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.”

Creating Great Marketing Communications: The Art and Science of the Written Word

Great marketing communications isn’t rocket science. Yet, there is a mix of science and art to achieve the right mix of eye-catching style, valuable content, and grammatical excellence. The skills necessary to produce it can be dauntingly elusive. And nothing can wreck the efficiency of precious marketing dollars than a mixed message or one that is poorly communicated. Some 45 years ago, when newspapers, radio, and television were the only communication vehicles, Marshall McLuhan stated, “the medium is the message” (and the 21st Century’s growing media choices seem to validate McLuhan’s famous quotation), and for business today, carefully considering multiple media for delivery of your critical message has never been more important. For small business executives, delivering your core message isn’t easy, amidst the flood of new and old media available today (web sites, blogs, social networking sites, podcasts and webcasts, e-mail blasts, local/national television commercials, radio spots, and print advertising). But it starts, as it always has, with the written word.

The current economic environment has spawned many providers of new and excellent services to help you with the art and science of marketing your business. But quality content still remains at the heart of any marketing message. In fact, it is more important than ever. Marketing automation technologies can churn out corporate messages in tremendous volume, but the quality of these messages (including the style, grammar, etc) can make or break your marketing effort.

Few things will distract a customer’s attention from effective messaging than misspellings, grammatical mistakes, or awkward sentences that must be reread before their meaning is eventually revealed. Publishers have learned that the reader’s eye can be subconsciously drawn to errors, like poor spacing, bad syllable breaks, and repeated words, breaking the reader’s train of thought. This happens regardless of the medium: E-mails or text messages are perceived by the mind’s eye just as a magazine or book might be. Text messages or twitters, which are intentionally misspelled or incorrectly abbreviated so that they are easily typed, are not always easy to read despite their brevity.

Many small companies have employees who can handle information technology or Web-related tasks. Consider the E-mail blast that mentions the July issue of your newsletter: One that you’ve spent considerable time, effort, and money to develop. However, the E-mail says July 2009 not 2010. The customer wonders why you’re sending old, possibly obsolete, information. There is a saying that a customer believes they will be serviced the way they are sold. The same can be applied to how they are marketed.

How many times have you been annoyed when visiting an interesting website, found some information that can be useful, and clicked on a malfunctioning link? It stops you (and other potential customers) dead in your tracks.

And many small business owners can relate to this scenario: You develop a product brochure to be used on the company website and printed for future marketing efforts, like an upcoming convention. The day after it is printed, mailed, or posted, you notice an embarrassing typo: The name of a well-known client has been misspelled. Or two product photographs have been switched. Or the contact information has been dropped from the back cover. Do you want to spend time and money reprinting a necessary marketing communication?

Editing and editorial services, in general, may be overlooked, especially in tight economic markets. Doing so, however, imperils a small business’ marketing efforts. Spending hard-earned dollars to upgrade a website, launch an email newsletter, use Google AdWords, or produce other marketing collateral, without having the editorial skills at hand to make that investment payoff, is like building a house on a poorly constructed foundation.

Does your business have the capabilities to generate distinctive messages with precise grammatical structure, pristine presentation, and clarity of thought? Does your organization focus on the written word, and how your critical marketing messages are portrayed to potential customers?

Infusing quality communications into your business development and marketing planning can mean the difference between stagnancy and growth. To optimize business development and marketing efforts, business executives (small or large) ensure that its core message is integrated into all communications, from business cards and logo tag lines, from press releases to product brochures, and from websites to client E-mails.

Most small businesses, particularly those with fewer than 20 workers, do not have their own Communications Department. Often, senior-level employees take on the task of communications as well as marketing and business development. Recognizing the need to not allow coordinated communication efforts to stagnate in today’s difficult economic environment will be critical to business success in the near future.

One solution to generating high-quality marketing communications is outsourcing it to an firm with experience and expertise is the wide variety of media that are essential today. communications and marketing services is one extremely efficient method for crafting your organization’s message, publicizing it through various media, and producing needed results, whether you’re seeking more E-mail requests for proposals, increased traffic on the company’s website, greater recognition at local business meetings or events, or simply more sales.

The ability to isolate, identify, and effectively deliver your message is integral to communicating with current customers and reaching potential new customers and different markets.

