danniewriter

Light bulbs

thinker1

Marketing Monday came and went without a post yesterday because I’ve been impressed recently by several articles on this mammoth subject and its infinite number of ancillary topics. In short: I couldn’t decide what to write about yesterday.

So I gave it some more thought and decided to share the best of the brightest I’d run across the past few days.

There’s a lot of pontificating (often I refer to this as “balloon juice”) out there intended to make authors/presenters look really smart. Inevitably they end up complicating, and then renaming, things that are essentially fairly simple to understand. One of my favorite examples is the term “signage,” which is now firmly embedded in our lexicon, but let’s face it, folks, “signs,” works just fine too.

But I digress.

In addition to the balloon juice is a great deal of informative, illustrative and no-nonsense articles and observations about marketing, public relations, social media, etc.

Here’s some info and links on the ones that really caught my eye. I ran across the first two on LinkedIn.

Last week I blogged about print not being dead. This week I ran across a post from Yvonne Parkinson that references data to back that up. Yes, as director of a printing firm she has a big dog in the fight, but the figures come from Direct Marketing Association in the UK so I think the figures are pretty solid no matter which side of the pond you are on.

Some might consider the next one as approaching clickbait status (more on that below), but after reading it, I disagree. Yes, it was the mention of the movie, The Breakfast Club (one of my all-time faves), that caught my eye, but this brief observation from Rex Weaver, a mover and shaker in the automotive industry, provides insight on how you can approach your audience with a fresh perspective. He defines three terms of customer “segmentation” that are not in the least snooty-sounding: User Based, Benefit Based and Occasion Based.

The last two come from HootSuite, the platform that enables users to post to multiple social media accounts simultaneously. They offer other stuff too.

HootSuite has just released its 2015 Social Media Glossary, enabling dabblers to figure out what those pretentious pundits are talking about, or perhaps empowering dabblers to sound like pretentious pundits themselves. Seriously, this is good info. Read this and you’ll understand why Rex Weaver’s Breakfast Club post is not┬áin the least clickbait … among other helpful things.

This last one is so insightful for business owners who are on social media. It illustrates why it is impossible for shops large and small (and non-profits, too) to “do” social media halfway. If you have started a Facebook page, Twitter feed or Pinterest board and simply abandoned it, you may be leaving a billboard of customer/donor dissatisfaction on the InterWebz for all the world to see … forever. Don’t let this happen to you.

 

 

 

 

Egon got it wrong

print

In 1984, Ghostbuster Egon Spengler pronounced: “Print is dead.”

Many people likely believe he was just ahead of his time, but (with all due respect to Harold Ramis) the truth is, he’s as wrong now as he was then.

Certainly the heyday of the medium is in the past, but when it comes to local news outside the nation’s big urban centers, newspapers are still an important player. The best ones are sharing news in column inches, 140 characters or less and a half-dozen other formats.

Another characteristic of today’s best papers is a big interest in “hyper local” content: information relevant to specific communities–down to the ZIP code and even the streets.

Why? National/international news comes at us from all directions. What is really lacking these days is the story from the next block.

That’s why details on your non-profit, or a special event your business may be planning, can still find an audience via your town’s newspaper and accompanying digital assets, but don’t expect the newspaper staff to beat a path to your door begging for details. You have to provide them complete and detailed information.

And make sure you leave the advertising copy where it belongs: in your ad budget. Don’t contact the newspaper unless you have a real story to tell.

Most newspapers (and TV stations for that matter) have an email address or “contact us” form on their websites to submit news. The forms usually have a word limit, but if you are sending an email, don’t make it too lengthy.

If you are a non-profit, focus on your clients and the track record of your organization. Are you expanding your services to a new demographic or geographic area? Is there an individual or family who have experienced real improvement in their circumstances or outlook because of the assistance they have received from your organization?

Are you promoting a special event such as a Trunk or Treat Halloween outreach or free movie for the community? Provide the newspaper with all of the details including alternate plans/locations in case of inclement weather. If the event is free, include that important point up front.

If you are seeking community support in some way: a donation of canned goods, winter gloves, etc., make that clear, too. Provide the newspaper with contact information to be included in print. (Make sure the reporter can contact you if he/she has questions, but if you do not want your personal email address/phone number included in the write-up, make that crystal clear in your communications.)

Small business owners working together to sponsor a block party/open house is newsworthy. Giving away free Halloween candy, face painting or hosting a costume/pumpkin carving contest? Donating a day’s receipts to charity? Are the employees of your hair salon giving free haircuts for the homeless or students from struggling families? Is your restaurant offering discounts on Thanksgiving to local college students? How about a Veterans’ Day promotion? Is your store going to be a Toys for Tots drop off location for Christmas?

Readers of your local newspaper, who by the way are your potential customers, want to support small businesses who provide excellent goods and services and also give back to the community. Give your newspaper the information they need to highlight your good citizenship.

Last week I mentioned that “old school” still works in reference to the U.S. Postal Service. The same goes for newspapers. Don’t count them out, especially if you are living in a suburban/rural area. Keep them in mind as you market and promote your business or non-profit.