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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.


Marketing and that Strategy Thing

Companies typically work every day to develop qualified leads, but many do not achieve the results they want. Not everyone is taking the time to put in place a proactive marketing strategy, even though they should. Strategic marketing isn’t an easy one-two-three activity, and the U.S. marketplace keeps getting more crowded with new brands and offers that seem to never end.

Enter a simple, strong strategy—the way to clear sailing from prospect to qualified lead to customer. OK, it’s not entirely that simple, but your strategy should be.

In 1957, McDonald’s sold 15 hamburgers. Today, it has sold more than 300 billion. Its restaurants can be found in 119 countries serving 58 million customers each day in 31,000 locations worldwide. The company employs 1.5 million people. Needless to say, it is successful.

How would you feel about having served 58 million customers? Actually, it’s not important how you feel about it, it’s what you are going to do about it that counts. So let’s take a few moments to review some keys to building a successful strategic marketing program.

Understand your funnel.—Marketing spend is largest at the top of the sales funnel. Much of the time it’s necessary because the company does not have a well-defined strategy in place, so casting a very large net is required to deliver an appropriate number of ’qualified’ leads.

A huge amount of uplift can be realized by simply being more selective in who you target. Having 100 highly qualified sales prospects is far more valuable than 10,000—or even 100,000—that are not qualified. Yet, the majority of companies purchase enormous lists and email or mail to them every day with astonishingly low success rates.

I have tried this approach and can tell you it doesn’t work. In most cases, it burns your marketing spend down to the point you don’t have enough resources to continue the dialogue.

Understand your approach.—Your strategic marketing should not be structured as a catalog. While commonsense informs you to be concerned with expressing your full content, the head of the process is key. It’s what drives a successful program.

Many companies make the mistake of flooding their websites with tons of photos and copy. While some believe this positions them as an expert, even the expert on a topic, smart marketers have realized that the whole tonnage thing doesn’t work well with prospective customers. They want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily, and not be hit with so much information they can’t find what they would like to purchase.

Understand your customers.
—We are aware of a few such successful marketers who it: McDonald’s, Starbucks, Disney, Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and the host of all leading brands. What is it they do that others do not? Across the world, you will find their stores and websites delivering the information and results their customers want down to the products and services they offer.

Here in the states, strategic marketing should cast for our multi-cultures with relevant experiences. In that way, customers are served at those specific stores in the way they prefer. How did this happen? Because a bunch of people took the time to find out what customers like, dislike, prefer, and what would earn their trust, then they put in place a system to deliver that to customers on a day-by-day basis.

Whatever your product or service, you need to figure out what you do better than everyone else and condense it down into a simple-to-understand statement. Some call this your “value proposition” or your “brand promise.”

Whatever you call it, you need it before you spend your next hard-earned nickel on marketing. Doing so will allow you the necessary funds to both drive your funnel top and optimize your messaging once prospects arrive at your website. One without the other doesn’t work. And that’s the strategy thing you should be investing in to achieve your stated objectives.
Tom Wants To Hear Your Branding Issues:
Tom Marin, Managing Partner of MarketCues, wants to hear from you! Follow MarketCues on Twitter for branding and social media tips - as well as the latest trends. Tom also welcomes emails, new LinkedIn connections, calls to 407.330.7708 or visit How can he help solve your branding issues?

Note: 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.

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