Mobile App Portals: Align Your Team At The Touch Of A Button

You live in a fast-paced business environment. It’s a challenge to share sales tools, internal communications and marketing collateral with your team. And it’s almost impossible to keep it all accessible, current and optimized across technology platforms.

What would it be worth to have all your business updates, strategies and key marketing communications consolidated across your networks? No searching for the latest PowerPoint. No calling around for last quarter’s P&L or automation report. No more wondering if your sales force has the marketing tools they need to represent your messaging and positioning accurately.

Imagine the increased productivity…the potential for more effective collaboration…the value of presenting a controlled brand message and image to your team and top tier accounts…

Centralize communications with a Mobile Portal.

All signs point to mobile as the future of engagement, with a web-based branded application being the optimal digital platform. With one mobile iPad application portal, customized to your specifications, you can streamline your communications, reports, key projects, collateral and more to keep your team and top tier accounts on message, on strategy and current—in real time.

A branded mobile application portal offers a dedicated experience, laser focus, and functionality from the tap of a button.  From a simple stewardship report to a centralized leadership hub containing volume, profit, performance and branding materials, your mobile application portal will improve your competitive advantage.

A mobile application portal uses a responsive web-based technology, so it can be optimized for your iPad, laptop, desktop, and even smartphone from one point of contact—instead of multiple programs. This dynamic application can be updated in real time and later expanded to meet your changing needs. Long gone will be the days of managing your digital media independently.

Consider the benefits of a customized mobile iPad app portal:

  • Maximize meetings and face time
  • Improve team productivity
  • Build tighter collaboration between leadership teams
  • Project a precise, controlled brand image to your team and your customers
  • Centralize communications and initiatives
  • Deliver more effective presentations

Imagine the items your portal might encompass:

  • Strategy statements
  • Marketing analysis and marketing management reports
  • Profit and loss financial reports
  • Key players and project details
  • Solution and product collateral
  • Performance reports
  • Resource utilization and optimization reports
  • News, time-sensitive alerts, campaign awareness and industry insights for your team

App development is a powerful and essential tool in your online mobile strategy and your brand’s collateral architecture. Contact Scott Mikus today at 404.875.7753 to talk about how a custom mobile iPad app portal can benefit your business.

by Elizabeth Crawford | Comments Off

4 Tips for Managing a Marketing-Lead Qualification Team

Crawford/Mikus would like to welcome guest blogger Derek Singleton of  Software Advice

Lead quality is a central issue in any organization. While there are many strategies for improving lead quality, few Marketing departments look to telemarketing to improve the quality of their leads. In my view, this is a mistake. Generally speaking, lead qualification lives in the Sales department but I don’t think they’re as well equipped as Marketing department to handle lead qualification. Here’s why.

Marketing Doesn’t Have Near-Term Quotas to Close Deals

The reality of Sales departments is that salespeople live quarter to quarter, and they have to hit a quota each quarter in order to stay in the good graces of their department. While this is a great incentive for keeping your sales team motivated to bring in revenue, that same incentive be counterproductive in the lead qualification process. Because of this, I think that Marketing is better suited for lead qualification.

Firstly, Marketing isn’t worried about hitting near-term closed deal quotas. This allows the marketer to engage a prospect in a more open and honest conversation about their needs, purchase timeframe, budget and other factors that comprise typical qualification criteria. Beyond that, Marketing departments need to become more responsible for the quality of leads that they send to Sales. By asking Marketing to manage the qualification process, they’re intimately tied to the quality of lead they’re asking Sales to close.

In order to make this work, however, Marketing departments need to be methodical about who they hire, how they compensate and how the lead qualification process is managed–and improved. Here are four tips for managing this process.

1. Hire at the Junior Level

In any role, hiring the right person is critical. For the role of lead qualifier, you want someone energetic, competitive and willing to a lot of spend time on the phone. And you want them to junior enough to grow into a different Sales orMarketing role. Beyond that, you want someone that can really drive a phone conversation and has the inquisitive nature to to dig beneath the surface to uncover information from the prospect.

