Excitement! Social Media! Why You Should Think Like A Millennial!

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Note to my readers – this article came from BizBash.com one of my very favorite websites and they linked it from Small Business Trends – with appreciation to both of them.

selfieYou have a major event coming up. Either a conference, seminar, hosted panel discussion, reception for journalists at a major trade show, a community event – you get the idea. And you have done all your planning and preparations are solid. Now, what can you do to tip your event from successful to absolutely fabulous?

Think like a Millennial! Yes, that’s right…those social media savvy, online marketing and gamification powerhouses ushering in the next level of event promotion and awareness.

Millennials Know HashtagsHashtag
Millennials are trained to think in 140 characters or far, far less. They get to the heart of a topic – fast. They identify what’s the buzz, what’s hot and why people should take notice.

Millennials exercise this gift with hashtags that sport not only branding power but also social awareness. What better way to promote your event than to hashtag it like a champ?

Twitter provides an exceptional platform for creating and generating a social excitement around an event or activity. It builds community engagement with every tweet and retweet. Hashtags are the glue that holds endeavors together in a dynamic social landscape.

Develop entertaining or socially relevant hashtags that speak to the heart and soul of your event – and to the masses that you are targeting.

Millennials Never Give Up
Millennials are always trying new things. They are always experimenting, sharing and endorsing the latest and greatest. Let’s face it, they are trendsetters.

A Millennial will think nothing of exhausting all social media platforms when it comes to promoting a cause or sharing their expertise – or their dreams. So why should you?

Work a variety of social platforms to share your event – the build up of the event preparations, the goals of the event, special entertainers, important themes. Share on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Work video content in the mix of your social shares to entice and engage all audiences.

Leave no social stone unturned when you promote your event. A Millennial sure wouldn’t – so why should you?

Millennials Love Selfies
Millennials love to share their selfies. Why? Well, they are young and beautiful. However, don’t sell these young marketing minds short. These kids are savvy personal branders. What is a selfie, but an affirmation of confidence.

So how do you selfie an event? Easy. Recruit participants in the event planning, event production and even the entertainment to selfie the event, share the event’s hashtags and show a social endorsement of the event in all its glory. Selfie before, during and after the event. Show off the event with confidence and the right creativity.

If a Millennial were at the helm of your event’s social promotion, it would be a selfie extravaganza. Don’t hesitate to master the selfie when it comes to marketing your event’s personality – and mission.

Millennials Get Excited
Whether it’s a social cause or the latest headlines, Millennials weigh in with observations, opinions and images. They are engaged people. They get excited – passionate.

Be like a Millennial and share your passion for your event with social engagement. Let your posts and shares convey a vibrant energy and glow about your event. If you are excited about your event, everyone else will get energized too.

You don’t have to tell a Millennial to get energized, that’s their natural state. Let that youthful energy and exuberance rub off on your social media approach to marketing, branding and promoting your event. Promote your event with energy and promote your event with passion.

Millennials Worship Images
Everyone loves images. One image can convey emotion, opportunity, excitement and even a philosophy of thought or action. Load your social media outreach with strong visuals and videos. Create memes, infographics, SlideShares and videos and leverage these visual vehicles to drive your event to success.

Millennials know pictures are worth a million tweets – are you getting the picture?

Feeling the Change?  3 Examples of the New Vision Changing The World

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In just one 24 hour news cycle – 3 rather major announcements, one as part of a paid ad, hit me as what I’ll call the New Vision.global change 1

Trend watchers like Faith Popcorn predicted this day of accountability and action were coming… and from what I am seeing we are about to see true change and a parallel change in the global mindset.  Are you ready?  How can you join this new message trend and feel good about it too?

Let’s take a look at the 3 recent announcements and you’ll see how they come together in the New Vision.

According to the New York Times, Leonardo DiCaprio may be taking on his highest-impact leading role:  He has purchased an island in Belize that he is restoring –with a purpose to “heal” the island.  And while he is at it, teaching his soon-to-be-built resort guests how to think and act eco-conscious too.

Opening in 2018, “Blackadore Caye, a Restorative Island” will have a different mission.

Blackadore Caye has suffered from overfishing, an eroding coastline and the deforestation of its mangrove trees … says DiCaprio:  “The main focus is to do something that will change the world.  I couldn’t have gone to Belize and built on an island and done something like this, if it weren’t for the idea that it could be groundbreaking in the environmental movement.”

