As competition heightens, it’s more important than ever to distinguish your business and to position your firm as the best in its market. To help your firm accomplish that goal, Small Business Times asked area marketing consultants to offer their “top 10 marketing tips.” A compilation of ideas ran in our June issue. This month, Milwaukee’s Blue Horse agency provided these ideas:
Take advantage of creativity. Others will, so you better make sure your creativity causes you to stand out from your competition. Creative ads will attract many more persons as mediocre or weak ones for the same product.
Develop a positioning statement that forces you to take a stand in your industry. Marketing without positioning is like communicating in a vacuum. Your positioning statement is not a slogan; rather, it is the cornerstone on which your company is built – the lens through which all of your marketing materials are focused.
Zig when everyone else is zagging. The best way to gain attention for your product or service is to be different. The best rule in advertising your product or service is to stick out from the crowd. Remember, if you follow the herd, pretty soon you’re going to step in something.
The trend is not always your friend. Don’t get hung up on what’s “hot.” Trends come and go, and so can your business if you hitch your wagon to the latest.
Make your agency your friend. Your marketing partner will be willing to go the extra mile for your friendship and respect than for money alone.
One idea, sunny side up, is better than a plate full of ideas over easy. Your idea will be understood and retained by more people for a longer period of time than lots of ideas scattered about.
So what? After you’ve developed your marketing tools, ask yourself, “So what?” If your ad, news release or brochure doesn’t easily answer the question, it’s time to revisit your marketing tool box.
Develop materials that change perceptions in your favor, not just those that keep your name in front of an audience. The strength of your marketing materials rests in their ability to change perceptions and gain market share. If all you do is get your name out, you’re not going to accomplish your marketing goal.
Don’t throw away ideas you don’t immediately like. Take time to become familiar with what has been presented to you. If it’s a new concept, you may be unfamiliar with it at first. Tack the ad up on your wall for a few days. Take time to try to become comfortable with it.
Make your layout simple and your idea fancy. The best advertising keeps a low profile for itself, choosing instead to emphasize the product it is selling. Concentrate on a simple, elegant solution.
Don’t just throw away money on producing an ad. Good advertising will stand out in simple, black and white thumbnail “roughs.” Fancy “comped” ads can hide a bad ad.
Think marketing communications. Effective marketing communication is not just advertising. Nor is it only direct mail. And it’s not solely the use of public relations tactics. Winning marketing involves the best use of a variety of strategies and tactics in an integrated, coordinated fashion. Take stock in your resources – the challenge you face, the budget you have to work with, the market you’re trying to reach – and select the team which works best to solve your problem.
July 1998 Small Business Times, Milwaukee