It’s Only Principle if it Costs You Money: Yeti Coolers

Somewhere during my career I picked up the line, “It’s only principle if it costs you money”. As a brand strategist, I have to give Yeti Coolers props for standing up to the NRA. After notifying the organization that Yeti was discontinuing some outdated discounting programs – that included not only the NRA, but several other groups.

Unfortunately, the NRA decided to use this opportunity to grandstand and take a cheap shot (pun NOT intended) at Yeti. Sadly, this is what that NRA seems to have become – a bully. Yeti didn’t single them out. Yeti didn’t “decline to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor activities…”. They ended an old program and offered the NRA a new one.

Yeti posted this statement on its social media channels yesterday:

That took some serious stones. While the NRA has come under criticism, boycott, and other actions since the Parkland school shootings, few have the financial risk that Yeti faces. Unlike Delta Airlines, who dropped its NRA discount program (which according to USA Today only had 13 flyers use the discount), Yeti’s long-time core customers are largely made up of hunters and anglers – traditional NRA strongholds.

Today’s consumer wants an authentic brand. One that stands up to bullies. One that speaks its mind. And, one that uses clear, direct language – not inflammatory rhetoric – to communicate with key audiences. Congratulations, Yeti. You took a big risk here. One I think could just pay off in finding new customers.

-Sean-

Zuckerberg: A Marketers Take

It seemed the nation was glued to coverage of Mark Zuckerberg’s trip to Capitol Hill this week to testify on Facebook’s alleged privacy violations. I listened to some of the testimony, as well both out of personal curiosity, and as a marketing professional who uses Facebook (and other social media advertising). I was struck by one simple observation:

Our grandparents are running this country.

The complete and utter lack of understanding I heard from members of Congress was completely stunning. We have legislators suggesting policy changes who don’t have the slightest clue how social media works for marketers.

One example was questioning from Sen. Doris Matsui, representing the 6th District of California. When Zuckerberg explained that if you didn’t want your data out there, you simply don’t post it, Matsui went on the attack. Repeatedly, she asked questions centering around the theme, “Well, that’s fine, but once the data is out there, then it can be abused going forward…”. Umm, yeah, actually, not.

I can’t “buy” data from Facebook. What I can do is use current data in targeting my campaigns. If your data is currently out there, I can use this information to help focus my ad delivery. When I want to reach left-handed, cat lovers in Central Iowa, I can use Facebook targeting to look for people with those qualities in their profile, feeds, and engagement. AT THAT TIME. Facebook uses real-time data to help me target campaigns. I felt badly for Mr. Zuckerberg as he tried to explain this to a Senator who seemed lost in the era of the flip phone. Facebook does NOT hand me a data file. They understand that this would be a clear violation of privacy standards.

It’s a long-held truth in marketing media planning that eliminating waste is a key to campaign success. The best way to do this is to try to connect with prospects who have qualities that are likely to make them interested in your message. In short, we try to match needs to product attributes. That’s why social media advertising has been such a revolution. People will tell you what they like and value. And I can laser-focus my message to just those people. In all candor, as a consumer it helps ensure you get more of the information you’re interested in, and less of what you don’t care about. Yes, there are those who abuse this, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Also, we’ve been able to acquire information since well before Facebook. Since before Zuckerberg was born, actually. Ever buy an electric razor or other small appliance that came with a warranty card? Of course you did. Are you aware that the data you provided about your hobbies, interests, and income have absolutely zero to do with a warranty? For years, you sent these cards to the Denver address of a division of R.L. Polk called National Demographics and Lifestyles (NDL). The nice folks at NDL would then sell this information to marketers like me so I could append my database to enable me to locate the aforementioned lefty cat lovers in Ames. Remember those nice folks at R.L. Polk? Guess what we used to buy from them? Your driver’s license information. So, when we were marketing weight loss surgery, all we needed was your height and weight. Run a simple algorithm, and PRESTO, we know if you’re morbidly obese. Does Facebook take this to another level? Absolutely. But for Congress to pretend that we couldn’t already get to plenty of information is incredibly naïve. I’m quite certain many of them used this information to get elected. If you’re interested in a brief history of the rise of these lifestyle databases, check out this article.

Facebook – like most other social media – is a for-profit enterprise. Anyone who thinks otherwise is foolhardy. Don’t want your information used? Don’t put it out there. But to try and convince the American people that Cambridge Analytica somehow bought a magic database only shows ignorance.

