Marketing Strategy: Making A Smart Investment

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A marketer can easily fill up their day with a plethora of so-called “marketing tasks.” Post to Facebook, retweet a twitter mention, send out emails to prospects and clients – these tasks can be very valuable for a company, but too often they are used merely as hopeful shots in the dark instead of part of a distinct marketing strategy. Just like a financial investment, marketers need to start paying more attention to the specific financial goals of their business and investing in their strategy accordingly.

A Change Of Mindset

First and foremost, marketing is an investment. You only get out of it, what you put into it. Therefore CMOs need to begin looking at marketing as the financial investment that it is towards meeting the goals of the business. When you make a financial investment you investigate the risk potential, growth expectations, and your portfolio as a whole. When looking at your marketing spend and strategy, you can start with the same discussions.

To think of it in another way, look around your business at the way investment fundamentals are applied all around you. Why is this not the case in marketing as well? Forget the way that marketing is typically done. Forget what your company has focused marketing dollars on in the past. Then open yourself up to the possibilities that a creative marketing investment can have.

Goal Alignment

Now you’re ready to start getting your goals and your marketing investment in line. But first, make sure that you have the right goals. Of course, this depends on your business. A new business will need to focus more of their investment on brand awareness. You’ll need to make a splash in the market and get your name out there. your marketing spend in that area will be high because your primary goals is brand awareness.

But for most established businesses, awareness is only a portion of the marketing spend. Too often, businesses are focused on the wrong marketing metrics. You see that you’ve gained a bunch of Facebook likes, or you’re getting a lot of return visits to your website. These are positive things, but do they align to your goals? Marketers tend to focus their investment of marketing dollars on the channel itself – whether boosting search rankings or building an email list. But was your goal to create a higher search ranking? Or was your goal to use search rankings as a way to build leads and conversions?

Your marketing strategy needs to be relative meeting the financial goals of your company. If your company is looking for slow and steady growth, you can invest your marketing budget accordingly. But if you really want to get your business off the ground quickly, you’ll have to ramp up your spending for your maximum return.

Execution And Adjustment

Now that you have your focus for your investment from the goals of your business, you’re ready to get started ramping up your marketing strategy. Don’t limit yourself. Your mix of marketing strategy is dependent upon your business, of course, but consider every channel and it’s effectiveness for you.

Make sure you have the right tools in place to measure the return on the investment you’ve made. When you make a financial investment, you will always have these tools in place, so why wouldn’t you have these in place for marketing investment? Again, be focused on the right metrics and making sure you have a system in place to see the results of your hard work. Then you can make the adjustments needed in your strategy. You can identify where the issues are in your marketing funnel and change your marketing investment based on that information.

Conclusion

Thinking of your marketing as an investment, makes you shift your thinking for your marketing strategy and budget. You are only going to get out of it what you put into it – so invest wisely.

A marketer can easily fill up their day with a plethora of so-called “marketing tasks.” Post to Facebook, retweet a twitter mention, send out emails to prospects and clients – these tasks can be very valuable for a company, but too often they are used merely as hopeful shots in the dark instead of part of a distinct marketing strategy. Just like a financial investment, marketers need to start paying more attention to the specific financial goals of their business and investing in their strategy accordingly.

Source: Mike McDermott

Complete Media Inc is a Sioux Falls marketing, advertising, website design and web hosting company specializing in web design, maintenance and hosting services.

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Without Tracking, Your Marketing Dollars Are Pointless

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I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Dan Farris, our Outreach Director, tell a business owner that if they don’t know what their marketing dollars are doing for them, just stop all together and see what happens. That’s exactly what J.C. Penny did with their catalog in 2010 when they discontinued its production. According to an article by Sam Sanders, J.C. Penny is now bringing it back for a select group of customers. They noticed that their online sales decreased in the last five years and after some research, determined the decline was caused by the discontinued catalog.

J.C. Penney spokeswoman Kate Coultas tells Sam Sanders with NPR, “Our research has shown that our customers, particularly when it comes to looking at home merchandise, still prefer to browse a traditional print piece but then go online to order the item or go into our store.” You need to know and understand your target market and how they tick. Five years ago the world was going digital so the decision J.C. Penny made to discontinue the catalog was solid. It’s a good thing they put tracking elements in place to see what was working and what wasn’t. It’s all about a return on investment.

Our team at Complete Media does this day in and day out. It’s all about analyzing the market and using our client’s marketing dollars in the most efficient way possible. When you think about it, what’s the point in investing in your marketing when you don’t know what it’s returning to you?

Super Bowl Sunday: Just As Big A Day For Advertisers As Players

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Gone are the days where a Super Bowl commercial was enough to make an impact and grow your business. If you want to make a splash in the marketing world this weekend, you need to have a full blown online campaign as well as real time marketing. Talk about being on your toes! The most iconic moment of real time advertising and what really started the trend was the Oreo tweet during the Super Bowl black out.

