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3 Ways to Create Revenue-Generating Direct Mail Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Thu, May 04, 2017 @ 11:58 AM

I found my old Trapper Keeper over the weekend. (If you’re under 35, Google it). I thought my Trapper Keeper was the coolest thing ever back in the day (still kinda do) and couldn’t wait to show it to my daughter, who I thought might want to use it for school.

As I opened and closed and opened and closed the Velcro flap, hearing that familiar thwip, thwip, thwip, thwip, I imagined my daughter walking down the hallway of her school, suddenly the coolest kid in her class because she had a genu-ine Trapper Keeper in almost-pristine condition. It would be a beautiful bond we share, like when and if she wants to wear my wedding dress down the aisle.

What is it?”

After explaining the wondrous thing I was offering her, all she could manage to say was, “No, thanks,” before giving me a strange look and walking to her bedroom. Teenagers.

Why do I mention my Trapper Keeper? Because my daughter, and most people her age, are obsessed with all-things digital. If I wanted to give her my Smartphone or iPad she would have been more than happy to take them.

But just because you don’t have to charge a Trapper Keeper or can’t text on it doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. Far from it. Kids still take notes and get handout sheets. They still need to keep their paper-stuff organized.

Typically the idea of launching a direct mail campaign gets the same sneer and quizzical look my daughter gave me. And why? Because it’s a bit old-fashioned? Because the tactic has been around awhile? Many marketers assume direct mail no longer works, and/or they believe postage rates are outrageous.

The truth is direct mail very much works and it’s very affordable.

The StatsDirect Mail Advertising - Three Arrows Hit in Red Target on a Hanging Sack on Natural Bokeh Background..jpeg


According to a recent USPS Household Diary Study, 42% of recipients scan or read direct mail pieces. This means that close to half of your target audience is going to actually stop what they’re doing to read your message. Even more exciting: if you’ve designed your direct mail campaign optimally (I’ll get to that), you might actually achieve a one to two percent (heck – even a 10%) response rate. Yes, that is totally achievable with direct mail.

Now let’s compare that to an average digital banner ad. You’re lucky if you get a 0.14% clickthrough rate. Even then, once someone lands on your landing page, you’re lucky if you convert 2%.

Now let’s discuss cost.

Many will say to their media buyers who are crazy enough to suggest launching a direct mail campaign, “But a digital banner will be seen by millions of eyes and it costs less than a direct mail campaign.

Let’s do a little math to dispel this misconception:

If you execute a direct mail campaign to 10,000 targets, and achieved only a 1% response rate, you would have gained 100 new customers. Not too shabby. Remember, with direct mail you can rent or create a highly-targeted list of prospects inexpensively so you don’t waste precious circulation. With direct mail, you ONLY send your offer to households that meet your criteria.

In order to gain those same 100 customers with your digital banner ad, it would have to reach 3,035,700 pairs of eyes. Not only is that a whole lot of people, but you can bet a good majority of them are non-targets, meaning they are not and never will be interested in what you have to offer. Wasted money.

So, which scenario is a better way to spend your ad dollars?

3 Ways to Create Revenue-Generating Direct Mail Campaigns

Now that you understand direct mail is not only still an incredibly effective and affordable way to get your offer in front of the right people, let’s look at three ways you get can the most bang for your buck:

Be Creative

Even if you send a plain-old enveloped mailer you’ll likely get a good response. That’s because most people get very little mail these days. But imagine the response rate you could get if your mailer was creative and attention-grabbing?

Consider using heavier stocks and coatings that invite people to notice your mailer. Maybe use a #10 envelope instead of a standard. Or forget an envelope altogether and try something that folds in a unique way. If you make it fun for people to open your mailer, chances are they will. Make it like a game or a gift and watch your response rate soar.

Leverage Technology

By all means take advantage of technology that will help you personalize your mailers and increase engagement and response. High-resolution inkjet, four-color inkjet and digital 1-to-1 print offer hyper-personalized mailers. Perhaps more importantly, this technology allows marketers to create individual versions of offers instead of mailing general messages to large groups.

