individuals who are new to something – like marketing) they’ve got drive, they’ve got spirit, and like the familiar cheer goes: “if they can’t do it no one can!” So Tebow was on fire out of the gate. He was in love with his life, in love with that moment, and you could see in his eyes, he was sure he was going to win. But guess what? Tom Brady knew more. With his classic, calm focus, he was determined to find a way to get it done. And that’s just what he did play by play.

I’m not great at sports analogies — because I just don’t know enough about sports to be witty and relevant — but this match-up struck me. It was palpable the way that Brady led the Pats to victory and that Tebow had the talent but not the know-how. I watched a video of Tim’s and in it he said, “I’m a big fan of saying ‘hard work beats talent where talent doesn’t work as hard'”.

How does this relate to Brand Marketing?  I think the key here is that talent + hard work + experience = victory.

It’s like this. After 25 years in the field I know things. Yes, I’ve got talent or I wouldn’t have survived this long in such a competitive arena. And yes, Tim, I’ve worked hard. Really hard. But it’s the focus and strategy that wins the game. Many clients are kind of like Tebow. They’ve got enthusiasm for what they do. They believe in their mission. And, (when it comes to marketing) they are often guilty of committing a bit of hubris, which is a Greek word meaning excessive pride. This leads them to believe that they know more than they do in a field where they have very little experience. If you’re searching for a way to boost your business, hire the experienced pros.

Our job is to nurture the enthusiasm and tame the beast. Let us make the strategic decisions even if you don’t like them — because experience plus talent gets the win. Oh, and on Sunday, December 18th? New England Patriots 41, Denver Broncos 23. Boom.

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning

K is for Kick-Ass Creative


kick-ass-creative

Creative Marketing
fuktukkk

What drives success? Well, when it comes to marketing I feel it’s a split between intelligent strategic planning and kick-ass creative. After many years in the field I’ve crossed paths with shops who have a primary strength in one area or the other. Some are whiz bangs at strategic planning but lack any real creative flair, and others are all about the creative with little interest in strategy. You need both.

Of course, the creative is the fun part. But it’s a lot like life, really. You can be creative with the way you dress, or decorate your home, or pick up chicks — whatever. But, you still have to clean the house, pay the bills and plan for the future.

A lot of people may think that Branding is all about being creative, but the best brands are driven first by the strategy. Take this example that we did for our Physical Therapy client.

We developed the Brand position of “Get Going.” and in this piece we created a look and feels that’s all about movement. The best part? When the client saw the online flash ad we developed as part of this campaign, he wrote back: “This is kick-ass.” Moral of the story? Live creatively and be smart about it.

 

Brand Marketing Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning

D is for Diddly Squat


diddly-squat

How to Get Marketing Results.

photfgsdfgo 3So many times when I meet with a potential new client they come in with a sort of shrug and uncertainty about my profession. A story will unfold about how they had worked with this group or that outfit and nothing ever came of it. Or, maybe they just handled their marketing themselves and based their strategy upon the enthusiasm of a media rep or two. They bemoan how much money was spent and how they got nothing from it. I always ask, are you sure? Is it possible you received benefits but just weren’t able to measure them? That’s one possible scenario: that efforts were made, exposure was had, but the results were intangible. The other, more likely, scenario is that there was no strategic plan, no integrated marketing strategy tied to specific goals and objectives with a clear and realistic budget. Because, when all those things are in place, marketing works. It’s really that simple. You have to spend enough to be in all the places you need to be so that the people you’re trying to woo actually know who you are, and you need to have specific goals that allow you to measure the results.

Let’s say you’re a landscaping company and you service both commercial and residential accounts. Last year, you had a huge project that tilted your residential revenues off the scale, so you know that this year you need to replace that loss. So, there! We have a goal: to increase residential sales by x %. So our strategy incorporates tools and tactics to meet that goal. We determine where we’re going to focus and we build a strong database. We design a unique and highly creative direct mail campaign that speaks to our target audience where they live. And, we support that with a strong brand awareness campaign placed strategically in the mediums that we know they subscribe to or visit.

Voila, at the end of the year residential sales are up substantially. With good creative and a strong integrated marketing strategy you’ll end up with a lot more than diddly squat.

 

C is for Clarity


clarity

What’s your point?

photo 1 copyGetting clear on your brand message is essential to successful marketing. If you’re all turned on by Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites, that’s cool; but are you clear about how you’re using these tools? Are you strategic in how you post? Are you always pointing back to your brand promise? There are many advantages to using social media, and for some businesses there are more benefits than for others. A financial institution may have less to gain by spending a lot of time in these spaces than a retail establishment or an entertainment venue, for example. But these tools do help build a tribe when used well.

The key is Clarity. Who are you? What do you stand for and how do you want your followers to respond or benefit from what you’re sharing? Getting clear eliminates the noise. And we all know how much comes across our own desks each day; it can get pretty noisy. Some folks are crazy for social media because “it’s free.” But if you’re spending a lot of time posting about irrelevant things that don’t support your brand or create real sales for your company, how much is that really costing you and your business?

If, on the other hand, your social media plan is clearly integrated with a well thought out marketing plan then you’re on the right path. You’re contributing to your brand which is distinguishing you in the marketplace. And as you do this, you’re gathering a strong tribe of people who care about what you have to say. And when they care, they listen — instead of tuning you out. When you’re clear, you’re focused and what you send out comes back to you in spades. (And, that’s a good thing.)