Death of the Press Release?

Upon looking into the best method to send out press releases I stumbled upon an article that confirmed some of my thoughts on press releases.  The article titled, Looking for the Best PR Wire Service? Consider This… talks about the fact that wire press releases are, in my opinion, comparable to print ads back in the day.  It’s not to say they should go away for ever, or there is no place for them, but they are becoming antiquated.  Contrary to popular belief, they serve no SEO purpose, based on new Google algorithms.

The one good thing about press releases is, “Wire services do perform one exclusive function. They syndicate our news across thousands of sites on the web. The question we have to ask as marketers–is that of value to us? If it is–how much?”

I would have to agree that I am a much bigger fan of short blurb write ups, or placements than I am of press releases. I am an even bigger fan of full fledged, well written and compelling, articles or case studies.

So what are your thoughts on the matter?  Is the press release really dead?  This article disagrees.  But, how important are press releases to you?  Will you change how you write them?

Marketing Strategy

It’s that time of year, strategy time.  I was lucky enough in my last position to be asked to begin thinking about proper marketing roadmaps and creating, and tracking, a strategy for the next year.  I touched on this briefly in the past but I’m even happier to start it all again from complete scratch and in an entirely different place.  Yes, I’ve moved on from my last company to a new adventure, so please pardon the sporadic postings for the next month or so until I get in to a rhythm.  But don’t worry, I’ll always be coming back here to share my thoughts and ideas.  But…I digress.

I wanted to start from scratch this time.  I had the bones of my old roadmap which hinged on focusing on the different markets we used to sell in to and their buying times.  Based on that I would mark off what kind of marketing activities had to be done when – trade shows, advertising, PR, social media, etc.  However, it is difficult to measure something when you don’t have the bandwidth to do it.  So this time around, I’m going to take the bones and expand by layering in the ultimate business goals as well as a more laid out plan so that the questions of “what” has to be done and “how” to do it are answered in a much easier way.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not an expert in all things marketing hence why I like to write this blog – it allows me to think about and explore various topics and aspects of marketing and business in general.  I’d like to think that I’ve been around various blocks a number of times and know what works, what doesn’t, the way to and not to do things but it’s important to realize that you should always be striving to learn and do more.

So, below you will see some places where you too can learn more about setting your own strategic roadmap.  Happy planning!

Marketing Plan Template: Exactly What to Include
Your Marketing Plan as  Roadmap to Customers
How to Write a Marketing Plan

Marketing IT Services

I’m continuing to broaden my marketing horizons and trying to learn more about different industries and ways of marketing to them.  Today, we’ll take a look at IT services.  Unless it’s an app, you’re more than likely marketing to a business, which  makes it a B2B landscape.  But, as I’ve said before, although the buying time frame might be longer than in a B2C scenario you’re still marketing to people and need to think about what makes them tick and what will make your service stand out from the crowd.

So with that, here is some interesting information I found that I thought would be interesting to you, my dear readers.

A blog about how to sell IT services in 6 steps.  Value prop must be identified, followed by uniqueness of your service and how that fits in to your target market’s needs.

Here is an Information Technology Services Marketing Association you may want to rely on if you are in this industry.

Lastly, although this article, Tips for Marketing Your Service Business, doesn’t exactly talk about IT, it does talk about how to market in the service industry.  “Compete based on value. What will make customers or clients select your company vs. your competitor’s?”

As always, don’t forget to check out my twitter hashtag #careeradvice101 or just follow me, Linder83.

Marketing Real Estate

For those that watch the “Million Dollar Listing” shows on Bravo know that the people on there make a lot of dough.  Yes, they are successful at what they do.  And yes, some of them have been brought up in fortunate homes but they have succeeded at what they do by being creative.  A $15 million dollar home won’t sell itself.  How do you get in front of people, make them realize that the investment is worth it, not only for the sake of location?

Things have changed, but not as much as you might think.  Flyers and brochures are still very valuable, as shown in the image above…which is already a bit out of date.  Although aerial videos, via drones, are showing up more and more, and most people won’t even go see a home if there are no photos, that listing sheet is still very important.

But, how do you bring in the masses, and other agents who might have a buyer for your home?

Here is a great article for the 25 Real Estate Marketing Ideas the Pro’s Use.  I’ll highlight my favorites, which I base on the fact that these can be applied to any kind of marketing.  Because at the end of the day…marketing is marketing.  It’s just a matter of how you word & present things.

1. Write Listings that Sell –> content is king in all industries!
2. Drip Campaigns via email –> this allows you to weed through your prospects and potentially identify those that are ready to take the next step in the buying cycle.
3. Blog blog blog
4. Social Media –> use the platforms that make sense for your industry.
5. SEO

How do these apply to your industry?

