Nothing Personal, But Ditch Personalization for Greater Marketing Relevance


Companies like Amazon and Netflix have created industry-defining models for doing business, by not only supplying your immediate need, but drawing you back in for purchase after purchase by showing you what people like you have historically bought or searched for. But if the algorithm is off, just a little, customers can sour on it: up to 74% say that get annoyed enough to leave a site if they’re shown products that don’t match their interests.

Over time, it’s relevance, not personalization that can help integrated marketers build a stronger, longer relationship with customers. Here are a few considerations to help your marketing stay relevant and resonate with prospects.

Don’t Personalize: Persona-lize

Sure, being able to send out a perfectly addressed email blast may open the door, but what will win customers is targeted information that addresses relevant pain points and where they are in the customer journey. In other words, “persona-lize.”

Start by writing detailed personals that flesh out your customer categories as much as possible. As content marketing expert Robert Rose puts it, “When your audience wonders, ‘How did anyone know I needed to see this right now?’ that’s when you win.”

Put Your Content in Context

Next, perform a content audit to analyze what you’re saying to your customers. Look for messaging you can repurpose to create a shared sense of context. This is another point where relevance rules out over personalization: it’s likely that there’s overlap in your customer types’ priorities, and being able to message to those priorities should be your priority.

Media is as Important as Message

What relevance really means is the right customer getting the right message at the right time—which requires understanding how your customers want to get their information. If your product is technical or unique, consider crafting a video to demonstrate its benefits to buyers, instead of using a brochure. And integrated marketers should also think about which social channels serve them, and their customers, best.

Relevance Best Practices

Pampers knocks it out of the park for relevance: their entire marketing strategy is based on catering to distinct types of customers during specific times of parenthood. To get a better idea of how to make yourself essential to your customers, take a look at these other articles:

IKEA’s Masterful New Ad Campaign Taps Deep Into Customer Needs

Take Your Customers on a Fantastic (Email Marketing) Voyage

Business Marketing Strategy: Low Prices or High Quality?

PIP Welcomes New Business Growth Strategist to the Team!

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PIP Triad would like to introduce Becky Wagoner, our new Business Growth Strategist.

Born and raised in Burlington, Becky graduated from Williams High School and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in Psychology. After living on the Outer Banks, and in the Triad and Triangle areas, she returned to Alamance County.

Becky looks forward to meeting and helping new clients with a consultative
approach—learning about a company’s needs and how she may be able to fill that void.

She currently lives in Burlington with her husband, Avery, and two children, Ingle and Ian, who both attend Williams High School. She is active in her church, First Presbyterian, where she has served on the Session and currently serves as a High School Youth Advisor.

Developing Better Promotional Products Campaigns


Successful promotion campaigns don’t happen by chance. To realize goals, promotional products programs must be carefully planned, taking into consideration the audience, budget and, of course, the ultimate result to be gained. Here are seven tips from the Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) for developing better campaigns:

1. Define a specific objective. Whether the goal is to increase traffic at a trade show exhibit or to boost sales with current clients, the first step in any campaign is to clarify the purpose of the program.

2. Determine a workable distribution plan to a targeted audience. Distribution of a promotional product is as important as the item itself. Research shows that a carefully executed distribution plan significantly increases the effectiveness of promotional products. For example, a pre-show mailing to a select audience delivers more trade show traffic and qualified leads than simply distributing items to passerby at the show.

3. Create a central theme. Linking a recognizable logo and color to all aspects of a campaign, from promotional products to sales sheets to product packaging, helps create an instantly recognizable image.

4. Develop a message to support the theme. Supporting a campaign’s theme with a message helps to solidify your company’s name, service or products in your target audience’s mind.

5. Select a promotional product that bears a natural relationship to your communications theme. A good example is a company that developed a magic motif for its conference at Disney World. Attendees received magic-related products to tie in with the theme “Experience the Magic at Disney®.”

6. Don’t pick an item based solely on uniqueness, price or perceived value. Don’t fall prey to the latest trends or fads. The most effective promotional products are used in a cohesive, well-planned campaign.

