Beyond PR

Mar 01, 2016

Always Wear a Blazer and 5 More Lessons from MarketingSherpa 2016

MarketingSherpa 2016 Tips for Marketers

In marketing, just as in life, it’s always good to be prepared with a basic strategy. The well-known phrase “80% of life is just showing up” is true, to a point – but it’s that 20% you have to worry about if you want to succeed.

To achieve positive outcomes, marketers must carefully consider how they want their brand to be perceived, follow a customer-centric approach, and continuously look for new ways to stand out.

At this year’s MarketingSherpa Summit, marketers from around the world converged on Las Vegas to discuss strategies for marketing optimization, customer engagement and revenue generation.

One of the best lessons I learned, though, was actually from a networking session with colleagues.

“Always wear a blazer,” commented Director of Channel Marketing Daniel Watson.

While Daniel was jokingly crediting his blazer for the good luck that followed him around Vegas, there’s something about blazers that also translates into a useful marketing metaphor.

As a fashion choice for both women and men, blazers can dress anything up while also being functional. They can differ in style, and a really high-quality jacket can set you apart in a crowd. In a number of ways, marketers and the content they create do the same for brands.

Throughout #Sherpa16’s different panels, my thoughts kept going back to the blazer and how it worked with many of the summit’s takeaways.

Perception is key: In one session, “Subliminal: How your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior,” Dr. Leonard Mlodinow told attendees of a study where participants were given two glasses of wine. One had a ten dollar price tag, and the other had a ninety dollar price tag.

Naturally, participants rated the ninety dollar bottle of wine higher than the ten dollar bottle. But when researchers switched the price tags, participants gave the cheap wine a higher rating than the expensive one – all because they perceived that higher price point equated to increased quality.

Ask yourself: What is the customer perception of your brand? Are you wearing an ill-fitting and cheap blazer or something tailored and well-made?

Take a customer-centric look at your message and decide whether it’s telling a ten or ninety dollar story. If your business model is based on discounts and savings, a ten dollar story may work for you. However if your value proposition is quality, your message and presentation should match that increased price point.


Put your best foot forward: With so much noise competing for your audience’s attention, your company’s content needs to make the best impression possible.

Just as you want to look your best in a professional setting, the same goes for your brand in its digital setting.

Conduct a gap analysis of business potential vs. performance, inventory your content against your customer lifecycle, and review your marketing’s quality to ensure you’re delivering a cohesive and compelling message. Offer up additional, relevant content and gently guide your audience along the funnel towards conversion.

Make your audience feel like they are in the hands of an expert storyteller; it will clarify and strengthen your brand’s image, and they’ll feel satisfied when they reach their destination.

Keep it clean: Brands need to prioritize data hygiene and maintenance if they want to connect with critical decision makers.

During his session “How PR Newswire Created an Innovative Demand Generation Engine That Increased Engaged Leads by Over 20%,” Ken Wincko, PR Newswire’s Senior Vice President of Marketing, asked the audience about their marketing database: “How often are you cleaning your list? How many of those leads are key decision makers?”

Spring cleaning is important – whether that means cleaning out old blazers from your wardrobe or reviewing your marketing database and removing duplicate and unusable contacts.

“The impact of data hygiene maintenance on your house lists is critical,” Ken continued. “Reach the key decision makers and influencers that your brand needs by augmenting your marketing database with a third-party provider.”

Clean data will provide you with an accurate representation of the customer base you’re serving and help you identify which leads are qualified and more likely to continue through the funnel.

Take risks: When your marketing is backed by thorough and clean analytics, it’s also easier to be adventurous.

Just as you might dress up your blazer with a funky necklace or tie to distinguish yourself, think of new ways you can market your company’s products and programs, and A/B test to seek improvements.

As long as your content and messaging are authentic to your brand, trying something new can reap many benefits. Even if results aren’t what you hoped for, you will have learned something about your brand and your customers.

Make the blazer a habit: New York Times best-selling author Charles Duhigg, who wrote “The Power of Habit,” told the story of the invention of Proctor and Gamble’s Febreeze product.

The revolutionary science behind the product was the first of its kind to truly capture and eliminate odors.

However, as Duhigg explained during his session, the product’s initial promotion didn’t connect with customers. The company realized that rather than marketing the invention of cool new features, they should instead focus on how customers can tie this new product into their daily cleaning routines.

Duhigg’s example offers powerful insight for marketers. Go back to your audience analytics and look at your prospective customers and their routines. Don’t look at your brand’s offerings as products, view them as solutions and consider how they serve your customers’ day-to-day needs.

Then, get into the habit of creating and publishing messaging across the different channels your customers use. Repeatedly show, don’t tell, what’s in it for the customer and how your solutions fit their routine.

Over time, you will become an integral part of your customer’s life.

The blazer works similarly; put one on every day, and you’ll build an image of respectability, credibility and authority with those around you. Back it up by being helpful and reliable, and you have a formula for real success.

In the end, effective marketing is about providing an excellent customer experience and experimenting with new strategies in an attempt to improve performance and outcomes.

For instance, integrating your PR strategy more fully into your marketing program will not just help earn more media coverage, but also drive sales and attract potential funding sources.

You might only have one chance to make a good impression with a prospect or customer. Make it count. Download our white paper Best Practices for Growth: Aligning PR Programs to Corporate Strategy and learn how to use PR to achieve your business goals.

Author Annemaria Nicholson is a solutions & customer lifecycle marketing manager at PR Newswire. In addition to designing integrated marketing programs for PR Newswire and CNW, she’s responsible for promoting the companies’ content and multimedia distribution, reporting, and e-commerce solutions. You can contact her via LinkedIn.

1 Comments on Blog Post Title

­ Robert Donat 04:10 EDT on Jul 20, 2016

It’s not easy to be stylish,but with a little effort, we will be better looking day by day. Such useful article like this can save us lots of time & effort. Thank you for insightsul tips!

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