Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

A professor once said that marketing is fixing the problem with connecting the customer to the business. There is always a need, a want, a desire, and/or a problem. If you can figure out reasons for the customer to need your business, then you can easily market it to them. This seems like common sense, but getting back to the basics of marketing might be getting lost in the shuffle. Think about how many advertisements you see in a day. Whether you are watching TV, listening to the radio or a podcast, looking at something on the internet and so on…advertising is everywhere. So how can your marketing be found in the flood of advertising? 

What’s In It For The Customer?

The market is saturated with similar products and services. It can be very competitive depending on what your business is. The best thing to always remember when marketing is how does it help the customer? Constantly talking about the product or service can just get boring. But saying how it helps the customer right off the bat can encourage the potential customer to keep reading to learn more about it. Here is a great example from ContentFirst Marketing.

Is Marketing Getting Lost In The Shuffle? Here’s How To Find It Again

A great test to see if advertisements made their mark is with Super Bowl ads. Customers will remember the commercials, but will they actually remember what product was being pushed? Some brands have iconic imagery (Budweiser horses and frogs, Geico gecko, etc.) and others may have really great visuals, but the actual product just gets lost. Was the money worth the effort? 

Think about those old school infomercials. The ovens that cook turkeys in less time than others, the knives that can cut anything, or the ladder that extends higher than competitors but stores in smaller spaces. These always stood out because they were fixing a common problem customers could have. Potential customers saw value in the products. Stick to this way of thinking, and it will be a great way to build upon a campaign.

Stand Out Where Your Customers Are

Talk to any marketing professional and you will hear a different opinion of where your business should advertise or what platforms you should be present on. This also can depend on where you live and in what part of the world as some areas utilize mediums other areas just don’t. Think city fold versus country folk and how to market to people in each. It is different! It seems like everyday a new social platform is born. It is nearly impossible to be present on all of them with a marketing strategy. And of course there are thousands of ways to reach potential customers, but figuring out where your target audience obtains their information would be a great place to start.

According to Seth Matlins, Forbes Staff, 3 out of every 4 brands could disappear in an instant with no one noticing or caring. That is a lot! That means those brands are not meeting a need, want, desire or solving a problem for their customers or there are too many competitors in the market. Within the same article, Seth mentions that almost 8 of every 10 searches on Amazon are by category, not brand. Customers aren’t searching for Suzy’s Honey but instead are searching for honey. When that search happens, thousands upon thousands of results of honey show up and Suzy’s Honey gets pushed to page 6, which hardly anyone ever gets to.

Instead of running around trying to be everywhere all at once, focus on maybe a couple of different places and do your best on those to market your product instead of just doing minimal efforts on many.

Start With The Basics

Many business owners and marketers are confusing tactics with strategies and strategies with objectives. In marketing, while copying something a competitor has done is flattering, it likely may not wind up working for you. Just because we think that we can jump straight in and copy the tactics others are using we likely won’t get the same results. Why? Even if something worked for them does not mean it will work for you.

Start with the basics again, even if you’ve already had successful campaigns. Go back to the problems your potential customers have and understand why they are having those problems and how your business can help them. Decide which group you are going to really focus on. Doing this can help narrow down your marketing strategy and help determine which niche your products fits in for this particular campaign. And finally, take a look at how this group buys something. What is their buying pattern? From step 1 of having a problem to step 2 of where they go to research how to solve their problem and step 3 of actually buying can help when deciding what kind of marketing you should do. Do your potential customers like to read, listen or watch a video? Do they like reviews? Do they like to go to a store to make a purchase or buy it online (if it is a product)? Do they like to call and speak to someone on the phone about a service or would they rather set up a meeting and speak face to face? So many questions but these can help get back to the basics.

The Bottom Line

Fundamental marketing may seem super boring and it may seem like you are leaving a lot of potential customers on the table if you aren’t marketing everywhere. However, the power of finding the right target market and the ways they buy, can work. Even the greatest and most expensive tactics fail. It isn’t about the amount of money or the size of the target market. It is, and always will be, about finding the right product or service for your clients.

