BRANDING

3 REASONS WHY YOU NEED AGENCY AND IN-HOUSE MARKETING COLLABORATION

Do you find “either/or” choices restrictive and stuffy? You don’t have to choose between hiring an ad agency or only using an in-house marketing team. It’s possible to use both and get the benefits of each with on-point collaboration between these two powerhouses.

What are the benefits of using an in-house marketing team?

An in-house marketing team is built from the ground up. Each member of the team has an intimate understanding of your products, your positioning, your customer demographics, and the brand in general. Companies who invest in an in-house marketing team can keep and grow expertise within the business. Individuals on the marketing team have both long-term strategies and long-term goals for your brand. They’re experts who can see and adopt new marketing trends fast.

What are the benefits of hiring an outside ad agency?

Ad agencies can get the job done quickly. If you need results fast to satisfy an investor, c-suite, or a new VIP client, then farming out specific, one-off jobs to an ad agency can be worth it. An ad agency also offers a new, fresh take on marketing strategies for your products and services where an in-house team might become myopic, relying on time-tested strategies that risk becoming stale.

Why should you use both an in-house marketing team and an ad agency?

If you’ve invested in building a team of qualified experts for your in-house marketing department, it’s a great idea to appoint an in-house marketer to handle the communication between the rest of the team and the ad agency. What are the major reasons why you should combine the two?

  1. You need the benefits of both types of marketing teams. There may come a time where you need the brand expertise present in your in-house marketing team, along with the innovation that a quality ad agency can give you.

  2. You need to stay flexible. Are you unsure of which strategy is going to give you the best results? Combining the efforts of an in-house marketing team with an ad agency can help you stay flexible. Depending on how things go, you can either focus on expanding your in-house team, or adding more ad agency services at some point during the project.

  3. Your budget is limited. Hiring a fully staffed, in-house marketing team can be cost prohibitive for many startups and small to mid-sized businesses. If you don’t have the budget to employ a full in-house marketing team just yet, combining two or three in-house marketers with ad agency services can save your business money. An ad agency can fill in the gaps where you may be missing valuable in-house marketing expertise.

Farming out work to an ad agency, or staying strictly in-house both have their pros and cons. But when you combine the two, you get the benefits of both. Where one side is weak, the other can lend their strengths to bridge any gaps in your marketing plans. Instead of limiting yourself with an either/or choice, consider using both types of marketing powerhouses to grow your business and increase your revenue.

3 REASONS WHY BEING REAL HAS NEVER BEEN MORE STYLISH

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In a world where the lines between reality are becoming increasingly blurred, consumers are demanding more authentic and genuine products and marketing strategies from businesses. Entrepreneurs and marketers are becoming savvier when it comes to positioning their products as real and honest, from the way they are manufactured to the ingredients or materials they are made out of, and finally, to the way those products and services are marketed.
 
Information in today’s world is democratized, and it’s now easier than ever before for consumers to thoroughly research a product before they hit the “buy” button. Before, it was all too easy for less ethical businesses to use questionable ingredients, materials, or manufacturing processes to bring their products to market. With consumers demanding more transparency, their tastes are drastically changing.
 
Brands that have tapped into consumers’ need for real and honest products and marketing have managed to position themselves as industry heavyweights, such as Honest Tea and RXBar. In today’s business climate, being real and honest has never been more stylish. And with the rise of social media and user-generated content, honesty in business is here to stay. Here are three compelling reasons why:
 

1. Authenticity Matters

Recent surveys have found that up to 86% of all consumers claim that brand authenticity is an important factor in which companies they choose to support. The findings were even more stark depending on the age of the survey participant.
 
90% of Millennial consumers say brand authenticity is essential. This generational cohort now commands more than 200 billion dollars in annual spending power. But, they're often cited as the demographic least likely to be engaged with brands.
 
As the consumer market ages and younger and younger people start participating in the economy, brands need to stay competitive with real and organic positioning, instead of coming off as polished and packaged.
 

2. Modern consumers consider user-generated content the most authentic.

Everyone with an internet connection has access to social media, where they can express their thoughts, feelings, and share their lives with friends and strangers alike. Surveys show that consumers find written and visual content created by average, everyday people on social networks the most genuine or authentic. 70% of millennials claim that social media content from their friends and family have the most impact on their purchasing decisions, versus only 23% of celebrity influencers.
 

