Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Pinterest - The New Kid on the Social Media Block

This blog is brought to you by BrightBlue Marketing team member: Andrea Lamarsaude

Ok I’ll admit it! I’m a social media junkie! I’m always making sure I’m in the know about the latest bells and whistles on the Big Three - Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. For me the verdict is still out on Google+. After that I’m hard pressed to find time for anything else. That is until I discovered the new kid on the block, the one with all those irresistible pins - Pinterest.

If you haven’t discovered Pinterest, in a nutshell, the site allows you to organize and share anything and everything you find on the web on virtual pinboards. You can also browse pinboards created by other people to discover new things and get inspiration from those who share your interests. As Sarah Skerik of PR Newswire so eloquently puts it, “Pinterest renders the content you “pin” into gorgeous spreads (called “boards”) that resemble the glossiest magazine. The results are beyond engaging, they’re arresting.”

Read her full blog post, “Pinning the Future of Communications on Visuals” ( for more great insights on how to build Pinterest boards for content that is largely text based.

In December 2011, Pinterest made it into the top 10 websites within Experian Hitwise’s Social Networking and Forums category, surpassing Google+! A study from Shareaholic reveals that Pinterest drove more referral traffic in January 2012 than YouTube, LinkedIn and Google + combined! It’s just shy of Twitter, but made it to the top five of referral sites for January.

For B2C marketers Pinterest is definitely a social media channel they should consider adding to their mix as the recently totally rebranded and revamped retailer JC Penney did (

And B2B marketers should sit up and take note as well. As B2B Marketing’s Alex Aspinall writes, “B2B brands with the right content to leverage could easily find success on Pinterest.” See for his full blog post.

Here are some more great articles on ways B2B marketers can take advantage of Pinterest:

4 Ways B2B Marketers Can Benefit from Pinterest

By Jennifer Beever

4 Reasons For B2B Marketers To Explore Pinterest

By Karlie Justus

Five reasons why B2B businesses should start looking at Pinterest

By Alexandra Reid

Have you tried Pinterest yet? If so what do you think?

-by: Andrea Lamarsaude

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Conference Marketing Tips and Tricks

This blog is brought to you by BrightBlue Marketing Team Member: Andrea Lamarsaude

You’ve got a conference coming up and you want to have the best attendance ever – but how do you do that?!? These tips and tricks will help you create a strong marketing & PR campaign that will make that happen!

Integrate very creative and powerful messaging into every single communication prior to conference, at conference, and in any follow up communications. This messaging must sell the value of the conference to attendees and exhibitors and make it fun and exciting for them to be a part of the event.

Create excitement, suspense, and get buzz going!


You don’t want to miss the 2012 “insert name of your conference”! It is THEwhat your conference is about” conference of the year! “Name of your conference” is where you need to be!

Use an anchor to build buzz! Ask yourself is there something big happening in your industry that will be released this year that your team can promote to build suspense and buzz around the conference as well as incorporate in your messaging.

Use a multiple touch communication philosophy and always be top of mind utilizing all your communication channels (email, web, social media, blogs, newsletters, PR, etc.). Continually stay in front of potential attendees and exhibitors using messaging that presents the value and ROI of being a part of the conference.

Get your audience excited about attending!

Email teasers - In every save the date email have a compelling summary of some feature of the event (attendee testimonials from previous conferences, contest, exhibitor spotlight success story, great presentations, etc.) with a big “Register Now” sign up button. Suggest that they mark their calendars or sign up now (list dates of conference) in your regular email correspondence you send out in your signatures or in a button or link.

Keep it simple and keep it brief and with a definite call to action.

Mobilize the troops! Arm vendors, sponsors, speakers, staff, and volunteers with targeted message content to help them drive attendance and increase exhibitors.

Creatively intertwine elements of messaging into each aspect of the conference:

· Create a logo, PPT template for the presenters

· Choose a color scheme

· Use messaging in social media campaign

· Clarify what the messaging means for all those involved with conference and what key messages will be

· Send out teaser invitations by mail, email, audio and video clips with elements of messages tied in

· Coordinate special events, experiences tied into messaging

· Incorporate specialty items in your booth at the conference that convey messaging (bags, T-shirts, pens, flash drives, etc.)

