Viewing entries tagged
marketing

Social Media – the Small Business Owner’s Checklist [Infographic]

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Social Media – the Small Business Owner’s Checklist [Infographic]

Social media can be confusing. You know you need to do it, often feel intimidated, sometimes get sucked in so it saps time from other valuable business actions. More worrying, how do you prove that it has an ROI (return on investment)?

There is much advice out there, and it's changing constantly. So, wouldn't it be nice if there was one place where you could stop, take a breath, and really have a clear view on how social media can help your business in today's world? Real help, in a practical manner.

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Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?

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Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?

According to the Small Business Association, “All humans feel four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.” Of course, no business wants to spur feelings of disgust or anger with their customers, but as the SBA adds, “creating strong emotions—either positive or negative—can help build a bond between your customers and your business,” which is definitely a goal all businesses share.

If you’re looking for a stronger connection with your target audience, here are tips on emotional marketing that might resonate with your target audience:

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Marketing or Customer Service... five pointers

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Marketing or Customer Service... five pointers

When it comes to operating a successful business, nothing’s more important than communicating effectively with your customers. Adopting the wrong tone in your marketing or sales messages, neglecting to reach out in formats where customers generally “live” and failing to reply to inquiries in a timely way can damage your brand now and into the future.

Fortunately, there are many ways to connect with your customer base (and to address prospective customers as well). When it comes to operating a successful business, nothing’s more important than communicating effectively with your customers. Here are five tips on improving your efforts at customer communications and reaping the benefits of a stronger relationship. But is this marketing or Customer Service?

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What to Include in Your B2B Marketing Plan

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What to Include in Your B2B Marketing Plan

Nowhere is the celebrated “buyer’s journey” more relevant than with B2B companies and their customers. With the vast array of digital resources at their command, these customers embark on the journey by conducting extensive research, comparing companies and exploring social media—sometimes well before they make direct contact with the business they’re most interested in.

Here are tips for key elements and action steps for a marketing plan that keeps your business “top of mind” for current and prospective customers...

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Let’s POSE the question – what’s the most efficient marketing?

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Let’s POSE the question – what’s the most efficient marketing?

ROI is only achieved and then improved if your marketing:

  1. has a clear goal
  2. is measured on real business value

To achieve a real ROI then, your business can’t rely on only one marketing tactic. OK, sure you can try – go ahead… we’ll hang out here and wait for you – but I’m 100% convinced it’s not going to get you anywhere. We’ve tried. The results are dismal.

It’s all about integration. But when we start integrating multiple marketing tactics, we come across some problems:

  1. it can cost more (not to be confused with return – ideally more cost means more return), and
  2. how do we effectively measure one tactic over another?

We need a clear strategy.

 
 

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What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Improve Your Marketing?

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What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Improve Your Marketing?

These days, it’s virtually impossible to lump all customers together and try to market to them the same way. Thanks to ecommerce and other consumer-empowering changes in the marketplace, the audiences you aim to serve have moved from one large, undifferentiated mass to many subsets with individual tastes and preferences, needs and challenges.

If you’re not careful, your team can waste valuable time and resources chasing after unqualified prospects who don’t really want or need your products. That’s what happens when a business relies upon a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.

So, how can you adjust your marketing efforts to identify qualified prospects and best serve your company’s various niche markets? One key strategy involves building “buyer personas.”

You already have broad-based demographic information about your customer base. But creating buyer personas “takes that a step further to include psychographic information based on actual current client and target prospect research to focus on why your target customer makes a purchase decision.”

Here are four tips to help construct buyer personas that fit your business and industry:

Organize your search for relevant data. A thorough profile of your customer emerges from numerous sources. Start by asking your current customers why they buy your products or services (as opposed to those of your competitors). What specific problems do your offerings solve? How do these products improve their own businesses and/or lives? Also, reach out to former customers and ask for candid assessments of what you did right (and wrong) when they were buying from you.

