Blog Marketing As a Strategy…

Most people would love to find a method of marketing that is effective, fun and free. Well, blog marketing certainly fits the bill.

Unfortunately, not many people understand that “effectiveness” is not the same as having a lot of pages in the blog, nor is it getting listed in as many directories as possible. Actually, effectiveness of a blog marketing strategy really depends on the objectives. Any marketer will know that a marketing strategy is nothing more than a powerful sum of its parts. Hence, a blog marketing strategy cannot stand alone, that is a given. So, we will not talk about that. For a blog marketing to be deemed effective, there are usually three measurements: traffic, response, and action.

Denise has an interesting post on how to build blog traffic. Any new blog will face the challenge of generating traffic. The key is not the volume of traffic, but the relevance of it.

Response is one of the best indicators of whether your traffic is targetted or not. Interested parties will respond to your blog posts (unless they are so poorly written…) and they will respond through comments, feedback forms and even emails.

Arguably, action is the holy grail. A blog that has plenty of traffic and an active, responsive readership, but cannot prompt readers into action to become buyers, subscribers or whatever it is you are marketing, can hardly be deemed to be effective.

I am sure there are many other marketing metrics that can be used. But blow aside all the fluff and illusions of success, the above are, I believe, the 1-2-3 of a successful blog marketing program.

Strategy vs Execution

Marketing Strategy is probably one of the most insulted of all terms. Just because a company has an advertising plan for the year or have its promotions lined up 6 months ahead, they call it their marketing strategy.

Sometimes,marketing professionals fall into this trap in their excitement to sell their ideas. After all, a “strategy” sounds so much more cool than a mere marketing plan. When you have a strategy, it must be backed by an excellent execution plan.

To gain 5% market share is a strategy (one element of it only, I hope!). To have national advertising and a direct marketing program, is execution. Without a clear strategic objective all the grand plans would be nothing more than the mindless gyrations of a huge marketing budget. Lots of things happening, but will not get you anywhere. For a small business, this becomes even more crucial.

The strategy of a small business needs to be more aggressive, more focused. And the execution of that strategy needs almost pin-point precision. You don’t have a penny to waste. This is where a good marketing agency comes in. Do not imagine for a moment that you can just “wing it”. A start-up might have no choice. But once your business is off the ground and you are shooting for some real growth, get together with professionals. They can help you achieve your goals much faster.

Take time to find your marketing partner. It is not just the glitzy presentations and pitches that an agency makes – you need concrete evidence. The guiding principle here is this: don’t use an advertising agency that is 10 times bigger than you are, and don’t use one that has no domain knowledge of your industry/market.

Too huge an agency and you will not be on their A-list. You will get the kind attentions of the big wigs during the pitch, and you never see them again, except, maybe when it comes time to renew. A smaller agency is good. But if your account is more than 50% of their size, then again, be wary. Can they scale and grow with your business? Maybe they can. Talk to them. Find out about the people behind the company. When you are a small business, relationships are the most important. My friend Vivienne over at Versa Creations wrote a nice little post on “4 Great Tips to Selecting The Best Marketing or Advertising Agency“. You should read it.

[tags]marketing plan, advertising, advertising agency, marketing agency[/tags]

Marketing Tip – Get Professional Media Buying

When you embark on an advertising campaign, many small business owners believe that they can go out and buy their own media and save on the agency costs. Usually, this is only true if there is some mis-communications between the company and the agency. It is quite unthinkable that ad-hoc media buying can be more efficient and effective than professional media buying.

An agency that specializes in media buying is going to have bulk deals, demographics and other information that most other people, who are not insiders, will not have. If you over-spend on media, it is usually a case of poor planning or getting carried away by grand visions. A good agency should be able to advise on the optimal media spend. Cheap media buys usually hide the reasons why they are cheap. Unless you are in the know, it will be hard for you to tell genuine buying opportunities from lame sales tactics.

Seriously, don’t try it on your own.

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[tags]media buying, advertising, advertising agency[/tags]

Blast from the past!

When I first started out in advertising, you knew you were in the house even if you were blindfolded. Just use your nose. It’s the “cow gum” silly! Today, you have mounting sprays. Today, you have Macs. In fact, a lot of stuff we used to have in the agency are no longer found.

