What has Changed About Marketing in the Last 100 Years?

By Andy Slipher

In 1975, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a largely overlooked ruling that allowed earth-orbiting antennas—satellites—to be used for broadcasting television over large areas. Around that same time, a little-known regional broadcasting network called Home Box Office (HBO) took notice, and decided to use the FCC’s landmark decision to begin distributing its own programming via satellite.

HBO’s innovative move would have a ripple effect that would spill over onto the landscape of marketing. Soon, satellite networks proliferated, and with them, marketers’ ability to target in ways that were never previously possible.

Since that time, there has been so much technological innovation that marketers are faced with choices beyond measure. It can be blinding and bewildering for anyone charged with allocating marketing dollars on behalf of a business. And, this very issue is what has caused marketers to go awry. This is an age of unprecedented communications, and yet many still struggle to connect with one another. But this problem is not the real problem.

The true problem is that too many marketers have failed to recognize that only one thing has changed in marketing in the past 100 years—technology. That’s it. Yes, you now have social media and tweets and followers and apps and branding and re-marketing and analytics and focus groups and ROI and CRM and customer personas and digital and so on. It’s all certainly true. But, what has enabled nearly every bit of it is technology.Only one thing has changed in marketing in the past 100 years—technology Click To Tweet

So prolific is the role of technology in marketing that it has become for some an alluring distraction. Panic and peer pressure set in, and organizations pursue the latest and the greatest technology-based marketing tactics without taking the time to thoughtfully consider a strategic approach. As legendary philosopher and strategist, Sun Tzu once put it, “Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”

Marketing must ultimately get the product or service into the hands of the customer – a real person. Marketers need to realize that it is way too easy to distract ourselves (via technology) away from what is centrally important in marketing—generating a sale to a real person and, hopefully, repeating that process again and again to her or his delight. Marketing strategy is not so much about a plan, but a system. Build your marketing (including the sale) around a strategically-based, customer-centric system, then technology becomes a true and valuable tool, and not a distraction.

If you want to plan your marketing communications on a more strategic level and with a more integrated and seamless approach, consider the following methods and means to do so:

Strategic Marketing Plan: Full-on marketing guidance—someone asking the right questions and enabling you to think critically about your industry, business, customers, competition, brand and marketing activities. A strategic marketing plan answers both, “What are we trying to do?” and “How are we going to achieve it?” in a thorough, resolute way that doesn’t miss a lick (broad-to-specific). It facilitates a systematic way of measurably and methodically moving your business’s overall marketing activities from point A to point B.

Strategic Brand Plan:Marketers love to talk branding these days, but few truly understand what a brand is. At its core, a brand is simply a (strong) promise. Everything after that is embodying the promise or not. A brand plan helps an organization answer the why’s and how’s of their brand in a way that actively demonstrates its value.

Brand Landscape: A collaborative document and process that combines visual (graphic, photographic) and distilled conceptual elements (written) to succinctly express what a particular brand is, and what it is not, to a broader internal audience. At its core, it’s a reference and training document. It serves to familiarize an organization’s management on the concept of their own brand, so that they themselves can more consistently demonstrate and articulate it to others.

Vision: Your organization needs to aspire to something greater in order for its marketing to become something that inspires others. Sometimes there is no unifying or inspiring vision—an expression of what an organization aspires to reach or become in the next five to ten years. Other times, a vision reads as flat, academic or long-winded. A good vision statement isn’t fluff. Rather, it helps all stakeholders reach to something higher.

Public Outreach Strategy: Address and formalize a communications approach for the public-at-large. This does not necessarily mean customers. Rather, it’s about respecting and interfacing with the general public as influencers, opinion holders, social activists and supporters of personal, political or economic interests. This type of strategy addresses a need for responding to criticism, opposing or competing points of view. Its purpose is to build and demonstrate credibility and to authentically communicate it.

In conclusion, plan your marketing. Don’t be led by technology, or allow it to distract and overwhelm you. Know who you are, what you want from your marketing and how you’re going to achieve it. Only then will technology become a navigable means to achieve your goals.

