The Next Big Thing – Influencer Marketing

The world of marketing is changing at a rapid pace and a number of changes are taking place on how best to reach, persuade and influence people to buy your product, program, service or social cause.

The next big thing and you will hear about it often is influencer marketing. What is happening is that there is a big shift going on as people  are now looking at each other  to inform their decisions. Instead of looking at companies or organizations as they did in the past, they now look at each other as well as their favorite personalities, who are consolidating massive followings on YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other platforms. Source

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Influencer marketing involves marketing products and services to those who have a sway over the things other people buy. This market influence typically stems from an individual’s expertise, popularity, or reputation. Marketing to an audience of influencers is similar to word of mouth marketing, but it doesn’t rely strictly on explicit recommendations.

Although some people use word-of-mouth marketing and influencer marketing interchangeably, there’s a real difference between the two disciplines. Whereas influencer marketing is the concept of engaging key individuals to leverage their influence among friends and family, word-of-mouth marketing is the actual avenue by which this communication takes place. So, almost all influencer marketing includes word-of-mouth marketing activities by its nature, but not all word-of-mouth marketing is driven by influencer campaigns.

Influence can come from a wide range of places. Any person, group, or place could potentially be an influencer. For example, celebrities are often used to market products and social causes because they are highly respected and highly visible. A day does not go by where some entertainer or sports personality is promoting a product or service or his or her charity, social cause or non profit organization.

Bloggers have become important influencers because they are seen as authentic and have loyal followings. In the world of commercial marketing when a blogger recommends a product or service it seems more trustworthy than traditional marketing communications. By using influencers, companies can avoid much of the cynicism and skepticism that is directed at straight forward marketing messages. Check out the rise of “mommy bloggers”

One of the major drawbacks of influencer marketing is that it isn’t as controllable as traditional marketing. While some influencers only add to the positive image of a product or social cause, influencers who encounter legal trouble or fall out of the public light might negatively impact a marketer’s chance of success. Marketers must prepare to deal with the negative fallout if the influencers they use misrepresent or reject their cause or products.

For the visionary marketer, the rise of the social media influencer creates a world of possibilities. It opens up a new channel for marketers to connect with consumers more directly. However, influencer marketing is still new. Many marketers are still hesitant, at the risk of being left behind by the growing cohort of marketers that are embracing this new channel.

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The Future of Influencer Marketing

No one can actually predict the future, but there is a lot of buzz going around about influencer marketing and it’s for good reason. Influencers and social media are changing the way we share, buy, sell and review products programs and services. Katie Carlson a contributing author with ReadyPulse believes that you will not be successful if you are not running an effective influencer marketing campaign.

She points out that there was a time where organizations used to rely on loyalty to be successful. Now with younger generations emerging, influencers are “impacting” people’s habits and evolving technology. Therefore, marketers need to revamp their strategy.

Influencer marketing is all about finding the right influencers who believe in what you are marketing, can clearly communicate your message and who have built a following made up of people who trust and value their opinion. A marketer’s success largely depends on which influencers they are able to build relationships with.

Carlson points out that many influencers are part of the Millennial generation, a group of people who like to be involved with the latest trends, see their involvement in projects make an impact and feel appreciated. Without open communication, trust, follow-up and clear direction, influencers will have difficulty delivering successful results. So the best thing for marketers to do is focus their time and effort on finding the right influencers, building personal relationships with the best influencers and guiding them down the right road to success.

In today’s marketing your audience wants to hear from their peers, real humans who have experienced a product service or are personally involved in a social cause and who can give an authentic perspective. Traditional marketing campaigns are losing credibility with their audience because they know the message is carefully crafted and tested to paint a picture of perfection. Then they are bombarded with the same message across numerous channels 24/7. So they tune out or completely block the marketing message all together, giving marketers a false sense of reach and resonance.

Influencer marketing tends to be more effective because it’s authentic, honest and engaging. It is able to spread the message to a larger audience, and it is never the exact same message twice. Carlson states that marketing audiences are fed too much content that is not directly relevant to them, and are starving for content that’s specifically tailored to them. It makes much more sense to target them by what they’re doing on a day-to-day basis, what they love and what genuinely interests them. If you can do this, she says, they are almost guaranteed to take action.

