Gotham, LLC

25 Years and Counting…..

Gotham, LLC 25 Years of Marketing ExperienceWow! This year, Gotham is celebrating a quarter-century in the marketing business. A flood of memories – good and bad – return to me as I wax nostalgic about this long journey, but the word that sums it all up for me is gratitude. First, I owe gratitude to God for blessing me with a creative gift, and to my parents, Mackie and Stewart, both artists who nurtured the creativity in me. Beyond that, I owe gratitude to too many people to name in this blog. If you have worked with the team at Gotham, thank you. If you have entrusted Gotham with marketing projects and campaigns, I am grateful.

I was 22 when I started Gotham with two partners in 1989, and I didn’t know what I didn’t know. But there is no better teacher than experience, and Lord knows I have had some experiences. Gotham began with a free tabloid paper called “Unusually Casual.” The paper, distributed around the greater Hickory area every two weeks, was a way to start a business with no capital.

Our initial income derived from advertising sold from a crude mockup of that first edition. My pastor at the time allowed me to use the church computer after-hours to put the first year’s issues together. I learned the advertising trade on the fly by assembling 20 “Unusually Casual” ads every two weeks. That was 1989, when there was no Internet and computer pagination was in its infancy. We cut Rubylith to separate color, pieced “Unusually Casual” together by hand, applied hot wax to articles and ads, then pasted them to a layout page. These layouts were photographed by a huge camera, then converted to a plate for printing. If it sounds archaic, that’s because it was!

After two and a half years, the economic situation surrounding the Persian Gulf War put an end to “Unusually Casual,” but, by then, we had generated enough revenue and expertise to market graphic design services under the Gotham name. And, since 1992, Gotham has done business in such far-flung locations as Irkutsk, Russia, and I have held client meetings in locations including Paris, France and Graz, Austria.

I am grateful for the two partners with whom I originally started the business. Before we parted ways in the early ‘90s, they learned and paid dues with me, and the crash course in business and suffering we received in those early years greatly benefited our experience. Because marketing constantly evolves, I have become flexible in my thinking and have committed to lifelong learning. I still get a rush from selling “mental inventory” and, to me, there is nothing better than being compensated for great ideas.

Over the years, I have worked with many creative people and vendors and been able to meld their ideas with my own to produce great results for our clients. I am grateful to all those people. Special thanks goes to my wife, Kelly, and daughters, Claire and Maggie, who have ridden the dramatic ups and downs of small business with me. They have unfailingly supported my dream of being a business owner and continue to give me the strength to carry on.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that I now possess 25 years of marketing experience and that I’m surrounded by a great team of talented people who care about the Gotham story of the future.

-Woody Stoudemire

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The Importance of Experience in Marketing

Gotham, LLC 25 Years of Marketing Experience

New marketing tools are created and abandoned every day.

New channels for message distribution appear and skyrocket in popularity, only to fizzle just as fast. 

New companies appear, shine brightly for a few months or years, then disappear.

While marketing seems to be a young, constantly evolving industry – and it is, to an extent – the fact is that 99% of what actually works in marketing today is simply a new variation on a very old theme:

  • Make a great product or provide a great service
  • Differentiate the product or service from competitors
  • Offer it at an acceptable price
  • Identify targeted purchasers and make sure it is available where they shop
  • Announce it to targeted buyers and engage them on an emotional level

This is why marketers and companies that have survived over the long-term warrant your attention.  They’ve proven that they know how to achieve Return on Investment over and over again despite variations in product, industry, economy, and current flavor-of-the-month marketing tools available.

These experienced marketing professionals can stay on top of trends in their own industry, because they’re experts at staying on top of trends in their clients’ industries.  And combining the two is where the real magic happens.

They know that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach or solution.

They also realize that tools and tactics may come and go, but the underlying principles of human psychology don’t change.  So, while they will hone their skills in trendy new methods that make sense, they’ll keep their eyes on the big picture too, taking a holistic approach to helping their clients.

Don’t get too caught up in the flavor-of-the-month, and don’t let your marketing team get caught either.  And if you need the help of an experienced marketing team who’s been there and done that, contact Gotham and we’ll discuss your marketing challenges.

 

 

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It Pays To Know The Difference Between Markup and Margin.

You say “tomato” and she says “tomahto.” Same thing, right? Right.

But if you say “margin” and she says “markup,” you’re talking about two separate things. And it pays to know which is which because you can lose money by focusing on one and not on the other.

Merriam-Webster defines markup is “an amount added to the cost price to determine the selling price.” It defines margin as “the difference between net sales and the cost of merchandise sold and from which expenses are usually met or profit derived.”

Both refer to the variance between what you pay for an item and the price at which you sell it.  However, markup is the difference as a percentage of the buying price whereas margin is the difference as a percentage of the selling price. Although both are ways to determine the difference between the cost of a product and its sale price, they’re not computed in the same way and their purposes are not the same.

