Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

Levitate your brand on LinkedIn

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
Levitate your brand on LinkedIn

Your LinkedIn profile is more than an online resume. It’s a tool to learn about your industry, promote your expertise and prospect for new business. But before you can mine the data on the network, you have to supply some of your own.

Here are 12 steps you can take to optimizing your LinkedIn profile to increase the visibility of you and your company:

  1. Name. Use your full name, not abbreviations or nicknames.
  2. Personal headline. Choose text that highlights what makes you valuable and unique.
  3. Profile photo. Choose a professional-looking photo that reflects your industry and goals.
  4. Personalized URL. In Profile edit mode, click the Edit link next to your current URL (below your profile photo) and type in your name. If it’s taken, try adding your middle initial.
  5. Summary. Summarize your specialties, interests and expertise in narrative form. Brand yourself by telling a compelling story. Connect your Twitter account, company website, personal website and blog. To optimize your profile for search (SEO), incorporate keywords that best describe your skill set and career goals.
  6. Experience. List your work experience and ensure that each company reference links to the correct LinkedIn company page. Then go beyond employer and job title to list your projects and achievements.
  7. Skills & Expertise. Highlight your key strengths. List items that are relevant to your job and career goals. These form the basis of endorsements of those skills by others. Remember to return the favor. The same criteria apply to the Interests section.
  8. Education. A full education section adds credibility.
  9. Contact information. Provide your business email address and phone number. If you want to limit how people can contact you, click the Edit link next to your personalized URL.
  10. Recommendations. Request at least one recommendation for each position you’ve listed, and return the favor by writing recommendations for others in your network.
  11. Groups. Join discussion groups that interest you and participate. It will establish your expertise and keep you top-of-mind with other thought-leaders.
  12. Companies. Start by following your own company, then add those that reflect your personal brand.

Once you’ve completed your profile, take steps to build your network and influence:

  1. Contacts. Connect with current and past coworkers, managers and clients, then reach out to new connections who share your professional interests and qualifications.
  2. Updates. Establish your image as an expert in your field. Share status updates that are timely and relevant to your audience.

For more guidance in expanding your profile, see the help page on LinkedIn.

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The Revolution Will Not Be Printed

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013
The Revolution Will Not Be Printed

It’s easy to believe that since print survived radio and television it will survive the Internet. After listening to Barry Dawson, I’m not so sure. Or to take a more nuanced approach, I’m not sure it will continue to influence the culture and the economy to the extent it has since Gutenberg invented movable type more than 500 years ago.

Certainly print works better for some content and some eyes, but not news. Its immediacy seeks out the fastest and most flexible medium, and digital tools deliver. Combine original content, new distribution channels and innovative marketing and you have a potentially profitable business, as well as an alternative to ink.

Barry DawsonThat brings us to Dawson, a resident of the West End of Monroe County, a rural area of the Pocono Mountains in Northeast Pennsylvania. Long inhabited by the descendants of German and Dutch settlers, the area best known for woodlands and resorts continues to transition to a bedroom community for metropolitan New York and New Jersey. Several papers, radio and television stations cover the region but shifts in the economy and the culture have gutted their newsrooms.

Enter the digital entrepreneur. Dawson grew up in the West End, moved to North Carolina and returned to take a job in radio promotion with a pair of stations in the nearby Lehigh Valley. He has local knowledge, knows how to bypass channel surfers by embedding commercial messages in programs and lives on his mobile phone. Combining those assets, he bought a police scanner, became a reluctant reporter and launched westendsupporter.com and westendradio101.com. He also integrated his site with accounts at Facebook and other networks as a way to drive traffic and measure results.

Dawson believes that with its speed to market, digital news will eventually replace printed news. It’s a natural fit. Blending content and commerce creates a viable business model. Only time and his bank account will prove him right. Meanwhile, here are five conclusions I’ve drawn from his venture:

  1. Digital trumps print for speed and relevance
  2. Mobile devices trump PCs for optimum news delivery
  3. Micro content beats state, national and international news for gaining followers
  4. In our attention-deficit culture, product integration trumps advertising
  5. For marketers, digital offers the precise measurement of the effectiveness of the ad spend.

Where do you find your news? And do you think print and the people who produce it will dwindle in importance?

3 Steps to Creating Social Networks

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
3 Steps to Creating Social Networks

I’d just finished writing a social media strategy for a rather large healthcare company when my client asked: how are we going to implement this?

One step at a time.

A week later I think we have a solid plan for launching the network, first with employees, then with their customers and prospects. While developing those tactics I’ve come to a few conclusions—three to be exact.

