“Kate, I read that when Mitt Romney made his speech in prime time, there were 23 percent fewer television viewers than four years ago when John McCain spoke. Am I wasting my money advertising on television here in Connecticut?”
With so much change in media and so many more choices, Image Marketing Consultants is receiving an increasing number of questions like this one about how to spend marketing dollars. The answer to this business owner is: It depends. That means that for every promotional campaign, B2C enterprises have to start from square one in investigating options, their costs, the probability of success, and how to test out tactics before making a significant commitment.
Television advertising, for example, may seem to some B2C enterprises to be too much to risk in terms of dollars and possible conversions. They have a hunch that it would be cheaper and more effective to create their own online videos to distribute on YouTube and through their own digital platforms such as their website, blog, Facebook fan page, and twitter account. Not so fast, at least not in isolation.
For example, personal injury law firms have to dig around for how their most successful competitors are navigating the marketing mix. A major personal injury lawyer who started out in Connecticut and now dominates New England emphasizes television and ads on public transportation and billboards. His web presence is just developing. Therefore, a competing firm could view digital as the space to pounce, not attempt to compete toe-to-toe with him through other mediums.
Image Marketing Consultants recommends: Slow down, study the terrain, experiment. Monitor results. Approach marketing as the work in progress it has become.
Kate Sirignano, Millennial founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations in Marketing including Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events email@example.com, 203-404-4868
Many press experts, including Dan Gillmor who published “We The Media,” told small businesses, large businesses, and even lone entrepreneurs that they could be the media. Thanks to digital technology, you could have the reach of a multi-national corporation with a promotional budget of billions.
For some of you who have been early adopters of websites, webinars, blogs, podcasts, videos for YouTube, photo-sharing, setting up a Facebook fanpage, and tweeting, that has worked out well. Your outreach converted into actions such as more guests at your restaurant and more emails to your state senator to lobby for or against such and such a regulation. In addition, since attention gets attention, the external media started coming to you, particularly your special events.
For those of you who haven’t taken that digital leap into being the media, there’s urgency. More constitutencies, ranging from prospects and current customers/clients to elected officials and local and regional media, are coming to your website. There they now expect you to have a “Media Center.” For some that is their first stop instead of “About Us.” In addition, if there is a crisis, your own Media Center provides one of the platforms from which you will handle it.
What should be in your Media Center? Everything which tells your story. That includes videos you put on YouTube, external coverage by the press, press releases, announcements, case studies, clips of ads, white papers, podcasts, webinars, speeches, earnings reports, blog posts which have gone viral, live-tweeting, and photos. The beauty of the Media Center is that you tell your story in your own voice, on your schedule.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultants on Public Relations, Social Media, Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, and Special Events firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868.
Every week some organization, both private sector and non-profit, is celebrating an anniversary. They do that because years in business or serving the needs of the homeless is a platform for marketing, fundraising, getting media attention, attracting partners, and hosting special events. More importantly, you have the opportunity to reach out to your current constituencies and thank them for being there all those years.
So, yes, if this is your second or 34th year in buiness or being a helping hand in the commmunity, consider positioning and packaging that for reinforcing your branding, increasing sales, gaining access to new funding, and staging an activity which the media can’t miss.
Here are 3 tips from Image Marketing Consultants:
Highlight theme of gratitude, show it. You wouldn’t have made it to yet another year without the customers/clients, employees, vendors, contributors, public services, elected officials, and the media. Show how grateful you are through a special event such as a complimentary ice cream social, a steep discount, or free training in your expertise such as decorating cakes.
Tell the world. Few will know that it is your anniversary unless you spread the good news. That in itself can be leveraged as a brand enhancer if you create a special symbol and/or graphics for the announcement. That can be communicated through all your digital sites such as Facebook, blogs, Twitter, and Google+ as well as your newsletters, store/office windows, and tags employees wear. If the community permits, members of your organization can dress up in thematic costumers and distribute flyers and maybe some goodies in target areas.
