What's on Tap...
A brew of marketing and advertising news for your insatiable knowledge palette

5 Banner Ad “Best Practices” That Kill Conversions

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 @ 01:43 PM

If you’ve spent any time or budget on display advertising, you already know that one of the biggest detriments of a campaign is underperforming creative. And, while there is plenty of advice going around the web about the best practices for creating banner ads, it doesn’t mean much of it is good. And that’s because this advice usually takes a one-size-fits-all approach.

But there are no universal best practices to creating banner ads that convert. Each campaign, as well as each product and brand identity, is unique.

With this in mind, here are 5 banner ad best practices that may be killing your conversions.

Using Bright Colors Will Help You Stand Out and Get ClicksUsing Bright Colors Will Help You Stand Out and Get Clicks

You’ve probably read many an article or blog post that offered statements like “green increases clicks,” or “orange encourages action.” And it’s easy to see why people believe brighter banner colors will draw attention, as most webpages are white, so colorful banners will definitely stand out.

But it’s incredibly rare that any two scenarios will align. One campaign may find a green button beats a red button, yet another campaign may find a yellow button beats a green button. There is no one magic colored button that will create massive conversions.

Takeaway: It’s far more important to stick to your own brand style guidelines than to follow someone else’s rules on what the perfect banner background color is.

If You Want to Boost Banner Performance, Always Use Photos of People

It is usually assumed that ads featuring people will outperform ads that don’t. While a great photo can absolutely attract attention and improve performance, using the wrong photo will typically do more harm than good.

For instance, a consumer brand may experience great success with an ad that features a person using their product. In fact, this is one of the most effective ways to showcase a brand’s offering.

But for B2B businesses, using these types of photos can be very hit or miss.

Takeaway: Don’t follow image rules, just make sure the image you use is relatable and relevant to your market. If your photo helps your customers see themselves gaining value from your product, go for it, but if not, try something else.

You should Rely on CTR Exclusively as a Performance Metric

Just because you invite 200 people to your wedding, doesn’t mean you’ll end up with 200 gifts you’ll love, or even like. While CTR can be a valuable measurement for determining the winner of an A/B test, there is no guarantee those clicks will correlate to conversions. At the end of the day, it’s better to have only 10 clicks with five of them converting, than 200 clicks with only one of them converting.

Also, if the goal of your campaign is branding, then clicks aren’t necessarily a valuable tool. CTR is great for measuring traffic, but when it comes to revenue generated, it is in no way the be-all-end-all.

Takeaway: Success should be measured based on your campaign’s ultimate goal, so don’t get caught up measuring clicks if you’re looking for sales.

You Should Always Use an Urgent Call-to-ActionYou Should Always Use an Urgent Call-to-Action

There’s no denying that every piece of advertising should include a call-to-action. If you want people to click on your banner ad, you’d be wise to include one. But some marketers advise that a call-to-action include a sense of urgency, such as “buy now!” or “only 8 left in stock!”

Now, urgency can definitely get consumers to take action, particularly if the offer is really strong. But with larger purchases like B2B software, gentler calls-to-action like “learn more” or “call for a free demo” can work much better.

Takeaway: Craft your calls-to-action on your specific customer base and your offer’s price tag.

Flash Banners Are More Effective Than Static Banners

There are many marketers who have reported that flash ads significantly outperform static ads. But the punchline is, the measurement used by many marketers is CTR, and as we’ve already discussed, if conversion and revenue is your ultimate goal, then depending on CTR is pointless.

Takeaway: At the end of the day, know what your marketing goals are and do some testing to determine if flash ads outperform static ads.


When it comes to designing and testing banner ads, taking a one-size-fits-all-approach is never a good idea. If your ultimate goal is conversions, then you’ve got to know your offer, know your audience, and test, test, and test some more.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media  

Related Posts               

3 Advantages of Site Direct Media Buys

5 Marketing Ideas to Improve Your Print Campaigns

Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

How CMOs Can Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Digital Age

Topics: digital advertising, Ad conversion

3 Advantages of Site Direct Media Buys

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 @ 01:15 PM

There’s been a lot of hype over the last few years about programmatic ad buying. While it has the potential to allow advertisers to reach their audience at scale and at a low cost, and though it makes real-time optimization possible – the technology is still in its infancy and there are definite issues that need to be resolved.

