Creating Our Core Values: The &Marketing All-Time Hits

Creating Our Core Values: The &Marketing All-Time Hits

Creating Our Core Values: The &Marketing All-Time Hits

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

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Culture Eats Strategy For Breakfast
Peter Drucker

I’ve been known to share sentiments like, “It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it” and “it’s a great privilege to choose the people you work with.” When I say these things, I risk sounding like a broken record, but it’s so true! Despite regularly having discussions about the importance of our culture, our approach, and “who we are,” we lacked a formal set of core values.

We easily agreed on the basic tenets of being honest, communicating transparently, and adhering to a ‘no games’ policy, not only internally but also with our partners and clients.

A differentiating factor at &Marketing is that we pledge to measure ourselves by our client’s success and always use data to drive our decisions. We know that the best path is typically not always the easiest or smoothest. When we really push the envelope and innovate to find the better solution, we appreciate a healthy debate about the tactics and strategies needed to succeed. Sometimes this results in tough conversations, which we approach head on.

Ultimately, and most importantly, is that we wanted to highlight that we are not “yet another marketing agency.” We strive for amazing results for the client, and do not just check boxes. We have a unique and tight knit culture, where we value work-life balance, and we appreciate trustworthiness. Finally, we look for partnerships that embrace this unique culture. We look to partner and win together….thus our name – “&” Marketing. It’s not just our clients out there- it’s us too- taking the new path, having honest conversations, and measuring our success continuously as we go.

After we completed our exercise, I reflected on the old Peter Drucker quote – “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast” and realized that it’s playing itself out in our business. It’s our culture that makes us unique- it’s the how we do it that makes the it special. But, best of all, it’s the people who make this my privilege.

About the Author

Rajat “Raj” Kapur is the founder and Managing Director of &Marketing. He strives to provide growing businesses of all sizes unparalleled marketing strategy and execution services. Raj brings two decades of professional experience in marketing, sales, and strategy development experience spanning B2B and B2C Fortune 50, mid-sized, and startups.

About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

6 Ways to Sharpen Your Brand Identity

6 Ways to Sharpen Your Brand Identity

6 Ways to Sharpen Your Brand Identity

&Marketing, and marketing, outsourced marketing strategy

Written By


When your brand is battling for a seat at the table your ideal customer or client sits at, the question really comes down to how sharp your sword is. Your brand identity is the essence of who you are as a business, and in turn, how you above all other competitors stand out to connect with your ideal target audience. Here are 6 ways you can sharpen your brand identity and win that seat every single time.

1: Shift Your Focus to Your Customer

We are all the heroes of our own stories. Our failures, successes, villains, and happy endings are the center of our own lives and the focus of our days. That’s true for everyone, including your customer. It’s also a big reason brands fail to connect with customers and clients — they become too self-focused. Maybe your brand identity revolves around a sustainable snack food like no one has ever tasted. Or perhaps your reason for waking up every day is an innovative technology the world hasn’t seen before. You love to talk about it, and you should, but in a way that focuses on how that unparalleled product or services helps your hero (customer) more than it focuses on how awesome your business is.

2: Understand What Problem You’re Solving

Every decision human beings make, and every action they take each day stems from the need to solve a problem. Nothing to wear? Need to buy clothes or do laundry. Hungry? Must buy food or buy the ingredients to cook. Losing money to third party sellers on Amazon? Need a solution to keep them from stealing your listings. Breach at your company? Need stronger cybersecurity.

In order to sharpen your brand identity in a way that cuts through the noise and compels your customer to take action, make the problem you solve for them crystal clear.

3: Appeal to Emotions Through Storytelling

Stats capture attention, so I’ll throw a couple at you. People are 22 times more likely to remember a fact if it’s relayed through the lens of a story. Plus, the average attention span has fallen from 20 seconds to just 8 seconds. In order to be memorable and to capture someone’s attention quickly, you must make your customer part of a compelling story. A chemical response is sparked in our brains when we become enthralled by a good story, so take every chance you can get to tell one.

4: Refine Your Voice

Does your ideal customer laugh when you crack a joke, or do they want someone who is serious and somber to help them solve their problem? Do they respond to sarcasm and wit? Or do they want tenderness and emotion? Do they want to feel safe and secure, or do they want to feel inspired to do something out of the box and courageous? These are all questions that should influence your brand voice — the persona you use when you speak to your audience. Make sure it’s unique, and also make sure it’s a voice your customer will respond to and trust. For example, Snickers can get away with delivering snarky punchlines in their marketing, but your local healthcare provider probably can’t.

5: Be Divisive When it Counts

You know the old saying — if you don’t stand for something, you risk standing for nothing at all. If you want to be memorable, showcase your brand’s personality and voice by having an opinion on something that might divide people. It can be something as big as a social justice issue, but it can also be a more playful hill that you die on, like chocolate versus peanut butter, Apple versus Android, or Prince Harry versus Prince William. Team peanut butter, Apple, and Harry over here!

6: Offer Continuous Value

You’re going to be asking for the sale, prominently and frequently (if you aren’t then you should be). And in order to sell effectively, you need to build that like, trust, and know factor. When a potential customer or client starts to like, trust, and know a brand, it almost always means that business has already delivered some solutions to them that worked. People continue to build trust with those who help them solve their problems and give sound advice. So be generous with your expertise.

Now that your brand identity is sharpened and your sword is ready, you can sit at that table and earn your hero’s trust so you can help them solve their problem and find their happily ever after.

Learn how to tell your most compelling brand story with our Narrative Marketing Outline.

About the Author
Content Manager and Copywriter Beth McDonough brings nearly a decade of professional writing and editing to the team at &Marketing. With extensive experience in an array of fields that range from entertainment publications to a Fortune 500 energy company, Beth has the ability to produce written content that speaks directly to the needs of a breadth of clients and channel their brand personality into a compelling story.
About &Marketing

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.

How to Rescue Your Marketing Strategy In 5 Steps

How to Rescue Your Marketing Strategy In 5 Steps

How to Rescue Your Marketing Strategy In 5 Steps

Here’s a story that might sound familiar. You work hard to build a marketing strategy aligned with your business goals. You begin executing on the strategy, but you aren’t seeing the results you want. However, you aren’t quite sure what to do differently or how to make a new plan. Before you know it, other responsibilities creep up and marketing is pushed to the back burner.

On top of this, you aren’t exactly sure how Google Ads work or how to develop an email nurturing program. Then a pandemic hits and all of a sudden it’s been five months since you’ve done any marketing and your lead generation programs are in serious need of revival.

We’ve certainly heard this story before and it led us to develop a quick hit, six-step rescue marketing strategy plan to help businesses bring their lead generation efforts back to life. We’ve broken it down into five steps:

  • Analyze Data
  • Uncover Insights
  • Develop & Implement Recommendations
  • Measure Results
  • Develop Long-term Plan

&Marketing’s Marketing Strategy Rescue Plan Approach

We had the opportunity to test out our process on a client who needed to kickstart their lead generation efforts after being derailed by the pandemic chaos. Let’s break it down step by step.

Step 1: Analyze data

We went straight for the data first to understand what has been done, identify gaps, assess results from current activity, and identify what is driving those results. We utilized all data platforms the client could provide including:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Ads
  • Social Advertising
  • Search Console
  • CRM Data

Additionally, we interviewed current customers to get greater insight into the user experience. This helped frame how we looked at the data to develop actionable insights we could apply to marketing tactics.

Step 2: Uncover Insights

After mining and analyzing the data, we began forming insights to fuel our rescue testing efforts. This means we looked holistically at data to determine overall trends and potential areas of improvement.

In the example of this client, we identified they were not effectively utilizing their data to update their marketing channels or adhering to best practices in Google Ads or LinkedIn. They also weren’t consistently communicating with their prospects.

