Resources for the Promotional Products Industry
Does Your Marketing Make Sense?
Kelli Bernd and the whole group over at INM Marketing Group create really smart marketing, which is why we were so thrilled to feature Kelli and her team’s work during our recent skummunity live event on the topic, “Does Your Marketing Make Sense?” In addition to some amazing work they’ve done on their website , including their blog, they also experiment with vlogging and many other digital strategies frequently.
One of the primary parts of our chat was how they use self-promo campaigns to engage with customers. What Kelli and her team are creating is far and above the average swag-in-a-box experience, they think through every aspect, from design to sensory perception to function. Through their experience, they discovered five essential (but subtle) elements to a successful campaign:
Message first, brand second. When Kelli and her team develop a campaign, they talk about message first, brand second. “Message has become far more important because if you position your marketing campaign with a message that resonates with the audience, you’ll build a stronger connection to the brand. It’s very counterintuitive but it works. Often in our industry, we’re putting the brand before the message, but we want our campaigns to have empathy and connect, and the greater the message, the greater the impact.”
Know the rules; break the rules. A cardinal rule for any creative endeavor is to know the rules ... so that you can break the rules. Using a variety of color options is a strategic part of INM Marketing Group’s campaigns and every now and then they bend -sometimes even break- the rules, even when it comes to their own brand colors. Recently, they launched a campaign that coincided with the Pantone color of the year and used the year’s colors throughout their branding, even though the colors were somewhat inconsistent with their own brand guidelines. INM does this for a reason though, they want their clients to think differently about color, to think of color as an important part of the experience, and to know the rules (first) so that they, too, can bend or break the rules (without conflicting with brand compliance).
Subtle branding is the boldest branding. When INM develops a campaign, often their logo is subdued, the tones are subdued. Rather than screaming at people with a logo-drop, they blend their branding in with the design, or sometimes even just an aspect of the design (like the light bulb in their logo) to achieve a balance and symmetry that fits elegantly within the experience. Customers are oversaturated with logos and brands and it’s easier to gently ease a customer into an experience than the persuade them with a shouting voice.
Campaigns educate. A 101 level of campaign development is to create a campaign and hope that the customer buys merchandise from that campaign - but those are small wins. Big wins are when a client receives a beautiful, well-executive campaign from you and you help them learn something that they can apply to their next campaign. The response you want with a campaign is not, “How much is this mug?” but, “This is a great idea, we need to consider how we can do something similar with our brand as well!” Brilliant execution from you inspires brilliant execution by them.
Invest, believe, and adopt a rhythm. One final point that Kelli didn’t make but inferred (by way of example) was to make deep investments in campaigns to your prospects and build a rhythm around them, in other words: spend the money for self-promo and launch campaigns on a schedule. We all know there is no better form of advertising than promotional products, but are you using them to demonstrate just how powerful they can be? Are you leading by example? Marketing is not a spend, marketing is an investment.
After our interview with Kelli, we gathered in smaller groups where attendees shared their best self-promo tips as well as the primary marketing tactics and tools they plan on using throughout 2021 it was one of the most educational and inspirational hours we’ve spent as a community! Thanks to Kelli and the entire INM team for being so transparent with their ideas and giving us insight into how to become power-marketers!
Join us for our next skummunity meetup on May 26th from 4-5 ET when we’ll be joined by Lou and Seth Cysewski from Coolperx to talk about “Building a Brand with Social Purpose.” It’s a fast hour with friends and you’ll walk away with real-time tactics from pros! Register here and come meetup with us!