For instance, the inventory differs between publishers, and this can cause major problems for companies. While some publishers open all of their inventory to programmatic, others only offer up their below-the-fold “remnant” inventory.

Also, because site direct ads happen across multiple publishers, buyers must use polite loads for their creative. This doesn’t mean they can’t use rich media, but it means they’ll be limited in the scope of use.

While the industry busies itself working out these programmatic kinks, some media buyers are helping their clients by going right to the source. Site direct buys are what they sound like – you contact the website publisher directly and work out the placement directly with their ad team. When it comes to reaching an audience in a premium and highly creative way, we’ve found that site direct buys work best for our clients.

Here are 3 advantages of site direct buys:

Work with a Real PersonWork with a Real Person 

Programmatic marketing exchanges are impersonal; you make a buy using an algorithm and hope for the best. But site direct buys mean you can work with an actual person that can help you maximize your strategy. The website publishing team is able to provide expert advice and data about placements, which will ultimately help you reach your target audience. Plus, the website’s publishing team can help you craft digital media strategies that will help you reach your campaign’s goals.

Ideal Placement 

As I mentioned earlier, with programmatic ad buys, you’re never really sure if a publisher has opened all of their premium inventory or just their remnant spots. But working directly with a website publisher means you can place your ads exactly where you want them to be.

For instance, you could request:

  • That your ad be placed around specific content. If you know your audience like reading about celebrity gossip, you can place your ad directly on the entertainment page. If they like sports, your ad can be placed on the sports page.
  • A premium placement such as the first content block on the page, a takeover, transitional, etc. Premium spots are effective because they interrupt the reader’s path and force them to see your ad. These premium ads are typically not available through programmatic buys, only site direct.
  • To have an ad size that is not standard to help your message stand out.
  • A larger ad load size that’s not offered through programmatic. This means your ad can be thoroughly creative and engaging to your audience by using video, maps, and animations.

Better Ad Quality

It’s true that direct site buys typically cost more than programmatic, but this is because they never force you to compromise on the quality of your ads. As I mentioned, site direct buys allow you to get premium ad placement and offer flexibility of media and file sizes. Plus, direct ads can be placed on home pages and can even be full-screen, ensuring your content gets seen by your audience. That’s priceless in today’s crowded marketplace.


Are you interested in adding site direct buys to your media mix? We’ve formed relationships with website publishers across numerous and varying digital properties. If you need some assistance with your digital marketing campaigns, get in touch with us today.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

Related Posts

10 Reasons to Advertise on Newspaper Websites

How to Negotiate with Media Vendors Like a Pro

Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

Are You Making These 6 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes?

Topics: Site Direct Media Buying

5 Marketing Ideas to Improve Your Print Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 11, 2016 @ 11:22 AM

Fall is officially here, which means in just a few short months a brand new year will arrive, and with it, new marketing trends to leverage, social media sites to tame, and tactics to unleash. But before we even think about what marketing will be like in 2017, let’s see this year through to the end.

How have your print campaigns performed this year? Better than you thought? Worse than you thought? Or about exactly how you thought they would? Wouldn’t it be great to see some real campaign success by the end of this year to propel you into the next?

With this in mind, here are 5 proven marketing ideas to improve your print campaigns this year, next year, and beyond.

Understand Your AudienceUnderstand Your Audience

Print collateral and ads come in all shapes and sizes, from direct mailers to flyers and sales sheets to brochures – newspaper inserts to OOH displays. But what do they all have in common? Someone has to actually read them for your budget and efforts pay off.

Every print campaign must be developed with your audience in mind. Most businesses get this wrong – they start with their product or service in mind. But to be effective, advertising must speak to a person’s pain points. This means you have to understand your audience’s pain points. What do they fear? What do they hope for? How are they struggling? And how can you help?

Once you really understand the needs and wants of your audience, you can create ads that clearly show you have the solution to their problem.

