How Complementary Marketing Can Empower Your Brand

How Old Spice Harnessed the Power of Complementary Marketing (And What It Means for Your Brand)

It’s easy to feel lost in the complex, brave new world of online marketing, where tweets or search engine results can be as crucial to your success as more traditional media. But never fear—the new school isn’t completely detached from the marketing you already know and love.

In fact, using your digital marketing resources to complement old school approaches can result in huge online successes. By looking closely at Old Spice’s recent and widely-praised major marketing campaign, let’s explore how complementary marketing helps brands navigate advertising in the modern world—and how you can do it, too.

What is complementary marketing?

Simply put, complementary marketing is what you get when the many arms of your marketing and branding work together in harmony. Whether your brand awareness comes from an email list or a broad social media campaign, you’ll be more successful when each component complements and feeds off of every other component. Complementary marketing means taking a look at each part of your marketing and making sure it’s aiming at a common identity.

How is Old Spice using complementary marketing to drive visibility and awareness?

Old Spice recently launched a marketing campaign to introduce their “Fresher” collection of nature-themed scents; each stick of deodorant or bottle of body wash comes packaged with a name like “Coconut” or “Roar.”

To usher in these new and novel scents, they released a series of video advertisements in which muscular men grapple with the complexities of nature while smelling fresh and clean. Armed with their brand’s distinctively edgy sense of humor, the videos poke fun at more traditional ads that evoke ideas of manliness, scientific breakthroughs, or nature to position a product as revolutionary.

These ad spots are hilarious and effective in their own right, but Old Spice’s team didn’t stop there. In addition to the videos, they’ve hijacked the #naturefacts hashtag by composing their own absurd, snarky “facts” about animals that call back to their line of scents. They’ve even rolled out a first-of-its-kind vending machine in New York’s Grand Central Terminal. The machine accepts only items from nature, and true to the Old Spice brand, it deposits bizarrely humorous items in return — for example, visitors can exchange ocean water for “all the wadded up cash in a rich guy’s pocket.”

It’s funny—but more importantly, it’s effective. Every piece of Old Spice’s marketing is working toward the same goal of promoting their transition to “nature” themed products; their multifaceted campaign is a perfect example of complementary marketing at work.

How can complementary marketing help your brand?

As we all know well, it’s easy for marketing campaigns to get messy. Sometimes the parts aren’t working in sync. Other times, the overall concept misses its mark, and the brand falls on its face as a result. But no matter your approach, your campaigns will stick in the minds of your target audience best if your various approaches are aligned.

You may look to SEO, social media, print materials, even television ads — but don’t forget to make sure that each of these are bolstering one another. When it comes to marketing, a cohesive whole is always better than the sum of many disparate parts.

On the surface, complementary marketing may seem like just another concept to wrestle with. But fret not: when the elements of your marketing are built to complement one another, you’ll find your message only becomes clearer and more powerful.

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4 Clickbait Questions You Were Afraid to Ask—The Answers May Surprise You!

ClickbaitWe’ve all heard whispering and grumbling about the proliferation of clickbait, those irresistible, attention-grabbing headlines that have become an inescapable part of the social media landscape. But where do you draw the line between marketing and something more sinister? Should clickbait-y concepts be a part of your own strategy? We know you’re curious—let’s get right to the answers!

What is Clickbait?

Coined a few years back, “clickbait” is a pejorative term for curiosity-inducing headlines designed to generate as many clicks and shares as possible on social media channels. You know it when you see it—web sites like Upworthy and BuzzFeed made their names with shareable headlines like “What’s One of the Worst Ways to Motivate Someone? Hint: You See It All the Time.

Titles like these beg the reader to click through to reveal the answer or to uncover the supposedly shocking twist. Most of these sites take the bait a step further by suggesting that you share their content, generating likes and conversations on social platforms in the process.

Is Clickbait Actually Effective?

