Once viewed more as art than science, marketers are increasingly interested in measuring performance. Like it or not, there is a new wave of accountability in the world of marketing, and if you're not prepared, you could get swept under it. Companies are becoming increasingly concerned with ensuring that all activities are profitable. As a result, each dollar invested in marketing is being challenged to demonstrate bottom line performance. New forms of marketing, escalating ad costs and tools that purport to measure marketing effectiveness have all contributed to the pressure traditional media is facing to "prove its worth."
It took only a few years for the Internet to fundamentally change the way we communicate. Marketers have learned to take advantage of this new medium by creating innovative ways to reach their audiences. But what about business communicators? Have we really taken advantage of everything the ’Net has to offer? With all the choices for news and information, how do we cut through the noise of the competition, keep our audiences engaged and influence them to move in the right direction? We need to think of the Internet as a dynamic communication tool that gives us the ability to target, focus and change our messages constantly in order to influence diverse sets of audiences.
When you think about growing a business, you think about how to attract customers. You might build a web site, create marketing materials, and look for ways to get your message to the masses, but have you ever considered ways to repel clients? Separating the wheat from the chaff is a big part of creating a successful business.
Whether you're a tech writer, documentation manager or training professional, after reading this article you may consider incorporating some marketing techniques into your annual objectives to maximize your career development.
The average Facebook user doesn’t want content pushed to them, particularly contests or other promotional programs that don’t speak to their overall enthusiasm for a brand. These types of promotions can be supported on the Facebook Fan Page, but should not be the primary focus and should be housed in other digital arenas. Successful communities on Facebook offer an attitude of openness, transparency and enthusiasm - not a technology platform for advertising.
Unlike corporate websites, b-blogs are cheap to launch and easy to maintain, thanks to powerful, easy-to-use tools. Unlike spam, or junk e-mail, b-blogs aren't intrusive; users must click to them. Done well, b-blogs provide a fast, informal way to share information -- project updates, research or test results, product-release news, industry headlines -- inside and outside your company.
“We need to get global awareness fast,” says your CEO. “Make it happen.” When faced with the need to rapidly increase your organization’s visibility around the world, there are some daunting and expensive challenges, particularly if your company does not have a local presence in the countries it is targeting. Hiring local public relations and marketing communication talent, translating collateral into local languages and identifying and getting into both formal and informal business networks are just a few of these challenges.
Branding dates back to ancient times and can be an aspect of every field. Not only does branding provide clients with a sense of professionalism and reliability, it can also help define your company.
Ask communication professionals why measurement is important, and their answers are likely to involve accountability, measures of effectiveness, ROI and planning support. Ask market researchers what makes for good measurement, and they are likely to respond that it involves reproducible results, adherence to rigorous standards and objective impartiality. Within the communication process, however—especially within PR and media relations—there is a tendency to look more closely at the output of their programmes than at the methodology yielding the data charts and reports. While market research has a well-established body of theory to support its claims of delivering objective and authoritative data, media analysis as a commercial discipline is only just beginning to grasp the importance of these standards.
According to a 1997 survey entitled “The Quality of Working Life” by Professors Les Worrall and Cary Cooper of the Institute of Management, of the 5,000 U.K. managers polled, a majority revealed that they had been affected by organisational change in the last year and failed to see business benefits. When asked about possible improvements, the largest response reflected the need for greater involvement, more listening by senior managers and more honest, two-way communication.
A lot of angst exists in a lot of board rooms throughout America every day. The question? To speak or not to speak to the news media. I have the solution. The solution is yes. As in, yes, you should speak to the media. Always.
In this article, the authors compare the corporate social responsibility reporting (CSRR) of companies" environment, human relations, community, human rights, and diversity dimensions"in the emerging market economy of South Africa with that of companies in the leading economies represented by the Fortune Global 100. The descriptive analysis extends earlier empirical work on the CSRR of emerging market economies, and the impact of culture on CSRR, by examining annual report data from the top 100 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Index and the Fortune Global 100. Generally, the frequency and level of CSRR in South African companies was significantly higher than that of the Fortune Global 100, which indicates a greater willingness to convey social responsibility in their disclosure practices. This lends credence to the notion that emerging market economies may be more receptive to stakeholder concerns and social responsibility than peer institutions in leading economies.
If you provide after the sale customer service reluctantly, or delegate it to outsourced, but cheaper, providers, you're making a huge mistake. Customer service generates revenue via word of mouth, cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, and repeat purchases by satisfied customers.
At the heart of a successful brand strategy is a clear understanding of the customers you serve and what’s important to them. Employees need direction on what the customer expects and the actions they must take to deliver on those expectations. To gain this understanding, employees must identify the interactions from the customer’s point of view to determine whether or not the company is living up to its customer “promise.” While companies can easily measure marketing dollars spent on brand-building initiatives, understanding how the brand drives customers’ purchasing decisions has often proven to be more elusive.
Corporate brands are built by countless interactions between people - customers and clients, suppliers and distributors, shareholders and communities, and one another. If your brand does not reflect your people in a way that makes them proud and passionate, they will not deliver the brand experience in the marketplace. Some do's and don'ts for corporate branding.
We pump out a lot of information about product features and benefits on the Web, but have you taken a look at how much -- or maybe how little -- we use emotional appeals to help customers buy our products? Take a look at how customers make purchase decisions.
I don’t like to market myself. Sometimes I think, 'Heck, I’m good at what I do. I've been doing this for thirty years. Why don’t people come to me?' Then I get over it, consult my marketing plan, and get on with it. (See my previous column, 'Building a Marketing Plan,' in the May 2004 issue of Intercom.) I don't like to market my services, but I like to have marketedmy services. And I keep one thought foremost in the process: 'Marketing is like swimming: If you stop, you sink!'
Treat others the way you would want to be treated. It seems ridiculous to think that one of the most common rules taught to children somehow hinders effective business communication when these children become adults. But it’s true. To be effective at communicating with customers (for example, internal audiences who buy into ideas or messages, or external audiences who buy products or services), one must turn away from this standard rule and focus instead on treating others the way they want to be treated.
An application story is a form of promotional writing that highlights the practical benefits of a new product. The story tells why a client company purchases the product over comparable market offerings to solve a business problem. The story is complete when the writer (1) states the client's problem; (2) gives the solution to the problem; (3) shows how the new product solves the problem; (4) describes the criteria the organization had originally set for a new system; (5) shows the benefits of the new system; and(6) describes future applications of the technology. Using this 6-step formula, promotional writers can produce successful application stories.
If you think marketing communications are written by an entirely different brand of writer—in a version of the language wholly unlike the one you employ— then think again. Marketing and technical communications do share common ground. And by expanding the horizons of this landscape, you can move into marketing writing. To begin, you must explore what the disciplines share, what attributes are peculiar to marketing communications, and how you can go about developing your skills in this field.
I witnessed a train wreck this weekend. Not a physical one, but an online version involving a social media company, a respected business consultant, an advice video, blog comments and a Twitter battle that led to harassment via direct messages and support tickets being filed. I don’t want to call out the particular players in this incident and add fuel to the fire, but I do want to talk about this because the whole thing was completely avoidable.
Do you have a new idea, business model, product or service? Do you want to get noticed by using a marketing method that might only cost you time? Try writing a white paper to attract people to your door.