Monthly Archives: September 2015

Takeaways from Friday: 9/25

While looking through an article on different parts of an online marketing plan, I found a section saying that an “editorial calendar” would be a good thing to include. Since I did not know what this is, I clicked the link and read about it. An editorial calendar is a basic timeline of what to write about and when to write it. As far as social media marketing goes, this could be a huge asset. Why? If a company’s social media department has a job to do but no idea what to write about, there could be a lag in productivity.

The concept of an editorial calendar could easily be adapted for any form of social media marketing. It could be used to keep track of Facebook coupons, as well as other promotions. In fact, the article does say to make a list of the top ten questions clients are asking. This would be a good way to listen to the consumers and address these concerns. has a good resource on what having a mission statement means and how to go about composing one. The article starts off by encouraging the reader to dig deeper into what it is their business is about. For example web design company may provide websites. Digging deeper would be that the company creates solutions for effective communication. However, that’s not the only piece of a mission statement. A mission statement should be concise but clear. Simple without being watered down. “Creating effective communication solutions” would be a good place to start. An emotional connection is the last piece that needs writing. With an emotional, passion-driven component, your company and consumers will be able to feel the mission statement and with it, the business. “Creating effective communication solutions for a world that’s moving forward” would encompass the main points. However, there is one more thing: to live and act on that mission statement. The company should take that mission statement and put it into everything they do. After all, how is the mass public going to catch on and believe in something the company as a whole doesn’t?

This article shows where digital marketing fits into a marketing plan. With this, I can make conclusions about how an IT professional would be able to contribute to a marketing plan. The article outlines that digital marketing can be made to personalize the ads and promotions to better fit consumers’ needs.

So where do IT professionals come in when a marketing plan is being put together? Well, where do the IT “nerds” fit in in Integrated Web Concepts? The digital world has been expanding for around four decades, and especially in the last one. So far, in class discussions, the IT part has been how the field ties into marketing- SEO, social media marketing, and CRM software solutions. A marketing plan could include all of these things, and an IT professional who can explain details in “plain English” when asked would be a huge asset when putting together a proper marketing plan.


Differentiation, Positioning, and Strategy

This video explains why differentiation depends on target markets as well as why differentiation is important on its own. It shows a few different ways to differentiate a brand or product. These ways include focusing on quality as a key value. If consumers see your product as being high quality, that could differentiate your brand and gain more sales. Product leadership is another method of differentiation. Like Apple, which (formerly?) has been seen as the high tech, cutting edge leader of computer and cell phone markets. Apple is seen as a clean, futuristic innovator. This is what helped give Apple its loyal consumer base.  Yet another is called “customer intimacy” in the video, but that would be customer relationship- as in CRM. Specializing in great customer service and building good relationships with customers can be a very effective way to differentiate a brand from others in the same market.

This article makes a similar point, but further hammers the idea that sticking to a proper target market will make positioning your brand against others possible. It gives the example of trying to sell snow tires in Arizona. The target market for snow tires there is going to be slim to none.  A far better approach would be developing tires that grip roads after a sandstorm sweeps through. Sticking with that example, positioning the brand as bringing safety would be a good fit. It’s likely people in the market for tires that grip despite sandy conditions would prioritize safety. But then one would have to stick to the concept of safety. Putting out too many ads that advertise say, the “coolness” of having sand tires, or how well-made the tires are might distract from the main goal. Unless the well-made property or reliability of the tires directly feeds into the safety, the attempts at positioning are going to start falling flat.

This article sums up why marketing strategies are important to companies. Because of this, it would sum up a huge chunk of the marketing discussion. Why? It shows how the different pieces of the marketing pie come together in the marketing plan. For example, it shows the relationship between target markets and market research. It would be difficult to do a lot of in-depth research without knowing the target market. To build on this, it would be difficult to even find a target market if the product or service doesn’t fill any needs or wants for anyone. But if that were the case, a company would be able to build a target market (like how razor companies started selling to women during WWII when their original target market, the men, left to fight) – which would be all part of a marketing plan. It also says to keep going over your market plan. If some parts aren’t working out, fix them! It wouldn’t make sense to adhere to a broken marketing plan and it wouldn’t make sense to lag behind the competition.

Customer Relationship Management – How and why, as well as how NOT.

This video shows both bad and good examples of Customer Relationship Management. The first example would likely not get many return customers. The first example’s company would be building a negative brand. What people would think of that company and what they would feel about it would be that they’re cold and unwelcoming. The company in the first example would be seen as trying to rush consumers in and out and not giving one thought about anything besides income.

The second example would be a company that has built their brand on good customer service and has a good handle on CRM. They will likely see far more customers, as the customers will feel welcomed and cared about. Instead of being sent out the door by a rude representative, they are given information to make an educated decision about the service, and are able to ask questions. The questions are met with enough details to know how to make a decision.

