I recently returned from addressing the Media Financial Management Association conference in Las Vegas. Despite the festive diversions outside the conference center, the audience of executives from traditional media companies—newspapers, radio stations and TV—were all anxious about the same challenge: how to integrate digital marketing services with their traditional offerings.
Consumers and businesses have more entertainment and information choices than ever before and audiences are increasingly fragmented.
Advertisers are demanding digital exposure. In fact, digital marketing expenditures are projected to rise to 26 percent of all marketing spending by 2016, according to the Forrester Research forecast shown below. As you can see, the largest share will continue to be search marketing and online display advertising.
As confusing as the digital environment may be, this new marketing arena offers traditional media companies exciting new opportunities to help advertisers reach the entire market, not just consumers who subscribe to their print publications or regularly watch or listen to their broadcasts.
I saw the power of this transformation firsthand during my work with South Central Media in Nashville, TN. Until 2009, South Central Media was a traditional company. Actually, the present company name reflects a major re-branding. Before the change, the organization was known as South Central Radio Group.Tweet
Author’s note: Effective content marketing planning is one of the biggest issues many of our clients deal with. This post expands on Mike Sweeney’s very popular January 2012 post on planning: 12 Questions That Should Guide Your Content Marketing Plan.
We see plenty of companies that appear to have jumped into content marketing without a sound strategic plan in place. How can we tell? First of all, messaging is inconsistent and unclear. Key audience concerns aren’t addressed in a meaningful and original way. And the entire content mix of blogs, email newsletters, social media, and the rest has a random and haphazard look and feel. If marketers at these companies are more than disappointed in the results, it’s easy to see why. It doesn’t have to be this way.
If you’re new to content marketing, or if your efforts so far haven’t delivered what you’d hoped for, here are some ideas to help you create a content marketing plan that really works.
1. What are your goals?
Your big-picture goal may be to become an industry thought leader, but to get there you must reach a series of interim goals. As you develop your plan, ALWAYS tie specific numbers and timelines to some or all of the following goals:
- Engaged followers or fans on social networks.
- Newsletter subscribers
- Leads captured from eBook or whitepaper downloads
- Webinar attendees
- Blog post subscribers
- Website visitors from inbound links
- Increase in organic search results
2. Who is the target audience?
Your business most likely has different types of prospects that you’re trying to reach with your content. Describe these people with as many attributes as possible: job titles, industries, education, income, gender, interests etc. And don’t forget about existing customers. They are your best prospects for ongoing business and referrals. Use the audience profile information! Is the content you’ve created meaningful and useful to each group? Appropriate language? Enough specific detail (or too much)? Call to action? Answering such questions can dramatically improve your chances of consistently delivering relevant and valuable information when it matters most.Tweet
Everybody likes to get a good deal, and it seems like everywhere you turn, there is another company that’s making it easier for businesses to create and distribute special offers. The question is whether discounting your products or services is in line with your overall marketing strategy. Let’s look at the good and the bad of running promotional offers.
Running a special offer entices consumers to purchase something they may not have purchased otherwise. Daily Deals sites like Groupon can create a huge surge for merchants and have put some companies on the map.
A certain percentage of incremental business (purchases that wouldn’t have happened without the special offer) provides an opportunity to acquire new customers and/or greater frequency from existing customers. If you are confident of delivering a great buying experience, there is a good likelihood that these customers will become repeat customers and refer others to your business.
Some consumers are strictly bargain hunters, jumping from one deal to the next. They will redeem your offer and not patronize your business again unless you run another special offer. In addition, a percentage of regular customers will take advantage of the special offer even though they would have purchased without the special offer. If you are unwilling to deal with bargain hunters and/or don’t feel like rewarding current customers with special offers, discounting may not be appropriate for your business. In addition, if you discount excessively, you could discourage full price purchasing which can have an adverse impact on your brand.
Five Things To Do If You Decide To Run A Special Offer
If it’s right for your business, and you’ve made the decision to promote your business through savings incentives, here are five key things to keep in mind to make the most of this marketing effort:
- Creating an enticing offer doesn’t need to break the bank, even if you are working with a Daily Deals site which requires you to run a 50% off deal. Figure out your average purchase and make the face value less than that amount. For instance, if you own a restaurant and know that the average ticket is $60 for two people, make the face value of the certificate $30. In that way, you are really giving 25% off ($15 off of $60.)
- Put a purchase “package” together that requires consumers to purchase more than they normally would. For example, if you’re running a promotion for a golf course, package in range balls, greens fees and lunch. Read the rest of this entry »
Great storytelling truly paints a picture of your business: I believe in the title of this post, it’s not just a play on the old Rod Stewart tune, “Every Picture Tells a Story.” If the picture is vivid enough, it will resonate with your audience, influence their opinion of your company, and ultimately increase their desire to patronize your business.
I currently provide marketing guidance to a home remodeling company located in Baltimore. Welsh Remodeling has been a fixture in the Baltimore area for over 50 years, and they’re proud of their Maryland Home Improvement License #49. They’re one of the only companies in Maryland which has been around so long, and even include this low license number in their domain name: www.welsh49.com.
Longevity in the home remodeling business happens for a reason. In a world of fly-by-night organizations that operate out of their pick-up trucks (fondly known as “Chuck-in-a-Truck”), Welsh has served tens of thousand of satisfied customers for over 5 decades, and has literally done work for 4 generations of the same families.
So how can this story be told in a unique way that resonates with the Baltimore community?
Welsh Remodeling, we realized, is uniquely qualified to “write the book on home remodeling.” Not a book that tells everyone how great they are, but a book that educates people about the dos and don’ts of home remodeling.
Welsh and Right Source got together to make this book happen. The result: a 61-page book filled with tips, tricks, and beautiful images of home remodeling projects. If you’re doing a home remodeling project soon, or just curious to see an example of a great story, you should download the book by clicking here (it’s free, too!).Tweet
I’ve guest blogged on Marketing Trenches before, but now I’m a regular fixture as a result of the merger of BMore Integrated and Right Source Marketing. I thought that my first post as a Right Source Marketing partner should describe my reasons for joining the company and what I hope to achieve.
First and foremost, the mission of the company spoke to me. For those that don’t know, the company’s mission is to:
“Drive Company Growth Through Strategic Marketing.”
A simple mantra like that makes it clear why we go to work each day. As a marketing company, if we are not helping our clients grow, what purpose do we serve? But more than just helping companies grow, it’s the strategic thinking that interests me.
Lots of companies deliver on tactics, but developing strategy takes a heightened level of business thinking. Solving business challenges is a lot like putting together a puzzle. Asking lots of questions and seeing how the answers fit together helps to put the puzzle pieces in place.
Doing great work that results in business growth is all well and good, but if the culture isn’t a fit, then nothing else matters. Right Source Marketing has taken the time to think through their core values as a team and come to consensus on the following, which are in keeping with my own values.
- Work together as a team
- Respect and value individual differences
- Be trustworthy
- Be innovative and think creatively
- Communicate openly and honestly
- Act with integrity
- Never stop learning
- Pay attention to details
- Have fun by embracing a sense of humor