What Digital & Social Media Marketers Can Learn from Business Consultants [Opinion]

In the last five years I have heard some wild claims about who makes the best marketer – those claims have ranged from PR professionals, who ‘should be the only people to do it’, to Social Media, to ‘it takes a Sales Professional to provide the best internet marketing.’

I’d like you to think of Digital Assets in the form of a building:

  • The windows are Social Media – transparency of course
  • The walls are the advertising efforts – the place to display and show
  • The doors are the PR – as media attention helps get people to walk through the door
  • The shelves, displays and racks are the event planners – presentation and onsite execution
  • The Roof is the website – it covers everything else

However, the missing element is the foundation or the business itself. The digital and social media industry has gotten a lot of bad heat on not being effective and I would argue that has happened because the keystone has been missing, the Business Consultant.

I warn almost everyone that I interact with to look for the red flags when meeting a PR, Web, SEO, Social Media, Event Professional, etc. The best way to know if that have any clue what they are talking about will come with the first interaction. Do they start talking to you about their business and products, or do they ask you about yours?

The world is filled with overnight talent and businesses that offer these services and I say talent because most are very good at their niche, unfortunately it seems to end there. Think of it like a great marksman sent off to war to be a sniper without any military training. The ability to hit a target does not translate to being an effect solider, especially in terms of the bigger picture.

The transformed business consultants that are working as project managers and on the rare occasion can provide Web Development, SEO, Social Media and more are carrying with them the greatest lesson the marketing industry can learn, success goes beyond the view, comment and call!

Traditional marketing and advertising was all about visibility and the connection point, the advertising was a success when the consumer connected with your name, product or service.( i.e. someone visited the website, opened the email, opened the text message or called your phone, that is marketing success in the traditional context). The ability to convert that experience into a sale was the business owners problem. This is the reason businesses fail continuously and why corporate leadership is completely in the dark with the digital environment.

How Can We do Better or Demand Better?

Take the Business Consultant approach, inquire about the business model, the products or services, why the target market is the target market. Take the campaign backwards, go from the conversion or sale to the campaigns and tools to reach consumers. Build the model on the business and remember the best in any industry become the best from exploring. Sometimes it’s easier to create new then fix broken.

Why “NO” is so important to the Profession of Digital & Social Media Marketing [Opinion]

The overnight rush of Web developers lead to overnight SEO providers and then the flood of Social Media Marketers. Which in turn lead to every PR, advertising and marketing agency claiming to offer services they knew nothing about to save their revenue streams. The industry changed so fast that quantity quickly overtook quality.

“NO” is crucial to not just the digital and social industry but the recovery of our economy! I was sitting in a session at BlogWorld, it was about monetization, each of the three presenters had the same story the “advertisers found us” and “I spent nothing on advertising”.

I had to go to the mic, this is such a common carless comment that I had an ethical obligation to set straight.

The question: “You said that advertisers found you and that you spent nothing on advertising, but I want you to think of what the cost was… you might not have purchased advertising but clearly you spent time and money to build your…”

All three faces quickly had a look that you couldn’t quite place, perhaps it was horror? Then Lou Mongello of Walt Disney World Radio jumped to answer, “Oh it was so expensive, it cost me time, I had to sell my house and I spent money on all sorts of things”.

Lou Mongello then went on to explain that part of his success came from having his families support and the understanding of sacrifice to accomplish the long term goal.

Don’t Go In Unprepared

Here is the crucial point of this article, because so many enter into digital and social media services unprepared with misrepresentation of their own business model, they are ill equipped to help their clients with the same problem. In the need to create profits they become like AOL, they leap into every adventure without any thought of their clients business model or worse their own long term business model.

Learning to say “NO” allows you to take on clients that will be successful with your talent or service, it garnishes long term revenue for your business and a reputation for growth. It’s not easy being picky in the beginning, or when times are tough, but it is successful! Even more importantly, it keeps others from wasting their life savings on an idea or business that they are underfunded, underequipped or worse ignorant about from losing their time and money. It also prevents the overwhelming false, false from becoming the digital and social media industry. The Social Media Marketer did not intentionally fail you, the web developer did not build a crappy website or fail to generate valuable SEO, the business was flawed and directed to fail from the beginning and the digital and social industry should not take the blame for that.

