Why businesses should make video a marketing priority in 2018

Wherever we go these days, it seems we are bombarded with video: on our computers, tablets, phones, not to mention what we see on TV. Just open any of your social media accounts, and you’re likely to see video as you scroll through your feed. More and more websites also now have embedded videos on landing pages, which can increase conversion rates.

According to the American Marketing Association, video content will be the driving factor behind 85 percent of all search traffic in the U.S. by 2019. In addressing marketing priorities for 2018, companies should make video a top priority — whether it’s for a website, Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. Video content will be imperative in 2018, even for companies that are focused on marketing to businesses.

Relating to millennials

One reason for this great change is that there are a growing number of millennials populating the workforce. According to the latest figures from the Pew Research Center, there were an estimated 79.8 million millennials living in the U.S. in 2016, compared to 74.1 million baby boomers — more than half the population! And, according to Catalyst, one-third of all working-age people in the U.S. in 2015 were millennials, a percentage that’s expected to grow to 75 percent by 2025.

And what do we know about millennials? They are comfortable with video. They grew up playing video games, livestreaming movies and creating their own videos on their smart phones. And, more important, they like to share videos. To engage with them in the workplace — to get their attention if you’re trying to sell them a product or a service for their business — video is a must.

The power of videos

Sprint took to video to promote its Workplace-as-a-Service from Sprint Business. Sprint’s brilliant video from 2015 outlines the hassles of opening a new office — finding the best phone system and integrating that with the network, Wi-Fi, email, phone conferencing and other collaboration tools. The video sells the idea that Sprint can handle that all for you, freeing you to spend time on what matters most to your business — hiring employees for the new office, furnishing the office, courting business prospects in the new city. The video ends with the simple message, “You’ve got better things to do, and we kind of don’t.”

Sprint’s video sells the idea that they understand their business customers’ pain points, and they know how to solve them.

Millennials in leadership positions within companies recognize the power of such videos to communicate a message and to build relationships with customers. According to Google, 50 percent of all internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store.

Still not sure? Consider these statistics gathered by HubSpot Research:

  • 59 percent of the decision-makers in companies (which will increasingly be millennials) prefer watching a video over reading a blog post.
  • 54 percent of consumers want to see videos from brands they support.
  • 43 percent of respondents said that branded video content was the most memorable to them and they wanted to see more video content from marketers.
  • 55 percent of people consume video content thoroughly.

In developing video, companies must remember that a good video still must tell a story, be professional and have a relevant, engaging message for the audience before closing with a meaningful call to action.

In addition, the key to using video content to propel your brand will be understanding how best to use the video you’ve just created to your advantage on your website and in each social media channel. After all, the entire purpose of the video — as with any marketing message — is to engage your customers and your prospects.

 

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for GREENCREST, a 27-year-old brand development, strategic and online marketing and public relations firm that turns market players into industry leaders™. Kelly is one of 35 certified brand strategists in North America and works with companies to establish brands and build brand value for their businesses.

How buying ads on Google can give small companies big results

Yi He, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship, College of Business and Economics, California State University, East Bay

Yi He, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship, College of Business and Economics, California State University, East Bay

With a Google search, there are two sets of results — paid and organic.

Yi He, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship, College of Business and Economics, at California State University, East Bay, says her advertising management students were surprised to see how many people click on the paid ads.

Her students participate in the Google Online Marketing Challenge, where they are given $250 to run a three-week online advertising campaign for a business or non-profit, which is developed using Google AdWords and Google+.

This type of search engine marketing (SEM) truly benefits small companies.

“For smaller companies, in the past, there was no way to compete in the conventional media with big companies. Now, they can differentiate themselves using SEM, just by spending their advertising dollars in a relatively cautious manner,” she says.

Smart Business spoke with He about why small companies are turning to SEM.

Why is SEM so important today?

Most Internet users don’t want to remember a website URL. Eighty-five to 90 percent of people are guided to websites by search engines, such as Google. Also, people usually just look at the first five or 10 search results, and many of those are advertisements. So, once you start running ads, you generate more ways to reach Internet users.

