Category Archives: Powered By Creativity

Team SMG a Year in Review

Team SMG – A Year in Review

With Christmas and the end

of chapter 2017 so near,

 

Team SMG reflects on the year’s

events we hold so dear:

 

A growing team full of

creativity, laughter and life.

 

Led by the dynamic duo, Dave and Heather,

who happen to be husband and wife.

 

2017 brought to us Tim’s friendly service

with a smile, coupled with his analytical mind.

 

The year also gifted us with Alexa,

a creative brain as talented as she is kind.

 

We were thrilled to celebrate our first anniversary of working

with Keely, our top risk manager and graphic design guru.

 

And we took a journey with Jen to Montana,

as she set up her wordsmith shop in a land anew.

 

The past year has been filled with creative ideas

and hard work for customers new and old.

 

We look forward to 2018 and continuing to do

what we love, in ways that are fresh and bold.

 

Our little family of marketers is gearing up with ideas and ready to shine,

with the help of our beloved office dog, Reagan, who will surely keep us in line.

 

Doberman office dog at Stray Media Group

Video Marketing Stray Media Group

4 Things Your Video Marketing Strategy Needs

Connecting with your audience and building relationships – this is why we do what we do in the marketing world. There are countless ways it can be done, but some frontrunners prove time and again to be the most effective. A specific genre of marketing that amplifies your overall strategy by providing viewers with a dynamic and captivating way to consume content is what we like to call video marketing.

Did you know 65% of your audience are visual learners? With content marketing best practices continually evolving to accommodate short attention spans and cutting through the overwhelming amount of content already out there, video marketing can be your cut-to-the-chase saving grace.

What makes great video marketing? Here are four of our go-to tips:

Add value

Your video marketing strategy should have a strong focus on providing value. Just like in a content marketing strategy, it’s important not to push a sales angle but rather give answers to the questions that your audience is asking. Testimonials can also be a valuable tool – having other real people talk about how your products or services actually helped them will be a great addition to your strategy. Positioning yourself as a reliable and follow-worthy expert in your industry will help you build credibility, grow your audience and gain leads.

 

Inspire

Messages should be compelling and inspire viewers to do what you are promoting. If they are not moved by it, why would they share it or even keep watching? We are bombarded by ads all day every day (some estimate upwards of 5,000 a day) so when it comes time to press that ‘Share’ button, it had better be worth the customer’s time and effort.

The feeling you’re going for here is like this:

via GIPHY

 

Dare to be different

Dare to be humorous, edgy and fun. Show a human side of your business – people connect with this engaging type of content, so it provides an exceptional opportunity for them to see your team, products or services in a different light.

Some companies or more professional industries feel that taking risks with their content – written, video or otherwise – is too dangerous. In our eyes, it’s more dangerous to be so cautious that you end up morphing into every other business just like yours. It’s important to note that “edgy” should not be confused with explicit or offensive – there should always be a level of tastefulness to any marketing strategy. Rather, our caution here is to not stifle yourself into a boring state for fear of daring to be different.

Dare to be different...its where the magic happens

 

Make videos concise

You’ve got about 10 seconds (or less) to captivate your audience with a video before they hit ‘Skip’. Make it so good they can’t possibly click that button. Give them the valuable content that they are looking for, but in a concise and to-the-point manner. In the vast sea that is existing content, it’s important to cut through the noise. Package up those videos in nice, quick and informative nuggets so they’re easily digested by audiences.

65% of audiences are visual learners

Video viewership continues to increase exponentially each year, and it’s not slowing down any time soon. This medium gives audiences a fast, convenient way to get the information they want, in the visual manner that has proved to be how the majority of consumers prefer to learn.

Every business can benefit from including video marketing in their stratgey

One of the best things about video marketing? It could be applied to literally ANY business, industry or promotion, and – with the right SEO – get successful results. We believe video marketing should be a cornerstone in every company’s strategy. If you’re ready to shine some lights, camera, action on your marketing plan, give our team at Stray Media Group a call to see how we can help.

 

Target Audiences

Target Audience – 3 Need-to-Knows

Marketing is all about connecting with people – you must listen to what they want or what problems they face that need solving, and be the business to provide the solution they’ve been pining for. Before you can swoop in and save the day, your business must first know who your target audience is, what they are saying, and how to reach them with your solution.

 

What a Target Audience Is

Target Audience – the demographic of people most likely to want your product or service. Essentially, these are the people with a problem that your product or service can help them with. When you think about it, we’ve all been doing this for ages. Back in your young days, did you ever ask your dad for permission to do something because you knew that your mom would say no? Classic case of targeting your message to the right audience for the best result.

Definition of Target Audience

The scope of target audiences varies greatly from wide to narrow. For example, let’s say you own a specialty dog boutique with high-end supplies for the die-hard pooch enthusiast. Your audience is going to be narrower than that of a general pet supplies store that is geared towards a wider audience of pet owners, from cats and dogs to parakeets and gerbils.

