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.

 

Can You Leave A Google My Business Review Without a Gmail Account?

Google My Business (GMB) is a bit of a gem in the business world. Google, a giant in the tech game, has their fingers in all aspects of the universe (or at least it seems). With a Google account, you have access to all of the Google products: Gmail, Ads, YouTube, access to log into sites with autofill and so on. However, if you don’t have a Google Account, no big deal, except you once were missing out on the ability to leave a review with Google My Business. Not now! While it is much easier to leave a review with a Google account, there is a work around to leave a review for your favorite (or not so favorite) business. Business owners appreciate honest feedback, so it is important to follow through with a review. Take the leap and leave a response. Here’s how!

Step 1 & 2: Click The Review Link

Hop on over to Google, search for the Google Business Profile that you’d like to leave a review for and find the area that has some reviews already posted. Click there, then click Write A Review. 

Step 3: Create An Account

If you do not have a Google account, click on create account, then select For my personal use.

Step 4 & 5: Use Your Current Email Address

Make sure to select Use my current email address instead, then fill in your information. As always, use a secure password when creating your account. 

Step 6 & 7: Verify It and Agree

Google will send you a verification email. Verify that, then continue to fill in the required information. Read through and accept Google Privacy and Terms, then…

Step 8: Leave A Review

Now you can leave your review without a Google account! Adding photos if you have them is always great, whether it is a positive or negative review. 

The Bottom Line

We understand that not everyone has a Google account. Hopefully this work around will help those who do not and more reviews will be left for businesses. It is helpful for others to read about your experiences so they can continue to research and make a choice and it is also great for a business to hear about your experience – whether it is good or bad!

Do These Things Now to Prep For the Holiday Marketing Season

It seems every year, the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier. It may actually be true this year since product shortages and delivery delays are still a lingering issue. 31% of U.S. consumers say they’ll begin shopping for the holidays before the end of October — well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals launch. So that means business owners need to step up their marketing efforts sooner rather than later. If you work with a marketing agency, now is a great time to share this blog with them and plan a meeting to go over your holiday plans. If you don’t work with an agency, here are some things you can do now and consider doing to prepare for the holiday season.

Plan The Schedule

Take a look at the calendar and decide what your holiday hours are going to be. Come fall, there are multiple holidays to consider, so plan in advance with what your business hours will be and please share them with your marketing team. Being made aware of holiday schedules can be an early gift to your marketing team.

Hours should be shared on socials and posted to your website to give shoppers a heads up. Even if you are an e-commerce business, letting your customer base know when to expect slower than usual communication or service because you are out for a holiday is best. 

Additionally, taking a look at the calendar allows you to plan for when specific posts should be shared. Knowing what day the holiday falls on, all of the holidays you want to hit on and figuring out when specials should run should be a part of your plan.  

Lessons Learned from Previous Holiday Seasons

If you were in business last year, it may have thrown you for a big loop because of Covid. It was an interesting holiday for business owners and marketers for sure. So take whatever lessons you learned from last year, plus the previous holiday season and consider what worked and what didn’t work. 

There is no shame in repeating things that worked in the past, because they worked! Recreating a whole new marketing plan does not have to happen every single holiday season. If you were happy and successful with whatever the plan was in the past, keep with it!

However, if you want to change things up a bit, this is also a great time to put feelers out for what your customer base is looking for and interested in, or making sure you are trying your best to have popular items in stock. When everyone else is having delay or supply issues, you could be the one with super fast shipping and delivery because you planned ahead. Send out an email and ask what is going to be hot this holiday season when it comes to gift giving. What is really going to be on that list for Santa?

Don’t Miss Out

People mostly get their ideas for holiday gifts from the internet! So be sure to have your products front and center for people to research, share, and purchase. Given that 60% of early holiday shoppers say they consider purchasing items recommended to them while shopping online, much of this year’s holiday purchasing could be impacted by brands’ and influencers’ holiday content on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Social media is a great way to share your products and services so think of creative ways to let people know about your business so they are interested in it early on. Don’t miss out on those early shoppers because you can really get ahead with your own goals early on because of them. 

 

Check Your Online Presents – We Mean Presence

Now is a good time to be sure everything is still the way you want it to be on social media and the internet. What ads do you have running? Do they need changed up to meet your holiday plan and goals? How about your social media information – is it all correct still? Hours are right, contact information still goes to the correct person, and your posts are still relevant? 

This is also an opportune time to tune up your website. Take a walk through it to make sure all of the links work, the information on there is up-to-date, and get all of your products situated to your liking. There is nothing worse than a potential customer visiting your website only to find a broken link or a dead end.

Be The Human Part of Your Business

We can’t stress this enough. Behind every business is a human. Customers want to know that human, so let them. Re-introduce yourself if you haven’t in a while. Give your background story, why you created this business, and what it means to you when someone makes a purchase. We all know the objective is to make money, but where does that money go? Does it go back into the community? Share how! Does it go toward something for your family? Share where you went on vacation or what activities you do. Expand your brand and make your business more than just about the product or service. Make it about the people that make it go ‘round. Do you have employees? Share about them! Show your appreciation for their work and loyalty because it is sometimes hard to come by. When you make your business human, it makes it more than just an Amazon or Walmart. People will want to buy from you over them because they know where their dollars are going.

As always, if you ever need our assistance, we will be here to help you when you need it. Good luck this holiday season!