Ask About Postage Discounts

Speak to your media buyer about ways you can save money. He or she might suggest processing your piece in five-digit delivery sequences or a carrier route. They might also discuss drop shipping, commingling and co-palletization with you, all great ways to help you save, and all can be combined to come up with a personal delivery system that fits your budget and gets your offer in front of the right people at the right time.

Ignore what you’ve heard about direct mail campaigns. While everyone is fighting online to get consumer attention, you can quietly and cheaply get their attention offline.


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

Topics: advertising, benefits of print, direct marketing, direct mail

Avoid These 6 FSI Mistakes and Earn Big This Memorial Day

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

When it comes to insider marketing, there is no more effective option than insert media. Think about it: getting your offer inside of an already-trusted and beloved newspaper means customers will automatically see your company and offer in the best possible light.

With Memorial Day weekend around the corner, it’s a good idea to step up your FSI game. With this in mind, here are 6 of the most common mistakes advertisers make with their insert campaigns. Avoid these at all costs to earn big this summer.

  1. Not Testing

Many marketers think that testing is not important, or they assume their budget isn’t big enough. But the truth is, you don’t need to distribute millions of pieces to determine if the channel will work for your company.

Test small.

You can minimize your risk by distributing enough to get an accurate gauge. For example, you can test four different programs with 25,000 in each. This is typically a better and more telling way to go than testing a single program with 100,000.

To determine which programs to test, keep a couple of things in mind:

  • Demographics of the program
  • The total universe of the program – if the test is successful, you want to know you can roll out effectively.

Be sure to vary your tests in terms of audience and category. It’s never a good idea to test a single category or a single audience. The more you vary your testing, the better your odds of finding success.

And one final note regarding testing (can you tell testing is important) – one successful test does not a successful campaign make. Don’t do a full roll out just because one test proved successful. Take a bit of time to make sure your positive results are in fact positive before committing to a big roll out.

If you start testing now, you should be able to confidently roll out your FSI campaign for Memorial Day Weekend, one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year.

  1. Not Coding

Do you always code your inserts? If not, how do you gauge if the channel and/or campaign was successful? Each program should have its own unique code, as should each month within a particular program. Coding helps you keep track of your success so you can make every advertising dollar count.

  1. Not Standing Out from the Crowd

You can’t rest on the newspaper’s laurels, you’ve got to stand out on your own. It’s easy for your FSI to get lost in the package, so use the entire space to your advantage. The average maximum dimensions for an insert program are 5-1/2″ x 8 1/2″. Why risk getting lost in the package with a 3 ½” x 5” insert. As they say: Go big or go home.

  1. Not Communicating with Your Media Buyer

You’ve got to share detailed information with your media buyer about the efficacy of your campaigns. And the more details you offer, the better able they will be to return qualified program recommendations. A program may not have worked at $45/M but it may at $30/M. Your buyer won’t be able to adjust on your behalf if all you say is, “It didn’t work.” Be specific and share as much as you can.

  1. Not Optimizing for Mobile

If you are going to include a mobile link in your insert’s offer then you’ll need to make sure your website is optimized for mobile browsing. This should be a no-brainer at this point but we still see so many companies who have neglected to optimize for mobile.

  1. Not Considering Lead Times

Most insert media campaigns need to be created and handed over weeks in advance of distribution. Understand that collation, production and delivery all take time, so if you want to get your inserts in the Memorial Day weekend paper, better get started… NOW!

There is no denying FSIs are a great way to get your offer in front of the right crowd and boost your revenue. Just be sure to avoid these 6 mistakes so you can taste success this summer season.

Topics: print advertising, frequency of newspapers ads, free standing inserts, preprint

3 Tips on Getting Customer Reviews

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

I almost don’t remember a time before Yelp. I don’t want to remember a time before Yelp. Yelp, and other consumer review sites, are what keep me from getting a hair-don’t. Review sites are what ensure I never pay $400 for a spark plug. And review sites are what save me time and again from the horror that is soggy Crab Rangoon.

I am certainly not the only one who owes their life, or at least their hard-earned dollars, to review sites. Most people, when they hear of a new (or perhaps merely ‘new to them’) local business, immediately begin an online search to see what kind of ratings these establishments have gotten.

