Improve Your Company’s ROI with These Uncommon Marketing Tactics

laptop-849800_640What comes to mind when you hear the word “marketing”? What about “branding”?

Both of these words probably invoke a strong response; they are, after all, two of the most important tasks that lie ahead for anyone who’s hoping to establish their brand, particularly in a crowded industry.

But for anyone who dares to think outside the box, guaranteeing a great return on investment is not just possible, but likely. It’s still going to take some work, but if you choose to explore some forgotten or underappreciated tactics for establishing your brand, your success might just surprise you. Here’s three methods to think about.

Underrated, but Not Forgotten

It’s the year 2015, and blogs are a strange beast. The world was introduced to blogs way back at the beginning of the World Wide Web, and they’ve played an important role in the way the Internet has developed over the years.

Blogging may, in some circles, still be synonymous with angsty millennials airing their grievances on BlogSpot, but the truth is that blogs are experiencing a renaissance—and this time they’re playing an important role in branding.

Consider the blogs of 12 Keys—a renowned chain of rehabilitation clinics—and Quincy, a company that specializes in compressors. Both of these businesses walk in very different circles, but what they have in common is a practically masterful use of the blog.

I’ll say it as simply as I know how: blogging is an underappreciated way to establish your brand. It’s not about making the hard sell; instead, it’s about providing resources for prospective customers: a way to answer common questions or provide insight into what your product or service has to offer, or even how it’s made. If your company doesn’t have a blog yet, it’s probably time to start one.

The Sky’s the Limit

Even though Internet marketing commands the budgets of most modern PR departments, physical advertisement is still playing a significant role in business development in America.

In fact, so common is this practice that it’s given rise to something entirely different: “guerrilla marketing.” You can see some terrific examples of guerrilla marketing here, including elaborate sidewalk displays and interactive billboards.

Some of these displays might look like they could cost an arm and a leg to develop and implement, but as you’ll see from some of the above examples, sometimes all it takes is a well-chosen location or some striking imagery to capture the public’s imagination.

Because the truth is, many American consumers have grown bored and jaded with the sort of marketing that happens on our screens. Pop-ups ads and Flash banners have their place, but if you really want to engage in some marketing that will net you a great return on your investment, something more visceral and personal might be what you’re looking for.

How to Build a Movement

If you really want to think differently about what it takes to make a statement in your industry, sometimes you have to take things back to the basics. I’ll give you an example.

You may have heard of Chipotle: a rising star in the fast food world. What’s remarkable is that they’ve achieved this level of name recognition by almost completely shunning traditional marketing channels. In fact, Chipotle didn’t air a TV commercial until 18 years after their incorporation.

Instead, Chipotle is creating a significant contrast between their media presence and the methods favored by their largest competitors, such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell. Consider that TV commercial I mentioned earlier. Instead of a barrage of doctored photographs of food, Chipotle chose to focus instead on another message: their commitment to civic responsibility.

And frankly, this approach feels exactly right in a world where the world’s most savvy consumers—millennials—are quickly growing impatient with traditional media campaigns, calling them (among other things) “less authentic.”

The truth is, branding and marketing are less dependent on deep pockets than ever before. Instead, the most successful campaigns are built with a combination of determination and out-of-the-box thinking. If you’re the owner of an up-and-coming business, you’ll probably be surprised by what’s possible when you put yourself in the shoes of the people you’re trying to reach.

How To Save Money On Airport Costs

flying-658936_640Flight ticket costs are a huge portion of a person’s budget when they are trying to travel the world. Depending on which airline you are choosing to fly in, tickets can range from hundreds to possibly even thousands.

It’s best to always check around airports, and even educate yourself on ways to save money traveling with airplanes and at airports. Saving money on flight tickets is very much doable, as long as you read up on advice and tips as much as possible.

1. I’ve done a ton of research, and there really isn’t the “right time” to buy an airplane ticket.

You’ll hear some people say 6 months, 3 months, or even the day before. My piece of advice is to simply buy the ticket when it’s in your budget to buy, instead of waiting for a certain time to buy it because there is a chance that the price will just get more expensive from there. If you are a student, you can also save money on airplane tickets by using StudentUniverse or other student airplane sites.

2. Check the weight of your bags before you get to the airport.

Also, check to see your airplanes rules and regulations regarding how many bags you can bring, and how many you can check. The fees are different depending on the aircraft and some will even give you a checked bag with absolutely no charge.

3. Make sure to bring food for the airport, and while on the plane, especially if it’s a longer duration flight.

I make sure to pack items like fruit, almonds, and dry food that lasts awhile, but doesn’t smell too terribly strong like a can of tuna to be respectful to my flight neighbors. Food at the airport is extremely expensive, simply because they can be since people have nowhere else to go for food unless they want to leave the airport. Also, make sure to bring all electronic devices, chargers, and other flight items necessary since most of these items prices are plenty higher.

4. Think about connecting flights, instead of trying to fly all the way to a destination nonstop.

It might tack on a few hours or even an overnight but can possibly save you hundreds up to a thousand dollars on a flight ticket. The connecting flight stop might also give you a chance to visit the city you are stopping at as well, which enables you to do even more traveling.

Flying doesn’t have to be nearly as expensive as people make it out to be, as long as you brush up on new facts and rules that are related to the airline you are choosing.

What other ways can you save money at the airport? Do you participate in any of the above methods?


Before You Go: Business Owner’s Vacation Checklist

vw-camper-336606_640Going on vacation is supposed to be one of the most enjoyable experiences anybody can imagine but for business owners, it’s often complicated and stressful being away from the job. You can never guarantee there won’t be any sudden mishaps or problems while gone, but by preparing a bit before leaving, you can help to minimize a lot of small issues that would certainly give you BIG headaches while away.

Before You Go Checklist:

Stock up on any necessary bulk items your business uses a lot of!

(Even if you buy an excessive amount, it’s better to have too much than being bothered on vacation).

Do a very thorough walk-through of your business, inspecting all mechanical and technical equipment well in advance of your departure. Preparing for vacation is a good time to have any regular/necessary computer or machinery maintenance done.

Have a tech team come take care of any computer or IT issues so you know the systems are running properly. If your computers go down while you are away it will be complete chaos!

Restaurant owners pay special attention to any old or outdated appliances. It may be a good time to replace old kitchen equipment. Big box retailers and restaurant-supply mega warehouses can help save a lot of money on top-of-the-line brands!

Delegate certain tasks to specific people. It’s your business so you know who works best and where, but make sure everybody knows what is expected of them while you are gone and which extra duties they are responsible for.

Have your most trusted manager keep a company credit card for any unexpected expenses, and ask them to use their best judgment; if they can’t think of a clear and obvious solution, then they should contact you.

Set up automated e-mail response/Voice message

Every business owner gets a crazy amount of calls and emails every day. Being on vacation, you won’t want to be hassled with the emails, but still need your customers to know they aren’t being ignored. A simple auto reply with your return date and an emergency contact number is all it takes.

These are just a few ways to best prepare your business before leaving on vacation. However, you should always be ready for an emergency and have a way to be contacted. Depending on your destination, you may consider getting an international cell phone plan so you’re always reachable. Regardless, have a set plan to check in with your “second in charge” a few times while gone. Simple communication can solve a lot of mishaps and allow you to enjoy your time away that much more!