Old or New: School is Back in Session

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent

There are still some hot days to get through, but Labor Day is fast approaching and most schools are back in session. So make sure you stop for busses, keep an eye out for kids and stop worrying about chasing the latest marketing craze.

Wait, what?

This is the perfect time of year to reassess what school your marketing efforts are going to. Are you “Old School,” still utilizing print, convinced social media is just a craze and missing printed catalogs? Or are you “New School,” only marketing to mobile, boiling your message down to 140 characters and laughing at the dinosaurs amongst you?

Guess what: it doesn’t matter.

Because in the end, what will make any and all of those marketing tactics succeed or fail is what you bring to it – a personal touch.

Old School Personal Touches

Print Ads – Make sure your advertising isn’t just a product catalog and includes a call to action, such as a dedicated phone number or website. This will be your best way to gauge ROI and allow you to make a personal connection with people who respond to your ad.

Catalogs – Be smart with distribution. Don’t just dump them in a distributor’s office or on a table at a trade show. Offer them on your website and free upon request. Just make sure you have a plan to follow up and utilize the customer info you get in return.

Mail – Give it another thought. How full is your email inbox? Compare that to your mail inbox. Plus, with mail, you can differentiate yourself with a 3D mailing, free sample or die-cut card that really stands out.

New School Personal Touches

Mobile – Make sure your message works across all mobile platforms, not just the one you use. If you’re using Flash-based models, it’s time to get back in class and develop a new strategy. Readability is key, so if you’re going to make the commitment – TEST!

Social Media – Don’t try and use the same message on every platform and don’t be on every platform. Make the right statement on the right platforms. And that message cannot just be product, product, PRODUCT. Customer and social media users are increasingly sensitive to overt sales pitches. So make your strategy about the story and your brand, not the sale. Utilize influencers, but only if it’s a natural fit, and only if your product and services can be seamlessly integrated into what they do.

No Matter the School – Practice Your Etiquette

Want the perfect example of a personal touch? A few weeks ago we visited a potential client. In addition to a plant tour and a review of their business needs, we also had a brief conversation with the VP of Sales & Marketing. A few days later, everyone on the team received a hand written letter from him, expressing his appreciation of our time. WORK STOPPED in our office, while everyone marveled at this seeming relic from another age. But it wasn’t the medium, it was the message – we all knew he had spent his personal time writing these out – and we appreciated his sentiment. So Old School or New, make sure the message you’re trying to get across is authentic to your brand and makes an attempt to connect with the customer.

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