Don’t Skimp on Design and Print Quality

One of the greatest things about print marketing is that it is so cost-effective. Obviously spending less to get more of an ROI is very attractive to any business owner. But, as the saying goes, “Sometimes you have to spend money to make money.”

In other words, when it comes to designing and printing your collateral – don’s skimp! If your budget allows, use the skills of a professional designer instead of trying to come up with a clever design using a desktop application. A designer will be able to choose the right layout and choose the most effective graphics and images that boost your message.

Also, when it comes time to actually print those postcards and flyers, be sure you use a professional printing service that offers a wide selection of papers and inks. Remember, you will be judged on the quality of the materials you choose so, again, don’t skimp.

Integrate your CampaignsIntegrate Your Campaigns

Print and digital really are like chocolate and peanut butter, they simply compliment one other beautifully. If you haven’t been integrating your campaigns, you’re missing out on increased reach potential. You should be advertising your print pieces on your social media pages and including social media icons and addresses on your print marketing materials. Just be sure your brand has the same look and core message across all channels.

Make it Easy for Readers to Visit Your Biggest Online Asset

It’s still shocking when we see print ads and collateral that do not highlight a brand’s website. At this point in time this should really be automatic. QR codes are an easy way to allow your print audience to interact with your digital assets. Or you can simply print your website address on your postcards and direct mail pieces.

Your digital assets will help you collect prospects’ information and nurture leads. The prospect that didn’t bring in that coupon for a discount may simply need a few emails from you, or read a few helpful Tweets, before they decide to do business with your brand. When your print campaigns point to your digital assets, you are using every opportunity to get people to convert. 

Track Your Print Campaigns

Digital marketers don’t send out campaigns and hope for the best. They use a variety of tools and tactics to track each campaign to make sure it is performing well. Data collected helps them make necessary adjustments to the campaign so it can perform optimally.

So why are so many print marketers not tracking their campaigns? It can be easily done by using things like custom phone numbers, vanity URLs, custom landing pages, discount codes and coupons, or by simply asking customers how they found you. Tracking print campaigns does not have to be difficult and the information you uncover will help you spend your resources wisely.

These 5 marketing ideas are deceptively simple. But, if you utilize any or all of them, you will be able to make sure the final quarter of 2016 goes out like a lion.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media  

Related Posts

Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

Where to Position Your Print Ad for Maximum Exposure

The Truth About Print (That Your Competition Doesn't Want You to Know)

7 Ways to Get Your Print Ads to Convert

Topics: print media

5 Reasons Why Branding is Important for Your Small Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Oct 04, 2016 @ 09:33 AM

Many small businesses make the mistake of overlooking branding efforts because they think of themselves as a business and not a brand. Brands, they think, are the big fish in the pond with huge budgets and national recognition. Resigned to their supposed small-fish status, small businesses do little more than come up with a fun logo and some flashy business cards.

But branding is important for businesses of all sizes because it increases their value, gives employees direction and motivation, and makes acquiring new customers easier.

Here are 5 reasons why branding is important for your small business.

Branding Creates TrustBranding Creates Trust

When a company presents themselves in a professional way, and when there is social proof that their products and service are quality, prospects will trust that company and feel more comfortable giving it their hard-earned money.

Branding Improves Recognition

While your logo should not be the be-all-end-all of your branding efforts, you should still put the time and effort into coming up with a professionally-designed, memorable logo. Not only should your logo be memorable, it should give the desired impression of your company so when people see it, they instantly think and feel what you want them to think and feel.

Branding Supports Your Marketing Efforts

Marketing is an important component of your brand. The mediums and channels chosen as well as the demographic targeted helps to build your brand. Be careful of too narrow of a marketing focus, or you’ll risk being “pigeon holed” and lose your ability to expand into new markets. Then again, too broad of a marketing focus could lead to an inability to create a definable impression of your company in consumers’ minds.

Branding motivates employeesBranding Motivates Employees

Anyone can hire employees, but only a strong brand can hire motivated employees that are inspired to carry your vision and mission forward. When your brand feels pride, your employees do as well. Having a strong brand is essential for employee morale and productivity.


