Feb 27, 2015

IMC Campaign of the Month: Bharatiya Janata Party

"Modi Run" mobile app

“Modi Run” mobile app

Welcome to the first in a series of monthly profiles I’ll be posting to highlight great IMC campaigns, both recent and past.

This month is an oldie but a goodie – one of my favorites – the IMC magic worked by the Bharatiya Janata Party of India. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was formed in 1951 as an “Integral Humanist” party, which basically means the BJP strives to create an economic model (indigenous to India) that places the human at the center of all concerns. BJP’s presence in India is significant – it’s the largest party represented in parliament and the second largest represented in individual states.

Why did BJP turn to integrated marketing communications? They realized IMC’s power for increased reach and branding through messaging that appeals directly to their target audience. For example in a given election year, that audience includes a significant youth presence, as the BJP aims to motivate youth to vote. Considering youth are easier to access than ever before in the modern digital marketing landscape, you can probably already imagine some tactics BJP explored. We’ve seen a similar outreach from the White House under President Obama, particularly regarding the healthcare marketplace. From an appearance on Between Two Ferns to a BuzzFeed video spoofing millennial behavior, Obama’s presidency may go down in history for taking every opportunity to reach its key demographics precisely where they spend their time. (more…)

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Feb 27, 2015

The IMC Report Card

pencil-308509_640Earlier this month I wrote about ways to determine whether you’re truly doing integrated marketing communications, or IMC. Everyone is doing integrated marketing in some way or another. It’s always a struggle, however, to determine where your priorities lie in terms of really diving into the practice.

I thought it would be fitting to end the month with the IMC Report Card. The IMCReportCard  is a tool I created to help my clients and others figure out how to prioritize their strategies and tactics. It’s a simple way to objectively review where you stand regarding the components that make up the critical success factors for IMC.  Here’s a quick primer to help you “grade” your brand or organization (or someone else’s) on their IMC proficiency.

  • The first questions ask about messaging. You must have a consistent message, but it also needs to be translated for every messaging channel. Do you see a lot of disparate, beautifully worded messages? That means the team was more focused on wordsmithing than on conveying simple ideas of what the brand does, why it does it, and for whom it does it. Sometimes the message is written so beautifully it doesn’t resonate with the target audience. If you’re selling to moms, are you talking to moms in a way that appeals to them? Or are you talking like an industry insider? These are all the kinds of questions I think about when I’m reviewing a company’s messaging.
  • Next, does it look like the company or brand understands how their customers buy? In other words, am I led down a path that clearly leads to a  commitment or conversion when I go to social media, or the website, or any earned or owned media for that matter? Am I directed at all by the messaging?   (more…)
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Feb 24, 2015

Pop-Ups & Lightboxes: Effectively Use Lead Forms on Your Website

When it comes to your website, your goal is to make it as easy as possible for your client to get information. If you make it easy, they’re more likely to look, and therefore more likely to buy from you.

Increasing the simplicity of decision-making by 20 percent increases the chances of clients purchasing by 86 percent.

Insert a form that allows clients to enter the criteria they are looking for, and provide tailored search results. This increases the chances that they are matched with a product that meets their needs exactly.shutterstock_141377746

The main question is where to put your forms to get the most benefit.

On the Homepage (more…)

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Feb 20, 2015

How to Write a Marketing Plan – the Marketing eBook

If you’ve been following the Wax blog you know that during the month of December I posted one step per day to help build your 2015 Marketing Plan. marketing ebookEach step was meant to require no more than 15 minutes. I also recently wrote about why February is the best month to write your marketing plan.

Some of you emailed me asking if I could put these steps together in an easier format. I’m announcing the How to Write a Marketing Plan in 15 Minutes a Day eBook, available for free now.

This eBook contains all the steps you’ll need to write a sound marketing plan in 15 minutes a day, over the course of 20 days. In less than a month you’ll have a plan and concrete tactics that will guide your marketing efforts for the next year.

The eBook covers not just strategy and tactics, but also explains:

  • Ways to identify and communicate with your BEST customer (more…)
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Feb 18, 2015

PR checklist for 2015

If you’re like me, 2015 has gotten away from you already in terms of your own public relations and social media. However, it’s never too late to update your accounts and blogs. Here is some terrific advice from Diana Ennen, the President of Virtual Word Publishing Diane specializes in PR and marketing and helps her clients frequently overcome what she calls “desperation marketing.” Enjoy!