2. Compensate with a Sales-like Pay Structure

The biggest driver in increasing the quality of Marketing leads is to tie compensation to the sale. The easiest way to do that is to start them off at a base salary and offer a commission based on the total revenue of closed deals. You can also add incentives for qualification accuracy such as an additional bonus for a great Sales-accepted lead metric.

3. Decide How to Route Leads

The natural lead category breakdown is to create three buckets of leads: qualified leads, disqualified leads and leads that need to be nurtured. All of these are fairly self-explanatory but the last one is worth elaborating on. The real opportunity for shifting this role to Marketing is that you can dedicate someone to nurturing leads with a human touch. As such, there should be an intense focus on the nurturing aspect of lead qualification.

4. Improve Sales and Marketing Alignment

While this is a long-standing issue in companies across the globe, it’s a necessary area of focus for making this model work. You need Sales and Marketing to have regular meetings about lead qualification criteria to have Sales understand why Marketing is disqualifying certain leads (and to double-check that they’re not disqualifying a few hidden gems). The best way to manage this process is to have Marketing and Sales meet frequently. Start off having weekly meetings, then move to once a month afterwards.

While this is not an exhaustive list of what needs to happen, I think these are the key areas of focus. If you follow these steps, you can create a Marketing team that both drives more sales and is more accountable and better able to see its contribution to revenue.

Research for this article was conducted by Derek Singleton, an analyst at Software Advice. Derek joined Software Advice after graduating from Occidental College with a degree in Political Science. He reports on technologies topics and trends related to B2B marketing, CRM, marketing automation and sales. His writing has appeared in various tech publications such as Sandhill, Sys-Con and ZDNet.


by Scott Mikus | Comments Off

The Right Information For The Right People

Posted by Scott Mikus

I love reading clichés like these, but isn’t it true – doesn’t every company want to get the right information to the right people, but how many actually do?  Or more importantly, is the information in the right format or is it at the right time?  Let me address these points separately, because if your company doesn’t get it right (pun intended), you run the risk of wasting time, money and resources. Worst of all, you are probably not connecting with your customers to drive your revenue and improve your customer satisfaction.

What exactly is the right information?
When we work with our clients, the first thing I ask of them is to define their business objectives.  It’s critical that we both understand these objectives, which will ultimately determine the success of any project.  I am amazed at how many times a customer is not able to clearly define what outcomes they expect from engaging our services.

Who exactly are the right people? 
In today’s day of mass marketing, companies sometimes forget to clearly define their real target audience.  Are they pitching to executives, directors, managers, suppliers, customers, or consumers?  Is there a specific demographic you are trying to reach?  The message will be slightly different for each target audience, and it’s critical to use their language of value.

What exactly is the right format?
Once we know our target audiences, it’s important to understand how your audience wants to communicate and/or interact with you.  Do you expect them to visit a website or do you want to push content to them?  Does your audience prefer print marketing or electronic media?  How does social media play into your ability to reach your target audience?  More than ever, people want to interact with one another via social media technologies.  It’s critical to know our target audience and how best to interact with them.

When exactly is the right time? 
Does everyone want real time information or would our audience prefer to be contacted early in the month or quarter?  I always advise customers to align the timing of marketing campaigns with audience preferences.  No sense marketing at the end of the calendar year if there’s no budget.

If you can answer the above questions, I have no doubt your company can get the right information to the right people in the right format at the right time!

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta. Follow Crawford/Mikus on Twitter @CrawfordMikus or subscribe to our blog at www.crawfordmikus.net/blog.

by Scott Mikus | Comments Off

8 Critical Questions for Building Next Year’s Marketing Plan

Posted by Scott Mikus

A general once said, “No battle plan ever survives first contact with the enemy.”

While the comparison of warfare to marketing communications may be extreme, the quote does make a good point about adapting plans to meet circumstances.

