The marketing blog is a collection of marketing thoughts, insights, and how-to articles written by marketer, Allen Stafford.

who needs and advertising agency

Who Needs An Advertising Agency?

While traveling on business, I struck up a conversation with a colleague of mine about today’s business climate and the overall health of his industry. After a brief discussion I asked, “Who handles your marketing communications?” He smiled wryly and said, “We do it ourselves.” He reached into his briefcase and with great pride handed me a sample of his work. He explained how wonderful computer programs are that offer companies an alternative to hiring agencies. His marketing literature was grotesque.

The rest of the trip, I pondered his literature and mindset. It occurred to me that one of the biggest threats facing the advertising industry comes from those who believe they can do it themselves. It begs the question, “Is the price of custom work still valuable to the average client?” For some the answer is, “No.” I wondered what might be driving this point of view.

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5 Customer Complaint Management Tips Every Marketer Should Know

Anyone in business can tell you that customer complaints are all part of doing business. After all, you’re dealing with people who have needs and wants and when those needs and wants are not met, the potential for a complaint increases. To survive and thrive as a business owner, you’re going to need a customer complaint management procedure.

Companies may believe they have a good handle on customer satisfaction by tallying customer complaints and responding to those complaints. However, research has shown that 25 percent of dissatisfied customers who buy from a firm, only 5 percent register a complaint.

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Most Valuable Brands in the World 2016 - Marketing Binder

Top Brands Worldwide in 2016

Forbes Magazine just released its top 100 Most Valuable Brands of 2016. There’s no surprise that almost half of the top 25 on the list are tech companies with Apple positioned at number one, despite their $50 billion drop in value after its first quarterly sales decline since 2003.

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Milestones in leadership 2016 header image.

Key Business Strategy Takeaways from Milestones in Leadership Summit

“The only sustainable leadership is thought leadership.” It was a powerful statement, one that resonated with me throughout the summit, after Bill Taylor, Cofounder and Founding Editor of Fast Company and the author of Practically Radical and Mavericks at Work, made the statement during the opening of this years Milestones in Leadership Summit in Southern California.

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Welcome to Marketing Tips Daily

Welcome to the Marketing Tips Daily blog, a new section here on Marketing Binder, where I, Allen Stafford – a marketing professional with 17 years of marketing experience – will bring to you, the small to mid-sized business (SMB) daily marketing tips on a variety of marketing subjects that include:

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Marketing Definition and the Marketing Process

Marketing Process and definition of marketing: marketing is a business discipline that creates value for customers and the company. See marketing process…


Writing Marketing Communication Objectives

A tutorial for understanding and writing marketing communications objectives, with examples.


What Are Marketing Communication Objectives?

Found in both the marcomm plan and creative strategy statements, marketing communication objectives are determined by problems the target or product category may encounter and any market opportunities the product has to solve to overcome these problems.

Your marketing communication objective should describe what you want your target audience to think, feel, and do after they are exposed to your marketing message. It should answer the fundamental question, “What’s in it for me?”.

Too often, marketing messages fail to deliver the benefits the target audience will get if the target uses the companies product or service. People make purchases based on what they will receive out of the purchase or service. This is why it’s important to include the benefit the target receives in your marketing message.

Every marketing communication strategy, regardless of delivery method; print, broadcast media, e-mail, online, or any other method, has three major objectives:

  • To Create a brand awareness or, in other words, to inform your target audience about your brand.
  • To define a fulfilling need for your product or service, or to persuade them to use your product or service.
  • Encourage action from your target audience, or, in other words, to remind them through various marketing channels about your product or services.

A great way to remember all three objectives is, Inform, Persuade, and Remind.

  1. Inform your target audience about your brand
  2. Persuade your target audience to purchase your product or use your service
  3. Remind your target audience about your brand and encourage them to make the purchase

Explanation of Communication Objectives

Below is a break down of each communication objective and an explanation of why each objective is important. Additionally, I have added some marketing communications objectives examples to help drive the concept into memory

1. Create Brand Awareness (Inform)

Creating brand awareness is to inform your target audience about your brand of your product or service. Creating brand awareness does not necessarily apply to a new brand, but often applies to an existing brand which might be trying to penetrate new markets. The brand message can be delivered via several types of communication channels, such as direct mail, radio, television advertising, environmental advertising (billboards, bus stop signage, and vehicle wraps), or online video and social media. Your delivery method is contingent upon your budget, target region, and product or service, just to name a few communication channels.

