Renee Prejean-Motanky

Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

The Six Questions You Should Ask to Get a Powerful Testimonial Are:

In Business Strategies, Communications, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, marketing campaign, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on August 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm

images

1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product/service?
2. What did you find as a result of buying this product/service?
3. What specific feature did you like most about this product/service?
4. What would be three other benefits about this product/service?
5. Would you recommend this product/service? If so, why?
6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

The ROI of Social Media

In Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, Social Media, The Internet, Tips You Can Use on July 20, 2013 at 12:52 pm

ROI

 

The most-asked questions  are “Where’s the ROI in social media marketing?” and “How much should I be spending on social media marketing?”  My answer is always, remove the term social media from those questions and ask them again:  “Where’s the ROI in marketing?” and “How much should I be spending on marketing?”

Social media isn’t a tool box of silver bullets given to us by aliens.  It’s simply a new set of technologies and concepts that we need to add and integrate into our existing marketing strategy.

And, there is always an ROI to marketing.

Holistic Market Research

In Business Strategies, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, Marketing Plan, Marketing Research on July 9, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Holistic market research2

Let’s face it. Most business leaders and marketers don’t do a sufficient job with the market research component of their strategic planning. There are a few reasons behind this:

  • It’s not real exciting (unless you’re the analytical type and really into data)
  • It can be incredibly expensive (and everyone wants to save the budget for the fun stuff)
  • We’re afraid of what we might find out (it can be easier to create a view of the market we want than to face the market realities).

Holistic market research

And, for those of you who do go through the considerable effort of market research, scouring the reports from Jupiter, Gartner, or other industry watchdogs, you’re still missing the boat. This global look at the market is important, but not complete.

Unless you have unlimited budgets (and if you do, RPM would love to talk to you), the critical step of market research can’t be short-changed. To make sure you’ve covered all the bases, consider these four methods for a holistic market research effort:

  1. SURVEY Customers and potential customers, as well as colleagues in or around your industry or target market. One of the best market research sources you have, is your own customer base and      sphere of influence. Conduct a web survey (of no more than 5 questions) aimed  at pulling future trends from this valuable resource. Ask your customers  a) what the most important factor is for buying a product like yours; b) what is the biggest hurdle they’ll face in      next 12-months; and/or c) if they could change your product or service,  what would they like to see (and why). Choose three of the most important      research questions and have your sales team actually call those customers  who didn’t respond to the web survey for their answers!
  2. GATHER Team Input  It is important to include your internal staff when conducting market research. Your “front lines”  can pass on valuable “feet-on-the street” trends they see and  hear every day. Every team member from sales to product development to customer service can contribute important data that should be considered  in your marketing plan. It is also important to solicit team feedback INDIVIDUALLY and not as group input.  Research shows that group dynamics tend toward having the more vocal opinions expressed at the expense of quieter group members, or having such a general response as to not be relevant.    Once you’ve collected individual feedback, compile the results into one document and review for completeness, consistency, and consensus. Where      consensus is lacking, address as a team—using the data from your other research methods to guide the way.
  3. STUDY  Your Competition (consider “secret shopping” to  get the “real experience”).  I often      hear from clients “we know our competition.” Then, as our marketing team studies and “secret shops” the competition on their behalf, a completely different picture unveils itself. It’s important to an effective marketing strategy that we not make assumptions      about our competition (who they are, how they position themselves, their      strengths/weaknesses, etc.). If you don’t have the resources to conduct a thorough competitive study, hire someone who can. It will be enlightening, as well as valuable to the research you need for an effective marketing strategy.
  4. EVALUATE The Market (concentrate on information that indicates size, trends, and need). This is the method where most marketers focus all of their attention. It doesn’t, in and of itself,      provide a complete picture, but it is important to your strategic planning. When evaluating the market perspective, start with trade associations, publications, and research companies focused on your industry. Many of you can’t afford the reports or fees from the research companies covering your industry, but don’t be discouraged. Most of the reports include free executive summaries that will give you what you need.

Once you have gathered, compiled, and analyzed the information from these four research methods, you’ll want to summarize the significant points from your learning in the research section of your Marketing Plan.