PR Checklist for 2015 – Get Back Into the Swing of Things with These Tips to Maximize Business Success

By Diana Ennen

Hard to believe January is in full swing and the holidays are a distant memory.  By now, some resolutions are probably already broken and everyone is back into the same ole’ same ole’ of 2014.  But it doesn’t have to be that way!  There is still time to take action to make 2015 the year that your business sees the success it deserves.  Still time to get re-energized and passionate about your business once again, and still time to remember why you started in the first place.  Make 2015 the year you love your business back to success.

Here are some tips to help along the way: (more…)

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Feb 16, 2015

5 Reasons February is the best month to write a marketing plan

Lots of people bemoan the fact that February often rolls around before their business marketing plan is complete. I’m here to stop the guilt once and for all. In my mind, February is the BEST month to write a marketing plan. Here’s why:

  1. Most operational plans are not completed until the end of January. In order to create a successful marketing plan, you’ve got to have measurable goals or objectives that align with the overall organization’s goals. This is impossible to do UNTIL you are thoroughly educated on the company’s plans for the coming year. Taking time to review the overall goals is important to building a marketing plan with the correct focus. 
  2. Your competitors often jump out of the starting gate too fast. In other words, it’s not a bad thing to wait and see what your next best competitor is doing in terms of new promotions or launches. Watching and waiting can help you fine tune your own marketing strategies to best the competition after their direction is already set.
  3. Just as your business creates new goals, so do your target customers. If you’re creating personas as I think you should, January is a great time to trend watch, particularly if you’re a consumer brand. Some things come into fashion and others go out, and you can spend your time doing surveys, re-engaging in social media and really understanding the personal goals of your target audience. Knowing your best customer really, really well might mean understanding how they’re “turning over a new leaf” and incorporating into their plans. (By the way, if you want a good primer for finding your best customer, here’s a SlideShare presentation I did last fall on the topic.) (more…)
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Feb 13, 2015

How to effectively use visual content on Instagram

InstagramWe are constantly bombarded with images. TV advertisements, social media content, email messages or print articles—we’re constantly having words and images thrown at us. But using the right images on the right platform can help your visual marketing strategy work.

Fast Facts

If you aren’t using visual content consider this:

  • According to WishPond, 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the human brain than text.
  • WishPond studies have shown that posts with visuals have 94 percent more page visits than those which don’t.
  • Studies conducted in June of 2014 have shown that 23 percent of young people cite Instagram as their favorite social media platform, according to AdWeek.
  • There are 300 million accounts on the photo sharing app, according to Instagram.

Getting Started (more…)

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Feb 10, 2015

5 reasons nonprofits do IMC better than the rest of us

Headwaters Relief in Colorado

Headwaters Relief in Colorado.

As I wrote last week, IMC is not easy. It’s definitely a case of progress, never perfection. And yet nonprofits seem to have grasped many of the components of integrated marketing and are running with it. I thought that was worth a little bit more analysis to see why that would be true.

1. Nonprofits understand the buying behavior of their target audience. Face it, trying to get money out of people for charity is really, really hard. It takes a great deal of understanding of your audience in terms of what pulls at their heart strings. (As marketers, isn’t that what we’re all trying to do?) Good nonprofits know the basic messages that appeal to their targets, how they get their information and how best to influence those decisions via the use of media placements, email, social media and other channels. The Red Cross does this better than anyone else. Sign up for their email newsletter and experience them leading you by the nose through their IMC channels. Brilliant, really.

2. Nonprofits usually don’t have money to burn. Unless you were lucky enough to work on one of the .orgs spawned by the Big Tobacco settlements, for the most part a nonprofit marketer is working on a tiny budget. This breeds creativity and that’s what IMC is all about. Nonprofits jumped on the social media bandwagon (and other brand new bandwagons) as soon as they could. (more…)

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Feb 2, 2015

5 ways to know if you’re really doing IMC

integrated marketing communicationsIMC is a complicated beast. After working on integrated marketing communications strategies for several years I still feel as if each new campaign is like a new romance novel, with unusual plot twists and surprise endings. Although a lot of people say they’re doing IMC, unfortunately most supposedly integrated campaigns are not really integrated in the true sense of the word.

