Posts Tagged ‘marketing tactics’

Is your Facebook Advertising plan part of a bigger plan?

November 9, 2016

Digital advertising is getting a lot of attention and is generating a lot of buzz. For many small to mid-sized businesses, the risk is chasing the latest shiny object, the newest silver bullet. Keep in mind advertising is a marketing tactic. To clear through the noise, stay focused on your objectives and then evaluate if the tactics (e.g., digital advertising) will attain the objectives as effectively and cost efficiently as other alternatives. There are many aspects of digital advertising – PPC, Facebook Advertising, geofencing and the list goes on. One’s head could be spinning trying to evaluate what makes sense for your business. This blog highlights Facebook Advertising and how it is integrated into the overall marketing strategy to achieve both awareness and leads for a FMM client. The intent of the below is to highlight the importance of integration and coordination. Ultimately that is critical to effective and efficient planning and execution.

Assumptions before you read any further:

You have carefully reviewed all marketing tactics to achieve your defined objectives and have affirmed that money spent on Facebook advertising makes sense.

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Integrating Facebook Advertising into your Marketing Plan: Review your marketing efforts – are they tightly integrated or is each effort (e.g., website content, banners and promos on your website, email marketing to drive leads, and Facebook advertising) a separate, disjointed effort like pieces from multiple puzzles? Are the messages cohesive? Do all the graphics support a consistent and cohesive brand? Think of your marketing plan including digital advertising as building one puzzle, not a bunch of random, puzzle pieces (e.g., tactics).

To help you integrate digital advertising into your plan, review the below simplified (yes this is simplified!) flow chart of 4 tightly integrated marketing work streams for one of FMM’s clients. Each month once the promotions have been confirmed with sales management, 4 tightly integrated work streams are kicked off. For this client, sequencing and timing is critical to have all elements orchestrated and live as promotion time periods are generally short (generally ~21 days ).

facebook-advertising-strategy-and-process

The 4 integrated work streams are:

  1. Email marketing with A/B testing – driving consumer to unique landing pages added to websites.
  2. Research – specifically competitive research and demographic profile building to support ad campaign building and website content.
  3. Website content – click throughs from email marketing campaigns go to unique landing pages; Facebook ads link to unique landing pages for additional details of specials. Pages include calls to action, competitive research to assist consumer in decision-making with all pages using Google Analytics for reporting and analysis by campaign.
  4. Facebook Advertising campaigns – multiple campaigns are developed for targeted audiences leveraging competitive research and demographic profiles to create a Facebook custom audience. Each campaign has unique ads linking to custom website landing pages. Each Facebook ad also includes a tracking URL, for accurate measurement of response using Google Analytics.

Your business may not be as time sensitive. For us, the tight orchestration is critical to not miss market opportunities and reach our ideal target audience through 2 primary marketing strategies: targeted email marketing and Facebook advertising allowing us to reach a distinct target audience with the same promotions.

Even if your business is not as time constrained, some things don’t change by incorporating digital advertising into the marketing mix. The same fundamentals apply that have always applied in effective marketing:  get the right offer out to the right audience.  Make sure the pieces fit together.  completed-puzzle-dreamstime_xs_70193339

The joy of saying no.

January 27, 2015

Keep-Calm

A few month’s ago I wrote about ignoring my ideal target client profile and the resulting angst that ensued.  I am happy to share that I learned from that experience and had the pleasure of saying no to a potential new client last week.  Ah, the joy of saying no!

The reality is I still could have done better and made the decision sooner.  That is why I am writing this blog as perhaps others could benefit from this recent experience, too.