Or perhaps you own a car dealership that specializes in expensive luxury sports cars. This product will need to target a sliver of the consumer population that can afford that price tag, such as business men in their 40s or 50s that make over $250,000 a year, vs. your local pre-owned car dealership.

Regardless of what your company does or produces, every business needs a target audience and a strategy for how to reach them.

 

Why your business needs a target audience

Why are target audiences vital to the success of your business? To market or advertise your business, you first need to know who you want to reach and where to find them.

If you’re thinking to yourself “Why would I limit my audience to a small group of people instead of sharing what my business has to offer with the entire world?” you are not alone. While on the surface that may sound like the more logical explanation – to include everyone – when you have a defined marketing budget that isn’t labeled “sky’s the limit” (psst…none of them are) you need to work smarter, not harder, to reach people.

Work smarter, not harder, to reach your target audience

By defining your target audience and marketing to the people you already know would potentially be interested in buying (or at least learning more about) your product or service, you are able to:

  1. Craft your message to speak to them directly
  2. Make a relevant connection between a potential consumer and your brand
  3. Focus budget dollars on mediums you know are more likely to reach your audience

 

How to find your target audience

You know what a target audience is, and understand the importance of defining it for your business. What now? Go out and get it! Thorough market research is key here, whether that means hitting the pavement to do your own legwork or gathering data from research companies or resources.

Ideas for market research include:

  1. Experiments or trials
  2. Focus groups
  3. Interviews
  4. Observation
  5. Product pricing
  6. Social media insights
  7. Surveys
  8. Website analytics

The goal here is to get to know your potential consumers, what problems they experience, what they do about them now, and how your product or service can make their life easier. Learn the ins and outs of where they get their information and outline game plans for how to best reach them.

Is your product an online project management program for small businesses? Chances are your audience is more likely to be reached through digital marketing – website, blogs, online ads, email marketing, etc. – vs. more traditional methods that may be more fitting for targeting a specific area with offers for your local supermarket – print ads, direct mail, TV commercials.

Need a helping hand to define your target audience and develop a marketing plan for how to best reach them? That’s what we’re here for. Our team at Stray Media Group would be happy to meet with you to determine where your business is and what we can do to help you grow. Learn more about our work and how we can take your marketing to new heights by contacting us today!

 

 

Why 'Good Enough' is Never Good Enough

Good Enough Syndrome

Ahh yes, the ever-present ‘good enough syndrome’ as we like to call it. What exactly is it, and why should your business steer clear? We’re going to take on the subject head-first in this installment of ‘Powered By Creativity’.

Good Enough Syndrome

When people say “it’s good enough,” to us marketers it’s like nails on a chalkboard. Why? Because we see the potential in businesses and where they could be if they would ditch this attitude and begin settling for nothing less than excellence. When we all explore possibilities outside of what we’ve always done and strive for excellence – that’s when great things happen.

BRAND IDENTITY

Made up of every component your business has, from your name and logo to your tagline, “brand identity is how that business wants to be perceived by consumers,” (Investopedia). Just like how you decide to present yourself to the world in your day-to-day life, businesses must also step into their metaphorical closet and decide what they want to be perceived as by those who encounter them on a daily basis.

Here is where it can be extremely dangerous to come down with a case of the ‘good enoughs’. Compromising how your brand is represented to the world – whether it’s a poorly designed website that doesn’t work or a print ad that lacks a call to action – is a missed opportunity to connect and engage with potential customers.

While solidifying brand identity is no easy feat, it is essential to define who you are as a business and what you want people to identify with regarding your brand. Is your business more of the sleek suit and tie variety? Or perhaps a more fun, happy-go-lucky vibe? Pick a lane and stick to it, all the while ensuring your entire marketing strategy presents your unique identity to the world in a professional, well-thought-out manner.

CONSISTENCY

How do you ensure your brand is represented as it should be at all times? Consistency, consistency, consistency. Quality control is huge here – every single item, from your business card to your storefront sign, needs to exude the look and feel of your brand. Regardless of what material or medium it is, it needs to be made clear to any person who sees it that it’s your business – without making them think twice.

Consistency and quality control are essentials to a solid marketing strategy

We often see people develop the ‘good enough syndrome’ when it comes to consistency. Perhaps you are on a tight deadline and choose to go with the “free” graphic design services that tabloid offered you, even though they don’t know anything about your brand (learn why this service is never actually “free”). Or maybe you’re trying to save some budget dollars and have your niece build you a website for free (seriously, never actually “free”).

Whatever the case may be, it all comes down to this – is it serving the brand you’ve worked so hard to build in the right way? Is it up to the brand standards you’ve worked so hard to set up from the beginning? If it’s anything short of excellent, it’s NOT good enough.

USER EXPERIENCE

Why is all of this such an important part of your brand? It all comes down to the relationships and engagements you make with your audience. After all, that’s what marketing is all about – connecting with people and communicating what you have to offer that will improve, simplify or enhance their lives.

Marketing is all about connecting with people at the right time and place.

