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“Spin – Marketing for Non-Marketers” is a monthly newsletter published by AIM Communications and mailed to more than 800 subscribers.

 

7 strategies for marketing in a downturn

By Guy Maser
downturnIn a challenging economy, you must find new ways to make marketing work more effectively, get more out of marketing investments, and measure and account for marketing decisions.

In short, you must make changes. Doing the same things in an uncertain economic environment and expecting the same results is, at worst, a definition of marketing insanity. At best, it is a flawed strategy.

How can your company be one of those success stories that market and grow their businesses during challenging economic times? The following strategies will help you allocate marketing investments to better performing programs that will carry your company through the economic downturn and beyond.

Get targeted
A fundamental but sometimes overlooked marketing tenet is to “fish where the fish are.” In other words, invest in those specific, targeted media where you know your customers and prospects will be exposed to your message.
Research shows that virtually all engineering, technical and industrial professionals now use the Internet throughout their work process. The same holds true in most B2B markets. But the Internet is vast, and the fish you are looking for may be using specific websites where the content is directly related to their information needs. Work with your media partners to identify and target those sites.

Measure performance
While it’s always the right time to purge marketing programs that don’t perform, it may be time to scale back any marketing plans whose results you can’t measure or are unsure about. In other words, re-allocate and “right-size” marketing budgets to measurable programs. Online programs — which are built around delivering visibility, impressions, clicks, leads and customers — are easy to measure.

Think integration
Integrated marketing means your marketing strategy takes advantage of multiple media, resources and customer touchpoints to create a whole that’s greater and more effective than the sum of its parts. The more that marketing efforts are integrated and comprehensive, the greater impact you can achieve in gaining visibility in your market, qualified leads and sales.

Maintain frequency and consistency
The benefits of regular visibility in the market tend to compound over time as more prospects recognize your company. This improves your opportunity to get on a prospect’s short list of potential vendors and also shortens the sales cycle. A consistent online presence where your customers and prospects are looking for information — including websites, directories, search engines and e-newsletters — will help your company stay visible as well as provide measurable lead generation benefits via online contact.

Push and pull your way to success
Most marketing can be classified as either push or pull: companies push their message out through tactics such as direct mail, advertisements and e-newsletters; and they also establish a presence in online directories, websites and search engines to pull customers in real-time when prospects are searching for information, products and services like those your company offers. Rather than struggling over whether to allocate resources to push marketing or pull marketing, seek out a media partner that has your target audience captive and can offer both push and pull programs under an integrated program.

Focus on quality over quantity
If marketing efforts focus solely on quantity over quality, fewer leads will convert, more sales resources will be wasted, and sales people will begin to distrust marketing’s lead generation programs. Commit to programs in which quality is a key attribute: programs that can deliver interested prospects, provide prospect contact information and offer reports of program performance.

Seek assistance from media partners
The economy is likely forcing you to make harder and smarter decisions about allocating budgets. While you may be facing challenges, you don’t have to face them alone. Ask media partners to demonstrate how their marketing solutions help your company achieve the strategies mentioned above.

  • Ask them:
    Do they have your target audience’s attention?
  • Can they keep your company visible to prospects and customers at all times?
  • Do they offer a variety of integrated marketing solutions aligned with your goals?

During challenging times or when things are going well, marketers need to clarify goals and create tailored, integrated marketing solutions that complement the current media mix and extend their companies’ ability to compete and win business in the market. Utilize a wide range of digital media advertising and marketing solutions. Consider keyword ads, email marketing, searchable product catalogs, banner ad networks and industry-leading e-newsletter advertisements. Figure out the right combination and you will deliver the right message at the right time to the right audience and integrate with your traditional marketing efforts. – imediaconnection.com
Guy Maser is senior vice president of marketing for GlobalSpec


10 Easy Marketing Things to Try
light bulbAs a small business, you may think it’s impossible to get the word out about what you do. That’s no excuse. And you don’t need fads or gimmicks. Follow the proven, timeless tips and techniques of these entrepreneurs to help get the word out about your business and watch it grow.

1. Give Your Stuff Away
Ari Fleischer and Aly Moler of Frozen Pints have grown their craft beer ice cream business by leaps and bounds by attending craft beer shows and farmers markets to do one thing–give their product away. Once customers taste this unexpected combination (which happens to be delicious) for free, they line up at their local store to buy it or even request that the store carry it.

