IMC Intuition

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How’s Your Website?

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Many people assume that website creation in a one-off proposition. The site is created and then it’s crossed off the list. Chances are, the results are underwhelming, if measured at all.

A strategic website begins with a plan and a strategy. What are your business goals? Who is the audience and how do they access your website? What actions do your customers expect to complete by accessing your website?

A website is a perfect medium to centralize a content marketing strategy. Content marketing is the art of communicating with your audience without selling by providing relevant information. Inbound marketing combines PR, content, social media and SEO working together, not only to bring people to your brand, but as an integrated system for achieving your business goals.

To develop a full website, you need a specialized agency; you’ll find some good ones in our area. If you need help to develop the integrated marketing strategy and provide copywriting, I can help. My new hours are Mondays & Fridays from 9 AM – 3 PM, feel free to email anytime.

Beth Ryan Integrated Marketing & Communications
Public Relations, Content Marketing and Training


Written by Beth Ryan

October 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Trouble with Twitter…

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Twitter_logo_blue…Is that so many businesses, particularly in rural areas do not take advantage of the world’s leading micro-blogging platform.  Twitter is a fast-paced, free tool for news sharing, gossip & culture, politics, coupons, special deals and foodies.

Busy people love Twitter.

Twitter is more like talk radio or cable TV, only very mobile.  Hash tags (#) signal conversations in Twitter that can now be extended into Instagram and Facebook.  Many companies, for example Fitbit, use Twitter for customer service.  All you need is a simple profile, then you are ready to “tweet” – write a great headline with 140 characters.  Add a photo to draw more interest.  You follow your interests, and people follow you. Once you have a strategy in place, it’s not complicated.

Twitter’s new advertising platform gives you an effective, affordable method to target your audience for a price that won’t break your budget.  It’s a super option if your audience loves Twitter as much as I do 🙂

Please contact me for a free consultation, there’s no better time to get started.  Better yet, follow me on Twitter, @BethRyan or and send me a message.

Written by Beth Ryan

May 15, 2016 at 10:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Do you still believe in interruption marketing?

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That concept came up in my professional life recently in both B-to-B and B-to-C projects, the opinion that a traditional model of outbound marketing (my message, my voice, in your face) remains the strategic direction of successful brands.  I beg to differ.

Inbound marketing with the website as hub, content marketing, SEO, SEM, social media and mobile have rapidly replaced traditional interruption advertising models…why?  We have changed.  We no longer have the patience, we have work arounds (skip this ad, TIVO, etc.) and we don’t believe it.  Unless it’s entertaining or informative, we really don’t care.

In my view, inbound is fundamental, followed by strategic outbound (direct mail, email, advertising, etc.) What are your thoughts?

“We need to turn advertising on its head. On the Web, the customer is now the advertiser. When they search they are placing an ad. Traditional marketing is about getting attention while web marketing is about giving it.”  Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern is a thought leader in web content management.  New Thinking:

Update 3/18/2013:  The PR Daily post, “No, PR does not look more like advertising” by Frank Strong offered this additional insight on interruption marketing:

“Promoted posts, click-through news stories, and those annoying mini pop-ups that follow you as you scroll a page are among the latest interruptions. People don’t hate marketing, they hate those interruptions. They’re obstacles that are intentionally placed between readers and the information they seek.

On the Web, attention is a form of currency. I contend it’s better to earn it than try to buy it, which is what PR has always done. This is why marketing, and indeed advertising, looks a lot more like PR. It’s a change I embrace, and recommend other PR pros do as well.”

Let’s face it, interruptions are annoying.

Whiteboard Friday from SEOMoz

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Working with these guys would be a dream job for me, much like Mashable or Google….While this idea seems counterintuitive, I feel it makes the best use of the medium rather than clogging your website with endless, unread content. I love Whiteboard Fridays, keep ’em coming!

Click on the link, the video is around 6 minutes or you can read the script and cut to the chase:

AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education, last day

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Three last super sessions:

The Boston University Annual Report – The big surprise is that they only print 500 because you can’t put video in print – so they glue a thumb drive in the print to take the reader directly to the website.  How cool is that?

Higher Education Under Attack:  Why doesn’t anyone like us? Donald Heller, MSU,

The #1 reason the public does not trust higher-ed is the increase in tuition prices, up an average 182% in 30 years for 4 year private, not-for-profit institutions.  When compared to other goods and services, higher-ed costs are rising at a faster pace.  80% of students are enrolled in public or community colleges.  In the last 20 years, states have severely cut aid to public schools, but enrollment increased.

We’ve done a poor job of communicating average sticker and net tuition price.  The “Student loan bubble” analogies emerged drawn from housing bubble when total student loan debt passed $1 trillion.  Reasonable borrowing is still a good investment; college graduates continue to earn more money over time than workers without a degree. What to do?

  • Promote net prices, not sticker prices
  • Reiterate that college is still a good investment on average
  • Emphasize the importance of making good choices
  • Hammer away at best practices for degree attainment
  • Emphasize the economic development benefits for communities that support higher-ed

Spanning silos – U of CA building an Integrated University Brand
U of C snapshot:  10 world class campuses, 3 DOE labs, huge research shools, 60 Nobel prize winners; 235,000 students.

The team’s mission was to elevate the brand; people want integrated solutions; siloed brands lack clarity.The team recognized many obstacles including budget, resource misallocation, marketing management competence is diffused throughout multiple departments, and all of the problems we all deal with in higher ed.

