Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Lands’ End: Pros at marketing to women

May 5, 2010
Lands End Catalog

Lands' End proves it understands how to market to women.

Paging through a Lands’ End catalog, it’s clear that the folks at Lands’ End understand how to market to women. Products and descriptions reach three demographics of women, (for example: “Fit 1: Modern”, “Fit 2: Original”, and “Fit 3: Traditional”), and leave it to their readers to self-select a category. The different fit categories are clearly labeled and illustrated throughout the catalog, and are accompanied by images of women with different body shapes and ages.

The copy is helpful and non-condescending. It anticipates issues women are likely to have about their clothing, and addresses them directly. For example:

“Straps stay securely in place.”
“Wide waistband lies smoothly over sides — won’t dig in.”

The copy also understands what aesthetic qualities women are searching for:

“Adorable details make these modern tops as cute as they are comfortable.”

Graphics and typefaces are contemporary and readable and colors are fresh and allow the products to take center stage.

Overall, well done! Good job, Lands’ End!


Two Marketing Bits

March 11, 2010

Two articles in this morning’s paper caught my eye as examples of good marketing.

The first, Target Coupons Go Mobile, highlights the use of smart phones to download coupons to use in-store. Unlike a paper coupon, this technology gives Target a new layer of information and interaction with its audiences. Information, because customers must either text Target (providing cell phone information) or visit their website (providing server information) about its audiences. Interaction, because the customer has another touch point with the company when it visits the website.

With coupons already available at, through direct mail, and in newspaper circulars, the mobile program is just another way to engage their clients; each method likely to appeal to another segment of their audiences.

The second article, Panera to post calorie counts to the  menu board, shows an innovative strategy to differentiate this restaurant chain in a crowded marketplace. The first chain restaurant to take this step, Panera—already in a class of its own for offering healthy, fresh food— is further establishing itself as diet-friendly and socially-responsible—a message likely to resonate well with female audiences.

What’s the take-home message from these examples?

  1. Find new ways to interact with your target audiences and drive traffic to your website
  2. Use multiple strategies to connect with different segments of your audience
  3. Try something new and trendy, then make a PR push to create buzz around your company
  4. Take bold steps to differentiate your company from its competitors
  5. Consider a socially-responsible strategy to connect on an emotional level with your audiences

Marketing the GoGirl

February 17, 2010

Yesterday morning I came across an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about an—er—implement that allows women to urinate standing up. It’s being marketed as a GoGirl, a pocket-sized piece of silicone that slips into a container in your purse and gives women the ability to discreetly take care of business when conditions are less than desirable.

Now, I realize you may be thinking, “This is an odd thing to write about on a marketing and graphic design blog!” but hang in there. The back story of the GoGirl is what interests me.

Turns out the product is currently in its first rebrand, being led by Sarah Dillon, a market researcher by trade. Sarah saw the potential in the product, but given her background, approached the business opportunity strategically, enlisting focus groups to learn about the product’s potential in the marketplace. Clearly, the research paid off. Everything about the product appears to be crafted to appeal to active women: its size, the price, the name, the package design, and even the tagline: “Don’t take life sitting down.” They aggressively market the product to women who are literally “on the go”: at festivals, fairs and womens’ expos, and take advantage of non-traditional marketing mediums such as sponsoring races, Facebook and other internet marketing.

Photo by Neal St. Anthony, Star Tribune; "Go Girl sales director Jan Edman, center, and President Sarah Dillon in front of an advertisement for their product. They project that the Hopkins-based company will produce more than 1 million units this year and achieve $15 million in revenue by 2013."

Clearly, Sarah Dillon understands women, and has put together a marketing and branding package to sell an unusual product to the masses. Which is more than can be said for the first incarnation of the GoGirl.

