So what looks good for lunch today?
This is our breakroom bulletin board – your workplace might have a similar one. While scanning the take-out menus and ads for various local eateries, think of that bulletin board as a little microcosm of a larger marketing environment: each piece hangs there hoping to catch attention, influence behavior, provide information. Some use mouth-watering photos of their meals; others provide detailed descriptions of their menu choices while still others rely on the familiarity of their logo and brand to catch your eye. They come in all sizes and colors. Each local eatery, vying for your daily lunchtime dollar, wants to outshine the others.
Now think of your marketing material on a bulletin board among those of your competitors. Will they stand out? Would you stop and take notice, feel drawn in by the imagery or design? Which one will make you decide to eat – or shop or invest… and why? If you saw a Pinterest page with a screenshot of your website alongside others in the same line of work, how would you feel about what that homepage says about you? Consider those “bulletin boards” as your marketing litmus test.
Back to Basics: Design & Message
If simply designing with eye-catching color was all that was necessary to get noticed, then most marketing would be a neon, day-glo mess. Yet color choice remains central to making design stand out. Consider if your colors are consistent with your branding and company image, if use of an out-of-the-ordinary color would be efficient, or if even black and white or a minimalist design might give you the desired effect. Keep up with the print and digital advertising of your competitors in the marketplace – the more you understand their efforts the better you can craft your own message to stand out.
With print marketing, shape - whether in terms of scale or geometric shape – can be very important. This is true whether you are printing a flyer, direct mail piece, handout or poster. Over-sized pieces draw attention, yet at times an unusually small piece might stand out from the herd. Die-cuts add an extra step in production but often create a very unique and memorable end product. Your information might fit onto the front of one sheet, or you might need to expand into a folded piece or multiple page publication – all basic and important decisions.
How is your message unique? In other words, what does your business do better than anyone else? Does your marketing simply repeat the same claims all of your competitors are making, or does it reveal why a potential customer is missing out by not discovering what your enterprise has to offer?
The bulletin board test can bring forward some of the most basic questions about your marketing efforts through a simple, real-time comparison. Taking the time to do that comparison can lead you toward finding more productive strategies for success.
Consider the ways you can use inspired graphic design to market your small business. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmental responsible printing
. They should also be able to work with you to solve any difficult prepress issues with your files. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!