The AMA defines IMC as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” The key words here are ALL, RELEVANT and CONSISTENT.

We’re all working on a continuum, gradually adding capability and components as we learn what mix works best for our brands. Making sure EVERY touchpoint is consistent with the other, and relevant to the message is nearly impossible in this fragmented communications world. So to borrow a phrase from a well-known 12-step group, it’s about progress, not perfection.

HOWEVER. And here comes the big BUT. I’m afraid there are a lot of people trying to catch the wave of IMC that have no idea what they’re doing. It’s really appalling and you need to make sure you’re not falling into the trap of a consultant who claims to make IMC “easy.”

To help you with these hucksters, and to help you grade your own work, here are 5 ways to know if your campaign is truly integrated:

1. You’ve articulated strategies that align with overall measurable goals.   (more…)

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Jan 24, 2015

Be the 20% and Survive the 18-Month Test

Congratulations, you have finally opened your own business. Now, it’s just a matter of which of the 80-20 ratio you’ll be in. According to Bloomberg, 80 percent of new businesses fail within the first 18 months. So how do you make sure you are in the 20 percent that are fortunate to survive the 18-month survival test?

Surely, many new businesses that fail in longevity point to the lack of cash to sustain the business. But in most, if not all, cases, it was a sequence of missed opportunities and the lack of creative fortitude that inevitably let the money tree run dry.

Invest in Your Customers

One of the bigger reasons is business owners failing to invest in their customers enough. Not providing good dialogue between you and Joe Customer can spell doom to your business. Be it a social media chat, a feedback feature on your website, a good email system or even a customer appreciation day; making that extra effort to help your customer feel more connected to your business is key to building a foundation of retention among your customer base.

Do Your Due Diligence About Learning to be a Business Owner

Another reason new businesses fail so quickly is that the owner hadn’t realized the dedication, time and money it took to be your own boss. Though the rewards can be great, so too can the responsibilities that fall on your shoulder. For those looking to open their own businesses, Melinda Emerson of SmallBizLady recommends to prepare for hard work, troubleshooting problems daily and building a high tolerance and perseverance. Setting up goals before you even open the doors is crucial, as well. Every good business has short-term and long-term goals. Establish what they are and build your business towards them. This keeps your business on track and focused.

Networking Is Key to Earning Trust

Customer service is the most important element to trusting a business. Thus, networking is one good way to earn your customer’s trust. Networking is tied to the first reason mentioned, however, this also includes marketing on a personal scale, because that’s what networking is intended for—as far as your business goes. Getting involved with your community can show your customers—and potential customers—you are dedicated and caring, not just for your business, but for the community as a whole. So return phone calls, answer emails, attend community functions and volunteer or sponsor a local club or fundraiser. Doing so gets your name out there and it gets the community familiar with you and your business. If they trust you, they are more likely to support your business.

Have a Trustworthy and Dedicated Team

If you haven’t set up a good core of employees and a daily systems structure, then your business failed before it even started. When you have a good team of employees, you want to nurture their drive and their willingness to help your business succeed. Thus, be aware of not only their work performance, but their work load, as well. One interesting statistic is that since 2010, people are more confident in their job abilities and as many as 2.5 million Americans a month are willing to quit their jobs to find better ones, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overloading employees with work, micromanaging, being scarce around the office and not promoting teamwork are just some of the no-no’s a business must avoid to keep its team happy and productive.

A Solid Infrastructure Sets a Foundation of Success

Having a dependable, flexible and secure data filing system is just as important. Your business’ sensitive data needs to be backed up and protected from outside threats like viruses and hackers, but must also be able to be accessed from remote places to allow you and your employees to work outside the office. Cloud-based systems allow for all of this to happen. Too many times new businesses limit themselves as to what they can do buy shying away from cloud technology. Innovative cloud storage systems like Mozy can offer backup, file syncing and mobile access that can help your business grow, be more flexible and stay on top. Top notch cloud security isn’t as expensive as one may think. In fact, it may prove to be cheaper than relying on your own manners of security, which could prove very costly.

With 18 months as a test of survival, it’s decisions like these that will prove your business ownership longevity.

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