Advantages of Video Marketing

Have you ever thought about how long we look at screens every day? Even just our phones, computers, and smartwatches? Would it surprise you if I said that even before the lockdowns, Americans spend the equivalent of 44 years looking at these devices?

So, then it’s no surprise that games, streaming, social media, and more have kept us entertained and tuned in, but for marketers, this is one of the more influential and useful channels.

The use of video marketing in your strategy doesn’t only elevate your business to the next level but also has become essential to a brand if they want to succeed. Just this year alone, 93% of industry individuals said yes to it being an important part of their strategy. Moreover, 87% had a positive ROI from their videos.

Best Practices

A few things to keep in mind when gearing up to create this type of content. The most important thing is to make sure you have a defined goal set. When you understand what you want to do, and how you want to say it, customers have an easier time understanding. Besides that, remember to offer value in the video and show it fast since you have 8 seconds on average to convince people to continue watching. Lastly, make sure the video works on multiple devices. It needs to be available for mobile, desktop, tablet, etc., to make sure you’re reaching your maximum potential audience.

Two more additional tips: make sure the message isn’t too scripted to where it’s noticeable by the viewer and, if possible, to include user-generated content into your video promotions. This not only helps you have a unique content mix but also shows consumers you are seeing what they are posting, and are actively engaging with them.

Where to Watch

When looking for platforms for video marketing, we turn over to social media. As written previously, Tiktok reigns supreme when it comes to being the most downloaded app. The runner-ups include Facebook/Instagram, Snapchat, and Youtube for the ones with heavy potential for video marketing. Nearly 100 million hours of videos alone are engaged with on Facebook every day, compared to over 1 billion on Youtube, which gives an idea of just how powerful these platforms can be.

 Payable is an Option

All of these platforms have the option to pay for ads on the users’ feeds, including video, so let’s talk a little bit about your options:

  • Facebook’s advertising platform is for both Facebook and Instagram in multiple forms while providing tools to build brand awareness, understand what goal is the right goal for you, and provide creative inspiration. Also provided are video guidelines for both Facebook and Instagram. These have information such as file type, caption options, character limits, and can even get a side-by-side comparison with how it’s going to look for consumers!
  • Snapchat lets you create video ads from photos, carousel posts, story ads, augmented reality experiences, and even branded filters. When giving marketers multiple avenues to explore, advertisements have the creative freedom to mold into the shape the strategy needs to reach audiences and return positive results. This might be a particularly advantageous platform considering they added 13 million more users last quarter!
  • Youtube offers an assortment of different ad placements, such as video discover ads that show up at the top of search results. Another is TrueView in-stream ads, which are the ones that show up before a selected video plays and is skippable. The Non-skippable in-stream ads are the ones that pop up in the middle of whatever the user is watching. Additionally, there are bumpets, that are small 6-second videos users can’t skip. Suffice to say, here in particular you have and options for videos.

Content for Platforms

Videos for marketing attempts can contain whatever creative aspect your business wants to have: music, voice-overs, graphics, b-roll, etc. Content-wise, you have options of being on location, in-studio, animated, and whatnot. As long as the content is a match to the strategy and brand, you can be as creative and strategic as you want. 

The best thing about multiple platforms is that you have the choice of which channel best benefits you and your strategy, and if more than one fits, you can either repurpose the same video or do different versions with the same content, making each unique for the users and followers on those platforms.

Anyone can do it

From large corporations to small mom-and-pop shops, video marketing is advantageous for all business sizes and all industries! Video offers a huge playground for marketers to experiment with, and James Ross will help with each idea you have. With 30+ years of experience, we’ve worked on commercials, social campaigns, brand anthems, and more! Contact us here, or email us at and get started on your video marketing today!!

Your Success is Customers Experience – How Experiential Marketing can Elevate your Brand

Businesses should want to get to know their customers through face-to-face interactions and give them a sense of acceptance, importance, and belonging. These interactions solidify customer loyalty and overall increase sales, revenue, and brand awareness, and what better way to do this than by adding Experiential Marketing to your strategy!

While the name might imply something out of place for a marketing strategy, but it has other names like “event marketing”, or “special events”. It’s a way to create an interactive and innovative environment to engage directly with your loyal customers while positively benefitting your company.