· Outfit your staff with special shirts with the messaging main tagline so they stand out

· Create a follow-up program with a survey to ensure that the proper messages were receive

· Record key messages from presenters for Mp3 downloads or send out a CD/DVD to reinforce messages

· If budget allows incorporate speakers and entertainment that reflect your messaging

Address Needs & Issues of Attendees and Exhibitors in all cconference messaging

  • Develop a list of needs potential attendees and exhibitors have as well as the pains and issues they face. Then, use this list to develop a communications grid that shows how attending and/or exhibiting at the conference can address each of these needs/issues/pains.
  • Next step – use this grid to develop a communications plan to inform potential attendees and exhibitors of how you can help them with their particular challenge by attending and/or exhibiting at the confernce.
  • Incorporate this messaging in email campaigns and social media and video - Keep it simple so people will read it. Success story format. List their issue or pain and a quick tip on how to solve pain. Challenge them with an action item – come to conference to solve your pain! Here is a hint – sign up for the conference to learn even more.
  • Have that call to action drive them to attend conference and/or exhibit at expo.

Make your conference website sizzle!

  • Create contests to incentivize people to attend
  • House teaser videos that highlight presentation content
  • Offer video / podcast interviews with presenters, vendors, sponsors
  • Provide testimonial interviews of people who have signed up already and why
  • Share links various videos and info about city conference is in.
  • Hyperlink all your other social networking channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube) to website
  • Use Facebook Places so attendees can “check in” when they arrive at the city airport, the hotel, the convention center, at participating exhibits, and in educational sessions. Have a contest or scavenger hunt tied to “Check Ins”.

Create buzz in conference city

Enlist staff and/or volunteers if you have them to find area organizations, companies, groups, and/or universities you can work with to promote the conference and provide discounted fees for their help and involvement.

Leverage speakers, your key members and board members (if you are a member based organization) that are ‘local’ to the area for interview opportunities (about the event itself, trend pieces, hot topics, etc.)

Reach out to local businesses even if they are not specifically related to your industry but can benefit from reaching your conference goers.

Cross promote event with other similar organizations. Start talking with them to see how they can co-sponsor or barter for awareness campaigns with their members through emails and articles.

Encourage Your Conference Presenters to Share – this facilitates a way to give potential attendees/members an early taste of what is to comes at the event, as well as give the conference speakers an opportunity to share how they’re involved with the event.

  • Each video / podcast can be loaded onto the conference website
  • Each entry will be shared on all of your social media channels
  • Each speaker will be urged to share it on his/her social networks along onto his/her company’s social channels


· Create a virtual conference newsroom – have internal updates for exhibitors once basic information for newsroom has been set up.

· Reach out to industry press to cover the event and in turn help drive traffic to event. Get them to start thinking about coming to the event. Get them excited about coming to conference to hear all the great presentations.

· Conduct joint press releases with exhibitors prior to conference.

· Have an enhanced press presence onsite and inform exhibitors well in advance of the conference.

· Send timely “Save the Date” to the press announcing conference.

Preconference Preview Webinar(s) – create a virtual roundtable with some of the conference speakers (this could be a one-time event or done once a month before the event begins.

· Allow speakers to talk about their presentation to get some before-conference buzz brewing

· Give your industries professionals ‘a taste of what is to come’ with the event

Offer discount codes – for the earlier months leading up to the conference promote a special conference discount code for those that are part of your social communities on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Make sure conference is listed in local / business journal calendars in city of conference.

LinkedIn event page – create an events page for the conference on LinkedIn to reach people in your industry who would be interested in attending.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

2012 Marketing Crystal Ball

This blog is brought to you by BrightBlue Marketing team member - Andrea Lamarsaude

As we head into the end of 2011 and towards the brand new year of 2012 the marketing soothsayers have been hard at work writing some great trends articles. Below are some interesting quotes, plus links to the full articles:

· The need for trust, value and brand transparency, among other trends from last year, are just as important today.

· Excelling in one area rather than being all things to all people. …small businesses to focus on their unique niches and position themselves as the definitive source for information, products and services related to the specific places in the markets where they operate.

· Google engineer Matt Cutts encouraged search marketers to focus on three areas over the next year:

o Social

o Local

o Mobile

The year 2011 saw a 400 percent increase in the number of mobile searches, with 74 percent of people using their mobile phones to search while running errands. For Black Friday this year we even saw advertisers attempting to lure customers away and steal competitor sales while they were waiting on line to make a purchase, as The New York Times reports.

In the face of the SoLoMo revolution, SMBs must not only adapt to new screens, but also to new ways of reaching customers.

· What else has the proliferation of smart phones done besides make us all mobile-crazy? It’s also driven us app crazy. And it’s not just Facebook, Twitter and Angry Birds, either. We’re turning to apps to help us run our businesses and be more efficient and, we hope, more profitable.

