Process tells us what is working and what is not.

It informs you about how many people are running to you, and how many are running away, what's making them leave and what's enticing them to stay.

-David Betke-


Brand & Marketing Triage™ 

When you've been in the game of marketing for as long as we have you start to notice patterns and commonalities. They reveal themselves in common mistakes everyone makes and you learn how to prevent those mistakes.

Our Brand & Marketing Triage™ process has been honed over decades to diagnose the key areas our clients need improvement in to stop wasting marketing dollars on things that aren't working. After all this time it always seems to come down to one, or more, of these 5 areas. Once we triage the problem we can formulate a plan.

Is Your Foundation The Issue?


Your brand is the foundation of your marketing. It is ultimately why anyone gives you money or comes to work for you. Good branding attracts top talent, keeps employees motivated, and customers loyal.

Unfortunately, many of you skip over this process and hand your well-branded competition the work you would have done better.

If your foundation is the issue, we get to work finding the heart of your business and start building your brand around it. Immediately customers will recognize you are different than the lifeless zombies who used to be your competition.

When we are asked to re-brand we always determine if you had a brand in the first place, or if are you a victim of being branded by others.

Our process is deeply compassionate and focuses on 12 key areas to bring your brand to life. 

Depending on how much real data we have, and how much access we have to you, the process usually takes from 3 to 6 months.

With brand tweaks we have seen changes within one month. It depends on how much work is needed. We will be very clear up front with timelines once we determine the scope of your project.

Are Your Processes The Issue?


Process is the science part of marketing. It is creating a hypothesis and setting up systems to test your assumptions. Systemizing a sales funnel is an example of process.

We can count on one hand the number of clients we have worked with in 25 years who have a strong functioning process to capture, qualify and convert leads at every marketing touch point. So don't feel bad if you don't have one.

Your funnel includes your traffic map and the processes you will use to capture leads and move them through the action journey. I don't say buyers journey because some of you are recruiting people, asking for donations, or trying to incentivize social action.  So whatever that action is, you need to message that person depending on where they are in the decision making process to join you, buy from you or help you in any way.

With thousands of messages aimed at each of these individuals every day they have evolved a pretty formidable system of filters to ignore you. A well thought out process address these filters, 7 in all , and focuses on disarming them compassionately.

We will help you create those processes so you know what is and what is not working. The more the process learns from itself the less your marketing dollars will be wasted on guesses.

Are Your Content Or Tactics The Issue?


Tactics are the art of marketing. Copywriting, creative, and production are part of tactics. They are what attracts attention and drives traffic into your sales process, or funnel.

The thing with tactics is that they are fun! They are bright and shiny and there are always new ones around every corner to attract you down different rabbit hole, where you lose time, money and hair.

Again, we can count on a few hands, and maybe one toe, how many clients over the past 25 years who have invested in foundation AND process. Most of you jump straight to tactics, the attention-getting phase of marketing. 

The problem is threefold:

1) Without a foundation (or a strong beating heart) you may be drawing attention to a brand that scares people away before they even get to know how great you are.  We've all seen that website that look like someone's A.D.D. cat designed them. it's incomprehensible, so we click away without reading a line. We've all received that cool trinket at the trade show but long forgotten the company who spent all that money, because their booth was a disaster and we had no clue what they did, or worse, we made a snap decision on their professionalism based on the effort they put into their space.

Brand is much more than visuals, but you can tell who didn't go through the process, by their visuals.

2) Attention for attention sake is an awful mistake.  Many of you contact us to help you get attention at the next trade show event.  When I ask, "What kind of attention", I get this crazy look. The right kind of attention from the right kind of people is an essential part of your marketing strategy. If you just want attention we could shave a rabid squirrel and let it loose on the trade show floor. But that's not the kind of attention you want.  If you want 1000 people to come to your booth, give out the coolest new promotional product. If you don't want to go broke handing out 990 of those cool new shiny things to people who have no need for what you have to offer, have a strategy.

3) Getting attention is great but then what?  How are you going to qualify who is interested then get them to do something?
Once they do SOMETHING, how are you going to get them to continue until they do something that pays? 

