Q: How can I create an effective ad for my business?

A: The ad must be relevant, engaging, motivating and attention grabbing. But brands should not develop an advert based on these factors alone – you must listen to you customers first and focus on what is important to them, why your brand appeals to them, and what improvements you can make to it. Then you can think about creating an effective ad that encapsulates all these factors.

Q: I have a very limited budget – are there some no or low-cost ways in which I can generate more awareness?

A: At Think Marketing we always think of your budget - here are some no or low cost ways in which you can market you organisation:

  1. Enhance your business network by joining new groups, clubs and
  2. Build relationships with the media
  3. Maintain your in-house database (your list of prospects and customers) and send out quarterly letters to those with whom you’ve developed a relationship
  4. Make use of your in-house database--and share it with potential partners in complimentary businesses (swap lists)
  5. Create an email newsletter and use it to communicate with your customers; keeping them informed of any changes or developments at your company.
  6. 6. Use your email signature to promote your website, tradeshow attendance, monthly promotions

Q: What's the difference between advertising and promotion?

A: Advertising is generally targeted at your end prospect (as opposed to the channels of distribution). It can be used for many purposes, including establishing awareness, providing information for knowledge, and creating brand loyalty.

Promotion is a very broad term. It is so broad, that most communications that are not strictly advertising are classed as promotions. Some examples of promotions are special offers, sampling, discounts, special events and coupons. Promotions are generally viewed as activity to re-activate your marketing and constantly keep it fresh. Both advertising and promotions may be used in business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing.

Q: Does advertising really increase sales?

A: There is no clear evidence to support the notion that advertising increases sales. General findings from advertising studies include the following:

  • Decreases in the level of advertising do not lead to an immediate decrease in sales
  • An increase in the level of advertising by itself does not lead to an increase in sales
  • On average, half of all ongoing ad campaigns are ineffective. Changes in the creative, medium, target segment or product itself sometimes lead to change in sales --- increases in the level of advertising alone do not normally have major impact on sales.

    When advertising is effective, it is most effective early on and only if it is kept new and fresh. Advertising campaigns can also often be exhausted, if they are over used and overplayed. While consistency is important, running the same ad for 12 months will have deteriorating returns. Conversely many advertising campaigns fail because they are not properly funded. Your campaign needs to have a minimum of a 3-time frequency – meaning 80% of the same audience should see your ad a minimum of 3 times in order to have message recall. An advertising campaign is also more powerful when coupled with other marketing tools. At Think Marketing we would always stress to customers that marketing is a mix of activity and advertising as a stand-alone activity would generally not be advised.


    Q: What are marketers talking about when they talk about Push Strategies vs. Pull Strategies?

    A: "Push" tactics are normally promotions aimed at re-sellers or other members of the distribution channel. There are different types, including training programs, trade allowances, cooperative advertising, and the provision of point-of-purchase or promotional displays. These are intended to provide incentives to the channel to "push" a firm’s product toward the customer. An example of this would be a supermarket being provided with displays and promotional items to sell a chocolate product.

    A "Pull" strategy is usually advertising directed at the end consumer. It works to increase end demand, thus "pulling" a product through the distribution channel. This could be an awareness marketing tool such as a television ad or an outdoor campaign.


    Q: Does humour really work in ads?

    A: Because people like humour - people like humorous ads. But, humour is tricky when it comes to advertising and it really depends on the product or service in question.

    Humour may be more appropriate for products that people are not really involved in (e.g. products that they don't spend a lot of time thinking about). In those situations, customers tend get a lot of positive feelings due to the humour in the ad.

    Humour is great at getting attention and inspiring recall - which is a sign of generating a positive attitude, but it is important to use humour only if it is tied in with the product/service you are selling. Using humour for the sake of humour could result in a funny ad with no reference or relation to your brand.


    Q: What is the difference between sales, marketing, and advertising?

    A. Marketing is a discipline that involves a wide range of strategy, research and activity. In order to start marketing do your research first which often includes customer profiling, competitive analysis, positioning, sales promotions, advertising, distribution channel as a few considerations.

    Advertising is a tactic within marketing and is used to communicate a message(s) to your prospect market.

    Sales is also a part of marketing and is usually an activity carried out by a sales team.

