The Perfect Tech Stack For Lead Generation At B2B Firms In 2021

Source: https://www.square2marketing.com/blog/the-perfect-tech-stack-for-lead-generation-at-b2b-firms-in-2021

You Can’t Build A Revenue Machine Without The Right Parts

With so much to do, so little time and limited resources, companies all over the world are facing pressure to run marketing and sales smarter. This means using technology to automate, inform and optimize your results while limiting your investment in wasted and unproductive efforts.

Every company needs a tech stack to run marketing, sales and even customer service in a more efficient, data-driven and results-oriented way.

This isn’t new news to many of you, but what you should have in your tech stack might be different than you thought. A lot changed in 2020, and if you’re using the same tools you were using last year, you’re missing a lot.

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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Safer Gambling Week: The Pros, the Cons, and the Actionable

Source: https://postfunnel.com/safer-gambling-week-the-pros-the-cons-and-the-actionable/

Safer Gambling Week, hashtag #SGWeek20, is a cross-industry initiative to promote safer gambling, chiefly in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

From last Thursday, November 19th, and through to today, approximately 100,000 employees within the gaming sector are participating by communicating what it means to be a responsible gambler.

Led by Betting and Gaming Council, Bingo Association, and the British Amusement Catering Trade Association, the goal is to trigger a national conversation on the topic. And more than 200 organizations worldwide are helping promote the campaign this year – the first since changing its name from “Responsible Gambling Week.”

“We want to take the message about safer gambling even further this year and are hoping that this will be our biggest campaign yet. The continued engagement and support of football clubs is enormously helpful in highlighting the week and triggering conversations about what it means to gamble safely throughout the year,” a Safer Gambling Week spokesperson said.

A major part of the campaign consists of the following 5 key ways to manage gambling habits, both online and offline:

  1. Only spend what you can afford
  2. Set your limits for time and money
  3. Gambling is not the answer to any problem
  4. Gambling when angry or sad is never a good idea
  5. Gambling shouldn’t interfere with your personal life

 

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Gaming Operators Who Support the Campaign

Some of the world’s leading gaming platforms have joined forces to support players who experience gambling problems by providing them with free materials combined with specialist knowledge, insight, and research.

New initiatives to promote Safer Gambling Week from William Hill include releasing a series of mini-clips and customized messages from its sports ambassadors and sponsorship partners.

While 888 is launching an innovative customer-centric interface called Control Centre, which will be featured across the operators’ numerous gaming brands to further increase the prominence of 888’s safer gambling tools.

“As part of our wider Safer Gambling Week initiatives, we are delighted to announce the phased roll-out of our latest safe gambling innovation, the Control Centre, initially launching to our customers in the UK this November,” Itai Pazner, CEO of 888, explained.

“The first phase of the Control Centre will focus on making safe gambling tools more accessible and visible to customers, with several additional safe gambling product features due to be integrated over the coming months.”

What will Phase 2 include?

GGPoker is highlighting the tools that players have at their disposal this week by sending out messages that strongly promote Safer Gambling Week.

Another big player participating in the campaign is Sky Bet: “We’ve got some great awareness which is going on over the weekend. Every football club that’s part of the EFL – sponsored by Sky Bet – are going to have Safer Gambling Week branding at all their matches,” says Brigid Simmonds, chair of the Betting and Gaming Council.

BetVictor replaced their names on the teams’ shirts with Safer Gambling Week, on Sunday’s match between Everton and Fulham.

EFL, PokerStars, GGPoker, and more will dedicate advertising space on their websites, marketing materials, big screens, and across social media channels. While other operators have created comprehensive gaming programs, training academies, promotional resources, and provide 24/7 expert advice.

Gambling Help Lines:

  • In GB call 0808 8020 133 Free call
  • In IRL call 1800 936 725 Freephone
  • In NI call 08000 886 725 Freephone

From PostFunnel Editor-in-Chief:

This week is not only Thanksgiving week but also the final stretch before BlackFridayCyberMonday. It also happens to be Safer Gambling Week (since changing its name from “Responsible GW”), where the industry gives gamblers at risk top priority.

But doing so by mostly talking to the players themselves could kinda feel like operators and regulators are rolling the task of improving gambling habits away from them and on to the customers.

If there’s one thing 2020 has taught brands, responsibility is something they must embrace and lead. They have the footprint to drive significant change faster. Some customers will never forgive brands that do not get it. In other cases, customers’ families won’t.

