2013 Marketing Communications – Six Strategic Tips For Midsized Companies And Nonprofits

Everyone – organizations and consumers alike – continues to be wary of the ongoing negotiations in Washington associated with the fiscal cliff. It will take time to sort out the impact of what finally gets resolved, but marketers know they can’t wait any longer to determine how to aggressively promote their products and services now.

Whether you’re a business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C) or nonprofit marketer, you’ve probably also been overwhelmed by the countless claims, and counter claims, about if – and how – to use all the various forms of “new” marketing tools – social media, mobile, content marketing, email and video. Some experts project the demise of email marketing as social media and video sharing grow in importance. Others stress the need for mobile marketing, while even others shout “Content is King” (first coined by Bill Gates in 1996). All will continue to be important, but these decisions, coupled with the economic environment, means that the marketer’s world is more complicated than ever.

Rather than endlessly pondering these choices, maybe this is the time to put these latest tactics into perspective, and focus on some basic marketing and marketing communications strategies for 2013.

Target Audience Knowledge Trumps Opinion

A deep, reliable and projectable understanding of your existing and potential clients, customers or donors is key to developing effective and profitable strategies and plans. And that means market research.

Marketers should fully understand the wants, needs and attitudes of their target audiences, and how these factors relate to the organization, as well as competition. Facts, not opinions.

Employ market research and monitor social media discussions and behaviors to determine what’s important to your constituents before your tactical plans are developed. In other words, “Look before you leap.”

Embrace The Changing Demographic Landscape

With nearly 315 million people in the US alone, the dramatic growth of older consumers is significant and should be recognized. Does your customer and prospect planning take them into consideration? And does your planning recognize that:

21 percent of the workforce is now 55+ years of age, and they plan on working well past traditional retirement age;
The number of people 65 and older was 40 million in 2009 but is projected to be 60 million in 2020 (US Census Bureau);
While 69 percent of those aged 18 – 49 used social media, only 38 percent of those aged 50 and above use any form of social media.
Acknowledging the growth and absolute size of this huge audience in your planning presents a major opportunity. And, depending on your product or service, you might want to go through this exercise for other demographic groups – Hispanics, Asians, younger people, women, etc. Understand them and make sure you relate to their needs. In summary, “Board a trend, don’t buck it”.

Don’t Discount Traditional Media

New media offers exciting potential and will grow significantly in importance. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about “old” media. Both new and traditional media have value and both should be considered in planning your overall media mix. That means that strategically you need to fully understand their relative effectiveness, not just their efficiency.

And, would it surprise you to learn that traditional media is actually becoming “new” media for some marketers:

Commercial and nonprofit marketers will spend $169 billion in direct marketing, representing over half of all US advertising expenditures (DMA’s Response Rate 2012 Report);

There were 195 new print magazines launched in 2012 (MediaTrends.com); According to Forrester Research, while consumers discover new brands, products or services by talking to friends (80%) and online searches (79%), television advertising is a strong third (71%);

While the average consumer receives 14 – 15 email selling messages a day, the average household receives only 2 – 3 direct mail promotions per day (USPS);

Despite the record breaking political spending in 2012, national cable television advertising is still expected to grow by 11 percent, while billboard spending will increase by 5 percent and radio by 3 percent (Zenith Optima).
New versus traditional media should not dominate the discussion. Rather, how you strategically develop your media mix should be on the front burner. Above all, be “media neutral”.

Anniversary Marketing Invigorates Established Organizations

Your anniversary provides an opportunity to leverage your past strengths while communicating your vision for the future. Your history and your plans for the future can have a meaningful impact on an already nervous audience of employees, channel partners and suppliers, much less existing and potential clients, customers or donors. Galvanize them to the road ahead.

A 12 to 18 month fully integrated anniversary marketing program provides a unique opportunity to unify and focus all of your efforts across your constituents. And a 35th anniversary can be as impactful as a 50th or 75th. Just don’t make the mistake of merely adding an anniversary logo to your messaging, or just having a celebratory party. Your message will fall on deaf ears.

Get Better As You Get Bigger

With market turbulence over the past few years, some in the C-Suite question the ability of marketing to profitably drive the organization to new heights. Lack of understanding or lack of trust may be an issue. Maybe it’s time for unbiased, fresh eyes to conduct a marketing communications audit.

