January 2014

Top Posts of 2013

2014-01-22T16:52:40-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , , , , |

Happy New Year!

As we look forward to creating new content in 2014, it’s fun and helpful to look back and see which posts from 2013 you found most interesting.

Check out the top 8 most-read posts below!

1. Branding vs. Marketing: What’s the Difference?

This “Point-Counterpoint” article from our Crackerjack Marketing Series touches on the key differences (and similarities) between marketing and branding.

2. Tips to Drive Sales At Your Location With In-Store Events

One of the best ways to build awareness, excitement and traffic to a new location is through a grand opening event. Check out this article for our top tips on how to succeed.

3. 275 Most Common Marketing & Communication Venues

This extensive list will help you think outside the box in your next strategy and brainstorming meeting. There are more ways to reach people than eMail or an ad in the newspaper!

4. How Valuable Are Loyalty Programs?

If you’re thinking about launching a customer loyalty program this year, this article is a must-read.

5. What Are The Key Components to Include in a Brand Style Guide?

Depending on the size of your business, your Brand Style Guide might be a few pages or heavy textbook. Regardless of the guide’s size, make sure to include these key components!

6. Why is a Brand Style Guide Important?

Amongst other things, a Brand Style Guide ensures that each employee (from the CEO to the new intern) knows the proper way to represent the brand via various communication channels. It’s the “voice” and look and feel of your brand.

7. Take Your Audience On a Hero’s Journey

After reading Nancy Duarte’s Resonate: Present Visual Stories That Transform Audiences, Paul shares his tips on how to make your next presentation more like a great story.

8. 3 Simple Decision-Making Tools

Have some big (or small) decisions to make in the near future? Consider consulting one of our handy dandy decision making tools to make your life a little easier!

In 2014, we’ll continue to provide you with relevant, helpful and interesting articles to help you succeed and stay inspired. Stay tuned!

August 2013

July 2013

What Do Effective In-Store Marketing Campaigns Look Like?

2013-07-30T12:52:11-04:00 Categories: Crackerjack Marketer, SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

POINT: John Moore

Wow! That’s a meaty question. Let’s simplify this and focus on the importance of communicating to two audiences to make a retail marketing promotion successful.

One of the biggest lessons I learned from my retail marketing days at Starbucks is that marketing has two audiences: Customers AND Employees. (more…)

How Connected Should Your PR Activities Be To Marketing Activities?

2013-07-23T09:52:31-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

POINT: John Moore

Public Relations plays a role in marketing efforts as it relates to awareness, influence, and credibility.

Let’s be clear, for the most part, retail brands view Public Relations as Media Relations. Brands seek to use traditional media (print, television, radio) and non-traditional media (online news, blogs, social media) to generate brand awareness, influence brand consideration, and add brand credibility.

Every Starbucks retail marketing promotion we did included a Media Relations activity to build awareness and to influence customers. For example, with every Holiday promotion, Starbucks revved up its publicity engine by getting national media and local media to run stories about the return of Egg Nog Lattes to Starbucks.

Starbucks would send Baristas to television stations and radio stations to do on-air tastings of holiday coffee drinks. Newspaper journalists would be treated to special tastings inside a Starbucks. This was in addition to any standard media release highlighting new news going on at Starbucks during the holidays.

Today, Media Relations activities include online writers and raving Starbucks fans who blog and tweet about Starbucks online.

All of this activity is to drive awareness of new Starbucks news with the hopes that the media will share this new news with their readers and viewers. If the media shares this news, then readers and viewers will be influenced to consider visiting Starbucks.

Traditional and non-traditional media have significant influence in getting a brand into a consumer’s consideration set because of greater credibility. The power of a third party endorsement almost always outweighs any marketing activity a business can do.

People expect a commercial and print ad from a brand to be boastful. When any boastful claims come from a third party source, people are much more apt to believe it because it’s a message from a third party and not directly from a brand’s marketing department.


Marketing and Public Relations should be joined at the hip. They both support your communication, awareness, and sales objectives.

The biggest challenge I’ve ever discovered in the two working well together is when the marketing team and the PR team within a company are too competitive.

