Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Social Media Marketing Strategy

I will be delivering a talk on social media marketing strategy at a local American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter meeting in a couple of weeks. I thought I would share the outline of my talk here. 

These are the things one should consider when developing a social media marketing plan.
  • Start with clear objectives (including intended metrics)
  • Deep customer insight is essential – beliefs, attitudes, values, hopes, anxieties, fears, etc.
  • Facebook has the best targeting – take advantage of its AI and big data analytics capabilities
  • Let Facebook refine your target audience
  • You must be an expert at sales and persuasion techniques and copyrighting
  • Choose newsfeed ads
  • Carousel ads have their advantages too
  • Online advertising makes testing different copy and images inexpensive and easy – this can hugely increase advertising effectiveness
  • Videos are king
  • The rule of thumb is short videos, but long videos have a purpose too (weeding out all but the most serious buyers)
  • Minimize the number of steps people will need to take to help you achieve your goals
  • Blogs work, but you better be prepared to run a marathon
  • Striving for thought leadership is a worthy goal
  • Make friends with influencers
  • Collect email addresses and own the email list
  • WordPress is the platform of choice
  • Google Ads/Keyword Planner, Google Books Ngram Viewer and Google Trends are powerful tools – don’t forget to use them
  • Know and consider managing to “the long tail”
  • Are you using the Internet to achieve scalability and network effects?

If you live in the Rochester, NY area, please sign up for my Lightening Talk on February 14th at 11:30 am. If not, a good resource for this subject is David Meerman Scott's book, The New Rules of Marketing & PR. I highly recommend it. 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Marketing Careers

I am often asked by college students majoring in marketing about what types of marketing positions, paths and careers are open to them. Careers in marketing are myriad and often require very different skill sets. Without going into great detail about any one of them, here are just some of marketing positions and paths open to people:

  • Brand manager (broad skill set, typically have P&L responsibility, develop the marketing strategy, fairly autonomous responsibility regarding their brand or brands, works with several internal departments and external marketing agencies)
  • Product manager (responsible for the functions, features and sourcing of one or more products, often have pricing responsibility as well)
  • Product development manager (responsible for developing new products, marketing research is an important component of the job, work with engineers, scientists, prototypers and other designers)
  • Brand identity manager (responsible for maintaining consistent brand identity standards throughout the enterprise and with business partners, typically also responsible for brand architecture and naming standards)
  • Brand marketing manager (responsible for developing all marketing materials for a brand or a portfolio of brands)
  • Product marketing manager (responsible for developing all marketing materials for a product or line of products including product information sheets and other sales support materials)
  • Advertising manager (responsible for developing, producing, fielding and measuring the impact of advertising campaigns against a set of objectives often given them by the brand manager, works very closely with advertising agencies)
  • Promotions manager (responsible for price discounts, contests and other promotions designed to accelerated sales, works closely with brand manager and retail channels of trade)
  • Direct marketing manager (responsible for direct marketing through post cards and other mailings, responsible for purchasing, scrubbing and using customer lists, this is moving more and more to email marketing and coal media marketing)
  • Marketing research analyst or manager (responsible for designing, fielding, and reporting the results and implications of marketing research studies, must choose the most appropriate methodology given the research objective and action standard, often works though outside marketing research vendors, can include both qualitative and quantitative research, if actually doing the analysis, requires strong statistical analysis skills)
  • Focus group moderator (moderates focus groups including developing the discussion guide, moderating the groups themselves, writing the report of findings and implications and working with focus group facilities, requires good interpersonal and group facilitation skills)
  • Media planner (plans the right set of media and the frequency and sequencing of ads to achieve advertising objectives for the target markets, must be familiar with all media sources)
  • Media buyer (buys advertising according to the media plan)
  • Account executive (responsible for the overall management of a client account on behalf of the marketing agency, responsible for the profitability of the account, requires strong project managements skills and strong interpersonal skills)
  • Creative director (responsible for translating the marketing objectives overall and for a variety of marketing pieces, from television advertising to sales brochures, into strong creative content that has breakthrough power and that communicates the intended brand messages)
  • Graphic designer (works on ads, collateral materials, social media advertising, anything that requires visual and other design elements, often also is skilled in creating logos and brand identity guidelines)
  • Copywriter (develops powerful copy that paints a picture with words, can craft compelling brand stories, can also create power calls to action, translates the brand's promise and personality into words)
  • Corporate communications manager (responsible for corporate communications, includes media relations that maintains close working relationships with the media, prepares and executes crisis plans as necessary, is responsible for shaping the overall reputation of the company)
  • PR professional (may be someone within a corporate communications department or an external PR consultant, responsible for placing positive stories, increasing public awareness of the brand or company, keeping the brand or company in the news, may also create and execute publicity stunts or events to achieve specific marketing objectives)
  • Data science analyst (responsible for large data analysis and fetching important information)
  • Solution architect (responsible for solving specific problems using big data analytics, need to understand databases and programming languages)
  • Other big data analysis careers - database administrator, database developer, data modeler, data scientist, business intelligence analyst, database manager, data warehouse manager, and big data engineer)
  • Inbound marketing manager (data driven, manages the lead generation and sales funnel for a company, converts traffic to leads and nurtures those leads)
  • CRM specialist (closely related to inbound marketing manager, responsible for selecting, developing, refining and maintaining customer relationship management systems)
  • Blog manager (needs to be a good copywriter, a savvy wordsmith, creates and maintain s the company's voice, is responsible for optimizing content for search engines and lead generation)
  • Content marketing manager (manages the development and use of content across applications from blogs, white papers, educational ebook, webinars and all other possible applications)
  • Social media/community manager (needs to know all media platforms and online metrics, may also be responsible for mobile and digital marketing, develops and executes strategies to build and maintain online communities)
  • SEO expert (responsible for maintaining high search engine rankings for the brand or company based on the selected sets of search criteria)
  • Email marketing manager (grows email list organically, manages email marketing campaigns, measures results of campaigns, manages email database, segments markets based on email behaviors)
  • Brand licensing manager (responsible for licensing company-owned brands and other properties to outside business partners for strategic (brand extension) reasons and additional revenues and profits, also responsible for licensing outside properties for use with company products)
  • Trade marketing manager (responsible for marketing to and through a certain channel of trade or a certain set of retailers, works closely with the company's salesforce and retailer buyers and category managers, also works closely with promotions manager, often responsible for the optimal spending of co-op advertising funds)
  • Trade relations manager (responsible for maintaining close cordial relationships with important retailers)
  • Marketing operations manager (manages the overall marketing operations and the relationship between the marketing and sales functions, requires strong interpersonal skills)
  • Display designer and virtual merchandiser (designs retail displays including seasonal displays)
  • Retail store designer (responsible for overall store design, considers space optimization, aesthetics, brand identity reinforcement, shopping patterns, ways to increase impulse purchases and ways to minimize shoplifting)
  • Brand strategy consultant (consults on the overall strategy of a brand to bring it back to health or to take it to the next level, requires strong market research, brand equity measurement and brand positioning skills, often considers the interaction of brand strategy with business strategy including business model strategy and competitive strategy)
  • Chief marketing officer (overall responsibility for the marketing strategies of a company, interacts will all other company functions, ensures the overall success of the marketing function including its delivery against key metrics, responsible for the recruiting, development and management of all marketing functions and for optimizing the mix of marketing capabilities and recruiting the right people and other resources to fill them, )

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Common (And Not So Common) Brand Problems

As I was doing my research for an article that I am writing on brand problems, I realized that I had written much about common (and not so common) brand problems in this blog. So rather than write yet another post on this, I thought I would provide you with links to all of the previous posts in which I address brand problems. Here they are...

If you need help solving your brand problems, give me a call or send me an email message. I am extremely likely to have encountered and helped overcome those problems. You can find me at www.brandforward.com.
And to read more about common brand problems, you may want to read Brand Aid, available here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Brand Building Advertising

Advertising and other marketing campaigns can have many different objectives - for instance, increasing brand awareness, changing brand perceptions, increasing emotional connection with the customer, transforming customers into brand advocates, or driving sales.

However, the key distinction I want to make is between brand building advertising and advertising that sells. The latter usually includes an offer or a promotion and always includes a strong call to action. Whereas the former generally does not include any of these elements, but rather strives to do one or more of the following:

  • Build brand awareness, increase the brand's popularity (most ads for new products and brands)
  • Help the customer to pronounce and remember the brand's name (GEICO's gecko, Slinger's allusions to Swingers)
  • Increase emotional connection with the customer (Hallmark's Hall of Fame commercials, Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign)
  • Establish the brand as a badge (Apple is for smart sophisticated people, Luminox is for highly competent people, FootJoy is for serious golfers)
  • Communicate key brand benefits (Liberty Mutual's accident forgiveness, GIECO can save you 15% or more on car insurance, Snickers satisfies)
  • Associate the brand with strong positive emotions (Teleflora ads, Harley-Davidson commercials, many automobile brand ads)
  • Give the brand a distinctive personality (Dos Equis' "The Most Interesting Man in the World" ads, Pistachio's elephant, Motel 6's Tom Bodett)
  • Romance the product itself (Olive Garden ads, Cinnabon ads, Christian Louboutin ads, many food-related brand ads)