Andy Slipher is founder of Slipher Marketing, a consultancy where strategy comes first, followed by tangible marketing results. He is an accomplished strategist, interim CMO, speaker and writer on marketing strategy. He is marketing segment lecturer for SMU’s accredited Bank Operations Institute for professional bankers, and for the Independent Bankers Association of Texas (IBAT). Andy’s forthcoming book is The Big How: Where Strategy Meets Success.For more information, visit www.Slipher.com.

How to Succeed at Email Marketing

By Peter DeHaanPeter DeHaan

Email marketing is a cost-effective and simple way to reach out to touch clients and customers. But just because it’s cheap and easy, this doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. When done wrong, email marketing can alienate the audience you’re trying to cultivate.

Here are five tips for successful email marketing:

Send Only Useful Messages: Several years ago I had the grand idea of using an email-marketing program to inform and engage advertisers and potential advertisers for my magazines. When I began working on the next issue, I emailed them with the theme and deadlines. A week before the due date, I sent a reminder. When the magazine went to print, I dashed off an update, and when it mailed, I let them know.

This lasted two issues. Although sending the messages seemed free, it cost me time. Plus I worried about becoming a nuisance. And in those early days of email marketing, I couldn’t tell who was reading what I sent.

I scaled back my messages to one per issue. That initial email letting them know the theme and deadlines was what mattered most. Besides, if I emailed less often, they would be more apt to read what I did send.

What are the messages that matter most to your audience?

Segment Your Audience: I quickly fell into a rhythm of sending out one mass email per issue, but it wasn’t as smooth as I wished. It seemed that no matter how carefully I worded my message, someone would be confused. This resulted in more communication to clear up my miscommunication.

The problem was that I tried to make one message work for everyone: regular advertisers, occasional advertisers, and potential advertisers. A message for regular advertisers might confuse the occasional ones and vice versa. Alternately, a message encouraging potential advertisers to run an ad might cause regular advertisers to make wrong assumptions about their status. To solve this, I divided my list into three groups in order to send specific messages tailored to each particular audience.

Your biggest client is different from your smallest, and both are different from your prospects. How should your list be segmented?

Send Only Wanted Messages: Twenty percent of my magazine readers receive their subscription electronically. I email them when a new issue is available to view, download, or read online. As part of their subscription, we also send an occasional email message relevant to the industry that has a high likelihood to be of interest. So that we don’t overwhelm or irritate readers, we send no more than one additional email per month. If you’re like me, you’ve unsubscribed from publications you liked simply because they contacted you too often.

What type of messages does your audience want? Which ones do they just delete?

Allow Unsubscribes: Even though it’s a legal requirement to provide a means to unsubscribe, I’m shocked at how many email marketers don’t. Plus, a few let you try to unsubscribe, but they don’t follow through.

Allow for and honor unsubscribes. It’s the right thing to do, and it’s the law.

Don’t Spam: Though I have no firsthand experience in this regard, it’s apparently easy to buy an email database. It’s also common for companies to harvest contact information and send you messages you don’t want. (I know because it happens to me all the time.) These messages are spam; no one likes a spammer.

In your zeal to market, make sure you don’t spam your list or look like a spammer.

When you send useful and wanted messages to your segmented list, allow for unsubscribes, and avoid spamming, you are ahead of most companies. You are providing the right amount of contact, and your email marketing is poised to succeed.

Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit www.peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media. [This article first appeared in Connection Magazine.]

Choose Your Business Partners with Care

By Peter DeHaan

Peter DeHaanConference planners sometimes ask me to sit on a panel. The common format is that each panelist makes an initial presentation, followed by a Q&A. Other times the presentations are longer, with no time for questions.

Most of my panel experiences have not been positive. For my first one, my fellow panel members dismissed my suggestion to coordinate our presentations. I went last and was alarmed when the first panelist covered some of my planned remarks; the third person addressed most of the rest. I needed to come up with new content at the last minute.

