Learning from the Past: Lessons to Take from the Past Year


direct-mail-applying-lessons-learnedThe year 2015 has barely begun, but business owners are already determining how to ensure their companies do better this year than last year and how to make this year as profitable as possible. Unfortunately, many business owners aren’t fully aware that looking back to 2014 could have plenty of benefits. Today, we’ll look at some of the smart marketing moves companies made in 2014, as well as some of the mistakes business owners make each year. We’ll show you how to avoid pitfalls and have a successful business year.

Smart Idea #1: Making it Fun

Smart marketers know they can reach a broader demographic if they make their ads fun, either in the classical sense or a dry, understated sense. For example, Evian water had a successful “dancing baby” campaign in 2014. In their ads, people drinking Evian walked by a giant bank of windows. As they watched, their reflections became babies – versions of themselves as infants – dancing to “Here Comes the Hotstepper.” Instantly, smiles and laughter broke out on both sides of the screen. The message? “Drink Evian and you will be young and energetic again.” Of course, part of the subconscious message was Evian’s health benefits, but the ads didn’t lecture or push. Instead, they appealed to viewers’ nostalgia and innocence, resulting in success.

Smart Idea #2: Answering the Critics

Most marketers are afraid of being criticized, but this can be used to their advantage if handled in a lighthearted manner. For example, one of Geico’s successful ad campaigns in 2014 was the, “Everybody knows that” campaign. It’s true that since Geico’s been around since 1975, everyone probably does know they can save people plenty of money on car insurance. Viewers might even be sick of hearing that. However, Geico didn’t capitulate to critics. Instead, they changed their message, challenging viewers to think about funny things they might not know. For instance, most of us probably don’t know if a grocery clerk would make a bad auctioneer. Car insurance still made it into viewers’ brains, but this time through a humorous message that also answered critics without being vindictive.

Mistake #1: Not Updating Your Website

Most current businesses need a website in order to survive. However, too many business owners and employees don’t update their website, or don’t construct it wisely. Websites can sit unnoticed, full of broken links and old information, for weeks. This frustrates online patrons and drives face-to-face business down. Distracting graphics, music, and fonts are also a pitfall, as they make it hard for patrons to determine what information is useful and what isn’t.

Mistake #2: Not Listening

This can refer to both employees and potential customers. For example, if you work for a small cupcake café, you don’t need team-building strategies aimed at corporate executives with teams of thirty people. Trying to implement them will frustrate everyone. Similarly, it’s a terrible idea not to listen to customers. If customers at your cupcake café have asked for gluten-free options for six months, don’t procrastinate. Research gluten-free recipes and encourage customers to try them.

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