How To Know When You Need A New Advertising Agency

Even though many of us don’t own or run our own businesses, we know that times can be pretty rough in the business world. In order to stand out and compete, businesses will take on the services of an advertising agency so that while the business focuses on having a solid product or service to offer, the advertising agency can focus on making the business a consumer juggernaut.

In practice, this sounds great. In fact, the argument can be made that this is the way to go for businesses looking to stay ahead of the game versus their competition. Far more often than you’d think, businesses will try to take on advertising internally, figuring that no one knows their business better than they do. The problem with this is that at some point, you’re too close and drawing conclusions on advertising strategy is being done based on emotion rather than analysis & assessment. In the same way you can’t really tickle yourself, it’s hard to handle your own advertising.

But, sometimes the job isn’t getting the job done. What was once an exciting partnership isn’t quite as productive, and you wonder what the future holds. Moreover, you hope you see the signs of decline before it starts affecting your bottom line.

How can you tell it’s time for a new advertising agency? Well, that be harder than you think. Here are a few tell-tale signs it’s time to part ways:

You Encounter Nothing But “Yes” Men – A business owner may find the idea of uniform agreement pretty nice simply because it makes you feel as though you’ve got all of the answers. The problem is that an advertising agency needs to be able to challenge their client to think differently.

You Lose Track of the Numbers – How advertising dollars are spent weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly helps a business know where they stand financially, where they need to re-group, and how best to move forward. Transparency is key, but if an advertising agency isn’t keeping communication about these numbers open, the business who hired them is flying blind.

Your Advertising Agency is Missing in Action – When things are new & exciting, the advertising agency you hired for your business is maintaining regularly scheduled communication, providing a breakdown of all that is happening with your account. Over time, though, the communication becomes less frequent, and the business starts feeling left out and less important. Tension can fester, making subsequent meetings with the agency feel forced and uncomfortable. Both sides may dread appointments. It’s time for a change.

The one thing businesses need to keep in mind when working with an advertising agency is that in order for plans and strategies to play out, it takes time. Each side plays their part in achieving goals & milestones along the way. However, keep in mind that an advertising agency works for your business, and if they aren’t cutting it anymore, you have to find an agency that will.

The Experience Economy: Why I Can’t Sell My China

My husband and I are on a quest to downsize and get rid of “stuff” that serves no purpose in our lives. This includes our two sets of beautiful Wedgwood china that we lovingly chose many years ago. But, to our dismay, no one wants it. Not even our sons. And it’s not just me. My friends who share a few gray hairs are experiencing the same.

It turns out the world has changed dramatically since our young days of hedonistic consumerism. And it’s probably changed forever. What’s going on? Consider the following:

According to Business Insider, millennial home ownership is at an all-time low. In fact, according to Trulia, 71% of millennials surveyed regret the purchase in the first place. They simply don’t like the debt, and they regret investing money into a permanent home. Furthermore, they are moving to smaller urban spaces that do not allow for the “collection of stuff.” In other words, “things” don’t matter.
The obsession with Tiny Houses. I can count at least four television shows that promote this streamlined type of living. Personally, I’m obsessed with the idea. According to a ValueInsured survey, millennials are not investing in large homes. And even more surprising, it’s the baby boomers who are more likely to purchase lower-priced homes.

What’s going on? People (not just millennials) are moving toward collecting experiences over things. The “Experience Economy” values more time with family and more money to travel, as well as more time and money to experience all that life might offer. Something other than things. In fact, one could argue that we are a society looking to simplify, even moving toward a minimalist lifestyle. What’s even more telling is the fact that our digital world takes the place of stuff we needed in the past (storage for CDs, for example).

Recently, I was sitting around a C-level roundtable discussing this very topic, and one gentleman even claimed that the move toward “experiences” is for social bragging rights. You’ve seen it – pictures of food, concerts, vacations, etc. – all over social media. Whatever the reason, the Experience Economy is here.

