Maximize Your Marketing Mix with these Two Things

Maximize Your Marketing Mix with these Two Things

Product, price, place, and promotion. The 4 P’s of marketing. The “classic” marketing mix. And then someone added positioning, packaging, and people. An additional 3 P’s of marketing to round it all out. But is that all there is to successful marketing? There has to be something more to marketing to differentiate the brands that make it and brands that don’t.

While these elements are important in your marketing strategy, 2 more P’s could elevate your brand even more – Personality and Purpose. In our everchanging world of tech and automation, consumers are searching for that human touch. [See our previous blog post here on how these two things interact]. Having a personality connected to your purpose-driven brand could be the power duo that even outdoes Jim and Pam!

the office love GIF

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As brands dive into social media and marketing mediums, they inherently develop personalities. Each “P” in the 7 P’s filter into the personality of the brand. Is the brand a know-it-all brainiac? Is the brand fun and outgoing? Or is the brand down-to-earth, save all the puppies, have a plan to achieve world peace type? What you share about your business, in all communications, determines your brand personality – something that should be unified across platforms.

How do you determine what your brand’s personality should be? Two places to start are your company values and mission statement. If your company values security and stability, then you probably don’t want the personality of Blair Waldorf and Serena Van der Woodsen in Gossip Girl. If your company’s mission is to make the world happier and safer, you probably don’t want a sassy personality that could give Honey Boo Boo a run for her money [and crown].

Understanding your brand, company values, and what you want to be remembered for as your company matures shapes the way your brand is “raised” and the personality it “grows up” with.

We’re also in a time when you can’t just be in business to make money. Consumers want to connect with brands that have a deeper purpose. Again, this is a chance for brands to looks back to their values and company mission. Your purpose is driven by your values, and a personality driven from your values makes your brand all that more authentic.

Ultimately, it all comes down to your why. Why are you in business? Why did you start this mission? Why are you passionate about a certain cause? Lead with your purpose when you are marketing to people. When you understand your why and tell people about it, they will begin to understand and relate. They will start to align with your brand and be the most loyal ambassadors. When your purpose aligns with your personality, and your product, price, place, promotion, people, positioning, and packaging are all on the same page, your branding and marketing will be at its strongest. All your P’s should definitely be in the same pod.


An In-Betweener Shares Secrets on Reaching In-Betweeners

An In-Betweener Shares Secrets on Reaching In-Betweeners

I’m a turn of the century baby. I was born at the beginning of Gen Z in 1997 – but I’ve never really felt like a Gen Z-er. Growing up, I was grouped in with the millennials – I remember hearing how people my age were lazy and entitled. Now, as I check my smartphone between sentences and have an 8-second attention span, I realize I may be a little more Gen Z than I thought. However, I will forever consider myself an in-betweener. You know, a little millennial and a little Gen Z? Why segment myself to just ONE generation? ¿Porque no los dos?

Girl Why Dont We Have Both GIF


There are about 19 million Americans who I vote fall into this “in-betweener” category. We’re ages 20-24 and are just beginning to start our adult lives (that whole working 40 hours a week thing and trying to cook more than ramen noodles in our college dorm rooms). Many of us have moved away from our parents’ houses and started “adult jobs” and many of us have thousands in college debt (READ: we have very little extra cash).

So where lies the in-between part of maybe being a millennial and maybe being part of Gen Z? In my case, it’s spending habits. While I have tendencies that align with millennials, I also have tendencies that align with Gen Z. I value experiences like millennials, but I value them a whole lot more if I get them for a bargain. I buy some things online, but I also like shopping at the store like Gen Z-ers. So how do I decide who wins my *limited* dollars?

Like Gen Z, I like companies I can trust. I want good products at a good price. And when I say trust, I want companies to own up to their mistakes. Remember when KFC ran out of chicken and owned up to it without passing the cluck? That resonated with me. I like their brand.

Like millennials, I want good customer service. If I can talk to a person without having to jump through all the automated messaging hoops, then I can 99% guarantee I will prefer your company. Cue me not having to yell “REPRESENTATIVE” in my phone 5 times before I can actually talk to someone.

