Monday, 15 December 2014 23:06

Marketing Trends In 2015

Since we are fast approaching a new year,(yes, where did 2014 go!) I thought we would talk about some trends in marketing for 2015.  I know for everyone here at Benchmark Displays, we are constantly looking for ways to increase our online visibility.  We have been working on creating a series of short corporate videos, so I was happy to discover, during my research that video promotion is a trend that we will be seeing more and more of throughout 2015. One article I read said that 40% of people respond more positively to visual content, with videos getting three times more likes than posts that are text only in content.

The whole point of marketing is to create brand awareness.  You want your potential customers to engage and connect with the content you share with them.  Long term  relationships are key, so if you are creating captivating, personalized content, you are more likely to inspire your customers to stay on your website longer, and make recurring purchases.

 Social Media will continue to increase in popularity, especially since everyone can download social apps to their smartphones and stay connected 24/7.  Now that both Facebook and Twitter have added buy buttons to certain posts, users can even make purchases directly through these social sites without having to leave the page.  We will see how well that does in the upcoming year. One of the sites that we have really taken notice of has been LinkedIn.  They made some big changes in 2014, one of which was adding a publishing platform to their site. It gives companies like ours, the opportunity to build and develop a professional brand through content like a company blog, and allows us to showcase our capabilities directly to our target audience, other businesses.


As with anything else, trends come and go.  But I think social media will continue to be an important tool for marketing and advertising.  With the ability to reach a limitless number of customers, and tracking analytics integrated into these sites, it’s really a no brainer to try them out!  So, if you’ve been toying with the idea of a promotional video, or have a brilliant new product you want to market, post/pin and tweet away!

Published in Benchmark Blog
Wednesday, 10 December 2014 19:57

Are QR Codes Effective Marketing Tools?

As we approach a new year, we have been trying to think of ways to kickstart our marketing efforts.  It seems everywhere I look, companies are using QR Codes (Quick Response) to entice customers to check out their products.  You are seeing them more and more on the shelving at large retail stores, on business cards and even point of sale displays.

So, what are they exactly, and how do they work?  Invented in Japan, QR Codes are similar to bar codes, except that they have the ability to store more information, including images and video.  Now, with the popularity of smart phones, companies have seen the potential to use QR Codes in marketing campaigns.  You can easily download a free App that can scan and read bar codes directly on your phone.  One of the challenges to using QR Codes, is figuring out how to use it to add value.  You have to give people a good reason to scan the code, after all, it requires effort on their part to take out their phone, find the app and scan the code.  If, after all that the customer feels dissatisfied with the content, you’ve lost a potential sale, so make sure your message is well thought out!

Some uses for QR Codes?

·        Using it to connect to social media

·        Using it to offer coupons

·        Contact or Quote Requests

·        Product Details

·        Newsletters

·        Are QR Codes Effective Marketing Tools?

·        Videos

Consumers are becoming increasingly open to scanning QR Codes, after all, who doesn’t love a little mystery, so with the right marketing strategy, it could become a powerful marketing tool for you in the new year!


Published in Benchmark Blog

 An interesting video describing the Universal Principles of Persuasion based on the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor of Psychology and Marketing, Arizona State University.  He describes six distinct principles in the science of persuasion.

·        Reciprocity (which we’ve talked about before)

·        Scarcity (the idea that people place a higher value on something they get less of)

·        Authority (what makes you credible?)

·        Consistency (getting people to commit)

·        Liking (finding commonalities, similar interests)

       ·        Consensus (Benefits of doing something your way)

Published in Benchmark Blog

I thought this was an interesting take on customer service so decided to share!

Published in Benchmark Blog

“A mediocre person tells.  A good person explains.  A superior person demonstrates.  A great person inspires others to see for themselves.”

-Harvey Mackay

An incentive is by definition something that motivates or encourages one to do something.  In today’s extremely competitive marketplace, making sales can be a challenge.  People are inundated with new products and services, and it is increasingly difficult to stand out.  So what is one way to distinguish yourself from the competition and lead sales?  Incentives!