· Watch out for increased use of Location Based marketing, QR codes, Video and Infographics to name just a few.

· We’re seeing a big shift happening – a shift that will most likely continue throughout next year. Companies and organizations are now, finally, giving digital marketing channels precedence over traditional, analog media.

· Social media is starting to be an integral part of everything we do when marketing our business. This means that social media marketing will not be a separate activity but just one facet of your overall marketing plan. Much like SEO or email marketing, social media will be just one tool in the box.

5 Internet Marketing Trends for SMBs to Watch in 2012

Top 5 Marketing Trends 2012 – Infographics, Video and Social Media

Top Marketing Trends for 2012

PR, Communication, and Marketing Trends 2012 – Part 1 and 2

Top 5 marketing trends for 2012: Start with big data

Social media marketing and business trends 2012

2011 and 2012 Marketing Trends – “Be On The Cutting-Edge, Not The Bleeding-Edge!”

-Andrea Lamarsaude

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Ask Maggie the Marketer 12-6-12

Dear Maggie the Marketer,

It is that time of year again….the time when some businesses are challenged by what to send out for their holiday greetings. They try to sound sincere and heartfelt when sending out to everyone who has ever even so much as thought about using their product or service a holiday card that is so generic and carefully politically correct that you aren’t even sure what holiday it is for. I believe that some of them are truly heartfelt wishes, but many give the impression of having been chugged out of a giant printing press and sent by a company where most of the executives have no idea that the card has been sent out and who knows even less about the person that is receiving it.

As a business owner who has survived these tough economic times on the loyalty of my customers, I would like to send out something for the holidays that really is sincere and will somehow try to express my appreciation of their loyalty to my company through good times and bad.

How do I show my sincere appreciation and wishes for their happiness during the holidays without it being something they just toss aside with all the other generic holiday greetings?


Wishing to share Cheer in Chattanooga

Dear Cheerful in Chattanooga,

Depending on your budget, which may be tight this year, there are several things you can do to show your loyal customers how much you sincerely appreciate them.

1. Offer free or discounted product or service

The first thing that pops into my mind given the tough economic times that we have all been through, is to give them some sort of price break on whatever it is they purchase from you since they obviously value your product or service. Depending on what they purchase from your company, you could give them a discount on your services for a period of time or a discount on the product they purchase the most. You might even consider giving them some sort of product or service for free if that is feasible.

2. A card with a handwritten note inside for each customer/client

It is rare for anyone to “hand write” anything these days and that is a good way to make an impression of sincerity and that the card was meant specifically for them. Be sure you mention something about that customer/client or the product or service they purchase from you to personalize it further.

3. Donation to a charity in the customer's name

This is a great idea if you know your client/customer is passionate about a particular charity or group. You can find out by checking their website to see if they mention that they partner with a charity, etc. If you have been to the client/customer’s home or office and know they love dogs or cats; you could make a donation to the local SPCA or a rescue group for the breed they prefer. If they have mentioned a family member suffering from a certain illness you could give a donation to that cause like the American Cancer Association or the Alzheimer’s Association. There are any number of causes you can donate to in someone else’s name so get creative!

4. Stop by their office and sing them a Holiday carol

Or if your singing voice would not be considered a gift J, you could drop off some holiday treats of some sort or have lunch or breakfast catered for them as a sign of your appreciation.

5. A fun and creative ecard with a personalized note

If your client/customer is more of the “techy” sort, find one of the creative greetings on line that you can email. There are many to choose from out there, but Jib Jab is an example. You can personalize many of these creative email greetings and make it something they would want to forward and show to others. Hey, then you get some extra marketing on the side!

The important thing is that it will pay off in the long run if you take the extra time to personalize your holiday greetings!

PS. If any of our readers out there have even more ideas for “Cheerful”, please share them!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Stepping into 2012 with your best “virtual” marketing foot forward

This blog post is brought to you by BrightBlue Marketing team member: Andrea Lamarsaude

What? Wait a minute! I’ve eaten the last slice of Thanksgiving pecan pie (real pie, not virtual), survived Black Friday and now I’m contemplating the deals for Cyber Monday. And when I blink again I’m going to be trying to remember all the words to Auld Lang Syne! I’m sure I can Google that. That’s it, so long 2011, hello 2012! I don’t know about you but this year was gone in a flash!

From a marketing perspective it was non stop! Working with our clients at BrightBlue was simply amazing! And the first half of my presidency for the DFW American Marketing Association went by in a fantastic blur.

