I remember an argument I had with my dad when I was a teenager. He had been teaching me how to do things every guy needs to know how to do; change a car’s oil, ride a motorcycle, build a chair … manly stuff. After a couple of these lessons, I was getting frustrated and just couldn’t learn anymore. I was feeling like I couldn’t be an expert at any of these things. And it’s true; I couldn’t be an expert at any of these things. Not the first time. That was the problem. He was teaching me how to do something and I wouldn’t allow myself to fail. I didn’t stop to think that he had years of failures before he had succeeded. I think that’s something we try to avoid: Failure. But that’s really the only way to master something.
I was also frustrated that he wanted me to learn all these things that I didn’t feel I needed to know and didn’t really care about. I just wanted to do what I wanted to do and do it well. Don’t get me wrong. Being a jack-of-all-trades has value, but so does being the king of the castle. This applies in our personal lives and in our work lives. A month or so ago, I noticed a house down the street had a For Sale sign out front. (Side note: Not everyone is super awesome at spelling and grammar; the sign read, “For Sale Buy Owner”.) After a month of balloons and cheesy colored flags, trying to allure house buyers, the owner gave in. They gave in to the experts: A realtor. What a concept! Someone that knows what they’re doing. They’ve done it before, and they’ll do it again. And they’ll do a great job, because they have failed before and learned from their mistakes. That’s why they’re good.
I see this type of behavior in several industries, automotive for instance. You wouldn’t take your car in somewhere that advertises, “Hey, we’ve never done this before and we don’t know what we’re doing! But it’ll be cheaper!” Unless, of course, you don’t care about your car. Yet, people still try to either do it themselves or find the cheapest (or most inexperienced) person around. This is especially true within the design industry. Not saying, the highest bidder is going to have the best solutions and the lowest bidder is going to be absolutely terrible. In a day where people are trying to cut corners to yield the highest amount of savings, the question to ask yourself is this, “Do you value strategic design, knowledge and experience?” If so, put your trust in your designer or agency. Let them be the king of your marketing castle. You’ve got more important things to figure out. Like how to build that chair.
In the local marketplace, we’ve recently worked with many small- to medium-sized businesses who have asked what they should spend for marketing or when they should begin investing more heavily in marketing to take business to the next level.
Frankly, I’ve been surprised that so many entrepreneurs or executives are asking those questions. Many don’t have a formal marketing budget, let alone a plan. Some are more sales driven. And any money spent on marketing may seem like dollars coming right out of their own pockets. They are hesitant to invest. Especially in the current economic climate.
Let’s tackle one question at a time. First, “What should we spend for marketing?”
There is no secret formula. Plain and simple. Historically, recommendations from marketing gurus suggest anywhere from three percent to 10 percent of expected revenue. Three percent is extremely conservative. But it’s a start. If you’re not investing anything at present, is three percent – less than what you likely contribute to your own personal 401K – too much to invest in the future success of your company?
If your company anticipates $1,000,000 this year, we’re talking $30,000. If your business is half that size, $15,000. Those are relatively small marketing budgets. But it’s a start. Try three percent for one year. Then plan on increasing by one percent each year as you begin to realize success. Measure your outcomes and adjust accordingly. The key is just to start.
If your company has been growing steadily and you’re satisfied, then spend less. If your key is to grow, build or expand more aggressively, then invest more. The more you invest, the better opportunity you have for a larger return. And by all means, don’t completely cut marketing out of your budget. You will end up spending more later to try and regain lost business and awareness.
Second, “When should we really start ramping up?”
If your objective is to grow and build a brand – or even to maintain market share, you should be investing well. Again, plain and simple. If you’re not willing to invest in your own company or brand, why should anyone? If you don’t spend to promote, how can you expect anyone to find, recognize or think about your brand?
Today’s environment affords marketers more outlets and opportunities than ever before to reach their audiences. Be clever. Consider strategies and tactics that are laser pointed on your specific niche with little waste or reduced outside cost investment. Look to online, social media and media relations to provide platforms for your messages. You can extend your budget and get more bang for your buck when execution and production costs are lower.
So, now I’ll ask a few questions of my own: Are you investing? What’s your budget? Do you have a plan?
With another holiday in the rear view mirror and a returned consciousness from the food induced coma of Thanksgiving, I ponder. How impressive it was that so many individual kitchens contributed to the feeling of completeness I had experienced.
Family and friends gathered around a random smorgasbord of goodness while I couldn’t help but notice those who decorated their plates with the utmost care. A moment in time where the improper placement of some evasive cranberries could prove to be disruptive to the whole plan. Whether this organization was intentional or not, variety was a certainty. So how does this apply to your marketing efforts? Like those few individuals, relevant staging for your brand snackers is important and it shouldn’t require a divided dinner tray to do so.