Did you know that knowledgeable and courteous employees account for approximately 80% of the reasons that consumers feel satisfied and will come back for more?

Fewer than one in four American workers is working at full potential, nearly half surveyed have said that they do only what is directly asked of them, and up to 75% admit that they could be more effective in their jobs.

70% of customers that have had a bad experience with a vendor will abandon them and move on to someone else.

A 5% increase in customer retention can increase lifetime profits from a customer by 75%.  Remember, we’ve talked about this before, it’s about building relationships.

So how can you use incentives successfully in your business?

·       Use them to attract new visitors to your store or web site

·       Use them to encourage repeat business

·       Use them to improve Direct Mail Response

·       Use them to Promote Closeout Inventories

·       Use them for thank you gifts

·       Use them to Upgrade Sales and Purchases


For Employee Incentives

·       Use them to acknowledge Milestones and Achievements

·       Use them as a reward to exceed sales goals

·       Use them to increase employee loyalty

·       Use them to reward employees



Remember, everyone likes to feel appreciated, so why not set the precedent and use incentives to inspire others to greatness!


Published in Benchmark Blog
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 18:08

Creatively Speaking

“Imagination is the beginning of creation.  You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will” – George Bernard Shaw

I think we would all agree that it is easier to feel creative when you are enthused about your subject matter.  So I suppose that theorem, in and of itself is a good place to start.  After all, it’s next to impossible to be motivated about something you have little or no interest in.

There is in fact much debate out there about just what moves a person to be creative. What motivated Picasso to paint all those prolific masterpieces? Or Bach to churn out all those brilliant concertos?  I can’t really say, not sure anyone could for certain. What I do know is that Picasso created around 50,000 paintings, but how many of them were considered brilliant?  Only a few.  The rest quite honestly were not that good.  Having said that, I happen to be of the opinion that art, music, an ad campaign….really anything considered creative is subjective.



We tend to think of creative “types” as churning out one great idea after the next, but the truth is, it’s a numbers game.  Not every idea you have is going to be a game changer.  In fact, most probably won’t be.  The point is that we should accept failure, even embrace it.  For most of us this may prove to be a challenge, as failure tends to be paralyzing, not mobilizing. However, if we can somehow learn to “Embrace the suck” as one author eloquently put it, and accept that it’s part of the process, doesn’t that sort of take a little pressure off?  

Published in Benchmark Blog
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 17:14

Reciprocity- Our Business Buzz Word of the Year!

By definition it means given, or felt by each other toward the other, as in mutual respect, or corresponding, matching, complimentary, equivalent.  It’s an adjective, so it conveys action.  And why is it important?  Because in business, as in everyday life, it can mean the difference between success and failure.  It’s about letting your customer’s know, through your actions, that they are important to you.

As a personal example, I have started bringing coffee in for some of my co-workers on Friday mornings as a sort of “we survived another work week” celebration.  I get the coffee at a Starbuck’s that is a little bit out of my way (yes, I know there is usually one on every corner) but this one is not along my usual travel route.  The reason I go to this one in particular is because the barista’s at this location have made it a point to remember my name, my usual order, and they even put smiley faces on my cup!  Now, it may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it makes me, as a customer feel like a VIP, so I am a loyal patron there every Friday morning.  The point is, making a customer feel special doesn’t necessarily involve some grand complex gesture, sometimes it simply means answering the phone with a smile, or remembering a person’s name without having to ask twice.  These are small gestures that can go a long way towards eliciting a positive response from the receiver, namely, developing a long standing relationship with a client or customer.


Not Only Meeting, But Exceeding Expectations!

Many of us are familiar with the company Zappos, at least most women will be.  They are an online store that specializes in shoes and clothing, and they have become extremely successful the past several years, despite the fact that they do very little advertising.  The key to their success?  Word of mouth.  I personally learned about them through a couple of friends who had made purchases, and both told me that they were pleasantly surprised by the expedited shipping, with items being delivered within a day or two of purchase.  In fact, Zappos often gives surprise free upgrades to overnight shipping for customers, though their website reports that delivery will take two to five business days.  Talk about under promising and over delivering!  Another noted example of their stellar customer service was when a woman called to return a pair of boots for her husband because he died in a car accident.  The next day, she received a flower delivery, which the call center rep had billed to the company without checking with her supervisor.  It is examples like these that explain why Zappos has become so successful, and why 75% of it’s business is from repeat customers.


