Remembering the Forgotten: How to Market to Generation X

  • By Aaren Ruggles
  • 01 Dec, 2016

The middle-child of our nation is feeling left out. Are you giving them the attention they deserve?

Our country is polarized. You can see this everywhere: in our government, in the comments sections under articles, in our Facebook feeds where everyone insists on sharing their opinions. 

Even our planet is polarized. (Though, to be fair, the poles have been around for a little bit longer than we have). 


This extreme diffusion has even seeped into marketing. Everyone wants to market solely to Millennials or to Baby Boomers. The young and the old(er). The rookies and the experts. It’s about as polarized as you can get. 

Marketing solely to these two extremes might be a mistake. (I know what you’re thinking: Marketers never make mistakes. But these might be one of those very rare exceptions.) 


You see, while everyone’s busy incorporating Millennial lingo into their ads or showcasing older actors being outdoorsy, a different age group is being completely ignored. It’s the one smack dab in the center of the two: Generation X. And it wants to be heard.

So, who is this elusive middle generation? Why should your business target them? And why am I asking all of these questions? In the words of Alanis Morisette, “You oughta know.” But, in case you don’t, I’ll fill you in on the details.

The forgotten generation

Generation X includes anyone born between 1964 and 1980. They're considered the middle child of America, and not just because of their age. These adults almost always fall right in the middle of the progressive millennials and patriotic Baby Boomers in terms of values and politics. 

In fact, according to  Pew Research , the only thing Generation X stands out for is pessimism. Approximately 44 percent aren't confident they will have enough money for retirement, a far greater number than the other two age groups. Additionally, 51 percent think their generation isn't unique, compared to 39 percent Millennials and 42 percent Boomers.


But it's not all doom and gloom for the Post Boomers. They're more  family-focused  than other generations. While millennials are more likely to spend more to pamper themselves, Gen Xers are more likely to spend more to pamper a loved one. They actually care about current events. (Hence watching the news and reading newspapers).  And, they’re more business-minded than their parents.


If that doesn't win you over, maybe this will: Generation X has the biggest spending power in the nation at  31 percent total income

Considering the fact that they only represent  25 percent  of the U.S. population, that’s a pretty significant chunk of your sales invoices. See how leaving them out of your marketing strategy might come back to bite you?


If your marketing strategy isn't Gen-X approved, don't freak out just yet. It is possible to reach America’s neglected middle child. Here are a few of the best marketing tips to do so.

1. Mix it up

A lot of businesses are going all digital in an attempt to win over Millennials or sticking straight to tradition to keep Boomer's happy. They either ditch paper completely or refuse to set up social media accounts, reject traditional advertising or neglect to update their 1980s website. It’s that polarization all over again. And, once again, it leaves Gen Xers out of the loop.

Unlike Millennials, who consume more online media in a day than food, Generation X still enjoys traditional media. 

About  85 percent  watch national television,  74 percent  regularly read retail-advertising mail, and  62 percent  still read newspapers. 

They've also embraced digital media more than Boomers have. 45 percent use technology, like smartphones or tablets, during meals.  81 percent  have Facebook accounts, and only 39 percent aren’t active on any social media networks.


The best way to reach this audience is to place advertising on all media, including TV, social media, newspaper, and direct mail. If you include your advertisements and promotional materials on the media they visit most, like ESPN and ABC, you’ll have a much greater chance of leaving an impression.

2. Keep it real

When it comes to advertising, Generation X cares more about  honesty and simplicity  than anything else. 

They want to see real life, not the fake stuff of expensive car commercials. 

Businesses often try to convince audiences of who they could be when they use their products. This technique can be very effective on millennials, who are still developing their sense of identity. Gen Xers know who they are. They want businesses who understand that and cater to them.


Other themes that resonate with them are All-American and family-friendly. 

The good news is that many of these values also resonate with Boomers. If you equip your ads with them, you've got a good chance of winning over both segments at once. Unlike high school, in the marketing world, being an overachiever is never a bad thing.

3. Make a deal

Generation Xers love saving money.  This comes as no surprise, seeing as they have as much college debt as Millennials do. 

A great way to connect with this audience is to give them coupons and reward discounts. They’ll be more likely to purchase your products if they know you’re giving them the best deal.


The best place to give them these deals? Online.

Approximately 58.2 billion of them use the internet. 75 percent shop online regularly. And, they represent about 47 percent of all online shoppers.

A pretty big percentage for the smallest generation in the U.S., wouldn’t you agree? Of course, traditional shopping channels are still viable options to reach this audience. But you might consider widening your range and providing alternative online shopping as well.
The frustrating thing about poles (besides the icy temperatures and long commute) is that they’re on two extremes.

Someone, or something, is always stuck in the middle.

When it comes to small business marketing, Generation X is this something. But they’re tired of being the outlier. They want to feel important again.

Perhaps you should rethink your marketing strategy. After all, a positive relationship with the forgotten generation can be very rewarding.

All About Marketing

By Kaitlyn Roberts 13 Jun, 2017

Are you constantly looking for ways to step up your game?

 

Do you always feel the need to stay ahead of the curve?

 

Well, so do we! We’ve put our heads together here at C&B and have come up with our top 5 blogs that every marketer or designer should follow. From technology inspiration to design resources, these blogs will be sure to knock your [business casual] socks off.


By Kaitlyn Roberts 30 May, 2017

Have you ever stopped to think about why certain companies chose the colors that represent their brands? Was it just a spur of the moment choice? Or was there time and effort put into choosing exactly why that specific color was chosen? The latter is always the correct answer.


Being that 95% of people use only 1 or 2 colors in their logo design, choosing your color combination carefully is a huge deal. After all, there are millions of color pairing options right at your fingertips. It’s up to you to choose the right one. Please use this info-graphic as a reference for the meaning of the most commonly used colors.
By Rochelle Murray 16 May, 2017
We understand time is money, which is why we created our marketing minute video series. We put together all 10 so far for you to watch. Want to read further on the topic in each video? Make sure to check out the blog posts linked below. 
By Kaitlyn Roberts 02 May, 2017

Whether you’re a self-owned or multi-billion dollar business, creating the perfect image for your brand is key. And, as we all know, that image is summed up by your logo. Which, ultimately, will make or break your brand.


I find myself endlessly staring out the window at all of the signs the town has to offer. Maybe this is simply because I’m a designer addicted to absorbing new material whenever I can, but I like to think that I’m not the only one.


Driving down the boulevard, on my right is a transport company with a clip art logo, and to my left is an ethnic restaurant whose title can’t be differentiated from the paragraph of script text (is that all a part of their logo..?)

By Rochelle Murray 18 Apr, 2017
We’ve been talking a lot about paid vs. owned media here with such a large part of our job being to create compelling content not only for ourselves but clients as well. We’re bringing the creative and data together. It’s time to start having a constructive conversation about digital advertising.
By Kaitlyn Roberts 04 Apr, 2017

As a designer, one of the very first things you learn in art school is utilizing white space (which is more commonly known as negative space.) At first I really didn’t think that leaving spaces in designs would be all that beneficial, but boy was I wrong.

White space is key to creating designs that are impactful and leave a positive impression on the viewer.

