The coupon phenomenon – from coupon to loyal customer

How often have you used a coupon to get a deal from a business, and then continue to go back, without a coupon?

It’s ironic, but clearly if I stumble across a restaurant or retailer, and go in and make a purchase without a coupon, I’m often much more willing to go back, as long as I had a good experience. If however, the first time I interacted with that business was because of the offer on a coupon I redeemed, I’m less likely to go back without a coupon.

I don’t think there is any official research on this, but I’m open to responses on this post. This line of thinking gets to my next point, how do you convert a bargain shopper into a loyal customer?

First and foremost, coupon or not, if you don’t provide a great experience for the customer, there’s not much of a chance that any marketing program, no matter how good is going to get that customer back in.  Let’s just say this first time, coupon customer did have a great experience, how do you overcome the coupon mindset to keep them coming back. Giving them a coupon each time just isn’t realistic, or is it?

I’m a strong believer in rewarding the loyal customers and integrating a loyalty program. Locally, Duffy’s Restaurants promote their MVP cards and reward loyal diners with a $10 credit, for every $100 spent. That customer that may have been lured in to try Duffy’s with a coupon, and had a great experience will be very receptive to ongoing discounts as part of a loyalty program.

Other than collecting an email address, loyalty programs are the golden chalice of customer retention. The only downfall of these programs are poor execution, or poor communication and understanding the value of being part of the program. If you have a CVS card you can probably relate. I mean, what do you really get with that card? Who knows…all I know is even if I don’t have the card, the clerk scans a code and I get a discount or something.

The other issue is how many loyalty cards is one person realistically going to carry with them? There are some new options but none have really caught on. An app in development by www.newtopalmbeach.com has shown some exciting promise. The app will organize all of the local loyalty programs into one app, so you just have to download it once, and you will get rewarded each time you frequent these establishments.

No matter how you choose to execute your loyalty program, it remains a key component to move your small margin coupon shoppers into an ongoing steady source of revenue and referrals for your business.

Everything old is new again…really new!

Some of you may remember a face to face marketing company that would basically drive up to the homes of new residents, in their station wagon, and deliver a basket of house-warming gifts from paid advertisers….Brilliant!

Logistically, we can see how this business model would have a tough time surviving today, but the marketing strategy of being the first business to welcome a new resident remains highly coveted, yet poorly executed.

Enter ‘New To Palm Beach’ (.com of course!). This is the first time in a long time that a tradigital marketing program offers advertisers this ability to specifically target new residents to Palm Beach County. Using direct mail, New To Palm Beach (N2PB) will send an average of 10,000 new residents each month, a coupon book filled with exclusive offers from a limited number of advertisers.

These coupons will arrive in a custom envelope and includes a free fridge magnet inside. As consumers flip through the book and redeem the offers that most appeal to their needs, they will be asked to visit the website to register for more offers. Redemption rates from these coupons are estimated in the 20% range based on the presentation and appeal to the target market (as well as statistics from similar programs), where a typical stand-alone ‘direct mail’ piece averages only 1% to 3%.

At www.newtopalmbeach.com consumers will have the ability to print additional coupons, access the blog with features of local businesses (written by Aaron Wormus – ‘A Guy On Clematis’), as well as to sign up to receive updates from the community events calendar. This website, along with its social media network including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube will keep loyal customers engaged and returning to redeem additional offers and to get the scoop on the latest in Palm Beach County.

The beauty of the website will be in its ability to collect ‘hyper-local’ information, and offer email marketing down to the zip-code level. This type of information will allow even a one location ‘cleaners’ on the corner of Jog and Hypoluxo to target an email offer, with very little waste and a high probability of conversion.
So while N2PB uses the mail and an ‘electronic wagon’ to welcome new residents, the focus remains on being the first to reach this lucrative market, which has yet to establish their buying patterns.

If you are a business owner and would like additional information on how to get involved, please visit N2PB.com. And to keep things interesting, all residents who register online will have a chance to enter and win a new iPad mini!

What the Miami Heat’s Championship can teach you about marketing and advertising.

The NBA regular season is 82 games long, and I mean loooong! If you make it to the finals, that’s another 16 to 35 games, wow! I love basketball, but I think it’s fair to say, no other sport has the constant, physical and mental demand that basketball puts on you. In an instant you’re switching from offense to defense, with different assignments, players and situations to contend with…at full speed!

So how does a team endure that kind of journey, and win it all? While the Heat are now known for their ‘Big 3’ – lead by superstars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, they will quickly acknowledge that it took a team effort, and key plays by role players to get the job done. In marketing terms, it takes a ‘campaign’ to be successful.

