Marketing to Women. Are Advertisers Still Clueless?

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When Ideopia launched in the early 90s, working women, like me, were still an oddity. We were chastised, guilt-ridden and sometimes viewed with pity because we “had” to work.

Advertisers didn’t help this perception, either. They depicted the working woman in a rumpled business suit running between pre school and the office with a briefcase in one hand, a child on her hip and towing another one by the hand.

Marketers, eager to show empathy, shot these stereotypical photos, or bought them from stock photography houses, to sell us their detergents or Calgon (Take me away!)  Reality? Hardly. Yes, we were stressed and sometimes we needed that Calgon, but we usually handled our responsibilities at home and work competently and with grace. Like other working women, those pandering ads offended me.

1980 Calgon Bath Soap Commercial “Calgon, Take Me Away!”

Although fewer than 6% of CEOs are women; and aggressive little boys are still called “leaders” while little girls are called “bossy”, advertisers are starting to get the message.

Dove Real Beauty Sketches

Driven by user generated content on social media and campaigns like Dove’s “Real Beauty Campaign,” which celebrated its 10th birthday this month, Pantene’s “Labels Against Women” and “Not Sorry” campaigns advertisers are seeking a broader representation of women.

Stock Photography Gets Real

At the 2014 Cannes, the CEO of Getty images teamed up with the COO of Facebook to present a series of 2500 images called the Lean In collection. These photos show women in a diverse light. Rather than the stereotypical images, the Lean in Collection offers photos of women working in fields like robotics. They are aging gracefully and are eating real foods instead of fussy little salads.

Sales of the Lean In photos, all that were previously available from Getty, have jumped by 54% in recent months.

It’s a start. But we have a long way to go! Silicon Valley, for the most part, doesn’t get it. They still think women have nothing other than shoes and weddings on our minds. Honestly, does Microsoft even want women to buy its computers?

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Put a Sock In It and Listen.

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What you’re missing if you’re not listening.

My anchor for listening dates back to editing audio in radio. Alone in an edit bay, I not only listened to the content of what people said, but how they said it. Are they afraid, angry, sarcastic, overjoyed, or just flat lining it?  The emotions spoke more to me than the words. I felt empathy for these people, and I felt like I truly understood them.

That sounds nice, but in real life, I’m not a good listener.  But I’d like to think I’m a recovering terrible listener.  Self awareness is the first step, right?  Before you pat yourself on the back and move on to a much sexier blog post about analytics and marketing automation, see if you agree with any of these statements.

  • I usually start meetings with a monologue about my ideas.
  • When people ask me what somebody said in a meeting, I have no idea what they’re talking about.
  • While other people talk, I see my favorite video game in my head.
  • What other people have to say is boring.
  • And, of course, I’m just plain smarter than everyone else.

Yeah, I thought so. You need help, pal. Start by remembering a moment in your life that you absolutely  know you were listening. A doctor giving you news about a loved one. What the cop muttered when he handed you a ticket for doing 75 m.p.h. in a school zone.

Imagine if you could have that experience in a meeting, or a quick chat in your office. If you truly listen,  the chances that the other person will listen to you and cooperate zoom up exponentially. I’m sure you’re already stuffed with articles about active listening, neurolinguistic programming, body language, and facial tics that give away liars. I would guess that people who are naturally good listeners don’t need those tools.

This brings me to my pet peeve. Fake listening. The people who’ve taken one too many seminars, but have never actually done it. They’re easy to spot, too, by their bobbling encouraging heads, and active listening murmurs,  uhmms, and making just a little too much eye contact.  “Yes, we’re listening to you,  but please finish babbling so we can fire up our PowerPoint deck, so we can finally tell you how special we are.”

To be honest, I can be a faker, too. And some situations demand it, e.g. when you’re on the dias with a keynote speaker who is droning on oblivious to the glazed eyes of his audience.

Information is cheap. We don’t need to talk about your LinkedIn profile. I read it. Tell me something meaningful, and I’ll do my best to listen.

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Treebies Sprout Up in Ideopia Client Mailboxes

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Are you an Ideopia client? If so, keep an eye on your mailbox for a Treebie card from your eco pals at Ideopia.

So, what’s a Treebie? After every major print job, we plant a tree to restore what we borrowed from the environment. It’s our way of making things right with Mother Nature, and spreading a little good to our business partners.

As for the cards, they’re FSC® certified, which means made with 100% post consumer fiber, earth-friendly toner instead of ink, no new trees, and processed chlorine free.

Dig into the Details on Our Treebie Website

To learn more, check out our new Treebie landing page. It’s loaded with factoids about the program, and a cool infographic that highlights the impact on the environment. For example, did you know a single replanted tree can provide roughly 20,000 sheets of paper and enough oxygen for two people?

Ready for your very own Treebie? Call Susan at 513-947-1444 x10, and put in an order for a new print job.