  1. Promote the network. If you build it, will anyone show? Not unless you publicize it. Actively connect to, follow or like the key opinion leaders and media in your industry. And don’t rule out help from the other marketing disciplines—media planning, web development, public relations and direct marketing. Depending on your industry, an integrated, balanced campaign can drive traffic more effectively than an all-digital approach.
  2. Create your own content. Once you’ve attracted an audience you’ll need to work to keep visitors engaged. Providing original content, and allowing visitors to add their own material, will give them a reason to return.
  3. Measure the results. Whether you’re working with for-profit or non-profit organizations, buy-in is essential. Senior management looks for progress over time. Define realistic metrics and deliver them.

Jeff Widmer is a PR and social media strategist.

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Ghosts in the Machine

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012
Ghosts in the Machine

This holiday season, get ready for the blitz. We’re not talking football. We’re talking tech.

The National Retail Federation is projecting 2012 holiday sales will rise 4.1% from 2011 levels. A good portion of that will go to consumer electronics. Researchers at Booz & Co. expect a 4% rise in consumer purchases of downloadable gifts such as digital music, movies and books.

The shopping season is already off to a fast start. Amazon reported Thanksgiving holiday sales of its Kindle e-reader products doubled over the same time last year. And Apple alone may soak up a lot of holiday spending. Writing at forbes.com, Chuck Jones predicts sales of updated iPads and iPad minis should boost the company’s December quarter revenues by 19% year over year.

Sales enabled by technology continue to rise. Online retailers predict a record $43.4 billion in holiday sales this season as shoppers increasingly rely on social networks and mobile devices, according to Bloomberg. It estimates Internet sales will grow 17 percent over last year, or more than 10 percent of U.S. retail spending, excluding gas, food and cars.

What does that mean for those of us looking for gifts this Hanukkah and Christmas? Besides the usual smartphones, video games and big-screen TVs, expect to see a lot of so-called labor-saving devices.

Amazon is selling a wireless child locator shaped like a Teddy bear for $28.99. For the man cave, Sharper Image is promoting a Pac Man Arcade Machine for $2,999, with free shipping. And for people who like to drink, Bed Bath & Beyond offers a carbonator that turns water into soda for $129.99 and a cordless wine bottle opener for $29.99. Too bad they can’t turn water into wine. It would fit with the birthday celebration.

If all this strikes you as commercialized corruption of the holiday, you’re not alone. Charles Schultz expressed the sentiment 47 years ago with “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” As for the rest of us, some will light candles. Some will assemble the crèche and head to church. Others will give quiet thanks for good friends, family and health, realizing that in this holiday season, gratitude is one of the greatest gifts of all.

Marketers still searching for digital roadmap

Thursday, June 21st, 2012
Marketers still searching for digital roadmap

Ninety percent of companies do not have an integrated digital marketing strategy, despite studies that show an increasing number of customers migrating to the digital platform.

Only 9% of chief marketing officers say their companies have a “highly evolved digital marketing model with a proven and clear path of evolution,” according to a CMO Council study of more than 200 marketing executives. Twenty-three percent report top executives at their firms are “still trying to understand where digital marketing fits within their overall business.” And 36% say their strategy amounts to a collection of tactics.

There is some good news from marketing leaders:

  • 20% report having approval from the C-Suite to implement a digital strategy
  • 42% say they have the interest and support of their teams
  • 23% are trying to determine where digital fits within their existing strategy
  • 20% say they need to make digital marketing a strategic priority with management.

Marketers need to go where their customers go, writes Michael Brenner in a post called “Are Marketers Becoming Digital Dinosaurs?” “The point is to create content that your audience wants, in all the places where they may look for it. The point is to have your customers share your content with their connections. The point is to lower the cost of sales and to increase the effectiveness of marketing.”

And they need a roadmap to get there.

– Jeff Widmer

Media extend reach through expanded tweets

Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Media extend reach through expanded tweets

Starting this week you can read snippets of articles or watch moments from TV shows like BET’s 106 & Park, all from inside a tweet, as the world’s leading micro-blogger attempts to monetize its service.

In a blog post Twitter said it is expanding the offering to help users discover new content. Chances are good that the goal is to expand the reach of media partners into the Twitterverse in a way that’s less intrusive than advertising. Twitter augmented the initiative with partners like Lifetime, Dailymotion, The New York Times, Der Spiegel online and audio provider Soundcloud. Twitter did not disclose details of compensation by its media partners.

When users expand a tweet containing a news article they’ll see a headline, introduction and sometimes the Twitter accounts of the publisher and writer. The feature basically works as a preview function similar to that found on Google search pages. Users can then read the article, follow the account, reply, favorite or retweet.

Twitter had offered expanded tweets from YouTube and Instagram. This week’s announcement brings bigger media players into the picture. Or the tweet.

