Archive for 2010

Evolving Your Marketing Plan

Savvy marketing plans are custom and continually evolving

By Dave Lesser – President

My two daughters, now 22 and 19, are so different, you wonder if they were born on the same planet, never mind in the same family. My wife and I learned pretty quickly that a good approach for one was not necessarily good for the other.

The same holds true for every company’s marketing plan. Each is unique, so why wouldn’t you create an integrated marketing communications plan customized to match your products, markets and objectives?

One mistake we, as an agency, see over and over again when it comes to marketing communications is that people like to stick within their comfort zone, unwilling to deviate from the tactics that may have worked before.

Of course, there are many timeless marketing principles that will hold true regardless of the delivery method, but try getting a publication to provide you with bingo card leads on pre-printed labels…

Sure, I could lament about feeling old…but I like to look at it in a different light. This evolution keeps us marketing folks (now there’s a dated term) on our toes and on the lookout for new ways to promote our clients’ products.

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Applied Energy Systems Hires The Simon Group for Integrated Marketing

The Simon Group has been hired by Applied Energy Systems (AES) of Malvern, Pa. to develop and implement an integrated marketing program for both AES as well as its Semi-Gas line of ultra high purity gas delivery systems.

The campaign will focus on total brand management as well as strategic market analysis and planning for the company and its products. Tactics used to educate the semiconductor market and related industries on the complete solutions provided by AES and its Semi-Gas product line will include both print and online advertising as well as public relations and direct marketing. This combination will ensure that AES gains widespread company awareness in relevant industries as well as targeted reach to key influencers.

Read the full press release

Update on Biotech and Pharmaceutical Markets

Last year’s H1N1 flu epidemic caused a frantic reaction among the US population. President Obama recognized that the vast amount of vaccine shortages caused a major health concern in America. Due to the country’s reaction, President Obama and his administration recently released bio-defense funding specifically to fight infectious disease and bioterrorism threats.

The hope is that the funding will provide pharmaceutical companies the resources needed for newer and more advanced vaccines and technologies. The continued lag manufacturing companies face toward implementing newer machinery and technologies may be coming to an end. The newly designated $6.48 billion will go directly into spending for bio-defense agencies.

The government is looking beyond traditional pharmaceutical and biotechnology contactors in hopes to expand the country’s knowledge and skills in medical technology in order to increase innovation. Additional funding will provide attractive opportunities for many pharmaceutical, manufacturing, information technology, and biotech companies.

Making such investments for our country’s future is vital now more than ever. Pharmaceutical and biotech equipment manufacturers hold the power to create a better future for our country’s health. Upgrading to more advanced technologies will ultimately protect, enhance and provide for a brighter future.

Corporate Identity…What’s It Really Mean and What’s It Really Do

corporate IDBy Dennis Brennan – Sr. Art Director

Everyone talks about corporate identity (well, not everyone…but those of us in the business do!). But just what is corporate identity?  Well, what it’s not is merely a company’s name or logo.

Corporate identity is a strategy that defines a company’s values, its personality…its brand. Done properly, it accurately communicates these elements to a company’s customers, providing a clear image that helps set the company apart from its competitors.

With the advent of the internet and its global nature, corporate identity has become more important than ever in ensuring that companies present a consistent image throughout all of their marketing materials. Consistency needs to carry through in the use of the logo, tagline, color, typography and a well-conceived system of design for all “promotional” materials.

This includes websites, direct email, banner ads, social media venues, etc. in addition to more traditional printed materials such as letterheads, business cards, sales brochures and catalogs, signage, packaging, investor communications, promotional items and magazine advertisements.

The logo is, of course, the anchor design element that visually identifies a company. It should be distinctive, uncluttered, easily recognizable and should attempt to graphically reflect the nature of the business.

Attention should be given to logo design to be sure it reproduces correctly in any application, from printing it on a ballpoint pen to huge trade show booth graphics. Today’s online uses can present specific challenges due to the resolution and limited color restrictions of computer monitors.

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Online Brand Management

cowboy with laptop computerWelcome to what we like to call the New Wild West…online brand management.

Yes, we’re actually talking social media, which has officially become the new sheriff in cybertown.  And its arrival on the B2B scene has caused quite a stir…kind of like what ensued at the OK Corral between the Earp brothers and the McLaury and Clanton boys.  Lots of shots going off and when the dust settled, no one really knew who’d done what, and if it was truly effective in the end.