With all of this said, I do think this week’s testimony and surrounding uproar will bring some much-needed cleanup to the social media industry. Already Facebook and Instagram are locking down third-party developers via the API from being able to access information without your permission. Expect this trend to continue. And, expect the social media networks to make a greater effort to enable you to more transparently see which apps may be using your data. This is a good thing.

-Sean-

P.S. I also enjoyed the uproar over Mr. Zuckerberg’s untailored, ill-fitting suit. This is a guy whose trademark has been t-shirts and hoodies. He only put on the suit to appease a generation that’s lost touch with the current world of technology.

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-

Paid advertising on Facebook: the boost your content needs?

Pay us on FacebookIs Facebook marketing – you know, the “free” marketing all businesses should be taking advantage of – becoming a pay-to-play landscape?

In short, yes. But before we start bemoaning our budgets, let’s consider why this shift isn’t really a bad thing.

  1. Facebook realigned its algorithms so that individual newsfeeds focus more on friends and family of the individual, rather than businesses or publishing outlets. While this does make it more difficult to get those organic eyeballs on your business content without coughing up some dough, the move was designed to keep users happy. If the users aren’t happy, or all they see is clickbait, they abandon the platform. In short: we WANT Facebook to keep the users happy so that we have an audience to market to in the first place.
  2. These changes are driven by a desire to cut through clutter and see relevant content – and Facebook advertising has targeting features designed to get you in front of the audience most relevant to you. Not everyone on Facebook wants or needs the product or service you’re selling. As Facebook continues to gather data on its users and adjust newsfeeds to keep them happy, it gives marketers access in the form of targeting tools to make sure we’re reaching the right people.
  3. Social media marketing is only as good as the content behind it. The same few bucks we cough up to target that relevant audience may also make us pause and think “Is this post worth the money?” Does it offer the user something of value or drive an action? Is the wording concise, clear, and spelled/punctuated correctly? Do links point to appropriate areas of your website? No one wants to waste money – we may put more thought into posts we have to pay for.
  4. It’s not THAT expensive. (I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking I should have led with this one, but the three items above are more important.) Facebook offers three different paid advertising levels, starting with the easy-to-deploy and very inexpensive Boost Post. A very minimal investment can greatly increase the number of eyeballs on your content.

No one really likes to spend money, especially on things we’ve been accustomed to thinking of as free. However, it’s worth remembering that your posts may be reaching as little as 2% of your followers organically. A few dollars will not only give you more visibility and increased reach, but could improve your content – and your audience – as well.

-Amy

Don’t Be So Negative – Leveraging White Space

Leveraging White Space While I was attending the Digital Summit Detroit last week, the topic of white space came up in a few presentations. Meanwhile in some projects at the agency we had some discussions with clients who wanted to fill every available square inch.

Early in my career, I was taught that white space wasn’t what was left over after all the visual elements were used – it was a design element just like type or photos. Every day I see examples that illustrate the “cover every square inch” mantra. Like trade show booths with copy down at foot level. Or billboards with 20-word headlines, four URLs, and social media icons for every channel. Sometimes, quite simply:

Less is more.

See how I did that? You read that line because it was all on its own. It had impact, power, and simplicity. Three simple words. With space around them. A few other key benefits of white space:

  • It helps the reader prioritize – when the entire space is filled, the brain can’t process what to pay attention to first. So, your primary benefit could get overlooked entirely.
  • It improves readability – by making elements stand out, they are easily and quickly read and grasped.
  •  It separates and groups elements – keeping copy associated with the relevant visual is a key benefit of leaving some white space.
  • It creates balance – the reader’s eye likes order and balance, thus attracting greater readership.
  • It invokes imagination – by leaving some white space, the readers mind becomes freed to process what you’re saying and engages them to explore the possibilities.

An additional thought – “white space” doesn’t have to be white. When the term is used, it’s simply negative space. The color doesn’t matter, what does is the fact that it’s not filled by other elements.

So the next time you’re tempted to cram in just one more graphic to occupy that “empty” space, consider this:

“Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

-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-

Social Media Size Guide 2016

To help our social media clients, we created this handy infographic. Print it out and hang it up somewhere handy. If you need help with social media management or social media listening, PWB is here to help. Contact us at 734-995-5000 or at dialogue@pwb.com.

social media image size guide 2016

Is This The End for Google+?

google plusI hate to say it, but I have a hard time using Google+. In fact I generally don’t promote Google+ much, and find very little value in it. I do have clients who have been forced into accounts since they created YouTube channels or were transitioned to Google+ after they had Google Places pages. Not many of my clients use it though.  Perhaps that is due to individual clients goals, or perhaps it is because Google+ pages that lack any substance, don’t get traction. Regardless, I have a hard time supporting it.