Pick your clients carefully, for the benefit of them, yourself and our industry.

Author:

@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

How Agencies Can Prepare Clients For Success

A marketing agency is typically hired on to help companies achieve their marketing goals and objectives.  What happens when a company has not set any goals and objectives?  How does an agency handle this type of situation?  We have all heard from clients the famous line “We really don’t have a marketing budget”.  How can an agency prepare their clients for success? The first step is discussing the allocation of funds for marketing and setting achievable marketing goals.  Without this step, the client will be setting themselves up for future failure.   The key is to be prepared with the budget, goals, and proper direction.  Clients must have a vision of their brand and where they see the company going in three to five years.

Here are some tips to help agencies make sure their clients are prepared for success:

First things first…make sure they know their brand and value proposition!!!

  • Developing New Logos and Rebranding a company can be a very challenging task without the right information up front. What vision does the client have in their mind as far as the look and feel of their logo? Logo colors and style need to be communicated to the agency so they can deliver what the client wants on the first try.  Communication is the key here.
  • New Collateral– When developing a new brochure or sell sheet for a client, it’s important that the client has all the materials that you will need up front in order to design the piece. Make sure you have the high res version of their logo, high res stock or professional photos, and insight into their writing style.  I can’t tell you how many times we started on a project with little direction from the client and we had to change things over and over due to the client not being prepared up front.  Be specific and ask the right questions. Don’t be shy!
  • New Website – Developing a new website for a client is another challenge and can be a daunting task if you don’t understand the client’s vision.  What is it about the existing website that they don’t like?  Do they want to add features like blogs, chatting, streaming video, etc. to the website?  Ask these questions up front and also find out the budget for the new website.  You would be surprised how many agencies work in the dark with little communication with the client.

Be specific… Do make sure you put in writing the due dates and all the items you need in advance in order to start on the project.  Marketing is not an easy task and can be subject to many people’s opinions.  Always determine up front who will be approving your work and send all marketing materials to one main contact.  You don’t want too many people involved with making changes to marketing materials as it can turn into a circus. The goal is to keep communication strong and build stronger agency client relationships. Keep your clients prepared and you will see a more successful relationship form between agency and client!

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

Imagewww.natebianco.com

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Networking in the Real World and Online

www.techipedia.com

Networking is a crucial aspect of a business marketing plan.  Relationships are essential in business and networking is one way to get the relationship-building process started.  Networking is a way for people to meet and get to know each other.  The use of effective social skills and a strategy is necessary to become a successful networker.   A savvy networker will use these skills both in their real world and online networking efforts.

Every individual who networks should have their own personal marketing plan, strategies and goals to create brand awareness and a buzz about individuals.  Networking should begin long before you print your business cards or step foot into a networking event.  Public relations and social media lay the groundwork for more effective real world networking.  How great would it be to have people who you have never met in person recognize you at an event?  By actively engaging target audiences on social media or by using a blog, you can build recognition and a positive reputation.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the ideal forum for professionals to gather online for business purposes.  Create a profile detailing your skills, accomplishments and personal interests.  The profile is not for you; it is for the people you want to get to know.  Include a professional headshot.  Make it easy for them to get a feel for your expertise, willingness to share and depth of your network.  Write your profile so people in the cyber world will want to connect to you and people in the real world will want to take the relationship to the next level.

Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Although networking has evolved significantly with the advent of the internet, e-mail and social media, there is no substitute for meeting in-person and interacting face-to-face to build relationships.  Online networking should be used to reinforce relationships made in-person.  When networking in person the goal is to find common ground, which often has nothing to do with business.  Rob Fishman, Partner at Hauppauge based Sandler Training said, “When networking, you must resist the temptation to sell.  Networking is about creating a relationship for mutual gain.  The focus should be on meeting a person and creating a relationship.”  He suggested following the F-O-R-D acronym to avoid talking about business when networking.  “F is for Family; ask the person where they are from originally or if they have a family.  O is for Organization; ask the person about their company and who is a good prospective client for them.  R is for Recreation; ask what they do for fun, people like to talk about topics that are enjoyable.  D is for Dreams and Aspirations; ask what the person’s goals are and what they want to achieve.  The big picture is about creating a network of people in which there is a shared mutual level of trust,” added Mr. Fishman.