You may think, hmm, why would I leave areas blank if I’m trying to convey a message? The answer is simple, when it comes to design: less is more.

By Rochelle Murray 21 Mar, 2017

Sometimes, I think marketing has a lot more in common with gambling than it does business.

Think about it. You invest money in hopes of getting more money, relying on outside factors you can’t control for your success.

Sure, you can create brilliant strategies and plan out every detail in advance. But in the end, all you can do is hope your customers are actually interested in your product or service. Which, more often than not, is blind luck.

Marketing is risky by nature. Nothing is ever guaranteed. Every chance you take is a gamble. So why do so many businesses fill their deck with crappy cards? I’ve known so many small business owners who make easy-to-avoid mistakes with their marketing. They fall for gimmicky techniques, refuse to let go of their old methods, or just don’t do any research ahead of time.

If you’re going to gamble with marketing, shouldn’t you at least try to improve your odds? An easy way to start off on the right foot would be through avoiding blunders other businesses make. This can help you stand out from the competition. And, it’ll increase the odds of your marketing being successful.

Before you roll that dice, check out the five most common marketing mistakes small businesses and entrepreneurs make when it comes to promoting their company.

By Aaren Ruggles 16 Mar, 2017

The other day, I realized I have a problem.

Ok. I have a lot of problems, but this one is serious. I’m addicted to Pinterest.

It’s true. Like millions of other girls, I’ve gone deep into a pinning obsession. I check it at least once a day. I’ve pinned thousands of recipes, of which I’ve tried four. And that “ten minutes” I spend on it every day quickly turns into two hours.

Maybe you understand my pain. Maybe you and I need to find a Pinners Anonymous class together. Or, maybe you’re like my dad, and you think Pinterest is some sort of weird knitting needle.


Regardless, you’ve probably noticed that Pinterest use (like the time I spend on the site) has skyrocketed over the last few years. It’s now the third most popular social network, surpassed only by Instagram and Facebook. With its increased popularity, you might be wondering, “Should I use Pinterest for my business, too?” And that is a very good question.

As I’m sure you know, all social networks are unique. And not all of them are a worthwhile investment. To determine whether Pinterest is right for your business, we should take a look at some of its pros and cons. This will allow you to make an unbiased decision about what's best for you, even if it involves not using Pinterest.

By Aaren Ruggles 09 Mar, 2017

Want to start a fight in a marketing agency?

Talk about social media.


It's one of the biggest controversies of our industry, one that everyone has an opinion on. Business owners. Marketing agents. Digital gurus. Random twenty-somethings who scroll through Facebook during work. Yep. Everyone.

Some people go all out with social network marketing. Others are hesitant to invest the resources. Regardless of their stance on the issue, I've noticed something. When it comes down to it, people aren't sure that social media actually pays off.

And there are some convincing arguments against it. For one thing, consumers are  highly adept  at tuning businesses out. And  only 13 percent  of people are comfortable buying products off social media.


But, there are also plenty of reasons to give social media a try- the biggest of which is lead generation.

Because of its high popularity, social media has the potential to connect your business with potential customers. If you can grab their attention, then you can theoretically grab their business. There’s a lot more to getting leads out of Facebook than just posting, of course. You need a long-term strategy to get the most out of your social media.


Think of social media like fishing . Every time you post, you cast your line out on the water. It might get a nibble. It might even get a few bites. Or, it could just sit there for hours. Floating. Catching nothing but a few strands of seaweed. The success of your fishing depends on two things: 1) Your bait, and 2) What the fish are hungry for.

You can’t make your followers visit your business. You can’t make them purchase your goods or services. But you can utilize awesome lead generation practices to increase the chances that they will.


So how do you generate leads using social media? Well, here are the three best strategies to get sales from Facebook (and other social networks).
By Aaren Ruggles 02 Mar, 2017

Several months ago, my dad and I took the exciting drive to Lubbock. If you're an Amarillo native, you'll know what I mean. 

The drive is about as fun as doing your taxes. It’s one straight road in, one straight road out, all over miles and miles of flat cotton farms. Oh, the joys of living in the Panhandle.

So, to help the ride go by faster, my dad plugged his iPod into the radio and played an episode of the Nerdist Podcast

For those of you who don't know, the Nerdist Podcast is hosted by Chris Hardwick, who also hosts the Talking Dead. He invites well-known and lesser-well-known celebrities from beloved “nerdy” shows and movies to talk for an hour or so about random stuff. Some of the celebrities I’ve heard him interview include Kaley Cuoco, Paul Rudd, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Stan Lee. They're usually entertaining to say the least.


Anyway, we listened to a few of those in a row. It helped the hours go by at a less painful pace.  And as we were listening, I got to thinking. 

I never listen to podcasts (other than during these drives with my dad). I don’t know anyone else who does. So, are podcasts still a thing? Are people (other than my dad) listening to them? And, if they are, why don’t we hear more about it?

So I did a little research to determine the status of the podcast in 2017, and here’s what I found out:
By Aaren Ruggles 22 Feb, 2017

Turn on your TV, and I guarantee 70 percent of the ads you see will be targeting women.

Razor commercials, lotions, clothing, makeup, even food...They all feature young female models in a female-centric world, doing "girly" things like shopping, cleaning, cooking, or taking care of the kids.

Of course, if you leave your TV on ESPN or the Fishing Network, you might see a greater variety of ads. But, for the most part, many marketing agencies have decided to steer their efforts toward a feminine audience.

Which is great. If your audience is predominantly female.


But what if most of the people who walk through your doors aren’t ladies? What if your products appeal more to men? Or, better yet, what if you want to incorporate some masculine ads into your existing strategy to balance out your marketing segmentation?

Well, as you’ve probably figured out, men and women are pretty different. Everything from their buying patterns to their thought process varies drastically from women’s. Consequently, a marketing strategy geared toward men must also be very different from one geared toward ladies.

So, here are 3 things you should take into account when marketing to men:

By Aaren Ruggles 16 Feb, 2017

So you’re searching Google for specific keywords to see how high up you rank. (Because of course you do this all the time, riiight?) You type in something relevant to your business, like “Best auto-repair shops in Amarillo.” Then you scroll. And scroll. And scroll. Three-and-a-half pages later, you find your business. Buried under all your competitors.

Great.

So what went wrong? Well, according to researchers and SEO enthusiasts, there are two monumental factors to high search rankings:  relevance and authority .


A website with high relevance posts content tailored to a specific niche search query. (For example, I searched “How to increase Google trust” and the very first site on the list was for a blog post titled, “How to increase Google trust.” The following sites were somewhat relevant, but not as specific as this one.)


The second biggest factor for search engine ranking is domain authority. Or trust, in other words.

If Google or Bing or Yahoo labels your business as an authority domain, your pages will rank higher on searchers than other pages even if your content isn’t always amazing. Additionally, you’ll receive less punishment for penalties. So if you slip up and link to a spammy site, it won’t jeopardize your entire domain.


Think about Wikipedia. It’s almost always near the top of search lists. Type in “spider monkey,” "List of cities in China,” or “species of onions,” and you’re sure to find Wiki entries at the top.

We both know Wikipedia’s content can be edited by anyone, and is therefore not always a "reliable research resource." But because Wiki pages require sources, post detailed content on just about every topic in the universe, and are frequently scanned for mistakes, Google trusts the domain.