A business that uses markup formulas but fails to use margin as a tool for analysis could be missing a chance to improve profitability. But to arrive at a markup formula, it is frequently necessary to convert margin to markup. Here’s how.

 

Markup

If an item costs $500 and you want to add a 20% markup:

$500 (item cost) x 20% (desired markup) = $100

$500 (item cost) + $100 (markup) = $600 (selling price)

The actual margin on this item is less than 20%.

($600 – $500) ÷ $600 = 16.67%

 

Margin

If the cost for an item is $500 and you want a 20% margin:

$500 ÷  (100%-20%)

$500 ÷ (80%)

$500 ÷ .80 = $625

 

To recap, markup is your profit as a percentage of the cost price and margin is your profit as a percentage of your selling price.

Understanding the difference could mean making your marketing goals or not.

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Hit the Bullseye with Target Marketing

Mass marketing is not as effective as it once was. It had its heyday when we had a choice of three major channels on TV and limited options for mass media otherwise.

We’re all but immune to the huge campaigns that bombard us from every angle, especially since we know that the same message is going out to millions of people and it has little or nothing to do with us.

But, when personal correspondence is received, we immediately take notice, because it involves us as individuals.

Target Marketing leverages personalization by delivering a marketing message so perfectly focused on your prospect as an individual, it impacts them on an emotional level.

How to Personalize Marketing Messages:

Target marketing combines the most personal of messaging channels – direct mail and e-mail – with powerful personalization, including PURLs (Personalized URLs) and careful measurement of the results, to create incredibly effective marketing campaigns.

To accomplish this, start with this checklist of necessary items:

  • Budget
  • Clean database of solid leads
  • Clear customer demographic
  • Feature-rich e-blast program
  • Bulk mail permit for traditional mailings
  • A time dated special offer
  • Access to comprehensive analytics for both online and offline tracking

By fine-tuning the customer demographic, you understand the ideal prospect’s motivation, and messages can be crafted to meet those needs. Expert marketers use “A-B” testing of marketing messages to understand which messages are most compelling to a demographic.

By matching the target demographic with your database of leads, the list can be narrowed to those targets most likely to respond to your messages. This results in significant cost savings over time.

A solid e-blast program like Constant Contact, AWeber or MailChimp offers list segmentation, which will be invaluable in organizing your target marketing campaigns.

Finally, comprehensive analytics – available through the e-blast program or Google analytics for online campaigns, allows you to continue to define the campaign until it is converting incredibly well.

If any of this sounds foreign to you, and you’re interested in a full turnkey solution to your target marketing needs, contact Gotham Strategic, target marketing experts.

Hit the bullseye with target marketing

Hit the bullseye with Target Marketing

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How Outbound Marketing Builds Your Brand

While “inbound marketing” which involves pulling prospects to a website is currently the hot trend, traditional advertising and marketing methods continue to produce results. These tactics that have worked for generations are now called “outbound marketing.”

Outbound marketing involves anything your company does to project your message outward.

This may include:

  • marketing strategies
  • advertising in various media channels
  • sales presentations
  • direct mail
  • public relations
  • brochures
  • e-mail marketing
  • trade shows

Taken collectively, these outbound tactics are released strategically and incorporate consistency in design, messaging and purpose to elicit an emotional response from the prospect.

Outbound marketing is focused on “pushing” a message to an audience. Purchasing behavior is rooted in emotion, not logic. With this in mind, messaging is designed to directly appeal to the broad mindset of the audience.

Skillfully applied, outbound marketing enhances brand awareness, imprinting a powerful mental picture in the audience’s mind. Emotionally compelling benefits influence prospects to purchase your products and services. With patience, strategic branding efforts should lead to increased market share and higher ROI.

To learn more about strategic outbound marketing, contact Gotham LLC.

Outbound Marketing

These strategic outbound marketing tactics combine to build your company brand.

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Wasp Catchers: A Case in Point on the 4 Ps of Marketing

glass wasp catcher

Recently, I was in an antique store in Lenoir, NC. looking for a unique gift for my wife. While the store had some interesting artifacts, I really didn’t find anything that flipped my switch. My daughter Maggie, however, did find something she wanted to purchase.

Ambling up to the cashier to pay, something overhead caught my eye. Looking up, I saw this really cool-looking glass contraption. The object resembled a bee hive and had a lid sporting a wasp on top. There was a reservoir at the bottom to hold liquid. As my curiosity about the piece grew, I asked what it was and in what era it originated.

“It looks like an antique,” said the shopkeeper, “but it’s a reproduction of a Victorian wasp catcher.” The idea behind the wasp catcher is that the reservoir is filled with a sweet liquid to attract flies, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets that fly up through the hole in the bottom. Once inside, the insect eventually drowns and can be poured out through the opening at the top.