(first appeared on the PostFunnel B2CRm News newsletter from November 24th)

Further reading on Responsible Gaming, from Optimove:

“Responsible Gaming Should Be Front and Center”

https://www.optimove.com/blog/responsible-gaming-should-be-front-and-center

6 Marketing Methods for Socially Responsible Gaming

https://www.optimove.com/blog/6-marketing-methods-for-socially-responsible-gaming

Guide: Building a Predictive Model for At-Risk Players

https://www.optimove.com/blog/guide-building-a-predictive-model-for-at-risk-players

The post Safer Gambling Week: The Pros, the Cons, and the Actionable appeared first on Post Funnel.

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9 Most Common Mistakes a Digital Marketing Agency Makes

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/digital-marketing-agency-mistakes/

If you own a digital marketing agency, odds are you know everything about running your business.

You know exactly how to run your agency, how to win new clients and retain them, and how to wear all the hats and do everyone else’s job.

But despite all that knowledge, you’re still stuck in second gear.

You’re hoping to scale your agency after all this economic turmoil. You’re waiting for that miracle to happen (and I don’t mean the pandemic to finally be over!).

But what you probably don’t know is that you might be making huge mistakes today.

And those mistakes are stopping you from scaling. But the good news is, you don’t need the world to get back to normal before you start growing your business. You can be solving those mistakes right now.

And although to err is human, you shouldn’t really be erring with your business.

That’s why today, I’ll tell you:

  • The biggest 9 mistakes that even the most successful digital marketing agency owners make—and what to do to fix them.
  • How to turn those mistakes into big marketing wins.
  • And how regardless of the pandemic literally sucking businesses’ revenue, you could be actually growing yours 💪.

Some of these mistakes I even made myself when I owned a web design agency. But when I started spotting them, my business growth started rising like crazy.

So ready to fix those problems in your agency? But before that, take a minute to answer this question…

Oh, and by the way, happy early Thanksgiving!

In a rush? Want to download this article as a PDF so you can easily take action on it later? Click here to download this article as a PDF guide.

 

 

Why Should You Scale Your Digital Marketing Agency in the Middle of Economic Turmoil?

The impact of COVID-19 was felt by pretty much all agencies and businesses across the globe.

One survey by Uplers shows that 66% of agencies experienced a decrease in revenue.

Source

And over 2/3 of agencies with less than 25 employees were the most heavily impacted.

Source

And different businesses have been marketing their brand differently during the coronavirus.

The uncertainty of the prevailing pandemic continues to disrupt the digital business worldwide.

A survey by Uplers shows that most agencies believe COVID-19’s impact would last between 6-12 months.

Source

And as the economy tries to slowly get back to normal, many industries, especially digital marketing agencies, have been facing tough challenges.

But even though the corona age may or may not last more months or even years, you as an agency owner must take action now.

Because as Chris Ronzio from Trainual told me in an interview once…

“There is chaos in every business”

….And I strongly believe that there’s opportunity where there’s chaos.

In fact, some agencies saw a 65% increase of leads during the pandemic.

And this shows that digital marketing agencies weren’t only negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Source

See how you don’t really have to wait for the pandemic to be over to start getting those good numbers up?

All you have to do is avoid making these huge mistakes that most agency owners often make (like waiting around for the pandemic to be over)…

Mistake #1 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Cha Ching! 💰 Focusing on Revenue & Not on Profitability

I’ve included this point before as one of the challenges growing agencies face.

Because agency owners (hopefully not you) actually obsess about generating lots of revenue.

But they completely forget about profitability…

Wait, profitability?

“What’s that Matt?” 🤔

Profitability is the ability that your agency has to produce a return on an investment based on its resources.

Simply put, revenue minus expenses equals profits.

So your agency is profitable when your expenses don’t surpass your revenue.

Therefore, if your agency has sustainable profitability that can support its growth, it will allow you to focus on your clients, your team, and your business.

So focus not only on how much revenue you make each month. Focus too on seeing if your agency is remaining profitable.

Bottom line: Revenue shouldn’t matter so much if your expenses are higher. Keep an eye on those numbers and make sure that what you’re spending in your business doesn’t exceed your revenue.

Mistake #2 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Not Keeping Clients Posted or Updated About Their Account

One of the biggest reasons why your clients may be requesting to cancel your service is because of lack of communication.

You see, when your clients partner with your digital marketing agency, they’re trusting you. They’re relying on your expertise. But they’re also relying on your transparency when it comes to sharing wins and results.