Bruce Libman, Author of It’s Just Breakfast and Total Networking, endorses the “give to get philosophy” when networking and building business relationships.   “Giving is key to relationship-building and you have to give much more than you should expect to receive.  Giving information, ideas or making introductions demonstrates that you care and that you have listened to the other person’s needs or interests.  This carries a lot of weight when building relationships,” said Libman.

Business Cards

After you’ve met people, swapping business cards remains important to swiftly exchange information.  Today, there are smart phone applications that allow users to exchange contact information by simply bumping their phones together; a cool app, but not common.  Business cards remain the staple.  There are several apps including one by LinkedIn called CardMunch that allows you to quickly scan business cards and import their information into your database and generate a connection request on LinkedIn at the same time.

c/o www.businesscardsforfree.net

Phil Capell from GoSchmooze, a networking facilitation system which randomly puts four individuals together for a business lunch or breakfast, suggests to, “Always be networking.  Every person you meet has the potential to introduce you to others in his or her network. Try to meet people every day.  Remember that networking is not prospecting.  Don’t treat all people as prospects. Develop relationships with people first and build upon this to see if business or referrals can be shared.”

After you have met someone, started a conversation and exchanged information, the real challenge begins – follow-up.  It is crucial to following up with each person you want to continue a relationship.  Making contact after the initial meeting is absolutely necessary if you want to build a relationship even if to simply touch base or have coffee,.  A personalized system for following up must be created and used.  If you do not follow-up, networking is a waste of time for you or the company you work for.  Failing to follow-up is a critical mistake that the majority of “networkers” make – don’t be one of them.

Networking is about meeting people and managing relationships.  Create a system to build awareness for yourself and your brand, network in the real world and online to strengthen relationships, and commit to following up.  Each of these steps offers their own challenges.  Even if you have been networking for years, take a look at what you are doing, create a plan or update your networking plan and make sure you have a clear follow up strategy.

Author:

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm.  For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com.  He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

Sources:

About Bill Corbett Jr.

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

It’s Time To Upgrade Your Marketing – How to Keep Your Brand Fresh

Why do some companies seem to be stuck in the 70’s and can’t seem to move forward with a new look and feel? I can’t tell you how many clients come to me who have not updated their marketing collateral in 10 years.  Some CEO’s are stuck in the old way of doing things and seem to not want to change. The word “change” scares many business owners and keeps them from updating the company’s brand. Is your company’s logo and marketing materials out of date and tired looking?

Even If It’s Not Broken, You May Still Want to Fix It

The old saying if it’s not broken don’t fix it holds true to many CEO’s who have been running businesses for 30-40 years. These types of business owners do not want to utilize social media and online marketing.  They want to stick with traditional advertising and telemarketing initiatives to drive new business.  However, they are missing out on new ways to promote their business and receive additional leads.  It can be frustrating for employees that are up-to-date on the current marketing trends to convince the CEO to change their ways. The key is to show the CEO valid reasons to change their ways.

Here are some tips to help convince “old school” CEO”s to upgrade their marketing:

English: Creating lifelong customer value with...

English: Creating lifelong customer value (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Old Collateral – A great way to convince a CEO to change their collateral is to show them a brochure of a competitor.  The new brochures have more white space and are concise.  Developing a new brochure is a great way to rebrand your business and upgrade your marketing.  Costs range depending on the type of brochure you would like to produce.  A simple tri-fold brochure can cost under $1000 to design and printing costs are low.  The style today is more photos and less text..keeping it light and airy.

