One quote confirmed I needed to go ahead with this post.
“Every marketing piece someone comes in contact with leaves an impression on your brand. Even those who aren’t purchasing your product are forming an opinion of you.”
That really sums up this post quite nicely.
The natural tendency when marketing, branding or advertising is to slap your logo everywhere. More awareness means more sales right?
Those businesses that create value and an emotional connection through their branding and marketing are going to be the ones who stand out from the competition.
Not those whose logos are everywhere.
My case in point is our friends over at Star Toilet Paper whom I talked about in my last post.
I’ll repeat John’s quote.
“Even those who aren’t purchasing your product are forming an opinion of you.”
When those people are wiping their bottoms, their doing so with with someone’s brand. Obviously they’re forming a pretty crappy opinion of that brand.
I certainly hope those businesses wake up and start to value their own brand more. Would you really want your brand to be aligned with crap?
If you’re reading this post and my site, I doubt it. This is all about Meaningful Marketing after all.
But hey, some businesses are taking advantage of the low cost to advertise on toilet paper. They’re thinking short term not long term however. Customer loyalty is built on value and service. They may get a few people in the door redeeming (can you imagine yourself saving toilet paper to redeem at a store?) toilet paper coupons but are coupon redeemers what you’re after?
Coupon clippers do not turn into loyal customers.
Ok I’ve made my point loud and clear about advertising on toilet paper. I give props to the Brian and Jordan who started the business.
But we can do better.
Consistent Brand Image
When influencing people to come and do business with you, not only is it what your brand is displayed on but how it looks.
Here’s another story that ties into my last post and brand image.
There is a luxury condo development in my city. They’re currently advertising on all of the squash courts at one of the clubs in town. This club hosted a tournament a few months back.
Talking with a few players at this tournament revealed that the many thought the courts were not nice to play in. It was true. The walls were dirty, the floors were dark and the paint was chipping off the walls and the area where this brand’s logo was displayed.
On a couple of courts you couldn’t even make out the name of the brand. Their logo had been hammered with squash balls that most of the paint was gone from the logo.
They’ve slapped their brand all over a product (poorly marinated squash courts) that doesn’t align at all with luxury.
This really makes no sense to me. The brand image is off. Nothing about the courts is luxurious at all. Most importantly, there’s no connection to the squash players playing on those courts.
Create Value or an Emotional Connection
So what does it take to succeed in your future branding, marketing and advertising efforts?
Create an emotional connection – Here’s a way the luxury condo company above could create an emotional connection with the squash player. John Morgan had another great quote in his book. “People are emotionally tied to brands and not products.”
Just because someone see’s your logo doesn’t mean they’ll automatically remember your service and call you up when they need it.
In branding, marketing and advertising you don’t have long to capture one’s attention. Do your best to make a great first impression!
What do you think?
Do you form opinions of brands like you do of people?
On the TV. On the radio. In a newspaper or magazine. Even in the bathroom.
Yep, we can’t even escape advertisements when we go to the bathroom.
This cleaver company decided people want to be advertised to when they’re going to the bathroom!
Resorting to this reeks of desperation. In fact I can’t think of a worse way to advertise. People are wiping their butts with your ads. Talk about hitting an all time low.
Would you really want your brand to be aligned with toilet paper and crap?
I can imagine the thought process went something like this:
“We’ve tried everything else to get people’s attention but nothing’s working. Eureka! Let’s create some advertisements that are going to be smeared in crap and flushed down the toilet!”
To convert people in new customers and regular customers into evangelists, you have to hit it where it matters most. The heart…not the ass.
Read on to discover what it takes to emotionally connect with people.
There are two things I want to discuss in my next two blog posts.
This one you’re about to read will discuss how to determine what matters to people. From there you will be able to create a deeper connection with people through your future advertising and marketing.
The following one will discuss the importance of maintaining a consistent brand image.
Creating emotional connections
Both topics have been on my mind for over a month now. It hit me while I was watching a squash tournament. I’ve recently become addicted to the game of squash. For those that don’t know it’s a game that it played in a boxed off court very much like racquetball.
My closet friend Adam wanted me to play more and I have been. I don’t have enough time to play golf anymore so squash is an awesome alternative.
