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10 Marketing Mistakes That Will Kill Your Business

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 @ 02:30 PM

Small business owners eat, sleep and breathe revenue. Much of their day is spent thinking of how to gain more customers and increase that bottom line. Far too often, however, they don’t give enough thought as to whether or not their marketing tactics are helping them reach these objectives.

In an effort to help you grow your business, here are 10 common marketing mistakes that have the potential to kill it:

  1. Trying to be Everywhere

There’s no denying an integrated marketing campaign has the power to reach the right audience at the right time to deliver just the right message. But trying to be in too many places at once is a recipe for disaster.

There’s no need to create 10 social media accounts or try to get into every local newspaper and magazine. You will never be able to do something meaningful on all of those channels, not even if you have a marketing department with dozens of staff working around the clock.

Instead of spreading yourself too thin, find out which channels will work on your behalf and focus only on those.

  1. Selling Too Soon

Selling and dating are pretty similar. Just as you wouldn’t (or at last shouldn’t) ask someone to move in with you on a first date, you also shouldn’t ask your prospect to buy from you right away. Most consumers need to be convinced they should part with their money. Nurture prospects all the way through the sales funnel by creating interest, offering value, educating and THEN closing the sale.

  1. Creating Dull Content

Are you creating content that you feel will really help and excite your audience, or are you creating content because you’ve been told you have to? If it’s the latter, chances are the content you’re putting out is pretty dull (and I’m being kind). Think about it from your prospects’ point of view: if this is the kind of content you create, how good can your product or service really be?

If you create content not because you should, but because you really want to help your customers, it will be easier to do and the results will blow your mind.

  1. Targeting a Demographic Instead of a Niche

Have you been attempting to market to a group that is too broadly defined? You’d have a much easier time roller skating backwards up a rusty ladder. Instead of marketing to a demographic, say young males between the ages of 18 – 35, figure out what niche you want to focus on. Learn more about these young men.

What are their hobbies? Where do they hang out? What are their fears and aspirations? What is their level of education? How much money do they make? Where do they live? How do they make buying decisions?

  1. Not Tracking or Measuring Results

Many business owners look to revenue to see if a marketing campaign is working or not. The problem with this method is you can’t determine which marketing channel or tactic is working exactly.

For best results, use key performance indicators (KPIs) to better understand if your efforts are paying off. Also, you should always tweak your tactics and measure those specific results.Keys to Success - Concept on Golden Keychain over Black Wooden Background. Closeup View, Selective Focus, 3D Render. Toned Image..jpeg

For example, if you changed the wording of an ad headline, measure the impact of those changes. If you changed the day of the week you sent your email, measure how that tweak impacted your open rates.

  1. Ignoring the Competition

The most successful businesses are the ones that study what their competitors are doing right and wrong. They know how these other businesses are marketing to their own customers, what mistakes they’ve made, and what works best for them. Then, they copy and adjust for their own campaigns.

  1. Having Crappy Landing Pages

Imagine being on a plane that’s about to land at its final destination. You look out the little window and see the landing strip is riddled with giant potholes and broken pieces of glass. You are of course horrified and hold on for what’s sure to be a bumpy landing.

Your landing page is also an important destination in your customers’ journey. You want their landing to be smooth and pleasant. A great landing page will help get you more email subscribers, followers, leads, and ultimately sales.

  1. Missing the Importance of Local Search

Local search connects customers who are actively looking for local products and services to the companies who are effectively promoting those products and services. If you’re ignoring local search, you’re missing out on revenue – big time.

  1. Not Asking for Customer Feedback

Most businesses owners fear bad reviews, yet they do very little to ensure they get positive reviews. The key is to be upfront and ask your fans for honest reviews, while learning how you can improve from any negative reviews you get.Business man pointing the text What Our Customers Are Saying.jpeg

  1. Failing to Work with the Right Media Buyer

Marketing is a skill that requires many hours (read years) of practice. In many ways, it is part science and part artform. Business owners simply don’t have the time to understand how every channel works and how to negotiate the best contracts with sales reps. By working with a media buyer, can dramatically help your campaigns perform better.

If you’re not currently working with a professional media buyer, there’s a good chance you’re wasting time and money on campaigns that underperform. Get in touch with us today. We’ll deliver the ROI you need to be successful.

Topics: integrate print and digital, media buyer, media planning, KPIs, ROI, Key Performance Indicators

3 Steps to Finding the Right Media Buyer for Your SMB

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Mon, May 22, 2017 @ 02:09 PM

We’re often asked why a company should work with a media buyer when they can execute their own media buys. After all, media buyers are an added expense to a sometimes already-tight advertising budget.