How are SEM and conventional advertising different?

With conventional advertising, print and broadcast, it’s hard to measure whether your ad campaign was effective. However, everything is measurable with SEM — you can calculate how much ROI is generated from every advertising dollar spent.

Conventional advertising also requires a specific set of skills. But a business owner can run a SEM campaign by opening a Google AdWords account and be up within minutes. It may not be a great campaign, but it’s not like creating a TV commercial.

How does SEM differ from Facebook ads?

With SEM, the only way to target ads is geographically. So, a San Jose restaurant owner can specify that he or she only wants the ad to show up for a ‘Thai food’ search in a 15-mile radius from the downtown San Jose area. Google doesn’t charge for the number of times the ad shows up, or the impression, but by cost-per-click. With Facebook display ads, ads can be targeted by age, gender, marital status, interests, education level, etc., and are charged by both the click and impression.

On average, of the 10,000 times a Facebook ad shows up, only five people click on it, because in a social environment you don’t want to be interrupted to buy something. With a search engine, people are looking for a solution to a problem. A search result, whether organic or paid, is like you’re in a retail store and someone offers a helpful recommendation. With Google’s marketing challenge, my students can get a click through rate (CTR) that is 100 times higher than the Facebook average.

Why is SEM more useful for small business?

Smaller businesses typically aren’t as visible on the organic results or with the extremely popular keywords. But they can run a SEM campaign to generate Internet traffic and increase visibility. There’s no entry barrier, too, so they can get started right away.

SEM also can help figure out demand. For example, one student ran two ad campaigns for a local Chinese restaurant and discovered that ‘Chinese dining’ was not popular in either impressions or CTR. However, ‘Chinese takeout’ led to more people clicking the restaurant’s website and calling, which increased takeout orders dramatically.

What ethical concerns come up with SEM?

We don’t know exactly what data companies have on consumers, and what they do with it. All impressions, clicks through and transactions can be tracked. For example, you might go to a website to look at a few items but not purchase anything, and over the next few days you see similar items on your Internet pages. In addition, some argue that precisely targeted results deprive people of the total available information.

Public policymakers have been pushing to protect consumer information with something like the ‘do not call’ list. A ‘do not track’ list would enable people to sign up to keep their Internet Protocol addresses from being recorded.

Yi He, Ph.D., assistant professor, Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship, College of Business and Economics, at the California State University, East Bay. Reach her at (510) 885-3534 or [email protected]

Insights Executive Education is brought to you by California State University, East Bay

Merrill Dubrow: How to gain business by personalizing the customer experience

Merrill Dubrow, President and CEO, M/A/R/C Research

Merrill Dubrow, President and CEO, M/A/R/C Research

A few weeks ago, I was in a CVS, buying a few items that included a case of water, a newspaper and a candy bar for one of my kids. As I was leaving, the cashier handed me my receipt, which literally took 15 seconds to print out — no exaggeration. As I was walking out, I chuckled a little bit while reviewing the 42-inch receipt. I bought three items and the receipt was more than 3½-feet long.

OK, let’s get past that and go to what was on the receipt. Besides my items, there was an opportunity for a $1,000 sweepstakes and coupons for:

■  Get a flu shot today and receive 20 percent off.

■  $4 off when you spend $20 on vitamins.

■  $6 off a beauty purchase of more than $15.

■  $1.50 off any shampoo or conditioner.

■  $2 off any Nature Bounty Vitamin.

■  $1 off Excedrin — for life’s headaches.

Very few of these coupons are personalized to me — meaning based on prior purchases. Why is this? Since I used my ExtraCare card, CVS knows a ton about me, my habits, what I buy, when I buy it and the regularity of those purchases. Of these six offers, I bought only vitamins a week prior to this purchase. Clearly, there was no chance for me to buy them again. I forgot to mention that all of these coupons expired less than a week after my visit.

Use resources wisely

I must admit: I don’t get it. I feel that CVS has wasted resources, information, paper, my time and — most importantly, from the company’s standpoint — an opportunity to persuade me to shop more in its store and increase its revenue.