Trust is the key to a successful relationship. Even with Google.


But how do you build a search engine’s trusts? How do you get yourself labeled an authority site? Well, here are three simple and effective tools to improve your domain’s authority and ranking higher on searches:
By Aaren Ruggles 09 Feb, 2017

Millennials get a bad rap.

I would know, seeing as I am one.

Egotistical. Dense. Self-absorbed. Lazy. Ignorant. Yep, I’ve heard it all. And then some.


People seem to think that because we’re born in the ‘80s and 90s, we got the short end of the gene pool.

And I get it: A lot of cringe-worthy things came out of the ‘80s and ‘90s. Soul patches, for instance. Rat tails. Snap-on bracelets. Those creepy Furbies. But for the most part, Millennials aren’t one of them.


Sure, we have our faults (like every generation does). On average, we have a high rating on the narcissism scale. We spend a little too much time glued to our phones. And, yeah, we might be a  little too obsessed with Beyonce. 

But we also have a lot of good qualities. Like our great senses of humor, for instance. We're the ones who created memes and reaction GIFs. (You’re welcome for that.) We're also the founders of hilarious blog sites like Buzzfeed and the Onion.


There’s a lot more to Millennials than cellphone addictions and college debt. If you want to target us (check out our  Marketing Minute  video to see why you should), you have to understand who we really are. 

So who are we, really? According to researchers, we're actually not that different from other generations. But we do have a few characteristics that stand us apart from our parents and grandparents. Here are a few of the most overlooked and under-acknowledged Gen Y characteristics, according to the facts. And, of course, a little personal experience. 

By Aaren Ruggles 02 Feb, 2017

You’ve been here before.

You’re waiting your turn in the middle left turn lane, on your way back from Westgate Mall. You’ll need to turn up onto the access road. Fortunately, you’re in the right lane. Literally. The lane that will turn right onto the access road. So, as soon as the arrow turns green, you start your turn.

So does the car in the far left turn lane. Apparently, he missed the fact that both lanes turn left. He wants on the highway, so he cuts you off, forcing you to slam onto your brakes and honk, while he speeds around the access road.

Then, you say some words (probably not very nice ones) and complain about how awful the drivers are in Amarillo.


I feel you. I’ve been there (this morning, actually). Amarillo drivers are astonishingly awful. In fact, they’re so bad it’s almost impressive.

I sometimes wonder if there’s a secret black market drivers license dealer that sells directly to the Texas Panhandle.

But, as awful as the drivers are here, they can always be worse. Take these eight, for example. They’re the worst of the worst. So bad they make Amarillo drivers look good. And that’s quite an accomplishment.

By Aaren Ruggles 26 Jan, 2017

Some people see social media as a science. They use complicated algorithms and in-depth research to determine the exact optimum time for posting. Then, they use apps like Hootsuite to schedule posts at these specific times. They take a mathematical approach to posting.

Me? Not so much.

When I first started running C&B’s social media pages, I tried a different strategy. It’s the strategy I’ve always used when posting on my personal accounts. I call it the ‘post whenever you want to’   strategy.

It’s great. You just post when you feel like it. (or when you remember) It's no stress, no worry, no planning. 

And, apparently, no results.


Turns out, other people actually have lives . They aren’t hanging out on their phones 24/7. They’re working, eating lunch with friends, spending time with family, going to school. So when I post randomly at 6:48 a.m., I didn’t get nearly as many post impressions as I did when I posted after 5 p.m. or at lunch time.

Maybe there’s something to planning your posts out after all.


After my revelation, I asked myself, “What are you doing with your life?" And then I asked the real question. If you should schedule out your posts, what’s the best time to post? And how many times should you post a day? 

When I did a little digging, I found out lots of other people are wondering the same thing.


So, several days of research and a few gallons of coffee later, I’ve finally got an answer: concrete time frames every business should shoot for when it comes to scheduling posts. And how many times you should post a day to get the most out of your social media platforms. Nifty.

Most of my research comes from CoSchedule (who spliced together 16 studies to determine optimal posting times), but I also considered Hootsuite , HubSpot , Buffer , and a dozen other random articles. I won’t provide direct links to all of them because, in the end, most of them said the same things. 

Apparently, there is a good and a bad time to post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. And (according to research and our own personal experimentation) this is what I found:
By Aaren Ruggles 19 Jan, 2017

We’re getting into the grit of 2017.

Which means, it’s time to start making cliche predictions about the upcoming year.

Like, “People will use more social media.” Or “The country will be even more polarized.” Or “People will eat more fast food.”

There’s already article after article out there about marketing trend predictions for 2017, and they all say the same things. More online everything. And I think these predictions might not be as far off from the mark as we might think. In cities other than Amarillo.


Because, let’s be honest: The Texas Panhandle isn’t exactly New York. We’re not jumping on the latest and greatest. We’re not trying out the hottest trends. We’re not testing out fads and other short-term gimmicks.

We’re in Texas. We want results . No fluff or shine required.

So, here’s our prediction list for the Panhandle: 5 things we expect to see in our windy neck of the woods. Yes to digital, but only if it works.
By Aaren Ruggles 12 Jan, 2017

We’re about halfway through January now, and I still haven't picked any resolutions. 

I know. It’s terrible. Everyone and their dog has already picked a resolution. (I’m serious about the dog part. My mom’s lab has the resolution to “Stop eating twigs, rocks, and other inanimate objects.” So far, she’s failing at it). 

Luckily, there’s no official due date for New Year's Resolutions. I'll be fine even if I start a few months late. As long as I pick one before December, that is.


Recently, I’ve seen a lot of businesses/business-professional-type-people choose career-related resolutions. Some pick it for personal growth, others to strengthen their entire company. 

Here at C&B, we haven’t chosen a resolution for the whole company to follow. But I’ve done some research on my own for some possibilities. A lot of marketers have identified industry trends and made solid predictions for future goals. 

Based on their research (and my own), I’ve come up with five solid New Year’s resolutions that everyone in the marketing agency could benefit from, even those of us here in the Texas Panhandle.

Feel free to steal these resolutions for your own. I won't be offended.

By Aaren Ruggles 05 Jan, 2017

2016 was a very eventful year. From election drama to celebrity gossip, it seems like there was always something to talk about.

And by talk, I mean complain. 

Some of the top trending hashtags last week were #2016in4words (which, as you can imagine, was 75 percent swearing and banging heads against tables), #2016yearofpc (which mostly contained people complaining about people complaining), and #love2016 (the word “love” was put in place of the real word for this hashtag, which was a bit too profane for this blog post). 

So many people ended last year bitter, cynical, and angry. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t one of them.


People say something good comes with the bad. And I see what they mean. 

Sure, there was a lot of heartache, tragedy, anguish, and death in the last year. But there was also love, growth, beauty, and life. 

Athletes saw their dreams come true in the  Summer Olympics.  Two California brothers  saw color for the very first time  thanks to special lenses.  Leonardo DiCaprio  finally won his Oscar. 

It’s not all bad, I suppose. And even the bad itself brings good, because every tragedy, every hardship, every hurt is a chance to grow. To change. To learn.