In short, here are 5 ways to reach people like me, a kinda millennial and kinda Gen Z (you’ve probably heard of all of these, but this time, it’s a first-hand source!):

  1. Utilize Instagram, Twitter, AND Snapchat for ads– we use all these platforms daily.
  2. Don’t post the same things on each platform. We go from each platform back to back and if we see the exact same thing on each medium, we will ignore it. You can use the same concept, just modify it for each platform.
  3. Collaborate with influencers that accentuate your brand, clearly and honestly – we follow and listen to people we trust.
  4. Be authentic with your brand. If you started your company to support women and children – actually do things that support women and children (and then tell us about it in a humble vlog).
  5. Make interactions with your brand seamless (aka omnichannel). We want to see your brand personality come through in ads, social media pages, vlogs, AND in-store. You are ONE company after all – make it appear that way.

While you may have heard of all of these things before, there are still a lot of companies out there not doing them. Be the company that does these things, and win in-betweeners’ business for the next 70-80 years. It will add up!

Meet Our New Team Member - Emily Wortman!

Meet Our New Team Member - Emily Wortman!

Black Rhino Marketing Group is excited to welcome a new member to the crash (a group of rhinos – don’t worry, Emily didn’t know that either)! We asked her only the most important questions and you’ll find her sometimes funny responses below. Meet Emily Wortman!

What is your background?

I grew up in central/southern Illinois in a fairly small town called Effingham. Growing up, I knew that I wanted to do something in the business world – no one could ever pass up my 25 cent cups of lemonade at my mom’s garage sales (ok I wouldn’t let them through without a purchase, sorry mom you may have lost a few customers).

Recently, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (I-L-L baby). I studied Marketing and Finance in the Gies College of Business. During my time as a student, I completed internships in strategy, marketing, and accounting. While Black Rhino is my first “big girl job”, I’m excited to be surrounded by experienced professionals so I can continue to learn everyday.

What will you be doing for Black Rhino?

A plethora of things! Since Black Rhino is both marketing and financial services, I get to see it all. Specifically for Black Rhino Marketing Group, I will be the project manager for current and upcoming projects. I also do things involving research, writing, social media posting, and blogging among others! One might see me as the jack of all trades :P

Why did you want to join the Black Rhino team?

Black Rhino offers a lot of opportunities to learn about a lot of different things. They are involved in multiple industries and allow me to take on a lot of responsibility very quickly. I get to work directly with clients which is what I love to do. Overall, it’s a cool place with a lot of unique opportunities.

What do you like to do when you’re not at work?

Since I just moved to the city of Chicago, I like to see all the restaurants and things to do in my area. I have always loved to bake and cook, so I take any excuse to make something sweet. I’m also a huge Gilmore Girls fan – I’ve seen it too many times, but also can you actually watch it too many times? I’m trying to get into reading books but catch up with me later to see if I pick that up. All good book suggestions are welcome!

What’s your go-to fun fact?

I know how to drive a manual car (aka stick shift). I think that’s fun!

What are you most looking forward to at Black Rhino?

I’m looking forward to really digging in to help clients on their marketing strategies. Each organization has something that makes them unique and finding out what that is excites me. I want to help clients reach their full potential in their businesses. A client succeeding with material I helped to provide is what I’m most looking forward to!

Amazon Reviews - Necessary?

Amazon Reviews - Necessary?

But actually, yes. Reviews of your product on Amazon (or any other website your product is on) are essential in today’s world of online shopping. A large majority of the population does at least some of their shopping online. Have you heard of the retail apocalypse? While it may not be entirely true that shopping malls are dead (per real estate developers still developing brick-and-mortar stores and even Amazon using brick-and-mortar), there is a surge in purchasing products online. Nearly 70% of Americans have purchased something online at some point (NPR/Marist). Also, if your product is not on Amazon, you should get it there. Amazon claimed over 50% of online traffic sales in 2018 according to Business Insider.

So what drives purchase decisions for this large majority of consumers shopping online? You can’t physically see the product you are buying to see if there are rips and tears. You can’t sniff it to see if there’s a weird odor that will make people think you have BO all day when you really don’t. You can’t try on that pair of jeans that look so great for the price. So how do people know what they want? Easy, REVIEWS!

Take for example my recent online shopping experience for a phone charger (and yes, I could have walked into a store less than a mile from me and picked one out, but THIS one shows up to my doorstep in just 1 day!) Without any hesitation, I typed in “AMA…” and Google auto-filled Amazon for me (no I don’t have an Amazon shopping problem). Within one minute of being on the site, I had thousands of options for a phone charger – should I get the pink one? The 5 pack? The cheapest one? How should I pick? *Hint – reviews!

