Advertising vs. Marketing | April 25, 2018
There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding advertising and marketing. They are two different terms each describing two different, yet essential roles in building your business. Consistently done, both will help you stimulate sales. But you need to understand, and to some extent, implement both to be successful.
Marketing is the big picture. It is the overall plan, your detailed strategy to promote your goods and services. It involves things like research to identify your market, public relations, brand awareness, customer retention, and appreciation, as well as community and service involvement. Marketing includes ongoing visibility for what you do.
Advertising is one piece of your marketing strategy usually taking the form of a specific message ideally directed to your target market. Its goal is to stimulate a purchase.
The buzzword around all this is usually Return on Investment (ROI) statistics. Meaning, you invest money in doing something, and in turn you want to see that pay off in sales. This important thing is both hard and easy to measure, depending on your yardstick to do so.
Some will purchase an ad somewhere and shortly after that see an increase in sales and say “hey, that was a good ROI.” But was it? If you haven’t done your marketing homework, you might never know, and you might have a hard time in repeating it.
Remember the keyword about advertising is that it is “one piece.” If you have no marketing strategy, you can run advertising all day long, and although you might see a small blip of short-term return of sales, it won’t last. Advertising should be a strategic investment made as a part of a larger marketing goal, or it is a fast waste of money and resources. There is no easy answer. If it were easy, everyone would do it.
Coca-Cola is a great example to show the difference between advertising and marketing. When you head to the vending machine, they make the pictures of a cold glass of Coke with ice and popping carbonation bubbles look incredibly appetizing. There might be a beautiful woman or a handsome man pouring some Coke into a glass (again with the ice) to make it very appealing, while also appetizing. This is an excellent advertisement. Through this imaging, it seems you HAVE to have a Coke.
Coke, as a brand is also consistent with marketing. In addition to traditional “advertising,” they sponsor events and are visible through various marketing avenues. Coke is also a big user of promotional products. Seeing just the Coke logo on back side of a t-shirt at a charity baseball game, or on a banner at an art festival somewhere isn’t going to have the same effect as seeing a larger than life cold Coke image on the front of a vending machine on a hot summer day. But it does remind you that Coke is investing in important events, some of which may be important to you. That reinforces their brand in your mind.
When I was in the Army, someone would say, “I’m gonna go get a Coke; anyone else want one?” If someone indicated that they did want one, the next question was something like, “What kind of Coke do you want?” It is this way in many places in the southern US. The word Coke is meant to reflect a cool, refreshing drink (soda, pop, or soft drink in places) and one must dig further to find out if the kind of Coke you want is Mountain Dew, Sprite, or is in fact, Coke.
Coke is such a known and used term that it has not only become a pseudonym for a carbonated beverage, but it was also the standard by which all others are judged. That is marketing – good marketing. Advertising offers short-term visibility, while marketing builds longevity that leads to purchases.
If a company has the tools to track where a sale comes from, they can evaluate what advertisement stimulated a purchase. It’s our experience, however, that most companies do not have their order desk or customer service rep ask why a someone is placing an order with them. There is no way to know where the business is coming from. This makes it difficult to determine the impact of advertising or marketing campaigns.
Business may come because the client has a previous relationship, or the buyer knows the company has the product they need. They may have found you via a search engine. These days, online forums are a valuable resource.
Statistics, when available, can be helpful. But what do the statistics tell us? What is a good result from advertising or marketing? Scans at a trade show? Clicks to an E-Blast? What rings the cash register?
Advertising and marketing can be challenging to track. And if you can’t track it, or validate it at the point of purchase, how can you recognize your ROI?
We believe “advertising” is putting your product in front of prospects with the goal of stimulating a sale. “Marketing” is an ongoing function...creating awareness for your products or services that lead to sales. As noted, both are important.
Advertising and marketing are critical to the success of any business. In today’s marketplace without being able to effectively communicate your value proposition and define why someone wants to do business with you, your company will be in the same boat as TAB, Teem or Shasta. We may remember them from our childhood with great fondness, but when we see them on the shelf, we still buy the Coke.
There can be a tendency to stop all advertising and marketing because there is no visible “ROI” for all the reasons mentioned. The key, however, is to be consistently visible, so you are top of mind when a buyer is ready to buy. That does come with a cost, but there also is a price to be paid for the lost business.
Advertising vs. Marketing. There is no contest. Both are winners!
OVER 100 USES FOR A COFFEE MUG | February 7, 2017
The thing about a mug is…… it doesn’t know it’s a mug!
So, you can make it whatever you want it to be. You can call it whatever you like, you can put into it whatever will fit – the mug won’t mind.
Do you have some mugs left over from the last time you “gave them away” at a trade show? Check this list out below. I challenge you to have a go at using your left over mugs in one or more of the ways listed below – see what happens.
