Modern Marketing Methods
Traditional marketing still exists, but marketing is on the move. We carry it with us when we open our laptops, swipe our tablets, or tap our smartphones. Look around the next meeting you’re in and see how many of these devices are on the conference table or in the hands of those in attendance. Our society is constantly connected – it should be classified as an addiction! Smart organizations are leveraging that addiction to connect with their audience and promote not only their activities, but the activities of their customers and causes. Beyond simply drawing attention to a brand or issue, you can catalyze engagement with future customers and supporters, and ultimately create action in ways not possible through traditional media. The fast and changing nature of modern marketing can be intimidating, but if you know what is out there and how to best utilize it, you can turn that intimidation into empowerment.
Everyone has Thoughts – Knowledge is Key
The term “thought leadership” is often misused and absolutely overused. It is a term that was coined back in the mid-1990s that should have gone the way of frosted hair styles and pump-up high tops. Its original meaning — innovative ideas that merit attention — has changed to have a closer meaning to content marketing. Content marketing is showcasing your knowledge and game-changing ideas without the hard sell and can be seen in the form of white papers, case studies, speeches and articles. Even though this concept is not new, the method to communicate knowledge has taken a modern approach via the digital space. Our online world has fostered thoughts of all kinds to be communicated through blogs, vlogs, infographics, webinars and social media. The key is to communicate something of value to a targeted audience that triggers that audience to reach out to your organization.
You Get a Blog and You Get a Blog…Everyone Gets a Blog!
The blog is the modern day soap box. Instead of standing on the corner shouting your views and ideas to whomever will listen, you type your thoughts onto a screen and click the post button. Due to its more casual nature, the blog is an attractive medium to just about anyone with an opinion (and who doesn’t want to be heard now and then). According to leading blog site WordPress, there were more than 152 million blogs on the internet in November 2013. The key to standing out from the crowd is to have meaningful content – meaningful to your clients and prospects – and solid promotion via website, social media, email blasts and traditional engagements. One method of attracting readers is to invite someone who is viewed as a leader by your target audience to write a post for your blog. That leader should be able to reach your audience with a topic that means something to them. A few things to remember:
- Identify what you want your audience to take away from your message.
- Think on how your stance may affect your clients and prospects.
- Always seek permission to mention a partner, client or colleague.
- Don’t be afraid to show your personality; go for a tone of “business casual.”
- If you allow comments, be ready to hear from those that agree and disagree; people want a conversation.
Michigan State University notes that 65% of us are visual learners (MSU). That means that we remember what we see – pictures, charts, videos, demonstrations, etc. So get visual! Charts and graphs help to summarize statistical information. Pictures can convey a situation or emotion. Infographics do a great job at communicating concepts and can stand on their own. Richard Felder, North Carolina State University, states that everyone learns more when information is presented both visually and verbally. (NSCU) Grab a video camera or even your smartphone and hit record. Get your experts to talk about a project and insert supporting visuals (pictures, charts, graphics) while they are verbalizing the concept.
What a Tangled Webinar We Weave
Speaking of visual and verbal communications, let’s get caught up in webinars. They can be great lead generators from those contacts that registered as well as from those that download or access the recorded version, if you use a webform to capture their contact information. Webinars are no different than the other content marketing pieces we have discussed. They must contain information that people want to learn about or feature speakers they want to hear from. Remember – don’t get pitchy. Everyone has a busy schedule. There is nothing worse than discovering the webinar you registered for, and set aside at least an hour of work time for, is just a glorified sales pitch. One way to avoid this is to vary your speakers. Invite experts from outside of the company that can provide salient takeaways for your audience. Stick to presenting concepts, processes or case studies that appeal to your target audience. Webinars are getting more sophisticated as technology advances. Along with the traditional interactive polling and question submission elements, you can also set up a chat area for your audience members, stream video, and show the speakers in a side panel as they present. Interacting with your audience creates a stronger connection versus talking at them via straight lecture.
Don’t be Anti-Social [Media]
You already know that you simply have to have a social media presence to be relevant. Done well, social media can be your best friend in promotions. But like any friendship, it takes some work. Social media can help you promote your organization’s upcoming activities, but it can also help you be a…wait for it…thought leader. Yep it hurt to say it. All kidding aside, social media can highlight your knowledge of and involvement in current events, thereby positioning you as someone in the know. You’ll need to stay up-to-date on those current events, but posting or tweeting a link to a publication article is a quick way to be one of the cool kids. Couple that with some of the other content marketing activities mentioned above and you’re on your way to being a cognitive frontrunner. Be sure you understand your target audience and which platforms they frequent: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, and a slew of others. Get a feel for the time of day your audience is most active: before work, during lunch, after work, or on the weekend. Most important, stay active! Nothing is sadder than the slow death of a Facebook page. Mobilize 4.55 billion people will use a mobile phone this year, and of those people, 1.75 billion will use a smartphone. (eMarketer) In addition, eMarketer states approximately 2.23 billion people worldwide will use mobile phones to go online this year. The earth’s population is over 7 billion people; more than half of us have a mobile phone! What does this mean, besides we need to schedule some much needed disconnect time? Online communication must be optimized for mobile viewing. Traditional viewing of a website in full site mode is difficult for most mobile users, especially those with smaller screens. Mobile optimization makes your site easily viewed and navigated by the user – and you want the user to have a good experience on your site.
Mixed Methods – Shaken or Stirred?
Discovering the right mix of methods is key to connecting with your audience. Integrated campaigns will take the same marketing message and splash it across multiple mediums – traditional and digital. Consistency helps with strength of message, and your campaign creative is utilized over multiple mediums reaching further than a single line of attack. Remember that in the digital space it’s a conversation in and about the moment. You can’t control the conversation, so don’t try. Instead, engage with confidence, content and style. Just like traditional marketing, don’t forget to track the effectiveness of your efforts. If you don’t know how well something worked, or didn’t work, you’re setting yourself up to stumble blindly through the marketing forest hoping you find the right path to your audience.
Have you seen success in your outreach campaign? Let us know in the comments section below!