There hasn’t been a lot of empirical research done regarding the efficacy of clickbait-style headlines, but the evidence speaks for itself. In November 2013, Upworthy was outpacing CNN.com with twice their total social shares, even though CNN had twenty-six times the amount of actual content.

Take one look at your own Facebook news feed and you’ll likely spot dozens of shared articles; unsurprisingly, the majority of them have headlines that make you want to cringe and click through all at once. All of the evidence suggests the same thing: clickbait is working, and it’s here to stay.

What’s Wrong with Clickbait?

Detractors have pointed to an influx of low-quality, sloppy content on the other side of the click; some critics have even called clickbait unethical. After all, if the content is good and they’re telling the truth, why do the authors have to “bait” you into viewing it?

Of course, there’s always another side to the story. Content generators must seek out new and novel ways of driving readers to their sites—their business model depends on it. At the end of the day, no one is forcing users to share, click, or “like” anything. It’s an organic process, often more of an art than a science, and the best writers at Upworthy have discovered effective methods of funneling users toward their articles—what’s wrong with that?

Should I Be Writing Clickbait-y Headlines?

There’s no catchall answer. Rather, the strategies you utilize should derive organically from the content itself. As Neil St. Clair, writing for Forbes Magazine, puts it, “[clickbait as a marketing tactic is] neither right nor wrong; it’s simply a matter of your business model and audience.” An austere, self-serious publication like The New York Times doesn’t rely on sensational headlines because it doesn’t mesh with their identity; likewise, the fun-loving BuzzFeed depends on clicks and shares to survive, and they have no qualms about using headlines that have been proven to succeed.

There you have it: clickbait-inspired titles are everywhere you look in today’s online world, and this particular trend shows no signs of slowing down. Content generators continue to value these headlines because they’ve been effective at grabbing social media readers’ attention in the past.

But that doesn’t mean you have to use them yourself just to keep up—that will depend on your own unique goals. Sometimes just knowing what you’re up against is the best place to start.

From Desktop to Pocket: Why Americans Are Making the Switch to Mobile

Reaching a Breaking Point

In the years since Apple released the first iPhone in 2007, we’ve seen a seismic shift in the way that people are accessing the Internet. The landscape has changed so swiftly, in fact, that many have been left in the dust. In 2014, an incredible milestone was reached: for the first time ever, users spent more time accessing the Internet via mobile devices than they did on their PCs. Here are just a few reasons to believe that a movement to mobile is more than just a passing trend.

A Short, Snackable Experience

Since the rise of the smartphone, we’ve seen an influx of content that’s designed for a quick visit and nothing more — what some are referring to as “snackable” content. This could be anything from a short video to an infographic to a concise, easily navigable list.

We already know that peak Internet usage happens during lunch breaks, commutes, and decompressing time at home. But in a U.S. market where more than a whopping 178 million consumers now carry smartphones, content is often consumed in even shorter increments. More and more, users are harnessing just a few seconds to tune into the Internet on their mobile devices — and content generators are taking notice, churning out shorter, more digestible tidbits.

Apps on the Rise

Much of the newest research and data on user behavior suggests that users prefer smartphone apps to traditional browsers, and why not? Apps are elegant, to-the-point, and mobile by definition. The best ones make comparable websites seem bloated or even obsolete. In 2014, mobile app usage grew by 76%, and smartphone owners now download almost 9 apps per month on average.

Mobile Can Do It All

Last but certainly not least, users are ditching their PCs for mobile devices because phones and tablets can, simply put, do everything. Look at the device in your own pocket: chances are it can get you in touch with loved ones, snap a high-quality video, help you make an important purchase, check a flight time — the list goes on and on. Once upon a time, consumers felt a need to balance mobile devices with the desktop experience in order to meet all their computing and Internet needs. But PC sales have been declining as more users find their demands met by a slim, lightweight device that’s always within reach.

Looking Toward a More Mobile Future

Make no mistake — the mobile Internet is here to stay, and its reach and popularity is growing daily. Facebook and Google are still the biggest playmakers, with dominant lineups that include YouTube and Instagram. If you’re looking to build a following online, those remain the best places to start.