The moral of the story may seem obvious, but in a world where most individuals have an abundance of options when it comes to purchases, these examples show that sometimes even small kindnesses matter, and that even one small act of goodwill can mean the difference between a one- time purchase, or gaining a customer for life.

Published in Benchmark Blog

We’ve all heard the expression “you only get one chance to make a first impression” right?  And let’s face it, we’ve all had that “first impression” experience, over and over again actually….whether it was a job interview…ugh!  Or first date, even bigger UGH!  And there have been some good, some bad, and some, yes, you guessed it, heinous!  (You thought I was going to say Ugly, didn’t you?)  You know the one’s I’m talking about?  The first date with the “nice” guy or girl your friends set you up with…who as it turns out spends way too much time talking about HIS or HER feelings, (that and their cat skizzy)…or the employer who spends 20 grueling minutes interrogating you for the only open position they have, and then he/she asks that impossible question they all seem to ask, describe one of your biggest flaws…and scratch!  You blew it….Next….

So where am I going with this?  Well, when it comes to retail, I have discovered that first, as well as last impressions are critical.  Let’s face it, all of us are inherently visual, we are drawn to what we perceive is attractive….that’s why exhaustive research and expense has gone into case studies, and customer surveys… What color should our packaging be if we sell high carb protein bars?  Studies have shown the color green increases a person’s appetite…Also, scent marketing has become hugely popular, because again, studies have shown that scent has a proven impact on buying decisions.


The same can be said of brick and mortar retail stores.  A customer, such as me walks into the store, and where do my eyes land?  On that visually stunning custom display I see directly in my line of sight.  The one with the amazing new and improved 100 SPF sunscreen and the stunning bronzed gods and goddesses wearing next to nothing.  Wow, I suddenly want a tube or two, despite the fact that I live in far north Alaska and my body hasn’t seen the light of day in more than a decade!  In the cart they go… and I’m off… cruising up and down the aisles, distracted and suddenly I forget the one thing I came here for… By the time I make my way to the register, my shopping cart is loaded with essential as well as non essential items I must have… and take note retailers, here’s your final chance to get my attention before I walk out the door.  There it is!  Another custom POP counter top display, hair extensions in various colors!  So I horde.  After all, they’re on sale, a close-out special… Never mind that I’m pushing 80 and have virtually no hair left on my head!  With these beauties my grandkids just might invite me out to a club.  And so it goes.  With all the competing brands out there, you need to grab a customer’s attention.  You’ve made a great product, so now what?  If you haven’t gotten the hint yet, how can you make your merchandise stand out?  In a nutshell, make it appealing!  Showcase it with a well thought out custom display.  Whether your display is acrylic or more eco friendly like chipboard, your goal is to make me think your product is the one I just can’t live without!

Published in Benchmark Blog
Monday, 05 November 2012 11:04

5 Marketing Benefits of Custom Displays

CrestOralBPallet WhiteI was talking with my sister on the phone the other day, when she interrupted me from her excitement over her recent impulse buy of black, glitter nail polish. She had gone to the store for some soda, when she explained that she saw this new nail polish sign. She’s not terribly familiar with all of the display marketing lingo. Anyway, after some probing, I found out that she was attracted to this new color of polish because of the display.

Custom displays help by providing that “wow” factor. Visuals convey the power of ideas in a way that words alone cannot. The personality of a retail store is not determined by merchandise alone. Custom displays provide the following benefits when properly designed and deployed.

Published in Benchmark Blog
Monday, 14 February 2011 00:00

Great Marketing Strategy

John Rowbotham has written good words about Brochure Holders and Marketing Strategy. Check it out!

Published in Benchmark Blog
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