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Is Native Advertising Right for Your Business?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 27, 2016 @ 01:02 PM

As technology advances and consumers are more able to ignore, if not completely shut off, blatant ads, more companies are turning to native advertising as a way to engage finicky audiences. But what exactly is native advertising and is it right for your business?

Native ads are sponsored content disguised as traditional content. Why is this so effective? Because if you asked a normal citizen the last banner ad they saw, they would draw a complete blank. Unlike ineffective banner ads that are ignored, native ads are embedded directly in places Internet users look for content. According to eMarketer, advertisers poured $1.9 billion into native advertising in 2013. That figure is expected to rise to $4.57 billion by 2017.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of native ads:

Here’s one for IBM in The Atlantic.

IBM Native Advertising

You can see it’s labeled “sponsored content” but it matches the editorial style and content around it.

Here’s a branded post by Dell in the New York Times:

 Dell Native Advertisement

And finally there was this great bit of sponsored content by Netflix found a few years ago in the Times again. This one is subtly promoting their hit show “Orange is the New Black”:

Orange is the New Black advertisement

But as effective as native advertising has been for many businesses, not everyone is convinced they should spend time or ad dollars on the endeavor. Though it is a hot marketing trend that is sure to stick around for many years to come, it may not be for everyone.

So how do you know if native advertising is for you? Here are some pros and cons.

Pros:

Native advertising offers many benefits to marketers. Let’s take a look at a few of them.

It Increases Brand Visibility

Native ads are located in places where readers want and expect to see traditional content. As a bonus, they are also likely to appear on popular high-traffic websites, which can give brand visibility a real boost. Done the right way, with transparency and proper alignment, branded content can yield a high level of engagement and ultimately a higher ROI.

It Grows Social Reach

It seems like not that long ago only savvy marketers were using social to gain customers. Now everyone and their mother is using social, which makes the marketplace incredibly crowded.

One way businesses can stand out from their competition is by seamlessly integrating native ads into their followers’ feed. Industry experts are betting that by 2017, 40% of social media ad spend will be on native social advertising.

It’s Generally Less Expensive

Compared to other forms of traditional display advertising and banner ads, native ads are less expensive and more effective. Since they offer a lower barrier to entry, many types and sizes of businesses can take advantage.

Cons:

Here are a few disadvantages to native advertising:

It Can Come Across as Deceptive

Some marketers intentionally use tricky headlines just to get readers to click. Then, when the reader does, they’re often not happy about where they land. This makes it harder for honest publishers to use native advertising.

Publishers Receive Backlash

Often when publishers allow native advertisements to appear on their website their traffic goes down, even as their revenue goes up. This then has a negative effect on future ad campaigns.

Google May Penalize Native Ads

Though no one but Google ever really knows why they do what they do, there has been speculation that the search giant penalizes publishers for including native ads on their site. There is also speculation, however, that Google itself is getting in on the native advertising game, so perhaps their views will change.

We can all be sure native advertising will evolve and grow in the coming years, but it’s best to weigh the risks and benefits before spending any of your budget. Should you decide that native advertising is a good option for your brand, just be sure to use best practices and you should reap many rewards.

  Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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How to Negotiate with Media Vendors Like a Pro

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 @ 02:08 PM

Buying media for clients means ensuring we get them the best deal possible while nurturing our partnerships with media reps. This is how we create successful campaigns for clients and lasting relationships with effective media properties.

While it’s undoubtedly easier for a third party to work with media reps and negotiate contracts for clients, CMOs can also score some fantastic deals with media outlets, provided they know what they’re doing.

Here’s how you can negotiate with media vendors like a pro:

Do Some HomeworkDo Some Homework

Media reps don’t have time for tire kickers. It’s important that you do some homework before making any buys so you know exactly which properties and channels make the most sense for your campaign. There’s no sense wasting your time or anyone else’s meeting with someone who reps a property that doesn’t cater to your demographic.

Once you’ve selected your channels, you’ll also want to do some homework before approaching a media rep so you know exactly what they offer and at what price points. The more knowledgeable you are, the more seriously you’ll be taken.

Leverage Your Media Partner’s Expertise

Media reps know their product offerings inside and out, so it’s important to pick their brains. Let your rep know you want them to be really creative and think of innovative programs that will help your campaign stand out. Be clear of your wants – you want to break through the clutter and noise – you want reach – and you want it all to fit well within your budget. Reps are great at being able to come up with unique plans that will help campaigns be successful.

