Appealing to Baby Boomers’ Needs in Packaging

When retail manufacturers and packaging producers apply universal or “frustration-free” concepts to the packaging of their products they broaden their consumer base to a wide net of all consumer groups. The concept of universal design first started to appear in architecture in the late 1980’s and made its way into retail packaging in the early 2000’s. By implementing these thoughtful initiatives the company shows that they are seeking the voice of the consumer and truly trying to serve their best interests.

More prominent than ever is to keep in mind the widespread population of baby boomers. Baby boomers have seen advancements in every stage of their lives, making them a unique demographic to appeal to. Since 2000, the population of individuals ages 55-64 has increased by 73% which makes it that more imperative to keep their needs in mind. The key tactics in packaging are to use large fonts and graphic designs and implement easy-opening features to assist with diminishing eyesight and increasing dexterity challenges. Yes, this does call for more attention to detail. However by making cost-effective changes that truly meet the needs for a large demographic like the baby boomers, increase volumes and in turn, profits.

 

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Consumers Line Up for iPhone 5

Over the weekend across the country, retail stores that carry the new iPhone 5 were met by daunting lines of anxiously waiting consumers. By as early as midmorning these stores were selling out of this highly demanded product. Due to this extremely successful turnout, Apple shares rose to $6.10 to $704.80 early morning. In New York, hundreds of waiting customers were greeted by apple employees that asked questions and handed out hot coffee. From these brief interviews, Apple employees learned that these consumers wait in line because of their love for groundbreaking technology and being a part of new developments. The look and feel of the phone is important and intriguing to new iPhone owners. Which brings to question how imperative it is to have appropriate and quality packaging. However, for a new product that generated an enormous amount of hype, the packaging of the product falls short. The layout and box containing th iPhone 5 and accessories is almost identical to that of the iPhone 4S, which for most of these anxious and excited line-dwellers is merely a thing of the past.

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Add Value and Promotion to Your Product Through Packaging

The importance of product packaging is overwhelmingly underestimated. When you package your product there is a variety of factors and logistics that go into making the final decision. The best asset of effective and eye-catching packaging choices is that the journey does not stop at production- your packaging works for you! For instance, you can use anything from a cereal box to a CD case to promote activities or events and get the word out about your company. Ever hear the phrase “never judge a book by its cover”? Well, never say never! The packaging you choose can make your product stand out or fall to the wayside. For example, the new USB flash pad can display something as small as a flash drive to have the shelf presence of a book. Not only do these options magnify the benefits your products provide, they also protect them so they can fulfill the role they were made for.

When you choose eye catching design and material, you encourage impulse purchases by highlighting the content’s features. In turn, by strategically using visual marketing tools on your product’s package, you reduce the need for in-store assistance; just stand back and let the consumer choose your product independently!

6 Ideas to Engage Customers in your Small Business

Working for a small business can have its challenges when it comes to engaging customers with you and the business. However, when customers do become engaged with your small business the benefits are very valuable.

Use Facebook to Show them some Love
Engage with your customers via social media such as Facebook! Facebook is an excellent social platform to recognize a customer. Many people are on Facebook and they will appreciate the public recognition that you give them.

Put Money in their Pockets
Connect your customers to businesses you think will benefit them or that could use them. There is no greater compliment than referring somebody to their business. Your customers will appreciate that you want to help them.

Call them
By keeping in contact with your clients, you are continually developing a working as well as a personal relationship with them. A one-on-one phone call is engaging and can very beneficial to you and your company.

Use YouTube
YouTube is an easy and inexpensive way to create a fun and engaging experience between you and your customers. Upload videos of you and your team doing creative things such as featuring the services of your company.

Make Yourself Accessible
Make sure that you are accessible to your clients. People like to know that they can get a hold of you whenever they may need you whether it be by phone or email. Clients do not want to feel as though they are taking to somebody they can never get a hold of.

Spotlight Customers
Give your customers the recognition they deserve. If your customer sees that you have taken time to mention them in a blog post or on your webpage they will appreciate that you have taken time to speak about them and what is happening with their company. It will also make them feel more engaged with you and the company. 

Inbound Marketing Overview

Traditional marketing has been centered around companies taking action to initiate a conversation, meaning companies are focused on finding customers. This is done by sending out a message to an audience through TV commercials, print ads, and cold calling. This form of marketing is called outbound marketing and it is starting to lose its effectiveness. We now have technologies like spam filtering, caller id, Tivo, and other measures to block out these outbound marketing techniques. It is also costly to create outbound marketing messages and difficult to track how successful or unsuccessful the campaign was.

We live in a world where things change everyday. Even the way we market has changed immensely. We have turned away from our traditional forms of marketing and have adapted something different called inbound marketing. This new form of marketing is centered around being found by customers. Companies that participate in inbound marketing take the stress of hoping the money they spent on expensive ads will somehow attract some new customers. Companies using inbound marketing utilize techniques such as writing a blog, creating a YouTube video, and constructing a presence via social media to draw customers in.

