Category Archives: Marketing

A common misperception about marketing is that anyone can do it. All you need is a website, a few devices, and some creative minds, and surely you’ll be able to come up with a plan that works.

What many people find, however, is that once you’re deep into the marketing pool, it’s all too easy to flounder. In your own areas of expertise, you are skilled, sharp, and intuitive, but there’s not necessarily a direct translation into marketing, just as a professional basketball player is not necessarily a swimmer. The rules of marketing are specific, constantly in flux, and it’s difficult to know how to engage and connect a multitude of channels by making your best guess. In other words, swimming in these waters is about more than creative energy, instincts, and imitation. What you need is expertise.

Ever wondered if analytics are worth it?

The only way you can be sure of a worthy marketing investment is when it contributes more to the growth—and thus value—of your business than it removes from your budget. Some of these efforts are far easier to track than others. Campaigns that lead to direct sales and boost commitments can be quantified, and so you feel confident when preserving them as part of your marketing strategy.

Harder to justify are the more complex efforts that yield more indirect, but far-reaching, results. Analytics is one of these hard-to-quantify yet worthy investments.

What are demographic and psychographic profiles? And what can they do for your business?

If you don’t have a large budget to spend on marketing, you still have to compete for attention in a market with big business. But getting an audience’s attention is not only, or even primarily, about going big. It’s about strategy and matchmaking. You don’t need to get everyone. You need to find your customers.

Imagine hearing this from a new financial client:

“Make a long-term financial plan? No, it’s too much trouble. And confusing! And things are changing all the time in the market. Can’t you just invest in a few new places, freshen the portfolio up a bit, and we’ll call it even?”

This is not how any financial professional would wish a client to approach their finances. But this is how many in the financial sector approach marketing.

A long-term marketing strategy costs you time and resources. The field of marketing is always evolving, and it can feel confusing. However, like any other investment, you need your marketing investment to help you reach goals: revenue, new clients, longevity, and a unique voice in an increasingly vast consumer marketplace. Freshening up your brochures and your website, having a social media presence, staying active on LinkedIn—all of these are great moves, but in order for them to work, they have to be part of a strategy.

What does a marketing strategy bring to the table?

To reach your audience, you need to be doing both on- and offline marketing. Before you scratch your head, wondering, “Weren’t marketing experts just telling me to go digital?” listen to this: when it comes to media, people want a digital-tangible blend. That’s become clear in marketing and business alike. Omnichannel strategies are effective because they harness this reality.

So how can your business reap the benefits of omnichannel marketing? And how does it work?

In marketing, so many more choices and channels are available than there were twenty or even ten years ago—it’s almost mind-boggling. The temptation might be to stick to your corner and avoid innovation or cross-media marketing at the risk of confusion or weakening the impact of what you already know works.

We’ve all heard some variation on the proverb about the three cords that the sage winds together saying, “Three together are stronger than each apart.” This ancient and oft-used proverb rings true in many aspects of life, as well as business. A cross-media campaign is like that three-strand cord. Each strand has a relationship with the others, and while it takes some work to wind them together, the strength they add is more than the sum of their parts.

Sending the right message about your company is similar to getting dressed for an important interview. The right message for you will depend on your identity—your vision and core values—as well as the practical services you aim to offer and to whom. You’re making an impression that’s aesthetically clear but also fulfills a practical purpose.

Messaging is also like your resumemost companies only get a moment’s glimpse for a potential client to decide whether they’re interested in more.

And prospects can’t get to know you if your message about who you are and what you offer is either untrue, unclear, or far too general. Potential clients need to quickly know whether you match their interests and can address their concerns.

You have your website, brochures, attractive letterhead, informational packets, business cards, and a fantastic blog. But you’re wondering—is there something else? Are there other stories you want to tell about your company you’re not currently able to tell through other marketing channels? If so, you may want to consider an in-house publication. An in-house publication is a good way for some companies to fill marketing, PR, and HR gaps they’re not filling elsewhere. Let’s take a closer look.