New Website – A website is the face of your business and should be consistent with your marketing material.  Many companies have not upgraded their website and are using an outdated website.  New websites can be upgraded with flash and new photos that make it look up-to-date.  The cost to redesign a website can be kept low if you provide the photos and content to a website developer.

Trade Show Booth – An old booth design can destroy your brand at a trade show.  It’s important to keep up with your competitors and design a new booth.  Show the CEO’s a competitors booth and explain that it’s important to keep your marketing materials consistent.  The cost can be high for this depending on printing costs…but you will use the new trade show booth at all shows.  It won’t go to waste and is a very important investment.

Social Media Marketing – Show the CEO your competitors page on Facebook and Linked-In and explain that it’s good to have a page as well.  There is no cost to develop a FaceBook page for your business…so there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Why not?

The most important item to a CEO is the ROI and if you can show this over time..then you hit a home run.  Set goals up front for the CEO and show him results and you will be a “star”.   Dealing with “Old School” CEO’s can be extremely frustrating..but learning how to work around them and show the benefits of upgrading can be rewarding.  Take it one step at at time and don’t hit them with too much change at once.  The turtle always wins the race!

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Consistency Is Key In Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

Consistency is an important concept in marketing that many companies fail to deliver. It’s the key to success…so why is it overlooked by so many marketing executives?  The answer is that most marketing is fragmented and coming at people from too many different directions. Between TV, radio, print, outdoor billboards, email, direct mail all competing for your attention – consumers don’t know where to look next.   It’s important for companies to integrate their campaigns and not rush launching too many campaigns at one time.

Here are some guidelines to help deliver a consistent identity with a cohesive integration plan:

Select Your Logo, Tagline, & Colors – Keep your colors and logo consistent in all marketing messages. This includes print advertisements, TV Commercials, direct mail, etc.  Your tagline needs to be present on every single marketing piece to drive home what you do!  Be clear in telling people what you can offer them.  However, this is still not full integration.  Integration requires the entire company being able to state what you do in the same manner.  You need to integrate your message throughout your entire organization.

Message Longevity – Marketers tend to be in a rush to meet the next deadline or get the next campaign out the door.  It’s important to realize that integrating your brand takes time. Don’t continue changing the direction of your campaigns. Keep it consistent for years if you need to…….there is no time limit to branding your company.  Don’t lose patience and stop the momentum of keeping the same messaging out there.  The worst thing you can do is confuse people with mixed messages.

Verbiage – Create messages that can be easily understood by your target audience. Don’t speak in terms that people don’t understand. A perfect example would be a company that has technical terms in a print advertisement that would be better suited for engineers.  It’s important to make sure that your audience clearly understands what you sell and how the product will benefit them.  Focus on the solutions you offer to take their problem away.  This should be in every single piece of marketing communication that is sent out by your company.

A perfect time to use integrated marketing communications is during an acquisition. When a large organization acquires another company…..it’s important to have an integrated marketing plan in place. The time right after the acquisition is crucial to branding the new company and making sure people understand how the brand integrates into your own.  An example would be a security integrator who installs security products and just purchased a security software company.  Your marketing message would need to show how this new software company integrates into your existing company.  The security integrator should show how they are working hand and hand to produce the ultimate security solution for the end user.  In my experience, the company that is acquired usually changes their brand image to reflect the parent company. There have been some cases that the brand image was changed over time.  As long as you have an integrated marketing strategy in place that delivers consistency….you will be ahead of the game.

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Copywriting Tips to Become an Effective Copywriter

Are you cutting costs by writing your own marketing materials? Many business owners are writing their own copy for direct marketing programs and online advertisements.  It’s challenging to be creative and come up with new taglines and copy.  If you are not a pro at copywriting you will be after following the tips below.  Anyone can become a good copywriter if they follow the most important rules and practice writing.  The more you do it the better you get at it…just like most things in life!