What is a Marketing Agency and How Can We Help Your Business?

One of the most common questions we hear is, “How can we get the most bang for our buck,” when talking to potential clients. From small to very large companies, investing funds into marketing budgets can be a very hard decision to make simply because business-minded professionals want to maximize their return on investment. 

Working with a marketing agency can help boost confidence in finding the value of all aspects of marketing. From digital advertising to ghostwriting, to a full video production, a marketing agency can be a one-stop shop for all of those needs. Understanding how a marketing agency works, what they do and what services they can provide you is a great starting point to figuring out if working with an agency will be a good fit for you.

What Is A Marketing Agency?

Let’s start with an overview of True Fit Marketing. We are a full-service marketing advocacy firm powered by technology and grounded with foundational marketing. Typically the terms marketing agency and marketing firm can be used interchangeably. Our promise is to support you, your business, and your team, along with helping you feel more confident in your marketing efforts. We want to save you from the stress of not knowing where your marketing dollars are going and what your advertising is actually doing for you. With fully transparent reporting and consistent evaluation meetings, we want to be held accountable for helping your business succeed. Our business encompasses a team of professionals in specialized areas to help you reach your marketing goals. 

Are Marketing Agencies Expensive?

Ultimately, your budget and needs will determine what is deemed expensive for your business. One of the best qualities of a marketing agency is that there is a whole team of professionals who work together to ensure your goals are met. When you figure out how much an account manager, writer, photographer, videographer, social media strategist, advertising specialist, and so on cost individually, you will likely find value in working with a marketing agency that employs all of them and gives you access to these professionals for a great price. 

Costs are always going to be different per client, per project, and per contract. They will also fluctuate depending on where you are located, the services provided (advertising campaigns are a great example) and what the goals are. Budgets can fluctuate depending on results, whether good or bad, the time of the year, or whatever campaign is needed. Either way, just as everything, you get what you pay for when hiring a marketing agency. You get a team of professionals, at a fair market value, who will help to reach your goals.

Hiring a Marketing Agency

Now that you understand what it is that a marketing agency does, now you can research agencies in your area and start to interview them. We suggest working with a local agency so that you can have face-to-face meetings, they will understand your target audience better (if you are a local company) and will have a better reach with local advertising and media efforts. However, that doesn’t mean that a local agency can’t help with a business that is nationwide. Ask each agency how they can handle this for you.

When reaching out to the agencies, have a list of projects that you are interested in having services for. An example would be that you’d like a redesign of your website, monthly social media, and monthly advertising. Some agencies may ask what your advertising budget is and others may suggest a budget based on what they believe will help you to reach your goals.

Agencies should do some of their own research on your company to learn about your business, where they can see ways you can improve immediately, short term and long term in the marketing world, how they can help you to do this, and what your competitors are doing. 

After your initial meeting with the agencies, you will be sent proposals for marketing and/or brand management services based on your initial conversation and their assessment of your brand. This is a good time to compare and contrast, look at how they match services to your needs. Have they addressed your initial goals and concerns? What is their commitment to your success? 

Depending on the services you want, you may not have met the people you would actually be working with at the initial meeting. If you think you want to move forward with an agency, you can ask to have another meeting with the team you would be working with so you can meet them and see if they are a good fit for your business. Meeting with the team as a whole can give you a really good idea of what it is like to work with an agency. 

Can A Marketing Agency Help Your Business?

We like to pride ourselves on having multiple professionals with different focuses on our team that can help you reach your goals. Finding one person that can handle every aspect of your marketing strategy, plus day-to-day business operations, and do everything well, might be hard to find. But outsourcing this work to a marketing team that has years of experience under their belts is going to help you. Offloading your marketing from your table can allow you to focus on what you want to with your business, especially if marketing isn’t your forte. 

The Bottom Line

If you are ready to start conversations with a marketing agency, and are local to the Pittsburgh area, we suggest contacting us. Let’s chat about the services you are interested in and how we can work together to create the best marketing strategy for your business.

