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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.

Jack

 

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.

Telling the “Local Story” September 13, 2012

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Customer Service, Image, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Planning, non-profit, Uncategorized.
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Over my years in marketing management, I’ve seen many companies miss opportunity by over analyzing business and marketing strategies.  I field questions like “should we have a QR code?”, ”  do we need to be on this Four Square thing?”- and the list goes on.

Sometimes taking a few steps back and reviewing the business purpose (core strategy) and how you will convey your “story” is much more productive than charging to the latest software or “app” (tactics).

Businesses who are winning in this world of consumer insecurity are those making a connection with customers. Explaining why they should do business with you versus the firm down the street or across the globe (value proposition). If your phones are answered locally and not by a call center 3,000 miles away, by all means tell us. Being locally owned and operated by employees that have kids on the same little league team as your child can be a strong differentiating point particularly in a world where many people feel “burned” (e.g. the financial crisis) and want a relationship with the people they’re doing business with.

Beyond telling a great “marketing story”, actually delivering on the promise (customer experience) is the true tale of the tape, as  hopefully delighted, repeat customers often lead to the sought after 20%  that account for your profitability (80/20 rule).

Not to say that apps or online commerce is bad, it’s not. The punchline- small steps, strategy first, then ensuring top-notch processes/operations are in place, then tell your story.

I’d like to hear your local success stories and what works.

A Guest Interview with Tina Roper August 1, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Interactive Marketing, Referral marketing, Site visibility.
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In today’s post I wanted to do something different, sharing some of the “behind the scenes” strategy and client interaction steps we employ at Wisdom Bridge Marketing.  The following interview with Tina Roper an expert web designer and internet strategist who recently worked with me on a client assignment provides a  perspective on creating “momentum” for web sites, enjoy.

 Tina Bower Roper

 Special Interview with Tina Roper Web Designer & Internet Marketer 

Tina as you know we recently completed the redesign of the website for Graceland Prairie Dental http://www.drbarrydds.com/   in Des Plaines Illinois. One of the unique differentiators of the practice is the sedation dentistry credentials that Dr. Joseph Barry, DDS holds. Knowing this was one of the key points the  client wanted to convey to the marketplace, how did you approach the website updates?

Dr. Barry had been a client previously at Wisdom Bridge Marketing, both for traditional marketing collateral and for a website presence. When he returned as a client just a few months ago, I was happy to hear of his expanding practice. The addition of new dentists and staff, change to the business name and the new sedation dentistry credentials conveyed to me a one word design concept: momentum.

But how do you translate a one word idea like “momentum” into an effective website update?

When Dr. Barry first became a client, he needed a professional yet basic presence. By “basic”, I don’t mean “plain”; no client wants to think that they are getting something ordinary just because they are just getting started on the internet. Rather, by “basic” I mean what was needed initially was to communicate services and contact information at a minimum. This was accomplished, as was a clean design that was friendly and inviting.

When a client returns for website updates, sometimes they want a complete design overhaul, sometimes they want a refresh. In the case of Dr. Barry’s return, he and his staff provided a clear outline for a refresh to announce the new practice name Graceland Prairie Dental. This included adding new content to the site: a new company logo (which was created as traditional marketing collateral, then translated an internet format and incorporated into the website design concept), new copy, promotional coupons and photos and bios for each of the staff members. The refresh achieved the “momentum” concept: a build-out of their website presence that increased the volume and – most importantly – the quality of information on their site.

Since the practice is also growing with the addition of Doctors Swanson and Cox, what was your goal to convey the practice expansion while maintaining the “small neighborhood friendliness” they deliver?

Any time a client decides to refresh their marketing collateral or update their website, they are subliminally telling existing and potential customers that they are paying attention and willing to change. In my opinion, there is nothing better that a neighborhood-based business can do than to show its willingness to grow and adapt as changes are occurring in the community around them. That flexibility can translate in to word-of-mouth referrals that can ripple far beyond the neighborhood. Leads are invaluable in any business, whether that business is transitioning through an expansion or not. Changes to your branding or messaging makes customers (and competitors) take notice. In today’s economy, you can’t afford to go unnoticed. Therefore, you can’t afford to have an outdated website.

By choosing not only to update their site, but also to add photos of real and friendly faces, Graceland Prairie Dentals says to their community “We’re approachable”. And let’s face it, everyone wants to feel comfortable when they go to the dentist’s office! Their strategy to use staff photos instead of stock photos was a good decision from a website design perspective. A business should take advantage of any and all opportunities to make themselves accessible to their customers. To do so builds rapport, and good rapport means happy customers that will return with their business in the future.

When you thought about site visibility and how to help the practice secure some favorable search positioning, what was the approach taken?

To be effective at building a website, a designer must go beyond coding metadata keywords behind the scenes. They have to also be skilled at ensuring quality content management. This means knowing how to present copy that is descriptive enough to get the point across, yet concise enough to get picked up by the search engines. Infusing keywords outside of the metatags and into the copy, page titles and descriptions is essential. This placement and balance is the skill of a seasoned website designer, and not a setup that just anyone can achieve in a WYSIWYG website editor. And because search engine crawl methods and keyword criteria are changing all the time, a good website moderator will be informed about those changes and know exactly how to flex with them to achieve the maximum results for their website clients. Know who you are hiring, and know that investing in someone who has those capabilities can mean return dividends to your business.

If you’d like to discuss momentum and visibility for your web site just drop me a note :

jackmacholl@wisdombridgemarketing.com

“Old -Fashioned” Interactive Marketing July 5, 2011

Posted by Jack Macholl in Brand building, Brand personality, Branding, Communications, Event marketing, Image, Interactive Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Planning, Sales.
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Old-fashioned Interaction

While attending Summerfest, the wonderful music festival staged on Milwaukee’s Lake Michigan shoreline, I happened upon a Dyson tent where they were demonstrating their new Air Multiplier bladeless fans. The displays were arranged so there was constant eye-catching movement, action including a beach ball being propelled from fan to fan without harm.

What struck me was the “old-fashioned” product demonstration and genuine interaction between the Dyson event staff and the fest attendees. When we talk about Interactive Marketing in today’s terminology, we’re of course referring to the exchange of information (usually online-but not always) about a customer’s preferences, comments or past purchases and sharing relevant  product information and hopefully achieving a brand connection.

Without a doubt online, database driven marketing communications tools are brilliant solutions for connecting people and establishing meaningful relationships; but when you are demonstrating a breakthrough product a little hands -on product interaction never hurts.

How are you interacting with clients or prospects? I’d love to hear your thoughts.