Writing good copy is a technique that can be taught to business professionals in any industry.  However, it takes time to produce copy and you need to be able to focus without interruptions.  Here are some tips to help you produce fabulous copy for your marketing materials:

  1.  Personalize your message – Try writing to a single person rather than a mass audience.  Visualize your prospect and speak to them in a way that they understand.  Make sure you know your target audience. Smart companies should write copy that makes the reader feel as if they are speaking directly to him/her.
  2. Don’t come on too strong – Less is more….most readers have a short attention span.  Don’t hit them with too much information or too many offers. Keep it simple. It should focus on the benefits and not all about your PITCH.
  3. Use a compelling offer – Make sure you have a compelling offer to get people to respond.  It should be relevant to your audience.
  4.  Create a sense of urgency – Make sure you give prospects a feeling of urgency.  They should want to contact you now to grab that special offer or time will run out.  Keep them on their toes.
  5. Use Clear Qualifying Language – Make sure you use language that is clear and easy to understand.  For example, Engineers would need technical copy and terms…but a normal business person may not be as technical.

Types of Campaigns

Depending on the type of campaign, you will need to fit your copy to the medium. For example, when writing brochure copy, people have the tendency to write a book.  You need to keep the text short and to the point.  Most people have a very short attention span and will only look at the bulleted or highlighted items.  Same holds true for an email campaign or direct mail postcard.  Keep it simple…..

If you can’t adhere to the tips above and don’t have the time to focus on writing, then you should outsource to a professional copywriter.  Professional copywriters are available on a freelance basis and can be hired for specific projects.  You always want to keep your copy fresh and new ideas flowing! Happy writing!

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Tips to Extend Media Coverage

Media coverage is not easily obtained, but comes at a great cost and effort.  It is highly sought after because of the credibility and significant exposure derived from it.  Today’s media cycle is constantly moving, which gives many stories short-term relevance but a long-term shelf life.  When a company or an organization does get a story in the press, it must do everything it can to leverage its exposure quickly to secure a return on investment.  Below are several strategies for ways of extending the life and brand-building power of hard-earned media coverage.

Social Sharing

c/o www.aismedia.com/

Use your social media infrastructure to promote press coverage.  Post links immediately on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest (photos) and/or others.  Social media is a direct conduit to an organization’s fans, followers and “likers.”  Social media allows you to get the message out quickly and efficiently, but remember, every social media platform is different and each message should be customized to each site.  All coverage must include the link to the story or video.  If the link is too long, use a tool like bit.ly to shorten it.  Post at different times of the day and week to maximize the reach of the post.

Don’t Forget Images

Images are important.  Select the best image to include with the post and make sure to stress key messages in posts describing what the story is about.  Photos and media outlet logos help attract attention, shares, likes and retweets.

Proper Crediting

Post the article or a link on your website and/or blog.  Keep in mind that you may need to get permission to reproduce a published article or video.  Post coverage links in the groups you belong to on Facebook and LinkedIn and in appropriate threads on sites like Digg and Reddit.

Teamwork is Vital

Teamwork is key.  Company employees, friends and contacts can share positive company news in the groups they belong to on social media.  A collaborative effort can help increase the exposure exponentially.

Debra Vilchis, Chief Operating Officer of Fishman Public Relations, proposes creating an e-mail message to send to “customers, coworkers, and friends, pretty much anyone you know.” Share with them the press coverage directly, or include a link to the video or print story.

Communications

Communicate the company’s success and media coverage internally to employees and vendors.  Include the coverage prominently in electronic or print company newsletters.  Every company should have a news area on its website.  Links to stories should be placed here.  Multiple story links demonstrate that the business and its principals are industry leaders and experts.  Positive media coverage can increase company morale and productivity, and enhances the company’s credibility and stability to outside partners and vendors.

PR pro John Lee said, “Depending on where your story lands on the media food chain, use it as a stepping stone to garner more coverage.  Compelling print and online stories can be the best way to generate TV coverage, especially when they include a compelling human interest story.  Use print coverage prominently in a pitch to TV, but emphasize the visual aspects to the story, and if possible, suggest a fresh angle or an interesting person who can be interviewed.”

Publicity trainer and speaker Nancy Juetten suggests “creating a custom signature for your outgoing emails [because it] makes it easy for clients and prospects to read about your good news and remark upon it.”

