Mid-Market Company Marketing Communications – Five Tips To Improve ROI

For the moment, the economy is chugging along, financial markets are recovering, summer vacations are about to start and, hopefully, your B2C, B2B or nonprofit brand is growing. What could be better? Perhaps, your outlook for the future.

You’ve worked very hard to sustain your brand through the recent economic challenges, so perhaps now is the time to re-evaluate your situation, and focus on improving your marketing communications for the road ahead.

While competitors may be taking a breather, now may be the time for you to be aggressive and take a fresh look at your plans for the future, both short and long term. Here are five tips to keep in mind as you do so.

Knowledge Of Your Target Audience Trumps Opinion
Often, middle market brands believe they fully understand the wants and needs of their customers or constituents. However, consider employing market research to uncover their awareness of your brand, and how they really feel about you and your competition on various key attributes.

Doesn’t investing in research make sense before you spend your limited marketing communication budget? The good news is that research might confirm what you already know; the better news is that you might learn something new about how your audience really feels, and then be able to employ communications to correct what’s bothering them or highlight what’s important.

Understanding – rather than guessing – the wants and needs of your customers and prospects (as well as, perhaps, your own employees) can go a long way toward improving your marketing ROI.

Marketing Communications Audits Provide Real Value
If you haven’t recently (or ever) conducted a marketing communications audit, now is the ideal time to consider this tactic. Done properly, it will help you determine when, where and how to invest your time and money. At its core, you’ll be able to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your existing program as a whole, as well as how effective each tactic is in communicating your objectives.

The results of this type of audit will provide you with an actionable and coordinated road map of message delivery and spending allocation, across traditional and new media, events, content marketing, promotion and employee knowledge – and, like a financial audit, a tool for improving your profitability.

Promote Your Brand’s Anniversary
If your brand has an anniversary milestone coming up in the next two years, start planning for it now. It presents a unique opportunity to create a significant, fully integrated 12 to 18 month program, allowing you to focus on and energize your various constituents in a way that can’t be matched by your competitors. But recognize that, to be successful, you can’t just develop a new anniversary logo or throw a celebratory party. Like any other marketing tool, it must be grounded in meaningful and consistent messages.

Your corporate past is often the best criterion for your customers, prospects, employees and other audiences to judge your future performance. And, your 10th or 35th anniversary can be used to tell your story as effectively as a traditional 50th or 75th milestone.

Be Neutral When Evaluating Traditional And New Media
Don’t get caught up in all the excitement about the latest new media tactic you read about. New media does offer exciting potential and will continue to grow in importance. But don’t forget to consider traditional media. You might be surprised to know that, despite the advertising windfall generated by the Olympics and political advertising in 2012, total U/S. advertising dollars increased by only 0.9 percent in 2013. And, according to Kantar Media:

  • While network television and local newspapers decreased by only 3.4 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively, between 2012 and 2013;
  • Cable television increased by 7.3 percent; consumer magazines increased by 2.6 percent; outdoor increased by 4.4 percent; free standing inserts increased by 3.4 percent; and, Spanish television increased by 2.9 percent.

Without question, digital media and content marketing increased dramatically during this time. However, you must remember that there are many options to consider. While efficiency is important, more important is maintaining your neutrality to understand and evaluate the relative effectiveness of each alternative in achieving your strategic goals.

Marketing Communications Consultants Add Value
Whether you’re a B2B, B2C or nonprofit marketer, your own resources are probably already stretched to the limit. Unfortunately, you may not be able to allocate the physical or intellectual capital to the short or long term tasks at hand.

So don’t go it alone. Consider partnering with established, senior level consultants to help you and your team develop, refine and implement your plans.

Look for consultants who aren’t selling one particular discipline or a boilerplate “one size fits all” solution. Importantly, any consultant you consider should have extensive experience across industries and brands, both large and small. And be sure they’re willing to “tell it like it is”, so candor will flourish. Apolitical, fresh eyes can be an efficient use of your resources, and can provide objectivity to the decisions you need to make.

Improving marketing communications ROI is a constant challenge. It may seem like a daunting task but, as Mark Twain said, “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

Small And Midsized Company Marketing And Marketing Communications – A Lesson From Large Agencies

Over the past few years, rapidly developing technologies have changed the way marketers think about marketing and marketing communications strategies, plans and tactics. However, somewhat quietly but perhaps more importantly, a significant change has occurred with the world’s largest communications agencies – the dramatic growth of consulting companies at the expense of traditional advertising agencies.

Management and accounting consulting companies with new services are now ranking sixth through tenth among the world’s biggest communications companies. The specialized divisions of Accenture Interactive, PwC Digital Services, Deloitte Digital, Cognizant Interactive and IBMix had total global revenue of over $20 billion in 2017, with an eye-popping 32 percent growth in US revenue versus a year ago.

While traditional advertising industry giants WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic and Dentsu are ranked as the top five, with global revenue of nearly $62 billion, US revenue barely increased at 0.3 percent (Advertising Age).

Why is this change happening and what can small and midsized marketers learn from it?