Another time, at an early morning panel, one of the panelists had stayed up all night partying. Sitting next to me, he smelled like a brewery. His speech was slurred, his judgment impaired, and his humor – some of which was directed at me – was not so funny. I spent the entire time praying he wouldn’t get sick on me. I doubt he realized he made a fool of himself and demeaned the rest of us in the process.

Another time I thought I was safe. Three of us discussed our remarks in advance, but the fourth person was vague, implying he would ad lib something aligned with our presentations. He went just before me. The first two people gave practical advice, as was my plan, but the third guy delved into high-level theory, giving a well-conceived strategic vision for the future. He outclassed us all – and I had to follow him.

Not surprisingly, I no longer agree to sit on panels. I’m fine with solo presentations, where success or failure sits solely on my shoulders, but keep me away from group presentations.

In business, we often have occasions to collaborate with other companies. Like my panel opportunities, these seem easy to do, require less prep, and share risk. The key word is seem.

Here are three areas to consider:

Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is performance-based promotion, where one entity (a person or an organization) pays another entity for each lead or sale generated from the first entity’s customer base. Often done via email, there is little cost and a potentially high payoff. Bill stuffers are another example. At a basic level, a company allows an ad aggregator to place relevant promotions on its website. The payoff is pay-per-click revenue.

Recently I bought a tutorial from someone I met at a convention. This person added me to his mailing list and began blasting out affiliate marketing pitches on a weekly basis, with multiple messages for each promotion. I grew weary of the hype and eventually unsubscribed, even though I was open to buy future products from him. Because of his implied endorsement of the people he promoted (some who I deemed questionable) and his unrelenting marketing for them, he lost me as a customer.

Strategic Alliances: Sometimes we seek opportunities to better serve clients by working with other businesses to provide a one-stop solution. Reselling products is one example, as is bundling services provided by other businesses.

When seamlessly integrated, customers don’t realize they are dealing with two companies, and the interaction occurs flawlessly. But when there’s a problem, the caller sees only the initial company, blaming them for the shortcomings of its partner. In these cases, we can succeed and fail based on what our alliance partner does or doesn’t do.

Outsourcing: Sometimes it makes sense to outsource work that other companies can do better or cheaper, yet in each instance, our reputation is placed in the hands of someone else who we have minimal control over. Is it worth the risk?

Whether it’s sitting on panels, affiliate marketing, strategic alliances, or outsourcing, we must proceed with care, not allowing someone else to control our reputation or determine the results.

Peter DeHaan is a magazine publisher by day and a writer by night. Visit www.peterdehaan.com to receive his newsletter, read his blog, or connect on social media. [This article first appeared in Connection Magazine.]

Media Mixology: Crafting the Perfect Publicity Cocktail

By Russell TrahanRussell Trahan

The handcrafted cocktail has skyrocketed in popularity. Thanks in part to period-piece television dramas such as Mad Men that romanticize bar scenes of yore, drinks like the Old Fashioned and the Sazerac have risen from the recesses of the speakeasy to the drink menu of the neighborhood watering hole. With its focus on precision and detail, the art of mixology has effectively taken taps and brass rails by storm.

From the bar room to the board room, a different brand of mixology is taking place: the meticulously designed publicity campaign. All beneficial and lucrative PR strategies are devised like a classic cocktail, with an emphasis on industry-standards, creative execution and an array of unique approaches that parallel the goals—or tastes—of the business or individual. There are many different options to consider when concocting the perfect publicity campaign, but it is paramount to remember that in order to achieve the desire result, the mix of media must be just right.

Local & Community Print: The Base: This is the heart of any publicity campaign. Like an aged, smoky Rye, targeting print media publications forms the base of your PR cocktail—everything builds off of it. Articles placed in local and community magazines helps to establish visibility and lends to credibility in your particular field. When you are looking for the proper starting point, look no further than the printed page.