    The main thing is that all activities are focused on achieving the same thing – delivering benefits to customers that in turn, grow your business.


    Q: What is partner marketing and how do I become involved in such a programme?

    A: Partner marketing is a joint marketing programme where two or more companies or organisations develop a shared marketing programme with the aim of sharing any leads resulting from the marketing effort. Partner marketing means that costs are shared; therefore lower.

    The best way to get the most from this is to partner with organisations that have complementary services that don't overlap with yours – otherwise, there is no incentive to cooperate. An example would be airlines and hotel chains who partner together to give a better market offering.

    Seminars are highly effective for a partner marketing programme – you bring value to those who attend the seminar with more than one market offering, therefore, building a relationship of trust and the seminar is not completely self-serving as you bring many products and services to the table but by partnering, you can greatly lower the cost of the programme.


    Q: How to I create an effective brochure?

    A: Advanced planning will help. Here are some steps to take to ensure your brochure is relevant, on budget and on message.

    Plan a brainstorming session with 2-3 key people, making sure to include your main decision makers from the start to avoid costly rewrites and redesigns further down the line.

    Determine the role of the brochure in your marketing efforts?
    Make sure that the objectives of the brochure are clear – will it be a promotional tool? A leave behind for salespeople? Part of a larger fulfilment package? Part of a trade show? A point-of-sale display? Is it consistent with your other marketing materials?

    Determine the key messages and the main targets for your brochure
    Is it for all customers of the company, or just a particular segment? What type of people will be reading it? Customers? Corporate Management? Prospective Customers?

    You must ensure that your message is clear and that it ties in with the overall goals and objectives of your organisation. If you plan in advance and know what you want from your brochure before you involve the designer and copywriter, you will save time and money -- in the end as it is much easier to make changes in a word document than to make changes at the layout stage with the designer.

    Think about the competition
    How can you differentiate your company from your competitors and make your message stand out?

    How much should you spend? Determine a budget for the project, including printing. Don’t forget photography and/or illustration – there’s no point in spending a lot of time and effort on developing a beautiful brochure only to penny-pinch on the graphics. Good graphics will really help your brochure stand out. There is no "average" cost for a brochure because all the variables that may come into play – the design time required, the length, size and quality of the brochure, type of paper being used, quantities you’re printing, colours, and shape.

    Creating Your Brochure. Once you’ve determined your budget, key messages, and audience, develop an outline for your brochure. Don’t cram lots of information about your company into the piece. The point of the brochure is to get a prospect interested, not to close the deal. With that in mind, keep the text (or copy) simple, and relevant to your audience. Bring your team from THINK Marketing and your designer into the process early – a collaborative approach will result in a better output.

    Proofreading and print. After all design and copy elements have been agreed upon, it's time to proofread your brochure. Anyone who has been close to the project should NOT be responsible for the proofreading. It's virtually impossible to see your own errors. Pass the brochure around to another person in the company to get the benefit of their "fresh eyes” before finalising.

    Prepare for the next phase. Every brochure eventually gets updated as your business changes and grows. Keep a folder of all potential changes and ways to make improvements on the next iteration.


    Q: What is a brand?

    A: A brand a set of associations that are linked to a product or company name and reside in people’s memory and help them distinguish between different companies. For example when people see a big yellow ‘M’, they think of McDonalds because of their strong branding.

    Q: What is a positioning statement?

    A. This is a statement or declaration describing how you want to be perceived by your target audience. It is more of an internal guideline for marketing efforts, than an external marketing effort. For example; Brown Thomas wish to be perceived as a high end luxury department store, and all marketing activities relay this message.

    Q: What is a brand extension?

    A: A brand extension occurs when a parent company or product extends its brand name to a child company or product. For example, Bailey’s extended its brand name to chocolate truffles in conjunction with Lir Chocolates.

    Q: Does every company need to brand itself and its products?

    A: If you want customers to identify your product with something they will remember, then yes. Most successful companies have a strong brand name or image e.g. Coca Cola.

    Q: What is a USP?

    A: USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition, which refers to what is unique about your business that differentiates you from the competition.

    Q: What is a tagline (or strapline)?

    A: A tagline is simply a short set of words that companies use to associate with their company or brand...such as Rabo Direct “the straight talking online bank” A tagline should be relevant to your customers. Use your USP or positioning statement as the basis for your tagline.