Make Yourself Available

Remember, you’re not just buying media for your organization, you’re forming long-term relationships with people. Because of this, it’s important to show some common courtesy with reps. Be sure to return their calls and emails and make time to listen to their updates and new ideas. If you talk to media reps only when you need something, you’ll never forge a real partnership. The stronger your relationships, the stronger your buys.

Play a Little Hard to Get at First

At the end of the day, you want to get the best deal possible. You also want to earn some respect. For both of these reasons you should NEVER accept the first proposal. You don’t need to be nasty about it, just smile and politely say that you are super excited about working with them, but that your job is on the line and you have to look like a hero when you report back to management. Just remind the rep that the last thing you want is to have to cancel the program down the road for lack of performance, and tell them the price needs to come down and the value-added placements need to go up.

Keep Future Buys in MindKeep Future Buys in Mind

Advanced renewals typically get rewarded, and the deals get better and better as your relationship blooms. When your rep knows you’ll be coming back for more business, they’ll naturally want to keep you very happy.

Making great media buys is not easy, but it can be done if you know exactly what you’re doing. And by following this advice, you stand a great chance of making smart buys and building relationships at the same time.

Having said that, not every marketing manager has the bandwidth to be their brand’s buyer. It’s important to be realistic. Using the services of a professional media buyer means you will get the best deals possible without adding one more thing to your already-full plate.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying

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How Local Advertisers Might Cash in on the Pokémon Go Craze

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 02:00 PM

You would have to have been living under a proverbial rock to have not heard about the mass hysteria revolving around Pokémon Go, the game made famous 20 years ago by Ninetendo. Within two days of its launch, the app had completely surpassed the dating app Tinder and was generating more downloads than any other iPhone app in the U.S. market. Pokémon Go has also acquired more US users than even the social media giant Twitter.

For all of these boasting rights, the game is still in its infancy, and industry experts are predicting that once Pokémon Go begins a monetization strategy, it will be a game-changer (yes, pun intended). This could have big ramifications (and good ones) in the world of advertising for brands of all sizes.

Here are some reasons why local advertisers might one day soon be able to cash in on the Pokémon Go craze.

It Already Generates RevenueIt Already Generates Revenue

Players create revenue through in-app purchases via PokéCoins. These can then be used to buy tools that will improve their overall performance and hence gaming experience. According to App Annie, a business intelligence firm that watches apps and digital goods, Pokémon Go is on its way to earning potentially more than $1 billion annually from these in-app purchases.

As impressive as that figure is, there is still huge earning potential should Pokémon Go decide to open its platform to advertisers. These advertising partnerships would have to be strategic and creative, but the financial gains would be worth the effort.

For instance, they could charge a company a fee to become a branded PokéStop or Gym, where much of the game’s action takes place. John Hanke, the chief executive of Niantic, the company behind the app, has already confirmed that sponsored locations will soon be seen on Pokémon Go. Niantic is currently working on a branded relationship with McDonald’s. It’s only a matter of time before smaller brands can capitalize.

For now, local businesses are leveraging the game’s popularity by hosting Pokémon Go parties or offering special deals for players in order to get bodies in the door.

Huge ReachHuge Reach

Pokémon Go has captured a lot, and I mean a lot of peoples’ attention. There are the diehard fans who were playing the game, watching the cartoon and collecting the playing cards back in the 90s. This is one of the best-selling video game franchises of all time. But, because of its unique use of augmented reality, the game is also attracting thousands of users who had never played the game before.

Beyond the sheer number of people playing the game, the really exciting news is just how often they’re playing it. Data indicates that more than 60% of the users who have downloaded the app are playing it daily. And, by midsummer of this year, users were playing an average of 43 minutes a day. TechCrunch has also revealed that users are spending more time playing Pokémon Go than they spend on Facebook.

It’s exciting to think of the reach and exposure the game might give local advertisers one day in the very near future.

Location, Location, Location

Local marketers have had the concept of location-based marketing shoved down their throat over the past five years or so. Those that paid attention are now reaping the financial rewards.

Well, you could say Pokémon Go knows a thing or two about leveraging location and combining it with gaming and branding. Once brick-and-mortar establishments begin to get on board, the results could be huge.