While it’s true that you shouldn’t be informing clients of every single problem their account faces (after all, you’re there to solve all of those problems)—you should communicate with them on a regular basis.

Because they don’t see the behind-the-scenes work that you and your team do for them.

And if you don’t tell them “Hey, here’s what we’ve accomplished so far with your account”, they’ll think no work has been done.

So what can really prevent clients from wondering or worrying is updating them about the progress on their account.

And for this, you can show them that progress in the form of video, reports, calls—whatever keeps them updated.

For instance, we at AutoGrow don’t only keep our clients updated through our web app’s live chat on a regular basis…

We also constantly share with them conversion pushups—or what we like calling performance checkups.

A conversion pushup is a run-through of each of our clients’ funnels that our Digital Marketing Strategists do.

Here, they point out typically small but significant changes we can make to their funnels to help boost… you guessed it—conversions!

We do this because there are tons of funnel optimization tweaks you can do to your sales funnels to boost conversions.

And sometimes, those small changes can radically boost your funnel’s conversion rate.

We’ve actually seen those results in the 313 case studies analyzed in our Proven Sales Conversion Pack.

And we’ve also seen a lot of those impressive results in the conversion rate case studies for eCommerce stores that we’ve also analyzed.

Bottom line: Keep your clients updated on a regular basis with easy-to-digest updates. Forget about long, tedious analyses and reports. Gone are the days when clients would sit down to read a 10-page report about where their account is at.

Mistake #3 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Not Offering Client Support & Project Management Assistance

Ok. I’m not going to say that project managers are the most important team members within your organization. Every key team member is valuable, important, and special—blah blah.

BUT a project manager or a client support specialist is critical to making your marketing agency relationship with clients successful.

They’re key roles in improving client retention.

And not having them is one of the biggest mistakes your digital marketing agency is making.

You see, a project manager is your marketing team’s accountability expert. And it’s one of the 9 digital marketing experts you need in your agency or virtual team.

They’re (supposed to be) detail-oriented, organized, and able to spot bottlenecks and project snags before they become a serious problem in your clients’ accounts.

They’re also (supposed to be) effective communicators who can clearly set client expectations so that everyone’s on the same page. And also make that great first impression to new clients…

Your project manager and/or client support specialist will:

  • Make sure projects are completed on time for your clients
  • Make sure projects are completed under budget
  • Make sure clients are updated on a regular basis

In fact, according to the Project Management Institute, organizations that invest in proven project management practices waste 28X less money than other organizations.

That means having a project manager in your team can actually save you tons of money!

Source

Bottom line: The work your team does for your clients will likely not be completed on time and will probably run way over budget without a project manager there to keep track of spending.

Mistake #4 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Not Offering 5-Star Customer Service

Part of the secret to a successful relationship between your digital marketing agency and your clients is offering 5-star customer service.

You may be the most knowledgeable agency owner. Or you may have thrived as an expert digital marketer.

But if you don’t provide great customer support to your clients, then not even the fanciest masters or degree will help you retain those clients.

Because while your “do-ers” are working (or dealing :D) directly with your clients, and while your client base increases, you need to attend each client’s inquiries with impeccable customer service.

In fact, according to HubSpot, 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases with companies who offer excellent customer service.

And according to Glance, 78% of customers have backed out of a purchase because of a poor customer experience.

On top of that, 67% of repeat customers or clients are more likely to invest more money in your agency according to Bain & Company.

Source

Customer experience matters. And it matters a lot when it comes to scaling your agency

Bottom line: If you’re wondering how to scale your digital marketing agency, invest in top-notch customer service. Period.

Mistake #5 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Not Having a Highly-Talented Team of Pros

Your team of pros is made up of the people who will make all your ideas real—that’s AutoGrow’s goal by the way.

Through our web app, our clients (who are mostly agencies by the way!) submit a request (or idea) for any digital marketing task.

Email sequence copy, landing page(s) design, logo creation, retargeting ads strategy—literally anything.

Then, our team of pros (designers, copywriters, quality assurance specialists, ads managers—all of them) bring those ideas to reality.

You see, your team of experts are the people who do all the heavy lifting for your clients (and you). And not having the right team in place can result in serious damage for your agency.

But when you hire the right team of experts, make sure they are talented and skilled.

Because without skills, high-quality standards, and with plenty of mediocrity, the work you do for clients will simply translate into unhappy clients.

Bottom line: Without a team of highly-talented and reliable people, you won’t be able to deliver the work to clients nor meet deadlines. You need talented and highly-skilled people to make your clients’ work and ideas a reality.

