What is Marketing?

What is the Definition of Marketing?

That is a question that has more than one answer and it depends upon who you ask. But, since you asked, here is my definition of Marketing:

Marketing is learning what your customers need and want and then providing it to them. 

Did you notice that it does not say anything about sales or advertising? That’s because marketing is really about understanding your  image of words related to Marketingcustomer first, and that is why so many marketers focus on research before doing anything else. When advertising was young (and I was, too), it focused on promoting a product or service using mass media – the “if you build it, they will come” approach. And it worked pretty well for a long time. A new cereal or dish soap would be developed, the advertising gurus would develop a great TV commercial and pretty soon people were buying it. 

But that method doesn’t work any longer – at least not as well as it used to. Consumers don’t consume mass media very much. We like to view TV on our own schedule and we like to skip the commercials. We listen to satellite radio, streaming music or play music on our mobile devices – all so we can customize our own media consumption without interruption. So mass marketing doesn’t really reach the masses any more.

That is why it is so important to understand the needs and wants of your customers, and then provide it to them. Customers want individualized messages tailored to their own habits. They want to care about what you have to offer, too. Putting together a few ads and sending them out into the cosmos probably won’t meet those needs.

What is it that your customer wants or needs – and why are you the right person to provide it? That’s the question to ask, and that’s the very beginning or marketing. Let’s talk about it and put together a marketing plan individualized for your company goals and your specific customers. Call 904.524.0170 or email now for a free consultation.

 

Small Business Branding – Is It Really Necessary?

Should You Be Branding Your Small Business?

Virtually every small business owner has heard the word “branding” and been told he or she needs to be doing it. But there can be confusion  image of words Who are youabout what, exactly, is meant by the term and how it is different from marketing, planning, operations and all of the other things that a business owner is responsible for doing every day. So let’s break it down. First, a definition of branding.

What is a brand? 

A brand is a promise. It is not a logo or a tagline. It is not package design or spiffy uniforms. It is an emotional connection between the company and its customers that creates an image or understanding of the company at a “gut level.” Let me give you an example. There are multiple brands of baby shampoo that you can buy, but I’ll bet you immediately thought of one – Johnson’s Baby Shampoo*. With that thought came an image or understanding about the product – perhaps it was “no more tears” or the image of a smiling baby with shampoo in its hair and a loving mom bathing the child.

Both of those things, along with other images that may have come to mind from your own childhood, are part of the company’s brand for that product. Johnson & Johnson has worked diligently over the years to build that brand identity and they have done a great job.

photo of baby in bath with shampoo on head

You Already Have A Brand

So, what does that mean for a small business? The truth is that your company already has a brand in the minds of your customers. They already know something about the company, your services or products based on their experience with the firm. The question is whether it is the image you want them to have.

Your branding activity should be deliberate and thoughtful so that you can be sure your customers – and future customers – know who you are, what you do, and what you stand for. By specifically managing your brand to align with your company’s core values and its business goals, it will be easier to do the right kind of marketing that increases sales.

In the next few blog entries, we will review specific steps that small businesses can take to build, and manage, their brands. Stay tuned – and email me if you have any questions or issues you would like to have included.

 

*Johnson’s Baby Shampoo is a registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson.

Tips For Ending 2016 & Starting Your 2017 Marketing Strategies The Right Way

The end is near….2016, that is. For many business owners, it is a great time to look back at their marketing activities for the prior year and begin making plans for 2017. Here’s a brief video I’ve posted that will give you some things to think about as you begin this process for your business or non-profit agency.

Getting Those Promotional Items In The Right Hands!

Are Your Giveaways Going To The Right People?

Most business owners today understand that they need more than traditional offline ads and static online ads to attract members of their target markets. Consumer disinterest in advertising, along with increased competition caused by global selling have made promotional items labeled with the name, logo, tagline, and other brand identity details of a business more necessary than ever before. Commonly-used items, such as office supplies, clothing and accessories, sports items, and home products, remind consumers every day of the availability and expertise offered by a business. But how do you get these items into the hands of your audience? 

Ask the Experts
Hire a marketing firm to provide you with information about the offline and online activities of your customers. Experienced marketers reveal important details that can help you understand and target your shoppers. You can utilize things like the types of places and websites they frequent, academic backgrounds, personal hobbies, and professional interests.

Deck Out Your Employees
Make certain that your employees are promoting your business through branded gear. Supply them with branded work clothing, totes, and tools. If they do not have branded name tags, seek out a corporate name tag supplier like Naag Tag Name Tags that can get you Company Name Tags in bulk. 

