As Wayne Gretzky said, “I skate to where the puck is going…”

integrated marketing, marketing strategy, sales funnel, sales marketing, business, business relationships, customer relationships, customer educationLet’s think for a moment about The Great One’s famous quote. He knew that just following the puck, or the market trend in our case, was not going to get him the goal. He needed to head to where the puck was going, arriving at its location before the puck even made it there.

Wayne was ready for the next play.

Now think of online marketing—it currently has control of the puck. By opening up new avenues for end users to access information, and educate themselves through product data and community forums, it’s reshaping the sales and marketing process.

Do you know where the puck is headed?

 

 

Expert stickhandling.

Back when print reigned supreme, and the ‘sales funnel’ was very clearly defined, there was a very straightforward process to marketing. It followed a direct path where the customer entered at the top, and was led out the bottom. And there were a limited number of methods to master: print ads, direct mail, catalogs…all traditional ‘push methods.’

But the web has shaken up this traditional linear model, as noted in a March 2014 article from the Harvard Business Review. “Prospects don’t just enter at the top of the funnel; instead they come in at any stage. Furthermore, they often jump stages, stay in a stage indefinitely or move back and forth between them.”

Your online marketing—everything from your website and targeted social media updates to Google Adwords and webinars—needs to match the modern thinking of your prospects. It’s no longer about straight selling, but helping to educate.

How in control are you of your online marketing tactics?

Get ready for the faceoff.

End users need to find content quickly and easily, and the web facilitates this process—especially in the industrial and electronics fields.

Not only is the internet used for research, but it leads prospects towards specific manufacturers. By sharing internet space with your end users, you can offer in-depth product and industry information directly, strengthening relationships and trust.

And a solid online presence also helps you keep up with—and keep ahead of—the competition by knowing trending topics, and responding to them to sustain the prospect’s attention.

Do you know your industry’s hot buttons?

Crash the net.

Today’s well-informed end user typically knows what product or service they need and exactly how to find it. By the time they reach your website, they’ve already familiarized themselves with an industry and the available product options.

Score the goal.

Wayne Gretzky scored his goals by knowing where the puck was going to be. The most successful businesses know that in order to secure a sale, they need to know where their end-users are going to be and anticipate where they are coming from. A coordinated online marketing program is necessary to win this game.

More information on The Great One’s career highlights.

Project Management with a Personal Touch

project collaboration, project management, teamwork, communication, project coordinationIn today’s global business environment, many different departments take an active role in the development of a project, and with good reason. Everybody has a different perspective and different needs.

Plus with ease of sending data via the Internet, communication across the borders is a normal part of everyday business.

Many, many cooks
From product management, marketing and engineering to the executive team, the legal department and a sales force in geographic regions across the globe, people can interface with a simple click of a button.

Viola! Collaboration…or maybe not.

Many, many agendas
While the president might be worried about making sure your messaging doesn’t create a lawsuit, the product manager may be looking to cram every last feature into the copy.

And your marketing and sales team wants to make sure we’re speaking to end user benefits, not just listing a boatload of cool-sounding features.

Did I mention translation into different languages yet?

Too little cohesion
One of the biggest struggles—for projects large and small—is making sure it all comes together to meet the business needs of all parties involved, from start to finish. There’s going to be changes and additions as you move along, so be sure you are adjusting for these shifts.

Otherwise, you end up with watered-down creative and off-kilter messaging that’s three weeks late and 50% over budget.

Not enough alignment
We always advocate getting everyone on the same page from Day One. A clear project scope defined through a creative brief with universal buy-in is the best way to ensure things stay on point, but then the project starts…

Three weeks into a multi-department collaborative project, ask yourself:

  • Has anyone skipped a few steps and raced to the finish line? (sales!)
  • Has anyone added some additional details that muddle up the messaging? (engineering!)
  • Has anyone changed some wording to account for ‘unforeseen’ issues? (the boss!)

While these are all valid concerns, they stem individuals not communicating properly. In today’s interconnected world, you ask? Absolutely.

No man (or woman) is an island
See, with each department housed in various regions—whether one another floor or another country—unless you keep everyone moving on the same track, tunnel vision is bound to occur. And that’s when things derail.