This holistic approach to market research will give you everything you need to create an effective marketing roadmap.

10 Skills PR Pros Will Need in 2020

In Communications, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, Public Relations, Tips You Can Use on June 27, 2013 at 12:58 am

Media Coverage

A year ago on June 12th, Arik Hanson Keynoted  the Puget Sound PSRA Pro Conference. The topic he spoke on — What skills does tomorrow’s PR pro need to be successful? — a topic he knows a thing or two about. Through his business in Minnesota; Help a PR Pro Out (HAPPO), he talks, at length, to a number of people about the skills required in today’s marketplace.

That’s not to say that traditional PR skills are dead. On the contrary, they’re more important than ever. But these emerging skills are also critical. And in most cases, they’re simply a layer on top of the traditional skills we’re all so familiar with.

This list is based on conversations Arik has had with recruiters, agency owners, and colleagues over a period of a few years. These are skills many employers are not just looking for—they’re demanding them. More and more, we’ll see this become a trend.
For now, let’s roll through Arik’s list of the 10 skills tomorrow’s PR pro must have to succeed (along with resources and tips):

1. Advertising copywriting

“Tactics I’ve seen include social media management, e-newsletters, Facebook advertising, Google Adwords, and more, and I expect that to increase. Because online advertising is often rooted in messaging rather than creative, it makes sense for PR agencies to drive a lot of it.” – Rachel Kay, owner, RKPR

Resources:Social Fresh Facebook Ad Report

2. Video editing/production

“I predict a large portion of our client budgets will be devoted to creating, editing, and distributing unique company content (blog posts, video interviews, photo albums, etc.). PR professionals will be expected to be savvy with several tools, from social networks to editing software (like Final Cut Pro and PhotoShop) to monitoring and analytics tools (like SM2, Sysomos and Radian6). ” – Anne Buchanan, owner, Buchanan PR

Tip:
“iMovie should be a standard skill that PR pros should be familiar with. Apple offers some great easy tutorials and, of course, free workshops at their stores for Mac owners. Baseline knowledge of Final Cut and even sound editing using Garage Band [is] even better.” – Scott Meis, director, digital strategy, Weber Shandwick.

Resources:
Tom Martin’s 28 ways to use an iPhone for blog content:

3. Mobile

“In the next few years, PR professionals will (hopefully) embrace and start leveraging mobile as part of recommended strategy and daily work. To date, I see too many poor examples of leveraging the medium (lazy slapping on QR codes, for example), and our PR peers not understanding the important nuance that mobile can add to campaigns today.

“Mobile should be a business driver, not a one-off add-on or neutered experience. Unfortunately, much like social media years back, it’s my assumption the PR industry won’t place importance on this channel until our clients start specifically asking for it.” – Greg Swan, vice president of digital strategy, Weber Shandwick

Example:
Mall of America uses QR code event to drive awareness, sales on Black Friday.

Resources:
Follow @aaronstrout and @schneidermike, both of whom are great location-based marketing experts. Or, if that’s too hard, just buy their book, “Location Based Marketing for Dummies.”

4. Social content creation/curation

“I think we’ll begin to own the content piece of digital marketing. Right now, too many executives, marketers, and sales people own it, which creates more sales-y content that doesn’t go anywhere. PR pros, by nature, are storytellers and the content will begin to shift to those who know how to write engaging and valuable content.” – Gini Dietrich, owner, Arment Dietrich

Resources:
Check out Joe Pulizzi’s blog, which is full of great content ideas and strategies. I also think Shel Holtz has some interesting ideas around content curation; he’s a big fan of Storify (which I love as a tool for brands).

5. Analytics

“The PR professional of tomorrow is faced with an unlimited source of data about their key audiences. It will be critical for the PR pro to be able to analyze large amounts of data pertaining to search behaviors, engagement patterns on Facebook and other social platforms and, most importantly, understand how to measure their contribution to the impact of a communications program and business objective(s).

