Friday, February 21, 2020

Cost-Effective Marketing



Marketing departments are seldom given enough money to accomplish what they feel they should accomplish on behalf of their brands. And marketing budgets are some of the first to be cut when organizational belt-tightening is required. So what is a marketing professional to do?

Here are some of the approaches I recommend to market brands on the cheap:

  • Strong media relations, especially with the most trusted industry publications
  • Generating publicity
  • Including well thought-through publicity stunts
  • Doing something outrageous or unexpected, something that will create a buzz
  • Holding contests
  • Creating a board of advisors
  • Creating new product preview events for your best customers and top prospects
  • Offering webinars on topics related to your brand's expertise
  • Authoring a blog
  • Writing a book
  • White papers to establish thought leadership
  • Speaking at meetings, conferences and trade shows
  • Establishing a customer referral program
  • Interacting with customers and potential customers on social media sites
  • Conducting surveys to identify prospects and build awareness for your brand
  • Creating customer clubs and meetups
  • Email newsletters with viral components
  • Automated, personalized email campaigns
  • Podcasts
  • YouTube channel
  • Influencer marketing
  • Supporting industry analysts
  • Building strong relationships with the industry's most trusted consultants
  • Business partner referrals
  • Strategic partnerships
  • Co-marketing with other non-competing brands
  • Using other people's money
  • Using LinkedIn to identify leads
  • Always suggesting that people share your content with others and providing them an easy way to do so
  • Including providing ways for people to share your content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and other popular websites
  • Always including strong branding, links and contact information on email signatures

Answers to the Luxury Brand's blog post quiz on Wednesday, February 12: 

1 - 3 (Opus)
2 - 4 (Phineas Auden)
3 - 2 (Briggs & Stratton M550)
4 - 3 (Janus CRX 507)
5 - 3 (Oliver Silas)
6 - 4 (Jasper Dashiells)
7 - 4 (Errazuriz Chardonnay Max Reserva Aconcagua Costa)
8 - 1 (Seraphina)
9 - 1 (Samuel Hutchins)
10 - 2 (Ascona)
11 - 1 (McPearson Z500)
12 - 2 (Spellman)
13 - 3 (Xanadu)
14 - 1 (Yacht Club de Cuomo)
15 - 3 (Basel International)
16 - 1 (The Crypt)
17 - 3 (Delatour)
18 - 3 (Lake Bord)



Brand Aid: A Quick Reference Guide to Solving Your Branding Problems and Strengthening Your Market Position sold here.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Most Popular Posts by Year



These are the 77 most popular Branding Strategy Source blog posts by year:

2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020

Luxury Brands Quiz


Just for fun, I have created a luxury brands quiz to test your knowledge of luxury brands.

