The Impact of a Good Business Sign – Is Marketing Automation Effective?

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Dear M & M:

What impacts do a highly visible well lit sign on the outside of my business have on sales or awareness? Can I justify the high costs of some of the expensive neon three dimensional signs out there?

– Josh

Dear Josh: 

On-premise signage can be a business’s single most important advertising vehicle.  Whether used to create brand equity, to promote impulse buying, or to safely guide customers to your door. On-premise signs can mean the difference between business success or failure. The real purpose of a sign is to tell people what your business does. The best signs will make them stop and take notice of who you are and can be easily recognized to identify what you do. A study of over 63,000 consumers conducted by the Signage Foundation shows that signs can drastically affect the number of people who visit a store, how they judge a brand and ultimately how much they purchase. The survey showed that on average, 29% of people are drawn to stores based on sign quality. If you break the numbers down by age, people between 18-24 years old are 3 times more likely than other age groups to make a quality assumption based on signage. Over half of all young people are attracted to stores based on its sign.

Sign quality also affected people differently by region, the most sensitive region to sign quality being the West. If you target audiences in any of these demographics, you’d be wise to spend time understanding and implementing desirable aesthetics in your signs, branding and user experience. Nearly half of respondents—49.7%—said they had driven past or failed to find a business due to unclear signage. Unclear signage refers to small, awkwardly placed or somewhat illegible signs. The age groups most likely to pass over a business whose sign they couldn’t read were the youngest and eldest: 18-24, 25-34, and 65+. Don’t risk losing half your customers to something so easily adjustable—make sure your signage is always well placed and easy to read from all angles of the road. – Signage Foundation.  At a minimum the right sign can brand your store, even if you are not part of a national franchise or chain.  Your sign should display a logo or trademark that identifies your business and develops memory of your location in the minds of potential customers.

 -M&M

 

Dear M & M:

Do you feel marketing automation has simply made spamming “smarter” and more efficient, and thus, less effective?

-John

Dear John:

Marketing automation refers to software platforms designed to automate repetitive tasks. For an example a marketing department can specify how many times a day a message can be re- broadcasted using some of these platforms. These messages can be stored and you can set the task of sending out your message at certain times of the day, days of the week or on a specific date and time in the future.  Originally marketing automation focused on email marketing. Many of us referred to this as spam.  Today a company’s marketing mix should include monitoring what is being said about you or your brand (reputation management) in addition to the tasks of pushing your messages to a desired audience.   There are tools out there to automate what is being said about your brand or company. You can schedule task(s) to automatically store incoming messages or mentions in a place where you can view them when it is convenient for you to receive them. The best part about automation is that specific tasks can be set up to take place when you aren’t there.  This can increase efficiency and reduce human error.  Hootsuite is an example of a platform where you can automate several functions to make marketing tasks easier to manage.

You can save time by launching multiple campaigns at one time or monitor up to 100 social profiles such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Constant Contact on one dashboard.  Remember, marketing isn’t only about pushing your products or services on consumers; sometimes it is about paying attention to what is being said about you and responding effectively in a timely manner. Automation allows you to get organized and easily follow and respond to your customer’s direct responses or messages to multiple networks or social profiles to make sure no message goes unanswered and allows you to reach customers in a timely manner when it is convenient for your current and potential customer and you.  As more and more multiple networks are established the only way you can be in the game is by subscribing to some sort of an automated application to allow you to do repetitive tasks automatically. Checkout Hootsuite, I think you’ll like it. In conclusion, as previously mentioned part of your marketing strategy should include reputation management. Being able to monitor what others are saying about you efficiently on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Citysearch, Bing, Google, Local.com, Merchantcircle, Patch, Foursquare and other similar platforms can only be done effectively through automation. According to statistics from research company Pew,  four out of five people state that they have received advice via social media regarding what product or service to purchase. A  2012 study from Insight Marketing shows that 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, only 14% trust advertisement.

 -M&M

To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email schmittm@cochise.edu or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation (EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email  hollism@svedf.org .

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