If you are a local mom and pop shop or some kind of brick and mortar establishment, consumers are going to look for your star rating and review panel before handing over their hard-earned cash. Should your reviews be ho-hum, or worse, non-existent, the chances that those consumers will give your business a shot decrease significantly.

According to a Local Consumer Review Survey published in 2016 by BrightLocal, 91% of consumers regularly or occasionally read online reviews for local businesses, a 20% increase from 2010.

Google, Bing and other platforms have made consumer reviews readily accessible to the masses. At this point in time, the link between local business searches and visibility of reviews is more than evident.

Here are 3 tips on getting more consumer reviews:

  1. You Need at Least 3 Stars

When consumers search for your business, what do they see? They see your company name, maybe some contact information and those stars. They instantly judge you and decide whether or not they will patronize your establishment by how many stars you have. You know this because you do it yourself. We all do it.

Who has time to research a company completely? Answer: no one. We all just want to be able to quickly decide on whether to try the Thai restaurant on Market Street or the one on Elm Road.

According to BrightLocal’s survey, 87% of consumers said they would use a local business if it maintained a 3-5-star rating. We can tell from this consumers do not expect you to be perfect, they also realize not everyone’s opinion may be reliable. They simply want to see some overall good ratings and consistency.

So, if you are below 3 stars work hard at getting that score up. You will no doubt likely see a spike in business when you do.

  1. Those 5 Reviews from 3 Years Ago Won’t Cut It

If you’re going to place a bet on who will win the Super Bowl, will you choose your team based on how they performed nine years ago, or how they performed this current season?

Prospective customers want to see relevant reviews, and that means recent reviews. Back to our survey, it showed that 73% of consumers won’t even pay attention to reviews older than three months. And most respondents said they only read reviews posted in the last month.

Be sure to always have a steady flow of reviews coming in. Here are some ways to get reviews:

  • If you have local clients that you invoice, consider adding something to the invoice that says, “Love your experience? Then please review us on Google+.”
  • Use a platform like com. GetFiveStars sends an email to your client list or subscriber list asking them to leave a review on Google, Facebook, or Yelp.
  • You can always just come out and ask your customers if they wouldn’t mind leaving a positive review. If you provide an excellent product or service and you ask for a positive review, most customers will oblige. In fact the survey found that 7 out of 10 consumers who are asked will leave feedback.

Business man pointing to transparent board with text Client Testimonials.jpeg

  1. Maintain an Updated Website

Let’s say you’ve gone to all the trouble of making sure you have at least 3 stars and a steady stream of fresh reviews. You’re not out of the woods yet. What is the next thing a consumer will do once they’ve perused your reviews?

They’ll click over to your website of course. Or at least, they’ll want to.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a local pizza joint, accountant, mattress store, or baby sitter, you definitely need to have a professional looking website that has some helpful content. The design should be clean and easy to navigate. Your reviews may be great but if your website leaves something to be desired, your visitors will leave and you won’t get their business.


Your mission is to now go forth and solicit as many positive reviews and stars as you can. Stay committed and don’t be shy about asking for positive reviews. Your bottom line will thank you.

Topics: print advertising, reviews, ratings

Five Things You’re Doing Wrong with Your Billboard Ads

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Apr 05, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

As new channels become available to marketers and integrative campaigns become even more complex (and CMOs become even more accountable for delivering big results), it becomes increasingly important to make every advertising dollar count.

Billboard advertising remains an incredibly effective way of reaching an audience and getting a nice return on your investment. That is, if you don’t screw it up.

Here are 5 things you’re doing wrong with your billboard ads:

  1. You’re Writing the Great American Novel

Your billboard should not read like a novel. It should be short and sweet, containing no more than six words. Remember, people will see your billboard when they’re driving, so they literally don’t have time to read much more than six words. When you only have a few seconds to get your message across, you’ve got to make sure that every word counts.

  1. You’re Using Your Billboard as a Direct Response Ad

We speak often on this blog about the impact direct response ads can have on your audience (and your bottom line), but billboards shouldn’t be used for that. Billboard ads are about creating interest and brand-building, but they should never be expected to do the heavy lifting. Save that for your print and TV ads. With this in mind, don’t cover your billboards with 1-800 numbers and website addresses. The only exception to this rule is if your website address or phone number is your main message/headline.

