Showing posts with label marketing.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marketing.. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Content Marketing for Smaller Players

I've been in the US in recent weeks, so it's some time since my last post.  So let's start back with something good.

My Canadian colleague Martin Waxman recently gave a presentation on content marketing, storytelling and start-ups.  Here's Martin's simple but very effective approach.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Template: A Content Marketing Secret

Peter Yorke is one of India's top content marketers.  In this interview he reveals how content marketing tools and templates can guide staff, save time and help clients.

 I have known Peter for years and always look to him for great insights into creating great communications.

(Sorry about the sound quality.  There were some Skype issues during our conversation)

See Peter's views on when you should outsource your content marketing.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Not For Profit PR Podcast: PR Must Be In Your DNA

This second episode in our Not For Profit PR series explores why planning must be in the DNA of every not for profit.

It talks about planning and the importance of communications objectives, understanding your audiences and crafting convincing messages.

North American broadcaster Wayne Kelly and I finish by outlining three effective marketing strategies that cost less than $500 a year.

(Automatically get the next episode by filling in the email subscription box to the right.)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Get Content Get Customers: Book Review

Get Content Get Customers: Turn Prospects into Buyers with Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett
‘Content is king’ is an old marketing maxim.  According to US authors Joe Pulizzi and Newt Barrett, content is now the undisputed monarch when it comes to successful marketing.

With so much choice and so little difference between many product and service offerings, the best way to engage and keep customers is to give them valuable information that will enrich their experience with your organisation.

Internet-savy customers look everywhere for information before making their buying decisions.  Selling to them has become more difficult and traditional media channels are less influential.  Pulizzi and Barrett are urging companies to take advantage of new digital technologies to become their own publishing houses and deliver high quality editorial content to the people who matter most – clients and customers. In over 250 pages of delightfully simple to understand language they show the reader how to develop and follow through on a content marketing mindset.

A content-based approach starts with knowing what customers want, similar to traditional marketing.  Who are my customers and what do they need from my product now and in the long-term?  What and when is the best way to engage them are questions that demand better answers than merely reaching in the bottom drawer for another tired advertising schedule. In today’s environment it is totally about ‘them, not me and you.’

Pulizzi and Barrett identify how companies can deliver information straight to customers.  Their communications menu includes websites, on-line forums, social media, e-books, white papers, webcasts, digital magazines, blogs, podcasts, videos, road shows and face to face contact.  Corporate magazines and newsletters get a new lease of life under a content marketing strategy and the authors identify 15 tips to repurpose information from a traditional company magazine to increase the return on investment on each story.  

One of the book’s real strengths is the 15 case studies showing companies in different industries using content marketing to drive sales and increase market share. They include a couple of Australian examples, a rare find in US marketing books. It seems Melbourne-based, website developer Bitemark is using content marketing to create leads and drive sales and giant American manufacturer has strengthened ties to Australian customers through a print and on-line program that bridges business cultures.

Marketing instinctively know the importance of credible information.  Get Content Get Customers shows how to develop that information and deliver it directly to customers to get short and long-term impact.   

Get the book because this is a worthwhile read.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Marketing Is Like Climbing Hills

This past few days I have walking in the Snowy Mountains, Australia's alpine region.  The area around Thredbo has plenty of challenging hills.

My wife and I decided to climb a particularly large hill which took several hours and considerable effort to conquer. Which got me to thinking that marketing is similar to climbing hills in many ways.
  • Firstly you need the right gear for both. Ramblers need appropriate boots, wet weather gear, packs etc. Likewise as they start out marketers need the right equipment - a plan, resources plus ample energy.
  • Both demand certainty in direction. You can burn a lot of energy on a climb if you amble aimlessly and even then still not reach the peak. A marketer needs to travel in the same consistent direction throughout a campaign otherwise worthwhile results will remain elusive.
  • Persistence pays in both undertakings . They require a "one foot after the other" approach . Sure you can sprint up a hill or even through a marketing campaign but that type of effort is rarely sustainable in the long run. Particularly when another hill or challenge suddenly presents itself.
  • And finally in hiking and marketing you need a reserve of energy and effort. Something in the tank so to speak. What a pity it would be to reach the top and not be able to follow through to grab the next opportunity.
So the next time I market I will be applying what I recently learned about climbing hills.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Best Book of 2010

