Monday, May 17th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments
As we’ve written here before, NOISE North hosts a garbage can in our conference room, a shiny receptacle that stands as our symbol of the value of award-winning advertising, interactive, social media, public relations or any other brand communications — without results.
So last week, when NOISE South had the great pleasure to share with a number of our outstanding clients the exciting news that four of our creative efforts this past year were judged worthy of “Regional” Addy Awards — three more than any other agency in Southwest Florida, and hot on the heels of our local 19-Addy-awards 2010 performance, which included two Best of Show Awards and a Judges Choice Award thrown in for good measure — we announced the news with a low-key memo simply entitled: “For whatever it’s worth.”
For the most part, the reactions of our clients were what you might expect. Excitement. Praise. Hearty congratulations. Then, we received a note from a client leader whom we’d describe as the “toughest sell” of this award-winning group. To paraphrase his message: “What’s it worth? I believe it translated into positive sales for us.”
We wrote the words “for whatever it’s worth” because even today, given the delicate state of the economy and the incredibly high value of every marketing dollar that you will spend, there are still many marketers who fail to understand that the better the message in, the better the reaction out — unlike the all-too-common very opposite of this that we see all too often in advertising today, which is: garbage in, garbage out.
So to our clients, congratulations on your award-winning work. We’re extremely pleased you see the value in them, in the truest business sense of the word.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments
There’s a growing uneasiness among some marketing “experts” that the halcyon days of e-marketing are in the rear view mirror. They fear that we’re tuning out due to the daily onslaught of e-solicitations, welcome or not, that find their way into our in-boxes. They opine that we’re turning instead to more social brand interaction alternatives, particularly Facebook “like” pages, for our communications.
While we at NOISE don’t disagree with those sentiments, we’re also clearly in the camp of the majority of marketers profiled in MarketingSherpa’s 2010 “Email Marketing Benchmark Report” who — by a three-to-one margin — remain convinced that the effectiveness of e-marketing continues to increase, rather than decrease.
However, we’d add a number of asterisks to our e-marketing cheerleading, which include:
* Your Message Better Be Branded. You spend a lot of money and energy to build your brand. So empower the architects of that brand — be they agency or in-house — to build your e-marketing campaigns, too. It doesn’t cost exponentially more to have a fully-integrated, cohesively-branded e-campaign. And the results in opens and clicks will far outweigh the production cost.
* Your Message Better Be Valuable. We’re not just talking about value-driven offers here. We’re talking about value-driven content of all kinds. The point is, whatever the editorial agenda of your e-campaign, make sure it provides the kind of interest value that will compel your consumers to open it, engage with it and act on it.
* Your Message Better Be Motivating. Obvious point? Perhaps. But the most effective e-marketing is the kind that provides multiple points of interaction for the consumer — a discount here, a value-added there, an opportunity to win here, an opportunity to share there.
Done right, e-marketing remains highly effective. Done wrong, e-marketing is a waste of money. How are you doing yours?
SOURCE: NOISE, MarketingSherpa
Monday, March 29th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments
Clearly, one of Facebook’s most brilliant strategic moves in its amazingly brief (only since 2004) yet consistently brilliant corporate history was the decision less than two years ago to move its social media model into full-blown business tilt, with the introduction of the “Fan” page with its ubiquitous “Become a Fan” button and lexicon.
In that time, innovative marketers everywhere have jumped on the Fan bandwagon, grabbing and retaining thousands of passionate, vocal consumers who are engaged with their brand, hardly shy about sharing it with others, and motivated to visit their favorite websites and up the value (perceived or real) of social media marketing.
But now, along has come a radical new marketing initiative that Facebook is betting brands — or at the very least, Sally Field — will like, really like. It’s new nomenclature and a new option for consumers to “like” a brand instead of “fanning” it. According to Facebook, people are more than 200 percent more likely to click “Like” than “Become a Fan” (which effectively rested in peace on Monday, April 19, 2010).
