Don’t Go Changing: How Advertising has Changed Over Time

Advertising and marketing have been around a long time. From the days of medicine men driving cross-country in a covered wagon to Mad Men of the 1960s and today’s generation of data-driven and web marketing tactics much has changed. But the basis and strategies haven’t changed as much as we think. For a quick look, check out this awesome video via Mashable and Adobe.

For as long as people can remember marketers have tried to get their products in front of people. There weren’t a lot of tactics in the early years so businesses chose to mass market via the largest newspapers, widest-reaching radio stations or network TV. Target marketing still wasn’t a thing. But remember, when there are only 3-4 mediums you ARE reaching your target market….plus everyone else! Niche magazines and Soap Operas, publications and programs emerged to hone in on that target even more, eliminate waste and find the most engaged potential customer.

bigdataData and research have been around as long as marketing. The amount of data and trackability of users has not. That’s really all that’s changed. Focus groups and Nielsen ratings have given way to engagement rates and web traffic. Anyone who watched “Mad Men” knows how big a deal it was to get a computer in the 60’s. But there was a lot of data being used prior to that. As the data we use becomes more reliable and accurate the delivery of advertising also does just that.

 

I still firmly believe that advertising and marketing consists of two major components: Data & Research and Sociologicaly/Psychology. It’s great toData Tube know the target market, downright amazing what we’re capable of doing, but if the message doesn’t resonate with the audience it won’t have the maximum results. If we can’t reach people and touch them at their core, change their behavior with our message, it doesn’t matter that we’re reaching women 25-34 who have shopped at Norstrom for sweaters in the past 30 days. Vice versa if the message is brilliant, catchy and beautifully done but the audience isn’t in the buying cycle or the intended target is missed, how effective will it be?

In 2015 wSociology braine get caught up with all the data and target marketing. But there will always be a creative side to marketing. It’s how you stand out. In a world in which ads are delivered constantly and everyone is vying for that short attention span, who stands out? Not those with perfect data and targeting tactics. It’s the marketers leveraging data to deliver a perfectly suited and timed message.

The delivery on which we see and consume content and advertising has changed. What makes an effective campaign has not. There is still a balance between tactic, medium, content and data. There are more tactics, media and data than ever before. Use what the Internet, Mobile and Social have given us as marketers. But continue to find the creative solutions that resonate with your target audience. That’s how you TRULY stand out in today’s ever-changing marketing landscape.

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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Any Business Seminar

 

We can all agree there are different benefits to all the different seminars, presentations and the like. We attend because we want to learn, grow our business, or network. On the rare occasion you can get all 3 done at the same event. It’s even more rare that everything is discussed. So what types of things should we be looking for when attending an outreach event? We can’t retain all of it, so here are 5 things I recommend paying attention to while at a conference or event.

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April 21st at WITC – “Marketing Plans, Social Media and Digital Advertising” put on by the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce.

1. Use your time to solve a problem. Understand your reason for attending this event. You know the topic and it should be relevant to your needs. Utilize your attendance to find solutions or create more efficiency. For instance, you may have a good handle on leveraging your Social content to drive engagement on Social Media. But you don’t know how that correlates to other facets of marketing. Be sure to listen explicitly for information on data, advertising, how Social relates to Search, etc. You likely won’t find value in ALL the information presented. I rarely do.  But there is usually 1 or 2 things from each seminar or event that of which I take note. They key is narrowing your focus to solve a specific need.

2. Know the crowd and key players. I always enjoy conferences because the knowledge in the room is so high. You can literally learn from everyone. Bounce ideas of your table compadres. Listen to the speaker. Find out who’s asking the “good” questions. Then discuss with your colleagues any further topics you want explored. Once you know who are experts or who else is in your industry you can start going back to Tip #1, solving a problem. Have a plan of action. Even if time doesn’t allow, set up a time for a phone call or meeting. This creates a lasting relationship that can be mutually beneficial.