The way I look at it, I am in the company’s store, I am a customer, I am buying products, and then I am leaving the store. Furthermore, I assume CVS wants me to return, it wants more of my business, and it wants me to spend money in its store.

Since we know all of that is true, CVS should find a way to personalize all the offers to my needs. It should understand that I have seasonal purchases and understand how often I buy water, soda and candy bars. Customize the receipt to the customer. If you can’t customize all of the offers, then customize a few of them.

If the six coupons were about the products that I shop for there, such as soda, newspaper, candy for my kids, dish soap, detergent and paper towels, then the coupons would have had a positive effect on my purchase intent.

Problem is pervasive

Even though I mentioned CVS, the same is true for many other retailers. When looking over recent receipts from Walgreens, Panda Express, Tom Thumb and Golfsmith, they are all missing opportunities to effectively communicate with customers. In the age of big data, why aren’t companies using this more to their advantage?

To me, the winning retailers in 2013 will be the ones that understand and can implement personalization in dealing with their customer base. As a customer of a lot of retailers, I truly hope this happens sooner than later. ●

Merrill Dubrow is president and CEO, M/A/R/C Research, located in Dallas, one of the top 25 market research companies in the U.S. Merrill is a speaker and has been writing a blog for more than six years. He can be reached at [email protected] or at (972) 983-0416.

Joy Gendusa: Take four steps to build the ultimate direct mail marketing system

Joy Gendusa, owner and CEO, PostcardMania

Joy Gendusa, owner and CEO, PostcardMania

I have spent the last 15 years testing, tracking and tweaking my marketing plan to try to get the absolute best results for my business. In 1998, it was just me with a phone and a computer. Today, I have more than 200 employees and bring in more than $40 million in revenue annually.

I don’t say this to toot my own horn but just to give you confidence that what follows is legitimate.

There are just four things that you need to do in order to build the ultimate direct mail marketing system. This is a marketing system that continually generates leads and turns them into loyal customers. Best of all? The end result is that it enables your business to steadily and sustainably grow — along with your bottom line.

Step 1: Use direct mail.

This effectively generates leads to fuel your marketing growth.

In addition to using targeted mailing lists to reach out to prospects, a truly complete marketing system is dual-focused. It doesn’t just focus on new clients. You have to continue to build the loyalty of your current clients as well.

Marketing to both prospective and current clients is the best way to create sustainable growth. This allows you to simultaneously build your brand recognition and your brand loyalty.

Step 2. Track your mailings.

This is how you prepare yourself for success.

When your direct mail reaches your prospects’ mailboxes, the calls and Web visits will start to come in. You need to be ready for that. You can’t get the best return for your investment in a mailing if you don’t put yourself in prime position to convert every lead generated. Luckily, you can do this by tracking your postcards or mail. Your mail house should offer this to you.

Step 3. Develop a follow-up system.

This gives you a form of hassle-free review to get the most out of every lead.

A majority of your prospects will visit your website before they call your office. So once you’re prepared to handle your in-office response, you have to do the same for your online presence. Without a system in place to follow up with these prospects, your leads will likely slip away.

I’ve found that a wonderful online resource for this is Google Remarketing. It provides you automatic targeted follow-up with prospects that visit your website.

Step 4. Track your response.

This is how you empower yourself to continually improve your results. Call tracking is the way to do it.

Using a unique routing phone number on your mailing, call tracking allows you to track the response that each campaign achieves. You can also experiment with design or message changes to optimize your marketing response.

This technology records your calls so you can quality-check your reception process and sales tactics. Lastly, it gives you all the data and resources you need to continually analyze and improve your marketing results.

When you are building your company’s marketing system, be sure to include all four of these components. Once you do, your marketing will be on track to help you drive your desired results and fuel your growth. ●

Joy Gendusa is the owner and CEO of direct mail marketing firm, PostcardMania. She originally started PostcardMania in 1998. The company now employs more than 200 people and has more than 53,000 customers in more than 350 industries. Visit www.postcardmania.com for more information. Find her on Google+.

Do customers know your business?

