Archive for the ‘Trends’ Category

Even Ad Age Says Traditional Marketing Is Dying

April 8, 2009

We believe that, while some traditional media has its place, social media and the web is the best way to reach many demographics.

But it’s not as simple as just buying online ads or setting up a Facebook organization page. You have be genuine and authentic – and have something original to say. The good news is that, if you have the goods (i.e you know what you’re talking about or have a really good product or service), you stand a good chance at success because Earned Media is overtaking Paid Media in terms of impact.

Check out this article from Ad Age that helps prove that point.

So What Is This Social Media Stuff Anyway?

March 18, 2009

A lot of people talk about Social Media (or Web 2.0) – but not everyone knows exactly what it really means.

That’s okay. Like your mom told you when you were 13, it’s okay to be curious.

Web 1.0 was the first decade of the web, where the internet was a place to look and read. The information flowed one way: from a website to the user. Think of it like reading a brochure that happened to be online.

Social Media is a completely different beast. Over the last half-decade, the internet has changed from a one-way conversation to an active conversation between multiple parties.

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Blogs. e-Newsletters. Twitter. Facebook. Myspace. LinkedIn. Wikipedia. They’re all ways for anyone and everyone to take AND contribute information.

Since Social Media is where your customers, clients and donors are spending their time and money, it’s smart business to get in on that conversation with Permission Marketing.

It takes time and effort. Web 2.0 and Social Media tools require fresh, relevant and changing content all the time. But it’s worth it to stay connected with your market.

Twitter Analysis of Budweiser vs. Magic Hat

February 25, 2009

It’s interesting to see how companies of various sizes are handling Social Media and e-Marketing as part of their Brand Management strategies.

One small part of this that I always pay attention to is how they react – or don’t react – to Twitter activity about them. (If you’re not familiar with Twitter, click here or here.)

For example….

I like to homebrew beer and also try to taste as many different microbrews from small breweries around the country. (From our neck of the woods, I’m a fan of Saranac, Ithaca, and Ommegang, among others).

While I usually stick to the smaller guys, I’ve been curious for the last few months hearing Budweiser’s endless plugs for its new American Ale on NPR and This American Life. So I finally picked up some at the Giant by my house over the weekend. For the record, I enjoyed it – though for my follow-up beverage, I switched over the Magic Hat‘s Roxy Roll seasonal brew, which is a personal favorite.

Budweiser may have the fancy packaging and Super Bowl ads, but Magic Hat leads a Tribe.

Budweiser may have the fancy packaging and Super Bowl ads,but Magic Hat leads a Tribe.

Then I posted my comments about Budweiser and Magic Hat on Twitter.

When I checked in a day or two later to see if I had any new Twitter Followers, I was excited to see that Magic Hat was following me. They earned an even more loyal fan. Seth Godin would say I’m in their Tribe now.

I heard nothing from Budweiser. Now, I’m still impressed that their new beer wasn’t bad. But they missed an opportunity to permission market to me.

The point? Sometimes small, nimble, authentic companies do a better job of working new Social Media and e-Marketing tools than giant corporations that spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars every year on marketing. And, in today’s marketplace, that’s a smarter and wiser investment of time and resources.

Expertise

February 10, 2009

Marketing today isn’t usually about a product. Or direct sales. Or traditional advertising.

Those can be important – but they’re not what good marketing is about.

Good marketing is about Expertise. Expertise goes hand-in-hand with being Unique.

Being an Expert in your field makes you Unique. Because most people trying to market what you’re trying to market probably aren’t Experts at what they do. They’re probably just trying to sell, sell, sell.

But knowing your industry inside-out, having a track record of success, knowing the players and the tools; that allows you to sell yourself (or your company or not-for-profit) as something your prospects or clients can’t get anywhere else.

Being a Genius is great. But being an Expert is better.

Being a Genius is great. But being an Expert is better.

Newman Development Group are Experts at developing and redeveloping land for a variety of uses. They know how to navigate the legal and municipal challenges, work through construction, get stores open, and everything in between.

eni are experts are Experts at providing wellness services to businesses and corporations. They provide ways for their clients to have happier and more productive employees.