– Jeff Widmer

Dialing up sales with mobile phones

Monday, May 14th, 2012
Dialing up sales with mobile phones

Those people in your store with the mobile phones? They’re more likely to browse than buy.

That’s the conclusion of Jinal Shah, a digital strategist at JWT in New York. Shah and her team conducted a quantitative study, zeroing in on anyone 18 years old and above who used a smartphone or tablet to shop during the holiday season. She found several ways in which consumers are using their smartphones to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar stores and ecommerce. Here are a few:

  • Mobile shopping doesn’t equal mobile purchasing. “While browsing is up, mobile shoppers aren’t necessarily using their phones to complete the purchase cycle,” she writes. “In fact, of all the activities for which shoppers use their phones, purchasing is one of the least popular, with price comparison ranking the highest.”
  • Men are more likely to consult their phones. “Men are more likely to use mobile devices as in-store companions for all types of shopping activities, from price comparisons to gathering information for a purchase.”
  • Mobile devices often trump computers. “The majority of mobile shopping is done in locations where computers are more readily accessible, such as at home and work.”

You can read the rest of her findings at Mashable.

– Jeff Widmer

America gets its information on the fly

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012
America gets its information on the fly

Nearly 9 in 10 smartphone owners use their devices for consumer research. They are using them to perform real-time searches to help arrange meetings with friends, solve problems or find information to settle an argument, according to a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life project.

Within the past 30 days, smartphone or cell phone owners said they used their phone to:

  • Decide whether to visit a business, such as a restaurant.
  • Look up a score of a sporting event.
  • Get up-to-the-minute traffic or public transit information to find the fastest way to get somewhere.

“The growing adaptation and functionality of smartphones has made them more entrenched in users’ daily lives,” The Pew center said. “Just-in-time cell users — defined as anyone who has done one or more of the activities above using their phones in the preceding 30 days — now comprise 62% of the adult population.”

Such real-time queries will have implications for organizations from financial services and healthcare institutions to B2C companies that want to reach consumers before they initiate a search.

The business end of social media

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
The business end of social media

What’s the hottest trend in social media and how can we jump on it? If your marketing team is investing in this brave new world, those are the wrong questions to ask. That according to Jay Baer, a social media speaker, author, consultant and co-author of The NOW Revolution.

During a webinar this week Baer listed the right and wrong questions agencies ask about social media. I’m not going to spoil an entrepreneur’s work by divulging all eight but three may convince you that Baer knows whereof he speaks.

  • What is the best way to get Facebook “likes” and Twitter follows? A better question is, How can we encourage existing fans to take action in social media?
  • How can we create a killer social media campaign that gets noticed? A better question is, How can we develop a sustained, ongoing social strategy that turns customers into advocates over the long run?
  • How can we make a viral video that gets thousands of views? A better question: How can we optimize a video so our customers can find it?

His bottom line when marketing via social media? The advice you live by in all of your business dealings: Strive to be helpful.

Forget Peak Oil. How about Peak Internet?

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
Forget Peak Oil. How about Peak Internet?

The rapid rise of Internet adoption in the United States has peaked, a trend that has implications for marketers who have shifted their budgets to interactive from print.

One in five American adults does not use the Internet, according to the Pew Internet Project, which interviewed 2,260 adults age 18 and older in English and Spanish, by landline and cell phone, in July and August of 2011.

Internet adoption among U.S. adults increased rapidly from the mid-’90s to about 2005.  That means adoption topped out at least a year before the advent of the Great Recession. Since then, the number of adult Internet users has remained stable at around 75 to 80%. The Pew Internet & American Life Project’s latest poll shows that this trend continued in 2011.

Here are the major findings:

  • Senior citizens, those who prefer to take interviews in Spanish rather than English, adults with less than a high school education and those living in households earning less than $30,000 per year are the least likely adults to have Internet access.
  • Among adults who do not use the Internet, almost half said the main reason they don’t go online is because they don’t think the Internet is relevant to them. Most have never used the Internet before and don’t have anyone in their household who does.
  • The 27% of adults living with disability in the United States today are significantly less likely than adults without a disability to go online (54% vs. 81%). That’s a small number, thought. Pew found that only 2% of adults have a disability or illness that makes it more difficult or impossible for them to use the internet at all.

While Internet use has reached saturation among most residents, another trend—the move toward mobile computing—may counteract the former. Pew reports that 88% of American adults have a cell phone, 57% have a laptop, 19% own an e-book reader and 19% have a tablet computer. About six in ten adults (63%) go online wirelessly with one of those devices.

For marketers, that means a deeper dive into data on those subgroups.

Drill, baby, drill.