IMC Intuition

Thinking out loud about all things IMC

Archive for the ‘Integrated Marketing Communications’ Category

In Praise of Direct Mail

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Direct Mail Word CloudDirect Mail has never been a more important tool in your marketing mix. In these days of overflowing inboxes and spam filters, personalized direct mail is an effective method to help you meet your sales goals, drive traffic to your storefront or website while gaining valuable customer insights because direct mail is 100% measurable.

According to the Direct Marketing Ass. 2016 statistics, “Where online is generally low-cost, low impact, print is higher-cost, higher impact. Where online marketing is passive, direct mail is active.” (https://thedma.org/knowledge-center/marketing-statistics/direct-mail-statistics/)

Highly successful direct mail campaigns follow a simple formula:

40% Targeted List + 40% Offer with Call-to-Action + 20% Creative=Success

To do it right, invest in an accurate list. Start with your end goal in mind and develop a compelling offer, something that gets your reader’s attention.   Invest in a good graphic designer to make that offer come alive visually. Talk to your printer, they will have lots of suggestions.

If you need help developing your list, integrating your direct mail with your digital marketing strategy or copywriting, I can help.

Direct Marketing Association website – https://thedma.org

 

 

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Written by Beth Ryan

August 15, 2016 at 3:33 pm

Where is Your Sunshine?  Understanding Public Relations & Brand Journalism

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Beth Ryan IMCPublic relations is defined as a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships. My specialty, integrated marketing communications (IMC) recognizes that in our advertising saturated world, public relations is equally, if not more important as companies can now self-publish in both print and online.  Typical PR tools include news releases, special events, newsletters, public service announcements (PSA’s), editorials, special websites and social media, however, most PR campaigns begin with a news release.

The humble news release, well written with a compelling headline is a business owner’s most effective tool that requires little to no investment other than time and imagination.  To build a meaningful relationship with your audience and the media, you need to think and write like a journalist – this is called “brand journalism.”  In brand journalism, instead of saying, “buy my stuff,” you are telling your brand story by sharing news and information relevant to your business and the industry that you serve.  These stories position you and your company as a thought leader and influencer in your community.

A great press release can be repurposed as a blog, expanded into a white paper, posted to your website, linked to social media, or wherever your customers go for news and information.  If you boost your editorial with an ad, you will get amazing results.  Marketing guru Al Reis famously said, “PR is the sun and advertising is the wind.”*  Find your sunshine today and make it more effective with a burst of wind.

Are you new to public relations practice for internal and external communications?  I can help.  Contact me for your free consultation.

*Reis, Al and Laura (2002) The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR; Harper Business

The Truth About Trade Shows is That They Work – Is Your Plan Ready?

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IMG_1107

SECO/WARWICK Corp. Booth at the 2015 ASM Heat Treat EXPO in Detroit

Trade show exhibitions always beg the management question – where is the return on investment?  Particularly when that investment grows into the 4, 5 and 6 figure category, trade show costs can be a considerable drain on company resources.

Here’s the bottom line:  People buy from people they know, like and trust and the best way to gain that trust is by meeting in person.  Your digital and direct marketing lay the foundation, but particularly with high dollar purchases, trust and credibility are the values that matter most.

I found a New York Times article by American Express Small Business that says it best: “according to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research, it costs 62% less to close a lead generated from a trade show than one originated in the field.”[1]

When trade shows are included in your overall business strategy, they can make a powerful addition to your bottom line.  Statistica[2] has published data that says that approx. 49% of trade show attendees plan on making purchases.  Is this an audience you can ignore?

Done well, trade shows are a priceless asset.  Trade shows with no plan, on the other hand, are hit and miss.  Can anyone afford that?  This is a perfect time to make sure your plan is in place.  Be sure your plan includes pre-show promotion and post show follow up.  If you have any questions about “how to”, let’s talk.

