Posts tagged: Viral Marketing

RELEASE the PRESS RELEASE? To Deliver SEO or Not to Deliver SEO? That is the Question…

By , December 26, 2013 9:44 am

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Up to this moment in “cyber news”, the press release has worked as a significant contributor to what we used to call journalism.  The press release was able to give reporters and editors at newspapers and magazines – print, and TV, radio — broadcast media an essential story.  Relevant information was the currency between news makers and news reporters.

Now, there are so many omni-media ways for the PR practitioners to reach their audiences:  blogs, tweets, social media, e-mail newsletters, webinars, et al.  And, in this cyber world, search engines provide another major tool for omni-information seekers.   The press release remains useful as always, if it is relevant in this new environment of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).  P.R. managers and marketing directors may possibly add “journalist” to their job descriptions, since at this time they manage many more operations and produce publishable content, which can directly reach their key audiences.

If there was a period when the preponderance of media might have been a problem for a public relations operation to continue using the press release, it’s no longer the case.  One of the reasons the release gained publishing power, is because it helps to deliver the coveted SEO.  As such, these optimized links have brought companies their most useful keywords, helping them to obtain more acceptance on the Internet.  This is now a successful strategy to aid brands and companies with their online presence and recognition.

However, these optimized links are being questioned.  Some industry voices have described these as “link devices,” warning that the anchor text in the news release will no longer build a company’s SEO and creating more links may even damage SEO.  Thus, brand content groups that produce readers to build “unnatural” links will be seriously stymied.

Point — Counter Point!!

by Art Winters Dec2013

 

As always, if the press agent dished out bad information, the media rejected it.  If they provided valid news of relevance to the media’s audience, the media appreciated the helpful, newsworthy information.  There are fewer gatekeepers to filter the news, aka content.  Then as now, high content stories provided in today’s press releases could still service market education and offer online discoveries through the omni-channels.

Therefore, we believe the press release is still a valid marketing strategy and tool, even if it is different from the past.  It needs to strive to be an effective communicator of authentic and timely content.

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Are you still the sucker you used to be?

By , December 14, 2013 8:46 am

New research was just released that demonstrates a big shift in how consumers buy and what influences their purchase. Traditional ads no longer have the same power to shape consumer opinions as they once did. Amazon (the ultimate cost and quality comparison, along with others) influence consumers more than ever.  The studies were based on the “compromise” effect – (see NYT article below for the full story) are probably now saying to yourself, ho hum… and why is this news?  Well, it took a while for the establishment to document what most of us already know and practice organically.  However, some of the results of the study suggest that digital feedback in the digital world allows marketers to see what works and what doesn’t – what messages are influencing customers and which ones aren’t.  And they can make adjustments accordingly…and very quickly.  This is all very well and good, and excellent support (although the writers and researchers don’t see it from the customers’ point-of-view, so they are still missing the point) for my position that customer-focused information and insight right from the beginning…pre- advertising/marketing/PR efforts and spending, is more valuable than measuring what works after you’ve spent all that time, money and effort and then correcting it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/08/business/theres-power-in-all-those-user-reviews.html?smid=pl-share

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Warby Parker talk

By , September 23, 2013 7:58 am

Warby Parker

SHOPPERSONA … CUSTOMER BEHAVIORAL CONDITIONING through DIGITAL MARKETING CONTENT

By , August 29, 2013 9:33 am

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Knowing your key customers’ lifestyles and work behaviors can help create content to align your brand shoppersona with your target customer’s shoppersona. In this digital era, to communicate real value, it is necessary to provide meaningful experiences through content that is based on your carefully researched key customer persona. With exploding competition for the customer’s time and attention, brands must become the “go to,” “top-of-mind” brand name for acquiring that special “persona” humans seek. To ring that bell, as Ivan Pavlov’s studies in behavioral conditioning explored, brands must create web content experiences based on knowledge of what will activate the customer‘s want/need to shop and buy. Brands have always sought to learn how they shop and why they buy; now they must go deeper.

Ivan Pavlov by Art Winters

Ivan Pavlov by Art Winters

So what do digital marketers need in order to create their behavioral conditioning strategies? Starting with lifestyle and life work, learning your customers’ online habits: Do they spend a lot of time online? When: While at work? Only when at home? Any time on the go? For What: Are there categories of products they are more or less likely to shop for online? Where do they get relevant brand information; which blogs do they value; how much do they rely on friends and associates for referrals; what media and devices are they using …?

To gain and keep customers, a brand must align its “positioning conditioning,” to establish why the customer should consider changing their brand preference behaviors. Again we ask: How is your brand different and better in terms of what it offers the customer in their managements of life? How do you lead the customer to your touch points and get them to engage with your brand?

