Tag Archives: marketing plan

Selling Social Media As An Essential Marketing Strategy

It’s hard to imagine life before social media. Dramatic? Yes, but it’s true. And the same can be said for business. In the past few years, social media has become an integral platform for brand awareness, developing partnerships, managing customer service, generating leads and increasing revenue. So much so that social media is no longer a “nice-to-have” but a “must-have” in an effective marketing plan.

However, confusion with ROI, reporting, tracking and staffing are keeping many companies from reaching maximum social media marketing potential. If your boss hasn’t jumped on the social media marketing ship, here’s some ammunition to get him/her on board:

  1. Social Media = Marketplace Insight: Social media platforms give your brand the means to relate to, exist in and encourage a highly engaged and influential community. If you aren’t interacting with your customers/audience, you’re missing a huge opportunity to observe, question, explore and experiment. Market research and customer interaction have never been easier (or cheaper!).
  2. Customer Service Got A Makeover: You better believe social media has changed the entire look and feel of customer service. Customers expect brands to be social, so if you aren’t, what does that say about your authority in your market? Your relevancy in your industry? Your concern for customer satisfaction? Nothing good, that’s for sure.
  3. Who Doesn’t Love Low Risk and Low Cost? Not loving how your latest campaign is performing on Facebook? Stop it. None of those 70 new Twitter accounts are following you back? Try again or cut ‘em loose. Instagram isn’t bringing you qualified leads? Do some audience research and try a platform more suited to your target and marketing objectives. There’s something beautiful about a collection of online spaces that warrant an experimental approach.
  4. Say Hello to SEO: Our friends at Google have the responsibility of making sure users are seeing the most valuable, relevant content when they search online. What does this mean for you? The more your brand/products are being shared and linked to on your social media pages, the higher your content will rank on Google because it will be considered greater value to Google users. Optimize your social media profiles for search, use relevant keywords in your social media posts, share your content across relevant channels, and build a community of quality fans that interact with your content.

While incorporating social media into your marketing plan seems like a no brainer to you, there may be hesitation in upper management. Show the numbers. Research case studies. Experiment on the side. Whatever you do, get armed and ready with facts to make your argument clear. Social media has changed the marketing landscape, and we hope your company joins the party.

Need help getting started? Click here to see what Ideopia can do for you.

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Only Someone Like You Can Change Your Mind

Do you think your product or service is a tough sell? You won’t after reading this.

Try selling acceptance of gay marriage to voters who oppose it. That’s exactly what a study conducted by 100 gay and 100 straight canvassers did in Los Angeles County.

They interviewed 976 voters on their doorsteps about their attitudes toward gay marriage.

At the start of each session, the interviewee rated their acceptance of gay marriage on a scale of 1 to 10. Afterwards, they asked for another rating of 1 to 10. One of the main findings was that gay canvassers, who disclosed their sexual orientation, were five times more successful at selling  gay marriage than their straight counterparts.

I listened to some of the tapes. The canvassers were not trying to convince or desperately sell their point-of-view. They mainly listened to their fears and apprehensions, and shared their own life experience.

Follow-ups at 3, 6 and 9 months showed that the voters who spoke with gay canvassers were much more likely to maintain their opinion on the 1 to 10 scale. Other members of the household who just listened to the interviews also scored high on the scale. But conversations with straight canvassers tended to revert to their original views.

The explanation for the disparity between the two groups illustrates how we might think or bolster our opinions on marketing. The L.A. County study doesn’t answer that question, but that won’t deter me from speculating.

Get Real. Talk to Consumers.

We all chant the “voice of the consumer” mantra, but how many people in your company have actually talked to one? How can your brand be authentic if you don’t have on-going conversations with consumers? Real ones, in person, instead of social media.

Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs)  generally talk to groups, not individuals. And, for the most part, their loyalty can be bought, and consumers know it. So how effective are they? A recent study of physicians, who are notoriously slow to adopt new technologies, found that they would more readily embrace when presented by a peer.

Are we broadcasting more than we’re listening? If we’re listening, are we empathizing?

The L.A. County study also underscores the power of virility, and the potential impact of a single person. Are your employees believers in your brand? Do they get the message? Can they talk about it? If they do, they are your greatest assets. If not, you could find yourself in a world of hurt.

And lastly, do your people genuinely share common ground with your customers?

So where does listening fall into your marketing plan? Is it stories from salespeople in the field, or the annual focus group? What this study suggests to me is that we need to spend much more time in the trenches with consumers and less time riding our desks.

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Choose Your Marketing Weapons Carefully – Infographic

This infographic is like a mini-marketing plan. Pick your goals, e.g. brand awareness, brand loyalty or sales, and it will help you choose the marketing tactics to achieve it.  We know strategies vary from industry to industry, so think of this as something meaty to add to your advertising soup. Or use it as a check list to make sure you haven’t left out an important ingredient.

Download PDF of Marketing Weapon Selector

Mini marketing plan infographic

Download PDF of Marketing Weapon Selector

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Top 10 Signs You Need A Marketing Plan

  1. Your company isn’t among the top three-to-five names that prospective customers name in your category
  2. You don’t have adequate analytics to determine which part of your marketing budget is driving results
  3. Your leads don’t actually lead anywhere
  4. You don’t have reliable information about how your customers regard your company and products, and what’s driving their buying decisions
  5. You’re unclear, or there is no consensus in your organization, about your company’s top vulnerabilities and strengths
  6. You’re forced to be reactive, balancing demands from different departments and brands
  7. Your company is stuck on the same tactics you used five years ago, and hasn’t embraced social media, mobile, blogs or email marketing
  8. Your budget was cut, but you’re still supporting the same number of programs
  9. The only thing standing between you and your sales goal is another brochure
  10. You are the one person invested in the totality of marketing effectiveness

Don’t worry, we can help. Call Susan Abramovitz, president, directly or learn more about brand strategy on our site. For in-depth  information about making your own plan, see The American Marketing Association’s newsletter.

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