Examples of Marketing Communications Objectives

Let’s look at an example for creating brand awareness of a fictions company I made up. I’ll name the company Western Financial Credit Union (WFCU for short). WFCU has two other branch locations in different cities within the state. They are opening a new branch in a smaller town, I’ll call Watsonville, about 45 miles from their two other locations. While few people in Watsonville may have heard of WFCU, the majority have not heard of the credit union, so the marketing department has some work to do in order to inform the new community about WFCU’s brand of financial services products. The marketing department needs to write a few measurable marketing communications objectives as part of their marketing communications plan; something like the following:

  • To successfully penetrate the Watsonville banking market by generating awareness and brand building preference by 30%
  • To stimulate new member accounts by 25% and new financial loans by 15% by offering incentives that offer brand switching
  • To gain a 7% share of the Watsonville home and auto loan lending business by the end of one year.
  • To establish WFCU as the new and preferred financial institution by 8% of eligible Watsonville residents
  • To introduce our HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) loans to qualified Watsonville homeowner residents by 10% using loan bundling packages for first time lenders.

The above examples are just a few marketing communications objectives that can be included in your Marcomm plan. There’s a lot more research that goes into the numbers and percentages for increasing brand awareness. For example, knowing the population of Watsonville, the percent of qualified residents who can open an account, and the percent of residents who are banking within the city with other financial institutions. However, you should already researched this information prior to writing the marketing communication objectives.

2. Define a Fulfilling Need for Your Product/Service (Persuade)

Staying in step with our previous example, let’s discuss how WFCU plans on defining a need for their financial products; how they plan on persuading Watsonville residents to switch from their current bank to the new credit union.

In the marketing communications strategy part of your Marcomm plan, you will outline the creative strategy for positioning your company, product, or service in the target audiences mind in order to convince them to use your product/service. In the case of WFCU, they may approach the residents as the “new kid” in the neighborhood who cares about their community. Being new, they would need to really be creative on how they tie their newness into caring for a community they hardly know. They may do this by painting a dismal picture of the current banks in the city. WFCU may highlight not only their friendly service, but showcase their line of financial products at lower than normal interest rates, at least lower than the current competition, and easy loan qualification for new members.

There are several methods marketers use to persuade and define a fulfilling need for their products. A few are listed below:

  • Provide a money-back guarantee
  • Competitive pricing
  • Low interest rates
  • Easy qualifying
  • Easy return policy
  • How the product or service will make life easier for the purchaser
  • Bundling services and products at a savings when the competition is not doing it
  • A buy one get one free
  • Show how the product or service will save the purchaser time

3. Encourage Action from Your Target Audience (Remind)

While encouraging your target audience may seem similar to persuading them to make a purchase, it goes further. It’s certainly true that using a buy one, get one FREE offer is encouragement, however, if you only advertise using one communication channel and only for a brief period, for example a one week period, you will see a drop in consumer interest and purchases. Remember, out of sight, out of mind. If the target audience does not know you exist or is not reminded often about your product, then chances are they will not remember to use your services.


The marketing communications plan consists of three important key objectives, create brand awareness (inform), define a fulfilling need for your product or service (persuade), and encourage action from your target audience (remind). While these three key objectives are important in defining your marketing communication goals, there’s a lot more that goes in to the Marcomm plan. More in depth research has to be conducted on your target audience prior to developing any marketing communications plan and message delivery. While the cost of informing your target audience about your product or services can be high, there are more affordable solutions, like social media and web based marketing that can help reach your target group.


Writing SMART Marketing Goals

Marketing Goals and the S.M.A.R.T. Acronym

Developing sound marketing goals (or objectives) is critical to managing the performance of your marketing initiatives. Without marketing goals or objectives, you’re much like a ship in the sea trying to navigate without a map. It’s pointless!

Ideally, marketing objectives should be clearly defined using what’s known as the S.M.A.R.T. goals (or objectives) method. S.M.A.R.T marketing goals (objectives) are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results-focused
  • Time-bound

The more precise and detailed you are in your marketing goals, the better you can manage and measure your marketing initiatives.

