Thursday, 28 April 2011

Once upon a time there was a great marketing storyteller!

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

As a child hearing the words, “Once upon a time” were music to my ears as it meant it was storytelling time, my favorite time of all! It didn't matter if someone was reading to me or I was reading to myself, what mattered was the story! Would it be about some distant land I had never been to before? What would the hero or heroine be up against? Would someone need rescuing? Was a dragon involved? How about time travel? The more excitement there was the better! I loved, and still do, a good page-turner!

Good story telling is an art.

A wonderful example is artist Aaron Koblin who has developed software that tells stories and creates art by sifting through online data ( One of his latest endeavors is a "global collaborative art project.” Together with Chris Milk they created a commemorative music video story of Johnny Cash, each of the 1,370 frames in the video was created by a different person.

In much the same way a marketer can take all the “data” or information available about a company and its products and services and develop a strong and compelling story that makes the reader want to truly understand what they offer and how it can benefit them. So much more exciting than just a cut and dry listing of their products features and benefits and definitely a magnet for potential clients and the press!

Mastering the art of good story telling is an absolutely necessary skill to have when it comes to marketing. The difference between a good marketer and a great one is their ability to craft and tell their client’s story in a compelling and page turning way. Knowing how to tell someone who you are, and what you can offer him or her that no one else can is one of the key elements to successful marketing.

Lisa Barone, Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer at Outspoken Media says it best, “Marketing is storytelling. It’s you talking directly to your customers and telling them who you are, why you’re better and what you believe so that they remember you and feel connected to you. It’s you making them associate something with your company.”

Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media says, “Everything you do to market your business is another paragraph, page, or chapter in the story people hear from you. And the story people hear is the one they act (or don’t act) on, and repeat (or don’t repeat) to others.”

Brian goes on to say, “…purposeful storytelling is the mark of the great novelist, screenwriter, and playwright, and purposeful marketing stories are a sure sign of a great content marketer.”

We’d like to hear from you! Tell us about the “page turning” marketing stories you have created for your business and your clients.

-Andrea Lamarsaude Marketing Manager, BrightBlue Marketing

Links to further reading:

· SMB Marketing Is About Telling Your Story - Lisa Barone, Co-Founder and Chief Branding Officer at Outspoken Media

· How to Craft a Marketing Story that 
People Embrace and Share - Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media

Monday, 25 April 2011

Listen up! Is your company a best kept secret?

Why does your company spend money on marketing? Perhaps to get the attention of future customers and keep them away from your competition? Many companies try to do this by lowering prices to be competitive, but having a lower price doesn’t always attract new customers. You have to make your company and your product stand out.

What is something your company does that your competition doesn’t? Think about those little extras that you do for your customers and clients that your competition either doesn’t do or doesn’t advertise that they do. Once you get your special differentiator noticed, it will be very difficult for your competition to use that same angle.

This is known as the Unique Selling Proposition (USP). If you don’t know what your USP is then think about what your clients or customers say they really like about you or just ask them. Customers like to know that you care what they think and when asked, they will tell you. It may be the fact that your sales team sends a hand written thank you note after a first or large order, or maybe they like the short lead time you provide for delivery of your product or service, or specifics on how you go above and beyond for your clients.

Once you have your USP figured out then you need to get it out there!

Create a tag line and new messaging that incorporates your USP. Start a campaign that gets this new message out to reach your target audience via emails, blogs, direct mail postcards, etc.

A great tool to get your message out is Virtual Marketing Outreach. It can help save you an incredible amount of time by having the basic content for everything already written for you and all you have to do is adjust and personalize it to fit your company.

It is time for you to make sure your company is not the best kept secret. Find your USP and shout it to the world!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Just do something…

As I talk to people in business trying to find their way through the social media maze of this new marketing era, the thing I hear the most is, “It is overwhelming” or “I don’t know where to even start”. Well, let me help – just start somewhere and just do something!

Not very helpful is it? But in theory it really is. There are a lot of new options these days out there for marketing with the rise of social media including: Facebook, Twitter, blogging, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc., etc. The list seems to go on and on and if you are just jumping into the social media pool it can feel like you are sinking in the deep end. Well, I am going to throw you a floaty!

Grab the floaty, climb on out of the deep end, and walk to the other end of the pool and let’s take the steps in one at a time. Step one: Pick 1 thing in the world of social media to start with. For some of you this step may be overwhelming, but let’s make it fun. Write down all the options (or at least the options you know about now), put them in a bowl and just pull one out and that will be the one you start with. Or, look at the various options and pick the one that seems the most interesting, or fun, to you. Yes, I said “fun”! Marketing through social media really can be fun – I swear!