How is an in-house publication different from other print materials?

Of course, you want to be sure that you’re not reinventing the wheel. But an in-house publication does fill a unique niche. Your other print marketing materials first and foremost attract toward a sell, keep you top of mind, and map out the vision and capabilities of your business in a nutshell. A magazine, on the other hand, captures what you’re up to now. It gives a glimpse into the active life of your company this week, month, or quarter, and gives you a chance to show the creative and personal side of your business perhaps even more than in other publications.

What goes into an in-house publication?

There’s really no standard rule, here. You can focus on addressing client interests, employee interests, or a combination of the two. You can print a newsletter, company announcements, letters or notes from the CEO. You can print key blog posts, highlight a particular employee, or review new initiatives.  You can even print all or part of your magazine as a catalog. You might even be able to partner with another company to do some advertising for them. (Industry rules and standards apply.)

Whether or not you’re in the travel industry, take a page out of Southwest Airlines’ book, for example. They do great work with their in-house magazine. Not only do they give clients something to do while they wait, they fill the magazine with a variety of truly interesting and helpful information that encourages more interaction with the brand and builds positive associations. They use an in-house magazine to print and respond to letters and emails from clients, tell company stories, present human interest features, and interviews, and print helpful articles related to industry news.

As you can see:

Magazines are a flexible marketing tool.

They reach out to clients and prospects in very particular and tailored ways to nurture sales, onboarding, and relationships. And, with a little creativity, they can simultaneously be used to encompass ongoing HR and PR tasks as well. While your other marketing materials fulfill a very specific purpose, your in-house publication is like the Swiss army knife of print materials. It can be whatever you need it to be, depending on your communication goal.

So what makes an in-house publication appealing for employees and clients?

They feel personal.

Holding a magazine in your hand is different from receiving an email update or a text alert. There’s an inherent warmth to in-house publications. They create a sense of community—“This is our magazine”—because it’s all about you and the people involved in the life of your company. You’re inviting people “inside the house,” so to speak. Even among employees it can add a feeling of community spirit and pride. For example, sending an email or posting on social media about your agent or salesperson of the month is great; but what if they are featured in your magazine, with a brief interview and a few photos highlighting their service and accomplishments? An in-house publication doesn’t have to be lengthy or complex to do a lot of relational heavy lifting.

They’re attractive.

In the world of poetry, there’s a little thing called a chapbook. This is a small, flimsy collection of poetry that at first glance seems hardly worth publishing in a world where digital distribution would be far cheaper and faster. A whole tiny book, for a few poems? But don’t tell that to a poet! They understand the value of a small publication that’s easy to pick up and a pleasure to flip through. They know that paper invites people to linger and adds a special, intuitively attractive quality to the written words and images. Simply put, a little book is nice to look at and hold. And you can leverage that easily to extend your brand in layout and design, too. Your in-house publication is your company’s chapbook.

They add legitimacy to your business.

An in-house publication means you have the time and space to be attentive to the inner life of your company and employees, and to build your muscles as an industry leader. Therefore, a magazine implies that you’re doing well as a business. A company that’s frantically trying to get it together or coming apart at the seams is going to have all of its energy shifted toward survival mode. Everything is about the hard sell. But if you have time to put together a few features for a magazine, print a colorful and engaging catalog, or present industry news and research to employees and clients in a helpful way, this indicates that you’re healthy enough to focus some of your energy on creativity and storytelling.

You won’t invite someone “Inside your house” unless your house is in order. It’s a subconscious connection, but clients, prospects, and employees will make that connection. An in-house publication signals legitimacy, stability, and an orientation toward the future.

An in-house publication might not be appropriate or worthwhile for every business. But if any of these aspects of an in-house publication strike a chord with you, consider trying one and marking the benefits.

 

For this or any other business marketing needs, contact Range, a Deluxe company. We offer comprehensive creative services including layout, design, and integrating your in-house publication into an existing strategy. Let us help you get the most out of your marketing investment.