Step 3: Develop & Implement Recommendations

Using the data and insights gathered, we pulled together a recommended “testing plan.” In order to gain quick results and re-evaluate, we recommend developing a four to six week plan backed by data insights that’s designed to help meet a specific and agreed upon goal.

In this example, our goal was to generate leads. With this information in mind, we laid out a four-step plan to generate leads. Here’s what that looked like:

  • Utilize LinkedIn Advertising. We decided to try LinkedIn ads because our client has some high quality downloadable pieces of content that weren’t being fully leveraged. Plus, their audience spends a good deal of time on LinkedIn. We built ads with a call to action to download the content.
  • Launch Google Ads.The client had tried running paid search before on Google Ads, but due to competing priorities, they had trouble keeping up. Without a hands-on approach, it’s nearly impossible to adhere to best practices. Our team decided to revamp the account so the client’s site would be included in related search results.
  • Test Email Marketing.Email marketing had been done in the past, but with little consistency. Initial results were encouraging, but follow-up was nonexistent. &Marketing put together an email marketing calendar to repurpose existing content. We also created a reporting structure for the sales team to follow up with anyone who engaged with the emails.
  • Focus on Content. Though they already had a strong content library, their organic results have been lacking. &Marketing put together a data-backed content calendar to hone in on terms and topics we know their target audience is searching for on Google.

Step 4: Measure ResultsAs with all things marketing (and business), what matters most are the results. Developing ways to measure the tactics against your goal makes it possible to know how things are performing. If you aren’t tracking toward your goal, don’t panic. That simply means you need to try something new. This is why we measure–so we know what works and what doesn’t. The key is testing it for a bit before deciding to invest a great deal of time and money. That way, when you do invest, you will know you aren’t just shooting in the dark.

For this project it was all about lead generation, so our metrics were pretty standard:

  • Number of leads broken down by source
  • Cost per lead broken down by source
  • Meetings booked
  • Sales closed

Step 5: Create a Long-term Action Plan

After running the tests and analyzing the metrics in relation to the goals, we had a much better understanding of what performed well and what didn’t, what can be optimized, and what should be scrapped or added. Then we developed an action plan based on the results to best fit the client’s overall business goals.

The Results of Our Marketing Strategy Rescue Plan

In this case we discovered that while LinkedIn was producing leads, data showed the best leads were attributed to the email lead nurturing campaigns. So our recommended plan of action was to focus efforts on email marketing and stop investing in digital ads. This empowered the client to take back the reins on their marketing with an increased confidence that they are using their precious time wisely.

Rescue projects like the one above present opportunities to reset, revise, or restart marketing efforts with the confidence of knowing you are investing your resources wisely to achieve overall business goals. Need help rescuing your marketing for 2021? Contact us and we’ll be happy to put together a rescue project for you to get your marketing back on track.

Are you facing challenges of your own in generating leads and meeting your business’ growth goals?

We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a coordinated marketing approach might help take your organization to the next level.

About the Authors:

Ann Ehinger – Marketing Manager Ann Ehinger serves as the link between clients and creative to drive projects that deliver results. With over a decade of experience working in the nonprofit, technology, and agency space, Ann is adept at managing a project from idea to completion while navigating all the ups and downs that pop up in between.

Paul Ferguson – As a Marketing Director at &Marketing, Paul Ferguson uses his 16 years of B2B marketing experience to help clients develop fully integrated marketing solutions that make impressions and drive results. Whether it be design-oriented campaigns or digital market execution, Paul skillfully creates strategies backed by data, to effectively reach client’s desired audiences. Paul graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a double minor in Marketing and Business Administration. Visit Paul’s LinkedIn.

About &Marketing:

&Marketing provides the robust outsourced marketing department growing companies need without the high overhead costs of big agencies or full-time employees. Our variable model empowers businesses to reach their growth goals through access to the guidance and expertise of senior level strategists and a flexible execution team.