If you’re a brick-and-mortar location wondering how you can turbocharge your local marketing efforts, start paying attention to Pokémon Go and watch how it evolves. Play the game, get to know the user base to figure out ways you can someday capitalize on its enormous popularity. You’ll then be ready to not only take full advantage of the game once it starts monetizing, you’ll also be for the new marriage of location marketing and augmented reality, projected to be a $120 billion market by 2020.

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6 Pieces of Marketing Collateral That Can Help You Brand Your Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Sep 06, 2016 @ 10:30 AM

Printed marketing collateral should be the backbone of every branding effort, not only because it’s the most cost- and time-effective means of putting your message in front of your ideal customers, but also because it uniquely combines your message, company colors, font and logo.

Here are 6 pieces of printed marketing collateral that can help you brand your business.

Direct Mail

Direct mail campaigns have always been uniquely effective at placing your message in the exact right spot – directly into your prospects’ hands. Direct mail pieces can be anything from catalogs to flyers to postcards and sales letter packages.

 

The biggest benefit of direct mail campaigns are they keep your brand top of mind. This is done through direct mail repetition. Each mailing sent out acts as a reinforcer for subsequent mailings. Remember, direct mail isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon, so don’t be discouraged if you get little response your first mailing – just keep at it.

 

Point-of-Sale (POS) DisplaysPoS.jpg

POS displays are a simple way to give your branding efforts a major boost. Try leaving a coupon book, brochure or even a menu by your cash register. These can then be picked up voluntarily by your customers and taken home or shared with loved ones.

 

Another effective way to use your POS collateral is to sponsor a charity through one of the local retail outlets that asks customers for a small donation. When someone donates, their name is placed on a cut-out and taped to the wall for every patron to see. Providing these printed cutouts is great exposure for your brand. You’ll not only get your company name and logo in front of people, but your brand will be seen as having good will, which could bring in more business.

 

Press Releases

So many business owners see press releases as a form of article marketing, but press releases are powerful branding tools. When your company news is printed, you gain third-party validation, plus the opportunity to reach new prospects. When submitting press releases, be sure to print them on letterhead before distributing them to the media.

 

Corporate Identity Package

These identity packages are usually the first thing business leaders think about when it comes to branding their business. While they lack the excitement of some other pieces of collateral, they offer a ton of repetition, which is what’s crucial to a successful campaign.

 

Your corporate identity package should include brochures, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, and presentation folders. What’s great is that every time you send any correspondence to customers, they will see your company’s branding efforts and your message will be reinforced.

 

Calendars

While many people rely on digital apps to help them organize their time and life, a majority of people still use a decent ol’ fashioned calendar to keep them on schedule. It goes without saying that if you distribute free calendars to your customers, they are forced to be reminded of your brand every day all year long. Any time you can brand something that has an intrinsic value, like calendars, cups, pens and magnets (hint hint – there are some other great ideas), do so.

 

BannersBanners

Question: what’s the easiest way to get your brand’s message in front of potentially thousands of new customers all at the same time? Banners. When your brand is one of the sponsors of a festival, rock concert or sporting event, you’re seen by a massive number of people. And when you make sure to sponsor events that target your ideal customers, that is a huge revenue potential.

 

I can hardly talk about print collateral’s effectiveness in branding campaigns without talking about the importance of using quality materials. Never skimp on your collateral. Always use high quality papers and inks that will leave a great impression and show customers and prospects you are professional.

 

Is there another piece of print collateral you use effectively that I didn’t list? Tell us about it.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media  

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Create Video Content Like the Big Brands

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

Have you been put in charge of creating video content for your marketing team? Do you understand that videos are great for engaging an audience, but don’t have a clue about how to create ones that are effective and get people to see your brand as the obvious choice?

Here’s what you do: Just copy form the big name brands who have been making remarkably effective commercials for decades.

Here are strategies big brands use to create video advertising that moves their audience and gets them to take action.

Make an Emotional ConnectionMake an Emotional Connection

Here’s what Madison Avenue knows that you may have not figured out yet: consumers make purchasing decision based on emotions, not logic. They will use logic after the fact to back up their decision.

Subaru is great at this. Sure, they’re ultimately selling cars, but before they even talk about safety features or gas mileage, they’ll show you a father driving his little girl to her first day of school and highlight what both are feeling. The viewer is emotionally moved; who doesn’t want to connect better to family members?

It doesn’t matter if you are selling a rug cleaning service, treadmills, or pizza, find ways to make your audience feel something, and you’ll have a much better chance at getting them to buy from you.