Branding Generates New Revenue

Branding is one of the best ways to get referral or word-of-mouth business. And again, this is why it’s important that your logo, marketing, and reputation work cohesively to form an indelible impression on consumer minds. Think about it, you can’t tell your friend about the amazing golf clubs you just bought if you can’t remember the brand.

Now that you know why it’s important to develop a solid branding strategy, here are a few ways you can do it:

Always Have Your Customer in Mind

Your brand must align itself with your customers’ needs and wants. When starting any branding campaign, always have your customer in mind.

Create Messaging That Illustrates Your Value

You’ve got to create a direct and simple message of WHY your brand should matter to your customer. Most consumers don’t have the time or inclination to figure this out on your behalf. Your brand must create a story that answers the question, “why you?”

Use Emotion

If you give consumers a reason to care and feel something about your brand, they have a reason to buy. Most people make purchasing decisions based on emotions not logic, so create an emotion in your prospects every time they see your brand.


No matter what size they are, the most successful businesses are the ones that have established themselves as a leader in their industry by creating a strong brand. And, when these businesses focus on building valuable customer experiences, they easily transform customers into brand ambassadors.

Free eBook: The Benefits of Print Advertising

Related Posts

6 Pieces of Marketing Collateral That Can Help You Brand Your Business

Eight Brands That Rock a Tablet Optimized Website

Create Video Content Like the Big Brands

7 Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Small Businesses Dominate Their Local Market

Is Native Advertising Right for Your Business?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 @ 01:02 PM

As technology advances and consumers are more able to ignore, if not completely shut off, blatant ads, more companies are turning to native advertising as a way to engage finicky audiences. But what exactly is native advertising and is it right for your business?

Native ads are sponsored content disguised as traditional content. Why is this so effective? Because if you asked a normal citizen the last banner ad they saw, they would draw a complete blank. Unlike ineffective banner ads that are ignored, native ads are embedded directly in places Internet users look for content. According to eMarketer, advertisers poured $1.9 billion into native advertising in 2013. That figure is expected to rise to $4.57 billion by 2017.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of native ads:

Here’s one for IBM in The Atlantic.

IBM Native Advertising

You can see it’s labeled “sponsored content” but it matches the editorial style and content around it.

Here’s a branded post by Dell in the New York Times:

 Dell Native Advertisement

And finally there was this great bit of sponsored content by Netflix found a few years ago in the Times again. This one is subtly promoting their hit show “Orange is the New Black”:

Orange is the New Black advertisement

But as effective as native advertising has been for many businesses, not everyone is convinced they should spend time or ad dollars on the endeavor. Though it is a hot marketing trend that is sure to stick around for many years to come, it may not be for everyone.

So how do you know if native advertising is for you? Here are some pros and cons.


Native advertising offers many benefits to marketers. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

It Increases Brand Visibility

Native ads are located in places where readers want and expect to see traditional content. As a bonus, they are also likely to appear on popular high-traffic websites, which can give brand visibility a real boost. Done the right way, with transparency and proper alignment, branded content can yield a high level of engagement and ultimately a higher ROI.

It Grows Social Reach

It seems like not that long ago only savvy marketers were using social to gain customers. Now everyone and their mother is using social, which makes the marketplace incredibly crowded.

One way businesses can stand out from their competition is by seamlessly integrating native ads into their followers’ feed. Industry experts are betting that by 2017, 40% of social media ad spend will be on native social advertising.

It’s Generally Less Expensive

Compared to other forms of traditional display advertising and banner ads, native ads are less expensive and more effective. Since they offer a lower barrier to entry, many types and sizes of businesses can take advantage.


Here are a few disadvantages to native advertising:

It Can Come Across as Deceptive

Some marketers intentionally use tricky headlines just to get readers to click. Then, when the reader does, they’re often not happy about where they land. This makes it harder for honest publishers to use native advertising.

Publishers Receive Backlash

Often when publishers allow native advertisements to appear on their website their traffic goes down, even as their revenue goes up. This then has a negative effect on future ad campaigns.

Google May Penalize Native Ads

Though no one but Google ever really knows why they do what they do, there has been speculation that the search giant penalizes publishers for including native ads on their site. There is also speculation, however, that Google itself is getting in on the native advertising game, so perhaps their views will change.