In advertising, many companies go from one thing to another, hoping that they stumble across the right medium to bring them that coveted success. Although ‘putting all your eggs in one basket’ is something most people agree is not a good strategy, it is often the approach seen in advertising decisions.

The ‘Big 3’ in media for many companies could look like ‘TV, Radio and Print’. These 3 mediums still command the largest piece of the advertising pie, and can reach a large audience with a targeted message. But who are your role players? Internet, Direct Mail, Billboards, Email, etc.

The point is to plan a strategy around the right mix of media that best reaches your target market, so that each medium can build on the other. We often recommend a TV schedule that drives people online to ‘convert’ and add a direct mail piece to reaffirm the offer / message. Combing traditional and digital, (we call it tradigital) results in compounding effects for maximum return.

Putting one ad, here or there, and then abandoning it for another ad, here or there has never proven to result in any real progress or generate consistent sales. Work with your ad agency, to find what media mix best compliments your products and services in order to reach your target market and you will benefit from the results of a well-rounded campaign. Here’s to your championship season!

John Garcia – Baldrica is b digital.

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

If it ain’t broke…find a way to break it!

The old adage, ‘If it ain’t broke’ don’t fix it’ is just too old fashioned to work anymore. Believe me, I’m old fashioned and I believe in tried and true methods, but the problem is that technology continues to evolve at faster and faster speeds. The result is many strategies or tactics become dated much faster, and if you’re not ahead of that wave, it will crush you!

I’ve seen it over and over, working in the music business when we would actually sell records (remember those!). Or when I worked at Circuit City which had over 560 stores nationwide, and disappeared in a matter of minutes!

It’s not good enough to monitor the competition and try to out-do their best efforts. You have to poke holes in everything you do, and be your own competition in order to fully stay ahead of the game. If your business is in the technology sector, this blog may be a moot point (at least I hope it is), but if you’re not in technology you still have to think the same way, because your customer IS in technology. No matter what you service or sell, your customer is searching online, using smart phones, apps and if you don’t measure up, you will lose market share.

This goes so far beyond having a website (and making sure it’s mobile), but even beyond that, are you truly focused on giving your customers the best experience possible at every touch point? I know it seems overwhelming, but the people at the top of your organization should be challenging each other in this way, every day! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve met with potential advertisers who weren’t really sure who their target market or heavy user is!

What if…is a great way to start the day, or a weekly meeting that digs deep into the ebb and flow of your operation. The scariest thing for a company to experience is success. As we strive and fight to get there, we look at every angle, inspect every transaction and rethink every outcome. Success can often cause complacency, and by the time you look in your rear view mirror, that little one-man shop that opened up last year, is now doing a better job than you, and taking most of your customers.

I recall working in the classified department of the Palm Beach Post, and a wise old manager said, ‘we have a problem…half of our income is coming from classifieds, and a little guy named ‘Craigslist’ is devastating the industry one paper at a time. We need to diversify…’

Well, anyone familiar with the newspaper industry and print in general knows that they did not break that mold quick enough and continue to struggle to replace that income.

I say, break something in your organization every day. Your partner or boss my not appreciate it right now, but in the long run, they will thank you!

5 Reasons why your coupons aren’t working (and why you still keep doing them!)

It seems logical that since ‘everybody’ wants to save money, offering a coupon can entice someone to ‘give you a try’, which turns into increased sales, and new customers.  The age old tradition of coupons seems to be bigger than ever. With the likes of Living Social and Groupon, coupons have reached an all-time high, yet there are many mixed results, let’s review some of the most common reasons why many coupon efforts fail, and how you can make improvements.

1. Nobody knows you – When you offer a coupon and you’re a relatively new company, offering a relatively new product or service, ‘couponing’ your way into the mainstream is not the most effective strategy. First, the perception of a coupon from a company that no one has ever heard of is that the product or service isn’t selling, so they had to discount it. Now you’re giving away your goods because nobody wants them, bad way to start!

2. No perceived value – Picking up on the ‘couponing’ mentality, if the consumer has no perceived value of your offer, it means nothing to them. This effect can come from the first point that nobody knows you, hence they don’t realize the value of your product or service, or your ‘15% Off’ does not entice them because they don’t know what the real savings is.

3. Competing on Price – Everybody wants a good deal, but when you create a business model based on your coupons you are sliding down a very slippery slope. Now you are training your customers (who may be willing to pay full price for the great value, service that you provide), to wait until you have an offer to come in.

4. Promoting ‘cheap’ instead of rewarding ‘loyalty’ – As coupons have the general effect of rewarding the ‘cheap’ to bring in new customers, it often does not create the loyalty you’re looking for. I believe all discounts should be tied into a loyalty program, rewarding consumers for being consistent patrons. This also builds a sense of partnership with your consumers as, they feel appreciated since not everyone who comes in with a coupon can get the same reward they do – hence they earned it.