A PR plan is part of a marketing plan.

Pre-internet, marketing – specifically advertising – was the communication you could count on. You’ve paid for placement. PR was when you put the word out to interested parties, and hope they pick-up on the story and talk about you.

It is this old school approach where you had to strictly rely on relationships with the media to get coverage of your events and news. As John said, many treat PR as media relations.

Nowadays, however, with websites, blogging, and social media tools you aren’t at the mercy of other publications as the only venue to get the message to the people.

I tend to think of PR – as John puts it – as non-traditional media. Activities you implement that don’t guarantee placement. Activities that have to be engaging enough, creative enough, and interesting enough to draw positive attention to themselves.

June 2013

How Should a Retail Brand Best Use Social Media?

2013-06-11T10:07:06-04:00 Categories: Crackerjack Marketer, SandBlog, think|Tags: , , , , , |

POINT: Paul Williams

First, it is most important to remember that social media tools are tactics that support a word of mouth marketing strategy. So much excitement lately, how easily companies and customers can directly connect to each other, we forget that social media is a tactic, not an objective. (more…)

March 2013

Does the Personality of a Brand Need to Be Reflective in All Marketing Activities?

2014-08-24T15:19:00-04:00 Categories: Crackerjack Marketer, SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

POINT: Paul Williams

A brand, doing its job well, shows personality in all it does, not just marketing.

The way they greet customers. The wording on their packaging. The way they answer the phone. All should show that personality.

Problems arise when brands do things that are not congruent with their perceived personality. (more…)

February 2013

January 2013

What are Key Components to Include in a Brand Style Guide?

2013-01-24T13:59:22-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , , |

POINT: Paul Williams

There are two types of information that may be included in a Brand Style Guide. I’m going to refer to the entire package of tools as Brand Identity & Standards Guide. The first type of information has to do with the brand identity elements – logo, color scheme, font usage, etc… The second documents corporate guidelines – mission, values, etc…

Based on your company size, you may have some or all of these bits of formally documented. If your company is smaller, this information may only live in the brains of the founder and the person who does your design work. (more…)

Why is a Brand Style Guide Important?

2013-01-15T10:36:15-04:00 Categories: Crackerjack Marketer, SandBlog|Tags: , , |

POINT: John Moore

A Brand Style Guide is important for businesses of all sizes. It’s a must have when working with outside vendors and with departments inside a company to ensure everyone is using the company’s logo in a consistent and correct manner.

The size of your business will determine the level of detail needed in a Brand Style Guide. Small businesses need less detailed style guides while big businesses need more detailed style guides. (more…)

August 2011

Creating Marketing Plans that Get Buy-In from Bosses and Create Buyers from Consumers

2014-08-24T15:33:41-04:00 Categories: SandBlog|Tags: , , , |

CrackerJack Marketers, John Moore and I, will be sharing secrets, tips, and techniques we’ve learned as retail marketers in creating the most effective marketing plans.

Crafting a CrackerJack marketing plan isn’t easy. Your boss wants a plan that’s going to meet or exceed business objectives AND be embraced by internal departments within your organization. Your boss’s boss demands a plan that drives higher sales and increases traffic. And your customers desire better products and experiences at lower prices. In this webinar you will learn how to accomplish all of that and more.

In our Creating Marketing Plans that Get Buy-In from Bosses and Create Buyers from Consumers webinar – among other lessons – you’ll learn how to:

  • Get Built-In Buy-In from within your company.
  • Weave your plan out of “Kevlar,” making it bullet proof to departmental critiques.
  • Convey “overt benefits” to customers and potential customers.
  • Use “backcasting” to develop short-term tactics leading to long-term impact.
  • Use a CrackerJack Marketer approved Marketing Plan Template
Cost: $4,000* (MEGA discount available. Read below.)
Date: Wednesday, August 31
Time: 12 noon – 1:00 PM (EST)
Registration: Click To Register!
* Use the discount code: CRACKERJACK and receive a 99% discount and pay only $40.00

All attendees will receive a battled-tested CrackerJack Marketing Plan template, a detailed PDF summary of the webinar, and an overall boost in confidence.