We can all be sure native advertising will evolve and grow in the coming years, but it’s best to weigh the risks and benefits before spending any of your budget. Should you decide that native advertising is a good option for your brand, just be sure to use best practices and you should reap many rewards.

  Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

Related Posts

4 Native Advertising Best Practices for Local Businesses

Make Room for Native Advertising in Your Digital Media Strategy

Why You Should Include Native Advertising in Your Digital Strategy

Native Advertising: Marketing Flop or Marketing Future?

How to Negotiate with Media Vendors Like a Pro

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 @ 02:08 PM

Buying media for clients means ensuring we get them the best deal possible while nurturing our partnerships with media reps. This is how we create successful campaigns for clients and lasting relationships with effective media properties.

While it’s undoubtedly easier for a third party to work with media reps and negotiate contracts for clients, CMOs can also score some fantastic deals with media outlets, provided they know what they’re doing.

Here’s how you can negotiate with media vendors like a pro:

Do Some HomeworkDo Some Homework

Media reps don’t have time for tire kickers. It’s important that you do some homework before making any buys so you know exactly which properties and channels make the most sense for your campaign. There’s no sense wasting your time or anyone else’s meeting with someone who reps a property that doesn’t cater to your demographic.

Once you’ve selected your channels, you’ll also want to do some homework before approaching a media rep so you know exactly what they offer and at what price points. The more knowledgeable you are, the more seriously you’ll be taken.

Leverage Your Media Partner’s Expertise

Media reps know their product offerings inside and out, so it’s important to pick their brains. Let your rep know you want them to be really creative and think of innovative programs that will help your campaign stand out. Be clear of your wants – you want to break through the clutter and noise – you want reach – and you want it all to fit well within your budget. Reps are great at being able to come up with unique plans that will help campaigns be successful.

Make Yourself Available

Remember, you’re not just buying media for your organization, you’re forming long-term relationships with people. Because of this, it’s important to show some common courtesy with reps. Be sure to return their calls and emails and make time to listen to their updates and new ideas. If you talk to media reps only when you need something, you’ll never forge a real partnership. The stronger your relationships, the stronger your buys.

Play a Little Hard to Get at First

At the end of the day, you want to get the best deal possible. You also want to earn some respect. For both of these reasons you should NEVER accept the first proposal. You don’t need to be nasty about it, just smile and politely say that you are super excited about working with them, but that your job is on the line and you have to look like a hero when you report back to management. Just remind the rep that the last thing you want is to have to cancel the program down the road for lack of performance, and tell them the price needs to come down and the value-added placements need to go up.

Keep Future Buys in MindKeep Future Buys in Mind

Advanced renewals typically get rewarded, and the deals get better and better as your relationship blooms. When your rep knows you’ll be coming back for more business, they’ll naturally want to keep you very happy.

Making great media buys is not easy, but it can be done if you know exactly what you’re doing. And by following this advice, you stand a great chance of making smart buys and building relationships at the same time.

Having said that, not every marketing manager has the bandwidth to be their brand’s buyer. It’s important to be realistic. Using the services of a professional media buyer means you will get the best deals possible without adding one more thing to your already-full plate.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying

Related Posts

Why You Need a Print Media Buying Service

5 Ways a Media Buyer Can Help You Save Money on Newspaper Ads

5 Media Planning Mistakes That Will Kill Your Campaigns

5 Steps to Effective Media Planning

Topics: media buying

How Local Advertisers Might Cash in on the Pokémon Go Craze

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

You would have to have been living under a proverbial rock to have not heard about the mass hysteria revolving around Pokémon Go, the game made famous 20 years ago by Ninetendo. Within two days of its launch, the app had completely surpassed the dating app Tinder and was generating more downloads than any other iPhone app in the U.S. market. Pokémon Go has also acquired more US users than even the social media giant Twitter.

For all of these boasting rights, the game is still in its infancy, and industry experts are predicting that once Pokémon Go begins a monetization strategy, it will be a game-changer (yes, pun intended). This could have big ramifications (and good ones) in the world of advertising for brands of all sizes.

Here are some reasons why local advertisers might one day soon be able to cash in on the Pokémon Go craze.