Barb Rechterman, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, GoDaddy

Back in the early days of Go Daddy, Barb Rechterman and the company’s executive team struggled to figure out why more business wasn’t coming their way. Go Daddy, a Web hosting provider and domain name registrar founded in 1997, had one of the least expensive domain names in GoDaddy.com, but it had excellent customer service, the best price in the market and a great value proposition.

So why weren’t people flocking to use Go Daddy’s services? The answer was simple — not everyone knew who or what Go Daddy was.

“From that research, we started down the path of the Super Bowl, because if people really have no idea who you are, there is no possibility for them to do business with you,” says Rechterman, senior executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Go Daddy. “In the history of Go Daddy, it’s been one of our biggest challenges.”

The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Go Daddy decided to do two Super Bowl ads in 2005 to build the brand and gain an audience. Those Super Bowl ads were the company’s first on television.

“The marketer in me today says, ‘Holy smokes, I can’t believe we didn’t try to air a television ad before the Super Bowl so that we actually knew what might happen,’” Rechterman says.

Today, Go Daddy has advertised in eight consecutive Super Bowl campaigns and is set to air ads on the 2013 game. Before the first Super Bowl ad in 2005, Go Daddy had 16 percent market share of new domain names. Today, Go Daddy enjoys a 52 percent market share.

“We’re overachievers, so we tend to always want to outperform the prior year,” she says.

Here is how Rechterman has developed marketing strategies that have elevated Go Daddy’s brand and business.

Make your business known

Up until and through 2004, Go Daddy was growing, business was profitable and things were happening for the company. However, something just didn’t feel right.

“We were growing at this nice, steady rate, but it wasn’t the up and to the right acceleration,” Rechterman says. “So we decided at that point to make a Super Bowl ad that was brand building.”

At the time that Go Daddy decided to air those Super Bowl ads, the concept of a domain name and that language was somewhat difficult to explain.

“Rather than trying to tell people, ‘You need a domain name, you need a website, you need hosting, and you need email,’ what we did instead was used humor and made something memorable so people would then remember our name and might even do us the favor of checking out who we are online and what we do,” she says.

Go Daddy’s ads were successful in overcoming what had been the company’s biggest challenge: getting people to understand who and what Go Daddy was.

“Not everybody has the money for a Super Bowl ad,” she says. “Executives need to think about the fact that there are lots and lots of great businesses out there, and with the emergence of the Internet, if you don’t have a website and leverage that website effectively, you, as a business, will have a harder time getting noticed.”

Go Daddy’s Super Bowl ads have been notorious for sparking interest. After its 2006 campaign, out of all the advertisers in the Super Bowl that year, Go Daddy accounted for 80 percent of Internet traffic during the game.

In 2008, more than 1 million views were tracked to GoDaddy.com and the company’s commercial had 2 million views the day of the game. In 2010, the website had 1.1 million visitors per minute, according to Akamai Technologies.

“What people don’t realize about the Super Bowl is it’s not just about the ad,” Rechterman says. “It’s about preparing our systems and internal website structures for the eventual traffic load that we’ll take on that day and making sure that the site and the systems are as optimized as they can be for that particular day.”

Form your marketing strategy

When Go Daddy first started its television advertising campaign, the goal and the strategy of that campaign was brand awareness. Today, the strategies are to still maintain brand awareness but to also build and layer in the pieces of Go Daddy’s customer and product stories that are important for people to know.

“We want to have people understand what it is we do and that our goal is to enable small business success,” she says. “Our ads have started walking down the path of telling people about products that we have other than domain names.”

Go Daddy has begun highlighting its websites, hosting services and its customer care center.

“There are three separate, distinct ads that we are airing now to re-emphasize those particular messages, but we didn’t give up our girls [models] in these ads, and we didn’t really focus on the girls either,” Rechterman says.

To know where to focus the company’s marketing strategies, Rechterman and her team do a lot of research.

“It’s not simply about a gut feel or a passion,” she says. “We do a ton of research to help us identify what we should be doing to grow our customers and to know our customers.”

Go Daddy uses four core values to help drive its business forward. No. 1 is to take care of the customer above all else.