Think of it this way: you can technically gut your home and renovate it yourself to save money, but you’ll often end up paying more for your mistakes and the results will not be nearly as good (or livable) had you worked with a reputable and qualified contractor.

Media buyers eat, sleep, and breathe media. They make it their business to understand advertising trends and channels, and have spent sometimes years building relationships with publishers and sales reps. All of this means they can negotiate the best contracts on your behalf and help you choose a strategy that will reap the biggest rewards.

If you’re tired of struggling with your media buys and would like to work with a professional buyer, here are 3 steps to find the right buyer for your SMB.

Step 1: Know What it is You Need

Each media buying agency is unique and offers different levels of service and expertise. Before you start meeting with prospective buyers, sit down with your team and determine what it is exactly that you need help with. If you determine you need help with just about everything, from planning to post launch, make sure your media buyer is able (and willing) to help you on all fronts.

Step 2: Ask the Right Questions

Eventually you’ll sit down with a few buyers to see who might be a good fit. When you do, be sure to ask the following:

Will they customize a plan for you? A one-size-fits-all solution won’t cut it in advertising, so be sure to ask if the media buyer is willing and able Orange Button with Customize on Black Computer Keyboard. Business Concept..jpegto customize a plan specifically with your goals and budget in mind.

What do they specialize in? If you know your target audience can be reached more easily via traditional channels like radio and print, then a buyer who specializes in digital media won’t be a big help to you or your budget. Find out whether the agency specializes in a particular area.

What’s their track record? Like any other service provider, it’s important that you know two things: 1) how long they’ve been in business and 2) what kind of successes they have had in the past.

While every media buyer is going to be new at some point, you want to make sure you work with someone who has at least a few years under their belt. You also want to know if they have a history of helping companies like yours with similar goals. Ask for references before signing on the dotted line.

Do they keep up with changes? The world of advertising is always shifting and evolving, and you’ll want someone who devotes time and energy to keeping up with new trends and technologies. Ask if there are any new trends or platforms they think might be useful to your organization’s goals.

Step 3: Communicate Effectively

A doctor can’t help you if you tell him, “I don’t know, I just kind of hurt all over.” You need to be as specific as you can be so he can prescribe the right tests and medication to correct your health issue.

Once you select your media buyer, it’s up to you to communicate with them in a way that they can ensure the health of your campaigns. Don’t be vague. Communicate as clearly as you can and use numbers if possible. Don’t say, “It doesn’t seem to be working.” Instead tell them, “We’ve only seen a 3% increase in foot traffic in the last week, “or, “Our online sales have remained consistent.”

A good media buyer will watch vigilantly over your campaigns. They will want to test and refine your campaigns to get the biggest ROI. But they need your help in diagnosing any issues or areas for potential improvement.

If you follow these three simple but necessary steps, you’ll be able to choose the right media buyer for you and nurture a lasting and mutually-beneficial relationship with them.

Do you need help with your campaigns? Want to work with a media buyer with experience helping local businesses get the right message in front of the right people? Get in touch with us.

Topics: integrated marketing plan, media buyer, media planning, media planning agency, partnership

Why Walter White Would Have Made One Heck of a Media Buyer

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, Jul 01, 2014 @ 10:29 AM

I admit, I am coming late to the “Breaking Bad” party, just like I came late to “The Sopranos” party and “Downton Abbey” party. But hey, I arrive eventually. So as I’m watching an episode of Breaking Bad the other night on Netflix (I’m only on season two, so please don’t tell me what happens) it occurs to me Walter White would have made one heck of a media buyer.

Why Walter White Would Have Been a Good Media BuyerI mean, it has been said media buying is an art as much as it is a science – kind of like cooking pure crystal meth, wouldn’t you agree? Great media buyers are experts in their field, have the ability to identify new opportunities, and are fearless negotiators, which is why I posit that Walter would have been great at it.

Here are some other reasons:

He wasn’t afraid to take risks

Walter was a risk taker – he had to be. He had an important goal and he wasn’t afraid to try new things (or get into new trouble) in order to reach that goal.

By the same token, in order to set a client’s brand apart and identify a competitive advantage, buyers must also be open to taking necessary risks by testing new platforms, technology and media. Many buyers stick to safe bets that won’t get them in trouble, but playing it safe never leads to marketing innovation.

