Your Customers Want Good News, Explains Image Marketing Consultants

Even though here along the Northeast Corridor the weather for Easter probably will be chilly, those we at Image Marketing Consultants talk with plan to do something special outdoors.  Yes, it has been a harsh fall and winter, Sandy followed by Nemo.

Your customers or, if you are a professional services firm, your clients want a fresh start.  This is an opportunity for you to resonate with them emotionally by highlighting messaging, providing promotions, and sponsoring special events that assure them that the world is a good place to be and full of joy and opportunity.

The most simple way to do that, of course, is through your decorations.  The impact of that could be profound if you invite the community to participate through volunteer work for fundraising or a contest.  For example, a bakery in Central Connecticut can donate its window for those in the neighborhood to showcase their renditions of renewal and those enjoying the display can make contributions to the United Way.

More complex is to design promotions which help clients not only save on their fee with you but also improve their business operations.  For example, the graphics firm will not only create a logo with a spring discount but also give a complimentary tutorial on the most effective designs for communicating your unique branding.

This season also aligns with your passing on your own good news.  Send out a press release on how much your boutique has grown since the recession ended or the 10 new products you have launched.  Create a video of a walk-through of your facility, explaining what the equipment does.  Then you can place that in your Media Center on your website, Facebook, and as a link on your blog and Twitter account.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

 

Social Media – Call To Action a Must-Do, Hammers Image Marketing Consultants

Social media is a powerful commercial tool for marketing, advocacy, fundraising, sponsoring special events,  and selling.  However, too often it doesn’t generate the expected outcomes.

One major reason is that the content, be it the landing page on the website or the text on a video for YouTube, has no call to action. You present your message but you do not follow that with what the audience should do next.  That’s why even the most well-done content in social media isn’t converting to results.

That call of action could be to click or pick up the phone for a complimentary consultation.  It could be to place an order for gold-plated earrings for which there is free shipping.  It could be to scroll through the contact information to find your government representatives and then create your own email to tell them how you feel about a certain piece of legislation.  It could be to donate $10 to the victims of a natural disaster.

When you don’t have a clear call to action, you leave your target markets hanging.  They have no direction as to what to do next.  And you have wasted this opportunity.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

“Passion” – Image Marketing Consultants Urges Caution about Using Term

“Passion.”  That’s exactly what a growing number of young women and men have for animals.

Therefore, as THE NEW YORK TIMES reports, they work very hard to prepare for veterinary school, which is difficult to get into.  Those who are admitted take on six-figure student loan debt.  At the end of three years not many are the lucky ones to be hired for the few jobs out there.  And, most of those few jobs hardly pay enough to justify the loan debt.

Professional tragedies like that one as well as those happening among the passionate in journalism and law schools have more and more people considering what “passion” means.  Could it simply denote love of something and that’s about all?  Passion doesn’t necessarily translate into professional career success.

More importantly, what does “passion” indicate about the professional?  Would you dare have your wedding dress produced by someone who ad reads “Passionate About Your Special Day” or the one whose ad reads “Produced 200 wedding dresses for Brides Whose Testimonials Are Framed In Our Shop?”

In short, what message are you sending when you use the term “passion?”  Not a clear one. Therefore, businesses and nonprofits might rethink leveraging “passion” in marketing communications and public relations.  In addition to not really meaning much as a message about your product or service, it is overused.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you for a complimentary consultation on your marketing, public relations, partnership, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Businesses Have to Place Smaller Bets, Hammers Image Marketing Consultants

 “How could we have ‘bet the ranch’ on a marketing campaign we didn’t test enough?”

That kind of regret is typical of businesspeople who find that they have made a major mistake.  They are shocked that it happened.  Their confidence has taken a hit.  And they want some bulletproof guidance on how they can avoid such errors in the future.

The reality is that businesses always made mistakes, sometimes big ones like when Coca-Cola introduced “New Coke” and Ford manufacturerd the Edsel.  What is different now is that businesses have less of a margin for error so the resources that mistake consumed are highly visible on the balance sheet.  Also, competition is more fierce, eager to take advantage of a stumble.  In addition, there is the fear of not being able to bounce back.

Because of the severe consequences of mistakes for businesses, hands-on managment experts such as Reid Hoffman, cofounder of social network for professionals LinkedIn, recommend placing small bets, not investing too much in any one initiative.  In his new book “The Start-up of You,” Hoffman confirms the uncertainty of the marketplace of the 21st century.  There are more unknowns than knowns out there. Businesses, at best, are handed lots of pieces of the puzzle.  It will take time, a lot of false starts, and a lot of course correction to put the pieces together.  Therefore, it is downright reckless to assume that any one venture will pan out.