As a recent college grad, I normally choose the cheapest thing I can find. However, I also want something that will last me more than 3 weeks, especially with phone chargers. So who can I trust to steer me in the right direction? Of course, random strangers leaving reviews – for real though.

While it may seem unheard of to trust strangers on the internet, 4.5 stars are what made me buy the 3-pack of 6-foot phone chargers for $8.97 instead of the 5-pack of assorted sizes for $11.99 with 1.4 stars. Ya the latter is the better “deal” for the price, but 1.4 stars is a deal breaker.

Bottom line, I trust people’s reviews. Other people trust people’s reviews. You NEED reviews to build trust with consumers. People are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive, so those positive reviews are key! You don’t get that face-to-face comradery with online shopping like you do in brick-and-mortar stores. Reviews DO influence the purchasing decisions of consumers. I would *almost* never purchase something with no reviews – I don’t want to be the guinea pig.

So ICYMI, reviews on your products (especially on Amazon) are necessary. Also, do your part and leave reviews on products you like (or don’t like). We can all trust strangers together!


  • Amazon claimed over 50% of online traffic sales in 2018 (Business Insider)
  • Reviews are necessary and do matter!
  • People trust strangers on the internet who leave good and bad reviews
  • BONUS: Here is a short list of what NOT to do to get Amazon reviews

Should you call out your competition?

Should you call out your competition?

Apple vs. Google, Hefty vs. Glad, Coke vs. Pepsi… the list could go on forever. Competitions suck – but they are inevitable. *cue Thanos* In lieu of the recent social media battles between CLIF Bars and KIND Snacks, it got me thinking about brands calling each other out on ‘flaws’ all the time. Is it really worth it to call out competition in YOUR ads? Has bashing the ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend ever actually helped your argument? Maybe in your lifetime, but not mine.

Comparative advertising is advertising your brand as superior in reference to your competition. This can be a side-by-side comparison of the newest Apple and Google smart phones, or it can be the Bud Light Knight trekking across the countryside to return a barrel of corn syrup to the Miller castle. Both ads directly call out the competition in a not so subtle way.

But does this work? With this type of advertising, you run the risk of law suits (MillerCoors sued Anheuser Busch in March over the Superbowl ad), dilution of your brand reputation (annoyed consumers over CLIF vs. KIND Facebook battles – see the Facebook post below), or worse, inadvertently advertising for your competition using dollars from your bottom line. Comparative advertising can unleash a beast – one that is much larger than bachelorette Hannah B(east).


First things first, if you decide to go this route, you must have all the facts. You cannot claim something that is untrue about your competitors – the law says so. Any John Cena commercial about “Hefty Hefty Hefty” being less expensive than “wimpy wimpy wimpy [Glad]” needs to be proven true to avoid getting *trashed* by the media and legal systems. Who wants to spend money on an ad campaign to have any results be *disposed* of in legal fees?

Also, do you really want to be known as the brand that bashes others to try to get ahead? A reputation takes years to build and seconds to destroy. While there are successful one-liners and sarcastic brand voices out there (think Wendy’s Twitter), if that’s not your brand and aligned with your brand’s values, you may want to stay away. People don’t like the Regina George’s of the world.

Finally, isn’t the point of an ad campaign to highlight your brand? Why would you want to bring up the competition when your brand should be front and center for the ad you are paying for? The “Share a Coke” campaign was monumentally successful and didn’t even mention their Cola Wars counterpart. Just a thought to sip on.

In all reality though, this type of advertising has been effective in the past and will continue to be in the future. When Wendy’s tweets get extra *beefy* in efforts to *fry* McDonald’s, they get thousands of likes and retweets – people think it’s funny. But when you have an all-out drag out on Facebook like CLIF and KIND, people get irritated, and your brand may end up with crushed nuts.


There is a very fine line between funny and irritating, and BMW and Audi have been driving that line for years.

So stay true to what you want your brand to be remembered for. Do you want to be that annoying aunt constantly posting replies on Facebook that no one even likes, be the sarcastic uncle who gets all the laughs at someone else’s expense, or be the mom who is proud of her kid and wants to tell the world? It’s your call [to call out your competition or not].

TL; DR (Too Long; Didn’t Read)

  • Comparative advertising can be effective if done well.
  • Be aware of claims you make in comparative ads – false claims can end up in expensive legal battles.
  • Stay true to your brand voice.
  • Your ad should elevate your brand, not your competition’s.
  • There are lots of puns so you should read it all😊