Vinyl Banners

Everything You Need To Know About Vinyl Banners

A Product with Many Uses:

With todays fast paced environments, you need something that can grab peoples attention and convey information quickly. Vinyl banners are just the product. Vinyl banners are great for promoting products, conferences, sporting events, corporate gatherings, or even personal events such as birthday or graduation parties. They are most effective if you incorporate large, bright images as they easily get attention.  People usually special promotion, event, team or school.

3 Simple, Yet Highly Useful Tips:

  • The type of vinyl matters depending on the occasion. Glossy banners work best when you are hanging them inside, away from natural light. Matte banners are perfect for outdoor advertising. If you hang glossy banners outside it can sometimes be difficult to read the words due to the glare during the daytime.
Matte VS Gloss

                     Matte VS Gloss

  • If you are looking to reuse your banner, don’t include information that could easily change such as a price point or date. It’s better to advertise saying “Everything 50% Off Regular Price–This Friday, Saturday and Sunday” instead of “All Meals Just $5.99 on Saturday, May 12”. This way you’ll end up with banners that can be reused time and time again. The best part–banners can be rolled up, folded, etc., making them extremely convenient to store for later use.
banner printing

A banner can be rolled up and stored away for later use.

  • Determine the space you need to hang your banners carefully; take measurements of the space(s) when possible. Consider how you could be mounting the banners. They can be set up with grommets that allow for roping the banners, or pockets to slip poles through. If you are using ropes to tighten the banner corners, then consider the room you would need to stretch the banner.
Banner Printing

                 Measure the space in which your banner will be displayed.

Mobility/Durability:

Vinyl is very flexible. Therefore, vinyl banners are highly portable, maneuverable, and can be used virtually anywhere. Aside from their mobility, vinyl banners are also very durable. They can withstand the elements for a long period of time while maintaining their brilliance.  These two characteristics alone make them an excellent investment for their price.

Design:

For the most part, designing files for banner printing requires the same procedures as any other products. However, are a few designer tips for this product that you can take into account. They are as follows:

  • When designing files for larger banners, there tends to be more flexibility in terms of resolution for vector-based elements. One would be able to get away with submitting files that have a 150 dpi. Keep in mind that this does not apply to image based elements. Images such as logos and photographs should always be at 300 dpi.
Banner Printing Resolution

Always try to aim for 300dpi or higher.

  • Banners that have the grommet option selected should always account for this in the bleed. For instance, the normal recommended bleed is .125 inches. On banners with grommets, bleeds are recommended to go up to a square inch on all corners.
Banner Grommets

Consider the placement of the grommets when designing.

  • Remember that all files are always converted to CMYK before printing. Any neon’s and Pantones cannot be printed on banners. Be sure that when designing files for the banners, you are doing so in CMYK. This will ensure that you get a clearer idea of the color densities on your banner piece.  Keep in mind that different screens produce different colors; final prints will not be able to match 100% what is seen on the screen.
RGB VS CMYK

Colors always appear different on screen compared to what actually prints.

Direct Mail Marketing: What Are My Options?

Direct mail marketing continues to be an effective way to influence consumer and business buying decisions. Given the digital information overload, a direct mail campaign provides balance and should be part of every marketing program. In order for a direct mail campaign to succeed, certain fundamentals need to be in place.

Getting Started

  • Mailing list quality drives success in direct mail. Mailing information changes frequently; an out-of-date list results in a high percentage of undelivered mailings, and hence a low response rate. The best lists include known customers and prospects.
  • A good campaign strategy is also a necessity. Mailing without a clear purpose — or mailing with too many purposes — confuses recipients and crushes response rates.
  • The ability to measure success is the third pillar of an effective mailing. An example of accurate tracking: using a unique phone number for the mailing so that responses cannot be confused with phone inquiries from other sources.