Mistake #6 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Surpassing Your Team’s Capacity & Taking on Too Many Clients Because You “Can Outsource All the Work”

Quick question—the more clients you get the better, right? Because the more clients you take, the more money you make, right?

After all, you can outsource all the work if your agency starts overloading, right?

WRONG!

By taking more clients you’re not necessarily making more money.

You’re making more revenue, yes. But that revenue won’t mean a thing if you’re not even profitable (remember mistake #1).

And you can outsource the work, of course. Actually, that’s what many digital marketing agencies do. They delegate all the work to AutoGrow.

But when delegating or outsourcing your clients’ work, you need to make sure first that you know the outsourcer. You need to make sure you know they will comply with all the work guidelines and deadlines. And you need to make sure that they won’t make you look bad in front of your clients.

That’s why we have a very clear Reviews landing page and Our Work landing page where prospects can take a look at our clients’ social proof and the work we’ve done for them.

Because if you take 100 clients and your team’s capacity is 80, then, 20 clients won’t be receiving the promised deliverables. And if they do receive them, they’ll probably not be on time and without quality standards.

And what do you think will happen with those 20 clients who don’t receive the work on time or who won’t receive it at all?

They’ll probably complain (at the very least), cancel, and post a bad review about your service.

And of course, you can always turn a bad review into a marketing win. But it’s better to prevent that from happening in the first place.

So a huge mistake digital marketing agencies make is taking as many clients as possible and surpassing their team’s capacity. And to blindly rely on outsourcers to delegate all the work without even reading their business’ reviews… well that’s a huge mistake.

Bottom line: Even though you can outsource and delegate your clients’ work, you need to have at least an understanding of what’s involved in the service you sign up for. Make sure to know first the business’ reputation to see if it’s worth outsourcing the work to them. And if they’re not worth it, then delegate your clients’ work to us.

Mistake #7 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Going Niche

If you’re a digital marketing agency owner, you don’t necessarily need to go super niche.

For example, you don’t only have to offer clients website design. You could offer website design along with copywriting services and web development.

Or you don’t only have to offer copywriting services. You could offer copy plus sales funnel strategies.

Get it?

Actually, going super niche can limit your agency.

You could stay niche to one industry, but it’s ok to offer a variety of services.

Let’s say for example, you start as a web design agency. Then, you can add related site traffic analytics management and conversion optimization services.

More clients will likely sign up for your service because those services you’re offering (web design, traffic, conversion optimization) work together.

Bottom line: You can offer a broad range of services to your clients. Especially if they work like a “combo.” Because clients will more likely need a burger, french fries, and soda than just a burger.

Mistake #8 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Not Having a Clear Value Proposition

One big mistake marketing agencies always make is not having a clear value proposition.

And if clients skim through your website to find out about your services, and your copy and value proposition isn’t clear, guess what?

They won’t sign up.

Your copy and unique selling proposition must clearly state what your agency offers.

See ours?

That’s why you must always follow copywriting techniques to capture leads.

Because if your copy isn’t clear or persuasive enough and isn’t aligned with your offering (Law of Alignment from the Laws of Sales Funnel Physics), you’ll miss the opportunity to convert those leads.

So if you offer SEO services, web design, or social media marketing services—like many thousands of other agencies do—why should a client choose you?

Stand out from the crowd.

Be clear and transparent about what sets you apart from the rest with a clear value proposition.

Bottom Line: Don’t let potential clients wonder what your agency’s value proposition is. Make it clear and give them a good reason why they should choose your services.

Mistake #9 Digital Marketing Agencies Make: Not Qualifying Leads Properly & Saying YES to Every Prospect

This is another big common mistake I see marketing agencies make. They say yes to every single prospect.

And I get them. They do that out of desperation.

They just want so badly to get any clients to sign up.

But here’s the thing. You have to be selective.

You have to learn how to say no to people who won’t be a fit for your service and that will end up cancelling.

And if you need help to qualify leads and sell to the right clients, think of a merry-go-round.

Put every prospect who gets on a consultation call with you in there.

Then, start spinning the merry-go-round. And after it spins for a while, see the riders who “survive” or hold on tighter.

The merry-go-round is your lead qualification process. And those people who held on tighter and didn’t fly away are the prospects who are a fit for your business.

Bottom line: There’s no way you can say yes to all clients. Some won’t be a fit. And some will be. But lead qualification plays a critical role right before you ask for the sale.