One month into the changeover, the early returns suggest that once again, Facebook has chosen wisely. To date, more than 10 million new users have joined the FB ranks, and more than 10,000 brands have adopted the “Like” button.
If you’re an innovative social media marketer, stay ahead of the changes ahead and how you can, like, use them to your advantage.
SOURCE: NOISE, Mashable, MediaMemo
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments
As public relations case studies go, Toyota and Tiger are clearly two of the more interesting train wrecks to come along in some time.
Toyota, of course, is mired in staggering damage control — including a nine-million-vehicle recall, a mass media mea culpa ad campaign, and testimony (coming later the very day we write this) by the corporation’s chief executive officer (and founder’s grandson) in front of a United States House of Representatives investigative committee. Gazillions of dollars of losses, lawsuits and lost consumer confidence are surely to follow.
And Tiger? Whatever your opinion of the public’s ownership of the private matters of a private citizen, the golf icon’s well-orchestrated chat up was almost an OJesque moment in America — with millions of us breaking away from what we should’ve been doing to get in front of a television or online stream, and millions more in endorsement potentially on the line.
Clearly, these are public relations fiascos of classic (and unfortunately in one case, apparently deadly) proportion. And while PR strategists inside their brands and around the world plot (should that be plod?) the best way out of these messes — or simply entertain debate, as NOISE was invited to opine by a media resource recently — these constants, as we see them, remain:
1. If you make a mistake, admit to it honestly.
2. If you make a mistake, admit to it immediately.
3. If you make a mistake, admit to it sincerely.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | Uncategorized | No Comments
If one of your major initiatives this marketing year is launching a new web brand, NOISE Inter.Active would like to share our “NOISE 5.0 Process” that can help ensure your success:
NOISE 1.0: Begin at the End. The first question you need to ask is: what must my new web brand accomplish? Are we an experience and transaction site? An information and engagement site? An engagement and lead generation site? All of this? All of something else? Define your desired user experience and end results, and you’ve defined your goals.
NOISE 2.0: Set Your Site. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line; the same can be said for clicks. At NOISE Inter.Active, this is simply called the Site Architecture — a multi-leveled, content-, technology- and marketing-interface-specific flow chart of your site’s superstructure, and search engine optimization strategies and tactics.
NOISE 3.0: Bells and Whistles. What new, exciting, effective, engaging marketing and social media elements should be integrated into your site to help optimize your website, enhance customer engagement, generate the desired response and foster customer loyalty? Make sure to include this creative discussion as part of “NOISE 2.0″ above.
NOISE 4.0: Brand New, Brand True. For more and more businesses, your web brand is your front door. Make sure that every consumer walking through that front door is greeted with a smile and a welcome that reflects your brand and the many other consistently integrated elements of your brand campaign — while directing them to the next door they want to access.
NOISE 5.0: Kick the Tires. When your site is close to launch and ready for beta testing, invite a focus group of likely consumers in for a couple of hours of tire kicking. Watch as they leisurely and easily steer through your site, or careen out of control and crash into the bushes. How they intuitively interact and engage with your new web brand is the true measure of how successfully you’ve navigated Click A to Click Z.
SOURCE: NOISE Inter.Active
Monday, November 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
What’s your opinion of social media? Are you an evangelist? A believer? A doubter? A nay-sayer? What if I told you that done strategically, creatively and professionally, social media can:
- Extend and Elevate Your Brand
- Create Brand Ambassadors of Your Loyal Consumers, and Create New Converts From Referred Consumers
- Help Mold and Improve Your Brand Via Dialogue and Feedback
- Be Measured, Quantified and ROIed
- Serve as an Outstanding Market Research or New Product or Service Development Resource
- Drive Traffic to Your Website (Sometimes Becoming a Top-Ranked Referral Source)
- Help SEO and SEM Your Website
- Help You Build Databases of Loyal Users
- Help You Better Understand Consumer Keyword Preferences, Making Your Online Marketing More Effective and Efficient
- Create a Community of Users Loyal To Your Brand Who Share Your Story Through Thoughts, Images, Even Videos
- Create Sales
- Create Profits
Done strategically, creatively and professionally, social media possesses the exciting potential to become a vital branding, marketing and sales tool for virtually any company or organization. It’s true. This stuff works.
