Last month, we extolled the virtues of customer outreach—why you should do it and how you can go about it. So now you have all this delicious feedback from your customers, but your job is not complete. To get any value at all from your hard-won insights, you must apply what you’ve learned.
Unfortunately, that’s where a
lot of people get stuck. They think they don’t have time to make changes in
their organization, they’re not sure where to begin, or things aren’t broken
enough (yet) to make these opportunities a high priority. But as the saying
goes, you can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results!
what could you gain by taking a good hard look at your business and asking some tough questions?
If you’re like most organizations, plenty. And what you learn through the process has the power to bring your marketing messages into better alignment with what your customers are looking for. Continue reading →
Core values. Key messages. Positioning statements. Logo usage. These are just a few of the elements you need to have in place in order to support a strong marketing program. There are many more (read on for the full checklist) but because of how they’re packaged it can be confusing to know whether or not you have all the pieces. Continue reading →
You have brand standards (don’t you?). You have a marketing plan (right?). You think you’re ready to take the world by storm. But there’s one piece missing:
a messaging platform.
The messaging platform doesn’t always get the love it deserves because it’s often tucked into a branding guide or a marketing plan, so most people don’t recognize it for what it is. More likely, however, it’s overlooked altogether. Continue reading →
Because nobody cares what your company or organization does.
As marketers and communicators, we often get caught up wanting to explain what our company or organization does. We think what we do (our “what”) is the most important thing potential customers need to know about us.
When people are searching online to buy a product or service, they’re looking just as much at which companies to consider, as which ones to eliminate. They’re trying to narrow their options, and dig more deeply into a few possibilities instead of several. If your website content doesn’t tell them what they need to know, guess what? Another company’s content WILL, and yours will be out of the running.
All too often, companies focus so much attention on a website’s design that their messaging strategy and content suffer. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important for a site to have great design. But if it’s all style and no substance, all you’re left with is a pretty site. And that’s just not enough to make the sale. Continue reading →
In recent years there’s been an explosion of online marketing tools, virtual assistants, and other low-cost marketing options. They all claim to make marketing easier, either by doing it for you or making it easy to manage yourself.
These “do-it-yourself” or “do it cheap” resources regularly wreak havoc on organizations that don’t have the time or skills to do marketing work internally. It’s bad enough when marketing doesn’t get done as a result, but even worse when it gets done wrong. Either way, it’s expensive and time-consuming to fix. Continue reading →
In the last few months, two very different clients of mine discovered unexpected and game-changing insights about their target markets. In both cases, we’ve been working on updates to their visual identity and positioning strategies, and some of the changes we’re contemplating are dramatically different from what they’ve done in the past.
This could be scary, but both client teams are feeling confident about the decisions we’re making because we’re not changing direction blindly. Instead, we’re making conscious shifts in direct response to information obtained from surveys of their best customers and prospects.
The surveys revealed that much of what we thought we knew about our customers was correct. But we also got some very surprising information that uncovered customer needs and desires our current marketing plan wasn’t taking into account. We found that many of our assumptions didn’t match the reality of how we were perceived by our customer base. In some cases, the survey data even identified organizational issues that needed to be addressed.
Both clients had the same reaction. They realized right away that the unexpected information made the entire survey process worthwhile. In response, we were able to re-orient our new positioning and identity changes to take advantage of the opportunities that were revealed.
Many business owners think branding is little more than a logo design, or at most a style guide. As a result, they’re often surprised to discover how involved a process branding really is.
This confusion is understandable because the term “branding” gets tossed around a lot, to the point many people who offer it as a service can’t really describe what they’re doing. That’s a problem if you want to know exactly what you’re paying for—or why you should even consider doing it in the first place.