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Like most marketers, I know that audience research is crucial for an effective strategy. So, as I begin working on a campaign, I try to get as much hard data as possible about my client's target market. Most of my clients are able to provide me with some form of information, but sometimes what we receive is not entirely accurate (especially when it comes in form of anecdotal data), or is no longer an accurate representation of what the client's target audience wants from them. In those cases, I try to take things one step further and reach out to the audience directly. After all, research can only be effective if the trends you uncover are truly relevant to your own unique market.

This past week, I had the opportunity to run three focus groups for one of our clients. During the campaign development phase leading up to these focus groups, my team had had access to some great information about our target audience including data from well-known and reliable sources, as well as industry studies available to our client to guide us in shaping our message and creative materials. We crafted some beautiful pieces with strong content. Based on what these studies had told us, we felt that our work would communicate well with our audience and both my team and my client felt confident about the end product.

Published in The Marketing Edge

Every small business owner knows that the key to continued success is the ability to change and adapt to the needs of the market. Business failures can serve as great learning opportunities, and past victories can set the stage for new ones. But sometimes, you get stuck in a rut. You push and pull, but nothing moves. When this happens, many business owners instinctively keep doing what they've done in the past, in hopes that what used to work will continue to work. However, this practice can often lead to a plateau or worse a decline in revenue. Here are some tips for what to do when your company gets stuck in a rut:

Don't be afraid of change 

It's easy for business owners to become complacent. After all, the familiar can be comfortable even if it's largely ineffective. For example, suppose your business sends an email to prospective clients every month. You've been doing it for years despite a relatively low return on your investment, but you keep on with it because the email is quick to update and inexpensive to deploy. But have you thought of trying something new? After all, there are many ways to communicate with your prospective customer base. Regardless of your situation, don't be afraid to change what you're doing if the results aren't there. Try testing a variety of prospecting methods and track your results. Your bottom line will thank you for the extra effort.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 17:16

Combating indifference on social media

It's a common marketing puzzle: you understand the value of social media and the importance of promoting your company through all the relevant channels. You reach out to your followers, comment on other people's pages and frequently post interesting, informative content on your own. Yet somehow, you aren't fueling the social interaction you hoped for. People just aren't engaging with your brand, let alone converting. What might be going wrong? 

A recent article by BusinessGrow reveals that 74 million Americans are considered 'passive aggressive' social media users that is, they read and enjoy your content, but they won't respond to it in any way. Given this epidemic indifference, how can your organization effectively engage fans and nurture conversions? 

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 03 July 2013 11:10

Creating a successful media relations plan

A significant portion of any effective marketing program revolves around publicity. After all, your business can't get very far if no one's heard of it. Strong media relations, however, does more than just get your name out there. It boosts awareness of your brand, reinforces your professional credibility and provides an invaluable resource for successful crisis management. 

Though it can be overwhelming, creating a successful media relations plan can give your brand a decided advantage in your market. Here are a few guidelines to get started. 

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 16:09

Fueling active engagement on Twitter

With more than 200 million active users, Twitter provides a great way to engage with customers and prospects in real-time, at any time. With a 140-character limit for each post, however, it's also one of the most challenging social media platforms to use effectively. How can business organizations make the most of Twitter's fast-and-furious network to engage prospects and increase ROI?

Published in The Marketing Edge

Positive messaging for success: Securing support for your organization

Maine is filled with amazing nonprofit organizations, making a huge positive impact in our communities. This month, I invited some experts in the field to share their perspectives on effective nonprofit marketing. Our last guest blogger is Sarah McCarthy, the director of Development for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and currently serving as interim executive director. This week, she shares some words of wisdom about how nonprofit professionals can optimize their fundraising efforts.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 16:43

Ten ways to get the most from your website

Is your website working 24/7 for you? If not, it should be! If your site isn't performing the way you would like it to, here are a few tips to help you start getting more from your online presence:

 

Published in The Marketing Edge

A new year means a new marketing game plan. With ever-increasing access to online, mobile and social networking platforms, decision makers' purchasing habits have changed drastically over the last five years. Prospective clients now face a nearly endless array of options. What's more, they can switch from one vendor to another with the touch of a button. Inbound marketing has never played such a crucial role in B2B business strategy as it has in recent years. To capture leads in a buyer-driven market, the question has become not one of how to covert, but how to evangelize your prospects though effective content that sets your brand apart from the competition.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 16:39

Where will your business go in 2013?

A marketing plan will help it get there!

The last months of the year are critical for marketing professionals. At this time of the year, we look back on previous months to see which types of activities have helped our organization grow, which efforts have yielded the highest return on investment (ROI) and which ones should not be repeated. Based on this analysis of what's worked and what hasn't, we can then make our forecasts and take our most crucial step toward success in the new year: developing a solid marketing plan.

Published in The Marketing Edge

If you're a parent of young children, your little ones are probably starting to think about what they would like to ask Santa to give them for Christmas. Of course, for kids the most important requirement for Santa's gift list is whether or not they've been good this year.

Small business owners are industrious people. We work long days, weekends, holidays, and even while we sleep. For that alone, I think we deserve to be on Santa's 'good' list! However, since Santa has an age limit to his North Pole gifts roster, I have a few ideas for ways that we, diligent small business owners, can reward ourselves during the holiday season.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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