One of the things I enjoy about squash is the social nature of the sport. It’s like anything I suppose. But squash players love to talk after the game. More on these conversations in a bit and why every conversation you engage in is important.
Since advertisements are everywhere it’s not surprising they’re plastered on squash courts. Personally I don’t pay much attention to them since I’m busy trying to beat my opponent.
They also don’t connect with me. Being a marketer and consumer I try to think about how marketing can be done better.
In this case I wanted to see how the squash advertisements could generate more meaning. Adam – who got me into squash – also owns Victoria Transmission Auto Care.
Last year he was toying with the idea of sponsoring a court. Thankfully he decided to resist the urge to interrupt. He also felt that sponsoring a court didn’t align with his brand image.
I agreed. They’ve been marketing the company beautifully the last two years. Organizing things like their popular ladies nights, focusing on being an eco friendly shop and educating young drivers on car care and safety.
It didn’t make sense to slap his company’s logo on the squash courts. There just wasn’t a connection there.
We are in an age where interruptive advertising and marketing is becoming more ignored. You can even say hated. The brands who focus on people’s hearts and aim to out care their competition will do exceedingly well in the future.
Adam feels such strong bond to the game of squash and the people who play at our club. He simply wants to give back to them. If his business can benefit from this, even better.
So it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I discovered a way he could do that.
Every Conversation Is Important
We were watching a big squash tournament at another squash club in town. The players from our club remarked that they didn’t like the courts. They were dimly lit and the walls were very dirty.
Our clubs courts’ lack in areas as well. The lights are not the same color and often burnt out. Our walls get marked up from the ball and they have the odd chip of cement missing. From time to time dust balls are seen on the court.
With that said every player from our club we talked to hated the courts. This is something that comes up often in my conversations with fellow squash players. The condition of the courts matter deeply.
It’s the same in golf. I worked in the golf industry at a very nice private club. Everyone I knew who played at the public, municipal and executive courses in the city wanted badly to play the course I worked at.
They fell the same way as my squash friends. Being able to play on nice squash courts and a nice golf course means an awful lot to people. It touches them where it matters most. The heart.
You can see where I am going here. Adam wants to grow his business and make an emotional connection with our fellow squash players.
The best way for him to do that is to sponsor the court. But instead of plastering his company logo on the wall, he should focus on making the court he sponsors, the nicest and cleanest in the city.
It’s really no different than the adopt a highway programs many states in the US have. Local businesses adopt a mile or more of a highway. It’s their responsibility to ensure that stretch is kept clean. Since it’s their name on it, they want to do a great job.
Stealing this idea he would make sure the walls are always clean, the lights are bright and always replaced. Too make a major impact, the floors could be waxed or completely re-done.
Before you start to think that this is far too costly. Think about the lifetime cost of a customer. In his industry, it’s a lot. It would only take a few people to become lifetime customers for this to pay off.
All these things would no doubt make a definite impact. Any player that steps foot on the court would take notice of Adam and his business.
Principles of Meaningful Marketing
This is of course theoretical idea. But it touches on two key principles of meaningful marketing.
1) It creates a deep connection
2) It improves people’s lives regardless of the product or service it sells
Deep down I want to inspire you to do more than just slap your logo on something, call it day and hope people patronize your business.
That’s what everyone else is doing. Be different and stand out from the competition by creating more meaning with your marketing!
All you have to do is listen to your current clients and see what matters most to them. In any conversation you will find those things that your clients care deeply about.
In this example all I did was pay close attention to the conversations I was having. Looking for something that other squash players felt deeply about. Remember earlier when I said every conversation you engage in is important? The conversations I have with other squash players is evidence of this.
This example is what out caring your competition is all about. Once people know that you care about them, they’ll start to care about your business.
What do you think?
Are there any ways you can create a deeper connection with people and have your business grow at the same time?
I showcased a real life example of Bluebird Taxi who wants to stand out from their competition and focus on customer acquisition and retention.
It’s truly a great example of what meaningful marketing in the mobile world looks like.
Since that post was long I wanted to carry it over. For this post I’m going to talk even further about ways they could really increase their customer retention and acquisition.
In this example I’ll be showcasing another car service company already doing these things.
Read on if you want to see how apps can increase your customer loyalty and sales.
A few months back I got tipped off on a very cool business idea.
