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Posts Categorized: Reaching Customers

Giving Thought to Media Buys

It is ironic how life is.

On my way to the office this morning I was looking around, absorbing — like a sponge — and learning from people’s behaviors and attitudes. I was in a cab, stopped at a traffic light, and a homeless person immediately caught my eye. He was sleeping on a bench as people were walking past him on their way to work or having breakfast at the diner behind him. I was struck by all of this.

The long red light gave me the opportunity to realize the man was resting on a bench with a billboard on the back promoting exclusive residences. It is the kind of image that if it were created by a copywriter and an art director for a social cause, it most likely would be submitted to an advertising awards competition. This image was not “created” — but captured by my iPhone.


Sometimes reality surpasses fiction. In addition to the big moral remorse I feel, I thought: Is this the appropriate media placement for this kind of product?

Under this circumstance, the word “exclusive” on this advertising banner has a double meaning that makes you think how unfair life is. Here, “exclusive” makes me think, this is not only about exclusivity as luxury, but also about exclusivity as exclusion.

How careful is too careful when we create a campaign and define the media buy for our clients? How can we help make positive changes to this ironic world — through our work and our lives?

– Eduardo Dehesa Conde


A Tour of the New Liquid Iron Website

More clients, more staff and a strong message required us to rethink how we used our website to communicate our value as an integrated marketing agency. The challenge of developing a website to answer a growth spurt is a good problem to have.

It was exciting to plow over our little plot of online terra firma and build a new home. Of course, as with most real-estate developments, time and budget were of prime concern. No growth-stage agency has unlimited funds and we’ve all been a part of marketing projects that go on so long they become virtually obsolete.

But damn the cliche  This cobbler will care for his own shoes. So we began: (more…)

Customer Lifetime Value from a very different perspective.

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It’s funny … but sometimes the greatest insights in business come from the most unexpected places.

My father was a first generation Italian American whose parents came to this country in the early 1920’s with “niente in tasca”, nothing in their pockets, so to speak. Yet the stories my father would tell about his childhood — even during the Depression — were always filled with warmth, happiness, humor and unparalleled ingenuity and common sense, no matter how challenging the adversity.

He was a man filled with grace and humility. And he never would have thought of himself as an entrepreneur. But he was. Like his parents, he started with nothing in his pockets. Although, what he did have was a deep love of working with his hands. He was a carpenter by trade. Always self-employed. And as his business grew over the years from carpentry only to full-scale building, he never lost his focus. He was always centered on the quality of his work and the value he gave to his clients.

Lifetime Value my father’s way.

Recently my father passed. And I have been struck by the number of people who have come forward and said: “You don’t know me, but your father built my house and it has been the happiest place on earth for me.” Or, “the quality of our house is amazing, I have not had to repair anything in 40 years.” Or, “… it is where all the greatest memories of my life were made.” Or, “… my seven brothers and sisters and I loved every inch of it, especially the playroom, which was the epicenter of our lives.”

Or any myriad of other heartfelt comments that told me my father viewed Customer Lifetime Value not as the net profit he would gain over the entire relationship with each of his customers, but as the value that he could give to each of his customers over their lifetime. It was the essence of who my father was, a man who lived to add value to the lives of others and he executed it every day.

It is certainly a very different perspective on the concept of Customer Lifetime Value. And one we happily live by — just as my father did.

Is your current partner a keeper?

Right Partner_

It’s uncomfortable. We know it. That year-end review of your business and relationships. When done right — with an open and willing-to-own-all-the-warts mindset — it can be brutal, but it has to be done if you want to enhance and advance.

Even if 2015 was your best year ever, there are things you need to ponder: What went right? What didn’t? Did you have the right goals in place in the first place? What about your culture and capabilities? Are they what you need to move forward successfully in 2016?

These are just some of the questions that you should be asking … and your marketing partner should be asking them too, on your behalf, and about the way they service your business. If they are not, it may be time for you to ask the most important question of all: Do you have the right marketing partner in place?

What do you require in a partner?

You most likely have your own checklist for the ideal marketing partner for you. Just like many of our clients. From B2C to B2B — from Tech to Education to Healthcare to Consumables — we have found that while the verticals are quite different, many of our clients share some of the same requirements. Yet other selection criteria are unique.

Here are some must-haves:

  • Expertise — and intellect — to solve for all challenges.
  • Behavior path evangelists who can be an integrated extension of your customer service and directly impact conversion rates.
  • Strategists who can naturally inspire creativity.
  • Active listeners who truly hear, understand and execute accordingly.
  • A consistently collaborative, painless and valuable process/experience.
  • A proactive partner who constantly identifies gaps and searches for solutions.
  • The ability to make data actionable.
  • The flexibility to deliver a responsive, on-demand client-centered culture.
  • A relevance radar that filters which innovative trends are actually right for your Brand.
  • The agility to ramp up — or scale back — anywhere within the 360? landscape.
  • Established, leverageable relationships beyond marketing and advertising — everything from importers to VCs.
  • The capability to identify new sources of revenue — regardless of industry.
  • Right-sized cost with no “riders” to the fee — per-project or retainer.

