Category Archives: marketing basics

Educating A New Generation

“Things have changed since I was in school.” Sounds like something your parents said to you growing up, huh? That statement still holds true. Kids are a part of a whole new learning generation; interaction is mostly via instant message, text message, Twitter and Facebook and the internet is the first place they turn for research. The shift in marketing is taking place as we speak, but are Marketing and Public Relations instructors and professors educating their students about the phenomenon that is social media?

Back in the day, marketing majors were required to learn the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Promotion, Place) and that is still relevant, but along with the 4 P’s they need to have a basic understand of HTML, design software, e-mail marketing campaigns, search engine optimization, and knowledge of social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube,etc). However, are recent grads receiving said education?

We’ve all read that many companies are struggling to understand social media and how it can be used in their industry. With this occurring, companies are looking to hire recent grads with degrees in Marketing and Public Relations to fill the social media gap. But, are colleges and universities integrating the new trends in marketing into their curriculum – such courses as Internet Marketing, Digital Media and New-Media Marketing? Another challenge: are college professors and faculty on top of the changing trends in the marketing world? If not, they need to be. How can you teach it, if you don’t fully understand it yourself? As the old adage states, “lead by example.”

Here’s a questions for all our Marketing & PR majors out there –Are NC State, Duke and UNC teaching courses on new-media and internet marketing? Or are you educating the professors on social media?


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Filed under Email Marketing, Facebook, marketing basics, north carolina, social media, twitter

Quick Tip: What Does the Customer Want?

B2B Customers want something they can takeaway from a purchase, website, e-mail blast, etc; something of value to them.  A takeaway is the lasting impression left on your audience after engaging with your brand, reading an email message or interacting with a customer service representative. A takeaway affects what steps they take next should be tied to your call-to-action.
According to Ardath Albee of the Marketing Interactions Blog, a good takeaway is:

  • Conceptual – generates an idea your content helped spark
  • Conversational – inspires sharing of that idea in the their own words
  • Recommendable – promotes people to pass the content along to others
  • Transferable – applicable to their own specific situations
  • Visual – something they can “see” happening—not pie-in-the-sky thinking

Remember, a good takeaway should focus on your customer, not on your business. Make sure you consider your audience’s needs, desires and perspectives in your messaging.  What lasting impression do you want to leave on your targets?

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Filed under Calls to Action, marketing basics

Breaking News on YouTube

Recently, the band the Beastie Boys announced big news on website via their official YouTube channel.  Adam Yauch (AKA MCA) has been diagnosed with cancer of a lymph node and salivary gland.  Their upcoming tour and record release will be pushed back for Yauch to pursue treatment.  Luckily, it was caught early and the outlook for his recovery is good.

Why use social media to share the news?  It’s an authentic way to connect with fans directly. As their announcement included news of a  disruption of their upcoming tour, for which fans had already purchased tickets and made travel arrangements, band members were able to reach out and offer a genuine apology for the inconvenience. Fans also appreciate being the first to know, rather than a news or entertainment outlet-the viral nature of YouTube and the web ensures that word will spread quickly.   Although it wasn’t likely part of any strategic marketing plan, it’s a smart move.  Authenticity and transparency form the backbone of social media strategy.

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Filed under marketing basics, social media, viral marketing, Web Marketing

Interactive Marketing Will Grow – Is It Right For You?

Interactive marketing (e-mail, social media, online and search) is contributing to a major shift in the marketing landscape. With social media sites and mobile marketing emerging as the next big thing, some marketers are moving away from traditional tactics (print, television, display advertising), but is this wise? A recent report from Forrester predicts that interactive marketing will “cannibalize” other channels.  In fact, 60% of those surveyed will increase their interactive marketing budgets by shifting funds from traditional media.

Here’s our take:

Yes, interactive marketing and social media are becoming increasingly popular, but it’s risky to place all advertising dollars in one basket or move away traditional channels altogether. It’s clear that social media’s not just for kids; the largest group of Facebook users are aged 35-54. There are still people out there that don’t engage with social media and prefer old-school communication channels-direct mail, newspapers, magazines and television. Furthermore, a recent report from Razorfish suggests that people don’t trust their online friends as much as their offline friends.