A dear friend introduces me to this prospective client.  She has been a dear friend for years and I was intrigued with the sector and the value proposition that this company had to offer.  I knew For Marketing Matters (FMM) could help them get a solid foundation in place and build awareness and a solid pipeline for them.  An initial phone conversation happens; I follow-up and follow-up and struggle to get commitment for a meeting. The CEO conveys how important marketing is to him, but is so busy with other priorities (initial hint that I ignored). Finally get a face to face meeting. Many other stakeholders in the room.  Good discussion.  Many head nodders agreeing with my proposed approach and methodology. CEO emphasizes sense of urgency and requests proposal to get started.  Proposal prepared and initial feedback from other top stakeholders is favorable.  Follow up and radio silence – for weeks.  Then the week before Christmas, CEO must have a meeting with me – can not wait.  So I shuffle schedule around, we meet in person and during the discussion there are all kinds of red flags flying (big hints, but I persevere).  I think after the meeting: I can overcome that.  I can work with that.  So I jump through hoops to get proposal written and turned around to client in one business day and guess what happens?  You know this story – nothing.  Radio silence again for two plus weeks.

A light goes on with me.  I come out of my fog and realize:  This is not my ideal client. In fact, this is not even close to being a client that I am going to enjoy working with.  The only item in the PRO column to go after this business is that I would have the opportunity to work and help my dear friend.  The CON column is long with all kinds of good reasons to ditch the work.  The fog has cleared.  I stop the silliness and let the prospective client know that I will not be moving forward to provide marketing services because it is not a good fit and it not set up for success – his or mine.

Boy did that feel good.  I did what was right for me and For Marketing Matters and I know I did what was right for his company.  He was not committed to making the investments in the right areas that needed attention.  I shared the story with my business coach.  As always, she provided such incredible insight and commented, you have given him a gift.  Huh?  That thought had never crossed my mind.  She went on to explain that this decision is one of many points of feedback that he is likely getting.  There is a chance that over time he may connect the dots and realize he needs to change how he is leading the company and where he is investing in expertise.  His head of sales and head of business development (partner channel) both had recommended he accept my initial proposal.  He ignored their advice and instead chose the dabbler approach:  work on marketing tactics only and ignore the need for a strong marketing foundation.  If that business approach was literally the physical structure of the business today, the physical building would likely fall n the face of Juno, our raging blizzard.

My key learning and the point of this blog today:  use your target profile to evaluate potential clients; listen to your gut when it tells you to run; thank your friend for the introduction (in this case she was fully supportive and understanding why I was not going to move forward) and be true to who you are and the value of the services you offer.  If others don’t value it, that is ok.  There are many who do and it is so much more enjoyable to work with those that are wise to invest in marketing expertise (in my case) and value the real impact it has on growing their business and driving real value.  Just say no.  It feels really good.

 

 

Can you be reliable?

July 21, 2014

Do you know what your customers want from your business?  This company does.

We are in a ‘this old house’ phase where every major item seems to be breaking, decaying or rotting.  The most recent replacement expense was the fence.  The original, came-with-the-house, white picket fence was long overdue to be replaced.  It was staying up on a prayer.  Fast forward from the quote phase to the installation phase and what does Reliable Fence have?  A very happy customer who wants to share their experience with the world.  Contractors have a reputation for being horrible about follow up and follow through.  When I have an experience that ‘wows’ I need to share.

reliable fence

So, why am I blogging about Reliable Fence?  Frankly, as a marketer, I am not impressed with many businesses.  Their brand is weak, their logo is not legible, there is no thought on color scheme, their customer service is lousy, their phone systems is equivalent to voice mail hell…the list goes on and on.  So many business owners don’t get “it” , they dabble, they cut corners and ultimately they leave a bad impression.  I am impressed when a firm gets it and I feel part of my marketing evangelist role in life is to spread the good news of companies that I recommend because they do the important things well.

Reliable Fence is my latest example.  First reason:  Marketing 101.  They put a sign up in our yard prior to doing the work to market their business to all runners, walkers and neighbors.  Smart.  Yep, basic, but smart.  Do you know how many companies assume our little cul de sac is not worth putting up a sign?  Silly assumption.  They should see how many people walk and run and bike and our homes are all the same age so HELLO?  They likely will need your service too!  Ok…back to Reliable Fence.