This article is similar to the first example, but with the perspective of social media marketing. The first example in this article is a good one. A dentist in France had a plan to send out texts to patients about upcoming appointments. This would be possible thanks to a patient database with contact information. Sending out texts based on such a database would not necessarily be difficult, as there are programs that will send out texts automatically with different messages based on other factors.

However, the second example, which is a cosmetics company that markets internationally, the emails are a mass advertisement that might have a coupon. There is nothing personal about these messages. I’ve actually seen similar ones that my mom gets, and a lot of them focus on one type of cosmetic per ad, and often it’s anti-aging cream. Now they may have figured out that their target market could be looking for that, but their consumer base may have other needs beyond just getting what amounts to a generalized magazine ad in their email inbox.  A CRM software may be used- for example, having consumers who get emails fill in a survey could help sort the possible emails into a few categories, and the copy could be written to be a bit more personal in these emails.

This video shows a few different ways to communicate with angry consumers over the phone (or possibly email) without the situation escalating. This would be a huge part of CRM, as an angry customer is already developing a negative opinion about your business. Defusing the situation is important, as the problem can then be solved properly. It’s also possible that the customer will change their mind about your company. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful, especially if it’s because of a negative experience. Yes, an angry consumer may have spread some nasty comments about your business, but if they receive excellent customer service, they may later tell others about the customer service experience.

It’s especially important to keep the consumer’s possible social media comments when dealing with that consumer over the phone or email. If an angry reply goes to the customer, the customer is going to tell everyone that the employees handling the situation replied in an immature and childish manner- even if that consumer was behaving far worse. Business diplomacy goes so far.

Tips and Jobs in SEO

I wanted to know more about how Search Engine Optimization related jobs were growing and how the salaries go for such jobs. The lower infographics show where jobs are headed, average salaries, job titles, and more. It’s interesting to see that a couple of common job titles are related to marketing and/or strategy. In fact, seeing that a Director of Marketing could be in charge of Search Engine Optimization is very interesting.

Seeing the amount of job growth is very nice, but it’s not really surprising. As more companies realize that they need Google to get business, they seem to be bringing in more potential for grabbing that part of the market. While I find the coding aspect of development to be my calling, SEO would be a darn good idea.

I found an article on Forbes magazine about Google Analytics. Forbes would likely be a good source to trust when it comes to business, as they have just about everything business-related in their grasp.

Seeing their tips on Google Analytics is great. It’s good to see what business experts find useful out of such tools. They found a way to make it so that you’re not tracking yourself- though it might not work for everyone since it works by IP. But if you’re working at an SEO job in a company, that could be incredibly useful.

This last article shows facts and statistics about SEO marketing and how it’s used. It even shows stats from Bing, if anyone happened to be interested in how searching works from the most default of all search engines. It actually seems to have a similar rate of clicks to Google results. Why? Users click on the first non-sponsored result first. If that doesn’t work, they maybe go to the second one.

While the article directly mentions blogs for companies, the same thing would definitely apply for websites. And now that content management systems are common, it could start skewing the line between website and blog- especially with WordPress-powered CMS sites. These statistics would be wonderful for marketers no matter what sort of site or business they run.

On Marketing Research (and accidentally finding an example of why good websites are crucial to marketing)

This website has a bunch of tutorials on marketing research and a few articles on what other companies have done wrong. It offers insight into such topics as creating your own focus group, a couple of tips about inexpensive ad methods, and tutorials on target markets.

The articles are fairly in-depth depending on the article’s goal. The “tips from a guerilla marketer” page doesn’t have a long article, but it gives a look as to how others have found success in getting ads to the consumers for a smaller cost.

The article on how to set up a focus group, or consumer panel, is actually rather informative relative to recent discussions. Instead of just outlining the types of questions that would be asked during a focus group panel, it also explains ways to invite customers and how to go about using the information. What I thought was really interesting was how it explained the panel atmosphere. It should be kept as anonymous as possible, and there should be employees there to listen to the feedback and take notes- but they should not be contributing any ideas or feedback of their own. The employees should be ready to answer questions, but not give any explanation that wasn’t asked for or any reasoning against complaints.

This blog post from HubSpot gives amazing insight into writing up a market research survey. It goes over how to write the questions as well as who should be writing questions. For example, the marketing department should be sharing the survey drafts with other departments. Why? Other departments may know things about products or services that the marketing might not. Besides, having more minds to collaborate means more power behind the work. The post also explains that too many questions will lower results. If you have more questions than the recommended ballpark of 40, the article also suggests giving an incentive for completing the survey, such as being registered to win a cash prize or something else reasonable for the survey (perhaps that’s why stores and restaurants offer $1000 for a survey- they could be really long!).  It’s also incredibly important to proofread and go over the questions again and again. Questions shouldn’t lead to an answer or assume one way or another. The grammar and spelling should also be proofread. In short, don’t be short about writing your surveys.

