Archive for Marketing Strategy

Standing Out is One Way to Increase Margins

BNET recently posted a story about the success of Crumbs Bakery in New York City. The article is titled, “Startup Survival: How to Get Past the 3-Year Hump,” the point being that smart marketing makes for financial success.

The rational way to raise your gross margin is to differentiate your business by redefining your company as the only player in a specific niche, instead of being just another company among larger ones. Crumbs has distinguished itself by selling the world’s best cupcake. It leads with cupcakes, reserves the best merchandising space for cupcakes and displays cupcakes above the fold on its website.

If your company is the only one that can do what you do, then you can increase your margins. How can we help you solidify the idea that you are the only one who can do what you do?

Pricing Strategy

The Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat reminds us why pricing is so important. The McKinsey Quarterly found a company that was selling an industrial piece of equipment with a net margin of -200%.

Pricing Strategy

Long Term Pricing Strategy

The lesson is that we should price products or services across the product life cycle. The example of the negative net margin occurred because an industrial-equipment manufacturer spread its costs across all products. They were deceived to believe that they were making a reasonable margin on older products. However, a closer examination of expenses of each product phase showed that older products cost substantially more to produce than it had expected.

Tools to Stand Out

BNET shared some stories about marketing tactics that independent bookstores are using to remain successful.

  1. Expand your reach to a national market.
  2. Go green.
  3. Create a store within a store.
  4. Open your doors to the community.
  5. Cultivate the next generation of customers.
  6. Get social.

One or more of these ideas could work for your business. We would love to help you implement them and put together a story to tell your customers about it. Maybe it is just the reason you have needed to mail a postcard out to your favorite customers?

Repetitive Sounds in Brand Names Affect Moods

The Harvard Business Review’s Daily Stat summarized some findings from a Journal of Marketing article titled, the Sound of Brands.

A restaurant name containing repetitive sounds puts patrons into a good mood, and they are thus more likely to order chocolate cake for dessert than fruit salad. But the effect vanishes if the name represents too great a departure from linguistic norms: 80% of participants ordered cake when they were asked to imagine they were in a restaurant called Rantifanti, compared with just 30% for Ranthfanth.

The sound of brand names can affect product evaluations. For example, names such as Coca-Cola, Hubba Bubba, Tutti Frutti, Jelly Belly, Kit Kat, Bits & Bites, Lululemon, and Tostitos might elicit positive feelings, especially when the names are spoken aloud.

Exposure to a brand name that has sound repetition in its phonetic structure and is spoken aloud produces positive affect, which favorably affects consumers’ brand evaluations, reactions to cross-selling, and product choice.

We hope you remember this as you work on your next naming and branding project.

Branding Basics

The Harvard Business Review in promoting an article for sale titled, The One Thing You Must Get Right When Building a Brand, offered some information to entice readers.

It’s wrong to think we’re entering a world in which traditional marketing activities will become irrelevant. Yet the scale and speed of social media make it urgent to get the branding basics right. The obvious danger is failing to keep pace with social media developments. An equal, less obvious danger is getting distracted by them and losing sight of the fundamentals.

We have a passion for helping you build your brand and your relationships with your customers. Call us for ideas to integrate your marketing and get everything working together.

Practical Titles Pull

We started writing this blog about a year ago. The two articles that have received the most comments are Direct Mail Hot Spots and Tips to Make Direct Mail Work Smarter. Both of these posts offer practical tips and ideas to make the most out of a great medium, direct mail, for communicating with your target audience.

Was it the titles that generated the traffic or was it the content? We think it has more to do with the titles.


Because it is still January and many of us are still looking for ways to improve…

Perhaps looking around and asking questions like, “Is this as simple as it can be?” Or even, “Is this necessary at all?” A BNET post titled Do You Make Things Too Complicated? Take the Razor to Them, led us to search for more information about Occam’s Razor. Occam’s writing led to many scientific quotes and thoughts, but our favorite is: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

It’s so easy and so tempting to do too much. You can have a Facebook page, blog, Twitter page, YouTube channel, smartphone app, streaming video content, and cool icons on your Web site. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. If you have a solid, well-executed online/media plan and a clear vision of how every element serves your business, go for it. But if you doing a lot of stuff just because others are or because it seems like you should. Is it doing anything for your business? Are you doing more than you need to?

Are your customers responding? What about sending a simple piece of mail to reconnect?

Digital Information May Prevent Absorption

Technology may make the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.

The New York Times published an article summarizing the findings from research conducted at the University of California, San Francisco. They concluded that when rats have a new experience, like exploring an unfamiliar area, their brains show new patterns of activity. But only when the rats take a break from their exploration do they process those patterns in a way that seems to create a persistent memory of the experience.

The researchers suspect that the findings also apply to how humans learn. “Almost certainly, downtime lets the brain go over experiences it’s had, solidify them and turn them into permanent long-term memories,” said Loren Frank, assistant professor in the department of physiology at the university, where he specializes in learning and memory. He said he believed that when the brain was constantly stimulated, “you prevent this learning process.”

At the University of Michigan, a study found that people learned significantly better after a walk in nature than after a walk in a dense urban environment, suggesting that processing a barrage of information leaves people fatigued. “People think they’re refreshing themselves, but they’re fatiguing themselves,” said Marc Berman, a University of Michigan neuroscientist.

Our conclusion is that this is bad for marketing too. If the only way people encounter your name or branding is digitally, they may not be absorbing the communication. We have shared information about how paper can make better emotional connections, and how touching, feeling and engaging in an activity like doodling can help retain information.

High End Consumers Don’t Like Splashy Logos

Low- and high-end fashion products tend to have less conspicuous brand markers than midprice goods, according to a paper published in The Journal of Consumer Research. 87% of sunglasses priced $100 to $200 carry a brand name or logo, the same is true for only 28% in the over-$600 price range, according to research by Jonah Berger of Penn and others.

Maybe this information will help you as you craft your direct mail and other marketing messages.

Generate Sales Fast

If you’re looking for a reliable way to bring in revenue, the best place to start is by contacting your best customers.

Start by Segmenting Your Customer List

Your best customers are the most likely to purchase. Try dividing by sales or average order size. Analyzing your customers will identify strategic breaking points between groups. When you sort your customers’ sales activity, from highest to lowest and cumulate sales and calculate percentage of total sales, you may be surprised. The top customers will reliably respond to your offers.

Let Customers Know You Miss Them

We Miss You

“We Miss You” offers

Just because someone cancelled last year, or you have not heard from them in a while, doesn’t mean the sale is gone forever. Mail a “We want you back” offer. It will produce more sales than cold prospecting letters.