The Key Communication Components for Product Marketing

The Key Communication Components for Product Marketing

Wow, that sounds like it’s going to be a marketing bible or something quite profound. But basically, this information is just…well…basic.

It doesn’t matter what product, service or business (for the sake of simplicity, we’ll use “product” in the rest of this article) you’re intending to market, you need to get clear on Four Key Components of your brand and its marketing.

But FIRST--before everything else--the long-term success of a product begins with its quality. Forget all the rest if you’re not starting with that. You need to be marketing something that someone out there needs, wants, aspires to or would like in their life; is better than other choices in some way; or is just plain new (that’s the most rare and precious).

This “good” product is then followed by determining HOW the product story is crafted, WHO is going to be most receptive to it, WHAT media you’ll use to get the story out and WHEN is the best time for that. WHERE refers to the geographic area you choose—which often drives what media you’ll use.

Let’s start with

  1. HOW to craft and tell the Product Story. What are the product attributes? Is the story compelling and memorable? Is it distinguishable from the competition?  Start to develop the product’s “Voice” (tone and language). Be discerning—no be ruthless here--as it’s the basis of everything to come. And last but not least, is it meaningful and relevant to potential customers? This takes you right into:

 

  1. WHO is the “Audience”. You need to determine the audience (ie potential customer) that is going to be most receptive to your product, and to the message you’re going to tell. What are the demographics: sex, age, religion, interests, etc? You start this by researching competitive products and their customers; by talking to potential customers to see how they react (Focus Groups are a good way to do that). All of this may (actually, will) lead to story and/or Voice adjustments.  Budget starts to come into play here, as the smaller your budget, the narrower your target audience base is going to have to be. Which flows directly into:

 

  1. WHAT Media you use. This refers to the choice of media you’ll use to tell the product story, to which audience and in which geographic area. What’s going to make more sense: social media, websites and online ads, print, billboards, mail, radio, tv, mass transit, etc etc. Budget comes heavily into play here.  What you’re looking for in media is the biggest bang for your buck, and managing Reach, Frequency and Impact within your target audience. And finally…

 

  1. WHEN to time the media placements: Is there a key time of year for the purchasing of your product? Is it connected to holiday or seasonal buying? Are there national or regional meetings/events/conventions where you will benefit from a presence? Which media perform better at different times of the year/month/week/day?

The Importance of Startup Branding

The Importance of Startup Branding

Startups have a lot going on, there is quite a lot to figure out with regard to developing and launching a new business. From figuring out the finances, operations, hiring and more, often times new startups overlook the importance of branding and marketing. 

This is a critical mistake. Starting early during the development process is the best time to engage a marketing agency to help you establish a brand for internal and external continuity and overall success. We’ve talked a lot about how branding is more than just a pretty logo- it is actually very important to your internal operations. See what we mean here. But branding also plays a vital role in the outward success of your company.

First Things First- Establish yourself

You need to establish your brand identity. This allows you to express your core values and your mission. Establishing this not only forces you to set your business goals but it also provides owners with a sense of “making it real.” We have worked with several start up owners who have commented that they had a hard time visualizing their future company, product and success until they established their brand.

Next- Stand Out

Dedicating time at the beginning to branding and marketing will help you understand your competitors and help you find your voice in the market place. This is your chance to share your “special sauce” with the world- and how you are better than your competition, or what particular need you are filling. Without taking the time to research your competitors and creating new, different, and professional branding materials your startup will struggle to stand out.

Stick Around 

One of the things many startups do not realize is that having a strong brand identity will give your customers the perception of longevity. Having a brand that coincides with your internal operations, goals, customer service and mission will help to give your customers assurance that your company will be around for a long time. Customers seek out brands that make them feel more comfortable and giving your audience a sense of longevity equals more customers and longer term customers.

Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the importance of branding and marketing early on. If you aren’t sure where to start, give us a call- we are more than happy to help!