For most companies, a combination of traditional and interactive marketing still makes sense. An integrated strategy will give you a better opportunity to reach your target market through various channels.  A blend of online and offline messages support each other –print ads can drive people to a Facebook fan page and a Twitter stream can direct prospects to get a coupon to test out your service.  For example, Starbucks is currently giving away coupons for free pints of their ice cream via Facebook.  Are they still running print ads for their ice cream?  It’s likely.  An online channel (Facebook) supports an offline channel (in-store advertising).

One last thing to drive the point home, marketing and technology are ever changing, so be sure to know who your target market is and what marketing channels they prefer before making any drastic changes  in your marketing plan.

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Filed under Email Marketing, Facebook, marketing basics, social media, twitter, Web Marketing

CEOs Aren’t Feeling the Social Media Love

Does CEO Barbie Twitter?

Does CEO Barbie Twitter?

A recent report by UberCEO indicates that top CEOs are not participating in social media, despite the staggering growth of social media marketing. They researched Fortune’s Top 100 CEOs of 2009 and the key findings were:

•Two CEOs out of 100 have Twitter accounts.

•13 CEOs have LinkedIn profiles, and of those only three have more than 10 connections.

•Over 80% of CEOs don’t have a personal Facebook page.

•Three quarters of the CEOs have some kind of Wikipedia entry, but nearly a third of those have limited or outdated information.

•No Fortune 100 CEO has a blog.

Clearly, despite the buzz around social media, top CEOs are not buying it. This could be for a couple of reasons:

•CEOs are usually not the public face of the brand. Of course, Steve Jobs and Apple go hand-in-hand, but many consumers are not closely acquainted with CEOs. Does following the CEO engage the consumer more with the brand? It’s debatable.

•The ROI around social media is fuzzy. For a busy CEO, does the potential benefit of engaging through Facebook, Twitter and other channels really reflect the time invested? For most in the CEO spot, probably not.

•Most CEOs are at the top of the heap, so to speak. They have done all the networking they need to maneuver to the leadership position in business. Connecting with via LinkedIn, primarily a business-networking site, likely does not enhance their career prospects.

•It’s just not worth the risk. After many notable social media flubs, it’s entirely too easy for one false move to start a negative chain reaction that’s difficult to combat. To be inoffensive and authentic online is a challenge.

Despite the behavior of top CEOs, social media can be an integral part of a strategic marketing plan. For many businesses it’s still a great way to reach out to targets, engage them and build online real estate for the brand.

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Filed under Email Marketing, marketing basics, social media, twitter, Web Marketing

Don’t be the Jerk at the Social Media Party

Perry Belcher’s perspective on social media is spot-0n.  Think of social media as a party – the last thing you’d do at a cocktail party filled with a mix of strangers and friends is burst in and shout “buy stuff from me!”  He’s right, you’d be the biggest jerk in the room.

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Filed under Economic Downturn, Entrepreneurship, Facebook, Flickr, marketing basics, north carolina, social media, twitter

5 Rules for the Social Media Playground

Jumping (or dipping a toe) into the social media pool is great – after all, you do want to increase your online real estate.  But it’s important to understand a few guidelines first:

  1. Are you prepared to engage? It’s important to understand that social media is a two-way street.  Sure, it’s a relatively easy to way to broadcast messages to your marketplace.  But the market talks back –and it’s crucial that you engage with them.  A Facebook page for a well-regarded television drama posts exclusive behind the scenes videos but doesn’t reveal the date of the next season premiere, despite fan pleas.  Don’t leave your customers in the dark.
  2. Make the Commitment Lifestyle guru Oprah (@oprah) made a big splash recently by joining Twitter and sending out her first tweet, albeit in all caps.  But she’s only sent 44 messages since April 17th, indicating that she’s not a loyalist.  It’s important to set goals for your social media campaign and then execute.  An abandoned Facebook page, Twitter stream or blog sends the wrong message.
  3. Be interesting What does your target want to hear?  What are the issues in your industry?  How can you relieve pain?  No one cares what you had for lunch — unless maybe it’s the special at your restaurant!  Understand what information you can share that’s worth knowing.
  4. You can’t control the conversation Understand that social media can’t be controlled.  People are talking about your business or industry, whether you participate or not.  You can’t suppress negative comments, only respond to them so better you be there than not.
  5. Social media offers no fast fixes Social media campaigns usually can’t deliver the same kind of metrics as other marketing tactics. A good plan should develop over time and results will emerge over time.


Filed under Blogging, Facebook, Flickr, marketing basics, social media, twitter, Web Marketing