Introducing Vwallah!, the exciting new social media marketing service from NOISE that’s rocking the worlds of innovative marketers across the United States in travel, tourism, destination, health care, retail, real estate, special needs and other industries.
These clients will tell you. It’s true. Done strategically, creatively and professionally, Vwallah! — this stuff works!
Interested in learning what’s up our sleeve? Contact Vwallah! Social Media Guru Alex Fernandez at 239.395.9555 or email him today at email@example.com.
Monday, November 23rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
I was recently watching an “Indiana Jones” installment and found myself wrapping my head around one of Indy’s one-liners, about a half hour into the movie: “If you wanna be a good archaeologist, you’ve gotta get out of the library!” In my many conversations with clients and associates about social media marketing, it seems this quote would serve most people well.
You see, the number one question I’m asked in my position as Social Media Guru for Vwallah! is this: where do you learn this stuff? And the answer is: not just in the library.
If you truly want to learn how to leverage social media marketing, it takes real-world time. Social media has so many unspoken rules and so much informal etiquette, you need to learn how to do things the right way. Many business owners and marketing executives simply don’t have time for this. That’s one reason, I believe, why our new social media division has, in less than nine months, added significant clients across the country.
Second, limit your research and reading. There are millions of white papers and tutorials out there that attempt to encapsulate all of social media in a few paragraphs. You have likely read a couple. They have promising titles like, “10 Social Media Tools You Must Use” and “How to Measure ROI in Social Media,” and many of them offer helpful information. But who’s got the time? And by the time you’re done reading — because social media changes almost daily — the knowledge is outdated.
Finally, much like Indy stated, get out and start exploring! The best way to learn how social media works, is to get your hands dirty. It takes time, but if you don’t want to hire a social media services firm like Vwallah!, you’ll have to learn by doing. Jump in and play around with the different features on Facebook. Start tweeting on Twitter. Create a Linkedin account and join discussions. There are new social media websites created every day — each week, explore one that you haven’t tried out yet. And keep an eye out for what you perceive as “good” and “bad” uses of social media in the mean time.
Remember to treat social media like you treat anything else that is social:
- Explore and connect with new people and new communities.
- Interact and share with others, and then listen back to what they share with you.
- Work towards establishing relationships, and nurture those relationships over time.
SOURCE: NOISE (Alex Fernandez)
Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
If you’re a smart marketer (and you are, because you’re reading Trendspottings), you’ve no doubt produced highly targeted, professionally executed and customer-centric E-marketing campaigns this year — and you’ve witnessed the benefits of The Almighty E-Mail to deliver outstanding clickthrough results and cost efficiencies for you.
Being the smart marketer that you are, you’re already budgeting more for E-marketing and social media — the only two marketing tactics to increase budget share in 2009. And to help you factor your E-marketing budget, NOISE presents this useful trending from MarketingSherpa that highlights the significant increase in E-marketing spend, across eight industries. (Note: simply click on the image to enlarge.)
Where will your 2010 E-marketing campaigns propell you? Hopefully, to greater success. And should you need a little propellent, well, rocket fuel is available here.
SOURCE: MarketingSherpa, NOISE
Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
At NOISE, we have a chalkboard near our front entrance to inform or remind employees each day of the week’s top goals. While client priorities change on a daily (or sometimes hourly) basis, our company’s core goals have remained the same over the past six months. They are:
1. Be exceptional!
3. Touch five new prospects a week!
I haven’t altered those goals recently for obvious reasons. And I’m very gratified to say, I believe those goals have helped us achieve this year, smack in the middle of one of the most economically challenging times in our country’s history, perhaps the most impressive record of creative excellence, new comprehensive services introductions (QwickClick VideoTours, Vwallah! Social Media, NOISE Inter.Active) and big name client acquisition in our 23 years in business.
