Recently someone contacted us about our services and when we asked how he was currently marketing his business, he said, “I’m not. But I get customers from word of mouth.”
Well, like the saying goes, “the best advertising is word of mouth,” but clearly, this fellow wanted something more or he wouldn’t have contacted a marketing agency. As it turned out, he wasn’t quite ready to make a financial investment in marketing so we wished him well and that was that.
Full disclosure. We are a for-profit, full-service marketing agency. We offer expertise and experience in advertising, branding, direct response, promotional marketing, public relations and the development of branded environments. And we charge for our services. It’s how we pay our bills, support our families and feed the dogs. But we fully understand the allure of word of mouth marketing to build clientele. The only hitch is, businesses can only grow so far if they don’t proactively increase their customer base. The job of a marketing agency is to find out who those customers are, how they get their product information and to develop strategies that will convince them to buy a client’s products or services.
So – how do we, and other marketing agencies, do that? Here’s a brief summary that we hope will give you an idea of what agencies do and why it’s worth paying for.
Step 1: A marketing agency will research who is your best customer and how to reach them.
Marketing – whether it involves creating brochures, print ads, TV commercials or digital copy content – costs money. To get the best ROI for your efforts, it’s important to target your message to people who really need to buy what you have to sell. You also have to learn what matters most to this audience. Are they looking for the lowest price or do they take pride in being able to spend more for a famous brand? Where do they go most frequently for product information? Print publications, websites, online product reviews, in store visits or trade shows? The agency’s creative team will find the answers to these questions and more to ensure you get the best return for your marketing dollars.
Step 2: A marketing agency shows you how to communicate more effectively.
This is probably the single most important benefit any marketing agency can provide. Because the biggest mistake businesses make when they try to market themselves is to talk about what they have to sell instead of what customers want to buy. They describe product features instead of benefits. Or the company’s history and core values instead of how their product will solve the customer’s problem. We refer to this as “talking to yourself.” Unfortunately, it’s a failing almost all businesses suffer from at one time or another.
Here’s the truth. Customers want you to answer one question: “How can you make my life better?” Or, as it’s often stated in the vernacular – “What’s in it for me?” As a marketing agency, it’s our job to answer that question and then find the best way to present that answer to your customers.
Step 3: A marketing agency knows how to turn copy into sales – and profits.
Professional copywriters are part of your sales force. Or should be. They write ads, brochures, copy content and other marketing pieces that open – and sometimes, even close – a sale. Because they not only offer rationale reasons to buy your products and services, they also engage the customer’s emotions and stimulate their memory as well.
For example, let’s say that you own ABC Lawn Services and design, plant and maintain gardens for upscale, suburban homeowners. Given the lifestyle, interests and priorities of your target market, we might describe how your lawn services will: (1) add extra beauty – and value – to a property, (2) make the homeowner the envy of the neighborhood and (3) enable hardworking homeowners to enjoy a garden without putting time and effort into it.
Here are some sample headlines that make these arguments:
- Call ABC Lawn Services for a Garden of Eden all your own.
- Be the envy of the neighborhood. Keep your grass greener with ABC Lawn Services.
- Work 60 hours a week? You can still smell the roses with ABC Lawn Services.
All of these lines reflect an emotional benefit the homeowner will get from using your lawn service. Details about your landscaping expertise and price structure can be included in the body copy, but the sale is always opened by answering, “What’s in it for me?”
Step 4: A marketing agency creates visuals that are fresh, attractive and memorable.
Did you ever see an ad that you just couldn’t forget? Maybe it was for a car, a lipstick, a dress, a chocolate bar, a soft drink, whiskey or a thousand and one other things. To create these inspiring communications, agency designers need imagination, taste, talent, training and experience to convey complex messages through a two-dimensional image.
But when copy in involved, designers also need the technical expertise to determine the right type to use, how big the point size and what the leading should be, how long a column of type should run and dozens of other little details that determine the readability of the text. Why does this matter? Because no matter how good the copy is, if it’s hard to read, your message will ignored.
Step 5: A marketing agency helps you get ahead of the crowd, not lost in it.
Marketing, like fashion, art and music is part of popular culture. The photography, typefaces, layouts, word choices and tone of your ads, copy content, social media postings, etc. send messages that you’re a leader in your industry or – just an also-ran. Unless your industry is part of pop culture too, you probably will be unaware of these subtle details. Copywriters and designers, on the other hand, keep up with trends. They are constantly striving to create new patterns of their own on behalf of your business so you’re a trendsetter and can rise above the crowd.
We hope this gives you some insight into what we do and how it can help businesses like yours. If you’d like a FREE consultation on how we can help you, please call us at 414.289.7180. We’d love to hear from you.