Category : Marketing Communications

outbound-v-inbound

Rocks – Paper – Scissors…Hammer – Magnet

Comparing inbound marketing to outbound marketing is like playing a game of rock-paper-scissors.  The age-old dilemma always begs: if rock crushes scissors, scissors cuts paper, and paper covers rock, then which is the strongest?

pickyourpoison

Our answer: none of them.  We prefer to use more advanced tools for marketing.

For much of the 20th century, outbound marketing practices have been the standard—cold calls, direct mail, print advertising, and email blasts.  Unfortunately, consumers have more ways of avoiding marketing messages than ever before, drastically changing outbound marketing trends.  Do you like watching TV ads? Do you enjoy receiving junk mail? While the answer might be no, we firmly believe that outbound marketing will never die.  Video didn’t kill the radio star, after all.

With outbound marketing methods already intact, a solid inbound marketing plan can offer any campaign a shoulder to lean on and create warmer leads.  Like a magnet, inbound methods take advantage of digital mediums such as blogs, YouTube videos, Search Engine Optimization, websites, email blasts and social media pages to attract a focused group of consumers based on their interests and internet consumption habits.  Such methods allow consumers to interact, ask questions, comment, like (or dislike), share and learn more about the product or service.  More importantly, digital marketing success can be quantified and measured, allowing marketers to understand what works, what doesn’t, and why.  Inbound marketing tactics foster relationships between a consumer and a brand, and according to the Corporate Executive Board, via inbound marketing, buyers come 57%-70% through the sales funnel before they contact the seller.

  executive board - inbound marketing

So, if inbound marketing is like a magnet, luring people in with the unstoppable force that is dynamic, relevant content; and outbound is like a hammer whose repetitive knocks might distract you at first, but are only the first part of something bigger; then Strategis has a clear advantage in the game.  Unlike a game of rock-paper-scissors where only one tactic wins, Strategis prefers to join forces, combining the hammer and the magnet, inbound and outbound, to create brands that are founded on trust, cooperation and integration.

 outboundinboundleaf1

social media icons

Which Social Media Network is Right for Your Business?

It’s no longer up for debate: Social Media needs to get thrown into the PR and Marketing mix. Gone are the days when social media networks were considered a luxury reserved for techie companies or businesses destined for a younger consumer market.  Companies of all size— from small, neighborhood mom-and-pop shops, to booming, global corporations—have recognized the value in having a cohesive and captivating social presence.   Social Media is the space where marketing, sales and customer service collide.  It’s the space where sales increase, where marketers get insight and where fans develop loyal relationships with their favorite brands.

brand voice

 Social Media Examiner’s End of the Year Report (2013) found that 79% of marketers had integrated their social media and traditional marketing activities, and over 78% of participants found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing.

The only question up for debate, then, is which social media site is best for your business?

As of May 15, 2014, the eBizMBA Rank lists the top 15 most popular Social Networking sites as follows:
1) Facebook
2) Twitter
3) LinkedIn
4) Pinterest
5) Google Plus+
6) Tumblr
7) Instagram
8) VK
9) Flickr
10) Myspace
11) Meetup
12) Tagged
13) Ask.fm
14) MeetMe
15) Classmates

Do you work in events, hospitality or entertainment?  Perhaps a content-sharing service like Pinterest would be a great way to connect with current and future clients.  A image-based profile such as Instagram could not only boost new followers, but boast your recent work and projects.

Pinterest-Boards
Do you sell a service as opposed to a product?  Consultants, writers and anyone looking to market their expertise should consider networking on LinkedIn where they can meet industry professionals and post links to their articles and blogs.

Slideshare is great for scientists, technicians and analysts as it allows fans to bond over reports, “how to” guides, etc.  Outdoor companies can find niche fans on Yonder, a social networking site for fans of outdoor sports and lifestyles.  Artists, art dealers and collectors can convene on deviantArt’s site, as well.  In the world of social media, there is something for everybody.

