A Message From The President

A Message From The President

By: Jeff Lange : January 2020 :

I’m proud and excited to announce that our very own Michael “Korm” Kormushoff, a founding partner with ST&P Marketing Communications, has been named a recipient of an “Achievement in Excellence” award by the National Sales & Marketing Executives (NSME) association. The honor recognizes outstanding achievements by Marketing and Sales professionals in the Akron/Canton area.

A lifelong Akron resident, Korm has been a business and community leader for over 50 years. In addition to his numerous accomplishments and recognitions in the marketing field, Korm has also served as Director at The University of Akron’s Taylor Institute of Direct Marketing. He has been affiliated with a myriad of local organizations and remains extremely active in the Akron community, both with benefit work and in business outreach.

Throughout his career, Korm has rightfully earned the respect of business partners and the admiration of colleagues and community leaders. People enjoy working with him not only for the results he produces, but for the respect he shows to everyone and his willingness to help others.

I, along with Board Chair of InfoCision Management Karen Taylor, wife of the late Gary Taylor (a close friend and mentor), have the honor of presenting Korm with his “Achievement in Excellence” award at the NSME “Accent on Excellence” gala, Tuesday, February 25th at 5:00 p.m. at The Tangier in Akron.

Congratulations on winning such a prestigious award, Korm!

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There’s No Room for Ego When Working as a Brand Partner

There’s No Room for Ego When Working as a Brand Partner

By: STP : September 2018 : | Brand Marketing  | Digital Marketing  | Insight 

One thing about working in the creative promotions business is that quite often you’re not the creator of the brand you’re working with. Which could result in a couple things:

  • Your hands might be tied when it comes to creating any kind of new work
  • It sets up a challenge to effectively support the brand in a marketing channel that frequently has different objectives than what the brand was designed for

So, how do you get around these challenges? Well, the first step is realizing (and accepting) that there’s no room for ego when working as a brand partner. You need to talk less and listen more—not just with target audiences, but with your clients as well.

At ST&P, we’re no novices when it comes to getting this concept. And, you can trust that when you team up with us, your brand will always take center stage and get a standing ovation from its audience. That’s because we know what to do in the face of “creative adversities” (such as the examples above) and embrace the kinds of positive outcomes that arise when you check your ego at the door, like:

1. Understanding

A thorough understanding of the brand is what enables you to not only be successful as a designer or strategist, but to also get the most enjoyment from the experience. Before you begin, make sure you get your hands on all the brand documentation and references you can. This will enable you to really understand the ins and outs of the brand, so you won’t have to wrestle with minor details and can move on to the bigger picture. When you understand the brand, you can push to the edges of creativity and be your most creative self, because you understand the essence of the positioning and what it’s all about. It also creates a solid foundation to (potentially) build an argument on to do something that may be perceived as “out of character,” but in truth, actually holds to the brand position.

2. Brand Consistency

Complete consistency of brand image and continuity of its message across all media and channels are what gives a brand its strength and its viability. When a particular part is out of sync (especially for a well-known brand) it degrades the overall brand experience. As a brand partner, it’s your responsibility to uphold brand consistency in your area of influence and expertise.

3. Trust

When you’re able to demonstrate to your clients that you truly identify with and have a tight grasp on their established brand, and are in fact working for them, you start to build a level of trust and reliability that they may not find in others they work with. Creating a level of trust with your clients early on in the relationship builds reliance on you as a partner and opens avenues that may have been closed before. A brand manager within a company has hundreds of things to worry about, when you’re not one of them, it can only mean good things.

To recap: Checking your ego at the door gives you the ability to demonstrate a solid understanding of a brand which helps promote brand consistency and generates trust on the part of your clients. Essentially, it’s a win-win-win for them.

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What is Responsive Design

What is Responsive Design

By: STP : February 2018 :

In short, responsive design is a modular website design format that changes its flow based on the device it is being viewed on. It “responds” to screen size, orientation and device type.