The Northeast Classic Car Museum has more fantastic antique and classic cars that any other public museum in a dozen states. And they have a staff and volunteers who know those cars and their stories like no one else. They even blog about it.

Being an expert gives you a leg up on the competition because it eliminates most of those competitors.

So, ask yourself, am I an expert?

The Slow Death of Traditional Media

January 8, 2009

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Have you advertised on TV, on the radio or in a print newspaper lately? You probably found that prices are skyrocketing and effectiveness is plummeting.

Why? Same reason as most major social shifts in the history of mankind: technology. Tivo and DVRs are devaluing traditional television ads. iPods and satellite radio are keeping people from listenting to the radio. And ask anyone you know under the age of 30 when they last picked up the print version of a newspaper.

Old school interruption advertising isn’t the same “that’s where the eyeballs are” media buy it was years ago.

So what’s a business or not-for-profit to do to keep their customers or clients engaged – and to get new prospects to become customers?

Learn as much as you can about e-Marketing. Social media, Business blogs, e-Newsletters, Microblogging (like Twitter) and Podcasts are where your customers, clients and donors are moving. So, in order to keep at the top of their minds, you need to move there, too.

Marketing and Sales in a Downturn. When the going gets tough – the tough get….

January 7, 2009

Here are some ideas on sales and marketing in the current economic situation and how we and many of our clients are weathering the situation.

1. Sales Down? Double or Triple your activity – fill your pipeline, go to new markets, develop new offerings. Get out there and make sure your prospects know you exist and make sure your clients know how valuable you are.

2. Look into Social Media Marketing. It’s almost free minus the work. Social media includes developing tools specifically for the web that allow your company/product/service to create a following. Having a following creates qualified leads. Having qualified leads always means you’ll get some sales.

3. Figure out ways to track your current marketing efforts. If your spending X thousand dollars on radio and TV, you have to know if it’s working or not. If you don’t know, it’s time to find out through surveying customers, tracking via online statistics, etc.

4. Give incentives to staff and potential customers to close more deals.

5. Ask staff to give a little more or take a little less less during this time is a much better alternative to having someone good lose their job.

6. Don’t stop marketing and don’t stop selling. Recessions are only an excuse to push harder; when you come out of them, you can be stronger and be on top of the hill.

I personally look at this downturn as one of the biggest opportunities of my generation. So we don’t plan on letting it slip by without taking action.

Advertising and Social Media

December 18, 2008
the Brooklyn Museum's ArtShare application on Facebook allows users to share art and connect with museums.

the Brooklyn Museum's ArtShare application on Facebook allows users to share art and connect with museums.

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a good article about the current state of advertising on social media sites. The upshot: the average person goes to a social media site to be social, not to consume advertising or befriend laundry detergent.

I think one thing that is frustrating traditional “advertisers” is the fact that social media works much more on the old PR model, and that marketing/advertising/PR are becoming less and less distinct disciplines in this environment.

For real though – who is going to be an active contributor to Tide’s corporate page? Who has the time? The challenge for brands is being creative and delivering – yes, I’m going to use those two magic words again – valuable content. Apparently that doesn’t include a gallery of “America’s Favorite Stains.”(ps it’s a work-safe link.)

On the other hand, it will take a while, but behavior on Facebook will likely include shopping one day. I came very close to shopping at the Met’s store for a Christmas present because of an ad on Fb. I clicked through to the site and browsed. For me, that’s as much of a conversion as they’ll ever get because I am, at the end of the day, very cheap. I’ll go back after the holidays and buy ornaments for gifts for next year. I’m in that, much reviled-by-my-own-profession demographic.

And while Tide’s stain-o-rama page has fewer than 500 fans, the Met’s page? More than 35,000, including me. And I get valuable information about events and exhibits right there in my notifications, without having to search it out.

And if you want to talk about being really valuable to your constituents, look at the Brooklyn Museum’s ArtShare application, which allows people and museums who are passionate about art to share it on Facebook. It’s that kind of thinking that will win you a Groundswell Award, as well as distinction as an innovator in your field and exposure to an audience that might never have heard of you otherwise.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to share some Hopper with friends.