UC, like most brands was built through strong positioning in traditional advertising & PR.  Today brands are built by customers through their experience and emotional attachment; big brands like Disney can control the customer experience through their customer service operations.  A university brand experience is quite messy by comparison, because any department can randomly affect the student experience with virtually no control by the marketing group.

The group knew that trying to force solutions as the brand police was not going to work.  Here is the process they identified as their keys to success:

  1. Commitment from the top
  2. Resources to invole key player to probe relevant issues, to provide thinking time
  3. A Big Idea
  4. Balance
  5. You have to be ready to be a change agent

Then came the Crisis:  An executive pay scandal rocked the UC system, resulting in the loss of public trust.  The team was ready.  They worked with the leadership and suggested a strategy with a singular goal:  Tell the real UC story, in a real way.

Technically, this is a PR campaign.  The team started with extensive research that revealed that the people of California had no idea of the contributions of the University of California, no wonder they questioned why their tax dollars were going to support this institution.

The job of the Integrated Marketing unit was to provide leadership, support to the  individual department communications with final authority on messaging and visual identity.

The Onward campaign was created:
Twitter hash tag:#onwardca

Lesson learned:  You have to inspire organic adoption of the brand rather than forcing solutions; They built a flexible model that could scale and be adapted for all 10 campuses. It’s been a great conference, but exhausting.  Looking forward to the trip home.

Top 7 from Day 2 at AMA Symposium on Higher-Ed

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1.  Chronicles of HigherEd:  For the first time in history, student loan debt passed the trillion-dollar mark; the average student loan is $26,600.  Students need to know, “Is it worth it?”

2. Chronicles of HigherEd:  There is still a degree premium, however there are also a record number of college graduates and degrees.  These new students want to learn on their own terms but learn more in hybrid programs (online + in classroom) vs either the traditional classroom or 100% online.  Models for free post secondary education such as Khan Academy, MTI, etc. abound and will continue to grow; even though these schools offer no credits or degrees, a recent artificial intelligence class offered by Stanford netted students key jobs in Silicon Valley.  So tomorrow’s competition is not necessarily the school down the road, it could well be a completely different business model.

3.  Google:  Not using Google Hangout?  Free video conferencing for up to 10 people – gotta try it.

4.  Game Changer:  Cornell’s positioning strategy wins the bid against Stanford for a new NYC campus:  First rule – unify the team to unify the message; Keep the message simple and memorable with the end goal of informing, engaging and empowering.  Start internally, then energize the alumni group, empower surrogates to spread the message, prepare for arguments and manage outcomes.

5.  Loyola University:  Believe in the single brand.  All communications impact brand.  Everything is lifted by brand.  Music to my ears.  Apple is a branded house, as are Target, Starbucks.  You can be a branded house (Apple) or house of Brands if you have billions for marketing  (Proctor & Gamble’s Tide, Downy, etc.), or a hybrid  (Google).  Loyola embraced a branded house strategy because it is ultimately more effective and much less expensive.  Still, there are never-ending requests for logos and other craziness, unique to higher-ed, that saps department resources and fragments the brand.  Ultimately, they choose not to fight the battle on internal communications, but get the President involved on external communications.  We had a group hug at the end as we are all entrenched in the battle against logo-mania.

6.  Stanford University Alumni Magazine:  They built an app instead of using responsive design and this session reported on the results of a follow-up survey.  First of all, word had it the app wasn’t that great.  Who loved it?  International students and young alums.  Who didn’t download it?  97% of a 1600+ person sample.  What’s the insight?  People not only spent more time with the print edition, they like to keep it out on the coffee table as a point of pride in their alma mater.  That was a key learning for me on the ability of print to drive engagement.  Engaging international and young alums is the driving force in supporting a responsive design strategy over an app, because it is a far more flexible approach for mobile rendering.  Almost no one reads the magazine from desktop, no surprise there.

7.  Ithaca College Rebranding and Communications Group Reorganization:  Well, they did it all, new logo, updated colors and launched their “Ready” Campaign; all this while reorganizing and restructuring their marketing communications group.  Now, Ithaca had higher-ed agency support, nonetheless, Rachel Reuben is a force to behold, don’t believe me, check out the links:

Ithaca “Ready” Campaign

Rachel Reuben’s Blog

On to day three.

Experiential Marketing in a Landmark Destination

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New Orleans is the home of the new World War II museum, and at the urging of Lt. Col. Nadig, my co-worker at Gannon, I made the destination my first stop.

Experiential marketing is nothing new, mastered by companies like Giant Eagle, and while I have had the pleasure of more than one IMAX theater experience, the WW II museum takes the experience one step further.  There is a Tom Hanks movie that takes the viewer to WWII in a theater smaller than an IMAX, but uses physical movement, sound light and stage management in such a fashion (I can’t give you the details, you have to experience it yourself) that it places the viewer right in the moment.  I felt like I was part of D-Day, the shock, the horror, the valor.

Truth be told, my Dad was a B-17 pilot, so the movie alone would have been emotional (looking for his face), but the total emotional experience was evident in the faces of everyone in the crowd as we left the theater.  Everyone was speechless.

That is what experiential marketing does best, linking content with context.

WW II Museum 

Written by Beth Ryan

November 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm