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

reporter_tips

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

spam

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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Ideopia Wins Medical Marketing Awards

Aster Awards

Ideopia competed with more than 3,000 entrants to win two Gold and two Bronze Medals at the 2014 Aster Awards, which recognize creative accomplishments in medical marketing. And the winners are:

Reliance Medical Products (Mason, OH) — Gold for magazine “Legendary Campaign” for examination chairs

Eyefficient, Inc. (Cleveland Ohio) — Bronze for Eyefficient.com web and mobile sites.

Reichert Technologies (Buffalo, NY) — Gold for “Blink Blog” and email newsletter.

Reichert Technologies – Bronze for magazine “Animal Campaign”

We thank the Asters, the Academy, the Jamaican Bobsled team, and the great clients who work with us as true partners: Steve Juenger, vp of marketing and sales, Haag-Streit USA; and Mark Newkirk in his roles as Director of Global Marketing for Reichert Technologies; and more recently as CEO of Eyefficient, Inc.

See our Aster award winning entries on our WavyBrainy blog.

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9 Reasons to Drink the Marketing Automation Kool-Aid

Marketing automation Kool-Aid

Would you like to reduce the cost of sales, attract more leads and boost revenues? Dumb question. Of course you would. That’s why it’s time to get over the “robots controlling the world” fears, and dive into marketing automation. Now for some motivation:

Cold, hard cash

  1. Companies that automate lead management see a 10% or greater increase in revenue in 6-9 months. (Gartner Research)
  2. 78% of high-performing marketers say that marketing automation software is responsible for improving revenue contribution. (Source: Position2)

More sales. Lower cost.

  1. Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research via Pardot)
  2. Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (via Captera)
  3. Lead nurturing reduces the percentage of marketing-generated leads ignored by sales (from as high as 80% to as low as 25%).
  4. The average sales cycle has increased 22% over the past 5 years due to more decision makers being involved in the buying process. (via Captera)

Blindside the competition

  1. Marketing automation software only has 3% adoption in non-tech companies. (via Captera)
  2. 63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use marketing automation software. (via Captera)

Ideopia can help

  1. 64% of CMOs have no process, or an informal process, to manage their marketing automation. (The Annuitas Group)
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Beer Floats for Better Beer Ads

Beer Float

Beer floats are the watering hole where dessertniks and hipster beer drinkers can find common ground. Here’s the concept, scoop out 4 ounces of ice cream (who’s counting?) into a glass and pour beer over it. Drink. If you need to write a few beer ads, now’s the time to let it flow

While sipping a Heinefee Coffeeken, a concoction of Heineken and Häagen-Dazs® coffee-flavored ice cream, a pleasant buzz will give way to a brighter world, and tolerance of the other side of the aisle. Or, you might want to guzzle the whole thing in a single gulp.

The blog, Beer Floats, has researched some of the best pairings for us, like “Martina’s Blue Moon Orange Crush,” and one of my favorites, “Hope Floats,” made with Boddington’s and vanilla ice cream.

See all of our drink recipes here.

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The Sparkler Cocktail: Celebrate Your Brand

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Were you Made in America? Then it’s time to celebrate your brand. Make every day the Fourth of July and rock your taste buds with the patriotic boom of vodka, Pop Rocks candy and fresh fruit. For youngsters, hold the liquor and serve a Virgin Sparkler.

  • 4 oz. lemon lime soda
  • 2 oz. blueberry-flavored vodka
  • Handful fresh strawberries and blueberries (see the theme here?)
  • 1 tbsp. grenadine
  • Garnish rim with 1 package crushed Pop Rocks (red or blue, of course)
  • Serve over ice
  • Tweet Ideopia, or post all drunken selfies on our Facebook

Get the full recipe here. It sure beats the chintzy local fireworks show.

See all of our drink recipes here.

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Berry, Berry Creative Ideas from Daiquiris

Daquiri

We’ve long been proponents of drinking to enhance creative work, but now Science Daily informs us that berries spur the imagination as well. Yippee! To celebrate, we’re whipping them together in a drink you know as a Strawberry Daiquiri. Bottoms up!

Ingredients

  • Ice cubes
  • 2 parts light rum
  • 1 part Triple Sec
  • 1 part fresh strawberries, tops trimmed off
  • Lime juice, as needed
  • Lime wedges
  • Sugar

Directions

Puree ice cubes, light rum, Triple Sec, fresh strawberries and lime juice. Rub a lime on the outside of the glass. Roll the glass in sugar (your call). Garnish with a lime wedge.

See all of our drink recipes here.

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The Easy Squeezy Branding Beerita

Beerita

  • 1 (12 fluid once) can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 12 fluid ounces tequila
  • 12 fluid ounces of water
  • 12 fluid ounces of beer
  • Ice
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Use beer and join the fight to eradicate frilly fluorescent green margaritas. And for once, we recommend

    not

using craft beer, because it has flavor, and that could mess up the tequila. Use the limeade can to measure the ingredients. Adjust with extra water if the mixture seems too sweet. Or add more tequila. Strain the pulp, unless, you’re really into pulp.

See all of our drink recipes here. Meanwhile, have you noticed how your marketing sings through these Beerita Goggles?

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