mercredi 7 septembre 2016

Making Design Choices to Fit Your Brand

branding design

By the time you begin making design choices to fit your brand, you should have a deep understanding of your company’s vision and mission—your why, as I like to call it. You also will know your buyer personas inside and out by this point. You’ll know what reaches them on both logical and emotional levels.

Without this knowledge, you shouldn’t make a single move toward your branding design. Anything you create should reflect your brand standards, not dictate them. When you’re ready to move forward, these tips will help you stay on track.

Keep It Simple

The most recognizable brands in the world have simple, easy-to-identify logos. Without much brainpower, you could easily conjure the images associated with Nike, BMW, or Apple, right?

Use the information you’ve gathered from your deep-dive branding examination to cast a critical eye on your logo choices. Will your design speak to the right audience? Will it convey your brand’s mission and vision? Take the necessary time to get it right.

The Psychology of Color

The colors you choose to represent your brand will speak to your buyers. For that reason, you can’t simply select a color because it’s your personal favorite. It’s important to study the emotions that particular hues evoke and pair them together for the optimum reaction.

For instance, if you want to grab attention and convey energy or passion, then red is your color. Yellow is the choice for optimism and happiness. Orange, an increasingly popular color, gives the impression of friendliness, creativity, and even youth. Perhaps that last characteristic is what makes orange the big choice these days, since many of the companies that use it target millennials.

The rest of the list looks something like this:

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  • Black: credibility, power, decisiveness
  • White: simplicity, classic, innocence
  • Brown: rustic, historic, sturdy
  • Blue: professional, peaceful, trustworthy
  • Green: organic, earthy, growth
  • Purple: wisdom, spirituality
  • Pink: fun, flirtatious, feminine

With these characteristics in mind, think of the most famous logos in the world. What do their colors tell you about the brand? McDonald’s would be energetic and happy, right? Starbucks conveys organic and simplistic values. BMW, with its black, blue, and white, says it is powerful, trustworthy, and classic.

Focus on Fonts

Choosing fonts that reflect your brand can also be difficult. In many cases, the font for your logo is created specifically for your brand. Not everyone can afford that kind of design work, however. Whether you’re planning something custom for your brand or choosing fonts that are already in existence, make sure the fonts speak even louder than the words you create with them.

You have so many to choose from: big, bold, serif, sans serif, script, thin, serious, whimsical… The list goes on. Some of these fonts will gain popularity so quickly that they eventually become passé. For instance, ask any designer how they feel about the Comic Sans or the Papyrus fonts. We can’t see into the future, but we can definitely keep an eye out for popular choices that may need to be avoided.

Your font doesn’t apply to only your logo. Other fonts will become a part of your font palette. You should choose something that will be easy to read on any platform, including print and web uses. This includes the copy on your website, in your brochures, and on your company swag. Before you start creating anything for your business, have all fonts selected and tested.

Create Your Brand Profile

When you have all these things selected, create a brand profile. This is where you’ll apply your colors and fonts to various situations that just might happen in your business. Create different versions of your logo, including the symbol only, logotype with the name of your company included, black and white versions, horizontal and vertical versions, and any other iterations you think you may need.

Not only do you get a chance to see all your choices together at once, but you also have a place to return when you want to refresh, rejuvenate, realign, or even redesign. Because, while you definitely need to get it right the first time, there may come a day in the future when you need a few tweaks to stay relevant. Nearly every brand mentioned in this blog has faced that eventuality during their long lives. How wonderful would it be for you to get your branding so right the first time that your company survives long enough to need a rebrand? Let’s make that happen.

Your branding design is only a small step on your marketing journey. See how it all fits together in my book, Your Marketing Road Map, available for presale now on Amazon.

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Making Design Choices to Fit Your Brand

3 Tips for Creating a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

Think about the companies you shop with on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Each one of them probably has some kind of loyalty program that has you collecting points or receiving discounts. Even retail giant, Nordstrom, hopped on the customer loyalty bandwagon through adding a regular customer loyalty program outside of their exclusive loyalty debit and credit cards.