Now, could you imagine a hospital with an Instagram, or a political campaign with a Tinder account?  Exactly.

You might recall the NYPD’s recent run in with Twitter and hashtag use when an attempt at community building turned into a walk down memory lane of police brutality.  As one Twitter user said, “Lesson number 1 about hashtags: just because you created one doesn’t mean you own it. #myNYPD

nypd hashtag disaster
Is it necessary to have a profile on all of these sites to be successful?  Absolutely not!  In fact, we don’t suggest you do.  Knowing which social community to join is a question of knowing your business and your target audience.

social voice scale

Your fans want to hear from you, let Strategis share your social voice.

Mobile Marketing

2014: The Year of Mobile

Seeing how the mobile explosion will affect your marketing campaign and your business is not simply a matter of building a mobile-friendly website.  Rather, it is a question of understanding how this shift towards mobile communications ultimately affects every corner of business, marketing and consumption.   Marshall McLuhan once suggested that “the medium is the message,” that the characteristics of the medium used are just as important as the content delivered by the media.  When taking the characteristics of mobile devices—cell phones, tablets and the like—into consideration, we are faced with questions of “who?” “how?” and “where?”

cell phone marketingImagine a young twenty-something year old commuting to work in the morning.  She reads her e-mail while waiting for a coffee at Starbucks, which prompts her to click on a link indicating a sale for winter coats.  Her coffee comes; she stuffs her cell phone in her pocket and heads to work. During her lunch break, she logs on to her e-mail on her desktop computer where she then revisits the winter coat sale.  She clicks around, maybe even “favorites” a few items and logs off.  Later that night she logs back onto the site on her tablet, shares the link with her friend for approval and purchases a winter coat.

Thanks to mobile-optimized websites and responsive design, consumers are able to enjoy the convenience of their mobile devices without feeling hindered.  To the extent that an integrated marketing campaign aims to be consistent across all platforms, a mobile strategy as part of this plan should without a doubt be considered.  Both responsive design and mobile applications are ways to boost e-commerce for small businesses by allowing consumers to move seamlessly between devices and match and meet conversion goals.

local search by device

The growth of mobile users also has significant implications for search engines and local search results.  While on the go, the likelihood that a search inquiry for a local service or business will be on a smart phone or a tablet is high. Local businesses, small or not, looking for ways to incorporate an SEO strategy or a pay-per-click campaign into their marketing plan should undoubtedly infuse their ads with local name-dropping and data.

Unlike my father, who refers to Internet Explorer as the “internet folder” on his “screensaver”, Millennials—the generation of people born between the 1980s and early 2000s and on the verge of ruling the world—use mobiles to do more than search.  For Millennials, mobile platforms are a source of social interaction, a way to engage brands and boost sales.

MTV millennials

The growing popularity of mobile applications such as SnapChat and Instagram imply that image-based mobile experiences are thriving.  Pay attention to the way this consumer demographic behaves, for it will provide a light into the way images, words and products are shared, perceived and used.

Lastly, less is more.

“Excuse me?” you must be thinking, “they’re talking Integrated marketing plans, responsive designs, interactive mobile applications, local search content and mobile optimized and trying to tell me that less is more?”

We sure are.  Life is chaotic – why clutter it any more with flashy design and hard-to-use and inconsistent features?  Consumers are much more likely to return to a website, blog or even a store when the experience was positive.  Distracting visuals and over-wordy copy has no place on a mobile site and is more likely to leave a consumer frustrated.  Mobile optimization should offer easy to read and even easier to use experience that is only enhanced by a simple design.

Your mobile optimization speaks about your brand – if you don’t provide mobile access/support/optimization, what does it say about your brand?  If you are interested in mobile marketing and optimization services, contact Strategis today!

RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds & Their Marketing Benefits

Reading through multiple news sites, articles and blogs for information about all of your interests can be a daunting and time consuming task. This is especially true to marketers who are trying to stay up to date on the latest trends and innovations. If you find a lot of your time is lost in these searches, you may be interested in learning about Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feeds. The RSS feed is an online tool where users can view content about their interests from all over the internet in a single spot. Basically, your RSS feeds are a one-stop shop for your entire internet search needs.