Tactics are all about driving qualified traffic through the next level of your action funnel. 

But most people have built in filters to resist tactics. They love free stuff but they won't DO anything unless your message connects, you engage them on their terms and make it easy to say yes. That is why you must humanize your pitch. 

Our copywriting and engagement processes are built on compassion for your audience. We think of the words we write for you as the open arms and smiling face of your brand which welcome and attract real people to you.

Are Your Metrics The Issue?


Metrics are how you measure the effectiveness of both your process and your tactics, so you’re not throwing money into a black hole.

Measuring what is working and what is wasting your money is critical in marketing. But again, very few businesses do this successfully. Fewer know exactly whom their leads come from (besides direct referrals) and what traffic sources are creating the best leads. Even fewer know why people are dropping off at any one point in the action funnel.  

Measuring the things that move people closer to big actions like purchases, joining your team, or donating time or money to your cause is how you make sure you are getting the most from every marketing dollar.

Likes, follows and comments on social media are good for the ego but they don't fill your belly.

The same is true for the way most people use promotional products. There are so many opportunities to engage and move people to action at trade shows silent auctions/ and golf tournaments but your logo will not lead to action.  Think of it, when was the last time a logo got you to pick up the phone? Can you attribute any of those products directly to a sale, recruit, or even a qualified lead? (If you've worked with us I know you can, so this is for all the others). 

Handing out swag without story, a request to do something and a good reason to do it is like going fishing with a pretty lure, cutting off the line AND the hook, and throwing it into the water. Off course you are going to attract lots of fish, but you are going to leave with an empty belly.

It is absolutely essential to measure things that count. If they do not produce relevant data, or move us towards bankable action, they are just ego-metrics and our tactics or process need to pivot.

We'll help you set up metrics to measure the things that count so you can optimize your marketing dollar. Yes even for your swag.  Our proven process Swag, Tag & Squeeze™ has the people who just sell promotional products raising the white flag.

Sometimes it's best to start with metrics so we can get good data on which to base our brand assumptions.

Is Interpreting Data The Issue?


Data is the information gathered through process and metrics. It is what informs all decisions moving forward. 

Data strengthens your process. At times it may even shift your foundation as it increases your understanding of your customer.

The better data we have the better decisions we can make.

A good process and solid metric lead to good data.  Data is the goldmine of marketing.  Billionaires have been made out of those who gather good relevant data. Think your favorite social media site is in business to help you connect? Think again! They are in the business of providing data to marketers. 

When you apply data correctly, it informs your creative so the words you write (or hire us to write) connect on a deeply human level with those you are trying to reach. Good data gives us a peak into who your perfect customer is, what their questions are, and what they respond to best.

Applying that data is as much an art as a science. Data interpreted superficially can lead to poor decisions but if you keep peeling the layers back you will get to the core of who your audience is and what parts of your marketing mix moves them best.

Data must be managed and applied or the entire process is rendered useless. 

We take this knowledge very seriously and always apply it ethically and compassionately so we are connecting with, instead of manipulating, the people who have come to love your brand's new beating heart.

The Brand Clinic™- Optimizing Your System


So you see, each of these elements feeds back into the next and together they create a continual loop that leads to better decisions, deeper connections, less waste and more sales.

The ongoing maintenance of this system is critical to make it work optimally. 

To discuss setting up our system in your business.

Can You Predict The Success Of A Business 
Based On Its Attitude Towards Marketing?

There are only 2 functions in business. Innovation and marketing that innovation. Everything else is an expense.

Show me an organization that views marketing as an expense and I'll show you an organization that will always be chasing its competition.

A great example of this is how a business views promotional products. The business that sees marketing as an investment will hire an agency like us to incorporate swag into an overall strategy where everything has a purpose and a measurable result.

The enterprise that views marketing as an expense will ask materials management to create a tender document for swag and find the best value for products they are giving away. They will most likely buy a commodity online or hire a trinket peddler. Neither will have a plan - so they get no results -and as a result they try to waste even less money the next time and the vicious cycle continues... as their market share plummets.

Good marketing multiplies your money better than any investment. Invest in yourself. Innovate, create a unique brand and market it.