5. No data – You print a coupon, you get the 1 or 2% conversion, bring in a bunch of customers who just wanted the deal, use the coupon, save the money, cut into your margins (many times coupons are loss leaders), and you never see them again until the next coupon. The worst part of this is that you don’t even know who these people are. You did not collect an email, ‘Liked’ us on Facebook, etc. All coupon offers should have an opportunity to be redeemed online, on your website of landing page, with a simple name and email opt-in so that you can build your database and not start from scratch every time you publish a new coupon.

These are the main reasons why your crazy cycle of coupon marketing is not working, yet you keep doing it.  On the occasional chance that it does work, it does not build up momentum from one offer to the next.

Let us show you a ‘Tradigital’ strategy can increase the results of your couponing by 35% or more, while building your own audience of engaged consumers on your website, email marketing and social media channels.

The grass is not always greener on the ‘digital’ side.

Now that we are well into the ‘digital’ age, and everybody has a website, and just about everybody has a computer, and smartphones and tablets are the most popular forms of surfing the web, has digital changed the way you do business?

I really look forward to your responses because there is no doubt that digital has changed the way consumers form their purchasing decisions, but it’s also very clear that businesses have not kept up with their savvy prospects.

I’ve seen many businesses basically at the point where they’re throwing their hands in the air, frustrated that all of the promises the techy sales rep sold them are NOT coming to fruition. SEO, SEM, Landing Pages, e-commerce, lots of different investments with very little ROI; a common result we hear over and over. So what gives?

The fact is that ‘digital’ still has a long way to go to be able to stand on its own. Any business who has a digital strategy without taking into account the ‘traditional’ side of marketing is surely setting itself up to fail.

The grass is not ‘greener’ on the digital side. You will not simply be able to replace all of your traditional marketing and advertising efforts with SEO and behavioral targeting and think that you will be successful and here’s why.

Except for simple e-commerce, where consumers shop based on price, reviews and specifications, the digital battle is won on the traditional side. The businesses that use their well-crafted newspaper ad, TV ad and radio ads to drive traffic to a landing page (mobile enabled of course!) will see an increase in traffic and leads and real ROI.

These hard-fought battles in traditional marketing will increase all of your digital results by creating top of mind awareness. While ‘Google’ will always get the credit for driving traffic to your site, how a person decided to Google you in the first place, or click on your link on the Google results has a great deal to do with your non-digital or traditional efforts.

The acronym AIDA, ‘Awareness’ ‘Interest’ ‘Desire’ ‘Action’ is one that many professional marketers fully understand.  The less aware I am of your company the less likely I’m going to take action if I somehow stumble across you online.  In fact, on average you can expect a 25% increase in your search results when you are running a traditional advertising campaign.

So rather than abandon your tradigital side, learn how to best leverage it with a ‘tradigital’ strategy for maximum results.

Do you believe in Tradigital?

It seems to me that the difference between a company that embraces a marketing strategy that includes digital and one that does not, is simply how much that company believes in the value of the digital.

As an agency, when we first launched b digital, our business plan had us ‘leading with digital’. Meaning that we would approach our prospects with the intention of solving their digital problems by creating or improving their website, building landing pages, adding a mobile site, growing the social media pages, etc. As it turns out, most of the companies we work with, were not ready to have that conversation.

It’s a very compelling dynamic, that while everyone admits to using Google to search, or turning to a company’s website for more information before making a buying decision, that many companies continue to downplay the value of a well-rounded digital landscape.

I can see how the old adage…’if it ain’t broke, don’t’ fix it,’ dominates the decision makers, who are primarily 45+ (age) and grew up with a ‘traditional’ media experience. However, many times they are faced with the obvious facts that their traditional marketing and advertising campaigns are no longer delivering the results they once did, but remain reluctant to ‘pull the trigger’.

Case in point is the Yellow Pages. We had one particular account that was spending $500,000 per year in the plumbing category. Year after year, the account realized diminishing results, but between the old mind-set and threatening sales tactics, they continued to renew and increase their spend with the Yellow Pages.

Our media audit exposed this waste, and reduced their buy to $50,000 per year. The remaining $350,000 was put into a well-crafted advertising campaign that primarily used television and a landing page to convert leads. The result was an increase in business of over 300% and a company that now ‘believes’ not only in the value of digital but in what we call ‘tradigital’.

Using traditional media to drive digital is what we focus on with every campaign (tradigital). Whether or not your company feels that their digital assets are in order, an advertising campaign on traditional media of TV, Radio, etc., that drives the audience to landing page is a great way to test this strategy and start seeing results right away.

