The Wax Blog

authentic blogIf you've been blogging for a while, you remember that thrilling moment when you realize someone is actually reading what you're writing. Maybe a few comments appear. Perhaps your blog URL gets retweeted by a kind friend. Or maybe yours just went viral all of a sudden. For me, blogging has been a slow burn.  Being syndicated has helped grow my blog traffic, but for me the  moment came the first time I realized I had a "fan." That's also the exact time when I began to struggle with authenticity.  I started pandering for traffic and stopped writing from the heart. I forgot my mission in the pursuit of popularity. And like all bloggers, I had to learn the ultimate lesson. Your writing has to be authentic to survive. I had lost my authentic voice. In hindsight it was a great lesson. The more I forget about pleasing people, the more popular my blog gets. When I think about it there were several signs that I missed along the road to fakiness. Hopefully you can learn from this hindsight and avoid making the same mistakes I did. Here is a checklist to make sure you're being authentic in your own work. More than a couple yes answers to these questions might be a red flag that your authenticity could be suffering: 

Grumpy Cat memeWhen it comes to the Internet, cute critters like Grumpy Cat and Boo the Pomeranian reign supreme. It's not just the adorable factor that gets the attention - and money - of legions of fans. Behind Grumpy and Boo are clever, well-orchestrated IMC campaigns that have propelled them beyond the fame of memes and viral videos to global stardom resulting in books, calendars, stuffed toys and most important, revenue.  Most Internet-famous pets come from humble beginnings, like an unassuming YouTube video, a #CatsOfInstagram Instagram account or a casual Facebook post. Some enjoy 15 minutes of fame and fade into the scenery. Others enjoy long-term success, but only with help from marketing and communications tactics. Here are the IMC secrets that have kept both Grumpy and Boo top of mind in this cluttered pet market. 1. Traditional public relations coupled with social media. Grumpy Cat would not be the sensation she is without an incredibly strong social media presence, coupled with enough PR savvy to launch a media tour including office visits at outlets like Buzzfeed. Not long after she gained popularity online, she was front page news in The Wall Street Journal and New York magazine. She's also been a star on the stage of major events like SXSW, reminding us that being "on the ground" is still an important part of the mix. Boo the Pomeranian, aka "The Cutest Dog in the World," is another great example of IMC in action. 2. Product associations.

5 reasons to use a project management tool for your next marketing campaign. http://wp.me/p61i5y-1LLOne more sign pointing to the convergence of IT and marketing is there are increasingly more communications professionals interested in project management training or even Project Manager Development Program (PMDP) certification. It’s no secret that integrated marketing involves a level of detail beyond most traditional campaigns. Multiple messaging channels, diverse audiences and the need for real-time engagement and an enhanced customer experience all contribute to a greater need for project management skills. Running a successful integrated marketing communications (IMC) project requires sophisticated planning, and implementation mechanisms are challenging, and time-consuming, to create manually. Learning and adopting a strong online project management tool into an integrated communications practice can be the difference between a good marketing campaign and a great one. Here are five reasons why project management tools make sense, particularly for integrated marketers.
  1. Project management tools require the design of a careful plan. Project management and business solution technology is what forces marketers to think about the goals that need to be accomplished during the campaign, not just at the end. These tools (and the project overall) are much more efficient if tasks are broken down into manageable increments, usually those that can be accomplished in two weeks or less. Better planning means a better campaign.
  2. Complex integration is automatic within a project management tool. With IMC, timing is everything. Synchronizing an integrated marketing campaign requires paying careful attention to the sequence of components. However, IMC is also about understanding thedependencies between those components. Examining a project from both its linear progression, as well as its interdependencies, can be a complex task if done manually. The right project management tool will handle this automatically and allow more time to test those dependencies and sequences to determine what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Online collaboration within a project management tool delivers immediate communication to team members. Project managers (and let’s face it, modern marketers are just that) need to know who’s on track with their tasks and, more importantly, those who are behind. An online project management tool enables managers to quickly track progress without having to waste time and energy chasing down status reports. This kind of early warning helps balance the task load and eliminate risk.
  4. Project management tools store the latest information. Important documents like content/frequency charts, editorial calendars and other materials can be immediately updated, shared and saved in one location. The ability to log into an online dashboard to access the latest versions can be a lifesaver and helps keep all team members on the same page – sometimes literally.
  5. Reporting is simple with a project management tool. Clients and superiors might request status updates on short notice. The ability to quantitatively report that progress easily helps provide accurate, professional status reports without a lot of spreadsheet updating or writing.  Overall status can be ascertained at a glance with a good project management tool so you’re not left scrambling at the last minute.

