Drew McLellan wrote an excellent blog post a while back on Creative Versus Strategy. Drew examines the age-old question, “should advertising and marketing tools be creative/clever/funny/pretty or should the emphasis be on strategically driving the sales message?” This same question should be posed specifically about stickers as marketing tools – not just ads, brochures, websites and other mediums.
Of course, both creative AND strategy approaches are needed in marketing. Effective marketing tools harness creative words and visuals to strategically increase impact, exposure and sales. Looking at Drew’s suggestions for strengthening marketing materials on both the creative and strategic side I believe there are some excellent take-aways we can apply to sticker design and marketing.
On the creative side…
• Your identity (look and feel) needs to carry through on any promotional stickers as well as other marketing materials.
• Your stickers should be professionally designed and produced. As Drew points out, “I can use a pair of scissors to cut my hair… but I think we agree it’s going to look better if I let a pro cut it.”
• Your promotional stickers need to be unique and attention grabbing. If your sticker design looks or reads like all the rest, it will be ignored. Effective design is like a first date.
• All elements of a promotional sticker should be thought through. Size, shape, colors, copy, contact info… if an element is not serving a purpose to improve connections, it shouldn’t be there.
On the strategic side…
• Keep it simple. You can’t say it all on a sticker so keep the message/image focused and clear to maximize impact.
• One design or size does not necessarily fit all applications or customer preferences. Consider multiple sticker options to increase exposure and connections.
• Make sure your stickers are designed with an emphasis on what the customer or client needs/likes. Effective marketing is about building relationships, make sure your stickers and marketing tools focus more on their interests then yours.
• Don’t assume your customers can only be reached through specific channels or that alternative marketing tools and mediums aren’t effective. Impressions can be made offline; brochures and flyers are easier to throw away than stickers; clients will reach out to you and spread the word given the right incentive… Where does your target market spend their time? What tools can you utilize or test to get in front of them and make a positive impression?