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Apr 1, 2015 “Leveraging Your Social Media Data into Advertising” at Westwind Supper Club in River Falls.

3. Be a Social Butterfly. I’m not talking about bouncing from conversation to conversation, although being open to meet new people is a given. I’m talking about Social Media. Follow the hashtags and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever Social Media the conference or event is utilizing. I’ve found I sometimes miss a great tidbit of information because I’m either spacing out (NEVER!) or taking notes. What someone finds interesting or insightful may skip you until you see it on the host’s Twitter feed. Live events are perfect for Twitter. The real-time engagement of the audience is measurable. Who knows, you may even see someone you know Tweeting about the conference, but you had no idea they were attending. #meetup

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Jan 9, 2015 “Evaluating Your Online Presence” courtesy of the Woodbury Area Chamber at Platinum Bank in Oakdale, MN.

4. Don’t let conversations with new people drag on too long. This is something of which we’re all guilty. We start a conversation with someone new. We learn their name, company, what they do and maybe even where they are from. But then the dialogue dries up and there is awkward silence. It’s OK to walk away. Say “It was really nice meeting you” and be on your way. Of course grab their card before removing yourself. Understand there are plenty of conversations to be had and often you’ll realize if it’s going to be of utmost productivity early. If you’ve hit a 5-minute limit and small talk has begun it may be time to move on. I really don’t want this to come off rude, but one point of attending events, seminars and conferences is to network. It’s hard to network when you get locked up in a boring conversation and it’s moved away from a productive talk to anything less. You’re there for work and business purposes. Learning personal information can be helpful and is important in getting to know and understand your potential partners. Just don’t let it be a drag on your overall networking opportunity.

5. Recap. I find the return in a car, or plane, is a great time to reflect on what you learned, most important takeaways and next steps. Some bosses will want documentation on what you did, key people with whom you spoke and what was accomplished. Use travel time to organize your thoughts. The key is knowing not only WHAT you learned, but HOW you will apply it in your upcoming projects, sales efforts or brainstorming sessions. After all, Tip #1 was about solving a problem. Now it’s time to take action. Make it meaningful. Too often we learn valuable tips that can help our business, but when we return it gets left on the back burner and soon it’s forgotten. Post your action items on the wall in your office or somewhere you see them often. Once it’s instilled in your mind you will automatically think about this tip when the time comes. You won’t have to be reminded.

Thanks for checking out this blog on getting the most out of a seminar or event. As always, you can reach us on the website “Contact” button or through Social Media @rivertownmedia on Twitter or RiverTownMultimedia on Facebook.

 

 

 

Millennials Content Description

Tips to a Sensible Small Biz Digital Strategy

Small business owners can get caught up in the wild web we weave. We (alliteration will end soon, I promise) being digital marketing folks. SMB owners have limited staffs, resources, time and money. So here are a few things to think about when putting together a digital strategy.

First of all, why is a digital strategy important? I would ask, why is any strategy important? They keep us on the right track. Strategies help guide our decision-making. If we didn’t have a strategy we’d make a lot of individual decisions without understanding how it will affect our business long term. Oh, you’re doing that right now? Keep reading please.

Have a strategy

Your strategy should have these 7 steps:

#1: Identify Business Goals – growth, expansion, etc.

#2: Set Marketing Objectives – what products, at what price, where to promote, where to sell (e-commerce?)

#3: Identify Ideal Customers – current or prospective, what do they look like?

#4: Research Competition – what do the BEST in my industry do and how?

#5: Choose Channels & Tactics – what channels connect with my brand and my customers?

#6: Content Strategy – What’s the tone of my website, Social, email, etc. content and does it match my brand?

#7: Measure your success – how will I know I succeeded or failed?

The single most important factor of a digital strategy is knowing who you are. Understand what it is your business does well and what it doesn’t. Know your core customers and how you can best satisfy their needs for your product or service. If you offer a loosey-goosey, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants in-store experience than portray that on your website. If you have a serious tone and treat customers in a similar way, don’t make jokes on Social Media. It’s all about knowing your business and owning its personality.