A Look Into the Future – Possible Social Trends for 2023

It is hard to believe that 2022 is almost over. Not that we are rushing it away, but this last business quarter is a great time to reflect on what has been working on social media for your business and what ideas you may want to consider tackling in 2023. Or maybe you are thinking of starting social media and want to know where would be some places to focus efforts. Take a look into our crystal ball with us to try to predict some social trends for the future. It may be worth paying attention to these so your next year is amazing!

Word of Mouth Influencer Marketing

You head to the grocery store and see a new product on the shelf. You look at the package, read whatever it says, but put it back on the shelf because you just aren’t sure if you are going to like it or not and don’t want to spend the money if it is going straight to the trash.

You go to a birthday party and see that same product in their pantry. So, you start asking around, “Hey, are those chips good?” and the feedback is positive. They all like the chips! So, the next time you head to the grocery store, you purchase a bag, simply because when you asked, people liked them so you thought you would too!

Influencing an audience with trustworthy people isn’t anything new, but it is in our faces more than ever. Obviously, we can’t predict who is going to talk to who about a certain product, but we can push the product and information about it to our audiences with positive influencers. Celebrities, athletes, performers, etc., are all over social media pushing whatever product to their target audience because they are a trustworthy influencer. It needs to look and feel authentic though. People can tell when a product is being endorsed just for money and not because they actually use and like it. This gets tricky.

As a business, pay attention to influencers in your industry. Take the time to get to know them, their brand, their audience and see if it would be a good fit for your product too. Turning an influencer into a brand ambassador for your business can have a huge impact with long-term results.

A Look Into the Future - Possible Social Trends for 2023 Short Videos Will Be Huge

Tik-Tok length videos are huge. They are now all over Instagram and Facebook too! Unfortunately, a lot of us have the attention span of a snail. No one has the time to watch 5-minute-long videos, which isn’t even that long! But we can scroll through 15 second videos for 5 minutes. How does that work!? It is because each video is different, offers something new, and connects with the audience on several different levels. 

Traditional photo and caption posts are slowly dying. More attention is being given to video, which isn’t new, but audiences continue to crave information this way. 

So, for next year, plan to record whatever is going on. Own a restaurant? Record your chef making something. Edit it into several different 15 second videos and post it. Own a retail store? Record your merchandise and edit it into fun and engaging short videos. Don’t know how to edit or don’t have the time? We can help!

Live Videos Will Transform Social Media

If it isn’t a 15 second short video, then it is going to be lives dominating our social feeds. Lives allow for viewers to have the ultimate experience with whoever at a business, or maybe even an influencer like we mentioned earlier, with potential for conversation right then and there. 

Surprisingly, long live videos are fine as compared to uploaded longer video content. Seems like apples to apples but it is the live feature that makes the video unique. And if users are jumping on to watch a live, then whatever network it is being shared on will see the uptick in viewers, thus realizing it is good content, pushing it out even more.

Grab your target audience’s attention with a live video when you are at an event, when your store is running a special and you want to show the special off. Go live when you want to make a special announcement or just go live and say ask me whatever you want! People love to go behind the scenes and see how something is made or work in progress. Lives can allow for that to become a reality plus it is still saved for the future on your profile.

The Bottom Line

Nothing is ever set in stone. If something works for you on social media, you can keep on doing it. But don’t be afraid to give something new a try. Your target audience will need to be trained to look for these new things, so don’t get frustrated if a live video doesn’t have a lot of viewers right away or engagement is low on short videos. It is new to them just like it is new to you! Keep up with whatever you decide to do and don’t give up on it too fast. Leverage the resources and knowledge you have on your team, but reach out to us should you need new ideas.

 

Advertising 101 – Where and How Much to Spend on Advertising

In today’s world, there are so many different places a business can advertise. It isn’t just the newspaper and television commercials anymore. It is social media, streaming services, at the movie theater before the show begins, electronic billboards, apps and so much more. So how can a business even start to determine where they should advertise and how much money they should be spending? Let’s discuss traditional advertising and marketing spend to get the most out of your budget.