Do you like to write? Set up a blog (it is much easier than you think), and write about what interests you. A blog doesn’t need to be a sales pitch (and actually shouldn’t be) or an educational forum (unless that is what trips your trigger). Just write about what is happening in your world with your business. My personal “Biggest Blogging Tip”: just be yourself. You aren’t being graded by your English professor, you are being graded by the general public that wants your blog to be interesting to read, not a literary masterpiece.

Do you like to talk or play with the video camera? Set up a YouTube account (again, much easier than you think), and start being the “roving reporter” around the office. Interview people on what they are working on that week, or you can talk about something exciting you have going on or a new product you are launching.

Do you only have short bursts of time or can’t think of more than 1 sentence to write at a time? Twitter is for you! Tweets are just little 140 character tidbits of what is going on with your company that you put out there from time to time with an optional link to a website for more information.

Do you want to build a more social relationship with your customers, clients, partners, etc.? Facebook is for you. You basically have an ongoing, 2-way conversation with all those in your Facebook network.

Do you like the 2-way conversation but want to stay more professional than social? Go with LinkedIn.

There are many other options, but these are the big ones out there at the moment and don’t let the options overwhelm you. Just do something!

Pick one that sounds interesting, take 30 minutes (or less in most cases) to set up your account at whichever method you choose, then send something out to say hello to the world and let your employees, customers, potential customer, etc. know how to find you as you embark on your new adventure.

The most important thing to remember is to not try to jump into the deep end all at once. Start by getting your feet wet over in the shallow end by the steps. Once you get going with your first social media outlet and you feel comfortable with it, and then choose your next adventure. Before long you will be jumping off the high dive into the deep end without hesitation!

If you are new to social media – let us know which one you have chosen to start with and let us follow your progress!

For further reading here are some links to some great info on your preferred social media channel choice:

Blogs -

Facebook -

LinkedIn -

Twitter -

YouTube -

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Why am I not doing this yet?

This blog is brought to you by a partner of BrightBlue Marketing, Silvana Rosero, Principal and co-owner of Small Pond Video Productions. Learn more about Silvana and her company at:

Historically, video has been used by businesses and organizations to implement training programs, as well as creating sales and marketing tools. Video is still used for such purposes. The only difference now is that, with the technology innovation, the possibilities to reach an audience are almost infinite, making video an even more powerful tool.

The popularization of smart phones, tablets, better computers and the availability of faster telecommunications as well as new avenues of communication - such as social media sites - have created a new culture of communicating. People now want to learn about new things through the Internet, and they also want to “share” their experiences with huge audiences (their online friends and connections) instantly.

It has been said by some experts that the U.S. online audience is expected to grow to 190 million people by 1012. Additionally, 88% of the entire online audience is actively seeking out multimedia messaging in all forms…and I am one of them.

Not very long ago, I had the need to buy software to create storyboards for our video projects. So I started to research on the Internet for available options. There were so many websites, but just one of them had videos with demos of how good and easy the product is to use. Actually, many of the other software companies offered a free demo for download while this company did not. But after watching the video demos, the testimonials and the videos of the people who created the software, I was convinced and ready to buy the product. And when I purchased the software, it was exactly what I expected to be.

Imagine having the ability of starting a client relationship even before meeting the client. By the time the client finds you, he needs a reason to believe your company will fulfill his/her expectations. Video allows the client to find out more about your products and the REAL people who runs the company. Compare it to a company who just offers a website with lots of text and a few pictures, or maybe a brochure. Not very engaging, is it? With video you have the ability to convey more information in less time. People will also retain more information just because more senses are involved.

And here is more good news: a well-constructed video creates a bond with the viewing audience. A happy and impressed customer will volunteer to become your sales agent – for FREE. Apple Computer is the perfect example of this. Apple users love the product and cannot wait for their videos showing the new product features to be released. Even better, Apple users cannot wait to share these videos with potential new Apple customers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. For example, a properly tagged video can generate lots of traffic to your website, which in turn will be picked up by the search engines and give you a better ranking every time someone does a search for your product. You can also re-purpose your video for multiple uses. A video presentation that you created for a conference, can easily be added to your website, shared on all of your social media sites, added to an e-mail campaign and uploaded to YouTube. The result is that you are reaching a much larger audience.

There are so many potential positive effects of using video in your business that you should be asking yourself: why am I not doing this yet?

-Silvana Rosero is a Principal and co-owner of Small Pond Video Productions, a full video production house based in Plano, Texas.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Maturing Social Media Marketing - how to successfully execute social media tactics that are fully integrated into your overall marketing strategy

The Marketing Think Tank call hosted by BrightBlue Marketing and Big Noise Communications was facilitated this month by Andrea Lamarsaude of BrightBlue and focused on the topic of: Maturing Social Media Marketing - how to successfully execute social media tactics that are fully integrated into your overall marketing strategy.

