As we get ready for our Memorial Day cookouts, take a minute to reflect on those who have served our country, especially those who gave all. Freedom has its price, and we are forever thankful for all the troops, families, friends, non-profits and companies who support our brave men and women.
In memory of my husband’s friends who he had the privilege to serve with, we will never forget their courage and dedication to our country:
Capt Phillip Dykeman, USMC
Capt John Maloney, USMC
1st Lt Joshua Palmer, USMC
SSG Kyle Wehrly, USA
SSgt Joshua Cullins, USMC
Sgt Garrett Misener, USMC
Sgt Michael Roy, USMC
Sgt Joshua Frazier, USMC
Sgt Joseph Bovia, USMC
Sgt Frank R. Zaehringer III, USMC
HM3 James Swink II, USMC
Cpl Carlos Gilorozco, USMC
Cpl Brett Lundstorm, USMC
SPC Daniel Sesker, USA
Cpl Joshua Synder, USMC
Cpl John Bishop, USMC
Cpl Stephen Sockalosky, USMC
Cpl Jacob Tate, USMC
LCpl Joseph Giese, USMC
LCpl Maung Htaik, USMC
LCpl Terry Honeycutt Jr., USMC
LCpl Dakota Huse, USMC
LCpl Michael Geary, USMC
LCpl Timothy Jackson, USMC
LCpl Joshua Twigg, USMC
LCpl Kyle Brown, USMC
LCpl Joshua Scott, USMC
Considering online advertising, but not sure where to start? Or maybe you discovered one website you feel is a direct fit for your target audience and want to test it. The key is to develop and assess an online advertising strategy evaluating all opportunities across the web, rather than just relying on one or two sites that may seem attractive.
The first step as with all marketing and advertising strategies is to develop measurable goals. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? If yes, by how much? Do you want to increase online and/or retail sales? If yes, by how much? How much are you willing to spend per e-commerce or retail sales conversion?
Second, consider what type of online advertising is the best approach. Options include search engine display advertising programs like Google Adwords, search engine pay-per-click (PPC), industry specific websites, media (magazines, newspaper, television, radio) websites, blogs and social media advertising (Facebook, YouTube, etc.) – or a combination of these.
Research options based on where you anticipate your customers and prospects are most active and engaged, and then confirm this with the outlets. For social media sites, blogs, industry and media websites ask for and review media kits – which should include visitor statistics and demographics – and case studies based on the success of other advertisers.
For search engine display advertising research the website categories you can target and talk with the search engine advertising reps to determine what you can expect as far as results. It is more challenging with search engine display advertising to gain specific website visitor stats, demographics and advertising results since these sites sell advertising through a company like Google rather than directly.
The benefit of working with search engines (PPC or display advertising) is you can track results virtually real time. This includes sales if you effectively incorporate your shopping cart into the search engine reporting system. This will allow you to make adjustments to the campaigns whenever you see fit. Working with industry websites, blogs or media websites you will need to rely on their tracking methods and reports to help you determine results.
Similar to traditional advertising, there are many options and considerations when determining if online advertising is right for your brand. The best way to determine how to move forward is to do your research, put measurable goals in place, develop compelling creative and a strong call to action and then test, test and test again.
Just months ago, Tide launched their new breakthrough laundry detergent – Tide Pods. The pods are laundry detergent packaged in a dissolvable shell.
The pods have two swirls of colorful liquid on one side and then powder detergent on the other. However, the swirls of colorful liquid are not only attracting consumers to purchase the Tide Pods, but also causing children to ingest the product.
A Tide Pod customer myself, the colorful pods is part of what drew me to the product itself. The container is clear and I can certainly understand why small children are attracted to placing what looks like candy into their mouths.
After seeing the media reports this morning, I was shocked to discover P&G’s response was they will be launching a new child lock container for the Tide Pods by the summer. There was no mention of changing the colorful pods to look less like candy and more like laundry detergent. Why? Because this colorful presentation is likely part of what is helping drive sales.
Certainly P&G has some good arguments on its side for not touching the pod design itself – parents need to be more responsible and 180 children is not enough to change something that is effective. However, parents are a huge target audience for P&G and more consideration should be taken on the company’s part to keep children safe from poisonous products.
Right now Facebook is under a microscope as it prepares for its IPO. One of the biggest questions is how will Facebook continue to increase profits when its profits rely on its advertising dollars. A recent Associated Press article reported Facebook has 900 million users, but only makes a few dollars per year from each user.
With GM pulling $10 million in advertising from the social media behemoth will marketers continue to see the value in Facebook?
