Lifeblood

referrals

Referrals are the headwaters of lifeblood for an agency – new business. We greatly appreciate our solid clients, but to survive and thrive, an agency needs new clients. Agency network Second Wind tells us that most agencies average 15% per year in lost billings due to client turnover.

What this means for us is a continual need to find new clients. And, what’s the best way? Agency development consultant John Heenan recently completed a survey of marketer preferences. In it he found that 51% of marketers prefer to learn about a new agency by way of a referral from a friend, colleague, or peer. The numbers for other methods of contact fall off dramatically.

Another interesting discovery from Heenan’s research is that you are being flooded by agency news business contacts. In this survey, 56% of marketers report receiving 3-10 new business inquiries per week from agencies. And, this was a tremendous reminder of how much we appreciate our loyal clients. Despite being bombarded by agencies promising you the moon, you choose to work with us. Our sincerest thanks for your loyalty!

This is where you come in – we both need and appreciate your help. If you feel you’re getting great work and solid results from PWB, why not tell a friend? We’re not looking only for people who are actively seeking an agency, we love to build solid relationships that grow and evolve. Know a peer at another company who might need our services? Please help us connect. Whether they’re in a marketing role or not (while marketing is best, leaders in other functions are also generally solid), this really helps us cut through the onslaught of agency inquiries.

We appreciate these referrals more than you know, and we’ll definitely show our appreciation in return. We’re not talking “send us a referral and you’ll get a gift card from _______.” We’ll show you in real, thoughtful ways that are personal and indicative of our gratitude.

As a closing thought, those of you who haven’t worked in an agency environment may not fully grasp the challenges of finding and acquiring solid new business. This quote, from one of Heenan’s respondent is both funny, and a bit depressing (if you’re an agency…):

“We do not like receiving unsolicited contact from ad agencies. We do not like them Spam you am. We do not like them in a boat or with a goat. We do not like them while stung with bees or up in a tree. We do not like them Spam you am.”

-anonymous-

How can you help? A conversation with your peer, friend, or colleague would be great. If you’re not comfortable with that, a simple e-mail connecting both parties would be equally awesome. Or we’ll buy you both lunch, or breakfast, or and adult beverage (or two…).

Thanks, in advance for any help you can lend in PWB’s continued success! And, thank you for your loyalty!

-Sean-

Digital – The New Face of Branding?

Is Digital the New Face of Branding?Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion at the Eastern Michigan University Center for Digital Engagement. The topic was “The New Face of Branding” with an emphasis on how digital has changed branding.

As I was considering my remarks, I realized that digital really has changed the face of branding, but that two key tenets from traditional marketing need to drive any effort:

  • 1. You need to know who your target market is. With digital’s increased potential to precisely zero in on prospects, this becomes even more critical to maximize efficiency.
  • 2. Clearly articulated messaging is key to success – you need to know who you are, what your advantage is, and how you’re unique. Life moves fast in the digital space. You have even less time to engage prospects.

Initially, my thoughts centered on the notion that strategy was paramount and how this doesn’t change for digital. In fact, digital makes having a sound strategy even more important as it enables unprecedented targeting and customization of message to audience.

But…

Digital HAS changed a lot of things. Do I think it really is “The New Face of Branding”? No. For most marketers, a balanced, integrated program is still the best solution. However, there are two scenarios where digital has been a game-changer:

The Little Guy
Once upon a time, a small marketing budget really limited what you could do. A full-page ad in the Harvard Business Review (one of my favorites) costs roughly $30,000. Assuming you need to run at least 6x, you’ve already eaten up the better part of $200,000. Ouch. But digital is scalable. Using digital display on HBR.org or LinkedIn, you can target these same prospects. Mix this with a solid program of organic and earned social media and you have the potential to be a giant-killer.

The Niche Market
The Internet has enabled makers of niche markets to reach a global customer base. It started with vehicles like Ebay and Etsy, but it quickly expanded to include social media, remarketing, and networked banner buys. Looking to reach customers for organic alpaca yarn in Northern Canada? Need to connect with left-handed engineers in the ski industry? With digital you can target them effectively without the waste built-in to traditional media.

The New Kid on the Block
Digital has levelled the playing field, enabling new products from emerging companies to compete with established players. Using WordPress you can easily create a site that creates a world-class image. Social media helps you introduce new products to established audiences and even target your established competitors.

In short while digital hasn’t lessened the importance of a sound strategy, it has created tremendous opportunities for many companies.

Sean

Does Your Content Have Superpowers?

Content marketing | Content Superpowers | PWB MarketingA few years ago, while serving on a social media panel during a presentation to a local entrepreneurial group, I casually remarked that, “Content is everything; social media is just plumbing.” In the years since then, I’ve seen this proven over and over both with clients and with brands I follow. In order to succeed, your content marketing needs superpowers.

This post examines some of the content marketing your brand needs to succeed.