  1. You’re Being Cute and Clever

An uninspired billboard won’t get attention. A smart billboard, on the other hand, will grab attention and make a lasting impression. But a billboard that’s trying too hard to be clever or cute will get nothing but eye rolls or completely ignored.

Advertising is not about being clever or smarter than your audience, it’s about simple, clear and direct messaging.

  1. You Believe Less is More

Billboards are kind of like potato chips: eating one is okay, but eating more is better. Billboards are a mass market medium that require support.

Before making your buy, be sure to inquire about the billboard’s Gross Ratings Point (GRP). This number is based on traffic, visibility, location, size and so on. So if your billboard’s score is 50%, that means that roughly 50% of the populations in your local area would see your billboard each day. Having one billboard is okay, but having more billboards around town will get you as close to a 100% showing as possible.

  1. You Didn’t Test Your Ad First

All billboard ad campaigns look brilliant on a 27” monitor, but are you sure that information will translate and be seen and understood once it’s up on that board? It’s important to put each and every one of your ads up to the “Arm’s Length Test.” Here’s how you do it:

Print your ad to the size of a business card. Now hold it out at arm’s length. Does it hold up? Does it still have the same impact it did when it was on your big ol’ monitor? If yes, great. If no, time to refine your message until it can pass this test with flying colors. Remember, your message has got to pop, and you only have about 5 seconds to make an impression on motorists and pedestrians.

If you stop (or never start) making these 5 common billboard mistakes, you should begin to see amgreater impact on your audience and a better ROI.

Topics: advertising, advertising strategy, billboard

How to Start Winning at Local Search

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 @ 08:00 AM


In some ways, digital technology makes running a small business simpler. For example, accounting software helps us save on outsourcing payroll and taxes, and apps allow to take payments from customers right on our smartphones.

But in other ways, the ever-evolving digital landscape has made small business marketing a bit confusing at times. I mean, just when we all thought we fiiiiiiinally had regular ol’ SEO (Search Engine Optimization) down, along comes local search.

What the heck is local search anyway and why does it matter for your business?

You’ve probably noticed when you do a Google search on your desktop or mobile device that Google will offer a search option with the words “near me” included. That is local search and the results returned will automatically be narrowed to include only those in your local area.

For example, if you search for “flower arrangements near me” Google will return the florists in your area and typically include a map so you can see exactly how far they are from you.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar establishment that only caters to local clientele, then you’ve GOT to make sure your online presence is optimized for local search. Getting into Google’s top local search results can significantly boost your business and your bottom line.

If you’ve been losing at the game of local search (or haven’t even stepped onto the field) here are some ways you can start winning.

Leverage Those Directory Sites

Directories, also called listing sites, contain organized information about companies, websites, and individual people. These sites can be big like Yelp and Merchant Circle, or more of a niche site like Lawyers.com, which is obviously just for and about lawyers.

The point here is, if you don’t take control of those listings and fill in the information yourself, the sites will do it FOR you, and they may not get it right. These sites typically pull your company name, address and phone number from any source they find, including government records. If you’ve made any changes (like your mailing address is now different from your store’s physical address) Google will be confused and your search results will take a beating.

So, make sure all of the information on these directories is up to date and accurate.

Get Liked

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Google likes business that have several online reviews. Because they trust these businesses more, they give them a higher ranking in the search results. Getting positive reviews doesn’t have to be difficult. Sometimes all it takes is simply asking for them.

Optimize Your Content

At this point in time you no doubt understand the benefit of content marketing and know that Google loves fresh, relevant content. But what will really push you up in the local search rankings is optimizing your content.

For example, if you are an HVAC company in Baton Rouge, you might write a blog post about getting your air conditioner ready for a scorching summer in “Baton Rouge.” If you are a mechanic in Burlington, Vermont, why not write a post about the best winter tires for icy roads in “Burlington, Vermont.” Besides making sure to get your location in that content, it should go without saying that the content itself should educate, be helpful and engaging.

For the Love of God, Please Just Go Mobile Already

If you have yet to create a mobile version of your website…

Just do it already. Tools like bmobilized.com and dudamobile.com can get you a mobile website in minutes for under $10.

These stats should help convince you why going mobile is critical to your business.

