Our perspective at VantagePoint

The Incredible Disappearing Call to Action

Spend a few minutes scrolling through your social media feed or checking your favorite websites. It won’t take long before you realize that advertising is constantly evolving. But rules are meant to be broken, right? After all, I started that last sentence with ‘but’ and I don’t see my middle school English teacher chasing me down. I have the conventions of modern usage to thank for that.

Companies (and agencies) are finding new ways to advertise products and services — and many of their current efforts violate some traditional rules about what constitutes ‘good’ advertising. That’s understandable. While I love to run across adventurous, playful, unexpected and interruptive campaigns, I’ve been very surprised recently by how many ads I see without a clear call to action.

What a waste. You work so hard to get your prospective customers’ collective attention. You catch their eye with a creative presentation or a clever placement, only to lose them in the end because you never told them where to go or how to take advantage of your offer.

While superbrands like Apple, Google and Nike can get away with only their logo on a white background, a “Think Different”-style tagline and a URL, the other 99.9% of advertisers should remember that the most boring element of their new campaign might just be the most important.

Don’t just namedrop your website. Tell them why they should visit — and what they should do when they get there. Tell them specifically how it will help them become more profitable, more efficient and less encumbered in pursuing their real priorities.

Just like the call to action comes at the end of the ad, the most important word comes at the end of the term itself.

Action. That’s what it’s all about.

How would you like your [website developed]? | The ultimate guide to good design

At VantagePoint, we have this comical chart that hangs up in the Creative Studio that always makes us chuckle, mostly because it’s true. The title: “How would you like your [insert creative deliverable here]?” The chart sarcastically maps out results we all believe we can avoid, but it’s actually grounded in reality.

  • Fast + Cheap = Dipped in ugly sauce with haste and carelessness
  • Fast + Cheap + Great = Impossible Utopia
  • Fast + Free + Great…. Well, you get the idea

No great deliverable comes from rushing through or avoiding a process or from trying to patch one together on the cheap, and that’s just as true for a website as it is for any creative project. So we’ve put together the following seven steps for ensuring your next website development project doesn’t end up at the center of a Venn diagram of poor planning, wishful thinking and boring design.

  1. Stay apprised of website best practices. It’s not enough to have to “grand vision”; you need to stay on top of what competitors are doing on the web front and ensure that you’re implementing modern design principles that at minimum compete with other sites in the industry.
  2. Ensure full buy-in of wireframes. When developing the page structure and interfaces before the actual design process begins, it’s imperative to get full-in buy in from your team or client before moving forward into the graphics and copy. These should be considered the “blueprint” — the bones that provide the foundation for your website house. The second you decide to start adding bathrooms and a second kitchen on a foundation not designed to support them, things can go awry quickly.
  3. Be responsive. This one we hope is self-evident, but in this day and age, all new websites should be designed to be responsive across all platforms for an enhanced customer experience.
  4. Pay close attention to the intent of your home page. As the first content your audience will land on when they interact with your brand, this page should be engaging at first view with constantly refreshed and rotating content.
  5. If you’ve got assets, flaunt them. Consider a knowledge or resource center to showcase value-added content. A strong content marketing strategy deserves its own hub, so develop a robust resource center that displays those thought leadership pieces of content and shows your customers what you’re all about.
  6. Integrate video, infographics and other engaging content. You’ve heard it before — it’s all about that first impression. Engagement boosts messaging, and motion graphics, videos, animations, infographics or other engaging visual content catches the eye of a visitor and is more apt to pique their curiosity and keep them poking around the site to learn more. And studies have shown four times as many consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than read about it.
  7. Offer tools, wizards or calculators. Once you’ve gotten your audience’s attention with engaging content on the homepage, think through how to keep them on the site by interacting with a tool, wizard or calculator that helps showcase your brand’s product offerings, segment expertise and brand promise.

Have you come across a website that was particularly well designed? Or one that clearly broke all these rules? Share your best and worst experiences in the comments below. And check out our 10 tips for a successful website launch.

You know what they say about assuming… | 3 tips to avoid losing customers

The other day I was driving home from an out-of-town client meeting. It was dinner time, and while I’m usually more of a fast casual fan, my options and time were limited so I decided to give Arby’s a try — specifically the $1 sliders they’ve been advertising.

When I pulled up to the menu board and looked at the list of slider options, I found myself questioning, “Well, how big is one of these sliders? How many should I order for a meal? What if I don’t order enough? What if I order too many and eat them all anyway?”

Feeling a little dumb for having so many questions about a little (or maybe not-so-little?) slider, I bailed and ordered a No. 1 combo. I never asked a single question, and I spent more money on the combo meal than I would have spent on five sliders. And I didn’t sample those new sandwiches the advertising campaign has been pushing.

Arby’s had me in its clutches at that moment, but I slipped away. I could have loved those sliders and bumped Arby’s up to my A-list of restaurant choices, but because they assumed anyone in their right mind would understand how big a slider was, they lost the potential to turn me into a slider advocate.

My point? In B2B, we’re dealing with much more complex buying cycles and more complicated purchasing decisions than whether or not to try a $1 sandwich, and missing a sale due to a simple assumption is quite a bit more costly, too.