Designer: Emily Babel
Copywriter: Eric House

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Ideopia’s Tasty New Account Stretches Waistlines

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While we remain committed to the medical market with clients like Bell Ophthalmic, Eyefficient and Volk Optical, we’re thrilled to have food in our lives from Avure Technologies. Avure is the global leader in HPP, a processing method that kills microorganisms and seals in freshness with water pressure alone. Yep, no chemicals or radiation. And the food? It tastes just like it came from the kitchen. The machines cost millions, but we think it’s a small price to pay for delicious food. Check out Avure’s new website, and stop by Pack Expo in Chicago this weekend to see more of our work.

Avure’s website has a non-technical look, which reinforces HPP’s position as a mainstream food processing technique.

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Holiday Social Media: Don’t Blow It.

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Brands often fall flat with their holiday social media execution. It takes sensitivity and common sense to balance content, appropriate frequency and sales plugs.

For a winning social strategy over the next few months, follow these do’s and don’ts. And tweet us your own social media holiday wins @Ideopia.

Don’t clutter your feeds with pushy sales messages.

Unless you’re a retailer with major discounts on Black Friday, cut the pushy sales copy from your queue. It’s not the time or place to interrupt your audience’s online experience.

Instead, share content that pairs well with the holiday. Post a branded card or try helpful and entertaining content, like cold-weather family activities or recipes. Your audience will appreciate the effort, and you’ll appreciate the increased loyalty and engagement.

Don’t over do it.

Consider your brand’s social media goals and business objectives. Do these align with a specific holiday message? Desperate social media tie-ins have #fail written all over them. Like the Golf Channel’s shameless plug on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Piggybacking off a historic day and making it about golf was obnoxious. Tactics like these may get your brand viral, but not in the way you want!

Instead, consider your brand voice in typical social media content. Create copy that encompasses that personality and remains appropriate for your audience. If your post doesn’t naturally connect with the holiday, don’t stretch to make it fit.

Social media habits change during the holidays.

Your audience likely engages with social media differently over the holidays compared to work mode. Instead of sourcing Twitter for industry news and +1’ing content for increased reach, your audience is online for entertainment and recreation.

Don’t share the same “work mode” content for your B2B audience. Get creative and lower the frequency. Humanize your brand with fun, relatable and visual content like Lowe’s hardware fireworks display on Vine.

Interested in more social media marketing tips? Click here or give us a call at 513-947-1444 x10.

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Coffee Brings Life to Ideopia’s New Graphic Designer

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Curtis Gable is the latest Ideopian queuing up every morning, zombie-like, to the magic machine that brews Ideopia’s sweet ichor of life. Curtis uses the boost to design the heck out of every project that comes across his desk, from product brochures and newsletters to digital goodies that people can’t wait to see pop up on their computer screens.

A design nut by nature, as well as trade, Curtis grew up in family of builders, chewing on Lincoln Logs and Legos instead of teething rings. Encouraged by his passion, Curtis graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a BFA in Graphic Design.

Curtis is also a serial entrepreneur, so if you see him at a local watering hole, catching the latest happening band or quaffing a local craft brew (two other things he loves) ask him about his forays into the exotic garment trade.

Weekends find Curtis out and about early, because, inexplicably, he doesn’t own a coffee maker at home. His need for caffeine forces him from his lair in search of relief from the nearest coffee stand. Yeah, he’s one of us.

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Show Us the Money. The Joys of Agency/Client Transparency.

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If you’re gun shy about disclosing your marketing budget, join the crowd. Maybe you were traumatized by a used car salesman at a tender age, or got a hose job from an unscrupulous ad agency, and you’ve learned to hold the money cards.

We would kindly suggest, get over it. It’s hurting your ability to get the best from your agency, and lack of transparency on either side of the agency/client relationship erodes trust. And, if you don’t’ trust your agency, why are you working with them?

Bereft of a budget, agencies will punt with an array of strategies, and none work to your advantage:

  • Guess based on marketing allocations within your industry, and inquiries to publishers and media outlets to determine what you spent in the past.
  • Over plan for a budget you don’t have, which wastes your time and the agency’s.
  • Go low, cut corners, and pile on features by using junior people to execute your work.
  • And the good agencies, the one’s you most want on your work, will simply choose not to play.

In other words, you’re inviting agencies to take a trip to Walmart with your very important project.

Instead of telling an agency to plop out a number for, say, a website. Ask which of your important goals can they achieve within your budget. Find out how they plan to allocate your budget and what they will deliver. If you’re running a review, or a competition for a prime project, leveling the field is the only way you can realistically compare agencies – at least on a financial basis.

Laying your budget on the line may seem counterintuitive. After all, if we know what’s in your piggy bank, won’t we spend it all? Darn tooting! You told us the important objectives you want to achieve. And you determined that if you invested “x” amount in marketing, the ROI would make it worth it. So why not cough up the numbers?