2. Attend Networking Events …
Desiree Scales of Bella Web Design is a master networker.  She attends and presents at almost every event in town. Her contribution to the overall community makes her one of the first people that come to mind when anyone looks for an expert in her area of concentration: small business websites and drip marketing.

3. …Or, Create Your Own Event
If you don’t like the events you are attending, invent your own! Darrah Brustein has created one of the most successful networking events in Atlanta: Atlanta Under 40. The event, which Darrah created to connect with other young entrepreneurs in her city, is now being franchised to other cities.

4. Volunteer to Lead an Organization
The secret to getting the most out of a group or organization is not just to attend but to lead. Take Lisa Calhoun of Write2Market. She served as the president of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, allowing her to rub elbows and connect with the brightest minds of the fastest growing companies in the Atlanta market.

5. Start a Podcast
Todd Schnick of Dreamland Interactive is the first person I saw create his own podcast–he interviews other business owners.  People love to tell their story, and by highlighting them on a podcast you make an instant and meaningful connection. It’s also a great way to get an education on a topic you are interested in.

6. Be Helpful
Most small business owners struggle to get their finances in line, especially when they move from an Excel spreadsheet to something as sophisticated as QuickBooks. Cathy Iconis of Iconis Group hosts a Quickbook Chat on Twitter every Thursday night at 7:00 EST to answer small business owners’ questions–and potentially find some clients.

7. Send a Weekly E-mail
If you want to stay in relationship with your customers, there is nothing simpler than creating a weekly e-mail that provides something of value. Rick Houcek of Soar With Eagles sends one out every Monday that he calls the 2-Minute Monday Motivator. I look forward to getting it every week and often forward his advice to others.

8. Support a Cause
Mary Hester of LAN Systems throws an annual cookout with purpose every Earth Day. Party-goers are encouraged to bring their “e-waste”–old computer monitors and CPUs. At their most recent event they collected more than two tons of IT equipment, keeping it out of the landfills and creating goodwill with their customers, current and potential.

9. Sponsor an Organization
Many local organizations are not that expensive to sponsor for a year if you consider the  so-called per meeting cost. If your product or service is a good fit with their audience, you will get exposure every time the organization sends out an e-mail and a mention every time they meet. Attendees always remember and appreciate companies who sponsor their favorite organizations.

10. Create a Cool Giveaway
When thinking through what your company will  give away make sure it’s something they won’t want to throw away or easily lose in their desk or bag (think pen). – Entrepreneur


Flexibility is the key

ken HS

One of the marketing tactics we are able to try with BatamExpat.com, because of its immediacy and flexibility, is to experiment with different ad sizes, positions, treatment and wording. Two of our current advertisers are good cases in point.
One advertiser wanted to showcase its services in a full page “Cover Page” ad that effectively blocked out the home page until a visitor clicked on a “close” button. I’m not a big fan of these because it is sometimes an annoyance for visitors, but the customer is king, so we tried this technique.
While we had only minimal complaints about the ad, I wasn’t pleased with the number of click-throughs to the advertiser’s website. I suggested a less-intrusive banner ad positioned at the foot of the page. The positive effect was almost immediate, with clickthroughs more than doubling daily.
A second advertiser initially approved a vertical banner that featured the company name at the top, and listed its services below the logo. Click-throughs were limited, despite the prime position.
The problem was that the company wasn’t selling its name, it was selling its services. Yet, the name and logo were the most prominent feature of the ad. A simple change put the services above the logo, whereby visitors could see right away what the company offered. Again, click-throughs increased dramatically almost immediately.
I might add that these changes were done here at BatamExpat.com at no additional cost to the advertisers. We are committed to helping our clients succeed and will do almost anything to achieve that goal.
As Sandy Rubinstein, CEO of U.S. ad agency DXagency. Says, “Yesterday’s tricks don’t work tomorrow. We need to keep changing, and digital offers such a unique vantage point in that it’s so nimble. We can try something today and see in real time if it works.” – Ken Anderberg


No single marketing effort works all the time for every business, so rotate several marketing tactics and vary your approach. Your customers tune out after awhile if you toot only one note. Take advantage of the thousands of opportunities available for communicating your value to customers. But don’t be arbitrary about your selection of a variety of marketing ploys. Plan carefully. Get feedback from customers and adapt your efforts accordingly.
Answer Your Phone Differently. Try announcing a special offer when you answer the phone. For example you could say, “Good morning, this is Ann Marie with Check It Out; ask me about my special marketing offer.” The caller is compelled to ask about the offer. Make sure your offer is aggressive and increase your caller’s urgency by including a not-so-distant expiration date.