So, take a step back, and consider these steps to becoming assumption-proof:

  1. Review your content, and consider what you’re not saying.
    If you were to show your marketing materials to a friend outside the industry, what questions might he or she ask you? For example, are you assuming that buyers understand the importance of conserving a particular resource? Buying a product made out of a particular material or ingredient? Choosing a company with after-hours support? Maybe it’s something you’ve been preaching for years, but remember that prospects are likely responsible for much more than buying your product or service and may not be aware of certain foundational information.
  2. Interview a few non-customers.
    What was top of mind when they made their purchase? Did they consider your selling points? Did they care? Often we don’t do enough voice of the customer (VOC) research, and when we do, it seems easier to reach out to current customers for feedback. However, current customers chose you for a reason, so getting perspective from those who didn’t would be more helpful in this case.
  3. Identify the best educational opportunities.
    Integrate video into your marketing to explain or show why something is important. Include a short callout or sidebar on printed pieces. Pursue thought leadership through self-publishing or trade media. Include a section on your website with educational content. Show a picture of a hand holding a slider — whatever works.

Note: To the Arby’s marketing executive who stumbled on this through a clips report, I totally understand if you’re rolling your eyes at me. I promise to try a pizza slider (or five) one day soon — even if it’s no longer $1 — because it really does look delicious. 

Sarah Kuzmic Joins VantagePoint as Digital and Print Designer

news-release-banner

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amy Clarke Burns
864.331.1273
aburns@vantagep.com

Greenville, S.C. – July 11, 2017 – VantagePoint Marketing, a nationally recognized business-to-business marketing agency with special expertise in foodservice, has hired Sarah Kuzmic in the role of digital and print designer.

In this role, Kuzmic will support VantagePoint’s creative team with design work and web development for the agency’s clients.

A recent graduate of Bob Jones University, Kuzmic worked with VantagePoint as a graphic design student intern for several months before being invited to join the team.

“Sarah impressed our team from her first days with us, demonstrating excellent proficiency and skill in producing compelling and creative work,” said Henry Pellerin, VantagePoint president and CEO. “We are fortunate to have added her talents to our growing team.”

Kuzmic obtained her bachelor of fine arts in graphic design from Bob Jones University. Her previous experience includes serving as a webmaster assistant at the BJU Press and as a freelance designer.

For more information about VantagePoint, visit www.vantagep.com.

About VantagePoint Marketing

VantagePoint Marketing is a nationally recognized business-to-business marketing agency with a primary focus on foodservice clients. Headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina, it is ranked nationally on BtoB Magazine’s Top Agencies list, is an eight-time winner of the Business Marketing Association of the Carolinas’ Agency of the Year award and has been named one of the small/midsized Best Places to Work in South Carolina for four consecutive years. Founded in 1993, VantagePoint takes an integrated approach in offering its clients expertise in marketing, advertising, branding, digital and public relations. For more information, visit www.vantagep.com.

From blah to blown away: How rebranding breathed new life into this company

This may seem obvious, but good branding is one of the most basic needs for a successful company. Everything from a name and logo to the company’s core message to customers is tied up in the idea of “branding,” so it’s imperative that any effort to change or update a brand be approached with care and caution.

When one of our clients decided it was time for a complete rebranding, VantagePoint kicked off the project with a comprehensive research initiative.

The primary goal of the rebranding was to establish a common link among three brands of refrigerated storage equipment — CrownTonka, ThermalRite and ICS — that operated under one company after a series of acquisitions.

The multifaceted research effort solicited input from all stakeholders via internal online surveys and group discussions, in-depth customer interviews, and a competitive audit in order to provide insight into how the brands were perceived in the marketplace and inform company leadership on how best to recast them.

The study revealed strong individual brand devotion for the sub-brands but also confusion in the foodservice and retail spaces about the distinction among the brands. Based on the research results, VantagePoint developed a new brand architecture, positioning and attributes.

Given the walk-in cooler industry’s commoditized state, the company’s new value proposition centered on the customer service experience: Everidge is constantly on the move to offer the best turn-key customer experience, from point of sale through installation.

The new Everidge brand was unveiled at the 2017 National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show with a campaign to increase awareness and promote the new brand identity:

  • The new name, logo and tagline expressed Everidge’s commitment to be with customers “Every step of the way.”
  • A newly developed corporate website featured a user-friendly product-selection tool.
  • Pre-, at- and post-show communications and new booth structure displayed the new brand.
  • Print and digital ads featured a two-phased teaser and brand reveal.

Thanks to the initiatives, Everidge nearly doubled its leads at the NRA Show over the previous year and received significant positive feedback on the new brand. See how the brand came to life at the show in this case study.

“VantagePoint is very thorough and comprehensive in their process and worked closely with our team to develop a new name, logo and tagline that captures what we stand for today and what we strive to be in the future,” said Chris Kahler, Everidge president and CEO.

Whether you’ve reached a commodity status or acquired a new brand with competing business or brand strategies — or the same can be said about the competition — identifying and carving out a distinct, ownable brand position for your company is crucial to standing out from the crowd.

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