Media coverage is a vital part of branding, credibility enhancement and promotion.  It is    positive third-party content, which must be pushed out on social media streams.  Good coverage can and should be repurposed periodically to ensure key individuals and target audiences see it and learn important information about you and your business.  Media coverage offers unmatched credibility enhancement and promotion.  The value it provides cannot be easily measured, but it is worth many times more than advertising and other forms of marketing.  When you get the coverage use it.

Author:

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm.  For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com.  He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

Sources:

About Bill Corbett Jr.

This article is provided by Bill Corbett, Jr., President of Corbett Public Relations, Inc., a leading media relations, social media and personal branding consulting firm. For more information, go to corbettpr.com or to his blog corbettprblog.com. He can be reached at wjcorbett@corbettpr.com or @wjcorbett.

2012 Direct Marketing Trends – Marketing is Here to Stay

MARKETING IS BACK AND HERE TO STAY!  Yes….Marketers can start to rest easy knowing that businesses are starting to see the value of marketing again.  By reducing marketing budgets over the past two years, companies are seeing a reduction in overall sales and are not happy!  They are starting to be proactive and seek out professional marketers to help them meet their sales objectives. Without marketing…visibility is limited and new opportunities dry up quickly.   Perhaps….CEO’s had to see for themselves the outcome of not marketing their product/service.   As they say “It All Happens For A Reason”.  Perhaps….Management has finally accepted the fact that you can’t live without marketing forever.

Where are we headed in 2012?

Marketing reports are showing that companies have added on new marketing programs in 2012 to include new collateral development, direct mail, and increased trade show presence.  For example, many companies are investing in new trade show booth designs and new glossy 4-color brochures to re-brand their company image.  Companies that have not invested in any marketing activities for the last 5-10 years are coming forward and asking marketers to help steer them in the right direction.  We are seeing more marketing positions open up and marketing consultants are starting to see an increase in their client base.

As stated by The Ballantine Corporation, an area of direct marketing that is projected to see a huge focus in 2012 is targeting and personalization.  It all comes down to relevancy and prospects are more likely to respond if the topic is relevant to them.  They also mentioned another key factor in target marketing in 2012 will be trigger marketing.   Trigger marketing is when specific messages are sent to a prospect/customer based on the trigger of a certain criteria. An example would be a birthday where you receive a direct mail piece offering a discount off of dinner.

Another interesting fact is that people have moved past their negative feelings about direct mail and are starting to respond again.  With the overload of emails in our inboxes, prospects prefer other methods of direct marketing.   The goal is to be smart with your marketing and make sure you are sending relevant messages/offers to your target audience.

Tailored URL’s (PURLs) are also a big item in 2012.  This includes a dedicated url that provides prospects with a web landing page that is customized to their needs.   It can include their name, special offers, information on previous purchases, or a special message just for them.  It’s the wave of the future.

With the buy in from management and CEO’s, marketers can work their magic and create unique marketing campaigns for their clients.   It’s a team effort all around and with the support of the key players, there is no end to a marketer’s success.  The goal should be to keep trying new tactics and find out what works best.  As long as you test and show results for your campaigns….there is nothing to worry about in 2012!

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

When to Use On-Line Public Relations Vehicles?

As a public relations specialist, it’s important to know when to use on-line Public Relations vehicles.  Since there is a cost associated with PR websites, you don’t want to waste it on something that is not newsworthy.  It’s important to research the various websites available and the costs for uploading a press release. The most popular websites include PR Web, 24-7 Press Release, BusinessWire, and PRlog.  The most expensive sites are PR Web & BusinessWire which charges up to $200-$250 per release,  24-7 Press Release charges $50 per release, while prlog is free.   These online sites  can get your company noticed, improve your search engine rankings, and generate more leads. Once you create an announcement about your organization, it goes out across the web and hits the press worldwide!

The process is simple…..Each online mechanism requires you to set-up an account and offers you the ability to distribute your press release and reach all your targets: print and broadcast newsrooms, individual reporters and editors, consumers, financial and news portals, websites, news syndicators, bloggers, social media networks and more.  You can also target by region, industry, or news theme.  Usually, once you upload the press release it takes 24 -48 hours for the press release to be approved and distributed.