P.S. Here is another great article titled, 7 Marketing Ideas for Real Estate Agents in 2014.

P.P.S. Have you heard of Buffer?  How do you use it?  Is it similar to hootsuite or even better?

 

CPG Marketing

Here’s another fun acronym for you, CPG –>consumer packaged goods.  Most would say that the brands that fall in to this category are within the realm of B2C marketing.  Which might be true.  But within every category of anything, there are sub categories and I’d like to think that products such as cookies and coffee, although both are consumable goods are very different & hence need to be marketed differently.  For starters, perhaps those that drink a lot of coffee might eat fewer cookies as they consider themselves as constant movers & “fit” people.  The latter point there, brings us to an entirely different realm of the B2C & CPG arena –> the health food market which in and of itself makes up a HUGE portion of the overall packaged goods & nutrition sectors.  Organic foods alone are set to grow 14% between 2013-2018.

So with all of that, how do you market to all these different people/consumers?  Think more about who your target customer is and what their needs are as well as HOW they consume your product.  Is it on the go?  Is it only on weekends?  Is it at the gym or movie theater?  All of these need to fall into a separate category that requires a different kind of message.  I’ve always found it all pretty fascinating and have said that no matter what kind of “bucket” your business/service/product falls in to, you are selling to people.  So, what void are you trying to fill?

Take a look at some more resources I dug up for you that speak to consumer product good marketing:

A Content Marketing Playbook from Top Consumer Brands –>Adweek mag
Digital Marketing Comes of Age for CPG Brands
From Oreo to Redbull CPG Brands are Transforming Marketing
CPG Branding and Marketing Forum

One things seems a constant in all forms of marketing…content is king.  It’s just a matter of how you get it out there & attract your key customer base(s).

6 B2B Lessons from Last Week’s Inbound14

I truly wish I could have attended, but this quick synopsis of the Inbound14 & FutureM event truly helped me and I hope it will help you.

I leave you with this thought: “If you want to not only make it, but thrive, in the B2B marketing world you have to have the courage to be different, instantaneous, engaging and artistic. “

One last note…KoMarketing is one of our partners right now and do amazing work and have helped us grow tremendously.  You should check them out!

Marketing in the Life Sciences World

Just as marketing is unique to the previous markets/industries we talked about, it is also unique when it comes to the life sciences or scientific arena.  I would bet you, that more companies than not don’t hit that home run when it comes to telling their overall story in this market.  There are those few that do, but for the most part, if you are not intimately involved in the market, you’re likely to get very overwhelmed by the jargon and the wealth of information.  So I decided to search and learn about the best marketing methods, and mistakes, when it comes to marketing to the life sciences market.

What I quickly learned, and agree with, is that often times, a company gets pigeon holed into only being known for its product(s) and not its overall solutions.  That’s all I’ll say about that but I do want to point you in the direction of a fascinating article that has me jotting down notes and wondering if I should rethink the way I’ve been thinking.

The Brand vs. Product Marketing Paradox in the Life Sciences article goes through some of the pitfalls of ineffective marketing:

1. “Truth is, the majority of the marketing resources that scientific companies expend are for product promotions. Very little attention is paid to brand building.

2. Product-marketing leads to company becoming synonymous with a technology, limiting its actual potential.

3. Product-based messages raise the baseline noise.

4. Market forces define the company’s brand.

5. A study published in Harvard Business Review[2] has profound implications about the power of brands to motivate people towards action, and the adverse effects that promotional headlines have on customer behavior. In short, it is actually possible that brands can generate demand with far more efficiency than product marketing activities.

6. Companies don’t actually have to choose between brand-vs-product marketing. They can do both. But it takes more than marcom-level template-enforcing. It takes action.

Companies can build their brands through product marketing, by focusing on the content of their programs and encouraging an experience for their customers, instead of just saying their value proposition.

The first step is to develop a content model and a campaign architecture that engages with scientists and encourages them to experience the value proposition. The Content-Centric Marketing for Science is one such framework.”

Is your mind blown a bit?  Will you rethink your marketing strategy even if you’re not in the life sciences field?

Here is one more nugget from the Content Centric Marketing article:

“Most marketing messages for scientific products and services provide only logical feature/benefit statements, failing to engage the scientist’s emotion or ego. The key is to know when and how to engage either a scientist’s emotion, or his/her logic or ego during the buying journey. This can be approached by mapping how the archetypal scientist consumes information.”
figure6 (1)The goal of marketers should be to develop information that removes any impediments for scientists to move swiftly from stage to stage in their own buying journeys, all the while becoming predisposed to the company’s way of thinking. It is important to remember that scientists need to make their own conclusions at each stage, rather than being told what to think and how to act.”