What are the benefits?

We already know promotional events for businesses have their benefits, but what experiential marketing does is keep your company at the forefront of the consumers’ minds. You want the consumer to “experience” the brand  (hence the name!) and convert them to faithful, loyal customers, all while never forgetting that interaction. And this is a major task considering we interact with thousands of companies and products on a daily basis.

The best part? Experiential marketing is for both Business-to-Business AND Business-to-Consumer with no business being too big or too small to have an experiential marketing effort added into their strategy!

What can Experiential Marketing look like today?

An experiential marketing strategy includes adding events such as activities at trade shows, retreats, kiosks, pop-up stores, and more into your promoting efforts. Creating a branded environment for interactions is extremely beneficial to any company in any industry, but as we know things have changed in the past few years as most events since 2020 are going either fully online or a hybrid of in-person/online. 

To show an in-person experience is, Epic Games had a location for their game Fortnite at the 2018 E3 convention. In the massive space, they included virtual interactions with characters, life-size in-game scenery, like a 38-foot battle bus, which gave fans and customers an immersive and unforgettable experience that they could connect to. Fans having the ability to be inside of the game is what experiential marketing is about; the experience of the product

E-3 convention of Epic Game's Fortnite in 2018. Fake green grass, decorated booths, the battle bus, and more from inside the game's universe

Pandemic Aftermath

As for the virtual shift in experiential marketing, where it became planning and holding events in a virtual environment rather than a physical one, it’s become somewhat of a norm. For instance, Tomorrowland Around the World is Belgium’s electronic dance music festival and went virtual this past July, and took advantage of the new platform to deliver “never-before-seen musical experience[s]” for their loyal viewers, which you can catch a glimpse of on their youtube channel here.

But, not being restricted to a single location and instead being able to be viewed anywhere online is one of the major advantages virtual events have to offer. People who never had the chance to attend beforehand now have the ability to experience new things. Musicians, museums, conventions, networking events, and more are all reaching a newer, international audience.

Will it work for you?

Every industry in some way can benefit from experiential marketing, whether it’s tourism/travel, sports, fine arts, food and beverage, and everything in between. In an out-of-the-box way, you can get people to have an experience with the brand and end the day with your company in their head.

At James Ross, we have 30+ years on the job working on brand development, including innovative experiential marketing strategy formation and implementation! Contact us here, or reach out any time at and get started on an unforgettable experience for your customers!

Is Your Brand in the Right Relationship?

Sometimes you must take a hard look at your organization’s brand. What do your customers, prospects, business partners, and employees say and feel about your brand? Is the relationship rocky? Does your brand still fulfill its promise?  This article will cover some reasons your brand may not have a great relationship with stakeholders, and some of the best fixes.

Professional or Dated Image?

One of the biggest mistakes that organizations make is not having a professional logo and brand guidelines, or periodically updating them.  Digital advances, such as the growth of mobile and apps, meaning you may need a tech update so your logo, fonts, and colors display properly.  Or you may need to change fonts and colors so your organization looks current.  Believe it or not, some fonts are associated with a certain decade. Is your logo stuck in the ’90s?  The best approach is to engage a professional advertising agency to help with a new or updated logo, brand guidelines, and brand positioning. Prospective customers and partners are evaluating your organization based on your brand image.  You may not be attracting the right prospects. Or you may not have good sales conversion if your “image” is not consistent with your product or offer.

Happy or Disappointing User Experience?

Customers, prospects, partners, and employees expect a smooth, flawless experience whether they interact with your organization’s site, call center, stores, or sales professionals.  They are judging you against the excellent experiences of an Apple or Amazon.  Every organization needs to periodically evaluate UI/UX.  UI is the user interface and refers to the aesthetic elements by which a user interacts with the product.  UX refers to the experience one has with a product or service. You may be creating a sour relationship with customers and prospects if your site does not load quickly or if the purchase experience is difficult and error-prone.  Many customers are just looking for a new supplier relationship to replace one that is too much effort.  Your employees are also affected by challenges in this area.  A customer complaint due to a bad or broken process will hurt employee morale and retention.

The fix is to map your current processes and find ways to improve. Many advertising agencies offer UI/UX services. Or you may engage UI/UX specialists.  Results can be very quick and can include sales and satisfaction increases.

