Time To Hire A Marketing Professional? Finding the Answer Can Be Tricky

Do I need Marketing?

For the course of the 15 years that I’ve been in the industry I’ve had the opportunity to visit with and participate on numerous communications efforts for a variety of organizations – private and public. For some reason, this morning, I thought about those organizations and began diagnosing the common thread that drove there decisions to hire support. Whether it be a big ad agency, social media shop or public relations firm. The answer is not all that surprising, but a variety of factors can drive that decision.

For most businesses, especially small businesses, the basic answer is that it’s easier and less expensive to contract than to hire full-time. Any business savvy person knows that an additional employee means taxes, scheduling, training, etc. Of course, I support the hiring of a marketing professional if possible, but a great first step into a more permanent marketing solution is to seek outside resources. For larger companies, who might have employees who specialize in marketing, the reasons can be different.

So what factors should you consider when hiring an outside firm? First think of your business objectives and goals. Then think about how much “lifting” you and your current staff can sustain. Finally, think about the type of people you want to work with. How important is experience? How important is creativity? Are you looking for one project or do you want to build a relationship that lasts years? This part of it is very much like hiring an employee. So be critical but also be mindful of people’s time. It’s important to make sure that you are absolutely going to do something. There is nothing that can bum out marketing professionals, or any other professional, than to get strung along only to realize the opportunity was never real.

So where is your business now and what types of support are out in the marketplace? In some instances it might be important for your business to dig deeper into your marketing plan and require you to seek the support of a strategic marketing firm. Strategic firms hang their hat on thorough market research including inquisitive competitive analysis and development of customer personas. From that research process comes pinpoint objectives, calendars, tactics and measurement. You could say that this becomes your company’s marketing “bible.” Medium to larger size companies typically hire these types of agencies because they have ability to pay for that valuable information and can afford the time it takes to compile, organize and plan that information. They are also paying for people who specialize in an exact components of marketing like media specialists, creative gurus and strategy whizzes. The fees are steep, but the results can be impressive and keep you in business for a long time.

Smaller businesses, including upstarts and newer companies rely on tactical marketing. There is a certain level of research but for the most part these companies typically have an existing client base and they know who they’re targeting for future growth. The strategy here is based on the knowledge of the business owner, their team and maybe their business plan. These businesses need a website that works, brochures, social media management, advertising, public relations, package design, etc. In this case, the best solution is to piece the tools by using an army of consultants to keep your marketing working together. Most of these situations require the small business owner to wear the marketing director’s hat and can require a larger role from small business team.

So is there a happy medium? As businesses grow there is a step that falls in between. This step is what we call “Brandvertising.” This intermediary step was developed by us to assist companies that were in a particular growth phase. Characteristics of of this group include being in business for 5 to 10 years. Currently have a staff of 3 to 10 people. Want to organize all their efforts, because it was pieced together over time. Feel like they want to learn more about their customers. Don’t want to make LARGE financial investments, but know that a move in this direction will be beneficial in their company’s future.

No matter where your company is the idea of marketing is important. No matter how much or how little you do. Every situation is different, but in order to sale you must stay out there! Remember the best marketing is your own enthusiasm, so get out there and MAKE A MILLION!

If you need to talk, email us.

Fiscal Cliff or Not You Should Keep Marketing

Grand Canyon

So I was thinking of all the beautiful cliffs at the Grand Canyon and other awe inspiring natural landscapes throughout the country. Looking up at a cliff can be breathtaking. If you’re a rock climber, cliffs can be great motivation. In the great national debate about the upcoming Fiscal catastrophe the opposite is true. No one is talking about the beauty of this cliff. It’s more like armageddon.

As a small business owner are you paying attention to any of it? Well, if you’re like me your buried in projects, payroll, end of year taxes, client needs, 2013 planning, etc. Customers are still out there and until their money is no good, you have to keep working. So should you bury your head in the sand and anticipate the worse? Or should you carry the mantle of optimism and forge ahead and anticipate that people will still be buying in 2013? If history is any indicator, the latter is probably your best bet.

Some things to think about when jotting notes about your future marketing efforts is to look back at 2012 and assess marketing successes and marketing failures. In this fast-paced, media slammed, consumer environment, fiscal cliff or not, any marketing successes are worth noting. Think about what made it successful. Was it the time of the year? Was it after a presentation or promotion? What type of people were you connecting to at the time? You can build a pretty good assessment of your marketing tactics and possibly use them in 2013.

If an effort failed, what factors may have contributed it to it’s poor performance? Ask yourself similar questions but also think about how you might of communicated your effort to your target markets. Was it the right communication? Did you use all the channels available to you? Was it creative and memorable?

Other things to reflect on for future marketing efforts is how you use or manage your entire marketing mix. As part of our assessments and management of all of our clients, we always start there. It becomes a baseline for all of our marketing recommendations. You can turn to any business book or marketing resource to give you a checklist and begin to customize it to your needs. We use a system that we have devised from our own experience. Getting us answers quicker. After all, the quicker you know your market, the quicker you can push, the quicker you build momentum and the quicker you make the sale!

