Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

How effective is social media marketing?

Here’s the Audio for this blog:  How effective is social media marketing?
http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F13971960 How effective is social media marketing? by sharon-markovsky
So you have heard about this thing called Social Media Marketing, but you are reticent in spending any of your marketing budget for this marketing delivery method until you know that it is going to be effective.  I totally understand!  I have been there myself.

Well good news (sort of)!  In today’s eMarketer newsletter, the great folks at eMarketer and Eversave have provided us with a great glimpse into the effectiveness of social media marketing among women (most of their survey respondents were women).   

Here’s what they found:

  • Social media is great for announcing/providing a deal:
    • 75% of female social network users thought social sites were useful for learning about offers from brands.
    • Most respondents to the survey said they usually heard about daily deals in their newsfeed, from brands they follow (85.7%).
    • Friends were another big source of deal information for survey respondents (44.5%)—so getting your message in front of friends of your target market might not be a waste after all!

Ok now, before you start getting too excited…a word of caution.  This is just one study, collected for a specific purpose (skewed?  Maybe).  Other surveys, like the one by ForeSee Results put social media sites toward the bottom of online shoppers’ preferred promotional channels—at just 8% compared to 64% who thought e-mail was the best way. 

So what does this mean?  Well it depends of course!  The key takeaway for me is that you cannot depend on a social media marketing strategy alone.  You need an integrated strategy that should consider social media, digital marketing, e-mail marketing and traditional marketing–all depending upon your target market.  The Eversave research leads me to believe that social media marketing (particularly for retail offers) will be more effective when targeting women than men.

Are you including social media marketing in your marketing campaign?

Happy Marketing!

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Ok, so you have your online personal brand taken care of…now what?

In my prior blog, Why you can’t wait another day to create a personal brand online, I talked about the importance of building and consistently implementing your online brand.

Assuming that you have given your online brand a spring cleaning…now what?

For me, the next step is setting goals for my online brand. At the end of the day, what do I want my online brand to do for me and others?

Here’s a glimpse at my overall goals for social media: 

  1. Mentoring: Help at least one person each week through my social media efforts 
  2. Engagement: Have an in depth conversation with at least one new person through social media each week 
  3. Networking: Increase the number of quality people following/friending/linking to me by 300 each month 
  4. Publishing: write and publish at least two quality blogs per week 
  5. Recognition: increase the association of my name with Marketing and Market Research key words—become the recognized expert.

As with your company brand, you need to set goals for your personal online brand. In my next blog I will talk about the all important next step…. Metrics.

Have you set goals for your online brand yet?  What are you waiting for?

Happy Marketing!

Why you can’t wait another day to create a personal brand online…

Whether we like it or not, we can’t hide from the internet.  Every picture in which we are included and every community activity in which you engage are internet fodder—whether you like it or not.  Ok, so now you know.  Stop trying to hide—much like an ostrich hiding with its head in the sand…you will get eaten.

 So you can’t stop the internet, but you can shape your online personal brand…

Here are six ways you can quickly clean up your online brand today:

  • Be a networker—build your social network with quality people.   Social media is by definition social.  To help build your online brand and help you go viral…you need friends, followers, “linkers” and “commenters” (your mom and your cousin bobby too).
  • Be photo consistent—use the same profile photo across all your social media outlets…be the same person on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn…etc.
  • Be image conscious—review your Facebook and make sure you untag any photos that aren’t consistent with you are or who you want to be.  And no, you don’t want to have the sloppy drunk brand online (even if that is your offline brand).
  • Watch your language—avoid using inappropriate language and discussing inappropriate topics—particularly a problem on Facebook. 
    • Remember—everything you say on Facebook is findable.  Do you want a potential employer to see your post on Facebook where you trash your boss or company?   If you think your private settings will save you…think again.
    • Don’t be a player—I know that being a mayor of crazytown is cool, but it doesn’t help your online brand….neither does having a lot of fat and happy animals on Farmville.
    • Stay on target—blog about a consistent topic.  If you are investing the time to blog, make sure you stay on target
      • Use key words to make your blog searchable/findable on the internet.  If you are like me, a marketer, you need to put key marketing words and terms in every blog.