While marketing is a function dedicated to creating demand and ultimately sales for products and brands, brand building ads are designed to create strong emotional bonds with people. They are designed to make brands more admirable and endearing to people. This ultimately leads to sales, brand loyalty and brand advocacy. When a non-marketer gives you grief for an ad campaign that does not include an offer and a call to action, educate that person about the long-term sales power of creating strong emotional connections between brands and people. Some marketing campaigns should be focused on generating immediate sales while others should be reserved for longer-term and ongoing brand building.

Here is a fun YouTube video featuring heart touching commercials. Or how about this vintage Hallmark commercial? This is what I am talking about. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Brands as Social Status Signals

Most people feel more comfortable spending time with people with whom they have something in common. Often people can find like-minded others though organizational affiliation. Churches provide this function as do country clubs, alumni groups, political parties, hobby-related organizations and civic organizations. But product and other brands also serve as identifiers of like-minded people. For instance, someone who drives a Prius might assume that he or she would be more comfortable interacting with someone else who also drives a Prius versus, for instance, someone who drives a HUMMER.

I am fascinated by the brands that seem to provide coding for social status. And, within a given social strata, there are specific brands that highlight even more nuanced differences.

For fun, I will mention a series of brands associated with different individuals. These are fictional composite individuals. But, based on these brands, just notice how you react to each individual. Can you relate to him or her? Does he or she seem alien to you? Or perhaps, he or she turns you off. For some individuals, you may not be familiar with some or even all of the brands. You may be able to assign a label to one or more of the individuals. Can you guess whether the person lives in a city, a suburb or somewhere rural? Can you tell in what part of the country or the world he or she lives? Can you guess that person's eduction level? Is he or she working class, middle class, upper middle class, well to do or uber rich? Does he or she have a particular hobby or profession? To which individual or individuals can you best relate? Or can you not relate to any of them? What does that say about you? Now, compile a list of your own favorite or most used brands. What does that list say about you? I hope this has made clear that brands signal much about an individual. And it helps people quickly locate their "tribes." When developing your brand, consider if it could or is being used as a "badge" or self-expressive vehicle for those who use it.

PS - Congratulate yourself if you know most or all of these brands. It means that you have either participated in or interacted with many different socio-economic groups throughout your life or you are an advanced student of brands, including luxury brands. And, if you have personally used or been associated with many or all of these brands, I don't know what to say other than you have lived a very full life and should count your blessings.

Individual A:
  • Carhartt 
  • International Harvester
  • Winchester
  • Kent
  • Dekalb
  • Stihl

Individual B:
  • Walmart
  • Stanley
  • Irwin
  • Dickies
  • Ford F-150
  • Red Wing

Individual C:
  • Barneys
  • Vilebrequin
  • Jeffery Levinson
  • Hermes
  • Rolex
  • Christian Louboutin

Individual D:
  • Rosewood
  • Jumeriah
  • St. Moritz
  • Gulfstream
  • Lurssen
  • Patek Philippe

Individual E:
  • Cub Cadet
  • Subaru
  • Dockers
  • Kenmore
  • Applebee's
  • Macy's

Individual F:
  • Vespucci
  • John Whitaker
  • MUCK
  • Le Chameau
  • Blue Seal
  • Featherlite

Individual G:
  • BMW
  • Morton's The Steak House
  • Big Green Egg
  • The Greenbrier
  • Beaver Creek
  • TUMI

Individual H:
  • JC Penny
  • Kia
  • Wendy's 
  • Aldi
  • Frigidare 
  • Bridgestone 

Individual I:
  • Nautor's Swan
  • Harken
  • Lewmar
  • Westerbeke
  • Garmin
  • Gill

Individual J:
  • The Thatcher School
  • Porcellian Club
  • Bohemian Club
  • Mill Valley
  • Caymus
  • Tesla

Individual K:
  • Under Armour
  • Bass Pro Shops
  • Shakepheare
  • Eagle Claw
  • Sun Dolphin
  • Matador