Become Educated

Local search is the most volatile segment of search. While Google is getting better at rolling out changes, they still come quickly and are usually full of bugs to start. Always set time aside to keep up with the latest changes. If your budget allows, hire a media planner who will help you create and launch successful local SEO campaigns, and show you how combining these with print can blast your revenue through the roof.

If you implement these strategies you will maximize your visibility to become a bona-fide local search winner.

Local search is growing to be more and more important. Right now, a local search on a mobile device displays a first page of three results, also known as the Google 3 pack. Those three companies are going to reap the benefits of new clients the fastest. Want to see how your business is doing in local search? Then try our Free SEO Report Card by clicking here.


Topics: optimization, directory sites, local search

What This Year’s Oscars SNAFU Can Teach Us About Marketing

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 @ 09:00 AM


Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you’ve no doubt heard about the fiasco that took place at the Oscars. In what is being called “the greatest flub in Academy Awards telecast history,” best film was accidentally awarded to “La La Land.”

Eventually the producers of the show recognized the flub and re-awarded the Oscar to the film “Moonlight,” but not before La La Land’s producers had already given some teary acceptance speeches.

Talk about awkward.

While Warren Beatty and the accountants at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, the firm that has overseen the Academy's ballot-counting process for 83 years, continue to point the fingers at one another, the rest of us can learn a thing or two about marketing from the awards fiasco.

1. Check and Double Check Before Launching Your Campaign

It goes without saying that before those envelopes get sealed, the names on the card inside had better be checked, rechecked and rechecked once more before awards night.

Before you launch your campaign, you had also better check, recheck and recheck once more to make sure you have done the following:

  • Chosen the right target audience – you can’t create a relevant and effective message unless and until you know exactly who you are creating it for.
  • Developed a strong ad – Is your headline attention-grabbing? Are you using the right visuals? Is your ad copy crowded or can the ad breathe? Does the ad create desire? Is everything spelled correctly? Do you include a phone number or URL so you can be contacted? Is there a call-to-action?
  • Selected the right channels – You know your target audience and have developed a strong, relevant message. Now how will you deliver it? Social media? Print? Direct mail? TV or radio spot? Make sure you know how your audience likes to consume information and how/when they are most receptive to it.

2. Ask for Help

Apparently, a redundant card had been included in the “BEST FILM” envelope. The card announced Emma Stone as the winner for “BEST LEAD ACTRESS” in La La Land. Emma had, in fact, won moments earlier in the “BEST ACTRESS” category. When Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, presenters of the “BEST FILM” award, saw the card, they were confused, made an assumption (making an ass out of everyone) and simply read the name of the film on the card “La La Land.”

What they should have done is ask for help from the producers of the show. Yes, there would have been an awkward pause, but that awkwardness would have been minimal. As it turned out. A large number of people experienced unnecessary confusion and heartache they didn’t need to experience.

Why put yourself through unnecessary frustration by developing and launching a marketing campaign entirely alone? If your budget allows, it’s always best to seek the guidance of a professional media buyer, who can help you plan your campaign and get the best deals when it comes time to negotiate contracts.

3. Adjust Quickly if Necessary

Why did it take the producers of the Academy Awards so freaking long to recognize a mistake had been made? 10 or 15 whole minutes went by, people from “Team La La” had already begun giving their speeches, emotionally thanking everyone and no doubt debating in their minds whether the award should live prominently on their fireplace mantel or causally on a shelf in their office. This viewer feels the mistake should have been caught much quicker. If it had, there would have been less emotional and psychological bloodshed.

Beyond planning and negotiating on your behalf, a media buyer is responsible for garnering insights and making necessary adjustments that will help optimize your campaign. If your budget doesn’t allow you to use a media buyer, then you will be responsible for setting up a tracking system. How will you know if your campaign has been effective or not? Before you launch you must select the metrics you will use to track your campaign. Those metrics can be anything like page views, phone calls, newsletter signups, click-through rate, and of course, sales.