1. Which of these is not a superyacht builder?
  1. Lürssen
  2. Vard
  3. Opus
  4. Cantiere della Marche
2. Which of these is not a tailored clothing brand?
  1. Gieves & Hawkes
  2. Huntsman
  3. Richard James
  4. Phineas Auden
3. Which of these is not a jet brand?
  1. Dassault Falcon 7x
  2. Briggs & Stratton M550
  3. Embraer EMB190 BJ Lineage 1000
  4. Bomardier Global 7500
4. Which of these is not a helicopter brand?
  1. Leonardo AW169
  2. Bell 505 Jet Ranger
  3. Janus CRX 507
  4. Airbus ACH145
5. Which of these is not a luxury watch brand?
  1. Patek Philippe
  2. Richard Mille
  3. Oliver Silas
  4. Chopard
6. Which of these is not a luxury furniture manufacture?
  1. Giorgetti
  2. Boca do Lobo
  3. Fendi Casa
  4. Jasper Dashiells
7. Which of these is not a fine wine?
  1. Château Pichon Longueville Lalande Pauillac
  2. Rotem & Mounir Saouma Châteauneuf-du-Pape Omnia
  3. Château Léoville Barton St.-Julien
  4. Errazuriz Chardonnay Max Reserva Aconcagua Costa
8. Which of these is not a luxury hotel brand?
  1. Seraphina
  2. Soneva
  3. Aman
  4. Rosewood
9. Which of these is not a famous glass artist?
  1. Samuel Hutchins
  2. Winnie Teschmacher
  3. Pavel Novak
  4. Robert Dane
10. Which of these is not a world class ski resort?
  1. Courchevel
  2. Ascona
  3. Zermatt
  4. Aspen Snowmass
11. Which of these is not a luxury automobile?
  1. McPearson Z500
  2. Lamborghini Sesto Elemento
  3. Pagani Huayra BC
  4. Bugatti Divo 
12. Which of these is not a high-end loudspeaker brand?
  1. Klipsch
  2. Spellman
  3. KEF
  4. Moon Audio
13. Which of these is not an exclusive enclave for the rich and famous?
  1. Hvar
  2. Ibiza
  3. Xanadu
  4. The Maldives
14. Which of these is not an exclusive yacht club?
  1. Yacht Club de Cuomo
  2. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club
  3. Yacht Club Costa Smeralda
  4. Yacht Club de Monaco
15 .Which of these is not an elite equestrian event?
  1. Palm Beach Masters Series
  2. Vejer de la Frontera
  3. Basel International
  4. Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event
16. Which of these is not an exclusive college club?
  1. The Crypt
  2. Porcellian
  3. The Fly
  4. Skull & Bones
17. Which of these is not a jewelry brand?
  1. Chopard
  2. Graff
  3. Delatour
  4. Van Cleef & Arpels
18. Which of these is not a destination travel lake?
  1. Lake Titicaca
  2. Plitvice Lakes
  3. Lake Bord
  4. Lake Como
I will provide the answers to this quiz in my next bog post.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Retain Customers by Building Community


 

While some may think that an annual customer retention rate of 80% is good, that means you loose one out of every five customers each year. Theoretically, this translates to 100% turnover every five years. And, as most business owners know, it is much more cost effective to retain a current customer than to acquire a new customer.

There are many approaches to retaining customers. Frequency programs purport to do so as do other customer loyalty programs. CRM systems are supposed to help with this. Some companies try to lock customers in through multi-year contracts and automatic rebilling. But the best approach to customer retention is community building because community building creates emotional connection and stickiness. People stay with the brand because it has created a community for them.

Think about how powerful coffee klatches, book clubs and bridge groups are. Imagine if you could create that type of community with your brand's customers.

So, what are some community building techniques?

  • Producing user conferences.
  • Creating customer advisory boards and customer steering committees. 
  • Engaging customers through Facebook pages and other social media platforms.
  • Holding customer meet-ups.
  • Creating local brand-focused customer clubs.
  • Creating physical spaces where customers can interact.
  • Holding customer holiday parties and appreciation events.
  • Recruiting panels of customers to beta test your new products.

Hallmark sponsors local Hallmark ornament collectors' clubs. Tesla Owners Clubs hold frequent owner meetups. Many wealth management firms hold holiday parties for their clients. Orvis offers free fly tying and casting clinics for its customers. Robert Graham offers exclusive closed door events for people who achieve Master Collector status within their Collector's Club. Most colleges and universities invite their graduates back to reunions every five years. Large churches create small groups focused on different interests to retain parishioners. Patagonia supports grassroots groups working to find solutions to the environmental crisis. Eastern Mountain Sports encourages people to share their outdoor photographs on Instagram with #goEast. SONY's Playstation has create an online space for gamers to connect. Harley Owner's Group (HOG) has more than one million members and holds HOG Rallies around the world. P&G created "Being Girl" as a resource for teenager girls to connect and find answers to the difficult questions that growing up entails. Lululemon's brand community offers free yoga classes, festivals and events and even an experiential store in Chicago featuring fitness studios and a juice bar.

If you want to retain more customers, identify and implement ways to create community among those customers. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Core Human Needs and Marketing


Psychologists have long hypothesized, studied and tested what they believe to be the core human needs. While most psychologists highlight six basic needs, many also include a seventh need. Here are the seven needs:

  1. Certainty/Safety/Comfort/Control/Security
  2. Love/Affection/Physical and Emotional Connection
  3. Significance/Respect/Uniqueness/Feeling Special
  4. Competence/Mastery
  5. Contribution/Making a Difference
  6. Variety/Experience/Stimulation/Novelty/Satisfying Curiosity
  7. Independence/Freedom/Autonomy
Most people experience deficiencies in meeting one or more of these needs on a regular basis. Knowing this, marketers can target their brands' unique value propositions and marketing messages to address these needs.

