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media mix Archives - d.trio marketing group

Are you engaged in social marketing?

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In previous blogs I’ve talked about customer engagement. It’s a crucial part of new marketing and particularly social marketing. There are different ways of accomplishing engagement but it has to be interesting, sincere and fun.

Engage people
Whether you market to consumers or other businesses, you are still dealing with people, so consider your audience and what is meaningful to them. You can do this in many ways – as a retailer, you can offer product, product discounts or an exclusive say or insight into the next iteration of a product. If you are in education you can offer information (blogs or white papers), school discounts or other things of value such as links to scholarships and grants. Financial services companies can create forums for people to learn tips for saving and share successes or ask financial advice, as well as develop white papers regarding subjects of interest, such as saving enough money for retirement.

dtrioturfwars

Offer value
The key is to offer something of value to your customers and make sure they have a say. The social media realm is different from push marketing where you try to influence a group of homogeneous people with offers you think or know they will like. With social marketing you put your brand out there for interaction, buy-in and influence. You reach your audience by offering information or other things of value.

One way we have reached out at d.trio is by hosting a contest we called “Turf Wars” to engage customers and prospects. We mailed out a small container of grass seed and challenged recipients to grow the grass and submit photos of creative entries. We announced progress through email, Twitter, our Facebook page and LinkedIn. Tying into the spring theme, we offered Home Depot gift cards for the top two vote-getters and a gift card for a randomly chosen registered voter.

Measure response
We had a great response – 10% participation and over 260,000 votes from many different IP addresses (multiple votes were ok). We had a huge spike in traffic to our website http://www.dtrio.com/turfwars/, and our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/dtrio as we provided information and updates.  The response to the promotion was really positive and people had fun with the competition. It was fun, interactive, competitive and engaging.

How do you engage your customers and prospects?

We’d love to hear what your experience has been with your social marketing or contests, here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio – tell us what you think.

The aftermath of recession marketing:

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How low can you go? I’m not talking the Limbo here. No – I’m talking about marketing campaigns (digital, direct, email and emerging media) that were created, launched and sent out in 2009, internationally. From what I’ve seen recently the answer is – very.

I just spent the week judging entries to the International ECHO Awards, the DMA’s highly respected marketing awards. Unfortunately, it was a dismal reflection of, and reminder of how hard the recession has been on marketing in general.

Six years of judging top marketing campaigns from all over the world has spoiled me. The groundbreaking campaigns that use new and traditional marketing channels brilliantly are inspiring. Spending days perusing the best and the brightest charges me up and gives me energy to go back and kick up the creativity in my job.

But this year was different.

Marketing is not dead, but it didn’t flourish in 2009. There were bright spots, sure and we reveled in them. And I know there were cuts. But budgets don’t dictate smart thinking. The recession not only knocked-out budgets, but apparently creativity, risk-taking and pride-in-work were also down for the count.

Bring back great marketing ideas.

As we move toward the middle of 2010, I hope you’ll strive to help the world turn marketing into the smart, creative pursuit it needs to be. Generate new ideas, try new things, test what you are doing, ask for feedback and get away from the “we did it last year so it must be ok” thinking. If you need a reason, here’s some food for thought:

·     Big ideas help cut through the clutter of 5,000 messages we receive every day

·     Me-too marketing dooms you to looking like your competitors

·     Creativity tied to smart strategies is the antidote to me-too marketing

In the end we judged and approved enough entries that could be winners. And, some of the entries that were very creative and willing to take a chance did inspire me. But I want to get the word out, and please help me spread it – this year, 2010, we all need to make a pact not to let fear keep us from doing our best work. Are you with me?

What break-through trends do you see in marketing?  Share with us your insights and creative thoughts – we’d love to hear what your experience has been, here or at our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

photoNew York in the spring time

2010 resolution follow-up #5 – What do customers think?

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What do your customers really think? If your company has changed in the last year (and most have), it’s a good time to look at your relationship with your customers. Learn what they really think about your company and the products and services that you offer.

Obviously what your clients think of your company is critical to your success. This isn’t a situation where what you don’t know can’t hurt you. But it’s tricky, because clients sometimes will not tell the whole truth – it’s hard to tell someone they work with every day that something is not working. And they are probably nice people who don’t want to hurt your feelings. In Minnesota, there’s a culture of being nice to a fault, where we might not be able to tell by talking to clients day to day that there’s something wrong.