But don’t discount emerging mobile platforms, including lifestyle and shopping apps, which grew more in 2014 than any other category. It’ll also be in your best interest to refresh and update your traditional website — users still need to visit them, but they’ll be looking for a streamlined, simplified, and responsive interface that more closely resembles the mobile experience.

Innovative Marketing Ideas for 2015

Marketing Ideas

 

Do Something Different: 3 Marketing Ideas for 2015

As you and your team enter 2015 with a new marketing push, don’t be afraid to think a bit outside the box. While tried and true directions may feel safe, the world is changing faster than ever, and those who aren’t ready to ride the latest trends may soon get swept under by them.

Instead, consider exploring a new direction to make a big splash in the new year. Here are three innovative, disruptive, and forward thinking campaigns to inspire your productive brainstorming sessions.

 

1. 3D Print Your Products… Or Your Consumers

You probably know that 3D printing is one of the hottest trends in the tech space, so it was only a matter of time before the marketing departments sunk their teeth into the new possibilities.

British retailor John Lewis has started printing miniature sofa models for consumers to interact with. Besides pretending they’re towering giants, shoppers can place the mini-furniture on a smart table that brings a digital model on-screen, where users can customize a couch with chosen fabrics and designs.

Meanwhile, UNIQLO is printing its shoppers, enabling consumers to 3D print selfies of themselves wearing the brand’s threads, and all for a good, selfless cause.

 

2. Crowdsource Inspiration Like Coca-Cola China

Technology has made it infinitely easier to share ideas, content, and polished products—which is exactly why more and more marketers are turning to crowdsourcing for user-generated content.

Consider Coca-Cola China’s recent campaign on crowdsourcing platform eYeka, asking users to describe the ineffable taste of Coke with a video.

“If you had to explain to an alien who has never tried it before,” the brief asks, “which particular element of the Coke taste experience would you talk about, and what creative expression would you show him to get him to crave a sip of that Coke taste?”

Sounds like a fun exercise and a brilliant marketing campaign! Not only does crowdsourcing engage consumers on a creative, emotional level, it also allows the best concepts to rise to the top.

 

3. Finally Monetize Your Social Media Following

Social media marketing has been on the rise for years, but the question in the back of every marketer’s mind has always been, “what’s the real return on investment?” Was it really worth all those tireless hours to earn a few thousand followers? It sure was.

Twitter recently released a new buy button that lets users make purchases directly from tweets, and soon plan to let brands use a new offer button showcasing Groupon-style savings deals. While social media promotions may be getting easier, we still don’t recommend inundating your followers with ads—that’s a sure-fire way to get your brand blocked.

Get a little adventurous in 2015—a little walk on the wild side can really pay off.

3 Key Ingredients to Your Perfect B2B Event

While videoconferences are a modern marvel—minus the occasional screen-freeze that inevitably catches you mid-yawn—nothing beats an in-the-flesh event.

Whether it’s a major conference like TechWeek and South by Southwest, a niche trade show that zeroes in on your industry, an instructive workshop, illuminating panel discussion, or celebratory gala, events are one of the best parts of doing business.

For B2B professionals, that’s nothing revolutionary; we’re preaching to the choir: events are the single biggest line items in B2B marketing budgets, taking up a hearty 20% of the pie, according to a recent report from Forrester.

Why Events?

Why do companies feel compelled to spend so much on live events? Put simply, they work. Events enable both brands and individuals to raise their profiles, attract new business, and extend their network.

Though online interactions are stock-and-trade nowadays, there are too many digital distractions to totally capture your audience’s attention. A face-to-face event gives you to opportunity to actively engage your clients, consumers, and partners, showcasing your brand in living color.

Perhaps the greatest reason events are so important is that they allow us to forge relationships. As much as business is about figures, margins, and efficiency, it’s also about connections, respect, and trust. Events give us a chance to meet, great, and entertain outside of our everyday confines.