Uber.com is a car service that utilizes the wonderful advancements in technology to improve their customer acquisition and retention.
How do they do this? It’s a two step process. The first step does three things very well.
Engagement, Transparency and Trust
After you log onto their app, you can request a pick up from your location. All you have to do it setup the location tracking services on your phone and you’re set.
This very step is where the personal engagement begins. Instead of the standard “Your cab will be 15 minutes” answer we normally get when calling for a pick up, Uber sends you a text.
It’s the content of the text that makes it personal and allows Uber to be transparent while increase their trust and engagement.
The text comes with an update that your pickup car is en route, how long it will be and who your driver is.
Why is this engaging? It’s a one way text but it offers you an update of how far way your car is. That’s helpful and it allows the company to be fully transparent and honest with how far your ride is really away. We’ve all been lied to by cab companies before on wait times.
In my last post I mentioned that how GPS tracking of cabs allows people to see where their cab might be. The text update is another way to achieve that. It is nice to get a personalized text however.
Now onto what builds trust. Being able to view the profile and ratings of your driver is a comforting way to see who will be taking you home.
We’ve all ridden in a cab with a driver who was not very friendly or a tad reckless. Instead of calling the company and complain, we often do nothing.
A few years back I was involved in an accident that was my cab drivers fault. I’ve not ridden with that company since. I’ve been in a few rides home with less than safe drivers but have done nothing to complain about the ride.
That’s the not the case with Uber though. You can rate your driver right after the ride is completed by loading the app.
This could also help the company evaluate how their drivers are truly perceived by its customers.
Being able to see what other users have said and how they’ve rated a driver builds trust. It’s also very transparent to see what others have said.
Review sites like Yelp, Yellow Pages and now Google’s Place pages allow us full transparency. Businesses no longer have much control because everyone has a voice that can be heard.
Being able to see reviews of the driver is this same idea but within the app itself.
This next step is where Uber really focuses on customer retention.
Most cab companies are still using interact machines for those paying by debit or credit. This can slow the checkout process down. If a cab is in a location where there isn’t a great connection, the processing time can take a few minutes.
Uber instead keeps your credit card on file. This makes payment super easy and helps those in a jam without a wallet. Talk about convenience.
I know that if a cab company has my credit card on file, I’ll be more likely to use their service since it’s easier. I can just get out of the cab and leave.
They could also think about offering a kick back to their frequent users. From there the users could check their points through their application.
Now’s not the time to talk about rewards programs. That’s for another day.
I’ve profiled Uber because they get it. They’re marketing with meaning by using technology to make it easier for those needing a ride.
In doing so they increase their engagement, transparency, trust and convenience.
In marketing you don’t have to some unique idea. Take a look around and see what other industries are doing and see if you can adopt those ideas to your own business.
In this example Bluebird Taxi could look at what Uber is doing and borrow their apps ideas.
What do you think?
If Uber was available in your city, would you use their service?
To back this I’m not going to throw any statistics at you.
Instead, take a look around.
Observe what people are doing at the bus stop or when walking down the street.
What’ll you see is people buried in their smart phones or tablets.
Instead of paying attention to a bus that is coming, their dog or the people their about to walk into, their texting, checking out their favorite social network or reading something.
Mobile devices allow us to stay connected away from our PC‘s and laptops.
So how can you increase your businesses engagement and extend your customer service experience utilizing these devices?
Read on if you want to see what an example of meaningful marketing looks like in the mobile world.
Mobile Applications for Business
Last week I did something I never do, I picked up a newspaper.
I was waiting at my car dealership when I decided to give old media some attention. On the front page of the business section I read an article that made me smile.
What exactly made me all warm and fuzzy? For a normal human this would probably be some heartfelt story about a mom reuniting with a lost child before mothers day. Those stories make me tear up no doubt.
But for someone as addicted to marketing and business as I am, it was a story about a local cab company and an application they developed for smartphones.
The local taxi company developed a smart phone application that provides users with:
A one touch dial button for their 1-800 number
The best locations in the city where you can find a cab
The vice president of the company says that the app is all about customer service. I can’t argue with that.
In an industry where customers are all about getting a ride home as fast as possible, loyalty is obviously very low. People want to get a ride home safely without having to wait long.