How to Develop and Implement an Influencer Marketing Campaign

The first step of an influencer marketing plan is to set goals for the campaign. Typically, goals for influencer marketing is about increasing buzz and public awareness.

Next identify the influencers you want to contact by researching demographics and target markets. Simple searches of Google, Twitter and Facebook can reveal who has influence over your audience. For example, a search for a specific health program would return results for health blogs, reviews of health products and programs, and health enthusiast websites. Some market research firms offer services that help marketers determine who their customers are most influenced by. You will need to decide how many influencers you want to target and then select those that best meet the goals of your campaign.

You then start analyzing where their influencers gather, who their audience is, and what kind of message they are spreading. Carefully studying the influencer’s preference makes them easier to reach out to them later. When you are ready to contact the influencer, communicate through social media or some other informal means. The goal is to form an organic relationship that is not based entirely on endorsing, persuading or selling. Influencers who are treated with respect become genuine advocates for your program, products, services, social cause or more importantly your organization

Marketers should revisit goals every few months to track the success or failure of the influencer program. If a plan is not having the desired effect, you may have to reach out to new influencers in different ways. The influencers who remain effective will need to be courted so that they continue to support your campaign on their blogs, tweets, Facebook-Linkedin posts and their websites.

 

MARKETING WORKBOOKS FOR PUBLIC SECTOR & NON-PROFIT MARKETERS & COMMUNICATORS

Two workbooks ideal for marketers and communicators working for government departments/agencies, non-profit/volunteer organizations, associations and social enterprises who are responsible for:

  • Marketing programs, products, programs and/or services
  • Social marketing, community outreach and public education programs

Social Marketing Planning to Change Attitudes and Behaviours Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for a successful social marketing program to change attitudes and behaviours. The content is the result of more than 30 years of direct experience in the social marketing arena.  It will assist public sector, non-profit organizations and associations involved in marketing, communications, public awareness/education and outreach.

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Marketing 101 for Marketers and Non-Marketers Workbook

This workbook provides users with an end-to-end planning tool that lays the groundwork for developing a successful public sector or non-profit marketing program.

It also will provide you with an overview of public sector and non-profit marketing and highlight the importance of market research to support a decision-making framework.

To purchase workbook, go to https://cepsm.ca/product/marketing-101-for-marketers-and-non-marketers-workbook/

Order Now and you will receive a PDF download immediately!

 

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Marketing Strategy and the 2015 Election Campaign in Canada

I always like to take the opportunity to educate readers of marketing during periods when they are paying attention to a specific event. Also, making marketing relevant in something that public sector marketers and communicators in Canada are keenly interested. In Canada right now we are involved with an election campaign. A few years ago I wrote an article on Marketing Warfare and its relevance to election campaigns. So I am updating the article to the 2015 election.

I constantly hear political pundits talking about political marketing but the truth is that most people who discuss the marketing of political campaigns have probably never read a marketing book and think that communications and marketing strategy is the same thing. They’re not.

So, to my readers who hopefully read my blogs because they think they may learn something about marketing in the public sector. I will try to bring some marketing thinking to the present Canadian election campaign. The Marketing Warfare approach to marketing which was developed by Al Ries and Jack Trout many years ago will be very helpful in explaining how the marketing approach can be helpful to better understand how to develop an effective strategy for a political campaign. It may also be useful for other public sector and non-profit marketing efforts to those who are marketing in a very competitive environment.

 

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First, some background on the Marketing Warfare concept.

In Marketing Warfare Al Ries and Jack Trout argue that marketing is war and that the marketing concepts of customer-oriented philosophy is inadequate. Rather, companies would do better by becoming competitor-oriented. If the key to success were to introduce products closest to those wanted by customers, then the market leader would simply be the company that performed the best marketing. Clearly, much more is required.