Clearly, the lesson here isn’t that you write words on a chalkboard and you find success. The lesson is more, I believe, about how managers and leaders articulate — not just to their employees, but to themselves. In our case, we looked in the mirror and resolved to make a top-down corporate commitment to reach for the sky, even if the sky is full of dark clouds; we resolved to demand and expect only the brightest and best of employees, no excuses, within an environment that nurtures, molds, recognizes and rewards those efforts; and we resolved to make management accountable to its employees for growth (because actions do speak louder). Oh, and one more thing: we kept the faith.
I hope this doesn’t come across as self-serving. It’s not meant to be, because it’s a lesson we were gratified to have learned ourselves. And I’m sure if we stay open to it, we’ll learn more with every day.
How about your company? What words would you write on your chalkboard for success?
Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
I think the profound economic challenges that we’ve all struggled through the past 18 months have created something of a “circle the wagons” mentality among most marketing professionals. That’s not a criticism. It’s sound strategy, common sense and frankly human nature to minimize risk taking when there’s little or no margin for error.
At the same time, it’s times like these that create “seize the moment” opportunities for the confident or courageous among us to do something bold — something that not only creates attention, but creates action.
Case in point is Pocahontas Fauss, a photographer in Southwest Florida aggressively seeking to launch her company (Red Daisy Photography) and expand her professional portfolio. Specializing in people (children and families) and personality (fun), Ms. Fauss approached NOISE client Friday’s Child with a win-win, value-added offer.
Now in robust economic times, Red Daisy Photography may not have made the offer — or the client may not have taken the risk on a “new” talent, opting instead to hire a shooter with more pages on her resume. But Ms. Fauss’s portfolio showed a great eye and, because money is an object today, Friday’s Child decided to bet on talent.
The result? A win-win delivered. For Friday’s Child, a fashion shoot of exceptional talent, skill, composition, creativity, quality and professionalism. For Red Daisy Photography, well-earned praise, promotion and publicity — as well as a ringing endorsement to hire her.
Lesson? In creative work, or any work really, you’re never taking a risk when you bet on true talent. True talent always shines.
Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
Okay, you’ve probably just read this headline and scratched your head. After all, giving the customer what they want is about as old as dirt and simple as it gets.
Well, old it is. But simple it may not always be. That’s where the innovation part comes in.
Innovation as we all know can take many forms. Most innovation today manifests itself in new science and technology. But innovation can also be born when bold thinkers like you and me ask daring questions of the seemingly obvious like “why?” or “why not?”
It’s the simple questioning of the status quo, and the ability to look at something differently, that can just as effectively create fresh new ways of doing business, creating demand, satisfying customers and improving sales. Case in point is a new program launched this fall by NOISE client Fort HealthCare, an integrated, progressive health network that serves Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin and surrounding communities.
Through focus groups conducted by NOISE, Fort HealthCare learned that a source of frustration for new patients was the lack of empowerment they felt (in past experience elsewhere) in choosing a physician. So the innovative minds at Fort HealthCare marketing huddled together, enlisted a bunch of daring docs and launched a new Physician Interview Program called “Meet Your Match” — a free, 10-minute one-on-one interview with any or all participating providers.
Imagine that. Telling the doctor, basically, to open wide and say ahh.
Science? No. Technology? No. Common sense? Yes. Innovative? Yes yes.
Is there something about your operation or organization that would better satisfy your customers? Think about it. Then think about it differently.
Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
While the debate over America’s method of delivering health care carries on, the ground under the providers of health care is shifting — or so says a recent study of how consumers seek and obtain health information.
According to Manhattan Research, two out of three Americans begin their quest for health info that’s vital to them (or someone they love) not with a visit to their doctor, but a keyword search on their computer.