Look at trends and solicit online information. Most leads follow a certain pattern or trend; the key is analyzing the data to see what those patterns indicate. Have your sales team look closely at which customer appeals are most effective, and with which group of customers. Compile information relating to customer age, gender, location, job title, education level, etc. Make sure the team understands why customers make the decision to purchase your products—and, conversely, why other prospects choose not to buy.

Focus on solving problems. One or more buyer personas will emerge from all this data. You’ll have a fairly sophisticated profile of what your customers are like. The key from there is looking beyond who these people are and concentrating instead on what it is they require from you and your business. What problems do they face that you may not have considered before? Are there ways to upgrade your products to better solve these problems?

Create an ideal customer experience. By understanding a buyer persona, you can alter your messaging and the content you share on your website and social media. This will inform every stage of the marketing process, including product packaging and advertising, and customer follow-up after a purchase is made. You know the people you’re marketing to, so you can reframe your message in ways that genuinely resonate with them.

Often, crafting a buyer persona will narrow the scope of your leads—since you’re not trying to attract everyone with one generic message across the board. There’s always a concern when your team is reaching out to fewer prospects. But, by leveraging buyer personas and other pertinent data, the result will likely be a higher percentage of qualified leads, ready to move through the sales funnel, with less time and money spent on the qualification process.

Want more advice on improved marketing strategies for your business? Give us a call to find out how we can help you.

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Make Your Marketing Message Contagious

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Make Your Marketing Message Contagious

Jonah Berger first caught my attention in this Fast Company article (“Fifty Percent of ‘The Tipping Point’ is Wrong”). The article positions him as the new Malcolm Gladwell and challenges some accepted theory of The Tipping Point.

Berger is a Marketing Professor at the Wharton School of Business. At Stanford, he was a student of Chip Heath, author of the marketing classic Made to Stick. Made to Stick describes why messages stick with audiences. Berger has taken this concept a step further in his bestselling book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Berger examines why certain products get more word-of-mouth marketing and why some online content goes viral.

In the Fast Company article, Berger says marketers have been obsessed with the wrong part of the viral equation. “By focusing so much on the messenger, we’ve neglected a much more obvious driver of sharing: the message,” he writes. The Tipping Point’s notion that social epidemics are driven “by the efforts of a handful of exceptional people, is just plain wrong.”

Instead, Berger has identified six reasons why certain products have great worth-of-mouth marketing and why content goes viral (acronym STEPPS):

  • Social Currency. We share things that make us look good. For example, if we are able to inform other people about a trendy new smartphone app that we discovered, it makes us look good…and, increases usage of the app.
  • Triggers. Ideas that are top of mind spread. Ideas become top of mind when they are activated by triggers which make people easily think of the product. Cheerios gets more word-of-mouth than Disney because it is so strongly associated with breakfast.
  • Emotion. When we care, we share. The author even cited tests where people who learned something during physical activity were more likely to pass along the concept.
  • Public. People tend to follow others, but only when they can see what those others are doing. Steve Jobs designed the Apple logo on the Mac so other people could see it when someone else is using a Mac. Ideas need to be public to be copied.
  • Practical. Humans crave the opportunity to give advice and offer tips…especially if they offer practical value. Berger has identified this ‘paying it forward’ to help others. No one will share a product or idea that does not have practical value to others.
  • Stories – People do not just share information, they tell stories. And stories are like Trojan horses that carry ideas and brands. To benefit the brand, stories must be interesting and relate to a sponsoring company’s products.
NettResults_Marketing_Contagious_PR

A fascinating book, it has a lot of great advice for marketers and product positioning. Berger explains that you can pick and choose which of the six viral reasons to use in your messaging. He said you can use one or select a couple to apply. This is, from our experience, could be misleading.

It is possible that certain packaging will work better than others; or that packaging too many will confuse your audience. Which of these techniques have you applied to your marketing efforts? Did they work? Have you tried to package multiple techniques? We love to hear your comments.

If you think that you need insightful advice to take your international marketing to the next level, then contact us and we’d love to chat more.

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Your Hallway

The most underrated scene in the Wizard of Oz is the hallway leading up to the audience with the great and powerful one. Find out what hallways and marketing / public relations have in common...