Of the ten or so marketing and PR books I have reviewed in the last 12 months  the stand-out is Repositioning: marketing in an era of competition, change and crisis by Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin.
Trout and Rivkin have written a book of uncommon wisdom for  the post Global Financial Crisis world.  They call on companies anxious to succeed, to adjust the perceptions people have either of them or their competition.  This mandates repositioning the competition and or competing all out on a simply defined value proposition.

Most managers are disinclined to attack the competition head.  It usually invites comparison, criticism and counter attack.  However Trout and Rivkin cite examples in the olive oil, luxury car, liquor and other industries where marketers have used this strategy  to  fence in the  competition and win.  

On the other hand  “value is the name of the game”. And companies can grow market share when they do something special, pioneer new technologies, compete on whole of life costs or introduce a premium.

This is an easy to read five star book for those after different ideas.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Repositioning Your Brand: Book Review

Repositioning: marketing in an era of competition, change and crisis
Easy read with practical information
is authored by US marketers Jack Trout and Steve Rivkin.

Both have written a book of uncommon wisdom for marketers in the post Global Financial Crisis world. 

It is hardly suprising Trout (and Rivkin) has produced this book now.  Communicators know that competition is fiercer than ever, budgets are under pressure and the old ways of communicating are under serious challenge. Since the 1980s Trout has been writing and offering solid, practical marketing ideas in compelling, clear prose for communicators of all descriptions.  My bookcase holds several of his earlier works and while their 80s and 90s covers now look dated and daggy each is well-read and much loved.

Repositioning calls on companies not to manufacture but to adjust the perceptions people have either of them or their competition.  Why?  Because people are complex creatures when it comes to communications. We are overloaded with information, few of us can tolerate confusion or risk, we lose focus easily and once we have made up our minds that’s pretty much it.  It is hard to move us from our existing attitudes so only by working within the framework of how people already think can organizations achieve sustainable results.

The authors suggest two basic strategies to get people to thinking differently about your brand.  Reposition the competition and/or go out all out to compete on a simply defined value proposition. Big companies often struggle to carry out either one. They are slower to turn around than the Queen Mary and because of their size and complexity many have trouble managing their way out of problems or managing their way into opportunities.   Of course big firms are well placed to compete on price.  However this is often a short-lived strategy and one only available to the bigger players.  For the rest of us someone else can always mark down the sales docket lower than we can, plus research shows most price promotions rarely succeed in the long run. 

Reframing the competition means hanging a negative on a rival to reflect a favourable comparison on ourselves.  Given most marketers are positive, upbeat souls and most managers are disinclined to controversy it can be difficult to steer an organization in this direction. Yet Trout and Rivkin cite examples in the olive oil, prestige cars, vodka and other industries showing how this strategy can fence in the competition.

We instinctively know successful marketers need to communicate value to the marketplace because as one chapter title proclaims “value is the name of the game”.  Value can come through doing something special, getting new technologies to the market first or stressing whole of life costs over mere purchase price. It can also come from adding premiums others cannot match or at its most basic by being  plain nice and helpful to your customers.

The book cautions repositioning is not easy.  It takes focus, management leading from the front and advertising and public relations combining in a linear, well thought out fashion.  The key ingredients for any repositioning strategy are time and commitment.

The book sells for $42.95?  Is it worth it?  It is to me.  Right now I am putting together a marketing strategy for an iconic project with high expectations.  It has involved many dedicated people for many years and the public has definite opinions.  I am sure Trout and Rivkin's insights will help me plan a better campaign. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

15 Key Questions Bosses Should Ask About PR

Most bosses intuitively know the power of PR.  However they are so busy running the business they focus on communications only when a crisis hits or when staff present a fresh PR proposal.  Most are willingly to leave the details to their PR professionals.