Example Marketing Goals (Objectives)

Before discussing how to write S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals, take note of some marketing objective examples (below). These marketing goals are similar to what you may find in a typical marketing plan:

  • to increase sales of (specific) product/brand X by 15% over the next 18 months
  • to increase market share for product/brand X by 7 percent (in a specific region) over the next 12 months
  • to generate 200 new leads via the website each month
  • to increase distribution of product X (in a specific region/territory) from 15% to 30% within 12 months

Notice that the above marketing objectives already follow the S.M.A.R.T. goals format; they are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.

SIDE BAR: Typical Marketing Objectives

Take note that typical marketing objectives may refer to the following types of sales and marketing initiatives (this is just a small list):

  • sales
  • market share
  • distribution penetration
  • new product launches
  • lead generation
  • social media followers

Writing S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Goals (Objectives)

Let’s examine each letter in the acronym S.M.A.R.T. more closely, providing its definition, an example, and the explanation of the example.


A marketing goal should clearly define what you are going to do. The Specific in the S.M.A.R.T. model answers the What, Why, and How of the goal.


The automotive parts division will increase sales of car batteries by 10% over the next 12 months using cross selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies, so that it can increase revenue to hire a new counter sales person.


  1. What = Automotive parts division will increase sales of car batteries by 10%.
  2. How = By using cross selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies.
  3. Why = To increase revenue to hire a new employee; a counter sales person.


There should be tangible evidence that you have accomplished your marketing goal or objective. Typically, the entire goal statement is a measurement for the project, however, there are smaller measurements built into your objective.


The automotive parts division will increase sales of car batteries by 10% over the next 12 months using cross selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies, so that it can increase revenue to hire a new counter sales person.


The measurable metric is whether the parts department increased sales by 10% within the 12 month period.


Marketing goals should be achievable. The goal should challenge you, yet it should be defined well enough so that it can be achieved. For the goal to be achievable, you must have the proper resources, such as skills, personnel, and finances.

Almost all realistic goals can be achieved when you plan your steps wisely and establish a timeline. By following steps, you can achieve marketing goals that seemed impossible. On the other hand, if you establish impossible goals, you may never reach them.


The automotive parts division will increase sales of car batteries by 10% over the next 12 months using cross selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies, so that it can increase revenue to hire a new counter sales person.


For you to achieve this marketing objective, you must have a skill-set in selling techniques as well as direct marketing initatives. Without these skills, you will not be able to successfully achieve these goals.


Marketing goals should measure outcomes, not activities.


The automotive parts division will increase sales of car batteries by 10% over the next 12 months using cross selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies, so that it can increase revenue to hire a new counter sales person.


The result of this marketing goal is the ability to hire a new counter sales person and an increase in revenue over the past years performance.


The marketing goal should be linked to a timeframe that creates a practical sense of urgency.


The automotive parts division will increase sales of car batteries by 10% over the next 12 months using cross selling, up-selling, and direct marketing strategies, so that it can increase revenue to hire a new counter sales person.


The next 12  months provides a time-bound deadline. The marketing goal can still be more specific by offering a very specific end date.

Writing goals for marketing objectives is no doubt important to the success of your business or products/services. Using the S.M.AR.T. goal methodology can help ensure that goals are achievable in a timely manner, creating success for your organization.

Comments and suggestions are always welcome. If you would like to share your S.M.A.R.T. marketing goals, insights about this topic, or questions, please do so in the comment section below.


10 Creative Tips for Using Google Apps for Sales and Marketing Professionals

It’s no mystery that Google is a powerful search tool and search engine giant. While most people are familiar with some, if not all, of Google’s online apps, others are wondering how they can incorporate the Google apps as part of their sales and marketing workflow. After all, the apps can easily be accessed anywhere (with an internet connection) and at any time, making collaboration with your peers easy and seamless. The best part, the apps are free to use, making them an ideal solution for small business owners, and businesses on a budget.

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How Many Fonts Should You Use In Your Marketing Collateral Design?

How many fonts should you use when designing your marketing collateral? It’s a question which seems to always be asked in every design class that I teach and from just about any marketer that has to create their own flyers or marketing collateral. This marketing blog posts helps answer the question, How many fonts you should use in your collateral designs.

Before I answer that question, let me give you a brief overview of Type Fundamentals with some key definitions.

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