I was a little disappointed to learn the item wasn’t an antique, but purchased it anyway because the price was under $30 and it looked to be an interesting conversation piece. Being a family of animal lovers, we placed the wasp catcher in our yard as art, and we haven’t tried to kill a thing with it.

How did this transaction relate to the 4 Ps of marketing? The 4 Ps are Product (uniquely designed and visually striking wasp catcher), Price (under $30), Place (above the head of anyone who stops at the cash register of the antique store), and Promotion (product benefits relayed by the shopkeeper).

That day, it all came together for the shopkeeper in the form of a sale. Once he sells a reproduction wasp catcher, he hangs another to replace it. It’s no surprise to me that he says it’s one of his best sellers.

Consider the 4Ps in your product mix. Do they properly align with what your target market desires?

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Industrial B2B vs. Traditional B2C Marketing – Completely Different Animals

It’s easy to assume everyone understands the inherent difference between marketing to businesses (business to business, or B2B) and marketing to consumers (business to consumer, or B2C), especially if you’re on the inside of the marketing industry, neck deep in the process every day. 

Here’s a brief rundown of the differences between B2B marketing – with a focus on industrial marketing– and B2C marketing, which caters primarily to retail.

 

B2C – Persuading Consumer to Purchase Something From A Business

A company marketing primarily to consumers – like Wal-Mart, Ford, or the local deli – have some basic marketing foundations they can rely on when building their campaigns:

  • A large percentage of their sales need to be allocated to their marketing budget because they need to constantly bring in new customers.  Customers are fickle.
  • They can and should establish a target demographic based on age, gender, and other factors, then build messaging around that.
  • They are going to be highly dependent on branding: keeping their name, logo, tagline, or jingle forefront in the minds of their prospective customers so the prospect thinks of them first when their need arises.
  • To accomplish effective branding, a large portion of their budget is going to be allocated to mass media advertising such as TV, radio, billboard, and print ads.
  • Social media has proven itself to be an effective marketing weapon when wielded skillfully, especially Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube.
  • Loyalty programs are also very effective as they generate repeat business that would otherwise go elsewhere.
  • The most powerful marketing messages include something surprising and memorable combined with quick snippets of information supporting the emotional impact.
  • It’s not possible or practical to support all marketing by personal follow-ups.
  • Frequent use of sales or discounts as a marketing tactic.

 

B2B – Persuading a Business to Purchase Something From another Business

Unlike B2C companies, B2B companies – like Murata, IBM, and a freelance consultant – have to approach their marketing very differently:

  • A small percentage of their sales can be allocated to the marketing budget, usually as little as .5 to 2% of gross sales.
  • Their marketing needs to appeal to a broader demographic since they’re marketing to businesses and don’t often have as clear a picture of who the decision makers are, at least at first.
  • They are far more dependent on direct contact: phone conversations, networking, power lunches, and LinkedIn.
  • Social media has proven effective for introducing new products and educating the market, but not for direct marketing or sales the way it has for B2C. Social media is more of a branding exercise for B2B.
  • Marketing messages often need to appeal to engineers and other technical personnel who will have a lot of detailed questions that need answers before a buying decision is made.  These  are facts stirring emotion, not emotion supported by lifestyle marketing (like in B2C).
  • Marketing efforts are very dependent on personal follow-up with leads and current customers.
  • Typically, trade shows are a significant aspect of the marketing budget.

 

Both B2B and B2C Marketing

There are some aspects of the marketing equation that remain constant across both disciplines:

  • Both are constantly increasing their reliance on digital advertising and messaging channels.
  • Both need to build marketing programs around their web presence.
  • Both must focus on building and retaining a solid customer base.
  • Both have to position themselves effectively in the marketplace to reach the right market.
  • Both must maintain consistency in their brand messaging.

 

There’s certainly no “better or worse” kind of marketing.  But they’re completely different animals.  And trouble arises when a B2B company spends a ton of money trying to successfully apply B2C marketing tactics.

If you’re considering your marketing strategy for the upcoming quarter, be sure you’re able to identify the tactics that have proven themselves effective for the market you’re trying to reach, then start applying creativity and experience to the problem.

If your campaign is executed strategically, the end result is bound to be successful.

 

 

 

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Making Your Trade Show Booth the Star of the Show

So many people, so much competition, and so little time to make an impression: this is the atmosphere of the trade show.  It’s confusing, complex, and constraining.  So why do so many businesses choose to participate in them? Because it’s the best chance to have face time with the greatest amount of potential customers in one place. It’s a great opportunity to meet the decision-makers.  In fact, 87% of industrial trade show attendees are the purchasing decision-makers for their companies.