So, if you are a brand like Road Scholar, you are in pretty good shape. But what about the rest of you? Brands that listen to consumers and find opportunities among their evolving wants and needs, rather than in spite of them, are the ones winning today. Consider Nordstrom and their “tiny store” model that offers experiences over shopping. Or Bonobos, who has created a unique retail experience in which you cannot walk out the door with merchandise. Or even ThirstyNest who offers personalized wine gifts to newlyweds who are interested in creating memories over filling up a china cabinet.

So, with smaller living spaces and fewer dollars being spent on things, what’s a brand to do? Ask yourself the following three questions:

How do my products create an experience or enrich the lives of my customers? If you sell puzzles, shouldn’t you really be selling family time, allowing loved ones to gather together and enjoy each other? If it’s a pair of shoes, are they comfortable enough for someone to enjoy the concert they’re attending, or are they lightweight and easy to pack for their next adventure? It’s critical you change the selling benefits of products to reflect how the world has changed.

Are you evolving your product line to reflect the down-sizing of America or the Experience Economy? Are you moving toward products that provide simplicity, efficiency or multi-use? Or, are you developing products that provide unique experiences and allow for social bragging? A word of caution: Just because you have a best-seller today doesn’t mean it will fit into the lifestyle of your customer tomorrow. Evolve!

Have you considered out-of-the-box ideas or shopping experiences with a unique twist that your customer will appreciate? I’m sure there was a time we might have laughed at brands like Bonobos, but who’s laughing now? And didn’t we think continuity programs were dead? Nope. Consider brands like Blue Apron, Birchbox or Stitch Fix that have turned consumerism into a streamlined experience.

Unfortunately, marketing has become more difficult! But, only if you are thinking about selling “things.” People don’t need or want your things anymore. The sharp marketers of tomorrow will be the ones who understand this strange new world we live in and wrap their products into experiences. As for my china? I’m going to change my Letgo description to: the perfect set of breakable dishes for your next Greek gathering.

Advertising Signage Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

Emerging advertising tools and channels are continuously changing the way we communicate or promote products or services. Signs, whether safety or commercial, are now being designed with the glittering digital display that presents content in a very engaging and attractive form. With the features of LED screens, companies now have the power to maneuver content in so many interactive ways to enhance their visibility. Understanding emerging signage trends will definitely enable you to create a good looking set of signs for your business. Following are some signage trends that will help you understand how to improve the presence of your business in a competitive environment.

Electric display

Despite new technologies, traditional signs are still playing an effective role in promoting small and large businesses. However, in the future, digital screens will gain more popularity and acceptance. It is because moving content with digital features is more powerful and engaging than a static sign. Modern consumers now have the freedom to get information regarding their desired products and services by simply browsing through LED boards.

Interactive content

Modern advertising techniques are bringing interactivity to offline advertising. The trend to display content in an interactive way will continue to gain more acceptance. Highly sophisticated display signs are bringing the idea of Internet of Things (IoT) into life. In coming years, tech-savvy businesses would be able to use signs that will show content according to viewers needs and preferences. The idea of IoT has clearly been put into practice by modern signage technology. Digital touchscreens and projectors are likely to be used widely in the future.

Social media integration

Social media has become a key advertising strategy for all kind of businesses. Whether you are a small plumbing contractor or a large brand, it has become inevitable to integrate social media into your advertising efforts. It will become more important than ever to use social interactions in the signage to improve engagement.

Content will continue to dominate

Content is of paramount significance for marketers and businesses. It’s the content that drives people to take actions. No matter what kind of signs you are using to promote your business, you need to focus on creating valuable content that has the power to make people buy. Even if you are using simple banners, decals, wraps, or vehicle graphics to advertise something, your content should be up to the mark. Make a good use of signage to promote your brand and do not forget to follow new trends.

Being a reputable company, A Sign Promotion provides innovative and up to date signage solutions to businesses of all sizes in Edmonton. We only utilize advanced printing machines and graphic design software to create amazing products for our clients. From wraps and banners to 3D lettering and graphics, we provide a broad range of ROI-focused signage services. Feel free to discuss your project with us!