It’s Your Brand. And It Has Purpose.

At Engage Marketing we work with companies needing to define or further define their brand, their purpose, and ultimately why they exist. This includes outlining the company’s foundational elements, clarifying cultural expectations, and developing the brand voice for both internal and external messaging. All of this comes together in the format of a Brand Platform and strategic Marketing Plan developed to achieve the company’s long and short-term goals. And, it’s meant to be used. 

When your growing and things are chaotic, rely on it, don’t abandon it.  

When challenged with a conflict or tough decision, reference it, don’t ignore it.

Through thick and thin, be your brand’s adversary, not its enemy.

Your brand is your company DNA and what you do with it will make or break the strength of its purpose, the value of its differentiation and elevate the commitment of its brand advocates.

Don’t just put it on a shelf, put it to work.  You’ve defined your brand, outlined internal expectations and established your marketing strategy – now share it!

  • Provide copies to your employees. Your employees are an extension of your brand and need to understand what is expected of them, why the company exists and its plans for the future.
  • Share the messaging publicly. Existing and potential clients, partners and media outlets need to know what makes you different and how you stand out in the competitive set. 
  • Own it.Whether it’s in an interview, blog, social media outreach, or day-to-day dealings, use your brand voice with the confidence and conviction of the expert you are.

As you grow, it grows.  All things change or adjust as they grow and diversify.  So should your Brand Platform and Marketing Strategy.

  • It’s a living document, And as your business grows, staffing increases and responsibilities change, there may be a need to reevaluate certain functional or procedural aspects of your brand.
  • Diversification is not departure. Growth often opens new doors and avenues. When those opportunities arise, evaluate how and if, they fold into your existing brand position and goal. New isn’t always timely.

Assess your asset.  Evaluate the progress toward your goals, both long and short term, on an annual basis as well as when milestones are achieved.

  • Go the road.  Your brand strategy is a road map to reaching your goals. Don’t be afraid of the path, you designed it, did you follow it?
  • Celebrate the wins. Reaching your goals should be celebrated but also evaluated. How they were achieved? Can it be done better next time?  
  • Evaluate the misses. The same must be done with the goals that fall short. Many great lessons can be learned from loses and positively influence changes.

At the end of the day – it is your brand. Create it. Know it. Share it. Grow it. 

And most of all – Be Proud Of It.

Are You Ignoring Baby Boomers?

As everyone knows, no one likes to be ignored. Yet, many companies are doing just that to a huge demographic – the Baby Boomers – that still has a lot of buying power. For the last decade, marketers have been focused on the “it” demos: millennials and Gen Z. Although millennials officially outnumber boomers, we shouldn’t forget the spending power wielded by boomers.

While millennials have dominated headlines in recent years, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have continued to dominate consumer spending in the U.S. In fact, consumers over 50 now account for more than half of all U.S. spending. They are also responsible for more spending growth over the past decade than any other generation, including the coveted millennials. 

As a group, this over-50 crowd should continue to be a major force in U.S. consumer spending, especially as those over 60 years old drive growth over the next five to 10 years, according to Visa Business and Economic Insights. 

This is happening for two reasons: demographics—there are simply more consumers over 60 than there were 10 years ago—and behavior. Baby boomers, compared to generations that preceded them, are retiring later, holding on to more debt, and maintaining budgets for travel and other discretionary treats.

Today’s baby boomers are some of the most technologically sophisticated and active groups in the world. They are traveling, spending time outdoors, going back to school, starting second and third careers, caring for grandchildren and parents, all the while staying relevant in politics, social media, and cultural changes. You want some proof of the baby boomers buying power? According to U.S. News & World Report, this demographic controls 70% of the country’s disposable income and spend $3.2 trillion a year.  

Baby Boomers include the likes of George Clooney, Julianne Moore, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey, Jr., Lenny Kravitz, LL Cool J, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, Barack Obama, Oprah, Deepak Chopra and Madonna. I don’t think anyone would suggest that these folks should be ignored, yet many are ignoring their entire generation.