While this at first glance may seem like bad news for health care marketers, in fact it’s good news — because with smart marketing that embraces the Internet’s role, health care providers can lead consumers through the digital fact-finding and decision-making process. And ultimately, to their hospital’s or clinic’s front door.
So physicians and health care marketers, take these to marketing heart and call us in the morning:
• More U.S. adults use the Internet than they use doctors for obtaining health and medical information (so get on it!).
• Consumers are much more likely to begin their quest for health info with a search engine, versus going directly to a website (so optimize your website, initiate social media and do everything you can to up your search engine ranking).
• When consumers search, they’re much more likely to do so based on a specific condition or disease, versus a brand or name (so optimize your web presence with relevant content).
• The most common situation for search engine use is when a consumer, or someone they know, presents symptoms of a condition (so make sure your web marketing facilitates contacts and/or appointments).
SOURCE: American Marketing Association, MarketingVox.com, NOISE
Sunday, August 9th, 2009 | Uncategorized | No Comments
Okay, so let’s assume you’re an innovative marketer who’s just created a social video for your product or service — and now you’re ready to hand it over to web programming.
Online social video is perhaps the coolest, most effective new way to engage your customers, involve them (intellectually and emotionally) in your brand experience, and motivate them to action. But to paraphrase a certain movie cliche, it’s not like you can just edit it and they will come.
At NOISE, we’re building integrated marketing programs for our clients that leverage the power of online video across the gamut of marketing channels. Here are a few must-dos, as we see ‘em:
1. CONSIDER THE POSSIBILITIES. Social video isn’t like the old corporate video that packs everything you ever wanted to say in a five to seven minute novel. Social videos are your brand’s short stories — editorial, entertaining, fun, offbeat, quirky, informative, whatever you want them to be in ideally 120 or so seconds — but focused on a single element or experience of your brand. So inventory all your brand can offer a consumer, and you’ll have an idea of just how many interesting titles your online video library could contain.
2. YOU SHOOT, YOU SCORE. Assuming you’ve got the skill set in-house, or you’ve contracted with an expert social video producer (like QwickClick VideoTours) to create some really cool content, you’ll want to make sure you capitalize on all the ways video can drive traffic to your website by syndicating it throughout the world wide web. Sites like YouTube are obvious, but there are many more opportunities to put your video in front of potential consumers (from social media networks to industry-related websites and blogs). Asterisk: another advantage of utilizing a company like QwickClick for syndication is their ability to keyword tag your video for search engine optimization, and to provide important traffic data on your efforts.
3. HAPPY LANDINGS. Want to really create an integrated experience? Create unique landing pages (or microsites) for each social video. If you’re a hospital, that could be service offerings. If you’re a resort, that could be recreational opportunities. If you’re a retailer, that could be your sales, service or customer satisfaction divisions. If you’re a real estate company, that could be every listing. And with unique landing pages, you can track traffic specific to that page, thereby allowing you to better measure your efforts.
4. HERE A VIDEO, THERE A VIDEO. Now, examine your current marketing channels for opportunities to promote viewership of your online video. Print advertising? Direct mail? E-marketing (like the ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort example here)? Social media? Public relations? The possibilities are endless. The potential to excite consumers to clickthrough to your site is enormous.
So remember: for truly successful online video marketing, “the end” is just the beginning.
Monday, August 3rd, 2009 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments
How are marketers investing their very valuable budgets today? According to a newly-released report from Forrester Research that studies First Quarter 2009 marketing budget allocations to First Quarter 2008, the pie is being sliced up quite differently than just a year ago. How does your budget compare?