“Get to know them,” she says. “Take care of them and understand their needs.”

No. 2 is give people individual accountability and create passion in the employee base.

“They become connected to the business and we pride ourselves on connecting our employees to our business,” she says.

No. 3 is to never be satisfied.

“Our chairman, Bob Parsons, has 16 rules, and the first rule is to get and stay out of your comfort zone,” she says. “We live that forever and ever.”

No. 4 is to be part of something special.

“Here at Go Daddy, something special for us is to be part of our customer’s business success and enabling them to have business success,” she says.

The key to truly understanding your customers and finding a direction for your marketing strategy is to talk to your customers.

“If you’re just starting out, get to know who your potential customers are,” Rechterman says. “A lot of people have really great ideas that they don’t then spend the time to figure out how to get those ideas to market. The answer is always in a discussion with either the customer or the potential customer.”

Getting the research to do that is valuable. That will almost always tell you what your strategy needs to be.

“Let’s say that our customers were saying, ‘We’re tired of Go Daddy girls,’” she says. “That might build a marketing strategy. That’s a problem from a marketing standpoint that you’ve got to solve.”

Through constant research to better understand the customer and delivering on those points, Go Daddy has become the world’s largest Web hosting provider with more than 5 million active hosting accounts. The company has more than 53 million domain names under management and more than 10.6 million customers worldwide.

Go Daddy employs more than 3,200 people, and in 2011, it exceeded $1.1 billion in sales.

“Just because you think you have the right idea, doesn’t mean you have the right idea,” Rechterman says. “You have to actually talk to people who would be the consumer of your good or service to know the right answer.” ●

How to reach: Go Daddy, (480) 505-8800 or www.godaddy.com

Kelly Borth: How to ensure everyone knows your name so prospects are already familiar with you

Kelly BorthBuilding a strategy to earn name recognition in the marketplace is more complex today than ever, and increased competition breeds more choices.

The Internet feeds prospects’ desire for 24/7 access to information and, at the same time, has changed the face of publishing. Email provides messaging directly to someone’s personal mailbox. Smartphones connect us around the clock and around the globe. And social media has revolutionized communication by providing a vehicle that gives a voice to the masses.

Much has changed and the new paths have opened the way for businesses to chart their own course. There are fewer barriers to getting your message to your targeted audience (unless you are trying to reach them on their office phone, right?) but many more fragmented choices to reach out and connect with them to get your message heard.

 Develop a well-thought-out strategy

As with all marketing, the best-laid plans produce the best results. Businesses today need an online strategy, an industry strategy and a direct-marketing effort to build exposure.

Understanding what potential customers want and need is imperative to success, as is knowing where potential customers hang out so you know the best opportunities to connect with them.

Chart your own course

The Internet offers no barriers to entry. Unlike having to pitch your story or white paper to an editor to get it published, the Internet freely accepts whatever information you would like to create and share with its open universe of information seekers.

This accessibility means opportunity is at your fingertips to populate that universe with your information. Popular forms of providing information include websites, blogs, press releases, white papers, case studies, educational videos, virtual webinars, various forms of presentations and pictures of products, comparison matrices, social media sites, such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Google+, and so on.

Some Internet services, such as those that distribute press releases, charge a fee, whereas posting sites, such as blogs or social bookmarking sites such as Digg, are free. Tracking engagement and turning engagement into opportunity begins with a solid website that effectively communicates your message, is connected to all of the information you have placed on the Internet and is optimized for search engines.

Becoming visible within targeted industries is more traditional. Strategic sponsorships of industry association events, trade shows, informational seminars and forums, as well as advertising and editorial within trade news vehicles — both print and online — are just a few options.

Think of sponsorships as your connection with the industry that can match you with potential customers. You are benefitting from relationships these industry associations have with the individuals and companies you want as customers.

Your direct strategy is about getting your company in front of a prospect so that when there is a need for what your company sells, the prospect is already familiar with you. This can include direct mail, email campaigns (make sure they are opt-in) and invitations to webinars or seminars where you present meaningful information.

Other options include Google AdWords or other pay-per-click campaigns, trade advertising, trade shows, online advertising, etc.