 

Direct Mail Marketing Options

  • An obvious advantage of postcards is low cost. However, a well-designed postcard with a strong offer is likely to be read (there is no envelope to open) and has high impact.
  • Self-mailers. A self-mailer is a sheet of paper folded and secured to eliminate an envelope. Self-mailers are useful when your message is too detailed for a postcard.
  • Short-form letters. Brief letters, when personalized — more on personalization in a minute — are effective in building an emotional connection and when it is necessary to provide more information and/or value than a postcard or self-mailer can convey.
  • Long-form letters. Multi-page letters, often used for political and charitable fundraising campaigns, are effective for B2B and B2C as well. Long copy is persuasive for products or services that are new to the market or complex in nature.
  • Updating current customers and prospects on company and industry news provides extra “touches,” builds your credibility and helps extend customer retention. 
  • Catalog mailing is an expensive option; something you are likely to work up to as your simpler direct mail campaigns gain traction. Catalogs are a proven winner, but require a whole business infrastructure in addition to a considerable mailing budget.

 

Direct Mail

Direct Mail Postcards

Personalization

Regardless of which option(s) you select, personalizing your mailing will give response rates a considerable boost. Variable data printing technologies enable direct mailers to not only insert the recipient’s name in the address and greeting, but also to match text and imagery to the recipient’s purchasing history and/or demographic information.

In B2B and B2C, each recipient wants to feel as though he/she were your only customer. Generic direct mail pieces addressed to RESIDENT or BUYER are usually discarded immediately. Unless you have an offer so amazing that cannot possibly be refused, make personalization a key component of your mailing design.

Objectives

Mailing objectives can be separated into a few broad categories:

  • Sales generation. The goal here is to obtain an order, schedule an appointment or reservation, or induce some other action that directly creates revenue.
  • Lead generation. In B2B, a typical lead generation mailing asks for an appointment; in B2C, the purpose may be to get someone into a brick-and-mortar store or visit an online store.
  • Customer retention. In addition to presenting special offers (all customers like getting a deal), mailings geared toward customer retention are often newsletters, updates on loyalty program status, and announcements of exclusive, customer-only buying opportunities or special services.
  • Brand awareness. Brand awareness campaigns are especially helpful for products and services that are purchased infrequently, such as copy machines (B2B) or furnaces (B2C). Keeping your name out there leads buyers to think of you when the time comes for a purchase.

Repetition

As just mentioned, repetition is another important factor in successful direct mail marketing. Be mindful to avoid too much repetition. Mailing once a month is a good rule of thumb; more frequent mailings tend to annoy recipients, which will have the effect of producing even lower response rates as time goes on.

Hang in there! If your first two or three mailings fail to garner a strong response, it’s far too early to get discouraged. Recipients may greet your initial mailings with skepticism, but after receiving several, they may begin to see you are a credible business with a serious business plan.

How to Engage in the Digital Age – Digital Marketing

 

If engaging clients and prospects through social media isn’t part of your overall marketing strategy, it should be. Social media represents a proven method for communicating with a target audience, building a loyal base of followers and generating leads. When businesses actively engage clients on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+ and other social media platforms, they’re not only increasing the opportunity to make sales, they’re strengthening brand awareness — the gold standard in marketing today.

Here are suggestions for successful digital age engagement:

Listen and learn

Do you know what your target audience thinks about you? About your industry and competitors? Such valuable information can be found on a variety of social media channels, where people comment all the time, both about your business and your industry. If you’re not doing so already, be sure to regularly check your business Facebook page and see what people are talking about. You can also set up a keyword/hashtag-monitoring stream to stay current on consumer sentiments on Twitter.

Get a conversation going

Of course, listening is only part of the interactive nature of social media. You can always kick-start a conversation by asking questions online — open-ended questions related to your business (and, when possible, tied in to current cultural events).

You’re also in a position to answer questions people pose online, thus demonstrating your willingness to engage with prospective clients on the social media channels where they “live.”  People respond favorably to a business that promptly answers specific or industry-related questions.
The same principle applies to negative feedback. Occasionally, someone will post a comment critical of your product or service. Rather than going overboard with a defensive reply, think of this as a chance to build some goodwill.

“Customers will criticize and complain,” notes Andrew Pressault of Hootsuite. “Every comment and complaint represents a great opportunity, though — an opportunity to fix the problem, and do it publicly. Or, at the very least, show empathy.”