Well, how do RSS Feeds work?
RSS
RSS feeds acquire multiple files and links posted by others on trending topics, blogs, videos or articles. These files are uploaded into a feed to which users subscribe, and users are alerted about the articles when they are published in a feed reader. If you won’t have access to the internet for a while, there are web and phone apps that automatically download content for you to read later.

RSS feeds give you a variety of options to limit your search to contain only the specific content in which you are interested. You have the choice of what content to subscribe to and the websites you follow; therefore eliminating the need to re-read through multiple news sites to make sure nothing was overlooked.

What are the benefits?

The major benefit provided by RSS feeds is staying on top of industry trends and topics, a very important tool for marketers. It’s important to follow your industry or your client’s industry as it changes, and what better way to stay up to date than receiving the latest news and articles as they are published? In fact, subscribing to marketing blogs is always a good idea. Keeping up with marketing innovations and trends will facilitate your company on the road to success!

RSS FeedsAnother plus for marketers focused on SEO is that RSS feeds are not limited to your feed reader; you can also track specific Google searches. Whenever a new blog or article is written in relation to that search, it will be directly sent to you. A RSS feed can also be created for your LinkedIn account, allowing you to see only specified updates from your connections. After establishing proper internet content for your own business, you can then upload your own RSS files to expand your company’s followers and grow your brand name.

RSS Feeds are a powerful tool that can integrate many online resources into a single place. By subscribing to the appropriate feeds, one can gain more knowledge about their industry and keep up with changing trends without having to waste time exploring multiple sources. For a marketer, a RSS feed will save you valuable time and easily keep you informed on the industry and your clients.

Need help with your RSS Feeds or marketing needs? Contact Strategis!

BP-xbox

Xbox One and How It Affects Advertising

The unveiling of the Xbox One has been long awaited and highly anticipated. Microsoft, with creating Xbox One is trying to follow up one of the most successful gaming consoles ever in the Xbox 360. Needless to say, as someone who owns an Xbox 360, I had been waiting for this unveiling to see what new and exciting features that Microsoft had included on their new console. When I first heard about some of the new features of Xbox One, I was crushed to find out that it will not support old games from the Xbox 360. With this information, I had to search further to see if this would actually be a system worth buying. I found a number of qualities that make this console somewhat revolutionary.

One feature I found quite interesting was that you can upload your cable subscription right on to the Xbox One so you can watch TV directly from your Xbox. With this function, combined with the new Kinect feature that has voice recognition, you will be able to change the TV channel without touching the remote. But it doesn’t stop there. With this new voice recognition, users and TV watchers alike will be able to change the channel, surf the internet, or obtain more information about something they saw on TV with a simple voice command.

It has been speculated that if you were watching TV and an advertisement came up that you wanted more information about, you would simply just have to say “More Info” and Xbox would open up a webpage or link that directs you to information about the content. This is great for advertisers as it could possibly allow for more interaction with potential customers. It would also allow them to showcase their product or service even more than just a 30 second ad spot. This could potentially revolutionize television advertising. The interactive nature of the Kinect combined with modern advertising could possibly lead companies to new customers they otherwise would have been able to reach.

            With this new technology that benefits advertisers and the general public alike, Xbox One is being positioned and sold as the center of your living room entertainment. While this is a potentially great step for Xbox, I am not sure about the lack of attention they are giving to their original customer base: the gamers. Without the ability to play Xbox 360 games and some underwhelming projected game releases, it will be very interesting to see how well $500 Xbox One does when it is released.

Is being viral effective enough for Dollar Shave Club?

