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Planning for 2015- Starts Now July 28, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Customer Service, Event marketing, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Uncategorized.
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A client new to the marketing field recently asked me when to begin planning for next year’s integrated marketing activity. Typically I advise clients to begin serious work in August/September of each year.

Depending upon whether an organization works from a calendar or fiscal year will impact this rule of thumb, however, late summer, early fall is a good time to begin work.

While facilitating marketing planning sessions, these are some of the key areas I cover:

  • Results– what has worked this year?  What have we learned?
  • Research– what are the clients saying? Are you providing answers to their “pain points”? Is there something new they desire?
  • Social for the sake of being social– is there a distinct strategy behind your Marketing and strategysocial media or are we doing this because everyone else is?
  • Objectives where are we at year-to-date? Where can we realistically aspire to be? (This is the tough conversation that requires “looking in the mirror” and resource allocation.)

Of course there are many more finite areas we cover in a planning session, but these are the non-negotiable items from my vantage point.

Another issue that leaders often fail to cover is accountability and “policing” the plan. Have you established clear responsibility centers? Which individual(s) are responsible to maintain the marketing calendar and help everyone stick to the plan?

As we all enjoy what remains of the fast-moving summer (here in the midwest anyway), August is often a great time to organize a planning session. And hey, you can meet outside, no one said we can’t catch a few rays while getting the work done…

If you have any questions on marketing planning or facilitating your strategic planning meeting, please feel free to contact me at jmacholl@wisdombridgemarketing.com or on my Skype line (847) 305-1594.

Enjoy the day.




The Power of Thank You January 27, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Marketing, non-profit, Philanthropy, Referral marketing, Sales.
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Whether you are acknowledging a present, business referral or expressing gratitude to a donor at a non-profit, sending something to express your gratitude should be standard procedure.  In our hurried SMS text and e-mail world, the power of a handwritten thank-you note is astounding.

Part of my weekly routine includes sending written thank-you cards to people who have helped with a business (or personal) matter. Today getting “snail mail” is often as infrequent as a fax. Granted there is a cost and some inertia to overcome, but what is the price of an impersonal thank-you?bigstock-Thank-you-vector-stamp-24628313

Be Relevant, not Big January 5, 2014

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Communications, Customer Service, Interactive Marketing, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Uncategorized.
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Marketing and strategyWe read and hear a great deal about “big data”, enormous data sets (minute details)  collected about customers that can become so large it is almost impossible to process with traditionally used business software. The buzz is about spotting trends and connecting with prospects/customers on a more intimate level made possible by technology.

What I’d like to see is relevance, the product recommendations marketers make based on fundamental customer behavior (what you’ve purchased recently, account types you hold at a bank, what credit card you carry, spending levels, etc.)  There is nothing more mind-boggling in this era of “big data” than to receive a postal mail or e-mail about a product I already have with the company. Focusing on five or six fundamental variables is the starting point I suggest. If your customer data doesn’t contain the basics or worse yet, you can’t properly access essential data you’re not even in the game.

Scrub before you send March 10, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Brand personality, Communications, Corporate Social Responsibility, Environment, Marketing, ROI.

Truly the world moves at a frenetic pace and the pressure to compete for share of wallet is intense. Each week people in marketing get e-blasts, articles, magazines packed with the latest real-time data management techniques all better, faster ways to get your offer in front of viable prospects.

In my mailbox at home I received a nice direct mail package asking me why I’d settle for “boring old cable” when I can get AT&T U-verse. Well, I don’t have to, because I’ve been purchasing U-verse since late 2008. I get at least 3-4  AT&T mail packets per year with a variety of offers (this one was $300 back in promotional gift cards) if I make the switch.

This is basic 1988 database management; scrub your list of existing clients BEFORE you send. Nothing super high-tech or real-time, just merge/purge. The credibility of your brand will be enhanced, not to mention large savings on production, natural resources and increasingly expensive postage.

e-Mail and the “So What” Test June 14, 2010

Posted by Jack Macholl in Bank marketing, Communications, e-mail marketing, Marketing.
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Years ago while just starting out in the marketing field my account executive from the ad agency mentioned that any copy must pass the “so what test” in order to capture attention and compel the reader to carry on. That phrase stuck and while advising a client on an e-mail assignment, this wisdom once again drifted through my mind.

As most people review their in-box they scan the “regarding or subject” lines-the first cut. Then the moment of truth, the click and a 6-7 second glance to address the question “what is in this for me?”

Without a doubt your brand name and logotype must be evident, with layout and template design being clear and inviting. But that’s really just the aesthetics content must always be relevant and engaging. If it’s rehashed or worn out tips that look and feel “generic” then it’s likely the delete key or worse yet the opt-out link will be clicked and a subscriber is lost.

Is your copy compelling? Does it really address what’s in it for the reader or is your e-mail loaded with fluff in a cramped, non-inviting format?  Do you provide links to your web site or other helpful sources that prospects and clients can learn from?  Is your e-news interesting enough that people are inclined to hit the forward key and send along to their valued contact network?

Improving your e-mail content:

  • Who is your audience?- Taking time to define the demographic/psychographic profiles helps you create meaningful content messages to a busy MD running a practice will be worlds apart from articles of interest to a stay-at-home mom.
  • Tone or personality– no matter how small or large your business is, a “persona” should shine through in your written communications. This tone or persona should be consistent with the content on your web site, blog and collateral materials.
  • No novelsgood content isn’t weighed given the treadmill pace of life you must capture reader attention, make the point and provide links if they wish to read in-depth.
  • Be generous links can go to other helpful sites or blogs that can add-value to the life of your prospect or client. By serving as a source of information you display confidence and create good will-that can often lead to new business or potential referrals when people feel good about your helpful nature.

 Planning and careful thought is imperative to a successful e-mail or e-newsletter communication strategy. After all, your content or subject matter is really why people signed-on in the first place. By making content valuable you position yourself as an expert, add-value and are rewarded with new prospects (subscribers) that return for more thoughts and in the end become users of what you offer.