Second reason for a shout out to Reliable Fence.  Material delivery phase.  Pretty basic stuff, right? What could go wrong at this simple stage?  Well, let’s see, have you ever had a business unload something right in front of one of your garage doors for days?  Or directly on the lawn to kill the lawn or in a flower bed?  Not with this company.  The lead guy came to the door, introduced himself (basic, but often does not happen), remembered my name, reviewed the job with me and asked great clarifying questions.  He was friendly, professional, and focused.  He confirmed where he could leave all the materials and confirmed the timing of the job and their expected duration.  He and his partner unloaded all the materials and I could immediately tell they were organized by area and out of the way from causing any harm or hassle.  Nice.

Third reason for shout out to Reliable Fence:  They were neat and thorough.  They used our garden hose to wash off the fence sections as they got them done.  At the end of the day, they put the hose back where they found it.  They picked up all their trash as they worked.  Yes, really.

Final reason for shout out to Reliable Fence:  they worked really hard and never complained.  They had to move 4 granite posts into place and there was no close access for them to drive the posts to the needed location.  These posts were heavy (so I am told!).  My husband came up with a solution using our lawn tractor and a neighbor’s tractor trailer to save their backs.  They were so appreciative!  This work was hard and it was hot.  It was Friday afternoon in the summer and they were grinding it out.  They could have cut out on a Friday and said they would be back on Monday to finish the job. (sound familiar?)  Nope, they stayed until after 7pm on a Friday night and the two guys lived in Western MA – they had a long drive ahead of them and never complained.  They did not cut any corners to start their weekend.  Instead they reviewed the finished work with me, patiently reviewing the gates and keys and never indicating that they needed to get out of Dodge and start the weekend.

Have I mentioned the fence?  No, because at the end of the day my expectations were that the fence would be what we had contracted for.  The fence is their product, but the reality is HOW they did the job was more important to me than the baseline expectation of having a new fence installed that would be properly installed to last for years and look good.

Marketing Message for today:  learn from Reliable Fence.  I expected their fence to be reliable.  That was not the ‘wow’ factor.  I was pleasantly surprised with the professionalism of the team and the manner in how they conduct business.  Kudos to you, Reliable Fence.  I can see why you have been in business for over 50 years.  May others learn from you how to deliver on what is most important to their customer vs. delivering just what was contracted for.  Thanks for great service and a great fence.

 

Marketing and advertising…huh?

November 30, 2012

Do you ever cringe when you have to select a drop down box?  Maybe it is the age range and you have now been bumped into the next age group…that is a bummer.  But, honestly, my worst nightmare is when I am asked for my career category or to indicate specific expertise within the broad (and largely misunderstood) world of “marketing”.  This makes me crazier than moving up in an age category!

I enjoy the challenge of being an evangelist for marketing.  I am ok with explaining to CEOs and presidents of companies that marketing is not a project that can be done for 2 weeks and be checked off the list.  I am fine with explaining to engineers that launching a commercial product at an event at the end of January will take more effort than the requested “create some graphics”, a PDF and get an email blast out the door.  In a sick sort of way, I enjoy carrying the “why marketing matters” banner:  chipping away with examples and analogies to help others understand where marketing fits in to grow their business on an ongoing basis.

What I don’t understand is the random categories that are developed to put us marketers in a box!  I have found marketing as a subcategory within the main category of Human Resources in one such crazy drop down box list that the state created.  Instead of beating my head against a brick wall, I emailed the responsible group explaining that if marketing companies were going to be interested in working on state projects, it was not encouraging to be categorized as part of HR and also was highly unlikely that companies seeking marketing services companies would find them buried within the HR category.  No response on that email.

So what got me on this soap box today?   I was quickly doing some updates on LinkedIn and added a service on the FMM company listing.  As I added the new service, LinkedIn prompted me to select the category that this service fit into.  The only relevant choice was:  ‘marketing and advertising’.  Huh?!  LinkedIn has many marketing professional groups.  I find many of the groups interactions to be thought-provoking and relevant.  How can we get LinkedIn to “GET” that marketing and advertising is not a category of services?  Why is one specific marketing element (‘advertising’) being called out over any other potential marketing element that may be relevant in executing marketing?  If they want to list subcategories under marketing, great but advertising does not belong at the same level in the category listing.

