The Three Building Blocks of a Successful Marketing Campaign

building blocks
Image by nerissa’s ring via Flickr

Yesterday’s post talked about a dumb marketing mistake.  Today, the three building blocks of a successful marketing campaign.

Who is your audience?

Who are the specific group(s) of people you want to reach? Be able to describe your ideal client, whether they are new moms who want to lose weight or owners of crossfit training centers. Give them personalities and names if you like. If you offer services to two different kinds of people or companies (say both brides who want help choosing lingerie or men who want help buying a gift), then separate them. Don’t write the same stuff for both.

What are they thinking?

Taking the example above, the brides will have different concerns than the men. The brides will want to know: will it fit? will it show under my dress? how hard is it to put on? is it pretty?

The men want to know if she’ll like it, if it’s too sleazy, is it the right size?

Two completely different sets of concerns.

Why you?

Be clear about how you’ll help and what problems of theirs (not yours) you solve. Spell out why your approach is special or different, and show your personality when you do – be the person who offers overwhelming value or insanely great service or personal advice on selecting exactly the right lingerie for brides-to-be. Detail the reasons they should hire you, rather than someone else. Pile on the value. Make buying a “no-brainer.”

So, what’s your strategy?  Are you focusing on a particular audience? Not sure? Want an opinion (I have lots!)?  Just ask.

Are You Marketing Backwards?

Da Vinci notebook
Image by tiny_packages via Flickr

We all know that Leonardo da Vinci wrote backwards, though nobody knows exactly why.

It may have been to keep his work secret, or because he was left-handed (and writing that way was less messy).

Doing things backwards worked for Leonardo, but it’s not a good idea for your marketing.

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how a framing company was trying to increase sales. It occurred to me later that they were marketing backwards.

Why backwards?

They were looking in the wrong direction. They stopped and asked themselves how to get more sales, and their solution was focused inward – we’ll advertise more!

They never asked what the customer might want, such as pickup and delivery of large paintings or faster service. Neither did they focus on building a niche – maybe focus on museums (large, high-quality frames) or hotels (mass frame purchase).

The reason that Hangers Cleaners (yesterday’s video) was doing so well is that they made it convenient and made it fun with silly signs and t-shirts. How many silly dry cleaners have you ever seen?

Marketing forwards (outwards and toward the customer has led this company to improve its revenue, while its competitors are losing money.

Which way are you marketing?

How to Eliminate Your Competiton

Picture of the bathroom tiles in the Schulz Mu...

Image via Wikipedia

My brother and dad own (and rent) several apartment buildings. One of the bathrooms needed some new tiles, so my brother went to look for replacements.

The building is old and the color is discontinued. He finally found a guy who sells them… for $15 each.  And these are tiles that probably cost 25 cents each when new.

What’s going on here?

The guy has found a specialty. He travels all over the world, buying up discontinued, end-of-run, and leftover tiles. Then he ships them home to New York. If you really (really) want a specific tile, he’s THE guy. He’s created his own niche, which nobody else can match or compete with (at least not easily). He’s not just standing out from his competition – he has none.

What makes YOU different?

Lamborghini or Hyundai?

lamborghiniA-list blogger and successful social media consultant Chris Brogan posted a logo design project on 99Designs a few days ago. Then, he tweeted about it.

All hell broke loose.

If you don’t know, 99Designs is a design contest site. Businesses post a project, with a budget, and entrants submit work. If they win, they get paid. If not, they worked for free.

The small business reaction

Judging from the comments, small businesses love it. It’s cheap! It’s fast! There are lots of options! They think, “Hey I can get something that looks nice and I don’t need a second mortgage on my house!”

What designers think

Experienced designers hate it. It’s spec work! It devalues my art! It looks like crap! Would you ask 50 contractors to build a new den on spec?  Or trust your operation to an amateur brain surgeon?  What about the story of your company? Or how the colors and fonts express your philosophy?

They insist that you can’t just get a logo in one format. You need different versions for larger/smaller or print/web uses.

All true.

However, railing and ranting (while immediately satisfying) won’t change anything.

How to charge more for your work

If you want to get higher prices for your work, you need to better communicate and to better educate your clients:

  • why you are worth
  • who your market is (and isn’t)
  • why buy from you
  • what  you offer that cheap designers can’t (in business terms)

Specialize - pick a specific market (a niche, more on this coming later). Focus on them. Ignore everyone else.

Brand - use some of those branding skills on yourself. Are you the Ferrari of designers? Or the Smart Car? Why do people choose you? What do you bring to the job that other designers (or that cheap designers) don’t have? How are you remarkable?

Extra value – why knowing the difference between EPS and and RGB matters. And why one logo format doesn’t work for all media (web, trade show banners, brochures, faxes). A logo that looks OK online might look like a mud pie printed out in black and white.

Copyright /Due Diligence - a designer logo is the client’s alone – not ripped off from someone else’s site or work (legal fights are scary and expensive).

Skip the “I’m a professional, I have years of experience.” You are, and you do. That’s not what matters to the client. What matters to the client is whether you give her what she wants – to feel better, look better, earn more, be more successful.  What are you really selling?

Here’s the thing. Lamborghini doesn’t really sell cars. They sell status, luxury, sex appeal, and VROOOOM.

Hyundai sells cheap, reliable, and super guarantee.

Are you Lamborghini or Hyundai? Does Hyundai care about Lamborghini’s buyers? No. Nor vice versa. They ignore each other.

Show them why a real designer is worth it. And try to understand when they want to make the logo bigger!

Share your thoughts

What do you think about this debate?   Does cheap or spec  work hurt designers?  Does it matter what the “cheap” people do? What other ways can you approach the problem?

Image thanks to omniNate