Recent Rhino Projects: New Lifestyle Brand

Recent Rhino Projects: New Lifestyle Brand

All of us over here at Black Rhino Marketing Group are excited that we launched a new lifestyle brand this week and we wanted to introduce you to Velocity:

We're moving through life fast. Working, playing, traveling, surviving. And our phones help make it happen. They're our lifelines, our unsung superheroes, our assistants.

Maybe they've been dropped a few times. Dented, cracked, bruised. Or maybe they're still pristine. Either way, they deserve protection, and you deserve style. Unfortunately most cases either break on impact or turn your phone into an ugly brick.

Velocity changes the game. Good design, dependable protection and performance, plus choices that let you do you—all without breaking the bank.

I created Velocity because I've always loved beautiful cars that also perform beautifully, and wanted that same combination in my phone case. So take a look. I hope you’ll appreciate our attention to the whole package: price, design, performance, materials, and choice.

You want it all. Now you can have it.

Tom Myer - Founder

Check it out and learn more: https://velocitycases.com/


Sharing Is Caring: How Your Business Should Be Using Pinterest

Sharing Is Caring: How Your Business Should Be Using Pinterest

Pinterest’s tag line is: “Pinterest is a place to discover ideas for all your projects and interests, hand-picked by people like you.” If you aren’t familiar with Pinterest, first of all, have you been living under a rock? Just kidding. Pinterest is another popular social media platform that allows its users to pin (share) different pictures and articles to their board. Although content can be original, the majority of pins are shared pins.

Why Pinterest is Important for Your Business

So like anything in life, why should you care? Well, aside from DIY ideas and inspiration photos, Pinterest can be successfully used to help grow your business. Businesses, especially retail businesses, are using Pinterest to drive traffic to their websites, showcase new products, and show how other people are using their products.

Pinterest has an outrageously high user engagement. When people are on the site, they can’t help but share the pins. It’s addictive and people spend a lot of time on the site. Omnicore estimates that “Pinterest has 150 million registered users, with 50 billion Pins being pinned”. Because of the reach of “sharing” on Pinterest, your pins have the ability to be seen by many more people other than your direct followers.

What’s also great is that each pin has a link attached, sending people directly to a website or product. According to Omnicore, “87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest and 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy”, that’s pretty impressive if you ask me.

How to Be Successful Using Pinterest

The More the Merrier

To put it simple, your Pin Boards should be full enough to spark interest; pinners are more likely to follow a board with around 20-30 pins. This means that you must have more than 20 pins in order to make your board noticeable to the audience you’re trying to attract. When it comes to Pinterest, more is definitely better.

Share, Share, and Share

Pinterest is the site where you should be sharing anything and everything you find. There are never too many pins, so spend 20 minutes a day browsing and pinning other sources that closely match your brand voice. It is a good idea to scope out your competitors and I can assure you that they’ll likely have thousands of pins under many different boards. Don’t be afraid of your volume!

Follow The Right People

This is an obvious but important one. The people you follow become a part of your brand identity so the people you follow on Pinterest should be no different than the people you follow on Instagram and Facebook. Remember, follow those who are legitimate, without following too many.

Promote Your Pins

Pinterest is now coming around to the ads age, however, you have to join a waitlist and get approved before you can begin using promoted pins. Using promoted pins is similar to setting up a Facebook ad, however, it is much simpler and requires less specifics. You pick a pin you want to promote, select your audience, set a budget, and track the results using Pinterest analytics. Easy as 1, 2, 3.

Don’t be intimidated by the “complexity” of Pinterest, It’s really not as complicated as it sounds. Not every business will be interested in using Pinterest, but if you’re determined to use it, it can be a powerful brand awareness tool!


customer service

Customer Service Is Marketing

Customer Service Is Marketing

Some of the most effective marketing that takes place for a company isn't even driven by the folks in marketing, but rather by those “invisible” people in customer service.

Here's why. Customers and/or prospects who need to connect with a company for any given reason, routinely reach out to that company in one of two ways, both of which activate what should truly be considered a marketing opportunity; customer service.

  • They email, text and/or use a company's chat feature to ask for help, report an issue, make a request, check status, etc.
  • Or in old-school, but still prevalent fashion, they call into an 800# for the exact same reasons

But make no mistake about it, every time a customer chats, texts, calls or emails a company, a personal encounter transpires and their perception of that company's brand image is shaped...positively or negatively.

