Consumer Preferences: What They’re Looking For

Posted on June 29th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

Endorsements and paid reviews aren’t as powerful as what the Joneses next door feel about their outdoor patio pool, a maxim that has held true for marketers. But the top-down model where nuggets of truth related to a product can be hidden just doesn’t work anymore. 
 
The consumer base has never been a homogenous entity that can be considered to have a singular set of traits that define its preferences and purchasing habits. 
 
But generations do. And as technology grows and develops, and advancements are made in communication and transportation, certain habits arise with more ubiquity than others.
 
                                                        
 
The words that define purchasing trends right now are accessibility, personalization, interactivity, and speed. We’re going to go out on a limb and include organic, and not just for food.
 
From soup to nuts and everything in between, people want transparency and they want to know how things work. And if these aren’t easily provided, then the consumers will find a way to access the information they’re looking for. 
 
"Googling" isn’t just a fun verb or a trend. It’s the first step for a consumer – you and us included – to become more informed before making any purchasing decisions, from a house to a car to event he restaurant we’re going to spend an evening at. 
 
However, people want more. Take, for instance, Generation Z – the 90’s generation – aren’t pack rats as much as they are curators who love to share. For Generation Z, a music album is not as worthy an investment as the hottest new single on the charts. And they love to talk about the things they love. 
 
They share, they “like”, they retweet and they “check-in” at an almost feverish pitch. Hence the growing popularity of consumer review websites like Urbanspoon and Yelp. The good, the bad, the ugly – it’s all out there to be shared amongst peers who also double as opinion leaders in their own circles. 
 
Certainly, marketing efforts are being shaped by the new consumers who are aware of their choices, have discerning tastes and know exactly what they want. And they’re not afraid to talk about it.

 

Direct Mail Advertising: It’s Not Dead Yet

Posted on June 22nd, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

If you’re feeling exhausted, overwhelmed or swamped by emails from marketers, online coupons and special offers available only electronically, there’s a little bit of good news waiting. You’re not alone.
 
And if you’re a marketer who’s having trouble generating strong numbers vis-à-vis ROI’s, conversions and click-throughs, then you have even better news waiting. Direct marketing and direct mail are beginning to generate positive results and positive responses again.
 
Direct Mail (DM) is fast becoming the anti-dote to a constant barrage of emails littering email inboxes everywhere. 
More and more companies have begun relying on direct mail pieces for a number of reasons, not the least of which being a new opportunity to engage personally with the clientele. Even posh brands famous for keeping their customers at arm’s length have adopted direct marketing techniques like personalized catalogues. 
 
Take, for instance, the case of Land Rover, who saw an 8.6 percent increase in response rates from their clientele because of their DM campaign. Luxury jewelers Tiffany and well-known auction house, Sotheby’s weren’t that far behind either. 
 
Why the push towards postcards? 
 
Because they can be personalized. With direct mail pieces reflecting personal tastes right down to food and vacation preferences, perhaps “customized” is a better word. And the key.
 
We know that template letters and mailings have a very short life span between the mailbox and the trash can. The way to keep them alive is to give a highly targeted audience exclusive access to an exclusive service. 
 
To take a leaf out the luxury goods market: glossy postcards and catalogues mailed to a meticulously maintained list of repeat clients. Add to that a service expiration date, and you have yourself a response rate, at the very least.
 
Of course, we promise no guarantees. But the interest in DM pieces is still very buoyant, even amongst the masses. With 49% of all households reading and/or scanning their “snail mail” for coupons and special offers, the effectiveness of DM pieces, and their potential to call out a niche market is still very real. The light hasn’t dimmed yet.
 
Below is an example of a direct mailer we created for one of our clients:
 

 

QR Codes: What They Are and Why You May Need Them

Posted on June 17th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories digital media

Just when you think the cutting edge couldn’t get any sharper, there’s a new surprise waiting. This time it’s QR Codes, which have been used successfully in Japan for over a decade.
 
The newest buzzword in the post SXSW 2011 world is QR (Quick Response) Codes. They’re not all the rage in marketing just yet, but significant enough to command attention from opinion leaders, partly because of their ease of use. 
 
Simply explained, QR Codes are square shaped 2D bar codes that hold more data than a typical bar code. And all you need to make them work is a smart phone with a working camera.
 