All this takes valuable time and energy, which should be applied to determining strategy and the most effective way to allocate the budget you do have.

Reap the Rewards of Transparency

  1. Tell your agency your marketing objectives strategy and budget. And focus your agency team on developing the most effective way to spend it.
  2. Evaluate agencies based on what they can do for your money, not how much they spend.
  3. Create an atmosphere of transparency and trust from the start. Agencies will respond with extra attention and work to live up to their part of the bargain.
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5 Handy PR Tips to Ace Reporter Queries

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You’ve chummed the water. You’ve staked out the goat. You’ve greased the trap, baited the hook, and smeared peanut butter on the mousetrap.

In other words, you’ve sent out your pitch or news release. Now what?

What do you do when the phone rings, or the inbox pings or Twitter tweets? That reporter needs details and lots of ‘em. And maybe needs to talk to a Subject Matter Expert (SME) or wants a quote from the CEO.

Here are 5 tips so you don’t get caught flat-footed:

Expect the call. Lots of people in the public relations biz think the job is over when the press release goes out. Maybe you make a follow-up phone call or email. But that’s just the first bean in the burrito. Most reporters will use your release as a starting point, but they’re gonna have lots more questions. So don’t be surprised when they call.

Be prompt (and available). Reporters (like most of us) have deadlines and they’re usually pushing them to the max. Answer the phone. Or email. Or tweet. But get back to them quickly. The curse of the 24-hour news cycle? You’re expected to be accessible during waking hours (and sometimes after). Being accessible via social media can be a big advantage for both you and the reporter.

Be prepared

Get technical. Have relevant information handy – not just the information pertaining to the news release, but basic company information and background. And if you don’t know something, find out and get it to ‘em ASAP.

Be prepared. Have the contact information of your Subject Matter Experts available. Make sure the SME has been briefed. Coordinate between the SME and the reporter. And have a few pithy quotes ready from the SME just in case the reporter and the SME don’t connect. Make images available, hi-res and web-ready, plus video and audio, if relevant. And have a way to get it to who needs it in zippy fashion (reference to speed and compressing files…see what I did there?)

Be friendly. And helpful. And pretty, and witty and wise. Help the reporter get what she needs. PR is a service industry. The better service you provide, the more successful you’ll be. <Ring! Ring!> It’s for you!

For more PR advice and where to plan your next microbrewery tour, call or email Ben Singleton, Ideopia’s director of public relations. 513-947-1444 ext 18.

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Sticky Medical Marketing Ads Earn Ideopia Trio of Readership Awards

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Print isn’t a flashy buzzword like marketing automation or native advertising, but in the hands of a great agency, it’s still an ROI monster. A trio of readership awards Ideopia just won for Haag-Streit USA confirms this.

Our new campaigns for Octopus and Tonosafe medical devices were named the top attention-getting ads in three healthcare publications: Review of Optometry, Review of Ophthalmology and Ophthalmic Professional Magazines.

“Excellent ad. I actually did not know these were available and in less than 15 seconds I wanted to order them,” said one doctor about Tonosafe, which helps protect patients from disease.

“Eye catching,” said another, reaffirming the value of bold, fresh work that stands out – especially in medical where EVERYTHING is blue, or draped in white coats.

Show Me the ROI

Curious about how readership studies work? Publishers email readers and ask them to describe and rate ads based on criteria like stopping power, information and believability.

Sure, they aren’t purely objective (what is?), but they’re one of the best ways to measure the effectiveness of print work, hear direct feedback from customers, and see how it stacks up against the competition.

Ideopia’s hybrid marketing can stretch your budget even further and boost ROI by pairing print campaigns with digital and social media.

Visit our portfolio to see what else we’re cooking up.

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Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law Could Spank You

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Like an iron fist smothered in maple syrup, Canada is sticking it to brands with the toughest email marketing law in the land. And if your company deals in the Great White North, it may apply to you.

Effective July 1, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) requires businesses to obtain permission to send emails, text messages and possibly social media postings to customers or prospects.

Two Varieties of Consent: Implied or Express

Implied consent requires documented proof of a relationship with a consumer. For example, Jasper in Nova Scotia ordered a batch of squeegees last May and gave you his email address.

Express applies mainly to prospects, or any customer you can’t prove you’ve done business with in the last two years.

To gain the golden stamp of approval, you must dish out opt-in messages and compete with a flurry of others doing the same thing.

While mega brands like Ford entice customers with freebies – a chance to win a free Mustang – small businesses and non-profits don’t have the same resources.

Some experts believe companies will see opt-in rates of less than 20 percent without the help of an agency or digital marketing plan.

Whether you’re a global brand with customers up north, or considering business ventures there, it’s best to have an agency (and lawyer) on your side. Or risk stiff fines – up to $1 million per person, and up 10 times that for companies found in violation – and an email list worth less than a can of spam.

But for now, let’s just hope this crackdown doesn’t spread south of the border.

Read more about CASL here.

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