“The time has long since passed where the PR pro can claim ignorance on how to gather, analyze, and develop insights from data. There isn’t an expectation that he/she will be a data analyst, but if he/she isn’t comfortable working with a data analyst then they will be left behind.” – Chuck Hemann, director of analytics, WCG

Resources:
The Google Analytics blog and KD Paine’s Measurement blog are must-reads for those looking to learn more about analytics.

6. Search engine optimization (SEO)

“Unless they’re trying to hide, PR pros must accelerate content discovery & distribution with social & SEO skills.” – Lee Odden, blogger, author, owner, TopRankMarketing

Tip:
Don’t let SEO take over your content.

Resources:
Lee Odden’s Online Marketing blog and SEOMoz are great resources if you’re looking to learn more about SEO.

7. Speed to information

“It’s a lot easier to anticipate opportunities and challenges when you’re aware of them before your competition or detractors.” – Len Kendall, Golin Harris

Tools for content discovery:
Diigo, Google Reader, Evernote, Instapaper

8. Programming skills

“The PR pro of the future (quite frankly, today) will definitely need to have a firm grasp of all the necessary tools to create, manage, and analyze digital content. For example, the ability to manipulate code in a WordPress site or a content management system such as Buddy Media has quickly become a basic requirement.” – Alex Tan, director, digital, Golin Harris

Resources:
CodeAcademy.com is a great resource for the average PR pro looking to learn more about coding. You can get a lesson a week send to you each week for a year to get you started.

9. Managing virtual teams

As more companies allow their employees to work remotely (in fact, some businesses are entirely virtual), the challenge of managing a remote workforce will come to the forefront. How will managers motivate, monitor, discipline, and inspire workers spread across the country, even the world? Not to mention foster engagement among them.

Tip:
Focus on results, not time in the office

Resources:
Check out Workshifting.org for some great posts and tools to help you better manage virtual teams.

10. Blogger outreach

“In PR, one of our core roles is to help brands deliver the right message to the right audience. Media relations is one effective tool. But a number of bloggers are also building strong readership in niche subject areas. If you’re ignoring bloggers, I think you’re doing a disservice to your clients. Pitching bloggers isn’t the same as pitching other kinds of media; however, PR people need to understand how to innovate media-relations best practices and incorporate blogger outreach into their strategies. “ – Heather Whaling, owner, Geben Communication

Tip:
Resist the urge to sell right away

Resources:
Heather Whaling’s PRTini is one of the better and more forward-thinking blogs when it comes to blogger outreach strategies. Subscribe now.

TAMING THE CONTENT BEAST

In Business Strategies, Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on June 23, 2013 at 12:45 am

Content Beast

Web Content Development

We’ve all done it. Whipped out some copy for a website, brochure, ad, or direct marketing piece on the fly and then edited it in the layout to make it more appropriate for the vehicle. Sometimes this is necessary due to time and other resource constraints, but ultimately it can be a killer to the effectiveness of your marketing communications vehicles, a lot more expensive, and take even more time.
We’ve said it before, but it is important enough to say it again—in marketing messaging you must live by the rant “repetition, repetition, repetition.” If you say the same thing, the same way, over and over again, eventually your audience will be able to repeat your message in the exact way you want it told. And then they tell two friends, and so on. Now, among many other positive results (like efficiency), your brand not only gains awareness, but relevance.
SO, HOW CAN YOU TAME THE CONTENT BEAST?
Writing effective marketing copy for websites, brochures, and other marketing communication pieces efficiently not only takes copywriting talent, but also the ability to create a structure that can be repurposed across all vehicles consistently. Over the years, we have helped many clients refresh their marketing materials to reflect a clear, compelling, and consistent message, ending with the one tool necessary to repurpose their content into new materials consistently and efficiently—the Content Specification. The truth is, taming the content beast does take a little elbow grease at first, but it can be easier when you use the following steps:
Audit Your Materials. First look at all of your company’s marketing materials—direct mail, brochures, website, press releases, media kit, etc—and perform an audit. Make note of what content is used, the inconsistencies you find, and the gaps of content that may simply be missing or inaccurate in each piece.
Identify “Repurposeable Content.” Once you have completed your audit, you should now be able to identify or create the content that will be repurposed across all vehicles into a Content Specification. We recommend you document your specification in Word, as it is easy to copy and paste from it into all types of design applications. At a minimum, your Content Specification should include your company and product positioning (in 25, 50, and 100 word versions), brand story (your background of how you came to be), brand identity (logo, taglines, etc.), and contact information. These elements should be present in every marketing communication piece. Be sure to store the Content Specification somewhere where anyone tasked with content creation can locate and use it.
Roll In Your Content. The final step is to take the content from your Content Specification and roll it into each of your existing marketing pieces, taking great care
to make sure that any edits you make in the process get reflected in the master spec.
Now that you have a structure for your marketing content, you can quickly pull copy together for new pieces and ensure that your marketing pieces work more powerfully together as
a system.
During this process, you may discover that your company’s messaging is no longer relevant and needs to be refreshed before moving forward. If this is the case, you may want to hire an outside resource to help you develop the consistency you need. A third party brings an outside perspective and an objectivity that is essential to creating clear and compelling messaging for all types of audiences.
With a comprehensive approach to content creation and execution, you can put the power of repetition to work for your company. Creating a Content Specification allows you to cost-effectively create consistent marketing messaging and ensures your team can efficiently use it—every time.

