CURIOSITY & WONDER

Demystification, Part I
Misinterpreting Misconceptions

Jonathan D. Spiliotopoulos

19 July 2017

After 13 years in the business, it’s not easy to surprise us, but it happens. And in spite of all the information that’s out there — despite the well-credentialed nature of our clients and contacts — there are some common marketing misconceptions the existence of which surprise us every time we hear them.

Your logo is your brand

To help understand the difference between a logo and a brand — because the terms are not synonyms — I’m going to use an analogy.

A person is known for who he is; namely what he does, what he believes and thinks, the things stands up for, and so on. This is his personality. It’s his brand.

That same person is addressed by his name, and recognized by his preferred style of dress in polo shirts and khaki pants, his deep voice, his perfect grammar, and his sarcastic wit. These traits constitute his identity.

Then there’s his face: a complex set of features arranged for him alone. The brown eyes, the salt-and-pepper D’Artagnan beard, the crooked ironic smile. It represents the man, and not just in person. It manifests on every piece of material that represents him, from his driver’s license to his passport and his curriculum vitae. This is his logo.

Marketing is organic

In the 1989 drama, Field of Dreams, a mystical voice calls to Kevin Costner saying “If you build it, he will come.” And far too many people believe the same thing about marketing.

The thinking is that, if you build it (website, product, technique, whatever), everybody will somehow find your business, talk about your offering, write about it on their blogs, recommend it to others, and fill your bank account with money.

Reality is somewhat less magical, and making sure your company becomes known takes a great deal of effort. A business needs to be seen in order to become known. In today’s digital world, that means standing out on search engines, being active on social media, generating content to maintain interest and awareness, and even attending tradeshows to connect with your prospects. Speaking of which …

Wrong Way Sign

Tradeshows are dead

Some recent clients of ours have been bowing out of tradeshows, claiming there’s too little direct sales activity to warrant attendance. But according to a B2B marketing study from IBM, tradeshows rate first and second among Boomers and Millenials respectively as research sources.

And since Boomers represent the majority of decision-making executives today, and Millenials are exerting heavy influence or making purchasing decisions 49% of the time, it would seem these are the audiences to target (sorry Gen X) and meet where they want to be met.

So if your tradeshow goal is marketing-oriented rather than sales, it may be time to break that old booth out of the closet and book your flights.

Jonathan D. Spiliotopoulos

About the Author

Jonathan D. Spiliotopoulos is a Partner with O’Brien Communications Group (www.obriencg.com), a business-to-business brand-management and marketing communication firm with responsibilities ranging from brand creation and creative concepting, to graphic design, web development, and more. He's also an experienced teacher/trainer, presenter, a newbie dad, and is active in a number of communities and forums — online and in the real world — dedicated to helping others achieve their goals.

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