 

Marketing Thoughts

Today is a big day for me, hence why I’m excited enough to post an extra blog for the week.  I get a bunch of proposals back from various PR and web vendors and get to make the big choice of who fits us best and who gets our vision and won’t be afraid to push us out of our box.

What I’ve said to everyone so far is that we *need* someone to be that voice that tells us what we should be doing, as I won’t pretend to be an expert in the things that I don’t directly work on day to day.  I try to be expert enough that I can have a conversation about all things marketing but you can’t be all things to all people no matter how hard you try.

However, some of the best meetings for me have been when I’ve walked away energized about the prospect of something new and when I feel like I’ve learned something new.  Case in point, yesterday I learned that I’ve been living under a rock and in the meantime there have been some amazing B2B meetings going on and some amazing people have shared very interesting insights into the marketing world.  For example, here are the names and books I urge you to look up as well.  I’ll leave it at that:

* Gary Vaynerchuk, a TED speaker

* Simon Sinek, another TED speaker talks about asking “WHY?” instead of  “WHAT?” when it comes to product

* Jim Stengel has written a book titled GROW. “Grow presents an actionable framework for developing the roots that are necessary to thrive in the new business climate.”

I hope these links have inspired you to get out from under the rock and look around at what has changed in marketing.

What new news can you share with me?

Industrial Marketing

Last week I addressed the various CPG marketing areas but today I wanted to talk about a little known area of B2B marketing that pertains to the industrial & manufacturing market.  The above graph depicts the marketing goals that fall in to this kind of marketing which differ from traditional marketing that is talked about in schools. Typically, you’re talking more about brand awareness and sales and quick buying cycles.  However, although sales is very important, lead generation is right up there on the totem pole.

Why school?  Well, I was looking in to new ways of setting up our marketing strategy, which I hope to share with you, for next year and decided to see what others in the industry are doing.  For the past year I’ve been focusing first and foremost on the various markets we sell in to, and secondly the buying times of those markets.  Based on those two things, we decide what kind of outreach we should focus on when and what topics should be talked about.  In my research, I came across a really great article from mbtmag.com, or Manufacturing Business Technology.  In this article, Industrial Marketing Is Not Consumer Marketing, the author talks about the fact that B2B industrial marketing tactics are not taught in schools and universities.  What are taught, are the glorified B2C scenarios of the infamous Nova case study or most recently the Domino’s reinvention of their pizzas.  I haven’t read the last one, but I’m sure it’s out there somewhere, along with these few as well.

The point is, professors in a lot of cases are professors.  What I found in my own studies is that these folks are educators first, or last.  What I mean by that is they perhaps did work in the respective areas of a business that they are teaching, but at this stage in their lives, they are teachers and have been removed from the day to day world.  Or, they have read enough books to put us all to shame about various marketing practices, but haven’t actually put them to the test.

However, the main point that the article I came across talks about is that it’s difficult, and often boring, to teach industrial marketing because you’re talking about manufacturing and buying cycles, and sales people, and budgeting and things that college students don’t comprehend because they haven’t been there yet and haven’t done it.  Hence, a lot of marketers are unprepared for working in this kind of environment.

My suggestion?  Co-op!  It makes a world of difference!  Or field trips to manufacturing companies in the surrounding areas.  Field trips to any company in the surrounding area would help the students see what it is they would actually, potentially, be doing and how different it is from place to place.

Maybe one day I’ll get the chance to be a teacher or professor and I hope to whatever power is out there that I keep the students on the edge of their seats even during the boring lectures.

Not B2B, not B2C, but A/E/C Marketing

What in the *world* is A/E/C marketing?  Well, it has to do with architecture, engineering and contract based firms.  Having worked in a couple engineering firms during my Northeastern Co-op days, most marketing related activities revolved around proposal writing and proofing.  It seems however that some A/E/C companies are beginning to look into bridging the gap between marketing strategy and proposals.

But how does one “market” when it comes to long lead projects?  Do you make sure your business has invested in programs such as REED Construction or other platforms/data bases that allow you to know in advance about projects that will be taking place?  Do you send snail mail flyers to the architects involved in the projects to get your services and products in front of them & keep you top of mind?  The answers could be endless, but the main point is, the proposal writing, submitting, and bidding (and hopefully winning) process should fit somewhere in to the overall marketing mix and vice versa…at least in my mind.

After all, no matter what your product or service, and no matter who your audience, you can’t just go with the mind set of “build it and they will come.”

Here are some helpful articles for those entering this new arena:

6 Ways to Revitalize Your A/E/C Marketing Program
Social Media for A/E/C Marketing –> A quick slide share presentation
3 Common A/E/C Marketing Roadblocks and How to Avoid Them
HelpEverybodyEveryday.com –> A/E/C Marketing Advice, Training and Support Group