As an agency, we learned a lot this year ourselves. We tried lots of new things, got some new faces, and participated in some...interesting experiments. So, in honor of a fresh new year, I thought I’d share the imprint 2016 left on us here at C&B. 

By Aaren Ruggles 29 Dec, 2016
The holidays were a time of joy. A time of happiness. A time of love. And, most of all, a time of stress. With all the last-minute shopping, gift-wrapping at three in the morning, crying sleep-deprived children, and endless piles of dirty dishes, things got a little crazy. We feel you, Elvis. December can be blue, especially when the fun of gift-giving and pie-eating is over. 

So, if you're starting to feel a little worn down after all that jingle-belling, then we've got just the cure you need: 10 adorable animals so inspiring that you'll forget all about that rising credit card debt. So many cute things all in one place? It's like Christmas morning all over again!

No more talking. Let's get to the fluff balls.
By Aaren Ruggles 22 Dec, 2016

2016 was the year of the corporate website...Ok. That might be a bit of an exaggeration. Website popularity and traffic has been increasing steadily over the past decade. Back in the old days (ten years ago, that is), people grabbed the phone book when someone wanted to know about a company. Now, they use that phone book for a computer stand or a door stop and turn to Google for answers.

 Recent studies shows that  84.3 percent  of people visit a business’s website before making a purchase. 

...So, technically speaking, 2016 was more like one of the five-ish years of the rise of the corporate website. But that’s a bit of a mouthful.

Because of the rise in online research, lots of small businesses have created corporate websites to showcase their expertise. But, surprisingly,  a full  46 percent  haven't. Baffling, right? 

The internet is the first place most of us look when we’re thinking about a purchase. Why would you handicap yourself by keeping your name off search engines?

To emphasize how important a quality website is, here are some fun facts you might enjoy. (Well, I think they’re fun. You might think they’re as exciting as reading snippets from the 52-page report on “Bulb Onion Production in Hawaii.” If you’re looking for a unique gift for that special someone in your life, here’s the  link  to that fascinating read.)

  • More than 80 percent of the online population has  bought something online.  
  • 93 percent of buying cycles begin with an online search. 
  • Half of potential sales  are lost because people can’t find information easily on a website. Of those users, 40 percent never return to a site after having a negative experience with it.
  • 79 percent of web visitors  who experience problems with a website say they are less likely to return to it.
  • 39 percent of people will leave a website immediately if pictures don’t load; 38 percent will leave immediately if the design or layout is unattractive.

Now you’re starting to see the necessity of quality corporate websites. They’re your first impression with your customer, your thirty-second intro in online speed-dating for businesses.  It takes customers .05 seconds to form an opinion about your brand once they open your site. 

94 percent  of people say "design" is the reason they don't trust a site. If you have an awesome design, you increase their trust in your business and services. Which, in turn, increases your profits.

What makes a website awesome, you ask? (...I know you didn’t actually ask that, but I’m going to pretend you did so I don’t look like a crazy person talking to myself).

Well, stranger, I have just what you need: A simple infographic guide to creating a stellar website that actually converts leads. I call it the Ultimate Website Cheat Sheet.
By Aaren Ruggles 15 Dec, 2016

It’s almost here! The most wonderful time of the year. The happiest season of all. The day that goes and comes so fast you wonder why you spent so much on it. Christmas is just around the corner, and it’ll be bringing tons of joy to people all across the globe, if only for ten minutes. It’s the holiday of miracles, delicious honey-glazed ham, and overpriced plastic toys. It’s also the holiday of overzealous marketing.

You’ve probably seen them already: The gazillions of holiday-centric ads filling up every commercial break, radio spot, and billboard in town. Thousands of companies, both local and national, have jumped on the Christmas marketing bandwagon. And for good reason. That freezing cold stretch between Dec. 17 and Jan. 11 is the highest-concentrated spending period in the year. Many people save big chunks of their paycheck as far back as January just to spend it all on Christmas presents. And when they spend, they spend big. 300 percent bigger , to be exact.

Last year, the total holiday spending rounded to  $616 billion . The NRF (National Retail Federation, not to be confused with the National Frontier Rodeo, although I’m sure their sales are high this time of year, too) expects this number to shoot up  3.6 percent  this year, meaning holiday shoppers will bring retail outlets a massive $655.8 billion . Additionally, the average customer order is expected to rise 30 percent. Who needs a Christmas bonus when your sales go through the roof, right? (...ok. Yeah. A little extra bonus would still be nice…)

If you need more reasons to consider a holiday campaign, check this out : During the holidays, ad impressions see a 50 percent boost, CTRs skyrocket 100 percent, direct traffic grows 150 percent,and conversion rates increase 60 percent. Holiday advertisements are also more effective. Businesses see more consumer awareness, more attentive audiences, more potential customers, and more motivation to buy during late December and early January. Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year.

So, if you do want to market your business for the holidays, what’s the best way to do it? Well, here are some of the best tried-and-true Christmas marketing strategies for you to check out:
By Aaren Ruggles 08 Dec, 2016

Brace yourself. Winter is coming. You know that that means: Trees will soon be bare, grass will turn that ugly yellow-brown color, and those crazy black birds will become even more aggressive. Cold fronts are blowing in. Highs are dropping. Something that almost looks like snow is falling from the sky. 

Yep, here in the Texas Panhandle, the weather is definitely changing. And so are your shopping habits.


I’ve always assumed that weather has some sort of impact on what we buy. 

I mean, when it's 19 degrees out there, flip flop sales are probably going to plummet. And, in 100 degree heat, no one's standing in line for fur-lined coats.  

But beyond that, does the forecast make much of a difference? Does climate secretly influence those random cravings we get on aisle four?

Researchers across the globe have conducted numerous studies over the effects of climate on our purchasing decisions. They concluded that, as highs and lows roll up and down like roller coasters, our shopping habits fluctuate as well.

The reason for this is a cognitive phenomenon known as projection bias . This bias occurs when we underestimate how much our current tastes and values will change later on. We’ll buy extra jackets because we’re cold now. In a few months, however, we might not want them anymore. Of course, we don’t think about that while we're shopping. All we see is the fuzzy lined coat and the goosebumps running up our arms.

So weather does affect our spending. But by how much ? Here's what I found out:

By Aaren Ruggles 01 Dec, 2016

Our country is polarized. You can see this everywhere: in our government, in the comments sections under articles, in our Facebook feeds where everyone insists on sharing their opinions. 

Even our planet is polarized. (Though, to be fair, the poles have been around for a little bit longer than we have). 


This extreme diffusion has even seeped into marketing. Everyone wants to market solely to Millennials or to Baby Boomers. The young and the old(er). The rookies and the experts. It’s about as polarized as you can get. 

Marketing solely to these two extremes might be a mistake. (I know what you’re thinking: Marketers never make mistakes. But these might be one of those very rare exceptions.) 


You see, while everyone’s busy incorporating Millennial lingo into their ads or showcasing older actors being outdoorsy, a different age group is being completely ignored. It’s the one smack dab in the center of the two: Generation X. And it wants to be heard.

So, who is this elusive middle generation? Why should your business target them? And why am I asking all of these questions? In the words of Alanis Morisette, “You oughta know.” But, in case you don’t, I’ll fill you in on the details.

