Whether you’re considering outsourcing a single project or engaging a long-term strategic partner for ongoing marketing support, North Star can help.
Many of our projects focus on a single deliverable – logo design, web development, brochure layout, search engine optimization, pay-per-click management, etc. However, even though we’re contributing to only one part of the marketing plan, we think carefully about how our project fits into and impacts the overarching strategy. Click through the services menu to learn more about our marketing project capabilities.
For our clients who want ongoing, fully integrated marketing alignment, we start by developing a strategic plan for their marketing. This often includes shoring up their marketing infrastructure (brand, web, print). We then develop a marketing mix that makes sense for them and flow the plan into a shared, web-based marketing calendar that drives execution. This service model is often implemented on a retainer basis, giving us a regular allotment of time each month to work on the account.
Marketing projects are handled by full-time North Star team members. We are not a decentralized, hub-and-spoke firm that depends primarily on freelancers to get our clients’ work done. We are a full-time team of marketing, creative and technical services professionals who collaborate closely on every project.
A brand is more than just a logo. And “branding” is more than using consistent colors and fonts. Your brand identity embodies the persona of your organization; it sets the tone for your marketing strategy; it sets expectations and makes promises. Your name, your logo, your tagline, your colors, your typography should all work together to clearly establish a position in your market that is uniquely and authentically you.
Think about it. How many times will your brand be used and seen over the next 10 years? How many website impressions, email signatures, advertisements, brochures and business cards will pass in front of prospective customers and referral sources? The numbers are staggering. So it makes sense to get it right up front.
Are you happy with your branding? Do you have three or four different logos, “slightly off” color schemes, inconsistent email signatures or a tagline with no teeth? Do you have a Brand Standards Guide that keeps your branding consistent and professional across your organization? If not, perhaps we should talk.
In an age when most of your target customers carry the Internet in their pockets, expectations of websites have never been higher. Your prospective customers are on a self-guided tour of the web, skimming sites that might be relevant and pausing longer in places where they find valuable information. That’s why it pays to start your web project by thinking through the various types of users who will be engaging your site. Because it’s not about what you want to tell them…it’s about what they want to know.
Of course, understanding your audience is only the starting point. The design, functionality, content management systems and technical support behind your website are important, too – not just during the build, but long after the site has been live and managing traffic.
You know people make decisions about the quality of your products, services and team based on what they see online. So, what does your website say about your brand? If you need to establish a new site or revamp one that’s feeling a bit tired, we’d be delighted to start the conversation.
The web may be the landing pad for most marketing initiatives, but many organizations have found that print is simply not going away. From business cards to brochures, sell sheets to posters, info packets to catalogs, print is alive and well. Most of our clients find that they need to round out their marketing infrastructure with some form of brand-aligned print collateral.
In our experience, companies and nonprofits need far less collateral than they used to. With real-time information available online, it makes no sense to overdo it in print. But, whenever you have face-to-face interaction, there’s room for print – a business card, a brochure, a view book, an information packet. The feel of paper, the clarity of the images, the tangible expression of the brand all add up to a classy, timeless link in the chain of communications that connect the prospect to the buying decision.
We do an awful lot of web development, so when a good print piece comes along, our designers love to roll up their sleeves, break out the Pantone color guides and anticipate the smell of fresh ink. We can conceptualize, write, design, and manage the printing for your next print collateral project, so give us a call to talk it over.
This is the web-based component of your marketing mix. Search engine optimization. Pay-per-click advertising. Remarketing. Content marketing. Blogging. Press release distribution. Banner ads. Social media.
For our online marketing clients, we employ a balance of organic search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising through Google, Facebook and other outlets (also called “paid search”). Our aim is to determine the keyword mix that makes sense for you, then deploy a geo-targeted campaign that focuses on your target audience. Your brand shows up in front of prospective customers who are intentionally looking for what you offer. And best of all, it’s measurable.
The list of online marketing strategies goes on and on. Figuring out which inbound strategies to use can be time-consuming, confusing and just plain frustrating. North Star can help you evaluate the options, establish a budget and implement a strategy that has measurable ROI. Give us a call if you’re interested in raising your profile online.
This is the offline part of your marketing mix. Direct mail, billboards, print advertising, trade shows, television and radio. Some organizations would like to think “traditional advertising” is outdated and irrelevant, but for most businesses and nonprofits, an effective marketing mix is incomplete without this part of the strategy. Online alone is simply not enough. Prospective customers need to see your brand in multiple places and from multiple angles for the “big idea” to sink in.
A word of caution, however, for those companies who have engaged traditional advertising for many years: it’s easy to fall into the habit of “obligatory advertising.” That looks like this: “Well, we do what we’ve always done and spend money on the same things we’ve always spent money on. Everybody in the industry does it.” That’s a formula for wasted marketing dollars.
If your marketing mix is scattered, incoherent, habitual or sporadic, let’s talk. Chances are you can reallocate some dollars to be more effective.
Your marketing strategy is only as good as your capacity to execute the plan. This is where so many organizations lose their way. They drive marketing initiatives from their inboxes, whiteboards and PowerPoint slide decks rather than from a singular, web-based expression of the plan. Rarely is the information shared in real-time across the team. No one would know where to look if the CEO said, “Show me the marketing plan you’re implementing.”
North Star’s approach to execution is all about clarity and visibility. Our web-based marketing calendar platform provides a comprehensive overview of the promotions, projects, tasks and budgets that drive your marketing plan. It’s where the strategy moves off the page and into action. It’s real, it’s in motion, it’s transparent and it’s accountable.
If you’re ready to move your marketing plan out of the realm of theory and into reality, let’s talk about setting up a marketing calendar for your team.
Have you noticed the increasing number of videos populating your social media feeds? Sure, many of them are of little to no interest, but every now and then, you see one that catches your eye, and before you know it, you’ve given away 15 seconds, 60 seconds…90 seconds. You just watched a trailer for a movie you’ve been wanting to see. You saw the buzzer-beater that clinched the title. Then you saw a how-to video for making an amazing dessert or a helpful tip for international travel.
Or perhaps you’re not really into social media. But you’re planning a fly fishing day trip, and you’re considering buying some new equipment. You turn to Google and find yourself on YouTube, watching a pro compare different brands of specialty lures.
Video has become one of the most effective tools for authentic brand-building. However, many companies have chosen to observe rather than participate, thereby conceding thousands, even millions of video impressions to competitors. Don’t sit this one out. The are numerous possibilities for integrating video into your marketing strategy: company overviews, brand roll-outs, product demonstrations, customer testimonials, project case studies, internal team training, social media content, and more. The NSM team can plan and produce your video, then deploy a targeted campaign to reach a specific audience online. If you’ve been considering how video fits in your marketing strategy, let’s talk.