Remember that vision… “restorative”, “groundbreaking” and “change the world”

Next comes an ad from designer Eileen Fisher, the headline is ‘Vision 2020 – No Excuses’.  She had me at “vision”.  The images are models in her clothing designs but the copy below is powerful:  Our vision is for an industry where human rights and sustainability are not the effect… but the cause of a business well run.”

Her last line says:  “Where excuses are ignored and action is taken”.

Fisher’s vision includes these terms:  “sustainability” and “action”

The 3rd example is from an icon of my hometown of Cocoa Beach – surfer Kelly Slater and partners are launching a product line this Fall called Outerknown, a reference to the furthest reaches of our knowledge today.  The website is black and white, with powerful images and well-written copy, but just a few pages and a way to sign up to “follow our journey”.

Their vision includes the consumer, “transparency and global citizens” – for the purpose of discovering the next Outerknown.

Earth Day NYTIf you can find basis for weaving these visionary terms into your organization’s marketing let me suggest you do that soon – for any company that is truly out to change the world for the better should let their consumers know and join where they can.

This cycle of life is an awe-inspiring thing – learning of these 3 initiatives feels very much like the movement known as Earth Day which began April 22, 1970 – 45 years ago.  I remember it well since it was my birthday and my high school friends all pitched in to buy me a new spring green bicycle and it made front page news in our local newspaper.earth day April 22

I will watch DiCaprio , Fisher (www.EileenFisher.com) and Slater (www.outerknown.com) closely and report on their progress – what could be more relevant or important than being inclusive, groundbreaking and reaching beyond what is known today?  That’s a New Vision I am 100% behind.

Who Says Marketing To Youth Is The Way To Go? And the answer is …

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180px-ABC_In_ColorIt turns out that in the early days of television in the 1940’s, when ABC came on the air, it was struggling to find its niche and to stand out against the other two networks; NBC and CBS. ABC’s initial research showed that as a new network, their audience was younger – so they convinced Nielsen’s research people to start breaking down the TV audience by age, instead of just all TV watchers at the time. ABC even came up with a new slogan “Get them young before some other brand gets them.” So began this myth that the most important audience is the age category that starts at age 18. Over the years we have been able to do a far better job of monitoring who is watching what and know not only who is watching advertising and programming, but if they are loyal product buyers.

The answer is “some are and some aren’t” – and that is true from ages 7 to 107!

180px-Abc1953So now we are at an interesting crossroads, some call this “Ageless Marketing” – which seems an apt title. All dollars spent to attract a customer should be spent on what a customer wants and needs, matched to the product or service being sold – not to some mythical supposition that only one age group counts! Do not fall into the trap of “all”. All people do not care about anything specific – most people care about value and honesty and integrity. Some people of all age groups care about the environment, great design, customer service and other key selling messages. The time tested brands know what they are about (Mercedes is about quality, Hallmark is about love, Campbell’s soup is about comfort, Patagonia is about enjoying and preserving the environment) – you know instinctively what these brands are about.200px-ABC_1943_logo_svg As you can see ABC has updated their logos multiple times over the years, and so it is also time for us to update our thinking. Marketers – ask yourself again – what does my product or service stand for? When you know that in your marketing gut, the rest will follow. It always does, always will.

Filling the Customer Funnel – Why Data Scientists Need You!

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customer funnel 1 customer funnel 2 customer funnel 3 customer funnel 4

 

 

 

 

It’s called the customer funnel and PR and Marketing professionals work with sales to fill it– just one more valuable role you represent.

The economy is pivoting from being “all about the numbers” to what’s behind the numbers. It’s not about how full the funnel is as much as it is about the quality of the customers filling that funnel!

Does it matter if you have a zillion Facebook followers if none of them buy from you or ever will? And as those of us who manage social media well know – those followers demand our attention and time. If you give out samples of your new product and just a few of them return the coupon at their local store does it matter if there was a line for your freebie? What if you had an event and though you filled the venue the local sales figures never budged?

Now imagine in the scenarios above that you had half a zillion Facebook followers, but they all responded to your posts and purchased your product or service within 24 hours. Hmmm! Or your samples went to the ‘right’ customers who on their next visit to the drug or grocery store redeemed the coupon you gave them with the sample? And lastly if your event converted people from trial to buy – you would find yourself in high demand to do more events.