By Aaren Ruggles 17 Nov, 2016
It's almost here: that time you both dread and fear every year. When people turn to blood-thirsty monsters. When stores become battlefields and hangers ammunition. When both your sanity and your language hit an all-time low. No, I'm not talking about election day. I'm talking about Black Friday, the darkest day of all.

Stories of Black Friday terror flood the news every year, much like "news"  involving Kim Kardasian or outbreaks of the Swine Flu. Still, hundreds of thousands will face the cold elements again next week. If you are among them, I sincerely applaud your dedication. Black Friday ultimately means standing in lines for hours, waiting in the cold for stores to open their doors, dashing like a bullet from a gun to find the items on your list, and wrestling with other sleep-deprived shoppers for the last DVD. It's a brutal battle for the best deals. But, at 3 a.m., when you start to wonder why you put yourself through this torture, you'll look at your receipts and smile. If you find the right spots, you could save hundreds of dollars. Maybe all that money makes up for the hair you'll lose.

Everyone has some sort of "tactic" when it comes to Black Friday. My aunts will sit down with catalogs from just about every store in town and plot out their schedule. Personally, I've only participated twice. Both times, I tried a more "hands-off" approach to shopping. By that, I mean I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to look for, but didn't actually care enough to plan it out in advance. After those experiences, I'm scarred for life. But the rest of my family keeps going back into the fray every year. The reason they survive? These five strategies, crafty enough to help Mr. Bean win Black Friday.

So, before you gain that extra five pounds from the pumpkin pie, let's sit down and plan the best strategy for success. There's only a week left. It's time to prepare for war.
By Aaren Ruggles 10 Nov, 2016
So, you stayed up a bit too late last night. Watched a little too much TV. Did an extra load of laundry. Read through all 200 of the comments beneath that blog post. And now it's morning. Thursday morning. The third worst day of the week. You've considered calling in sick, faking your own death, or moving to Canada, but it's no use. You need your paycheck. You've got no choice but to get out of bed and head to the office. 

We've been there. We know your pain. It's raw and real, like stubbing your pinkie toe on the edge of the coffee table. Words can't describe it. So, we rounded up twelve GIFs to do the job instead.
By Aaren Ruggles 03 Nov, 2016
I think we can all agree that we're addicted to the internet. And for good reasons: The web is like the perfect spouse. It goes with us everywhere. It's mostly reliable. It never nags us to clean up after ourselves. We ask it anything and it doesn't judge. The internet doesn't think you're stupid for asking if avocados are a fruit. The internet understands.

And we consumers aren't the only ones turning to the internet for all our needs. Companies are selling their products online. Writers are writing ebooks instead of paperbacks.  Advertisers are spending more for online ads than ever before. Businesses all across the globe are taking bold steps toward the ultimate goal of going paperless. It's a big change, considering how much they usually rely on print. But so many companies have made the shift nowadays that it's almost old news. 

As a printing agency, we're frequently asked if print is still worth it. It's a good question. We've all heard the sayings: "Books are dying." "Print is dead." "Paper kills trees." Print can be costly, and if you're concerned about its environmental impact or practicality in a world where people think floppy disks are rubbery dvds, nixing paper can seem like a great decision. But how true are these rumors?

I'd tell you that print is still an efficient medium and a lot more environmentally friendly than you might think, but let's be honest. I work for a printing company. Of course I'd tell you that. So I thought instead of sharing my totally objective opinion for why you might reconsider going paperless, I'll let the facts do the talking.
By Aaren Ruggles 27 Oct, 2016
Something was different in our office this week. Well, something other than the new crate of Cheetos in the break room. The office was a little more lively, a little more exciting.  What made this week so unusual? The very same thing that made Lisa a little queasy: for two days this week, a dog spent the day at our office.

This wasn't just some big coincidence. In fact, we planned it out. You see, some of our competitors have regular four-pawed visitors. While we don't strive to be like our competitors, this does make us a little...jealous. Think about it: Dogs make everything better. Their faces are so adorable you melt inside. Maybe they can make work better, too, if that's even possible. So we started thinking: Are there really any benefits to bringing your pooch to work? Or, is the idea of an office mascot too far-fetched?

To find out, we decided to run our own experiment. Two owners. Two days. Two very different dogs. We broke out the chew toys and mess bags. We prepared for the worst. Then, we let them loose. The results were a little more hairy than you might think.

Let's meet the participants.
By Aaren Ruggles 20 Oct, 2016

Today, change is the new normal.


SnapChat added stories to its enormous list of features.


McDonald's is putting Ronald McDonald on the back burner until the crazy clown controversy dies down.


Hastings decided to stop making money.


While everyone else is changing, you might think that sticking to your roots will help your business stand firm. But sometimes, using the same-old logo and the same-old tagline in the same-old colors can be, well, boring.


Rebranding can have a huge impact on your sales, your brand image, and your customer interactions. Of course, it's also a big commitment. You'll have to change everything from your business card and sign to your website design and social media pages.


This can make the process seem pretty over the top, especially if you aren't convinced that you should change in the first place.


Fear of change is one of the most common phobias, followed closely by fear of spiders, fear of enclosed spaces, and fear of talking about politics with your in-laws.


But maybe this is one fear you should overcome.


If you're nervous about shaking things up with a new brand, here are just a few of the benefits rebranding has to offer. (Don't worry: These benefits come from research, not just from our "unbiased" opinions).
By Aaren Ruggles 13 Oct, 2016

Remember four-ish years ago when everyone had a Twitter? All of your friends (or your friends’ kids) were tweeting about their Starbucks cappuccino, the deli sandwich they ate for lunch, or their favorite T-Swift song lyrics.

It was a weird time.


How things have changed over the years. Today, Twitter seems more like the forgotten crayon melted in your backseat than a popular social networking site.

People don’t talk about Twitter anymore. (Regular people, that is, not the media.) I can’t tell you the last time someone who wasn’t in marketing mentioned a tweet to me.

It’s almost like, now that we have Instagram and SnapChat, the world’s forgotten about Twitter.


Which brings up the question you’ve been wondering all this time (by ‘all this time’ I mean thirty seconds ago when you saw this blog post title): Is Twitter dying? Or, better yet, is it already dead?

Well, let’s look at what the facts have to say.

By Aaren Ruggles 10 Oct, 2016
Our company spotlight this week is a "two-step above the rest." Midnight Rodeo has been named "Best Nightclub" and "Best Dance Floor" for consecutive years by local newspapers and magazines. They have a wide open dance floor with plenty of space for dancing and drink selection just as big. Their doors open at 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Saturdays and at 6 p.m. on Fridays.

This isn't their first rodeo. In fact, Midnight Rodeo has been in business for almost 25 years. They've got over 20,000 square feet of dance space, and there's always someone on the floor. If country music isn't your thing, you can walk on over to the Rodeo's newest addition, Sharkey's Bait Stand. Sharkey's plays the greatest hits of all time and serves tropical drinks with a kick.

For those new to two-stepping, Midnight Rodeo also provides dance lessons Thursdays from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.. They have live performances almost every week. You can catch the next big performance, William Michael Morgan, this Saturday. Additionally, you can book the space for your next big event directly from their site. 