Why QR?
Well, first things first. Why use QR Codes at all? Because they’re a quick, easy and a fairly economical way to have information available for your clients at their fingertips. And because a QR image can be used on virtually any surface, they carry a huge potential to connect people to each other and to multimedia content. 
 
Generating a QR code for your business is as easy as stepping over to either Google or to services like Kaywa.com. With the right data, your QR Codes can be linked from your business cards or brochures and marketing materials to your web content or special offers that are only run online. 
 
Uses for QR Codes
“Anything” is a big umbrella, but really, as far as business decisions are concerned, QR Codes can be used to link to anything. But to offer a few examples, you can use QR Codes to link to:
 
Coupons and special offers.
Directions to your brick and mortar location.
Links to landing pages.
Offer access to company literature.
Provide information on tourist spots
 
If you’re still wondering how to incorporate a QR Code into your marketing campaign, or even how to use one, take a moment to watch the video below.
 
 
 
 
And remember to let us know how you’ve been using QR Codes yourself!

 

Branding Strategies: Creating “Staying Power”

Posted on June 8th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

A brand isn’t just an identity. And it isn’t just the image that you’re most often recognized by. A brand is also a statement of the relationship and the trust, or the lack thereof, which you or your company have established with your clientele. Your brand carries with it the weight of your customers’ expectations and the quality you’re willing to provide to your audience – both of which are reasonable expectations. 
 
Quality being a very important keyword. In a world of ubiquitous advertising and plentiful choices available for consumers, the quality and the value a brand carries with it makes stand apart. However, quite a few more factors go into building a brand’s staying power, not the least of which are engagement with consumers and a willful offering of transparency and authenticity.
 
1. Engagement

People are hyper-connected, and for serious consumers, social media portals are the fastest venue to find referrals. The time you’ve spent engaging your clientele, answering their queries honestly and generating good will among them is self-evident on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. And believe us, people are watching and listening.
 
2. Put Your Money Where Your Values Are

Building a relationship with your clientele requires an investment of time with equal parts ethical decisions that reflect your target audience’s strongest values. For instance, nothing says “sell-out” better than selling organic or recyclable products at a chain of stores that pays no attention to the environment or to consumer health.
A great motto or a tag line beneath your brand logo can convey a snapshot image of the essence of your company’s values, but your consumers need to see those values translated into action. Every day. 
 
3. Create a Uniquely “You” Experience
Brands like Houston’s very own Cabinets & Designs don’t just offer a wide variety of products and services. They also make it a point to offer an experience that has become synonymous with high quality products, customized designs for their clients and a great attention to detail.                                                                                        
 
For a company established in 1972, being alive almost 40 years later with a proven track record of high quality and customer care is a testament to the value associated with their brand. And an experience that is uniquely “them”. 
 
 

Twitter Marketing

Posted on June 1st, 2011 by Tiffany Categories digital media

The great thing about using Twitter for a marketing campaign is the ability to have real-time conversations with people. The bad thing about using Twitter, again, is the ability to have real-time conversations. 

 

Anyone using Twitter as a business tool needs to have time and staff dedicated to monitoring the account – which includes not just sending timely responses to comments and queries, but also making outreach a part of the effort. In the social media world and economy, it’s time to fine-tune your time-management skills.
 
And we’ve learned a few things along the way we wanted to share.
 

1. Search Your Way to Opportunities
Finding the right audience is the hardest part; how and where do you begin the right conversations with the right people? The great thing about Twitter is that it comes with its own search engine. Search.twitter.com lets you search for industry trends and trending topics by plugging in keywords and by targeting a specific area. Demographics on a dime.
 

2. Stay Visible
Tweet often (we recommend at least 3 times a day) to stay active and alive on newsfeeds and also to boost your SEO rankings. We also recommend spending some time crafting keyword rich posts to ensure they tie in to your content and your business. While it may not sound possible at first, creating rich content in 140 characters or less is a definitely possible and gets much easier with practice.
 
3. Just Say Hello
Social media is about listening, responding, reaching out and building relationships. Not very different from traditional marketing or interpersonal relationships, we know. But the forum, now, is very public. Which is a blog post for later.
 
However, the principle still stands. The best way to make friends is to make them feel at ease. Once the keyword search has been done, the contacts have been found and added to your lists, all that’s left to do is say hello. Strategies and promotions can wait for later. Obviously, not too much later, but that’s another blog post as well.
 
 

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