As we approach the 2013 marketing planning season, make it a point to try to anticipate changes in the competitive landscape. However, it’s important to be ready to adjust your integrated marketing communication plan as the situation dictates. For example, you can schedule a quarterly or mid-year review to evaluate recent results against your strategies and plans.

Apply Critical Thinking

You will also need to respond when sales team members present new ideas for initiatives or tactics that aren’t part of your written marketing plan. How do you evaluate these ideas and decide if they are viable?

With a written marketing plan in place you can assess the new ideas against your existing strategies. At the same time, you can involve team members in the process to produce the best critical thinking.

Use these 8 questions to evaluate new marketing plans and approaches to address competitive changes:

1.  What are the market forces that are driving the need for directional change?

2.  Have market forces changed the assumptions on which your plan is based?

3.  Does the competitive landscape require a rapid or immediate response?

4.  Will you get better results by making changes during the next planning cycle?

5.  Can you support the initiative with existing selling tools or will you need new tools to support each phase of the sales cycle?

6.  Does the new idea or tactic match with one or more existing strategies? If not, should the existing strategies be changed, reworked or rewritten?

7.  How can you engage your target audience by incorporating social media and online video into your plans?

8.  Are budget funds available or will you need to request additional funding?

By taking a team approach to answering these questions, you’ll build support for planning, budgeting and execution processes. You’ll elevate the strategic thinking of your sales force or other team members.

Most importantly, you’ll gain new insights about the forces that are impacting the competitive landscape. These insights will likely drive the next round of strategic adjustments to your integrated marketing plan, whether immediately or during the next planning cycle.

Scott Mikus is a principal of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta. Follow us on Twitter @CrawfordMikus or subscribe to our blog at www.crawfordmikus.net/blog.

by Scott Mikus | Comments Off

It’s a Promise: The market evaluates your brand based on performance

Posted by Scott Mikus

Brand identity and brand positioning are not the same thing. Even the most compelling brand identity is not a substitute for brand positioning based on performance.

Your brand identity is a type of visual shorthand that uses logos, design, colors and slogans to quickly communicate your organization’s presence, character and personality. A compelling brand identity helps audiences recognize the source of any communication product in any medium.

Your brand positioning is based on a set of promises you make to your stakeholders. A brand represents what an organization does for its customers and how it makes them feel. It is an intangible asset that must be sustained by delivering consistent value. Your brand is your reputation.

Thus, brand positioning is an ongoing effort to define and communicate the value promises on which your brand is based. You can use brand positioning to create and reinforce a cycle of differentiated promises to your target audiences:

Define. Promise. Deliver. Remind.

Your organization’s reputation is not something that can be—or should be—manipulated through communications. Your brand positioning should be based on written communication strategies that include promises for creating and delivering real value for stakeholders. Use external communications to share the promises with customers, and use internal communications to share the promises with team members.

Your brand will be enhanced over time, based on 1) how well your organization performs, 2) how well it delivers on its value promises, and 3) how well it uses communications to remind customers of the value created and delivered.

For a Free Brand Assessment, contact Scott Mikus at Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design today at 404.875.7753 or at scottmikus@crawfordmikus.com.

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta. Follow Crawford/Mikus on Twitter @CrawfordMikus or subscribe to our blog at www.crawfordmikus.net/blog.

by Scott Mikus | Comments Off

7 Reasons Why Your Social Marketing Doesn’t Deliver ROI

Posted by Scott Mikus and Sheryl Roehl

Too many corporate marketers tell us that their social media initiatives haven’t delivered on expectations or ROI.  Based on our experience, we’re betting that there are many more of you out there who would say the same thing. Here’s our list of 7 reasons why social marketing programs fall short and what to do to fix these problems.

