Smite Those Tactics!

Whac-a-Mole ImageMarketing tactics are insidious and prolific. They keep popping up on what seems like an almost daily basis. SEO. Content. Backlinks. Tracklinks. PPC. AdWords. Promoted posts. Featured items. Offers. Text messages. Mobile apps. Interactive cable TV. Webinars. Teleseminars. e-Books. On-demand presentations. Gadgets, widgets and plug-ins. And the list could easily go on. In fact it does go on!

Are you inundated by the latest “must have” tactics in your marketing strategy mix? If so, I suggest that you smite those tactics until you step back and take a broader view of your overall marketing strategy. Don’t succumb to the siren song of any new tactic until you figure out if it will do you some good.

To whom are you marketing? Are you in the B2B or B2C business? What are the demographics of your markets in terms of age, occupation, income and interests? What kinds of activities are your prospects interested in and how do they find out about them? Mightn’t that information provide some valuable insights to guide you in the selection of your messages and the media you use to deliver them?

Who buys the largest quantities of what you sell, and where can you find more of those kinds of customers? Are there uses for your products or services outside your existing customer base that could be exploited with new messaging? Would new media selection help your message go viral? Is going viral what you want? Can you support that level of activity?

The right hierarchy for your marketing strategy decisions is goals first, strategy second and tactics third. So if those tactics are distracting you or diluting your overall goal and strategy work then I suggest you smite them until it’s time to consider which of them you’ll actually want to implement to support your plans.

Comments, as always, are solicited and thanks for reading.

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Is Social Media a Passing Fad?

social-media-iconsI’ve been reading a lot lately about predictions for the coming year. Many of those predictions have to do with social media — whether or not it will stay relevant, whether or not anyone will figure out how to really measure its return on investment (ROI), how many social media “agencies” will survive, etc.

These are interesting questions and remind me of days past when similar questions surfaced and when there were as many answers and opinions — mine among them with this writing! — as there were people brave enough to venture them.

How do you measure the impact of social media expenditures on your bottom line? Do you have real numbers in terms of dollars spent vs. dollars gained or in terms of debits and credits or do you just know that social media is working for you?

Social media has created the biggest self-employment boom in recent history. Virtually anyone can lay claim to being a social media “expert,” as they did with website search engine optimization until Google foiled them and created the current content craze. I have personal and business/company/fan pages on Facebook, Linkedin, Google+, XeeMe, Biznik and several others. I know how to use promotions and advertisements on most of these platforms. My website has all the requisite social media buttons and even uses a WordPress Facebook plug-in for you to leave comments — which I hope you will, by the way — on articles such as this one.

So am I a social media expert? I certainly don’t pass myself off as one, even though I think I know more than enough to be a little dangerous! But what I most certainly don’t know is how I would measure my effectiveness as a social media expert were I to take someone’s money to do social media implementation and optimization work. So I don’t do it. I do higher level strategy work and farm out the implementation to people who have actually helped my business increase its revenues through their improvements to my social media efforts.

Most of my clients are small companies — one to a dozen or so people who have had no formal marketing strategy training r whose marketing manager got the job because he or she knew how to use Facebook and Linkedin a few years ago. I help them figure out who their real target markets are, what messages will resonate with them and what media is most likely to be most effective in delivering those messages to those markets. It may sound simple, but it isn’t. And I normally do recommend that they invest in social media to at least some extent simply because they “have to have a social media presence” in this day and age to be considered a real company.

But am I giving them good advice? I think back to why we attended trade shows when I was in the electronics and software businesses. We had to be there because our competition was there. Until we became successful enough that we could afford not to be there and to let our customers and prospects know that it wasn’t due to lack of money or customers that we were foregoing our future trade show appearances. We were going to use the money for something that would benefit them more than our fancy exhibit booth and lavish hospitality suite. And they respected that.

Trade shows didn’t die, of course. They still have their niches and their purposes. But they have changed dramatically. And I think our fascination or even obsession with social media may become subject to similar pressures in the future. Because if you can’t measure the ROI for an activity, the bean counters are going to make sure that it is severely curtailed if not completely eliminated.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic and will share them with the “gurus” of social media to whom I am connected.  Thanks for reading. I hope you found this content useful.


Some Analytics Thoughts for a Thursday

It’s been a busy day and before I head out for another networking event I thought I’d take a breather and put some words together for this blog this week.  Seems like I had a burst of creativity — or verbosity, depending on your point of view — two weeks ago.  I did five blog posts that week, including two videos, one of which was The 15-Question Silent Marketing Test.

Looking at the Google analytics, The Power of Passion got the most views. That was followed very closely by The Instant Strategy Session offer, which is really a commercial for my services, and Keep It Simple, Please.  The Business of Selling Likes, Follows and Views, The Power of Planning and The Power of Positioning each got about half as many views as the top three. The 15-Question Silent Marketing Test came in at the bottom. So I’m trying to figure out what this all means.

Beyond the blog, I also look at the overall visitors flow for my website since it went live four short months ago. It looks like this:

Website Analystics July 2012

People clearly like the calendar, which comes in a very close second to the home page as a landing page, where I aggregate events of interest to my fellow networkers and othersin and around Portland. Several people have praised that page for its ability to show them what’s happening without having to search multiple sites and groups and there are a bunch who actually subscribe to it. I’m clearly providing value there and I’m happy to do it.  Presentation Links comes in next and I think that’s because I’ve put my printed info up there in electronic format, including some live pdf planning and strategy forms that I use in my consulting work with clients.

A few people have told me that I’m giving too much away on the Presentation Links page and that it is costing me paying clients. I think that may be true to some extent, but I’m OK with that because there are enough people who want the chance to sit down and talk with me about their specific issues and are willing to invest a few bucks to do so. My mission is to help businesses grow through better marketing strategies. If I can help them do it organically, or provide my services, I’m happy to do both (within reason, of course as I do have to make a living!).

The Marketing Seminar/Workshop page is also getting a significant number of page views and I expect that August 9th event to be a great success. Blatant plug: If you haven’t signed up for it yet, please do so ASAP. The Early Bird price of only $45 for this half-day event ends July 28th. The Newsletter page doesn’t show up at all in the website analytics, which leads me to believe that I’m driving traffic to the website from the newsletter but not vice versa.

What do your site’s analytics tell you about the information you provide to your prospects and customers? What actions do you take based on your interpretation of your analytics?

I’d love to hear from you so please don’t be shy about using the Leave a Comment box to make your thoughts known.