Branding Lessons That Create Marketing Geniuses

Image Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com/

What are great entrepreneurs made of? Great advice and execution. That’s right. There’s nothing else that sets them on the path to success. So what are these lessons that are often forgotten?

1. Become a leader: You may be a genius in your own right but that wouldn’t get you to the top. You will have to become a leader if you intend to build a successful company. Knowledge, providing directions, managing teams, and inspiring confidence and not just knowledge will help you create a great company. Fine tune your thought process to enable you to become a leader not a follower.

2. Create a product or service that changes lives: Tons of products come and go but the ones that stay and make their companies millions are the ones that change lives. iPhone has changed the way cell phones were used; merely calling devices. It has changed the way we communicate.

3. Venture into the unexplored: History is testimony to the fact that the companies that have been around for 200 or 300 years lasted that long because they took the risk of venturing into areas that others feared to tread. Case in point; the centuries old whiskey company Jim Beam. They were the pioneers in promoting their products specifically to women at a time when spirit manufacturers focused mainly on men. Some of their brands were specifically created for women and are best sellers even today.

4. Adapt and pay attention to detail: Its a good thing to know what your audience wants and another to deliver exactly what they want. Confusing? Often, companies make the mistake of being over confident of their product and produce tons of it without doing a sample survey among the few. Microsoft carefully creates the editions of its flagship Operating system, then sends off the alpha versions to its selected segments for testing, then based on feedback, improves, then sends it again and this back and forth goes on till the final stage. In the end, they know that the final product is in league with the expectations of the market. Adaptation and paying attention to detail is the key.

Read the original article that talks about 10 branding lessons that one won’t learn in a business school that inspired me to come up with this write up. http://blog.kissmetrics.com/10-branding-lessons/

Ingredients of Grand Marketing Success

Image Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com/

Just before you scoff at the idea (yeah! we’ve heard it before), the statistics will tell you that most entrepreneurs start off with a bang and end without one.

Reasons; they never took good advice seriously (or never got one!). Here are a few simpletons which when followed to the core lead to a grand marketing success.

1. Plan, plan, and plan: They say if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. True! Vision and plan are the path breakers to success. They are the foundations on which your business will thrive. If you have a partner or partners, ensure that you plan and ideas trickle to them.

2. Reach out to your audience: Social media is the buzz these days and there is no reason that should stop you from using it top reach out to people, your prospective audience. Also, you could investigate a little and find out what your competitors are doing on different social platforms.

3. Focus on building brands and personalities: A successful business is all about brand. You sell a brand and people buy your products because you are a loved brand. If you are a new business, focus on building a good brand name.

4. Create an elaborate content strategy: Social media interactions, brochures, leaflets; everything needs great content to go with it. So have it ready before you jump into marketing your company.

5. Measure your ROI: Finally, don’t just go about pumping money into your venture without some sort of benchmarking of your ROI. Unless your expenses fall in line with your expected revenue, you are most likely going to fail.

This post was inspired from a related article and you can read the original write up here http://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/social-media-plan/

Use of Social Media Platforms to Boost Marketing Efforts

Image Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com/

Social media is the call of the day and research shows that close to a whopping 77% of the marketers use it to promote their business activities and are advanced users of social media platforms. A survey among such marketers suggests that the top three most popular platforms include Facebook, Twitter and Google+ followed by YouTube and LinkedIn. No wonder then that teams behind such platforms, say Facebook for example are almost always looking at ways to make their platforms more customized and useful for their users.

The biggest feature that marketers look for is the ability to monitor their progress or growth after they have invested some time on a particular platform. Such analytic abilities in tools give them a yardstick for growth or failure. Analysis as to whether blogging, newsletter or other PPC (pay per click) campaigns lead to increase in sales, traffic, revenue, or subscribers is something that must be measured and if any social media tool does not provide that, it is bound to lose the race.

Social presence is something that every online entrepreneur is ready to leverage and experiment but all social media tools will have to constantly evolve themselves to make the customer happy and only then can they stay ahead of the competition.

Link to the original post that lead me to do a detailed analysis of why and how marketers use social media platforms and blogs for content marketing is here (Infographic) http://www.thedrum.com/news/2012/08/21/infographic-769-marketers-use-blogs-content-marketing

Are You Using Your PR Resources Optimally to Publicize Your Business?

Image Courtesy – http://www.flickr.com/

Businesses are driven not by desires and ideas alone. Once you’ve floated the idea, pumped in the required finances, and set the ball rolling, the next most critical step is getting customers. The biggest hurdle to propagation and growth of an enterprise is the lack of right exposure. That’s right! Companies spend big bucks on their marketing and PR teams just to take their product or service to the end user. How do you get more customers is directly related to how well you sell yourself or convince your target audience about your product or service.