Also, brainstorm about what else you can do to improve your relationship with customers. Gather suggestions from your employees on how to go the extra mile to convert a prospect. It might be tangible things like free samples, interesting in-store displays, or extra loyalty points. Or it might be intangible, such as the simple act of an employee saying a warm hello to customers as they walk through the door. 

Employee Embrace or Not?

A recent article in Forbes, explains how everyone in an organization builds or breaks the brand promise.  How do you ensure your brand is perceived positively by stakeholders? It is very important to have a clear brand image and to communicate it to everyone, especially employees. Your organization should hold monthly meetings that include a branding component and your team leaders should stress the importance of the brand and proper usage.

Consistent or Clunky?

Consistency is key to brand recall.  When we think of great brands, companies like Apple, Nike, and Coca-Cola pop into our heads. Their brand marks are recognizable. You see the Nike swoosh and you know it’s Nike. Or you see clean packaging and the apple graphic, and you know it’s Apple. 

One way these companies have elevated brand image is the consistent usage of brand marks, logos, and strong guidelines that cover almost all impressions and interactions.  When you see advertisements, packaging, websites, and in-store designs, everything coordinates and communicates the same thing. Think about the last time you entered an Apple store and saw clean, futuristic styling. Every display and table is designed for clear communication and ease of use. 

Finally, First Impressions Really Matter

We all wish it wasn’t so…but someone forms an impression in seconds about your brand, team, or organization. Whether he or she encounters an employee or your eCommerce website, prospects will quickly decide whether it’s worth the time to develop a relationship.  The first impression may be how store employees act or how easy it is to make a purchase from your website. These first steps drive what potential customers think about your brand. The key recommendation here is to take special care to identify the most common first interaction and ensure it’s perfect.

The Right Agency Relationship Can Help

At James Ross, we’ve spent more than 30 years working on brand image and development in a range of industries from apparel to health to non-profits. It’s important to engage professionals who will learn about your organization. James Ross Advertising’s team of strategists, designers, writers, and directors will help develop or support your vision for your brand.  The right agency relationship can help your brand appeal to the right prospects, and begin a long, profitable customer relationship.  We invite you to give us a call or email us here to get started on your brand development journey.

How to Counter the Drastic Increases in Digital Marketing Costs

The major digital media players are charging more for ads, which even AdAge said in an April 2021 article. Plus your organization’s ads now appear in a more cluttered environment. The creative and messaging must be more powerful and targeted in order to get the same results as in the past. This article provides strategies to help you counter the price increases and keep your customer acquisition and retention programs performing.

The key steps in the strategy:

  1. Compare performance in customer acquisition channels and “rebalance”
  2. Improve customer retention channels and cross-sell with new approaches
  3. Evaluate your creative and segment more

These steps may seem daunting, but there are some quick insights and wins. Let’s break it down and share those steps.

Customer Acquisition Performance

Most organizations spend the majority of the marketing budget to gain new customers. The channels used to acquire new customers vary depending on your target audience, product, or service. Customer acquisition channels include social media, paid media, influencer marketing, search engine optimization, and more. The big difference in channels is that some are explicitly paid for, such as pay-per-click or paid social. Other channels require investment in content, such as organic social, or time spent improving search engine optimization. It’s time to carefully consider the resources committed to each type of customer acquisition and most likely rebalance.

  1. CUT – Carefully analyze the CPA (cost per acquisition) from paid media and paid social channels. Cut programs that are not performing.
  2. INVEST – Spend more time and funds on organic, including SEO and organic social.  Search engine optimization can drive more customers to your site, and keep doing so for months after you’ve made the investment.

Improve Customer Retention

Once you’ve gotten the first purchase, the next step is keeping customers, also known as Customer Retention. One statistic on retention says it costs 10 times as much to acquire a customer vs retaining one. (can you find a link?) In addition, it’s important to not only get repeat purchases in the same category but to cross-sell and introduce customers to new products and services.

The most common customer retention channels include email, social and now SMS (text). If you aren’t using SMS by inviting customers to sign up when they visit your site for both SMS and email, you may be missing one of the biggest trends in marketing right now.  Also, take a look at your email. Are you segmenting? Providing relevant offers to individuals, or just discounting?  You may need to change to a different email system that supports more segmentation.  Costs are dropping for email platforms and capabilities are increasing. Struggling with content for your email? Consider a newsletter or an industry news summary if you don’t have enough content of your own. 

