SMART Marketing and PR

S = Strategy to Meet Goals
M = Media Mix
A = Art & Creative that Sells
R = Research to Identify Buyers and Measure the Results for ROI
T = Tactics & Channels that Fit the Situation

Monday, July 20, 2009

Marketing that is Working Right Now: Customer Research

What is working right now in this tough market as the best, reasonable cost, mix for any organization is finding out who your customer types are (profile them) and then do the following:

- Events
- News Releases (not necessarily to the press)
- Web Promotion
- Radio Advertising
- E-blast Newsletters
- Direct Mail Advertising
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
- Social Networking (Social Media Marketing, SMM)

All must be highly targeted at your top purchasing demographics and done as a campaign – not a series of unconnected media activity. It works right now!

The strategy starts by figuring out exactly who your buyers are and creating unique events for them, and people just like them. This article will cover customer research and future articles will cover the events and the media mix shown above.

Who are Your Customers? Once You Find Out, You Can Find More Just Like Them.

Find out the demographics and other information about your best customers. Check with your top sales people, look at customer records, hold focus groups with your customers, call them, poll them, find out as much as you can about the following:

- What is their household income?
- What is their age?
- Where do they live?
- Single, married, kids?
- Have they bought before?
- Why did they buy your product or service?
- Was there a particular benefit, feature, message that brought them to you?
- What media do they use: Which TV channels, radio stations, websites, magazines and newspapers, etc.?
- How did they hear about you? Careful! This is tenuous at best. Most won’t remember or won’t tell you accurately for a number of reasons but if most say the same thing it might be reliable.
- What are their favorite charities?

You’re looking for trends, not private or individual information.

After you figure out your best customer data, create customer profiles so you can use the information to:

- Create events to appeal directly to them
- Decide when is the best time to have an event and advertise
- Figure out where to have events
- Position your product or service vs. the competition
- Create a message to use to write news releases and other copy
- Target web sites you can use to use to promote (including social networking sites and groups)
- Promote on specific radio stations
- Get potential addresses to use for direct mail

Next article, Unique Events!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"If It Bleeds It Leads" Just Doesn’t Work Anymore

I think we're in a great position to offer more for news and advertising. What do you think?

Our mantra at IBM in the 1980's was to change the communication world from one-to-many, to many-to-many communication, as we were inventing multimedia technology and predicting what the Web would become.

We believed that newspaper companies would either evolve into web-based media companies or not make it. When I showed Web prototypes to the NY Times in 1990, they just scratched their heads in amazement.

Back then, some said nobody would read that much on a computer screen. Now we watch our teenagers, heads bent over all the time, looking at a cellphone screen.

I’m just surprised newspapers haven’t totally switched or gone under yet.

TV has taken a long time to adapt because the engineering architecture of TV and a computer are completely different and incompatible; and, it’s taken a while for the network (transmission pipe) to get big enough and fast enough.

Radio and other audio were pretty easy to move to the web. I remember getting voiceover talent to come into our studio and do recordings. Now, most of the VO talent lives in Costa Rica, Hawaii, wherever they want, and they have an in-home studio with ISDN lines to deliver what they do. We listen-in while they’re recording.

I pass by Rush Limbaugh’s house here in the Town of Palm Beach everyday and it’s funny to think he’s about to go live on the air from his “compound” on the beach, referring to his small studio space as a "network."

I was asked today what I thought of all the media changes. Here's my answer.

To communicate, inform, market, and sell has almost completely changed and the change is getting faster.

Moore’s Law, once only applied to integrated circuits. Now it applies even more to information.

Since the invention of the integrated circuit in 1958, the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit has increased, doubling approximately every two years. It has continued for over half a century and now they are so small you can put them in ink, along with transmitters (Radio Frequency Identification), so that labels on anything have “item-level intelligence” and can be tracked on a wireless network.

Click to read my blog article about RFID technology and it will blow your mind:

What Item-Level Intelligence Will Mean to Marketers

Because of all this technology, and the masses need for unbridled communication, information is expanding exponentially.

George Lucas told a group of us at a lunch in Las Vegas in the early 1990’s that everyone was going to become a producer… His prediction became reality: YouTube and Google Video is just a start.

I replaced a $5 million post production video studio (2001 dollars) with about $125.00 worth of software on my laptop and still don’t need all the features it provides.

I talk to media advertising reps and members of the press all the time and most are wondering if they will have a job in the next 5 years.

