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.