Ay yi yi.  Tonight, I am again reminded that I view marketing broadly.  I raise my banner higher as to why marketing matters and why I will continue to work on evangelizing what marketing is and why it really matters. Look out LinkedIn!

8 Steps for More Effective Event Planning

October 2, 2012

The past few weeks we have been preparing for a trade show that one of our clients is exhibiting at next week. This can be a very time consuming and expensive effort for any size business, but especially for a small business where thousands of dollars can be wasted.

How can you avoid wasting precious marketing dollars and sales time on the wrong event?
1. Do your homework to identify who attends the event. Ask yourself, are they my ideal target client? if not, are your ideal referral sources attending? If yes to either question, move to question 2. Otherwise, stop kidding yourself and don’t commit to this event.
2. Is there an opportunity to speak or be part of a panel to reach your target audience?
3. Carefully review the exhibiting opportunities. My client committed to space to then discover displays were limited to table tops only eliminating the opportunity to leverage existing display materials that were too big for the space. Cha-ching! Suddenly this event became very expensive.
4. Clearly define success metrics for the event. What will make this investment worth it? Consolidate all event-related expenses. Know exactly what you are investing (ideally BEFORE making a decision to commit to a sponsorship or exhibiting) although not realizing we were limited to a table top, unforeseen costs quickly changed the investment for this particular show.
5. Define roles of everyone attending. This is not a free day or two out of the office. Clearly communicate what is expected, what success will be and how success will be tracked. If you can’t track results, why are you even thinking of going to begin with?!
6. Define a source tracking code or a mechanism to track contacts and leads coming from this event. Make this systematic. Don’t rely on sales saying they will remember where contacts and opportunities come from.
7. Especially for small businesses, don’t assume event details are covered. Have checklists of who is doing what, bringing what and doing what. In other words, for every event being considered, have a repeatable plan and process for evaluating and planning.
8. A step that most companies never do: Have a post mortem meeting shortly after the event. Document what went well, what did not go well, would you go to this same event in the future and if so why. No one ever remembers the details that make or break the ROI on an event. Document it, store it and pull it up for quick review prior to committing. The sooner after the event the better as waiting too long diminishes the value.
Events can be an effective marketing element for businesses. Most companies don’t evaluate events well and are ineffective in measuring the ROI. For a formulaic approach, see a .

Resist the marketing wilderness

September 26, 2012

A colleague of mine in Colorado, a business coach, asked me to assess a marketing proposal that her client had received from a local small business marketing firm. I was happy to help her out and provide my perspective on what the marketing consultant had proposed.
Forwarded to me was an email summarizing the cost and recommended marketing tactics (side note – surprising to not see a proposal). The email was a series of marketing tactics. All may be legitimate options for this small business seeking marketing support, but my immediate questions were: what is the strategy? how is success going to be measured? is there a marketing plan or just a laundry list of tactics? The client and the marketing firm were BOTH operating in the marketing wilderness – losing the forest from the trees by focusing on marketing tactics (e.g, Facebook, Google +, website, advertising, etc).
It is not easy, but resist the temptation to be sucked into the marketing wilderness! The gravitational pull is strong – especially these days with the attraction and pressure to jump into the social media section of the wilderness with both feet and no focus or strategy (in many cases).
If you are planning to strengthen your marketing efforts – great. But don’t lose your solid business sense in the process. Be sure you have a clear strategy, metrics to track success and a small business marketing consultant that is NOT just doing marketing tactics. Establish clear goals (not just tactics) and define what success will be and how it will be measured.  THEN, prioritize the marketing tactics that will best support the goals and work within your budget.  A marketing consultant worth their fees will embrace accountability and not work in the wilderness.  Don’t confuse marketing activity with progress. Stay out of the marketing wilderness. In addition to being overcrowded, it is truly a jungle.