Inbound marketing is an efficient way to attract customers. It is less costly than outbound marketing, especially since many social media outlets are free to use. It also allows for more accurate targeting. Instead of sending a message to a large amount of people, inbound marketing allows messages to be formed specifically to certain people that you want to hear the message. The secret to a valuable inbound marketing campaign is through content and communication. If a company focuses on useful and confident content, people will find it and like it. Communication is also key to creating a conversation with potential customers because it could turn into a beneficial business relationship.

New Packaging Design to Spice Up Sales of Kayem Hot Dogs

One key way that you can gain customers and brand/product recognition is by changing up the design of your packaging.  Yes, if you have a “classic” design, you do not want to change it up too much and risk confusing or losing customers, but you also do not want your product to look outdated.  An old design can blend in with the competition, and you want your product to “pop” and stick out on the shelf.

Kayem needed a new design for the packaging of their hot dogs. “Classic is one thing, but ‘stale’ isn’t a term a marketer wants people to associate with his edibles.”

To change the packaging effectively, Kayem had to do a lot of market research to figure out what was wrong with the old packaging and what could make it better.  First, Kayem removed the banner, “DELI”, because customers did not know what that meant.  They decided to stick with “Old Tyme” to convey emotion and describe their hot dogs as being tasty and classic.  They also decided to add “gluten-free”, “made in the USA”, and “no fillers, no artificial flavors, no byproducts” to the packaging.  These statements have always been true of Kayem hot dogs, but they decided to focus on the health and quality of the food, otherwise consumers would not know.  Kayem also decided to stick with the blue packaging to differentiate themselves from the competition and added a pictured of a cooked hot dog to grab the consumer’s attention.

Kayem’s new packaging design proved to be effective.  After 12 weeks (ending July 11, 2009), Kayem’s volume rose 7.3 percent and sales were up 15.7 percent, according to ACNielsen’s Grilling Index.  The new packaging is proven effective, because it catches attention and people are recognizing the brand.

What is the Recipe for Packaging?

I came across an introduction to the Brand Packaging’s Packaging That Sells V show that is scheduled for October 2009. They say:

“Your packaging is critical to your brand. It’s the last three feet and last three seconds (and the ultimate measure of success) of your marketing program. But, these days, packaging has to do more than just “pop” at the shelf; it must communicate the story of your brand and become an essential part of consumers’ daily lives. Is your packaging powered to do all that?”

This is so very true and good packaging design can help you make your product, your brand, and your packaging an “essential part of consumers’ daily lives.”

Examples of custom, limited edition, water bottles by Evain designed for different audiences.

Examples of custom, limited edition, water bottles by Evain designed for different audiences.

So you may ask, what’s the recipe for creating this type of packaging?

  1. Meaning: The first step in creating packaging that will communicate the story of your brand is to know what story you want to tell. People don’t want to simply purchase your brand they want to be apart of it and by knowing exactly what you want to communicate you can achieve this. Figure out your story and then try to make this visual through your packaging.
  2. Audience: Packaging is an interaction between the product, your brand, and the audience so to better communicate through your packaging you must know your audience. Knowing what they relate to, what issues affect them, and their lifestyle will allow you to create a packaging that centers on these things.
  3. Response: Once your brand has meaning, create a list of outcomes that your packaging could achieve. Think about your audience and what types of emotions, feelings, and reactions the product packing can evoke in your customers.
  4. Stay Informed: The last ingredient in the packaging recipe is to stay informed about your competition. This is a simple task that is often over looked. Staying on top of what the competitors are doing allows you to be innovative and stay ahead.

Put all these things together and your packaging will have a recipe for success.

So when the above quote asks you, “Is your packaging powered to do all that?” Your reply will be, “Yes it is!”

Using Networking Events to Your Advantage

Networking events can be a great way to meet people who can help you and who you can help in the future. It is about building mutually beneficial relationships and creating a professional network of people who you genuinely like and respect.

networking-with-people-for-your-business-advantage-handshakeThe relationships that you build through networking can help you find a job, learn how to be successful in a certain job field or position, build your career and expand your business horizons. The people that you meet can provide valuable insider tips and answers to your questions, help you with your cover letter and resume, or give you an “in” with a company that you are interested in joining.

Networking can help you personally and can benefit your business by introducing you to new clients, business associates, and industry leaders.

Networking is often very informal and can occur with anyone at any time, but one of the most popular ways to network is to attend networking events. These events are created specifically for the purpose of creating new connections. People expect you to network there and these events can provide you with incredible business and personal advantages.

How to find local networking events:

  • Check out your local newsstand: Networking events are often listed in local magazines and newspapers. This can be an easy way to find events with new connections.
  • Industry/Business organizations: Professional organizations make a point of hosting networking events on a regular basis. Some well-known marketing, advertising, and public relations professional organizations to check out are International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), American Marketing Association (AMA), and Advertising Federation of America (AdFed). Head online or talk to colleagues to find professional organizations in your field.
  • Talk to the contacts you already have: Connections that you have already made can be your best way to find new connections, and they may know of some upcoming events that will be of particular interest to you.
  • Go online: There are a plethora of ways to find networking events online. NetParty.com (for young professionals) and FindNetworkingEvents.com provide listings of upcoming networking events in most major cities and professional networking sites such NetworkingForProfessionals.com list upcoming networking events for members.