Have a Marketing Plan that Includes Advertising

Word of mouth advertising is great, but it only gets a business so far. Creating a marketing plan that incorporates advertising through different mediums can be far more effective. Within your marketing plan, a target audience should be determined. Their age, likes, trends, etc. can help to navigate where they gather most of their information. And once you take a deeper look at those items, you can then determine which medium will work best for your business. 

A marketing plan without an advertising budget is like fishing without a worm. You might get lucky and catch something, but it isn’t going to happen as fast as you’d like, and it might not be your target customer. With an advertising budget, that is your worm that you are putting on the hook to lure in the right customers. 

How Much Should A Business Spend on Advertising?

There isn’t a magic number when it comes to advertising budget. Your marketing team or advertising agency can help determine what the best budget is specifically for your business and where they feel you will get the most bang for your buck. The business owner, manager, whoever is making the call on spending, needs to be comfortable and feel confident in the budget and return on investment.

That is not to say there isn’t a general rule of thumb. Within the business world, the general consensus is to aim at spending between 2-5% of your sales revenue on marketing. Small Business Trends reports a lower number at 1.08% of revenue for advertising, but of course it will vary from industry to industry. Some industries spend more, like retailers at about 4% while restaurants spend 1.93%. Business to Consumer (B2C) companies typically spent slightly more on average, with product companies spending 9.6% and B2C services companies spending 11.8%. Those percentages might scare someone but let’s put it into perspective. If your revenue were $1 million per year, your marketing and advertising budget should be $50,000 annually based on the 5% of sales revenue rule. From that $50k, you can drop different amounts into different marketing and advertising buckets. 

Advertising 101 - Where and How Much to Spend on Advertising Track Your Return On Investment

When you are just starting out, it might seem like a hard decision to do a lot of advertising, but once you get rolling, it is a good idea to be reinvesting revenue back into the business through more advertising. You need to keep that momentum going, keep on pulling in more customers. But it is always best to track your return on investment in every medium.

Measuring your spending and the effectiveness of the advertising should happen quarterly. It does take some time to garner effective data, so if you are just starting out, give the advertising some time to get out there. Become a detective and find out which advertising works best for your target audience and which medium brings in the most business.

What are My Advertising Opportunities?

Working with an advertising agency like Triple-Nine Digital can help your business research which targeting tactics will work best for you. While we are always open to exploring new and different ways of advertising, here are the tactics that we pride ourselves on:

Targeted Display

Targeted Digital Advertising is just that, targeted. We don’t just blast your ad to whoever and wherever we can. The targets we look for are age ranges, gender, location, and interests. We also make sure that the style of the display ad matches your business and appeals to your audience. With pay per click ads, we match the text to the ad, sale, promotion, whatever we are running to generate more clicks.

Search Engine Marketing (Google Search Ads)

The average web user won’t go past the first five listings on a search engine results page. In fact, more than 67% of all clicks go to the top five listings.

Increase online traffic and visibility of your business with Google Search and be on top of search results at the moment customers are searching for your products and services.

Social Media Advertising

Social Media Advertising is making sure that your posts get seen by more people than those who just follow your business’s page. With Social Media Advertising, you can get your message seen in only certain areas or by only a certain gender and much more targeting options. By having an advertising budget on social media your message will go further than organic reach.

Video Pre Roll, OTT and CTV

Target your customers with your existing video on platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and OTT/CTV platforms and channels such as Roku, Sling, AppleTV, CNN, Fox, CBS and more.

Google Discover and Direct Email Marketing

Powerful, cost effective programs to promote products, services and events by delivering ads to Gmail accounts and targeted email lists.

Waze GPS App

Waze Advertising is owned by Google. There are three types of ad options within the Waze platform. They are Branded Pins, Promoted Search, and Zero-Speed takeovers that are part of an advanced Waze ad program. Each of these programs offers different capabilities, but all are driven by either your current location or your destination. Your ad appears in targeted search results or when a driver is near your location.