Introduce New Whatevers. Attention gets attention. Since you have that attention, use it to feature new products, services, funding objectives, kinds of community outreach, expansion of territory, and celebrity support.
In addition, participating in other organizations’ anniversaries provides you with what could be a productive networking activity. From it could come partnerships, incremental sales, and a fresh source of funding.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media and Special Events Kate@imagemarketingconsultants.com, 203-404-4868.
That’s a regret we at Image Marketing Consultants are hearing more often. That’s because just about everything, ranging from the economy to social norms, is in flux. That means that much of what involves public interaction involves some degree of risk. Of course, it’s not possible to avoid all risk. Play it “too safe” and you can come across as inauthentic.
Yesterday, we at Image Marketing Consulting listened to a webinar that proved puzzling. The expert who presented material about media, from the get-go, used industrial-strength profanity. The audience numbered over a 1000. Therefore, we have to assume some of them might have been quite turned off. One of our staffe noted that the presenter’s credibilty was deep-sixed by that incredible lack of sensitivity about who might be in the audience.
Here are 3 tips from Image Marketing Consultants on how to approach risk in smart ways:
Know the audience. It might consist of one, the job interviewer, or a 1000 as with the webinar. Research their values, especially social norms and the organizational culture. Then align what you say and write with those. The best salespeople do exactly that. They call it “mirroring” the prospects.
Trial-run everything. In marketing, even small businesses test out several kinds of email communications before they launch a major campaign. In your head or on a piece of paper a certain approach may seem great. In reality it could fail to resonate or offend those you can’t afford to irritate. Find trusted allies you can run material by and role play for.
Everything changes. Just because a tactic worked last month or in a robust economy doesn’t mean it will be effective today. That’s why it’s shrewd to investigate the mood of the audience. If the company just lost a major defense contract and you are trying to sell your products to it, you will have to frame your sales pitch accordingly.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultants for Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events email@example.com, 203-404-4868.
Elena Cahill is an attorney, Certified Energy Manager (CEM), owner of Globele Energy, and convinced planet earth doesn’t have to worry any more about energy.
Today, she published a think piece about the technology and business of trash-to-energy on the syndicated site of financial information company Motley Fool. Here you can read it. Since there is plenty of garbage – in the U.S. each person produces more than four pounds a day – there will be plenty of energy.
Elena is a client of Image Marketing Consultants. We are mighty proud of this publishing accomplishment. She is also a columnist for the syndicated legal blog Law and More, which is housed in the Library of Congress.
As the Globele Energy website says:
“Our mission is to teach and implement strategies for our clients throughout the world that will conserve energy, create energy, purchase cost-effective energy, and then save money.”
You can reach Elena at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those freebies used to be called “samples.” In the specialty cheese store there was a tray of them. If customers liked the taste, they could buy a pound of gouda and a half pound of chedder. Today that kind of incentive to buy is called the “freemium.” And, as THE WALL STREET JOURNAL reports, it could push a business into bankruptcy.
We at Image Marketing Consultants are advising our clients, both in B2C and B2B, to think long and hard about the kinds of incentives they are using. Yes, the marketplace has become very competitive. However, leveraging free might not result in attracting new business. The possible disappointing results are analogous to how small businesses quickly found out that discounting through Groupon didn’t bring in longer-term customers.
On a very limited basis, like the tiny pieces of cheese, freebies might pan out. However, research and experience are showing that many businesses will have to return to the drawing board and come up with other ways to get prospects to pay attention to what they are selling.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations on Marketing, Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events.F
Books showcase the author’s expertise in a way which is directly useful to the target markets. In that sense, the book is a public service since it passes on knowledge. Grateful readers, who can do their work better, become the author’s fans. Give a person a fish and that human being eats for a day. Teach that person how to fish and that human being eats for lifetime.
Through book publishing, authors also gain a new edge getting the attention of media, booking agents for the speaking circuit, and influentials.