If you’re still not a believer, give us a call, and schedule a free consultation.

Is your marketing campaign a vote for ‘Traditional’ or ‘Digital’?

This election year, there are two very clear choices for the future of America. You can either choose the Republican Nominee or support the Democratic incumbent. Either one you choose, you can basically count on one thing, the one who wins will govern without the support or cooperation of the other.

Lucky for us, your marketing campaign does not need to suffer from the same non-partisanship that we see in our government. The truth is that the best marketing campaigns combine the best elements of traditional media and integrate it with the best practices of digital, for maximum results.  We call it ‘tradigital’ and it has proven time and again to be the best approach in a society that continues to find more comfort with technology and everything it has to offer. Unlike our government option, you will never see the benefits of a ‘DemoPublican’ solution, which I think is unfortunate.

Simply stated, we believe that traditional media such as television, radio and yes, even newspapers are effective forms of media that when properly crafted ads appear, will drive a significant amount of traffic to your digital space (website, landing page, social media, etc) and allow you to grow your customer and fan base.

Let’s face it, organically ranking on the first page of Google search results is not an easy thing to do. It is much easier to create an advertising campaign and appear on the first page of the newspaper or in highly visible TV programs, and on the most listened to radio stations. These campaigns will allow you to get in front of your target market on your timeline, and then move that audience forward to respond online, and collect that valuable data so that future campaigns will also include drip email marketing.

This is the best way to use media in 2012, and not be focused on one form of media over another. Use traditional to set up digital, then continue the digital momentum with email, and newsletters and optimizing your site with original content, offers, promotions and opportunities, not available anywhere else.

If you don’t have a ‘tradigital’ strategy in place, and keep ‘pushing’ your message out, without seeing results that build your own audience, you need to change the way you vote and leverage the best of both worlds. Call or email Baldrica / b digital agency, inc for a free consultation and start creating your own tradigital plan and a synergy that will produce maximum results.

Can’t See the Forest for the Trees

What would you consider the most important task you have as a marketing director or integral part of your marketing department to be? Before you answer that, I’d like you to consider the following.

I have worked at several companies where the word ‘marketing’ becomes a catch-all that usually gets lumped in with sales and advertising. The fact is that any marketing person worth their salary understands that effective marketing campaigns must be directly tied into a measure of success. Weather that measure is in increased awareness or directly tied to increasing sales, it must be monitored and there must be accountability.

The problem often comes in when the ‘marketing’ person also tries to (or is forced to) segue into the media person’s role. Media planning and media buying are two very specialized jobs that when executed at a high-level, can have many positive benefits.

I understand that most small companies don’t think they need an advertising agency to plan or buy their media. Many marketing reps meet directly with sales reps from dozens of different media companies in the market, and then make their decision based on the presentation that makes most sense.

In our 30 years of agency experience, we have never come across a media rep that has recommended another media company as the most sensible and cost-effective option to reach your target market. My point is that radio reps sell radio and newspaper reps sell newspaper and TV, etc. As a marketing professional, no matter how versed you are on the various types of media, the information you are comparing is all very skewed, making what seems like an obvious decision, one that fails miserably.

This is what we call the ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’ syndrome. Making a long term marketing campaign decisions based on this biased information can be disastrous and being so close to the process can easily blind side you.  What most concerns me is that, more often than not, advertising agencies do not charge advertisers to plan and buy their media. Typically, the good agencies negotiate the best rates, and earn their fees based on a commission built into the rates. So, you can enjoy all of the benefits from an agency buy, which include better rates, better reach and frequency, and smoother execution, without having to pay a penny in additional costs or fees.

 

Typically, our clients report an average improvement in media value received of a minimum of 30% during the first year of an engagement. This value can easily make the difference between a campaign that succeeds and one that fails.

We always say, let us do our job, so that you can do yours. So back to my initial question, what is your number one job as a marketing professional? My answer is: Effectively communicating the unique selling proposition of your organization, in a way that resonates with your target market to increase engagement. That is a mission onto itself, and when done correctly, can create a tidal wave of activity that has a direct impact on the bottom line.

If you do that right, and let the media planning and media buying professional do their job right, you can rest assured your message will have the best chance to be heard by your target market and achieve the best possible results.

If you’ve never worked with an agency, or are unsure if your current media plan is the most effective way to reach your target market – please feel free to call us at 561-683-0404 ext 119 or email us at info@bdigitalagency.com so we can conduct a Free Media Audit (or visit this link: http://bdigitalagency.com/free-media-audit/. This no obligation service will get you on the right path to accountable media buying, and allow you to do what you do best.