TV ads for small businessThe average price of a Super Bowl ad swelled to $4.5 million for a 30-second ad, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal. This reflects a 75 percent increase in Super Bowl ad prices over the last decade. Fortunately for small business owners, you don’t need a few million dollars to produce a quality ad. An article by Direct TV suggests you can produce and air a local commercial for under $1,000 depending on your budget, air time and goals. While there isn’t an exact science to getting started in TV advertising for small businesses, there are ways to streamline the process and stay on budget.

Identify your goals

Before calling TV stations and production studios, sit down and map out your goals. If you’re launching a business, plan an advertising campaign around announcing your services and raising brand awareness. But if you're promoting a product, you should refine your messaging, determine your target audience for the specific campaign and develop a client avatar to help envision who will see the ad and what will appeal to those viewers. Unless you need to reach a global audience, scale down to local advertising to refine your messaging and keep your budget on track. Ask your marketing team to come up with a plan for how often the ad should run to decide if consistent or periodic exposure works best for your needs and length of your promotion.

Advertise on cable for less

Pumpkin spice is big business. The first reference to what we now know as "pumpkin spice" can be traced back to 1796. That's the year Amelia Simmons published American Cookery, often regarded as the nation's first cookbook. In it she includes a recipe for "pompkin pudding," a pie made with stewed pumpkin and spiced with ginger and nutmeg. It represents a sense of goodness, natural abundance and old values that people think are good. Which is why pumpkin spice lattes bring equal parts devotion and disdain. More importantly pumpkin spice delivers a powerful marketing punch every fall.  According to Nielsen sales of pumpkin-infused foods and drinks are up 79 percent since 2011. It's now a $361 million dollar business. Social media intelligence technology provider Infegy even released a report that uses social media data to explain the widespread success behind this bestselling seasonal flavor options and explains how it can be used to better understand consumers, brand loyalty, purchase intent and more. The pumpkin spice latte now means more than coffee spiked with pumpkin and cinnamon. What started as a drink has now come to represent a certain fall-centric lifestyle thanks to IMC heavyweight Starbucks.

3 things all great digital marketers know, that you should too if you want to capture the power of integrated marketing. Online promotion and customer activity tracking have changed the face of marketing forever, that's a given. As a result of this I'm seeing some disturbing trends in digital marketing including a strong bias against  elements of marketing that have always packed a powerful punch. Every day there's a new digital "expert" telling me that numbers don't lie. Or that I need to add a tactic within my marketing strategy that is counter-intuitive to the overall plan, mainly because another digital marketing campaign found success using that tactic. I'm grateful to have the pleasure of working with true geniuses in the field of digital marketing. Here are three things really great digital marketers all understand  about integrated marketing: 1. Numbers are only half the story. Anyone who's done a ton of A/B testing will tell you there are some really weird subject lines and promotions that take off like a rocket. And we don't always know why. Great digital marketers know you have to throw in a few wild cards, particularly at the beginning of the campaign, because what the numbers will tell you will work, isn't always what works.  Numbers, plus experience and a bit of gut feel or intuition will always give you the best result. 2. Traditional media is still relevant. A lot of folks on the digital side look down their nose at print, network TV, direct marketing and other forms of traditional advertising and PR. Great digital marketers know that the best results (and this holds true for my IMC campaigns as well) result when there is an attempt to create synergy between digital tactics and traditional media. It may not be as glamorous as content marketing right now, but a good hit on local TV will always deliver for consumer brands. Learn how to synchronize digital tactics with these efforts, and they can provide a tremendous boost for online results.

jet-logo"Let's turn customers' shopping carts into improvised videos." It's an idea so brilliantly quirky as to border on insane - but Jet.com's one-day branding spectacular is one of the best examples of integrated marketing communications in action I've seen recently. The premise of the campaign, called #JetSpree, was simple but groundbreaking. One day only, during predefined hours, Jet.com asked shoppers for permission to turn their shopping carts into what they called "on-the-spot video." In essence, their purchases would be used as the inspiration for videos involving double dutch jump roping, a barbershop quartet, pantomime, yodeling, improv comedy, dancing toys and even a turtle. The videos were then shared on YouTube and social media during the event.