The World Cup 2018 and Marketing 101


The World Cup 2018 and Marketing 101

The FIFA World Cup is unofficially the world's largest sporting event. It's also one of the world's biggest marketing opportunities. Featuring 32 national soccer teams, it captivates billions of people across the globe during its month-long run. And, as we all are aware, the 2018 event is being held in Russia.

Continue reading on our blog for tips for effective marketing & social media during the World Cup.


Social Media – the Small Business Owner’s Checklist [Infographic]


Social Media – the Small Business Owner’s Checklist [Infographic]

Social media can be confusing. You know you need to do it, often feel intimidated, sometimes get sucked in so it saps time from other valuable business actions. More worrying, how do you prove that it has an ROI (return on investment)?

There is much advice out there, and it's changing constantly. So, wouldn't it be nice if there was one place where you could stop, take a breath, and really have a clear view on how social media can help your business in today's world? Real help, in a practical manner.


Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?


Is “Emotional Marketing” the Best Way to Connect with Customers?

According to the Small Business Association, “All humans feel four basic emotions: happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted.” Of course, no business wants to spur feelings of disgust or anger with their customers, but as the SBA adds, “creating strong emotions—either positive or negative—can help build a bond between your customers and your business,” which is definitely a goal all businesses share.

If you’re looking for a stronger connection with your target audience, here are tips on emotional marketing that might resonate with your target audience…


Marketing or Customer Service... five pointers


Marketing or Customer Service... five pointers

When it comes to operating a successful business, nothing’s more important than communicating effectively with your customers. Adopting the wrong tone in your marketing or sales messages, neglecting to reach out in formats where customers generally “live” and failing to reply to inquiries in a timely way can damage your brand now and into the future. Where is the line between marketing and customer service? Read on to find out more...


How to Get Your Sales and Marketing Teams on the Same Page


How to Get Your Sales and Marketing Teams on the Same Page

Just how well do your sales and marketing teams interact? Can you point to tangible achievements as a result of close sales/marketing collaboration? Or is the situation more akin to military platoons advancing with little or no contact with one another?

In fact, many businesses are still chasing the elusive goal of optimum sales and marketing alignment. Even in an era of advanced marketing automation, “marketing technology and processes have yet to turn the sales and marketing boxing ring into a night of candlelit dinners,” observes B2B marketing expert Laura Ramos.

Here are three tips on getting sales and marketing on the same page, thus benefiting both your business and your customers...



What to Include in Your B2B Marketing


What to Include in Your B2B Marketing

Nowhere is the celebrated “buyer’s journey” more relevant than with B2B companies and their customers. With the vast array of digital resources at their command, these customers embark on the journey by conducting extensive research, comparing companies and exploring social media—sometimes well before they make direct contact with the business they’re most interested in.

As a result, B2B companies need to “up” their marketing game, in order to be ready when the buyer’s journey leads to them.

Here are tips for key elements and action steps for a marketing plan that keeps your business “top of mind” for current and prospective customers...


Let’s POSE the question – what’s the most efficient marketing?


Let’s POSE the question – what’s the most efficient marketing?

ROI is only achieved and then improved if your marketing:

  1. has a clear goal
  2. is measured on real business value

To achieve a real ROI then, your business can’t rely on only one marketing tactic. OK, sure you can try – go ahead… we’ll hang out here and wait for you – but I’m 100% convinced it’s not going to get you anywhere. We’ve tried. The results are dismal.

It’s all about integration. But when we start integrating multiple marketing tactics, we come across some problems:

  1. it can cost more (not to be confused with return – ideally more cost means more return), and
  2. how do we effectively measure one tactic over another?

We need a clear strategy.

Fear not, my intrepid marketing/boss person. We have a solution that has been working extremely well. It’s rooted in traditional media relations, is all about content creation and will boost your SEO (so I think we hit all the hot buttons). In time, I’m sure you can use AI and Big Data to really excel in this area (2018’s hot buttons).

To make it easy to remember, and even more trendy, we refer to it as POSE. It is the integration of:                                                            

  • P - Paid Media
  • O - Owned Media
  • S - Shared Media
  • E - Earned Media

Want to know how to implement it? Then read on…

The strategy goes like this:

1 – What are your goals?

This is a conversation for another time, but you need goals. If you do not have goals now, do not pass Go and do not collect $400.

2 – Who is your audience?

You need to know who your prospective customers are. Think closely about your target audience and their personas. Our recent blogs will help you with What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Boost Your Sales? And Buyer Personas to Prequalify Prospects.

3 – Build your content. One of the easiest ways to do this is to first think about the messages:

  • Main message
  • Secondary message/s
  • Sub message/s

Once you have your message, you can actually write stories. We define stories as long form writing that reinforces your messages, but isn’t ready for the outside world yet. That’s because it needs to be tweaked depending upon how you’ll use it (POSE).

4 – Paid Media – part 1. Hold that thought – we’ll come back to this…

5 – Owned Media. Now you have the content, you can use your owned media to distribute this. This includes websites, blogs, newsletters, emails, company magazines etc. This is not going to cost you much so long as you have great processes in place.