Originally designed by Dr. Jim Block and dubbed “FemMed”, the product never went anywhere. The name and appearance was far too clinical, and didn’t appeal to women’s lifestyles. Now, as GoGirl, the product has the brand and marketing strategy in place to reach its target audiences and turn a profit. So: same product + understanding of target audiences + good marketing strategy = successful outcome.

I love this story because it really speaks to the power of the process we follow here at Mix Creative. When we get to know a new client, we go through a branding process that explores audiences, competitors, product features and benefits, the brand description and story, and the tone; then we use that to strategically design visual elements of the brand and determine the best route for marketing the company’s product or services. The result? Success in the marketplace.

So, Sarah Dillon, for getting it right, let me say, “You GoGirl!”

(tee hee, couldn’t resist)

Signs of recovery in tv advertising

November 29, 2009

The Star Tribune (via the Los Angelos Times) reports that there’s a resurgence in traditional television advertising, as ad agnecies reportedly return to what they know best in these challenging times. Companies fueling the return include retailers hoping to increase holiday sales, companies promoting new products or technology, and even financial investors.

Not all is honky-dorey, though. Online advertising appears to be making a dive as of late as advertisers seem to be becoming weary of the medium. Whether this is a blip or trend, though, has yet to be determined.

For more information, see the full article here.

Email marketing words to avoid

October 21, 2009

Tired of getting caught in email Spam filters? Here are some words to avoid when composing your email subject lines:

  • amazing
  • cancel at any time
  • check or money order
  • click here
  • congratulations
  • dear friend
  • e-mail marketing
  • for only ($)
  • free (including toll-free)
  • great offer
  • guarantee
  • increase sales
  • order now
  • promise you
  • risk free
  • special promotion
  • this is not spam
  • to be removed
  • unsubscribe
  • winner

Also, in your subject line, avoid*:

  • avoid excessive punctuation
  • don’t use symbols (such as dollar signs or astericks)
  • words with ALL CAPS
  • using the recipients name in the subject line
  • using Re: (unless it really is a response)
  • blank subject line
  • vague subjects (hey you, check this out, hi!)

*Source: Email Marketing for Dummies, John Arnold

For more information about e-newsletter dos and don’ts, attend our seminar on October 28th, from 11:15-1:30. We’ll be presenting hands-on training for setting up your database and getting started with customizing templates.

Mix Creative to present in workshop series: Using eNewsletters Effectively

September 7, 2009

Katrina Hase of Mix Creative will be a guest speaker in the upcoming two-part workshop series, titled Using eNewsletters Effectively!

The workshop, part of an ongoing Tech Networking series from Modern Inconveniences, will focus on the why and the how of e-newsletters. Specific information about the workshop follows:

Using eNewsletters Effectively

  • Date: Wednesday, September 23rd
  • Time: 11:15-1:30PM

Are you planning to implement an Email Newsletter campaign to promote your business? Have you already started but not sure if you are using this marketing tool effectively? This class focuses on what can be accomplished and what is required to implement a successful eNewsletter campaign. We will be comparing the eNewsletter options and services, and exploring best practices for database building, content, delivery and marketing integration.  You will learn about tools that will help you make this process efficient and effective. This class will focus on the theory where our next installment of this series, Enewsletters: Design & Database Tips, will be a hands on approach to using eNewsletter Tools.

Click Here to register

eNewsletters: Design & Database Tips

  • Date: Wednesday, October 26th
  • Time: 11:15-1:30PM

Do you need help getting started with your eNewsletter Design? Do you need help with building and compiling your eNewsletter Database? Join us at the second half of our next installment of TechNetworking topic, Creating Effective eNewsletters!  This hands on class will focus on design best practices and best practices on compiling and building your database.  In this class you will learn the following:

  • Maintaining brand consistency across your eNewsletter and website
  • Incorporating your brand into the clickable links, colors, fonts and design elements
  • Designing your eNewsletter optimally for text-only readers, mobiles, and full display
  • Tips & tricks to using a template
  • Compiling and building your database

In addition this class will look at the different types of templates and the pros and cons of using them and take a look at some examples of design dos & don’ts.

