Monday, 19 September 2011

Ask Maggie the Marketer

Welcome to our newest BrightBlue team member, Maggie the Marketer! If you have a question for Maggie, just post it as a comment here and watch for your answer in an upcoming post!

Dear Maggie the Marketer,

I have been having pretty good luck with building a fan base on the various social media outlets; however, I am stuck when it comes to converting those fans/friends to actual paying customers. How can I turn my popularity into sales? Can you help me?

-Popular but Penniless in Pittsburgh

Dear Popular but Penniless,

I am excited to hear that you are making friends and fans out there in Social Media because you have set yourself up on the road to success in this interactive and virtually driven world in which we now live. The key to conversion is simple and time tested: Bribe them! OK, I probably ought to use a more user friendly term: Entice them!

Create some special VIP offers, special discounts and/or exclusive valuable information that is not available to the public and that are good only for your Twitter followers, your Facebook fans, or blog followers. Everyone likes to feel special and to be given VIP treatment or to feel like they are getting a better deal than the guy next door. Work with that human desire and watch the sales start rolling in!

A note of caution: Repetition is key and this tactic is not for the easily discouraged! Don’t expect it to work the first time you put it in front of them. Keep tossing those bribes, er uh, enticements, out to your fans and eventually they will bite. Also, create different bribes, oh sorry, enticements for each of your different Social Media avenues (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Blog). That way your fans/friends/connections will want to connect with you on all social media fronts so they don’t miss out on anything, thus increasing your following everywhere.

So, Popular you will be Penniless no more!


If you have a question for Maggie the Marketer, please comment here and watch for your answer coming soon!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Make them believe!

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

In today’s challenging economic times now more then ever marketers need to be able to prove their worth. Stakeholders, both internal and external, want tangible proof that marketing adds value. How can marketers make them believe?

In her recent article “The Believers Versus the Non-Believers: Convincing Internal Partners that Marketing Can Help Drive Business Results,” Kimberley Whitler, Contributor at Forbes cites that, “scholars found that marketers have greater influence when they are more accountable and innovative (Verhoef and Leeflang 2009). Whitler recommends several ways to “drive greater impact and influence the non-believers” one of which is to speak to stakeholders in their language. For example, “when talking with finance…use data that shows how marketing is contributing to the firm’s overall financial performance.”

What will that Tweet get me in return?

Social media has become an integral part of most everyone’s marketing mix. But how do you measure results? Amanda Stillwagon at Small Business CEO has a great list of tools a business can use to measure their social media campaigns results:

  1. Addictomatic – this is a news aggregator but can also be used to monitor social media. You just need to put in the name of a topic (i.e: name or category of your business) and you’ll receive the latest feeds about that certain topic.
  2. – this tool gives you a customized report on your targeted audience depending on your campaign platform. You can create a customized analytics platform and search keywords and @names for a price. As of press time, the Social Media Command Center and Viral Analytics is priced at $9 a month.
  3. Grader – this is a cornucopia of tools which helps measure and analyzes how effective are the marketing strategies you use for your business.
  4. Google Feedburner – this is a free tool from where you can burn feeds from your sites and you would be able to track how many subscribers you have, check how many views and clicks are generated from your sites and even track your podcast downloads.
  5. Social Networking Media ROI Calculator – this is a free online tool from DragonSearch which calculates all your social media efforts and its relation to how much you are spending on networking sites.
  6. Twitalyzer – this tool starts with a free trial but you would need to subscribe to get automatic updates, full data export, email support and other services. The price for subscription depends on whether you are using the tool as an individual, business or agency. Basically, this tool informs you of your impact score or your percentile rank, which kind of influencer you are, your location, among others.

Stillwagon says, “Analyzing the metrics is just a part of the bigger picture.” It’s important to “incorporate the metrics you got from the monitoring tools you use and see how they affect sales and customer retention and other output goal markers you have.”

In his article “How Does Marketing Provide Value?” R.L. Remenyi, a Contributor at eHow sums it up quite nicely:


Marketing plays a critical role in most businesses' success. Marketing provides value in many ways, but the biggest way is through recognition. You know you have a successful marketing plan and strategy in place when your company is recognized and your brand is trusted.
A good example is Google. Many people say they are going to "Google" something, but what they really mean is that they are going to do an Internet search.
Most companies won't see Google's level of recognition, but a good marketing plan can help you increase recognition and, you hope, sales.

Build Trust

If you have good marketing techniques in place, you will start building recognition, but you want the type of recognition that will help build trust in your company. Trust will prompt people to put their faith in your product or services and choose you over your competition.
To build trust, you must employ marketing techniques that hit your target market with precisely the message you want to convey. You want to set yourself apart from your competition.

Gain New Customers

With the proper marketing techniques come not only recognition and trust, but more customers and clients. As you market your services or products, you will gain brand recognition, which will ultimately lead to more people wanting your products and services. If you are unsure that you are getting more customers from your marketing campaign, put in place a way to track it. This can be as simple as asking new customers how they heard about your company or your products.

Build Relationships

Once you get the ball rolling on recognition and trust and you start getting new clients, it is important to continue marketing. But now, you'll also want to target your existing customers. This is where you can really build your business. If you maintain solid relationships with your clients, they'll keep coming back as well as recommend to their friends and family that they use your services. By applying good marketing techniques to your current clients and customers, you will make them feel like insiders and make them feel that they are special and valued in some way.
There are many ways to build relationships through marketing. One good example is to ask clients for their opinions. Ask them what you could do to improve your services or products. By asking them questions you are making them feel more involved in your business and you have a platform for a continued relationship.

Have you been challenged to prove your marketing worth? How did you respond? Let’s get a dialogue going about how we can make marketing believers out of skeptical stakeholders!

