If advertising messages have faltered in the past year and customers have been unmotivated to invest in products and services, perhaps it’s time to upgrade brand strategy in 2013. Unmotivated buyers are often a sign of poor brand development that lacks emotional connection with customers and fails to encourage brand loyalty. To end brand woes this year, companies must first rethink their marketing tone and philosophy. Then, use marketing budgets in the most lucrative venues, which, experts say, include physical advertising and online ads, but not TV ads for which the return of investment has been diminishing.
Resetting the Marketing Tone
Among the most dominant brands, empowerment marketing reigns and will continue to be one of the most influential types of marketing in 2013. Contemporary audiences, far too savvy for subliminal messaging, have pushed companies to turn to self-mocking, outrageous humor or a sense of “coolness” to influence customers. However, humor and coolness pale in comparison to inspiring stories that cause people to reach for their inner hero; the latter is the focus of empowerment marketing, which companies like Nike have turned into an art form. Smaller companies are now duplicating this tone, merging universal philosophical beliefs with customer testimony — while avoiding those with too-good-to-be true tones. All brands, no matter what the size, can benefit from brainstorming a unique and uplifting message in their new advertising. Who knows, it may become as iconic as “Just Do It.”
In addition to inspiring the customer base with ad slogans and themes, many brands still experience a boost in brand image through charity and sponsorships; these allow the company create a benevolent tone and spread brand messaging while showing care for the community.
Physical Marketing is Not Extinct
Although cyber- marketing continues to evolve, physical marketing remains profitable and should be a major focus for businesses in 2013. Since internet ads are relatively inexpensive and have only a modest return on investment, business owners should earmark at least half of the marketing budget for physical advertising. Newspaper print ads and digital billboard ads deserve the most focus. Research shows that physical ads stay in front of people longer than fleeting internet ads and therefore are more effective; physical ads can linger before customers for days, weeks or months via magazines, newspapers, calendars, mugs, key chains, magnets, etc. Surprisingly, despite the decline in print journalism, newspaper ads have the greatest return on investment, yielding an almost 300 percent ROI, according to recent research by the International News Media Association.
Signage which uses color, dynamic visuals and rotating messages are gaining greater acceptance by cities, towns and commercial districts. They have proven to be far more engaging to consumers than static billboards.
Localizing Marketing Efforts
Reaching customers with brand messages tailored to their community is a fast-growing trend which all companies should embrace this year and beyond. Advances in smartphone GPS technology and online geolocation software enables businesses to personalize advertising like never before. This personalization often leads to more satisfied customers and more referrals; referrals are among the best way to expand brand recognition.
The New Age of Internet Marketing
Maintaining websites with clean, well-targeted landing pages is still beneficial, but businesses using internet branding should focus on new social media and content marketing.
Newer social sites, such as Pinterest and Instagram are proving to be marketing gold, according to Business Insider. Savvy companies are maintaining their own accounts and staging marketing campaigns through thematic photos that focus on real life but include strategically-placed brand logos and messages. This style of marketing is informal, highly viral and quite effective.
In addition to visual-based social media, Forbes magazine reports that content marketing remains, in 2013, a strong way to boost brand messaging and gain customers. Websites that offer topical information through fun articles — not through a formal company presence — continue to please users, get shared and breed loyalty. Business should set aside part of the marketing budget to invest in bloggers that can wrap the company message in engaging, informative, yet casual stories.
About the Author
When Lucy Wright isn’t writing about Icon Signs, she’s consulting small business owners. She has worked in marketing and advertising in Chicago for the last 5 years. Lucy has 2 daughters and loves to teaching them about the great big world around them.