Author: Bonnie Harris

For B2B companies, particularly those in the services industry, deciding whether to send a gift during the holidays can be a difficult decision.  Once the precedent has been set, it’s probably necessary to make it a tradition. Deciding what to give can be a pretty challenging endeavor as well. The following are five tips for giving holiday business gifts:
  1. Decide the goal for giving a gift. Is it simply to say “thanks for your business?” Do you see it as an opportunity to reinforce or remind clients (or potential customers) about your company?  Sometimes it’s simply because all your competitors provide gifts. Whatever the reason, make sure you know what you want to achieve. Simple thank you items don’t have to be expensive or even that memorable. Something that needs to reinforce the brand should be a bit more carefully designed. [pullquote]Lotus Biscoff is a great option for delicious, edible and customizable gifts for clients.Use the code WAXMKT to get 15% off any gift purchase at ShopBiscoff.com.[/pullquote]
  2. Determine the recipients of the gift. Are you providing something for the entire office, or is this a memorable gift for an important buyer? Do you need to order 100 or 1000? Understanding the quantities that you need to deliver can help make that decision, as logistics can be tricky with heavier or fragile items, or those that need to be refrigerated. Companies that provide customized treats can often be much more convenient, especially if they handle orders for multiple recipients.

When marketing is done, it’s not a matter of randomly coming up with campaigns out of the blue. It requires a strategy that works best when driven by supporting data. The same is true if you intend to do Facebook marketing. Facebook has proven that it has evolved from a mere social networking platform, but to an effective marketing platform as well. This is not only because of the large user base that Facebook has, but also because of the multiple tools that are geared to help make marketing in it more systematic, and more capable of achieving your goals. With that, data-driven Facebook marketing can help you achieve your desired results more efficiently.

What is data-driven marketing?

Data-driven marketing is making use of relevant data to craft winning marketing strategies. Doing data-driven marketing involves the collection of data from your marketing campaigns, analyzing them, and using them to aid the creation of better campaigns in the future. The data you’ll collect not only involves the demographics of your target market but also how they reacted to your previous campaigns so that you will know how you will design your new marketing campaigns. When done correctly, data-driven marketing can allow you to improve your lead generation, and ultimately, your conversions.

At first glance, ephemeral content appears to be yet another buzzworthy trend making rounds throughout the marketing industry. But after making a disparaging remark at PRSA ICON recently, I was schooled by a few marketers who helped me explain why this type of content is so engaging. I'm not alone. ntroduced by Snapchat in 2011 these kinds of stories were met with overwhelming skepticism, as marketers struggled to make sense of this new type of temporarily available content. Traditionally, marketers have always focused on long-lasting, reusable content. Investing valuable resources into a medium that is available only for 24 hours seemed very counter-intuitive to me. However, the growing popularity of social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram meant that traditional strategies also had to evolve in order to remain effective, and more importantly, relevant. Ephemeral content has become a crucial part of any well-thought-out marketing strategy.

What is ephemeral content?

Twitter has been one of the biggest social media platforms for more than half a decade now, which means some of your potential customers are using it. 69 million people in the US are on Twitter, but what's more interesting is that nearly half use the social network every day. While this is a known fact, very few people know how to use Twitter for marketing a brand, product or service. You may have already realized that shooting out tweets about your business every five minutes brings nothing at the end of the day. But is that a reason to rule out the platform as an impracticable marketing channel? The point with Twitter is to gain influence and grow awareness but it can't be done by blatantly selling. You may have let your Twitter accounts languish in favor of Instagram or LinkedIn. But it's well worth your time to dive back in and take another look. In case you've forgotten, here is a refresher on how to use Twitter for marketing your brand and grow your influence.