Conclusion

Download the “9 Most Common Mistakes a Digital Marketing Agency Makes ❌” so you won’t forget to take action on it later. Click here to download it now.

All agencies make mistakes, including the most successful digital marketing agencies.

But the key is to spot these mistakes early and take immediate actions to remedy them.

The pandemic is no longer an excuse. You can be growing and scaling right now regardless of the coronavirus.

And as you saw above, all marketing agency mistakes can be easily fixed.

But if you need help along the way, no worries. AutoGrow is here to help you.

You can delegate to us all of your clients’ work and we’ll have the work done for you and for your clients.

All you have to do is outsource your clients’ tasks and projects to us and we do everything—from strategy to implementation (these are some of the digital marketing tasks we can complete for you and your clients), we bring your clients’ ideas to reality.

And trust me, you’ll feel relieved when you do it… It’s what we keep hearing from our clients who are agencies!

Now tell me something, how’s your agency handling all of your clients’ work? What are the most common mistakes you see you make as an agency owner?

Let me know in the comments below. And if you have any questions, let me know. I’ll be more than happy to help you scale your agency 💪.

Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.

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United Colors of Benetton: Embracing Online Millennial Shoppers

Source: https://postfunnel.com/united-colors-of-benetton-embracing-online-millennial-shoppers/

A couple of years ago, United Colors of Benetton revamped its store format and customer experience with a new concept “that goes beyond the traditional notion of a store to become an urban and contemporary showroom,” according to Fashion Retailer.

Yes, even the 90s are up to date with Retention and Loyalty’s best practices of 2020.

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

And, indeed, nowadays it’s a whole new ball game, as consumers embrace online shopping like never before. Fittingly, the Italian fashion brand has turned its focus towards the creation of a superb online experience for its wide variety of customers who have grown with the brand over the years.

The most obvious driving force behind the timing of it all must be the ongoing covid-19 pandemic that forced us all to hunker down under lockdown for months. Digital Commerce 360 notes that consumers spent $347.26 billion online with U.S. retailers in the first half of 2020 – that’s an increase of 30.1% from $266.84 billion for the same time in 2019.

To help Benetton create a market-leading fashion brand and rethink its global omnichannel strategy, it has appointed the agency R/GA London as its digital transformation partner.

“With the importance of Benetton’s digital experience more significant than ever due to the changing market conditions, we are thrilled to have been selected as their new Digital Transformation partner,” said Rebecca Bezzina, SVP managing director R/GA London.

“We look forward to helping pivot this incredible fashion brand and create a next-generation eCommerce platform that sets them apart from the competition.”

Additionally, Benetton is aiming to generate a better shopping eCommerce experience on www.Benetton.com for localizing reasons.

Multi Channel Marketing E-book

Set to launch next month, the brand’s new website will be available in 25 countries. The website will be translated into six languages as well as offer numerous currencies to shop in. That’s a big move, which requires a modernized platform to enable it.

“With Covid, every market is in a unique position – as a brand, you need to have a personalized strategy and approach to each… Marketers must be aware of the local context above all,” Bezzina added.

Finally, as millennials represent the largest group of consumers today, who particularly enjoy shopping online, many with D2C brands – it is important to cater to this key customer segment.

Together with R/GA, Benetton is also set to track online behavioral changes and shopping browsing habits to provide the business with a successful digital transformation and a superior omnichannel experience.

“We wanted to collaborate with an agency that fully understood the complex challenges and different disruptions that the fashion industry is currently facing,” Antonio Patrissi, Group Chief Digital Officer at Benetton.

“Since the moment we met the team over Zoom, they have demonstrated themselves to be entirely the right partner to help us transform digital vision. We’re very much looking forward to working together”.

We will make sure to check in on Benetton’s site in the near future and tell you how this digital transformation is going from retention loyalty and general CRM best practices.

The post United Colors of Benetton: Embracing Online Millennial Shoppers appeared first on Post Funnel.

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Relationship Marketing 101: The Dawn of Branding

Source: https://postfunnel.com/relationship-marketing-101-the-dawn-of-branding/

Welcome to Relationship Marketing 101, a new monthly series that examines the evolution of marketing — from radio ads to social media — and the lessons this history shares. In this installment, we’ll explore branding’s origins and discuss how marketing behemoths like Coca-Cola learned to connect with customers.

The history of branding dates back thousands of years, though the term didn’t have its current context until the 1500s. According to Skyword, Stone Age cave paintings depict early humans branding animals with paint and tar. That method soon gave way to burning ownership marks onto cattle, while artisans in ancient China, Egypt, and Rome added brands to hand-crafted creations. This practice created a sense of loyalty between the crafter and owner; artists marked their products so that customers knew they were buying quality work.