You don’t catch yourself saying to your friends “Sorry, but I will NOT ride with XYZ Cab company because I had a terrible experience last time”.
Your friends would hop in a leave you behind!
This application allows them to stand out from their competition. It shows that they truly care about their customer and getting them home as fast as possible.
In doing so they’ve created something that connects directly to a market that needs such a service. Youth who are out late and competing against each other for a ride home can download and utilize the app.
Most youth are smart enough to program numbers into their phone so the one touch dial portion of the app isn’t as beneficial. Users have this option when on the company’s mobile website as well.
The fair estimates are a nice touch but for most, they know how much a ride home costs.
I really want to zero in on the last benefit of the app.
Best Places to Flag a Cab
This is the most beneficial component of the app. When you stumble out of a bar or nightclub, you want to know where the best spot to catch a cab is.
Users can now do that by tapping a button on the app.
Even David Hasselhoff could complete this process! I do wonder if they have thought about the whole beer goggles and seeing double?
This app definitely improves people’s lives regardless if they’re a customer or not. That right there is the most important aspect to meaningful marketing.
As much as I love this idea and how meaningful it is, they could go even further.
After downloading and viewing the app, there is a slight problem. They’ve only listed places where you can flag a cab in the downtown core.
For most residents of Victoria, they know where the cab hot spots are. This is also no good for the people out in the suburbs at parties.
Here’s how this app could be better. Instead of listing the best places to flag a cab in the downtown core, why not offer GPS tracking on all cabs in the fleet?
GPS technology is everywhere these days. If I can spy on my ex-girlfriend (totally something I’ve never done) to see where she is, then I should be able track where cabs are.
The Waiting Game
We’ve all been told that our cab is only 5 minutes away yet waited for 30 minutes or more. Being able to track the cab through GPS would certainly help.
People could plan their exits more efficiently and not have to keep their hosts waiting. These situations can be awkward. Think of the old Seinfeld episode where Jerry and Elaine are waiting for Kramer to pick them up from a party in Long Island.
Those people downtown could check their app inside and plan accordingly. No more waiting out in the cold trying to flag a cab.
Another benefit of GPS tracking is transparency for the company. Users would be able to see where all the cabs are in real time.
As you can see by going a little bit further with this app, Bluebird could really stand out from their competition. Don’t get me wrong this is a massive step in the right direction and I applaud their foresight.
My next post is going to talk about other ideas for this app. These ideas will improve the checkout process and engage customers even more.
What about you?
You’re wondering what this has to do with you. How can your business give better customer service and market with meaning by using mobile apps?
Here are a couple examples that improve brand engagement, extend the customer service experience and are full of meaning.
My friends over at Victoria Transmission and Auto Care could develop and app that:
gives tips for those with car troubles on the road
use data from gas war type websites to show which gas stations have the cheapest gas
send you updates on when your car needs a checkup
let you see your cars checkup history
A local gym could develop an app that:
gives you tips for workouts (possibly in video format) from their personal trainers
allows you to track the progress of your workouts (how much weight your lifting and reps your doing)
keeps track of your visits on a visual calendar
tracks calories and what foods you’ve been eating throughout the day
Mobile applications are not as expensive as you would think. Years ago websites use to cost a boat load. That’s changed as more developers have come along and the coding has improved.
This is happening in the app development world as well. There are so many developers that prices have dropped.
How can your business extend its customer service experience by going mobile? There are ways any business can do this.
It takes some brain storming. You might even be doing some of these things right now. I know at Victoria Transmission and Auto Care they have user profiles people can access on their website. These profiles allows users to see their vehicles checkup history.
The mobile world is only going to get bigger. We do double takes when we see someone not using a smart phone these days!
It’s not just the youth anymore. I see many boomers using smart phones as well.
With all this said, have you given much thought to mobile applications?
When you’re new you want to tell everyone why they should check you out. I can’t blame you there!
Maybe sales are sluggish and need you more clients.
Perhaps you have a sale or product you want everyone to know about.
No matter the reason you have to get the word out. Advertising does just that.
Sure I think internet marketing is great but advertising can be effective.
But the cookie cutter “Here’s my business and contact information, please call us” advertising doesn’t work anymore.
Let me explain.