 

1. The Silo of Social Media. Many organizations treat their social programs as a one-off effort, rather than building an integrated digital strategy that encompasses social components. For example, an organization may increase their social media activity to help improve search engine optimization (SEO) but neglect to optimize the navigation, functionality, branding and content of their social media presence.  The SEO initiative might improve search rankings and increase traffic to your website, however, neglecting other social components will create a chain reaction breakdown in the process and can even drive incoming traffic to your competition.

How to Fix It: To achieve success, you need to integrate every component from the Social Media Value Wheel, including SEO, internal/external cross-linkage, thought leadership, engagement, inbound and outbound marketing and lead generation. In other words, social media works best when it’s embedded in all your marketing initiatives.

 

2. No Plan, Stan. As marketers, we plan the product launch. We plan the rebranding. We plan the demand generation campaign. However, in many companies, social media is a bolt-on effort or something that they do because everybody’s doing it. As a result, it becomes a reactive, not proactive initiative. We just try something and see if it sticks.

How to Fix It: Every other marketing initiative has a plan. Why shouldn’t your social programs, too? Start by building an integrated social brand strategy and plan. Your social marketing programs are more likely to succeed when they are consistent with the company’s business strategy and goals and embedded in every marketing campaign.

 

3. The Fatal Disconnect. Often, the success or failure of social media falls on one person’s shoulders. That individual may know how to use social media tools and platforms, but may not have much experience in marketing, sales and branding. Not surprisingly, many company’s social voice becomes little more than empty chatter and the results are often underwhelming.

How to Fix it: As marketers, we have to do a better job of educating executives and colleagues about the value and payoff from embracing social media. We can enlist the help of colleagues who are subject matter experts to serve as social brand ambassadors. When more employees understand the organizations business strategies and are participating on social media, your social programs are more likely to build external linkage, gain traction and ultimately drive lead generation.

 

4. Inconsistency. Infrequent posting and inconsistent interactions on social media are common reasons why businesses don’t get the most out of their investments in social marketing. If you don’t engage with you and your brand, people will follow and listen to your competitors instead.

How to Fix It: Get help from a marketing and public relations agency to help you build and grow your visibility, credibility and Klout gradually over time. Establish a regular editorial calendar to publish content on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that the timing of your posts is crucial. For example, did you know the best time to tweet to get the most traction on Twitter is on Mondays between 1-3 p.m. ET? Social media management tools like Hootsuite and Social Oomph make it simple to schedule a steady stream of posts to hit at the times when your target audience is more likely to be engaged.

 

5. Tool Rich, Content Poor. It’s easy to get caught up with the latest tweaks and enhancements to social media platforms and tools. They can help you perform publish, schedule, track and measure your social initiatives faster, better, easier. But let’s face it: There’s no shortage of tools. The real shortage is great content.

How to Fix It: Don’t just tweet corporate press releases and product announcements. Invest in great content that your buyers, prospects and other audiences will find valuable. If you lack the necessary in-house resources to develop thought leadership content, rely on outside content marketing agencies and designers who can help you create a steady stream of engaging content, including eBooks, infographics, online videos and blog posts.

 

6.  No Room on the To-Do List. Many companies’ social marketing programs fail because there’s simply not enough energy or resources invested in them. In many cases, marketers are already so overwhelmed by all the projects on their to-do list that they have little time left over to give to social media.

How to Fix It: Make a commitment to spend a realistic percentage of each workday or workweek on social media – and stick to it. Remember, you get out of social media what you put into it.

 

7. Expecting Overnight Success. It’s easy for our expectations to get ahead of our efforts. Building a social media presence takes time – months or even years.

How to Fix It: The best way to achieve results is to stay active and engaged over the long haul.  Remember, the more time you put in and the longer you participate in social media, the bigger the payoff is likely to be.

 

Why do you think your social marketing initiatives have succeeded or failed to hit the mark? What are you doing to improve the results of your social marketing programs?

 

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta (@CrawfordMikus). Sheryl Roehl is president of Avenue L Marketing (@AvenueLMktg) in Atlanta


by Scott Mikus | Comments Off

8 Tips to Help Marketers Get a Voice at the Table

Posted by Scott Mikus

Marketing has always had a seat at the table. But, how can it get a voice at the table and gain more influence and credibility in the organization? Here are 8 tips to help marketers influence and gain support within the organization.

