Archive for August, 2010

Social media dedication among US companies is growing…

For those of you that know me, you understand that I have a passion for numbers.  I love to know why people do things and in what numbers.  That’s why I was excited to see some new statistics on social media that was put out by King Fish Media, HubSpot and Junta42 in their June 2010 study.

Here are just some of the highlights of the study:

  • 72% of US companies said they had a social media strategy.
  • 75% of the companies with a social strategy said they planned to increase their investment in the next year.
  • While 35% thought that funds would be allocated to a specific custom project, 33% said their company would increase marketing expenditures to focus more on social media.

Here are the firmographics of the respondents…just in case you care: 457 US marketers and managers; 52% of respondents were in the publishing, media, advertising and marketing industries.

Companies that Plan to Increase Investment in Social Media in the Next 12 Months, June 2010 (% of US companies that currently have a social media strategy)

So what do these numbers tell me about social media?  Well first and foremost that social media isn’t going away and second that those that don’t jump on the bandwagon today (actually about 2 years ago but who’s counting?) will be left behind.  Social media can be a very important part of not only your marketing but your customer service experience.

Happy marketing!

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Content marketing and the small business…

For those of you reading my blog, you know that I am constantly lamenting about the relative absence of good B2B marketing ROI data, particularly as it relates to digital and social media marketing.  Well, I am happy to report that I soon expect to lament no more. 

That’s due to an upcoming study, B2B Content Marketing Study, from Junta42 and MarketingProfs (with assistance from the Business Marketing Association and American Business Media).

The authors of the study were nice enough to provide all of us with a preview of the study.  I thought you might find the following data interesting:

  • Very small companies (those with less than 10 employees) blog more than large companies (over 1000 employees) at nearly double the rate (64% to 39%).
  • Small companies have been faster to adopt social media and eBooks.
  • The average B2B company spends 26% of their budget on content marketing.  Small companies spend 34% of budget while large companies spend 21%.

Another encouraging finding from the upcoming release was that over half of B2B marketers say they are planning to increase their spend on content marketing in 2011. 

While I would still like to see more of this type of research and evaluation going on in the B2B and specifically the small business market, this is certainly a good start.

Happy Marketing!

Doing business the old fashioned way…

In this world of constant connectivity, it is surprising how disconnected we marketers are when it comes to our relationships with our internal and external clients.

What do I mean by that?  Let’s take social media for instance.  If done right, social media allows marketers to have meaningful, one on one relationships with current and potential customers.  So what do we do?  We “meform” rather than inform in the social world.  By doing this we let the social world know that we are only in it for us, not to help make things better for our customers/the world.  So what happens?  We get tuned out.  STRIKE ONE.

While we are trying to be social, we are also marketing our product/ service/brand through direct mail.  Yes, it can still be done effectively.  Communicating to our targets and customers is important.  The issue with direct mail is we tend to focus the message too much on ourselves and not enough on our how our product/service/brand will benefit our customer/prospect (ie., we focus too much on the features and not enough on the benefits). STRIKE TWO.

Being the integrated marketers that we are, we also turn to digital marketing to communicate our product/service/brand.  We have the best intentions with this media, but what happens?  Often we don’t have an effective message line and/or we have too much copy and/or copy that is too complicated—this gets us deleted faster than an invitation to watch home movies of a recent trip to the earwax museum.   STRIKE THREE.

So how should we be marketing in the social, mail and digital spaces? The old-fashioned way of course!

1) Understand their needs. Don’t be a focus group of one and assume you know what your customers/prospects need and/or want.  Ask them.

2) Develop your brand voice. In the social and digital world it is critically important that current and prospective consumers, particularly Gen Y, “know” who you are.  To accomplish this, you need to establish a voice for your brand that you consistently use.  This can be a challenge for large companies that have more than one “face” in the social and digital space; but it can be done.

3) Be genuine. Those who come across as a “used car salesman” will likely be ignore; particularly in the social space.  Make every experience with your brand a real one.

4) Give them an experience not just and interaction. This is particularly important when marketing in the digital area. To accomplish this, you need to beef up the interactive nature of your website and your mobile marketing.  Sometimes it is simply a matter of building a great game or having an opportunity to learn (particularly about the industry/topic/product/service you deal in) in an easy and fun way on your website or related landing page.

5) Don’t disappear. We are quick to discard a marketing method that doesn’t give us an immediate return.  This is particularly true of social media.  You can’t come in and out of the social and digital spaces and expect customers and prospects to care about you.  It usually doesn’t work that way.  We, as consumers, are way too focused on what’s hot today to keep our attention span.

So remember, marketing isn’t hard, you just need to consistently be there in one voice and be genuine.

Happy marketing!

Direct mail marketing quick tips…

Direct mail is easy…yeah, right.  In my experience, people often think that marketing and specifically direct mail marketing is easy.  Just send people a postcard (or a letter) full of great information about your company/product/service and people will be responding in droves.  For the inexperienced marketers out there who have tried this approach and failed miserably…you understand.

Coming from a market research background, I too was under the impression that direct mail was easy.  After a year of doing it with lack luster success, I knew different.  Here are some quick tips that might help you on your direct mail campaign:

  • Postcards vs. Letters: When to Use What—Many people think postcards are better than letters at getting a response. I am here to tell you differently. When in doubt…use a letter. Letters can be used for anything, but are most effective when you are introducing a product/service and/or when you have a complicated topic/message. Postcards should be focused on reminders (save the date), events, and general branding.  Boxes with letters and other things (samples) in them are also very effective; but they should be used more for higher value prospects.  That’s because the return on your investment will stink if you spend too much on the delivery method for low value targets.  A “no brainer” yes, but I have seen it happen.

 

  • Benefits vs. Features in Copy—When writing the copy (messages) for letters and postcards, focus more on benefits to the prospect rather than the features of the product/service (or the greatness of your company).  Here’s an example of the difference—Feature:  Payment Plan, Benefit—Cash flow assistance.

 

  • The Value of the Johnson Box—While the name is weird, this area of the letter can be one of your best friends.  The Johnson Box is located in the top right hand corner of your letter.  It is usually directly to the right of the mailing information for your prospect.  This is the “hook” area.  You use this area to get people interested in reading further.  I have had the most success in having the copy in the Johnson Box be a question; though it doesn’t have to be. Remember to focus on the benefits to the prospect and the copy in the Johnson Box has to be aligned with what you are going to tell them in the letter.

 

  • The Value of a “P.S.” Line—Interestingly, having the offer and whatever you want people to remember about your letter will most likely to be read if it is in the P.S. line at the bottom. This line is one of the most read components of any letter.

 

So remember, direct mail marketing isn’t easy—but it can be very effective.  The key is making sure that you have the right delivery method for your message; be it a letter, postcard or FedEx box.

Happy Marketing!

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