Plan for a comprehensive, integrated approach

To get noticed today, companies need to have an integrated plan of action, one that is comprehensive in nature to reach the intended target audiences. Just having a website is not the answer, nor is just going to a trade show or having a video on YouTube. It is much more complex than that.

Building a known name in the marketplace takes a commitment to a planned approach and follow-through. And don’t forget the importance of a consistent brand message and voice, as well.

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 22-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921, [email protected], @brandpro or for more information, visit www.greencrest.com.

 

David Harding: How to use confidence, quietness and timing to make a difference in leadership

You need to stick out in today’s world.

Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author, says, “Taking a stand requires guts. You will stick out and get noticed. Your stand may be controversial. Brazen. Or provide an uncomfortable truth.” You will absolutely be judged. But reasonable people will appreciate that you took the chance and showed your resolve.

The alternative to taking a stand is certainly safer. But speaking your truth is more satisfying. You can have either, not both: Stand out or fit in. Not all the time, and never at the same time, but it’s always a choice.

Those who choose to fit in should expect to avoid criticism (and be ignored). Those who stand out should expect neither.

Every success story is rooted in hard work, motivation and persistence. Sure, being at the right place at the right time helps. But even that is dependent upon an astute appreciation of what, where and why the right time and place exist.

Research, homework, focus

Do your homework. Knock on doors. Do your due diligence. Stay focused. Keep up with new technology. Find a way to break through. There are no shortcuts worth taking.

Whether you consider yourself a great author, architect, brain surgeon or sculptor, it doesn’t matter how gifted you are if your work doesn’t get written, built, used or created. You have to stop daydreaming, planning and procrastinating at some point. If you have a brilliant plan but it remains undiscovered or unfinished, what’s holding you back?

Stop worrying about perfection, funding or selling your idea. Just go for it and sink or swim. It’s the only way to find out if you really are brilliant, gifted and worthy.

The value of quietness

It’s a noisy world. I appreciate this most when I’m enjoying a breather in my own schedule. I recently read Roberta Matuson’s “Fast Company” blog and realized how much being quiet not only strengthens focus and productivity but also leadership ability.

It’s easy to overlook the fact that the most productive people in an organization aren’t the ones who make the most noise. It’s usually the quiet ones who get the most done. Here’s what Matuson says about quiet leadership: “Being quiet calms others. Quiet people have the ability to calm those around them. For example, when everyone is stressing out because it looks like a team isn’t going to meet their deadlines, it’s usually the quiet people who are able to calm people down and carry them over the finish line.”

Quiet leaders project confidence. Calm and quiet in the midst of a storm allow the time and space needed to focus on the important issues at hand and allow your team to learn to do the same.

The advantage of the morning

I’m most alert the first thing in the morning. So that’s when I tend to schedule the things that require the most effort — be it brainpower, physical activity or creativity.

What successful people do with their first hour of every day — often before going into the office — is fascinating. Before that first power breakfast or staff meeting, the first hour of the day may be best served by planning. That’s because the first hour of each day is the hour you see everything most clearly and focus on the human side of work rather than your task list.

Writer, speaker and “Fast Company” blogger Tony Robbins writes, “Remember when you used to have a period at the beginning of every day to think about your schedule, catch up with friends, maybe knock out a few tasks? It was called homeroom, and it went away after high school. But many successful people schedule themselves a kind of grown-up homeroom every day. You should, too.”

Your first hour is a quiet gem. Use it to keep the rest of your day functioning at its best. <<

David Harding is president and CEO of HardingPoorman Group, a locally owned and operated graphic communications firm in Indianapolis consisting of several integrated companies under one roof. The company has been voted one of the “Best Places to Work” in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Harding can be reached at [email protected] For more information, go to www.hardingpoorman.com.

In mobile-computing boom, a battle rages for marketing

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, Thu Oct 4, 201 – Amazon.com Inc. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who quipped at a shareholder meeting a few years ago that “advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product,” is eating those words.

Three years on, as the company moves aggressively into the mobile computing business with its Kindle tablets and ereaders, Amazon has already spent $34 million on TV advertising for the Kindle in the first half of the year, according to Kantar Media, and there’s more to come.