    For example, BMW positions itself on performance and drivability. Therefore, it's not surprising that its tagline is "the ultimate driving machine".


    Q: What are the basic steps in creating an effective e-newsletter?

    A: There are six basic steps involved:

    Step 1 - Show Value Help your readers stay on top of industry trends and provide them with true value, by giving them practical information e.g. industry developments and best practices.

    Step 2 - Build Trust Know your audience, and use this knowledge to provide information that is both honest and reliable – positioning your company as a credible source for industry information.

    Step 3 - Show Stability Make sure that any information you provide is sent out regularly and is accurate and current. Sending outdated newsletters in sporadic timeframes will only create an unreliable image.

    Step 4 - Getting and Keeping Their Attention Make sure your newsletter is not perceived as junk mail. To avoid this, you must grab customer’s attention and ensure that each e-newsletter increases and reinforces the value of information provided.

    Step 5 - Capturing Prospects Move from communication to interaction and develop deeper relationships with your customers and potential customers by promoting a 2-way dialogue. Offer your e-newsletter on your website. Allow dialogue and response mechanisms in your e-newsletter.

    Step 6 - Closing the Sale E-newsletters can be a great sales tool as they make it easy for people to contact you and allow you to learn more about them when relationships are forged.

    Don’t forget that you’re legally only allowed to send e-newsletters to people who OPT-IN. You must also allow for an OPT-OUT on each e-newsletter your send and then honour that OPT-OUT request.

    Q: What does email open-rate mean?

    A: This is the percentage of people who opened an e-newsletter that was sent to them. People like to use this as a general tracking device and there are two different types:

  • Unique Open Rate: This is associated with unique users. For example: a user who opens the newsletter several times will be recorded as one unique open.
  • Simple Open Rate: This is where someone who opens the newsletter several times will be documented as several opens. This will be higher than the Unique Open Rate.
  • Which is better to measure your campaign with?

    If measuring reach, the Unique Open Rate is a better measuring tool. If measuring for frequency, then the Simple Open Rate is fine. Just be sure when you compare open rates, to use the same one. A typical Open Rate is 30% for people receiving marketing e-newsletters/e-mails from a trusted source. Keep in mind, however, that you still get the benefit of the marketing message to your customer/prospect even if just from the title of your e-mail/e-newsletter.

    Q: Should email marketing be approached differently from traditional direct marketing?

    A. People are inclined to read email messages from start to finish in a linear manner. This linearity means that advertisers have more control over a recipient’s behaviour as they can develop an email based on typical reading behaviour. If an email is overloaded with too much information, people tend not to bother reading it or else become confused by the contents. Therefore, it is better to send out shorter concise emails.


    Q: Why is SMS marketing a valuable tool?

    A. Because text marketing targets one person directly, it has an immediate impact. It is also interactive as it allows for the respondent to directly reply or ignore the message as they choose. The benefits of text marketing are as follows:

  • Minimal effort to run a text campaign (THINK’s Text Marketing Programme, for example, can be manage from an Internet connection – anytime, anywhere)
  • Response rates of 40%+
  • It is instant– as the respondent receives the message straight to their phone
  • It’s viral as customers forward messages
  • It’s a good cross media tool – can used in tandem with TV, radio and print. Many campaigns that have used text marketing in tandem with other media have been shown to generate a substantial increase in sales and repeat business. It’s a great way to add a direct response element to an awareness campaign in order to track the effectiveness of the spending

    Q: How can I create a text marketing campaign when I don’t have a database of mobile numbers?

    A. One of the easiest ways to do this is to run a competition with text entry! This is a great way to build a list of prospects. For customers currently on your database, simply contact them and let them know the benefits of giving their mobile details, giving them the choice to ‘opt-in’ or opt-out’. THINK Marketing offer some very cost effective Text Marketing programmes. See our products and services for more information.

    Q. What’s the key to success of text marketing?

    A. Always remember that your customer is the most important person, so try to make offers that add value to them:

  • Competitions, or a free sample
  • Reminders about important changes and developments
  • Discounts/ Special Offers
  • Here at Think Marketing, we go by the golden rule never to charge your customers for the text – as this will only take from whatever offer the text contains. It is also important to target customers at the right time; too early and they may forget the message, too late and you may have missed the boat. Messages should be short and always include an opt-in, opt-out option.

