Wax Marketing Tag

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. 

B2B brandInstagram is growing and shows no sign of slowing down. There are currently over 400 million users and it’s expected to increase 15% this year, far ahead of any other social media platform. If you're a B2B brand, you might be wondering if this could be your next big customer acquisition channel? Maybe, but only if you approach it in the right manner. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, it makes more sense to take a strategic approach.

1. Understand Instagram’s Demographics

Irrespective of its increasing popularity, Instagram is an effective social media platform only if its demographics match that of your customer. According to Pew Research, Instagram is extremely popular among 18 to 29-year-olds, with 53% using the platform. Instagram reveals that 75% of its user base exists outside the U.S, with half of the last 100 million users coming from Europe and Asia. If this group makes up a small percentage of your total customers, there is still a silver lining. Your audience may be small, but it will be highly engaged. Trackmaven found that Instagram provides 20 times more engagement than LinkedIn, the standard B2B social media platform.

2. Determine Your B2B Brand Key Performance Indicators

Establishing a key performance indicator (KPI) verifies your level of success in marketing on Instagram. A KPI brings objectivity to your efforts and helps ascertain the effectiveness of your endeavours. Examples of KPIs include number of followers, engagement rate, and traffic to your website. Which KPIs you choose will be a function of your marketing objective. B2B marketing efforts are typically focused on generating quality leads and getting sales. Since sales can’t be made directly from within Instagram, it’s imperative that your Instagram audience finds their way to your website landing page. If this is the goal, there are some characteristics of Instagram of which you should be aware.

3.Work Within The Limitations of Instagram

Instagram is a platform made for socializing through the sharing of pictures. It wasn’t made specifically for B2B brand marketers. Except for paid advertising, images that are shared don’t contain links. The only way for an Instagram user to get to your site is via a link in your bio. Consequently, your profile should be treated as more of a mini landing page, with a strong call-to-action. Some posts should encourage your audience to click on that link in your profile, to help drive traffic back to your site. Paid advertising is another option worth considering as a call-to-action is allowed within the ad.

4. Extend Your Content Marketing Efforts

Instagram is a unique social media channel with its own customs and conventions. As such, your content marketing efforts must extend to incorporate the individuality of this platform. Images rule when it comes to Instagram, and this can pose a challenge for many B2B marketers. Here are a few ideas to help keep your stream interesting:
  • Provide a behind-the-scenes view. Showcase what you do by using a quality educational image, thoughtful caption and a great filter to make that picture pop.
  • Use video. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? Instagram now allows videos up to 1 minute in length, so you can even demo your product or service. Alternatively, you can repurpose your YouTube channel content by providing small snippets on Instagram.

It's every marketer's dream to create a viral sensation with a website, produce or service, generating an enormous amount of positive word-of-mouth and a slew of new customers. What most people don't understand is that viral marketing is more math than art.  As a marketing person I've found myself using my math minor more and more (not to mention my IT background) as the business becomes more about numbers and less about copy. Here's a quick primer on how marketers use K-factor to chase virality. In marketing, K-factor is the formula by which we can calculate the growth rate of just about anything. Roughly, it goes:
k = i * c
...where k (K-Factor, or virality) equals the number of invites to a product, website, etc. (i) sent by customers resulting in conversion (c is the percentage rate of the invites' conversion).

[caption id="attachment_6886" align="alignright" width="150"]Personas for Subaru turned into a major cause marketing campaign. Personas for Subaru turned into a major cause marketing campaign.[/caption] Now that we've discussed using personas for PR, let's talk about how you create them. Years ago, I worked with a small Subaru dealer. Due to geographic restrictions from another dealer nearby, we were limited in what we could do for unique messaging. Most of the ads went to “a Subaru dealer near you.” It was my job to create an integrated campagn to draw customers to THIS dealer without breaking any of the franchise rules. I began to observe Subaru drivers. Although they were quite disparate in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity, they shared a couple of common behaviors. One group I nicknamed the “sporty” group. I found that a huge number of Subaru drivers in the area were both cyclists and cross-country skiers. So my first persona included the “sporty couple,” very outdoorsy and active. I also found through casual surveying of this group at a cycling event that they were very environmentally conscious and voted with the Democrats. Another group of customers I labeled the “dog rescuers.” These were mainly women who were passionate about the humane treatment of animals and rescuing dogs in particular. These women typically were also involved in charity work, sometimes for animal rescue sometimes for others. I used these two personas to build my strategies which were a combination of events, PR and online marketing. We supported the local humane society, offered cars to any local 5K’s that needed them, and sponsored all the local cycling and cross-country races we could find. All of these events were carefully synchronized with online messaging, relevant content on blogs and news stories for the charities. As a result, the dealership business exploded. One woman even drove from South Dakota to Minnesota as she said “because you helped the dogs.” Eventually, Subaru noticed that other dealers were having similar success with this type of approach around the country. You may be familiar with their “Share the Love” program every fall. That program is a direct result of projects like mine in Minnesota. Let’s assume we’ve built a case here. What is the process, then, for creating your personas? Here is how I go about it. Remember that my clients do not have huge budgets. This doesn’t have to be a months-long process and please, don’t just use quantitative data. Use your eyes, and your ears and the power of simple observation to create these as well.