If you haven’t been thinking about how digital marketing is changing the behavioral conditioning in customer behavior, it may be time to update your knowledge. Specifically why and how potential customers are now shopping and buying. These insights can be used to create content for the new Native Advertising (see our July 2013 blog) that takes a new approach to how media and brands are communicating what products and services a brand can promise and deliver. Digital marketing strategies should concentrate on interactions rather than transactions. The primary goal is to develop new ways to approach your key customers with content that contains sincere concerns for helping them and developing experiences to build a relationship that is based on knowledge of their new behavioral shoppersona.

For more on Online Shopping Habits of Technology Consumers, go to these very interesting and current survey results: http://www.logicbuy.com/features/survey-online-shopping-habits-of-technology-consumers-infographic

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Fashion Tech Event

By , August 17, 2013 10:26 am

If fashion tech interests you, or you are a fashion tech person, then this event is well worth attending.
http://fashiontech-ny.eventbrite.com/?utm_source=Copy+of+Copy+of+Copy+of+Events+June%2FJuly+2013&utm_campaign=MAY+2012&utm_medium=email

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

From MADMEN to MADMOBILE The Next Era of Advertising and Promotion

By , June 27, 2013 9:58 am

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Advertising and Promotion (AdPromo) is now developing a new I.D. for marketing communications, which we could call MADMOBILE. This is recognition of the blending of Social Media, Global Technologies, and 2-way mobile communications. Much has been discussed about what advertising and promotion will get to be. Mobile advertiser/customer engagement and exchange in social media is the big think in AdPromo’s quickly changing present and exciting future.

The thinking behind some new innovations is to provide “glocal–(Global Localities) –with—mobile” opportunities for local AdPromo. Those on the forefront for developing these new services are employing their knowledge of changes in consumer behavior, which is being caused by, and satisfied by, the ever-expanding presence of Smartphones and social media.

These give the advertiser and promoter the opportunity for the delivery of local marketing communications. In the past, and still in the present, big business with its big money has used AdPromo to knock out small business. Many small-businesses can now make the most of the opportunity to advertise and promote to specific local targets through mobile “MadPhones” with a smaller, more effective and efficient budget.

In addition, there are recent connectivity innovations that enable customers to learn of a promotion without being in or even near a store, along with advances in Near Field Communications (NFC), receiving contact when they are passing near the brick and mortar store. More and more, retailers are encouraging word-of-mouth referrals by loyal customers, which is helping to build their loyalty through interesting engagements and an active relationship.

For now, customers are able to find advertising and promotions on their phones and tablets. Most importantly, a store can launch its advertising for a promotion in a few minutes, designing the message for today’s deals and targeting a specifically valued customer. The opportunity for retailers to present promotions in real time is a salient feature of the New World of MADMOBILE.

MadMobile drawing by Art Winters

drawing by Art Winters

 

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

10 Trends for Better Marketing and Results in 2013

By , March 23, 2013 10:08 am

Everyone loves top 10 lists.

So now that we’re ending the first quarter of the year…here’s some helpful directions to focus on in your marketing and business (they are in no particular order of importance)

1.       Integrate your marketing
As much as everyone would really love “the answer” and that it be just one thing…social media is the “one” at the moment…that’s just not how marketing works. Marketing is an eco-system that includes social, PR, collateral, branding etc.

2.       Put in a call to action in every piece of marketing you do
This may sound self-serving but it actually helps direct the customer to the key next steps in order to buy your product or otherwise engage with you.

3.       Create content that is valuable to your customers
This includes helpful tips and case histories that will help move the prospective forward to become a customer.

4.       Communicate
Tweet, blog, get your voice out there and heard.  I posted a jobs graph from another source a while back and suddenly it’s been “Pinned” by dozens of people on Pinterest. Who knew?

5.       Do primary research with your customers
Ask them open-ended questions about what’s important to them about your product or service and what will drive them to buy it.

6.       Listen to your customers’ answers
The information may be different from what you expected. Welcome the face that you do not know it all and keep your ego out of it.

7.       Follow-up after the sale
Thank your customers. If they have feedback (which you should solicit) listen to it and if something is wrong, make changes or otherwise implement their feedback.
Follow-up again.

8.       Identify your influencers
Build a relationship with them either on-line or in person.

9.       Brand yourself, your product, your company
Remember, you are your brand.  Use experiences and stories to help with brand identification. Your customers will also help you create your brand.

