Marketing and advertising have been overtaken by their technologies. Early in my career, the Mac Computer brought Adobe software to graphics brilliantly. In fact it became a common complaint by designers that “Anyone with a Mac thinks they are a designer.” i disagreed. It truly made them a designer, just not as effective as one as many seasoned professionals.
That fact has spread to much of marketing and advertising these days. An ability to manage the technology of marketing is replacing the need for strategy. Digital and Social media technology can be more effective quickly than a sound marketing strategy. Sure it isn’t as long-lasting, but in this day of quick results, short lived results aren’t even considered in many instances.
New technologies, incorporating the digital world in almost every instance, can strike so fast, that their immediate results can be mistaken for strong brand building very easily. The ability to gain fast results maximizing digital technology are often considered more effective than a name like Kleenex owning the facial tissue world to the extent that its name means the same as the category. Think of it…Kleenex still means facial tissue, but where has any social media campaign lasted? I can’t even think of one, can you?
Technology is a tool to execute a sound strategy. None of the great marketers of years ago ever led by a technology. They used technologies to move a sound strategy forward. We saw the Marlboro Man in magazines, on billboards and on TV. The strategy was what was important. The tools used to advance it were just tools. It seems that those good at the tools are overtaking the strategists who should be leading campaigns. That is true on all levels. Large and small.
I have come to believe that the most difficult part of marketing is leading a client toward considering his own marketing from the customer’s point of view, not the client’s point of view.
Widget makers think they have achieved something when they articulate their unique selling proposition. When they can tell the audience that ABC Widgets are made from material A to be the best widgets when used in extremely cold temperatures.
To an extent, that is helpful. Except, of course, most cold-temperature needing-manufacturers already have their favorite widget. ABC widget is another, but they already have a favorite. If the day comes when they no longer like the current favorite, they may consider ABC if they remember, that is.
Instead, ABC should build an emotional connection with the cold-temperature widget using audience. “At ABC, we know that when a widget fails in cold weather, it is more than a matter of replacing a widget. Cold weather repairs are more difficult and time consuming. They pose a more severe production loss, and physical danger. That is why ABC makes Material A widgets. If you are the kind of user who needs widgets that stand up to the cold, we’ve got the widget for you.”
Easy to construct those statements in meetings or in blogs, but by the time it comes to getting that message in front of the customer, it will have been watered down and lose its emotional connection.
So here is a cheat. The last statement is what you need. “If you’re the kind of person who…” If you don’t see that statement (reworded as it is bound to be) in your appeal to the audience, re-examine your emotional connection. There is a good chance it got lost.
“If you’re the kind of person who…” write it on your dry wall and refer to it all the time. You’ll find that it is a good place to start writing selling copy of any kind.
The Financial Choice Act is being finalized in Washington and is expected to be enacted in the coming weeks. It allows small banks to escape the debilitating regulations of the Dodd-Frank law. Dodd-Frank imposes such detailed regulations on financial institutions that most small banks were forced out of existence. The new act is said to replace regulation with capitalization. Meaning that if your bank is financially strong enough, you can ignore the regulations that delve into the minutia of your product offerings.
That means small banks won’t have to spend great sums of money just to make sure they are in compliance. It will allow new banks to be established, and existing ones to grow. In essence, whether or not your bank will take advantage of the new law, your competitors will. That means more competition for the finite amount of money in your area.
To take advantage of the new law, existing banks should work toward solidifying their customer base. The most important way is to sell a new product to existing customers, especially those who currently hold only one product. Those second and third products are typically the most profitable for the bank, thereby contributing to raising that Tier One ratio. It currently looks like 10% will be the point at which a bank can opt out of Dodd-Frank.
Bringing in new accounts will likely be more difficult after the law’s passing due to the new competition it is expected to unleash. New banks will be desperate for new business, since they don’t have an existing customer base. That means they will provide stronger reasons for new customers than existing banks are likely to be able to deliver.
My bottom line advice to existing community banks. Cross-Sell and start right now. Don’t wait for the law to do so. The details of the law are just details. The principle is baked in. Before those new competitors are allowed to start, solidify your customer base.
“Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan”. It is true of great creative. Great creative starts with a daring client who understands that as long as the marketing and branding goals are met, be as outrageous as you dare.
It takes a marketing plan that everyone believes in and makes realistic sense for the brand.
Finally, it takes a creative mind capable of getting into the mind of the audience, then is able to interpret the benefits of an offer, and blending it with the rules of the media used, the brand and psychology delivers an impact.
All that has to go into it for it to be good. It wasn’t just a useful brainstorming.
Widget Maker: We are a new company. We have a great location, a recognizable name, a solid market that will love us, and now we need a logo.
Marketer: No you don’t.
Widget Maker: That is silly. Of course we do. We need something to put on our building, business cards and stationery.
Marketer: Why not just put up this recognizable name of yours? Why make people go through the steps of visualizing your logo just to recognize your name. Just put up the name instead.
Widget Maker: Get out. You don’t know anything about marketing.
Marketer: I know about human nature. You don’t need your name to be read aloud, you need that name to mean something. Surely one of the best ways to deliver the meaning of your brand is through a logo. People will recognize it in a snapshot, but that is only useful if they recognize the meaning of brand that logo represents at the same time. Your brand doesn’t need a logo, your brand needs meaning. Without that meaning, a logo is useless.
You will get a logo. But it is only a tool to convey the meaning we will help develop for your brand. If I were to give you a logo first, I would be providing you no service.