the Wax blog Tag

[caption id="attachment_13975" align="alignright" width="300"]Social Media Employee Advocacy Social Media and Employee Advocacy[/caption] You may wonder whether you should incorporate a social media employee advocacy program into your integrated marketing plan. There are many good reasons to do so -  it increases the company reach, shows that employees are invested in the company, and can help raise the brand image across social media. But how do you build a program that bridges social media and employee advocacy? You'll need a system that works for you and your employees.  Making an overreaching or too stringent schedule will only decrease buy-in and make everyone hate social media. Use these tips to build a social media employee advocacy system that your team can keep up with.

[caption id="attachment_13954" align="alignright" width="300"]The Best Marketing Conferences in 2018 The Best Marketing Conferences in 2018[/caption] Keeping up with the changing marketing technology and strategy is tough. Conferences have to have dynamite content and great networking opportunities to make it worth your time. At Wax Marketing we look for the best conferences every year - these are the ones we'd go to if we could.  This is the year to immerse yourself in energy, innovation and inspiration. To pick these bad boys,  we took into account factors like the target audience, speaker lineup, topics,  and networking opportunities.  With attendance ranging from 300 to 21,000, 1-10 tracks,  and focus ranging from content management to B2B integrated marketing, one of these events is sure to offer you some great professional development in 2018

Wax Marketing's List of Best Marketing Conferences in 2018

Row of five friends using cellular phones smilingToday's consumer is more tech-savvy than ever before. But that doesn't mean they see themselves as programmers or developers. They are more like enlightened users. Smart businesses will recognize this bright line between comfort and expertise when engaging with customers. The burden is on sales and customer service agents to quickly understand what a customer needs and offer viable solutions.

Keep KISS Alive for Your Customers!

While we can't say if your customers are nostalgic for glam rock, we are pretty sure that the old KISS method applies more than ever today. So yes, keep it simple, sir. The definition for simple has changed quite a bit. Many customers today use tools their grandparents couldn't possibly have imagined. But we may have reached a saturation point, particularly for these consumers who have weathered the tech revolution and have had enough. They don't want to "learn" a new site tool or download an app to finish a task. It's time to stop burdening customers. Website designers are particularly sensitive to the concept of responsive design, which is the practice of ensuring a website works on all kinds of platforms and systems. "Web design and responsive design are the same thing," writes web developer John Polacek. We're almost there. Sites that rely heavily on web orders, like FTD.com for example, do themselves and their customers a huge favor by looking the same when viewed on a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone--even a nonstandard Windows phone. There's something to be said for keeping the design simple and steady. It's readable, scalable (by dragging), and easy to navigate. The only pop-ups should be for discount offers or a request to download your free app.

Technology Should Not Require More Learning

stop wordsmithingFor lack of a better word, marketing and communications work is squishy. It can be hard to know if you're creating a strong deliverable. For most business owners, messaging can be the worst. Who hasn't sat in on an agonizing meeting waiting for the president and the operations guy to stop arguing over whether or not something is going to "move the needle."  Or worse, the horrible and annoying quarrels over the oxford/serial comma. In my short-lived career as a restaurant manager 100 years ago, we used to go to wine tastings all the time. It was really fun, especially if you liked to drink as much as I did back then. But unfortunately, none of us really knew anything about wine. So we came up with this phrase that meant nothing but sounded really impressive. "It's oblique, without being obtrusive" I would state, twirling my wine in the glass while lifting my best impersonation of an educated eyebrow. It sounded really good and most people usually got home or sobered up before they realized it meant absolutely nothing. What most business people are doing when writing anything, from a mission statement to a tweet, is coming up with stuff that just sounds good. We're coming up with our own versions of "oblique without being obtrusive."  I say let's stop this now.We need to focus on sending the right message, NOT using the right words. Here are five ways to help  create the best messaging ever for your company, product or brand: 1. Create a Core or Integrated Strategy Statement. This is the statement that covers what you do, why you do it, and how you do it, in a nutshell. It doesn't have to be pretty and it doesn't have to sound particularly good. It just has to resonate with the key players in your organization. It has to be the one where people say "yeah that's us" unequivocally. This is not the same as a company strategy statement. This is a simple 2-3 sentence phrase from which all messaging can be derived. These are the statements behind all the taglines, tweets, web content. Once you've got this, the conversation then revolves around whether subsequent messaging is aligned, or reflects, that core statement. NOT whether it's better to use the word "strengthen" or "empower." (Seriously, that was a 2-hour conversation.) Mine is this:  "Wax Marketing does integrated marketing and communications services." 2. Understand the audience you're trying to reach. I'm a firm believer in creating personas and writing messages for those personas. Stop writing stuff with you as the audience. If you know who your primary targets are - the media, your customers, your influencers, your employees, for example - you'll understand when someone translates those messages for that particular audience. Chances are your employees absorb information in quite a different context than your customers. Be cognizant of those differences. 3. Be aware of requirements for the messaging channels you need to use.  I have a client that is a group of super cool dermatologists. What I love about them is they really know their patients, even though they range in age from 2 to 90. They know that each patient is going to acquire information in a different way. And they understand that information in a medical journal needs to be presented differently on Facebook, for example. Our conversations revolve around where those patients get their information. The disagreements happen there, and they're productive. My point is, once you know your audience, you know the channels. Again, just make sure that messages translated for those channels align with your core strategy statement. 4. Understand that what sells well, doesn't necessarily read well. 

