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Tom Marin

Building Brands

By Tom Marin

About Tom

Tom Marin is the managing partner of and provides corporate and brand strategy to organizations of all sizes. He has an extensive background in the graphic arts, printing, publishing and media industries. Marin is an accredited member of the national and international chapters of the Business Marketing Assn., is a (CBC) certified business communicator and a past marketing chair of the Chicago chapter.


Building a World-Class Marketing Organization

One proven way an organization can differentiate itself from its competition is by creating a brand-marketing program that is far and away better than anyone else’s. And the best way to do that is by integrating both print and digital media in new ways that others haven’t.

For the past centuries, the printed word has announced world wars, introduced new companies that changed the world, and defined how businesses should be run. Today, the digital presence of an organization can have 100 times the impact in a fraction of the time because new digital media moves so quickly.

If you think strategic market planning isn’t essential, think again. According to Digital Buzz, the popular blog that reports online news, “over 700 Billion minutes a month are spent on Facebook, 20 million applications are installed per day and over 250 million people interact with Facebook from outside the official website on a monthly basis, across 2 million websites. Over 200 million people access Facebook via their mobile phone. 48 percent of young people said they now get their news through Facebook. Meanwhile, in just 20 minutes on Facebook over 1 million links are shared, 2 million friend requests are accepted and almost 3 million messages are sent.”

Those stats should convince you that you shouldn’t run your marketing program the same way you used to. That will not bring the positive happy results you are looking for.

So what are some marketing essentials that you can employ? Here are a few ground rules that I have found very useful when designing a strategic marketing program.

1. Employ a focused financial management discipline to everything you do.
The importance of a return on investment (ROI) cannot be stressed enough. Delivering a strong ROI requires a total commitment to spend your budget on items that will produce a direct or at least in-direct benefit to the bottom line. Examples of this financial acumen should be instilled into all aspects of your strategic planning process.

2. Provide consistent innovation.
The primary driver here is creative ideas. We are not talking about cute taglines or one-off headlines that are standalone ideas and lack the ability to provide the cover to launch a multimedia and multi-messaging campaign. The good news is, you can test your ideas very inexpensively using the web and go to full launch once you are certain your campaign is a winner.

3. Bring your customer’s knowledge into all of your decisions.
It’s often difficult for organizations to keep themselves out of the equation. The primary question to ask yourself is, “Do you fit the profile of your most typical customer?” Characteristics to look for are age, gender, education, lifestyle and a myriad of parameters that make you, you.

4. Realize you don’t need a Facebook “Strategy.”
What you need is strategic marketing plan that might utilize Facebook along with many other digital channels, such as Linkedin, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr, SEO, SEM, PPC, PPI, etc. The choice of what to leverage should only be driven by what media your key customers use.

5. Don’t operate in a vacuum.
Realize there are many departments, services, competitors, etc. that you need to weigh and balance when designing your strategic plan. Frankly, think more like a CEO who sees the big picture than a marketing director who focuses on what is “creative” and will make the biggest impact.

6. Quality should have no fear of time.
What I mean by that is, you should not allow yourself to be pushed into a corner to produce and launch ideas that you know are not going to make the big difference that is required. You can’t hurry success. It’s a process that requires time to germinate and bear fruit.

Producing ideas is much the same proposition. All too often, marketing directors operate under a false set of timelines, learned from bad management they’ve experienced, and force ideas out the door that frankly are not ready for prime time.

Unfortunately, there are few places you can learn the art and science of brand marketing. Universities don’t offer this specialty despite the fact it’s one of the most important dimensions of any company’s growth.

Would Apple or IBM have been as successful with limited or poor marketing? I don’t think so. What we can learn from them is it takes more than a glossy brochure or a flashy website to build a successful marketing program. It takes a concerted integration of many disciplines and types of media that have been developed and tested over many months and then years to be successful today.
Tom Wants to Hear Your Branding Issues:
If you are a printing company or product/services company serving the print-media market and would like to be considered for a feature in this blog, please contact Tom Marin for an interview.

Follow MarketCues on TwitterOpens in a new window for branding and social media tips, as well as the latest trends. Tom also welcomes emails, new LinkedInOpens in a new window connections, calls to 407.330.7708 or visit www.marketcues.comOpens in a new window. How can he help solve your branding issues?

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