But it’s our (the company, vendor, agency, consultant, internal vendor, etc.) responsibility to know what is going on. So ask. And, you might want to hire someone to help you get the full story. We did, and we learned a lot:

  • Customers know mostly just what you do for them day in and out
  • Although you may do a good job at one thing, they will not necessarily make the leap that you can do something related
  • Perceptions about what you do best may be different from customer to customer
  • History is history, what happens most recently is what people remember (what have you done for me lately?)

If you’re like us, we thought that as we changed our clients automatically understood the changes we had made (and benefit). Things move so fast that in a daily business that a “what’s new” discussion may not always happen.

So make a point of pulling your customers aside periodically and updating them on what you do. Pretend they only know about the services or products that they use or buy on a regular basis. Just because they are familiar, doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate a well thought out recommendation or customized presentation. Especially if they have the opportunity to learn something in the process.

And connect with your customers in other ways – Facebook, Twitter, your Website – there are many ways to connect and find out what they want. The more you know, the more you can react to, fix and be proactive the next time.

We’d love to hear what your experience has been in getting feedback from your clients or customers here or at http://www.facebook.com/dtrio – tell us what you think.

2010 resolution follow-up #4 – Is it time to tweak your brand?

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Are you responsible for your company’s brand? When you look at it, do you see it – I mean really see it? Most of us see what we want to see or expect to see. If you’ve been living with the same branding for a while, yet your company has changed, you may need an update.

Everything has a time and a place – think big hair and short basketball shorts – we thought they looked good then…So how do you know if it’s time for a refresh or a redo? Take a look at your logo, materials, Web site etc. and ask some questions.

  • Does your logo look older or reflect a previous era in colors or font type? You may love your company’s brand, and why shouldn’t you, it got your company to where it is today. However, if your look is steeped in another, earlier age, before social media, mobile apps, iPhones and perhaps heavy, knowledgeable Web usage, it’s time for a tweak if not a total overhaul.

    Look at what Caribou Coffee has done to their logo and branding to reflect “optimism and an optimistic outlook on life.” http://bit.ly/ac2Epy

  • Have you broadened your offering or shifted your company focus? Here’s another reason to take a hard look at your brand. Old collateral and identity (whether it’s offline or online) will cause you to lose opportunities in today’s world. Are you still talking about your business, products and/or services in the same way you always have? If your business has changed your brand may need a refresh. Continuity is key.

    Hilton Hotel Corp. changed to Hilton Worldwide, to take advantage of the global economy: http://bit.ly/1f4m9s

  • How does your logo and color palette look online? Do they work for electronic media? Come across on a mobile app? How your brand shows up electronically is crucial in today’s world. It needs to shine in Web, mobile, and other online marketing tools.
  • Does your brand have social accessibility? Consumers want to help form brands and brand personalities. If you are participating in social media, or get feedback on your Web site, find out what people say about your brand and learn. Lowes has taken a very customer-centric approach in their advertising: http://nyti.ms/ahKUIb

A well-designed logo can be simple and carry the brand with one letter. Here are a few to get you inspired: http://www.graphicdesignblog.org/single-letter-logos/

If you can’t be objective about your brand then ask somebody you trust to look at it, or hire someone to do an evaluation for you. How you position your company brand and personality will determine whether you stand out or fade away in the new economy. Please tell us how it goes – here or at Facebook.com/dtrio – we’d love to hear about it.

2010 Resolution follow-up #3 – Get out of the one or two channel rut

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One-channel marketing is dead. If you are stuck on using only one or two channels, you are missing opportunities in today’s market. Marketing strategies to incorporate and maximize all of the new channels are moving at the speed of light. So it’s time to get educated and get on board.

Ask yourself, how do your customers really prefer to be communicated to? What are they comfortable with? This is ever changing because you can’t count on any group to be completely homogeneous anymore – the baby boomers have changed that forever. But what you can count on is people will select the ways they want to be communicated with if you allow them to.

So, if you are thinking of adding a new medium to the mix, choose one and start learning. Let’s take Facebook as an example. There are some interesting insights into Facebook demographics that you may not know. In a 2009 survey by iStrategy Labs (http://bit.ly/jvY0G) it showed:

  • With a 276.4% growth rate over 6 months, the 35-54 year old demographic group is growing fastest.
  • The 55+ segment grew at a rate of 194% over 6 months.
  • Although the largest group is still 18-24, they only represent 40.8% of the users now (down from 53.8% the previous 6 months).