Illustrate How Your Product or Service Personally Relates to Your Audience

Often your audience may not even recognize that your offer is relatable and will add real value to their lives. It’s your job to show them how and why your offer affects them, or rather, how by NOT taking you up on your offer they can be negatively impacted.

Let’s say you’re selling a driveway paving service. Many people don’t see paving, or repaving, their driveway as a priority. So what, it has some cracks, no big deal. Or so they think. But then you create a video of a husband and wife, all gussied up, obviously heading to some big, important event. Someone’s getting an award tonight at the black-tie banquet.

Out they head to the driveway to get in the car. They’re running late, her heel catches on a crack in the driveway and down she goes. CUT TO: They end up spending the evening in the local emergency room and she comes home with her arm in a cast instead of holding her award.

You could do a series of these… a dad teaching his 7-year-old son how to ride a bike in the driveway. The boy is doing well until… the tire catches on one of the cracks in the driveway and down he goes. CUT TO: The family is once again at the ER so he can get stitches. “Repaving your driveway will not only help it look nicer, it will help you cut down on your medical bills.”

Make your audience believe they NEED your product or service and your phone will ring.

Use HumorUse Humor

We have all seen men and women who are not classically attractive, yet they are in a relationship with people who are beautiful, smart and dynamic. Inevitably the partners will always say, “He or she makes me laugh!” That’s what matters to them most.

Making people laugh is powerful, so don’t be afraid to use humor in your videos.

Do you remember when Allstate had boring ads? Then they saw how effective Geico’s funny ads were and now, guess what? Allstate has the funny Mayhem mascot.

When All Else Fails – Go for Cute

Babies, toddlers, puppies and kittens, we all love them and they are great for bringing in brand love. It never hurts to just go for the cute factor. Remember when Coca Cola created the super bowl ad where the penguin tries to steal a Coke from the polar bears watching the game? It worked because it was cute as all heck. If they had made that commercial with a few guy friends hanging out, it just wouldn’t have been as effective.

These are just some of the ways you can start creating killer videos that will help your brand stand out. Get a group of your most creative marketers together and start brainstorming ideas. Gather a few of those ideas and create an internal survey to see which one your staff members like the best. Chances are the winner will be a winner with your customers and prospects as well.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Should You Be Investing in Interactive Print Campaigns?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 @ 12:30 PM

If you’re “of a certain age,” you may remember that old Reeses Peanut Butter Cup commercial where the guy with a chocolate bar runs into the girl with the peanut butter, and when they collide, magic happens. Magic in the form of a chocolatey-peanut-buttery delicious candy treat.

Of course the commercial is ridiculous because, were they really that shocked that chocolate and peanut butter would work so well together? I mean, was it such an outrageous concept?

But the same odd shock happens today with marketers who assume it’s print OR digital; like the two can’t beautifully marry into one delicious integrated campaign. But integration, particularly in the form of interactive print ads, is a growing trend among marketers who see the potential these ads offer.

What is interactive print?

Before we move onto the nuts and bolts of this marketing approach and whether or not your brand should invest in it, let’s talk about what interactive print actually is.

Though print advertising is a very tactile form of advertising (you’re holding that paper, turning the page and smelling the ink), it’s never been very interactive, in fact, most would say reading the newspaper is downright passive. But not long ago, some very clever print designers, along with some savvy marketers, started creating print ads that contained interactive elements.  For the first time, this allowed viewers to be active instead of passive when they saw the ad.

Typically, it is digital technology, like QR codes included in the ad, that provides the interactive element. With a smartphone QR scanner, a flat and lifeless magazine add can suddenly place the reader online, with numerous opportunities to engage with the brand. But it’s not just digital technology that can be leveraged; other technologies can be employed to foster an interactive experience.

To really understand how effective interactive print ads can be, have a look at some of the top interactive print campaigns from 2015. These ads tell the real story behind interactive print: If you can imagine it, other people can experience it.

The Case for Interactive Print CampaignsThe case for interactive print campaigns

Some trends come and go. The ones that go do so because they are little more than a gimmick; a flash in the pan. But you can hardly call interactive print marketing either. The truth is, with the increase of digital technology came a decrease in people’s attention spans. On top of that, while our ability to focus on just about anything has diminished, our appetite for real, relevant engagement has grown exponentially.

These shifts in consumer demand and behavior make the case for why interactive print would most likely be a sound investment for any brand. Consumers have little time or patience for popup ads or autoplay videos while surfing the web. At the same time, many are bored to tears when they receive an uninspired marketing mailout, which inevitably lands in the trashcan.