Midnight Rodeo is located at 4400 South Georgia in Amarillo. To learn about their drink prices or booking the location for a party, visit their website at  midnightrodeoamarillo.com .
By Aaren Ruggles 06 Oct, 2016

Marketing decisions can be incredibly stressful. They involve a lot of money and even more what-ifs that can make or break your business.

When it comes time to create a marketing plan, your company has two options: You can hire an agency or you can create your own marketing team. Both options can meet your marketing needs, and both could burn a hole in your wallet.

So how do you know which works best for you?


We’ve put together a list of the biggest pros and cons for each option so you can make an objective decision and pick the best fit for your business.

No matter what you choose, make sure you’ve considered all the facts. This will be a big investment, and turning back won’t be easy.

But, in the end, it could be well worth it. After all, a successful marketing campaign can be the difference between thriving and growing stagnant.
By Aaren Ruggles 03 Oct, 2016
October is finally here! Soon, the leaves will start to fall and thin layers of frost will climb across windows and drip down tree branches. But before we break out the cranberry sauce and pecan pie, it's time for the first Company Spotlight of the month. To start off the year right, we thought we'd go big. So, this week's shout-out goes to the one-and-only Amarillo National Bank, one of the most popular banks in the Texas panhandle.

Amarillo National Bank opened its doors back in 1892 with the same name and spirit it maintains today. They've been family owned ever since B.T. Ware purchased the bank in 1909. In fact, they're the largest 100 percent family-owned bank in the nation. Because it's family owned, ANB has no outside shareholders, allowing it to focus on the long-term instead of quarters. The bank aims to put customer service and community support above all else. 

ANB currently has 21 branches in Amarillo and Lubbock and over one hundred ATMs across the two cities. They offer personal banking, lending, and online services. Additionally, they offer banking, lending, and online services for businesses, as well as additional services to meet your  company and employee needs. They provide ATM and Visa debit card, ANB credit card, and checking card services to members. You can also purchase fully-functional card machines for your business from the bank. 

Find out more about  Amarillo National Bank's services and policies  here , or visit one of their many locations in Amarillo.
By Aaren Ruggles 29 Sep, 2016

Thinking of a career change? Hoping to start your own business?

A lot of factors are involved in business successful, including marketing demand, location, and competition. Unfortunately, you can't control most of these factors, no matter how hard you try.

So, before you start planning, it's essential to thoroughly examine how your prospective future industry is fairing on a national scale. Is it slowly dying, like the world of photofinishing? Or, is it on the rise, with the potential to become a massive money maker for decades to come?

Whether you're a budding entrepreneur or you're already working at your dream job, it's important to know which job industries are expected to blow up in the next four years. So, we put together a list of five of the fastest-growing small businesses of 2016, based on this chart from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
By Aaren Ruggles 26 Sep, 2016
This week, our Company Spotlight goes to Beck Cowboy Boots. Beck is a Texas-based company skilled at making custom handmade cowboy boots. With almost 100 years experience under its belt, Beck Cowboy Boots is known for its expert craftsmanship and quality materials.

Twin brothers Earl and Bearl Beck opened up the first Beck boots store in Dalhart back in 1916. They moved to Amarillo four years later, taking their booming boot business with them. Since then, Beck has remained one of the top cowboy boot retailers in the Amarillo area. People from all over the country have sought them out. Despite their success, the store remains true to its small business roots. They still design and sew boots with the same spirit and passion as the Beck twins.

The Beck craftsmen specialize in custom design cowboy boots. If you can dream up the perfect boot, they can bring it to life with custom options for everything from the height and shape to the color and design. In addition to cowboy boots, they also sell lace-up work boots, leather care products and tough wool socks. They've recently added custom-fit American Bison leather boots to their collection.

To check out their inventory, visit the storeat 723 S. Georgia St. Or, check out their website at beckboots.com .
By Aaren Ruggles 22 Sep, 2016

We could all use a little extra wisdom.

Considering how unstable the economy is (and how unpredictable consumers are), nothing is guaranteed in the world of business. You have to constantly fight, adapt, and grow to keep your company out of the gutters. And sometimes, when you’re doing it on your own, this can feel a little...stressful.

The sleepless night, hair-tearing out, hysterical crying kind of stressful.


Fortunately, you’re not the only person in the universe. Brilliant, innovative entrepreneurs are but a click away.

These men and women have taken a ground-level business and molded it into multi-million conglomerates. They’ve built their dreams. They’ve climbed their way up the corporate ladder. They survived the digital revolution, the Great Recession, and even the 2016 elections.


Following a successful business giant can provide you with invaluable insight into the modern business world, the best tricks of the trade, and current industry trends. But who should you follow?

Here are six of our favorite modern entrepreneurs: a diverse collection of business men and women in varying career fields who provide thousands of people across the globe with inspiration every day.
By Aaren Ruggles 19 Sep, 2016
It's time again for another Company Spotlight! On this sunny Monday morning, we're talking about United Way of Amarillo & Canyon, one of the biggest nonprofit organizations in the Texas Panhandle. They're a branch of the massive global nonprofit United Way, which has helped more than 50,000,000 people across the U.S.

United Way started 91 years ago with the goal of providing communities with the funds they need to help families in need. According to their website, their main goal is to defeat poverty by "giving families the support they need to achieve, maintain and improve their employment." They are dedicated to the community and helping our friends and neighbors. United way offers more than 1,200,000 services nationally.

The Amarillo branch currently engages over 400 volunteers, all of whom give their time to raise and allocate funds for United Way programs. In addition to fundraising money to support low income families, United Way also offers the Amarillo community adult literacy classes, computer classes, job training, and veteran employment services. They provide 20 programs to the surrounding counties, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Texas Panhandle and Goodwill Industries of Northwest Texas. They also have a free, anonymous help line available to the public.

To learn more about volunteering with or donating to United Way, check out their website here . Or, visit their office at 2207 Line Ave. in Amarillo.
By Aaren Ruggles 15 Sep, 2016
My wallet is fat. It's stuffed so full of loyalty cards, punch cards, membership cards, and all sorts of discount cards that I can barely close it. In fact, I have more of these special rewards cards in my bag than I do money. Maybe I should put my wallet on a diet. But I digress.

Recently, I've been asked if these gimmicky deals actually make businesses money in the long run. After all, they promise to save customers money. If you're giving away a free sandwich or a 50% discount on a service after so many points, aren't you losing funds in the long run? It certainly seems like more of a money pit than a money maker. So, I decided to find out exactly how effective they are from a business standpoint. And, interestingly enough, I discovered that the benefits can far outweigh the cost.

How much it'll cost you

As it turns out, reward programs are not as costly as you might think.  Costowl put together some awesome estimates to help you visualize how much it costs to get a card membership program started. You'd start with buying gift cards, which are usually $.50 to $1.00 per card. You'll also need to buy gift card software for $300 to $400 , unless you already have one up and running. Processing this software can cost an average of $50 to $75 per location. If you want a display rack to showcase your cards, this is an additional cost. Transaction fees usually go around .$10 to $.75 each time a card is activated, and monthly program maintenance fees are around $20 to $40 per month.