Responsive design is also referred to as a “mobile-first” approach, meaning the default values in your CSS are optimized for mobile devices. you build media query breakpoints into your CSS then to reformat for progressively larger devices.

Why is this important?

We live in an increasingly mobile world. We live in a mobile world. According to “Internet Stats & Facts for 2016: “52.7% of global internet users access the internet via mobile, and 75.1% of U.S. internet users access the internet via mobile*”.
Armed with that knowledge, mobile is statistically more important than desktop web browsing. There are a few different ways to develop for mobile, in general, responsive design is the choice I make to address that.

When is Responsive design a good choice for website design?

Responsive design is a good choice when:

  1. When you have to present basically the same content to both your mobile & your desktop audience.
  2. When you don’t have the resources or capability to maintain 2 sets of source code for a website
  3. When you don’t need to present different sets of content in different ways to a mobile vs desktop audience.
  4. When you aren’t querying large data sets to display reporting content to the end user.

It is important to know, that when you design responsively, you are, in general, presenting the same amount of data to a mobile audience that you are presenting to a desktop audience that is generally on a faster connection. Without the proper care during development, this can result in slower load times and higher bandwidth usage for those on mobile devices.

According to Kissmetrics,

40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.

With a statistic like that, it’s important to keep in mind that when you when you design your site, always keep media query breakpoints in mind to present images that are best optimized to the device it is being displayed on.

No matter how you choose to produce your websites, choosing the proper solution for a superior mobile experience is one of the more important decisions you can make.

* Internet stats & facts for 2016

Other interesting facts & Stats

Mobile Marketing Statistics compilation

Internet stats & facts for 2016

25 Mobile Marketing Statistics to Help You Plan for 2016

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Best Laid Plans

Best Laid Plans

By: STP : November 2016 :

So, how is your week going? Successful pitch meeting? Finally put the finishing touches on a major project?

If it’s a yes on these, high five. Move along.

But, what’s your plan for that next week that becomes a disaster out of nowhere? Nobody is immune. Best laid plans are just two missteps away from crisis. What is it that keeps a team together when everything else is falling apart? More to the point, how does a brand stay committed when facing a challenge?

If there are two things that have never hurt in good times or bad, it is clarity of purpose and consistency of action.

This is a conversation about meaning. The “how” and “what” of your brand is easy. United Airlines provides transportation. Coca-Cola offers refreshments. Your brother-in-law
spoils the Walking Dead (every time).

The “why” of your brand speaks to something deeper. Defining why your organization is what it is, does what it does, and serves who it serves takes more than a catchy mission
statement or company retreat. It is a daily commitment to a common purpose for every member of your organization. A commitment that sets the course for how a company and its people conduct themselves—regardless of how tempting veering off might be.

At ST&P, this is always the starting point of how we serve our customers. Great campaigns can only meet their full potential when they are built upon a solid foundation of
purpose. With a clear vision, informed by specific goals, and driven by authentic principals, your brand has a roadmap to rely on whenever challenges arise.

And challenges certainly will arise. Defining your brand’s purpose absolutely is not easy, and it is never complete. Changing times should naturally change perspectives. A brand’s
place within an industry is meant to evolve. Stagnation is simply not sustainable in today’s rapid environment.

If you find you find yourself with positive momentum, be grateful and definitely be proud, but don’t waste it. Use it to revisit core principals. Use it to re-evaluate the course
you’ve set. Stay vigilant and continue to protect the purpose that drives your work.

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 Promotions and Incentives are Magnets for Millennials

Promotions and Incentives are Magnets for Millennials

By: STP : May 2016 :

In a world of fast-paced digital chatter it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. And, now that digital-savvy Millennials are officially the largest consumer base (and still growing), getting lost means missing out on new opportunities by the second.

What we know today

Pairing your product, customer or employee experience with a seamless, enjoyable, brand-supportive promotion helps you reclaim lost opportunities with Millennials in a big way.

