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Back In The Groove

I’m BACK! Back in the groove of geeking out over marketing and advertising. I was really inspired this morning in my ad design class where we shared some of our favorite ads. Here are some really cool, strategic examples of how creativity can go a long way:

Direct Mail

 

Customer Appreciation 

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The Power Of An Editorial Calendar

I love a good calendar.

calendar

Every year, I painstakingly pick out my planner, open its crisp, new pages and begin to fill in each little box, as if they were each a new opportunity to do something new, experience something new or plan for something new. It’s a science AND an art to make sure a calendar meets my standards:

1. Enough space in each calendar block to write multiple things (I have high expectations for my social life)

2. Enough extra day or “notes” pages to write assignments, To Do lists, grocery lists, or those desperate doodles made during meetings or classes

3. A tough cover that won’t tear because that sucker will get pulled in and out of my purse/bag/laptop case one million times over the next year and it needs a little oomph to make it through

4. Inspirational – whether it’s my color of the moment or a specific design I’m loving, it’s got to make me smile when I take it out

(P.S. Confession time: For my senior year in high school, everyone was required to put one item in a time capsule we will open at our 10-year reunion next year. Can you guess what I put in as my item? That’s right….my planner. I know. My name is Stephanie, and I have a problem.)

schedule

But, if you’re like the other 99% that have moved onto electronic calendars a la Google Calendar, iCal or Outlook, then these rules seem antiquated. AND with the proliferation of social media, having an on-the-go, update-able and sync-able calendar is imperative, especially if you’re in the marketing, PR or advertising world. I’m taking baby steps to go in this direction.

More commonly known as editorial calendars or content strategies, these calendars and planning tools can help sort all your ideas, posts, blogs, photos, etc. out to ensure you’re keeping all your content fresh.

I’ve pulled a few great blog posts about this topic, hoping to stir my own creativity to create something like this for this blog, or future clients, or for my own personal life maintenance. Take a look at what some of the experts are saying OR share your favorite calendar/organizing trick with us all!

4 Ways To Beat The Social Media Clock via PRBreakfastClub

Content Strategy Is, in fact, The Next Big Thing via Brain Traffic

Social Media Calendar Template via Ekcetera Design Studio

Organize Your Social Media Efforts via @MaryFletchJones

How To Create a Social Media Editorial Calendar via Search Engine Watch

Let’s get planning!


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It’s A Dance

Choreography. Mostly reserved for a sequence of dance steps in any dance genre you can imagine.

Not anymore, my friends. Now choreography is being used as a buzzword in marketing to coordinate all of your marketing strategies in lieu of coordinating your feet.

Brand choroegraphy. It’s a term I was introduced to earlier this week, and it makes a lot of sense. From this article via Blue Focus Marketing one can see what they mean by planning each channel to work in concert with the other.

choreography

“Essentially, this is the orchestration of all appropriate marketing messages and tactics—across traditional, digital, and social media platforms—designed to impact critical brand touch points.”

What that means: IMC (integrated marketing communication) choreographs messages, images, talk points, events, SEO, etc. into one cohesive strategy to make sure the customers at every touch point are met with consistent and strategic marketing efforts.

And that’s the art and science of marketing, making it all fit together into one successful dance.


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5 Emerging PR Trends

i heart pr

Being in one industry for a while, you start hearing the same themes, patterns, MUST HAVES and skills over and over again. Even in an evolving industry like marketing and public relations, you still hear the same, familiar tropes and seminal works on what it means to be a great marketer.

  • the medium is the message
  • good writing is good marketing
  • evolve or die
  • etc. etc. etc.

That’s why I found this article on the emerging trends in public relations so refreshing. It looks at what skills are becoming more and more important for this industry, and how to apply them to your current work. Instead of focusing on the traditional skills everyone must learn, this looks at what you can expect to be asked to do. Here’s a quick look:

1. Storytelling — Would you tell the same story the same way to two different people? What if one person was a 45 year-old mom and the other a 7 year-old boy? The audience will change, and investing time into learning what your audience is about and how they like to be spoken to is key.

2. Quantification — ROI is huge anywhere, but it’s been nearly impossible to track relevant and usable data in marketing and PR. That’s changing and it’s important to know how to analyze data and pay it forward to the next marketing plan or project.

3. Visual Communication — The article is right, everything is visual and the latest apps and websites that are thriving hinge on good design and visual appeal i.e., Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Knowing how to turn your message into a compelling visual can take storytelling even further and make it more memorable. Everyone loves a good picture, right?