So, if you don't have any POS card systems already, starting up a program can cost you a little over $500 for the initial setup. After that, you'll just have to manage the monthly maintenance cost of the software, cost of the individual cards, and activation fees. Over time, the last two factors will steadily decrease as more people purchase cards and have active rewards accounts. Using punch cards are even more affordable. The only costs involved are the initial purchase of the cards and a custom hole puncher.

Of course, this is just the physical cost of buying the card. What about every time they cash in a discount or punch in for that free drink? Aren't you losing money then? The answer is yes and no. Yes, you're losing a bit of money when they get discounts. However, the many benefits having a rewards program can offer far outweigh any of the costs.

By Aaren Ruggles 12 Sep, 2016
On this week's Company Spotlight, we're talking about our friends at Moss Body Shop. The "Best of Amarillo" Reader's poll voted them as "Best Auto Body Repair" in both 2010 and 2011. They've been in business for more than 40 years. During that time, they've provided the Amarillo area with a number of services, including collision and accident repairs, expert refinishing, and complete structural frame repairs.

Lyndon Moss and his son started up Moss Body Shop in 1975 in a small 1,000 square foot garage. Today, they have 36 employees and a facility with 25,000 square feet of space.  According to their website, "commitment to excellence has been the driving force behind all business decisions." They keep true to this motto by having all technicians and estimators participate in yearly training sessions to keep them on top of the industry. Each employee is dedicated to providing quality customer satisfaction. Today, Moss is owned by Robert Drury of Drury Auto Shop in Amarillo. Drury continues to maintain the Moss's vision.

Moss Body Shop's equipment is top-of-the-line. They use computerized paint mixing systems and modern downdraft paint booths to create perfect color matches. They also utilize state-of-the-art frame and unibody systems to repair vehicles, striving to meet or exceed original manufacturing standards. Moss's computerized estimating systems "promote speed, accuracy, and customer convenience." 

Moss is located at 3000 Southwest 26th in Amarillo. To find out more about their services, check out their website at mossbodyshopamarillo.com .
By Aaren Ruggles 08 Sep, 2016

When we think of social media, we usually think of teens glued to their phones, posting selfies and status updates. Or new moms posting photos of their babies day after day. Or singles posting photos of their dogs.

But Facebook, Instagram, and your other favorite social media platforms are so much more than just a place to post pictures of your favorite pooch.


According to researchers, about  12 million people  scroll through social media more than two times daily, and  69.7  percent of social media users are above the age of 24. That means a huge chunk of your potential customers are liking photos and sharing videos at any point in time.

Yet many small businesses still don't have a strong social media presence, especially here in the panhandle. And there’s several reasons for that. For one thing, some business owners don’t have time to dedicate to posting. Or they fail to see the need for it at all.


This could be a huge mistake.

In a study by Business 2 Community, one-third of  Millennials  said social media is a preferred channel for communicating with businesses like yours. About  53 percent  of people will recommend brands and products on Twitter, and 50 percent of shoppers have bought something based on a recommendation made through social media.

Social media may be the best place to follow the lives of people you haven’t spoken to in decades, but it’s also the best place to collect potential leads and increase brand awareness.


But is social media really worth the time and effort? You’ve got a lot of work to do, and posting quality content demands even more. Well, after a little digging, we’ve discovered 4 ways social media helps your business grow. (Even in the desert of the Texas Panhandle.)
By Aaren Ruggles 06 Sep, 2016

Well, it's not Monday, but it's time for our Company Spotlight! Let's start off the first full week of September talking about Amarillo Senior Citizen Association , a community center that offers a variety of services to Amarillo’s senior population.

ASCA began in 1973 thanks to the efforts of Mary E. Bivins and other influential community leaders. They set up headquarters in the offices of the old AHS band room at 1311 S. Tyler. Originally, the association provided seniors with a fun atmosphere for dining, dominoes, and dancing. But, by 1976, they had become a full multi-purpose center. Now they offer a variety of services to enhance the lives of Amarillo's seniors, including everything from poker and table tennis to quilting and Western dance.

The Amarillo Senior Citizen Association provides many independent older adults with a place to gather with friends for activities and meals. They also offer several health screenings throughout the year. They provide programming to keep members informed about Medicare, insurance, grief counseling, reverse mortgages, and other important issues. And, their many clubs are perfect for meeting new friends or learning something new.

ASCA’s mission is to help Amarillo’s seniors “maintain independence, wellness, and quality of life through programs and services that meet their present and future needs.” They do this with the core values of respect and caring, high quality of life, trust, fiscal soundness, opportunity, and professionalism. The senior association has also been a United Way provider since 1985. 

ASCA is located at 1220 S. Polk Street in Amarillo. You can find out more about the Amarillo Senior Citizen Association from their website at amarilloseniorcitizens.com .
By Aaren Ruggles 01 Sep, 2016
We're in the era of reinvention. We've reinvented the way we travel, the way we spend our free time, even the way we shop. We're reinventing our ideas. What people have the right to do, what they deserve, and what should never be allowed. And, over the last three decades, we've reinvented the overall concept of who women are. Leading social media posters, popular bloggers, and prominent influence leaders are breaking apart outdated stereotypes about what women like, do, and feel. Maybe we should reinvent something else while we're at it: how we target our female audience.

As a business, you know how important women are to your company's success. Women represent a little over half of the U.S. population at 50.8%. Women lead the way when it comes to shopping, and typically spend more on everyday items than men. So, of course you want your business to reach this massive segment of buyers. Unfortunately, using traditional marketing strategies might not get you the results you're hoping for.

Over the years, a lot of businesses have developed misconceptions about who women are. "Pink" wasn't just a color: It became a marketing strategy designed to target females. This old-fashioned technique involves pasting the color pink, frills, and anything typically seen as "girly" on all of your marketing. Advertisements, business cards, even words were dripping with everything considered feminine. However, not all women like pink. Some prefer blue. Or green. Or black. And these outdated techniques aren't going to get you very far with today's ladies. Your business will need a lot more than lace and ribbons to win them over. 

To build the most efficient marketing strategy for reaching women, we need to break down some of these old misconceptions about what women want. Only then can we move forward to create a new plan that will help your business develop and maintain lasting relationships with the largest demographic in the country.
By Aaren Ruggles 29 Aug, 2016
We love our clients at C&B Marketing. So once a week, we're randomly selecting one of our recent customers to be featured in our Company Spotlight. This week's shout-out goes to Access Community Credit Union, an Amarillo-based credit union focused on helping people gain financial stability.

Access Community Credit Union began in 1953 under the name of Public Service Employees Credit Union. Over the years, the company grew. In 1999, they changed their name and opened membership to select employer groups. This membership was extended to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in Potter or Randall counties back in 2003. Now, they help provide our neighbors in Amarillo with trusted advice and honest services. To Access, members are more than just customers. They're friends and family.

A lot has changed over the years for Access Credit, but their core values of “relationships, integrity and service” remain the same. They provide all of the services you could get at a bank, but at more affordable prices. And, Access is governed by volunteer board of directors elected by the membership. So the credit union benefits you, not a group of stockholders.

Access Community Credit Union has three locations: 6401 S. Bell, 201 Tascosa Road, and 2531 Paramount Blvd.
You can find out more about the credit union on their website at accesscreditunion.com
By Aaren Ruggles 25 Aug, 2016
It's a well-known fact. Social media is big. There were 2.3 billion users in July, 2015. Someone downloads a social media app every 12 seconds. The average person has five accounts on different social media sites. Maybe "big" is the understatement of the century.