Through recent studies of how our brains learn and process new information, psychologists have shared that a mixed approach is more successful when educating children — saying it “boosts attention and increases absorption.” And the theory of catering to audiences’ brain similarities versus differences should be the accepted approach until scientifically proven otherwise. Apparently the opposition has generated an entire industry around tailored learning tools for both auditory and visual learners. Should we disregard specific processing styles and toss them out like last week’s rum raisin pie? I hope not. But I do favor a smart blended approach to produce the aroma that invites them to your kitchen.
Regardless of what side of the table you may be seated on this topic, marketers share a similar challenge when developing a stimulating brand experience. Our choices are bountiful. Determining the best combination, balance, timing and frequency of those choices is the key. Let’s be thankful for the growing menu. Because who wants to make a meal of only stuffing? Plan carefully and be wary of the cranberries because pink mashed potatoes and gravy just isn’t that appealing.
How cliche’ would it be of me to talk about it being November and how thankful I am for things in my life? It would be. But, listening to the radio on my way into work today, the DJs were discussing the effects of all our social media habits and how they’re actually making us less social with each other not fitting time in for face-to-face relationships anymore. This got me to thinking about the countless hours that are spent each day texting and posting on Facebook, Twitter and all our other favorite social media channels. I know we’re communicating with each other but what happened to chatting in person or on the phone? All this reminded me of an e-card that I had once seen which I think says it all…..
image from http://www.someecards.com
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting social media is a bad thing and that we should do away with it. Social media is here to stay and is a great tool which has its place. In fact we encourage our clients to incorporate it into their brand awareness campaigns making it a part of their culture. It can be a good thing. I just think it was a great reminder to me to pick up the phone or stop by more often and make my chat time more personal. So this is my challenge to you for the remainder of November. Give your keyboard and thumbs a rest and tell someone in person or over the phone why you are thankful for them. They might you and you may even create a ing. And that could be a plus for you, that is.
Several months ago I discovered the following list, courtesy of The Story of Telling, and jotted it down in my sketchbook. It’s a great collection of 25 tips meant to help you spread your ideas and make an impact. No matter what you do for a living or as a passion, there is something here for everyone.
1. Create something that people want to talk about.
2. Give people a way to share it.
3. Know who you are talking to or targeting.
4. Understand your audience.
5. Work out what people want before they do.
6. Think about what one person will say to another to recommend it.
7. Question why someone will buy, use, or talk about your thing over another.
8. Believe in the idea yourself.
9. Be the best choice.
10. Create for a few.
11. Make it work for the many.
12. Ask people to try it.
13. Engage people and build trust.
14. Connect your true fans.
15. Help people to care about what you do or sell.
16. Ask your followers to share it.
17. Make people laugh.
18. Make people cry.
19. Do something unexpected.
20. Be generous.
21. Promise something and deliver on it.
22. Create something people want, not just something they need.
23. Be passionate.
25. Evaluate and make it better.
I found this very inspiring and decided I would put some of the author’s wisdom into action. Instead, what I did was close my sketchbook and move on with my life.
When I recently rediscovered the list it dawned on me just how important #24 is especially. Ideas are nothing without action. How many opportunities have slipped by or faded away because you simply didn’t start the ball rolling?
One company serving as an exemplar of this list is TOMS shoes. By now many people know that every pair of TOMS purchased is matched with a pair given to a child in need. They call it “One for One” and it works. Pick a number in the list above and they have embraced it. But that was only the beginning. The company recently moved into the business of sight, in which sales of their eyewear translates into medical treatment or a pair of prescription glasses for one person. This is a case where one shoe company turned into a movement by making a true impact on people.
It’s hard to believe that 2011 is drawing to a close and soon (if not already) holiday ads will appear only to remind us of how many days are left until Christmas. If you’re a business owner or in charge of marketing for your organization you probably need to square off some time and plan your media buy for next year. If you wait until January (or later) to plan your media buy, you should reconsider this approach. If you sit back and wait, your competition will have negotiated better rates, placement, and be in a better position to gain market share.
Consider that almost every single rep in media sales is required to forecast sales throughout the year and annual buys are coveted not only by sales reps but also management. Even good sales reps struggle in Q1 and Q3 periods and will be eager to work with you if they know they are working with an annual buy that could improve Q1 and Q3 forecasting rather than clients considered month to month. By knowing a few good techniques you can leverage this information to your advantage, which can get you amazing discounts and even free (yea I said free) advertising. Even better, they will come to you and offer you the best deals and be eager to negotiate on rates, terms, and even placement, including the Holiday season.
