First Steps to Media Planning

Posted on December 27th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

Planning a media campaign can be tricky business, mainly because of all the steps that need to be integrated into the process before releasing it into the midst of an environment with seemingly uncontrolled factors. For all the focus groups and pre-launch testing, sometimes investing money in media campaigns can be a very risky venture.
 
However, well-planned efforts can mitigate some of this risk. A media plan requires setting objectives, developing an implementation strategy, identifying channels for implementation, and finally, evaluation of these strategies.
 
 
 
Each of these four steps can develop into a separate discussion, but for now, we’d like to leave you with the basics to consider when you start out with your own media campaign.
 
For smaller businesses, employing a media channel with a larger reach may not always be economically feasible. For example, 30-second prime time TV spots typically run into millions of dollars, which may be a lot more money than most organizations have set aside for their entire marketing budget.
 
To make your decision and spending a little easier, consider the following before investing in a media channel.
 
1. Reach The Reach of your campaign is the number of people who will be exposed to your message and to your product. Before you make the time and monetary investment, consider which channel will give you the most exposure with the highest cost effectiveness.
 
2. Frequency How often do you want your customers to see your message? It takes an average of three repetitions before consumers choose to make a purchase or take an action. 
 
3. Impact Does the medium you’ve chosen fully engage your customers? Does it offer an involvement of the senses or prove to be evocative of them? For example, a TV or YouTube ad can offer visual and sensory appeal, but those stimulations can also evoke other senses via engagement. The key is to offer your customers a positive sensory experience.

Measuring “Social” Engagement

Posted on December 21st, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Social Engagement

Perhaps one of the more elusive concepts related to metrics in the Web 2.0 world is gauging engagement. How do we determine whether people “Like” us enough or not? How do we try and understand whether the buzz being created about our brands is directly leading to higher sales? Of course a profit margin is the bottom-line; however, since customers drive them, are intangible factors like emotions important?
 
The answer to the last question is an unequivocal “yes”.  While they’re difficult to measure and we can’t gain an absolute understanding of all human behavior, we can certainly establish infrastructures that help us navigate these very murky waters. Clearly, a post with a million views is easy to understand – it’s the ones that “lag behind” that need deeper evaluation. Although these metrics differ by campaign, a few fundamentals are the same across the board.
 
 
 
 
How do we measure social engagement online?
 
One of the strongest benchmarks of SM engagement is its Key Performance Indicators. The first step is to establish Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Not sure what they look like? Take, for instance, a mailing list with a set number of subscribers. The first step to analyzing metrics is establishing which ones you need to measure. Open rates, click through rates, conversions, opt-in rates and ROI rates are good starting indicators of performance.  Mashable.com offers a more detailed explanation of establishing and analyzing these numbers with an engagement index. 
 
Some numbers are easier to crunch than others and its no secret that many of us find lengthy formulas tedious and quite daunting. For the mathematically challenged amongst us, keeping track of social engagement can be as simple as tracking the number of responses to a post and running quick reports to see what kind of content tends to draw the most responses. 
Begin with a spreadsheet that tracks the title of the post, the frequency it was posted with and the numbers of responses it generated. You may also want to track qualitative data to gauge how many responses were favorable in your impression or vice-versa. Of course, keeping track of statistics like these might mean developing a 24/7 Social Media team, but that’s a story for a much later time!
 
How have you been measuring your engagement lately?

 

Mobile Advertising Trends to Come

Posted on December 14th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Mobile Advertising

Remember the 3 L’s of marketing? The most important tenet of them all? “Location, location, location!” There was a time we heard that phrase being chanted from the rooftops of all the skyscrapers in New York City. Then came the advent of the digital age and Web 2.0, and suddenly we were swept over by banner ads, click-throughs, digital ROI’s, SEO and Google rankings.             

 

Just when we were getting used to the new lingo, we began dancing with business in the Social Media arena (read: Foursquare check-ins). Now, a business isn’t complete if it doesn’t come with a Social Media and mobile advertising strategy. And funnily enough, the new marketing wheel is turning back around to making “Location!” it’s foremost strategy.
 
 
                                   
 
According to Gartner, mobile-ad spending in the U.S. will rise over $3 billion dollars in 2011. eMarketer’s projections are on the more generous side – around $31.3 billion. Despite the disparity in figures, given the number of smart phones out there, clearly, the trend is here to stay.
 