10 Reasons Why Your Network Is Your Greatest Asset

In Business Development, Communications, marketing, Social Media on June 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

An individual’s greatest asset is his/her network. The network that’s an asset is the one made up of real relationships.

Facebook and Twitter have no value if you don’t use them properly.  In looking at profiles on these social media for a number of large and small businesses, I’ve observed that most of them aren’t going about it in the right way. Businesses jump on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagons with the hope of generating sales. They load their news feeds with sales plugs and expect   “friends” to buy whatever they’re selling. They use Twitter to make announcements rather than to engage conversation.

The right way to use social media is to focus on building relationships. Wish friends and fans “Happy Birthday”; “Like” their statuses, share information and even provide  useful content that’s OUTSIDE of your business area of expertise to help them out (for example: share an interesting news item, a great sale on computer equipment, a super auto repair shop, great business tips, etc.). Show that your thread is useful and that you are there to connect with them, not simply sell them something and you will see results.

DON’T create a business profile and start adding people as friends – users hate this. Get to know your privacy settings and use your personal profile as the “face” of your company.

Below is a list from Steve Tobak of BNET on what you stand to gain from building a great network:

  1. Introductions. Whether you’re an entrepreneur in need of venture capital or a marketing VP looking for the best PR firm, you’re more likely to find it through your network than by any other means.
  2. Opportunities. Over a 30-year career, most of my major career and business opportunities came from my network. Business associates, friends of friends, casual conversations, business meetings, social events, whatever. But you’ve got to pay attention.
  3. Sorting out thorny problems. Anyone who thinks they’ve never met a work problem they can’t resolve has never been a CEO. The problem with problems is that they keep getting escalated until there’s nowhere left to go. The buck has to stop somewhere. And getting a fellow exec to help sort out a monster problem is a big plus.
  4. Recruiting. Perhaps the most critical job of any manager is to hire talented people, and the best place to find them is through your network. And not just for direct reports, but also for recommendations on peers, key employees, board members, you name it.
  5. Ideas. I don’t know about you, but most of my best ideas come from bouncing them around with like-minded people.
  6. Competitive intelligence. It’s a big, hairy global market and smart executives dig for competitive intelligence. Much of that info comes from sales and marketing, but where do you think they get it from? That’s right, their network.
  7. Sensitive issues. Top executives often face sensitive issues they can’t discuss with others at the company. Sometimes they just need an outside perspective from another CEO. For example, some of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s friends are Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Mark Hurd (when he was CEO of H-P, as well). Makes sense, doesn’t it?
  8. Seeing the big market picture. A huge component of any manager’s success is her ability to anticipate significant market changes. While nobody has a crystal ball, if you get enough anecdotal data from enough sources, you can get a pretty good picture of what’s going on.
  9. Moral support. Business is full of tradeoffs. Rarely are critical and complex issues black and white. When top execs wrestle with gray issues, it’s nice to be able to pick up the phone for advice and support.
  10. You don’t know what you don’t know. While there are exceptions, know-it-alls don’t typically get ahead. Smart managers know what they don’t know and that means they depend very much on comparing notes with others in their network.

