Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 26 – Start Planning Your Holiday Campaign

I know! It seems way too early to be talking about the Holidays... unless you're in marketing. As much as I hate to say it, the Holiday season is right around the corner. However, that means that it's not too late to start planning your campaign. The holiday season is obviously a good time for many businesses, especially in retail but many don’t consider how much time it takes to plan a great holiday campaign.

This week  I want to share a very important public service announcement to not put it off but start planning. Right now, today, before it's too late.

Basically if you think of putting together a campaign for the holidays in late November, there's no helping you. Now is the perfect time to start planning to get ahead. I’ve even put together some (made up) stats to help prove my point.

Let’s talk about Starbucks for a moment. Here is a brand that is very good at embracing the holidays. Not in a way that is in-your-face, or over the top but they really mix in just the right amount of holiday cheer into their customer experience. It’s funny how something so simple as a cup design  can make such a huge impact on consumers but it really does. It gets noticed and even talked about on the news (for some reason).

But do you think Starbucks decided in late november “oh hey, we should do something for the holidays”?. NO, of course not. It must take months to design, print and distribute those cups to all of their locations.

So whether it’s something simple and subtle like changing a cup design or rolling out a mass media video campaign, do yourself a favour and start now and plan for success. You will thank me come January.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 23 – Stay Consistent, Stay Top of Mind

Sometimes consistency can be hard. If I were to do these videos whenever I felt like it, you wouldn't hear from me that often... certainly not today after just returning from an exhausting 2 days of travel with my family.

Doing this video today has not been an easy task. Sometimes however, you need to just suck it up for the sake of Brand Consistency. I have committed to putting out a new video each week (that I'm not on vacation) and here's why that commitment is so important.

There are really 2 parts to branding consistency. Those are Recognition and Repetition. That's because it's important to be consistent visually, meaning when people see your ad they immediately know who it's for. If you need help with this, I have done an episode on just this called 3 Ways To Lock Down Your Brand Like A Bank

And Repetition is important to staying top of mind. It is especially important when it comes to content creation. If you have made a commitment to produce content on a regular basis like i have, you better stick to it or your audience will not know what to expect and therefore lose interest much faster. 

The important thing to remember is that being consistent does not mean that you cannot change. In fact the opposite, as brand consistency should be a pivot point for change.  That's because it's connected to your core mission and values, not just the products that you offer. 

In my video I use the example of Blockbuster and how if they had a mission to provide affordable and accessible entertainment, it should have guided them in multiple directions, not down the drain. There could have been many alternatives and the Netflix model is just one. 

Starbucks is another example where consistency is key. Think about the fact that you can go to a starbucks anywhere and get the same drink and the same experience from coast to coast. With that as their focus they have the felxibility to make changes to their menu and their products if the market demands, as long as they change across the board. 

So as I often say, be fresh, be bold, be consistent, and be seen. See you next week!

 

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 21 – Why Customer Testimonial Videos Are Effective

Today has not been my friend. It's one of those days where nothing seems to be going right and I'm racing against the clock and losing badly. So as i try to get this video and blog out first thing in the morning, I realize that sometimes that is not going to happen and I need to just live with it.

Anyway, one of the reasons I was rushing today was the fact that I was shooting a customer testimonial for one of my clients. Because of that, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about why testimonial videos are so effective.

You may have seen my recent episode about selling experiences which got a really great response. The point of the video was that people can most likely find what you’re selling from multiple sources but they buy from you and come back because of a positive experience. That’s why authentic customer testimonials are really effective because they are telling that story.

When we share those positive customer experiences we are establishing credibility and laying a foundation to build trust. That’s because this customer giving a testimonial had such a great experience that they were willing to go on camera and share it. That is so much more compelling and believable than you telling me you offer the best service.

Don't believe me? Check out this testimonial we shot for the same client last fall:

When shooting a testimonial, the focus should be on how the client felt at all stages of the process. That’s what your potential customers will connect with because really, we all want to be that success story, to know we put our trust in your company and had a positive experience from start to finish.

So ask yourself who are your clients with the best stories, the ones that make you look like a superhero who went above and beyond the call of duty. That’s who you want telling your story.

See you next week!

Happy Freakin’ Monday Ep 20 – Avoid Wasting Advertising Dollars

Today I want to talk about how easy it can be to throw money at advertising and hope for the best. Well hope no more, here are 3 simple things that you can do to avoid wasting your advertising dollar.

 

I know a lot of businesses that still invest in print and in certain markets and certain publications, that is still effective. This is a public service announcement/rant that I want to share with you about a call I received a while ago from someone selling print advertising but it illustrates a lot of vulnerability that I think we all have when it comes to any form of advertising.

I live in a relatively small town, cottage country sort of area and I know pretty much all of the print publications that are around. One day someone calls me to tell me about this amazing opportunity to advertise in a magazine that goes out to all of the country clubs in the area. He’s telling me that it is the best way to get in front of wealthy clientele (which is not really my target) but he went on and on about other businesses that were eager to advertise with him. He also insisted that I commit today.

I asked him to send me more information. I wanted to see more demographics, distribution numbers etc. It was kind of a nice way of saying I’m not interested but if it really is a good opportunity I may bring it to the attention of some of my clients.

So red flag number 1, I had never heard of this magazine. To me it sounds like a pretty good scam to assume that I don’t frequent country clubs and therefore I would just forgive the fact that I’ve never seen it before. But red flag #2 was the urgency. I managed to get off the call with “I’ll think about it” and he called me the very next day. At this point I told him flat out, no, I’m not interested. That’s when I discovered how full of it this guy actually was. He pretended to act surprised, almost hurt claiming “wow, no one has ever said no before, I’m seriously surprised”. Really? You’re cold calling and you’ve never heard no before? Shut the front door...

My point is that there are lots of great and legitimate advertising opportunities out there. However, this call pointed out how easy it can be to waste your money because we all want it to be easy. We want to pay money so that we can get more business and that’s it. I wouldn’t doubt that this salesperson has made sales because that’s exactly what he was selling and he was doing a pretty good job right up until he turned into Dwight Schrute.

So here are 3 simple things that you can do to ensure that your advertising dollars are not wasted:

  1. Always ask for demographics - The onus is on the advertiser to show and prove that their audience is right for you. If they can’t or don’t provide enough information then it might not be worth it.

  2. Track your success - Digital advertising can be easier than traditional media but you want to actually review those results. Back in my direct response advertising days we had complex tracking involving unique phone numbers for each channel and publication and we would review our responses weekly and cut anything that was not working and invest more into what was working. Now I don’t expect you to be as thorough as that but you can easily create different email addresses, or simply ask new clients how they heard of you. It’s not perfect but it can give you some sense of what is performing and what is not.

  3. It might be your ad - It’s not always the channel that isn’t performing. Consider that your ad may need to change. It may be that it doesn’t stand out, the message isn’t right, or the call to action gets lost. There are a lot of reasons why an ad doesn’t work so switch it up.People don’t like seeing the same thing over and over again anyway so keep it fresh.

I know that might not make things as easy as you would prefer. I just hate to see people throwing their money away. If you can just take a little bit of extra time to plan things out, get informed and try new things, your advertising will do better and so will your business.

See you next week!