We use the image below in our “Fitting Social into Your Overall Media Plan” presentations and I love it. Many people I run into assume that because they’re using “free” Social Media that is all they need. But enhancing your Social Media with paid ad spots or enhanced posts may be necessary if your content isn’t going viral. Just remember what unpaid Social is and what it isn’t.

What Social Media Is & Isnt

But also keep in mind the Social channels you choose. If you want constant feedback and interactions with customers or followers, Twitter is great. Are visuals important and easily delivered for your company? Try Instagram. Do you want the biggest potential reach with photos and video? Use Facebook. Do you need to instruct customers on how to use a product or provide value by offering free help videos? YouTube is great at this. (I have used a YouTube video many times when performing home “repairs.”)

Ranking high in search is on everyone’s “Must Do” marketing list. Google recently altered their search algorithm to increase the importance of mobile-friendly sites, especially when searched on a mobile device. But it’s hard to keep up with Google’s changing algorithms. So best practices include:

  • Create engaging content on your site every other week or at least once per month
  • Utilize Video whenever possible (Google owns YouTube for a reason)
  • Avoid listing keywords to try and “outsmart” Google
  • List your Social Media buttons on your site
  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Use HTML5’s responsive design if possible
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January 28, 2014 by: ZOG Digital http://blog.zogdigital.com/2014/01/28/marketing-millennials/

Content Marketing is one of the hottest buzzwords in marketing. And there’s a reason. Creating content can drive business. But it has to be the right content and it can’t be faked. Telling stories about your business, not about products, can resonate with today’s audience, specifically millennials. Millennials want to find more than just a product. They want an experience. They want to buy from those they trust or those with whom they connect. A low price is great, but if you’re helping the environment and your price is in the ballpark…count me in! The folks at Clarity Coverdale Fury write a lot about the “Conscious Consumer.” People care less about who writes content, and more about the quality of it. Brands are using this medium to connect with people about more than just products. Use your content to tell your story, provide valuable information or a 30-second break from reality. However you choose to utilize content make sure it fits your STRATEGY.

Finally, how does advertising fit into this digital strategy? Social Media does a great job of reaching current customers and if paid placements, new customers. In today’s world, if you’re collecting data from your customers through site visits, purchases, Social Media followers, or another way, you now have your hands on an extremely valuable marketing tool. You can target advertising to this specific audience. Take what you know about your Facebook followers and target your advertising to those people. Not only will data tell you WHO to target, but find the common content among the most interactive Facebook posts and use something similar in your ad copy. The content of that post resonated with your audience. There’s no reason the same content shouldn’t do similar things to the same audience who doesn’t follow you on Facebook.

RiverTown Multimedia can help you use your Social Media and other marketing data to find the perfect audience through targeted online advertising campaigns. Learn more about our Retargeting and Audience Segment offerings by speaking with a sales representative. Click here to contact us.

And that’s how all of this ties together in Digital Strategy. Take what you know about yourself and your customers and use it to meet your objectives. Stay true to your brand, deliver great content in a multitude of ways, track your success and find RESULTS. It’s not rocket science, but it can be easy to lose focus. When all else fails stick with what works. And if that doesn’t work, call the experts at RiverTown Multimedia. We’re glad to help you figure it out.

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Content is King: Effective Content Marketing

Content Marketing is becoming the buzzword of our business in 2015. And the reason is obvious: without quality content your brand won’t engage consumers. Facebook’s “content” or lack thereof, are the reason I deleted my account. Of course, Mark Zuckerberg still has my data, but that’s a blog for another day. The key in all content marketing is to be at least one of the following: informative, educational or entertaining.