The fact that most retailers and brands are implementing customer loyalty programs is no coincidence. Adding a customer loyalty program has many benefits including:

  • Boosting sales – With an incentive to earn rewards or discounts, customers are enticed to spend more in order to earn their benefits.
  • Happy customers – Shoppers expect to receive benefits from the companies they shop with. Whether you offer discounts, free products, or money back, everyone loves rewards which will keep customers coming back.
  • Reaching new markets – Loyalty programs allow you to reach the masses with discounts, but also provide you with a way to segment offers by affiliation such as student, military, teacher, employees, or even professionals in the industry.
  • Market research – By reaching out to different markets, you gain insight into important data such as what types of customers are shopping with you, what they are buying, where they are shopping, and how much they are spending.
  • Customer interaction – Having a loyalty program gives you the excuse to interact with your customers and keep them updated on your promotions and exclusive offers via email, mailings, SMS message, etc.

While implementing a customer loyalty program may seem daunting, it’s not as hard as one might think and the benefits are worth it. Here are 3 pro tips to help create a success customer loyalty program:

  1. Ask for the right information – While customers want access to your rewards and discounts, their personally identifiable data is not always worth giving up to save money. Stick to asking for simple information like name, email address, affiliations, or phone number and avoid getting too personal by asking for social security number or other highly secure information. In the survey College Student Buying Behaviors, 88% of students said they would not be willing to give out their social security number in exchange for a discount.
  1. Simple and consistent offers – There is nothing worse than signing up for a customer loyalty program and not knowing how it works. Complicated systems typically end in confused customers and frustrated employees. To ensure that your discounts and rewards are successful, make sure to implement an extremely basic system. Whether it’s one point in exchange for every dollar spent or 10% off every purchase, keeping everything transparent and consistent helps to avoid any misunderstandings.
  1. Get exclusive – Offering general customer loyalty programs is great, but why not offer something extra special to the military, student, and teacher markets, or even your VIPs? Markets like teachers and the military love when companies give back by offering exclusive discounts and rewards as a thank you. In fact, 84% of teachers and administrators said that they are more loyal to brands that offer teacher discounts. With over 4 million educators in the US alone, that’s a huge market of potentially lifelong customers.

Eligibility verification is a great way to make sure that your exclusive offers are only applied to the shopping carts of your customers who truly qualify. It also helps you to personalize your customer loyalty program like never before. Learn more about eligibility verification.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 14th: Time Mastery for Marketers

Creating a successful customer loyalty program can be challenging, but asking for the right information, creating simple and consistent offers, and providing exclusive deals to target consumer groups will help to put you ahead of the competition and yield highly beneficial results.

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3 Tips for Creating a Successful Customer Loyalty Program

The Apple Store’s Evolution of Customer Experience


Last month, Apple opened a new branch of its retail stores in southern Manhattan. Apple World Trade Center welcomed huge crowds of zealous fans and customers, elated at the chance to sample the newest offering from the company. Considering the hype and magnitude of runway for any new Apple product, the enthusiasm displayed at the grand opening wasn’t unexpected.

The cheering crowds, meticulous building architecture, and grinning employees remained synonymous with the brand. Only one thing was different from previous such endeavors – the Apple Store had officially become the Apple store.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 14th: Time Mastery for Marketers

The Significance of Proper Nouns: Value in Human Interaction

Wait, what?

Since May, with Apple’s new flagship store in San Francisco, all new retail stores have simply been named, “Apple,” plus the location. Apple Union Square, instead of Apple Store, Union Square. Apple Williamsburg. Apple World Trade Center. According to SVP of Retail, Angela Ahrendts, the company is focusing on making the stores “a community” rather than simply a retail space available for buying a new iPhone or MacBook.

Doesn’t this seem like a PR gimmick?

A gimmick, you say? Psh, only to the untrained Customer Experience eye! Upcoming changes to retail locations include decor revamps and the modification of the Genius Bar layout to allow customers (or non-customers) to gather at a location simply in a personal capacity. Remember that one library on campus that was the place to work, hang out, or meet up before an event? That’s what Apple wants to be, and to do so, an increase in human interaction must be made possible. Apple enthusiasts love to brag about the products, so providing them with a real, brick-and-mortar place to do it opens doors to customer loyalty and evangelism.

The best thing a brand can achieve is becoming so seamlessly integrated into a customer’s life, that buying from a competitor isn’t even an afterthought. Keeping that in mind, Apple’s new move is “genius”. Of course, there are moving pieces. Coming up with a clean focus for the Apple store brand with all its different purposes, from retail to Genius Bar support to community enrichment, will certainly be a challenge. If Ahrendts is successful in bringing more human interaction to the tech giant’s brand, however, this could be a revolutionary move in the company’s history.