1. It's reusable packaging for any product that will fit inside (reuse as a coffee mug or desk caddy).
2. It's a memo (imprint with important company dates, announcements, etc.).
3. It's a shirt box (stuff with an imprinted T-shirt).
4. It's a computer disk case (insert a mini-CD or DVD, or shrink-wrap to the bottom).
5. It's a planter (put a layer of small rock or gravel in the bottom first for drainage).
6. It's a candle (these are available in the industry).
7. It's a calendar (imprint a calendar on one side, company message on the other).
8. It's a desk caddy (fill with imprinted pens, pencils, small ruler, letter opener, etc.).
9. It's a candy dispenser (fill with candy...duh!).
10. It's a unique invitation (imprint invitation on side - another twist: require that they bring the invitation with them to the event).
11. It's a presentation container (insert client's product).
12. It's an award (imprint with achievement - consider gold imprint).
13. It's an enhancer (adds perceived value to whatever you put inside).
14. It's a thank-you gift (wrap in cellophane and clinch with a ribbon at the top).
15. It's a tool box (insert mini-screwdrivers, mini-flashlight, tape measure, etc.).
16. It's a first-aid kit (insert bandages, headache medicine, etc.).
17. It's a hangover kit (insert headache medicine, ear plugs, phone number for AA, etc.)
18. It's a watch case (insert imprinted wristwatch).
19. It's a coaster set (insert cork or disposable coasters).
20. It's a cold-recovery kit, AKA "get yourself back to work" kit (imprint with good wishes, fill with chicken soup mix, a thermometer, cold medicine, etc.).
21. It's a wedding favor (fill with birdseed to send off the bridal couple)
22. It's a business card (imprint with a business card on side -- sure to be remembered).
23. It's a sewing kit (insert sewing supplies).
24. It's a coin catcher (insert coin rollers -- great alternative to the old piggy bank).
25. It's a holiday greeting card (imprint with sentiment of choice).
26. It's a frequent shopper card (imprint with offer on side, redeemed with every visit - a funny twist: "refills free with coffee purchase")
