Updates from May, 2012

  • Puppies, Kittens, Kids: Captivating Imagery for Your Ads?

    Joe Hendershot 11:00 am on May 9, 2012 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: leading imagery in ads

    A top-level ad man once told me that photos of kittens and puppies (followed closely by kids) can be the most attention-getting images for an ad.

    Are such images for you in your online and / or offline ads?

    Well, I’d be the last person to recommend a cutesy approach as THE creative strategy without thinking it through. But when such images are used in a creative and compelling fashion, in a carefully constructed and integrated campaign, it may help you garner attention.

    And with today’s online tactics you’ll know almost immediately (especially if you do an A/B test) whether such an approach delivers the results you want.

  • Internet Advertising is Going Crazy

    Joe Hendershot 7:41 pm on December 1, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    If you’ve wondered whether Internet advertising in the U.S. really is competing strongly with traditional advertising, the latest data will leave no doubt in your mind.

    In the third quarter of 2011, Internet ad revenues were up 22% from the same period last year.  Think about it: what media (newspaper, direct mail, tv) are experiencing growth like this?  This uptick represents $7.9 billion in revenue.  Yeah, that’s just for the quarter.

    And the comparison to Q3 of last year is just the tip of the iceberg. Q3 2011 is the eight consecutive quarter of year-over-year growth.  The economy may still be in the doldrums, but Internet advertising isn’t.

    These findings come from the source: the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which represents more than 500 companies.  IAB members account for selling 86% of online advertising in the U.S.

    Whether it’s b-to-b advertising or consumer advertising, Internet advertising continues to gain strong momentum.

    And the great thing about Internet advertising is, it’s easier to measure your ROI as compared to many traditional media.  This is thanks to analytics that give you data on response rates — even conversion rates — almost instantly.

  • Pay Attention to Content

    Joe Hendershot 5:43 pm on November 29, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    The criteria that search engines use to rank websites have changed dramatically over the past few years, especially as giants such as Google have changed their algorithms every several months.

    But one criterion hasn’t changed: content is still king.  Search engines love sites where the content is constantly enhanced, changed, updated, refreshed.

    However, it’s not just a matter of adding content for the sake of it.  You still need to ensure that your content is relevant to your page titles, descriptions and keywords.  Maintaining a logical stream of sub pages in your site is also important: pages that support the theme of your main pages and provide deeper and deeper content for a specific product or service.

  • PPC Campaigns Most Effective in Lead Gen

    Joe Hendershot 5:25 pm on November 29, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    According to a recent study conducted by Advertise.com, pay per click (PPC) advertising is the most effective method of lead generation, with cold calling the least effective.

    The online study showed that 35.9% of respondents cited PPC as most effective, with online display ads next at 17.9% and opt-in email campaigns at 11.3%.

    Of course, PPC campaigns need to be set up and managed properly. The direct response mantra, “test, test, test” must hold true for PPC management, with testing of the creative a key ingredient, followed by continual analysis of ad performance, keyword drivers, click-through rates and cost per click.

  • Is Groupon Selling Your email address?

    Joe Hendershot 1:07 pm on May 17, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    Groupon has a great business model.  It partners with others to offer great deals, and it’s easy to use.  Got my daughter a bunch of stuff at The Body Shoppe at less than half price.  But are they selling my email address?  I think so.

    I signed up for two Groupons lately.  I work on a secure platform; at least it HAS been secure, and for about eight years.  About two weeks after I bought from Groupon, I started getting a ton, and I mean a ton, of emails from, well, you name it: Genie Bra (what?), hair restoration, reduce your belly fat, mortgage crap, credit report stuff — it goes on and on.

    I e-mailed Groupon. They said, “No, we don’t sell your email address.”  Do I believe them?  Not sure — but if they don’t sell email addresses, they sure as hell don’t protect me either, as in (maybe) their Groupon partners selling email addresses.  Or maybe there’s a good hack going on.

    Am I accusing them?  Frankly, haven’t decided.  Have I deleted my Groupon account?  You betcha.  All I know is, after years of NOT getting this junk stuff, and right after buying a couple of Groupons, I am getting about 200 junk emails per week, when before I had maybe one or two per week, or none.  I’m just doing the math here.

  • Content as Advertising

    Joe Hendershot 5:26 pm on May 12, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    You’ve heard that “content is king”.  In recent years this has applied primarily to website content since carefully aligned content always helps with your SEO (search engine optimization).

