Cintia Miranda

Cintia Miranda

edge contributor

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There have been many changes in the marketing industry during the past decade. These changes are rapid and demanding, meaning that marketers are continually running to catch up with the evolving environment. Just this week, for example, 'Mashable' published an article about Facebook's latest pitch to convince marketers that click-though rates are irrelevant, and that reach and frequency are more important. Another article from 'Search Engine Land' discusses the death of SEO. At the same time, 'Fast Company's' October issue featured an article by Wendy Marx commenting on the need to change from promotion to education marketing. These are only a few examples of the current challenges that B2B marketers are facing the list is in fact a lot longer.

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 16:20

Work smarter, not harder

How time management is directly related to success

If you are a small business owner, you probably wear many hats. In my position I am the lead marketer, sales rep, HR contact, QuickBooks bondwoman and more. In short, if it needs to get done, I make it happen. On the other hand, as a working mother, my time with my child is also priceless. I treasure our evenings together and try my very best not to bring work home and if work comes home, it gets done after my child's bedtime. Therefore, making efficient use of my time is a major priority every day of my life.

I have been a marketer for close to 15 years now. A large portion of my experience as a marketer has been on the client side, while I worked for both non-profit and for profit organizations in a marketing capacity. Now, as the owner of a small marketing agency for the past three years (happy anniversary to us!), I can offer a few tips on how to reap the rewards of a healthy client-agency relationship.

First, clear your mind of terrible stereotypes created by TV shows like 'Mad Men.' Modern marketing is not about smoke-filled conference rooms, scotch and infidelity (and if you happen to engage with a firm that meets that description, run away as quickly as you can!). Instead, think of your marketing agency as an extension of your own internal marketing department. If you don't have a marketing department, think of your new partners as your personal marketing department.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 16:05

Grab a drink and take a break

Fall is a wonderful time for us to review our marketing programs - to take stock of where we stand and where we wish to bring our organizations in the upcoming year. Annual assessment provides invaluable information: recognition of past successes, guidance for future strategies and most importantly insight on how to keep delivering the best services possible.

Now is the time to take a close look at every marketing activity we've executed this year so far and to measure its performance. Most of us have some way to track our marketing efforts. Some have advanced analytical tools, while others keep a simple Excel spreadsheet with information about how new customers end up at their doorstep. Regardless of the method, the point is to trace where our leads are coming from, which were converted into business and which leads were not fruitful. Along with these factors, it's also important to consider how much effort was put into each marketing activity (time, funds), the length of the activity (is it too soon to measure it?) and how well each activity was planned and deployed. It is vital that we are honest with ourselves during this exercise, so that we can realistically determine whether it makes sense to continue with each activity in the upcoming year and, if so, what can be done to improve the process and results.

A key part of any successful marketing campaign is clearly identifying your target audience. Crafting a message that speaks directly to your potential customers is equally important as the manner in which you reach them.

One way to start is by taking a look at your current customer base and dividing it into three columns: 'great,' 'OK' and those who cost you money to do business with (I'll leave it up to you to find a pet name for that group). Now, take a closer look at the list of those you selected as your 'great' customers. What makes them great? How much profit have they generated for your business in the past 12 months? How long has each customer been doing business with you? Do they pay on time? Are they in agreement with your business process policies? Are they willing to be of reference?

Wednesday, 05 September 2012 14:45

Do you have employees or brand ambassadors?

As a customer, how do you feel when you hear 'Next!' at a coffee shop, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, bank or doctor's office? Now, how do you feel when you are greeted with a smile and welcoming words like 'Good morning! How are you today?' The feeling of being welcome at a place, asked how you're feeling and greeted with a smile makes the experience much more memorable.

From a customer's perspective, there are two major factors that contribute to a memorable experience: the quality of your products or services and great customer service provided by engaged brand ambassadors. But what exactly is a brand ambassador?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012 14:47

Business lessons from an 8-year-old

Those who know me personally have heard a lot about my child - my pride and joy, and the source of many of my stories. This spring, I signed her up for Lemonade Day, a program that teaches kids basic business skills through running a lemonade stand. Unfortunately, due to a loss in our family, my daughter was unable to set up her lemonade stand on the designated day in June. Although time had passed since we read the Lemonade Day program book and filled out the forms, she kept the information in her mind during the summer.

My daughter came up to me last Friday with a business plan. Her ultimate goal is to buy an iPad, and as a smart kiddo who knows her math, she'd realized that she would not raise enough money with her lemonade stand alone. She had some ideas in mind to make her stand extra special by offering fresh, homemade lemonade and chocolate chip cookies for $0.50 each. 'With a dollar, you can have one of each,' she said, 'and most people have a dollar, right Mamma?' I was astonished at her grasp of how she should price her products, and her understanding that by making them affordable, she would attract more customers (in this case, our neighbors).

Wednesday, 22 August 2012 14:11

Your Business Deserves professional marketing

Many small business owners feel that hiring professional marketing assistance is out of their league. Some might not have a specific marketing budget in place (although every business should, in order to succeed). Other start-up businesses opt to handle their marketing activities in-house, which may actually turn out to be more expensive in the long run.

In actuality, although professional marketing may cost more, it is likely to provide far better quality in presentation and communication. Here are a few suggested marketing components that are more effective when produced by trained professionals:

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 15:07

Become close friends with your web analytics

If your business has a website (as by all means, it should), you should be paying close attention to what your analytic reports are telling you. If used correctly, your web analytics can be a great source of insightful marketing information.

You don't have to spend a small fortune investing in costly analytical tools to get important traffic information. In fact, a great number of websites worldwide use Google Analytics a free tool provided by Google. Adding Google Analytics to your site is a simple process: First, sign up for an account. Google will provide you with a small bit of code to insert into your website's back-end (there are free tools to help you integrate the code into your Content Management System; or, ask your website's administrator to make the change for you). Then, you only need to wait a day or so for Google's servers to start recording your traffic.

Wednesday, 08 August 2012 17:07

Tips to increase your B2B sales potential

Anyone engaged in Business to Business (B2B) marketing and sales can attest that it is not an easy task. B2B requires research, marketing skills and aptitude and - above all else - perseverance. As a small business owner, I perform both marketing and sales functions for my agency. This can be both challenging and insightful at the same time, and over the years I've learned a few helpful techniques in courting potential clients and working with them after conversion.

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