Caffeinated ideas and views on marketing communications

marketing materials

Can they read it?

Perhaps you have a great tagline or you have a fantastic, limited time offer, and yet you are getting no response. It could be that few people are enticed by your offer, or that there is little demand for your product, or, maybe, just maybe, it is that that they (quite literally) can’t see it.

What is it that you do?

Yesterday,  I was in my car driving behind a commercial SUV, which had the name of the company written in green letters on the back of the truck. But for the life of me, I couldn’t, make out what this company did because I could not read the line below the company name. I kept trying to figure out as I was driving a car length or so behind the truck. I finally came to a stop right behind this SUV, and it was only then that I was able to read the line saying it did plumbing. This company probably spent some money to have their company name, telephone and website painted on the back of their company SUV, and yet, it was done with such small letters that it was practically useless. Unless you were stopped right behind it, you would not know what it was.

If you’ve driven around during the day, you will have seen any number of commercial trucks and cars, each with the name of the company painted on the side of the vehicle. If the name and service are prominent, and easy to read from a distance, there can be big benefits. It  creates brand recognition. It can also be free advertising. Say your heating system is on the fritz, and you see a truck for a heating company, you may make note of the name, and even the website and/or telephone number.

Crammed with content, harder to read

Verizon FIOS recently redesigned its On Demand screen. Everything is now more compact (about half of the previous iteration), and all sorts of information is crammed on the screen. To be able to fit all this stuff on the screen, the font size was reduced. The result is that it is hard to read the titles of the movies. And they also added the extra step of making you click on each title to see more information, including cost. It has become very frustrating for me to deal with this new On Demand screen, and as a result, I am no longer going there to see what movies are available.

I am pretty certain that Verizon embarked on this redesign without consulting its users. I wonder if the company has seen any change in the amount of On Demand content users rent/buy now. Based on my experience, I would bet fewer people are getting stuff On Demand.

Can your audience see it? Can they read it?

You must keep readability and visibility top of mind when you design or redesign any marketing material. If your audience cannot read your material, or cannot see it properly, then they cannot interact with it.

About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.

New business: marketing essentials

If you are a new business, or a small business, or any business at all, there are a couple essentials for your marketing. I am assuming you already have a business name and have done all the necessary paperwork to get yourself set up.

The number one item you need is a website. Buy your own domain. If you can’t afford a fully designed website you can use templates through vendors such as Network Solutions or Go Daddy. If you are more technologically inclined, you can use WordPress, but host it at your domain name. Your website, at minimum, should answer these questions: who are you, what do you do, why should anyone hire you or purchase your product, how to reach you. If you are a restaurant or deal with the public, include your hours and directions to your location. Remember, this is a minimum. If you are a restaurant, you could also include menus. Service businesses could include case studies, client lists, testimonials.

The number two item you need is business cards. You can get them for cheap or you can have them professionally designed. Whatever you do your business cards should have your name, primary phone, website URL and email address (preferably at your domain).

If you have money or a good friend who is a graphic designer, get a logo and letterhead package done.

Once you are set up, you may consider developing a tagline or a slogan for your business. Use it on everything.

These are the essentials. There are plenty of other marketing communications collateral materials you could develop for yourself, including brochures, ads, press releases, white papers and so forth. You also have to think about your social media strategy: Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for starters.

Start with the essentials. Work from there.

If you want help figuring out what marketing materials you need, contact me.

About Deborah Brody

Deborah Brody writes and edits anything related to marketing communications. Most blog posts are written under the influence of caffeine.


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