Content Marketing

Give them something first.

Content marketing draws prospects in by providing something of value—usually information or expertise. Think of it this way: while your company has a product or service for sale, it also possesses a body of knowledge that can be packaged and given away like a free sample. When your prospects learn something useful from a white paper or webinar or blog post, they not only respect your expertise but also feel all warm and fuzzy toward you for handing it to them on a pixel platter.

You get their attention and their good will.

By the time a prospect lands on your website, they have been doing some thinking. Studies show that 70% of the buying decision process is complete by the time they’re ready to make themselves known to you by showing up at your digital doorstep. By greeting them with a giveaway, something they will value you set the relationship off on the right foot. It’s like handing them a cupcake with the frosting in the shape of your logo (which by the way is also a good idea).

Where can you get yourself some of this content stuff?

You know we’re going to say “Right here at Red Letter!”—but hang on. You might have a good stash of content on your premises. After all, you’ve got experts in your business, right? And maybe they’ve written an article for a trade publication, or maybe they’ve given a presentation at a conference. Bingo! That’s content. We can help you shape it into something that is transferrable to web surfers. We can rustle up some of your existing content, or we can generate some new content for you. We work with our clients on generating and disseminating content in whatever way fits their needs best.

Interruption works. But it also bugs people.

For decades, advertising was based on the interruption model. Folks would be gathered around the tv watching Gone With The Wind when all of a sudden the Civil War came to halt so we could talk about toothpaste for a minute. Don’t get us wrong—research shows that this model still works (and by the way it doesn’t have to be annoying). But these days consumers are more accustomed to being in control. They would like to talk with you about your excellent product when they are good and ready (or at least 70% ready). A well-conceived content marketing plan acknowledges who holds the power in this relationship. And it shrewdly puts to use an understanding of how people actually behave.

We’re not insisting, but if you feel inclined, perhaps you’d care to discuss this further.

Brand Strategy

Beloved by CFOs everywhere, EBIDTA (Earnings Before Interest, Depreciation, Taxes and Amortization) is the shining, indisputable measure of the health and profitability of a business. When EBIDTA is good, business is good.
Companies with the kind of EBIDTA that accountants brag about at parties are far more likely to be the companies with clearly defined, recognized brands in their market space. This has been shown again and again, not only by the Harvard Business Review but also by Mamie, our head of branding here at Red Letter.

Your brand is your business.

Our branding team gets a kick out of showing clients the clear correlation between brands and business. You can’t argue with facts. (Or you can, but not without damage to your dignity.) Companies that have invested in defining themselves—both to their customers and their employees—are more productive and more profitable. This is true in good times and bad. When every business is hit by recession, the ones with strong brands bounce back the fastest.

How exactly does one build a brand?

We can’t tell you exactly how, because the process varies for each business. But here is the gist of it. Branding is a long-term strategy that defines how your company will prosper. A strong brand will identify:

  • A clear point of view on your purpose
  • A clearly articulated, sustainable competitive advantage
  • A memorable description of your unique values and personality
  • A long-term plan for sustainable success

It is often the case that an organization has what you might call a latent brand. That is, there exists in the company an understanding of its values and its promise to its customers—but that understanding has never been explicitly articulated. Our branding team helps clarify these qualities, and makes them known internally and in the marketplace. The results show up in earnings reports.

A strong brand works in B2C and B2B.

Whether your company sells to consumers or businesses, a strong brand assures your target of the value of your product or service. This is true whether they’re shopping for carrots or bulldozers.

We could go on. But let’s talk face to face.

If you’ve read this far, maybe it’s time for us to chat over coffee.

Marketing Strategy

The most important part of marketing is also the most misunderstood.

Probably the most common error perpetrated by those who seek a strategy is to draw up a list of stuff and bestow upon said list the hallowed label: Strategy. The thinking is: if we have identified, say, a website refresh and a social media blast as “What We Need to Do,” then what we’re talking about here is a strategy. But no. This is a list of tactics.

Sun Tzu: Smart dude.

The legendary thinker, were he alive today, would sweep through your typical conference room with a sword, bringing a blood-curdling end to the endless chatter about tactics. “All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer,” he said, “but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”

Tactics are the way to keep busy. Strategy is the way to win.

This is why strategy is so rare: it’s easy to work hard doing a bunch of stuff. But if all that activity didn’t start with a clearly defined goal and thoughtful path to achieve that goal, it is mere bustle.

The question at the heart of strategy.

A client arrives at our doorstep and asks us to build a new website. Our first question: Why? It’s not that we don’t want to build the website. We love building websites. But if we are going to really, truly solve our client’s problem, we need to know what is their ultimate goal. If they say “We want more money,” then that is a start. Next question: Why aren’t you getting enough now? They might say “Our customers buy once and we never see them again. We need repeat business.” Okay, now we are getting somewhere. We will keep asking “Why”-type questions—on and on and on—until finally, we have identified the root reason for the client’s problem that stimulated their desire for a website. Only then can we confirm that yes, a website is the right solution. After that, we begin designing and building one that will best achieve the goal.

Of course, a great strategy is only great if it’s executed well. That’s where knowing how to manage and deploy tactics kick in. The first tactic we would recommend, of course, would be contacting us.