Here’s a short list as I can remember. See if you can add more:

  • Darkroom
  • Enlarger (to make larger negatives)
  • Big glass table to do FA’s
  • FA – Finished Artwork (the real stuff, not the ones in FHA, TIFF and all that…)
  • Lupe

And of course, after so long, I finally encounter these three letters again: DTP. Yes, just happened to drop in on this blog and saw the words! Nostalgia for me, since I was the first one to introduce a computer to my first ad agency boss who was so fascinated by this “new” technology. Whew! Just remembering those times gives me goose bumps. Now, those were the good old days.

[tags]advertising, ad agency, desktop publishing, dtp[/tags]

Change for the sake of change

Sometimes, people resist change. But at other times, they go the other extreme – they change for the sake of changing!

If you read Ken Chee’s article on “If it aint broke, fix it?” he was talking about clients who were switching ad agencies simply for the sake of getting a “new one”. That is pretty strange. The reality is, in the world of creative marketing, new is not always better. In fact, the more familiar the team is with your company, product and market, the more creative they can be! At any rate, they will not be making silly mistakes that will cost you money.

So, next time, when you feel like changing your ad agency, go change a shirt first. If that don’t satisfy your craving for random change, then take a long hard look and weigh the pros and cons.

[tags]PC, CPU, online stores[/tags]

How To Manage Customer Relationships?

One of the most challenging areas in marketing is in customer relationship management, or crm in short. But there are plenty of companies out there who claim to provide a complete “CRM solution”.

Sometimes, people confuse sales force automation with CRM. Yes, it is a part of it, but is not all there is to it. If you take a look at this product: AIMpromote, you will realize the depth and scope of a truly capable CRM solution. This rather unique and comprehensive package covers Lead Management, Sales Force Automation and Report Generation with aplomb. You can take a 14-day trial to run the software through its paces and determine whether this is for you or not. As a marketing professional, there are many areas we need to deal with. To be able to use a tool that makes CRM easier will surely be a great value add for us.

The software is also able to generate reports and track the performance of your campaigns. In this way, you will have a clear view of where the leads are coming from and can easily measure the ROI for each of your campaigns.

The feature I liked most was the ability to private label the software. Your users and clients can login and see your company name and logo. This makes you look so much more professional. It adds a level of sophistication that you will not have if they are asked to log into a page that bears the name and logo of a service provider.

As in all complex software, this may or may not be for you. Fortunately, the 14-day free trial should be sufficient for you to put the software through its paces and make an informed decision. Anyway, the value of a lifetime client outweighs the cost.

(sponsored )

[tags]crm, customer relations, sales force automation, lead management[/tags]

Hype Up Your Events With Entertaining Speakers!

Planning a great event can be a very trying task. But if you love events, you will understand when I say that there is no greater thrill then standing at the end of the last minute of the last day of the event and soaking it all in…

On good way to add to the pizazz of your event will be to engage motivational speakers. Good speakers are important and they can make or break your event. But then, getting good speakers have never been an easy task. Until now. Take a look at internationalspeakers.com and see their wide selection of celebrity and motivational speakers. Can you imagine Jay Leno or Michael Buble speaking at your event? You can be sure your event will be remembered long after the champagne has evaporated.

They have a nice line up of international speakers and will save you the hassle of trying to get in touch with these high profile celebrity speakers. Go check out the site!

(This is a sponsored post)

[tags]celebrity speakers, event management, entertainment speakers[/tags]

We all HATE to write Briefs!

Working in Marketing for so many years, we all know this – we hate briefs. Nope, nothing to do with how tight it is… moving on…

Whether you are trying to brief your ad agency, or a freelance designer or maybe even your boss (to show that you know what you are doing?); it is always difficult. But it helps if you have a guide. I just saw a short write up on “How do you write a graphic design brief?” over at David Airey’s blog. It’s a good starting point if you are at a lost as to how to write your brief.

Depending on what you are actually trying to achieve, your brief can be as comprehensive as several pages long, or just a brief one-pager. The most important thing to remember is this: to keep marketing fun, ensure no one falls asleep reading your “brief”.

Some additional points from me to David’s excellent pointers:

  • Be brief (duh!)
  • Write clearly and simply, this is not a test of your vocabulary
  • Use charts, tables, diagrams if necessary rather than go into a long description(a picture paints a thousand words)

Not much to add to an already excellent post. :)

[tags]brief, agency brief, advertising agency, marketing agency, graphic design, marketing[/tags]