The Bottom Line

Every business is different. Every budget is different. What works for one business may not work for another and that is fine! True Fit Marketing will work with you to learn about your goals, products or services, and your target audience. From there we will do research of our own to create a strategy that fits for you and your business. Every business is unique and we know that there is no one size fits all strategy. We will research your competitors, demographics, and services to find what will work best. Once we create a plan and put it into action, we will adjust as necessary, reminding you and our team of the goals and evaluating performances so we are all on the right track to success. 

Top 5 Reasons to Hire A Professional Photographer and Videographer

Think back to the most recent purchase you made. Why did you make that purchase? Was it because it was something you needed or wanted to help solve a problem in your life, or was it a whim of a purchase because the product or service just appealed to you? Was it a video that you watched that told you about the business and what this product or service was? Or how about pictures that accompanied the video to physically show the product being used or how the service is done? 

A good example is the old school, late night infomercials, that are now 1 minute videos on your social media newsfeeds to bait and hook you into buying their products. There is just something about the look and feel of those videos. They are so catchy, the wording is perfect and they really do hook you in! That is the magic of a great video and marketing team!

These are a lot of questions to ask yourself right now, but the next time you are interested in a product or service, ask yourself what is making this so appealing to me? We can bet that professional photography and videography are helping to amplify your decision to make a purchase.

But as a business owner, you are probably thinking, I have this high-tech smartphone that says it takes the best photos and it has some video editing capabilities. I will just do it on my own! Not so fast. This is a decision that needs to be rethunk! Here are 5 of the top reasons any business owner should hire a professional photographer and videographer for their next big project.

1. Creative Decisions

As the business owner, we sometimes want to cram as much information into thirty seconds as we can to try to make sure the prospective buyer knows as much information as they can. You might end up sounding like an auctioneer if you do that. With a professional photo and video team, you can express your wants, needs and desires to them and allow this team to come up with the best creative ideas and decisions for the project. They will figure out the important keywords and best angles to show to ensure the whole message is getting told. This team knows how to make a video and photo shoot fun instead of stressful and the end product will surely show this.

And to make it even better, with us, our video and photography team comes alongside the marketing team. So we are a whole crew to get the job done!

2. Saves Time

After meeting with the photo and video team to work out what you want from them, it is up to that team to then get creative and figure out what they want to shoot. Depending on the project, they may come back to you and ask a couple of questions, but after the plan has been put into place, the only thing you will be needed for is filming or photography if you are actually in the pictures or videos. If you are, there is usually a script written for video purposes so you will know exactly what to say. And as far as photography goes, you will know the look and feel of how you want to present yourself to your audience. 

Once the camera crews come in and do their stuff, you can wipe your hands of it until the team shows you a first draft of their work. Imagine not having to stress over anything after that and being able to focus on other parts of your business!

3. Saves Money

Do you have all kinds of fancy camera and video equipment? How about editing software? Those things are crazy expensive and if you aren’t going to be using them very often, it will just save you money in the long run to just hire professionals to get the job done right. Hire experts who have a keen eye for detail, understands your business and your audience, and knows your goals. Let them create video and photo magic for you while you focus on your favorite parts of your business.

4. Professional Results

Which leads us to the end product. Professional photographers and videographers will provide professional results. If they don’t, they aren’t professionals. Professional results can be checked off as the end product, but also being able to share a high quality project on your website, across your social media channels and wherever else you may want to show them. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to share a video on social media and the size or shape is giving you an error. Let your professional team provide you with everything you need to make showing your end products to your audience as easy as can be. 

5. Drives Sales

Professional videographers and photographers can help a business develop and achieve its business objectives through sights and sounds. Well-produced videos can attract, engage, and promote one’s brand and company on their own. That is why it is important to work with a professional team so your business doesn’t look low budget or low end. High end, high quality promote and give the same feel about your products or services, no matter the price point. With a professionally done video or photography session of your products or services, you will be able to draw in more potential customers, and grow your business! That is always the goal, right? Grow the business! 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that a professional photographer and videographer will help to make your business be more successful through their services. Reach out to us to learn more about the services we offer and how we can help your business grow.