Here are situations that call for spending your dollars on an online PR site distribution:

Upcoming Trade Show – Your company is exhibiting at an upcoming trade show or conference and you want to spread the word.  An online PR site is a great vehicle to accomplish this.  It will help you promote your booth and invite attendees to stop by. It creates excitement and anticipation for your company and can increase your booth traffic.  It’s also a great way to get the word out to the media that will be attending the trade show.  They are always looking for new stories to cover at the show and by giving them advance notice, you can schedule meetings and get people talking before the show!

New Product Launch – You have a new product coming out in the fall and you want to start creating hype in the industry now.  An online site will give you the ability to inform your target audience about the new product prior to the release date.  It’s a great way to prepare for your new product launch.  You can also upload product photos and offer discounts to people that order the product in advance.

Acquisition – Typically, most companies write a press release announcing a new acquisition.  By uploading the announcement and sending out via the online sites, you are getting the word out quickly. You can select by industry and make sure that everyone in your particular industry is aware of your new acquisition.

You sent out the release…now how do you track results?  Most PR specialists look at impressions, number of views, and online articles.  An impression refers to any time the headline and possibly the summary is displayed at any of the distribution points the online site has the ability to track.  It includes the home page, browsing by day or category, and newsfeeds.  The release views refer to any time the full body text of your press release has been displayed at any of the distribution points.  By keeping track of your successes and how many times the PR release is published gives you the backing to continue spending money on these types of vehicles.  Hopefully, it will continue to be a vehicle that is widely used in the future.

Author:

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Tips to Cut Your Trade Show Booth Spending in 2012

A trade show is a great way for a company to increase exposure and increase brand presence…but there’s typically a huge investment required.  In 2012, companies arecontinuing to exhibit at major shows….. but are on limited budgets.  There are many ways for a company to reduce the exorbitant costs and still make an impact at the show.

Image c/o www.tiinetworktechnologies.com

As a marketing consultant, my job is to listen to clients’ needs and make recommendations to help them achieve their goals within the marketing budget.   Trade shows continue to be an important part of the marketing mix and should not be ignored.  Companies should continue to exhibit at major industry specific shows…but follow the tips below to reduce the overall cost of exhibiting.

Tips to Cut Your Trade Show Booth Spending :

  1. Booth Sharing – This concept has become popular in 2011 and continues in 2012.  A company can share booth space with a non-competitive company and split the booth costs. This can cut costs by 50%.  Each company can work their side of the booth and be responsible for graphics and product demos.  If you are the type of company that does not want to share your exhibit space…read on for further cost saving tips!
  2. Reduce the Size of Your BoothSpace– A great way to reduce your costs is to reduce the size of your booth.  Is it really necessary to have a 10 x 20 booth or larger just to impress your competitors? You can still have a successful show and be in a 10 x 10 booth.  In addition, to saving thousands on the booth cost, this option eliminates the need for additional booth staff…..which in return cuts your travel expenses.
  3. Consider Second Hand Displays– If you can’t afford a brand new top of the line booth, another option would be to purchase a refurbished second hand display.  Of course, you would need to pay for the graphics…but you would save on the booth printing costs.
  4. Use Lightweight Trade Show Exhibits  – You can reduce shipping costs by using lightweight materials to ship. Pop up displays are an excellent option because they are extremely lightweight and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If there are items that don’t need to be shipped and can be carried by you to the event, then that will also be cost efficient for you.
  5. Keep Your Booth Paperless – Do not print and bring company brochures.  Instead bring a laptop and show a presentation at your booth.  Only send brochures to qualified leads as a follow-up after the show.

The good news is that trade show booth traffic continues to increase in the new year.  Companies are seeing a return on investment and understand the value of not missing out on the major industry events.  Exhibiting at trade shows is a HOT item in 2012.  Hopefully, these tips will allow companies to continue exhibiting at the major events and not be left out in the cold!

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

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