Social media has definitely infiltrated B2B marketing, but too many companies are scrambling to grab hold of the ever increasing opportunities presented without thinking them through from a business sense.  As with any marketing tactic, how useful will it really be if it’s not implemented properly, managed effectively and integrated with your other campaign elements?

So, how’d it happen?
Although Facebook may have started as a college networking source, it has evolved to be a functional marketing tool enabling companies to offer a captive audience information on its products and services.  And, when you get right down to it, if you don’t claim your company’s Facebook page, someone else will.  Are you willing to hand over your brand like that?

LinkedIn has made great inroads in aggregating people into highly sought after, user-driven groups that enable the sharing of common ideas and provide a forum to

Some emerging developments with Twitter are positioning this site to be a powerful force in tracking more of the sales ‘funnel’ (the steps from a first contact to the actual purchase), which will lead to better results tracking and give marketers more insight into how to tailor certain aspects of a marketing campaign.

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The Advertiser’s Playbook: Paid Search Marketing


The rapidly expanding spectrum of available online marketing tactics can be overwhelming. The best way to determine the most appropriate methods for your marketing goals, aside from asking the experts, is to have a basic understanding of what each method is capable of achieving and what each can’t do efficiently.

What is Paid Search Marketing?

When you use a search engine, chances are you’re looking at paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) programs without even realizing it. The ads that show up to the right of the search result list in Google, for example, are the paid placements that appear based on the keywords typed into the search.

When we searched for “EMI filters” in Google, the top three organic searches are Wikipedia, and However, the sponsored links at the right are, and These companies have paid for their ad to appear on (ideally) the first page of search results even though the company might not be listed on the first page of the organic results.

Read the post Google Instant and You! for more info.

So how is this helpful? You have the ability to increase the public awareness of your website in search results directed towards specific searches (and therefore searchers) related to your products and services.

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Google Instant and You!

computer chickThere’s plenty of buzz – both positive and negative – about the new Google Instant (it launched September 8th). To experience Google Instant, you have to go to, not your browser’s tool bar, and perform a search.

For some time now, Google has “auto-completed” what we enter, provided it had some relevant search data pertinent to what we are typing. Well, Google Instant goes one step further and offers up complete search results, editorial and paid, as you type.

When we type an “a,” we get AOL, Amazon, Apple and Amtrak as immediate results. We typed “simon gro” and The Simon Group came up third in the search engine result page (SERP, as a search maven would say). Try it on yourself and see what happens.

We have two concerns with this regarding our clients’ online marketing programs – both for paid and organic search.

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Industry Insight: Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical

bio-pharmaceutical image

The need to balance stringent quality requirements with rapid production demands for larger volumes of product has placed a heavy toll on biotech and pharmaceutical companies…

But stronger regulations, tenuous financial stability and regulatory delays have made this industry reluctant to invest in newer technologies.

Concerns of expenses in hard economic times in the form of equipment purchase and installation and learning new technologies combined with uncertainty about machine usage as well as regulatory and waste related concerns have all played a role in the industry’s lag in moving toward more advanced equipment.

A prime example was the recent US H1N1 vaccine shortage, with the US administration putting the manufacturers on the short list of causes.  The importance of expedience and quality in the production of such vaccines, and related biotech and pharmaceutical products, is undeniable. Technologies and equipment that help meet these increasing, and many times life-saving, demands are paramount.

Balancing capital investments with best-in-class products will help prevent future product delays that could contribute to serious outcomes, while ensuring manufacturers are equipped with a reliable, up-to-date production facility.

Equipment manufacturers for this industry have continued to develop and produce quality products. Upgrading to faster and efficient machinery will increase business and meet the needs of the industry.

Not All E-letters Are the Same…Maximize Exposure and Generate Leads

dart in center of targetSo, it has happened…online BtoB advertising has recently surpassed print advertising in overall revenue dollars. Even in the high-tech and industrial markets, where there is an older engineering demographic that prefers print, online advertising still makes up a significant percentage of media spending.

But this shift isn’t necessarily bad news.  As media data has shown, most BtoB pubs have two sets of readers: those that go online and those that still like to flip pages, and the overlap is very minimal.  Online advertising not only provides the exposure to the segments of our target markets that tend not to read print magazines, but also can generate pretty heavy-duty leads, depending on the publication…an integral feature we use in our comprehensive media analysis.