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What is the question?

There is only one questions you need to ask in marketing... what is it? Well, it's simple and it drives your sales success... find out more here...

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Going International

When we start working with new clients that have a desire to be in multiple countries, we’re pretty much always asked, what the differences are in the different countries... this article gives the answer in more ways than one...

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Need Sales - Get PR

Over the past couple of months I have spoken to over 100 small and medium sized business owners, and have asked them the same question: What is the one thing that would improve your company? 99% of the time the answer is something along the lines of, “we’d like more sales”. In this blog you'll find out how to do that on minimal budgets.

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How marketing messages change post revolution - lessons from Egypt

As the Wall Street Journal recently covered, there has been an increase in ad spending in certain sectors in Egypt, but perhaps more interesting is the anecdotal evidence in the change of messages that are resonating with consumers.

In the weeks since Egypt's uprising, the television airwaves and Cairo's streets have been filled with revolutionary slogans.

"Build your country!" shout billboards hovering over the city's congested roads. "Develop your country!" urges another over smaller text demanding that Egyptians "Don't stop!"

But the signs aren't the work of revolutionaries. They are advertisements for Snicker's, the candy brand owned by Mars Inc., the U.S.-based confectioner.

Since thousands of protesters ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in a nearly three-week revolt, the enthusiasm for revolution has been redirected and repackaged for television ads, billboards and jingles selling products including hair gel, soft drinks and candy.

A television spot for Coca-Cola Co.'s Coke, which looks similar to a Latin American commercial called "Sky," shows hundreds of kids dressed in trendy clothes climbing to the tops of buildings in downtown Cairo. There, they lasso the sun, pull it out from behind menacing storm clouds and bask in the radiant glory that is the new Egypt. "Make tomorrow better!" the slogan beseeches.

A Pepsi ad urges: 'Think, Participate, Dream, Express who you are.'

Local brands are not to be left behind. A restaurateur renamed his cafe "January 25 Cafe," after the starting date of the uprising. In the middle-class Cairo suburb of Agouza, a billboard for Mink brand hair gel shows a young man with a spiky hairdo. The background of the billboard is an Egyptian flag next to a slogan that reads, "I am Egyptian."

This re-messaging for the Egyptian market has helped to lift ad spending in Egypt for consumer products.

Ad spending in Egypt actually increased to about $329 million in May from $310 million in February, according to data from Ipsos, a regional advertising and marketing research firm.

The revolution was hard on high-end products and large investments. Expenditures on household appliances and real estate between February and May of this year were down 46% and 44%, respectively, from a year earlier.

But in the category of fast-moving consumer goods, Egyptian advertising has increased in 2011. Advertising of soft drinks and snacks and appetizers surged 30% over the same period.

How will the more subtle art of public relations re-package messages in Egypt? We think the answer is obvious.

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Overused buzzwords in marketing

Last month, PR strategist Adam Sherk took 25 of the most overused buzzwords in marketing and PR—he compiled a list of the top 100 and ran them through PRFilter, a website from RealWire that aggregates press releases.

The results: “Solution” led the pack with 243 appearances.

Shortly after he published the post, PRFilter set the record straight: “Solution” did not appear in press releases 243 times; it appeared 622 times—and it was the second most common buzzword.

The most common word is “leading,” which showed its face 776 times—in one 24-hour stretch.

Here’s the full list—compliments of Adam Sherk and PRFilter:

1. leading (776)
2. solution (622)
3. best (473)
4. innovate / innovative / innovator (452)
5. leader (410)
6. top (370)
7. unique (282)
8. great (245)
9. extensive (215)
10. leading provider (153)
11. exclusive (143)
12. premier (136)
13. flexible (119)
14. award winning / winner (106)
15. dynamic (95)
16. fastest (70)
17. smart (69)
18. state of the art (65)
19. cutting edge (54)
20. biggest (54)
21. easy to use (51)
22. largest (34)
23. real time (8)

What's the word you use the most?

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