But by asking pointed questions a boss can quickly determine the value of any communications, PR or marketing proposal they are asked to approve:
  • Does this plan support my business or operational plan?
  • Does what it is being recommended build on our previous good work and avoid our past communications shortcomings?
  • Are my audiences clearly identified by geography, interests, beliefs or other common characteristics?
  • Are the messages we want to share clear, unambiguous and easy to understand? 
  • Could our information be misunderstood or misinterpreted and cause unintended consequences?  
  • Is our information persuasive and backed by evidence such as facts and figures, case studies but above all by stories of ordinary people who benefit from what we do?
  • How, when and where is information going to be delivered to audiences?
  • What opportunities do audiences have to offer their opinion?  
  • Is there a processes to improve communications based on feedback?
  • Are the communications tools proposed the right fit for the audience? 
  • Is there a mix of approaches so if one communications channel fails, others may work?
  • What is the communications timetable? 
  • Will we deliver consistent communications or are we communicating by episodes?
  • How will I know if this proposal is working?  
  • What is the process to monitor, measure, evaluate and adjust what is being proposed?
Bosses can't be expected to know everything particularly about the ins and outs of communications.  But they should able to ask penetrating questions when it comes to approving a new PR or marketing budget.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fundamentals for Not Profit Communications

We just finished the 2009 season for our free workshops for not for profit organisations.

Now in its sixth year these sessions offer pro bono marketing advice to volunteers groups, charities and not for profits.

To finish up the 2009 program we asked colleagues in our international PR networks to name the top ten things not for profit organisations must get right when they set out to communicate to their communities.

We got more than ten so here's the list.

Craft a message that resonates and connects. Before embarking on a PR campaign, craft your message. Who you are and who do you help? Do your services overlap with other groups? How is your organization unique and what makes it stand out? People want to know before investing what area of the community you serve. Is it pets, homeless people, the elderly, disabled children, etc? They also want to know that the majority of funds go to the intended programs and recipients.

Find out how to connect emotionally with your target audience. Put a face on the population you serve and tell their story. Describe their situation and how your services have helped them. If you must present a bleak picture be sure to provide a solution. People want to hear positive outcomes to things that affect them and their community so how do your services improve the community's quality of life.

Make your message as personal as possible to the audience you are trying to reach. And the information you are giving them has to be kept simple on the front end. People aren't going to read, or listen to a lot at the outset. Once you get their interest then you can deliver more content. So you have to really target your audience carefully. Tossing out lots of content broadly hoping to catch a few is wasteful in this economy.

Demonstrate the need, show you have a solution and then share your successes.

Listen before you communicate. The good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth for a very good reason.

The basic motivation factor of "putting something back in to the local community" is a good message. It leads to a sense of achievement and well being for volunteers and a sense of philanthropy for donors. Also promise donors publicity because people like to be seen to be doing good things.

Communications must empathise transparency and accountability. Ensure you report on how the funds you raised are being used and that what you claimed you would do, you actually did.

A lot of not for profits want to start with the tactics first and forget to spend a few minutes asking the questions to make their efforts smarter. So before you communicate, ask what is the purpose of my communications? What is the primary message I want to convey? Who is it designed to reach? What do I want people to do after they hear what I have to say? How will I know I have been successful?

Have I got my logos, images, taglines and spokespersons ready to roll before I start talking?

Understand the media likes conflict. Where there is no conflict or opposing views there is no story. So find a local hero and go for a feature story rather than a news story.

What is your value to the community at large? How many people are using your services, how many are unable to get these services? Where would those folks get services if your organization didn't exist? What would happen to them? And what is your impact on the general community?

Take advantage of third party endorsements in the form of testimonials from clients, favorable media placements, or even simply through the reputations of the people who serve on your board or who volunteer. But please choose them wisely. The best part of this strategy - it's virtually free.

Show the value you provide - the value of your research, the fact you employ real people at all levels, spend your money in the local economy and that you are open to people asking questions and seeing what we do. Wrap those points up in good story telling and tell a story about people who do things. Storytelling is becoming a lost art but you can't lose if you can get a handle on it.