Offer Samples and Freebies

Order employees to give customers, guests, vendors, and other business leaders branded items such as pens, note pads, key chains, or swag bags containing these items whenever possible. If you sell products, offer branded samples and other branded freebies through your website blog or a separate dedicated page. Giving away these items as part of a bigger purchase can also go a long way in getting your name out there.

Arrange Social Media Contests

Use the information provided by a marketing firm to target your audience through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest with contests that have branded prizes. To double your promotional activities during a contest, tell your followers that they need to share one of your posts to enter.

Partner with Other Businesses
Businesses outside of your industry that members of your audience use are a fantastic resource. Create promotional partnerships where you give your customers promotional items from these businesses and those partners share your promotional items with their customers.

High quality products and services lead to repeat business and word of mouth advertising, but promotional items in the hands of the right people reminds members of your target market that your business is the right one to meet their needs. Follow this advice as soon as possible to increase traffic, sales, and revenues.

What You Must Know About The New Google Mobile Search Index

New Search Index Will Be Launched In Months

Nearly 60% of all Google searches originate on a mobile device, and that number is expected to continue to photo of mobile phone on Google search pageincrease quickly. Will the desktop computer go the way of the dinosaur? Probably not – most corporate offices still depend heavily on desktops. But Google Search is adapting by preparing to split its search function in two: one mobile, one desktop. And the mobile will be better.

Recently, Google announced it will be releasing a separate mobile index within a few months. The mobile search will become Google’s primary index, putting those on desktop behind the times. In other words, Google will be keeping the mobile search up-to-date while the desktop version may lag a few hours, days or more. 

Of course, Google has not announced all the details, but several industry publications have outlined the expected changes. Questions about how mobile algorithms will prioritize mobile-ready content remain open, as do issues surrounding the scaled-down version that many companies use for their mobile sites. Will that help or hurt SEO?

Back in April, Google announced that websites that did not have a mobile version would be penalized in the search rankings. That now seems to be the first step of many leading to the mobile search index change.

Earlier this year, the company also launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) that are designed to load more quickly on a mobile device. You’ll know if the page is AMP’d up if you see a green lightning bold in the search results. Will those pages get a boost in ranking? Most likely.

Page Loading Speed Is Crucial

Page loading speed is critical on mobile devices. In fact, according to Kissmetrics, 40% of web users will bail out if it takes more than three seconds for a page to load. Three seconds. Advertising on AMP pages have to be simpler, attractive, and must be secure (use HTTPS).  And, there is evidence, according to Google, that running ads on AMP pages will increase results. For example, the research noted Slate saw a 44% lift in monthly unique visitors and Gizmodo saw an 80% increase in traffic. 

We will probably see more information about the new mobile search index on Google soon, but now is the best time to begin preparing. If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, don’t wait any longer. Give Deppe Communications a call, or Email us, and we’ll help you get started.

5 Ways To Make Friday Great For Business

Ah, Fridays. The day before the weekend when most everyone’s mind is focused on wrapping things up and heading out for two days of play. Except the boss, who is still thinking about how to improve sales, get better margins and keep everyone focused for the last eight hours of the week. image says weekend loading

But Friday doesn’t have to be a lost day. In fact, it can be a productive day when you find ways to make it  great.

So, why is Friday great?

  1. It’s a good day to celebrate the week’s work with staff. As you wrap up the week, letting everyone know what was accomplished is a good morale booster and reminder of what hard work can accomplish. Fridays are the worst day for meetings, so keep it short or go individually to each person on your team.
  2. It’s a good day to clean out the week’s rubbish – emails, papers that pile up on the desk, things that were postponed until there was “more time.” 
  3. Have a Friday special for your customers. It doesn’t have to be “Black Friday” to draw business in. You can have an “Awesome Friday” with the right promotion. I love the “Free Ride Friday” promotion conducted by the $100MBA podcast.
  4. Friday can be the gateway to a weekend-long marketing promotion, especially for retailers, bars and restaurants. Start your sales on Friday, or open up promotions for your best customers a day early.
  5. In an office? Give your employees something interesting to do on Friday – teach them networking skills, bring in a guest speaker, buy ice cream or pizza – just keep it light. 

What’s your favorite way to make Fridays a great day for business? Share it here!

Advertising Right: How to Finance Your Next Marketing Campaign

The old adage, “spend more to earn more” for advertising isn’t applicable to every business. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money in order to make a lot of money, but you do have to spend some of your hard-earned cash to get a good small business marketing campaign going. Effective marketing campaigns will give your business the most profitability when done right.photo of empty billboard


Marketing campaigns today are used to boost the online visibility of your business and can help business owners establish brands, build brand images, and drive sales through online promotions. Effective marketing campaigns offer an excellent return on your investment because they can increase your new business as well as your customer loyalty. A comprehensive campaign does cost some money, and you may wonder how you can afford to spend money in order to generate more revenue. Here are a few tips to help you better understand your options.