The bottom line is there is not enough data to support the success of spending advertising dollars on Facebook. This doesn’t mean that Facebook advertising doesn’t work, but just that it hasn’t been around long enough and enough studies haven’t been completed to verify its validity as a solid marketing/advertising strategy.
So if you feel Facebook advertising is a good fit for your organization, our biggest piece of advise is to develop a Facebook advertising strategy with very measurable objectives and test, test, test.
If you do not set measurable objectives – whether that is to increase sales, increase your Facebook likes, increase attendance at an event, encourage coupon download, etc. – you will never know if your Facebook advertising is working. Also, have realistic expectations and be open to the fact that you might have to adjust your target audiences and your messages before you get it right.
What do media and bloggers know and think about your company, its products and its experts? What better way to find out than ask. Listening to what media and bloggers have to say is the best way to start building a good relationship.
We have been conducting media and blogger audits for years. They are a great foundation for building relationships, determining how to secure more quality coverage from target media and bloggers and uncovering company and competitor product perceptions and knowledge. Media and bloggers appreciate being asked their opinions and when approached properly provide excellent information.
We typically implement this strategy when we start working with new clients or to help support a new campaign, initiative or product launch. Below is the six-step process we use to conduct successful media and blogger audits.
1. Document objective: Determine why are you conducting the audit and what you hope to learn. For example, do you want to discover what media and bloggers know about your industry and competitors? Do you feel you are not receiving adequate media and blog coverage and want to determine why? Do you want to determine how to better communicate with media and bloggers to help secure more quality coverage? Clearly defining your objectives will help you craft specific audit questions.
2. Develop audit questions: Considering media and bloggers do not have much time to spare, a good rule of thumb is to develop no more than five-six audit questions. Ensure the questions are not all close ended because this will limit the information media and bloggers share. Also, based on the media and bloggers you are targeting consider developing more than one audit. For example, if you are targeting both trade and consumer media, you might want to go more in-depth with the trade media about your industry and competitors.
3. Determine the best methods for conducting the audit: Based on our experience, conducting an audit with media is much more successful over the phone. Conducting an audit with bloggers is much more successful over email or using an online survey program.
4. Conduct the audit: When conducting the audit, ensure you are providing an incentive for the media and bloggers to participate. Media are happy to provide feedback when it benefits them. For example, simply including a few questions in the media audit about the best way to communicate with them and their preferences will go a long way to helping develop a relationship. If you are conducting a product launch, offering a product sample for review to bloggers is a good incentive for them to participate.
5. Review and assess the results: Once you complete the audit, review and assess the data. Consider your objectives and how the information you learned can help you achieve them.
6. Follow up: Another benefit of conducting these audits is they often provide opportunities for your company. Be sure if media or bloggers provided an opportunity that you follow up accordingly and in a timely manner.
Intrigued, I visited yonanas.com and learned about a new kitchen gadget that can turn overripe bananas into delicious, healthy soft serve ice cream. This marketing seemed directed right at me. I’m often faced with the dilemma of what to do with the last banana in the bunch that I just don’t want to eat. And as someone who loves ice cream but hates how bad it is for me, I thought the marketing and product was a great idea. There was even a video on the website showing yonanas featured on The Today Show. A quick scan of the yonanas Facebook page reveals a few people who saw the stickers and plan on purchasing a machine.
While this is definitely an unorthodox marketing strategy, it was a critical reminder to think beyond the obvious marketing strategies. In the case of yonanas, using the banana peel as advertising space made absolute sense, and they used smart creative and a clear call to action to support their message. This is an excellent example of using an ad to engage rather than invade. Rather than being offended to find an ad on my banana, I actually appreciate how well the company understands their target audience.
For your next campaign, consider how can you reach your customers with an ad that makes sense in their daily lives. There is no limit or shortage of possible locations for your next ad.
There was a time at the beginning of my career when I literally panicked over deadlines and crunches. I sweated, my heart raced and I worried about not meeting expectations or worse, getting fired.
But it all worked out. The fear drove me to work smarter and harder and faster. It showed me what I was capable of and allowed me to choose to be more productive.
And in time I gained confidence and developed my own personal swagger. I faced the challenges. I fought through the blood, sweat and tears. I was forged by fire and came out stronger. I not only survived, I exceeded expectations – mine and others.
Thirty years later I am still spinning plates; just a different kind of plates. And time is still at a premium. And on occasion I can smell the ugly odor of fear in the air. But who’s got time for that?
As my dad always said, do your best and forget about the rest.