Google now gives advertisers the ability to bid on space and place ads in most offline major market newspapers, much like their SEM AdWords, including a way to deliver camera-ready ads. Plus they offer the 800# and online measurement service for that offline ad – for free.
Newspapers don’t offer measurement and what do you need a media ad-rep for if you can do it all online using Google?

For news, the media covers a very narrow channel of information. People want more than this:

1) If it bleeds it leads (celebrity death is right up at the top, wars and riots if there is a lot of death, airline and mass transit crashes, etc.)
2) The latest sex scandal
3) Stories about animals - mainly cute ones
4) “Newsworthy” information – euphemism for: If it’s very confrontational or controversial, we’ll run it.

That’s it. That covers just about all they publish.

With the many-to-many channels available and a huge body of other information that is of interest to consumers and businesses, the savvy marketing and PR folks among us have figured out a way to do an end-around on the press to deliver stories, so the press aren’t gatekeepers anymore.

If done effectively, the press ends up coming to you.

Media has changed and I think in many respects, if used for good purposes, many-to-many is better. You can be in charge now. Those that don’t adapt quickly will be left behind, and even more importantly, out-of-touch.

Learn Web 2.0 technologies and techniques. Keep up with them as they evolve and get ready for Web 3.0 (more in another article).

Become excellent storytellers and "reporters," and publish a wide scope of interesting content and you will lead your organization to become a stronger brand, engage all your stakeholders, create a much larger lead bank full of qualified prospects, and your reputation and sales will go up!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Crafting a Company Narrative

Your company's story is really important. Here's a great article on why, and what you can do about it.

Use Ethonomics When Crafting A Company’s Narrative
By Kaihan Krippendorff

Click Below:

Sunday, July 5, 2009

14 Secrets of Web Lead Generation that Converts to Sales

Social Networking is the latest craze; and, with other relevant websites and qualified email addresses, you can get leads and convert them into a sale.

However, belonging to social networks because you know that you need to be on them for business isn’t enough to get results. You have to do more. Here’s how:

1. Join (at least) these general Social Networking sites: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.

2. Join all the specific professional groups and CUSTOMER groups that are your business targets on Social Network sites and other content relevant websites. Keyword searches will help you find them.

3. Join Press Release sites, content relevant Forums, and search Google and Yahoo Directories for topic relevant sites that allow you to add content.

4. Make sure you complete your profile on all sites if they offer it, including your picture. If a big ol’ ugly guy like me does it, you should too. Visitors don’t like dealing with a logo or some goofy art. Use your picture!

5. Write content that is helpful to the group. Be specific about tips and tricks. Think: What is the best thing I can tell this group TODAY.

6. Write once, publish many. Write complete content so it can be used in many places, including press release sites. Copy the portion that is relevant to each group, forum, or site and publish.

7. Include your contact info, website, and/ or blog on every post. You would be amazed how many people forget to do this.

8. Follow up on every comment to your post… at least a thank you but hopefully more to keep the conversation and idea generation going! Over 10 comments gets double the readership. If you find that a significant influencer is commenting on your post, find out their snail-mail address and SEND A HAND-WRITTEN THANK-YOU CARD IN THE REGULAR MAIL! That’s a touch most don’t think of.

9. Make friend requests with people that make comments that have good input and add value. Send a private email to them thanking them for their comment(s). 80% will connect with you. Now you’re building a QUALIFIED LIST. Only accept friend requests that are qualified.

10. Make comments on other group member’s topics. Add value, good ideas, and compliment / thank the discussion starter. Don’t try to sell anything. Only put your name, website, and/or blog.

11. Ask interesting and thought provoking questions for posts. Shake them up! Be a thought leader! Moderate the discussion.

12. If the site has the capability to do surveys, build an interesting survey. Then publish the results in the group AND outside on relevant websites and via email to contacts that would be interested.

13. You MUST answer comments FAST. If you have a qualified lead on the web, you have to answer them immediately! Not 24 hours. Not Monday. Now! For real estate sales webleads, I gave the sales staff 15 minutes! Customers that come from web leads expect instant response. Let it go for hours and they have moved on. Get a smart phone so you can stay connected…. whatever you have to do to capture, be helpful, and convert that lead FAST.

14. This is a three-step process. First you add value. Then you soft-sell your business and gather qualified leads. Finally, you convert leads that make requests.

Remember, not everyone will “buy” but many will and almost all will appreciate the value you add and how fast you do it. They will provide referrals.

Stay tuned for the next article on Secrets of Web Lead Generation that Converts to Sales. I’ll explain what kinds of web ads work and why.