If nothing on your website works, your billboard has a fuzzy picture with no call to action, or your logo hasn’t been updated in 10 years – this all affects the way a user experiences your brand. Consumers are smarter than ever these days. When you say, “ahhh, I guess that’s going to have to be good enough,” people notice that and their perception of your brand gets knocked down a couple of pegs.

Opt to have marketing pieces so undeniably excellent – on par with brand identity, consistent messages, beautiful design – that they can’t help but see your dedication to the brand and consider you a trustworthy source that deserves their business.

Find yourself in these predicaments from time to time, but not sure where to begin? No sweat; that’s what we’re here for. We love this stuff and have an eye for where your business can be. All it takes is some T.L.C. for your brand and a dedication to striving for nothing short of excellent. Give us a call to discuss your marketing strategy and how we can help.

Comapny Culture

The What, How, & Why of Cultivating Positive Company Culture

Culture seems to be the latest business buzzword and “must-have” in companies today. But what exactly is culture? How can you have a great one that recruits and retains an excellent workforce? How can a healthy, thriving culture impact your bottom line? We’ll cover the basics of cultivating an excellent company culture this month on ‘Powered by Creativity.’

What is company culture

Every company has a distinct culture, no matter if they have one employee or hundreds of thousands. Company culture involves what employees see, feel, and think about your business – it is a set of visions, values, norms, beliefs, habits, and assumptions that make up your company’s identity; in essence, it is your company’s personality. Cultures are not something employees bring with them; they are ingrained in the genetic code of your company and will exist before and after employees come and go, although they can change over time.

 

Company Culture

 

To evaluate your company’s current culture, you may want to ask yourself these questions: “What are common behaviors of employees while they are on the job – good or bad? How meaningful is the job to my employees – would they go elsewhere if given the opportunity?” While not your actual culture, the answers to these questions signify either a healthy or unhealthy culture. Company culture is important to employees and employers alike – employees want to enjoy their time in the workplace and feel that their work has meaning for both themselves and the company, while employers benefit when they have employees who fit in with the company culture, which usually makes them happier and more productive, as well as wanting to work for the company longer.

How to cultivate company culture

The good news is that, if you have discovered aspects of your culture that you would like to improve upon, they are fluid and changeable. Putting a focus on culture within your company gives your team guiding principles. It is up to the leaders of the company to set the precedent for the culture you want to achieve. According to companyculture.com, 80% of company members are potentially very flexible – if the culture asks for employees to be engaged, responsible, pleasant, and highly productive, they will be; however, in unhealthy culture environments, employees may be closed, unengaged, irresponsible, unpleasant, and unproductive.

 

Company Culture

 

If you cultivate a great culture, people will know you for it, your team will live by it and work together towards the same company mission, and it will get you through the bumps in the road. Here are a few key areas you can get started with right away to get the ball rolling on creating a dynamic company culture.

Purpose: In order for your purpose to be effective and resonate with your team, they not only have to be told what it is, they have to buy into it as well. Employees as a whole typically want to feel like what they do matters – showing them their measurable impact on the success of the company makes them invested in what they do and want to do better.

Engagement: Purpose’s cousin, engagement, is all about preparation – specifically how prepared your employees feel to fulfill their purpose. If there are distractions or inefficiencies, or people don’t feel like they can fulfill their role to the best of their ability, there is an engagement problem.

Trust: A critical aspect in life that transfers into the workplace, trust needs to be an important company value, period. If there is mistrust about your employees, whether it comes to personal effects or getting the job done, the issue needs to be addressed and rectified as soon as possible.

Evolve: Continuous learning = continuous improvement of your company. Processes and the way things are done change and evolve over time, and so should your workforce. It is the responsibility of the business owner to make sure employees feel empowered to seek their own continuing education, and if they don’t, you need to dig a little deeper into finding out why.

Why company culture matters

Culture matters – a healthy culture creates enthusiasm and happiness, which means more productivity. Job satisfaction starts with job creators caring about their employees. When an employer hires that perfect candidate, they definitely want the best return on their dollar, but if you ask the reverse question ‘besides a paycheck, what are your employees getting out of their job?’ it may help you understand how to engage and motivate employees to their full potential. Improving company culture may seem like it takes a lot of effort, but once you have a healthy one, the benefits are countless; from getting more work done faster to higher retention rates of valuable members of the team, as well as eventually being able to recruit the most competitive employees to keep your company moving forward. The best and brightest employees in any given field want it all; competitive salary and benefits, work/life balance, and a great company culture that makes them look forward to going to work every day. In turn, they’ll give you their best and be invested in your company’s success as much as you are.

 

If you’re reading this and feel like you don’t know where to begin with changing your company culture for the better, you’re not alone. Company culture is unique to each business and can sometimes be a complicated aspect of your company to change. If you’re ready to make that leap, our culture experts are here to help with solid advice and business development plans. We have the unique perspective of being on the outside looking in, and may be able to pinpoint certain pain points in your culture that are easy to overlook when you are busy running your day-to-day operations. Give us a shout out today – we’d love to talk to you!