To illustrate their point, Ries and Trout compare marketing to a football game. If a team simply identifies the goal line and moves the ball toward it without regard to the competing team, they most likely will be blocked in their efforts. To win the game, the team must focus its efforts on outwitting, outflanking, or over-powering the other side. This is the case in football, war, and marketing, according to Marketing Warfare. Because of the importance of the competition faced by an organization requires a marketing plan that includes an extensive section on competitors.

There’s a saying that it is easier to get to the top than to stay there. Ries and Trout disagree, arguing that once at the top, an organization can use the power of its leadership position to stay there. We are seeing this now with the longest election campaign in Canadian history initiated by the leader and present governing party. The larger organization i.e. the Conservatives has the resources to outnumber smaller competitors. It can advertise more, perform more marketing research and generally do a lot more on the ground promotion, etc. This is not to say that smaller political parties do not stand a chance. As a matter of fact one of the political parties with limited funds is presently leading in the polls i.e. the NDP. Rather, political parties with fewer resources must recognize the principle of force and attempt to win the battle by means of a superior strategy.

In the private sector some managers believe that a better product/service will overcome other weaknesses. Again, Ries and Trout disagree. Once consumers already have in their minds that a product is number one, it is extremely difficult for another product, even if superior, to take over that number one place in the consumer’s mind. For example in politics it is always challenging to defeat the incumbent.

The way to win the battle is not only to recruit a superior team (although this is a good thing to do) or to develop a superior product/program. Rather, Ries and Trout argue that to win the battle, an organization must successfully execute a superior strategy.

Now this is pretty basic marketing, but many people who do not understand marketing think that marketing is about creating better or more compelling products, programs and services. This may sound logical to the uninitiated but marketers know that this is not necessarily true.

Now think of the Canadian political situation.  You have the Conservatives, New Democratic Party (NDP), Liberals, Bloc Quebecois (BQ) and the Greens as well as a number of other fringe parties but for this blog we will use these five.

Ries and Trout argue that marketing battles do not take place in geographic areas. Rather, marketing battles take place in the mind of the consumer. Ries and Trout propose that the most important information is to know which positions are held by which organizations in the mind of the consumer. In other words, who holds the high ground?

Ries and Trout discuss four strategies for fighting a marketing war:

  • defensive
  • offensive
  • flanking
  • guerrilla

 

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A company’s market share relative to that of competitors determines which strategy is appropriate. There often is a significant market share gap between two competitors such that each has more market share compared to the next weaker competitor. Because of this large gap, the principle of force plays an important role in the choice of a strategy.

In such an environment, each of the five parties has a different objective:

  • Number 1 market domination: This would be the Conservatives who are governing party and the party to beat
  • Number 2 increased market share: This is the NDP who are presently number 2 and the official opposition but show strong signs of potentially winning
  • Number 3 survival:  This is the Liberals which are the third party and making it a close race but have a long way to go with a third of the seats of the number 2 party.
  • Number 4 survival: The Greens and the BQ who are small players who may win a few seats in certain parts of Canada but are really fringe players.

According to Ries and Trout, the main competitor is the market leader that holds the majority of the market share i.e.  The government. The best strategy for such an organization is a defensive one. Note the Conservatives are clearly in a defensive mode trying to protect their lead and not taking too many chances although they seem to be losing ground at the moment but that can change in a very long campaign.

The number two best strategy is an offensive attack (i.e. the NDP) on the market leader organization. The reason is that the gaining of market share from the number three organization is unlikely to make a large impact on the much larger number two organization. However, there are potentially significant rewards if market share can be gained from the dominant organization – the Conservatives. Some may argue that the Liberals and NDP share the vote (2 left of centre parties) and they also split the vote allowing the Conservatives to come up the middle. By eliminating the competition i.e. Number 3, puts them head to head with the Number 1 leader. That is why the NDP are totally focused on the Conservatives and pay very little attention to the Liberals which may come back to “haunt them” in the upcoming weeks.

The number three organization is too small to sustain an offensive attack on a larger organization. (Although, this seems to be what the Liberals are doing… we will see if it works). Its best strategy often is to launch a flanking attack, avoiding direct competition, for example, by launching a program that is positioned very differently from those of the Conservatives and NDP. They are doing this somewhat with their latest ads and campaigning but will it be enough? (Note that the Liberals are trying to do to Mr. Mulcair what the Ontario Liberals did to the  NDP – outflank them on the left.)