7. Use a qualified promotional products consultant. A good promotional products consultant can help you develop a solid promotional products campaign strategy as well as provide a variety of value-added services, including unique product ideas, creative distribution solutions and insight on the different imprinting methods just to name a few.

3 User Metrics to Help Guide Your Search Marketing Strategy


Search-marketing has a lot of moving parts. But ultimately, success is measured by one thing: the quality of the user experience. Giving searchers timely, useful, relevant information–in a format they can use–motivates them to reward your efforts by calling, clicking, subscribing, downloading, or otherwise taking the action you desire.

Of course, nobody polices user experiences like Google. The search giant has always been on tech’s bleeding edge. So it’s no surprise that they’re now using sophisticated artificial intelligence and machine learning to monitor users’ actions and judge, with human-like scrutiny, whether your site’s content is worthy of a favorable ranking.

Defining the User Experience

So what constitutes a good versus not-so-good user experience? Writing for SEMrush, search marketing writer Amirash Patel identifies four types of user behavior data that Google and other engines monitor and use to rank your site for user experience–all can be viewed in that staple of the integrated marketer’s toolbox–Google Analytics, free with every Google account.

1) Click-through rate (CTR): To get the information they want, users type a search term, scan the top results and click on the one they think best satisfies their query. To Google, more clicks (a higher CTR) is an indicator of quality, so they flag your site as more relevant than those that garner fewer clicks.

2) Bounce rate: This stat reveals how well your site aligns with the user’s interest and search intent. Searchers stay on sites that engage and satisfy them and leave or “bounce away” from those that don’t, causing ranking to take a hit.

3) Pages per session: This shows the total number of pages visitors take in when visiting your site. A higher number indicates that they are engaged and possibly progressing toward conversion, something Google considers a reliable indicator of high-quality content.

Search marketing technophiles will enjoy Moz’s much deeper dive on how Google applies user behavior as a ranking signal.

How to Design Packaging That Tells Your Product’s Story


Today’s integrated marketers know their products’ success depends on telling impactful stories that deepen customer connections.  The visual and tactile elements around which your SMB builds its stories either elevate or detract from their message. Nowhere is this more apparent than in packaging design.

Experts at Packaging Distributors of America identify five elements of packaging that send powerful messages to your customers. Consider these elements, and the story you want them to tell, to boost the selling power of virtually any product packaging.

The Emotional Story of Color

Research shows that color often drives emotional purchasing, particularly when it aligns with buyer values. If target customers value low price, for example, orange packaging reinforces product value. Conversely, black is a go-to color for packaging a luxury brand, while opting for a shade of blue emphasizes reliability. Although personal preferences and cultural backgrounds play a part in how individual consumers interpret color, leveraging the psychology of color helps marketers reinforce a product’s story.

The Imputed Story of Quality

When it comes to quality, packaging communicates as much to potential buyers as the product itself.  Packaging doesn’t have to be expensive, but it should align with customer expectations. Incorporating a little bit of flair or some small novel details can turn generic packaging into something unique, distinctive and desirable.

The Perceived Story of Size

Empty space in packaging not only costs more, it also reduces perceived value. When a pint-sized product comes in a gallon-size package, customers feel mislead, even when they can see what’s inside before they buy. Design packaging to fit the product.

The Moral Story of Sustainability

Integrated marketers should also be on the lookout for excess packaging that can alienate environmentally sensitive consumers. Sustainable packaging increases product appeal, especially among Millennials. While the price point on zero-impact packaging remains high, affordable solutions exist if you start with the right materials and prioritize thoughtful design.

The Practical Story of Usability

We’ve all experienced the frustration of trying to pry open those notorious plastic clamshells. When customers struggle with packaging it reflects negatively on both your product and your brand. The best packaging performs as expected and feels easy and effortless for the customer.

Packaging has an important role to play in your integrated marketing. Consider the story packaging should tell and invest in an appropriate design. You’ll be rewarded with higher sales and increased customer satisfaction.