Sending thoughts, data and status updates via electronic methods is efficient, there’s no doubt about that. But as a project progresses in scope, you need to realign departmental needs to keep everyone moving at the same pace.

Efficient communication during the project becomes critical to make sure the needs of all stakeholders are kept at the forefront, and the focus stays on the proper completion of the project, so everyone stays in alignment.

So, what can you do?

Sometimes to move forward, you need to look back. Don’t forget about these ‘old school’ techniques:

-Pick up the phone (what?? Yes, a friendly voice on the other end of the line can accomplish more in 5 minutes than a 10 page email trail.)

-Schedule a meeting (what?? Yes, whether you walk down the hall or set up a Skype call, a friendly face will help clear up many open-ended issues.)

-Get in your car or hop a on a plane (what?? Yes, sometimes it is worth the extra time to get to a remote location, especially for big stumbling blocks.)

Don’t only rely on static emails that can lead you down the road to mediocrity. Hash it out together – you’ll save time, save money and develop the creative piece that you needed to in the first place.

Need a place to start, here’s a sample creative brief we typically use to define a project!

The Devil’s in the Details

trade show presence, event marketing, event best practices, trade show, best practices, event, show tips, trade show success, trade show roadmap, success roadmapWhile attending a tradeshow for the packaging industry recently, I was a bit surprised to see a large number of marketing snafus that could have been easily avoided, and would have resulted in much better lead generation on the show floor.

A Necessary Evil
To some, trade shows are unavoidable—you need to be there to show your face, but they sure do consume a heck of a lot of your overall marketing budget for the year.

But think positive! They are also a highly personal, industry-focused avenue to reach your target prospects, and one of the best places for your company to shine!

Small, But Mighty
Take a step back to understand what might appeal to the weary trade show traveler (like upgraded padding…), even if it seems like a small detail.

While it’s important to make sure you’ve secured a prime location, the booth stands out with killer graphics, products arrive in time to be on display, and your booth guy isn’t head down in his phone checking email all day, it’s even more important to take stock of the little things that will make your presence that much more memorable.

Here are some of the more noteworthy fails from my recent adventure:

  • A woodcrafter with beautiful custom cases, obviously quality built, handing out a one page flyer depicting out of focus graphics that showcased his products(How am I going to convince my boss that your cases are actually worth the money we’re spending if I can’t show him pictures?)
  • A vacuum packaging company with a very ‘intimate feminine’ product set out in the front row of the booth as an example of the items they can shrink wrap(Have you looked at the gender demographics of this industry lately?)
  • A four-panel, fold-out brochure with an image spread across the fold…that didn’t line-up when opened(So, misalignment is a good first impression?)

Shine Through the Clutter
In a setting as personal as a trade show, attention to detail is the make or break of our industry anymore; it helps set us apart from the growing mound of noise generated throughout other marketing channels. This is your chance to really make a firsthand impression on a customer, so make sure you do it right.

To get you on the right planning path, check out this handy guide to trade show success.

Blog, Blog, Blog…Yadda, Yadda, Yadda

blog, content, seo, posting, web

 

So, you know you need a blog, but feel a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of creating—and sustaining—one. You have some topic ideas in mind, but how is that going to translate into a consistent, ongoing, informative and educational resource?

 

Here are a few simple tips to make sure you have content, content, content well into the future, once your initial set of topics have been crafted and posted:

 

Ways to Ensure Consistent Blogging

 

Posting Logistics

  • Start with a modest posting schedule and increase frequency after you get a feel for what it takes to generate an article
  • Share the load—assign multiple writers to develop at least one piece a month (not that you need to post it all at once, see above…)
  • Utilize guest posts—they typically come with fresh ideas and different perspectives

 

Content Ideas

  • Track a few key groups or publications and post responses or insights, linking to original pieces
  • Use everyday situations to inspire ideas
  • Conduct a quick online survey to customers and comment on results
  • Reuse the best content your blog has to offer, with an updated perspective
  • Conduct an interview with someone related to your industry
  • Create an infographic with a descriptive overview

 

For more ideas on how to get your blog up and running as well as implementing SEO best practices (to make sure it gets read!), give us a call or send us an email!