Top 3 Trends to Come
 
1. For the future – 5 years from now – we can expect to see quite a few new developments in Geo-based advertising. Companies that are still targeting consumers by traditional methods, including demographics, will likely begin targeting ads relevant to purchases and mobile locations. (If you feel like you’re being followed, it’s probably true!)
 
2. Expect to see greater interactivity and a richer experience from your mobile ads. Although very appealing, interactive ads are still not the norm in mobile advertising. However, a few years down the road are likely to bring ad narratives that not only elicit a response but also engage people at an emotional level. Let’s just say things are only bound to get much “cooler” from here!
 
3. SMS – Ubiquitously known as text messaging in our corner of the world, advertising by Short Message Service (SMS) will see an increase of dollars being dedicated for its specific use. Why?
 
Immediacy, for one. Customer drive opt-ins for another. And not to forget the fact that text messaging is a low-cost, high-result medium, showing Click-Through Rates (CTR’s) in the mid-teens – approximately 14%, with a conversion rate of 8.22%
 
All around, good numbers and good news for the industry. Which trends have you been watching lately? Let us know in the comments!

 

Stretching Your Marketing Budget

Posted on December 8th, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

Too often businesses think of marketing as an additional expense that eats away at their budget limits. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Marketing isn’t an unnecessary evil – it’s an investment into the future of your company. It’s the portal that allows you to understand your consumer base BEFORE you begin to target them with your product.

 

However, we will agree that marketing budgets can skyrocket in the blink of an eye. And we all need to watch how we spend our money in these trying times. Yet, with every other aspect of the successful entrepreneurial venture, marketing is another one that requires creative thinking.

 

1.     Begin with Community Networking There are a number of ways to extend yourself into the community you want to see yourself in. Community activities – especially cause related activities – are a great way to position yourself as a subject-matter expert (SME) and to build goodwill.

2.     Maximize Existing Content Using existing content to introduce a new campaign – or to refurbish existing literature – is perfectly acceptable. In fact, it strengthens your brand identity. Go ahead and lift existing photos, illustrations and copy to drive your message home.

3.     DIY! If you’re already writing your own press releases, then why stop there! Develop a list of pertinent media and handle the distribution of press releases in-house. Taking care of marketing detail at home is often a much more economical route than hiring an agency.

4.     Don’t look a gift horse… You know how the saying goes. If you’re trying to scrap an old campaign that works in exchange for something more exciting or fresh, just out of sheer boredom, think again. If your existing campaign has produced desirable results for you, there’s a reason why.

 

If you need to update the copy with current statistics, go ahead. But if the ad is still producing effective results, then don’t pull a switch on your audience.

 

 

How have you cut corners on your marketing budget? Were you still able to get effective results? How creative was your solution? Share your thoughts here with us!

Customer Service in a Connected Era

Posted on December 1st, 2011 by Tiffany Categories Marketing

Are you looking for happier customers? We all are. And in this hyper-connected world with people seeking instant-gratification, happy customers are five times more likely to “spread the love” if they’ve had a positive interaction with you. Which means that word-of-mouth advertising has turned the tables on dispersion of negative feedback. This is the good news.

 

Getting there, however, requires a little bit of work.

1. Speed! Waiting two weeks to answer a question is officially a thing of the long lost past. Research has show that most people interacting with social media expect a response between 10 minutes to 1 hour. Needless to say, keeping your clients waiting is not a good idea; especially when they’re not really trying to spread negative reviews about you.

 

2. Consistency of communication across all channels is vital. And we mean vital. Having your customers see consistent responses across social media channels is important for your organization to be seen with credibility and a sense of expertise. Different channels of the same organization cannot be used to communicate different solutions for the same problem.

 

3. Organization is a close cousin of consistent communication. Depending upon the size of your organization, develop a team of staff dedicated exclusively for monitoring your social media channels and delivering consistent responses to comments, queries, shares, re-tweets and new followers. Believe us when we say that your clients will sniff inconsistency and disorganization from a mile away.

 

4. Accept Responsibility and apologize. We’re all liable to trip over ourselves at some point and make a mistake with our clients. For instance, overcharging for a product or delivering an unpleasant customer-service experience can happen and generate bad reviews. However, ignoring the issue won’t make it go away. Acknowledge the customer, accept the responsibility for the slip-up and move on.

 

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