Make it easy to follow your business

Your various social media profiles should be prominently displayed on all of your communications and websites, from email newsletters to your “About Us” page. This makes it easy for clients and prospects to “like” or follow you. It’s also a great way for them to share your content with their own social networks.

Another tip: When responding to a blog post or client comments, be sure to include a link to your site at the end of your reply. Someone who likes what you have to say — or has a new interest in your product or service — can easily click on the link and go where you want them to go.

Offer content of value

It should be clear by now that social media is not the venue for blatant advertising or self-promotion. Instead, follow the 80/20 rule, making 80 percent of your content relevant and useful to your target audience, and 20 percent reflecting your key marketing message.

Content of value includes “how-to” posts, commentary on industry trends, “5 Ways to …” articles — whatever helps improve the lives of users. Not only does this generate goodwill in the social media realm, it helps build your reputation as an industry thought-leader.

“Posts that are rich in content reflect well on your company and have a higher probability of being shared on the social networks of your users,” notes Colton Matheson, SEO & SEM Coordinator at the University of Utah. “This can help increase your referrals and strengthen your online business profile.”

Share content from others and engage with influencers

Social media etiquette doesn’t preclude mentioning other businesses (and competitors) on occasion. When you come across valuable content from other sources, don’t hesitate to share it with your network. People appreciate getting useful information and will remember whom it came from.

Also, look for industry influencers and work on developing a relationship with them online. Such a relationship can open up a completely new audience for your business. Aligning your brand with respected voices in your field can help establish social proof and build brand awareness.

How do you engage with influencers? “For instance,” says marketing specialist Matthew Collis, “you can share some of their posts you like, answer any questions they post to the community, and closely monitor their social channels so you can see which subjects and issues matter to them, and then engage with them about those things.”

Don’t neglect email marketing

Email marketing is still a productive method for engaging with prospects and clients. It’s cost-effective and generally has a stronger response rate than direct mail. And it’s a great method for pinpointing your ideal demographic. When inviting people to subscribe to your email newsletter, you can (depending on the questions you ask) learn a lot about their age, what part of the country they live in, their unique interests, etc. — which helps refine your message to best meet their needs.

Traditional marketing remains a useful tool for businesses, but the results pale against the vast potential for client and prospect engagement in the digital age.

Networking: Things to Avoid when Making a First Impression

How to Make a Horrible First Impression When Networking

Networking can be a source of invaluable connections and leads, or a road to nowhere. It all depends on how well you do it. If you’d like to improve your networking skills, there’s no better place to start than at the beginning. What kind of first impression are you making when you enter the room?  Are you inspiring potential customers and referrers to get to know you … or get away from you? Here are several things to look out for, things guaranteed to make a terrible first impression on your fellow networkers.

The Horrible Handshake
Networking issue: Bad handshake

Photo Credit: https://www.flazingo.com/

Non-verbal communication speaks volumes, and it all starts with your handshake. Get that wrong, and you’ll be fighting an uphill battle all the way. The way for a business professional to shake hands is to offer a firm grip and look the other person straight in the eye. Don’t grip too firmly, or you’ll make people feel like they are trapped in a vise. Even worse is the limp, “dead fish” shake – you don’t want people thinking of you as a decomposing carp. Old-school etiquette says women should wait for men to extend a hand, but according to this recent Forbes article, women should have no compunction about taking the lead.

Name Games

When you shake hands, give the other person your FULL name.  Not “Joe,” but “Joe Smith.”  A first-name-only introduction is weak. It signals that you’re not serious about your work and that you have no clout. Some people give only their first name because they figure the other person will pick up their last name from their nametag or business card. Sorry, it’s still a bad technique. First, the other person may or may not have the presence of mind (or interest) to read your nametag or business card. Second, it doesn’t matter. A first-name-only introduction still sounds amateurish and leaves a forgettable impression.

It’s All about Me
Photo Credit: https://www.flazingo.com/

Photo Credit: https://www.flazingo.com/

After the introductions, the worst thing a networker can do is launch into a monologue. Monologues are usually boring, and always off-putting. Why is that? Because people go to networking events to build relationships and exchange information about business issues, not to listen to the exploits of a stranger. The more you try to impress people, the less impressed they will be. A far better technique is to ask questions. What kind of business are you in? What did you study in school? What do you like to do when you’re not working? Questions like these signal a genuine interest in establishing a relationship and lay the groundwork for effective networking conversations.