    Now, however, content can act as advertising — and high-quality advertising at that.

    If you can get relevant, objective content in the hands of prospects (and customers), it will be accepted by them as helpful information.  After all, buyers go online to do their research before they buy, with many buyers doing this as a follow up to a presentation by a salesperson.  Buyers want re-assurance.  Quality content can help with that.

    But to you, this content can act as unique, low-cost advertising.

    The secret is in the preparation and the presentation of the content: make it relevant to the needs of your prospects; make it thorough (how your product or service truly solves a problem); make it easy to read and understand; give facts and current industry information.

    And change it up: update it constantly; refer to the very latest news and information; create analogies to today’s late-breaking news whether it be current events, business news or Charlie Sheen.

    Then make it available: ensure your content is found organically and that it’s delivered also to targeted e-mail addresses.  Put it on your website.  Blog about it.  Tweet.  LinkedIn discussion groups.

    There’s never been a better time to leverage your content.  Invest the time to make this happen, and do it all the time.  If you don’t have the resources internally, outsource it.

  • What Part of Analytics Don't You Understand?

    Joe Hendershot 1:53 pm on March 12, 2011 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: b to b analytics, , b to b marketing measurement, b2b advertising measurement, , b2b marketing analytics

    I can’t tell you how many clients we speak to who undertake marketing-advertising initiatives, from radio ads and PPC ads to direct mail — typically with an offer driving people to their website, yet they don’t analyze the results.  Are you kidding me?  You’re spending money, and you have no idea what media or what campaigns are giving you the best ROI?  Really?

    Today’s analytics are so robust and so inexpensive (most are free), yet many marketers don’t use them.  It’s really, really important to measure campaigns and media — even specific creative approaches — so you can measure ROI right away, and measure your marketing over time.

    If you don’t have the resources to implement analytics and do the reporting (monthly is recommended), then outsource that.

  • Marketing Survival Plan, 2010-2011

    Joe Hendershot 9:04 am on October 19, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment

    Your budget is slashed. You’re understaffed. Yet you need to keep your brand alive, pay attention to your existing customers, drive sales leads and maintain your market share. Help is here, in this marketing survival plan — a basic, bare-bones approach to surviving till things get better.

  • Business Survival Plan: It's About Strategy

    Joe Hendershot 11:16 am on October 12, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , , , , , business survival plan, business to business strategy

    Today, businesses need a survival plan.

    Why?  So they can position themselves for the turnaround.

    A survival plan goes like this:  Do all you can, marketing-wise, with a limited budget, so that you don’t lose ground, and so that as the economy gets better, you are considered as a premier supplier.

    A survival plan must be based on strategy.  Strategy is how you win the battle, and indeed the war.  Your strategies are based on your sales and marketing objectives.

    This takes some thinking.  So lock your team away for a day and arm yourselves beforehand with some solid research about your industry, your competitors, and your customers and prospects.

    At a minimum, a basic survival plan should include strategies dealing with: positioning (your value proposition, or USP); customer retention; branding (including brand engagement and loyalty); sales lead generation; segmentation of messaging; and customer service.

    Note that those are not tactics, but strategies.

    Tactics are what support the attainment of your strategies.  Luckily, today’s tactics — most of which are e-based — are more cost effective than ever, and much more measurable.

    If you need help creating your survival plan, give us a call at (651) 905-1400, or go here.

  • Yesterday: Mad Men. Today: Mad Tactics

    Joe Hendershot 12:40 pm on September 30, 2010 | 0 Permalink | Log in to leave a Comment
    Tags: , , , , b-to-b marketing outsourcing, , , , , marketing outsourcing, ,

    In the past era, creative was king.  It was  ideas and  images that captured attention and won customers.  Madison Avenue at its best.  Three martini lunches.  Lots of money paid to talented creative directors.   Ad agencies actually  creating demand for products people didn’t even know they wanted.

    Today, it’s all about fine-tuned, multi-channel strategies, and dizzying tactics.  Not as simple, but surely more measurable, and in many cases, lower cost than in the past.

    As b-to-b marketers follow b-to-c marketers in areas such as online, social, video, optimization, e-mail and analytics, CMOs need to be better prepared, and better staffed.

    In such cases, outsourcing may make sense.  Learn more here.

    For strategy development, branding and online advice, see our free, no-registration downloads here.

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