    Q: How frequently should I text my customers?

    A. This really depends on your product/ service so common sense must be applied here. Too many texts can annoy customers, however, if you don’t text often enough you run the risk of being forgotten. A weekly campaign is as frequent as any business should get, as long as each week there is a new offer or new information. A typical frequency for the majority of companies is monthly.

    Q: What are some common uses for Text Marketing?

    A: Text marketing can be used as a promotional tool, a marketing measurement tool and a customer service or customer relationship tool. Frequently, businesses will use text to inform customers of special offers, to pass on information on new changes or developments, or to measure the impact of a campaign or promotion.


    Q: What should I budget for my marketing?

    A: The answer is, it depends! We find that a lot of our customers at THINK Marketing don’t realise the amount they actually spend on marketing each year. When you think of stationery, mailings, labels – even the little things are helping to create an image of your business (hopefully, a positive one). We have developed a series of Marketing Packages to help you answer this very question. The packages include ranges of costs for typical activities that we provide for many of our clients. Don’t see what you need in one of our packages? Simply call one of our Marketing stores or contact a business developer and he/she will help you determine a price for your project.

    But back to the question – many times, it’s simply a matter of what you can afford. If you don’t have a budget set aside, then force yourself to do so (for example, THINK Marketing has a Marketing Saver Plan that allows you to save a minimum of €250 per month and enjoy credit with THINK after 90 days of saving).

    Some simple tips to keep in mind in determining your budget:

  • Run an analysis of what you’ve spent in past years (keeping in mind that companies typically spend at a much higher rate in year one of a marketing programme/business lifecycle than in future years). Expect an upfront investment in marketing if you’re just starting out - often 20-25%
  • A good rule of thumb for ongoing marketing is that marketing investment should represent at least 5% of sales for consumer goods (again, it may be more in year one or when launching a new product – 20-25% of projected sales typically) and often 10% for business products and services (where margins may be higher but the sales cycle is longer). There are also simply some things you can’t control – increases in paper, postage and media costs may automatically add 5% a year or more over what you spent last year in marketing just to duplicate the same programmes.
  • Plan annually, track monthly, reassess quarterly: The best thing to do for your marketing is to set aside the needed funds annually when doing your annual planning. Put together a prioritised wish list and try to spread out the marketing spend (even if that means creating marketing materials for an upcoming year in the back half of the current year). It’s important to pay attention to your marketing! Many SMEs will ignore marketing because they simply don’t have the time to give it the attention it needs. Set aside at least one day a month to focus on the marketing and asses what needs to be done. Measure and reassess your marketing programme quarterly. What’s working? What’s not? Does the marketing budget need to be scaled up or down due to changes in your business or adjustments in the projections?

    Q: How do I get my brand to appeal to customers?

    A. At Think Marketing we would advise customers to take one of two approaches. The first approach is rational persuasion which involves using concrete data and facts to persuade customers to buy your product. The second approach is called emotional appeal and this uses emotions and intuition to appeal to customers’ emotional side. Choosing an approach to take depends on product offering and the industry you are in.

    Q: What is permission marketing?

    A: Everyday we are exposed to more and more advertisements and promotions, with marketers competing to force different messages on us. Even though we have limited attention to give, we are constantly surrounded by new marketing communications aimed at us.

    Permission marketing is different as it is pre-approved marketing which works on the premise that people pay more attention to marketing messages they have consciously asked for, as opposed to those that are forced upon them.

    Q: What is a customer segment?

    A. The term segmentation is often used in ways that are incorrect. It can often be seen applied to demographics and lifestyles in consumer markets and to size, industry and geography in business markets. This is the best way to look at segmentation as it is based on the premise that people differ only to the extent that the money they pay you for product or service is based on the benefits offered by your product or service.

    Q: How do I decide which customers to go after?

    A. There are many different ways in which a company might choose to market or expose a product to various segments.

    Single segment concentration: This is where a company focuses on one segment only. This is a good approach if you have limited resources.

    Product specialisation: This approach involves concentrating on making a particular product and selling to a number of segments, which can help to build a strong reputation within your product category. Mobile phones are an example of this.