3. Authenticity can’t be faked.

Not only do consumers want more authentic content from brands, but they are also savvier at discerning brand-generated content. 70% of consumers can distinguish between content that is user-generated and content that brands have cultivated strictly for marketing purposes. 20% of all consumers have unfollowed a brand on social media because they thought their content was inauthentic.
 
The drive for real, honest products and marketing in the consumer market is being driven by a need for things that are timeless, and long-lasting. Being real, genuine, and honest with your brand positioning and storytelling will help your business maintain a competitive edge in today’s climate.

So, did you like this blog? Honestly?

SHOULD BRANDS FORGET ABOUT RETAIL ALTOGETHER?

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Fighting for retail space is an ongoing and frustrating battle. Not only is it difficult to corner a sizable market share with retail, but retail also comes with associated costs that can be prohibitive for many brands. Fortunately, the online retail space brings some democratization to the sales process. But more than anything, the consumer experience is king, and meeting customer demands is what will make a company successful. The rise of the internet and eCommerce have fundamentally changed the way people shop. And with the increase in online shopping, consumer expectations have also changed. Brands should forget about retail altogether and focus on the online shopping experience if they want to stay competitive. Here are three reasons why:

Reason #1: People want instant gratification.
With the rise in internet shopping and smartphone technology, people have a ‘need it now’ mentality. It’s true that consumers aren’t as patient as they were a generation ago. Consumers expect that they should be able to find a product, buy the product, and have it shipped to their house within a few minutes. They don’t want to drive to a store. They don’t want to fight crowds or deal with the usual hassles associated with a traditional retail shopping experience. If brands want to stay competitive, then they will need to meet the customer’s need for instant gratification.

Reason #2: Brands need to shift their dollars to online marketing techniques.
With the rise in online shopping, brands would be well served to switch up their marketing techniques. Going forward, brands will need to devote more of their marketing dollars to online advertising. Online advertising, if done properly, will give brands some of the best ROI available. For example, the average Google AdWords campaign will give a business a 200% ROI.

Reason #3: Amazon has set consumer expectations high.
Amazon is one of the biggest reasons why consumer tastes have changed so drastically in recent years. More and more, consumers want the type of online shopping experience that Amazon can give them:

  • Instant gratification

  • Fast shipping

  • The ability to quickly and easily comparison shop via reviews

  • A variety of choices

Amazon is a multi-billion dollar company, so how can smaller brands even hope to compete with the online retail giant? It’s not as hard as some may think. It’s now easier and more affordable than ever for smaller companies to leverage effective digital marketing strategies.

Amazon has forever changed the retail experience for consumers. In the future, it’s going to be harder and harder to fight for a dwindling amount of retail space. Businesses will need to craft digital marketing strategies to stay competitive. By leveraging the power of Facebook, Instagram, Google, and other online advertising strategies, companies will be able to capture more market share in their industries.

It’s never too late to get started with an effective online marketing strategy. If you’re ready to ditch retail and rebrand your business for the future of online shopping, then you’ll need to consider digital marketing techniques to reach your ideal customer.

THE RISE & FALL OF CLIENT-AGENCY RELATIONSHIPS

Your agency just won an important new business pitch, and everyone's fired up! But then you run into what seems to have become the norm after 18-24 months. The client calls and informs you they decided to conduct a review. You feel totally blind-sided. What might have happened? How did you lose touch? And most importantly what "undermined the trust factor" that won the business? After all, chemistry and trust are most often cited as the key factors in victories.

Let's see what could have caused this:

  • Did you on-board the client properly?

  • Was there an open, honest  offsite meeting that you arranged and paid for? Did you continue these offsite meetings?

  • Did you both share in the CEO's mandate for success over the first two years?

  • Did you revisit the quality of service over this period? Honestly and openly.

  • And, did you build a continuity team that proactively provided business building ideas in marketing, digital and analytics? Every month, every quarter.

That said, proof of performance is your greatest ally today. Here are some keys to keep it trending upward:

  1. Outstanding Creativity: Across key connection points, with all members of your team owning them.

  2. Relationship Building: All members charged with building relationships with their counterparts.

  3. Budgeting & ROI: Pay closer attention to your compensation agreement and revisit it with an open mind. You don't want your profitability to be marginalized, but you do want your client openly engaged with budget concerns.

All of this points towards the major issues that are an impediment these days: Client/Agency trust, and most recently transparency, have eroded. Your focus should be to work everyday to make these non-issues. Breathe some life into the relationship every chance you get. And last, but certainly not least, "Love your clients, or someone else will".  

The end.