Hi. Who are you? 6 Steps to figuring it out.

Posted on April 26, 2010. Filed under: Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

As I think about breaking successful marketing down to its most basic elements, the playful Antonio Carlos Jobim song One Note Samba comes to mind. Follow the steps below and your marketing will also become much easier and more fun. Enjoy Ella Fitzgerald’s sunny interpretation accompanied by great musicians including Zoot Simms on sax, Clark Terry on trumpet, Toots Thielemans on harmonica and Joe Pass on guitar.

 

In my last post I brought up the unfortunate fact that businesses are embracing social media, blogs, online activities, without visiting the ABC’s of sound marketing communications. It’s easy to get swept up in the marketing tools of the moment. Facebook. Twitter. Search engine optimization. You’ve gotta be there.

Whoa!! Put on the brakes!! I am very concerned that marketing basics are being ignored as companies embrace the Web – to the detriment of results.

This post addresses the questions in the first outline topic from my last post. Subsequent posts will address the other outline points.

 Who are your audiences?

This is a question that many organizations don’t pay enough attention to. Years ago I made it the topic of a column for Internet.com and it’s still fresh today. Many companies identify their key audiences too narrowly — customers and prospects. Those are key audiences and for the Web you also need to give thought to them as Buyer Personae with specific characteristics and qualities that you can speak to/interact with.

In reality, the list can be much longer. This has never been truer than it is in today’s Web 2.0 world where you never know how business may come your way. Widen out your thinking to consider other audiences you might want to access/be accessible to: referrers/trusted advisors, friends and families, competitors (mergers and acquisitions anyone?), offline and online media outlets (especially influential bloggers), industry experts, funding organizations – and please don’t forget search engines!! Which other ones can you come up with?

What are your key messages?

If you take the time to identify the most important things audiences need to know to encourage them to interact with your company, it makes all of your communications much easier. These key messages may not be the ones you think of in-house. What you believe is important may have nothing to do with what will turn your audiences on. And the messages will certainly be different for various audiences. Here’s where surveys and good old fashioned one-to-one interviews or focus groups can play a critical role. Keep in mind that messaging can and should change with the changing times. For example if you market for a healthy, community bank that didn’t need to take TARP funds, you’d have done well to develop and communicate messages to this effect to keep existing clients and attract new ones in the banking emergency. So make key messaging an ongoing part of your marketing efforts.

How are you positioned relative to the competition and the marketplace as a whole?

If we stick with the example of the healthy community bank, above, it’s easy to see that, post-economic-meltdown, it had a terrific opportunity to increase its marketshare by recognizing and communicating its market positioning. “Our bank behaved independently and responsibly in support of our stated commitment to traditional fiscal values and our community. As a result, we continue to grow in our ability to provide the services you need.” That would likely attract some new depositors!

Understanding who we are, what we provide, how it compares with competitive offerings and how we meet the needs of our market is at the core of taking advantage of the evolving business scene.

Do you have a recognizable brand identity/personality and do you employ it consistently throughout your communications?

This one’s simple. If you haven’t already, invest in a strong visual symbol of your company. Or take a hard look at your existing logo and assess whether it’s time for an update. Use a professional designer who specializes in corporate identity. Be sure to view the designer’s portfolio to see if he or she has created logos for any companies you’re familiar with or in your industry.

In general it’s less costly to create a typeface treatment of your company name than a separate symbol. Just the process involved in logo development can help you in your thinking about the points discussed earlier. It’s a good idea to establish some standards for how the identity will be used in various applications – print, the Web, etc. – notwithstanding the playful way that Google alters its logo on a consistent basis. They’re a unique case.

Do you have clear marketing objectives?

If not, answering these basic questions will help you see the possibilities for growing the business much more clearly. If you’ve already sat down to decide where you’re going, revisiting the basics will help you get there more quickly and more surely.

Revisit the above periodically.

I’m not just dishing out advice here. This act of thinking again about the marketing ABC’s has been as helpful to me as I hope it is to you. What do you include in your marketing basics?

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How Social Media (probably) Got a Small Hotel into the NY Times

Posted on February 22, 2010. Filed under: Jazz, Newspapers, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

No other tune could accompany this post as well as Ella Fitzgerald’s rendition of There’s a Small Hotel from the album The Rodgers and Hart Songbook Volume 2. Check out the rarely-heard verse! Hit the play button below, or if you’re getting this by email, visit the blog to listen.

Today my RSS feed coughed up a New York Times article by Susan Dominus about the joys of www.foursquare.com. Read the article or go on the website to learn about Foursquare. That’s not the point of this post.

Susan Dominus met one of her sources for the article at the Roger Smith Hotel on Lexington Ave between 47th and 48th. From my experience, the choice of venue might be no coincidence. And it represents the power of social media.

First let me say that, in my opinion, the Roger Smith is one of the coolest unsung spots in NY City. Its president is talented Connecticut sculptor James Knowles. The property is maybe the last remaining property of his wife’s family’s hotel holdings. The couple has lovingly embraced the Roger Smith, renovated it and given it one of the most delightful personalities in all NY hotel-dom.

I first met Jim Knowles in the early 1990s through a client Joe Scott, founder of upscale Connecticut landscape design firm Glen Gate, who engaged Jim to create an award for his most creative designers. At the time, Jim hosted Monday evening starving artist dinners in the penthouse of the Roger Smith. They were unspeakably charming and so supportive of the New York arts community.

Over time, I’d stop in there to view the artwork on display and noticed that the hotel was succeeding in attracting international visitors. But I will go out on a limb and say that it has become uber-popular with home town folk since social media guru Chris Brogan has made it his official NY stopover.

Chris tweets about the Roger Smith to his almost 125,000 Twitter followers – including me — and frequently mentions the hotel in blog and newsletter posts. So when a New York Times reporter doing a story on the website Foursquare.com hooks up with interviewee “Damien Basile, a 29-year-old social media consultant, and several of his Foursquare-happy friends” at the Roger Smith, it stands to reason that this person likely learned about the place from a Chris Brogan post and might well be wanting to establish Foursquare mayor-dom and badges at Chris’ NY hotel of choice. (Again check out Foursquare or the Times article to interpret the aforegoing.)

Makes sense to me. But more important, and what I’d share with clients, is that recognition in the social media realm has real dollars and cents value. The fact that Chris has established authority and endorses the Roger Smith likely makes it a destination for social media types and probably led to the NY Times recognition. Chris…you’ve proved it before, and if I’m not all wet here, this proves it again.

Obviously, I’m connecting the dots, but if somehow Damien Basile sees this post, please let me know if I’m right or paddling in the wrong pond. Or if Chris Brogan learned about the Roger Smith from Damien or other NY social media folk I’ll reverse, of course. But it was one of those tasty moments that seemed more than coincidence. And Chris’ endorsement of the Roger Smith certainly can’t hurt – regardless of who learned about it from whom.

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