Here are two examples of how data is having a big time impact on sales and marketing:

A major real estate brokerage in New York is 80% tech and 20% sales and support. One real estate broker is in the field with a buyer – he no longer says “let me go back to the office and look for that” nor does he say “I’ll have more to look at tomorrow” – oh no. This guy is on a headset telling his tech team “she just added a balcony to what she wants” and before the potential buyer has finished looking at the kitchen the broker has two more nearby listings, with balconies, for her to see. The goal is to find this customer what she wants – today.

The Financial Times – Europe’s 127 year old powerhouse newspaper is bringing data scientists into its newsroom. This is about more than the news, it’s about full fledge engagement – and that includes the success of its advertisers and the special events and products that are becoming secondary sources of income for media organizations. FYI – engagement is someone who not only subscribes but visits the website 2 or more times a week and stays awhile.

So where do you come in? You are the person who asks the questions. Whether this is through hiring a research organization or informally asking specific questions through your mobile app, on social media, through your call in center or the people on the front lines – all of those questions and answers are data and they are the engines that make your sales and marketing run.

Reading sources of data about your customer types is beneficial too. Advertising departments at magazine do an excellent job of profiling their readers, this is often a great place to start and will lead you to the next resource. Consider starting a folder on your computer where you save this sort of information – open it quarterly and you’ll see the pieces come together.

Try this:  go to a smart blog like: https://blog.kissmetrics.com  and see what the end result should look like – I call this the “Z” of marketing.  Then work backward through your situation and you’ll tap into where you should begin.

It’s time for all of us to pivot – add ‘data scientist” to your thought process and plan and become the source for meaningful customer information. Nothing is more valuable to a boss, an owner or a client than having a person on their team who really knows the customer.

SEIZE THE birth-DAY!

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SEIZE THE birth-DAY!

Birthdays are a time to say “you are special and we know it”. Since it is almost my husband’s birthday, let’s seize the birth-day and remember this opportunity not only repeats annually but is one of the lowest cost marketing tools ever.

Birthday candles

Warning: this takes finesse and a balance between sincerity and selling. The sincerity needs to be real and the selling must be soft.

Let’s take a quick look at how others reach out to customers on their birthdays and how you can turn this annual event into a day you can utilize to connect with your customers, for life.

Some of the examples below are via email, text or through the post office and include real offers of discounts or special treatment. Then there are the few that are truly engaging experiences.

Read on…

BIRTHDAY button from DisneyA FAVORITE: Disney has a simple yet very effective tool – It’s your birthday? Here is a big button with your name on it so everyone in the park (including the cast members) can also wish you a Happy Birthday! They also have buttons for your anniversary, wedding, engagement and more – once a team is trained to tune into customer comments about celebrations – the buttons are the pathway to making this customer the center of attention all day long. Just one more way to continue their brand promise of being “The Happiest Place On Earth”, where “Dreams Come True”.

Travel companies know how to maximize birthdays – because so many wishes include travel.

Restaurants, ice cream parlors etc. know few people dine alone so offering an “eat free on your birthday” means at least one other diner will be in attendance too.
Use their visit to take their picture and put it on your restaurant Facebook page – just one more way you can let others know your restaurant is great for celebrations! You might want to mention any special desserts you have or private meeting rooms too!

Retailers, like Macy’s do a great job of making their offer meaningful – any time I get a certificate with $10 or more I believe the retailer is sincere. It is an annual pilgrimage for the birthday person in my family to head to the mall with their best wishes from Macy’s.

Real estate companies use this as a tool for keeping in touch with former home buyers and to keep the agent top of mind. Very often “next step” decisions are made around birthdays and a simple postcard might get a new listing.

GREAT RESOURCE FOR MORE IDEAS: The Retail Industry section of About.com – http://retailindustry.about.com/od/bestusretailpromotions/a/birthdayclubs.htm

So the big question is – how do you capture these birthdays?

– Ask the customer at time of purchase, or registration – either in person or online

– Include this question on all credit applications (no year needed)

– Put a button on your website that says you’d like to remember their birthday with a quick form that asks for their name, email, birth month and day – and maybe even a place for a comment.

– When you send an email birthday wish … ask the customer to also give the names, email address and birth month and day of their friends and family. Your list will grow fast.

BIRTHDAY promotion in San AntonioWhile you are celebrating birthdays – be sure to celebrate your company’s too.

We all need even brief moments of happiness – so seize the birthday opportunity!

 

 

Happy Birthday Ricky!