I have Twitter but am frequenting the site less and less, except on big advertising days such as this. I can guarantee you I will be following my feed closely to see what the major companies come up with. Some companies, such as Papa Johns don’t even plan on purchasing a commercial. They are putting all their time and money into an online campaign. Click here to read an article about Mountain Dew and their Super Bowl plans. It’s fascinating to see the advertising world evolve. I am more excited to pay attention to the advertising and commercials than the actual game this Sunday! But if I have to, go Seahawks!

Are You Choosing the Right Color For Your Brand?

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A vital part of any great brand are the colors that are thoughtfully chosen to represent a business. Target has their iconic red, Ford with the blue, and then there are the Golden Arches of McDonalds. These colors were chosen for a specific purpose and when it comes to choosing a color to represent your brand, there are many things to consider.

Color is the first sensory touch point with a customer or client. A customer will make a quick judgement of your business on just the color of your marketing materials. They may not realize that the color plays a part, but it does.

Choosing a color to represent your brand and business goes beyond the realm of artistic choice. You can find colors that fit your demographic and have a better chance of standing out among competition. I challenge you to take some time from your busy schedules and note what kind of colors your competitors are using and what you think they are trying to represent with those colors.

Here is a resource that you can use to find what colors are associated with what psychological properties. http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/psychological-properties-of-colours

Does the color of your logo and branding materials represent the kind of business you are or the type of product you are selling? If you need help or are ready for a change in your corporate identity Complete Media is here to help you build a better brand and make you more money!

Why You Have to Track Your Marketing Results Starting Now!

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It is easy to get excited with all the amazing marketing tools the internet can offer a business and forget to keep track of what is going on. While it is now possible to reach billions of people with a website that never closes or goes on vacation, it is also very easy to lose a lot of money without getting any tangible benefits. The following are some of the reasons that should move you to start tracking your marketing right now:

1. It helps you know whether you are getting a return on investment or not

While all the PowerPoint presentations by your marketing team might make you feel warm and nice inside, nothing can take the place of cold, hard facts. You will need to see statistics that will tell you whether the strategy being employed by your marketing team is actually paying off and providing a solid return on investment or not. Your business might have the best website and some of the coolest social media accounts. However, if all these activities are not giving you the traffic that you were hoping for, then more hard work is required.

2. Tracking your results helps you know which method is the most successful

You might think that you pay per click advertising campaign is the one bringing in all the extra traffic that you have been registering on your website, only to find out that it is the organic search engine optimization campaign that is actually bringing in the extra pairs of digital eye balls. The good thing with tracking is that it removes any inherent bias that the owners of the business or the people conducting different marketing campaigns might have and only brings in raw data that cannot be disputed.

How to track your marketing results

The good news is that it is not that hard to track the effect of your marketing campaigns. There are many free tools (and paid ones of course) that will help you record the number of visitors that come to your site. Many of these tracking tools can also group the visitors according to the method that brought them to your site, giving you more information on which method is working and which one is not. One of the best free tools that you can use is Google analytics. This means that there is no excuse for not tracking your marketing results immediately!

Commercial Critiques

Nate Anderson Public Relations and Media Strategy Complete Media Inc.,
I have always been fascinated by commercials, and instead of mindlessly flipping through the channels whenever they come on, I find myself critiquing them to find out what the goal of each commercial is. As you can imagine, this can be annoying to anyone else in the room when I make sure to point out what the commercial was trying to accomplish or have to explain to my wife that even if it’s a cute commercial, was it effective?

Let’s start off with the series of oddball spots by the people of Old Spice. If it’s one thing they are good at, it’s weird commercials. The benefit is that Old Spice has dedicated itself to producing these weird commercials and has made it effective by keeping with the same message. Most recently, they have turned to an animatronic humanoid, who even though is not technically a man, he smells like one and is hard to resist.

Old Spice Commercial

Old Spice takes the same message that their competitors take, “buy our products, smell good, be attractive,” but go so over the top that you can’t help but laugh at the absurdity. Old Spice continues to be one of the bestselling brands in the market. They use a stereotype and take a different approach to appeal to their target market.

One of my biggest pet peeves is how often dads in commercials are stereotyped as bumbling oafs who don’t know the first thing about changing a diaper or boiling spaghetti noodles. Being a father of three kids with a wife who works full time as a professor AND is pursuing her doctorate, the luxuries of the mythical commercial dad who gets by on charm alone don’t exactly hit home. That’s why I was so enamored when I came across this ad for Peanut Butter Cheerios and made sure to share it on all my social media channels.

Cheerios Commercial

Don’t get me wrong, do I feel the message is negated a bit by the fact that the dad’s idea of a great breakfast is cereal? Sure, but at least it doesn’t have the dad screwing breakfast up and needing the mom to come in for the rescue. It depicts a busy family with two working parents, who rely on each other to accomplish the everyday tasks of parenthood. Here’s to Cheerios, who have been leading the way with breaking the stereotypical depictions of commercial families.

Advertising commercials not only have to be memorable, they have to evoke so much connection that it prompts you to try their brand or switch to their brand. For the record, I bought Peanut Butter Cheerios because I didn’t know they existed until I saw that commercial online.

If you have a favorite commercial or a commercial that boggles the mind, leave a comment, and before you go for the remote take some time to study the art of advertising.

