Posts Tagged ‘marketing’


Adulting as A New Professional

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

By: Whitney Welker*

As a recent college graduate, it would be a lie if I said that working in the ‘real’ world turned out to be everything I thought it would be. You know what I’m talking about. The whole ‘oh now my life is magically all together’ scenario. You land the perfect job and all of a sudden you have all this free time for friends, perhaps a hobby, oh and of course you meet your soul mate almost immediately {retch}. At least that’s what we are led to believe;MayaAngelouStillLearning that all of our problems will be solved by our first job. WRONG.

One of the first things I learned out of college was that everything I’d need to know about doing my job to the best of my ability wasn’t necessarily going to be things I learned in the classroom.  All of those ‘real life’ scenarios, case studies and pitches that we worked on so diligently meant very little now. Yes, while in college I learned intangible skills to prepare me for landing a job, and I most definitely learned more about the industry, but there was so much more to learn.

As a result, I started looking to my coworkers for examples and advice. To give a little background, with my job I am a marketing department, of one, for the region I support, so it’s pretty safe to say that learning by brainstorming and picking the brains of my coworkers was going to be my best option. Learning from your coworkers can actually be one of the best things as well. They have been in the industry longer than you, so use that experience to help yourself succeed.

Another thing that I learned was not to try and tackle the world in a day. This will never work. I find myself making a To Do list for the day with about 25 things on it. Let’s be honest, all of those items are not going to get done today. So I learned to make a weekly To Do list, and a daily To Do list. This way I can take the time to focus on the tasks that I need to get done that day instead of worrying about a project that I have more time to work on. Sounds like college multitasking again, right?

Working with others is probably the biggest obstacle for me in the ‘real’ world. You don’t realize this as much in college because although you have group projects to work on, those only last, at most, a semester. When you are in the workplace, this ‘group project’ can last years. With so many moving parts in a company I find myself speaking with multiple departments on a daily basis. This means MANY ‘group projects’. It was vital for me to begin learning more about my co-workers’ personalities so that we could succeed as a whole. This means learning when is the right time of day to contact someone. Do they like to have their coffee before talking business? Do they prefer an email over face-to-face or phone conversations? All of these traits, and more, need to be identified so that you can make the most of your time and theirs.

In all, my first job has been great. I love my company, coworkers and job duties. I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have been given, and still look to expand my knowledge about the industry on a daily basis. I believe that when you stop learning, you stop producing. So stay inquisitive and know that although the world after college is tough, you can succeed if you try your hardest every day.

Do you have tips for new communications professionals embarking on their first “adult job” that you’d like to add? We’d love to hear from you!

 

*Whitney Welker is a Marketing Analyst for a utility company. She enjoys the diversity of her role as she not only creates marketing pieces, but also handles customer communication and website content. In her free time Whitney likes to spend time at her family farm and traveling with her friends.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/whitneywelker15
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/whitney-welker-311a93a5

Confession of a Social Media Consultant

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

By Brad Wester

secret-1142327_960_720 I’ve been a freelance social media consultant for several years, and I have a confession to make.

The power of social media is a myth.

You know that great idea you have for your next Facebook post? It’s probably worthless. I’m not trying to be harsh, and I’m not saying you have terrible ideas, but take a moment to think about it. How many people are going to see that post? Hint: not enough.

In 2015, Facebook organic reach dropped from an average of 12% to under 6%. This trend has continued in 2016. Facebook’s organic reach is low and continues to drop. Reaching less than 6% of your audience isn’t powerful. It’s time to stop posting and hoping for the best. It’s time for a plan.

The power of social media has always been a myth. The true power is in the planning – it’s in the development of a social media strategy.

Posting on social media without a strategy means your posts may be missing your targeting audience. You may be posting at the wrong times, creating the wrong content and using the wrong call to actions. You could be using improper tracking methods or relying on the wrong metrics to show success. Without a social media strategy, you’re at risk of wasting time and energy that could be spent more effectively on other parts of your business. You may even be hurting the future success of your Facebook page due to poor performance now.

Having a fully developed social media strategy is essential and should include the ability to track and analyze data in each step. Tracking data will allow you to determine what social networks you should focus on, what type of content is most effective, if it’s more effective to create a wide variety of content, simply promote high performing content to a larger audience and even how much you can afford to spend on promoting your high-performing content.

More social networks, including Instagram and Snapchat, are creating algorithms to determine what content to show users. These algorithms will continue to decrease organic reach and increase competition, driving up the cost of effective social media marketing. Developing a social media strategy will help you rise above your competition.

It’s time to stop posting and start planning.

 

Byline

Brad Wester is a freelance digital marketing consultant specializing in helping small businesses create engaging online experiences that generate leads and drive sales. Follow Brad on Twitter: @wester_brad.

Transformation Influencers: Rust-Oleum’s 1,000 Projects Campaign

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

There are more than 100 million searches each month on “how to” do something. Rust-Oleum, a nearly 100 year-old company, came to the realization that people aren’t really passionate about products as much as they want to change and improve their living spaces, creating something beautiful that they can enjoy.

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

With the insight that people want to improve and/or change what they love, Rust-Oleum (along with its agencies) set out to create 1,000 compelling projects to serve as inspiration and demonstration to consumers. Leveraging paid media and using data driven marketing to share a transformation story through images and video, they empowered bloggers and every day influencers to share their own inspiration stories, in turn driving awareness and a new excitement—a re-introduction of sorts.

Lisa Bialecki, Senior Director, Integrated Communications at Rust-Oleum, shared their journey with attendees of PRSA St. Louis’ recent Digital Communications Summit.

They conducted fast data analysis to identify exactly what people are searching for and where they’re looking to find this information. Using this research data, they created a blueprint of projects that they needed to create and feature—for example, 14% of the project would be devoted to the garden tackling things like planters, fences and stones, while 5% would be devoted to garage revamping items such as cabinets, hardware, organizers and the garage floor.

Their strategy included media partners, consumers, professionals and brand projects. Rust-Oleum created “an army of project enthusiasts,” Bialecki said, leveraging volumes of content–using print, blogs, web, video, Facebook and Pinterest. They also hyper-targeted banner ads to their audiences and created a new website for project inspirations with a user forum section—creating a community.

But it wasn’t just all traditional print, social media and digital. Rust-Oleum hosted DIY conferences. They held multiple blogger innovation summits in an effort to generate excitement for these bloggers to write about new products. One such summit included 18 highly influential DIY bloggers (from 15 key blogs) over a three-day period. During the summit, they took them on a manufacturing plant tour, a corporate headquarters breakfast and tour which included a marketing studio “hands-on” session. Through these “in real life” events, they were able to build a stronger awareness of new products, strengthen existing and build new blogger relationships.

This integrated PR campaign not only supported Rust-Oleum’s retail marketing but has resulted in 250 million project impressions to date and 3 million project engagements. Pinterest has become their number two driver to the website. Most importantly, unit sales are up 40% year-over-year. This is a great example of PR, marketing, advertising, digital and social successfully working together!

How Targeted Is Too Targeted? 3 Tips For Using Local Ads Responsibly

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014
Facebook Local Awareness Ads Tips BurrellesLuce Ellis Friedman Media Monitoring PR Software Public Relations

flickr user viZZZual.com under CC BY

Yesterday, Facebook announced its new advertising feature, local awareness ads. Their messaging portrays this as a tool primarily aimed at helping local businesses reach more people, but the way the feature works is it shows the ad to people who live in the area or were recently within a certain radius of the business.

What Facebook doesn’t elaborate on is how they know who had been near the business or where exactly – or within what one mile radius – people live. Surely geotagged posts and photos will play into it, but since a new feature can track your location through your phone (though so far, on a purely opt-in basis), it seems their precise targeting tools have only gotten more precise.

Local awareness ads are certainly appealing to brick-and-mortar businesses of any size and should help Facebook generate even more advertising revenue, but it also risks making users feel surveilled. So businesses considering implementing local awareness ads will have to consider whether their targeted ads will cause their audience to feel uncomfortable. Take the example of the marketer who hypertargeted Facebook ads for his roommate. The roommate became so paranoid he stopped talking on the phone for fear of being tracked. Though it was a prank, it’s a prime example of how targeting too well can backfire.

Of course, used with common sense and discretion, Facebook’s new feature won’t make people feel that way. We’ve talked before about how brand personalization can be done effectively without being creepy, so let’s revisit the topic with creating targeted ads that aren’t Big Brother-y.

