In Marketing, ‘Traditional’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Defunct’

media-signpost-showing-internet-television-newspapers-magazines-and-radioI received a call in the office this week from a well-known non-profit business directory of sorts, requesting to confirm some information about our agency. When we came to the “Business Category” section, the gentleman on the phone asked me to confirm whether “Internet Marketing Services” was still appropriate. It’s not that it’s inappropriate, but it doesn’t capture the full breadth of our service offering, so I asked what else was available under the “marketing” umbrella. To which he replied, “Digital Marketing”.

Oh, I see. So, I decided that out of these options, Internet Marketing Services was slightly less ambiguous, and we left it at that.

But it started me thinking about how far we’ve come in the marketing realm, and how much validity is still placed on what has now been deemed ‘traditional marketing’.

Traditional marketing is defined as: any type of promotion, advertising or campaign that has been in use by companies for years, and that has a proven success rate. Methods of traditional marketing can include print advertisements, such as newsletters, billboards, flyers, and newspaper print ads. Other forms of traditional marketing include television spots or commercials, as well as radio spots advertising a business, product or service.

In other words, traditional marketing still touches our lives on a daily basis, it’s simply been overshadowed by the prevalence of the online world.

To this day, I have a fondness for traditional advertising. I guess because when I started my marketing career, that’s all there was! Not taking anything away from the wonderful analytics and other data that we have as tools in our online marketing efforts of today, but what I love about traditional advertising is that it often leads to real relationship formation.

How often have you discussed a television commercial with a co-worker (I’m talking to you, Superbowl!)? Or maybe a really annoying radio commercial that you always hear during your commute; Do you get to work and ask your colleagues if they’ve heard it too? Personally, I’m a sucker for a great and innovative direct mail piece – if I receive something in the mail that tickles me, I’ll tote that thing around and show it to everyone I know. The fact that I’m usually the only one who finds it cool is irrelevant; I’ve now shared that marketing message with all of my long-suffering friends and family, so it received more traction than it otherwise would have.

The fact is, traditional marketing pieces done well can truly be akin to works of art – if they’re created in a way that’s compelling, people will notice. Whether it’s a trade show booth, a poster, a print ad, a bus bench, we’ve been known to create some pretty cool stuff that gets tangible results for our clients.

On this #throwbackthursday, I thought I’d use an online medium to give a shoutout to the mediums that came before and helped to make the wonderful world of marketing into what it is today.

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Is it time to sell on your website?

free-vector-green-dollar-symbol-on-grey_133634_Green_Dollar_Symbol_on_GreyMaybe. Your cost of sales may be lower but that should not be the driving reason make this big step. You need to make sure that your product or service actually should be sold online. You need to ask yourself some tough questions and be brutally honest in your answers. After all, you will only be fooling yourself and it is an investment to make it happen.

If your sales process is complex or consultative, you need to think long and hard about selling online. Your product or service needs to be obvious, needs to almost be able to sell itself for this to work well. I’m not saying it has to be a pure commodity sale but the closer it is, the better your chances.

So you think you should. There are four components that you need to focus on; Attention, Interest, Desire and Action. You need to guide them through the buying process, even before they get to your website. Getting their Attention and their Interest will mostly happen before they even get to the website so you need strong keywords and very strong optimization to make sure they even get there.

Once on your website, you need to be able to create the desire for your product. Strong imagery as well as concise descriptions are key. If they need to make any decisions about which product to buy, say based on colour, you must make sure to provide the path through that decision and get them to the Action phase quickly, and quickly means seconds. Action is the buy process; always make is as easy as possible, just a few clicks is best.

Above all, you will probably need some help to get it right. There are a lot of options where you can do it yourself but most buying sites now look just like a website with a lot of marketing thought, calls to action and strong visual components, all helping the viewer to move to that next step and start the process to buy your product or service. We understand the buying process and how to market it, so give us a call; we can help.

Creativity Is Thinking Outside the Box

CreativityWhat does being original even mean anymore, as a rose coloured cat will no longer be original when the whole litter has turned red.

Creativity is solving a problem by thinking outside the box and requiring you to change your perspective. It almost guarantees you will need to take a risk and making yourself vulnerable by asking stupid questions. You will have to break routine, and you will definitely need to search for inspirational material to help find similarities and differences between two separate concepts. Continue reading

What You May Be Missing In Your Branding

Melts in Your Mouth Not in Your HandCan you finish this sentence? M&M’s: Melts in your mouth, not in your ___?  If you thought “hand”, you are right. Why do we remember this slogan? First, we’ve been saying this slogan for a long time. Can you believe they have been using this for 62 years? The tagline debuted in 1954 at the same time Peanut M&M’s were introduced. There is truth in this statement. Everyone knows if you hold chocolate in your hands long enough it will start melting. But, because of M&M’s sugar coating, one would assume it won’t melt as fast. Also, since the candy is supposed to be really good, it won’t be in your hand very long anyway. Whatever the reason is, this simple slogan is one of the memorable ones.