To help you analyze your retention marketing performance, create a content calendar and note the metrics such as opens (emails), clickthroughs, and other forms of engagement.  Examine what content worked best.  The simple process of creating and maintaining the calendar will uncover where improvements can be made.

Evaluate the Creative and Segments

Once you have the metrics from your acquisition and retention campaigns, it’s time to really examine the creative from both.  Is your creative unique and “on brand” for your product or service? Or is your creative too similar to competitors? Is it using the same stock photography again and again?  Are you showing images to the right segments? Are you showing cat owners pictures of dogs? 

One way to improve creative is to do A/B testing. This is the process of splitting the list or audience to compare the performance of existing creative (A – control) to new creative (B – test).  The tests can be created for acquisition and retention marketing programs.

Ready to Redesign Your Programs to Counter Rising Costs?

With 30+ years of experience, James Ross has helped many clients adapt to the changing world of digital marketing. We help clients in all industries leverage digital to acquire and retain clients cost-effectively. Read our latest blog here, and contact us to get started on delivering strong ROI in a challenging environment!

Facebook Paid Ads…3 Keys to Better Performance

Facebook remains the most popular social media platform on the planet with more than 2.8 billion monthly users, Most marketers think of Facebook as a way to build awareness or just to target consumers. However, Facebook is highly measurable and can perform well for b2b marketers too.  The key to good performance for both b2c and b2b marketers is to effectively use Facebook’s tools and technology.  In this blog, we’ll highlight three key techniques.

  1. Frequency – Tag your site with Facebook pixels and target those same visitors when they come to Facebook.
  2. Segmentation – Use Facebook Audiences to find “lookalikes” for your customer base.
  3. Optimization – Identify relevant metrics for your organization. Watch each campaign’s metrics.  Cut the poor-performing programs and invest in strong campaigns.

You don’t need a massive budget to get started and Facebook advertising tools are easy to use. So let’s dive a little deeper into these three key steps to managing a Facebook paid program.

Increase the Frequency That Your Current Prospects See Your Message

When you are tagging your website with Google Analytics, including a Facebook pixel.  Wow, that sounds really complex, but it’s fairly easy for anyone with mid-level tech skills.  With the pixel, you’ll be able to “retarget” (show your ad on Facebook) to those who have visited your site.  People who visited your site are the most likely to take action.  It’s possible to run different campaigns based on different pages seen by visitors. You can refine even further by including or excluding people from certain campaigns based on connections to your pages, apps, or events, such as webinars.

By showing your message more frequently to a prospect you increase your chances of achieving your goals, whether that is gathering a lead or purchase.  In addition, by creating highly relevant ad creative that relates to the pages they viewed or events they attended, conversion can increase.

Use Audience Segmentation to Find New Prospects

With Facebook audiences, you have the ability to create and define audience sets, to target new people similar to your existing customers and clients. Again, you can include and exclude parameters such as locations, age, behaviors, interests, and gender. One of the easiest audiences to create is a “lookalike” in which Facebook shows the ad to customers that match your customers’ and clients’ interests.  This simple audience selection can perform especially well for b2b prospecting.

Optimizing the Budget

There are many ways to track success, such as:

Here you can look more in-depth at Facebook’s recommended metrics for conversions. Regardless of which metrics you choose, you will eventually create a “return on advertising spend” or ROAS.  It’s important to look at your individual campaigns and see which ones are working so you can optimize your budget and keep the winners while dropping those campaigns that are not performing.  For example, your campaigns to prospects that visited your site, maybe performing better than lookalike audiences.  So you may want to increase the frequency of messages to that group.  You can easily set budget limits so you control your campaigns at all times in order to determine optimum spending.

How Agencies Can Improve Facebook Performance

A strong advertising agency understands your business and can help you navigate the science and art that are required to be successful with a paid program on Facebook.  They will help you refine your frequency, segmentation, and optimization.  Plus they can help develop engaging creativity such as video, gifs, photos, and more.  Agencies also can help you manage the balance of paid Facebook versus organic (unpaid) Facebook programs.
Facebook’s powerful reach can give your brand a boost in visibility.  If you are thinking about leveraging this powerful medium, James Ross Advertising is ready to help you. Contact us here today and let’s get started.