Interactive print combines the best of both digital and print worlds: the tactile-ness of print with the interactivity of digital media. On top of this, interactive marketing is compelling all brands, both national giants and small, local merchants, to push their creativity, and that’s never a bad thing, particularly from the audience’s perspective.

Print marketing will always be a highly effective method of getting your message in front of the right audience. But to hold their attention and get them to engage more with your brand, you’ve got to dedicate resources to creating innovative and inspiring ads.

Should you be investing in interactive print campaigns? Does chocolate taste great with peanut butter?

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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How CMOs Can Keep Up with the Ever-Changing Digital Age

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 16, 2016 @ 12:00 PM

Thanks to the rise of digital marketing, big data, and the need to engage consumers across multiple platforms and with personal interactions, the role of chief marketing officer (CMO) has become even more important.

The rapid pace of change sure does explain why so many marketers are completely stressed out.

Besides taking many slow, deep breaths and going for walks in nature, there are some things CMOs can do to keep pace with the changes while keeping their sanity intact.

Embrace Marketing Automation

Proving the value of marketing has never been an easy task. But in recent years, with the addition of ridiculous amounts of data and constantly-emerging marketing channels, proving value has become a bit of a nightmare. Add to this the fact that most CMOs are not techies – they’re simply people who have been forced into situations where they have to figure everything out or else.

This is why it’s important for CMOs to embrace marketing automation tools that make it easy to read and share data. Better customer insights lead to better marketing outcomes.

Hire Those With Skills You Don't HaveHire Those with Skills You Don’t Have

A lot of CMOs cut their marketing teeth during a time when digital was something “out there” that was taking place. But now digital is happening front and center and in their very own department.

This means few CMOs have the skills necessary to constantly adapt, which means they need to hire marketers who can fill in that skills gap. They need to hire people who are proficient in using today’s technologies, can analyze mounds of data while constantly thinking strategy. Lisa Joy Rosner, CMO of Neustar points out, "As we continue to move at breakneck speed, finding and retaining data scientists and data analytics talent will become a major pain point for us." 

Finding marketers who wear multiple hats may become a trial, especially for those brands not located in major metropolitan areas. The next best bet is to create specialty teams who collaborate with each other. For instance, you may develop a “content center” whose team members are ninjas when it comes to creating and distributing content. You may also have a “marketing technology” team that specializes in testing and selecting the right tools and channels for distribution.

Think Like a Publisher

 Back in the day, when you heard the word content, you tended to think of PDFs and brochures. But today’s consumers expect more. They want ThinkTsmart, intuitive, personalized experiences across all channels.

Today’s CMOs have to be in the publishing business and distribute content that is relevant and consistent across all channels. (Oh, and it has to educate as well. When you educate an audience, they tend to trust you more.)

All of this is to say that CMOs need to stop thinking of themselves as CMOs and instead think of themselves as publishers whose goal is to use data to create integrated, meaningful experiences for their audience.

CMOs Must Coordinate Teams EfficientlyCMOs must coordinate teams efficiently

It is not uncommon, even for smaller, local businesses, to have parts of their marketing team located in another city, state, or even country. One of the biggest challenges for CMOs in this situation is to make sure all of these dispersed team members are working as a cohesive unit. This requires ensuring everyone is regularly communicating and sharing data, insights, and content.

CMOs also must be able to be the voice of the translator that serves as go-between of what a company does and what a customer needs. This requires understanding the product roadmap while keeping your finger on the pulse of your customers’ needs and demands – always listening to those digital conversation taking place ‘out there.’

With all of these demands, it’s easy to see why some CMOs have trouble sleeping at night. But by following these guidelines, they can rest easy while proving their value.

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What Marketers Can Learn from the 2016 Presidential Campaigns

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 09, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

When you think about it, your marketing campaign has an awful lot in common with a political campaign. For starters, politicians, like brands, try to influence key demographics by offering solutions to problems. They also strive to make sure their message is always consistent and memorable.

If you’re a company looking to increase your reach and sales, you need to view your marketing plan the same way a strategist approaches the campaign trail. Here are some of the things marketers can learn from the 2016 presidential campaigns.