It Already Generates RevenueIt Already Generates Revenue

Players create revenue through in-app purchases via PokéCoins. These can then be used to buy tools that will improve their overall performance and hence gaming experience. According to App Annie, a business intelligence firm that watches apps and digital goods, Pokémon Go is on its way to earning potentially more than $1 billion annually from these in-app purchases.

As impressive as that figure is, there is still huge earning potential should Pokémon Go decide to open its platform to advertisers. These advertising partnerships would have to be strategic and creative, but the financial gains would be worth the effort.

For instance, they could charge a company a fee to become a branded PokéStop or Gym, where much of the game’s action takes place. John Hanke, the chief executive of Niantic, the company behind the app, has already confirmed that sponsored locations will soon be seen on Pokémon Go. Niantic is currently working on a branded relationship with McDonald’s. It’s only a matter of time before smaller brands can capitalize.

For now, local businesses are leveraging the game’s popularity by hosting Pokémon Go parties or offering special deals for players in order to get bodies in the door.

Huge ReachHuge Reach

Pokémon Go has captured a lot, and I mean a lot of peoples’ attention. There are the diehard fans who were playing the game, watching the cartoon and collecting the playing cards back in the 90s. This is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. But, because of its unique use of augmented reality, the game is also attracting thousands of users who had never played the game before.

Beyond the sheer number of people playing the game, the really exciting news is just how often they’re playing it. Data indicates that more than 60% of the users who have downloaded the app are playing it daily. And, by midsummer of this year, users were playing an average of 43 minutes a day. TechCrunch has also revealed that users are spending more time playing Pokémon Go than they spend on Facebook.

It’s exciting to think of the reach and exposure the game might give local advertisers one day in the very near future.

Location, Location, Location

Local marketers have had the concept of location-based marketing shoved down their throat over the past five years or so. Those that paid attention are now reaping the financial rewards.

Well, you could say Pokémon Go knows a thing or two about leveraging location and combining it with gaming and branding. Once brick-and-mortar establishments begin to get on board, the results could be huge.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar location wondering how you can turbocharge your local marketing efforts, start paying attention to Pokémon Go and watch how it evolves. Play the game, get to know the user base to figure out ways you can someday capitalize on its enormous popularity. You’ll then be ready to not only take full advantage of the game once it starts monetizing, you’ll also be for the new marriage of location marketing and augmented reality, projected to be a $120 billion market by 2020.

Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!

Related Posts

7 Digital Marketing Trends for 2016

What Marketers Can Learn from the 2016 Presidential Campaigns

10 Reasons No One's Reading Your Advertisement 

Topics: advertising

6 Pieces of Marketing Collateral That Can Help You Brand Your Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 06, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

Printed marketing collateral should be the backbone of every branding effort, not only because it’s the most cost- and time-effective means of putting your message in front of your ideal customers, but also because it uniquely combines your message, company colors, font and logo.

Here are 6 pieces of printed marketing collateral that can help you brand your business.

Direct Mail

Direct mail campaigns have always been uniquely effective at placing your message in the exact right spot – directly into your prospects’ hands. Direct mail pieces can be anything from catalogs to flyers to postcards and sales letter packages.


The biggest benefit of direct mail campaigns are they keep your brand top of mind. This is done through direct mail repetition. Each mailing sent out acts as a reinforcer for subsequent mailings. Remember, direct mail isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so don’t be discouraged if you get little response your first mailing – just keep at it.


Point-of-Sale (POS) DisplaysPoS.jpg

POS displays are a simple way to give your branding efforts a major boost. Try leaving a coupon book, brochure or even a menu by your cash register. These can then be picked up voluntarily by your customers and taken home or shared with loved ones.


Another effective way to use your POS collateral is to sponsor a charity through one of the local retail outlets that asks customers for a small donation. When someone donates, their name is placed on a cut-out and taped to the wall for every patron to see. Providing these printed cutouts is great exposure for your brand. You’ll not only get your company name and logo in front of people, but your brand will be seen as having good will, which could bring in more business.