The Hard Sell

Peppering people you’ve just met for leads, or pushing them to buy your products or services is so obviously counterproductive it’s amazing how often it happens. Nobody goes to a networking event (or pretty much anywhere else) to be subjected to a sales pitch. Overly aggressive selling is probably the most horrible networking mistake you can make, because it not only derails the relationship, it also inspires the person on the receiving end to warn others to steer clear of you.  Very few will say, “Stay away from Joe – he shakes hands like a flounder.” But just about everybody will say, “Stay away from Joe – all he does is sell and won’t take no for an answer.” We have to remember that networking takes time, because it’s based on relationships. Perhaps down the road a contact from a networking event may (or may not) be the right person to lean on for a lead or an order. But at the first impression stage – never.

It’s Like Twitter
Flickr user Kooroshication

Flickr user Kooroshication

Five or six years ago, I wrote an article that tried to explain Twitter, a new social media platform, by comparing it to a networking event. Nowadays, the tables have turned, and we can learn about networking by comparing it to Twitter.

Like Twitter, networking events are quick, bursts-of-information exchanges. The exchanges may be one-to-one or among small groups. The better you know people, the more engaging the exchanges become. Too much selling or an off-putting style tends to shut the offender out of the conversation. Showing an interest in your followers is the best way to attract new followers and develop business opportunities with them.

In short, when networking, communicate as you would when using social media for business. Which brings me to a final point about horrible networking first impressions. Don’t get caught tweeting from your smartphone in the middle of a networking conversation!

Featured Image: Flickr user Opensourceway

How Effective Brand Positioning Can Transform Small Businesses

Ella, a precocious 3 year old, loves to dress up, have ‘tea-parties’ with her friends and will not go to kindergarten alone. She insists on taking her Barbie along.

Sean is a curious teenager, smart, not-so-sporty, loves World of Warcraft and would not be caught without a more than generous splash of Axe when he heads out to ‘hang with his buddies’.

Samantha is a hyper-achieving 20-something who went to Yale, works with Intel and swears by her L’Oreal lipstick on Friday evenings out with her special someone.

Ella, Sean and Samantha have their loyalties very clear in their minds. They have a hands-down favorite when it comes to things that really matter to them and no reasonable means can make them change their preferences. Is this because Barbie, Axe or L’Oreal are the best products in their respective categories? Is it because they are cheaper than everything else out there? No and no. It’s because, they have managed to occupy a place in Ella, Sean and Samantha’s minds and made them identify with the subtle positioning that each offers.

A Barbie makes Ella feel pretty like a princess. It feeds into her active imagination and tells her “With Barbie, Anything is Possible”

Axe makes Sean feel manly; he hopes it will make him irresistible to girls. After all, the “Axe Effect” is every teenage boy’s dream.

L’Oreal justifies its premium pricing and makes Samantha feel glamorous – a must have when she’s on that all-important date. It tells her “She’s worth it”.

Each of these brands, in their own way make them believe “This brand is so ME!” What these brands are essentially doing is, creating crystal clear brand positioning by offering a very clear emotional benefit to the customer and thereby breaking down the barrier between a sales pitch and an actual sale.

Positioning is not a statement of facts like “the world’s largest computer brand” or “America’s favorite coffee”. It’s not a tagline either, though taglines give you an idea of what positioning the brand aims at. Positioning is creating your own space in the mind of your customer – something that no other brand can fill. Look at Nike. Its iconic ‘Just Do It’ tagline suggests movement, activity, getting off your backside. It paints a picture of a Nike wearer as a risk taker, someone who’s not afraid, and someone who is open to experimentation. That is the space that Nike owns in the customer’s mind. Who wouldn’t want to consider themselves as brave and adventurous?

All this is good, but why extol the brand positioning virtues of mega brands that used millions of dollars to create these images in our heads. The answer is simple. Nobody was born big. Each of these brands started small and painstakingly built the brand positions that they enjoy today. Small businesses that compete with big brands owe it to themselves to create a clear brand position for themselves … for their future.