What this Means for Apple’s Lauded Customer Experience

Apple has always been a front-runner in customer experience quality among its peers. What made the iPhone such a huge success? It customer-focused interface (ease-of-use) and the confidence that users have always had in the company’s ability to fix any problems with the product. This confidence is what makes the iPhone worth the relatively high initial investment.

It only makes sense, then, for the company’s next step to be to focus on strengthening this experience as the launch of the new MacBook Pro approaches. The applications of creating an in-house community could be endless.

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The Apple Store’s Evolution of Customer Experience

5 Unexpected Advertising Alternatives to Drive New Business


Savvy internet users are getting REALLY good at blocking ad content. It all started with DVRs — after decades of watching commercials, we were finally able to skip right past the ads. And as consumers, we want that option everywhere. We consume content from Netflix, we install adblockers on our browsers, skip ads on YouTube, and purchase content directly to avoid extra ads. In 2015, the estimated number of active adblock users hit an estimated 198 MILLION.

So, that means that as marketers and business owners, we can’t rely on the same push tactics to get our ad messages in front of potential leads and customers. But, what options do we have? We’ve compiled a list of 5 unexpected advertising alternatives to help you break through and connect with your audience.

1. Guest or Sponsored Content

Do some research to find influential (non-competitor) blogs or websites in your industry. Many industry leadership blogs look for content from other industry leaders — if you are a well-known company with a well-established message, you might be able to get featured as a guest blogger without paying for it.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

If you can’t find a website that will let you submit a guest blog, sponsored content might be a great option. Craft a specific, actionable piece of content that helps solve specific problems and then pay for placement on a key industry website. The cost of the sponsored content should be proportional to the number of subscribers that will receive your content.

2. SEO-Centric Blogs

One of the greatest ways that you can get past adblockers is by creating organic, relevant content that meets customers where they are already searching. Look for opportunities to answer questions that prospective customers ask in the pre-purchase phases. Do keyword research to find the most relevant terms to optimize your blogs.

For most companies, this tactic is not a quick-fix, short-term solution, but instead, a long-term investment to serve content to users that is written for both Google and your target audience. Win win!

3. Helpful Videos

Creating helpful videos is a great way to rise above the noise of traditional advertising. Create video content that breaks the mold for your industry in some way. If customers are used to seeing advertisements pushing your products, focus on teaching viewers how to do something with your products. Give your audience creative and outside-the-box solutions to use your product in their everyday life.

4. Incentive Sharing

Stop promoting your own message and get happy customers to do it for you! I recently discovered Soothe, an app that allows you to book a massage and the therapist will come to your home (or whatever location you choose) within the next hour. It’s a little pricier than a normal massage, but the tip is also included. After my first appointment, I got an email that said I could share a $30 off coupon with my friends and if they booked an appointment, I would get a code for another $30 off for myself!

Incentive sharing is a great tactic that allows you to reward current customers while turning them into brand advocates that are always looking for opportunities to share about your products or services!

5. Content Syndication

Do you already have a library of great content and blogs but you aren’t getting the readership you really want? Look for opportunities to get your content syndicated through industry news sites. These sites will collect the RSS feed of relevant blogs and scan them, regularly looking for content they can republish. These types of websites are a great way to extend your reach to new viewers and also gain valuable referring links to your website.


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5 Unexpected Advertising Alternatives to Drive New Business

Who Should Own Sales Development: Sales or Marketing?

Why can’t sales and marketing just get along? It would be in everyone’s best interest if we could all just sit down, sing Kumbaya, and share our peace pipe!

When you drill down into the complexities of each of their personalities, sales and marketing fall on both ends of the spectrum; either they are far too similar, or they are totally different. The key to their alliance, is finding a bridge between the two.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

Where does the sales development team fit in?

In most cases, the sales development team is sandwiched between sales and marketing. They are forced to bow to both departments, scrambling to meet each and every request. Rather than running around trying to keep both parties satisfied, sales development teams should act as a buffer, providing a voice of reason between the two departments. Sales development teams are an untapped resource in determining the true effectiveness of the teams they support. They are able to offer unbiased feedback (good or bad), and provide insight from both sides. They should be thought of as an internal consultant that can provide a neutral analysis on what is and isn’t working.