The good news is that the heads of service firms don’t have to spend a year or more of their professional lives writing the book. Also they don’t have to wait for the tedious print publishing process to produce the book. Given that usual time lag, the content may be out of date by time the book is distributed to clients, prospects, and the others on the firm’s network.
E-books, which can be a short as 25 or 35 pages, can be written or ghostwritten in days, designed and published on a computer, and copyrighted for a small fee through the Library of Congress. They can be free or a price assigned. One mode of distribution can be through downloads on the author’s website, blog, Facebook fan page, Google+, and Twitter account. When delivering talks and participating in panels, the author can mention the URL or have print copies on hand.
Promotion can be done in just the same ways print books are. In addition, reviewers no longer differentiate between print and e-books. A fast way out of the gate is to produce video trailers and video interviews which can be posted on YouTube, sent to media, and attached on digital communications.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations on Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events email@example.com, 203-404-4868
One reason major religions endure for centuries is that they are slow to introduce change. Human life has always been uncertain. Religion provides comfort and inspiration precisely because it provides a setting in which followers know what what to expect.
So, when we at Image Marketing Consultants noticed that Facebook was systematically making so much change in its features we viewed that as possibly a red flag in both its business model and operations. Human beings can handle just so much change.
That’s why we advise you to do whatever you need, ranging from branding to policies and procedures, “right the first time.” Once you put it out there, your prospects, customers, and clients are likely not to welcome change. Therefore, please take the time to think through and test out what seems to be the best practices for your business.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations on Marketing, Partnerships, Advertising, Public Relations, Social Media, and Special Events firstname.lastname@example.org,
What’s in the mission statement captures why you exist, your goal and objectives, how you plan to achieve them, and why all this matters. Through your mission statement you attract customers or clients, good workers, investment capital, media attention, and strategic alliances or partnerships.
That’s a lot riding on the mission statement. However, it must be short. That was always the situation. It’s more so now in this era of Twitter or short form. The average attention span keeps shrinking.
Here are the 3Ps, from Image Marketing Consultants:
Passion. You reach into your heart. You search for why you and many others should put their trust, time, and money into your organization.
Pragmatism. Lofty ideals aren’t enough. You must provide evidence that you can get from an abstraction to something which works.
Public Interest. In what ways are you contributing to your little piece of the universe? Are you making it easier for the disabled to navigate their residences? Are you generating jobs? Are you creating wealth for shareholders?
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for Mission Statements, Marketing, Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, Special Events, and Social media email@example.com, 203-404-4868.
Every 4 years, we Americans get to decide what direction we want our country to embrace. That means there is a lot of attention focused on values. We participate in this debate at rallies for candidates, sending our comments to media articles, stating our point of view on our blogs, Facebook pages, and tweets, and chewing the fat with friends and family. But it might not occur to us to leverage this momentum for our own businesses. Please don’t waste that opportunity.
Here are 4 tips from Image Marketing Consultants:
* This period of flux provides just the right timing to ask customers and prospects what they want, what’s on their minds, and how your business can fit better with all that. Contests are popular. You might offer dining for 4 at your restaurant as the prize for the person who makes the most useful suggestion on how you can make the restaurant their favorite place.
* Bundle messages on values into all your promotional materials. For example, on your Facebook fan page, you can post daily inspirational profiles of American leaders who built a political movement, nonprofit organization, or enterprise on certain values.
* Be creative in naming or renaming certain products or services according to election themes. For example, the promotional special at your gym could be “Getting America in Shape 4 the next 4 years.”
* Enhance your network by volunteering in the campaigns for local and state candidates. In addition to getting to know the movers and shakers, you will learn fresh skills in marketing, public relations, and partnerships.
Kate Sirignano, founder of Image Marketing Consultants, provides complimentary consultations for Marketing, Advertising, Partnerships, Public Relations, Special Events, and Social Media firstname.lastname@example.org, 203-404-4868.