Five Minutes With: Jessica Gibbons-Rauch, CAS

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For existing and emerging brands in today’s high-tech and ever-changing and adaptive world, marketing and advertising is arguably more important than ever before. One of the central and consistently pressing questions that brands face now, is how to stand apart from competition in a way that’s authentic and original, and leaves end users with a takeaway that’s useful to them and applicable to their needs. With the variety of options available to brands to market their message, from promotional products and signage, to advertising across TV, radio and digital, to using different social media platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn, the capacity to consider so many options is highly advantageous, but to do so expertly on multiple channels is certainly a challenge.

Jessica Gibbons-Rauch, CAS, the new marketing manager for Boulder, Colorado, technology provider, ZOOMcatalog, founder of strategic marketing agency Trend On Brand and a 16-year veteran of the promotional products industry, she has served in roles such as director of program development, merchandising and marketing on both the supplier and distributor sides. Gibbons-Rauch has long been a leader in cutting-edge marketing tools, technologies and techniques. In addition, she also is currently a “chef” with PromoKitchen, an all-volunteer nonprofit led by promotional products professionals, and she teaches Introduction to Digital Marketing at Northern Illinois University. In the “About” section of Trend On Brand’s website, it reads, “There are two gaps in marketing. One is staying consistent with the brand and one is adapting to trends. They seem counter-intuitive, but those who are able to do it will survive the evolving market.”

PPB spoke with Gibbons-Rauch to learn more about how brands can stand out in today’s competitive market.

PPB  How can marketers be heard in today’s times and above all the advertising noise that’s out there?

Gibbons-Rauch It really is a delicate balance between adding to the noise or adding true and genuine value. Authenticity is really the key to everything else. Being true to your brand, yourself and your audience goes a long way in reaching your target. As soon as things become forced, your audience will be disengaged. And, have fun with it! People buy from people they like and if you are enjoying what you are promoting, it will come through with your tone.

PPB  What are three to five simple ways that those who are new to marketing, and even experienced marketers, can tap into the tools available to get their message across in a way that captivates end users?

Gibbons-Rauch Many people I talk to get very overwhelmed by the execution and then never start. Programs like Canva allow anyone to build and manipulate a template and create social media posts that engage. Many suppliers have lifestyle image libraries that you can pull graphics into its drag-and-drop template-based program. No graphic design background is needed. Scheduling software like Hootsuite can make it easy to schedule posts in advance allowing you to work within your schedule rather than having to remember to post each time. LinkedIn allows for the native posting of blogs and articles, which can replace the need for programs like WordPress. The program will lay out your article, allow for graphics and will help use the content to create your subject matter expertise. If you are working with a team, programs like Trello can help build up workflow to help everyone collaborate on content without losing track of ideas. The important thing is to start.

PPB  Are there any marketing or advertising media today that you suggest marketers should dedicate themselves more or less to, to advance their message?

Gibbons-Rauch Most of my focus is on the social medias. Choosing a channel that you feel comfortable in which your audience is a part, is the best way to start. But, it is social media. It is an interaction. Make sure you when you are writing out your marketing plan, you are including dedicated time to respond to your community. Social media is like a telephone, not a television. The more you like, comment and genuinely connect with others, the farther your message will go.

PPB  What are three marketing “don’ts” when connecting with end users today?

Gibbons-Rauch Ditch the pitch and forget the fliers! Now, I say that with a bit of a tongue-in-cheek philosophy. At some point, telling people what you do and what you offer is important. But, when your social feed is nothing but sales, sales, sales, with no value, you won’t connect with your audience. Add the value first. Your audience of any demographic will connect better when they are getting value out of the interaction. They are learning something, solving a problem, etc. If you post an article, explain why your audience should bother to read it. If you post a product, explain why that is worth featuring. Is it new? Does it have a give-back function? What should they care? Mix in sales, specials, new products, etc., but that cannot be all that you do.   


Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.

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