The Marketing Edge (325)

Thursday, 01 November 2012 12:14

Paving the road to a more profitable 2013

Written by Cintia Miranda

Most of us can probably agree that so far, 2012 has been a better year in most business sectors than the two years prior. In general, although we still have a long way to go before the economy reaches a full recovery, we business owners are feeling less paranoid about spending than we did only two or three years ago. I have noticed that small businesses are now more willing to invest in marketing and other areas of their business that they feel need improvement. Many, if not all, of our clients tell us that they have been significantly busier this year than they were in 2011. The 2012 economic comeback may be slow, but even these small improvements mean that we can start laying the foundation for stronger growth in 2013.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012 21:53

Making the most of your mobile website

Written by Cintia Miranda

It is impossible to deny the continuing growth of mobile computing. Nowadays, more and more people rely exclusively on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices to browse the web, shop online and stay in touch. I asked my colleague Ian Marquis, creative director at Pulse Marketing Agency, to give some tips to help you ensure that your company's mobile website puts its best foot forward:

Automatically detect mobile devicesOne of the fundamentals of web design is to make things easy for your visitors. What is the point of creating a separate mobile site if users need to hunt for a link or remember a particular URL in order to see it? Configure your website so that it can tell when a visitor is using a mobile device and direct them automatically to your mobile site. Another option is to make your primary website responsive so that it displays optimally on every device regardless of screen size. With either approach, the takeaway is the same: Give your visitor the best experience possible.

It's hard to believe that Halloween is right around the corner. My house is already decorated, my kid has already picked her costume, and we have a ton of candy to give away. And after that, in the blink of an eye, the holiday season will be in full swing. That means a whirlwind of activity, demands and busy schedules for businesses as well as consumers. Here are a few tips to simplify your customers' shopping experience this year (and convert more sales):

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

Written by Cintia Miranda
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

Written by Cintia Miranda

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?

Written by Cintia Miranda

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

Written by Cintia Miranda

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).

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