Does that mean a new department needs to be created?

One way to bridge the gap between the two departments, is by creating a third department independent of sales and marketing. What should we call this department? This is where it gets tricky. The problem is that we all have different terms for this function. Marketing tends to call it “Demand Generation”, and sales prefers to call it “Opportunity Generation”. As a result, it creates a shared ownership issue which can lead to the problem of each department wanting to dictate their own agenda into the program. The “Lead Generation” Department does not sound particularly sexy, but it doesn’t gravitate towards either marketing or sales, which is exactly the stance of the sales development team. Building a team that is neutral is the way to go.

Where to start

If you’re considering building a sales development team, you need to start by identifying where they sit within your org chart. In a perfect world, all three departments—Sales, Marketing, and Sales Development, would all report up to the same department head whether that be a CRO or CEO. Once it is determined where the sales development team will live, it is time to dictate what their responsibilities will include. What tasks will they handle for marketing? What function will they serve to the sales team?

There is no cookie cutter template of what a sales development team should look like, nor what their responsibilities should entail. Every team is different, and needs around marketing and sales vary from company to company. The one thing that can be derived here, is that having a sales development team can help sales and marketing play a little nicer.

What are your thoughts? Is sales development better off answering to sales, marketing, or both?

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Who Should Own Sales Development: Sales or Marketing?

5 Questions SaaS Sales Leaders Should Ask Themselves

Many believe that “sales is sales,” and that the fundamentals of the process are the same whether you traffic in agricultural commodities or commercial jet aircraft. It’s true in a sense; the basic requirements of a successful sales strategy remain the same regardless of the product, including connecting with a customer, communicating value, and understanding their pain points. That doesn’t mean however, that different industries don’t experience their own unique complications on top of those fundamentals, and this is certainly true when you consider sales operations within SaaS startups.

The SaaS industry has emerged so quickly and evolves at a rapid pace, making it hard to stick to any one sales playbook for an indefinite period. This can lead many SaaS sales leaders to question what specific circumstances related to their industry affect their processes the most. In order to build upon sales best practices that you would incorporate in any type of company and create specific avenues for maximizing your success in SaaS sales, these are the five questions you should be asking about your strategy.

Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

1. Does our training program emphasize the ability to create powerful long-distance connections?

Unless you’re in the minority, your SaaS organization probably focuses entirely on inside sales to grow your business. For this reason, SaaS sales reps are often required to create a lasting connection with prospects having never met face-to-face. Some sales professionals inherently excel at forging a long-distance connection, while others rely more on the non-verbal cues and other dynamics that make in-person communication unique. It doesn’t mean that they’re ineffective salespeople, it just means that your organization needs to take extra care to set them up to succeed in this environment.

2. Could we get more reliable results by switching to account-based sales?

It seems like the account-based sales model is on every B2B organization’s mind these days, and this is especially true when it comes to SaaS startups. Products and organizational structures are both increasing in complexity, which has led to an increase in the number of key decision-makers in any B2B purchasing decision. By allowing sales reps to service an entire company and try to grow revenue from within it rather than expending energy and resources going after leads that have a much lower likelihood of materializing, you may be able to scale your growth more dynamically. Not only are clients more often satisfied, since they can get reliably excellent service from their point-person no matter who in the company makes contact, but the sales reps typically find it to be preferable as well. They can leverage previously-established relationships at the company to drive revenue, and use every tool in their sales toolbox to deliver a unique, customized experience for the client.

3. Are we focusing on improving the metrics that the board really cares about?

At the end of the day, the board of directors is going to have a significant say in the future of the company, and it’s up to SaaS sales leaders to deliver results in the metrics they care about (which aren’t necessarily the ones that are prized within the sales department). While sales managers at other types of businesses can often focus on low-level KPIs such as new bookings or opportunity win rate, the board likely wants to look at big-picture results that impact the long-term prospects of the organization in various ways. They’ll be paying attention to revenue growth, of course, but they’re also probably going to scrutinize the churn rate of clients. Studies have shown that minimizing churn, or even getting to negative rates of churn, can lead to exponentially-higher valuation rates for SaaS companies.