So, just like in the good old days of bingo cards (any of you youngsters know what they are?), we can measure our return on investment for a given advertisement based on how many readers respond for information.

And the news keeps getting better – more publishers are taking advantage of advancing tracking technology to capture more detailed prospect information.

When banner ads started popping up on the Internet, measuring results was limited to the number of times an ad was viewed on a website (impressions), and the number of times someone clicked on the ad and went to the advertiser’s site (click-throughs).

When e-letters started making their appearance, we received similar information – how many recipients opened the e-letter, how many bounce backs occurred and how many recipients clicked through to the advertiser’s website.

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Elsys Instruments Hires The Simon Group for North American Public Relations Campaign

The Simon Group has been appointed agency of record for Elsys Instruments to implement a new public relations campaign in the U.S. to help continue the global expansion of the 30-year-old company. Elsys Instruments is the U.S. headquarters of Switzerland-based Elsys AG, a leading manufacturer of custom and standard fast, high-precision data acquisition systems.

“When we decided to look for an agency to coordinate our PR campaign, my first thought was The Simon Group,” said Klaas Vogel, Sales Manager of Elsys Instruments. “Having successfully worked with them while with a different company, I knew The Simon Group would deliver a comprehensive, well-managed program with consistently high results. The proven PR methods at The Simon Group are sure to get our company where we want, and need, to be.”

Download the Full Press Release (Word.doc 158k)

Using Social Media to Enhance B2B Communications

The proliferation of social media has finally infiltrated the world of B2B and you know what, it’s not as bad as we thought it would be. I used to think social media and B2B were like the sun and the moon…never the two shall meet.

But, leave it to the web to once again alter the landscape and shake the tree of traditional marketing.  Just as the proliferation of email and websites started to fragment the way in which we could talk to an audience, RSS feeds, Twitter, Facebook and even the blogosphere are providing new ways to talk with those people who are interested in our clients’ products and technologies, and actually engage them in the process.

Isn’t social media for business really just customer relationship management (CRM) on steroids? It does have applicability and gives companies direct feedback from the audience they most want to reach—people looking to buy a product or service. Imagine the impact of harnessing that firsthand input and applying it to product development to meet market needs!

The good news is that even though the pie keeps getting sliced into more pieces, there’s still enough pie to go around.  The bad news is keeping up with it all can be mind boggling.  An easy way to start is to apply these new social media tactics to one aspect of your campaign and grow it from there.  We tend to get our clients’ feet wet by first integrating social media with our PR program.  From there, once you’re familiar with the lay of the land, the process just snowballs and pretty soon, social media has become an integrated, and valuable, part of your marcom program.

So, next time you get friended or someone asks for your Twitter name, remember this is the environment your customers are operating in.  Like it or not (but we’ve come to like it), social media is enhancing B2B communications.

Read the post “Mixing in Social Media” for more info.

The Agony and Ecstasy of Losing a Great Account

By Marty Simon – CEO

One thing’s for sure in the marketing communications business: nothing is forever. Not even the very best accounts. Here at The Simon Group, we’ve been privileged to work with dozens of great and near-great companies in our first 24 years of business. And, before that, I had the pleasure of working with a bunch more for 19 years at my previous agency. A lot of those clients came with me when I started The Simon Group. One of them was with me for almost 40 years…not a bad run…we helped each other grow and prosper for sure before we shook hands and moved on.

This story is about the accounts we’ve lost over the years because we simply did too good a job for them. Well, that’s not quite true…we did the job they asked us to do: we made them very profitable and very famous in their markets and they went and got bought out by much bigger companies! Not that we begrudge them that…after all, that’s kind of what they hired us to do.

So, while it is painful to lose a successful and profitable account, it’s not always a losing proposition. First, there’s the extreme satisfaction from knowing that you just helped some of your colleagues score the biggest sale they may ever see in their careers. We’ve had lots of thanks and praise and “you guys have made my career!!” kind of responses from our now-sold clients.

And it doesn’t even always end there. Sometimes, our primary contacts, for one reason or another, move on to a new company and they don’t forget the job we did for them at their previous company. Frequently, The Simon Group has been transferred from one great client to another because our key contact moved on and insisted on our moving with him. As long as there’s no conflict of interest, we’re delighted to do just that!   It’s quite a compliment and certainly an acknowledgement of the success we had for that client.

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