Much of my focus at BrightBlue this year was on virtual marketing – partnering with clients to craft an effective social media strategy and then creating social media content calendars, writing/editing Tweets, Facebook posts and LinkedIn discussions, tracking increases in friends, followers and members, writing email blasts, e-newsletters and web content, and constantly monitoring the return on investment of all these channels.

The recent Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) study conducted by IBM showed social media is one of four challenges CMOs see as, “pervasive, universal game-changers.” The other’s being “the data explosion, proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics.”

I highly recommend reading the complete IBM marketing study titled "From Stretched to Strengthened" based on face-to-face conversations with over 1700 CMOs spanning 19 industries and 64 countries. It’s available for free from the IBM CMO Study website. It’s the first of its kind and contains a wealth of information about “what CMO’s are doing to help their enterprises cope with the fundamental shifts transforming business and the world.”

At a 2011 DFW AMA Luncheon, Director of Strategy & Performance, Marketing Solutions at American Airlines, Inc. Linda Carlson and Principal at Click Here, Inc, James Hering echoed the CMO study, discussing how social media is top of mind for large corporations as well, when they talked about how the growth of CRM, the impact of the Internet, social media and mobile, and other new direct-to-customer touch points are creating untapped cross-platform networks for brands.

Gareth Case, Head of Marketing at ONI Plc, in his recent article Top 5 Marketing Trends 2012 – Infographics, Video and Social Media cites social media as, “Trending in a big way…” Not just “Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, etc. they have been trending for a some time now…” He cites, “business applications that are social in their very make-up (such as) SalesForce’s Chatter, Cisco’s Jabber, Show and Share and Quad” as one’s to watch in 2012. Case also cites Location Based Marketing, QR Codes, Video and Infographics as top marketing trends to “look out for as we approach 2012.”

So knowing all this where do we go from here as marketers? How do we succeed in this omnipresent virtual marketing world that is happily here to stay for the foreseeable future? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

It’s interesting to note that whatever plan of attack we as marketers pursue that, “…in the course of (IBM’s) conversations with CMOs worldwide, an over- whelming consensus emerged….

They must understand and deliver value to empowered customers; create lasting relationships with those customers; and measure marketing’s contribution to the business in relevant, quantifiable terms.”

So what’s the bottom line? For marketers it all comes back to ROI. The CMO study revealed:

Nearly two-thirds of CMOs think return on marketing investment will be the primary measure of their effectiveness by 2015. But proving that value is difficult. Even among the most successful enterprises, half of all CMOs feel insufficiently prepared to provide hard numbers.

What about you? Are you prepared?

- Andrea Lamarsaude

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Trail of Lights 2011

Today we announced that this year's Austin community holiday event will no longer include Trail of Lights due to a shortfall in funding.

The return of the Trail of Lights depended on community and business sponsorship contributions to make the event possible. Our team spent months of hard work in reaching out to thousands and thousands of business leaders in Austin. In the end it came down to difficult economic circumstances and budgets that were tapped.

We had major benchmarks along the way, and the latest was the financial commitment to set up onsite at Zilker Park which was to begin today, November 2nd. We could not meet that benchmark due to these financial commitments needed to move forward.

I'd like to personally thank the enormous support we received for the return of the Trail of Lights Austin by the community, the wonderful team who contributed their time and hard work, the City of Austin, and all of the sponsors, vendors and volunteers that have committed to this event. All donations and payments are being returned to the Trail of Light supporters.

We are of course deeply disappointed that we will not be able to hold the Trail of Lights event this year, but are not going to give up and plan to move forward on planning and fundraising for the 2012 Trail of Lights Austin.

We are working with the city to provide the Austin HolidayFest 2011 that will still give the community a family-friendly holiday event this December.

You can see our press release at with more information.

Friday, 14 October 2011

How to get the word out about your new service or product using all marketing and PR tools

The Think Tank conference call takes the format of an open discussion that allows for everyone to share best practices and experiences relating to a relevant topic.

The call was facilitated by Andrea Lamarsaude, with BrightBlue Marketing and was Co-Hosted by Candace Miller with BrightBlue Marketing and Narciso Tovar from Big Noise Communications. Also on the call was Melissa Bourestom (BrightBlue Marketing), Diana Christensen (BrightBlue Marketing), David Royce (US Department of Commerce), Amy Vercruysse (BrightBlue Marketing), and John Cullens (Prism Group).

