Category Archives: marketing plan

How Do You Build Awareness of Your Brand in a World Filled with Marketing Clutter?

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed with all the choices online? Have you ever started to create an online media plan and thrown up your hands in frustration?

Planning your brand building program is the crucial step in creating a marketing action plan that achieves your goal.

Otherwise you do a little of this, a little of that and get distracted by something over there. It’s like going to the grocery store without a list or a menu during the weekend before Thanksgiving. You’ll spend so much time wandering around the store, spend more money than you wanted to and still not have something to eat each night when you get home from work.

If you don’t have your brand building plan in place for 2011, take an hour today and put together the beginnings of a your marketing plan.

Figure out who is coming to dinner: What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to be aware of your brand? What do they read? Who else influences them? Narrow down your target market as much as possible. Age, geography, gender, title, habits, hobbies, history, psychological, social, size of company, number of employees, all the key attributes that may separate your target market from the general population.

Create your menu and make the grocery list: Include the protein, carbs and vegies. In other words: PR, advertising and social media. Don’t go wild, but make sure it integrates together. Your advertising theme, your press releases, website pages, blog post themes, Twitter tweets, Facebook fan page posts and social media status updates should all work together. Just like having too many similar dishes of mashed potatoes, whipped potatoes, sweet potatoes and boiled potatoes on the Thanksgiving table doesn’t work, you’ll need to use different mediums to share a similar message.

Develop the timetable:We’ve all heard the stories about forgetting to take the turkey out of the freezer until Thanksgiving morning! Don’t do that with your media plan. Figure out what the lead time is for your projects and create a gantt chart. You can do it with simple x’s in excel by putting the projects down the left column and the months of the year along the top row. Then just put an x in each of the months that you’ll be working on the activity.

Create the budget: Sometimes you will want to swap out more expensive items for something less costly. Or you don’t have enough people resources to cook this giant meal, so you choose to pick up the pies from a baker. For each of the x’s estimate the time in people hours and the cost to execute your plan. Then modify until it fits your approximate budget.

How is your 2011 marketing plan shaping up? Do you know what you’ll be doing in to achieve results for 2011 and 2012? What steps will you take today to make a difference in your brand awareness tomorrow?

What is Your Social Media Strategy?

Video: Strategy Marketing with Social Media — how should social media fit into your marketing program?  Here are my notes & thoughts jotted down before recording the video that is linked below.

Social media is only a tactic.

Just like having a brochure, a website and a direct mail campaign are tactics, it’s just one of the ways you can get found and connect with your potential customers. 

When you get down to it, there are only two kinds of marketing communication strategies: push and pull… those that you actively push out at people – your newsletter, direct mail letters, trade show exhibits, all the TV commercials and everything you can think of contacting a potential customers.

Then there is pull marketing… pull is more passive where the target market goes looking for you because they are considering your category of products and services. The idea is you are pulling them into your marketing cycle.  Your website gets found in the search engine.  They go to a directory of companies and type in the product or service you provide.  It used to be the biggest pull marketing tools were yellow pages and Thomas register.  Yellow pages for consumer and Thomas Register for b-b.

Or even more passive… when your target market individual asked their trusted friend and business colleague for a recommendation:

 “Hey, do you know any dentist, doctor, attorney, place I could buy a ____, a computer guy? A Person to help with _____….” I call this the “I know a guy” type of a referral.

Social media gives you the opportunity to use both kinds of marketing: active and passive… push and pull.  And it makes it easy to pass on referrals.  And other than the time it takes (which can be significant if you’re not strategic) it is FREE.
Back 5, 10, 15 years ago marketers still used push and pull marketing. 

Pushing out ads thorough direct mail, TV commercials, billboards, even telephone solicitation.  And there was some pull thru with the use of coupons, referrals, rebates,
But often overlooked are the passive or pull ways to market your product, service or business.

One of the great things about passive marketing is that it requires fewer resources.  It’s less expensive per lead, per new customer.  It takes less time and effort because you do it once and it lives out there for a long time.

Some Examples: Websites, blogs, social media networks, directories.

Your potential customer finds YOU instead of you looking for them.
The trick is, you’ve got to be ready to be found.  And the referrals can happen from what someone reads on line… a testimonial, a reference or even just a link from a trusted friend or an acquaintence.

It used to be having a listing in the yellow pages was good enough.  Or if you were a company who provided products and services to another company… you know a business to business or b-b for short… you might use Thomas Register.

Even 5 10 15 years ago there were problems with that.  Every community has their own yellow pages.  In fact, a couple of years ago, just for Hudson, there were 7 yellow page books that embraced this community.  At $25 a month just for a plain listing, no bold face, no display ad… well 25 x 12 x 7 is $2100, just to be listed in the Yellow Pages under the category you want to be listed under.