According to the Harris Poll on Millennial consumers:

  • Roughly 77% of Millennials will participate in loyalty and rewards programs.
  • Over 78% are more likely to choose a brand that offers loyalty or rewards programs.
  • They are significantly less concerned than non-Millennials with data privacy and security overall, and over 47% were more likely to share personal details with a brand if it offers loyalty and rewards incentives.

What does this mean for the average brand?

Engaging with Millennial consumers is entirely dependent upon the quality of the overall brand experience you offer them. Customer loyalty programs and employee incentive programs are effective with Millennials because they create engaging, shareable experiences around brands, products and services. If you give Millennials an experience they want, then you are much more likely to generate the organic social exposure every brand needs.

Tying it all together

Sales promotions – including customer loyalty programs, sweepstakes and rebates – should all work together to support your existing salesforce incentive programs, POS data and brand advertising spend. Only by tying together all of these platforms can you efficiently generate profitable external consumer behavior AND internal employee behavior.

Remember, your brand represents a promise to your customers and your employees. By offering each of these populations a more positive experience, you can advance toward your goals for growth from both sides of the sales process. That’s what we call your Total Brand Equity.

Need help tying everything together? Let’s talk.

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Content Marketing: Three Tips for Better Content

Content Marketing: Three Tips for Better Content

By: STP : January 2016 :

The advantage of added value.

The effectiveness of traditional marketing is diminishing by the minute, forcing marketers to seek new opportunities to reach potential customers. Content marketing may provide a
viable solution.

Content marketing is defined as a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.

Notice that content marketing is very similar to traditional marketing but with a twist. Rather than selling you something, content marketing provides the consumer with relevant valuable information which promotes thought leadership and helps guide a customer through their purchase decision.

1. Be an active listener.

Listen to what your target audience is trying to tell you. Often times, the difference between a well-received content marketing campaign and a total failure lies in audience
engagement. You can spend all the money in the world placing your content, but if your message is flawed, so is your campaign.

Identify the current trends or “pain points” in your industry and look for an opportunity to be helpful and supportive. As a consumer, what type of messages grab your attention most often? If you wouldn’t click on the content you’ve created, why should anyone else?

2. Don’t sell features. Sell experiences (that your product enhances.)

Stop focusing on the features of your product. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most consumers are not interested in industry jargon. Instead, the average consumer wants
information that can help solve their problems. They want to know more about the potential advantages and benefits that they should expect to receive from the solutions that you are offering. Communicate this added value to your audience by consistently creating and sharing relevant content that is entertaining, informational and inspirational.

3. Show and tell.

Video advertising is the new MVP of digital marketing. More specifically, mobile video is quickly becoming the preferred way for consumers to explore products and service offers
before making a purchase decision. Marketers have to react to this trend by building trust and credibility with video content that includes captivating stories, thrilling product demos, customer testimonials and how-to-videos.

To be effective, you have to grab the attention of your target audience with content that offers unique insight or entertainment value. Once you have their attention, make sure to
include a call to action that allows the consumer to explore more content and stay engaged.

Always be relevant, add value, and be real.

In summary, changes in consumer behavior have led to the rise of content marketing. In order to truly engage consumers, marketers are moving towards an approach that is less about
selling a product and more about providing content that strengthens trust and creates awareness. Remember all successful content marketing materials share the same key ingredients - relevance, value and honesty. A great content team can help you build and execute a solid content marketing strategy. But, if you don’t have the resources for in-house content marketing, consider partnering with a creative marketing agency instead. Just make sure to follow our 5 tips for better results from your marketing agency.

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How to Minimize the Legal risk of a Sweepstakes

How to Minimize the Legal risk of a Sweepstakes

By: STP : November 2015 : | Sales Promotions  | Sweepstakes & Contests  | Legal 

Whether you want to run a consumer sweepstakes, an Instagram photo contest or a mail-in rebate campaign, there are specific legal hurdles that all sales promotions must clear in order to stay out of trouble with FTC and state regulations. For example, failure to fulfill your mail-in rebate within the time period you specified could cost you $10,000 per incident per day. But that’s just the beginning. Take a look at this basic list of provisions that should be included within the rules for a simple consumer sweepstakes promotion.

