Tag Archives: marketing communications

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

A Few Reminders on How to Improve Your Website

I was reading this post over on Marketing Pilgrim and I thought it was worth sharing.

From a talk given at SMX West (Search Marketing Expo 2009) ’15 Stupid Things You Can do to Your Website’ is a quick sketch of some key things to keep in mind when launching a new website or revamping an existing one.

Here are a couple of points I liked:

2. Using bad keywords—ones that are too competitive or no one is searching for. Michael suggested picking mid-range keywords and work your way up.

13. Mass email using BCC and not using email services. Using an email service provider is highly recommended for sending to large lists of recipients.

14. Below the fold calls to action. Ensure calls to action are above the fold and in order to check how the page appears on different screen sizes undertake browser testing.

The point on keywords is well-taken.  It’s important to review your keywords frequently and track their results with an analytics program such as Google Analytics.   What words emerge from your initial research as achieveable may not drive traffic to your site through organic search.

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Filed under Calls to Action, marketing basics, Web Marketing

Twitter, Tweet and Twhirl!

twitter

You probably have heard of Twitter by now. But what is it? And more importantly, how can you use it for strategic marketing purposes? Here’s a thumbnail sketch of what Twitter is and how you can leverage it for marketing your business.

  • Twitter is micro blogging. You have 140 characters per message, called “tweets”, to make your point. You must be succinct, concise and interesting!

  • Twitter, like blogging, is a way to connect with other people. Although you may be Twittering for business purposes, remember that your voice should have a human tone.

  • Follow back folks who follow you. It’s how you build a “twosse” or Twitter posse!

  • Aim to be a thought leader in your field. Search for users who are tweeting in your world and watch what they do.

  • Add links to your tweets to drive followers to interesting articles or to new posts on your own blog or website.

  • Use a Twitter management application to organize your followers and tweets. I like BrightKit.

  • Twitter takes time to nurture. As a lead generation system, it will take time as you build your reputation and follower list.

Check out Strategic Guru’s Twitter for a sense of our brand strategy.  And here are more quick social media and Twitter tips.

Have you started using Twitter yet?

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Filed under marketing basics, social media, twitter

Be Sure Your Website Is Driving Sales!

Almost every business has a website. It’s practically a prerequisite to even starting a business! Forrester Research and Razorfish found that over 90% of purchasing decisions begin online. It’s clear that a website is an important part of corporate identity, but it also should be part of your marketing plan. Be sure you are using your website strategically.

Some businesses see their website as a digital brochure, highlighting their products and services – the old features/benefits approach. It’s one way communication, with little chance for the target to interact with the business or brand. Thus, it’s crucial that your website draw your targets in and act as a lead generation system. Here are a few tips to create a website that engages with targets rather than simply talking at them:

•Make sure you are leading your visitors down a clear cut path. Point them down a road that ends in an opportunity to convert to a warm lead.
•Give your visitors multiple chances to continue the conversation – sign them up for permission-based newsletters, invite them to follow you on Twitter, or connect with you in the social media world at Facebook or MySpace. In other words, make it easy for your visitors to continue the relationship.
•Refresh your website content periodically. Not only does Google reward you for this, but it encourages your visitors to come to your site on a regular basis.
•Add a blog to your site. This is an easy way to refresh content and let your prospects talk back to you.
•Be sure you understand how to make Google find and rank your site. This means making sure your site is search-engine friendly by using keywords and meta-text.

Although this list is not exhaustive, it’s a great place to begin if you are starting from scratch or re-vamping your site. Remember, your site can be one of the best lead generation tools your business has.

Let Strategic Guru guide you to an internet marketing strategy that can help your business grow. Call 919.461.0551 or email carolyn@strategicguru.com for a complementary consultation.

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Filed under Web Marketing

Start a Corporate Blog? Survey Says…Proceed with Caution

Nearly everyone in the marketing/pr/social media world (including us) has been talking about the importance of business blogging. However, new research completed in Q2 of this year from Forrester finds that the majority of online consumers do not trust corporate blogs. When asked to rank various information sources, such as newspapers, radio, direct mail, consumer product reviews, and social networking sites, corporate blogs came in as the least-trusted source. Only 16% of online consumers indicated they trust corporate blogs.


Chart - trusted media sources

Chart - trusted media sources

One possible reason for this is that corporate blogs may be viewed as traditional advertising, the same noise consumers try to minimize with TIVO, pop-up blockers and do-not-call lists. Remember, social media is all about engaging with your customer and opening a dialog – not just pumping more one-way messages out.

So what does this mean to a company that’s thinking of starting a blog or currently maintains one? Should you stop blogging? No!

A company blog needs to work hard to overcome skepticism. A blog that discusses only about company and its products, leaving out the consumer and their needs, is ineffective. A blog should be consumer-centric, helping the reader solve a problem or save time and money. Rubbermaid’s blog is an example of how this can be done well.

Another strategy is to empower your employees to author posts. Perspectives from outside the marketing department can give your corporate blog a human face. People generally trust content generated by a “real” person as opposed to some faceless corporate communications department.

There are some more excellent thoughts from Jeremiah Owyang from Forrester on making your company blog as transparent, useful and trustworthy as possible here.

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Filed under Blogging

One to One Communications Offers Increased ROI

In tough economic times, many companies move to cut costs and some of the first expenditures on the chopping block are marketing communications. Instead of cutting marketing communications budgets, it’s time to think strategically and reassess your plan – studies have shown that companies who increase advertising and marketing efforts enjoy a higher return on investment (ROI) than companies who decrease these efforts during difficult times.*

So what do you do?

Make sure your efforts are targeted. Don’t waste time or money producing messages that are not reaching your targets.

1 to 1 communications are a great way to produce targeted, personalized customer messages. 1 to 1 communications use information from your databases to create compelling and coordinated messages across print, email, and web pages. Of course, you want to be able to track effectiveness. 1 to 1 communications programs allows you to see exactly with whom your campaign is resonating.

So what is 1 to 1 communication? A customized direct mail or email is sent personalized with the recipient’s information from your database. It directs the target to visit a personal web landing page – i.e. janesmith.yourwebsite.com. Once the target visits their web landing page, they receive an email response – another opportunity to create a personal connection. Behind the scenes, a dashboard provides live, accurate campaign data and statistics for ROI analysis.

1 to 1 communications help you connect on a personal level with your targets and create warm leads to pass to your sales force.

*”Advertising during a recession,” Direct Marketing. September 9, 1991

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Filed under Direct Mail, Email Marketing, Web Marketing