And, what’s most important?  Don’t Quit!  Stay vigilant.  The time you spend crafting your online brand will pay off big time.  It might not be today or tomorrow, but it will be soon.

Want more help crafting your personal brand?  Ask Dan Schawbel from the personalbrandingblog…the personal branding superstar! 

How are you building and controlling your online personal brand?

Happy marketing!

Four reasons why an integrated approach is still the best…

I read the post “Why offline still matters” by Annie Mueller  and I have to say…it was a great reminder to marketers who are jumping on the social media band wagon to stop and reflect on what really works and doesn’t work with respect to marketing.

It reminds me of what I am constantly telling people: 

  • You are not your market! 
  • Don’t be a focus group of 1! 

Just because you like to communicate and receive messages through digital and social media means, doesn’t mean that your target does as well.  That’s why an integrated (online and offline) approach works so well.

When thinking about how you are planning to market to your target audience, here are a few things you should consider:

  1. What is the demographic of those I am trying to reach?—this goes for your B2B market as well.  Just because your target is business owners doesn’t mean that all business owners are the same.  There are huge differences in how Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomer and the Silent Generation business owners need to receive information.  If you are targeting business owners that are in the age ranges found in the Baby Boomer and Silent generation, you should be thinking traditional advertising first, digital second.
  2. What industry I am trying to reach (for B2B marketing)?—some industries are much more prone to internet savvy business owners/decision-makers.  If you are targeting small, family-owned manufacturing companies, you might miss your mark entirely if you focus your marketing campaign on digital dollars rather the traditional methods (mail and print advertising).
  3. Is your product local?—companies can have greater success with local TV spots and billboard advertising if they are local rather than national (national usually equals expensive media buys).  But beware!  TV spots and billboards are great for building awareness, but not as good at getting someone to pick up the phone and ordering. 
    • Social media and a digital education campaigns are great for locally-based companies (like Tele Raack, LMT…a great local massage therapist) or a complicated message that needs to be feed through a nurturing/education campaign.
  4. What is your timing?—if timing your message is critical…say you are targeting restaurant owners…your choice of message delivery is really critical.  You can’t tell the postman when to deliver a letter, but you can tell your marketing automation system when to deliver an email and your social media manager when to start posting on Facebook and tweeting like crazy.  Oh, and one last thing with respect to restaurants…if you want to get noticed, go visit with the owners after you have eaten and spent money in the restaurant. 

 Engagement is just as critical offline as it is online.

What methods of marketing will you be using today?

Happy marketing!

Networking…another viable marketing strategy!

Determining the right marketing distribution mix for your product or service is critical for the success of your marketing campaign.  The key is including all viable distribution methods into your consideration set.  Here’s a marketing distribution method that is often overlooked by business owners because of the personal committment it requires…marketing through networking groups. 

Okay, I know what you are thinking…and no, this is not a lesson in Multi-Level Marketing. (MLM).  It’s all about getting out there and “owning” your target market through networking.

So how do you find the right networking source?  Here are some quick ideas…there are many more:

  • Your local chamber of commerce
  • Your local newspaper
  • Your local county/city/town website

What should you look for when evaluating possible networkng groups?  Here are five things I look for:

  1. What is the purpose of the group–you need to know why these folks are getting together…even if your target will be there.  If it is a networking group, you are golden.  If people just get together to have lunch and talk about the weather and no business can be done through the group…PASS!
  2. Will my target audience be there?  Or worst case…will those who influence my target audience be there? 
  3. Is it a local chapter or is it national?  I always strive for local chapters, but hey that’s me.
  4. Are they visible in the community?  This is critical for localized service businesses such as massage therapists, plumbers and restaurants.
  5. How often do they meet and what is the committment in terms of time and costs?