    Market specialisation: This approach involves concentrating on a specific segment and providing it with a variety of products that match the needs of that segment. This approach helps to build a strong reputation as you appear an expert in your field. You could face costs also however, if you are dependent on a segment whose needs change.

    Selective specialisation: With this approach you select a number of segments and market to them with different products or services. This approach allows you to spread out your risk if one segment becomes unattractive, you can continue to make money in other segments.

    Full-market coverage: With this approach you supply all segments with all your products. This approach is practical for firms with a large amount of resources.

    A firm needs to think clearly about their resources and the risks inherent in these different approaches when making decisions about which and how may segments to choose. It is easy to be tempted by certain options but you should choose the segmentation approach that minimises risk for your business.


    Q: What is Public Relations (PR)?

    PR is how you get the word out – whether your audience is the local, regional, national, or international media or your own company or organisation. Most of what you read and hear on the radio and television news has been pitched or facilitated in some way by a PR person.

    PR differs from marketing and advertising because it's free and therefore, can be very cost-effective--not to mention credible.

    Q: Why would my company need PR?

    A: Getting your message out helps build corporate culture, motivate employees and clients, and increase revenues, prospects and profits. But it’s important to mention that PR should be engaged when appropriate – meaning it must be targeted to the right audience and whatever you have to say must be newsworthy to that audience in order for PR to be effective.

    Q: Doesn’t good press coverage just come out of being a good company?

    A: Not very often. It’s not enough to be a great company or have fantastic products. Press doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of an ongoing effort to get your name into the news and keep it there. Some companies do get lucky and score a great story – but the benefits of this effort will quickly disappear without an ongoing PR programme.

    Q: What kinds of developments at my company could be considered newsworthy?

    A: Anything that is unique and different in the marketplace can be newsworthy – does your product or service offer something completely novel to your industry sector? Is your business reaching a major milestone (in size, growth, longevity – ideally something that is again, novel within your category or geographic trading area)? Have you hired new personnel? Have you acquired a company or merged? Is there a specific event or promotion would should be noted in diary notices within the press?


    Q: Are "looks" important when it comes to marketing?

    A: YES! At Think Marketing, we have always found that people tend to find a business more credible when all marketing materials have a professional look - including the company website. While it might seem shallow - people judge on appearance first and then substance later.


    Q: What is THINK Marketing all about?

    A: THINK Marketing Limited was started in 2003. The company was borne out of a desire to be serve Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) with smart, affordable marketing solutions. We are conveniently located in Dublin’s city centre. We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Marketing Network Group so you also get the backing and benefit of experience that comes from a large, independent, 22-year-old marketing firm.

    Q: Are there ongoing fees for THINK’s Services?

    A: Everything we offer is available ad hoc and on a project basis. However, if you would like to engage our services on an ongoing basis, you can join our Marketing Saver Plan which is a monthly Direct Debit programme, or speak to one of our business developers to set up an ongoing fee plan tied specifically to your needs and programme scope. The great thing about THINK is that there are no retainer fees – you simply pay for what you need and nothing you don’t.

    Q: Why is payment for services required up front?

    A: At THINK, your payment is due on order for your project. The reason for this is simple: it helps us ensure we keep our costs down by minimising the overhead and administrative costs involved with longer-term payment structures. It’s also the way in which we are able to offer our services on a project basis without long-term contracts – so you have no obligation beyond the discrete project order.

    Q: Who are THINK’s Partners?

    A: We are a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Marketing Network Group ( - a large, independent, 21-year-old marketing firm. Our sister companies include Prior Communications (a well-established consumer public relations firm) and Bubble Digital ( a digital and mobile marketing firm. In addition, we also work exclusively with preferred vendor suppliers who provide quality services at discount prices for THINK’s customers.

    Q: What services does THINK offer?

    A: We offer end-to-end marketing solutions – whether advertising, promotions, public relations, digital marketing, text and SMS marketing solutions, events, graphic design, brand identity, merchandising – you name it. If it’s in the realm of marketing, then we can help!

    Q: Do you specialise in certain industries?

    A: Our team of senior advisors has over 80 years of experience combined – so there’s little ground that we haven’t covered before. For a full list, see our full sector experience list.