If you are new to media buying or you don’t feel comfortable taking on this task you may want to consider enlisting the help of professionals like the ones you’ll find here at Jajo. If you are ready to take on this task, writing a marketing plan should be the very first thing you do. A marketing plan is a written document that spells out the goals, strategies and tactics that will guide your business to maintain market share as well as help achieve positive growth. Think of it as your road map for the year and if done correctly, will save you a lot of time and money. Next, you will need to establish a budget. Establishing a budget will take some effort and there is no one size fits all approach. Every business is different and therefore marketing budgets will vary depending on the target audience, goals, strategies and tactics. Some accepted schools of thought are the percentage of sales approach and the year over year average by industry approach. Unfortunately many businesses place a low emphasis on marketing and use the “whatever we have left over after overhead is paid” approach. In addition, establish how you will evaluate whether or not your marketing is working and if needed, have steps in place to refocus your marketing efforts when necessary. By doing the up front work now you can get a leg up on your competition and with the right partners you can reach your 2012 business goals.
The convention is moving back to Las Vegas, Nev. (October 10 – 12) after many years in Atlanta, Ga. and Orlando, Fla. While I’ve attended the convention in Orlando and Atlanta combined at least half a dozen times, I’ve never attended when it was hosted in Las Vegas. It will be interesting to see how the change in format and setting may effect overall brand experiences – and how potential buyers engage.
The following are some interesting tidbits about the convention that may surprise you:
– NBAA is ranked #4 among all U.S. tradeshows
– Attendees spend 10.6 hours visiting exhibits (a rank of 7th in U.S. shows)
– 42% of attendees plan to buy one or more products or services at the show
– 83% of attendees have a major role in buying for their aviation companies
Do you plan to attend the convention in October? How do you think the change in venue will effect attendee participation or engagement? If you travel to Las Vegas, please touch back and let us know about your experience.
In today’s competitive work force, it is strongly recommended to have at least one internship experience on your resume. But let me tell you something: an internship offer will not come in a pretty package with sparkly wrapping paper in your mailbox. You must take the initiative to seek out businesses that you are interested in and be ready to show them your best qualities that will benefit them. There must be a beneficial relationship between the intern and the company in order to be successful, which Jajo has succeeded in creating.
Advice from Holly
When I graduate from college I will have two internship experiences on my resume. I have learned a lot from both experiences. The most important thing that I have learned is that there isn’t someone holding your hand the whole time. It really takes dedication and your initiative to create the best experience possible. I think the most important question to consider is: “what should I be learning?” After you have figured that out, then do your best to make those learning opportunities happen. I am very thankful for the numerous learning opportunities Jajo has given me. I have greatly enjoyed my time at Jajo and feel stronger about conquering the career world after college.
Advice from Kyle
An internship is more than the next stop along the path to your career. It is an invaluable behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of an organization. Internships allow you to gain comfort with the environment of your profession before you’re hired. Jajo has offered an outstanding opportunity for experiencing what working in this field might feel like for its interns by presenting us with real world projects.
Along with the inside perspective gained from an internship, there is also the fact that you are meeting and making connections with people in your field. Sure, an internship might look great on a resume but the real take away is the networks that are established from the venture. These connections are a golden opportunity that could give you that edge over your competition in the future, resulting in a more successful career venture.
Kyle Dingman will be going into his fifth college year at Wichita State University studying graphic design. Holly Grannis will also be going into her fifth year studying public relations and sociology with a minor in French at Kansas State University. Both plan to graduate in May 2012.
They say timing is everything. It can be the deciding factor between the success and failure of most anything. It can be pure luck or strategically planned out. In the world of advertising and marketing, the placement of an ad in a publication is also an important element in the success or failure of a companies marketing campaign.
Put the two together (timing and placement) and sometimes you never know what you’re going to get. Here’s an example of an ad that ran in the Wichita Eagle for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas promoting healthy living by taking a vacation and getting out and enjoying the great wonders of our state such as our lakes, streams and hiking trails. Unfortunately it ran right next to an article talking about how bad the drought of 2011 is drying up everything with a photo of a land locked boat dock. I love the campaign and it’s message. It’s just hard to compete with mother nature and the timing of her long lived heatwave along with the Eagle’s story placement. Just a bit of bad luck. Hey, maybe Jay Leno will air it in his funny photo section for a few laughs. After all, laughter, like taking a vacation, is good medicine.
I’m the parent of two boys who are now 15 and 12. We’ve been well beyond the misbehaving at restaurants phase for many years. And while I sympathize with parents of young children, I’m in full agreement with this business owner that not all restaurants need to be family- or kid-friendly.
From a marketing perspective, he needs to set his restaurant apart from all the other options. And let’s face it. If you’re having a quiet date night with your significant other at an upscale establishment, the last distraction you want is screams from an unhappy two-year old. He’s catering to his primary target audience, listening to the voice of the customer. He doesn’t need to make everyone happy – especially those that may never frequent his business anyhow. He’s in business to make money. And he’s made a smart decision on how to do that best in his market. He may have even discovered a whole new customer base in the process.
How do you feel about a business growing its business by actually refusing a specific customer type?