Four Ways to Prepare for Google SEO Changes

If your site appears on the first page of Google Search Engine (SERP) results, your organization will reap the benefits of more impressions and site traffic. However, Google regularly changes how it determines which sites appear first. So it is important your company is on top of the newest criteria as well as the core principles of SEO (search engine optimization).

Let’s start with the changes. Google is releasing the Page Experience Update, which rewards sites that offer a good experience with higher rankings. We’ll review metrics that will be more important now and then revisit core elements of good SEO.

What’s more important now:

  1. The loading speed of the most important element on your page, such as the main image.
  2. First input delay. How long does it take for a user to get a response after clicking a button or taking action?
  3. Page element shifting. If your site loads slowly a person may click to perform an action and due to a shift of visuals or page elements, the click goes to an ad or an unintended button. This would negatively affect your SEO.
  4. Mobile-first is required. Your site must work well on all mobile devices.

For a more technical description, you can check out the Search Engine Journal article about Google’s Page Experience Update

You May Need an Agency That Specializes in SEO

An advertising agency specializing in SEO can combine knowledge of your business with the core principles of SEO to deliver a higher ranking.  What are some of the new and old SEO skills that top agencies offer?

  • Technical SEO, such as load speed, site architecture, page tags (descriptions).
  • SEO Content, such as keywords that describe your products and pages. This also includes keywords for optimizing content such as blogs.
  • Competitive analysis. What are competitors doing and what are opportunities for your company?
  • Customer experience. Find and fix broken links and issues that may affect customer experience and have a negative effect on SEO

Picking the Right Agency

Selecting the right marketing partner for SEO should be a thoughtful process. Start by checking the agency website. Not only should it be functional and load quickly, but it should also inspire you with creative design. Look for an extensive portfolio showing the work the agency has completed for clients, showcasing desktop and mobile experiences. Then set up an exploratory call to learn more about the agency’s experience in your category. If you are facing SEO challenges or opportunities, you can reach us here at James Ross Advertising.

How important is a mobile-first approach?

We live in a world that has moved beyond the confinement of a PC. With the evolution of mobile devices and their access to the internet on or off wifi, marketers need to prioritize their websites and anything online that they use in association with their brand. Pew Research cited that as of February 8th, 2021, 85% of Americans owned a smartphone. That makes your mobile-first website that much more important. Now there are two formats a business can use:

  • Mobile-friendly website 
  • Mobile app

Let’s talk about some background information first though.

The More the Merrier

According to Broadband Search, the average seconds spent on mobile in 2020 was 642, while desktop is 1,006. In their article, they strictly state this could be due to efficiency on a mobile device. We are in a generation that expects results immediately with these devices; a generation of social media and Amazon. 

Pew Research states that Americans in the age range of 18-29 are more dependent on mobile devices than any other age group, and that’s not counting those below 18 that have also grown with the technology.

Business Savvy

The world of business changed when LinkedIn was introduced in 2003 on desktop, but the mobile device revolutionized the ability to network. Mobile apps and websites ultimately changed not just how we shop or socialize, but how we hire, interview, and scope new potential employees. 

Mobile apps themselves have made it easy to check out your industry’s latest information, keep in contact with employees, shareholders, board members, and company partners. They’ve made work more efficient in every field.

Mobile-First Websites

We stated before that 85% of the US has a smartphone, but also 57% of traffic back in 2017 was from digital devices and not a desktop. Now come to the present, Sciatica reported that in the first quarter of 2021, 47.07% of web traffic in the US originated from mobile devices. Businesses should have, at the minimum, a smartphone-friendly website. 

Mobile apps

According to buildfire, 88% of the time on mobile is spent on applications or apps. Big retailers such as Starbucks, Nordstroms, Ikea, and more all have their own mobile apps on top of mobile websites to enhance customer experience. Consumers can browse products, make purchases, and check inventories. Apps are also projected to make over $900 billion in revenue in the next 2 years. Want to know a bit more about apps? Check out a previous post here!