This type of audit can provide an apolitical evaluation of your program as a whole, as well as how each marketing communication tactic does or does not meet established objectives. Recommendations from this audit can help everyone understand where improvement is needed, what’s registering with your constituents (internally as well as externally), what subjects and benefits should be stressed and, importantly, provide the organization with an integrated roadmap of how, when and where your messaging should be delivered.

The audit should give you the tools to maximize your marketing communications ROI before significant dollars are committed. Trust and confidence should follow.

Round Out Your Marketing Team

There will be many challenges facing marketers in 2013 and beyond. And, chief among them will be having a dedicated, smart, apolitical team, developing, creating and analyzing marketing communications strategies, tactics and plans to meet the uncertainties ahead.

A lot of smart thinking has already gone into developing the disciplines you need but, like most midsized companies and nonprofits, you may be understaffed and underfunded. Consider partnering with established, media neutral, senior level marketing communications consultants to help your team formulate, refine and implement your programs. Be sure they have extensive experience across brands and industries, as well as a willingness to “tell it like it is” so candor will flourish.

Most probably 2013 and the near future will present marketers with a very rocky road to travel. Hopefully, some of these tips will help, but as Mark Twain once said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”.

Internet Marketing For You

Too much of everything is injurious
To begin with let’s take this step by step. Assuming that you have already built your web site or blog, the biggest concern would be to drive traffic in the direction that you want. You need people to see what you have to offer only then will they be able to buy what you have to offer. While directing this traffic to your site you must answer one simple question. How many times have you visited a page that you do not want to visit and how many times have you purchased something that you are least interested in? What is the use of people visiting your web page if they have no need or no interest in the product that you have to offer? Yes, you need traffic but not traffic that makes no difference to your income. You need targeted traffic. Now think where you look when you want information regarding some product. How were you able to read this article? Well, because you looked for it. That is exactly what you need to do. Write articles for various publications. There are a number of online publications that are continually on the lookout for new and fresh articles. e-zine and e-report are two of them. People look up article directories for information. They look up reports and reviews before they buy any product. The traffic here will be targeted traffic. There is a good chance that you will be able to catch their interest here.

The articles do not need to be too long and frequent. Simple articles that every person can understand ranging anywhere from 300 to 600 words would do the job smugly. You do not need to churn out hundreds of articles per day. Just two or three would be sufficient. If you could consistently do this then you could generate around 100 targeted customers to your blog or webpage per day. You must keep in mind that not every potential customer becomes a buyer. In all probability just one percent of potentials might be converted. That means for every hundred you will have one buyer. The rest of the calculation ought to be quite simple. For every 1000 prospects you would have at least 10 buyers.

You have worn the same shoes so you know your customers the best.
Next you ought to think that how many times you have reached a site because you liked the article related to it only to find out that the site is clustered with a 101 other products. How many times have you been too confused to make a purchase simply because there were too many products offered? How many times have you started with one product only to end up googling a bunch of other products? Was it not very annoying? You must bear this in mind for your potential buyers as well. Do not club everything in one blog or webpage. If it is about making money online then let it be just that. Of course you could have different blogs or websites for each and every product but do not put them all in one blog or web site. Having different web sites for each product will not confuse the potential buyer. Now a day there are a number of sites offering free hosting so it is not that difficult.

You must also consider that the potential customer will also be searching for you product’s review. If you do not offer the review they a bound to search. Who knows they might end up buying the product from the ones who have included its review in their site. Make sure that you enumerate all the benefits of the product which would ascertain that the reader does not search anywhere else for it. One of the major factors in convincing someone to buy a product is a firsthand experience with the product so do not forget to include testimonials. Also remember to take permission for using a particular person’s name or photograph. Also give related references.

If you could also include articles on your website telling the readers the uses of the product and a little on how to use the product your potential buyers could quite easily be convinced to buy the product. An extra page with a captivating article including calls to act on the information could do wonders. Interesting headlines are a very effective tool to make readers wanting to explore more.