4. Is our hiring process optimized to produce technologically-savvy, adaptable SaaS sales reps?

While every sales rep has to be fluent in the language of their industry in order to be successful, SaaS requires an even more specialized level of technical comfort. Both the types of products, and the customers’ buying environments change rapidly in the SaaS world, and sales reps must be able to learn new technological processes and adapt quickly in order to stay ahead of the curve.

5. Does the customer onboarding program create opportunities to deliver an outstanding customer experience?

The customer onboarding period is crucial for building long-term client relationships in SaaS, and the sales department needs to take an active role in helping to ensure that customers receive the best experience with the products. It’s important to train sales reps to get intimately involved in the onboarding process through various measures, such as soliciting feedback from the customers to build a better process, and coordinating requests and events across several different business units. Building a great onboarding program can help you reduce churn and maximize revenue from an existing account.

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5 Questions SaaS Sales Leaders Should Ask Themselves

6 Key Demand Generation Lessons Learned from Gated-Content Testing

6_lessons_gated_content.pngIn a previous post, Gated Content Marketing Strategy: Adding Steps Boosted Results 2X, I discussed how adding steps to the conversion process went against traditional demand generation thinking, and actually created an increase in conversions.

Let’s take this concept a few steps further and discuss ways a gated-content strategy can help complement your entire lead generation funnel.

Key lessons learned:

  1. Think about content as a free trial product. Your demand funnel does not always need to lead to the sale of your product or service. Spend time thinking about your name acquisition funnel, then apply a nurture funnel to those names to educate them and lead them through the sales process.

    When you begin to treat content as a free trial product, it changes the buying steps in the process so that you truly focus your funnel on content downloads. Once you’ve crossed that milestone, and you begin to build a strong prospect list, it’s time to nurture the leads and bring them into your buying funnel.

  2. Give before you get. What are you giving the prospect before you ask them to give you something? Before asking a prospect to pay you with their data, offer them additional useful content to help develop a stronger affinity. Being more generous in what you give can increase what you get in return.
  3. Know the goal for each funnel, and it’s OK to have multiple funnels. Are you immediately trying to sell product or are you inviting people into your inner circle? Consider several macro funnels for prospects and customers, along with numerous micro funnels (nurture funnels) based on various behaviors, activities and characteristics. Know the motivations of your end customer and how you can help make their life easier.
  4. If you have a channel sales strategy, be aware of the small nuances that may require tweaks to your marketing funnel strategy. Pay attention to both your to-channel and through-channel conversion funnels. Your channel sellers have different motivations than your end user customers – i.e., channel sellers may place a higher emphasis on you as a thought leadership source to keep them educated and informed, which will increase their propensity to sell and recommend your products.

    It’s important to be generous in what you give, so that you will get something in return. When working within a channel strategy, and you’re “influencing the influencers,” there may not always be an immediate or direct correlation to the outbound activities you execute. You may need to develop more patience in your demand marketing and sales funnel, and think of it as an investment over time.

  5. Develop your plan for third-party leads along with your own database development. Working with third-party lead providers can help bring volume and consistency to your funnels, and allow you to reach audiences who haven’t heard about you yet. When building your own customer database, the work is never done.

    All leads age, and prospects move in and out of the buying cycle. Work with your third-party providers to ask custom qualifying questions to further segment your leads. You will pay a higher cost-per-lead fee upfront, but it will cost you less to achieve the sale due to the higher sales conversions which result in a more cost effective ROI. I’ve seen clients drive their ROI from 4x to 10x by asking qualifying questions on the front end of the lead generation process.

  6. Don’t forget about post-sale nurture funnels to drive retention. Once a prospect becomes a customer, it’s important to continue to the conversations, the conversions/upsells and drive retention.

    While you may choose to manage this communication through an in-app notification process vs an outbound marketing automation tool, you still need to create the strategy with a marketing funnel mindset (i.e., create logical flows and offers, upsells, etc. based on customer actions or in-actions, then track response, and optimize as you go.)

It’s important to have a cohesive gated content strategy, serving as the doorway to the beginning of the process in a complete prospect and customer funnel.


Recommended for You Webcast, September 7th: 3 Ways to Speed Up Your Marketing Review and Approval Process

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6 Key Demand Generation Lessons Learned from Gated-Content Testing