Tag Archives: marketing strategy

Mythbusters: Marketing Edition

b972ce7e359d54e2dd3b3e805a6a92214bd25d17As the marketing industry changes and develops, it’s only natural that misconceptions will come out of the woodworks.

Whether you’re an emerging brand or a veteran of the industry, it can sometimes be hard to determine which marketing myths should be taken with a grain of salt, and which should just be completely ignored.

Here are five myths busted, so you can be properly informed when going into your marketing planning.

Marketing is the same as advertising

If you go around believing that marketing and advertising are one and the same, keep reading. While the two go hand in hand, they are still very different. According to the American Marketing Association, “marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” Marketing focuses more on the technical process of creating awareness and understanding your customers by getting inside of their head. It is much more overarching than advertising. Advertising is a component of marketing. It is focused on the creation of actual items to drive promotions through mediums such as print, radio, television, billboards, etc. If you use the terms marketing and advertising interchangeably, it’s time to stop.

I don’t need social media

Social media seems to touch every part of our lives, so neglecting it for your business is a mistake. Social media isn’t just a way to connect with friends, but is an asset for sharing your business’ content and information. Customers like to conduct online research about products before making a decision. 74% of people will consult social media to help decide which product to buy. Typically customers will see it as a red flag if your business does not have some sort of social media presence. Social media is a way to provide customer service and connect with your customers on a more personal level. Even if you feel like you’re not in an industry where social media is necessary, don’t neglect its importance.

Marketing is too expensive

While it’s true that you will eventually have to spend some money for an effective marketing campaign, you might not need as big of a budget as you may think. Depending on which area you want to spend your time and money (social media, paid media, inbound marketing, etc.), there are ways to cut expenses when needed. Take influencer marketing, for example. Many brands feel the need to shell out the big bucks for big-name influencers and celebrities to promote their product when there are plenty of smaller, niche influencers who will charge a lot less for a partnership. Some will even take non-monetary compensation! If you don’t have a hefty marketing budget, get creative with how and where you want to spend your money.

It worked for them, so it will work for us

While there are general strategies that should be implemented for most marketing campaigns, not everything will work for everyone. For example, a B2B tech company wouldn’t utilize an Instagram campaign like a consumer retail business would, because that’s not where their audience is. Their audience is most likely on LinkedIn, which means they’re better off focusing their time and energy there. To get the most out of marketing, your brand has to utilize the tactics that will reach the right audience, in the right way.

All you need is a good website

Your brand could have the best website in the world, but that doesn’t matter unless people know it exists. That’s where good marketing comes in. Through social media, content marketing, SEO and other tactics, your website can be seen by a much larger audience than if it just sits there on its own. To increase traffic to your website, start by feeding it into as many places as you can — social media, blog posts, contributed posts, etc. And even if you’re not an SEO expert, you should at least know the basic keywords related to your industry and utilize those to increase the chances that your brand will show up during Google searches.

 

Pros and cons of outsourcing your marketing

Coworkers meeting in trendy business office.If you’re just starting out, or if you’ve been too busy with other aspects of your business to think about marketing, you may be considering outsourcing your marketing efforts to an agency.

If, however, the thought of hiring an agency and paying thousands of dollars for your marketing intimidates the hell out of you, you’re not alone. One way to get around the fear is to think rationally about the pros and cons associated with outsourcing. That way you will be much more comfortable if, and when, the time comes to pick a marketing agency.

Pro: Saving time

Perhaps the biggest benefit of outsourcing your marketing is the amount of time you save. If you don’t have much experience with marketing, you may not be willing to take the time to learn all the ins and outs. Because an agency’s main focus is on marketing, this allows them to dedicate more of their time to your brand’s needs than you possibly ever could. Hiring an agency to do your marketing can save you valuable time that you can use to focus on your own area of expertise.

Con: Price

The first con that might pop into your head is cost. You may not be in a position to spend thousands on outsourced marketing or may not see the value in paying someone to do something you can learn to do yourself. The cost of hiring an outside agency is definitely something to factor in, especially if you’re at an early point in your business.

Pro: Experience

The only thing worse than no marketing is bad marketing. If you aren’t experienced in marketing, you risk creating campaigns that aren’t received well by your audience and don’t reap the benefits that a good marketing strategy should. Hiring an agency to handle your marketing can be beneficial because they likely have more experience than you and can produce high quality results. An experienced marketing firm will be able to provide your business with all the necessary tools required for a substantial marketing presence, from social media to search engines. The key to finding the right agency for your business is to do plenty of research beforehand and make sure the agency’s experience fits your brand.

Con: Being on the same page

Another reason you may shy away from hiring an outside agency is the fear that they won’t understand the vision you have for your company. Often times it can be difficult to find the right people who are truly able to be understand your thoughts and your business. Your brand’s personality may be lost when hiring a marketing agency that doesn’t understand what you are looking for. It is important to make sure you understand who you are working with before you hire an agency to make sure you get the most out of your relationship.

Pro: Outside perspective

An agency provides a fresh, objective perspective on how to market your company. It is easy to be blinded by your own ideas when you have worked so hard on creating a successful company. Outsourcing your marketing allows an unbiased party to say what they feel is best for your marketing strategy. It’s also easier for them to provide constructive criticism that will help your marketing strategy in the long run.