Networking can be a very effective method to get your marketing message across to your target market.  How are you going to take advantage of your networking?

Happy marketing!

KPI or ROI in social media measurement…you be the judge!

This week I have spent a bunch of time reading news and blogs relating to last week’s Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco.  One blog of particular interest to me highlighted a speech given by Margaret Francis, VP of Product at Lithium entitled  “Measuring the Future: New Metrics for New Media”.  Here’s the gist of it: in her presentation, Ms. Francis talked about the need to focus on KPI (or Key Performance Indicators) rather than just on the ROI of your social media efforts.   This idea of KPI over ROI really resonated with me. 

Now, you must be wondering if I am out of my mind.  How could I possibly forgo ROI for KPI?  Well, it’s simple, the results of social media efforts generally have a long tail, meaning it can take a long time to reap the rewards of your efforts.  So what is a poor marketer to do when the boss wants ROI metrics and all you can tell them is “we will have to wait and see, be patient?”

So what KPIs would I use when it comes to social media?  Interestingly, they are in some ways very similar to the KPIs I use for my traditional  marketing campaigns.  They are:

  • Improving Brand Equity and Preference—is my brand presence increasing among my “community”?  Are my social media efforts generating better brand recognition?  Are my social media efforts moving my brand up on the Top-of-Mind Meter?  Are my social media efforts driving affinity for my brand?  Are my efforts helping me charge a premium for my brand? These are the types of things I would be measuring here.
  • Increasing the Quality of My Lead Generation—did my efforts on social media help me obtain not just leads, but quality leads?  At the end of the day, I would much rather have 10 highly qualified leads than 1,000 unqualified leads (meaning that they aren’t able to buy my product any time soon). 
  • Making My Customers More “Sticky”—are my social media efforts assisting in my customer retention efforts.  If I am focused on Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), I want my customer relationship social media efforts helping me keep customers longer so that they can bring more value to my organization.  Oh, and I want to make sure my efforts are providing value to them as well…don’t misunderstand me here.
  • Moving the Revenue Needle—is topline growth being impacted by my social media efforts?   This is a no brainer, but it needed to be said.  This can be one of those long-tail things that I worry about….just it is easy to measure.

And, now for the big question in all this…how am I going to measure my social media success?  Well research of course!  I bet you knew that I would say that!  And guess what?  I can do a lot of my research digitally.  To the Cloud!    

What KPIs do you use to measure the success of your social media spend?

Happy marketing!

Volvo and Legoland: Product Placement Success Story

There are very few times in life when you write about something and then you experience what you write about within a couple of days of writing it.  This weekend that happened to me.

Those of you following my blog know that I blogged last week about the importance of product placement (Product Placement…the easily forgotten differentiator) as a marketing delivery method.  And in that blog, I gave you lots of suggestions on how you can use the physical placement of your product to help market your company/product. 

My Facebook friends know that I took my son and his friend to Legoland this weekend.   And low and behold…a prime and effective example of product placement presented itself to me (and I thought I would share it with you)!

Check out the picturesI attached my blog.  It’s a Volvo made out of Legos!  What a great product placement idea!  Why?

  1. Volvo’s target market is there–Legoland is expensive…so if you can afford to take the kids and their friends to Legoland, you can probably afford a more expensive car…like the family friendly Volvo.
  2. They are getting past the advertising clutter–
  3. It has staying power–heck I took a picture of it and I also took note of the preferred parking available to anyone driving a Volvo to the park that day…and I bet others now have a picture of a Volvo (Lego-style)in their vacation photo album!
  4. It’s remarkable–I am sure that I am not the only one telling friends and family about the Lego Volvo.

So can you get alot of mileage out of your product placement?  Absolutely!  Just ask Volvo!

Happy Marketing!

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