Now you can be listed for free on the internet.  Because people don’t use the yellow pages anymore. Unless it is for a door stop or a toddler’s booster seat.  And they only use the online version of Thomas register that is now called Thomas Net.

Instead most of the people use Google or other search engines to find what they want.  And Google indexes the content in social media sites.

Some of my recommendations for integrating social media into your marketing program depend if you are a b-c or b-b business.

And YouTube is the second largest search engine… the 4th largest website and is owned by Google.  You can run your commercial for free.   If you have a visually appealing product or service, you can make a video and post it to YouTube.  Let them host the video, you can embed it into your own website or blog and stream it in from YouTube. 

Why video?  Because your customer/consumer will say “I feel like I already know you and I’m ready to do business with you.”

Video makes it easy for a referral.

It’s the fastest growing social media site by far… with the average adult in the US spending more than 20 minutes a day on it.  If you’re business grows by referrals, it’s one of the easier ways for friends to let other friends know where they are eating, what product they just bought and loved, pass over a coupon or special event information

Getting found. Having a presence. In Q&A’s, in the status updates. Set up your Company page so people can follow your company’s activity. You’ll only get found if you have a company profile and you want to make sure it’s available when your potential customer wants to find someone like you who delivers the products and services they want and need.
 Social media is only a tactic.  You want to integrate it into your overall marketing strategy.  Use the same branding, same name, images, and messages so that your target market becomes familiar with what you have to offer.

Video: Strategy Marketing with Social Media — how should social media fit into your marketing program?

Social Media Strategy video 6:38 minutes– Chris Brown (marketing consultant) June 10, 2010

Tag: Internet Marketing Consultant

What should I have included that I’m missing?

2010 is Here… Is Your Business Ready?

I was just remarking to a business associate the other day, I can’t believe it’s been 10 years since Y2K.  While it seems like so much has changed, some things stay the same.

The beginning of the year is a great time to take stock and celebrate your accomplishments.  And the time for reviewing the goals and objectives for next year.

Make sure your marketing program is in place for the New Year, so you can take advantage of the economic upswing.

Marketing helps you to GET FOUND when your prospective customer or prospective client is looking for your products or services.

Don’t hide or make it hard to find you! When was the last time…

  • you sent out a press release about your business?
  • you updated your website?
  • you mailed a letter about all the services you provide to your past customer list?
  • you updated your prospect mailing list?
  • you worked on your website’s search engine  ranking?
  • you reviewed your keywords with Google analytics?
  • you tweeked your marketing materials?
  • you refreshed your core product offerings?

Do you find yourself pursing your lips? Use the Marketing Activity Worksheet to lay out your plan. You don’t have to attack it all at once, but you can figure out what you’d like to do first, next and next!

5 Cost Effective Marketing Resources to Help You Reach New Customers

Marketing strategy tools and resources chartBefore you begin your marketing, you need strategy. Who will you target? What’s the best positioning message? Which media will you use to communicate that message to your market? And how will you measure success? Yes, strategy must come first.

But without the implementation and execution of marketing tactics — cost effective tactics — you’ll never realize the strategic marketing plan. This post is about the resources you need to get it done!

If you’re working on your company’s marketing, but not sure where to find the tools to take that next step to realize your marketing and branding strategy, you may find some resources here that will help:

  • Dot Calm web design in Mohawk Valley Utica, New York: Success tools such as websites, software and other products that promote a smooth workflow and make the job easier. Veronika Freeman (@dotcalm) lists a dozen “must have” resources for marketing and design professionals.  I like how she described each resource next to its logo.
  • In house marketers can learn and build strategy with my business friend Ivana Taylor, who has more ideas and energy than 12 experts.  She shares generously at DIY Marketers and on her tweet chat #DIYMKT click here to learn how to attend her seminars on Twitter.  Next chat features Jennifer Cox of National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP).
  • You’ll also want to check out Understanding Marketing. They feature tons of “Do-It-Yourself” marketing and PR information, providing advice to small businesses in every industry to help you remain competitive and also realize tight budgets.
  • I’d be remiss not to mention my own company’s resources at the Marketing Resources & Results tools web page… or, of course, our Branding & Marketing blog. But those go without saying!
  • Bonus (or Curse!) Here’s an overwhelming list of resources — not for the beginner — that’s for sure! Via Twitter @tocki from The Global Social Media Network, from Peter Kim.  This exhaustive list of resources made my head spin, but may be helpful for the more seasoned professional who is looking for just the right tool and have something very specific to find.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something important.  What is your Number ONE marketing and branding resource?

Podcast: Add Focus to Your Marketing Activities with a Worksheet

I developed this marketing activity worksheet several years ago after sketching it out in meeting after meeting with clients as I consulted with them about their marketing efforts.

You’ll want to download the Marketing Activity Worksheet here .

Then listen to this 3 minute podcast I recorded to better explain how to use this marketing tool to help you focus your marketing efforts and achieve better results.