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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.

Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!

Topics: advertising, marketing, small business, branding

6 Things to Help You Not Fail at Integrated Marketing

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

Today’s marketers have more channels than ever to deliver their brand’s messaging and promote its products and services. Beyond traditional channels like print, OOH and radio, marketer’s may now choose between social media, email marketing, and mobile marketing, to name only a few digital channels.

Luckily, word has gotten out that marketers need not choose between traditional or digital methods, but can create integrated campaigns, choosing the best of both worlds to get the biggest return on their advertising investment.

While there is no one-size-fits-all formula to creating successful integrated marketing campaigns, there are definite ways marketers can maximize viewership.

Understand Who Your Audience Really IsUnderstand Who Your Audience Really Is

Your audience is far more than demographic data. Beyond being an educated male with an income above $50,000 or a mother of children between the ages of five and 16, your audience has attitudes, interest, behaviors, and concerns. By uncovering these, you will be able to identify which channels will best reach your audience.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my current target customers?
  • What motivates them?
  • How do they like being communicated to?
  • What information will they find useful and relevant?
  • What language will engage them most?

Before developing your strategy, let alone creating your content, you need to know the answers to these questions.

Be Smart in Your Channel Selection

Once you’ve answered the above questions, you’ll be able to uncover which channels are the best to reach your audience. But…

WARNING: Do not try to be everywhere at the same time.

You’ll never be able to manage your campaigns effectively if your message is spread far and wide. It’s not necessary for you to be on every single channel your audience may use. Integration does not require you exhaust yourself or your resources.

Instead, be ruthless in selecting and rejecting channels, only concentrating on a handful of the most effective ones.

Ensure a Consistent Visual Identity

When integrating your campaigns, it’s incredibly important that your visual identity remains consistent across all channels. This means much more than making sure your logo is the same and prominent; it means spending some time to be sure you have an overarching design – that is look and feel. This includes the style of images and graphics used, as well as common colors and fonts. All of your communication, no matter the channel, should appear as if it came from the same company. A person reading an email from you should recognize that you are the company whose ad they’ve seen in their local paper.

Create Relevant Content That May Be Repurposed

In order for any piece of content you create to be effective, it must be relevant to your audience – that is, something that speaks directly to one of their pain points. Your content must also be clear, compelling, and consistent. Don’t use confusing industry jargon, but instead language that is instantly understood by the reader.

In addition, every piece of content you develop, whether it’s a blog post, white paper or infographic, should be able to be repurposed. Developing strong content takes money and time, so be sure you get the most bang for your buck. Break that blog post up and turn it into a series of Tweets, or take that while paper and turn it into a video.

Make Sure All of Your Channels Are Working Together

The goal of all of your content and various channels should be united: to drive traffic to your ultimate target, whether that’s a specific landing page, your blog, a social network like Facebook, or right through your door. This means all of your content on these integrated channels must share a similar call-to-action, telling the reader specifically what you’d like them to do.

Track your campaigns and adjust where necessaryTrack Your Campaigns and Adjust Where Necessary

Perhaps more than any other campaign, an integrated one requires proper analytics and attribution methods be in place to understand if you have achieved your goal. Those brands looking to drive in-store sales with coupons can use a tracking platform that generates unique barcodes with every coupon reader print. This is how major national brands get data from all of their regional retailers. You can use the same method.

If you haven’t begun to leverage the power of integrated campaigns, there’s no better time than right now (because your competitors are most likely already using them).

Free Local Media Analysis - Request Now!

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

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 24, 2016 @ 12:38 PM

It wasn’t that long ago that marketing collateral consisted mainly of facts and figures with a few images and pie charts thrown in for “appeal.” These were of course printed on plain old black and white paper in mass quantities.

Thanks to modern technology, today’s businesses can wow prospects by featuring their products and services in full-color and on high quality paper. Yet, despite these printing advances, many companies still consider their marketing collateral as supplemental and don’t bother to make it stand out. This is a disservice.

Today’s consumers are busy and not at all interested in perusing collateral that offers about as much visual appeal as a scholastic aptitude test. They want to be visually engaged and offered information in bite-size bits.

With this in mind, here are 5 ways you can make your marketing collateral stand out and grab buyers’ attention.

Make It Align with Your Brand Image

Make it align with your brand image.It’s not enough to slap your logo on your collateral and call it a day. You need to make sure it represents your brand both in how it looks and the impression it gives. For starters, collateral should use your brand’s colors and font styles so that consumers have a universal experience across your website, social media pages, magazine ads, and collateral. In other words, they should recognize your brand immediately.

Also, make sure your brand’s personality is the same across all channels. Collateral copy doesn’t have to be dry and boring, so make sure to infuse it with your personality and humanity.

Make it Relevant

Whether it’s marketing collateral, an explainer video, or an email campaign, unless your content is 100% relevant to your audience, they will ignore your message. Be sure you know exactly who your target demographic is and use your collateral to speak to their particular needs.

Also important to know is exactly how you will be using your collateral. Will you be handing out a tri-fold at an event, offering a sell sheet at a client meeting, or sending a brochure through the post? Do you want prospects to discover your brand, visit your website, engage with you on social media, or call your sales representatives? Whatever the goal, you need to make sure your collateral reflects it.

And finally, be sure to include your web address, email, phone number, and social icons so customers can easily contact you.

Use Images

Think of how you yourself take in information. If, in an advertisement, you are offered an image as well as text, your eyes naturally scan the image first and then move on to the words. All human beings do this. We have been programmed in a way to seek out images first and text second. Colorful images will definitely help your collateral stand out.

Depending on what type of collateral you are creating, and the goal you want it to achieve, consider using a variety of images such as photographs of your products, illustrations, stock photos and infographics.

forget basicsForget Basic

Perhaps one of the best and easiest ways for your collateral to stand out is to forget using a basic shape. Who says a brochure HAS to be a boring ol’ rectangle? Consider using die-cutting, a unique design element that can add a creative shape to your collateral. And, contrary to what you may think, this element won’t break your bank. But it will give your printed material major impact. So, next time you’re printing some brochures or business cards, consider making them the shape of your logo or something else that connects with your brand.

Choose the Right Paper

If you watch any cooking shows on the Food Network, you’ve no doubt noticed professional chefs spend almost as much time deciding on what plates they will use to present their dishes as they do on the ingredients and preparation. You’ve got to do the same thing with your collateral. While you may have always played it safe in the past and used cardstock, for instance, this will hardly get anyone’s attention. (What gets your attention more… an appetizer served on a little plate, or one served on a spoon?)

To make your printed collateral special consider using textured or glossy paper. Get creative and maybe use fabric or a dark paper with light text. Anything not-typical, that is still easy to read and engage with, will get you the attention you want.

Collateral does NOT have to be boring. It can actually be something that sets your brand apart and continuously bring in leads and sales.

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

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