27. It's a commemorative souvenir (imprint with event info or picture).
28. It's a fundraiser (imprint with worthy cause info -- then sell it).
29. It's a premium (insert product or attach to product as an added premium with purchase).
30. It's a hardware storage container (nuts/bolts).
31. It's a sugar packet dispenser.
32. It's a soup bowl (insert cup-o-soup packet and spoon).
33. It's a political statement (imprint with candidate photo and info).
34. It's a history lesson (imprint with historical dates/info).
35. It's a recipe card (imprint with recipe - great for unique restaurant).
36. It's a picket sign (imprint with union message, etc.).
37. It's an anti-smoking aid (imprint with Surgeon General warnings).
38. It's a paper clip dispenser (fill with unique paper clip).
39. It's a reminder ("Change the batteries in your smoke detectors when Daylight Savings Time changes.").
40. It's a company brochure (imprint with company info, mission statement, etc.).
41. It's a map (imprint a map on it).
42. It's a mini-blueprint (imprint with floor plan - what a great idea for a home builder!).
43. It's a written guarantee (no fine print here - "We're proud to display our guarantee").
44. It's a "warm fuzzy" (insert hot chocolate packet).
45. It's a motivator (imprint with compliment such as "Top Achiever" - assign to different person in office each week).
46. It's a safety program reinforcer (imprint with safety protocols).
47. It's an instruction manual (no excuse for not following instructions).
48. It's a scavenger hunt game (imprint with list of items to find).
49. It's an operation manual (can be fun or serious).
50. It's a company policy manual (excellent reinforcement).
51. It's a prize (imprint with illustration of game, such as a basketball going into the hoop "Score!").
52. It's a clue (imprint on bottom of mug).
53. It's a token ("Return for __________").
54. It's a checklist (imprint with checklist).
55. It's an announcement (imprint with announcement of achieved goal, expansion, etc.).
56. It's an exclusive pass (only those bearing this mug can gain entry into the elite section).
57. It's an inspiration (imprint with scripture or quote).
58. It's an agenda ("These are the items we need to discuss in this meeting.").
59. It's an old-style shaving mug (insert bar of soap and brush).
60. It's a status symbol (given in exchange for major purchase or contribution).
61. It's a desktop basketball goal (add cardboard backboard - another imprint area!).
62. It's a dessert dish (order this dessert at restaurant - get to keep the mug!).
63. It's a delineator (decaf drinkers get green mug, those drinking regular get the red mug).
64. It's a business card dispenser.
65. It's a "share a penny" container (next to the cash register).
66. It's a toothpick dispenser.
67. It's a tip collector.
68. It's a billboard (imprint with a dozen or more small block advertisements - use at favorite local breakfast diner).
69. It's a barbeque kit (insert basting brush, combine with sauce).
70. It's a theft deterrent device ("This mug stolen from...").
71. It's a membership card (coffee club, change mug color each year).
72. It's a name badge (personalize imprint).
73. It's a cheat sheet (imprint with math formulas).
74. It's a phone book (imprint with list of important company phone numbers and/or extensions).
75. It's a whimsical... [need help here]
76. It's a soap dish (insert a bar of soap).
77. It's a written warranty (this one will not be lost or misplaced).
78. It's a measuring cup (imprint with scale on inside or outside).
79. It's an initiator (imprint with "step one, step two, etc.").
80. It's a conversation-starter (imprint with opening line, such as, "What's your name and what do you do?").
81. It's a memorization aid (imprint with items to memorize).
82. It's a translator (imprint with common expressions in another language)
83. It's a paint can (the handle makes it easy to hold for touch-up work).
84. It's a play book (imprint with football plays) Perfect for those who "eat, sleep and drink football!"
85. It's an excuse eliminator (imprint with a "round tuit").
86. It's a feng shui garden (fill with sand, add pebbles, tiny rake).
87. It's a computer aid (imprint with list of computer shortcuts for a particular program).
88. It's a fire safety map (imprint with floor plan showing fire exits).
89. It's an in/out sign for the desk (imprint with "I'll be back in a moment" on one side, and "Out to lunch" on the other).
90. It's a marker board (insert dry erase marker and eraser - works great on a plain white coffee mug!).
91. It's a weight-loss aid (imprint with calorie info and/or how many minutes of exercise it takes to burn off a Twinkie, etc.).
92. It's an awareness tool (imprint with important statistics, etc.).
93. It's a how-to guide (imprint with instructions, diagrams, etc.).
94. It's a work of art (the imprint area is your canvas, let your creativity soar!).
95. It's a schedule (sport games, etc.).
96. It's a menu (imprint with restaurant menu, kid's menu, senior's menu, breakfast menu, etc.).
97. It's a container to bake "mug recipes" in. (Find a recipe you like and include the ingredients and directions. You can Google "mug recipes" to get many recipes.)
98. It's a tiddlywinks game. (Use the mug as "the pot" - go to www.etwa.org for the rules of tiddlywinks - simplified version)
99.It's a brush holder (for make-up brushes or paint brushes for crafters)
100. It's an appointment getter. (Send to a prospect filled with something and include a letter to pique interest to hear more. Now make an in-person appointment to get your foot in the door)
97. It’s a cookie cutter.
98. It’s a picture frame.
100. It’s a Stress kit (holding a stress ball or aroma therapy oils)
101. It’s a Toothbrush holder (and a tube of toothpaste).
102. It’s a Seedling starter (reusable).
103. It’s a Measuring cup (imprint scale on inside).
104. It’s a Scoop for bulk foods such as grain (leave in bucket).
105. It’s a traveler’s refresher kit (filled with refresher towels, a small soaps)
106. It’s a relaxation pack (insert coffee and sugar sachets, herbal & standard teas with a long life milk and a teaspoon)
You know what else?
Your tee shirts, don’t know they are tee shirts.
Your cooler bags, don’t know they are cooler bags.
Your pens, don’t know they are pens.
In fact, none of your promotional gear “knows” what it is – so, what can you call them that puts a spin on the everyday?
STYLE INSIGHTS | January 8, 2017
When it comes to apparel, style counts! So what’s HOT for 2017? As a fashion theme: what’s old is new again. As you will see, retro and vintage pieces are clearly making a catwalk comeback with a number of top trends taking inspiration from patterns of the past. From “dad hats” to heritage tees, color blocked tops to denim and flannel wovens, the so-called “has-beens” are once again the must-haves of fashion.
#1 – The “Dad hat” is back. The dad hat is an unstructured cotton or canvas baseball cap that has a slightly curved bill and most characteristically, a strap back. The term was originally pejorative – a way fashion-forward millennials who liked flat-bill caps could mock uncool, outdated hats dads wore to Little League games and barbeques.
Well, now it seems that the dad hat is getting the last laugh. From counter-culture hipsters to college kids, skateboarders to major celebrities, a cross-section of fashion-conscious people are donning the formerly unhip hats including Lebron James.
#2 – The hegemony of heather. Garments that feature heathered fabric may just be the hottest trend of 2017. Heather refers to interwoven yarns of mixed colors producing flecks of an alternate color. Often, heathered fabrications involve multiple shades of grey or grey with another color to produce a muted shade. Expect to see heathered fabrics in polos, t-shirts and fleece for both men and women this year.
#3 – Short Sleeve Sweatshirts will carry a cool cachet especially for women. From basic fleece to short cropped tops, the fleece short sleeve sweatshirt is an item every girl should have in her closet.
#4 – Harkening to a Tee’s Heritage. In the T-shirt space, heritage styles that are popular at retail will be in high demand among logoed apparel buyers. Top pics: ringer tees, baseball tee and varsity tees. While the retro look of these shirts is enticing, also important are contemporary performance features including moisture wicking and cooling attributes.
#5 – Blocks of Color. Colorblocking is adding pizzazz to Polos and T-shirts. Looks for this trend to pop up in performance apparel.
More on apparel trends coming soon...