Con: Less control

When working with an agency, you may feel that you’ve given up a certain amount of control. While you may have less say in the decisions that are made in regards to marketing, your agency is dedicated to the business and you are the overall decision maker. You hired an outside team for a reason — they often have more experience and will likely have a better understanding of what’s best for the business. It’s important to understand this compromise when outsourcing your marketing. If maintaining a large amount of control is important to you, outsourcing marketing may not be for you.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

 

 

What is inbound marketing?

Typing on laptop closeup, chatting in FacebookFor years, when people thought of marketing, the first things that came to mind were flyers stuck on their windshields and over-the-top sales people pushing products in person or over the phone.

These methods were interruptive and worked hard to push consumers to take a specific action. Over the years, the marketing world, especially in the world of B2B marketing, has shifted to something called “inbound marketing.”

Inbound marketing focuses on building up the brand and creating long-lasting relationships with the consumer. When it comes to inbound marketing, it’s crucial to understand your target audience so that you are providing content that they will appreciate and engage with.

Pull vs push

Inbound marketing relies on pull tactics that draw consumers in naturally rather than pushing them in a certain direction. It communicates on a platform where the audience has given the marketer permission to interact with them, and is a more natural process where consumers observe and make decisions for themselves. Respecting the consumer’s space builds trust — which is important for not only gaining customers in today’s crowded market, but retaining them as well.

Relationship building

Inbound marketing helps shape brand preference for consumers and influences their purchasing habits in the future. For example, think about walking around the mall. Are you more likely to visit a store because someone is standing outside shouting at you about their deals, or because you received an email earlier in the week informing you about their sale? You probably chose the email, right?

People don’t like to feel pressured when making decisions. Inbound marketing takes away some of the pressure from customers. It’s based on building relationships with customers who are actually interested in your product. This organic creation of desire for your product or service is much more lasting than the pushy efforts of some in-your-face outbound marketing. While it’s a big deal to get people to initially buy your product or service, it’s an even bigger deal to make them want to continue purchasing it.

Digital presence

The widespread use of the internet has dramatically shifted the way we market things. Inbound marketing is centered around the use of the internet and is directly related to digital marketing. The audience for inbound marketing typically originates from blogs, search, and social media. 

When using these platforms, your customers may not even realize that you are marketing to them, which allows them to feel like they have more control and gives them confidence when making purchasing decisions. Another great advantage of blogs, search, and social media is that your online audience is much larger. The number of people online is constantly growing, which means that the number of people you can market to is constantly growing as well. In today’s mobile-social world, a strong social media and online presence is key to drawing people into your business.

About Lauren Usrey: Lauren is a student at the University of Texas at Austin and a marketing communications intern at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications has offices in Austin, Denver and Houston and provides digital marketing and PR services for tech companies seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

Four signs your marketing needs revamping

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It is entirely possible that the marketing strategy which previously brought you tons of customers is no longer as effective as it used to be. Whether the customer base has shifted, or the way your prospects do their product research has changed, or new competitors have joined the market — what worked last year might not be working so well anymore.

Whatever the case, it’s important to look at your marketing strategy with a fresh new perspective in order to stay relevant in your market. Here are some signs your marketing needs an overhaul:

You’re getting contacted less

If there has been a noticeable decline in the number of customers seeking you out, you should probably take a step back and re-evaluate. Unless there has been a clear change in general economic trends (i.e., a recession), then the reason for the drop off is either because your marketing is not reaching the target audience or your competitors are addressing that audience more effectively than you.

Website visits are down

You should be using an app like Google Analytics (it’s free!) to monitor the traffic on your website at least weekly. If you see a decline in visitors perhaps it’s because the information on your website is getting stale. Or maybe it’s not optimized for mobile. Things to look at include the state of your SEO, traffic coming from social media and the frequency of your blog posts. Any or all of these factors can lead to a decrease in traffic. Your website is the face of your business and needs to be up to speed on the latest upgrades and updates to open your brand up to as many opportunities as possible.

Social network follows have not budged

You should be consistently gaining followers on your social media platforms of choice. Fortunately, most social networks are good about keeping you informed on new follows. Try to keep an ongoing record of the new follows so you can spot any trends — for instance, which posts generated more follows versus ones that were duds. Also consider joining a new network that your customers are active on, or freshening up your social media campaigns and profiles by trying out new tactics, messages and visuals.

Your competitors are doing just fine

Keeping track of your own performance metric is clearly vital to your success. Perhaps just as important is keeping track of your competitors’ performance. If your sales are down and your new inbound leads are lacking, it’s worth taking a closer look at the competition to see if they are having the same problems. If they aren’t, take note of what they’re doing differently so that you can quickly figure out a better way to do things.

About Sam Lauron: Sam Lauron is a Communications Associate at Manzer Communications. She supports clients with digital marketing, social media, blogging and tech PR activities. Manzer Communications provides digital PR and marketing services in Austin, Denver and Houston and for any national brands seeking rapid, sustained growth. Some of the services provided include content marketing, social media strategy and ad buys, email marketing, and media relations.

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