Do Your Research

Don’t waste your time with campaigns that won’t be effective for your niche or audience. Just go with your instincts. Go with the hard data about your target customers and the advertising that works best with them. Find out where you can reach a broad range of people and come up with an advertising system that can get them interested.

Look at Your Financial Situation and Determine Your Campaign Budget

It’s important to determine how much you can actually afford for your marketing efforts. You will need a budget for your campaign, so to do some research to best determine the full amount of funds you will need. You should consider costs incurred in the design, execution, and management of your campaign. Successful campaigns can sometimes take weeks, or even months to plan and execute. Remember, no matter how much you organize and plan, you may hit a few bumps in the road. It is helpful for your budget to have some flexibility in order to adjust to unforeseen circumstances.

Research The Financing Options for Your Campaign

After you determine the overall cost of your plan, you are ready to consider the financial options available to you. For some business owners, their marketing campaign budget is small enough they are able to fund it through their own savings. These business owners usually do not need to rely on outside financing to carry out their campaign successfully. Other owners utilize credit cards in order to finance their marketing campaign, but these usually come with high-interest rates. Depending on your circumstances, a small business loan, or a line-of-credit through your bank may or may not be your best financial option to get funded. Under the right circumstances, you may qualify for competitive loan terms in order to help you get the money you need for the growth of your business through a strategic marketing campaign. 

There are a wide variety of options available to business owners when it comes to financing a marketing campaign of any size. It is very important to carefully research all options available in order to determine the best financial fit. Remember, don’t be discouraged and don’t overspend. Some of the best marketing campaigns are planned and carried out under very nominal budgets.

 

“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She recommends using a local credit union like her own https://www.dfcu.com/taylorsville-credit-union to help with first time advertisement funding. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”

Logo Legitimacy: Tips to Make a More Memorable Brand


Your Logo Is An Important Part of Your Business Brand

Designing a logo isn’t easy. Your logo creates your brand’s visual identity and is the first things customers will associate you with visually. It’s your brand’s first impression and can be important in making deals with client and customers. It impacts their purchasing decisions and as their overall attitude about your products. Here are four logo designing tips to make your brand stand out and to help you understand and relate to your target groups. photo of various marketing words written on paper

Understand your Brand
If you’re trying to reach a specific audience and attract new customers, you need to keep them in mind when you design your logo. A good exercise is to find adjectives, phrases, and images that describe your brand. Ask yourself: 
Is your brand traditional or contemporary? Is it serious and utility-focused, or is it fun and quirky? What does your average customer care about?
Your font, color scheme, and image should all reflect the answers to these questions. Staying true to your brand’s identity is far more important than keeping up with current design trends. 

Understand Color
Your color scheme says a lot about your brand, and you want it to say the right things about your brand’s personality. Muted tones imply sophistication, but they’re easy for customers to overlook. On the other hand, bright colors grab a viewer’s attention, but might seem too brash for certain businesses. Here’s a quick run-through of colors and what they convey:
Red: boldness, energy
Orange: friendliness, youthfulness
Yellow: inventiveness, optimism
Green: nature, informational
Blue: tranquility, trustworthiness
Purple: spirituality, wisdom
Black: power, credibility
White: Simplicity, cleanliness
Pink: flirty-ness, fun
Brown: earthiness, tradition
Choose colors that help sell your product and describe what you do. Programs like Succeed At Eagle can help you develop your specific marketing techniques and incorporate the right elements into your logo as well.  

Keep it Simple
Although you want an interesting logo, you don’t want your customers to be confused or start analyzing it too much. Adding a small image can be a great idea, but it can also be distracting. For example, your company might want a simple graphic added to the name, but cramming that into an already large or bold font can become a little overwhelming to look at on paper and signs. Simplicity helps your logo look good on small mediums like phone screens, too.

Hopefully these tips help you create a memorable visual icon for your brand. If you’re still feeling lost, consider bringing in a professional designer. After all, a lot is riding on an effective, memorable brand image. Don’t just settle on an “okay” logo.

Online Review Do’s and Don’ts

Online Reviews Can Help With Small Business Marketing

Ever since Amazon starting using reviews, the idea of peer-to-peer recommendations has become an important and influential source of referrals for customers. Most of us have read the reviews about a company or product before buying, as it is a great way to learn about it before spending your own money. Small business owners can also benefit from reviews online, and it can be one of the best free marketing tools available. But there are rules,photo of tablet showing review page and if you don’t follow them, you can end up being banned from some review sites. 