The diversity of readership and focus in the wide-range of print outlets allows for producing audience-specific content across a variety of industries, and positions you for the best chance of increased name-recognition and profit-margins. While the allure of a television or radio interview can seem enticing—and they do have their place in the publicity mix—your information in local and community print publications offers permanence. A satellite outlet or emergency-broadcast message will not interrupt your expertise.

Broadcast: The Modifier: The purpose of a modifier in a drink, traditionally an additional liqueur such as Vermouth, is to enhance the impact of the base. That brings us to interviews and appearances on the broadcast medium, which works to augment your efforts in the area of print. The modifier will not make your campaign, but it will absolutely enrich it.

A targeted approach with radio and television, promoting events and engagements in a geographic-area, will provide a spike of PR activity that builds from your local and community print base. Your presence in print has brought your thoughts and ideas to your audience; your presence on their televisions and radios will put a face and voice to them.

Interviews & Op-Eds: The Flavor: The flavoring in an artisanal cocktail truly sets it apart from its traditional counterparts. Grenadine, tropical juices, ginger beer—ingenuity in flavors makes your beverage stand out; and the same is true for your publicity campaign.

Interviews that result in quotes in daily newspapers—local and national—and newsstand magazines bring your personality to the forefront. A controversial or distinct idea in the pages of publications with massive readerships puts your views on wide-display, and helps to establish you as a one-of-a-kind expert in your area.

Op-Eds take this a step further. They provide you with a forum to distinguish yourself from your colleagues, imparting a unique opinion or thought-process on your audience can make you a household name for your beliefs. Do not be afraid to push the envelope—professional mixologists take concerted risks to create a name for themselves.

Online Components: The Garnish: The garnish is the icing on the cocktail cake, if you will. You are finishing your creation with a flourish that doubles-down on your established base, modifier and flavors. The PR mix uses print outlets’ online components as a garnish.

Since most—if not all—print media have an associated website, newsletter or blogging arm, many articles or interviews that appear in print will also be featured online. This achieves a dual-impact of your original piece, as it now exists on computer screens as well as in tangible print, which only helps to extend your reach.

With the advent of our social media society, articles online may garner even more mileage, as sharing pieces deemed particularly informative or valuable has become one of the cornerstones of Facebook and Twitter. You’re only ever a few clicks and shares away from going viral.

There are few things as enjoyable as a finely-crafted cocktail. Mixologists behind bars across the globe are using their imaginative brains to create innovations-on-ice; using the classics as foundations to bring about something entirely original. The media mix for a publicity campaign should adhere to the same process: an emphasis on time-honored local and community print placements, a boost with broadcast media and heightened name-recognition with interviews and opposite-editorials. Top off your campaign with online features and exclusives and you have the mixture for the perfect publicity cocktail.

And you just may become the toast of the town.

Russell Trahan is President of PR/PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in positioning clients in front of their target audience in print and online. PR/PR represents experts of all kinds who are seeking national exposure for their business or organization. Russell and PR/PR will raise your business’ awareness in the eyes of your clients and customers. For more information, please visit www.prpr.net or email mail@prpr.net for a free consultation.

Take Control of Your Brand: The 4Cs of Brand Management

DeEtta JonesBy DeEtta Jones

There are plenty of reasons to care about your brand, and high among them should be to make your voice heard: your unique voice. Voice is the contribution made to something larger than oneself. It’s the medium for sharing one’s purpose, values, talents and vision for the future. Yes, there are plenty of examples in contemporary society of people creating a shallow brand seemingly for the sole purpose of increasing the number of social media followers. But, before you too hastily follow that line of thinking, consider the bigger picture—and your values. Where do you want your name and legacy to appear in people’s minds and hearts?