Make a personal connection.
Don’t you simply love free reports? Your readers love them too. It would be a great idea to provide free reports to your readers at regular intervals. There are a number of auto responders that you could use. The call to subscribe to your free reports must be compelling and placed at the most prime place on your web site so that the potential buyer cannot miss it. This would also help you to build that, oh so talked about, mailing list. It will also provide a personal aspect to the whole deal. Analytically speaking a sale is generally closed on the 7th call.

Free reports do well to remind the prospects about your product. The e-mails that you send should be useful. Do not forget to add reasons for buying your particular product. Also remember not to make these contacts too frequent since they may get annoying and do not make the e-mails sound too promotional, just informative.

Another word of advice is not to use the term ‘Free’ since many spam filters would certainly direct these mails into the junk mail. Do not forget to generate the need for your product in each mail.

Make Effective Marketing Strategies To Achieve Online Success

For any business venture to succeed in today’s markets, it is no longer enough to have a single good business idea and a single location for a brick-and-mortar store or office where people can come and purchase services. Today, the game is increasingly being played online, the internet has become a vast resource for every product or service that a consumer could possibly want. If you haven’t established your online presence yet, then you may find yourself being left behind by your more forward thinking competitors.

No matter how small or distinguished your business may be, it is essential to have a website where internet users can view your products, learn about your history and qualifications, and direct other web users to visit. With millions of consumers worldwide owning a number of mobile devices to which they are logged on for most of their days, your best bet for getting noticed and attracting more potential customers is to be highly visible right where they are highly likely to look online.

This online marketing strategist helps companies create an effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy that would help their websites get positive rankings on search engine results pages. This by itself, is no easy task, although the formula for success is relatively simple. Experts shows online businesses that good quality still remains the number one factor for getting good results from major search engines.

Throughout the year, Google has released a number of updates and changes to their search algorithms, all with the same general purpose behind them, to reveal in its results pages only the top quality websites that provide the right information on the keywords that web users type in.

Achieving online success, then, would not be possible by simply learning ways to manipulate Google’s updates. The key is to provide content that consumers will want to read and be interested in sharing with other people because of the value it provides. It’s also important to make an effort to direct natural traffic to your website from a variety of sources like social media sites, videos, press releases, and the like. When you create a reputation of providing as much good quality services as possible every time, your brand name will be carried across distances and people will be searching for your site directly.

With a marketing strategist, businesses can have a well developed website working to promote their brand, generate new business, and bring in significant profits and success.

Fight for Your Customers With Direct Mail

Business has never been more cutthroat. There’s always someone who can do what you do more cheaply. There’s always someone who can offer customers more. Every day, your competition tries to lure your customers away with a constant battery of ads and calls and direct mail.

What’s your counterattack? How are you working to keep the customers you have?

From a strictly dollars-and-cents perspective, it’s cheaper to keep an existing customer than acquire a new one. How much you’ll save varies by industry, but general estimates say it costs 5-10 times more to woo that new customer than to keep your old customer happy and sell them additional services. This is particularly true with banks, credit unions and other financial institutions. With so many services, there are always ways to up-sell and cross-sell.

But you can’t do that if you’re losing customers left and right.

The trick to keeping existing customers is to treat them like new customers. It’s like the honeymoon phase in relationships, when you’re both trying so hard to impress each other. Eventually, that newness fades and you fall into a comfortable rut. Well, comfortable for you. Your customer is looking for you to rekindle that spark and go back to that same level of service and commitment.

Meanwhile, your competitor is wooing your customer with promises of lower prices, better customer service and a free toaster if they sign up now.

One of the simplest ways to keep customers happy is to stay in touch. And not just with offers to buy more stuff, either. Here are a few simple direct mail ideas you can (and should!) be using to keep the magic alive with your customers:

Send customer satisfaction surveys-then do something with the information you get. People want to feel like their voices are being heard, but make sure you use the information you gather from these surveys, or you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Remember their anniversaries. Make the milestones count. Whether that’s celebrating their birthday, two years with your company or a major purchase like a mortgage, send a simple letter thanking them for their business and looking forward to the future.
Surprise them. What would delight your customers? What would make them happy? Maybe it’s a coupon, but maybe it’s simpler than that-noticing some way they can save money, going above and beyond on a service. Whatever you do, send something to your customers out-of-the-blue. You might be surprised by their loyalty in return.

Older posts »