While the viewing public can get a kick out of an awards show faux pas, there is nothing funny about sinking time and money into advertising campaigns that simply don’t deliver. Let’s all learn something from this year’s Oscar flub and ensure all of our campaigns are always legitimate winners. .cede)��@� $

Topics: content marketing

6 Old School Advertising Techniques Today’s Entrepreneurs Should be Leveraging

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Wed, Mar 08, 2017 @ 01:06 PM

When it comes to advertising techniques, digital technology has continued to evolve and offer (read: inundate us with) a plethora of effective tools. But, more often than not, these new, shiny techniques draw focus and attention away from traditional techniques that have been working for more than 100 years.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to get ahead of the competition, don’t forget to use some (or all) of the following old school advertising techniques.

  1. Phone Calls

Startups must spend a good chunk of time and money on acquiring new business. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t spend any time or money on keeping the business they already have. Retaining current customers builds your bottom line and these loyal fans act as brand ambassadors – stirring up new business on your behalf by word-of-mouth and social media testimonials.

Picking up the phone and reaching out to customers is a highly-effective way of keeping your happy customers happy and fixing whatever it is that makes some customers not-so-happy. Making a dozen or so calls each month is a great way to retain business.

  1. Direct Mail

No one really gets or reads snail mail anymore. People choose to go paperless and have their utility bills and mortgages automatically paid each month. And why write a letter when you can stay in touch with friends and family via email or Facebook updates?

But the thing is, we all really love getting mail. There’s just something about opening that mailbox, reaching in, and pulling out something that piques our interest. Direct mail is finally starting to have its heyday because it finally has a chance to stand out and make a statement.

Consider sending out announcements about upcoming sales, or, better yet, coupons. Also, adding a personal note thanking customers for their business is always a nice touch.

  1. Print Ads

Whoever said print was dead was either lying or uninformed. Print is very much alive and well and should absolutely be a part of your integrated campaigns. Print can be incredibly effective at reaching baby boomers and higher-income consumers. And, if your product or service speaks directly to a particular audience, you will most likely find a magazine who caters to your prospects.

Two smiling women lying on the floor are both reading a magazine.jpeg

  1. Email Marketing

Email marketing has taken a backseat since social media marketing became all the rage. While organizing subscriber lists and creating content that is highly-relevant to each segment takes time, this channel can be a large source of your business.


  1. Networking

Good Ol’-fashioned networking is the oldest form of marketing but still one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. Attending conferences will put you in touch with influencers, potential partners and clients, and existing clients as well. If you are not the outgoing type, find someone within your organization who is naturally social and charismatic who can represent you at these important meet-and-greets.

  1. Speaking Engagements

More than ever, what consumers are looking for is thought leadership. And, while there are numerous online channels for growing your reputation as an industry expert, there’s nothing quite like standing in front of an audience and sharing your knowledge in person. This not only shows you off as an expert on your subject but also helps to instantly form trust between prospects and your organization.

Sometimes being the hip, new, happening kid on the block means going against the herd mentality and kicking it old school. As an entrepreneur, if you incorporate some or all of these timeless advertising techniques into your strategy, you’ll have a much better chance of pulling ahead of the competition and building a loyal following.

Topics: advertising, networking, printadvertising, emailmarketing

Determining the Right Media Mix for Newbies

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Feb 20, 2017 @ 01:53 PM


Small business owners share one common goal: to employ highly-effective advertising that works within a limited (read: shoe-string) budget. The best way to achieve this goal is to get the right offer in front of the right audience at the right time. And the right way to do this is to use an optimum media mix.

But when it comes to determining the right mix of media, confusion generally abounds. How exactly do you integrate multiple channels to generate new sales and sustain customer value over time?

By following some specific guidelines.

  1. Understand Your Product or Service Value Proposition

Before you can determine what marketing mix is best you’ve got to understand the value proposition of your specific offer. Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What problem are you solving?
  • How do you solve it?
  • What other solutions are currently in the marketplace that you must differentiate yourself from?
  1. Use Discretion When Allocating Your Marketing Budget

Many business owners spend most their time focusing on what channels to use. While mixing channels cohesively is a big part of a successful integrated campaign, you’ve got to think about budget allocation as well.

Use any historical benchmarks you may have collected to plan your budget. Analyze this data to determine whether or not certain channels helped you reach your campaign goals. This will help you plan your budget accordingly.