Some of the most fundamental elements of a value-rich personal brand are reflected in the 4Cs of brand management:

1. Conviction: How do your values show themselves in your life? In the way you carry yourself? In your conversations, friendships, choices? How do others know what you stand for? People with strong brands—those who are most influential and apt to attract followers and allies—are mission-driven. Their words and deeds are predictably consistent with their values. Conviction is more than a noble concept; it’s about having an unimpeachable character that is, and is understood by others to be, working in the service of something greater than yourself. Again, what is the “greater good” that you are striving for, and is it known to others through the large and small behavioral choices you make on a regular basis?

2. Caring: Managing your brand means caring enough about how you are perceived to invest time and be open to behavioral modifications. Captain Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol, brought in to turnaround the riots in Ferguson, MO, personified caring at the press conference held on August 15, following the shooting of Michael Brown. Media from around the country were carefully positioned to record his every word, yet the locals standing 20 feet in front of him could not hear his remarks. Brown walked away from the staged microphone and into the crowd because, as he stated, “my concern is that the members of our community hear me and be heard.”

People who are most in control of their brand are able to keep small the gap between how they see themselves and how others see them. Research shows that with ascension in titular leadership this becomes more difficult, particularly because there is less access to the unfettered truth. Simply, the higher one goes up the proverbial ladder, the smaller the peer group becomes. Fewer peers means there are less people willing (often because of fear of reprisal) to share honest perspectives about the behaviors that need to stop or be changed. Without access to this feedback, and with ascension, it is easy to only pay attention to the limited, and affirmative, feedback received. Over time, and as people are expected to perform in increasingly sophisticated and politically nuanced environments, the higher the probability that past strengths will become weaknesses. A classic example of this is people who move from #2 to #1 positions in an organization. The operational strengths that helped them move through their career are no longer considered as relevant when one is expected to perform as a strategy-savvy CEO.

Caring is also—and perhaps appropriately weighted—being concerned about the impact you are having on others.

3. Class: “Keep it classy” is a mantra for those who sometimes forget that brand is shaped with every choice made, every word uttered. Whether choosing to act or not act a choice is being made. Even thoughts are choices—choosing to focus mental and emotional energy on certain things over others.

Classiness requires intentionality. Think of your life as a story to be displayed on a television show. You are one of several cast members, each requiring a clear identity that contributes to the overall theme of the show. Who are you relative to the other members of the cast? Are you the Protagonist? Hero? Victim? Underdog?

Create a personal narrative; psychologists call it self-authoring. You decide the story line, then position yourself in the role that is most desirable for you and others. Writing the story forces you to explore the needs and motivations of others; to develop the characters and your relationship to them—your colleagues, boss, clients, children, spouse or partner and friends.

This desire to understand what motivates others is a key to fully fleshing out your character’s role and behaviors in enacting the story. It is also the essence of building a strong personal identity—understanding yourself in relation to the needs and motives of others is one of the most effective ways to create a credible brand, a brand powerful enough to positively influence others.

4. Confidence: Confidence is the toughest of the Cs in this list. It can’t be taught or bought; it has to be earned. There are people who are full of shallow entitlement that comes across as smug confidence. Don’t pay attention to them, and certainly don’t let yourself become one of them. It’s transparent. They’re hiding something, which will be discovered in time.

Earned confidence is beautiful to observe. It shows itself as an effortless comfort in one’s being, requiring no airs. People with a deep sense of personal confidence often have many relationships, varied interests and deep passions, make an effort to stretch their boundaries and are comfortable saying no. Confidence is built through experience and relationships, and wise people invest—on an ongoing basis—in the nurturing and acquisition of both.

Here’s the simple truth: perception does count. People make split-second judgments all the time. Taking control of your brand means that you are putting yourself in the driver’s seat, making a conscious choice to intentionally reflect behaviors and choices that allow the best of you to shine.

DeEtta Jones is a leadership strategist, social justice advocate and author. She has more than 20 years of experience working with individual leaders and teams in some of the world’s most prominent universities and corporations. Her multidimensional background and fresh perspective leaves clients feeling heard and empowered to take on some of the major organizational and workforce challenges of our times. For more information or to have DeEtta speak at your next event, please visit www.deettajones.com.