So what would you say if you found out more and more companies are taking advantage of this huge marketplace by selling products online? No, not just on Amazon, Ebay, or company website. But directly on social media. On Pinterest, on Facebook. Even on Instagram. Customers can easily browse your products and place an order without even leaving their living rooms.

Social selling is a pretty new trend, but it's taken off like wildfire. Pinterest started implementing social selling about a year ago, via a "buy" button you can tack onto your pins. So far, an estimated two-thirds of all pins are from businesses. And companies can easily modify their Instagram posts to accommodate online selling. 48.8% of businesses with 100 employees or more already use Instagram for social selling. Now, other social sites are joining the hype. Specifically, the biggest social media giant of them all: Facebook.

Facebook recently created something called a Facebook Sales Group to help companies sell their products on the site. This Sales Group is very similar to a normal Group, but it allows the manager to list items for sale, mark items as sold, and search items to buy. It's a small change that could have a major impact on sales, and lots of companies are jumping on the click-it-to-buy bandwagon.
By Aaren Ruggles 22 Aug, 2016
Here at C&B Marketing, we're proud of our awesome clients and the work they do for our community. So every Monday, we're randomly selecting one of our recent customers to be featured on our Company Spotlight.

This week, our shout-out goes to Amarillo Montessori. The city of Amarillo has some wonderful schools, and Amarillo Montessori is one of the best. They offer quality education for kids from ages 6 weeks to 5th grade. AMA is a certified daycare service, but their focus is on education. All of the teachers are Montessori certified, which means they are qualified to help kids transition into public school systems.

Amarillo Montessori has a unique approach to teaching based on the work of Maria Montessori back in 1870. The Montessori approach focuses on giving children the freedom they need to learn in a stress-free environment. The teacher's role is unobtrusive. Students are allowed to do their work at their own pace. Learning is reinforced through repetition and the encouragement of success. This design helps kids to gain independence and learn valuable skills without the stress and chaos of mass education.

AMA has been in business since 1968. Their mission statement is "to foster independent, confident, academically prepared, and socially responsible citizens, who will be lifelong learners and problem solvers.” Today, they're helping over 230 kids reach these goals.

You can find out more about Amarillo Montessori at  http://www.amarillomontessori.com/ .
By Aaren Ruggles 18 Aug, 2016
A shopper got some dirt on UK grocery giant Tesco, and it made for quite an entertaining  spiel.

On August 6th, customer Wes Metcalfe found a worm in his produce. Now, the Tesco chain is making headlines, but not because of the worm. 
Metcalfe was shopping around at the Tesco in Dinnington, Sheffield, when he noticed something unusual tucked in between his cucumber and the plastic wrapper designed to protect it. You can imagine his surprise when he realized that the object was, in fact, a worm. And not just any worm, but a very flat, and very dead, worm. Naturally, Metcalfe decided to issue a complaint to the company. He went to Twitter to share his story on the company's page, and he made sure it was a memorable one. 
By Rochelle Murray 19 Jul, 2016
"Attachment." ; the condition of being attached to something or someone in particular.

Puppies. Cars. Loved ones. We can all think of a few things we get attached to. As business owners and directors, we come to love our brand. We fight for our brand. We sell it; we embrace it. It's the life blood of every aspect of the company you work for. Your logo is on everything from pens to the front door. Your color scheme is plastered on t-shirts. 

But what if someone told you that your "brand" was confusing?   Crazy, right? Yet, especially for local small businesses, this is often the case.

We become so attached to our brand image that we get offended when people point out its inefficiency. Most of us created our brand from the ground up. It's a part of us, a reflection of who we are. Someone hating on your brand is like someone hating on you.

But, as business-minded individuals, we also know that if something doesn't work, it's time to change it. The world around us is ever-changing. If we don't change with it, we'll disappear from existence.

So how do you know if your brand is in need of an upgrade? Ask yourself these five questions.

  1. Does your logo look the same everywhere?  
If you had looked at C&B prior to July 17, 2016, you would have seen two very different logos. While they both said C&B, they were composed of different shapes, different, styles, and very different colors. We used one logo on social media and another on all printed materials. It was confusing to say the least. And, it put us potentially at risk for a drop in sales. With two different logos, someone could possibly mistake us for someone else on Facebook. Now, we have one logo, one identity, and one cohesive color scheme.

In the same way, your business should have one logo that connects everything you do. Whether its your social media or website or printed materials, your work should all be branded by the same...well, brand. If your logo is cohesive, you can increase brand awareness which, in turn, increases sales.

 2.  What type of feel is your brand giving to people that have never heard of your business?

When you've been in business over 50 years, your logo and marketing has likely changed a lot since you first opened your doors. As we transitioned from being a print-only operation to a full-service marketing agency, we decided ours needed to change as well. So we became C&B Marketing Solutions. We updated our logo. We made a few changes. But, months later, people still referred to us as C&B Printing. Blech.

To brand ourselves as a new entity, we needed to change our customer's perception of us. We needed to do something BIG. So, we underwent a complete rebranding. We started from the ground up. And since then, we've seen an influx of new clientele, customers who would've never stepped through the doors of C&B Printing.

What does your brand say about you? Is it modern, fresh, classic, dependable? It's necessary to understand what impression your image gives potential clients to know if you might be scaring them off. The easiest way to do this is through a comprehensive focus group, although surveys and other forms of quantitative research might also be beneficial.

 3.  Do you have set colors and fonts that are being used on design materials and marketing?

Cohesive fonts and colors? You mean blue and red, right?

There's a lot more to a color scheme than picking your favorite shade. Did you know that colors themselves speak volumes? Green, for instance, is often associated with health, revival, rejuvination, or relaxation. Red, on the other hand, reminds people of love, passion, rage, and danger.

Fonts too have a language of their own. Serrif fonts are regal, classic, professional, and sophisticated. San serrifs (like the one you're reading now) are fun, free-spirited, and modern.

When you rebrand, its essential to know what kind of language you want your logo to speak and to pick the best colors and fonts to speak this language to customers. Having a set color scheme, primary font, and secondary font can make your branding materials cohesive and more recognizable. 

 4.  Is your brand easily recognizable?  

When people see your logo out of context, will they recognize it as you? Or is it too similar to competitors or the branding materials of other companies?  If your logo isn't simple, unique and purposeful, customers likely won't remember it. As a result, you'll lose sales. The easiest brands to recognize have simple designs with minimal detail and free-moving shapes. 

 5.  When was the last time you reflected on the look and feel of your brand, marketing, and business?

If your answer is right now, that's okay. We only just rebranded in 2016 ourselves. But now is great time to start directing your brand in the right direction. Do some research. Hold some focus groups. Get people talking. 

If you still aren't sure about rebranding your business, here are some of the things rebranding can offer your business.
By Rochelle Murray 23 Jul, 2015
Welcome to the NEW C & B Marketing Solutions blog! We are so excited to bring you current and helpful content all conveniently located on our website.  Please check our C & B Facebook page for updates on current blog posts. Stay tuned!

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