Indeed, in the consumer technology business, where billions of dollars are poured into marketing, great products go only halfway towards winning market share.

Take Apple Inc, for example. Perceived as a company that has triumphed with exceptional technology, it has long been the pace-setter on marketing, too, spending some $1.5 billion on iPhone and iPad advertising since their introduction.

Now Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Amazon, Microsoft Corp and other tablet and smartphone makers are stepping up with big spending on TV spots, print ads, guerilla marketing stunts and over-the-top launch events.

Kelly Borth: How to analyze certain factors to see if your marketing offers all that it should

Kelly Borth

According to Wikipedia, “bang for the buck” is an idiom meaning the worth of one’s money or exertion. The phrase originated from the slang usage of the words “bang,” which means excitement, and “buck,” which means money.

My “best bang theory” is that for companies to take advantage of and benefit from a best bang for the buck strategy, they must approach it from a position of strength and knowledge — not by “shooting from the hip” (another idiom). They need to analyze market segments and saturation levels, degree of reach, penetration and cost and make a decision that very logically will deliver the best bang for the buck.

Analyzing marketing segments. Understanding your market position is an important step in the process. Know where you have the greatest growth potential — it could be through new customer acquisition, but it could also be through current customer relationships.

Is there potential to grow market share? Which markets and/or products provide the greatest profit margin? Your bang for the buck will be determined based on the degree of opportunity and profit growth.

Degree of reach. You should have a marketing plan with strategies for how you will grow your business within select markets. If you don’t, get one. Analyze each marketing tactic based on the degree of reach within the potential prospect base.

A trade show, for example, may be a great marketing strategy, but it may only reach 10 percent of the market — those who attend that show. That does not make it a bad marketing tactic.

My point is that you should know what your degree of reach is for every marketing dollar spent. You should be able to look objectively at the cost per thousand of prospects reached. If you do this, you will have a better sense of which tactics deliver the best bang for the buck.

The penetration factor. Meaningful market penetration is necessary in order to assure your marketing message is heard by the prospects that have a need, that you have provided sufficient opportunity to gain purchase consideration and that prospects respond.

Marketing penetration can be determined by the probability of frequency of messaging needed to elicit a response. Not all marketing tactics require the same level of frequency, so it is important to understand best practices for each.

Ultimately, your goal is to reach an adequate level of market penetration to optimize results. So, your bang for the buck strategy and consideration needs to address degree of penetration within chosen markets.

Oh yeah, the buck. Underspending can be as ineffective as not spending at all. And, if there is no committed marketing strategy, you spend a little here and there, try this or that and in the end have very little results. You sum it up to “marketing just doesn’t work.”

I couldn’t disagree more. What doesn’t work is the approach. So when factoring in the above points, you should be able to delineate what you can do to get the best bang for the buck.

Just make sure you are spending enough to get adequate results. You don’t want to be “pennywise and pound-foolish” (yes, another idiom).

The best bang theory. Starting from a position of strength makes sense when you really think about it. The smarter you are about your market position, the greater results you should see from your marketing investment.

Take an assessment of how effective you think your current marketing program is. Is it 50 percent effective, 25 percent effective or 75 percent effective? If you could increase that percentage and put that money to work in smarter ways, how long would it take for you to make that change?

Invest in developing a strategic marketing plan that defines your company’s market position and maps out a strategy for how you best compete and how you are going to increase market share. That’s my best bang theory.”

Kelly Borth is CEO and chief strategy officer for Greencrest, a 21-year-old brand development, strategic marketing and digital media firm that turns market players into market leaders. Borth has received numerous honors for her business and community leadership. She serves on several local advisory boards and is one of 30 certified brand strategists in the United States. Reach her at (614) 885-7921, [email protected] or @brandpro. For more information, visit www.greencrest.com.

How to ensure your employees have the proper training to execute events

Michele Clark, Program manager, The Shlensky Institute for Event Meeting and Planning/Hospitality, Corporate College

Event planning is no longer just “party planning.” Event planning has become a powerful tool for business success by helping to increase sales through live events and saving time and money when planning or organizing company events. Planning an event takes a great deal of time, energy, skill and creativity to effectively execute.