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6 Steps to great Google results

I can't find my company on Google“I can’t find my company on Google”

I hear this way too often. If you’re not showing in the different search engines, you are losing out on opportunities from people shopping for your service. Google is the big one and that’s why I usually hear that statement over “I can’t find it on Bing or Yahoo”. Yes, there are others as well, but let’s address the Google question.

It is important to know that Google results are broken into three categories: Organic, Maps and Ads.

For example purposes, let’s say your company is named “Cory’s Cafe”

Step 1 – Optimizing – If you do a branded search, meaning typing in your business name (Cory’s Cafe) and you don’t show up as the first option, you have not optimized your website.

Step 2 – Sitemap Submission – If you type in your product or service (meaning “Coffee” or “Café” or “Tea”, these are called keywords), click search and your company doesn’t show up in the results listed in by Google, you need to create a sitemap and submit it to Google. This lets them know you there is a website and to index. Tip – I would send them to the other search engines as well.

Step 3 – Google My Business (Maps) – Besides the product or service you provide, you have to look at the geographic area you serve. If Cory’s Café is in Winnipeg but not in Toronto, that is important information. The exact address needs to be registered with Google My Business.

Step 4 – Google+ – Create a Google+ account. This is Google’s social media platform, and having a profile will help with results.

Step 5 – Content plan – If you’re serious about increasing the traffic to your website, you should have a content plan. The content plan may include: information on web pages, blogs, videos, infographic and webinars. This gives the audience, as well as the search engines, information on your business, its services and why they should choose your company.

Step 6 – Social Media – Now that you have content, you need to promote it so your target audience can find it easily. Posting to other social media platforms is key. Where is your audience going to see it? Maybe YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat or Instagram. Again there are lots of options, but figuring out which platforms is important and can help drive qualified traffic to your website.

You now have a good chance of being found on Google, but there are many other factor including what your competitors are doing that factor into keyword ranking.

Another option to consider, if your keyword rankings are poor, need time to improve and you want to own the results page, would be to start a Google AdWords campaign (Pay Per Click). A smaller percentage of people click on the ads over the organic results, but many do click the ads, and you only pay if they do. See more info here: http://www.cohesive.ca/blog/the-benefits-of-google-adwords/

If you want the results but need help, you can find me here: http://www.cohesive.ca/who-we-are/our-people/cory-walpole

Summertime and the Marketing’s Easy?

Bright sunshine with clouds

I looked to the beautiful song “Summertime” to offer some inspiration for today’s post. Far be it from me to suggest that Ella and Louis let me down, but as it turns out, the lyrics actually have little to do with summertime, unless your summers include jumping fish and high cotton.

But I digress.

The real ‘raison d’être’ of today’s post is to talk about summertime marketing. Does your business have any special plans, promotions, events, etc., that only happen in the summer? There’s a lot to be said from a psychological perspective about marketing in the summer and marketing seasonal businesses. Particularly in our climate, I think everyone can agree that most people are in a better mood when the weather is sunny and warm.

Better mood = more receptive to absorbing a marketing message in a positive manner, thereby more likely to take action.

Consumers also typically have more time during the summer months, so hosting a customer appreciation BBQ or a limited time, invitation-only sale makes perfect sense.

Businesses need to do whatever they can to capitalize on this magical time when everyone feels like a rock star! Whether that means creating bright, new, colourful collateral pieces and flyers, or whether it means promoting a “community clean up” in the neighbourhood where your business resides, it’s a good idea to do something that will make an impact and be memorable.

Now that marketing has become so relationship- and experience-based, it’s easier to identify opportunities for promotion. Own a restaurant and want to capture the influx of tourists attending Folklorama? Devise “Folklorama inspired cocktails and mocktails” for people to enjoy pre- or post-pavilion hopping! Maybe you own a small clothing boutique in an out-of-the-way neighbourhood? Look into the possibility of joining one of the many farmers’ markets that have cropped up throughout the city and outskirts. You don’t necessarily have to run a stand at the market, but maybe the market has some collateral material in which you can advertise, or they will let you put up flyers at their location.

Once you identify the audience that you are trying to capture, you can devise theories as to what that subsection of the populace might respond to, and formulate your tactics from there.