Introduced last year, Dollar Shave Club lends many forgetful men a hand shipping out blades every month for as low as $3 per month (including delivery) to make sure that every man gets his face clean. The first video of Dollar Shave Club “DollarShaveClub.com – Our Blades Are F***ing Great” gained 10.5 million views so far, winning Best-Out-of- Nowhere Video Campaign in 2012. And there is no doubt about it. According to Business Insider, advertisers need to bring out psychological responses – namely: emotions. They can be funny, warm, nostalgia, shocking, negative, and many more.

The first Dollar Shave Club’s video is hysterical. It embraces being funny, sarcastic, and honest. However, in spite of gaining 10.5 million views on YouTube, the company currently has 200,000 customers, which accounts for only 1.9% of total viewers. The bottom line is…? We can only guess because the company hasn’t revealed its total revenues just yet. But, considering how the company cuts out the middlemen from its supply chain, doesn’t use big celebrities in its communication, and relies on social media, the company has undoubtedly saved a huge sum of budget.

As we all know, more customer acquisition brings more revenues. Yet, we have to keep in mind that viral campaign is good at generating buzz and impressions. And within that impressions there could be intended and unintended target audience. If you have 10 million viewers, that’s great! But, it doesn’t mean that they will eventually become your customers. Some other kinds of marketing techniques like direct marketing and events may be needed to help gain more customers and generate more sales. Take Gillette W.A.L.S. campaign in 2009, for example. The campaign started by forming a group of women insisting men to shave. The campaign went viral on both social media and national media. And Gillette came in with shaving event and promotion. The result? The sales grew 500%.

About a week ago, Dollar Shave Club launched a video “Let’s Talk # 2” on YouTube, promoting its second product for men “One Wipes Charlie”. The video nearly has 1 million views. The product is available to add in the cart without committing to monthly subscription. We expect that the video will surely become popular again. But, will the viral nature of their marketing be effective enough to grow the business? We will have to wait and see.

 

Marketing 101: An Inclusive Approach to Multicultural Marketing

There is no question that the faces of our society are rapidly changing.  Our last census reported that roughly 42 million people identify as “Black” in the United States. This is not to mention recent Nielsen findings that suggest Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial group in the nation, amongst increased growth of other racial minorities.  In our multicultural, multimedia landscape, effective execution of a brand’s communication efforts are key to capture and retain targeted audiences. But, how do we effectively market mainstream products to these various racial audiences? What approach do we take?

It’s been said that brands should include multicultural outreach in their overarching marketing strategy, and I tend to agree. Taking an inclusive approach to multicultural marketing includes efforts that represent the faces, lifestyles, and insights of your targeted racial groups-off course after comprehensive research. This is not to say that every Febreze commercial should include a Black family, if the brand’s goal is to reach out to that demographic; however, by including different family structures from various racial backgrounds for example, you then assume an inclusive approach to your marketing efforts.

More than ever, we’d like for you to remember these key steps when aiming to communicate with multicultural audiences:

  • Do your research! As with any audience, extensive research about your target demographics is vital when creating a marketing communications strategy. With multicultural audiences, it’s important to go beyond demographics and look for key insights of a group’s beliefs, wants, desires, and aspirations. With these nuggets of information, you can better conceptualize and execute communication tactics that speak to the group’s core values.
  • Give Your Campaign a Test Drive. Before launching your campaign to the masses, try conducting focus groups to gauge accurate feedback of your efforts. Include a balanced mixture of participants from various walks of life and ethnicities to attain a more holistic perspective of your efforts’ effectiveness. Based on your findings, you can either move forward and execute or, head back to the drawing board for a few tweaks of your strategy.
  • Weigh and Measure. As with any other marketing communications campaign, it’s important to measure your campaign’s success or failure amongst said audiences. Make note of what tactics may have worked, or could have been executed better amongst your chosen channels of communication.

With all of that said, for your viewing pleasure here are a few examples of campaigns that we thought hit the inclusive nail on the head:

Burlington Coat Factory: “Brag About It” Campaign

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EE7wabmGOPU

State Farm Insurance: “Magic Jingle” Campaign

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRS4shfH1Pw

Beats by Dre: “What Will You B?” Campaign

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tO33POVfplE