The smallest organization probably does not have sufficient resources to launch any type of sustained attack. If it launched flanking program/policy a larger competitor likely would launch a similar one and would have the resources to win more voters. The smallest organization would do best to pursue a guerrilla strategy, identifying a segment that is large enough to be interesting to them (i.e. the Quebec voters for the Bloc and Environmentalists for the Greens) but not large enough to attract too much competition from any of the larger organizations except in very niche markets.

So what are the key strategies for the political parties?

A defensive strategy is appropriate for the market leader. Ries and Trout outline three basic principles of defensive marketing warfare:

  1. Defensive strategies should only be pursued by the market leader. It is self-defeating for an organization to pretend that it is the market leader for the purpose of strategy selection. The market leader is the organization who has attained that position in the mind of the consumer.
  2. Attacking yourself is the best defensive strategy. Introducing programs better than your existing ones pre-empt similar moves by the competition. Even if the new programs or policies have less impact that your existing programs, it accomplishes the more important long-term goal of protecting the organization’s market share.
  3. The leader should always block strong offensive moves made by competitors. If the leader fails to do so, the competitor may become entrenched and permanently maintain market share.

An offensive strategy is appropriate for an organization that is number 2 in the market. Ries and Trout present the following three principles of offensive strategy:

  1. The challenger’s primary concern should be the strength of the leader’s position, not the challenger’s own strengths and weaknesses.
  2. The challenger should seek a weakness in the leader’s strength – not simply a weakness in the leader’s position.
  3. Attack on as narrow a front as possible. Avoid a broad attack at all costs.

The strength of the leader’s position is of primary importance because the leader has the top position in the mind of the consumer, and it is this position that must be attacked.

A weakness in the leader’s strength must be found. Simply attacking any weakness is insufficient. For example, the leader may develop policies or programs which are similar to the challenger. The leader usually has the resources to defend against an attack against its weaknesses, whereas there may be weaknesses inherent in the leader’s strengths that cannot be defended.

The challenger should attack on as narrow a front as possible. Generally, this means focusing on programs and policies where the leader is weak and cannot adopt as it would destroy their overall strategy.

For example the political program of the NDP or even the Liberals if offered by the Conservatives would conflict with their basic strategy not to mention their conservative principles. The reason for keeping the attack narrow is the principle of force; a narrow attack allows the challenger to concentrate its resources in the narrow area, and in that area may present more force than the leader.

Many number two political parties ignore this principle and try to increase market share by broadening their programs and policies to compete in more areas, often with disastrous consequences. A narrow attack is particularly effective when the leader has attempted to be all things to all people with their programs and policies. Many Conservatives feel that the party has become very much like their competition in some ways. In that situation, a challenger can identify a segment within the leader’s market and offer a program and policy that serves only that segment. The challenger then stands a chance of winning a position in the voter’s mind for that more narrow class of program.

A flanking attack is not a direct attack on the leader, but rather, an attack in an area where the leader has not established a strong position. Ries and Trout present the following three flanking principles:

  1. A flanking move is best made in an uncontested area. The product should be in a new category that does not compete directly with the leader and should be the first to target the segment.
  2. A flanking move should have an element of surprise. Surprise is important to prevent the leader from using its enormous resources to counter the move before it gains momentum.
  3. Follow-through (pursuit) is equally as important as the attack itself. The organization should follow-through and focus on solidifying its position once it is established before competitors launch competing products/policies/programs. Too often, political parties turn their attention to the programs and policies that are not performing well rather than strengthening the position of the winners. If the party does not have the resources to strengthen its newly won position, then perhaps it should have used a guerrilla strategy instead of a flanking one.

A flanking move does not require a totally new program. Instead, the program only needs to be different enough to carve its own position. Flanking is not a low-risk strategy. Market acceptance of an innovative program is unknown, and test marketing must be kept to a minimum to guard the element of surprise. Whether the leader will take prompt action in response is an unknown. Being well-tuned to the political environment is helpful since their public speeches often provide clues about their stance on potential programs. This is where the Liberals should have a strategy which is very different from its competitors’ and needs to find policies and programs that are totally different than the Conservatives and NDP.