  1. Know Your Audience

You’ll never pick the right marketing mix if you don’t know who it is you’re trying to reach. Who is your target market? What kinds of media do they consume? How do they like to be reached? How do they NOT like to be reached? Are you a B2B or B2C company?

It’s important to create a generic profile of your ideal customer. Jot down the different personas you wish to reach, then research which channels will most effectively get the job done.

  1. Mix it Up

They don’t call it a marketing mix for nothing. Get out of your comfort zone and get creative when it comes time to choose your channels. Take a look at the research you did on your target market. Where is the best place to reach them? Online? At trade shows? In the newspaper? Via flyers or direct mailers?

The list of marketing tools you can use today is almost endless, so don’t just pick one method or channel. Think bigger and combine print ads with social media, flyers and coupons with TV ads. And finally, be certain your brand is cohesive across all channels so that your audience instantly recognizes you.

  1. Set Realistic and Measurable Goals

In order to determine if your integrated campaign has been successful, you’ve got to be able to set realistic and measurable goals. Don’t assume that after the first run of a print ad you’re going to have 30,000 prospects calling your store. That’s not realistic. But having 100 new prospects call after the third run and using a customized 1-800 number will do the trick.


In today’s global landscape, where brands must fight for consumer attention, marketers must be savvy and strategic in order to get their message heard. Using the right media mix will go a long, long way to reaching your marketing objectives in the coming year and beyond.


Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital MediaDownload our guide to hiring a media provider


Topics: newspaper, target audience, print media, marketing, Media Mix, marketing goals

5 Common Branding Mistakes That Will Kill Your Small Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Feb 13, 2017 @ 11:06 AM

What is branding exactly? It’s the development of a public persona, one that causes an instant emotional connection within consumers. When you think of great branding, what comes to mind? Nike’s swoosh? Coca Cola’s red can and white lettering? Or maybe McDonald’s golden arches?

As a small business owner, you’ve probably dreamed of reaching such branding success. You’ve also most likely become instantly overwhelmed at the mere idea of taking on what can be an expensive and demanding initiative.

The good news is, effective branding is much easier and more cost-effective than you might think, provided you avoid the following 5 common mistakes.

  1. Being Shortsighted

You most likely know that having a strong brand is highly advantageous from a customer-relationship perspective. After all, the stronger your brand the more top of mind you become. For instance, when you think of buying shoes online, you immediately think of Zappos.


Did you know that branding is also valuable for SEO marketing? It’s no secret that Google prioritizes branded listings in its organic search results. They do this because branded websites are more likely to get the clicks. More clicks mean happier search engine users. Hence, don’t be shortsighted. Undertaking a branding initiative could lead to both awareness benefits and a boost in website traffic.

  1. Failing to Implement Branding Guidelines

Your branding efforts will be sabotaged by a lack of cohesiveness. This cohesiveness can only be reached by implementing branding guidelines. Doing so will allow your brand to be instantly recognized no matter which marketing channel you use. People recognize Coca Cola in their TV ads as well as their print ads and social media campaigns.16703717985_21f9c0cc6f_b.jpg

What should your guidelines include?

  • Logo
  • Brand colors
  • Taglines
  • Fonts and typography
  • The “voice” used in your branded materials
  • Imagery
  • Mascots or spokespeople

While this isn’t an exhaustive list of guidelines, these points are essential to getting you started.

  1. Not Keeping it Simple

Small businesses can learn a lot from Coca Cola when it comes to keeping their brand image simple. Take a look at how their logo has changed – or not changed – over the years. While the fonts have varied a bit since the soft drink giant launched in 1887, the logo in general has had the same look and feel over the last 127 years. Also worth mentioning is that look happens to be very clean and simple.

It may be tempting to “go all out” and add more variables when initiating your branding process. But, a logo with five colors and four different graphic elements will confuse your audience and overcomplicate things. Take a note from Coca Cola and keep things simple.

  1. Being Vague

I already mentioned the importance of keeping your brand image and logo clean and simple. But don’t confuse this will dull and vague. Your brand’s elements must reveal something about your company and its value proposition. Catchphrases like “Best-selling” “award-winning” or “new and improved” have been so overused, they no longer hold any meaning with consumers.

Focus on creating clear language, logos and imagery that highlight your company’s value proposition.