Advertising needs to engage
It’s a fact that I dislike 95% of advertising. Almost all advertisements lack creativity and can be ignored. Actually all advertisments can be ignored except website pop ups! I’ll save that for another day however.
I’m sure my feelings on advertising are shared by many others.
How often do you say to yourself after seeing an ad “Yeah, I want to start doing business there” or “I must find out more” and call that business or visit their website? I bet I’ve been on more dates in the last year which for the record has been a measly two.
As a society we ignore advertising. It’s been jammed down our thoughts for far too long. How often do you even take the time to look at ads anymore?
So how you can break through the noise and engage people with your advertising? What does it take to get some serious return on investment from any advertisement you run?
I’ll show you a great example in a second so read on!
Before that happens do me a favour and tweet this if you’re on Twitter
Break through the noise & create engaging advertisements – Click to Tweet
Introducing Meaningful Advertising
Once in a while I flip through my local paper to see if anything catches my eye. A month back I found this advertisement.
Let’s be clear, it’s goods but it can be better. I’ll explain why later but it’s a step in the right direction.
So what makes this ad meaningful and better than the majority of ads?
It never tries to push
It opens the sales funnel
Meaningful marketers are always willing to educate potential clients. They’re thinking about their clients and what questions they have. In this case it’s something as common as using eye drops.
People are generally looking for information on your product or service before buying. Often times they’ll do research on the internet. The best way to get in front of them and answer any questions is by blogging for business.
This ad is essentially what a blog post would look like. It’s meaningful because it educates someone and improves their life. After all no one would engage with this ad if they didn’t know how to use eye drops since that’s the title!
It never tries to push
Since the begin on advertising companies have been pushing their products on us. That has to change if you want to engage more people.
During the advertisement not once do you see “See us for all your eye care needs” do you? The concept is certainly there but it’s subtle.
Dr. Taylor could have easily peppered this ad with more pushing. But he didn’t.
At the bottom of the ad his clinics contact details are listed. That’s the only time. He didn’t even offer a call to action which is very passive. Too passive though.
He’s simply educating people. If the reader wants to know more, perhaps they’ll visit his clinics website or call him next time for an eye care appointment.
It opens the sales funnel
Too much focus is put in closing the sale now a days. I know it’s all about sales but if you’re too pushy, people will shy away.
When people come to a website or see an ad, they want more.
Can they see photos of your products? Can they read or listen to what satisfied clients have to say? How about learning more about your particular area of expertise?
By letting people see those things you are opening the sales funnel. You’re inviting them to learn more.
Without doing those things it will be tough to open the sales funnel. Chances are they’ll flip past your advertisement and leave your website within 10 seconds.
When you open the sales funnel your ROI greatly increases. People will read your ad and stay on your website longer. This is taking advantage of every person who engages with your marketing.
An Opportunity Missed
I did say this ad was a step in the right direction towards meaning. There is something missing here.
The odds of someone needing an eye care appointment at the time of this ad are slim. That doesn’t mean they won’t think of his clinic when they do. But how could he make sure they don’t forget about him?
Drive them to his website for more education. Since the chances of someone remembering his phone number are low he needs the reader to take action and visit his website for more education on eye care. This will also help build trust and credibility with the new visitor.
The next step after awareness in the sales funnel is turning someone into a lead.
Here’s what Dr. Taylor could do to increase his leads.
Call to action
Dr. Taylor and the Mayfair Optometric Clinic need a better call to action to start with. Something simple could be “Visit our website for more eye care and health tips”. No matter what you want to get people back to your website.
If he is putting in the effort to write an article for an ad, why isn’t he blogging? Someone who actually reads this ad all the way through is engaged. What do you do in this position? Give them more! By inviting those readers back to his site for more articles on eye care and health.
Email opt in forms
Email opt in forms offer a person to get updates from your site. It’s a simple way of lead capturing but very overlooked. If he is utilizing an email newsletter they could grow their email list. This obviously gives them the ability to market to that engaged person for a lifetime and hopefully turn them into a lifetime client.
Hopefully you’ve learnt a lot on how to increase advertising ROI. It takes more to stand out from your competition. By creating advertisements like this example, you’ll be well on your way to more meaning and more sales!
What kind of offline advertising do you do?
Do you see a good amount of ROI from it?
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