Life is cyclical for marketing professionals.  Each February, I am filled with excitement and pride in my profession as new Super Bowl ads are rolled out, and, conversely, each December I cringe as I watch and listen to the parade of commercials aimed at informing people about all the things they simply cannot live without, or must give to loved ones if they truly want to demonstrate their yuletide affection. Read the rest of this entry »

Sometimes when people talk to me in the biz or in the office, my eyes glaze over. My mind blocks all incoming communication and I fixate on one thing — a solitary word. Not because of boredom or my being uninterested in the topic at hand, but due to the word or words that were just spoken. Odd words. Words that normal folk don’t use. Words that are created within the four walls of an organization — business speak and corporate jargon. And even some that are created within subsets of a business that the rest of the company doesn’t understand. Really? This happens? Yes. I’ve seen it over and over again. Read the rest of this entry »

As Seen On TV can’t get much better…or worse.

When I was at the gym the other day (just wait, the irony is coming), an infomercial came on a screen in front of me. A woman appeared in a fuzzy pink jumpsuit that was announced to be the “one-piece, lie-around, lounge-around, full-body lazy wear.” With an acrylic fingernailed hand, she demonstrated how soft the fabric was by making bizarre and entirely unnatural rubbing/sweeping motions on her leg. The ad was for the unfortunate stepchild of the Snuggie® — Forever Lazy® — and, yes, that is the product’s real name. In shock, and thinking this was a rerun of an SNL commercial sketch, I continued to watch (much to my horror).

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One of the driving principles behind the ad agency biz is the constant cycle of winning accounts and losing accounts. What fuels this cycle? Clients get tired of working with their agency. They want a new spin on marketing. They want a better relationship with agency personnel, or more proactivity, or more service. Most of all, they want stronger results. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to home, hearth, family, and for me, one of the single greatest PR tactics ever invented — the Butterball Turkey Talk Line. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the lifeline millions of Americans have used to save their holiday feasts. Read the rest of this entry »

While the buzz over Google+ has certainly dropped dramatically in the months since Google launched the service, one of the more eagerly-anticipated features has been Google+ pages for business. Yesterday, Google formally launched Google+ Brand Pages.

Although the service suffered a few hiccups yesterday and wasn’t completely available for all users, by late afternoon it was up and running for everyone. We set up a VantagePoint page (please add us to your circles!), and captured the step-by-step process it took us to do so.

Here’s how to set up a Google+ brand page for your company:

1. Log in to your Google account, presumably one that you already have a Google+ account for. (It appears you cannot, at present, use an existing Google profile you may have created for your brand or company.) IMPORTANT: for the near term, you will be the “owner” of this profile, and it will be linked to your Google account. Others will not be able to edit this profile until Google opens up brand pages for multiple editing. Keep this in mind as you proceed.

2. Visit http://plus.google.com/pages/create.

3. You will now see the “Create a page” screen. Now it’s time to get started.

4. On the left side, choose the category that you wish your company to belong to. For now, we’re going to assume you will be a “company, institution or organization.”  Unless you have a major brand or a local walk-in store, this is probably the most appropriate category to choose. (If you roll over the category types, you’ll get a brief explanation to help you decide.)

5. When you choose your category, the right side of your screen will populate with several fields for you to fill in, including company name, website, business type, and page visibility. Fill in the appropriate blanks.

6. After a few seconds, you will see the beginning of your company’s Google+ page.

7. Enter your tagline. You can enter as many words as you want, but only the first 10 words will be displayed on your profile.

8. Add a profile photo — or a logo. Clicking on the “change profile photo” will bring you to a screen where you can import and crop an image.

9. When you’ve updated the tagline and the profile photo, click “continue.” You’ll next have the option to tell your circles about your new page from your personal Google+ account. Go ahead — or you can wait until later as well — and click “Finish” when you’re done.