1. YOUR BRAND POSITIONING SETS YOU APART FROM COMPETITION

What is so special about your product that your customer should buy from you instead of a million other comparable sellers? Everybody needs a USP. What’s yours?

Is it quality? Is it service? Is it delivery? Maintenance? Patented technology? Safety? How you make your customers feel when they consume your product?

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode

Phyrephox

Spell it out loud and clear and that will make your brand stand out. Mind you, your brand positioning needs to be based in reality. A premium winery can’t promise to offer customers rock bottom prices.

2. GIVES THEM A REASON TO BUY, SETS EXPECTATIONS FROM YOUR BRAND

Go back to Sean in our earlier example. He could have opted for Old Spice or Davidoff or any other body spray. He chooses Axe, because he believes in the brand promise – that he’ll be irresistible to women. There’s your reason to buy.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The New Brand Formula

However, brand positioning is in the consumer’s mind. It’s not about tall claims made by brands. If there is no sufficient proof that backs up your claims, your positioning falls flat on its face. Set your expectations, but make sure your brand can deliver on those expectations.

For example, if you run a tax consulting practice and your positioning is “Zero effort taxation”, you could probably offer to pick up and drop the documentation from your clients’ home or workplace.

3. YOUR BRAND POSITIONING ACTS AS A FOUNDATION FOR CRAFTING YOUR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Many business owners go horribly wrong in marrying their brand positioning and the actual customer experience. This is a surefire recipe to losing whatever credibility you may have built up.

Once you decide what you want to stand for, from a customer’s perspective, you need to build all other aspects of your brand and it’s communication around it. The various areas that will need to sync with your brand positioning are:

  • Product design
  • Communication design
  • User experience
  • Service levels

For example, imagine yourself as the brand manager of Dominos when they still adhered to their “delivery in 30 minutes or free” formula.  You would have to ensure that the product (pizzas) were made, packed and delivered within those 30 minutes. That’s some massive co-ordination between production, inventory, customer service and shipping. When done right, you end up with a brand like Dominos!

Your brand personality, brand recall and eventually brand loyalty will all fit in like pieces of a jigsaw, once you get the factors mentioned above in sync with your brand positioning.

4. CUSTOMERS BECOME LESS PRICE DRIVEN

Do you try and grab business by undercutting your competition? Do you do it all the time? Does it make your business bleed? You can be sure it does.

No business can compete in today’s world on price alone. There will always be someone else – online, in some other country, your customer’s relative – who can offer a lower price. Don’t devalue your product into a commodity. It deserves the price that you ask for it.

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

Christopher Sessums

By setting up a clear brand position for yourself, customers actively choose your brand over competition. What are a few dollars here and there, when they actually believe in your product and love it for what it does?

Now that you know how vital brand positioning is, get to it right away. How can you position your brand effectively, you ask?

Well, though that question merits a separate post on its own, here is a quick 4-step formula (no complicated graphs and charts) to arrive at a brand positioning that will work for you.

1.     Define who you want to sell to – create a typical customer profile – age, sex, education, location, industry

2.     Dig deep and try to understand what drives your typical customer. What will make them happy, how do they like to imagine themselves (Remember Sean and the Axe example?)

3.     Identify how your product fulfills these needs and desires. Check if you can realistically deliver on what you find to be your customer’s prime motivators.

4.     Double check whether your competition has not already taken that position or is not able to fulfill that need.

Voila, you have figured out what your brand position will be!