Guerrilla marketing differs from a flanking campaign in that a guerrilla move is relatively small and differs significantly from the leader’s position. Guerrilla marketing is appropriate for organizations that, relative to the competition, are too small to launch offensive or flanking moves. Ries and Trout list the following three principles of guerrilla marketing warfare:

  1. Identify a segment that is small enough to defend. For example, the scope can be limited geographically, demographically, etc.
  2. Never act like the leader, even if successful in the guerrilla attack. Some parties that make a guerrilla move are successful in it and begin to act like the leader, building a larger, bureaucratic organization that slows it down and increases overhead costs. A guerrilla should resist the temptation to give up its lean and nimble organization.
  3. Be ready to enter or exit on short notice. If the market for the program takes a negative turn, the guerrilla should exit quickly rather than waste resources. Because the guerrilla has a nimble organization, it is better able to make a quick exit without suffering huge losses. Similarly, the guerrilla can respond more quickly to a market opportunity without spending a long period having committees analyze it. Guerrilla opportunities sometimes arise when a large organization discontinue marketing an idea or program, leaving a gap on which the guerrilla can capitalize if it acts quickly. For example the Conservatives seem to have abandoned the environment leaving a large opening for the Greens (the problem is that the Environment is no longer top of mind among the voters, but that could change).

The idea of guerrilla marketing is to direct resources into a limited area, using the principle of force to win that area.

Demographic guerrillas target a specific segment of the population. (Bloc’s focus is on French speaking Quebecker). Guerrillas target a specific field or issue using vertical marketing to tailor a program to the special needs of that niche. The focus is narrow and deep rather than broad and shallow. They may offer a unique program for which there is a small market.

Strategy can be developed using a top-down or a bottom-up approach. Ries and Trout argue for the bottom-up approach because a deep knowledge of the tactics actually used is needed to formulate a strategy that has the goal of achieving tactical objectives. More specifically, Ries and Trout argue that the sole purpose of a strategy is to put the forces in motion to overpower the competitor at the point of contact using the principle of force. In the marketing arena, it means overpowering the competitor in a specific position in the mind of the voter.

As I have mentioned in many of my blogs Marketing is first about strategy and not necessarily tactics. Ries and Trout explain that a good strategy does not depend on brilliant tactics. Mediocre tactics are usually sufficient for a good strategy. Even the best possible tactics are unlikely to compensate for a poor strategy. In political campaigns, advertising can be considered a tactic and many campaign managers falsely assume that success depends almost entirely on the quality of the advertising campaign. If a strategy requires top-notch tactics to win the battle, Ries and Trout maintain that such a strategy is unsound because tactical brilliance is rare.

Any strategy should take into account the probable response of the competitor. The best way to protect against a response is to attack the weakness in the leader’s strength so that the leader cannot respond without giving up its strength.

To support the argument of a bottom-up strategy, Ries and Trout point out that many large organizations incorrectly believe that they can do anything if they simply allocate enough resources. History shows otherwise and they give many examples in the business world. Such diversions they say “shift resources away from the point of battle where they are needed. This is one of the dangers that can be avoided by a bottom-up strategy based on what can be accomplished on the tactical level.”

Ries and Trout believe in having relatively few people involved in the strategic process. The organization needs a strong “marketing general” to formulate the strategy from the tactical realities. A marketing general has the following characteristics:

  • Flexibility – to adjust the strategy to the situation.
  • Courage – to make a decision and stand by it.
  • Boldness – to act without hesitation when the time is right.
  • Knows the facts – in order to formulate strategy from the ground up.
  • Knows the rules – but internalize them so they can be forgotten.
  • Lucky – marketing warfare has an element of chance; a good strategy only makes the odds more favourable.