“Mid-sized businesses often do not realize the value of having someone actually trained in event planning; they often allocate the job to an administrative professional who has a full-time job and little time to pay attention to the vast details it takes to successfully implement an event,” says Michele Clark, program manager, The Shlensky Institute for Event Meeting and Planning, for Corporate College.

Even if a business thinks it cannot afford an event planner, it could afford training someone in its office. And, any administrative professional that is given the task of planning and executing events should be compensated for the increase in time and effort it takes.

Smart Business spoke with Clark about the importance of training employees in the fundamentals of event planning and understanding best practices in this essential role.

Why does a business need to ensure its marketing coordinator or a similar employee is properly trained in event planning?

Marketing and event planning really go hand in hand. Events have become an advantage for any business’s marketing strategy, and when combined with an advertising campaign, it vastly increases the awareness and visibility for a product or service. It gives your audience a live environment for your brand. The more people see, touch, taste and experience your product or service, the more you sell.

Marketing personnel also become involved in the acquisition of sponsors for events. To sell an event, it’s important to understand how to look at the event through the eyes of a planner so you are able to provide real marketing solutions to a sponsor’s goals.

What is involved in planning a business event?

A business event is no different than any event in that it all comes down to the details. Whether you are planning a large conference or a gala affair, knowing how to manage every detail is key to its success. If you don’t know the fundamentals of planning an event, you could be wasting a great deal of time. For example, a large conference can take up to year to plan. An event planner handles all of the tasks related to an event, such as research, food, decor, entertainment, transportation, invitations, accommodations, speakers, activities, staffing, supervision, evaluations, and the list goes on and on.

How does event planning affect a business’s profitability and reputation?

Having someone trained in event planning actually saves time and money. If you have someone who understands time management and the organization of an event, it is much more efficient than having someone just plan the event on the side trying to find their way through hundreds of logistics.

As for reputation, there is a remarkable difference between someone with experience and training who executes an event versus someone who just ‘wings it.’ If something can go wrong, it will, and a well-trained event planner understands the challenges and knows how to avoid or solve them. Your well-managed events will speak for themselves and be less likely to become a failure, which could, in turn, give you a bad reputation.

What kind of training should be provided to employees who deal with events and hospitality?

A comprehensive course designed specifically for event planning is excellent training for someone given the task of planning events and will provide that person with an appreciation of what it takes to plan an event. An employee needs to understand the fundamentals, such planning a budget, dealing with sponsors and clients, and utilizing organizational tools.

However, experience is the No. 1 attribute when it comes to executing events. So look for a course that also offers your employees experience through volunteer opportunities, internships and working with an event planner for the best combination of learning.

Also, if your company holds conferences on a regular basis, employees can receive further training specifically in Meeting and Conference planning. There is also other targeted training such as trade show and exhibition management or event planning trends and technology.

Trends and technology include information on registration software or how to take advantage of iPhones during a conference. Technology is now a large part of the hospitality industry, such as using something as simple as the ‘Bump’ app, where attendees can download their information then just tap other smart phones to receive their information. It’s a terrific networking tool and saves paper. There is an influx of meeting technology that changes rapidly and accommodates various attendee ‘smart’ tools.

As the hospitality industry grows in Northeast Ohio, how will this affect corporate business events?

It is a really exciting time for event planning in Northeast Ohio. The event and meeting planning industry is increasing in Northeast Ohio faster than the national average, at 14 to 19 percent over the next few years, according to O*net OnLine.

The new casino alone just begs for an activity, anything from corporate team building to a birthday party. Then you bring in the Medical Mart and Conference Center and you are surrounded by opportunities for event marketing projects, product launches, entertainment parties, major conferences and trade shows. The list of what can take place here is ongoing and event planning and management is alive and well.

Michele Clark is the program manager, The Shlensky Institute for Event Meeting and Planning, for Corporate College. Reach her at (216) 987-2909 or [email protected]

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