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

shutterstock_254812159A microsite or mini-site is a stand-alone website that rose in popularity as a marketing tool in the mid-1990s with the growth of Google's then-revolutionary pay-per-click business model. Microsites are still a great way to create a brand-oriented experience for consumers, and serve as a landing page for search results. TopRankBlog reports optimized microsite landing pages improved site conversion rates by up to 200 percent. Microsites give your brand a chance to shine without the extraneous information and features that your primary site may contain, and here is a look at how you can leverage microsites into your marketing strategy.

Provide Focused Content

Microsites can give customers and consumers a landing page for a specific product or service, campaign or project. Not only can they highlight one aspect of your business, they can increase awareness of your brand as a whole to consumers who might not be familiar with you. By keeping your microsite simple and easy to navigate, it can direct consumers to what you want them to see. To achieve this, think about exactly what it is you want to highlight and stick to it. Don't get off topic; consumers will become interested in your other offerings if you can grab their interest in the one thing you're highlighting. A key component to microsite design comes in the earliest stages, when creating a hierarchy for your site.

[caption id="attachment_6565" align="alignright" width="300"]sample marketing strategies Me when I had my big corporate job.[/caption] Okay, this promises to be the most boring blog post ever. But whenever I look for examples of strategies I can never find them, so here's a list of sample marketing strategies. I've grouped them by objectives too. This is not necessarily a complete list, but it's the one I use when I need to brainstorm. Consider this your laundry list of sample marketing strategies and let me know if you have questions. Feel free to add your faves in the comments.
  • Brand marketing strategies create awareness of a new brand, change perception of an existing brand or create a brand extension.
    • Earned media
    • Word of mouth
    • Cause marketing
    • Thought leadership/education
    • Sponsorships
    • Celebrity endorsements
    • Brand journalism
    • Online marketing
  • Content strategies are used when with a longer sales cycle, the client or customer is sophisticated and the brand needs credibility.
    • Brand journalism
    • Native advertising
    • Social media
    • Influencer marketing
    • Multimedia messaging
    • Education/Thought Leadership
    • Contests/Quiz
    • Ambassadors/Celebrity
    • Testimonials
  • Promotional strategies are used to influence the later steps in the buying cycle, including post-purchase behavior.
    • Events
    • Sponsorships
    • Contests
    • Events

Research compiled by Zephoria shows that 42 percent of marketers say using Facebook is critical or important to their business. Moreover, Facebook reported more than 30 million active small business pages in June of 2014. However, people soon learn that just setting up a page isn’t enough; pages need to be active to make a real difference. Faced with this challenge, many business owners choose to be more conservative with their posts, but in doing so, fail to engage and interact with their potential customers. As a business, connecting with an audience is not as difficult as it might seem. Mashable reports that approximately 70 percent of Facebook’s monthly active users in North America are connected to a local business on the site. To help you navigate the waters, here are a few tips for adding personality to your brand on Facebook; personality that consumers respond to.

Social Marketing

A common mistake is only publishing posts that serve as announcements about their company. But you should know that this form of ‘push’ marketing is ineffective and doesn’t use the social medium of Facebook to its full potential. Facebook is about interaction, so your posts need to be the catalyst for more engagement, rather than just churning out messages with no room for conversation.

If you have a successful blog - business or otherwise - chances are you've considered monetizing to see some financial ROI from your hard work. There's nothing wrong with wanting to earn from your blog, and there are many options with which you can earn, from affiliate links to advertising networks of all shapes and sizes. The only problem with monetizing your blog in this way is you may find yourself earning pennies at a time, with high minimum cash-out amounts (i.e. you can only get paid when you reach a predetermined threshold, and even $10 minimum takes a lot of time when you're earning $.01/click). If your traffic is absolutely insane and your readers are extremely engaged with your blog, though, monetizing this way is a viable option. Word of warning, however: don't monetize to the point where the ads become annoying to your visitors, or you'll lose them! There's another option to earn with your writing and your expertise, and that is writing for a revenue share site. Often this is a much more profitable proposition. There are a lot of revenue sharing sites that pay pennies per ad click as well, so you have to look around to find the best opportunity for you. But if you have an established blog, there's a good chance you can write for revenue share for a larger site that guarantees a rate of pay per article or based on traffic. If you're writing for a major business blog and they're guaranteeing you a good rate per traffic, a certain amount of traffic is already built-in, so that's a pretty safe bet. If they also offer a guaranteed payment per post, even better. Furthermore, the big sites are often syndicated on news aggregators and linked to by other significant sites, all of which equals the opportunity for your post to go viral and your traffic-based earnings to soar.

When it comes to your website, your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your client to get information. If you make it easy, they’re more likely to look, and therefore more likely to buy from you. Increasing the simplicity of decision-making by 20 percent increases the chances of clients purchasing by 86 percent. Insert a form that allows clients to enter the criteria they are looking for, and provide tailored search results. This increases the chances that they are matched with a product that meets their needs exactly.shutterstock_141377746 The main question is where to put your forms to get the most benefit.

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