star ideas

Here are some idea starters to help you revive your business.

Send a survey to customers and employees. If possible, send the sales team out to get the score on your business performance. Find out what customers value most.

Ask yourself: "What is the news about our product?" People want to know the news.

Create news by devising a new application. Brainstorm the possibilities with us.

Discover the online implications for your industry; do online research to see what your competitors are up to.

Do reverse brainstorming. Make a list of negative attributes to serve as a basis for discussing improvements.

Think of your offering as the profits it offers the customer's business. Sell it as such.

Adopt a new service mark or slogan. Then make sure everyone knows it.

Introduce a contest. People love getting something for nothing. Have a drawing and then add the names submitted to beef up your database.


Remember how to REAP rewards:
Respect your clients. Customers today are better educated and more demanding. Stop seeing prospects as targets, and consider how you might best engage them. Your aim is to connect. One message probably isn’t enough. Respect differences.

Explore media opportunities or find an agency that is enthusiastic about doing so. The proliferation of media can be viewed by marketers either as an overwhelming maze or an exciting challenge. Choose the latter. Seek out new ways to advertise. Consider sponsoring a special event, advertising on video games or bus wraps, or participating in a trade show or convention of a group you are not familiar with. And what about SMS (short “text” messages) among staff, along with every other internet and telecommunications advance, to stay on top of your marketing mission?

Audit your marketing program– A marketing audit will enable you to: 1. Evaluate your current situation; 2. Identify marketing opportunities 3. List some marketing objectives, leading you to: 4. Outline strategies and action plans, and 5. Develop budget estimates. Those five items comprise a one-year marketing plan. See The Zer0-based Marketing Audit.

Provoke people, but in good ways. To stand out, don’t forget what people respond to: rhyme, alliteration, musical jingles, colors, and of course, your genuine concern. Pique their curiosity, evoke emotion, but DON’T manipulate. Remember, respect!

serving a product

A renowned theatrical producer, David Belasco, created a maxim when he said, "If you can't write your idea on the back of my calling card, you don’t have a clear idea." That insight applies to advertising strategy. If you can't state yours in seven words or less, you don't have one that will work.

What is an advertising strategy? Why must it be brief? Who should devise it? How often should it be changed? Good questions!

An advertising strategy is a premise that makes a promise. The premise is a succinct answer to the question, "What business are we in?" It is stated as a benefit or problem solution, that is, as a promise, to your customers and prospects.

For example, the business of a beauty salon is to offer services that help to groom its customers so they will look their best and feel better about themselves, which helps them to be more successful. A shortened version of that mission might be: Quality salon services to help people look beautiful, feel great and get ahead.

Since happy, successful people usually have an air of vivacity, we can abbreviate the strategy to seven words: Quality salon services to give people pizzazz. The strategy is now a simple message which will serve as the foundation of the salon's advertising program. Interestingly, it can also be recast as a name for the business, PIZZAZZ! Or, if the business already has a name, PIZZAZZ FOR YOU! might be used as a service mark.

An advertising strategy is a core concept. It must be focused because the marketplace is deluged with signs and advertisements and there is only a moment to grab attention. It must not be simply a list of attributes; people want to know--"What's in it for me?" Only a premise with a promise has the power to drive your marketing plan and direct your creative strategy.

Do it yourself?

As to the question of who should formulate the strategy, it may be possible to devise your company core concept in-house. In the same way, lots of people dye their own hair at home in the kitchen-- but it's safer to go to a professional. A limp strategy is worse than having orange hair.

An advertising agency will:

  1. Assist you to define your marketing challenge
  2. Find the drama in your product or service and translate that to a meaningful benefit
  3. Analyze your target market and secondary markets
  4. Thoroughly study your competition
  5. Develop a strategy that will position your product or service to break through media clutter, be perceived in a memorable way, and generate sales.


The "big idea" which all creative people strive for depends on the advertising strategy to be kindled. A good agency will tailor ads to embody the strategy. We'll insure that all aspects of your advertising program dovetail into a premise with a promise.

Finally, when is it time to change your strategy? September is a good month to review your advertising program as you set a new budget for the coming year and devise new plans. As well, there's no time like the present. Call us to discuss whether it's time to change your strategy or to discover how to get more mileage out of your present one.

©2014. DAY Communications. All rights reserved.

woman taking a quiz

Circle one:

T F 1. The focus group is a respectable research method for collecting input to guide product or marketing decisions.

T F 2. A good way to grab attention in advertising is through alphabetic acrobatics.

T F 3. In 2000 the definition of marketing changed.

T F 4. Couponing is a helpful gimmick for increasing sales.

T F 5. The four components of marketing are: Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

Answers:

1 - False. Since a typical focus group has eight to 10 members and normally four groups are polled on a given topic, the total sample is 32 to 40 people. It is too small to offer stable results, and it is not representative of any particular segment. Dominant voices can affect the group, and the moderator's ability can temper the responses. Focus groups can be helpful to explore a topic, get some suggestions or provoke opinions, or they can be used to pick up the language of consumer behavior.

- from The Marketing Revolution by Kevin Clancy and Robert Shulman

2 - True. Alphabetic Acrobatics, that is, "playing on words" --is! Other techniques of "stopping power" include:

- Open minded narrative (picture or thought) in which the resolution is not presented
- Ironic twists on ordinary behavior
- Incongruity of visual elements and/or words by unusual juxtaposition of elements
- Exaggeration
- Simplification
- Shocking visual or headline
- Participation visuals (tests, games)

- from The Young and Rubicam Traveling Creative Workshop

3 - False. It was in 2004 that the American Marketing Association issued a new definition of marketing... "Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders." Not all marketers like this definition, but –simply put– it underscores that “Marketing is everyone’s job.”

4 - False. There is no evidence that couponing increases sales in the long run. Any sort of discounting tends to educate customers to buy only when they can get a deal. A "sale" says to your prospect that your regular prices are too high. Like so many other areas of life (spending money, taking drugs, having sex) the long-term effects of your actions are often the opposite of the the short-term effects. Why is it so hard to comprehend that marketing effects take place over an extended period of time?

- from The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout

5 - Traditionally True, but one marketing maven says its four components are: Advertising, Promotion, Publicity, and Contesting. He defines advertising as the purchase of exposure in mass media, promotion as an event requiring attendance or some form of participation by those invited, publicity as free media coverage, and contesting as a promotion that creates excitement for your entire marketing program. Everyone wants to get something for nothing, so contests are a fabulous lure.

- from Creating Demand by Richard Ott