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When it comes to leads generation, my discussions with marketers mostly reveal that they use traditional methods like trade shows, email marketing, seminars, cold calls, advertising and telemarketing as their primary marketing approaches. These methods are called “outbound marketing” and involve the transmission of a marketing message in the hope that it would travel far and wide and reverberate with the needs of the target market. Well, my opinion is that outbound marketing approaches are losing efficacy for causes discussed below.

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I don’t necessarily like to say this, and you may not like to hear it, but there’s a certain somewhat unsavory element to marketing sometimes. If done badly, or at least inappropriately, it can feel as if we’re doing nothing more than attempting to manipulate the public into wanting to buy our goods and services. While this is certainly true at base, all of our marketing efforts ultimately lead back to wanting people to become and stay customers, the sense of manipulating and “making” people do things can make marketing feel unethical when it doesn’t need to. If our goal with marketing is to educate people about the products and services that we can offer them and for them to choose to have a relationship with the brands we represent, there should be nothing unethical about that. To help you sleep at night, and to help you build solid relationships with your customers, we have some tips on making sure your marketing is as fair and ethical as possible.

One of the great truisms of marketing and customer relations is to always listen to your customers and give them what they want. On the surface this sounds like a pretty universally good idea — give customers what they ask for and respond to what they’re telling you and they’ll continue to be your customers. And in the majority of instances, being responsive to customer needs and requests is a solid business decision and also usually just the right thing to do. But is it always? Is there ever a situation where it’s okay, even beneficial for all concerned, to ignore what customers are asking for? It may not happen often, and it should certainly be a move that is made with a high degree of caution and careful thought, but sometimes not giving customers what they say they want is the right call.

If you haven’t already come across it, allow me to introduce you to Medium. According to the founders (who, oh by the way, founded Blogger way back when), Medium is about sharing stories and ideas, specifically ones that are longer than 140 characters and aren’t just for your friends. That said, Medium is powered by connections to Twitter and Facebook, which somewhat begs the question “what is it?” Is Medium a giant blog with no one owner? Is it a self-curated magazine? Is it a new social media platform? The answer to all of those, in at least some ways, is yes. Medium is fundamentally the intermingling of social media and journalism, a place where long-form content on nearly anything and thought leadership on nearly everything can conceivably live together. More importantly though, it could fit into the content and social media strategies of many companies, and I have some reasons why it could be worth considering and some tips on how to make the most of it.

With the growing reliance on social media, content marketing, and a host of other less traditional methods of reaching and wooing customers, marketing has become more and more focused on allowing a brand to really have a personality that customers can see, and to use that to differentiate itself from competitors. We’ve talked about it here and you’ll see it in other social media and content how-tos — if your brand doesn’t have a personality and a perspective, then you’re wasting your time. And I don’t think it’s that businesspeople don’t want to let their brand be original, far from it, but I think far too often they’re scared to commit to one perspective, to an opinion, to a point of view, because that means people might disagree and dislike you as a result

Designing or re-designing a website, even with the help of a talented team of experts, can be a daunting task. There are so many things to consider and so many choices to make, between what to write and how to organize it and what colors to use and what graphics to place where, that typography can end up at the bottom of your to-do list. But what a mistake this can be! Typography can not only add great visual interest to a website, it can reinforce branding and can also contribute to clarity of information and navigation

All you can eat buffets, massive SUVs, 5000 square foot houses for a family of four — for many people, especially those of us in America, we assume that bigger and more is better. But when it comes to attracting and nurturing a following for your brand, whether it’s content or even just general market share, what all too often happens in the pursuit of quantity of traffic and leads and attention is the sacrifice of quality of the relationships a brand is able to have with customers and fans.

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