Links in this post:

[1] New York Times (includes a how-to on effective trade show planning) -https://www.nytimes.com/ref/open/finance/OPEN-TRADE-SHOW-PLAN.html, retrieved 12/8/2015

[2] Statistica http://www.statista.com/topics/1498/trade-show-marketing/, retreieved 12/8/2015

Written by Beth Ryan

December 31, 2015 at 9:32 pm

Digital Strategy 101 by Bud Caddell

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This says it all.  Loved the Brief and Tools at the end.  Brilliant!

digital-strategy-101-bud-caddell-130709225509-phpapp01

In Contempt of Clutter

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Clutter is everywhere on the cyber landscape.  Everyone thinks they need a Facebook page, but they don’t know why, they have no plan for the daily attention it requires or measurement metrics in place.

In Gerry McGovern’s email this week, he muses about how marketing and communications people, educated to create content, end up creating a muddled mass of clutter for users to navigate.

Really, how much content is useful?  The most common question that people ask me is how to create content, how to expand into social media and how to budget for non-traditional marketing.  What they really want are tactics without a strategy because it looks good and after all, it’s free, isn’t it?

My answer is to ask more questions:

  • Who are your customers?
  • Who are your prospects?
  • Do you have profiles for them?
  • How big is your market?
  • Where are they located?
  • How old are they?
  • Male, female or both?
  • What are their values, attitudes and lifestyles?
  • Do you have a segmented database for customers, prospects, suspects?
  • What does success look like?
  • Do you use analytics?
  • Do you have your eye on operating systems, mobile and click maps?
  • What has worked well in the past?  More important, what has failed?
  • What are your customers and fans telling you about your inbound marketing compared with your competitors?
  • Have you analyzed your competitor’s inbound marketing?
  • What resources can you commit in terms of staff and budget?

You really have to know all of this before you can begin to create any type of  effective inbound marketing strategy.  If strict maintenance is included in the tactical management portion of the plan, clutter will be kept under control.  It takes research and thought but people really respond to a clean design that is easy to navigate where transactions can take place quickly.   They really hate it when you don’t, and that tarnishes your brand.

All it takes is a strategic integrated marketing plan.

Read Gerry’s post, he is a usability expert:  http://gerrymcgovern.com/new-thinking/communications-and-marketing-professionals-crossroads

 

 

 

Google’s Rich Snippets

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Hubspot had a great blog post shared today on LinkedIn that was a primer on creating rich snippets.  I personally love how they render with such clarity due to their relative size and use of white space.

Check it out, a must read for anyone with an interest in SEO.  The article is entitled “How to Breathe New Life into Your Google Search Results with Rich Snippets”:

http://blog.hubspot.com/how-to-use-google-rich-snippets 

Totally cool.  TGIF!

Links:

Hubspot, Inbound Marketing Software, http://www.hubspot.com/

About Rich Snippets:  http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=99170

Google Rich Snippet Tool:  http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/richsnippets

 

Content Marketing for Small Business – It Can Be Done

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A small business owner asked me recently how he can create a digital strategy, pick platforms and develop content.  Value, on any digital platform is built on content and even a small business with no budget or staff can build an affordable digital marketing plan.  The place to start is at the beginning, by understanding customer’s needs.

To build brand, the company must communicate those things that are remarkable about their company.  This, however, is a double-edged sword for most B-toB companies with complex products or services.

Provide too much information and risk losing competitive advantage because any content online is being analyzed by global competitors.  Provide too little information,  and risk losing that stealth customer who is looking at the website right now and not getting the answers they are looking for.

Think about each step of the buying process.  When making sales calls, what questions do customers ask?  What magazines are on their desk?  Are they using a Smartphone?  Write all of this down.

Talk to good customers.  Ask them what kind of information they want on the website; what will make their lives easier?  Can their Administrative Assistant access your website in less than a minute?  If they cannot, write it down, it’s an obstacle to sales.

Get Google Analytics and see what people are clicking on, it is the best way to know what’s working and what’s not.  How long does it take the pages to load?  Any broken links?  No links?  Anyone visiting the site on mobile?  Google will reveal if it is a Smartphone or tablet, model and operating system.  The Google Analytics package is free, but the information that you get is priceless.  It’s always a surprise.

The end result of this research is a list of content that needs to be added, improved and if it’s not performing, deleted.

Once the research is complete to find out what your Buyer needs are and where they hang out online, it’s time to create a prioritized content list and begin evaluating social media platforms.  This planning process will enable you to create a budget and timeline.  It can be done.