Click here to register

TECH NETWORKING is an ongoing program that offers participants useful skills and informal networking over a light lunch setting. To receive notices about upcoming events, register for the Tech Notes e-blast, or visit the Modern Inconveniences website.

Please feel free to contact Katrina of Mix Creative or Rebecca Metz of Modern Inconveniences (952.831.0508) with any questions about the workshops. We hope to see you there!

Improve your Business Image

October 11, 2008

Branding was the overarching theme of last night’s SparkHer forum, hosted by WIN members Stephanie Hansen, Wendy Blomseth, Katrina Hase, and Cari Spears and introduced by Teresa Thomas-Carroll of Women in Networking.

You are the Brand

“You are the brand,” explained Stephanie Hansen, the first speaker of the night. She encouraged us to think about what our personal brand is, and then to consistently and confidently project that image as we go out and make new business contacts.

Knowing our audiences is key to understanding how to present ourselves. Stephanie, both a radio personality on FM 107.1 and owner of Printz, explained that she needs to consider her audiences when selecting what part of her image to present. “You, as business associations, need to know that I know the printing business,” not the personal details she shares with her radio audiences.

Stephanie gave some tricks of the trade when it comes to presenting your personal brand in a networking situation: have a firm handshake, wear your name tag on your right side for better viewing, and have a good 30 second commercial. “About 10 of you had good commercials as you introduced yourself this evening,” Stephanie shared with us. “The rest of you, I’m not sure what it is you do!” Being clear about what you do versus giving descriptions that sound good but are less to-the-point was an important take-home message.

For people who attend networking events that are going through a job transition, Stephanie cautioned that instead of sharing your personal story, to instead be clear about how people can help you do your business. Because even when you’re between jobs, your image is your brand and you need to present a consistent and confident image.

Your Image in Photographs—An Important Branding Tool

Wendy Blomseth of InBeaute Photography specializes in helping business owners, professionals, and “sales divas” present themselves to potential and existing clients with professional portraits. Keeping in front of your clients with photographs has the impact of making people become familiar with you in way that goes beyond just words, she explained.

Professional images fit in with achieving or enhancing several aspects of your strategic marketing plan. “Try reading your marketing plan and add the words “WITH IMAGES” after each action item. You’ll probably be surprised that there are few strategies in your plan that are not supported with high quality images.” For example:

  • Define your mission WITH IMAGES
  • Identify the products or services that you provide WITH IMAGES
  • Identity your target buyers/end users WITH IMAGES
  • Illustrate the unique characteristics of your products or services that distinguish you from your competition WITH IMAGES
  • Illustrate your brand and/or identity WITH IMAGES

Wendy suggested strategically using images to tell your story on your website. For each page that describes what you do, illustrate it with a photograph. “Here’s you meeting with a client or your product. Here’s you with your team hard at work. Here’s you rolling up your sleeves and getting things done. . . With five clicks, a potential client has a good visual story of what you do in less than a minute,” which is about the time spent at an average website.

Take inventory of your current images. Ask yourself if they are current, good quality, or hold viewers’ attention. Consider having three to five images with different facial expression and clothing changes to represent you in different media: blogs, websites, brochures, business cards, and other sites.

“You and your prospective clients are being visually bombarded with 1,000 to 3,000 images every day,” Wendy explained. Make sure to make your image memorable.

Defining your Business’ Brand

Katrina Hase of Mix Creative spoke about the process of defining your company’s brand.

In a crowded marketplace, having a defined brand that speaks directly to its target audiences is key. Without this, your products and services will be lost among a sea of competitors.

So what is a brand?

“Your brand is a combination of the words, images, and tone or personality you present to your audiences,” she explained. “It conveys who your company is, its history, its mission, who you sell to, how you’re different from your competitors, and your company’s personality.”