How to network:

  • Talk to people: Talk to anyone you run into and keep in touch with those who you like and respect. Even if they can’t help you immediately, they may be able to help you further down the road. Get comfortable asking, “What do you do?” and handing out your business card.
  • Communicate effectively: Learn to listen to what the other person is saying and practice different ways of talking about yourself and your skills.
  • Join networking clubs and associations in your field: Joining these organizations can be the best way to meet people in your field.
  • Follow up on any lead, no matter how minor: You never know what a small lead could turn into: a better job or a new client.
  • Think before you network: There are some situations in which networking is inappropriate. Use common sense to judge what is appropriate and what is not.
  • Say, “Thank You”: Remember to thank anyone who takes the time to talk with you. Not only is it polite, but also it is socially expected.

Once you have built your network, continue to maintain and build it through regular contact. Many contacts will lead to more contacts, and in a short period of time you can have a strong professional network.

5 Tips to Get Noticed With Your Packaging

You only have a few seconds to catch the shopper’s attention, so what are you going to do with your packaging to not only catch their attention, but to get them to want to buy your product?

Jim George from Shelf Impact came up with 5 labeling ideas to solve marketing challenges:

  1. Highlighting innovative shape. Kids like products that feature fun colors and design in their packaging. Clear Beverage Corp. did just this with their “Kid Fuel” naturally flavored water. They also designed the shape of the bottle to resemble a sports bottle with curves for a child’s small hands to easily grip. They also made the packaging educational. Each bottle has a quiz question and Professor Smart’s answer is revealed after the beverage is consumed and the bottle is refilled with water.
  2. Sizzling as bacon’s main ‘touchpoint’. It is important for the packaging of a premium product to reflect the quality of the product. Tyson changed the packaging of their bacon by adding a label that featured a gold-outlined shield area with red, white, and gold on a blue background, while still leaving room to view the meat. The new design improved how easy it was to find and recognize the brand.
  3. Encouraging participation. Campbell’s made 7.5 million special-edition labels to show the quality ingredients that they use. Along with the new label, they started a program where you enter a code online from your can to receive a free pack of tomato seeds for yourself, as well as 100 seeds for urban communities and schools.
  4. Pulling double duty. Sometimes marketers have to create a package that both attracts attention, as well as protects against theft and counterfeits. Nutrex Research did this by creating a shrink-sleeve label that is both eye-appealing and protects the product from tampering.
  5. Signaling cause marketing. People like companies that help people and allow the customer to help by purchasing the product. Tide showed this with their packaging for the Loads of Hope campaign. They have special yellow caps that read, “You can help”, and it features pictures of Hurricane Katrina victims on the front.

Green Marketing in a Struggling Economy

So you want to help the environment by being more eco-friendly and increasing your green efforts, but think that it is too expensive? Many people wonder if they should cut back on green marketing and their green efforts in a struggling economy, but in fact you should do quite the opposite. I read in the September issue of Deliver, a marketing magazine, that it is actually a “hook to getting through them”. They say that green marketing improves your efficiencies, increases customer loyalty, and differentiates your brand.

Wal-Mart-Eco-Friendly-EffortsTake for instance, Wal-Mart’s green efforts. Wal-Mart’s “Earth Month” green marketing efforts included print ads for 10 different green products under $10 and “rollbacks” on environmentally-friendly products. Customers are looking for ways to save money in a tough economy, and Wal-Mart is helping them do that, while still having a positive environmental effect.

Eco-Friendly-Efforts-SunChips-Solar-EnergyGreen marketing also increases customer loyalty. Frito-Lay’s SunChips brand gained customers by showing them that green is both good for them and the environment. They started this marketing plan after seeing market research from 2006 that showed that people who care about their personal health also care about the planet. SunChips have 18 grams of whole grain and zero trans fat. Since these chips are healthier than regular potato chips, their campaigns played off this, their nature-related name, and their sustainability investments, which includesEco-Friendly-Efforts-SunChips-Compostable-Bag producing a compostable bag. They promoted their compostable bags with an online video showing them decompose, as well as print ads that included a tear-off sample for consumers to test it out themselves in their compost piles. Green marketing helped SunChips become one of the fastest-growing snack brands at Frito-Lay.

Eco-friendly-Efforts-Innovation-Thinking-Ideas-EnvironmentGreen marketing, done correctly, also differentiates your brand from the competition. IBM took a different route by connecting with the community in their green efforts. Their Smarter Planet initiative used direct mail to encourage individuals, businesses, and institutions to change the way they work. They also started a series of jams, or brainstorming sessions, that bring people from around the world together to solve an issue. Their “Congestion Challenge” collects innovative ideas to fight transportation congestion, and the winner receives $50,000, as well as the development and implementation support for the idea.