Your goal is to attract these decision-makers to your booth.  And, in an age of 3-D graphic capabilities, advanced visual lighting effects, and digital technology, it’s not hard to bring the kind of bling to your booth that will draw conference visitors.  Some show-stoppers for your industrial trade show booth design include:

  • Large Custom Signage – Make it colorful, concise, and clear so everyone knows who you are and what you’re selling. A booth theme that can be seen from a distance will add to the glamour, intrigue and memorability of your booth.
  • Lighting the Stage – Create a total environmental experience with visual lighting effects. This means overriding the glare of existing fluorescent venue lights by backlighting your display or intensely spotlighting your product.
  • Make it Interactive – Engage visitors with digital interactivity installations, such as tablets or wall mounted and table-top touch screens.  Interactive activities are useful for heavy machinery that isn’t appearing at the show.
  • Backlit projection units are unique and can tell your story at the aisle and draw the audience inside the booth.
  • Doing scheduled presentations with a speaker and projection screens allow you to take advantage of a captive audience.
  • Movement, sound and pleasant aromas emanating from your booth serve to draw people to you.

Add to these a nice open space, with knowledgeable, friendly salespeople and your trade show booth will be the star of the show!  Just don’t forget the post show follow up to “close the deal!”

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During Hard Times, Smart Businesses Don’t Hide, They Thrive.

This was written and produced within 30 days of 9/11/2001 by Gotham and used as a self-promotional mailer.

During hard times, smart businesses don’t hide. They THRIVE.

In a down economy, visible companies enjoy the advantage of being accessible to buying customers while their competition can’t be found. Less clutter in advertising means your message beckons customers louder than ever. Many companies experience substantial growth during recessions and emerge stronger than ever, simply because they have the wisdom to employ an innovative marketing plan and stay the course.

Savvy business people realize sales will happen in 2002 but only for those who are proactive and have a well-conceived strategy that will enable them to endure and profit in the swirling storm of economic times ahead. Strategies, guidance and innovative marketing concepts are what the experts of Gotham have been providing our international client base with for over twelve years. We take existing budgets and make them more efficient. We become the marketing resource your company needs to demonstrate new ideas that stimulate sales. Our team can conceive single projects or comprehensive marketing strategies.

Hiding is a strategy. If that’s the course your business has chosen, we wish you luck.

We are seeking companies that believe they will flourish and even thrive, despite the current state of turmoil in the world. We welcome your call for a free consultation at 828.327.8099. We look forward to moving your company ahead of the rest.

 

 

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Why Your Company Needs (and Wants) an Intranet

I can see you cringe already.

“Another website? It’s enough work taking care of the one we’ve got! And don’t get me started about Facebook and Twitter!”

It’s true that businesses today need to invest far more time in their digital face – company website, social media, and online content marketing – than we did even five years ago. And, no doubt, time is one of your most valuable commodities. So how could you possibly benefit from adding another site to that mix?

Well, here’s how: It’s not really in that mix. It’s above the mix.

A company intranet is basically an internal, secure website created to fill your internal administrative and communication needs. You control what is and isn’t included, and you control who has permission to see or engage with it.

Since it’s inward-facing, rather than outward-facing, the content and design of your intranet will be completely different from your standard company website. This opens up a universe of possibilities for internal communication among managers, employees, vendors and suppliers.

Here are some of the most universal reasons why your company needs (and probably wants) an intranet:

  • Everyone in the organization needs access to various forms, documents, images and information, but making sure everyone has clean, updated copies is a pain. (With an intranet, a 30-second investment of time lets you scan and upload a new form, update the appropriate file on your intranet, or make multiple versions available, and everyone has a printable copy of the most up-to-date version.
  • Your distributors, suppliers, vendors and other external connections want and need consistent access to necessary information or systems in order to work with you, but standard methods are falling short. (By creating customized sections of the company intranet designed specifically with those various users in mind, and giving them secure access to only those sections, your external connections can enjoy all the same intranet benefits your employees have.)
  • You want the organizational benefits without all the hassle or added infrastructure. (You can outsource the updates to Gotham to keep your intranet current, and with password protection and offsite storage, it’s a hassle-free, worry-free win-win situation.)

Of course, with some brainstorming, you can probably come up with a hundred more benefits to be gained by having a state-of-the-art internal web-based solution at your fingertips. Here’s some food for thought: the “10 Best Intranets of 2012” and what makes them so awesome.

An easy-to-use, quality intranet system gives all users access to pertinent company information and frees up employees to do other things for the company. And there’s no arguing with that ROI.

Muratec Intranet, Fabrication Division

 

 

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©2014 Gotham, LLC | 905 Hwy 321 NW Ste 218 | Hickory, NC 28601 | phone 828.327.8099

From offices in Hickory, NC, Gotham provides advertising and marketing services for manufacturing companies nationwide, as well as locally in the Hickory, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Greenville and Spartanburg regions.