Summary

Ries’ and Trout’s work in the business world have interesting and useful commonalities between political marketing strategy and business marketing strategy. The appropriate marketing strategy in business and politics depends on the organization’s position relative to its opponents. In developing its strategy, the political party must objectively determine its position in the market. Once this is done, a defensive, offensive, flanking, or guerrilla strategy can be selected depending on their position relative to the competition. It also helps if you have a marketing strategist running your campaign.

 

To learn more about marketing in the public and non profit sector

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Marketing Articles to Read this Summer

Summer is a good time to catch up on your reading. Here are 11 articles on marketing which should keep you up to date on some very important developments in the world of marketing.  Trying reading them while enjoying your favourite beverage.

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4 Tips for Adopting a Customer-Centric Mindset

If you’re taking an integrated marketing approach, your customers need to be driving the decisions your company makes.

Otherwise, your brand could risk becoming irrelevant—or, worse, offensive—to your audience.

When customers are embedded in your DNA—from customer service to marketing to product design—you start to think from their perspective. As a result, you gain insights into not only what you could do but also what you should do as a company.

By harnessing your customers’ wants and needs and infusing that knowledge into every marketing decision, you can establish lifelong relationships that will inevitably grow your business.

The customer-centric mindset is actually similar to a brand-centric one—it just starts with the customer rather than the brand.

The Idea Generation Formula: How to Consistently Deliver Great Ideas

Ideas are the lifeblood of any content marketing campaign. Without new ideas, campaigns—no matter what their aims—will quickly become stagnant. But creating ideas can be hard.

No doubt your team are full of creativity, but producing actionable ideas that can achieve your objectives is the hard part. In this article Ben Harper who is a co-founder of Datify, a data-driven content marketing agency discusses how to keep your brand ahead by consistently delivering winning ideas over the long term. The three main stages of that process are:

  • Idea generation
  • Idea evaluation
  • Campaign creation

How Survey Research Can Aid in PR and Marketing Planning

This article by Lynda B Starr suggests “If you haven’t asked the question, how you will know the answer?” That old saying is a pithy summation of the rationale behind conducting a survey to find out information about your customers.

Survey research, however, is not as simple as asking questions: The right questions must be asked of the right people. You must first determine what information you want to collect, which then guides you to choosing which questions to ask, how to ask them, and of whom.

The article discusses when conducting a survey is appropriate; and offers some tips on survey design; and explores how to incorporate survey results into PR and marketing activities.

Stop Focusing On Your Brand’s Social Media Posting, Here’s What You Should Be Focusing On Instead

Jordan Con states that owned social (what your brand posts) as a powerful business driver is a thing of the past. If anything has been made clear over the last few years, it’s that organic reach on social isn’t guaranteed. Only the biggest publishers are seeing significant organic reach, and it’s because they have deals with Facebook.

Clamoring about the best ways to marginally increase your organic reach is short-sighted. The social networks can change their algorithms or cut it off completely at their discretion. When you play on someone else’s platform, you don’t get the luxury of control.

He provides seven things that you should be focusing on instead.

The Four Principles of a Better #Digital Brief Social Media Marketing

This article by Jeff Roach discusses how to get the best out of your digital marketing department and digital agencies. You want digital marketing that makes an emotional connection with consumers, propels your brand across technology platforms, and engages audiences in digital channels with real value to your brand.

He feels that most briefs are simply too long, too specific, and too tactical. The inspired digital creative—the work that connects with audiences, propels fandom, builds brands in the digital world—doesn’t start with a technology mandatory or an app-vs.-website specificity.

His agency looked at their history of writing briefs and working with brands all over the world, and they distilled their observations into a set of simple, applicable guidelines that can help any marketer create a better digital brief and gives four principles that will lead to better digital briefs.

2 Million Blog Posts Are Written Every Day, Here’s How You Can Stand Out

If you are creating 500-word me-too blog posts that get read by no one, you are completely and absolutely wasting your time. According to Puranjay Singh it’s not your fault. You’ve been told by so-called experts for years that if you blog consistently, you will see truckloads of traffic, thousands of subscribers, and millions of dollars in sales. The thing is, a lot of these experts cut their teeth in the early years of the Web, when 500-word blog posts could win you fame and fortune. If you’re serious about standing out from the 2 million blog posts pumped out every day, he provides advice on what you need to start doing.