Consumers Aren't IMpressed by the Same-Old Same-OldConsumers Aren’t Impressed by the Same-Old Same-Old

One of the most blatant lessons to come out of the 2016 campaigns is that the American people are tired of establishment politics. Just look at the popularity of a non-establishment candidate like Trump. He is nothing like we’ve seen before in an election year. Brash, unapologetic and unpredictable, he says what others don’t and uses Twitter like a Champion.

Even someone like Bernie Sanders, though a professional politician, has been embraced mostly because of his praise for socialism and promise of radical changes needed for the current economic structure. He doesn’t feel establishment (or at least he didn’t before Clinton won the Democratic slot).

The popularity of these two different politicians speaks to the desire of the people for something new and fresh.

Consumers, who are bombarded each day with hundreds of the same-old, same-old marketing spiel, are also hungry for a brand message that can stand out in a sea of white noise. If you want to be successful, you’ve got to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Bigger Budgets Don’t Automatically Mean Success

Up until this present election, the campaigns that spent the most money on pushing their ads typically did the best at the polls. But not this year. According to data from Fox, Until very recently Trump was only spending about $40 per vote, whereas someone like Jeb Bush, who dropped out rather early in the race and was trailing Trump the entire time, spent nearly $1,200 for each vote. And Sanders was running a very successful campaign on a tiny budget.

What can you glean from this? Focus on HOW you spend your money, NOT how much.

Keep Your Message Simple

Politicians that do well tend to repeat one, clear, simple message over and over again. When Barack Obama ran in 2008, he was the President that promoted hope and change and “Yes we can.” This appealed to many idealistic young adults who were frustrated by an antiquated system.

Donald Trump supporters chant “Make America Great Again” as they wish for a bygone era; a time when this country was perhaps safer and more economically viable.

In your own campaigns, take a message that me be a bit complex and nuanced and try and convey it in one simple, memorable tagline.

Your Product Must Deliver What You PromiseYour product must deliver what you promise

Just about every politician who has ever run for POTUS has run a campaign full of BIG promises. They promise to balance the budget, promise to create more jobs, promise to bring our troops home. More often than not, as soon as they’re in the White House, they deliver very little on the promises that got them into office.

If your campaigns promise solutions, you had better be sure your product or service can make good on those promises and deliver the solutions. Here’s why:

So many businesses focus on acquiring more and more new customers, but repeat business is critical for success. This is because when customers are happy and come back for more, there are no acquisition costs involved.

 

While political candidates aren’t exactly the same as brands, the tactics they use to increase their visibility and inspire loyalty among voters are effective. Today’s marketers would do well to explore these same tactics in their own campaigns.

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How to Leverage This Summer’s Olympic Games to Increase Your Bottom Line

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Aug 02, 2016 @ 01:00 PM

Every four years the entire world gets caught up in the frenzy and excitement of the Olympic Games. This Summer, Brazil’s second most populous city, Rio de Janeiro, will host over 10,000 athletes as well as an expected 500,000 visitors, all ready to cheer on their countrymen and women.

While brand giants like McDonald’s and Nike will have (and profit from) a heavy advertising presence at the actual games, small businesses can tailor marketing campaigns toward the event and reap big rewards.

Here are some ways you can get creative and leverage this summer’s Olympic games and increase your bottom line:

Incentivize Patriotism

More than any other time, except for maybe the Fourth of July, Americans feel a sense of pride and patriotism during the Olympic games. Incentivize this patriotism by encouraging patrons and customers to celebrate in their own way.

For example, you could encourage people to wear red, white and blue and offer discounts to those who show their pride.

Be sure to keep an eye on the news so you can take advantage of a moving Olympic story. Use these stories to send out a quick email campaign or create a print ad that will stir people’s emotions and get them to buy.

Get SocialGet Social

You can pretty much count on the Rio games to be a consistently trending topic on most social media platforms. Be sure to follow official Twitter handles like @Rio2016_en for updates and use the right hashtags like #Rio2016.

Get in on the relevant conversations that will be happening and engage your customers. Consider asking patrons to share patriotic images via their social pages to enter into a contest or giveaway that you sponsor.

Find Real Connections

If at all possible, find some real connections between your business and the summer games. Is there a local athlete competing in the games that eats at your restaurant or uses your products? Promote these connections.

If you’re not lucky enough to have a real connection, have some fun by linking to hot events or athletes. For instance, you could offer a 10% discount if Michael Phelps makes it to the next round or wins a gold.

Host a Watch Party

Want to get more people into your place of business? Host a watch party. There will be dozens of games each day, and like any sporting event, people like to watch the action with others.