4. Proactive and predictive monitoring — Instead of reacting to what the media has said, look ahead and get in front of the conversation. Maybe start the conversation? But reactive media monitoring puts you a step behind.

5. Adaptation — Probably the scariest one. As the term “marketing” and “PR” grow more fluid and all encompassing, professionals need to be able to move quickly, learn even quicker and become experts at many different things. Being a student of the industry can get you pretty far if you’re willing to take the time to observe, soak it in and learn everything you can.


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So What Do You Do?

Say whaaa??? Another post during Finals week? What can I say? I’m going a little batty starting at the same 7 theories over and over.

I get a lot of quizzical looks and questions when people ask me what I do, and I say “marketing” or “public relations” or if I’m feeling really tired “communications” or “arts and crafts.” It’s a very fuzzy industry, and a lot of people think its all about making things pretty, sound good or propaganda. Which it can be….sometimes 🙂

So, when I found this infographic via Hubspot, I immediately had to share.

Study it. Learn it. Quiz me on it. This is a simplified infographic, but I think it shows all the intricate steps that go into marketing (inbound marketing, specifically). Now, this isn’t everything. But it does offer a good primer on what good marketing and communication can entail.

If it’s too small in here, click here to see the full version.

inbound marketing


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How To Pick Up Women…

…in advertising?

This past week, AdWeek released a series of articles on women and how marketers can better embrace the inner goddess of all those consumer-crazy girls out there. The collection of articles include demographic profiles, statistics and stories on brands that embrace women in their natural habitat i.e., sports, blogging, etc.

Read more about AdWeek’s Women Issue

OK, is it just me, or did they just put all women into three categories? Which one are you? The Indie? The Mom? Or the Goddess? What about secret answer number four: the “I have no idea what these crazy people are talking about, I just want to buy my damn 99 cent peanut butter without being defined as a ‘savvy-saver’?” Or the other popular secret choice #5: “I have no clue who I am, but I sure do love Ryan Gosling.”

“Hey girl, wanna buy my product or service?”

My point is that this article, while ambitious in its focus, feels…limited and short-sighted.

Case in point: “…across generations, women have earned unprecedented control of their finances, their careers and their bodies.” Oh okay. So the feminist movement was all about getting better data so marketing could make me feel like I made the decision to choose Oil of Olay over L’Oreal? I HAVE CONTROL! I’M WORTH IT!

Marketing should be authentic. Yes, you need to know your audience. But also understand the nuances that exist within each audience. Women cannot be put into three categories, no matter who is dividing them. I, as a young adult from the South, newly married and a dog owner who likes Cheetos — will be very different from you — teenage girl with her first crush, living in Salt Lake City who likes Cheetos. We both like Cheetos, but our lives are severely different. How do you make Cheetos desirable to us both? By this article’s definition, we don’t even exist because we’re not at the magical 28 age group.

Marketing sometimes needs assumptions, but I think a more valuable tool would be a women’s continuum rather than a trichotomy of description. Women can move up and down that continuum through life stages, make different product choices, and feel free to change her mind. THAT would be a more helpful targeting tool than rigid categories. It could even allow more freedom in creative design and media placement.

What do you think? Do you fit in these categories? Or do you just want to ogle Ryan Gosling?

 


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There’s a Hole In My Media Bucket

I’m a traditionalist at heart. I love the process, strategy and experience of print advertising, TV and even radio. But I’m no sucker either. I know the cataclysmic shift to all things digital in the marketing world is better, more targeted, more efficient and more tailored to each consumer’s needs.

A recent article by Marc Brownstein in AdAge addressed just that dilemma. How to sustain traditional forms of marketing, while also taking advantage of the increasing and ever-growing digital world. He advocates for a better mix, rather than an only digital approach. Take for example:

“All I have to do is look around me to see people’s media-consuming habits. My wife and kids watch TV every night — often with a mobile or tablet device on their laps. My employees, their families and my friends consume media in similar ways. I’ve spoken to many others in various age categories about their routines and hear similar answers. My study may not be highly scientific, but it does confirm that people of all ages and income brackets still watch, read and listen to a variety of media.” — Marc Brownstein

Mix it up people. This is what excites me most about marketing. So many tools at your disposal and deciding which bucket different amounts of money are invested in is like a puzzle. Finding the right mix can lead to a more strategic and balanced campaign, and if you ever have a leaky bucket, there’s always opportunities to plug it with something else that is better, more strategic and even more measurable.