[caption id="attachment_6692" align="alignright" width="225"]@bartthedog as Trump @bartthedog[/caption] Years ago, I "carried a bag" in the technology industry. There were very few women in the industry - I think three of us sold those kind of services in Minneapolis at the time. Every time I see or hear Donald Trump I'm reminded of the bombastic salesmen against whom I competed in the late '80's and early 1990's. In fact, these were the ones who called me honey  and patted me on the head right up until I stole their business. Then they just got mad - which made me very happy. Let me explain this persona of this "sales guy" I know so well. They weren't (and aren't, for that matter) bad guys, they actually had good intentions and many were loving husbands and fathers. They have one major common characteristic that brings them down every time however - they don't believe in messaging. Don't confuse this with the Don Draper persona. Although Draper could shoot from the hip, he planned his creative and messaging carefully. Although like Draper, the Donald Trumps of the world are also highly skilled in the art of persuasion, they don't believe in the power of the carefully crafted message. Nope, not for them. Send them your talking points and they'll make up their own every time. Like Donald Trump many of these sales guys eventually become entrepreneurs. As a marketing consultant, I'm working with them instead of selling against them. Unfortunately many have retained their old habits of shooting from the hip and ignoring attempts at messaging.

stonehenge-509914_1280Now that you know your end goal for 2015 you need to quantify it. This means coming up with a goal number for your 2015 marketing plan. This might be hard for some people so here's a woo woo way to make it easier. (Stop wrinkling your nose and read on my friends. I led a team that built a $25 million dollar business in five years. You can't do that without a bit of woo woo. By the way, to all my former employees at Shamrock for whom this was probably an incredibly painful experience but you stuck with me, thanks and I'm sorry.) Back to our regularly scheduled programming. I want to remind you that setting goals is part of the personal philosophy by which you run your business. Some people may have had a hard year in 2014 and want to sandbag it for 2015. This is okay! Maybe you've had some setbacks and just staying even would be fantastic. Maybe you've redirected your brand or company and you know you'll sell less in 2015. This is okay too. On the flip side, if you're an aggressive personality, you might always choose stretch goals. Or perhaps you're a strong believer  that "thought transcends matter" and you think whatever you set out there you'll manifest. Now, if you've chosen a goal that contributes to your end goal, you'd better know what percentage turns into actual sales. If you don't know this, you might not want to use that goal as a contributing factor, as you don't know enough about it. Think on that. If you do know, then just do the math to quantify your goal. Once you understand how YOU PERSONALLY set goals, it's easy to come up with a number.

When we think about Black Friday and its Internet twin Cyber Monday, visions of throngs of customers buying goods like they are on a game show fill our heads. The shopping season that leads up to the holidays has been the playground of marketing professionals for the better part of a century. The Internet and social media have changed the way that we reach out to consumers. Some of these methods can be adapted even if you are not a retail entrepreneur.

Socially Responsible Marketing

There are times when doing a good thing at a company level can reap a financial benefit in the form of socially responsible holiday marketing. This form of “win-win” marketing highlights the communal benefit of buying your product or using your service. The company SoapBox Soaps is a good example of a socially responsible product with marketing to match. With any purchase of their soap or bath product, the company will donate soap and water to needy children worldwide. In the case of SoapBox Soaps, the marketing goes hand-in-hand with its product line. Even if you are a service deliverer, socially responsible marketing can work. In Miami-Dade County, when the school district did not have the resources to assess needy children, school psychologists donated their time, garnering a lot of good press toward their marketing endeavors.

Engagement Marketing