The following are the points we discussed:

1. What determines the social maturity of a company?

Do they have specific goals around social media? How active are they in social media?

Have they found those social media tools that work best for them?

They are integrating social media into their more traditional marketing practices.

Making sure they have a documented social media plan of attack.

Know what part of social media they are ready for and not yet ready for.

Have they learned how to use social media well?

How has social media changed the rules of engagement in marketing?

Social media has created “instant” information and “instant” marketing.

Your relationships matter so much more now because that is how your information gets out.

2. Practically everyone has gone social! What are some creative ways you can be relevant and engaging?

Make sure your messaging is spot on and communicating how you can help relieve and ease your customers “Pain.”. Know what your audience wants to hear, be on top of current events in your industry. You are actively listening as well as sharing your knowledge.

3. Has social media become fully integrated into PR?

What are some strong examples of the partnering of traditional PR tools and social media channels?

When it first came out, it was a little confusing and seemed very “noisy”. As soon as it clicks on what social media can do, it turns PR back to the basics of making and building relationships. You have to stay timely and engaging so people keep following you. Use statistics to show clients that are hesitant to put in time to create their social media plan why it is important to their business.

4. Your client has all their social media set up, but suddenly realize they don’t have the time to craft relevant content and no time to post on a regular basis. Now their social media channels are dormant. How can you help? What would you advise them to do?

Repurpose other presentations or meetings and create a social media use for those. Time Management. Show them the importance of making the time to do it with statistics, success stories, etc. They can hire a company like Big Noise or BrightBlue to manage their social media for them. If you started and stopped and are trying to start again, be sure you send out a notification that you have a great new blog posting, etc. Don’t ignore the fact that you haven’t done anything in a while. Just acknowledge it and let them know you will be getting things out more regularly. Make a comeback posting an event in some way.

5. Your client has fully integrated social media into their marketing mix. What do you measure to determine the success and ROI of their social media channels? How do you measure, what tools can you use?

Watching to see if you have comments, likes, retweets, etc. to see if it is growing or building. Checking the Google Analytics to see how many unique visitors you have, etc. If they are not getting the results they want what do you advise them to do? Did they have realistic goals when they first launched their social media channels? What goals do they want to achieve? Are they reaching their target audience and, if not, what topics would better reach them?

6. Thriving communities will keep the brand relevant and interesting allowing people to express themselves. Planning and creating content, telling stories, organizing events and tying it all together with other communication activities. What are some great examples you have seen of stellar social media community management?

Best Buy has great social media management. They are good at getting to their customer base and staying on top of customer service topics and addressing them. Zappos is also very good example of social media management. Marketing Profs is a great site to look at as an example. Cisco saved a lot of money on a product launch that they did through social media. SXSW conference did a great job of integrating social media in order to keep participants informed of what was happening, when.

7. Thoughts on Foursquare, Facebook Places, Groupon? How are/will mobile and location based services be useful for businesses (Local information, reviews, coupons, loyalty programs and more)?

Here is one viewpoint - Location-based marketing can increase average order value, frequency, loyalty -

More B2C type of applications for now, but works well for those companies that use them. Still new and many are having a wait and see kind of attitude.

8. What does the group think of/have you heard of Group text apps such as GroupMe, Beluga and Disco that allow users to form groups that can send and receive text messages in a reply and read all manner?

You can think of it like group chat or reply all emails, but on the go and on a mobile device. Click on for more details. The group of 18 years – 35 years of age are very open and receptive to getting text ads and that would lend itself to these types of apps. It will keep texting from experiencing a lull once all aspects have been used as much as they can be. This adds a new dimension.

9. What about the future? What next steps will you take with your social media strategy? What will you advise your clients to do?

Education is a big factor in the future of social media. Showing clients why it is important to growing their business. Video is going to become a big component of social media in the future. A funny video can get a million hits right off the bat and bring attention to your client’s products or services.

Here are some links to further reading related to the topic:

I especially like this quote: What characterizes the distribution of news today through multiple channels and platforms are two essential factors: interactivity and connectivity. People need to have a place to express feelings and convey emotions. Update: to buy maker of social media monitoring tools Radian6 technology is used to monitor conversations on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks

Social Media Dynamos – What’s Next in Marketing?


Marketers Optimistic About Finding Social Media ROI

Dramatic Difference in Approach to Social Media Metrics

How Social Media Helped Cisco Shave $100,000+ Off a Product Launch

Top Charities On a Mission: Emergence in Social Media, Highest Adoption Rates in Four Years