Exceptional Audience Relevance

Social – more than any other medium – has to connect with what your customers and prospects want to learn. If it doesn’t, they’re on to the next thing. Too many marketers are pushing content that THEY want to tell customers, as opposed to information that customers are seeking.

Powerful Stickiness

Remember the old days of “sticky” web content? Where your reason for existence was to get customers to return to your web site? Sticky content and content marketing are essentially the same concept. According to a study by DDB Worldwide and Opinionway, 84% of a company’s fans are already customers.  Only relevant, interesting, and fresh content keeps people coming back.

Incredible Engagement

In his book SocialnomicsEric Qualman observes that social media marketing is, “More like Dale Carnegie than Mad Men. Less about selling and more about listening.” Social is a unique channel because of its allowance for real-time dialogue. Harness this ability with content that asks questions, solicits opinions, and takes other actions to encourage audience response.

Robust Adaptability

Successful content marketers generate content for use across multiple channels. A LinkedIn post might lead to a white paper on your web site, expanding on the post topic. A targeted Facebook ad might direct users to a a topic-specific landing page. Great content is great content – just be sure to recognize the unique nature of each channel and modify appropriately. For example, text on a web page won’t make a dynamic Pinterest post without adaptation.

Brand Power

What does your brand stand for? How are you positioned? What is your unique value proposition? Content marketing should clearly and consistently support your brand and values. If you don’t have a clearly defined set of brand values, we can help you with that.

These are but a few of the content marketing superpowers your brand needs. Want to know the others? Or put this to work? We should chat.

-Sean-

Get Your Story Straight

PWB is in the midst of creating several storytelling videos, and we’re finding some common themes and issues emerging. Here are a few recommendations for crafting a successful storytelling video.

  1. Get your story straight – if you haven’t really figured out the messaging for your product, service, or company, you can spend a lot of wasted time wandering in the wilderness.
  2. Understand how it will be used – storytelling videos are an excellent asset in an integrated demand generation program. Taking a step back to see where your video(s) will fit in the buyer’s journey is always helpful. This helps you stay on-message and focused on the viewers felt needs.
  3. Keep it simple – the goal here is simple; to help people quickly “get it” – emphasis on “quickly”. A good storytelling video should be less than two minutes long. Stay focused on that goal.
  4. Bite-sized chunks – two minutes is a surprisingly short amount of time. More complex stories may need more than one video. One of the projects we’re working on is a three-part series. This really enables us to tell the story in meaningful increments. It also gives our client more assets for their demand generation program.
  5. Picture = 1,000 words – use both the visual and narration elements to say more than you could by using just the narration. Some concepts are easier to see than talk about.

At PWB, these are all key elements in our process as we craft your story. Have a complex concept that you want to quickly, simply, and effectively communicate to key audiences? Let’s talk!

-Sean-

Trending and Analytics: Watch for Patterns

This past week I have been busy prepping monthly analytic reports for clients. As I was working on the first one though, I was amazed to see a sharp drop in website traffic the week of April 13 and again on April 20. It didn’t dawn on me until much later that of course April 20 was Easter and many schools were out on spring break around that time.

Of course not everyone went on break and certainly this wouldn’t always affect website traffic, however it’s an important message to remember – Always be aware of what’s trending in search and social media and how it relates to your website. You’ll be surprised at how factors in your environment may affect your website traffic.

Many years ago I was consulting for a high-end vacation condo rental business. My timing just happened to be at the start of the financial crisis though. I told the owner that website traffic was being affected by negative financial news in the media but the owner kept telling me that, “rich people didn’t care and would book luxury vacations regardless.” While that may have been true, I was really bothered that my analytic report was being dismissed.

This continued for several months. It wasn’t until I pulled out the monthly reports and aligned them with significant news releases – Market crashes, major companies going under, etc. The dates of those articles clearly showed that website traffic dropped every time announcements were made. It was a significant drop too.

In the end I lost that consulting job, and in fact 4 others at the business also lost their jobs. It seemed that even rich people were affected by the economy, or at least unwilling to consider luxury vacations when the market was crashing. I may have lost my consulting job, however I will stand by the reports I delivered, and knew I did right by the client.

In short, always be aware of what’s trending. It may make the difference in your website traffic and ultimately your business.

~Tammy

Channel Your Marketing Efforts

Over the years, PWB has worked with a lot of clients with independent sales channels. Whether Value Added Resellers (VARs) in software, manufacturer’s representatives in manufacturing, or independent agents representing insurance companies, independent channel situations present unique challenges.

Earlier this year, I presented a marketing workshop for independent resellers of one of our clients. The content development process was both fun, and enlightening.One of the most striking reminders was a simple one:

They all sell the same stuff.

At the end of the day, unless you have a direct sales channel, your sales outlets all have the same product offerings. Most corporate marketers want to push the superiority of their offering, without considering the marketing challenge facing their channel. Again, they all sell the same stuff.

