Tag Archives: Advertising

Does Your Slogan Require an Explanation?

Slogans: every company has one, and many of us don’t have a single clue what they actually mean. They might be catchy, profound, inspiring, funny… or even annoying, incorrect or downright weird. But one thing they all have in common is that someone, somewhere thought it was the perfect way to quickly sum up whatever the brand, product or service at hand. And while they might be right, if the non-company employee doesn’t get it, what good is it?

There is always something utterly ambiguous about a company. The owners, employees and their families are excited about the business model and what it stands for. The customers (kind of) know what the company does or offers. But somewhere along the way, we all get stuck either being on the inside looking or, or on the outside looking in. And while we may all be looking through the same window, what we see on the other side usually doesn’t come close to what the other people are seeing. Sound familiar?

I’d like to be as un-ambiguous as possible, so let me tell you a bit about MMI and our slogan – “Marketing That Matters” (sounds deep right?). I thought it was great when I first heard it – but that’s because I understand what it means. If you don’t, you might think we’re really full of ourselves, or a non-profit or charity, etc, etc. So what does it really mean? Here goes…

We contract with military bases to produce their base newcomer’s guides, directories and maps – important resources people PCSing, TDYing or visiting the base need. The guides have plenty of information about the base itself, but also about the community because, let’s face it, no one wants to spend their entire time on base.

So, businesses have the unique opportunity to market themselves in these publications – putting them in front of personnel at a time when they are most likely to need them and are ready to make purchases. In fact, new residents typically spend in 6 months what current residents spend in 2 years… Sounds pretty tempting to market to.

So that’s the “marketing”. Why it matters (aside from the business side of ROI) is that while the businesses who advertise within the base guides are increasing their visibility and business, they are helping to support and keep the guides running. With little to no budget for them, business sponsors are the only way we have been able to give the military personnel the resources they need for their bases since 1981.

Get it? Help build your business; help support the military base guides and directories programs – Marketing That Matters. Not to sound too cliche, but that’s a win-win.

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What Every Business Owner Needs to Know About Marketing

I get it. In the world of business ownership, much like the world of home ownership, it seems like the expenses never stop coming. You need to pay your employees, pay the rent, utilities, licensing fees, insurance, get products in the store, etc, etc, etc. So when you’re balancing the budget and trying to keep your checkbook from catching on fire, you look for things to cut. Typically, marketing is one of those things – seen as a luxury which would be nice to have, but isn’t realistic. And all those advertising salespeople ringing your phone off the hook just make you want to put your guard up and say “No, we’re not interested, we can’t afford it right now”.

What I want to say to you is why can’t you afford it right now? And before your guard goes up, I’m not a salesperson. So just think about why. Is it because sales aren’t going quite the way you thought they would? Or because you’ve spent money on everything else so you want to wait until some people start rolling through the door to bankroll an ad campaign? Don’t get defensive, these make sense. BUT, you need to adjust your way of thinking. Let me give you an example.

When you go to the store and buy a bunch of groceries, you know that money is never going to magically reappear in your checking account. Groceries are certainly a necessity, and are a lot more economical than eating out all the time, but the $100 you spent isn’t ever coming back. Now, think about when you buy a stock. You’re not buying it to eat or serve some other purpose, you’re buying it in the hopes that you’ve done enough research to be reasonably confident that the $100 you forked over will multiply and become $150 or $200 or more. So while you might subtract it from your bank account for the moment, the chance of that money coming back exists.

THIS is where most business owners go wrong when they think about marketing. Marketing is not like groceries – it’s like stocks. It is an investment made in your business that, if done well and through the right channels for your particular industry, should bring you a positive ROI. When business slows, marketing absolutely should under no circumstances be the thing that gets cut. After all, if it is designed to improve business and increase brand awareness, why would you get rid of it at a time of year when you need these things most? I get that you only have a defined amount of cash, but if you treat marketing like the necessity it is, then you can typically find other areas to trim to make the budget work.

Now, I’m not saying that you should suddenly buy into every single advertising opportunity that comes your way. You’d go broke real fast if you did that, considering how many different media channels exist and the fact that not every type of advertising is right for every business. But if you change the way you think about marketing, do your research, and work with someone who understands your company and who your target market is, then paying to promote your company won’t be a minus sign in your books for long.

Need specific advice? Have any particularly good or bad experiences with marketing you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!

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