Consumers are spending a lot of time on the small computer in their hand rather than the one on their desk. And marketers should adapt if they haven’t already. If you haven’t, give James Ross a call or email and we can get your mobile website up and running for you and your customers!

Some Ways Branding Can Drive More Revenue

Branding is everything a company does to present itself to its target audience. Organizations that don’t constantly evaluate their brand may miss thousands of dollars in revenue and savings. A well-managed brand delivers emotional, financial, technical, and legal benefits to the organization. Here’s why:

  1. Emotional – Memorable photographs and images, consistent messaging, and a strong logo all help customers recall and prefer your brand.
  2. Financial – If customers prefer your brand, they often pay more than similar products, resulting in increased sales and margin.
  3. Technical – When customers search for your brand name online, your site will rank higher than if they search for a generic description.  When your site appears high in organic SEO rankings, you save money instead of spending as much on paid media to drive traffic to your site.
  4. Legal – Having a strong brand name and properly marketing it can protect you from improper use by competitors or counterfeiters. Google, Amazon, and online marketplaces allow you to register your brand and you may be able to take action against those trying to trade on your good name.

If you are not actively managing and tracking results against these four things, then you need a branding agency.

Get Started with a Brand Agency

While it sounds as painful as a tax audit, a branding audit is the opposite. This process will actually uncover new sources of revenue for you. Start by hiring an agency with branding expertise. As an independent 3rd party, a branding agency can look at all the places your brand appears: website, online searches, catalogs, social, paid media, and more. Then the agency will prepare a succinct report which will include recommendations on everything from technical fixes (e.g. broken links on a website, fuzzy logo art) to visual improvements (e.g. logo design, colors, font, and photography). Acting on audit recommendations can deliver immediate benefits.

Invest in Brand and Creative Research

Asking customers why they buy and what they plan to buy is another way to uncover revenue opportunities and risks. Occasionally a company’s brand is no longer perceived in a good light and customers might consider competitors. Here are some of the types of research an agency can help you with:

  • Competitive differentiation
    • How is your organization and brand perceived? Too expensive? Out of touch? How loyal are your customers? Or will they quickly switch?
    • Does your product or brand stand out from the crowd of competitors? Are you highlighting the differences that make your products and brand unique? 
  • Emotional impact and creative research
    • In a recent Forbes article, creative testing is described as something that gives you more details on your audience and what works for them.
    • If you know customer likes/dislikes, your can improve your organizations’ customer acquisition and retention.

Why Is a Branding Agency Different Than Other Agencies?

Not every advertising or media agency can deliver great branding advice. Some agencies are focused on media and analytics, while others specialize in website technology. A great branding agency understands how to create emotional impact and all the ways to leverage it. They have special skill sets in graphics for logos, fonts for digital or print needs, and most importantly,  the messaging that resonates and is authentic.

At James Ross Advertising, we have developed strong branding for new companies and refreshed established brands. Contact us here, and let’s start discovering how you can enhance your brand’s emotional, financial, technical, and legal impact.

How Print Can Drive Digital Marketing Success

In a digital world, why do print ads, catalogs, and direct mail still perform? And why should you consider adding print to your media mix?

Digital advertising alone can deliver only so many customers cost-efficiently.  When it comes to brand building, customer retention, and even customer acquisition in specific product niches, print ads can deliver results. According to a recent article about a global advertising survey, “ad spend on print is forecasted to reach 2207.6 million people in 2021.” This year will be the biggest print ad revenue in US history.  

According to Small Business Trends, direct mail marketing can be more effective than email marketing. Look at the following stats from Small Business Trends:

  • Receivers open 80-90% of direct mail but only 20-30% of ad emails get opened.
  • Direct mail marketing can be more effective than email marketing to reach millennials

So what are some of the ways you can leverage print to complement your digital program?

The Key is Empathy

Print ads, mailers, and catalogs typically have more “space” than web pages or emails. That’s more space to create an empathic and visually appealing ad, with total control of size, color, message, and more. All marketing materials, digital or non-digital, must always appeal to the target audience. The varied sizes and formats such as newspapers, magazines, catalogs, and direct mail let you choose the right sized “space” to showcase products, inspirational messages, and copy to better explain features. 