6 Quick Tips to Improve Your Product Photography

Product photography can immediately stimulate a desire or need for your product, showcase significant features, convey the product’s usefulness and attract your audience to learn more about it. Producing quality photos requires both technique and artistry. Following these six basic tips, however, will send you well on your way to communicating more than a thousand words through easily accessible photographs:

1) Lighting

  • Use a good source of lighting. Lighting highly influences the way your image appears. To avoid unwanted shadows and keep things simple, use a well-lit area such as a light box or natural light that does not require you to use a flash. You can use the web to search for places to purchase light boxes or find DIY instructions, to save money. While outdoors be mindful of certain conditions — what position the sun is in or whether it is cloudy. These all influence the shadows and effects you will get from the natural light.
  • Keep in mind that not all shadows or lack of light in a shot are bad. Consider your product, think about what it is used for, where it would commonly be used/applied, and let this influence the setting for the shoot. Dolce and Gabbana does a great job showcasing a pair of sunglasses from their line in an outdoors setting with natural light. The woman in the photo has her head angled in a position that allows enough sunlight to hit the glasses and keep them distinguishable in the photo. Notice that any shadows in the shot do not steal attention away from the product in focus. In contrast, Bacardi’s photo displays a bottle of liquor in a club setting with dimmed light. It’s evident that Bacardi wanted to get across the feeling that it’s product is appropriate for a nightlife party scene, and it did just that by presenting its product in a low light setting.
Dolce & Gabbana: http://djstormsblog.com/tag/frames/                       Bacardi: http://www.bhatnaturally.com/advertising/seen-and-noted-bacardi/

Dolce & Gabbana: Matt-Silk Collection. http://djstormsblog.com/tag/frames/
Bacardi: Turn up the mix (Print Ad). http://www.bhatnaturally.com/advertising/seen-and-noted-bacardi/

2) Backdrop

  • Use your backdrop to complement your product not distract from it. If you’re new to product photography, consider keeping the backdrop as simple and consistent as possible. Intuitiv uses minimal elements from nature in their product photograph to reinforce the clean, natural, green approach they take to their skincare products.
http://www.espostudio.com/01.html

Intuitive skincare products. Featured on espostudio: modern product photography

3) People

  • Consider featuring models when displaying clothing and jewelry. Models give the viewers a general idea of how the product is intended to fit and provide a human connection. People tend to be more connected through human interaction. This concept holds true in photography; seeing other people, their facial expressions, body language, etc. can evoke emotion. When trying to advertise, it is helpful to lead people to building an emotional connection with what you are trying to sell. Adding a human connection, such as a model, will help achieve this. Take Pradas use of the female model to demonstrate an array of products offered. The use of the model in the photo helps convey a sense of happiness and confidence.
Prada Model Photo. Taken by: Robert Bejil

Prada model photo. Taken by: Robert Bejil

4) Scale

  • Give people a sense of how big or small the product is. By placing the product next to a common everyday object, people can better scale the product. In Apple’s commercial for the iPad Air, the thinness of the iPad is illustrated by comparing it with that of a pencil.
http://www.funnycommercialsworld.com/apple-ipad-air-commercial-pencil-21842.html

Apple iPad Air pencil commercial (Screenshot)

5) Varieties

  • Display different colors, shapes and features when they are key focuses of your advertisement. If you sell 57 flavors of ice cream, you may not want to feature just one flavor unless you are running a specific campaign that does require it. AM’s customers can choose from a range of colors when they purchase AM’s premium skate socks. This added value is clearly shown in AM’s product photograph.
http://www.aggressivemall.com/Valo-Skate-Parts-s/152.htm

AM premium skate laces

6) Editing

  • Review all of your raw shots in the largest view possible.
  • Consider what in the photograph is effective and what is not and whether it’s better to reshoot the photograph or edit it.
  • Once you have a clear sense of what you want to edit with software and what you wish to accomplish, then begin the editing processing. Bad editing can look artificial; so again, if you are new to product photography, take the best photograph possible and only edit what is absolutely necessary and that you are confident that you can edit well. Things like cropping, adjusting the colors, contrast, and brightness are simple adjustments that can make significant improvements to your photos. Before finalizing anything, it’s always good to have a fresh pair of eyes look over the proposed final piece. Getting the opinions of others can help you filter out things you might have overlooked while editing, such as over-saturated colors and slightly washed out images.
GIMP: Photo editing software

GIMP: Photo editing software

Marketing, Marketers, Marketing Dead, Market

Is Marketing Dead?

A recent Harvard Business Review article posited the idea that marketing is dead. It argued that not only are buyers not paying attention to traditional means of marketing, including advertising, public relations, and branding, but also that marketing no longer makes sense given the rise of social media over the last several years. Apparently those in the marketing field don’t care either.

