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Are You Marketing A Good Service?

THE ART OF GRAPHIX

By DEIDRE M. BASTIAN

I LIKE the saying: "You can't disguise a bad message, no matter how much you dress it up". There are many businesses who want their goods or services to appeal to everyone and prefer skipping the planning to get right to designing ; not knowing that it takes time and patience to design the right message that will reach the right people.

Likewise, there are many small businesses who feel that all they have to do is announce their services to the world and they'll start receiving tons of business and everyone is automatically happy. Not quite correct. Before you market a product or service a marketer, graphic or web designer is a good business person to sit and chat with.

Sure, they could take customers' money and create a single-product promotion, a one-time campaign, or assist in running an ad that they imagine may turn everything around.

Accordingly, I suggest that before marketers decide to chat with a client about creating a next marketing piece, they should ensure that there is a plan to guarantee that all the pieces fit together to help customers make the journey from just a "potential customer to a permanent customer".

With the help of flyers, radio ads, news paper, e-mail newsletter, website or even a face book page, always strive to spend your dimes on designs and marketing efforts that will yield results rather than popularity.

Sure, people might look at your stuff and love your creative "swag" as it's so easy to get whisked away with a beautifully designed product, but I think solving the problem is key to retaining a customer's loyalty

Recently I've heard the question; does a graphic designer need to have an understanding of marketing? Well, quite simply - yes. If you don't have an understanding of how to market, whether it's a packaging design, a promotional message or a website, you can't adequately direct someone to take action. At times I've had to wear at least three hats when dealing with clients which were the marketer, designer and the counsellor.So here it is: Before you throw money at a designer to start a business venture, firstly ask these questions:

Do I know specifically who I want to sell to? I know all business people want to sell to everyone. But stop for a minute and think who really needs your service? Who can't live without your product? The hungry, clamoring buyers who must have what you offer. If you bring in a few people outside that group, great! But target the ones who have to have your offering.

When you have selected this group, write down their age range, whether the group is primarily male or female, specific geographic location and which of their common problems your products or services can help solve. Define as much detail as you can as this information will allow you to shape your content and your marketing design in a way that resonates with the specific people you want to reach.

Do I know where to find my market? Are the publications or websites that you are implementing service the market you want to reach? Whenever you find your market, the sales pitch along with "thoughtful" marketing materials (website, brochure, fliers, and e-newsletter) helps to seal the deal.

Narrow down online "hang outs" as you don't want to spin your wheels (or waste money) placing ads and distributing marketing materials in all the wrong places.

Think about this: Would you want to sell a bunch of greasy hamburgers to a fitness fanatic? Nah. You'd want to sell fruits, vegetable, protein shakes, chicken sandwiches and water etc. to them; which means you'd have to go to a gym to find them.

When does the emotional "feel" or "flavour" of the content come into play? First, look at the message. What kind of flavour does it have? Does it have a humourous touch to it? Is it more introspective and serious? There are those kinds of sub-levels of concept and execution that you can discuss with a designer.

Do I have a decent tagline? Your tagline is the short phrase that accompanies your business name and should be designed to match your business name. If your business name doesn't state what you do, your tagline should. For example: If your company is called "Smith Company." If you use "We make it better fast." along with that company name, you're still not giving graphic designers enough information plus customers don't have a clue as to what your business does, or why they should even be interested. So be creative with your tagline. Do I have a compelling offer? A lot has been written on the pages about creating compelling offers. Your product should solve a real problem your patrons care about, meet a basic need or deliver value.

I've always liked the saying "if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there". Often times people get lost in striving for "pretty" and forget about functionality hence try to use design messages that are alluring but effective. As a final point think, plan and then create as it is very easy to get marketing wrong, which result in dumping a lot of money into hopeless solutions. Try to analyse a bit longer to build a strong structure and framework before working on a new marketing piece.

Remember, it doesn't really matter whether you're in web, graphic design or some other niche of marketing media; the principles are all actually the same: Know your target market, be consistent with the design image and message of your business across all medium and most importantly always strive to solve the urgent needs of the business. So until we meet again, fill your life with memories rather than regrets. Have fun and stay on top of your game.

Columnist welcomes feedback at deedee2111@hotmail.com

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