Sweepstakes Rules Must Include:

Method of entry: You must clearly define the primary method of entry that participants need to follow in order to take part in the sweepstakes. Additionally, you may want to include an
alternate method of entry to make your sweepstakes more accessible to more people. Remember, the goal of any sweepstakes is to collect consumer data for re-marketing. The easier it is to enter, the more data you’ll collect.

Method of determining winners: The winner selection process of your sweepstakes is critical. Federal regulations state that winners must be chosen at random from a pool of all eligible sweepstakes entries. Make sure to state the random nature of your selection process within your official rules.

Sweepstakes eligibility: Any circumstances that may disqualify participants from entering and winning your sweepstakes should be detailed in the official rules. For example, many states have age restrictions that prohibit people under the age of 18 from participating. Or, you may want to exclude employees and their family members from entering.

Sweepstakes duration: Sounds like a no-brainer, but we see this mistake all the time. Setting a clear start and end date prevents consumers from submitting entries beyond the life of your sweepstakes.

Statement that no purchase is necessary: It’s against the law to require a purchase in order to enter your sweepstakes. Not only should you explicitly state this in your official
rules, you should also double check that your sweepstakes entry mechanism does not hinge on a purchase.

Entrant’s liability for taxes: The IRS treats sweepstakes prizes like income, and there is no minimum on the prize value that participants need to declare. So, if you’re giving away a $5,000 vacation, winners need to understand that they are liable for claiming this on their taxes. And, because the prize value is over $600, you also need to send your winners a 1099 tax form.

This is only the beginning.

If this sounds like a lot to consider, that’s because it is. Plus don’t forget that these rules may vary from state to state. That’s why you need an experienced partner who understands the legal implications of running a sweepstakes. Every sales promotion we run goes through a three-step process that helps minimize risk for our clients.

Step 1 – Drafting and adhering to Official Rules

Step 2 – Filing promotion registrations in states that require advanced notice

Step 3 – Awarding all prizes or rebates as advertised

Done right, sales promotions are fantastic marketing tools that can help you reach your goals. Just make sure you partner with a marketing agency that knows how to keep your
brand out of trouble.

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Want Better Conversion? Know Your Audience

Want Better Conversion? Know Your Audience

By: STP : November 2015 :

Converting prospects into customers starts with clearly defining your target audience. This is the only way to get the right people to engage with your brand. If you skip this step, there’s almost no way your marketing content will land with the impact you brand needs. Here are some great questions to ask yourself before you begin.

to consider:

How old is your target? Age plays an important role in determining how customers perceive your brand. As people get older, their preferences evolve due to changes in life experience, maturity and other factors. Understanding where your audience is in terms of current lifecycle stages can give you the insight you need to engage more effectively.

Is your target male or female? While gender is certainly worth considering when crafting your message, don’t make the mistake of pandering to outdated stereotypes. Instead, dig a little deeper and try to understand the people behind the labels. What are their motivations? Their hopes? Their fears? This type of insight will always do more for your message than increasingly arbitrary gender roles

Where is your target located? Geographic location can tell you a great deal about who you’re talking to. Consider the United States alone. The way marketers engage with an audience on the west coast might not be as effective in the south. The trick is to leverage regional culture to better inform your message within those localities.

What does your target do for a living? If you know what your target does for a living, then you have a pretty good idea which products and services your audience likely uses
on a day-to-day basis. It’s called occupational targeting, and you can use social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to identify both literal and inferred occupational targets.

Why go through the trouble?

The reason good marketing agencies ask questions like these is because they know that the only way to properly engage with a given audience is to define it as clearly as possible. With this information in hand, we can create detailed buyer personas that help us see the humanity behind all the jargon. By the time we’re done, we are no longer talking to a broad
audience… We’re talking to a narrowly defined set of individuals as if they were the only people in the room. And if not, we keep asking questions.

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