There are 3 universally accepted mantras which, when followed correctly and sincerely lead to great PR and…you got it – it’s great sales. Let’s briefly see what they are:

~ Connect with your audience. Even though, you may know who your target audience is, you may not know exactly what appeals to them emotionally. Find out what exactly are they looking for in a product or service.

~Use social media: But don’t put yourself up everywhere. Choose the most effective blogs or platforms that are known to provide great ROI and set yourself there.

~Become a great story teller: Talk your prospective customers into buying your product or service. How does your product/service satisfy their one biggest need or makes their life easier.

These ideas are based on an article that I recently read on a blog. Here is the link to that original write up titled; “6 PR Tips for Generating Publicity for Your Startup”. http://www.youngentrepreneur.com/startingup/marketing-strategies/6-pr-tips-for-generating-publicity-for-your-startup/

 

Brand Managment or Social Media – Which is Superior?

With the emergence of social media, it has been argued for quite some time now that which is superior; brand management or social media. As one would expect, there has been a flurry of arguments, good vs bad in terms of which is superior. Much of these claims are unfounded and devoid of any merit. Let us first understand what constitutes social media and what exactly is branding.

Brand is the heart of any business. It is what brings customers to the product or service a company is selling. Brand strategy is the planning and development of strategies detailing to make people aware of the brand and how it helps them. Social media is a channel through which you communicate with your customers. That’s it. It just provides a medium for you to reach out to your potential customers and talk to them. So Brand is your name and social media is a platform allowing you to meet people who you can introduce yourself to.

Now for any business to say that we shall focus only on our branding strategy and not social media or vice-versa would mean living in a dark age. Any good marketing plan should include a great brand strategy and identification of social media platforms that help you reach out to your potential customers. Both complement each other and both are vital to an intrinsic plan that promises success.

This article was inspired by a related post the source of which is mentioned below, even though the ideas and views may be different.

Source: “http://www.risingabovethenoise.com/social-media-vs-branding-the-ultimate-business-smack-down/”

Why use publicity?

While most business people make use of various marketing activities, publicity is one aspect of marketing that is still commonly misunderstood and underused. While terms like online marketing, social media marketing, e-mail marketing, direct, and interruptive marketing conjure up fairly clear images for people, when it comes to publicity, a lot of business operators draw a blank or see it as another name for paid advertising. While marketing strategies can and do include paid advertising, there are in fact many different marketing activities that fall under the umbrella of marketing, publicity being just one of them.

So, what exactly is publicity?

Publicity is the deliberate attempt to manage the public’s perception of a subject by obtaining free editorial coverage or commentary in the media, whether it be print or online magazines, or live media such as radio, television or in newspapers. What makes publicity so attractive is that publicity campaigns can gain media exposure valued at 3x that of paid advertising at a fraction of the cost, and is much more credible than paid advertising.

The subjects of publicity can include people, goods and services, organizations, and works of art or entertainment. However, in order to get interest from the media to publicise your subject for you, you need to present an interesting angle, something news worthy or controversial, have a point of difference or be relevant to the audience.

For example, a mortgage broker may offer to the media a statement about a much-awaited interest rate increase. Since newspapers usually cover important interest rate changes, there is a distinct likelihood that a strong stance, opinion or controversial statement would add extra ‘spice’, and therefore get a mention. Such an inclusion in a news story is invaluable, as it adds credibility to the person making the statement, and puts them and their business in front of potential customers – all without paying for advertising.

The difference is that people read and assimilate information from newspapers, magazines and other media, while they only tend to glance at adverts. This is because people know what an advert looks like and that it is paid for by the advertiser. However, if the same message is included in the editorial content of a publication, the reader perceives it as news facts endorsed by the publication. For this reason, editorial content is valued three times greater than advertising because it has a much greater readership impact.

Often it does not matter whether your business is small or is not the industry leader, as long as you can find an angle that will generate interest from the media. And therein lies the art of publicity.

However, just writing a press release and sending it to the editor is not going to get you the results you want. It does take a little more effort than that, considering that a newspaper receives hundreds of press releases and media pitches every day.

Finding these angles for media pitches that promise successful outcomes is not always easy, and dealing with editors and journalists can be challenging, which is why it is probably worth investing a portion of your marketing budget with a PR agency.

The nature of publicity is that there are no ‘guarantees’ that your particular story will get covered. However, if you spend money on a publicist and they get you a ‘run’ or mention in a publication that is read by your target market, the reader perception of the publicity will be of much greater value than any ad you could pay for.

In sum, it does not matter what industry your business is in, how big it is or how long you have been operating – there are publicity opportunities everywhere. If you cannot find obvious ones or come up with suitable media angles, you can always create an event, occasion or initiative that will get you some media interest.

And, if you feel challenged by the prospect of doing your own publicity, then I suggest you work with someone whose business revolves around getting publicity for businesses. The extent of media exposure and value in terms of readership impact created by publicity simply can’t be bought any other way.