Make sure it’s opt-in

Whenever you’re using a location-targeted ad platform or service, do your due diligence and make sure that data is collected on an opt-in basis. This means that the setting that collects data should not be a default; it should ask users explicitly to opt in, and then make it easy for them to opt out at any time. While making something opt in isn’t your responsibility, you want to make sure you’re using platforms responsibly so that you don’t find yourself a scapegoat or example of creepy behavior.

Don’t talk to them about where they are

Your location-specific ad probably shouldn’t say, “Hey! We see you’re just down the street, come on in!” This definitely sounds creepy. Craft a better, more engaging message like, “Looking for ___?” or, “We’ve got ____” or even something vaguely targeted like, “Whatever you need isn’t far away.”

The most important thing is that, even though people are being tracked by a lot of providers like Facebook, Google, and mobile companies, the key is to avoid making them feel like they’re being tracked. Instead, the goal is to be just helpful enough that your ad seems serendipitous

Don’t give people things they don’t ask for

This should sound obvious, and it isn’t something you could do through Facebook’s local awareness ads, but don’t give people digital things they didn’t agree to. Apple learned that lesson the hard way last month when they paid U2 lots of money and then delivered the new album to every iTunes user.

Just like a lot of other aspects of brand personalization and targeted advertising, it’s all about striking a balance and being helpful, not overly personal. Exercise common sense and go forth and reach that target audience!

The Marketing Words That Work With Each Generation

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Words That Work For Each Generation BurrellesLuce Media Monitoring Public Relations PR Software Marketing Millennials Generation X Demographics can be a slippery slope – combining 15 to 20 years’ worth of people into one neat category? Not so accurate. As a result marketers and public relations pros alike would be remiss to think that one style of language will resonate across the generations.

There’s a lot more that goes into messaging – like targeting and segmentation – but putting that aside for this post, let’s take a look at words and language styles that generally speak to each generation.

Generation Z

Born between 1995 and 2010, the earliest part of Gen Z is coming into its own purchasing power. These tech savvy multitaskers also respond to discussion about sustainability and green products. They’re also constantly adopting the latest technology and want to know what’s next. Gen Z also cares about privacy (hence their tendency toward ephemeral social media like SnapChat), having control over their own preference and security settings, and tend to prefer visuals over text and short, bite-sized content.

Generation Y/ Millennials

Ah, the elusive target market unicorn. It seems everyone wants to market to Millennials but no one can agree on how. Well, that might be because marketers tend to lean too heavily on stereotypes instead of reality. Some Millennials are go-getters with steady jobs who carefully cultivate their own brand, while others are trapped by economic circumstance: overeducated, underemployed, and not as financially independent as they’d like to be.

A lot of millennials respond to off-beat, sarcastic humor, social awareness, and freedom. Being aware of so many social and civil rights issues, using inclusive language and imagery is especially important for resonance, and Millennials like to hear words like “global citizen,” “diversity,” and “community.”

Generation X

GenXers tend to be skeptical, especially of the government (which is what growing up during Watergate and the Vietnam War will do to you), so they’re not into hype. They’re also protective of their personal time, so Anne Loehr recommends using phrases like “It’s your time … “, and “You will benefit by …”   Be real, refrain from being overly optimistic, and since Gen X likes data, emphasize results.

Boomers

Since Baby Boomers control 70 percent of disposable income in the U.S., it’s pretty important to get your messaging right. Like all generations, they like humor, but prefer it to be clever and not mean-spirited.

Boomers like positivity and are enjoying their economic freedom, so provide options and create positive messaging instead of using the word “don’t.” Try to include messages that explain why you understand Boomers, how you make their life easier, or how you make their life better. Boomers tend to be idealistic and ambitious, so using legacy-oriented language, a bit of sentimentality, and lots of information will most help your message resonate.

Traditionalists

Traditionalists, born 1925ish to 1945, grew up in the Great Depression and WWII, so they’re frugal, traditional, and loyal – once you’ve earned that loyalty. Emphasizing a company’s legacy, stability, reputation, and trustworthiness are all important.

Words like “earned,” “honor,” “respect,” “reliable,” “value,” and “responsibility” all resonate with Traditionalists.

So when you’re writing your blogs, releases, or messages, be sure to keep in mind who your audience is and what language they respond to. And also remember that demographics are very general, so further targeting and segmenting will help you hone your message further and more carefully curate your words.