-Andrea Lamarsaude

Monday, 12 September 2011

PR is not just writing a Press Release

The topic for our Think Tank call this month was: PR is not just writing a Press Release. The call was facilitated by Andrea Lamarsaude, with BrightBlue Marketing and was Co-Hosted by Narciso Tover with Big Noise Communications.

If you had to describe public relations, what would you say?

-“Public Relations helps an organization and its public mutually adapt to each other” as defined by PRSA.

-Public image

-Means of communicating facts about your organization to the public

-Reputation management

-Fact based, things that have happened, will happen, etc. Not always marketing and/or promotion

-Message management, corporate reputation, crisis management, etc.

Should work hand in hand with marketing

-Only 1 facet of the overall marketing package

-Does not stand alone

-Reinforces the rest of your messaging

2. When you hear industry pundits talking about why the 'press release is dead' what do you think they are referring to?

-The Press Release is dead only if you don’t know how to distribute it properly or how to write it.

-You should not over use it

-Must do follow up and have a plan of how to work it

-Must use other marketing tools with a Press Release for it to be effective

-More opportunity to use the press release by posting on FB, Twitter, etc.

3. Do you think that PR stunts still work?

-Can’t be overtly obvious of trying to tell people how great you are

-Fine line between self promotion and allowing your client to shine

-Must to be in good taste with the correct audience and the correct venue

-Must target the right audience, including those that will amplify your message

- Must have a call to action

-They tend to be forgotten quickly without a call to action due to all the media we have these days and the short attention spans of Americans

-Must keep the digital minds of the “millennial” generation in mind when distributing

4. Where do you think public relations can truly shine? Can you share examples of when you or your client(s) used a press release with great success?

-When Big Noise was able to get a client on a national morning news program for the first time. The client was trying to market their Wireless Security Solution (one of the first out of the gate with this solution). It was a hot topic at that time and they used this as part of the pitch to get the client on to the program initially. Over the next few days, because of that one 2 minute interview the client’s stock value jumped 30%.

-You have to keep the momentum going; even after a big success like that you have to be ready with the next thing to keep the momentum going.

-When you bring it in together with some analyst relations efforts: Example: Vonage launch – they provided voice over IP and, while there were a lot of others out there doing the same thing, there were a lot of issues on clarity, security, industry writers bringing up the issue of calling 911, etc. So, they made sure that they tested the product with some of these influential writers in that niche and with analysts. Analysts were very good about pointing out all the issues or other applications. Analysts can help you fine tune your product before you launch because that is all they do in that niche market. Analysts can help to champion your products.

5. When thinking about crisis management and the press what are some do’s and don’ts and golden rules to live to make sure the ball does not get dropped. Can you cite some examples of where crisis management was done correctly and where it was not?

-Example: Tiger Woods- he was always a very private person so, when the scandal broke, for him to come and make a statement quickly went against his private nature, However he really should have come out immediately to stop, or at least somewhat control what eventually happened.

-Brand management has to be addressed quickly and thoughtfully. Don’t take the stance of not justifying the crisis with a response; this will not come across well to the public.

-Always have a Plan B or a Crisis plan ready. When you have the plan in place already then you will not be react emotionally. You will just follow the plan that was thought out prior to the crisis with a clear, calm head.

-The public tends to forgive faster when you are upfront, transparent and honest about the issue.

-Example: Congressman Weiner - He did go out and respond immediately, but he lied and didn’t answer the questions directly. Once the public finds out you were lying (which they usually do) you cannot regain your credibility.

6. Media Training tips:

-Find out whom in the organization is media trained and how long it has been since their training; may need a refresher course.

-Test the waters by getting the organization’s media rep. an interview with a smaller media outlet; like a hometown paper, etc. Make sure you are there to listen and assist when needed. The rep will always know if they did well or not, so you can then give them some constructive coaching.

-Have talking points for the spokesperson

-Be sure the spokesperson can say the talking points in their own words, not just reading them.

-Practice so that the spokesperson is comfortable and familiar with what they need to say.

7. Have you seen any bad pitches that various members of the press have received? Where do you think the pitch went awry?

-Form letters are bad

-Do not use Twitter, email, or the phone to try to bully a reporter, they will write a piece about it and you will not look good – they will name names.

-website: where they share bad examples for you to avoid -

Final thoughts:

-Be sure all your marketing efforts are well coordinated

-All Press Releases should be relevant to the audience

Links to further reading:

The Public Relations Society of America at their 1982 National Assembly formally adopted a definition of public relations, which remains widely accepted and used today:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publicsadapt mutually to each other.”

“Organization” is denoted in this context, as opposed to the more limiting “company” or “business,” to stress public relations’ use by businesses, trade unions, government agencies, voluntary associations, foundations, hospitals, schools, colleges, religious groups and other societal institutions.

“Publics” recognizes the need to understand the attitudes and values of — and to develop effective relationships with — many different stakeholders, such as employees, members, customers, local communities, shareholders and other institutions, and with society at large.

For more details visit the link

Big Noise Communications blog:

What is PR? Six experts explain public relations value:

Public Relations Plays a Vital Role in the News Cycle:

Is the press release *really* dead?:

Oh, And One More Thing On Fielding Questions - Media Training:

News Corp.’s Costly Crisis Management: HTTP://

Cavalcade: Crisis Management Skills – The Do’s and Don’ts:

I’m thinking of staging a PR stunt. Do they actually work?:

FD/ Forbes Insights Strategic Initiatives Study:

How Public Relations Works:

Report: PR pro is the second-most stressful job:

If you need help with your organization's PR please let us know.

If you have some great stories of how PR has worked well or maybe not so well - we would love to hear them!