Wednesday, 14 November 2012 23:30

Marketing lessons from the presidential campaign

I am not big on politics. However, I vote in every single election, and always do thorough research beforehand in order to select the candidates worthy of my vote. I tend to be skeptical of campaign promises and try to look beyond all of the pageantry associated with political candidates. This past election was different, however. The negative competitive atmosphere was so intense that the candidates' motivations became transparent, leaving no doubt as to how far they were willing to go to win.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 21:53

Making the most of your mobile website

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.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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.

Published in The Marketing Edge

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.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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:

Published in The Marketing Edge
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.

Published in The Marketing Edge

Understanding the Return on Investment (ROI) of your social media marketing program is crucial for any business. The key step that many marketers and small business owners struggle with, however, is accurately measuring a program's effectiveness and translating that measure into a dollar value.

It is important to understand that ROI is a formula, and it needs real numbers in order to work correctly. So, the first step in measuring the success of your campaign is to establish concrete numerical values. Start by identifying your campaign's goal. This might be stimulating community engagement, increasing website traffic, improving the overall customer service experience or promoting your brand. Next, with the campaign goal in mind, determine the hours of work that went into the campaign, the cost of social media advertisement (if any), and finally, the rate of your gain (profit). Be aware that the profit can be difficult to assess, because its value may vary for different parts of your business. (One-size-fits-all social media campaigns are nearly impossible to measure.)

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:25

Combating indifference on social media

You know the value of social media and the importance of promoting your company through all the relevant channels. You make regular posts, reach out to your followers and provide links to interesting and informative content. Yet somehow you aren't getting the response you had anticipated people just aren't interacting, and you aren't selling as much as you anticipated. What might be going wrong? For starters, a recent article by 'BusinessGrow' reveals that 74 million Americans alone are considered passive aggressive social media users that is, they might enjoy your content, but they won't respond to it in any way. How can you help your campaigns succeed in the face of such indifference? Read the following tips to help get to the root of the problem.

Published in The Marketing Edge
Wednesday, 27 June 2012 15:56

When good enough is just not enough

I consider myself a straight shooter. From time to time, I've been accused of seeing things in a black and white sort of way. I just don't have time for nonsense, and I don't have much patience for it either. What does that make me? A tough customer with high expectations. But there is a good part about being a pain in the neck, as some might put it: I am continually judging the quality of my own work, which helps me not to fall into complacency.

My first and most memorable boss in the business world used to say that achieving success is easy - the hard part is sustaining it. Sometimes, success can drive a business into complacency, which is a very dangerous path to be on. When things are good for a period of time, people become overly positive about their success. They tend to think that their business will continue on that growth path, which can lead to a false sense of security and lack of a strong business strategy.

Published in The Marketing Edge
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