How to Ensure Your Event’s a Success

Attending events is a blast, but planning events? Not so much. They’re difficult, complex, and, yes, expensive. If your event’s a dud, that’s a big chunk of change down the drain. Here are three simple essentials your event needs to make it worth your while.

1.    Deliver Value. You’ve got to give your attendees of real value—and we don’t just mean a goodie bag of branded swag. Your presentations shouldn’t just be a sales pitch—it should be framed as useful information to make your attendees’ lives easier. Provide plenty of opportunities for them to make their own strategic connections, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you. Let them actively participate and say a little about their own offerings.

2.    Develop a Plan. Yes, your event shouldn’t just be a blatant sales pitch, but the purpose still is to generate interest, close sales, and bump up your bottom line. Have a clear plan in place that dictates how you’ll collect leads, convert prospects, and—to put it bluntly—make your money back.

3.    Invite the Right Crowd. An animal rights non-profit might not be the best audience to invite to your leather and fur expo. Don’t just extend invitations to everyone you know; target your most receptive audience as much as possible. It’s far better to get third-, forth-, and fifth-degree connections right up your alley than your immediate network without as much interest. Think scalpel, not shotgun.


The Big Picture Implications of the New iPhone’s Outsized Screen: What It Means for Design, Development, and UX/UI

When Apple’s Tim Cook finally announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, he was greeted with rapturous applause from diehard fans, snarky attack ads from sour competitors, and an unlikely #bendgate controversy about skinny jeans warping the slick devices.

Coming in at 4.7 and 5.5 inches across, these behemoth new screens are much more than a status symbol, copycat tactic, and structural liability—they also open a brave new world for developers, designers, and user experience / user interface (UX/UI) strategists.

How will apps adapt to the new real estate, and how will users respond? The outsized screens present both a challenge and an opportunity for the future of mobile design.

New Territory: A Lot of Space to Fill

While the new phones are appreciably bigger, on first glance, you may not realize just how many more pixels have been packed in: the 6 features 38% more space than its 5s predecessor, while the 6 Plus adds a whopping 68% increase.

Devs and designers will jump at the chance to give users more content and information, without crowding the interface and throwing off iOS’s trademark simplicity and Zen-like minimalism. They can also use the opportunity for more detailed graphics and bigger fonts. That’s great for readability, but what about reachability?

Solutions for Sore, Stubby Thumbs

An iPhone 5s sits comfortably in the palm of your hand and allows easy access to every corner of the screen—perfect for subway rides, multi-handed multitasking, and texting on the go. As this handy (heh) graphic shows, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are a little less accessible. This places many navigational tools—typically at the top of an app—inconveniently just out of reach.

Apple’s solution? Reachability, a feature launched by a double-tap on the home button that brings the top half of the screen to the bottom. Interesting idea, but some UX/UI experts are already declaring it “hacky and completely unintuitive.” A better approach may be moving the nav buttons down below deck and integrating more gestural controls.

As bigger screen sizes continue to gain popularity and become the new normal, designers will be forced to innovate, reinvent, and rethink the way our digits and digital devices interact.

2014 Vanguard Direct Scavenger Hunt

Another year, another Scavenger Hunt!

Vanguard Direct’s yearly celebration of New York City went off without a hitch! On October 23, fourteen teams embarked on the fourth annual VanScavenger Hunt.

This year’s hunt put a twist on the normal look and find employees have come to expect. Teams found an envelope with 16 clues, all ranked with points. They also found a list of extra items they could find on the hunt for additional points. Limited to a 2.5-hour time span, whoever came back on time with the most points won!

Once the clues were solved, a theme revealed itself. The hunters were going to some of the most haunted places in New York City! Running from the Chelsea Hotel to the Fraunces Tavern and everything in between, the game was on!

Check out some of the best photos from the Hunt, including some classic pictures from the Halloween Costume Contest on our Facebook page!

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Author: Zack Smith