What Children’s Birthday Parties Taught Me About Marketing

What Children’s Birthday Parties Taught Me About Marketing

What children's birthday parties taught me about marketing

Graphic designers have it hard. For example, every year when it’s time for my kid’s birthday party, I go a little crazy.

I feel this pressure to make the invitations myself (I am a graphic designer after all). I want them to be something unique, something spectacular, and most importantly, I have to top the ones I made last year. I need a really, really good idea.

On the other hand, there’s Target. I could just pick up any of the pre-made kids’ birthday party themes and be done with it. They already have the napkins, hats, plates, and party favors that my son would love. It would be an instant party.

And I’m jealous. But not of the graphics. I’m jealous of the fact that they’ve already developed a brand, and now all they have to do is stick it on plates, napkins, and of course, invitations.

I could do that with my own idea… I just need to come up with one. I’m running out of time, and the invitations should have been in the mail last week.

Marketing is a lot like that. Until you have a base (or a theme), you’re panicking about what your materials should look and say. You’re reinventing your organization with every piece. “What should it say? What should it look like? Is this right? Is this who we are?”

Marketing based on messaging is easier to make and measure.

This is not to suggest that you should use ‘off the shelf’ marketing solutions. This isn’t about being generic. This is about having certain things figured out so that when you need to produce a website, a sales brochure, and three ads, they’re cohesive, thought out, and all work together.

5 things that help make developing marketing materials easier

  • Clarifying Statement (what you do for who)
  • Market Position (Why you’re different from your competitors- Customer service doesn’t count.)
  • Tagline (a clever one liner that embodies why you exist)
  • A specific target audience (If you don’t have an ideal customer in mind, you may as well target the phone book)
  • Visual representations of your brand (design elements, style guides, etc.)

Developing your organization’s identity can be a difficult, uphill battle. It’s not easy. But once you have the basis in place, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the party.


Mike Spakowski

Mike Spakowski

Mike Spakowski is Principal / Creative Director of Atomicdust and is involved with the day-to-day design strategy, art direction and studio management.

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