For me, the implications for the channel are clear – differentiation is a must. If I can buy the new SuperWidget 3.0 from Dealer A, Dealer B, or Dealer C, how will I choose? Clearly the simple answer is their brand. Every independent sales channel outlet is unique – they have different strengths, histories, and weaknesses. And their brand should embrace these differences and accentuate them. If they’re better at SuperWidget 3.0 for left-handed people – say it!

As you consider how to make your channel successful, don’t just think about your goals for them. Instead, consider how helping them to stand on their own with a powerful brand will enable them and fuel sales of YOUR product or service!

-Sean-

Image Sizes for Social Media Branding [Infographic]

A week ago when I logged in to a clients YouTube channel to upload some video, I noticed a prompt that made me grown. I was notified that the channel layout was about to change. Again.

youtube changes

“Upgrades” or changes often mean the creative needs to be edited when branding a social media site like YouTube.

What does this mean to me? It means that I will be busy for the next little while adding new creative to each client channel PWB manages. In this case it was alright though, since the client’s (Uniloy) YouTube channel needed new artwork anyway. What I discovered though is that as part of the process, you are “encouraged” to edit your Google+ page.For my personal reference, that is why I had one of our art directors create a new Social Media branding Infographic.

The changes to cover art sizing are frequent enough, and none of the channels – Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Google+, YouTube – have the same size images. Heck, they don’t even have image sizes that can be easily scaled when branding your social media pages!

So please feel free to use this infographic for your reference when adding branding to any of the popular social media sites! The infographic will help you create the correct size images for your LinkedIn or Facebook cover photos, Google+ channel art or Twitter and YouTube header!

social media branding infographic

When editing social media sites, it is important to remember what size images are for creative branding! Use this infographic as a reference to understand what size images you will need for your LinkedIn or Facebook cover photo, Google+ channel art or YouTube and Twitter header image.

One word of caution. Although my art director created the exact size image for Google+, we needed to trick the system by adding a couple of pixels to the height and width. Otherwise the image would not load to the site!

More B2B Social Media Fact vs. Fiction

Updated 2013 stats – Know B2B social media facts from fiction. Fiction: Social media offers limited value to B2B marketers. Here are 8 Tweetable Facts bout how B2B companies are  using social media to generate leads, connect with customers, and reach business goals.

[FACT] B2B companies that blog generate 70% more leads/month than those who do not.  TWEET THIS

[FACT] Increasing blogging to 6-8x/month nearly doubles leads according to @Hubspot. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 83% of B2B marketers are using LinkedIn to distribute content. TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2B companies that blog 15x/month get 5X more traffic than companies that don’t blog according to @HubSpot. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 46% of marketers plan to increase their spend on content. @CMIContent  TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2C marketers use mobile and print more often than B2B. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 67% of B2C companies and 41% of B2B companies have acquired a customer from Facebook. TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2C marketers use LinkedIn much less frequently (51%) than their B2B peers (83%).  TWEET THIS

From Concentrate: PWB Marketing Expands Client Base, Geographic Area

Our C.O.O. Sean Hickey was interviewed by Concentrate the other day. Here is an exerpt of the article posted to their site today. To read more about our expanding client base and business growth, be sure to read the full PWB Marketing Concentrate article.

Sean HickeyPeterson, Williams & Bizer, known to all as PWB Marketing Communications, traces its roots to the 1970s but took its current form in 1986. PWB Marketing Communications has not only seen its client base in Michigan grow over the last year, it’s also expanding its geographic reach.

The Ann Arbor-based marketing agency has recently added to its customer list a software firm based in Montreal called Miya. The two share a business relationship with a third company and started to do some work together over the last year. [Read More]

B2B Social Media Fact or Fiction

Know B2B social media fact from fiction. Fiction: Social media offers limited value to B2B marketers. Fact: 86% of B2B companies are using social media. 

B2B companies are absolutely using social media to generate leads, connect with customers, and reach business goals. We compiled twelve tweetable facts about the prolific use – and success – of social media among B2B marketers. Dispel the myth that social media isn’t for B2B and tweet the truth

Thanks to Hubspot for the “tweet this” blog post inspiration.

[FACT] B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads/month than those who do notTWEET THIS

[FACT] 69% of B2B marketers are shifting their budgets toward social media. TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2B companies that blog more than 4x/week see the biggest increase in traffic and leads, according to @HubSpot. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 51% of B2B marketers plan to increase their spend on content marketing, per @MarketingProfs. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 86% of #B2B companies are using #socialmediaTWEET THIS

[FACT] Top use of B2B social media is for thought leadership at 60%, per @btobmagazine. TWEET THIS

[FACT] B2B companies are more likely to use Twitter than B2C companies: 75% vs 49%, per @businessdotcom. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 41% of B2B companies are acquiring customers through Facebook. TWEET THIS

[FACT] 39% of B2B marketers say blogging is their most valuable content asset, per @eMarketer. TWEET THIS