Monthly Archives: March 2013

Are your email campaigns suffering from static thinking?

Successful email campaigns result from ongoing evaluation and adjustment. The real advantage of the technology is the ability to constantly assess effectiveness and make changes immediately. Yet, many food marketers treat email with the mindset that once it is developed and sent, it’s done. That’s static thinking.

The following are some telltale signs that your email campaigns may be suffering from static thinking:

  1. The company directive syndrome:  Email content reflects the concerns and interests of the sending company, and not those of the recipient. The company wants to sell products, but the recipient wants problems solved – theirs. Email content has to express an understanding of the recipient’s problem and how the company’s products/services can offer a solution. “We sell this, how much do you want to buy?” is doomed to fail.
  1. The conflicted company:  Email content contains multiple messages and calls to action, but which ones are really directed at the recipient?  Emails should not create doubt and confusion in the mind of the recipient. If the company sending the email can’t decide what is most important, how can the recipient be expected to do so. Focus. The real beauty of email campaigns is total flexibility in send schedules, and multiple unique emails, each with a single focus and call to action. Not only will the recipient understand why they received the message, the sender can evaluate each message/version to determine which ones are most effective.
  1. Too paralyzed to analyze:  Email campaigns generate a great deal of data that is extremely useful in tweaking campaigns to improve ROI. Yet many companies feel a little overwhelmed by performance metrics so they summarily ignore them. Opens, clicks, conversions, and value of each recipient/customer are all pieces of information that when used wisely can greatly improve email campaign ROI.   
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Don’t jump into a creative effort without your brief.

Whether it’s a new brand logo, a package redesign, or an entire ad campaign, great creative is born out of a well prepared creative brief. While it’s tempting to jump directly into the creative effort, it’s crucial to spend the time to do the due diligence first. A well crafted creative brief looks at the complete picture, defines project goals, and provides a road map for everyone involved in the effort.

Creative briefs don’t have to be lengthy, complicated efforts. Following this simple guide will produce an effective creative brief for food branding and marketing efforts:

1. State your objective.  This is a concise project statement or vision that defines the main reason why the project is being undertaken and the desired outcome/benefit of the project. For example, if the project is defined as a food packaging effort, is this effort being undertaken to introduce a new variety, product reformulation, or improved/easier to use package configuration?  Is the desired outcome/benefit primarily to retain existing consumers, attract new consumers, or comply with new packaging standards/regulations?

2. State your requirements. This defines the services and capabilities you will need from your design firm’s creative team to successfully complete the project. Using the food packaging example, is this a new brand or product that requires a branding effort in addition to packaging design, or is this an established brand or product whose packaging needs to be redesigned? The creative team can better respond to your needs if they are clearly defined upfront.

3. Share your data. Assist your creative team by sharing all relevant information such as your branding/marketing strategy, your previous branding/marketing efforts, previous product and target audience research, available graphic resources, and any other information that would help inform the creative team.  A well informed creative team is a more productive creative team.

4. Give direction and trust. True creative direction is based on empowering the creative team to do their job by giving them all of the essential information they will need, and trusting them with the creative freedom they will need to provide innovative, appropriate design solutions. Once you have stated the what and why of the project, the creative team needs the power to make the creative decisions on how to execute the defined project vision and goals.

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