Even as far back as 2011, I had a hard time determining IF my clients needed to set up a Google+ page. Today I ran into an article that brought that to mind again. What I read made me consider that these changes may be the beginning of the end to Google+.

Throughout the last few years, Google has actually been back peddling on several of Google+ mandates put into place. That’s why these new changes, specifically for Google Play, are not that unusual. The changes will ultimately benefit Android users, since very soon Google Play will become less integrated with Google+.

As it is explained in the article, Google Play Services are currently tied to individual Google+ social media accounts. All users are required to sign in, which allows players to continue game progress from any device. Doing so however makes game activity visible to anyone on the web. There are some options to minimize this, however it takes quite a bit of effort on the part of the user to make their game play less visible. Soon though, users will not be required to sign in to Google+ to access games.

I suppose that sounds like a big mess. In some ways it is. Integration of Google+ into “everything Google” has caused a big mess. Certainly Google+ falls short on competing against Facebook, and has backed down from a few other mandates in the past year or so. As we begin to see Google+ unravel, I begin to question the strength of the platform and find myself asking, “Is there value in using Google+?” and “is this the beginning of the end for the social media platform?”

Please add you your thoughts on Google+ in the comments below.

 

Social Media Posting Frequency

Last week I read with dread a Tweet and subsequent blog post answering the question “How many times should I post on Social Media Sites?” It even went so far to advise readers the ideal “number of times/day (or week)” for social media posting frequency. In reading the post, it really made me consider… Wouldn’t it be great if my Magic 8 ball told me how many times to post and what to post on social media sites?

Wouldn’t it be great if it everyone knew the magic social media posting frequency? The problem with giving that bit of advice is, in telling clients “how often to publish on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter” or anywhere else, is that individual company needs and goals are not being considered!

Instead, I would argue that completing a social media audit is the first step in determining social media posting frequency. Determine what a company has first THEN develop a well thought-out marketing plan. Here is what I suggest doing to help determine how often to post to social media.

First review, review and re-review all available analytical information. Look at Google Analytics, Twitter and Facebook Insights, or other available analytical data. Then answer the following questions:

  1. Does the analytical information indicate when potential clients are viewing shared content? Wednesday at noon seems to be a hot time for many of my Facebook clients, however a friend of mine who is a divorce attorney has found that weekends are when more people are viewing his content.
  2. Does the information offer insight into what the audience is looking at, what they are reacting to AND what content an audience is taking an action on? Knowing this will help determine what content “moves the needle.”
  3. Are the individuals viewing the content the desired “audience”? One of my clients encourages the office staff to “Like” everything on Facebook. While this is all well and good, a better idea might be to ask the office staff to comment and share the content to increase the reach of the post.
  4. What are the company goals in sharing content on social media? Is the goal to become more visible to an audience? Is becoming an industry expert the goal? Should posts only share the latest deals? It’s always good to take on the 80/20 rule where only 20% of shared information is self-promotion. It is important though tat all content shared is still relevant, and liked, by the audience. Sometimes it’s not about what moves the needle,  but instead just a venue to share good information.

My final bit of advice when considering social media posting frequency, is to consider the time and resources available for the platforms being considered. There is nothing worse than wanting to participate on all of the social media platforms when they can not be managed properly. There must be time available to share, collect and analyze the data. Take the bite that you can actually chew and don’t have eyes bigger than your stomach!

Social Media Image Size Guide [INFOGRAPHIC]

I have been updating a couple client social media sites recently and realized that it has been a while since we updated a social media image size guide. In fact, June 2013 was the last time I published information on correct sizing of images!

The size of social media images changes from time to time, so having the most current data available is paramount. Each social media profile has unique size specifications and failure to properly size images may result in misalignment, cutting off part of the image or simply not being able to post them. There is nothing more frustrating to me, than seeing a company that does not have consistent branding across all social media profiles, so please feel free to print and reference this social media image size guide.

This infographic is a great source to reference when creating the correct size images for your LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and YouTube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Having trouble managing your social media? Need assistance with analytics or even initially creating your social media presence? Perhaps a social media audit is necessary. Regardless of your need, PWB marketing can assist your company in getting the most from social media.  Call our office today at 734-995-5000 for your social media answers.