So before you decide to bury your head in the sand remember that you still live in a country with a great economy. That even when we were in the middle of the worst recession in our country’s history, people still lined up for I-pods. We’ll get through this, but this country will always rely on small businesses like ours to keep it moving. Plan for a successful 2013, stay consistent with your marketing and get out there and MAKE A MILLION!

If you need more advice or guidance, consultations at Drew Advertising are always free. Email me directly at andrew@drewadvertising.com to set something up. I believe 2013 is going to be your best year!

Don’t Miss the Boat…Cross-Promote

The word synergy is one of those words in marketing that gets tossed around a lot. Even though it can be over-used there is value to synergy especially among products or services that complement each other. We see these complementary combinations at our local grocery stores every time we walk in.  For example, when your favorite beer teams up with your fave chips and salsa…yum. Synergistic products or services create a great opportunity to cross-promote!

For marketing companies like us who specialize in consumer goods, having a portfolio of a variety of products (5 at the time of this article) allows us to team-up and conquer the market driving impressions and creating sales among our brands. This marketing collaboration or cross-promotion allows us to share media resources and brand names. Reaching potential new markets and building solid business partnerships.

So what should you look for in a great easy cross-promo? Well, start with the basics. Does the product/service you want to cross-promote make sense with your product? Think of things like complementary flavors, geography and price-point. Buying Ole Avocado Guacamole, a client of ours, would be great with fajitas. A customer would be enticed with that offer because it makes sense and it’s delicious! Another example is purchasing gasoline and receiving free coffee at that same location. What a nice gesture and you get to try the coffee!

Another way to determine whether a cross-promotion will work for your product/service is evaluating  the weight or value of your brand versus your cross-promoting partner. This can be challenging and can at times cost you money. However, if you are a small business working with other small businesses this could just cost man hours. But let’s say you are crossing with a mega-brand that has loyal customers who fit your exact target! That might be worth the exposure and extra money. Or let’s say you’re the mega brand. You’ve got the loyal following but you feel that crossing with a complement will provide your customers an incentive to remain loyal. Finally, both brands might be even-steven. This is when both agree to promote evenly placing equal amounts of energy and resources to ensure a successful promotion. How ever you slice it at the end, do what it takes to create a fair and profitable promotion.

The third thing to think about are communication channels. So you are now cross promoting with Super Chips! But how will your customers find out? How will their customers find out? For this truly to work as a great cross-promotion both companies must be cross-promoting! The larger company will be able to afford BIG TIME media. We’re talking TV, radio, billboards, digital ads, etc. For the rest of us, it’s time to be creative! Consistent postings to social media sites is a great start. Flyers to existing customers to tell their friends would also be swell. The most important thing to remember is that all parties should kick in some support. After all, cross-promoting needs team work to pick up sales!

For any business small or large, cross-promotion should not be thrown out with the bath water. Think about whether it accomplishes your business objectives and if it does go for it! Always remember the best marketing tool you have is your enthusiasm and creativity! So get out there and MAKE A MILLION!

A great example of cross-promoting is when we were able to combine ALAMO Golden Ale with pasta sauce using Adam's spices. The pasta sauce recipe was placed on a recipe card with complementary spices for runners to create the dish of course the magical ingredient was ALAMO Beer! ALAMO Beer participates in several runs throughout the region. This combo did two things: Gave ALAMO Beer another way to connect to it's customers and gave Adam's a new direct channel to area runners. Click here to see the video.

Adam’s Extract & Spices Team Up With ALAMO Golden Ale
A great example of cross-promoting is when we were able to combine, thanks to the folks at Adam’s, ALAMO Golden Ale with pasta sauce using Adam’s spices. The pasta sauce recipe was placed on a recipe card with complementary spices for runners to create this spicy sauce. Of course, the magical ingredient was ALAMO Beer! ALAMO Beer participates in several runs throughout the region so this gave the beer company an opportunity to make an impression before the race. As well as making an impression for the beer it also asked runners to go to Adam’s You Tube channel for the play-by-play on how to make this culinary delight!
Click here to see the video.
Related articles

Holiday Marketing Tips For Your Small Business

Image

This is the most incredible time of the year for folks like us. Everywhere you go brands are fighting for your attention. Whether it be the holiday themed displays at Starbucks, or the clever liquor billboards adorning highways or the Facebook ad asking for a donation. We are in marketing paradise! The good, the bad and the ugly. You might say this is the Super Bowl of marketing! So in this clutter of messaging who wins?

Unfortunately, we won’t know who the big money winners are until the numbers come out in 2013. Sad face. But rest assured there will be winners and losers. If Black Friday was any indication, there will be some BIG winners this year. So how does a product, retailer, restaurant or service, BIG or small, become a winner this holiday season? Let’s start with the basics.

Make sure you’re playing. With all the free (not including man hours) and inexpensive tools in the marketplace to promote your brand you better be doing the best you can to pump your information out! But wait! Before you spend your valuable time ask yourself a few vital questions. Does your website, social media and other marketing tools clearly state what it is you are offering and is it easy for consumers to buy your product? Either in person or online? If it’s hard to purchase or seems confusing your marketing will never work.