Press Releases

So many business owners see press releases as a form of article marketing, but press releases are powerful branding tools. When your company news is printed, you gain third-party validation, plus the opportunity to reach new prospects. When submitting press releases, be sure to print them on letterhead before distributing them to the media.


Corporate Identity Package

These identity packages are usually the first thing business leaders think about when it comes to branding their business. While they lack the excitement of some other pieces of collateral, they offer a ton of repetition, which is what’s crucial to a successful campaign.


Your corporate identity package should include brochures, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and presentation folders. What’s great is that every time you send any correspondence to customers, they will see your company’s branding efforts and your message will be reinforced.



While many people rely on digital apps to help them organize their time and life, a majority of people still use a decent ol’ fashioned calendar to keep them on schedule. It goes without saying that if you distribute free calendars to your customers, they are forced to be reminded of your brand every day all year long. Any time you can brand something that has an intrinsic value, like calendars, cups, pens and magnets (hint hint – there are some other great ideas), do so.



Question: what’s the easiest way to get your brand’s message in front of potentially thousands of new customers all at the same time? Banners. When your brand is one of the sponsors of a festival, rock concert or sporting event, you’re seen by a massive number of people. And when you make sure to sponsor events that target your ideal customers, that is a huge revenue potential.


I can hardly talk about print collateral’s effectiveness in branding campaigns without talking about the importance of using quality materials. Never skimp on your collateral. Always use high quality papers and inks that will leave a great impression and show customers and prospects you are professional.


Is there another piece of print collateral you use effectively that I didn’t list? Tell us about it.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media  

Related Posts

Your Shortcut to Direct Marketing Success

Got Boring Marketing Collateral? Here are 5 Ways to Make it Stand Out

What Makes a Good Marketing Strategy?

Are You Breaking These 6 Direct Response Marketing Golden Rules?

Topics: Marketing collateral

Create Video Content Like the Big Brands

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

Have you been put in charge of creating video content for your marketing team? Do you understand that videos are great for engaging an audience, but don’t have a clue about how to create ones that are effective and get people to see your brand as the obvious choice?

Here’s what you do: Just copy form the big name brands who have been making remarkably effective commercials for decades.

Here are strategies big brands use to create video advertising that moves their audience and gets them to take action.

Make an Emotional ConnectionMake an Emotional Connection

Here’s what Madison Avenue knows that you may have not figured out yet: consumers make purchasing decision based on emotions, not logic. They will use logic after the fact to back up their decision.

Subaru is great at this. Sure, they’re ultimately selling cars, but before they even talk about safety features or gas mileage, they’ll show you a father driving his little girl to her first day of school and highlight what both are feeling. The viewer is emotionally moved; who doesn’t want to connect better to family members?

It doesn’t matter if you are selling a rug cleaning service, treadmills, or pizza, find ways to make your audience feel something, and you’ll have a much better chance at getting them to buy from you.

Illustrate How Your Product or Service Personally Relates to Your Audience

Often your audience may not even recognize that your offer is relatable and will add real value to their lives. It’s your job to show them how and why your offer affects them, or rather, how by NOT taking you up on your offer they can be negatively impacted.

Let’s say you’re selling a driveway paving service. Many people don’t see paving, or repaving, their driveway as a priority. So what, it has some cracks, no big deal. Or so they think. But then you create a video of a husband and wife, all gussied up, obviously heading to some big, important event. Someone’s getting an award tonight at the black-tie banquet.

Out they head to the driveway to get in the car. They’re running late, her heel catches on a crack in the driveway and down she goes. CUT TO: They end up spending the evening in the local emergency room and she comes home with her arm in a cast instead of holding her award.

You could do a series of these… a dad teaching his 7-year-old son how to ride a bike in the driveway. The boy is doing well until… the tire catches on one of the cracks in the driveway and down he goes. CUT TO: The family is once again at the ER so he can get stitches. “Repaving your driveway will not only help it look nicer, it will help you cut down on your medical bills.”

Make your audience believe they NEED your product or service and your phone will ring.

Use HumorUse Humor

We have all seen men and women who are not classically attractive, yet they are in a relationship with people who are beautiful, smart and dynamic. Inevitably the partners will always say, “He or she makes me laugh!” That’s what matters to them most.