The article sited an unflattering study of marketing CEOs, many who claimed to be tired of expending resources on traditional marketing strategies. To avoid becoming an all-out downer piece, HBR offered several alternate promotional tactics that utilize consumers as peer advocates in untapped markets.

Marketing Might Not Be Dead After All

However, marketing is not dead. It’s evolving. Though HBR offers up a valid point; social media does play a large role in how we as consumers now view products and services – literally. Instead of watching television commercials or flipping through magazines to find out about a product, we can simply tap our pool of Facebook friends or Twitter followers and poll them whenever we are considering a new purchase. If we’re not asking our social media community about their buying preferences, we are learning of them by noting what they post on their status updates or Twitter feeds. In today’s social media-driven world, one Tweet praising a new restaurant may hold more persuasive power than a $50K commercial produced specifically to promote it.

That said, who didn’t see “The Force” Volkswagon commercial that featured a mini Darth Vader trying to assert his powers? Given that it has nearly 55 million views on YouTube, a lot of us did. And who doesn’t immediately recognize the Apple logo? The point being, traditional marketing is alive and well. Yet as with any other industry, it must embrace change to remain relevant. That means using social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter to bolster marketing campaigns, not replace them. However, no matter how effective a company’s advertising or branding strategy might be, no amount of marketing can substitute for a great product. So yes… marketing pros have a big task ahead of them. They must continue to create memorable TV commercials and eye-catching print ads. They must also adopt social media marketing tactics as well. However, perhaps the question to ask is not whether marketing is dead, but rather can companies live up to the hype that successful marketing campaigns generate?

Business Card Paper Stock

The Very Best Business Card Paper Stocks

The Paper Stock Reflects Your Company

Choosing cheap paper stock cheapens the image of your business. When trying to impress others and increase your business efforts, why would you skimp on the one thing that you are most likely to hand out to people? Consider the impression that it makes on you when someone hands you a flimsy business card. It isn’t memorable nor impressive.

Don’t Use Free Business Cards

Sure, there are online print websites that allow you to print business cards for free. This may seem like an excellent deal. Be warned – it isn’t. Instead, companies that offer free business cards typically advertise on the back of the card. They also do not have dynamic color and the business card paper stock is flimsy and shoddy.

Quality Paper Stock Is Affordable

Part of the reason that you don’t insist on only the top quality paper stocks is likely due to cost. The thing is, people have the misconception that it has to be expensive and it isn’t, not at all. Work with the printing company to work within your budget for the best product possible. Also keep in mind that the more that you order at once, the cheaper that they are. You will get a bulk printing rate and the better card stock will pay for itself in new clients.

Make people want to look at your business card and hold onto them. Business cards are commonly used for handing to people, sending out in mailers and leaving on counters. It shows who you are. It’s a crucial piece of your marketing campaign. It costs hardly any more money to choose the best paper stocks for your business cards so invest wisely!

Photo Credit

Create Your Own Personal Fashion Lookbook

Fashion lookbooks add flair to any fashion marketing campaign. When a designers create their own personal fashion lookbook, they can leaf through them and make sure that the models are outfitted properly, that the shoes and accessories go with the outfits. They could then decide on the best looks for promotional campaigns or runway shows.

So, what if you are not in the fashion or retail industries? Everyone is entitled to their own fashion lookbook! If you are a fashionista, or even a fashion blogger, this is a great way to keep track of outfits. You can put together outfits for work or even going out on dates. Make sure to add in accessories such as jewelry and scarves. All you have to do is flip a page and there are the perfect outfits for you! What a great way to save time and energy!

In addition to those accessories, you can even customize look books so that they contain hairstyles, sunglasses and even perfume. We all know that certain perfumes go with certain outfits! This takes the guesswork and stress out of getting ready for the day or special events.

Luckily, printing fashion lookbooks does not have to be spendy. Choose from a matte or a glossy finish. Make sure that the photographs that you use are good quality. Printing templates can help you design the lookbooks exactly how you like! You will be the envy of all of your friends.

Photo Credit – http://www.behance.net/gallery/The-New-Generation/2209538