But don’t wait, start your planning now! It’s a proven fact that time moves more quickly in the warmer months…or maybe it feels that way because of daylight savings time?

Either way, if you need some ideas to promote your business and get some leads in a hurry, give us a call.

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Marketing & Automation

thought and pictureWikipedia defines marketing automation as referring to software platforms and technologies designed for marketing departments and organizations to more effectively market on multiple channels online (such as email, social media, websites, etc.) and automate repetitive tasks.

There does appear to be agreement among the vendors as well that it is software or technology aimed at making the marketer’s job easier, more efficient and more accurate. In oversimplified terms, it automates your marketing; it does not create it nor does it ensure that the message is what you need. One of the benefits not mentioned is that it also helps to make sure that your marketing is Cohesive; all your campaigns working together to relay a consistent message to the viewer.

In the past, literally before online anything, marketing practitioners relied solely on outbound campaigns that used creative messaging and visuals aimed at specific demographics in the hope of getting them to contact you. Rates of return were quite low and more often than not, very hard to measure.

Initially, automation was used in conjunction with email, focusing on sending batches in blast format and again hoping to gain some traction with the recipients. At least there were some tools available that could help in understanding a limited subset of the behaviours but it was still very limited as to did you influence the prospective buyer of your products or services.

With the prevalence of online today, most buying decisions are made prior to contact with any vendor, never mind the one from whom they will eventually make a purchase. So now you need to find ways to influence and affect the buying decision without actually knowing the customer before they buy.

The software can help us do this but in a lot of cases, a poor campaign is being automated only to fail quicker but fail none the less. So when looking at your marketing vendor, their capability and their tools keep in mind the tools are available to gather data to help understand the buyer’s behaviour and the signals they are sending but the concepts have not changed. Automating a poor process means you have an automated poor process; automate a great one and you may have a winner. You still need to know who your prospects are, where they are and what their likely buying behaviour is going to look like; that we can help with.

Do You Have A Strategic Approach For Attaining & Retaining Customers?

Content Marketing Strategies - Cohesive MarketingWhen connecting customers to your brand approximately 90% business-to-business marketers and 85% business-to-consumer organizations use content marketing as their primary strategy.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach to creating and distributing content to attract and retain your clearly-defined audience with the intention of generating leads to drive sales. This can be as simple as writing content on the internal pages with the use of popular keywords, and properly tagging the images, or writing blogs. Continue reading

Why You Should Get Your Customers Talking

get-your-customers-talkingTestimonials and reviews are increasingly helping to determine purchasing decisions. If there’s more information regarding we can glean from a service or product, the better. People relate to testimonials and reviews because it is actually coming from the customer, not the business. Maybe you’ve heard positive reactions to your business. Perhaps customers have been dissatisfied and you aren’t aware of it. Regardless the outcome, it’s important to find out what your customers think. Without knowing how your business is doing or how customers feel, how can you improve? Customers are the most integral part of your business. If they aren’t satisfied with your company, you may be risking losing customers to the competition.
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Does your company REALLY need a blog?

why blog

If you’re not sure why your company may need a blog, I have put some info together to help you make the decision:

1) Easy to start – Depending on your website, there is probably a plug-in app that will do the trick and is low cost. Some may say FREE, but it does take some time to set up.

Cheap or free are not always good reasons to start something, so here are some benefits:

2) Your brand voice –The style your blog is written in gives readers a good idea of your company’s knowledge, and how you may differ from your competitors.

3) Search Engines – Each blog post creates another indexed page of content for search engines, which increases your chances of being found when someone is looking for your product.

4) Traffic to website – Besides the SEO factors, you can share your posts on social media platforms that your audience is tuned into.

5) Exposure – Viewers are able to share your posts via email or social media, which helps get more eyes on your brand.

6) Lead Generation – You can include a call-to-action on a post. If someone is reading the blog, they are interested in the topic, and an offer may help them decide to contact you.

7) Sales tool – Your team can use the blog posts to share with a client or prospect when they are inquiring about a product or service. This may help you deliver a consistent message.

8) Staff education – There are different roles in each company with specific duties. Sometimes your employees may not fully understand the benefits of a new product or service, and why people should buy from your company. Sharing the posts with your team helps to bring them up to speed. Each employee may not need to know full details, but they should know what you provide.

Overall, a blog post can assist in generating leads for your company, but you shouldn’t be expecting an instant return. Think of it as part of your long term marketing plan. See my blog post: Marathon not sprint

If you need help getting started, you can find me here: Cory Walpole