... and my very special thanks to our contributors - Chips Henriss, Kristie Aylett, Karen Miller, Tim Entwisle, Janet Bosserman, Jeff Botti, Mike Spear, Rosanne Gain and Susanne Dupes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Power of Community Relations

Smart organisations instinctively know their survival is linked to their community. And that long term success depends on their relations with other organisations and individuals in the areas and environments in which they operate.

Those same organisations invest time, money and effort in community relations programs and continually look for ways to link to their communities. Effective community relations can increase their visibility and influence and help their bottom line by fending off unwarranted restrictions or criticisms.

Effective community relations gives them a "license to operate".

The University of Canberra apparently understands the power and importance of community. In the past 12 months it has embarked on a program aimed at drawing it closer to those living in Australia's national capital and the surrounding region.

What's attractive about the University's approach is it is simple and seems to be effective. For example this year the University:

  • Entered a team in the Mothers Day Breast Cancer Walk joining around 4000 locals to raise awareness of this critical women's health issue. The team's brilliant orange T shirts announced their presence and the University won the award for the education institution making the biggest contribution on Mothers Day to the cause in Canberra.
  • Is sponsoring (for the second year running) a competition to encourage the development of young Canberra film makers in their final year of school. Run in conjunction with the Tuggeranong Arts Centre the sponsorship connects the University to local schools and, importantly to influential personalities in Canberra's arts community.
  • Has established a Canberra Award to acknowledge students who undertake an active program of personal development over the course of their university studies. Through the award students develop their skills by a combination of academic work, paid work experience or voluntary participation in community activities. At graduation they get a certificate of achievement which in today's tough employment market could be just the thing to make them stand out from other job seekers.
The community relations program seems to be cutting through. Along with vigorous marketing efforts, this year both the University's domestic and international students enrolments are well up.

(Disclosure: My partner works at the University of Canberra)
Publish Post

Monday, May 4, 2009

Marketing Starts Inside the Organization

Recently we came across this marketing presentation which provides a clear overview of the fundamentals of marketing.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Be Clear About Why You Should March In The Social Media Parade

In the past three months I've noticed the interest in social media continues to grow in Australia. The references to Twitter, Facebook and other platforms have increased in mainstream media stories and every communications-related conference now has the almost obligatory social media panel discussion.

Whereas twelve months ago many people were skeptical about the new media, now those same people want to know more about it and how it can help their business.

Social media is certainly an attractive addition to conventional marketing and PR. And given time it may even replace more traditional practices in some areas. But before you join the ranks of the passing social media parade, please take the time to think through what you want to achieve and how best to incorporate the new media into your operations in a planned and sustained way.

Suitable objectives for introducing social media into your communications mix could be:
  • To find out what people are saying online about you and your brand.
  • To correct misunderstandings in on-line conversations and confront errors of fact .
  • To manage your brand's online reputation.
  • To contribute to online communities that share your interests or to form or support such communities.
  • To use social media to proactively share information with individuals and communities online.
  • To contain or reduce the costs of conventional communications.
Undoubtedly there are many other reasons. The point is don't just launch into the new digital spaces because it is topical, trendy or because others are joining the parade.

Before you commit money, time and effort into the new media clearly and specifically articulate your communications objectives and have solid ideas on how you want social media to work for your organisation.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pick Up The Phone And Share PR

Next time you need to communicate with a dispersed audience, don't forget the humble telephone.

A tele-conference call is a great way to pass highly relevant information to an individual or very specific group of people at the same time.

This past week, as part of a national PR campaign, we hosted PR teleconferences for not for profit groups around the country. We dealt with around 20 community groups around Australia that had recently received a Commonwealth Government grant for grass roots community relations programs.

The tele-workshops were set up to share thoughts on how these organisations could raise community awareness about the important work they plan to do.

The workshops covered media relations, social media and word of mouth marketing and explored how local not for profits could use these three strategies. People representing six to eight organisations took part in each 60 minute call. Keeping the numbers small made for an intimate atmosphere where people could raise issues and offer their thoughts on what works for volunteers and what doesn't.

To provide a focus for discussion we circulated a slide package highlighting key PR and marketing points before each tele-conference. People on the call either printed it off or followed it through their computer.