Millennials and the Gen Z may have some money to spend now — but Baby Boomers have it yesterday, today and tomorrow. Their WWI generation parents are leaving them even more wealth, and they are ready to enjoy it by purchasing new homes, cars, boats, and other luxury goods they may have postponed purchasing while they were putting kids through college. Targeting boomers might not be as Instagram able as a millennial demo, but it is instantly gratifying.

Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys Inc., told the New York Times that “while the millennials are sharing stuff, boomers are buying stuff. If you are a brand, you are in business to make money, and a tweet or share or laugh online doesn’t translate into actual bottom-line dollars. Boomers are an audience that’s worth pursuing in virtually every category.”

Brands should target boomers by using an integrated media mix that includes radio, TV, email, and social media. According to Nielsen, baby boomers are the second heaviest users of the internet and more than half of boomers are active on Facebook. They also are a growing demographic on Instagram, and they are still one of the last demos that can be reached using direct mail and email marketing. Nielsen also found that “Boomers account for nearly $230 billion in sales for consumer-packaged goods.” The demo also spends close to $7 billion shopping ONLINE.

By 2020, there will be about 11 millionmore consumers over age 60. While the share of spending among younger consumers is expected to decline over the next 10 years, older boomers should gradually spend more with those aged 60+ reaching a 33 percent share of aggregate spending by 2025.

Industry forecasts show that Gen X and millennials will continue to be important consumer targets—as much for their current spending as for their longer-term loyalty—but the strongest future growth potential in spending lies firmly with baby boomers. 

How and where are you targeting boomers?

How to Develop Successful Experiential Marketing

Years ago, I worked for an ad agency that had developed a reputation for experiential marketing. Our work for very large brands was recognized in national press and industry publications. But in time, I came to recognize that our work was severely lacking. 

Experiential marketing should be included as part of an integrated plan, this is often considered an offline tool. It is just another element in reaching consumers through a brand’s marketing mix. Experiential marketing is about creating an experience that is new and unusual and leaves a lasting impression. This is different from hearing a spot on the radio or viewing content while streaming music on a portable device because it actively involves the target audience. In many cases, experiential marketing will allow the consumer to use a product or service.

Examples of experiential marketing:

  • A branded beer garden at an outdoor event.
  • Signing up for a free subscription to a video on demand service at an event.
  • Photo booth posting photos on social media.
  • Truck with solar panels to generate hot water (we did this for a utility).
  • Red Bull events (just pick one).

In two of the events listed, getting the consumer’s information was essential. In the others, how to capture the data can also be included.

In our case of a few years back, I came to recognize that our work, while it garnered the attention of consumers, in reality, was nothing more than a short-lived stunt. It was good so long as we had the attention of our audience and disappeared once the consumers were on their way. What about the ROI? Unfortunately, many expensive are designed similarly.

A key factor in experiential marketing is that it rarely leads to an immediate sale, so it is best practice to establish realistic goals in the planning phase (e.g. online mentions through social media, free PR, product sampling). The experiential engagement should include the opportunity to capture consumer data to create an ongoing relationship. While having a big budget helps, it’s more important to make your experience memorable.

The Hidden Cost of Branding

What the Internet has accomplished is the ability for marketers, large and small, to get their brands in front of the public. So, whether it is recognized or not, this has increased the need for effective branding.

What is Branding?

While you can find different definitions, for the sake of this discussion, I will simplify it to say branding is the package of elements to represent a particular product or service to consumers in the marketplace. If done effectively, the branding will be so unique that consumers will identify the brand and not confuse it for another. Proper branding will be achieved in advertising, logo, content, online, font, brand voice, elevator pitch and much more.