Google and other services will flag or remove reviews if they think they are bogus. Google’s review guidelines explain why:

“Reviews are only valuable when they are honest and unbiased … Don’t offer money or product to others to write reviews for your business or write negative reviews about a competitor. We also discourage specialized review stations or kiosks set up at your place of business for the sole purpose of soliciting reviews.”

Definite Don’ts

Don’t Offer an Incentive. If you give your customers a gift, a discount or something else in exchange for the review, that’s a paid endorsement. Not only will it cause your reviews to be blocked by search engines, but it also violates the Federal Trade Commission’s Guidelines.

Don’t Create a Review Template. Business owners want to make it easy for their clients to write a review, and customers or clients appreciate a shortcut. But if you give them a form to fill out to make reviews easier, the services will catch that. It is not hard to spot reviews that have the same format. Resist the temptation to hand out a pre-written review to customers, even if they ask.

Don’t ask your clients to remove a bad review. Even if you fix the issue or resolve the problem, the review sites will see that as review manipulation. While you can’t pay for a positive review, you also can’t pay or give an incentive to remove a bad one. 

Don’t ask for reviews from your location. Reviews will incorporate the IP address, which is tracked by the review sites. It will show that they all came from the same place, and that’s a red flag for review sites.

Don’t ask clients to write reviews all at the same time. If several reviews come in during a short period of time, it will be a red flag for the review sites. A slow, steady trend of reviews over time is a better strategy than all at once.

graphic of thumbs up

Things To DO:

Do Report Fake Reviews. Rev
iews that violate the policies of the review site will be removed. If you suspect a competitor or former employee is behind the posting, you can report it and it may be removed. 

Do Encourage Your Customers To Give Reviews. After the work is completed, it is a good idea to remind clients that you appreciate their honest reviews on Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, Facebook, etc. 

Follow Up After The Sale With A Reminder. If you regularly send out customer surveys, include a reminder about posting a review of your services. For example, “please visit us on Facebook or Google and leave a review so others will know about your experience.”

Ask For Reviews on Social Media. Google+ and Facebook have convenient ways for customers to leave a review, so occasionally post a request for a review. 

What all New Entrepreneurs Should Know about Working from Home

Like me, a lot of small business entrepreneurs work from home. It’s not always as easy as people think! Here are a few things to think about from guest blogger Brooke Chaplan.

Working From Home Sounds Great, Right?

Technology has made it easier than ever for entrepreneurs to start their own work-at-home business, often as one of many independent contractors who work through a broker. This can be a great opportunity to make money and have the flexibility to stay at home and watch your family grow. If you are thinking about switching to a work-at-home environment, consider these must-know facts before jumping into the world of making money in your pajamas. image of Small Business Ideas graphic

Take it Seriously
Yes, you can work in your own comfortable bedroom, living room, or home office and enjoy all the comforts of your humble abode, but that doesn’t mean you should slack off. Working at home requires serious discipline in order to turn a profit. That means staying off of addicting social media (unless, of course, that’s part of your job) and avoiding the many distractions home life has to offer long enough to pay the bills. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it religiously. Many online brokers offer incentive for being extra productive, and if you’re a freelancer, your incentive is making your own hours and turning the profit your own way.

Say Goodbye to Benefits
One of the biggest reality checks of working from home is that if you’re self-employed, you won’t be getting the benefits most commuters and office employees get. That means no business-sponsored health insurance, life insurance, or anything related. Make sure you budget responsibly to leave enough money for your own health bills or insurance. It might be a good idea to consult with an insurance agency before getting started to see what options are available for self-employed individuals.

Paying Your Own Taxes
If you live and work in the United States, you’ll most likely be filing your taxes as a private business and logging your income on a 1099-Misc sheet. This will calculate how much money you owe the government, since your clients and contractees do not account for taxes when they pay you for services rendered, nor do they pay the government on your behalf, like employers normally do. Again, make sure you leave enough money around tax time to compensate for this expense.

You are Your Own Accountant
On a related note, you have to keep track of your own expenses as a business as well. Just like your family budget, but a lot more pricey, this can be a challenge for a lot of new entrepreneurs. If your work involves selling products as you travel, you’ll probably be purchasing Shipping Cases, cargo cases, and packing material. If you need to buy and sell investments or stock, this might take up a lot of your business budget as well. Make sure you are prepared to make room for added expenses as well and can account for everything you purchase.

Working at home is a liberating and powerful way to make money. Just be responsible. After all, you are your own boss now.