Age was on his side

How many times did Walter have to school younger Jessie on the smartest, most logical way to go about cooking and selling crystal meth? Yo, Jessie may have had youthful enthusiasm yo, but it was Walter who had what only age can give you – the ability to think and reason and make smart decisions based on good ol’ life experience.

According to Salary.com, 65% of media buyers in the United States have less than five years of experience, and 28% of them have a year or less. While the majority of these buyers have a natural talent and enthusiasm for the service they provide, there is nothing like working with a media buyer with years of experience behind them, which allows them to make the best decisions on their client’s behalf.

Walter didn’t rush things

Everyone knows cooking crystal meth is an art form that takes time – you simply can’t rush it.Media buyers are patient

When it comes to testing the value of a new media channel, it takes patience. A good media buyer won’t expect a new partner to deliver unreasonable results within unreasonable time limits and with a tiny budget. Good buyers make sure their testing is based on actionable data not a random number of days or amount of ad spend. Patience is necessary when trying to determine which new channels to add to a client’s media portfolio.

He was a great negotiator

Remember when Walt had just shaved his head and he went to speak with that drug lord Tuco to do some major negotiating? Who knew chemistry teachers could be so badass? The only thing bad about my chemistry teacher was his breath.

A good media buyer will also have badass negotiating skills and buying influence in both national and local markets. Since buyers often place ads for several clients at once, it gives them a total spend that is much larger than a single company might bring to the table. This level of spending gives them some real negotiating power when it comes time to talk contracts.

He saw the big picture

While Jessie often had tunnel vision when it came to scaling the business, Walt had an easier time seeing the big picture: the need to independently ‘curate’ ingredients, tap into locations and opportunities for selling, and raise prices on their goods.

Media buyers have the ability to see the big picture in a way that an individual sales rep can’t. The buyer has done critical research and knows their client’s target customers and marketing goals, and can place orders based on meeting their clients advertising needs at the best possible prices.

You may not be able to hire Walter to buy media for you, but you can look for a buyer who is also not afraid of risks, has patience and experience, is a great negotiator and possesses the ability to see the big picture.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying 

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Topics: media buying, media buyer

Do You Need a Media Buyer? Take This Quiz to Find Out

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 11:27 AM

Are you a CMO or marketing director who isn’t sure whether you need the services of a media buyer or whether you should just buy media direct from the source? This handy little quiz will help you decide.

But before we get to the quiz, let’s discuss briefly what media buyers do. They work directly with media outlets like television and radio stations, newspaper and magazine publishers, billboard companies and website administrators in an effort to buy the most effective and affordable media for their clients, which may be individual businesses or advertising agencies. In essence, they do the heavy lifting, and experienced CMOs and marketing directors understand the value a media buying agency can add to their bottom line.

Do You Need a Media Buyer? Take This Quiz to Find OutStill unsure about whether you need the services of a good media buyer? Then proceed with the quiz. (Pencils not necessary, unless chewing on them helps you think.)

Question #1 – Do you have the time to conduct thorough research?

You may have already conducted some research for your marketing campaigns and you know exactly who your target demographic is. That’s great. But do you know which media outlets are most likely to reach them? A good media buyer conducts thorough research that matches the product or service you offer with not only the right buyer, but with the right media outlets as well. They have a vast number of outlet options in front of them, many more than you would have going it alone. At the end of the day the success of your campaign depends on if your message reached your target audience.

Question #2 – Do you have any negotiating power?

If you were to deal with a media outlet’s sales representative directly, do you think you’d be able to persuade him or her to be flexible on price and cut you a deal? You may ordinarily be a pretty persuasive person, but in this arena, you wouldn’t have any real negotiating power. Sorry – it’s the truth. Media outlets recognize a media buyer’s experience and are far more likely to be flexible with pricing which will save you money in the end.

Question #3 – Do you understand all the media lingo and mumbo-jumbo?

Have you ever been overseas and tried to order breakfast in a language you didn’t know very well? All you wanted was toast and two scrambled eggs and you wound up with squid and a hammer. There are a Do You Need a Media Buyer? Take This Quiz to Find Outlot of “foreign” terms involved in the media buying world: O&O station, break position, points, dayparts, PVT/PUT and on and on. You can either try to learn as you go (and pay way too much for way too little) or you can rely on a media buyer to translate for you and get you the breakfast you really want.

Question #4 – Do you really know where or when your ads are going to run?