Consumers Trust Print Over Digital

Would you be surprised if I told you more people trusted print ads over digital? A study by Marketinsherpa found that among survey respondents:  82% trusted print ads, 76% trusted mailed catalogs, while only 39% of people trusted digital. 

Pop-up ads haven’t helped the reputation of digital marketing, and there’s the warning of “don’t believe everything you see on the internet”, right?  Most print publications have a recognized point-of-view and often decades of trust because of their editorial quality.

If selling your product requires developing a strong reputation, then advertising in a reputable print publication will really help you.  Plus you can partner with the publication through sponsorships to take advantage of their online audiences.  A link from a trusted publication can also help Search Engine Optimization (SEO) by adding to your website’s domain authority.

Better Targeting…Beyond the Instagram Feed

When people pay for a magazine, they are committed to that content and industry.  They may spend an hour reading the publication and are highly likely to buy in the category. Print is a very targeted media buy in most cases. Contrast that with an Instagram exposure, where the follower may not have purchased in the category.  Also, an Instagram story is only available just for a day. Posts are mostly seen once a day, and even so just for a few seconds. We absolutely believe in social and digital advertising, it’s all about the mix.

How Print Complements Digital

Print campaigns should always include strong calls to action to visit a digital property such as a site or app.  Visits generated from this medium can be tracked with unique offer codes, special landing pages, and more. Even without special landing pages, print marketing can increase “direct load” which is when a visitor types in your site’s URL instead of coming from a Google search.  By tracking all your metrics carefully, you should determine the impact of print and how it can be an important driver of digital marketing success.  

Having a well-rounded campaign and smart media mix will help you gain and retain customers. It is all about complementary media and creativity. Need more information about Digital agencies? We’ve got you covered here! If you’re ready to enhance your print and digital, James Ross Advertising is waiting for you!

Will Your Packaging Design Drive More Purchases & Satisfaction?

Every company should “up their game” in packaging whether the product is sold at retail, online, or both. You’ve always needed to stand out on the shelf in physical stores through design, content, and durability. But many marketers forget the impact of packaging for items purchased online. That’s because the product is often displayed online without its box or wrap. The experience of opening up a package at home is the critical time to convey the brand message. In either situation, thoughtfully designed packaging can drive more purchases and satisfaction, according to a study posted in Psychology & Marketing.

We have previously written about sustainable packaging which you can read here. But in this post, we’re going to cover branding and durability – important factors for both physical stores and eCommerce to drive purchase and satisfaction.

What to consider when creating packaging:

Create a checklist, starting with durability and shipping considerations. A dented box or damaged produce hurts your product perception and brand image. Then we’ll cover how to deliver the right branding and messaging.

1. Supply chain – How will the product be shipped and stored? Will there be an outer shipping container or will the box be placed individually in a shipping box by the retailer or Amazon?  Make sure you have all those specifications, such as size and weight. Do you need barcodes, product numbers, or marketings in a specific space? Does it need to be waterproof?

2. Branding – The next step is to determine how packaging works with your organization’s brand standards. Many company standards don’t address packaging. So you may need to create a special set of brand guidelines for packaging. And don’t forget that color matters. If the outer packaging is corrugated cardboard, how does the brand color look on light brown cardboard? The packaging design should reinforce the brand with colors, logo, typography, and materials. 

3. Emotion – Now it gets fun. What are the emotions you want to create when someone sees the package for the first time? Even within a brand, there may be several different target audiences. Who is buying this specific product? What demographics are you targeting? It’s also always important to consider accessibility for many products. Test with your target audience to ensure you are conveying the right message.

4. On-shelf – Finally, when you have a design, how will it look in-store? Products on the shelf have a FMOT (first moment of truth) where you only have a few seconds to convince someone to take it home. In this case, the packaging design needs to stand out from everything else around it. You may want to take a mockup of your package into several stores and see how it looks next to competitors. Or take photos on your phone and use photo editing to put your product “in the store.”

Delivering Satisfaction

Creating a satisfying experience with packaging is more complex than most other marketing activities. It’s like a lock that will only open if all the numbers align (1) supply chain (2) brand standards (3) emotional impact (4) on-shelf impact. 