So how often are the marketing folks left out of this important dialogue?  Unfortunately, most of the time.

You see, in many small and medium sized companies, customer service is a function that falls under the umbrella of operations. As a result, these companies oftentimes miss the prime (and no-cost) opportunities these encounters present to deliver a seamlessly integrated brand experience to existing and prospective customers. Marketing meanwhile is hustling to generate new customers via channels that are certainly not free.

But, think about it. What if some of marketing’s central concepts were applied to customer service operations?  What if customer service people, who are the ones on the front lines, were actually thought of as marketing people, and were trained and motivated to think of every customer interaction as a marketing opportunity that enhanced the customer’s brand perception?

Think about the last time you yourself reached out to customer service for something you needed. The two things you probably cared most about were:

  • Did I get my problem resolved?
  • Was the process painless?

If it was resolved, bingo, a positive ineractiont was made. If it was actually done painlessly, that's another huge positive engagement.

And here's the thing, with every positive experience your customer has, your customer recommits to or at least thinks highly of your brand. This increased brand strength leads to repeat purchases (at potentially higher spending levels too), increased sales volumes, and of course the holy grail of all business - referrals that your customer will make to friends and colleagues.

Ironically getting there, where each customer interaction is viewed as a marketing opportunity, and folks in your business who are on the front lines, Customer Service, Reception, Billing,  etc. are all viewed as marketing people, isn't all that difficult. It does require a change in thinking and a making commitment. But if that is done, it can revolutionize your business.

Imagine what it would do for your business if your customers were to have the following experience:

“I’m glad I was able to answer your questions, Ms. Customer.  And by the way, happy anniversary, I see we’re celebrating your second anniversary with us this month - we're happy to have you. I also see you recent bought 5 whatcha-ma-callits.  Customers have been telling us that thinga-ma-do's work really well with whatcha-ma-callits and we’re actually running a sale. And since it's your anniversary, let me give you an extra 10% off!  I can go ahead and get that set up right now if you like?

Not customer service people, marketing people!

Even if you don’t see an immediate increase in revenue, here are a few reasons why customer service should be viewed as and think like marketers.

Happy customers buy more, and tell their friends. Unhappy customers buy less, and they tell their friends too...but what they tell them is a little different.

In an impersonal digitally-connected world, that's becoming even more so, personal engagement and interaction with customers are increasingly rare and quite differentiating.

Customer service hears the pain, makes perfect sense to equip them to sell the gain.

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Sam Walton


Logo

Is It Time To Update Your Logo?

Is It Time To Update Your Logo?

It’s a tough world out there for businesses. There is an ever-growing need to make sure your business is evolving in order to survive. But during that evolution, you might be forgetting something. Your logo.

Think about visiting a website designed a decade ago. Like that puffy vest you thought was the coolest thing around, you can now tell it’s dated. Trends change. What was once modern and chic, now looks like socks with sandals. Nobody wants that. Your logo deserves better.

This doesn’t mean that you have to do a complete change. There is a fine line between changing your logo entirely and simply breathing new life into the logo. The point is to make it look like it belongs in the modern world, while making sure your customers still feel that is represents the brand they know and love.

The question to ask yourself is: ‘Is it a matter of evolution or revolution?’

“Evolution” can be a good option when companies are trying to reach new audiences or signal a change in their business strategy. Logo changes can range from functional to cosmetic, subtle to significant, but the overall message is one of continuity. There are many brands out there who have continuously refined their logo over the years, yet, are able to keep it vital yet still immediately recognizable. Google has mastered this art.

“Revolution” may also be necessitated as a company matures. My favorite examples of this are Apple and Adidas. Both original logos where downright folksy, but it made sense for the current times. They knew when it was time for a complete revamp. And it worked well for them. Here are some other great examples of famous brands then and now.

So, take a good long look at your logo and think to yourself, “Do I want to be the puffy vest of my industry?” Please say no. You’ll thank me later.