Let me answer that question for you – no, you don’t know. You think you know, but you don’t, not really. Let’s use TV and radio as an example – you walk in and have a perfectly lovely conversation with the sales rep, and you make it clear what your needs, goals and budget are, and he makes it clear (using lingo you don’t understand) exactly what you’re going to get. You walk out thinking you’ve made a solid media buy but really your ads are going to be played at less attractive times of the day because stations need ads to fill 24 hours worth or programming. A savvy buyer has no problem being aggressive on your behalf and getting your ads placed in the most advantageous timeslots.

Question #5 – Do you have the time to field calls from solicitors?

You should be aware that when you buy direct, you become a target for a slew of incoming calls from other outlets all vying for your business. Once the word gets out that you are looking to buy media... let’s just say the blood is in the water and those big fish with big teeth start circling. When you use a media buyer, he or she fields those calls, negotiates and schedules deals on your behalf so you can spend your precious time running your business.

It’s time to add up your score and get to the bottom of the question “Do I need a media buyer?” once and for all.

If you answered “NO” to one or two of these questions then you may seriously want to consider working with a media buyer who will help get your ads seen by the right people at the right time and within your budget.

If you answered “NO” to three or more questions... stop what you’re doing and get in touch with a qualified buyer today because chances are if you try to go it alone, you will be spending far more than your budget allows and won’t see a good return (or any return) on your investment.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying

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Image credit: Kraft Canada, iStockphoto.com

Topics: media buying, media buyer

Is it Time to ‘Consciously Uncouple” from your Media Buyer?

Posted by Jenna Bruce on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 12:38 PM

The following is a guest post by Jenna Bruce.

By now you’ve heard the news: Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have decided to call it quits, or rather, ‘consciously uncouple’ after 10 years of marriage, which in the world of celebrity is a very long time. Many in the media have poked fun at the phrase ‘consciously uncouple,’ but those who are throwing jabs gwyneth-paltroware missing a very important point: the couple realized it wasn’t working and instead of limping along on a broken relationship, decided to end it in a mature, non-dramatic fashion.

Have you been limping along with your current media buyer? Did the relationship sour a while ago but you haven’t been able to put your finger on what went wrong exactly? Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider consciously uncoupling with your current media buyer:

Do They Conduct Thorough Research Before a Media Buy?

Today’s CMOs are faced with overwhelming advertising options, thanks to the fast paced growth of digital and mobile marketing along with fragmentation of traditional advertising channels. In order to select the most beneficial channels, a media buyer should first conduct thorough research in order to develop a strategic campaign plan.

Has your media buyer sat down with you to discuss your target audience and their consumer behavior? Can they identify trends and spending motivations? Do they know your ultimate marketing goals? Have they conducted a proper competitive analysis? Do they know exactly what your media spend is? If not, it may be time for you to move on.

Do They Lack Expertise?

I doubt very much Gwyneth would have been attracted to Chris in the first place were he not an expert singer. A good media buying agency will also bring expertise to the relationship. They will have highly knowledgeable buyers who are able to navigate the ever-changing media landscape with ease and offer advice on which channels will reap the most benefits in terms of reach and frequency. If your media buyer can’t answer all your questions, offer comprehensive strategies and back up their media buying choices with hard data, it may be time to show them the door.

Do They Leave Something to be Desired in the Negotiating Process?

One of the biggest benefits of using a media buyer is their buying influence in both local and national markets. Because they place buys for several clients at a time, they’re able to get lower prices per spot and better timeslots as well.

Does your media buyer have established relationships with media vendors and publishers nationwide? Are they able to not only get you a discounted rate but also add value to your entire media strategy? Are they able to identify traps that could compromise the media buy? If you answered no to any of these questions, it may be time to tell your media buyer to “hit the road, Jack.”

Are They Able to See the Big Picture?

Many advertisers try to buy their media themselves but, more often than not, the individual sales rep they big-picturemay deal with can’t see the overall strategy the same way a media buyer can. Your media buyer should know exactly who your target customers are as well as all your placement and marketing goals. A professional will not only obtain good spots on your behalf, they will work with vendors to reach your ultimate campaign goals while staying in your stated budget. If your current media buyer can’t see the big picture, start writing your ‘Dear, John’ letter now.

They say breaking up is hard to do, but what’s even harder is staying in a relationship that leaves much to be desired. If your media partner isn’t delivering, take some advice from Gwyneth and Chris and consciously uncouple from them and find someone you can live happily ever after with.

Download the CMO's Guide to Media Buying

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Topics: media buying, media buyer