6 Tips on Using Social Media

Social-Media-Marketing

It’s hard to find any marketing professional these days that won’t claim that social media is critical to brand building, reputation management, relationship building, customer acquisition, customer support, and and even product development.

It’s difficAult to find a social media marketing playbook that won’t require significant customization for your company, but we can certainly try to learn from those who have had success. Here are 6 tips to get you started on adding social media to your marketing plan.

1) Always Start by Researching
Let’s start with the basics. When putting together a social media marketing plan, the first thing to understand is where people hangout out that you want to engage with. Here’s a big hint, it’s not just Twitter and Facebook. Your potential customers are socializing online at this very moment across thousands of social networks, forums, private communities, discussion boards, social news sites, video and photo sharing sites, customer review sites, social music sites, and blog comments. You need to do the research to find out what social media sites make the most sense for your marketing plan.

2) Attack Each Outlet Differently by Listening
Now that you understand all the different types of social media that you may be interested in using for marketing efforts, it’s time to start planning your social media marketing strategy. If you’re planning on posting to Twitter, Facebook, a social news site, and a video sharing site, your content needs to be different for each one. The way you understand what content will resonate with each website’s audience is by listening to what is being said. Using Google Alerts is a great place to start. Other tools like Social Men-–tion, Hootsuite, and Topsy are great ways to listen and learn how to interact in different communities.

3) Be Share Happy
Using social media effectively is all about posting (relevant information) routinely and regularly. As such, your social media marketing plan must include a schedule of when you’re going to post, or at least a commitment to post once a day, twice a day, once a week, etc. Stay consistent in your posts, as you build up an audience, your followers will be expecting new content.

In addition to posting new content regularly, make sure you’re also sharing other people’s con-tent whenever possible. Embed “share” links on all of your blogs, repost others’ content that’s relevant to your brand or goals, and post content that’s interesting enough that your audience will be motivated to share it on their own.

4) Acknowledge Mistakes, Don’t Hide Them
With the online world, mess-ups and “uh oh” moments are bound to happen. Perhaps you meant to type “Announcing a new product today!” but instead (thanks to auto-correct!) wrote, “Announcing a nude project today!” and accidentally hit post before making the correction.

While the example above might be a little extreme, trust us – goof ups happen more regularly than we’d all like to think. In the event that you make a social media faux pas, don’t panic, and don’t try to delete the post – chances are your followers already saw it, and will be miffed if you attempt to erase it and act as though the event never happened. Instead, you can remedy your errors by posting a status update apologizing for the mistake, offering an explanation if you’d like, and even making a joke about it. The more open and honest you are about your errors, the more likeable and trustworthy you’ll be to your audience.

5) Learn from Successful Marketing Campaigns
There are multiple companies out there who have mastered using social media for marketing. Two are:

Dove

Dove-Beauty

When Dove released their Real Beauty Sketches campaign, their goals were clear: they wanted to create a social impact while simultaneously increasing their goals and sales. As such, Dove created a project, turned into a YouTube video, that went viral nearly instantaneously. The video showed two sketches of each real-life women done by an FBI sketch artist – the first sketch was done using the individual woman’s description, the second by a stranger describing the woman. The results were startling: in every set of sketches, the one detailed by a stranger was more beautiful than the one detailed by the woman herself, emphasizing the idea that “you are more beautiful than you think.” Not only did Dove utilize the right social media platform for this project, but they also created content that was incredibly interesting and engaging to their audience. To date, the video has received 114 million views.

Oreo

Oreo-Dunk-in-the-Dark

While Dove’s campaign was highly planned, Oreo, during the 2013 Super Bowl, posted a perfectly-timed Tweet that was impulsive and spontaneous. During the 34-minute power outage, Oreo quickly designed a graphic, and posted this to Twitter: Power Out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark. In seconds, the Tweet received thousands of retweets and Facebook shares. The point: take advantage of perfect moment like Oreo did, and be clever, unique, and relevant in your posts.

6) Measure Your Success
As your social media campaign starts to gain traction, refer back to the goals you set at the beginning and see where you’re at. Maybe you’re focused on how many followers you have, how many likes you’ve received, the number of visitors to your blog, subscribers on your YouTube channel, or new customers. Whatever it is, always look at your numbers regularly and make necessary adjustments to optimize your metrics and further your social media marketing success. – Outbrain.com

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