  1. Not Monitoring Your Brand’s Usage

Developing and launching your small business’s brand is only half of the branding equation. The other half is making sure you’re monitoring how others are using your brand image on your behalf. If you let this task slide, you risk publishing partners using your logo but with the wrong colors, or a review website using the wrong URL link. Or, worse, a competitor using a tagline that sounds strikingly similar.

While branding takes thought and comprehensive planning, it doesn’t need to be overly complicated. As long as you avoid these 5 common mistakes, you should be able to develop a brand that is instantly recognizable and connects with your target audience.

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Topics: advertising, marketing, small business, branding

Five Common Mistakes CMOs Make When Running RTB Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 11:26 AM

Real Time Bidding (RTB) has become a hot digital marketing trend over the last few years and for good reason. The technology has already proven its value to advertisers and publishers alike. Among other benefits, RTB offers pricing precision, increased value of remnant space, and the ability to gain audience insight.

However, the technology is still rather new and there are many pitfalls to avoid. By steering clear of the following 5 mistakes, your chances of succeeding with RTB increase exponentially.

1. Not Meeting Required Specifications

You wouldn’t use charcoal with a gas grill. You wouldn’t because you would have read the manual that specifically said, “DO NOT USE CHARCOAL WITH THIS GAS GRILL OR YOU MAY CAUSE IRREPERABLE DAMAGE.” In this case, you would have followed the required specifications.

But many advertisers are setting up their campaigns without the required specs, and these campaigns in turn are getting rejected. Specs may include banner size, type of file, or maximum weight allowed.

Be sure to always check the required specifications and follow them to a proverbial “T.” Fixing this one mistake will get you on the right track fast!

2. Using Inefficient Bidding Strategies

CMOs need to do their homework before running an RTB campaign so they don’t use the wrong bidding strategies. The first thing to do is consider what your campaign’s objectives are and where your prospects are placed in the sales funnel.

Once you know this you can think about which bidding model you should use. For instance, the cost-per-mille (CPM) model is designed to reach a specified CPM for a given activity. This can be very helpful when running retargeting campaigns because your target audience has been identified and all that is needed is the right price per impression.

The CPC model will optimize your cost-per-click, which is ideal for run-of-network (RON) campaigns. These campaigns are the digital equivalents to “Run-of-paper” campaigns, when you don’t choose where in the newspaper your ad will appear. In RON, your ad can appear anywhere in a wide collection of websites that belong to one advertising network. With the CPC model, an advanced algorithm is used to detect users who are likely to click on your ad.

The most important thing to remember about digital and RTB campaigns specifically is that nothing is ever static. That includes where your audience is placed in the sales funnel. To increase your campaign’s efficiency, your bidding strategy may need to combine the two bidding models or shift from one to the other as the campaign progresses.

3. Don’t Focus Solely on CTR

When it comes to online campaign metrics, click-through-rate (CTR) along with impressions have always been important indicators of success. But, you should not think of CTR as a holy grail. So someone clicks through to your landing page? Then what happens? Did they convert or not?

Conversion is the most important element when it comes to analyzing performance of display campaigns. If conversions aren’t being measured, how will you know what kind of return you’re getting on your investment?

For this reason, it is crucial for CMOs to implement lead tracking. This will allow you to look at clicks, conversion AND revenue at the same time to determine if your campaigns are effective or need to be adjusted.

4. Not Leveraging Targeting Opportunities

One of the biggest benefits of RTB technology is that it offers some major targeting opportunities. But many advertisers aren’t leveraging these. When setting up your campaigns, be sure to consider geo-targeting, demographic targeting, and time of day targeting.


 5. Going it Alone

As effective as it can be, RTB is a little bit of an art form and a little bit of science combined. It is so new and complex that many advertisers simply don’t understand how to utilize it properly. And, with all of their other responsibilities, they don’t have the time to test different theories and models.

A media buyer can help you to effectively spend and reach your audience at just the right time. They will also ensure you always follow required specifications so your campaigns are never rejected.

If you’ve been wanting to add RTB to your integrated campaigns but have been feeling overwhelmed, get in touch with us today. We’d love to get you setup with the right RTB model so you can reach your marketing objectives.



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Topics: real-time bidding