Create a fun atmosphere and perhaps partner with another local business to cross-promote.

Get your SEO rightGet Your SEO Right

People are going to be searching heavily for news about the summer Olympic games. This means you’ve got to work on your own SEO game and get it right. Make sure your search engine marketing campaigns and your website’s keywords have been tweaked to reflect whatever is currently trending to capture consumer interest.

Get Ready for Extra Digital Traffic

If you’re going to do the work to get extra traffic to your digital assets, you need to make sure you have enough bandwidth to handle it. Contact your hosting company to prepare for the additional traffic your promotional campaigns might generate.

Be Careful of Licensed Trademarks

While it may be tempting, do NOT use any licensed trademarks or imagery or even specific language of the official Olympic games in your promotions. Olympic organizers are understandably very protective of their brand and you risk possible legal action.

Just because you’re a small, local company doesn’t mean you can’t cash in on the excitement of the upcoming summer games. By getting a little creative you can leverage this excitement and increase your bottom line.

Download the CMO's Guide to Integrating Print and Digital Media

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Are You Making These 6 Common Digital Marketing Mistakes?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 @ 11:00 AM

Even savvy and experienced digital marketers can launch a campaign that turns out to be a dud – AKA – it doesn’t yield the desired results. So it makes sense that small businesses who have relied primarily on print advertising would stumble and make some common digital marketing mistakes when just starting out.

Here are 6 of the most common digital marketing mistakes you should avoid making to ensure your campaigns give you big returns.

Not Having Clear and Measurable Campaign GoalsNot Having Clear and Measurable Campaign Goals

This has got to be the biggest mistake businesses make. If you don’t establish clear analytical goals before launching a campaign, you’ll never be able to track it or know what’s working and what’s not.

Always define goals – calls, sales, sign ups, form completions – and be sure that proper analytics are set up for these goals. These insights will help you adjust your current campaign and develop optimized campaigns in the future.

Targeting the Wrong Audience

Creating valuable digital content is not enough if you’re promoting it to the wrong audience. With digital communication channels becoming more and more crowded, it takes focused effort to cut through all the noise and get your message noticed.

Best way to do this?

When defining your target audience, don’t just think description or demographic, think behavior, relevant life events and purchase behavior. Also, consider using tracking pixels and cookies to reach out to people who have visited your site or blog.

Believe That Email Marketing is No Longer EffectiveBelieving That Email Marketing is No Longer Effective

Dangerous myths pervade even the digital marketing world. Just as print IS NOT DEAD – email marketing is very much alive and well. Sure, mobile and social get all of the attention, but who cares, these channels often can’t deliver as well as email marketing.

Eric Stahl, senior vice president of product marketing at Salesforce Marketing Cloud said it best, “As the lines between sales, service and marketing blur, email remains the customer journey’s connective tissue.”  

A survey from Marketing Sherpa found that 91% of US adults like getting promotional emails from trusted brands. Of those, 86% said they prefer monthly emails while 61% preferred weekly emails.

If you’re not embracing this digital channel, you’re losing out on a goldmine.

Ignoring Mobile

Unless you’ve been living under something very large and very heavy, you have most likely heard that mobile has quickly become the dominant and preferred digital platform consumers use. Does your company have a mobile strategy in place?

Your first step is to ensure your main website is compatible with all mobile devices. Failure to do this will unequivocally lead to loss of revenue. Beyond this, consider whether an app might be a good platform for you to directly engage with customers and deliver relevant and meaningful content that nurtures relationships.

And finally, be sure you have sales and special offers that are tailored specifically to mobile sites.

Not Embracing a Customer-Centric Mindset

If you want to keep customers coming back for more, you must deliver a customized brand experience. This can be done through a customer-centric mindset and personalization, targeting, journey mapping, and data analysis.

Using Social Media to Sell

We’ll end with another one of the biggest digital marketing mistakes, and that is using social media as a platform to broadcast your sales pitch. Remember, sites like Facebook and Twitter are really meant to be a space for dialogue and engagement.

Use these platforms to inspire, answer questions, share thoughts, and develop deeper relationships with customers. Though these acts don’t blatantly sell, they do increase sales over the long run.

There’s no denying that the marriage of print and digital can be powerful and beneficial to your bottom line. And, as long as you avoid these 6 common mistakes, your digital campaigns should give you the returns you’re looking for.

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