Renee Prejean-Motanky

Posts Tagged ‘Marketing strategy’

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

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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?

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.

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.

WHAT A POLITICAL CAMPAIGN CAN TEACH US ABOUT MARKETING

In Business Strategies, marketing, marketing campaign, Marketing Plan, political campaign on July 29, 2010 at 2:45 pm

First it’s important to understand that a political campaign is a marketing campaign.

A campaign is defined and remembered by its message. How that message is crafted and delivered — is called positioning. Positioning is, perhaps, the most important element of a campaign.  While all of the components of any marketing campaign contribute to a success or failure, it is the message that differentiates and it is how it is determined, how it is shaped, how it is used and conveyed in a political campaign that we, as marketers, can best learn from.  

Positioning is a process that begins with understanding and defining consumer expectations (best determined by research) if it is to be effective. 

And while it’s true that in an election campaign the winner is usually the candidate with the best organization to raise funds, rally voters, and get them to the polls, it is the message that generates the excitement and trust that ultimately wins the campaign. It is the message that builds trust, and builds the foundation for a working relationship.

The first Clinton for President Campaign, with James Carville’s core message of; “It’s the economy, stupid,” makes the point very clearly that campaigning is marketing. It was a classic case of positioning. It was only a prelude to the campaign that elected Barack Obama which was brilliantly positioned. The campaign’s message; “Yes we can!” based on a carefully devised position, was supported by a number of highly focused voter concerns.

While there are obvious differences between a presidential election and a campaign to sell a product or service, there are sufficient parallels between the two to allow for a profitable comparison. At the same time, the success of both the political and marketing campaign relies not merely on the mechanics of marketing, but on the strategy.

No campaign is successful if its mechanics aren’t deployed strategically.

There are seven key components in successful political and marketing campaigns:  

            Political Campaign

  1. The candidate, who has qualifications and some appeal that warrants the candidacy, demands trust in many more areas than a business does. The political candidate must persuade a constituency of a great many capabilities and characteristics.
  2. The electorate, which, while generally diverse, has some reason for considering one candidate over another based on issues and concerns as well as the perception that one candidate, is better able to address those issues and concerns.
  3. The message, which addresses the candidate’s solution to those concerns.
  4. The (political) organization, which disseminates the message, raises funds, and gets out the vote.
  5. The research, opinion polling, which helps determine the concerns of the electorate, and monitors the efficacy of the strategy throughout the campaign.
  6. 6.     The strategy, the structured plan to inform, persuade, and, generally speaking, get the candidate’s message out.
  7. The execution, carrying out of the plan from its beginning through the Election Day.

Markting Campaign

  1. The business (service or product) to be sold.  A business seeking to convert prospects must project understanding of their industry and business, and the particular nature of their needs as well as its ability to fulfill them. 
  2. The prospect, which, like the electorate, is faced with specific needs, desires, wishes, and opportunities.
  3. The message, which is the information about the firm and its services, specifically addresses the needs of the target audience, and should convince them that it can address these needs effectively and efficiently (at a competitive price.)
  4. The organization, which is the marketing structure that brings the message to the audience and executes the marketing plan.
  5. The research, which supplies the information needed to appropriately shape the selling message so that it speaks to the needs and wants of prospects.
  6. The strategy, which is the plan.  It defines the market, its needs, wants and strengths, weaknesses and opportunities, and determines the tools that best convey the ability to offer solutions to those needs.
  7. The execution, which is the carrying out of the structured plan. It brings together all of these elements to produce a client.

A political campaign is more complex in the design and execution of these factors because it has a broader target audience than a marketing campaign will have. A political campaign persuades people to vote for a candidate based on identification with his/her personality, credibility and charisma while a marketing campaign addresses solutions for the very specific needs of an individual or corporation. Most often the solution offered requires very specific expertise and credentials. That’s why positioning is key… it is what differentiates you from your competitors. 

Beware!  Positioning is, too often, misconstrued as a determination of how a business wants to be perceived.  But that isn’t positioning, it’s wishful thinking! 

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