Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Goes Down Must Come Up

How to successfully market your small business in a down economy.

By Dan Antonelli / President & Creative Director, NJ Advertising Agency Graphic D-Signs, Inc.  

“Successful companies do not abandon their marketing strategies in a recession. They adapt them.”
John Quelch, Harvard Business School

So, like everyone else in the world (except for hedge fund managers and NBA stars) you’re feeling the effects of the sluggish economy. And like everybody else, you’re making cutbacks. Conventional wisdom says the first thing people slash in down times is their marketing. But conventional thinking doesn’t build too many lasting businesses.

The truth is, small businesses need to marketing themselves MORE in a down economy, because it’s an opportunity to introduce your brand to a whole new audience—while all the conventional guys are cutting back.

If you want to reach more customers in a down economy, here are a few great cost-effective ideas marketing ideas:
  • Update your website. Quick quiz: When was the last time you upgraded your company’s website? Was The Sopranos still on? If so, it’s time for a revamp. This goes double if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site (link to Going Mobile page). Here at Graphic D-Signs, we can hook you up with the coolest site around. Just check out some of our latest looks for proof (link to gallrey). 
  • Search Engine Optimization. It might not be all that glamorous, but ensuring that it’s easy for customers to find your site on search engines is one of the smartest things you can do. At this point, even great-grandmothers know how to google. Talk to us about an SEO plan today. 
  • Social, social, social. Alright, we admit it. Saying “Social Media is a great marketing tool” is sort of old news. But so are ice cream cones. And they sell like mad. If you get confused by all the Likes and Tweets and Check-ins, don’t worry. We’re super geeks with that kind of stuff. And it works. 
  • Vehicle Wraps. This is a no-brainer. Got a van? Then you’ve got a billboard. Better yet, a billboard with wheels. Graphic D-Signs has one of the best vehicle wrap design teams in the country. We’ll make sure you get noticed every time you hit the road. It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to get your name out. After all, you’re going to be driving anyway, right? Might as well score some new customers while you’re at it.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Semantic Soup: Marketing vs. Advertising

By Danielle Avenoso / Senior Brand Strategist & Marketing DirectorNJ Marketing Agency Graphic D-Signs, Inc.

In our industry, the terms advertising and marketing are routinely viewed as one in the same—and with the growth of non-traditional media, social media and the digital landscape, the lines are increasingly blurred. While advertising and marketing are both important to long-term business success, they are different components of a tactical communication plan. When you understand the differences, you’ll be better prepared to allocate funds and establish a strategy for business growth.

It’s easy to see how advertising and marketing are commonly confused, since they both play a role in generating brand awareness and driving sales. So, what’s the difference?
Think of it this way.

Marketing is the big picture that includes how your company differentiates itself, builds relationships, and promotes/sells/distributes services and products.

Your marketing plan may include a number of different components such as:

·      Logos
·      Websites
·      Social media
·      Marketing collateral (brochures, flyers, data sheets)
·      Packaging & displays
·      Trade shows
·      Press releases & publicity events
·      Door-to-door & personal sales
·      Advertising (print, online and vehicle) 

Advertising is just one facet of this marketing process.    

Here’s where it gets dicey. Whether you’re a startup or well-established business, it’s tough to determine how much money you should spend on marketing and advertising.  Advertising tends to be one of the most expensive ways to market your business. While print ads, pay-per-click campaigns and radio/TV commercials could yield worthwhile returns, there may be more affordable ways to achieve your marketing goals. Email marketing, networking, social media and publicity are inexpensive—and can go a long way to spreading the word about our business.
One of the best things about working with GDS? We’re not advertising salespeople—and we never try to sell you what you don’t need. Instead, we are marketing masters: working with you to develop holistic communication tactics for your business. Tailoring full-service marketing solutions to your budget and business objectives, we develop short- and long-term strategies that guide your advertising decisions. Then, we evaluate your marketing strategy at regular intervals to adjust to the changing market climate—because what works today may not be the best solution for tomorrow. 

To learn more about developing a comprehensive marketing strategy for your business, contact a GDS team member today. Already have a marketing plan in place? We can help you create impactful advertising, websites and social media platforms while keeping your image consistent across all media. Give us a ring and get started today.