Category Archives: Strategic Marketing Planning

Brand Development Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning Uncategorized

S is for Strategy


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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.


R is for Real


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The Case for Authenticity

photo 3If I could give you one word that sums up how to create and build a powerful Brand that works, it would be ‘authentic.’ Keeping it real is not just something you want to aim for in your romantic relationship, after all. Be real with how you communicate with your audience. Getting real about who you are as a company is the absolute first step to creating a Brand that is unique. Once you are clear about who you are and what you offer, you will have clarity about who your target audiences are. Who’s going to resonate with your Brand? Is it young, busy moms? High net worth individuals? Retired baby boomers? It makes a big difference when you truly understand your audience and you can communicate with them authentically. They will be drawn to what you’re selling when you are real.

 

Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Integrated Marketing Strategic Marketing Planning

O is for Open


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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


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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
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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.

 

Advertising Brand Development Brand Marketing Branding Strategic Marketing Planning

I is for Interesting & Interested


interesting

Getting Attention.

photo 1In a recent blog post from Seth Godin he wrote, “Interesting & Interested … it helps to be both. These are two ways you earn attention. If it’s so obvious, why is it so difficult?”

There’s so much to this simple post. And it really got me thinking about mistakes that so many clients make with their marketing. It really comes down to these two words. If you’re interested in who your target audience is, they will find you interesting. How simple is that? The thing is, a lot of clients over think this stuff. Understanding your audience is the real key to successful marketing. Because when you “get them” you can speak their language. And when you make yourself (your company, your product) relevant, you create receptivity.

On the flip side, being interesting is all about being yourself. Don’t try to be like the other guy. Find out what makes you uniquely you and tell your audience about it over and over again, in as many ways as possible. Eventually they’ll think, wow, that company is really interesting.

 

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.