Showcase your brand

Your profile is the face of your business on Twitter. It is the first thing anyone scrutinizes whenever they bump into your handle on the platform. Too many brands don't focus on the profile aspect. With so much competition on social platforms and every startup hyping their business to look like an international brand, you would have to put some effort to prompt clicks from potential customers. Users are overwhelmed with options and the decision to take further action or continue scrolling is only a glance into your profile away. Use your business logo, if you have one, and avoid adding a personal touch to it. This will add to your credibility and earn your brand respect and recognition. Your bio should be short, formal and informative and all background photos should conform to your brand concept. Try a provocative call to action with a URL attached to it and use a unique landing page to measure your results. Change this up every couple of months or so, to see what works best and what doesn't. Use hashtags in your bio as well to draw attention from like-minded users.

Above all, share interesting content

No one logs onto Twitter to look for a product to buy. On this channel, you're judged by the curation you keep. Most people who will come across your product will do it inadvertently while checking out tweets from friends and their favorite humor handles. To blend in seamlessly, use pictures and videos that users will enjoy without compromising the message in your tweet. This not only promises to capture the attention of your followers but also prompts them to share with their followers which attract views and clicks from people who are not in your follower list. Become an account that people follow as a news stream and influence will follow.

Build your own Twitter community

If you’re starting to build your online presence, consider being the first one to follow people so they can follow back. Don’t go on following random handles. Find people who hold some benefit for your business. For starters you can follow related businesses, your customers, colleagues, competitors, and relevant influencers and handles with the information you find useful. Engage with the people you follow. Don’t just share information about your brand and product. Be active, like and re-tweet other people’s tweets. Tools like Buzzsumo can help find good folks to follow and keep you up to date on trends.

Keep tweeting

PRSA ICON is an appropriate name for what has become a truly iconic event in the world of communications. For the past four years, I’ve had the honor of presenting integrated marketing concepts at the conference. Each year, I’m amazed at how rapidly communicators are embracing integration and using it to their best advantage. This year’s presentation covers a bit of theory along with some pragmatic tips. In this post, I’ll cover some of the points I'll be making here in Austin today. Here's a link to the slideshare version of the presentation as well. Some people ask me why learn integration? Frankly, I think communicators need at least an awareness of integrated marketing concepts to remain relevant. Beyond that, using an integrated mindset creates more influence for the communications department within the organization while also providing a broader toolkit for the communicator themselves. Finally, making the jump (which really won’t be a jump soon once the silos start breaking down) into a marketing leadership position can’t be done without a strong knowledge of integrated marketing. Many of us aren’t working at a strategic level yet – so how do we introduce integration into our own work?  Basically, integration doesn’t happen without alignment. I think about alignment in three ways: the message, the method and the measurements. 

We're excited about the progress women leaders in the workplace have been making this year with news of GM's C-suite leadership and other announcements like Pepsi's charge to have women constitute 40% of its management team. Aspiring women leaders may still be discouraged by poor statistics, however. Less than 5% of Fortune 500 companies listed female CEOs in 2018 (source).  Under-representation of women in the business world can mean continued wage inequality, poor company policies on health and maternal care, and an inability to reach female customers effectively. Luckily, companies like Toptal are making strides to change those numbers and help smart, talented women earn the roles they deserve. Toptal, an exclusive network of top freelance software developers, designers, finance experts, and project managers, has a scholarship program for aspiring women leaders in 2018-19. Aspiring women leaders are eligible to apply for a $10,000 grant and a year of mentorship from a Toptal expert. 

There’s never a shortage of tips and advice - e-commerce hacks - on improving e-commerce sales. And while some are indeed valuable, others are just outdated suggestions that produce little to no results. And with every year introducing a new wave of marketing trends and technological advances, it becomes obvious how adaptability plays a crucial role in keeping businesses afloat. In this post, we’re offering the latest emerging trends within the field of e-commerce that every forward-thinking marketer should be aware of.

1. Create and identify your ideal buyer persona.

A buyer persona lets you create a marketing strategy that resonates more with your target customer, as opposed to generic marketing tactics that can hit or miss.