1. Focus on ROI. A recent global survey by Fournaise Marketing Group showed that 8 in 10 of CEOs believe marketers are disconnected from companies realities and do not focus enough on ROI. Marketers are more likely to succeed when they align their social media initiatives and budgets with the company’s business strategy and goals. It’s also important to embrace technology and third-party applications that allow marketers to show measurable results through improved tracking and reporting.

2.  Engage colleagues as brand ambassadors. In today’s day and age, every employee plays a part in the voice of the company.  Through various social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and blogging, an employee can promote your company’s industry thought leadership.  Employee visibility builds internal and external marketing linkage, which improves SEO and increases inbound traffic. Work with various departments to include them in the overall company social strategy.

3. Embrace new marketing. The old “Mad Men” marketing model is dead. Social is the new Marketing. The concepts of messaging and positioning have morphed.  One-way messaging is out. Two-way communication via a variety of social channels is in. Marketing must both listen and speak to what the market actually wants to hear – not what you think they want to hear.  In today’s social-driven world, there’s not just one target audience; there’s many.

4. Listen. With so many conversations now taking place via social media, it’s critical for a marketer and organization to stay connected and in tune with what prospects, customers and other key audiences are saying on these digital channels.

5. Interact. Although we live in a digital age, people still do business with people. Get out and talk to real customers if you can. Keep up with industry news by attending conferences and reading business journals.

6. Analyze. When you spend time listening to the market online and offline, you’re building up your industry, marketing and competitive expertise. Then, study what prospects and customers are saying to uncover themes and points of pain that you can use in your marketing content and campaigns.

7.  Respond. Adapt your marketing strategies and tactics based on your marketing research. Share valuable insights with your colleagues. As a result, you’ll become a strategic asset as the voice of the customer and the prospect. You’ll also show qualitative results and ROI to the C-suite and other key stakeholders within the organization.

8. Support. Trying to do it all is a recipe for failure and burnout. Instead, focus your time and energy on projects that play to your marketing strengths. If you’re good at managing lead generation campaigns, for example, then spend your time doing that. For marketing tasks and projects that you don’t have time for or that fall outside your zone of expertise – such as branding, design or content – hire outside experts to help you get the job done.

By following these 8 tips, you’ll become an expert on prospects’ and customers’ business needs and challenges. You will drive measurable results and that voice at the table will be heard loud and clear.

 

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta. Follow Crawford/Mikus on Twitter @CrawfordMikus or subscribe to our blog at www.crawfordmikus.net/blog.

by Scott Mikus | Comments Off

Your Website is the Front Door to Your Company: Does it Need a Fresh Coat of Paint? 12 Questions to Ask Yourself

Posted by Scott Mikus

How long has it been since you updated or refreshed the design, content and user experience of your website? For many of you, the answer will be some version of “too long.”

The website is the front door to your company. If your site isn’t making a good first impression, visitors will likely leave and go to a competitor’s site. That’s why it’s a good idea to evaluate your website at least on a quarterly basis or more often if possible. Be on the look out for opportunities to optimize the user experience, content and design. You can start the process by taking a hard look at your site analytics and search results to see if you uncover any trends.

What’s your inbound web traffic look like? Is it growing, stagnant or even declining? Approximately 70 percent of search engine results are organic. These organic searches tie directly back to your site, your blog and your web presence. If your web and social media presence are lacking, your business is lacking visibility. And if you are lacking visibility, you are more than likely losing sales – and you may not even know it.

Is your website driving engagement, thought leadership and leads? A recent study indicates that before B2B buyers ever talk to a sales rep, they are already 57 percent of the way to a buying decision based on the information they learn from web searches, peers, online forums or social media.