10. You’ll now be taken to your official Google+ brand page. There are a number of options here to get you started in sharing, promoting, and linking to your new page. One of the nice things that Google has done is make it easy to switch between using the page as “you” or as “your company” by clicking on the little arrow next to your profile photo/logo.

11. You’ll also notice your stream changes appropriately — instead of friends, family, and following, you’ll see links for customers, VIPs, and team members.

Spend a few minutes exploring Google+ brand pages. Your first instinct will be to start adding folks to your circles. However, it appears you currently can’t — that is, until they add you first. (All the more reason to add VantagePoint to your Google+ circle!) We’re not sure if this is temporary, or if it’s Google’s way of making sure brands don’t overwhelm the general public.

Time will tell whether Google+ will replace or merely supplement Facebook and Twitter (or disappear entirely, as several other Google properties have). But for now, we think it’s important to take advantage of a social media service directly connected to the world’s largest search engine.

According to a recent survey by BtoB Magazine and Rainmaker Systems, 58% of B2B marketers report an increase for their companies’ involvement in e-commerce. Perhaps you, too, are considering this online means to increase sales. But for those who aren’t, you can still take advantage of what B2C companies who are using e-commerce have learned to improve your sales and marketing efforts.

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In today’s economy, it’s only natural to be looking for areas in your marketing budget to cut costs or reallocate. And with printing often being a significant expense for many marketing initiatives, it can seem like an easy decision to go with the cheapest printer and a house stock. After all, it’s just paper and ink, right?

Not so fast! A less-than-professional print job can send the wrong message to your customers, and you don’t want your high-quality ideas or products to be dismissed because your brochure looks amateur. There are so many opportunities to improve your direct mail, collateral or other printed pieces with some careful thought about how you want to print it.

For example, we recently concepted a Christmas card for a client, and instead of just turning over artwork with no thought to production, our recommendation included printing with silver ink on Neenah Paper Inc.’s “Starwhite” Flash Pearl paper (a white stock with a shimmery pearl effect) — a combination that screamed holiday cheer.

The paper and printing process you choose can also help enhance your message. For example, if you’re working on a piece to share your sustainability story, an uncoated, recycled paper with soy-based inks makes a lot more sense than a glossy house stock. Or, if you’re marketing a product known for its strength and durability, why not engage your audience with a non-tearable synthetic paper?

Upgrades like these don’t always need to cost a lot of money. Many marketing agencies employ production services specialists who can provide recommendations and guidance, or a quality printer should have knowledgeable reps on staff to help you understand what options are available.

So, before you send your next piece off to the printer, stop to think about the production possibilities. There’s a whole world to explore full of colored, textured papers; shimmery and metallic inks; glosses and coatings; embossing and debossing; variable content and customization; and many other interesting materials and processes. Have some fun, and good luck!

Just a few of our 2011 BMA Carolinas ProAd awards

VantagePoint Marketing was honored last night in Charlotte by the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas with its 3rd straight Agency of the Year award, as well as 38 other awards in total. These awards were given for outstanding creative, strategy and results for projects created over the last year for business-to-business marketing clients across the country.

In addition to the Agency of the Year award, we also received 5 Gold awards, 17 Silver awards, and 16 Bronze awards. Work for a total of 11 different clients was awarded, including Estes Express Lines, T&S Brass, Milliken, Nucor Building Systems, SEW Eurodrive, S&D Coffee, Polydeck, BMA Carolinas, Thrace-LINQ, and VantagePoint.

This is the 5th time in the last 6 years that we have won the Agency of the Year award for B2B marketing in both North and South Carolina. We were thrilled to be honored against tough competition, including very strong showings by Jackson Marketing Group and PhaseTwo.biz.

Thanks to an amazing team at VantagePoint that made this year’s success possible!

Dave, Joe, Angie and Ryan after the ceremony

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About VantagePoint

VantagePoint's integrated approach to b-to-b marketing combines keen insight with bright ideas to strengthen your brand's market impact, no matter what the economy. Let us help you get a fresh perspective.

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