By the sixteenth century, what began as a technique of claiming literal ownership had evolved into a form of artistic expression and representation. It wouldn’t be long until new inventions tied this concept with modern advertising to create the marketing force that we’re familiar with today.

The Industrial Revolution Bred Innovations in Manufacturing and Advertising

The Industrial Revolution, which occurred from 1760 to around 1840 in Europe and the United States, changed life as everyone knew it. With the invention of machines, artisans suddenly began mechanizing many centuries-old manual processes. Chemical manufacturing, steam and waterpower, and the rise of the textile industry were all hallmarks of this period.

Another hallmark of the Industrial Revolution is advertising. Advancements in printing press technology allowed businesses to print text and images quickly and cheaply. This development opened new avenues for companies looking to spread the word about their products, and modern advertising was born. After centuries of primitive branding efforts, companies had a fast, affordable way to share their brands far and wide.

In 1841, Volney B. Palmer opened the first American advertising agency in Philadelphia, the modern-day home of cheesesteaks, disappointing sports teams, and Gritty. By 1900, these agencies were commonplace and considered a crucial part of brands’ success. While newspapers were a common channel at the turn of the century, radio advertising soon became a favored medium.

During this period, companies started thinking in earnest about their relationships with customers and how ads fostered that relationship. Early marketing pros realized that because women were doing most household shopping, ads should target this demographic. In this radio ad from the 1920s, a male narrator describes how a cutting-edge hairdryer could enhance the average woman’s life:

Yes, the themes are outdated and sexist — beauty brands certainly wouldn’t make “pleasing your man” and “having more time for housework” cornerstones of their modern ad campaigns — but the ad shows how advertisers forged connections with their female customers. Even when advertising was largely product-focused, the result is comparable to today’s relationship marketing campaigns that garner an emotional response to build lasting connections between the consumers and the brand.

The guide to advanced customer segmentation

Coca-Cola and Mascots Set the Stage for Modern Branding

At 134 years old, Coca-Cola is one of the most enduring and iconic brands in the world. For decades, Coke was viewed almost like an “old friend,” with one WWII-era ad literally adopting the phrase. Coca-Cola positioned the beverage as something familiar, comforting, and reminiscent of home. It’s no wonder that it resonated with buyers during the periods of turmoil that punctuated the late 1800s through the 1940s.

One of Coca-Cola’s most lasting contributions to the branding landscape first appeared in a 1922 French ad: the first-ever Coca-Cola polar bear. Its appearance reflected a new trend in which companies used mascots to anthropomorphize their products. Creations like the Quaker Oats man (1877), Mr. Peanut (1916 – 2020, RIP), Rice Krispies’ elf trio, and the Jolly Green Giant (both 1928) turned corporations into individuals with faces, feelings, and personalities, making products more memorable and relatable for consumers.

Companies quickly realized that mascots often take hold in the public consciousness, sometimes becoming more famous than the products themselves. While these cuddly, sofa-loving bears didn’t become prominent in corporate branding in 1922, today, they take up an entire section of Coca-Cola’s online storefront. Just for polar bear merchandise. Today’s companies can leverage mascots as both branded advertisements and independent revenue channels that drive interest in t-shirts, toys, and much more.

These mascots’ real power is they don’t belong solely to the company — they represent an evolving relationship with fans. The Coca-Cola bears started as cute branded images, but they inspired environmental sentiments that helped raise millions for conservation efforts. Modern campaigns are not immune to this phenomenon, much like how Gritty went from one city’s hockey mascot to a global symbol of revolution following mass protests. Mascots are perfect examples of how brands sell more than products — they also sell connections.

The Evolution of Branding

Branding has seen several evolutions throughout human history. In its earliest days, it represented ownership. Over time, it became a symbol of product quality. Today, the best examples of branding highlight a connection between a company and consumer, much like Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign that incorporated consumer names into its branding. Sometimes these lessons are ones that successful companies learn to take literally.

Check back next month to learn more in our second installment of Relationship Marketing 101!

Become the best CRMer you can:
CRM Hack: measuring the right marketing campaign KPIs
How To: use loyalty data to power retention and reactivation
See how brands take their email deliverability to the max
Get inspired: great sports betting campaigns to follow

The post Relationship Marketing 101: The Dawn of Branding appeared first on Post Funnel.

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