Content is critical. If your web content is outdated, boring or stale, your website probably isn’t doing a good job of providing prospects with the information they need. With prospects spending more and more time researching solutions by themselves, companies must be sure that their web content and blogs speak to their buyers’ business pains and address the industry trends and topics that will get them to consider your company’s products and services.

To determine if your website could use an update or remodeling, ask yourself these 12 questions:

1. Does the site’s design and user experience look and feel old and a bit tired?

2. Is it hard for prospects and other visitors to navigate your website and find the information they’re looking for?

3. Has your website not kept pace with your company’s new products, services, messaging and growth?

4. Does your website reflect the current state of your brand or company identity?

5. Does your website provide a less-than-optimal user experience for the growing number of visitors who will access your site through their smartphones or tablet PCs?

6. Are updates to your site time-consuming and costly?

7. Is your content management system outdated and hard to use?

8. Has your website been “patched” so many times that it looks like multiple sites, but it’s not?

9. Have your SEO initiatives not delivered the results you expected?

10. Has your bounce rate spiked in recent months?

11. Is your content outdated and/or static? Does your website lack a steady stream of fresh content targeted to your buyers’ needs and in the formats they prefer (text, video, blog posts, white papers and eBooks)?

12. Does your company fail to participate in social media – or not very active in using social media channels to communicate with key audiences? (Here are 6 Reasons Why Your Organization Should Embrace Social Media)

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, your website could be a good candidate for a next-generation redesign and optimization. With the right design and user experience, navigation, site structure and content, your optimized website can help you deliver better results from your marketing and sales campaigns.

What other questions would you add to the above checklist? How long has it been since you updated your site and why? Please share your thoughts with your colleagues in the comments below.

For a Free Website Optimization Assessment, contact Scott Mikus at Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design today at 404.875.7753 or at scottmikus@crawfordmikus.com.

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta. Follow Crawford/Mikus on Twitter @CrawfordMikus or subscribe to our blog at www.crawfordmikus.net/blog.

 

by Scott Mikus | Comments Off

6 Reasons Why Your Organization Must Embrace Social Media

By Scott Mikus and Sheryl Roehl

Marketers may be overwhelmed or intimidated by social media – or maybe they can’t convince management to set up a Twitter page or start a blog. Whatever the case, the hesitation and fear of the unknown are understandable. Social marketing is new and it’s moving fast. It can be hard to figure out how to get started.

A few years ago, participation in social media was optional for B2B companies and even some B2C brands. Not anymore. Here are 6 reasons why companies and brands must embrace social media:

1. Thought Leadership.
Social media gives you and your brand a platform upon which can assert its leadership position. Your thought leadership becomes a differentiator that lifts you above the competition. But you can’t just say you’re a leader; you have to earn it by sharing your views and visions of the future. That means participating in the marketplace of ideas via social media.

2. Engagement.
A recent study indicates that before B2B buyers ever talk to a sales rep, they are already 57 percent of the way to a buying decision based on information they learn from peers, web searches, online forums or social media. Make sure your web content supports every step in the sales cycle. Your blogs and other content should speak to your buyers’ business pains and address the industry trends and topics that will get them to consider your company’s products and services.

3. Search Engine Optimization.
SEO isn’t just about keywords anymore. Your blog posts, tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn status updates are just as important now to your search rankings. To stay ahead of your competition, you will need to participate in social media or your rankings may drop.

4. Internal and External Digital Cross-Linkage.
Social media builds cross-linkage with existing customers, prospects and internal brand ambassadors, among other audiences. The more that you’re engaging in social media, the more you’re visible to key audiences, both internal and external. In today’s social media era, who you know matters more than ever.

5. Inbound and Outbound Marketing.
When you integrate social media into your inbound and outbound marketing mix, it can dramatically increase inbound traffic to your trade show booth, your website and your blog. According to Hubspot, companies with an active blog get 55 percent more website visitors.