Don’t leave this strategy to the end of your product development or marketing workstream. James Ross Advertising in Fort Lauderdale has helped many clients develop innovative and impactful packaging and we are here to help. Take a look at some of our designs for bands such as Filthy Foods, and Flomentum! Contact us here.

Via James Ross Advertising

Hiring a New Digital Agency? Look for These 3 Things

Hiring a digital marketing agency requires an investment from your marketing budget, but even more importantly there is a time commitment to find the right fit.

To save time, money and get the right relationship, consider these three things.

  1. Visit a prospective agency’s site and look for up-to-date work with results. Make sure to look at the website on a phone and laptop. It should look great on both. Does the work resonate with you? Do you love some of the design and copywriting?
  1. Set up an introductory call. During the call, the agency should interview you as much as you interview them. You should expect questions about your goals, budget, and industry trends.
  1. Identify an initial project and expect to share critical information about your organization and industry.  If it is a digital engagement, expect the agency to request log-in information to your analytics and social media accounts to understand how things are set up.

Keep reading to see in detail why these three things can be telling as you try to identify the right digital ad agency and get the advertising work you deserve.

Up-to-date Work

An agency with strong digital marketing credentials will have a website that showcases a variety of work including website development, mobile apps, video production and animation, social media campaigns and media buying. In addition to these tactics, check and see if the agency has experience with your target audience. For example, if you sell a luxury product, does the agency have experience marketing expensive products and services?  Also, do the design and graphics of the site appeal to your taste? You should like and react to many of the campaigns, although some may not appeal since you may not be the target audience.

Two-way Interview

Experienced agencies know their sweet spots, meaning what types of clients they service well.  Those sweet spots may be the size of the accounts, the type of projects or target audience.  While almost all agencies have digital capabilities, some have deep experience in select areas, such as new site development, eCommerce or 360 video, to name just a few. So a good interview is critical to uncover if there is a match.

So what are some of the right topics in this two-way interview? 

  1. The prospective client should be prepared to discuss goals and timelines.
    1. Every agency expects to jump in and work hard.  However, some clients may be unrealistic.  For example, a Client that wants immediate results, such as the number one ranking in the Google search engine may not understand the situation.  No one has magic software or a buddy at Google that can deliver an automatic first-page ranking.  If an agency is promising this, you have to look more deeply. Often if you rank on the first page right away, it may be for low competition keywords that won’t make any significant impact on increasing your leads/website traffic. Read more about the best practices of SEO here if you want to learn more.
  2. Ask about compensation.  
    1. An agency should clearly explain how projects get estimated and billed.  What are the service agreements?  Good agencies will be very clear on this subject because they don’t want to disappoint. It is unrealistic to think the first job will be free.  Both sides will need to commit time to the project, and an agency almost always spends more time than they are paid for, to ensure the first work meets the mark.
  3. Discuss the team and skills needed on both the client and agency sides.
    1. Based on goals, the client may need an agency with a strong video production skill set or numerous social media. A good agency will take the time to figure out the right staffing but it’s good to discuss it early. The interactions of the team are the most critical aspect of the relationship. There is an old saying, “The creativity brings clients in the door, but the account service keeps them.”

Share Critical Information, including Logins

Identify your first project and be prepared with relevant statistics and sales information. Bring what you have and if more is needed the agency will ask. 

You might be really surprised by this next request. Most agencies will want to see your analytics and social media log-ins to see the data for themselves. They want to understand what you’ve done and how your digital marketing has performed. Your agency team will always want to see any prior reports and recommendations.  

The subject of log-ins is a small but revealing topic. 
Here’s a true story: the CEO of Wright IMC, a Dallas-based advertising agency, revealed that one of their new clients had a hiccup when they went to supply data.  The client realized its former agency owned the login information to their Google Analytics account. After several calls to Google and unanswered phone calls from the former agency, it was clear there would be significant challenges for Wright IMC’s new client. They had signed a binding contract and handed off their login information. Mistakes happen, even big ones. It’s good to own the issue and then plan with the agency to avoid it in the future.

Why Just Three Topics?

There are certainly more than three things to look for as you begin a relationship with an agency, but these topics are some of the best ways to start the right conversations. The development and nurturing of this relationship through trust and progress will benefit you and your company for years to come.

Contact us here at James Ross Advertising to begin that relationship!