Tweet, tweet…it’s your brand flying across the park on Twitter

December 18, 2008

Is Twittering going to work for business and marketing? Still yet to be determined in a meaningful way. There are lots of opinions on it out there. Here’s one now.

twitterific1

We like Twitter. Want to know what we’re up to? Sign up to follow Chris’ tweets by clicking on his photo here.

The Guns N’ Roses Brand and Natural vs. Artificial Exclusivity

December 5, 2008

One of the big recent fads in the music industry – especially for older acts trying to recapture former glory – is exclusive sales of new albums at certain big-box stores.

AC/DC just released “Black Ice” at Wal-Mart and one of my favorite bands of all-time, Guns N’ Roses, did it last week with “Chinese Democracy” at Best Buy (though they at least also offered tracks through iTunes, too).

Is it a good idea to create this artificial exclusivity?

I don’t know what kind of financial deals AC/DC or GnR got from Wal-Mart and Best Buy so who knows if it was good for their pocketbooks. But, as fans and consumers, it’s bad for us.

Like I said, I love GnR. Grew up on them. Learned to play guitar to “Appetite for Destruction”. Couldn’t get enough then. Even had my first date with my wife at a GnR concert (though it was the strange 2003 version).

 

A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....

A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....

 

But I was ticked that I had to drive 70 miles to spend my money to buy “Chinese Democracy” because my hometown doesn’t have a Best Buy. (Of course, I could have downloaded the album on iTunes but there’s something really primally satisfying about holding the actual album of rock in your actual hands.)

So Axl, Best Buy and Universal Music Group got my $14.99 (x2). That means that my brand loyalty to GnR was so high that I was willing to drive lengthy distances and overcome my annoyed-ness at having to do so.

But, if they do it again (hopefully not with a long 13 year wait again), my loyalty will fade a bit more.

A good brand creates a good gut feeling when you think about it.

Listening to the album (well, most of it at least) gives me that good gut feeling. But my experience purchasing it – forking over my money – sure didn’t.

I wasn’t the only one. “Chinese Democracy” debuted at #3 on the charts. 267K albums is certainly respectable – but it’s disappointing for what used to be the world’s biggest band.

Natural exclusivity can be great. But artificial exclusivity just alienates your customers and gives you short-term rewards for long-term loss of brand loyalty.

(I’ll save you my full review of the album – but the short of it is that I’m pretty happy minus a few duds. Here is Rolling Stone’s review if you’re interested)

The First Step to Good SEO: Have Good Content

November 14, 2008

A lot of our clients here at GrafiQa regularly ask us how to get ranked as high as possible by Google, Yahoo! and other search engines.

Their motivations are pretty obvious: get seen by more customers, get more qualified leads, get more business.

Many people think that Search Engine Optimization is about manipulating or tricking search engines into ranking your website higher. That’s dead wrong. Why would you want to trick Google or Yahoo? That means you’re tricking your potential customer (who isn’t really your potential customer anyway since he’s probably not really interested in what you’re selling if you tricked them).

Trickery isn't nice. And it's not real Search Engine Optimization either.

Charlie Brown knows that trickery isn't very nice. But it's not good Search Engine Optimization either.

The first step to effective SEO is actually having relevant and useful content about your product, issue or whatever it is you’re marketing.

Sounds simple, right? It is.

Think about it: if you want to buy small-scaled steel kettle drums, you want Google or Yahoo to direct you to the best, most relevant dealer for that type of specialized equipment. You don’t want them to direct you to some random music equipment dealer in Tacoma who’s really selling indian tablas but “tricked” the seach engines into thinking his selection was broader.

Successful search engine companies are smart. And they know that finding the best, most relevent sites for their customers is what is going to keep those customers coming back.

So, if you’re thinking about SEO, start by understanding that the first step is being honest about what you’re doing.

(Of course, there are a million more advanced things to do after that. But that’s a whole other post….)