Is your network your biggest asset?

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Getting The Most Out of LinkedIn

In Business Strategies, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on May 11, 2011 at 8:26 am
Image representing LinkedIn as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

 I’ve heard a bezillion questions about LinkedIn, the most common of which is….”I signed up on LinkedIn, but I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with it. Does it really have value?”

Think of it this way:  

  • Linked In has more than 20 million users with an average age of 41-years old and an average income of $110,000.00.  
  • Every Fortune 500 company is represented on Linked In.
  • 500,000 small and mid-sized businesses use Linked In.
  • More than 150 industries are represented.

So the answer to “does it have value” is a resounding, YES!  But it requires more than just “signing up” to have value.

You have to put the effort in up front when you set up your page  and then you have to remain active in a strategic way (that you’ve, of course, given some thought to on the front end.)  Once you’re comfortably established there are many valuable ways to use linked:

  • Prospecting. You can locate and introduce yourself to contacts in the accounts you are targeting. Communicating through Linked In significantly increases the liklihood to get a response over a direct email or phone call. You can learn a lot about your prospect by reading their profile (what they’re currently working on, their employment history, who they recommend and who recommends them, where they went to school, their personal interests, etc.)
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Having a COMPLETE profile on Linked In will drastically improve your SEO results. You can include up to three URLs in your profile that are indexed by Google and other search engines, as well as create your own Linked In URL that is searchable. 
  •  Job Search/Recruiting and Reference Checks. If you are searching for a job or looking to hire someone, Linked In can help. Not only can you search for positions and candidates on Linked In, if you’re a recruiter you can verify job experience and contact other contacts within Linked In who were at a company during the same time for references. Or, as the job seeker, you can  pre-screen prospective bosses and co-workers.
  • Thought Leadership. LinkedIn has a Q&A section where members can ask and answer questions about pertinent topics. This is a great place to get some of your most pressing questions answered. OR, if you are trying to establish yourself or your company as a thought leader in a given field, this is the place for you to post brilliant answers to those who’ve posted questions. When doing so, you can include URLs and links to support your answer, or to drive traffic to your Website which will improve its SEO.

Linked In is a powerful business networking tool–one that no sales or marketing person should be without.

The site offers several membership levels, ranging from FREE  to $500 per/year.  It’s best to evaluate what makes the most sense for you and then Just Do It!

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Engaging Fans on Facebook

In Business Strategies, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on May 5, 2011 at 5:16 am
Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

 

Engaging the “social” customer is a topic that is getting a lot of air time these days and  for good reason. The more customers migrate to the social web the more engagement becomes a priority for successful brands and is tied to the overall customer experience.  Moving from a strictly transactional relationship to one of trust and engagement is fundamentally about customer experience and a positive or negative experience overtakes everything else.

Simply setting up a page is not enough.  It requires vigilance and energy with a mix of content.  A key point to be stressed is that social media efforts need to be tailored to what your target audience is interested in and it should be done in a way that stimulates discussion and interaction.  So you have to have a handle on what your audience is interested in.  Coming across like you’re broadcasting (the “old school” marketing monologue) is the kiss of death.

Marketing on Facebook is lots of fun and lots of work.  Here are a few “best practices”:

  • Post frequently  to keep content fresh. Generally the best times to post are mornings, around lunch time and early evenings. Posting too frequently is not advisable. Facebook is an engagement platform, so don’t broadcast.
  • “Like” and “Share” are powerful tools that can be used together to increase engagement. On your company web site and blog you can encourage the use of  “Like” for products and services, and the use of “Share” for asking questions and letting others showcase items that peak their interest.
  • Make your page interactive. Solicit interactions by asking questions.
  • Personal connections are powerful, personalize your posts… use names and other personalization often.
  • Respond to comments and do it in a timely manner. Conversation is engaging.
  • If you have company blogs syndicate the content on your Facebook page by using Notes.
  • Add value to the conversation and bring in outside content that is relevant to show folks that you want to provide value, not just sell them something.
  • People like free stuff, so offer coupons, discounts, specials if you can, but don’t over do it.
  • Mix in the use of other media like video. This helps engage customers.
  • Deal with negativity and misinformation openly and clearly. Don’t overreact or attack.
  • Share the love. promote and recognize other members of your community.
  • Make it easy to connect to your other social and online efforts by posting links to your other accounts like Twitter, YouTube,  your BLOGs, Websites, etc.
  • Include Facebook and Twitter tags on all of your traditional media.
  • Analyze and use the data to improve your Facebook presence.
  • If you make a mistake (and everyone makes mistakes), apologize!

What do you think?

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IS INNOVATION STILL THE BUZZWORD FOR A WINNING BUSINESS?

In Integrated Marketing Strategy, marketing, marketing campaign, Marketing Plan on March 3, 2011 at 4:04 pm

The buzzword for business success, for as long as many of us can remember, has been INNOVATION; how you keep consumers tantalized, competitors at bay, and margins growing. LEADERSHIP was all about fostering the creative environment that generated the ideas that gave you your edge.

Different kinds of outer diapers. Baby diapers.

But maybe innovation’s day is done. Not that long ago, a leading consumer goods company invested vast amounts of time and money developing an innovative new product: a light-weight, environmentally friendly, impeccably dry diaper—with built-in cream to prevent diaper rash! The marketing mavens behind it confidently expected to roll out their new product with a stiff price tag attached because it was the answer to every parent’s prayers.  This was innovation marketing at its best: as old products were copied and discounted, you introduced newer, more inventive ones at higher prices.

But that dream diaper never made it to the marketplace. Why? Because it cost too much! When given the choice between the “all-in-one nappy” (it was to launch in Britain where diapers are called nappies) and traditional choices, modern consumers settled for the old solution because it was cheaper.

Every business should think long and hard about this diaper because it signals a deep shift in the market.  What it shows us is that new technologies mean that cheap imitations are now very good, and the Internet makes it very easy to find them. With good, cheap copies readily available, and consumers and businesses both fleeing from debt, the extra-featured “deluxe” version of a product isn’t compelling. Today we’re all buying generics. 

The old way of segmenting markets is rapidly changing (right along with the economy.)  Buyer strategies have changed in all echelons.  Most, when given the choice between multiple features or cheap, cheap wins! Less is now more. The battle for innovation has faded and the battle for value (defined by price) has returned with a vengeance, reminiscent of past times. 

That doesn’t mean quality and customer service can slip: if anything, the anxious consumer is more demanding than ever. The belief that you can keep customers loyal and trading up has vanished. This is a lesson that Southwest Airlines taught many of its competitors.

That doesn’t mean the challenge of innovation fades, just that it focuses more on processes rather than products… How can you deliver your product for less? How do you make it easy for your customer to find you and stick with you? In this new market, customer loyalty proves more difficult to win. Only price and ease of access prove compelling.  Consumer anxiety has provoked change that is likely to last.  “If I can find a stress-free experience at a lower cost,” that is the winning combination!

Once Again, Seth Godin Says It Perfectly!

In Communications, marketing, Social Media, The Internet on December 2, 2010 at 4:46 pm

THE INEVITABLE DECLINE DUE TO CLUTTER

by: Seth Godin

Digital media expands. It’s not like paper, it can get bigger.

As digital marketers seek to increase profits, they almost always make the same mistake. They continue to add more clutter, messaging and offers, because, hey, it’s free.

One more link, one more banner, one more side deal on the Groupon page.

Economics tells us that the right thing to do is run the factory until the last item produced is being sold at marginal cost. In other words, keep adding until it doesn’t work any more.

In fact, human behavior tells us that this is a more permanent effect than we realize. Once you overload the user, you train them not to pay attention. More clutter isn’t free. In fact, more clutter is a permanent shift, a desensitization to all the information, not just the last bit.

And it’s hard to go backward.

More is not always better. In fact, more is almost never better.

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