Katrina passed out a worksheet to help define your company’s brand. The different sections of the worksheet take into account your company’s history and objectives, audiences, competitors, inspirations, and personality.

The bottom portion of the worksheet defines a company’s personality through metaphors. “This part is the most fun,” Katrina said, “and I find that it’s often the most revealing in illustrating who your company  is.” Katrina interviewed two participants, asking if their company were a flower, what would it be? For another, if her company were a car what would it be? Their answers revealed small details about their companies and even their business philosophies that may have been missed by more standard questions.

Katrina demonstrated the process using the example of a foundation she recently did work for. Using key words from the worksheet, she assembled an inspiration board of images, each of which visually represented an aspect of the company. Next, she demonstrated how those images inform different design approaches and ultimately the finished brand.

You can download the branding personality worksheet here.

“Once you’ve defined your brand, it’s important to be consistent in presenting it to your audiences,” Katrina reminded. “Don’t be tempted to make changes here and there because you’re bored with it. It’s just when you’re starting get bored with your brand that people are starting to get the message.”

Keeping your Brand in Front of Audiences

Cari Spears of Eagan Shirtwerks shared an experience that led her to reconsider her company’s marketing approach. “Oh, I’m so glad we found you!” one of her clients told her over the phone, “We used your company once before, but we couldn’t remember your name, so we kept calling around.”

What’s wrong with this picture? Cari asked us. Even though her company is in the business of selling promotional products, they had forgotten the importance of keeping their company’s name and brand in front of audiences.

Cari corrected the issue by coming up with a marketing plan for sending promotional products throughout the year to different segments of their audiences. She summarized the plan in a table. Along the Y axis was Target Market, Product to Send, Slogan on Card, Cost, and Item to Order This Month. Along the X axis was the month of the year.

Using her marketing plan, Cari was able to specify which audiences to reach out to during which months, what kinds of products to send and how to plan for the next month. Planning the entire year at once helped Cari to allocate her budget in chunks and make her dollars go further.

And breaking up the audiences allowed her to send pricier items to a small number of their best customers, and less expensive items a large number of new prospects.

Cari can review your company’s budget and make suggestions for promotional items that will have an impact and keep your brand in front of audiences.

Talk to our panelists

If you have further questions or would like reprints of materials from the seminar, feel free to contact our panelists:

Stephanie Hansen, Printz

Wendy Blomseth, InBeaute Photography

Katrina Hase, Mix Creative

Cari Spears, Eagan Shirtwerks and Promotionals

Marking Milestones

September 3, 2008

As Mix turns one this month, it’s got me thinking about celebrating company milestones. Beyond a simple sentimental acknowledgment, anniversaries can be the perfect occasion for marketing your company and focusing your goals. Here are some ways you can mark your company’s milestones:

  1. Use anniversaries as a time to review your accomplishments and set goals for the coming year.
  2. Trumpet your accomplishments! Update your website or send an e-newsletter to let clients know about important goals you’ve met, and how that benefits them. Customers and new prospects like to know they’re doing business with experience and know-how.
  3. Been in business 10, 15, 20 years or more? Congratulations, you must be doing something right! Don’t assume your customers know your company’s successful history. Create an anniversary version of your logo or add a tagline to use in your marketing materials. Use it on employee t-shirts, buttons, or other promotional items too.
  4. Have a party! Hold an open house for your customers at your space. Thank them in person for their business.
  5. Create Anniversary Promotions. Hold a sale, have a coupon, or even a prize drawing to celebrate. Make sure to advertise the promotion: Send a direct mail postcard to your, follow up with a print ad and create an announcement on your website’s home page.
  6. Take advantage of free publicity. Send a press release to publications your customers or prospects subscribe to. Be creative and make it interesting to get it picked up. Try a publicity stunt: hold a contest to make sculptures out of your product, or perhaps create a giant version of your product.
Mix created a 10-year anniversary logo for Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Goods.

Mix created a 10-year anniversary logo for Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Goods.