How many of these are also on your list? If your current marketing partner doesn’t meet all of your requirements, give us a call at 312-214-6340. And let us learn about you so that we can share how we can help you enhance and advance in 2016.

Practice open-minded marketing to maximize ROI.

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We’ve all heard it said, “Well, this is what we’ve always done.” No conference room has ever escaped it. And it’s possible that what you’ve always done is working — from your point of view — well enough.

But sometimes it isn’t. Or sometimes your market changes. Or sometimes a new target presents itself. How are you going to be successful considering your new circumstances? Not with what you’ve always done.

It’s time for open-minded marketing.

In these situations, it’s time to practice open-mindedness. Expanding your mind to new marketing avenues leads to unlimited discoveries and potential for growth. It uncovers successes you didn’t even know were available to you. In other words, it gives you the opportunity to truly maximize your ROI.

It seems simple enough. But we all know the challenge of change. The next time your question of why is met with, “Well, this is what we’ve always done.” use these exercises to break free and discover countless marketing opportunities.

  • Eliminate the fear of the unknown.

Fear of what you don’t know or understand can be one of the biggest obstacles to opening your mind to new possibilities and new markets. You may be so used to talking to one type of consumer that you don’t want to risk engaging with another.

But don’t close up to “new” segments that may love your product or service when addressed differently — in a way that is deeply meaningful to them specifically. Push fear aside and encourage your team to explore markets that are new to you —anything from Millennials to brand-conscious Boomers to specific cultural segments. Get to know them and how your product or service can better their lives.

You aren’t committing large chunks of your budget to these markets, but through opening your mind to get to know them, you may discover you want to — and need to. Some specific segments may represent your greatest growth opportunities for years to come. But, if you feel those segments are too complex to master, look for the right experienced, trusted partner to guide you through. There’s no better way to conquer your fear than with the right partner.

  • Learn the complete behavior path.

New avenues to success will present themselves the more you know about your customer’s behavior path. Walk in your prospect’s shoes from even before they recognize the need for your product or service to the minute they make their purchase decision.

This exercise will highlight any gaps along the path where your prospects are dropping off, getting confused or moving to the competition.

Those gaps you’ve discovered are the opportunities to be explored. Knowing them will open your mind up to new solutions you didn’t even know you needed.

  • Play the ‘What If’ game.

Ask yourself, “How would I solve this problem if I had all the time and all the money in the world?”

The budget and the fast approaching deadline may discourage you from playing initially. But play anyway. It will be worth your while.

Without constraints, the ideas are endless. And through this open-minded brainstorm you just may find that special portion of the crazy big idea that is actually doable, effective and revolutionary to your marketing efforts.

Don’t let the phrase, “Well, this is what we’ve always done.” lead the way. Practice open-minded marketing and uncover the myriad opportunities and possibilities waiting to help you reach your marketing goals — and maximize your ROI — in ways you never thought possible before.

3 pasos para comenzar a construir el éxito de tu marca en los E.E.U.U.

LI Mariano's 3 pasos

¡Enhorabuena, estás introduciendo tu producto en los Estados Unidos! Es como apuntarte a un nuevo club de tenis en el que no conoces a nadie y nadie te conoce a ti. ¿Dónde están las pistas? ¿Cuánto cuesta alquilarlas? ¿Querrá alguien jugar un partido contigo? ¿Cómo entablarás nuevas relaciones? ¿Lograrás encajar en ese entorno?

Pero simplemente encontrar las “pistas” no es la meta. Una vez aquí, debes ser proactivo en el marketing para construir una marca memorable, deseable y de prestigio. Saber cómo jugar es fundamental.

Una clave importante para construir un éxito a largo plazo en tu nuevo mercado es asegurarte de tomar decisiones inteligentes desde el principio. Ten en cuenta estos 3 pasos para conseguirlo:

1) Escoge el distribuidor/importador adecuado.

Crear una alianza sólida con tu importador/distribuidor desde el principio es crucial para el éxito a largo plazo de tu producto.

Hacer muchas preguntas puede ayudarte a tomar la decisión correcta. Busca que ofrezcan productos complementarios a los tuyos en su catálogo en vez de productos en competencia directa. Pregunta también cuánto tiempo llevan con sus clientes actuales para averiguar si la longevidad es uno de sus fuertes.

Una vez hayas encontrado un importador/distribuidor compatible contigo, disponte a entablar negociaciones inteligentes que te proporcionen una alianza sólida. Recuerda que es mucho más complicado pedir ajustes una vez alcanzado y firmado un acuerdo.