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. As a marketer, consider your role to be that of delivering Kintsugi to your brand's customers, that is to help them to fill their perceived deficiencies or brokenness with your brand's "gold."

As an exercise, try to identify at least one brand that focuses on each of these core human needs.

As an example, here is my list:

  1. Certainty/Safety/Comfort/Control/Security - National Car Rental
  2. Love/Affection/Physical and Emotional Connection - Hallmark
  3. Significance/Respect/Uniqueness/Feeling Special - MINI Cooper
  4. Competence/Mastery - Footjoy
  5. Contribution/Making a Difference - Patagonia
  6. Variety/Experience/Stimulation/Novelty/Satisfying Curiosity - Dr. Pepper
  7. Independence/Freedom/Autonomy - Marlboro
These needs are fundamental and very powerful. Consider how your brand can promise the fulfillment of one or more of these needs. 

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Eight Skills of a Marketing Rock Star



To be a "can do it all" marketer, one who is extremely valuable to an organization as an individual contributor but who can also rise through the ranks quickly to become a marketing "rock star," the person should possess these eight skills:

  1. Graphic design skills with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign fluencies and a strong sense of aesthetics
  2. Strong copywriting skills, erring on the side of pithiness and impact
  3. Storytelling skills
  4. A working knowledge of Google Ads and Facebook Ads
  5. WordPress fluency
  6. A strong intuition about customer beliefs, values, attitudes, motivations and behaviors
  7. An understanding of how to design and interpret research to achieve deep customer insight
  8. "Out of the box" thinking ability
All other skills can be acquired over time.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Marketing Training & Marketer Competency



I had the good fortune to learn about most aspects of marketing through a fifteen year stint at Hallmark Cards. While there, I learned product development, new product development, advertising, promotion, marketing research, brand management, brand licensing, trade marketing, merchandising, category management, pricing strategy, distribution strategy, corporate communications, crisis management and global marketing. This hands-on learning far exceeded anything I learned in undergrad and grad school marketing courses.

P&G, Unilever, General Mills and other "houses of brands" teach classical marketing to their marketing professionals. Many marketing agencies are good training grounds for marketing techniques and there are a multitude of conferences and seminars that share marketing case studies and best practices. CRM and marketing automation software companies and social media websites have their own training videos and webinars. You can even find marketing training videos on YouTube. My company, BrandForward, Inc., has been hired by many Fortune 500 companies and marketing agencies to train their marketing staffs on different aspects of brand management and marketing.

Despite all of this, most marketers are thrown into smaller companies and startups, in which they are supposed to be the marketing experts without any hands-on marketing training. They are expected to be experts on everything from copywriting, graphic design, website design and marketing automation to brand identity creation, brand management, social media marketing and trade show booth design. This is just not realistic. It frustrates the hiring company and creates a negative perception of marketers and marketing. This could partially account for the high turnover in the marketing profession.

Looking back on my career, there are many more aspects to marketing than one might imagine. And each aspect has its own tools, techniques, rules of thumb and body of knowledge. Everything is becoming increasingly specialized. There are SEO experts, WordPress experts, CRM experts, data analytics experts, marketing automation experts, media buying experts, event planning experts, and the list could go on and on. In fact, each software platform requires its own expertise.

Given this, companies either need to have extensive marketing budgets to hire experts in each area or they need to support their marketing employees with as much marketing training as possible as often as possible. Unfortunately, the marketing field is changing rapidly and the knowledge and expertise to stay current is formidable. And business schools sometimes have professors who have never actually worked in the field of marketing and may be drawing on syllabi that were developed years and even decades earlier.

In summary, post university marketing training is essential to ensure that marketing professionals remain current and effective in their roles. And no matter how much training a marketer receives, it is not realistic that he or she is an expert in every aspect of marketing. So startups and smaller companies that are hiring one marketer to "do it all," especially on limited budgets, are likely to be disappointed.