Ice Bucket Challenge

I know…everyone’s doing it and I’m pretty sure the challenge is on its way to fizzling out.  I saw all the videos creep up on my facebook feed and probably only watched one during the two week stint…until I was challenged.  I wasn’t thrilled about the prospect, but when you’re challenged, you have to perform.  So I did.  I also looked online for an ALS charity that I wanted to support.  In my search, I came across a very interesting, and I think true, posting about the fact that a lot of other charities are potentially losing funds because the majority of recent donations are going to ALS.

I won’t bore you and paraphrase the posting, but I do think it is a good read so I encourage you to read “The Cold, hard truth about the ice bucket challenge.”

I ended up donating to the ALS family charity as well as Boston Children’s Hospital.

#icebucketchallenge donations made to alsfamily.org and boston children's hospital

I’ll see you all after Labor Day.  Momma is goin on vacation!

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Public Relations – What to Expect

I try to be knowledgeable enough in all marketing aspects so I that I can at least speak knowledgeably about the things I’m managing, but also so I can’t be bamboozled.  I’ve recently taken up looking into what kinds of expectations should be set when it comes to, among other things, PR.  I know the basics, or at least what I’ve been exposed to.  I also know that there is a lot more that can be done, if money is no object.

But I did come across a very interesting read that I want to share with all of you, if you’re interested, that goes over some of the basics of a good PR program and should allow you to either be impressed with what you’re current agency might be doing for you, or force you to ask some uncomfortable questions.

In either scenario, someone should always be wondering “what else can be done?” or “what can we do better?”  As to who should be asking those questions, you or the PR agency…I’ll let you decide.

Without further ado: here are the Straight Facts about Public Relations Fees, Service.

“We recommend and use what we call an intermedia mix because regardless of whether you’re using advertising, public relations or marketing/sales support, you’re communicating. And all of your communication has one ultimate objective…to sell something (the company, a product or service) to someone…

Too often public relations activities are thought of in terms of news releases and product announcements. Both of these activities are important to the company’s programs but are relatively minor in terms of the overall efforts and plans.

Public relations and publicity go far beyond the simple news release. If public relations activities are carried out efficiently and effectively for the company there can be some dramatic results.”

So there you have it.  But, don’t just rely on one source for your information.  Here are a couple others:

How Much Does Public Relations Cost? – by Axia Public Relations

What does a Public Relations Agency Do? – by Forbes

Lastly, an article about PR measurement:

Does PR Work? 7 Ways to Measure Its Impact

Setting a Marketing Strategy

Step 1: Visualize where you want to be, and what you want to achieve – more leads, more web traffic, more eyes on the brand

Step 2: Identify the steps you need to take to get there – SEO, PPC, PR, advertising, new collateral, tradeshows

It’s really that simple.  But if it was that simple, marketing professionals wouldn’t constantly be desperately trying to explain why marketing is worth it and why more can’t always be done with less.

 

Back in 2013 Greg Satell wrote an online article for Forbes that talked about the 4 key principles of marketing strategy.  He noted that marketers  are constantly trying to pull customers in.  It’s no longer a features & benefits story line, and who ever has the best features wins.  These days, with all of the information at everyone’s finger tips, it’s about who has the most bang to pull in the customer and make them believe that YOUR brand is the one that will fill their void.  But you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is point number 1 below…

Here are Greg’s tips:
1. Clarify Business Objectives – the mark of a good marketing strategy is not how many gadgets and neologisms are crammed into it, but how effectively it achieves worthy goals. Therefore, how you define your intent will have a profound impact on whether you succeed or fail.

2. Use Innovation Teams to Identify, Evaluate and Activate Emerging Opportunities – it is essential to have a team dedicated to identifying emerging opportunities, meeting with start-ups and running test-and-learn programs to evaluate their true potential. That would certainly be a nice to have…

3. Decouple Strategy and Innovation –  Strategy is fundamentally different from innovation.  As noted above, a good strategy is one that achieves specific objectives.  Innovation, however, focuses on creating something completely new and new things, unfortunately, tend to not work as well as standard solutions (at least at first).

4. Build Open Assets in the Market Place – Successful brands are becoming platforms and need to do more than just drive consumers to a purchase, they have to inspire them to participate.  That means marketers have to think less in terms of USP’s, and GRP’s and more in terms of API’s and SDK’s.

So what do you think?  Is this do-able?  Of course it always comes down to bandwidth and the general situation within your marketing department and the tasks at hand.

My personal hope for 2015 is to have fewer large projects and tasks and make sure to hit the 5-10 heavy hitters for the entire year.  That…and partnering with strategic and forward thinking partners.

P.S. For some more recent news – read about how United’s new safety video is helping turn a page in airline marketing strategy.