2) Ten un profundo conocimiento y control de tu gasto en marketing.

Algunos fabricantes extranjeros dejan todo su presupuesto para marketing en manos de su importador/distribuidor. En muchas ocasiones, este presupuesto no se utiliza bien o termina por usarse para ayudar a todo el catálogo del importador/distribuidor y no específicamente para la promoción de tu producto.

Al igual que en el tenis golpear con mucha fuerza pero sin técnica no es lo más aconsejable, un importador/distribuidor que organiza degustaciones o eventos para lograr un incremento de ventas a corto plazo no necesariamente produce un retorno de inversión sostenible en el medio y largo plazo. Es vital dirigirse a los consumidores finales además de a los minoristas para maximizar tus ventas e ingresos.

Debes mantenerte implicado para asegurarte de que el dinero que dediques a marketing se usa para apoyar tus objetivos globales, tanto a corto como a medio plazo. Estar al tanto e involucrarte también te ayudará a descubrir qué funciona y qué no, y a realizar ajustes que optimicen el gasto y el esfuerzo de marketing.

3) Encuentra el presupuesto para construir tu marca.

Los importadores/distribuidores pueden resultar magníficos en el marketing business-to-business a la hora de poner tu producto en las estanterías de los minoristas. Pero los fabricantes extranjeros deben recordar que si el consumidor final no compra sus productos, el minorista no se convertirá en un comprador habitual o incluso podría llegar a prescindir de ellos y sustituirlos por otros.

Si no eres capaz de construir tu marca y hacerla reconocida, deseada y buscada por los importadores/distribuidores, los minoristas y los consumidores finales, serás fácilmente reemplazado por otras marcas el año que viene o al siguiente.

El branding es necesario y requiere una inversión. Pero no te agobies; con el enfoque puesto en maximizar el ROI (el retorno de la inversión) puedes crear un gran impacto sin tener que invertir mucho mientras inviertas bien. Esfuerzos tales como tener una página web sólida enfocada en tu mercado meta, que represente bien la marca y construida con inteligencia; promocionarse en los medios de comunicación adecuados; tener presencia en las redes sociales, y el shopper marketing pueden aumentar tus ventas mientras consolidas la marca. Por supuesto, siempre que en cada uno de ellos apliques la estrategia y ejecución adecuadas para captar apropiadamente a cada una de tus audiencias.

Estos pasos son sólo el comienzo para afianzar tu producto en los EE.UU. Encontrar el importador/distribuidor adecuado y permanecer involucrado te ayudará a mantenerte relevante en este nuevo “club”. Si a esto le añades un firme esfuerzo en marketing tal vez pronto tu saque sea el más admirado o incluso llegues a ser el número uno de tu club. Bienvenido a los Estados Unidos.

It’s all relative: Lessons in Marketing from Albert Einstein

images-1To say that I have been deeply involved in science throughout my life would be a boldfaced lie — unless you count the Big Bang Theory. But, truth be told, I have had a lifelong fascination with Albert Einstein. And I really don’t know why.
Maybe it is because he always seemed more like an artist than a scientist to me. He was a man who was always led by his intuition and supported by his deductions.
Or maybe it is because of his supreme originality — always generating new ideas, new theories. His wisdom and insights transformed the world’s view of the world. And they apply to every aspect of it. Even — in some practical and trans-creational way — to Marketing.
Consider how elements of his ingenuity and reasoning can be a divining rod of sorts for marketers. Some of Einstein’s thoughts and principles have relevance as foundational principles for creating a high-value customer experience.

5 Lessons Marketers Can Learn From Einstein

“A person starts to live when he can live outside himself.”

It’s what we should do every day as marketers. Step outside of ourselves and into the lives of our customers to deeply understand who they are, how they live, what they think and what they feel — from person to person and culture to culture. And then provide them with campaigns, messages and initiatives that are aspirational — giving them a chance to “live outside” of themselves for that moment in time and maybe beyond.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

And neither will your target. And if they don’t understand it they aren’t going to buy it, even if it’s a stellar product or idea.

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.”

It is all about the free exchange of ideas. Fostering an environment where all ideas are valued, considered and weighted. And it is the weightiest ideas that should intersect the consumer at every meaningful point — doing it in such a way that the customer truly feels the weight of the idea.

“Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.”

We live and die by data these days. Its value cannot be overstated, but at the same time, it can also be blinding. Focusing intently on metrics can cause us to miss the insights that come straight from the hearts of the consumers themselves. And it is these “emotion points” — not data points — that are the most powerful motivators of behavior.

“When you are courting a nice girl, an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder, a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.”

And that’s a perfect example of why the old adage of the right message to the right person at the right time and in the right way, can never be underplayed.

And Einstein’s most valuable advice of all?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”