The secret, of course, is creating and nurturing your own databases. If you can do this, you have plenty of owned media opportunities. Owned media should be the media with the highest ROI for you.

6 - Shared Media. This is social media – you remember… Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all the other platforms you love.

Once you have a process, then again this is pretty simple, and shouldn’t cost much.

For example, every time you translate a ‘story’ into a blog, you can write the specific social media you need. So, every time a blog goes live, you have related LinkedIn, Facebook, and (let’s say) three Twitter posts ready to be scheduled.

Some of your ‘stories’ can be social media campaigns.

What’s ROI like here? Well, the cost is low, but really your ROI objectives here are getting a direct contact (not getting clients). You can measure exposure, likes, re-postings etc, but what does that really mean in terms of sales? 

7 - Earned Media. Aka traditional media relations. The cool thing about having your owned and shared media going, is it is kind of like a test-bed to what will be successful in earned media. Look, you know how to do PR, so we won’t go on about that.

I’m sure you already have ROI measures in place for media relations.

8 - Paid Media – part 2. Revisited. You can view paid media in two ways. Sometimes you need to pay to promote your shared media. Yes, you know that your social media Facebook posts are only hitting 10% of your followers – so the only way to reach them all (and new prospects) is to pay-to-play.

Paid media is also advertising – be that online or in more traditional media. Both have their places in a successful integrated marketing campaign.

Whatever your paid media strategy, you’ll no doubt be measuring that ROI too.


There you have it. You have the content and you’ll use shared media to distribute it, paid media to amplify it, and earned media to rubber-stamp it.

Want more advice on improved marketing strategies for your business? Give us a call to find out how we can help you.


What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Improve Your Marketing?


What is a ‘Buyer Persona’ and How Can It Improve Your Marketing?

These days, it’s virtually impossible to lump all customers together and try to market to them the same way. Thanks to ecommerce and other consumer-empowering changes in the marketplace, the audiences you aim to serve have moved from one large, undifferentiated mass to many subsets with individual tastes and preferences, needs and challenges.

If you’re not careful, your team can waste valuable time and resources chasing after unqualified prospects who don’t really want or need your products. That’s what happens when a business relies upon a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing.

So, how can you adjust your marketing efforts to identify qualified prospects and best serve your company’s various niche markets? One key strategy involves building “buyer personas.”

You already have broad-based demographic information about your customer base. But creating buyer personas “takes that a step further to include psychographic information based on actual current client and target prospect research to focus on why your target customer makes a purchase decision.”

Here are four tips to help construct buyer personas that fit your business and industry:

Organize your search for relevant data. A thorough profile of your customer emerges from numerous sources. Start by asking your current customers why they buy your products or services (as opposed to those of your competitors). What specific problems do your offerings solve? How do these products improve their own businesses and/or lives? Also, reach out to former customers and ask for candid assessments of what you did right (and wrong) when they were buying from you.

Look at trends and solicit online information. Most leads follow a certain pattern or trend; the key is analyzing the data to see what those patterns indicate. Have your sales team look closely at which customer appeals are most effective, and with which group of customers. Compile information relating to customer age, gender, location, job title, education level, etc. Make sure the team understands why customers make the decision to purchase your products—and, conversely, why other prospects choose not to buy.

Focus on solving problems. One or more buyer personas will emerge from all this data. You’ll have a fairly sophisticated profile of what your customers are like. The key from there is looking beyond who these people are and concentrating instead on what it is they require from you and your business. What problems do they face that you may not have considered before? Are there ways to upgrade your products to better solve these problems?

Create an ideal customer experience. By understanding a buyer persona, you can alter your messaging and the content you share on your website and social media. This will inform every stage of the marketing process, including product packaging and advertising, and customer follow-up after a purchase is made. You know the people you’re marketing to, so you can reframe your message in ways that genuinely resonate with them.

Often, crafting a buyer persona will narrow the scope of your leads—since you’re not trying to attract everyone with one generic message across the board. There’s always a concern when your team is reaching out to fewer prospects. But, by leveraging buyer personas and other pertinent data, the result will likely be a higher percentage of qualified leads, ready to move through the sales funnel, with less time and money spent on the qualification process.

Want more advice on improved marketing strategies for your business? Drop us an email to find out how we can help you.


Five Strategies You Must Look at in 2018


Five Strategies You Must Look at in 2018

Planning for 2018 before we finish 2017 seems like a futile task, but we get it that in many corporations that is exactly what is required. Luckily, we can share with you the sure-fire future trends. How do we know? A combination of time-travel, crystal ball and the fact that we have lived this for 20+ years so are beginning to see some of the writing on the wall.

1 - Media Fragmentation and Loss of Trust

This is not new, but we believe in 2018 both media fragmentation and loss of trust will become more prevalent both in the U.S. market, and internationally.

There has been a clear trend in the past few months that the national U.S. media is less trusted. OK, I have not seen the research to support this, but frankly I haven’t looked for it. We can feel it. Oh, and an impromptu survey of 60 millennials we asked last night also corroborated this. The ‘big traditional media’ (predominantly owned by larger media moguls) is less trusted by the public.

Who do the ‘public’ listen to? Smaller, more niche media.