Smart businesspeople, shows Hoffman, currently test out their hunches in launching a new company, determining pricing, configuring marketing approaches, and training the sales force in relatively small steps.  Frequently, they simultaneously have several of those small initiatives, for example in marketing, going at once.  They will select the ones which work and toss the rest.  The expense can be peanuts.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your marketing, public relations, partnerships, special events, and social media needs kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com 203-404-4868.

Marissa Mayer’s on the Money about Power of Being Eyeball to Eyeball, Explains Image Marketing Consultants

Marissa Mayer, Chief Executive Officer at Yahoo, has created a global controversy by her ban on telecommuting.  She contends that innovation mandates people collaborate in person, eyeball to eyeball, not via digital devices.  Research backs up that, yes, working alone in one’s home office does boost productivity but it is a constraint on the bubbling up of new ideas.  We at Image Marketing Consultants agree in the power of human beings joining together in person. One of our special areas of expertise is special events.

What we find, special event after special event, is that human beings need to get together, in the flesh, where they can interact with each other, cell by cell.  The power of that kind of interaction has been confirmed by researchers in the field of mirror neurons.  We influence each other directly.  The professional who’s a type of Idea Factory will set in play the creative thinking of all the others there.  The professional who’s known as The Implementer will start the ball rolling on how to test out the ideas.  The professional who’s The Connector will get members of the group to sign up for tasks.

Mayer’s decree will continue to be controversial.  But there’s no question that there is a surge in demand of people finding ways to get together.  Here at Image Marketing Consultants we are receiving increasing requests to plan and oversee special events.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation for your special events, marketing, public relations, partnerships, and social media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.

Your Narratives May Be Holding You Back, Warns Image Marketing Consultants

There was a business which positioned itself as the best friend of the frugal.  Its mission statement described how it pulled out all stops to supply the budget-conscious with the best quality at the best price.  The enterprise did well.

Then a relative who had studied design introduced into the chain upscale merchandise ranging from Coach-like pocketbooks to hand-crafted earrings.  Those sold like hotcakes at premium prices.  Yet, the business considered stopping the line because it conflicted with the mission statement.  In short, what the business said about itself or its narrative was getting in the way of more revenue and profit, with not a lot of heavy lifting.

As the economy keeps changing and organizations find themselves with new challenges and opportunities, their narratives can be holding them back.  They might have adopted a risk-averse stance, for example, in hard times.  Now that times are better for them those narratives about staying the course are constraints on growth.  A bakery whose story is about total indulgence is hesitating in introducing heathy desserts.  A writing firm which has been serving small business and promotes that in all its marketing material feels it cannot bid on larger accounts.

In short, your organization’s story about itself or its narrative can have more negative impacts than any competitor might.  Here are four tips on how to break the hold of the past on your present:

Identify your narrative and determine if it still is accurate. Remember that everything changes.  You organization is continually reconfiguring itself and you might not have realigned your marketing materials, including the mission statement, to what is really happening now.

Calculate the risk of adding or deleting elements from your story. You might be considering adding “luxury you can afford” to your identity as an ecommerce company providing the best bargains of the web.  The risk could be reduced if you phase in the phrase, along with the merchandise, “Including some luxury items you can afford.”  Consumers are more apt to accept change that is introduced in small bites.  Ask for feedback on the addition or deletion. Consumers love to express their opinion.

Conduct small experiements. Even a mom-and-pop business can do test marketing.  All that takes is to conduct small experiments which do not disrupt the rest of the business.  For instance, the bakery can restrict one shelf to healthy desserts and promote them in a muted way. If that turns out to be too quiet a launch, then the counter person can offer complimentary samples to customers and an employee dressed like a vegetable or fruit can distribute flyers about the introduction in the neighborhood.

Host a special event, all the better with partners. Stage celebrations to include consumers in what’s new which stays. Special events are becoming increasingly in demand because Americans, after so many tragedies and disappointments in the 21st century, want to come together and enjoy being with each other.  Also, they are weary of digital connecting.  The bakery which is grossing one-third of revenues through healthy desserts can orchestrate a celebration in the neighborhood.  The theme can be taking care of ourselves.  That can be done in partnership with other healthy players such as the yoga studio, gym, farmers’ market, and chain drug store.

Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, invites you to a complimentary consultation on your positioning, marketing, public relations, partnerships, special events, and social media kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.