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There are literally countless forms of content and ways to distribute said content. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to discuss the most common ways businesses create content and a few best practices for delivering those messages. The most important part of content marketing is understanding the medium. Be cognizant of the user experience and how users use the particular medium. People go to Facebook for a different reason than they go to your website, YouTube, stream radio on Pandora, or browse their favorite Star Trek blog. Make sure wherever your content goes it’s hitting the right user at the right time with the right message.

A website is the cornerstone of online marketing. Most businesses’ digital strategy starts with driving traffic to a website. Once there how do you get people to come back? What about your website drives users to come back or buy from you? Many times a consumer’s first touchpoint with your business or your brand is through your website and thus their user experience on your site is vital. So how important is it to have engaging, relevant and recent content on your website? Let’s just say Google’s algorithms are constantly changing to find the most up-to-date and relevant information. If your last website change occurred in 2007 people most likely aren’t seeing you on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Another growing factor in search results is video. So make sure your website is hosting video, preferably YouTube videos since Google owns YouTube.

Another extremely popular and growing segment of content distribution is Social Media. Remember, SM should be used responsibly and with a strategy. (Check out our previous post on fitting Social into your overall plan). Your message needs to be consistent with your overall marketing plan and should be delivered through SM in the same fashion. If your business doesn’t like to discount, don’t send out discounts through SM. Again, if you haven’t posted on Facebook in 2 months, you may be losing out on the SERP. A post on Twitter will look and act differently than on Pinterest. Facebok is very conversational. Pinterest is great if you can provide new ideas to enhance people’s lives in a tangible way. Instagram is a great tool to showcase work with photos. Twitter is a good use for quick messages, bits of info, or time-sensitive messages. Who can forget this from the 2013 Super Bowl?

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Outstanding use of content on Twitter.

 

Think about the medium when using content in advertising and the difference. When you put content on your website, YouTube, Social Media, etc it’s being delivered to people who are seeking it out. These users have found or searched you directly. The content within ads has to be delivered in a way people understand your brand or objective in a matter of seconds. In this way, advertising copy has to be extremely effective, hence the rise of advertising agencies. And again, digital ads need different content than a TV, radio or print ad. Use the space accordingly.

Native Audience Example

An example of Native Advertising on the Forum Communications network via a mobile phone.

 

Native Advertising has grown tremendously in the past year. According to almost all projections, it’s only going to continue to grow. Native Advertising is a generic term for sponsored content that fits into whatever medium on which the user views the content. For instance, Promoted Tweets are Native Advertising. Advertorials are a form of Native. Most online publishers, including NY Times, Washington Post, Vanity and of course RiverTown Multimedia and Forum Communications Company, have adopted Native Advertising as a new form of revenue. And according to this study, Native ads are working.

Email is another rather simple, almost archaic, form of content marketing. You control the message. You can control who you’re sending the email to via a 1st party list or a 3rd party list. Sending to your 1st party email list will have one message while 3rd party is going to look and act differently. Keep in mind the amount of information you put into an email. How long do you typically look at an email? What subject line would you open? As I said at the outset of this post, keep the content informational, educational or entertaining.

No matter your marketing strategy understand how people use and view content. Articles like this show how people don’t necessarily care WHO wrote the content as long as it’s engaging and informative, given they know who wrote it. Deception is never a good idea when creating content. So be transparent with your Native Advertising and provide true value for the reader. Every touchpoint with your content is an opportunity to lose, gain or persuade a customer. Often the content’s tone, message and effectiveness will dictate which way they go.

Finally, have a plan. Schedule your content so it’s timely and reaches the desired audience at the right time. Know ahead of time when you will be sending what Tweet. Have a calendar reminding you to update your website with new content. Upload another YouTube video every quarter. Every medium that touches your audience should have a calendar. We all know sometimes life gets in the way and certain things take a backseat. That’s fine. But when you have a plan you’re more likely to stick to it and be consistent in your content than just winging it.

Thanks for reading this month’s blog. If you haven’t already, please follow RiverTown Multimedia on Twitter @rivertownmedia and on Facebook by clicking here.