More Critical Reasons for Integrating Editorial Services Into Your Marketing Efforts
• A Web home page must use its words sparingly, yet clearly communicate your value proposition. Visitors will read a line or two from the home page before moving on, so it is imperative to hold their attention with your company’s message.
• A one-page company “Fact Sheet” is a perfect leave-behind or follow-up E-mail attachment for a new prospect. Its style should concisely, but precisely, generate a clear picture of your company’s strengths and differentiating features.
• A press release can serve to announce new contracts, communicate with potential clients about new products, build credibility by highlighting completed work. Yet, creating a press release that provides more than advertising – ensuring that it gets exposure–is the key to success.
• A periodic E-mail blast or company newsletter can inform and can help you stay “top of mind” with your prospects. It can provide value-added information related directly to your services. Writing a custom newsletter can be easy task with solid editorial support.

What is Internet Marketing Communication?

There are a couple of reasons why internet marketing communication is important. It all depends on which aspect you are looking at if you would like a definitive answer to the question first you would have to decide on which point of view you are coming from.

From website consultants point of view, internet marketing communication is important because everyone needs to be on the same page and in tune with one another. A plan must be thoroughly that out and executed. To gain importance to your page or pages and authority of your site a tight web needs to be weaved. And this requires good internet marketing communication as any team of professionals need to have a good stable form of communication. Mostly to make sure the team is in sync and able to execute the plan thoroughly. If it is not you could create one of the best websites imagined and other than the handful of people you get to view it the rest of the world would not even know it existed. That wouldn’t be very profitable now, would it? Not to mention a huge waste of time effort and money.

Now to go on from and start looking at internet marketing communication from an SEO / Marketers point of view, on the other hand, is a whole different story. the communication in this field is usually structured more along the lines of what is and isn’t currently working. with the ever changing algorithms of various search engines, we need to stick together and stay on top of things. From one day to the next if internet marketing communication isn’t a priority it could really mean fail or succeed for a lot of us.

Which leads me to a webmasters point of view on internet marketing communication. All websites/webmasters have some sort of communication. Or at least should have. Even the big boys like Google or YouTube need to communicate with each other to see exactly what people are searching for. They even hire website consultants to help the interpret the information. How the interact with sites etc. Whether it is within their own network or with partners they are teamed up or just socialize with. It’s important for these guys to communicate to stay on top of their game just as anyone else in the field needs to do.

From pay per click marketing advertisers to SEO enthusiast around the world even to anyone involved in marketing, communication plays a key role in today’s Web 2.0.

Marketing Communications and Other Brand Communication Activities

The odd fact, is that as much as we all have been the targets of marketing communications for pretty much our entire lives, it’s but a select small percentage of the population who understand what it is and how it works. Those who have studied it, and make a living at it are called market communicators.

On the surface to the novice, it can all seem so simple. Marketing communications is simply communicating with potential clients or customers about whatever it is that you have to offer. The end goal of whatever it is that you’re communicating is to convert them from potential to actual clients and customers.

Look below the surface though and you’ll find that it has become an incredibly complex art/science and perhaps you may have already heard of subliminal advertising. This is a form of marketing communications that is done to transmit hidden messages to the public, and it can take a wide range of forms. Major corporations have been doing it for years.

Of course subliminal marketing communications is being done on the Internet as it has been on TV, and radio but one new genre of marketing communications confined exclusively to the Internet, is called mass interactive marketing communications. It’s been generating a huge buzz not only due to its effectiveness, but also because of the potential it holds.

The name interactive is the big giveaway that what it is, is actual two way interaction that allows the public to at least have the feel that they’re in actual communication with a marketer. Of course two way communications has been around ever since the first person filled his or her basket with something to sell, so in that respect it’s not a huge breakthrough.

What is a huge deal though, is that online interactive communications allows you to conduct simulated one on one communications with multitudes of people spread all over the globe, if that be the case. In fact you may have already ran across auto-responding emails and not even been aware of it. If they were professionally done that is.

Auto-responding email are a series of prewritten emails that are arranged to be sent out in a specific set order that ideally leads a person in a step by step fashion as close as possible to a sale or, “marketers end goal”. Now do keep in mind that this is nothing like spamming.

Rather well crafted auto-responding emails are produced and arranged in such as way that your recipient believes that they are “personally written” and sent. Preferably as a response to the last emails he or she sent. A four or five series of back and forth emails.

So the more one looks into marketing communications, the more fascinating it becomes, and as digital communications technology becomes more advanced, so too does this art/science. In the end though, it’s all is done for the same purpose, and that is to drive sales.