While large brands with equally large budgets spend millions of dollars developing and protecting their brands, it is equally important to small brands too. Because it’s so easy to get a message in front of the public today, I believe branding is important than it ever has been. Branding works because it establishes and reinforces what your brand represents. The more time it gets in front of your audience, the higher the probability your brand will be remembered.

The hidden cost of branding occurs when there is no consistency. It may not have a direct impact on your bottom-line like advertising, public relations, or a new piece of collateral, but there is a cost.

Each time your brand comes in contact with a consumer an investment was made to achieve that impression. If done well your message is reinforced with every engagement. But so often what happens, marketers focus on the key message (i.e. sign up today, lower costs, new and improved) and the branding becomes not even secondary, but an afterthought. If a company spends $30k for an online campaign and the branding is focused energy-efficiency, a lasting impression is made on the consumer. If the next campaign’s branding is a similar investment promoting a low-cost position, the company is pushing a different messaging, instead of building off of the original one. While it’s fuzzy math, the company gets two different $30k campaigns with little added to the bottom line.

Branding gets expensive when you have different messaging in the market place. When you consider that each consumer engagement has a cost associated with it, a company wants to build on its investment. If you are a home developer and your messages are about custom homes, sustainability, affordable, or quality, what is your target audience supposed to think?

In a recent branding assignment for a nonprofit, there were ten of us sitting in rooms over months, slogging through numerous meetings. We dissected the organization’s mission statement, goals, brand personality, name, colors, logo, font, clients, competition, as well as many other details. In the end, we revised the brand to be more relevant in today’s world. But the truth is branding is just as important to major corporations as it is all the way to small businesses.

IT’S TIME FOR SOCIAL MEDIA ROI

It’s 2019 and way past time for social media to be considered a reliable, and measurable, communications channel. It has been a key marketing channel, and in some cases, the only channel, that businesses, organizations, and the government use to reach their audiences.

It’s time to ensure that the social media budget is returning a strong ROI to the marketing and operations of the organization. And because this key component of your business strategy is going to take more time and resources, you should definitely know all about social media ROI. Here’s a quick primer on how to establish social media ROI for your business.

Setting Your Goals

Defining what you want social media to do for your overall sales and operational goals is your first step. What are you trying to achieve?  More followers, more sales, increased traffic to your website, foot traffic to your brick and mortar operation? You must define these goals and make them SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Social media ROI boils down to how much you’re currently spending and how much your social media impact matters to your business right now.

Benchmarking

Before you start measuring your social activities, you need to know where you’re currently at – better known as taking a benchmark of where you are starting. Here are some things you will want to know before you start your social media campaign.

  • Existing website analytics (i.e., visitors, referral links, SEO rankings, etc.)
  • Current customer satisfaction scores you are tracking as well as customer ratings on external directories (i.e., Facebook or Google My Business recommendations)
  • KPIs you currently track (i.e., cost of customer acquisition, advertising budget, and allocation, average sale, average sales per month, etc.) to see how these change over time
  • Social profiles numbers you already have (i.e., number of connections on LinkedIn, Facebook fans, blog subscribers and Twitter followers)

Understanding The Importance Of ROI

Review your social media channels daily and determine which social media channel is bringing your company the most revenue at present and why. Also, note areas in which you could improve. Monitoring these will enable you to make changes for the better.

Measuring Your Social Media

Armed with your social media goals, you need to measure your social media performance and be ready to A/B test content, imagery, promotions, etc. to find the optimum messaging that resonates with your target audiences.

Tie your results to business goals

The impact of your social media campaign should be measurable and tie back to the operational business goals of the company. The value and specifics of each link you share on social media should be trackable to your website, call center, CRM platform, public relations campaign, etc. This makes it easier for you to see which links are building traffic to the website, phone calls to the call center, increasing participation in events, or making donations. You should use an integrated marketing channel dashboard to ensure that you have a comprehensive look at all your marketing data into one easy-to-use report.

If you need help assessing your social media ROI, we can help. Contact me at rmarston@engagemarketing.biz.