10.     Write better subject lines
It’s a crowded, competitive world out there…make sure your communications are opened.

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Just say yes…to networking

By , March 2, 2013 9:12 am

A lot of business (particularly service businesses) is done by relationships.  Chemistry is one factor that helps to foster those relationships. Sharing an experience is another. That’s why networking is important.  (Yes online networking is important as well and chemistry and experience sharing occur there also but my focus in this post  is on in-person networking encounters).

Now, don’t just jump up and run to the nearest networking events – there are too many each day. So you have to be selective.

Here are some tips that work for me on events:

  • Select events that interest you – it’s easier to start conversations and ask questions of panels if you’re interested. Also once you’ve asked questions, people are aware of you and may approach you after the panel.
  • Stretch – go to an event that’s geographically different – cross the river –  if you’re in Manhattan, go to Brooklyn or New Jersey. I’ve gone as far as the outer suburbs of Philadelphia.  I was in a networking event in Newark, and had the opportunity to meet Christine Quinn, President of the New York City Council, and chat with her for a  few uninterrupted minutes – I might not have been able to do that in a Manhattan venue (especially in her district) because when she’s local, everyone wants to meet her.  A few months later, I ran into her again at another event and she recognized me – we chatted again and I was connected to her chief of staff for ongoing communication with her. Valuable connection.
  • Use social networking to find out which events are high quality.  Sometimes someone in the know will offer you a discount to the event. Almost always someone will direct you to a good event and maybe even one you hadn’t heard of before.
  • Get to the event early – I often wind up speaking with the guest speaker or panelists prior to the event before anyone knows who they are – after the panel, they are usually surrounded by lots of people.
  • Go no matter how you are feeling – sometimes just walking in the door without any expectations brings nice surprises.
  • Don’t expect to meet everyone.  That results in lots of business cards in the trash later.
  • Networking is not limited to a time and place – I know colleagues that got business by chatting while waiting on a long line at a professional meeting. Here are some other networking ideas http://adminsecret.monster.com/benefits/articles/1211-alternative-places-to-network

In my entrepreneurship classes, I sometimes run into an individual who is shy and says they can’t network. There is one universal answer: “get over it!”   If you are starting a business, the single most important factor in the business is you  — YOU ARE YOUR BRAND.  You must get out there and network because people are buying you.

Here are some more tips on how to make your networking succeed: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-bernard/six-tips-how-to-network_b_1954824.html

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

GOOGLE MAKES MAD MEN, SAD MEN

By , February 28, 2013 9:54 am

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Print Media Commissions are not in Mad Men Visions

GOOGLE MAKES MAD MEN, SAD MEN

drawing by Art Winters

In 2012, Google billed over 20 billion in advertising dollars.  This was more than the total of all U.S. print media.  What a contrast to what magazines and newspapers sold just five years ago!  In 2006, print media sold 60 billion dollars more in advertising than did Google!  How will this change brand marketing?  This isn’t your Mad Men’s day of advertising. (“Mad Men” is AMC’s TV show based on Madison Avenue’s advertising business and people in the early 60’s.)

So what does this mean for brand management performed by many of today’s advertising agencies?  Well, they had better get their act together.  They need to deliver branding power that can compete or at least do co-branding with the Googles, E-Bays, Amazon.coms, and many others, which will keep coming down the Internet superhighway.

The big question is how much of a threat is online advertising?  Is it delivering the ROI experienced through print media advertising?  It’s vital to realize that Google, just 14 years old, is now taking in more ad revenue than print media, which has been here for over 100 years!

However, it must be accounted that Google has a global operation, so this can’t be simply analyzed.  It must also be analytically figured that Google has seen a 15% decrease in ad Cost-Per-Click, CPC (the average fee that advertisers are charged for each clicked on ad) in 2012.  But now, Google’s CPC drop has slowed and perhaps turned the corner in January, as their CPC share increased due to click share on tablet devices. As more people are watching content across a variety of their mobile devices, Google has decided to pull out of its 5-year effort to build its TV Ads product.  Since 2009, they have shut down similar services for print and radio advertising.

Google is concentrating on beating Facebook in the sale of online display ads.  (Online display ads feature the advertiser’s content message on a destination website, usually in a box on the top or side of the page.)  The company is planning to lead web-search ads and online display ads that feature graphics, interactive communications and videos.

Google’s significant increase in display ads that concentrate on brand content is evidence that they have ambitious brand marketing goals.  Now Google is building and developing plans for their advertisers to more efficiently buy across a multitude of sites.

This is not only an important story for the online aspects of our businesses; it is also a good brand invention and reinvention story to watch in real time. 

Where has Google been and where is it going – stay tuned… the next generation of Mad Men is in the digital works….