5 Reasons You Should Say NO to 96% of All Sponsorship Requests

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5 Reasons You Should Say NO to 96% of All Sponsorship Requests

 

logosWith events making a comeback and sponsorships being a big part of events… it only stands to reason you will be asked to sponsor something, sometime.

Being a sponsor can be a huge waste of time and money, or a great investment.

Here are the 5 ways you can tell the difference:

#1 – The audience is not your audience – Just ask one question – who is coming to this event?  If the answer is not your audience, say NO.  (Good example:  you are being asked to sponsor an event for children but you only sell a product or service for adults.  Though the adults might be there, your logo will not be what they are focused on.)

NASCAR w logos#2 – Your money buys you a logo placement – This is the biggie “for a gold sponsor your name will be on the stage signage” – oh my! A logo does zip for your company and being one of many means you will have zero impact.  Kind of like a NASCAR race – lots of logos and no messages!

#3 – You will not have an active role in the event itself – If you cannot participate in the event, either at your location, through your customers or on the event day – say NO.

#4 – The location is at a competitor’s location – Charity walks or runs are a great example of you being asked to sponsor something that may start, end or go past everywhere but your place.

#5 – There is no way you can use this across social media and other marketing platforms – are there images, will you get video?  If you can’t spread your company message across lots of social media platforms, in-house, at the event, and far more than just your logo – say NO>
It is rare that I tell a client to spend their money on sponsorships – far better to create your own event and then tie in with lots of others who will make your event a success for your company.

Or say no to the next 10 sponsorship requests and save your money to buy a big presence, at a big event, that reaches your audience, at a location you will benefit from, where you will have an interactive role, an event with lots of visual tools and you can promote your involvement across multiple platforms before, during and after.

Be creative – (hint:  Google ‘sponsorship levels” and adopt every single good idea you can find) — groups putting on events need your sponsorship and if one comes your way that can maximize your sales – then ask for much more than the gold, silver or platinum levels – and don’t be surprised if you get enough benefits to maybe, just maybe, say YES!

Just like Goldilocks, we all want to get this ‘just right’

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Just like Goldilocks, we all want to get this ‘just right’

Goldilocks in bed with bears 2015Our job is to communicate. Yet with all the communication platforms, sometimes we really are not sure how often to communicate. How Often Is Enough? How Often is Too Much?

Let me offer this guide as to how often is just right – and how to plan for topics that are just right too.

The best way to assure you are maximizing your time is to set up your own editorial calendar. Establish no less than 25 topics that you should be communicating over the next 12 months – leave room for new ideas too. You might end a year with 50 content topics – as long as the message matches the audiences. It’s not about the numbers it’s about connecting.

Here is a content sequence that works for my agency and our clientsGoldilocks used Jan 2015

Every week or two – we follow the top editorial topic from the editorial calendar and write a news release. Anytime a new topic is added we write a news release about that too. Add photos, testimonials, video and graphics every time. This visual and written content ties with other efforts like sales, advertising, the time of year, the CEO’s focus and much more. It is written, reviewed and approved.

Now your messages have wings and are ready to be sliced, diced and maximized for social media.

In the morning and in the afternoon… maybe evening too. – Tweet and repeat – use your Facebook message in a tweet, a couple of times each day as long as it is fresh.

Google Plus is your best platform – post every day without fail, you might post on weekends and holidays too – Google + matters and the more committed you are to it, the more pluses you will have.

Show up on Facebook every day – once is enough, possibly two posts if you have really great things to say or updates. Make it about the ‘friends’ and not a sales pitch.

Blog Twice a month – Use all or parts of the news release on your blog or blogs – new content should be posted at least twice a month.

Tie that blog to LinkedIn and add relevant comments – once or twice a week might be ‘just right’.

Add video to your blog, and post it on YouTube – if you can post two new videos a month you are amazing.

Got Photos? Add to all of the above and post on Instagram and pin on Pinterest too.

Bring it all together on your website. Do this first before you repurpose your news or send to anyone outside your organization. Make sure there is a link back to your website in all of the above.

Track what worked – give it a score and post that score back to your editorial calendar – pretty soon you will know what topics your audiences are responding too and your effectiveness will grow and grow, and it might even be the tool you need to justify a raise or promotion! Goldilocks would be proud!

Be a responder – Add comments to other bloggers, LinkedIn contacts, Twitter followers, Facebook friends and others who follow you and/or you follow.

It’s all about being a resource, being interesting and establishing two-way dialogue.

Not too hot, not too cold, but just right!