The Center of the Bull’s-eye – How to create successful advertising campaigns with a limited budget.

There’s a lot to be said about the need for a well-rounded campaign, and fitting in the right amount of push and pull pieces to make a marketing strategy payoff. But oftentimes, with limited dollars, businesses need to have a strategy that best reaches their target market bull’s-eye with one good arrow.

Larger companies have the luxury of creating a balanced media mix. This often includes traditional advertising such as TV, Radio, print and others, along with digital options such as search, banner ads and retargeting. However, limited budgets mean limited options, and ‘testing’ different options can be a very expensive lesson to learn.

 

So how do you advertise effectively on a limited budget? Here are the four points you need to focus on to achieve success.

1. Identify the heavy user – with limited dollars you can’t target everyone, just because ‘everyone’ can benefit from your product. Determining the ‘primary’ user of your products and service will help you tremendously in zeroing in on your target, in order to determine which medium best reaches that audience.

2. Create a strong offer and professional creative – clearly a pivotal piece in the success of your advertising is an offer that engages your audience and moves them to action. It’s not only important to make this offer highly compelling, it’s also very important to make it clear what action you want your audience to take, and how to take it!

3. Do one thing right, before moving on – We can’t stress the importance of a well-rounded campaign, using the proper media mix for maximum impact. However, when working with a smaller budget you can be successful with just one medium. When Ironhorse country club was looking to add 25 new members, we moved their already saturated budget from newspaper to broadcast TV, and created two back-to-back :15 second commercials to air in The Fed-Ex Cup and The Ryder Cup. There was no other advertising supporting their new membership offer. In two months Ironhorse signed up 92 new members! This was the most positive result of any advertising campaign in their history.

4. A whole lot of this, and whole lot of that, gets you a whole lot of nothing. In advertising, we ‘professionals’ like to throw around the words ‘reach and frequency’ a lot, but alas, it’s true. If you don’t put enough into any medium to reach a large percentage of your target audience, and reach them at least 4 times or more, you might as well throw the money away. ‘Testing’ a media is OK; as long as you give the test the support it needs to satisfy the tried and true ‘reach and frequency’ formula.

If you need help creating advertising plan with a limited budget, please call or email us for a free consultation. While there is still no ‘guarantee’ in advertising, there is a typically a pretty good chance that if you don’t advertise, you will not grow or compete to the degree of your advertising competition.

How to create a ‘Tradigital’ advertising campaign

We use the word ‘tradigital’ in our office on a daily basis. As the name suggests, it’s the merging of traditional and digital in advertising and marketing campaigns. While most companies understand the need for both, they are often executing on each ‘side’ of the equation independently, rather than creating campaigns that integrate both sides for maximum results.

Before I explain how you do that, let’s discuss the process of a tradigital approach. At Baldrica Advertising and Marketing, all our campaigns require the same starting point: what’s your demo, and what’s your budget? Determining your ‘heavy user’ is the key in establishing who you are trying to reach. Just as important is a budget that will establish parameters to work with, and allow us to create realistic goals and measureable results that the campaign is expected to achieve.  These goals should be very specific and the outcome should be clearly spelled out. What are you trying to achieve with this campaign and what deems it successful? What does a conversion look like? What do you ultimately want your audience to do, after they see or hear your message? This information helps to mold the creative, and insures the message resonates loudest with its constituents.

Once these factors have been determined and the creative developed, we can create a plan based on the budget that has been allocated to it. This is where you see the tradigital in action. The push or ‘outbound’ side of the equation is the traditional media, such as TV, Radio, Billboards, print, etc. The value of pushing your message on an audience remains just as powerful today as ever, the key is to carefully integrate it with a digital destination because in a carefully crafted campaign, traditional media will drive a significant amount of traffic to your website.

Simply printing your web address, or mentioning your website in the ad is not digital integration, but that’s what we most often see (for examples of true digital integration, please visit our website or call us for a free consultation). Remember the majority of people prefer to go online for more information, so the easier you make that process the better results you will achieve.

With a digital destination in place, (as the primary source of response to your ad) you can now carry that momentum over with your digital assets, or your ‘inbound’ marketing. Point all of your digital media, including social, email, blogs, videos, etc. to your website or landing page, reinforcing the message you are pushing. The difference is that your engaged audience doesn’t need to be ‘sold’ as much is it is looking to be ‘educated’  – especially on the benefits and value of your product or service.