The Key to Successful Positioning: ‘3 Cs’ Research

Lawson Abinanti feels that Positioning shouldn’t be left to chance. Unless you do your research, your message to the market has almost no chance of getting through and hitting the mark.

This article explains why you must understand the 3 Cs of successful positioning—your customer, channel, and competition—as well as how to understand your B2B product, service, solution, or company. And it offers suggestions for how to go about it.

One reason organizations fail to thoroughly research the 3 Cs is that they don’t have time to do it: It can take weeks.

One way to speed up the process is to start with your channel: how you sell—direct or through partners, or both.

16 Free Marketing Tactics for Promoting Your Business

Tommy Laundry points out that with all the talk about bootstrapping and growth hacking, it has become clear that more marketers want to self-fund their businesses at least in the early stages of building them out. In the old days, you mostly had to pay to advertise for any marketing benefits to come your way. Today, we have a wider range of paid and free options available to us. Since many of us want to start out with no or low cost options in the early going, we should all be aware of what we might do to move the needle without budget. Tommy provides 16 things to promote your own business.

Seven Tips for Developing Good, Relevant, and Actually Interesting Content

Sarah Bricker states that content is not always easy to write; in fact, depending on the topic or the industry, it can be downright difficult. Throughout their careers, marketers will experience a variety of clients—B2B, B2C (including e-commerce), and special interest clients from an array of industries. Each requires unique content, and each has specific strategies or presentation elements they consider good and bad.

When developing content, you need to consider a few things:

  • Products or services most desired by consumers may change month to month or season to season.
  • Content is built for the long term and the short term.
  • Consumers will read it only if they can understand it, and fast.

She provides seven helpful tips for developing relevant, engaging, and creative content.

How Consumers Find and Use Mobile Apps

Most consumers first hear about mobile apps from friends and family, according to a recent report from Google and Ipsos.

The report was based on data from an online survey conducted in September 2014 of 8,470 people age 18-64. Respondents were asked about how they find, buy, and use smartphone applications.

Some 52% of respondents say they usually become aware of mobile apps from friends and family. Other common discovery methods are app stores (40%), search engines (27%), company websites (24%), and television (22%).

Marketers’ Biggest Social Media Challenges Social Media Marketing

Marketers say measuring ROI is the biggest challenge they face with their social media efforts, according to a recent report from Simply Measured and TrustRadius.

The report was based on data from a survey of nearly 600 social media practitioners that was conducted in February and March 2015.

Some 60% of respondents say measuring ROI is one of the most challenging aspects of their social program; other top challenges include tying social activities to business outcomes (50% cite), developing a social media strategy (48%), and securing enough internal resources (40%).

Why Email Marketing Beats Social Media in Lead Generation, And What You Can Do About It

Social media has many legitimate marketing uses. When used right, social lets you build a genuine relationship with your customers. It helps you find out what people are saying about your brand and it enables you to share interesting content with your audience. Regardless of whether they’re in B2B or B2C, most businesses today can’t afford not to have a social media presence.

But there’s one thing that social media isn’t great for: lead generation. Social media works effectively for many marketing activities, but generating new leads isn’t one of them. In fact, when it comes to generating leads, the good ol’ email will always beat social media. One 2014 study from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company suggests that email conversion rates are 40 times higher compared to Facebook and Twitter combined. “The rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher,” according to the report.

An understanding of its drawbacks as a lead gen tool is critical to getting the most out of social media marketing. So why is email, a relatively old channel, better suited for generating leads?

 

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Get Certified: Sprott Professional Programs

If you’re new to marketing or even if you’ve been wearing multiple marketing hats over the years – it may be time to earn a Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-Profit Marketing to support you in your professional development. With a rising need for highly skilled marketing professionals in the public and non-profit sectors many are looking for professional advice about how to bring products, services and messages to citizens, stakeholders and their specific target audiences in new and impactful ways. Take advantage of a condensed, intensive 6-day program in  February 2016 at the Sprott School of Business, Carleton University and be recognized for your skills. Learn more

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