 

Everyone Is In Sales

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“Wait Jessica… I’m not in sales.” Oh, no?  You’re not in sales? “But Jessica, I’m an accountant.” “But Jessica, I’m a stay at home mom.” “But Jessica, I’m running a business and have staff that goes out to bring in new business.” Think about it, the accountant is selling their knowledge on providing tax breaks to their clients. The stay at home mom is selling broccoli and bed making to her children along with selling the idea to her husband that the new pair of shoes she purchased was necessary. The business owner is selling a long term position in the company so they can keep their turnover rate low. Or how about when you’re looking for a promotion? What are you selling then? That’s right, you’re selling yourself.

Every small business owner must take on the role of salesman at some point, whether that is handling suppliers, bankers or customers. As a small business owner, you have the largest impact on your business, larger than any of your employees. Are you screening calls coming in from other businesses? Not returning the phone calls because it could be a waste of your time? The person on the other line might not be able to benefit from your business personally, but everyone has a sphere of influence of 250 people and I bet that they know someone who might be able to benefit from your services. Do you think they’ll want to refer business to you if you never return their phone call? If you’re not giving them the time of day to have a 3 minute conversation on the phone, they are going to assume that’s how you would treat their referral. You just sold this person that you are not a business they would want their network to work with. Every decision you make can affect your business, make sure your actions reflect good customer relations. Or contact Complete Media and we can layout an effective business plan for you!

 

#sadiefromcompletemedia talks internet sensation #alexfromtarget

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Social media, when used correctly, is one of the most powerful marketing tools in today’s culture. As a 25 year old in the marketing world, I will never know an industry without social media. Internet marketing capabilities have exploded in the last few years, but can be traced back to the 1970s. One early social media platform was CompuServe that was present in the business world in the 1970s and expanded into public domain in the late 80s. You were able to chat on thousands of discussion forums with many other people. Other popular platforms emerged throughout the years such as Friendster, Myspace and then Facebook in 2004.

 

With the help of Facebook and Twitter, founded in 2006, the public has been able to enjoy, or cringe, at the numerous “viral” videos and pictures spread on the internet. The most recent head scratcher is #alexfromtarget. Haven’t heard of him? Read this to get some background information. Alex, from Target, gained almost 1 million Twitter followers overnight from a simple snap shot going viral. There are now rumors about Target doing an ad campaign specifically about #alexfromtarget. Do you think that would be good for their brand or should they leave the poor 16-year-old Justin Beiber look-a-like from Texas alone?

 

I’m pretty sure his 15 minutes of fame will end soon, but that’s ok because tomorrow there will be another crazy story circling the internet. The ability to share information has come a long way in the last few decades and I’m interested to see what the future holds. If you’re not on social media, you’re missing some unbelievably fun stories, and also a great business opportunity! Happy posting!

 

Charity Doesn’t Count if You Don’t Tell Anyone

Nate Anderson Public Relations and Media Strategy Complete Media Inc.,

There is no better feeling in the world than helping others, and the opportunities to do so are present every day. Most of us who volunteer do so because it helps others and makes ourselves feel good. We don’t expect anything in return. Having your business participate in charitable activities is a great way to contribute to the community and build stronger working relationships among employees. Doing something charitable is also great public relations for your business. If you are doing great things that benefit the community, why wouldn’t you want to share that with current and potential customers?

It would be great to have so much money that you could anonymously donate to any charity and not garner any attention towards yourself, but often times that is not the case. Be proud that you are helping the community. Here are just a couple things you need to do when you are being charitable:

1. Send a press release prior to the event to help promote it, or to let the public know you are participating in the event.
2. Document the event. Whether you are serving meals, donating blood, or donating money to a cause, make sure you get some pictures of your employees and the organization which you are being charitable towards.
3. Then send another press release after the event to share the results. Share your experiences and photos with those who follow you on social media, or through an e-marketing newsletter you provide to clients and leads.

Following these quick steps will show your community that your business and employees are dedicated to providing more than just a product and service, but you are truly invested in the community you serve. Charitable work will help with the building of your brand and provide the public with a favorable opinion of your business. Now, match that up with the other vehicles of your marketing strategy and you are on your way to finding success.

Relationships Don’t Happen By Accident

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While attending college, I had a professor tell me multiple times that relationships don’t happen by accident. Most of the time, I would nod my head to make it look like I was paying attention. After graduating and starting my job here at Complete Media, I can truly see this concept coming into play. I can now say that this professor was absolutely correct. Relationships are important in both your personal and professional life. Here are a few tips to help you build better relationships with those who surround you!

1. Be honest. Honesty is always the best policy! Make sure you are always being truthful with both professional and personal contacts.

2. Let someone know you are thinking of them. Has your friend or business contact recently been promoted? Is it their birthday? Send them a handwritten note to let them know you are thinking of them!

3. Make time. We all have hectic schedules, but make sure you make time for those who are important to you. Whether it is a personal or professional contact, that individual wants to be heard. By making time, you can ensure that their thoughts and ideas are being recognized.

4. Be yourself. You are the best person at being you—don’t try to be someone you’re not!

Relationships are the key to professional and personal success. Use these tips and you will be on the path to better relationships!