Whenever possible we look to complete the campaign with ‘Grass Roots’ marketing; that tried and true oil that keeps the wheel from squeaking. It’s a lot of hard work, but it often works well with your social media efforts and includes things like Public Relations, Networking, Trade Shows and other cross promotions (such as other businesses you can partner up with).  This strategy can be applied to just about any business, from a service provider to your local pizza place that prints coupons to draw visitors.  By pointing everyone to respond digitally first or add value to your offer on your website or landing page, you’ll have a much higher likely hood of capturing emails, adding to your social network or collecting other information that will make all of your future and follow-up efforts that much more effective.

To learn how a tradigital approach can be customized to work best for your company – visit us at bdigitalagency.com or contact me directly jgarcia@bdigitalagency.com

The five questions to answer when deciding to hire an ad agency.

Nothing can quite compare to the excitement of a ‘small business’ that’s finding its legs and starting to show a real growth pattern. With it however, come a multitude of new opportunities and decisions for those at the helm.  One of those key decisions is when to hire an advertising and marketing agency. These questions and considerations can help you make that decision with confidence.

1. Are you overwhelmed with other projects? Let’s face it, every business owner wears many different hats, but when they monopolize your time to the point where you are not able to properly plan and manage your marketing plan, its time!

2. Are you getting a ton of calls from media reps? Have you noticed the only time media reps call is when you don’t need them? Media reps only put you on their radar when they know a company has the wherewithal to advertise. If you can’t keep up with the calls, and decide who to work with, its time!

3. Are you stuck in a creative rut? Even in good times, innovation and creativity need to remain in the forefront. Nothing can shoot down momentum faster than an ad or campaign that has boring or ineffective copy, or worse ties to be something it isn’t. If you’re not sure of your creative direction, its time!

4. Are you wondering what media is best for your business? TV, Radio, Billboards, Magazine, newspapers, and dare I say it, Yellow Pages; not to mention all of the digital options, where is the best place to invest your advertising budget. This is what we do best, and if you need expert advice and non-biased information, its time!

5. Are you wondering what advertising is working for you and what isn’t?  It’s been said ‘half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half’.  Well, imagine if you did!  We offer a ‘Free Media Audit’ which will clearly spell out where your ROI is positive and where you can reallocate some of your ad budget. If you don’t know where your ROI is coming from, its time!

Other points you may consider when deciding if it’s time to hire an ad agency include:

• A new perspective – a sounding board if you will.
• Expertise in marketing and advertising – you are too close to the forest to see the trees.
• Reduce costly mistakes – we’ve been there before, and will steer you away from it.
• A brand refresh – maybe all you need is to shake things up a bit.
• The creative eye – everyone can be creative, we get paid to do it.

If you find yourself somewhere in the middle of these points, it doesn’t cost you anything to pick up the phone and call us, or send an email to discuss your particular situation. Whether it’s just a free consultation, or our free media audit, let us help you gain a perspective of where you are, so you can help us gain a perspective of where you want to go, and we can show you how to get there!
John Garcia – Baldrica Advertising and Marketing Group (BAM) b digital agency, inc. 561-683-0404 jgarcia@bdigitalagency.com

Is it time for a Brand Refresh or a Complete Marketing Makeover?

I learned something a long time ago in this quirky business of marketing and advertising. The common denominator if you will, between a successful campaign and one that performs poorly, and that is this: ‘The message only resonates with the audience, if the audience resonates with the message.’ HUH?

Exactly my point! No matter how well thought out your marketing message is, and no matter how strong the offer, it only ‘works’, if the audience wants it, needs it, and is ready to receive that message. No matter how great you think your product, service or solution is, it might not be right for the large majority of the audience you’re targeting it to.

We’ve seen it over and over, a company who just ‘can’t understand why their marketing/advertising efforts are ‘not working’. To complicate matters instead of gathering more consumer information (asking their customers and prospects what they really want), they continue to lock themselves in board rooms and come up with the next great idea.

So, to answer the question whether you need a brand refresh, or a complete marketing makeover would depend on how well you’re engaged with your customers, and how well you understand the needs and wants they want you to service.

If you are not gathering any feedback, no email marketing, no social media, very little in terms of customer service surveys or focus groups, it may be time to start over.   Scary thought I know, but what if I could show you the future, and you’re only a few steps from going over the cliff? Although starting over will be tough, at least you will set a foundation for a much brighter future.

If you can answer these questions, you’re in pretty good shape, if not read on!
1. Do you have a simple, emotional brand story that can cut through the clutter?
2. Is it still relevant today?
3. Is it the same story customers tell?
4. Can your employees tell it?
5. Does your experience stand out?
6. Do you know what aspects of the experience drive your brand?
7. Does your experience have a unique branded personality?
8. Are you managing the full customer experience across organizational boundaries?

If you are getting feedback, and understand where you’re missing the mark, a simple brand refresh may be in order. Just a few tweaks to get you back in good standing with your core or ‘heavy users’. If not, and you’re just going from pushing one message to pushing another in hopes one will ‘stick’ – it may be time to ‘pivot’ to persevere, and that is a much better approach then moving forward blindly.

The key is to constantly be measuring these results and tying it all back in to the feedback you receive. One of the biggest benefits of social media is the instant response you can gather and act upon, the latter being the key here.

Whether you need a complete makeover or a refresh, we will help you navigate those waters and guide you through the process based on the strategies and tactics we’ve developed over the last 30 years in business. Whatever you do, don’t go it alone! That may be the very reason you’re in this situation now, and repeating the same actions, will deliver the same results.

Please call or email us to schedule a free consultation. We will ask the tough questions, and work with you to develop a campaign that will get your brand back to the forefront where it needs to be.

Is it time to call in the SWOT team?

A SWOT analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats – and this is a great time of the year to pull it out, and get your plan ready for next year.


I particularly like this graphic because it also takes a look at the back-office (if you will) and starting from Marketing/Sales all the way down to Systems, it forces you to consider the whole operation.

What I would suggest is to do this as a company, and not silo the information by department. Sometimes the marketing department feels it’s doing a perfectly good job, but people in Operations have some insights that have not been considered. By involving a representative from each department, and allowing them to make their view or suggestion part of the process, you get an internal focus group that can uncover many competitive advantages, or spot possible areas of weakness you may have missed otherwise.

This information, in the hands of a capable marketer, and partnered with a competent agency will serve as the foundation for a sound marketing strategy that identifies the target market, and a plan to reach that them will have the best chance to succeed.  A SWOT analysis is also vital for the proper formulation of a marketing budget that will be required in order to support the initiatives ultimately deemed important to the success of the campaign.  More often than not, perfectly good plans are abandoned because the planning process did not properly take all aspects into account, and the necessary budget was not allocated.

If you have never conducted a SWOT analysis or would like our assistance, we offer this service for no-charge. Feel free to call or email to schedule your SWOT analysis, or click here for more information.Ping BlogHyper Smash

At what point should you consider an advertising agency?

I heard a quote recently that I love:

 

As a small company, the question of whether or not to use an agency for marketing and advertising is one that is not considered often enough. I believe there is a misconception that agencies are expensive and that no one knows how to market your company better than you (the owner) does.  When you weigh the costs of bringing the marketing ‘in-house’ it may at first look like a cost-savings move.  But in fact, the majority of the time the media spend becomes less efficient and less effective, and some companies never fully recover.

With the advent of social media, there has been an increase in companies taking their marketing in-house. Now that this ‘free’ medium is out there which makes it easy to market, many are of the mindset that money can be saved, and real ROI can be increased.  We’re all for that, and it’s a big part of our ‘tradigital’ strategy, but often the savings of in-house marketing is lost in wasted efforts that deliver poor results, as many find out that social media is not so easy, and generating results is not ‘free’.

In addition, many owners and employees fall victim to the old adage, ‘you’re too close to the forest to see the trees’.  By this we mean that many owners often do the advertising or marketing that they like the best, not necessarily the one that their audience likes the best.  We always start with the target market (demo) and the available budget and work it backwards to insure that we’re buying the most cost-effective media that delivers the largest share of your audience, combined with the best strategy (why buy) with tactics (why buy now). 

Many times as an agency we find that the owners and those who are responsible for marketing really do have the right ideas, but it’s a matter of pulling out the best ones, and then executing on the back-end. Ultimately a collaborative process yields the best results, combining the best ideas, with proven copy writing and creative production that delivers results.  Add that to the buying power of any good agency, and you can also significantly save on the cost of the media.

An article written years ago by Tony Benjamin still has just as much merit today as it does when it was written. It’s entitled 10 Reasons to Think Small, as in a ‘small agency’. Here are the 10 points:

1. You get better creative
2. Small agencies are less expensive
3. Substance over surface
4. Clients are more important to small shops
5. At small agencies people aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty
6. Small agencies are apolitical
7. Small agencies are faster
8. Small agencies are friendlier
9. Small agencies make a client’s budget go further
10. Small agencies need every client

Future posts will elaborate on each one of these points, but if you own a company or are tasked with the marketing and advertising success of that company, pick up the phone and give your local small ad agency a call (our number is 561-683-0404…shameless plug!).  Most often an initial consultation is free, and you can determine if they are the right fit is for you.

We consider our agency to be an extension of your company. When you work with us, it’s like partnering with another company that is focused on one task – increasing business through the message you convey. The goal is to allow us to do our job, and in turn let you focus on your job of running the company, and growing your company.

Don’t think you’re too small for an agency, the money you think you’re saving could be costing you a great deal. To schedule a free consultation with b digital, please visit us online at bdigitalagency.com (A division of Baldrica Advertising and Marketing) or call 561-683-0404

Champagne taste on a beer budget! 5 questions for establishing your marketing budget.

When we first meet with a prospect, we use a comprehensive list of questions to discover their needs, goals and wishes. Often the list of wishes is full of creativity and aspirations that make a lot of sense, and it becomes our job to craft the best plan to bring them to fruition.
Once we have that, it’s not long before we ask the dreaded question…what’s your budget?

“A good marketing budget should always mirror the goals of the organization–no matter how aggressive or conservative they may be”.

In our experience, less than 5% of the time do we get an answer we can work with. Typically the company doesn’t know, and most times when they do have a number in mind, or on paper, it does not match up with either their goals or expectations.

As marketers, we are the ‘doctors’ who are trained to make the best recommendation possible. Our recommendations are based first on meeting the goals or objectives of the company. The budget is determined by those expectations. The problem is when we come back with a campaign that far exceeds the investment the advertiser was willing to make.

To try and get ahead of this, we often give clients a range, based on their goals that they can expect to allocate. To help clients better understand how we create a plan, you can ask yourself these questions:

1) Who are the customers you’re trying to reach through advertising and marketing?
2) What stage of business are you in? Do you need to attract new customers, or create
a strong brand that keeps the old ones coming back? What are your objectives?
3) How much do you think your competitors are spending on marketing?
4) How much have you spent in the past, and did you get results?
5) How much can you realistically spend?

That last bullet point can seem a bit overwhelming. As an industry standard, it’s good start with 10% of the projected gross income or go off of last year’s numbers. This amount may be more than you need to achieve a particular objective, but in the course of the year, if you’re able to allocate and commit to this amount, you should achieve the marketing goals you set out for.

If however you have highly aggressive goals and attempting to reach a very large market, any agency worth their weight should be able to tell you if your budget is in line to achieve those goals, or if you need to adjust them, which may include not only reducing your forecasts, but also extending the length of time you will require to accomplish those goals.

“Even in recessionary times, it is wise to keep the marketing budget intact. Yet, it’s often the first thing to be cut when times get rough. However, it’s been proven that cutting back on marketing will mean losing out on even more profits.”

The key point is the newer your brand or company, the more effort and thus corresponding budget you should allocate. A rocket trying to take-off, experiences the majority of its resistance when first trying to get off the ground. According to the SBA (in addition to other reputable studies) 70% of new firms with at least one employee survive for at least 2 years. About 50% go on for 5 years. Meaning half of all businesses fail within 5 years.

There are several key factors for business failure, and one that often is cited is that most companies allocate all of their money into the resources it takes to ‘open the doors’. But then once the doors are open, nobody knows they’re there.

Be realistic, marketing and advertising, even in the age of social media take time, and money, and professionals in many cases in order to reduce waste and maximize your budget. Being penny foolish and pound wise with your marketing and advertising budget has shuttered many companies both big and small.