We conducted six sessions and received very positive feedback. We also found that after some minor technical problems (which Optus promptly fixed) the tele-conferences were easy to set up and manage.

In tight times when funds are limited, the telephone and speaker remain handy and cheap tools that people in different parts of the country can use to share thoughts on PR and marketing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Watch Out For These Things In '09

Watch out for these three marketing issues in the coming year.
  • Act and communicate green. People automatically expect organisations to be environmentally conscious. It's now the entry level standard for successful community relationships.
  • Go high tech to hire staff and to engage people you need to reach. Social media is free, easy to use so why not get on board and begin to use it in 2009.
  • Times may be tough but think long term and resist the panic urge to slash your marketing budget. Hopefully your organisation will be around long after this financial meltdown so keep talking to your clients and your community.

Monday, December 22, 2008

PR Tips For Not For Profits in Tough Times #2

Thanks to all of you who contributed ideas to our call for low budget PR ideas for not for profits facing tough times. We got a great response through Facebook, email, in conversations over coffee and of course through this blog.

We have put together a 19 page PDF report which brings together all these great suggestions.

I'll be sending it out to those contributors for whom I have contact details.

Email if you would like a copy and put the word Report in the subject line of your email.

Again thanks for your thoughts and good luck to the marketing efforts of all community groups in the coming year.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

PR Tips For Not For Profits in Tough Times

The financial crisis means the year ahead looks fairly bleak.

So spare a thought for not for profit groups that may struggle financially but still have to communicate with their communities. They will need to market themselves even more to attract volunteers, promote their services and raise funds.

So what are the low cost PR tools and tactics they can use? I'd like to compile at list and circulate it to the groups you and I both know who would welcome practical PR tips for the challenging times ahead.

I'll share a consolidated list with anyone who leaves a comment on this post.

Here's my six ways to stretch a PR budget in tough economic times:
  • Freshen up, recycle and reuse communications activities that have worked in the past.
  • Skill up your team to do as much of your media and marketing as possible.
  • If necessary bring in a mentor to help develop additional skills and build in-house capacity.
  • Continually measure your marketing to see where your dollars should be going.
  • Build in word of mouth marketing into your communications. It's the oldest, most reliable and least expensive of all the tools and tactics available to you.
  • People are increasingly online so ealy in 2009 experiment with new digital tools (Facebook, Youtube, blogs etc) to reach them at minimal cost.

Got your own cost saving ideas? Share with others by leaving a comment.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Future of Marketing

What's Next In Marketing & Advertising

From: paulisakson, 6 months ago

A presentation I gave internally at our agency last week (3/21/08) for our monthly "What's Next" lunches.

Quick background on these lunch sessions: Each month, three or four people are called upon to share either what inspires them or what's going on in a specific area. So far, I've seen some of our creatives talk to what motivates them and share trends and up-and-coming names in art and design; some of our tech team talk to emerging technologies, showing off what they can do and how they're relevant to our clients; and finally some of our modern media team share the newest ways we can help people find what they're looking for more easily and get more relevant information in front of them for our clients. Like I said, it has all been very fun to take part in as well as quite inspiring and energizing.

For this one, I was asked to share what's going on in marketing and where things are moving. What you'll see/did see is that I ended up using a little bit of what I've been posting about on my blog and some of what has been getting covered both within the trade pubs and on industry related blogs to give me the outline. If you follow the plannersphere and other social media and marketing blogs, then this probably won't be much new, but it might connect the conversations a little more. Or maybe not.

Mostly just wanted to share it since I did put a bit of time into pulling it together and was inspired by many of you who've been writing about similar subject matter. Also because what limited free time I did have last week went into putting it together instead of writing on my blog.

Note: Most of the examples in it are the more covered ones used to support the topics they're associated with. With limited time, I opted for the easy-to-find examples. Sorry about that. One that isn't as covered across the blogs and in the press yet is the My Vegas site. For more info on it see David Armano's Logic + Emotion blog where he has a detailed post on it.

As always, if you've got any thoughts, questions or comments...

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