Consulting Companies Focus On ROI

There are many reasons for the growth of consulting companies – in B2B, B2C and nonprofit marketing and marketing communications areas – but the top reasons are:

  1. Consulting companies already have deep ties, experience and credibility helping organizations improve their profitability, because of a sharp focus on ROI;
  2. Their existing familiarity with digital technologies, along with the financial resources to acquire specialized digital companies for expansion;
  3. Maintaining a data-based strategy with clients and prospects – not creative alone – which means they are focused on understanding customer wants and needs, as well as customer experiences at all pre- and post- customer purchase points;
  4. A focus on marketing and marketing communications effectiveness and not just efficiency, resulting in a very big difference to a brand’s profitability.

In short, a history and vision of focusing on and improving a brand’s profitability and its ROI. Keeping an eye on the bottom line – cost per customer, not just media cpm efficiency.

ROI Focused Marketing And Marketing Communications Consultants

As a small of midsized marketer, what can be learned from this dramatic shift of larger marketers? With only a small (sometimes inexperienced) staff, limited financial resources and time constraints, what should be considered?

Start with established marketing and marketing communications consultants who are clearly focused on a brand’s profitability and ROI, and not just “likes” or “clicks”. They should have significant experience across industries and brands, both for profit and nonprofit, and have a broad understanding of customer, prospect (and employee) motivations to purchase and repurchase, regardless of the business environment.

But, above all, they must be media neutral and not selling “one size fits all” solutions. As Tom Bradley, former head of marketing at Nestle said, “The best source of marketing communications leverage is the quality of the message… not the media vehicle, new or traditional, that does or does not deliver.” And that also means you must be sure that your consultants have the ability to cultivate and manage the creative process.

Selecting A Consultant

Unsure of how to select a consultant, much less what type of professional to look for? If your business is floundering and in serious need of overall repair, along with financing, you probably would be better served by either a management or accounting consultant.

If, however, your primary need is to establish or improve a weak marketing or marketing communications program for the short and long term your selection should be apparent. You should be looking for rigorous and objective counsel on the entire scope of traditional marketing and marketing communications opportunities available to you (traditional vs. new media; conventional vs. digital; etc.).

Beyond the qualities of the consultants previously mentioned, be sure to look for:

  1. Someone who is disciplined, apolitical, down to earth, and willing to be part of your team; consultants who will promote candor across all levels, who will listen and explain what needs to be done to everyone’s satisfaction; teaching, not lecturing, is very important’;
  2. Professionals with the ability to develop successful strategies, plans and executions with your team or, if necessary, who can provide outside specialists to improve part or all of the program;
  3. People who have strong convictions to use research and measure not only what has been done but also what is proposed to be done; measurement is key to evaluating success or the need to modify a plan;
  4. A flexible organization that can bring in marketing and marketing communications specialists when and as needed so that overhead isn’t an on-going expense.

Most small and midsized companies find themselves with not enough time, skill or financial resources to develop and execute a profitable marketing and marketing communications program. These challenges are growing exponentially, and consultants can be of great value in navigating this complex environment and adding value to your brand.

Hopefully, these ideas will give you food for thought, but as Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”

5 Ways To Determine If Your Online Marketing Community Is Good Enough For You

An online marketing community is where marketers belonging to the same company or group, interact with each other. It is also in this community that they share the same valuable facilities (training, marketing system, sponsorship and so on) to achieve their goals. Your community may be a MLM or an internet marketing education company.

However, they are all working towards creating the right conditions for you, as an affiliate, to succeed online. So, they must possess certain characteristics in order to help you through. I have briefly explained below five(5) qualities that I know a good community must have.

1. Leads Follow-up Support: A good online marketing community must provide leads follow-up support for you as a member. Imagine having one thousand(1000) leads in a day, you can’t single-handedly get in touch and interact with them effectively. This is where your community can help you convert those leads into sales. It (community) must have an online leads follow-up support system in place to put the contact calls through for you.

2. Internet Marketing Education: Your community must provide a consistent and workable internet marketing education for you. If you are a struggling marketer or just coming online, then you need good internet education to help you succeed. Unfortunately, many online marketing communities lack workable marketing education for their affiliates. As a result they are left with no option but to fight it out themselves. So, does your community provide you with this important tool? If your answer is no, then it is not good for your business.

3. Interactive Marketing Events: An interactive marketing event is one organised by your online marketing community for members to meet at a point for days. At this event, if you are a new member you can meet successful marketers in your community. Then you’ll have the opportunity to hear their experiences first hand and get a lot of motivation from them. So you see, marketing events pump new vigor into you. It also helps you to relate better with other members because you have met them in person. If you don’t have this in your community then I’m afraid you are missing a major aspect of your success online.

4. Online Marketing Set-up Team: You know, everybody comes into internet marketing with various degree of background. So you may not be comfortable with some parts of your online home business set-up. This is where your community intervenes to give you the technical help that will solve your marketing or account set-up constraints.

5. Internet Marketing Credibility And Mission: Your company must have a mission. It may be to create twenty(20) millionaires in the next five(5) years, or make five(5) thousand people self-employed. It is clear that if your company does not have any mission then it has no vision. It must also have a proven track record of success that distinguishes it from other online marketing communities.