With an increasing number of brands now creating innovative, fresh and unique social media campaigns alongside their new product launches, it is important that the focus remains on ‘utilizing’ social media as part of a wider strategy, rather than ‘relying’ on social media to launch the product. Social media certainly presents companies with a fantastic opportunity to extend and compliment the impact of their more traditional marketing and online PR activities. Interestingly, the most success is often seen by those brands that are able to effectively integrate their social media, marketing and PR efforts into a focused, innovative and overarching narrative - creating engagement, interaction and consumer ‘buzz’ across multiple platforms as a result. -George Guildford - Account Manager at digital PR agency Punch Communications

Discussion questions:

What are some traditional marketing and PR tools you can use to create early buzz about a new service or product offering?

  • Mail and email are still strong: Some people do still read mail and since there is less now, it can stand out more
  • Traditional methods are especially good for the initial stages of a campaign.
  • Email is more cost effective as mail does have postage costs
  • Should be used in unison with traditional supporting the newer social media tools
  • Keep messages brief when using traditional methods

What are some examples of new service or product launches you have seen that successfully enhanced their marketing and PR campaigns with social media?

  • Membership drives – use social media to promote contests and incentives; early bird gets the worm, discounts for joining as a member, etc.
  • Bonus offering for those that re-tweet; Such as: room discounts at conferences, etc.

Is it possible to be sending out too many communications via PR, Marketing and Social Media? What is a good number of activities to go by?

  • Yes, you can send out too many communications
  • Be routine so people know to expect something from you – once a week or once a month
  • Do 6-8 over a period of time
  • Takes a minimum of 7 “touches” to be top of mind with someone through communications
  • Send communications from multiple channels; partner with another company or association to cross promote
  • Tell your contacts that they will receive so many communications in the weeks to come; they will expect to see something and they see consistency
  • Days of the week are important; not Monday as people are trying to catch up over the weekend and have a lot in their in-boxes

How do you choose and narrow down which marketing tools to use when there are so many choices?

  • A lot has to do with your audience
  • Where does your target audience go for their information
  • Use the tool or tools that best communicates with your audience
  • Twitter tips: start by following others that relate to your industry, then see who they follow and start following those that would be in your target audience; you can have more than one Twitter account to focus on different parts of your business
  • Facebook tips: It is very time consuming and you need to make sure this audience is your target; tie your promotions to a good cause – a donation will go to a charity when they purchase what you are promoting

Have you seen examples of trying to integrate social media into a campaign that missed the mark? What were they and why did they?

  • Issues are normally caused by a bad list or an unclean list
  • If you purchase a list you have to go through and clean it to your target audience
  • Make sure your own lists are updated and cleaned periodically
  • There has to be follow up to all of your campaigns or you will lose the momentum
  • Be sure you are targeting the correct contact person in an organization

How have Press Releases helped or not helped the launch of a new product or service?

  • Press Releases seem to be becoming less popular as a marketing tool
  • For them to be effective you have to aim at the right outlets to create the right buzz
  • You do get a lot of SEO from Press Releases which is always good
  • Should still send them out, but they probably shouldn’t be a huge focus of a marketing campaign
  • It has to be well written with compelling content
  • You need to use the paid PR sites to post your release; the free ones won’t do much
  • Paid services usually give you some type of report so you can see what is happening with it
  • Partner with sponsors or partner organizations to work together on each others Press Releases

How do you activate your database to help you market your new product or service?

  • Use your core “fan base”; those people in your database that are always your greatest cheerleaders
  • Give incentives of some sort for them to talk about your new product or service
  • Come up with a fun “gimmick” that will get people talking (like ETrade babies)

Can you cite some successful ways social media has been integrated into email marketing campaigns? Not so successful ways?

  • Adding the icons for FB, LinkedIn, and Twitter into emails that people can click on and go straight there

What are ways that marketing/PR and social media can successfully work together to promote an event or conference?

  • Gets the word out to a large group of people
  • Find some sort of story related to your event/conference (how it helped someone, something funny that happened previously, etc.) that the media will pick up
  • Every time you add a sponsor send out a Tweet or FB post giving them special notice and they will share it with their database
  • Use milestones for what you are sending out; call for sponsors, call for papers, announce list of sessions that will be at event, announce keynote speakers, etc.
  • Remember, social media can’t really be completely controlled so you have to be prepared for the negative comments as well as the positive. There tends to be more pros than cons in the long run

Further Reading

Four Ways Brands Can Use Social Media in New Product Launches

Using social media as a marketing tool

The New Rules of Marketing and PR - How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

Ways to integrate social media you're your email marketing

How to integrate social media you're your live event

Integrating social media into PR teaching and practice