Arthur & Peggy Winters co-teach SXB 200 Brand Marketing Communications for Image & Meaning and SXR 050 Intro to Branding: The Art of Customer Bonding.

Social Media week – observations and a guest blogger on those observations

By , February 23, 2013 8:37 am

Social Media week was full of fantastic events with different experts in various sectors.  The networking was great because each venue had different people to meet and multiple points-of-view.

There were two global takeaways I had from the events I attended.

·   The first is that there’s still no magic bullet to get customers, even in social media.  SEO, blogs, websites, linked in, pinterest, etc. must all work in as part of a strategically organized system in order to be successful. And that requires a fair degree of participation on your, the entrepreneur’s, part

·   The second takeaway I observed and heard from techies who were self-proclaimed “not” marketing people (that’s how obvious the problem is) is that the paradigm of giving the customer what the company and ad agency wants hasn’t changed at all.  The only change is how it’s delivered –- using new, sexy technology.  This is troubling. For example, at the “Marketing without words” event, there was a discussion of social engagement through images. Tools to follow each visitor from first look to sale, re-tweet or re-pin, etc. is now available. It’s called Curalate.  Great. But what does it measure AFTER a customer’s visual trail?  How does that affect a company’s bottom line? Imagine how much more impactful a  brand would be if they asked their customers what THEY wanted to see before they posted anything.  I predict that audience participation would skyrocket.  And Curalate would confirm that.  There is some progress in that, but where’s the ROI?

Here are some thoughts by Joe Bergmann, who has many years of online marketing experience. His approach is simpler and more effective than anything I’ve heard in a long time.

“Just By Asking”

Why do ad/brand companies try so hard to quantify people? Why do they try to dictate what they want people to think? Why do they think they have the power to brand themselves in people’s minds?

Most ad/technology companies of late adopters (advertisers), try to be hip, thinking they are on top of the latest technology and social networks so that they can exploit early adopters (customers, who don’t want their social media invaded by yellow creamy cheese and canned soup). Advertisers talk about controlling “authentic” relationships directly with customers, as if that was possible. Actually, it’s self-delusional. And then they take that delusion in-house (what next — outsourcing that authenticity to India?). Unbelievable.

This is top-down, invasive thinking. Most companies believe that what is important to them is important to their audience. It’s eyeball gathering that gets dirty looks from the consumer, because it is perceived as interrupting customer conversations and trampling on their privacy. What it is, is bad manners. Many companies seem to have forgotten that serving the customer also serves their stockholders. Until companies stop imposing meaningless marketing messaging on people, they will be stuck in a morass of the latest technological gimmick and the old-fashioned broadcast mentality. The Internet is a graveyard of technologies and metrics that have been the next, best thing.

So what’s a company to do? Remember, your brand is what the customer experiences of you — not what you want them to think (no matter how much and where you advertise). To make that work for your company, you should consider asking your customers what’s important to them. All you have to do is ask. So few companies do that, because they fear the of loss of control. But loss of control is not a bad thing. Being too much in control will make you less effective in the sales process. It turns your marketing message into a monologue. And most monologues don’t produce sales. After all, that’s what marketing boils down to — sales. Giving in to your customers and listening to what matters to them is liberating. It helps you think clearly about how you should approach your audience — without trying to interpret what they mean. In our experience, your customers are more than willing to help. They are the most important asset your company has.

So why do so many marketing companies and ad agencies still operate in broadcast mode? Again, loss of control. So they offer focus groups to pick the “best” of their controlled ideas. So what if the best idea isn’t in the 3-5 boards presented. Just keep developing more controlled ideas. Wouldn’t it be simpler to ask the customer what’s important to them and then build your marketing around their needs? But that takes a willingness to lose control and let people speak freely.

But that takes an approach to market research that requires a sense of humility, listening skills and a commitment to giving people what they want from your company (and a good product  or service that meets a need doesn’t hurt). The problem with most companies is that they rationalize or assume they know what the customer wants without having ever asked. They think their product or service should be interesting without being interested in their customers. Or worse, to be able to manipulate their perception. It doesn’t work.

That’s why I developed the OpenMind session and methodology. There is no better way to discover what your audience wants — and helps you give it to them. It’s the simplest, most time and cost effective way to make your marketing work. One OpenMind session will open your eyes to a whole new way to brand your company and then turn that brand into an experience to your audience. In OpenMind sessions customers are the ones who inform you how they want to be “told and sold.” Then and only then can technology become a tool that enables you speak to their needs.

Just by asking.

To learn more about OpenMind visit: http://www.holtzmancom.com/teamwork_openmind.php

 

Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

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