So, even if you specialize in something geared toward the older demographic, it would be good for your company to have a presence on Facebook. Engaging customers and starting a conversation is going to be the focus of new marketing. Consumers are educated users of media and they want to manage where brands go. Brands are no longer defining themselves without input from customers. If they are, they run the risk of alienating their best customers who want to be more engaged with the brands they like.

Setting up a Facebook page does take time, planning and dedication. You can’t go on social media and scream your product promotions or company line. You need to make the site a place where people want to go and congregate, where they can get content that’s interesting, informative and fun – and share ideas. There are many good sites out there to look at. Here are a few:

http://www.facebook.com/frye

http://www.facebook.com/target

http://www.facebook.com/BuffaloWildWings

The best way to learn is by getting out there and doing it. Check out our Facebook page – join in and tell us how you’re doing!

http://www.facebook.com/dtrio

Global thoughts

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Went to a wedding this weekend. Fun time, completely unexpected. Who knew southern Wisconsin was a melting pot of ethnicity, culture and experiences. This was one microcosm of the world and it drove home the fact that we are truly in a global economy, where every imaginable perspective drives decisions affecting which companies someone does business with. Affinities, ethics, global issues, convenience, price and quality are all in the mix with a different emphasis for each person.

As I was thinking about writing this blog, with a swirl of ideas in my brain, I was looking for a way to tell a story. Because, why would anyone read something dry and business oriented, right? So the thought of all those people, old and young, with different backgrounds coming together for a small town wedding seemed a good way to start talking about multiple perspectives and the effect they have on marketing choices. Don’t ask me how I made the leap…it’s just the way my brain works.

The question of the hour is: How do you market to the global economy? Considering the exciting new technologies available and the myriad choices in communication channels, a better question may be: How do you market to the global economy well? The answer: You still must look at your audience and make strategic decisions (as it has always been).

Ooh, shiny
Strategy is about blocking out the shiny new things, getting out of your rut-worn processes and rethinking everything. Let me be clear – there is no such thing as one size fits all marketing. Just looking at that small wedding group confirms that. I bet the stories that were told on Sunday were as varied as the people themselves. Marketing your business is about reaching all the other perspectives, not about you, the audience of one.

So, how does one deal with this new marketing paradigm? What is it exactly, this shiny thing called new media? Mobile, email, social – exciting stuff! It may be the Holy Grail for some people, but for others, it leaves them cold. What about good ol’ traditional direct? At d.trio we have done, and still do, plenty of it. How can you beat the science of targeting and testing, meets art of design and messaging, and creates measurable results? Well, apparently with email. Ok, we get that because email is a direct response medium too. And, it’s also a great direct channel. ALSO. That’s the point – you don’t want to throw out something that has been proven over years to be effective because there is something shiny and new to take its place. You need to pay attention to the new, figure out the appropriate way to use these technologies in your marketing mix and use them all together, in a cohesive, targeted way.

Research shows that people still have channel preferences. People are quick to call email that isn’t targeted to them “spam” just as they characterize mail that is not targeted to them “junk” mail. Stay tuned for the words that will describe mobile and social marketing overtures that aren’t done well, with integrity or received well (mobile mooch? social sycophant?). There already is ire toward companies who have done social marketing badly. The lesson-learned is you need to be transparent and above board. The same tenets apply to all direct disciplines – it has to be relevant, it has to be targeted, it has to be clearly written, it has to have a compelling offer, the creative/message has to resonate, it can’t mislead and in most cases in this day and age, it has to be quick to read.

Unfortunately in this economy with people afraid of spending money, there is a lot of bad direct marketing going on out there. When the only thing that is considered is the price per piece, bad things happen to direct. It doesn’t stand out in the mail, the data is not segmented properly; the offer is weak and the messaging weaker. Then, guess what gets blamed for not performing? Yep, junk mail. And it may kill the medium if we don’t all strive to do ALL channels of direct well – remember how the Spammers took over email at first and almost killed it?

There is still a reason to do good, relevant direct mail, along with email/digital and social strategies in true multi-channel marketing – you reach more people in the global economy, in a channel they prefer. I get excited when I see exceptional direct mail execution in the mail or at the ECHO Awards when I’m judging. So think about your own need to reach your targeted microcosm of customers, develop your marketing strategies and consider all channels in the mix. And if you do choose direct mail, do smart direct that is measurable, creative, and works along with email, mobile and social media – everything that you have in the mix. Remember we’re with you, cheering you on or there for you if you need help.

– Megan Devine, d.trio