Overall, the report noted that marketers have quickly and emphatically re-prioritized dollars toward strategies and tactics deemed most valuable to maintaining a competitive advantage. In simple speak, that basically means: adios traditional media, hola new media. Here’s a look at how the budget pie is being resliced:
- Social Media: 47% have increased budget
- Web Development: 44% have increased budget
- Online Advertising: 40% have increased budget
- E-Marketing: 38% have increased budget
- Marketing Technology: 27% have increased budget
- Loyalty Programs: 14% have increased budget
- Branding and Advertising: 11% have increased budget
- Direct Mail: 7% have increased budget
- Staff and Training: 5% have increased spending
- Traditional Media (TV, Radio, Print, Magazine): 4% have increased spending
Clearly, the trend would suggest that smart marketers will build their brand best by investing in areas that best enhance their customer’s brand experience — you know, marketing tactics that are interactive, directly communicative, social and measurable. To us at NOISE, that sounds like a smart strategy in any economic climate.
SOURCE: American Marketing Association, Forrester Research, NOISE
Saturday, August 1st, 2009 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
As we all know, e-marketing can be an extremely effective and cost efficient sales strategy. As we all also know, consumers and technology are also becoming more e-savvy, meaning smart e-marketers should consistently review their campaigns — tracking opens, clickthroughs, opt-outs and spam reports — for any negative trends.
Should you come across any downward spirals, MarketingProfs presents nine ways you can screw up, and how you can fix ‘em:
1. USER AUTHENTICATION. Does the domain server you use for e-marketing support Sender ID and Sender Policy Framework (SPF)? If not, recipient ISPs may be blacklisting your emails as spam and not even delivering them. Ask.
2. CAN-SPAM. Are you CAN-SPAM compliant with a legit from line, accurate subject line, valid postal address and easy opt out? If not, get on it — every violation you would get nailed for will cost you $11,000.
3. OPT IN? HELLO? If you’re still incorrectly collecting e-data or using suspect e-lists, well, don’t bother reading on.
4. NO PLACE LIKE HOME. Does your e-blast or e-newsletter simply click back to one page (generally your home page) of your website? If so, you’re wasting opportunities to drive consumers directly to specific landing pages that can improve your sales (and ability to measure results).
5. SEE THE BIG PICTURE. If you’re using images, don’t make your offer entirely or predominantly image — 50% or more of all recipients won’t see the image, due to software suppression. Make sure you combine image with text.
6. KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID. The argument that brief, simple copy makes more effective e-marketing isn’t necessarily true. Studies show that if the subject is relevant to the consumer, longer copy works just as effectively.
7. THROWAWAY SUBJECT LINES. If you’re not investing brain cells in crafting an on-target subject line, you’re missing your biggest op to improve open rates.
8. IS YOUR EMAIL ON AN ISLAND? Like everything else, e-marketing should be integrated into a strategic marketing plan — and branded consistently to reflect your brand story and message. If not, shame on you.
9. TESTING, SHMESTING. How often do you test different subject lines, offers, graphic treatments of other e-marketing variables? If you haven’t yet, devise a campaign and put it to a variety of tests. Odds are, you’ll learn more about what makes your consumers tick and click.
SOURCE: Marketing Profs, NOISE
Your Mighty Mighty Trendspotters
What's your brand story? Do you even have one? NOISE's work in brand development, brand building, strategic planning, creative, production, promotion, partnerships, web, digital marketing, media and public relations has been honored by more than 500 awards in our career, for Fortune 500 clients to boutique start-ups throughout the United States.
Would you like us to make NOISE for you and amplify your success? Contact me, or call me on my dime at 800.326.5443 today.
I double dare you.
John Sprecher, Chairman and
Chief Creative Officer of NOISE.
- Early Learning Center on MARKETING: Experience and Satisfaction vs. Nickels and Dimes — What Would You Choose?
- John Sprecher on CAUSE MARKETING: $50,000 Ways NOISE is Saying Thanks.
- Jim Esmeier on CAUSE MARKETING: $50,000 Ways NOISE is Saying Thanks.
- harley davidson on MOBILE: Where the Web Is Headed.
- Samantha on LEADERSHIP: What’s On Your Chalkboard?