Making people laugh is powerful, so don’t be afraid to use humor in your videos.

Do you remember when Allstate had boring ads? Then they saw how effective Geico’s funny ads were and now, guess what? Allstate has the funny Mayhem mascot.

When All Else Fails – Go for Cute

Babies, toddlers, puppies and kittens, we all love them and they are great for bringing in brand love. It never hurts to just go for the cute factor. Remember when Coca Cola created the super bowl ad where the penguin tries to steal a Coke from the polar bears watching the game? It worked because it was cute as all heck. If they had made that commercial with a few guy friends hanging out, it just wouldn’t have been as effective.

These are just some of the ways you can start creating killer videos that will help your brand stand out. Get a group of your most creative marketers together and start brainstorming ideas. Gather a few of those ideas and create an internal survey to see which one your staff members like the best. Chances are the winner will be a winner with your customers and prospects as well.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

Related Posts

Why You Need a Print Media Buying Service

Are You Making These 6 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes?

6 Things to Help You Not Fail at Integrated Marketing

4 Ways to Get Sponsored Content Right

Topics: video advertising

Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

If you’re “of a certain age,” you may remember that old Reeses Peanut Butter Cup commercial where the guy with a chocolate bar runs into the girl with the peanut butter, and when they collide, magic happens. Magic in the form of a chocolatey-peanut-buttery delicious candy treat.

Of course the commercial is ridiculous because, were they really that shocked that chocolate and peanut butter would work so well together? I mean, was it such an outrageous concept?

But the same odd shock happens today with marketers who assume it’s print OR digital; like the two can’t beautifully marry into one delicious integrated campaign. But integration, particularly in the form of interactive print ads, is a growing trend among marketers who see the potential these ads offer.

What is interactive print?

Before we move onto the nuts and bolts of this marketing approach and whether or not your brand should invest in it, let’s talk about what interactive print actually is.

Though print advertising is a very tactile form of advertising (you’re holding that paper, turning the page and smelling the ink), it’s never been very interactive, in fact, most would say reading the newspaper is downright passive. But not long ago, some very clever print designers, along with some savvy marketers, started creating print ads that contained interactive elements.  For the first time, this allowed viewers to be active instead of passive when they saw the ad.

Typically, it is digital technology, like QR codes included in the ad, that provides the interactive element. With a smartphone QR scanner, a flat and lifeless magazine add can suddenly place the reader online, with numerous opportunities to engage with the brand. But it’s not just digital technology that can be leveraged; other technologies can be employed to foster an interactive experience.

To really understand how effective interactive print ads can be, have a look at some of the top interactive print campaigns from 2015. These ads tell the real story behind interactive print: If you can imagine it, other people can experience it.

The Case for Interactive Print CampaignsThe case for interactive print campaigns

Some trends come and go. The ones that go do so because they are little more than a gimmick; a flash in the pan. But you can hardly call interactive print marketing either. The truth is, with the increase of digital technology came a decrease in people’s attention spans. On top of that, while our ability to focus on just about anything has diminished, our appetite for real, relevant engagement has grown exponentially.

These shifts in consumer demand and behavior make the case for why interactive print would most likely be a sound investment for any brand. Consumers have little time or patience for popup ads or autoplay videos while surfing the web. At the same time, many are bored to tears when they receive an uninspired marketing mailout, which inevitably lands in the trashcan.

Interactive print combines the best of both digital and print worlds: the tactile-ness of print with the interactivity of digital media. On top of this, interactive marketing is compelling all brands, both national giants and small, local merchants, to push their creativity, and that’s never a bad thing, particularly from the audience’s perspective.

Print marketing will always be a highly effective method of getting your message in front of the right audience. But to hold their attention and get them to engage more with your brand, you’ve got to dedicate resources to creating innovative and inspiring ads.

Should you be investing in interactive print campaigns? Does chocolate taste great with peanut butter?

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

Related Posts

6 Absolute Rules of Effective Print Ads

4 Effective Ways to Marry Your Print and Digital Ads

7 Ways to Get Your Print Ads to Convert

Six Reasons Print Ads Belong in Your Media Mix

Topics: print advertising, interactive print media