Author: Bonnie Harris

If you've been following the Wax blog you know that during the month of December I posted one step per day to help build your 2015 Marketing Plan. marketing ebookEach step was meant to require no more than 15 minutes. I also recently wrote about why February is also a good month to write your marketing plan so don't feel bad if you don't have time in January. Some of you emailed me asking if I could put these steps together in an easier format. I'm announcing the How to Write a Marketing Plan in 15 Minutes a Day eBook, available for free now. This eBook contains all the steps you'll need to write a sound marketing plan in 15 minutes a day, over the course of 20 days. In less than a month you'll have a plan and concrete tactics that will guide your marketing efforts for the next year. The eBook covers not just strategy and tactics, but also explains:
  • Ways to identify and communicate with your BEST customer

If you're like me, 2015 has gotten away from you already in terms of your own public relations and social media. However, it's never too late to update your accounts and blogs. Here is some terrific advice from Diana Ennen, the President of Virtual Word Publishing Diane specializes in PR and marketing and helps her clients frequently overcome what she calls "desperation marketing." Enjoy! PR Checklist for 2015 – Get Back Into the Swing of Things with These Tips to Maximize Business Success By Diana Ennen Hard to believe January is in full swing and the holidays are a distant memory.  By now, some resolutions are probably already broken and everyone is back into the same ole’ same ole’ of 2014.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  There is still time to take action to make 2015 the year that your business sees the success it deserves.  Still time to get re-energized and passionate about your business once again, and still time to remember why you started in the first place.  Make 2015 the year you love your business back to success. Here are some tips to help along the way:

Lots of people bemoan the fact that February often rolls around before their business marketing plan is complete. I'm here to stop the guilt once and for all. In my mind, February is the BEST month to write a marketing plan. Here's why:
  1. Most operational plans are not completed until the end of January. In order to create a successful marketing plan, you've got to have measurable goals or objectives that align with the overall organization's goals. This is impossible to do UNTIL you are thoroughly educated on the company's plans for the coming year. Taking time to review the overall goals is important to building a marketing plan with the correct focus. 
  2. Your competitors often jump out of the starting gate too fast. In other words, it's not a bad thing to wait and see what your next best competitor is doing in terms of new promotions or launches. Watching and waiting can help you fine tune your own marketing strategies to best the competition after their direction is already set.
  3. Just as your business creates new goals, so do your target customers. If you're creating personas as I think you should, January is a great time to trend watch, particularly if you're a consumer brand. Some things come into fashion and others go out, and you can spend your time doing surveys, re-engaging in social media and really understanding the personal goals of your target audience. Knowing your best customer really, really well might mean understanding how they're "turning over a new leaf" and incorporating into their plans. (By the way, if you want a good primer for finding your best customer, here's a SlideShare presentation I did last fall on the topic.)

InstagramWe are constantly bombarded with images. TV advertisements, social media content, email messages or print articles—we're constantly having words and images thrown at us. But using the right images on the right platform can help your visual marketing strategy work.

Fast Facts

If you aren't using visual content consider this:
  • According to WishPond, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the human brain than text.
  • WishPond studies have shown that posts with visuals have 94 percent more page visits than those which don’t.
  • Studies conducted in June of 2014 have shown that 23 percent of young people cite Instagram as their favorite social media platform, according to AdWeek.
  • There are 300 million accounts on the photo sharing app, according to Instagram.

Getting Started

[caption id="attachment_6353" align="alignright" width="300"] Headwaters Relief in Colorado.[/caption] As I wrote last week, IMC is not easy. It's definitely a case of progress, never perfection. And yet nonprofits seem to have grasped many of the components of integrated marketing and are running with it. I thought that was worth a little bit more analysis to see why that would be true. 1. Nonprofits understand the buying behavior of their target audience. Face it, trying to get money out of people for charity is really, really hard. It takes a great deal of understanding of your audience in terms of what pulls at their heart strings. (As marketers, isn't that what we're all trying to do?) Good nonprofits know the basic messages that appeal to their targets, how they get their information and how best to influence those decisions via the use of media placements, email, social media and other channels. The Red Cross does this better than anyone else. Sign up for their email newsletter and experience them leading you by the nose through their IMC channels. Brilliant, really. 2. Nonprofits usually don't have money to burn. Unless you were lucky enough to work on one of the .orgs spawned by the Big Tobacco settlements, for the most part a nonprofit marketer is working on a tiny budget. This breeds creativity and that's what IMC is all about. Nonprofits jumped on the social media bandwagon (and other brand new bandwagons) as soon as they could.

integrated marketing communicationsIMC is a complicated beast. After working on integrated marketing communications strategies for several years I still feel as if each new campaign is like a new romance novel, with unusual plot twists and surprise endings. Although a lot of people say they're doing IMC, unfortunately most supposedly integrated campaigns are not really integrated in the true sense of the word. The AMA defines IMC as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” The key words here are ALL, RELEVANT and CONSISTENT. We're all working on a continuum, gradually adding capability and components as we learn what mix works best for our brands. Making sure EVERY touchpoint is consistent with the other, and relevant to the message is nearly impossible in this fragmented communications world. So to borrow a phrase from a well-known 12-step group, it's about progress, not perfection. HOWEVER. And here comes the big BUT. I'm afraid there are a lot of people trying to catch the wave of IMC that have no idea what they're doing. It's really appalling and you need to make sure you're not falling into the trap of a consultant who claims to make IMC "easy." To help you with these hucksters, and to help you grade your own work, here are 5 ways to know if your campaign is truly integrated: 1. You've articulated strategies that align with overall measurable goals.  

shutterstock_160911893A study by Deloitte found that omnichannel customers spend three to four times more on purchases than other shoppers. But what exactly does that mean? Omnichannel reflects the choice customers have and how they engage with brands from mobile to social to brick and mortar locations. But the real secret behind omnichannel success seems to lie in how to connect the various channels. Simply offering a mobile app isn’t enough. Here’s some ways retailers can pose their channels for optimum consumer success.

Mobile

Ignoring the mobile shopping revolution could cost retailers billions. More customers are skipping the lines at the stores and opting to make their purchases on their smartphones and tablets. In 2013, sales on mobile devices and tablets increased 70 percent. That percentage accounts for $42.13 billion in sales, according to eMarketer. But embracing mobile in an omnichannel world isn’t just about making purchases and checking for sales. Retailers like Best Buy offer mobile apps where shoppers can scan products while shopping in store. Macy's is also rolling out self-checkout options in their handbag departments with touchscreen shopping options.

By Nick Rojas The name of the game in today’s marketing is personalization. Interactions with modern audiences are more successful and meaningful when they are personalized across multiple channels. This has become increasingly important in recent years, as 94% of companies say that personalization is a vital component of their success. 2All businesses and revenue models can be influenced by personalization. One important thing that changes with personalization is content. We live in a multi-screen world where 90% of the media interactions today are screen-based. Content needs to be multi-channel and adaptive to meet these modern needs. Why does content need to be adaptive? Context and personalization are crucial to success in a multi-screen, multi-channel world. Content needs to changed based on where the user is, who they are, and what they are doing. Customer expectations for businesses evolve as new technologies become more commonplace and available to the average consumer. They rely heavily on mobile devices to aid in their decision-making process - in fact, 48% of shoppers want to be able to use their phones while shopping. Adaptive content allows brands to meet customer needs as they evolve, and many of these needs relate to the growing popularity and adoption of mobile devices and technology.