From a media relations perspective, there is a change in ‘credibility’ perception, and we better know where to get the placements if our messages are to resonate with the target audience.

2 - Getting Noticed in Growing Media

The more media that a target audience can experience, the harder it is gain their attention. If we look outside of traditional media (let’s include newspapers, magazines, their online versions and even blogs in this bucket), at the new (dare we say ‘dark’) media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchap etc, it’s clear that social media is taking more attention from the traditional.

To incorporate this trend in the future, marketers need to understand that they need to take control of social media platforms from non-qualified internal resources and develop either a comprehensive in-house policy (along with a branding manual that incorporates tone of voice), or outsource to a PR agency writing in the voices of the client on these same social platforms.

3 - Paid vs. Earned

It is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish editorial content and advertising. Just surf over to your favorite online media and see if you can distinguish native advertising from editorial content.

While some PR professionals will argue that ‘true’ media relations should only include earned media, what is important here is that if you are planning strategy and budget, you better include paid-for placements as well.

4 - Influencer Marketing Evolution

Let’s call it what it is - influencer marketing is a form of marketing in which focus is placed on influential people rather than the larger target market.  Often in today’s market this includes celebrities (real and imaginary).

But, let’s just face it, this is exactly what PR professionals have been since the 1930’s (if not earlier). But now it’s just a little more complex, as the ‘influential’ don’t just consist of editors of large newspapers.

When it comes to planning your influencer marketing, it requires both an understanding of the much larger media landscape and a more laser like focus for where it will count. Don’t think this is a 30-minute discussion.

5 - Artificial Intelligence

Beyond the obvious, such as media monitoring, basic research and other mundane chores, AI has the potential to automate some of the most important PR functions.

It’s a trend that will need time and budget so you can research and stay ahead of the curve. We don’t think you’re going to see much cost saving in 2018, but if you don’t stay ahead of this curve, you may be overtaken by your competitors.

Put that in your 2018 budget and smoke it.



Five reasons why your company needs a PR agency to close out 2017


Five reasons why your company needs a PR agency to close out 2017

Media relations as it encompasses traditional and digital placements, social media, influencers, events, etc is the top of a sales funnel that leads to profits. Simply put, it’s the power behind the: visibility plus credibility equals profitability.

Here are five considerations on how a PR agency will help you reach your 2017 goals.

1. Knowledge, Experience & Time

Your business has at least one of the following objectives – if not both – to increase revenue and to mitigate risk.  Both are critical to the success and future welfare of you, your team and the organization. Critical success factors should not be passed to an intern, the front office secretary, or anyone that is not fully trained, has impressive experience and the appropriate time to carry out the function.

Even if your company is at a size that it could hire a PR professional internally, how much of that employee’s time is going to be taken up by internal meeting and bureaucracy? You need PR focus and often that comes from outside of your core team, so you can focus on what you’re core product/service is.

2. Perspective and Objectivity

Having an external PR Agency (i.e. not owned by you and without any direct or staff augmented employees) will bring new ideas and a fresh approach to each campaign. 

If you were a graphic designer, would you rather work internally for a Pizza company, designing pizza menus, flyers & marketing exclusively for one pizza company – or would you rather work for a design agency that provides design services to several companies? Well, apart from the obvious free pizza, I think you would want some variety and thus learn over different accounts, expand your contacts, knowledge and experience and bring fresh perspectives to each campaign you work on.

It’s the same from a PR agency. By working over multiple accounts, and viewing the client from an external perspective, the whole client/agency team can be more effective and efficient.

3. Contacts Cubed

The media relations world is all about, well, relations. It’s a people business. It’s all about the connections and relationships. Sure, anyone can find the contact details of someone in the media, but we need more than that -  we need to know the individual, what they write about, what excites them and what they’re working on.

Unless your company is significantly large, you won’t be able to justify more than one full time internal PR professional. If that’s the case, there is just no way – however pleasant that person it – that they can know and get on with every media professional. With an agency, you’ll have several people, all of whom have different media relationships you can utilize.

4. Priorities & Speed

A PR agency’s priority can be set very specifically, but is probably going to maximize positive media coverage and minimize negative coverage. If you work internally and must carry out a media relations function as well as other duties, then you will get torn in different directions as well as suffer from internal politics.

In addition, media relations is a speed game. The effective PR agency is on point and can react to a news story to capture attention, and respond to a media professionals request because they are looking for it, can prioritize it and can react without any other priority getting in the way.

5. Let’s Launch Something New

When you have a new product or service to launch, everyone involved in your company can expect to work harder than normal. Resources are going to be spread thin, and you need a team that have the time/resources and can stay focused at the task in hand.

So, should you hire a PR Agency?

A great PR agency becomes an extension of your internal team, working in conjunction with the rest of your company and pulls together the inputs of several stakeholders to create a unified PR plan that considers traditional and digital media relations, social media, influencers, events, etc. Most importantly, a great PR partner can assist the organization to meet its business goals and objectives.

Professionals just make sense - you leave surgery to a doctor and taxes to an accountant. If you are serious about media relations you should seriously consider investing in a top PR agency to be your communications partner.