6. Qualitative Lead Generation.
Why have a blog on your site? Take a look at this eye-opening Hubspot stat: 72 percent of companies that post an average of one blog per week have acquired new customers from a blog-generated lead. Then, you can use email and web analytics to see who’s coming to your site, how long they are staying, where they are going and which white papers and eBooks they are downloading. This data can arm your sales team with the information it needs to focus on the most qualified leads and ultimately close more deals.

Social Marketing can help lift your company above the competition, build thought leadership, drive more leads and help you close more deals. What other reasons can you think of for diving into social marketing? How has social media helped your marketing team deliver better results?

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta. Follow Crawford/Mikus on Twitter @CrawfordMikus or subscribe to our blog at www.crawfordmikus.net/blog. Sheryl Roehl is president of Avenue L Marketing (@AvenueLMktg) in Atlanta.

 

 

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6 Reasons Why Social Media is the New Marketing

Posted by Scott Mikus and Sheryl Roehl

For decades, Marketing was a one-way street. We designed, wrote and delivered corporate marketing communications – collateral, ads, direct mail and the like. It was all about the company speaking to the market with one voice.

Fast forward more than two decades and the old “Mad Men” Marketing model is all but dead. In other words, Social is the New Marketing. To see why this paradigm shift has occurred, let’s take a quick step back.

The traditional definition of Marketing goes something like this (from the AMA): “the activity and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.”

Go searching for a definition of social media and you’ll find so many that marketing strategist Heidi Cohen came up with a collection of 30 Social Media Definitions. Personally, I like Cohen’s own definition of social media as “platforms that enable the interactive web by engaging users to participate in, comment on and create content” as a means of communicating with other users and the public. In this environment, the company/brand can engage in a two-way conversation with prospects, customers and the public at large.

With these definitions in mind, let’s look at 6 reasons why social media is the new marketing:

1. It’s about content.
Social media places the power of the media in everyone’s hands. Unlike the old days, nobody needs to own a TV station, a newspaper or a printing press to communicate with a virtually unlimited audience. All that’s needed is a computing device and an Internet connection. That’s huge because it gives companies, organizations and individuals enormous power to communicate, persuade and impact other people across the globe.

2. The concepts of messaging and positioning have morphed.
One-way messaging is out. Two-way communication via a variety of social channels is in. Marketing must both listen and speak to what the market actually wants to hear – not what you think they want to hear.

3. The never-ending campaign.
The old marketing campaign had a beginning and an end. The new one is a never-ending, living, breathing, organic campaign that requires constant care, feeding and nurturing.

4. There’s not just one target; there’s many.
Social media focuses on one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many communications. It’s no longer just the “message to/for the masses.” Now you can speak to one prospect, to many, or jump into a conversation of many-to-many.

5. Bring the brand to the table.
If you don’t participate in the conversation via social media, you’re letting the market define you and your brand – without any input from you and your organization.  Far better to see social as an extension of your brand and use the tools to engage with and evaluate the impact your brand has on key audiences.

6. Focus on execution.
In Marketing, as in life, it all comes down to the details, doesn’t it? That’s where execution comes in. In the age of social media, effective marketing demands that we maximize and integrate all media: text, video, photographs, images, audio, presentation, design and more. Your brand isn’t just your website; it encompasses all communication and must speak with one, unified voice across multiple channels.

Have you made the leap to the New Marketing? More importantly, has your marketing made the shift: Is your marketing social and your social (integrated with) marketing? If not, use these 6 key points to rethink your marketing.

So what do you think? Is Social Media the New Marketing? What key reasons would you add to the list above?

Scott Mikus is a managing partner of Crawford/Mikus Creative Marketing & Design in Atlanta. Follow us on Twitter @CrawfordMikus or subscribe to our blog at www.crawfordmikus.net/blog

Sheryl Roehl is co-founder, president and chief marketing officer of Avenue L Marketing, a full-service marketing agency in Atlanta, Georgia, that helps clients achieve outstanding results from their marketing, demand generation, public relations, content, social media and web initiatives.

 

 

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