This article explains the how, what, and why of marketing research reports. It explains in depth how to write a marketing research report and why each section is important. A marketing research report is what it sounds like- a report on the marketing research that has been done. It outlines what the findings of the conducted study were, offers insights to any limitations of the study, and recommendations as to what to do about the study’s results. It also shows that references and appendices can be important, but should not get in the way of the body of the report. References show that you have compiled a valid report and give credit where credit is due. Appendix sections are for surveys themselves, graphs, charts, and any other material that is important to the report but would get distracting or confusing if they appeared in the main parts of the report.

It’s important for a marketer to know how to write a marketing research report, and it is beneficial for other departments to understand how marketing research reports work. Since other departments would really only need some stats and the proposed usage of the information, they should understand how the marketing got to the conclusions from reading the section and then look up anything else that needs clarification.

Takeaways from 9/08’s class

This video goes over STP, but with a little more in-depth as to how you would segment, especially outlining 4 common ways to segment markets. It also goes over targeting, as far as how fitting the segment would be and the benefits of targeting. Another topic of targeting is the range of different targeting styles. It goes over different ways to position as well- but it does say that you don’t need to go for all the different positioning methods. It also hammers the importance of making a good marketing plan. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” says the video.

I find this to be interesting as it does go a little bit more in-depth than the class while still not being overwhelming. It was interesting to note that there are so many different targeting methods. While it doesn’t explain these methods in detail, I can get a better grasp of how marketers need to do a lot of research before they start doing anything at all.

This article goes over a bit of history of target marketing. It explains how target marketing didn’t exist in its current form at all around 60 years ago. Instead, there were small businesses that knew their customers or ads in newspapers. Companies didn’t look at demographics- they simply marketed their products towards men or towards women and didn’t need to worry about whether or not men who enjoyed a certain sport were more likely to buy the product or if more single than married women purchased something. Eventually, businesses noticed that different age groups were attracted to different products, thus giving way to more demographically-based marketing strategies.

Now, businesses have far more ways to gather research about prospective consumers and platforms for advertising. I find it interesting to see a more historical perspective on target marketing, because it shows how far the concept of marketing has come. Also, it gives a sense of wonder over what the future holds. Where will marketing go from here? We can only guess.

This video goes over how to position a less-than-stellar product. Instead of stretching the truth- which can get you in trouble- or settling for less customers, a marketing team can go for a more humorous approach. In a time when videos can go viral, social media is booming, and consumers are growing impatient with advertising, it is important to grab the attention of the viewer and make them talk about the ad. Why? Because that builds recognition. When people see a hilarious ad, they remember it. They then remember the product. They tell their friends, and then the viewer and their friends try out the product. But if you can’t get the viewer to actually pay attention to your ad, they won’t catch on to your sales pitch. In other words, they won’t see the point in buying the product or service. This is why a lot of commercials on TV are getting surreal or otherwise funny- so you remember the Old Spice commercial, the McDonalds Filet-O-Fish singing fish, or the catchy opera song for JG Wentworth. Another example? Ask around and see who all remembers the Shorewest commercial where the guy bought a yodeling record and sang along with it, or even the Clapper. Even old commercials can stick in one’s memory for years on end.

Intro to Marketing- Thoughts on placement and supply chain.

This article explains what happens when supply chain isn’t running efficiently. I was originally trying to investigate if Walmart’s habit of rearranging their stores has to do with product placement, but I found this instead. It seemed more interesting, and the only resource I found on store rearranging was that “so you buy more things”.

The article goes on to say that Walmart’s shelves are having empty spaces because they cut hours for employees- leading to too much work for too few people. This means that the employees can’t stock the shelves efficiently. If product isn’t out for people to buy, it’s not going to sell. Even if the economy has everyone cutting back, it’s not going to be good for a retailer if they can’t sell products.

This does actually factor into product placement as the products aren’t being placed.

I also found a different kind of product placement. In media, an item with a clear brand could be placed as part of a company’s marketing plan. It would make sense for the company to pay a movie production team to include their product even for a little while.

The article mentions the James Bond movies. It’s easy to see how much publicity Aston Martin gets for having James Bond drive their cars in every movie. Another example would probably be the amount of Superman merchandise in Seinfeld.  Yet another example of product placement would be the fact that when youtubers mention that they like products, companies may send them samples to keep them talking. Animator Lindsay Small was given Pretzel Crisps after talking with the company’s social media team on twitter. She then made a video about the Pretzel Crisps coming in the mail- further building publicity for the brand (unfortunately I can’t find that video).

I didn’t know too much about supply chain management, so I decided to research that a little more. I found this infographic about supply chain facts.

This infographic shows stats on everything from drones to free shipping wait times, sustainability, online retail, and number of truckers out on the road.

I remember the class discussion covering the logistics side of supply chain. With the infographic’s stat projection, the shortage of truck drivers is going to grow to a massive problem. If there aren’t enough drivers to transport the products, then the products aren’t going to get to the store. I don’t know if this is counting trucks that ship online purchases or not, but either way prices could go up as demand could start to vastly exceed the possible supply.Companies will have to pick up this slack as soon as possible, as you can’t sell products that are still back at the warehouse or distributing center.