Make sure you deliver. Nothing hurts any advertising effort like a product or service that doesn’t perform. Don’t blame us (marketers)  if your receptionist is rude or your employees don’t know exactly what your company does or they can’t close sales. Plain and simple, make sure that when a customer comes in the door or buys your product that it delivers. Nothing can thwart a marketing effort like underperformance.

Don’t get discouraged. “Consistency over Time” can be your friend during a bad holiday season for your product or service. This might not be your year, but if you went down your marketing checklist and still didn’t have the results you were hoping for, don’t turn back, learn and move forward. This is when consumer feedback can come in handy. Listen to what they’re saying and adjust. Get ready for the Spring Sale, but don’t stop pushing your product or service. Don’t give up just yet!

So who is the big winner? You could be! Just remember these simple steps and if you’d like to dissect your marketing efforts there are several tools and resources available online and through company’s like ours.

Just remember, the most important marketing tool you have is your own enthusiasm! So keep up the good work and let’s go make a million!

“Wash For the Cure” At New Bubble Bath Carwash

Bubble Bath Carwash will be opening it’s second location on 7102 San Pedro (next to Pier One Imports). The grand opening weekend is scheduled for October 26, 27 and 28. The festivities will include a ribbon-cutting on Friday, October 26 at 4 p.m. with the San Antonio Greater Chamber of Commerce. Saturday the carwash will host “Wash For the Cure” in partnership with the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the Alamo Breast Cancer Foundation. Half of the days proceeds will be distributed to both groups. The conclusion of the weekend will be a raffle on Sunday, October 28, where one patron can win a half a year of free car washes. Other prizes will be awarded throughout the weekend. Bubble Bath Carwash is open daily from 8 AM till 9 PM.

“We are excited about opening our second location in San Antonio and continuing our commitment to breast cancer research and awareness,” stated Nick Lopez, Director of Operations. Bubble Bath Carwash donates one penny with every carwash at it’s Babcock location and will continue to do so at the San Pedro car wash. Bubble Bath has donated thousands of dollars to both groups over the years and “Wash for the Cure” will elevate those efforts. “Breast cancer has effected our immediate family is the sole reason why we support both these groups,” concluded Mr. Lopez, “being able to provide a great service is important, being involved in the community is equally important. We will continue to do what it takes to be very good at both.”

Bubble Bath Carwash is no stranger to the carwash business and the new location signifies continued growth for the company. Part of the expansion is attributed to competitive pricing, attention to detail and innovative products. The new location on San Pedro will feature San Antonio’s first-of-its-kind Bubble Drop and Carnauba Fire Wax Drop called, “Fire and Ice,” a service that will be expanded to the Babcock location. Other features include tire shine, wax, spot free rinse and free vacuuming.

Ole Avocado Looking for Your Guacamole Pictures

Image

Ole Avocado is celebrating National Guacamole Day on September 16 by giving guacamole enthusiasts a chance to win H-E-B gift cards, branded items and a guacamole mashing kit throughout the month. The “I LOVE MY GUACO” photo contest is currently underway and ends September 30, 2012. Guacamole lovers are encouraged to share how they use guacamole, take a picture and submit it for a chance to win. To enter participants can visit the company’s Facebook page and click on the “I LOVE MY GUACO” tab or go to the company website at www.oleavocado.com.

“We know that people love their guacamole so we want them to show us. It’s great to share our excitement about avocados and guacamole with our fans and have them share it with us,” stated Jesus Sebastian, CEO of Ole Avocado. Ole Avocado guacamole is a San Antonio born company that is currently sold in H-E-B.

Ole Avocado Reaches Consumers With Foodie Blog

Image

There are so many ways to enjoy fresh guacamole and Ole Avocado needs it’s consumers to know. Melinda Price recently joined the Drew Advertising Ole Avocado online team. Her enthusiastic approach is providing fans of the San Antonio company with tips and recipes.

In a recent post Melinda debunked “Guacamole Myths.” One myth, “Guacamole is Too Expensive for Every Day Use” expresses that a great tasting guac can kick up your meal without stressing your pocket book. On another post Melinda takes a crack at a simple recipe that turns guacamole into a zesty treat.

Ole Avocado has been actively using social media through Drew Advertising, a brand management and marketing agency, to reach consumers in the markets it serves. The five-year-old guacamole company has seen positive growth in recent months and continues to seek ways to increase distribution. Currently, Ole Avocado, exclusively serves H-E-B groceries in Texas.

“Our goal for Ole Avocado and every brand we serve is to make sure we use all available channels. This blog and our social media strategy, including our direct marketing efforts, allow us to keep our clients competitive in the grocery store,” stated Andrew M. Anguiano, CEO at Drew Advertising.

Keep an eye out for this up and coming guacamole in your grocery store.

FOLLOW MELINDA AND THE BLOG BY CLICKING THESE LINKS:

http://www.oleavocado.com/foodiefun/

https://www.facebook.com/myoleavocado

https://twitter.com/oleavocado

http://pinterest.com/oleavocado/