Tag Archives: best practices

Which Half of Your Marketing Budget is Not Working?

There’s an old adage, half of your marketing budget IS NOT working…the problem is, you don’t know which half. The only way to know is to examine the analytics of each campaign and keep tweaking to improve performance.

The man who first brought

analytics to our profession wasn’t initially a marketer. In fact, he was an Oxford dropout, a chef in Paris, a door-to-door salesman during the Great Depression, a pollster for George Gallup, a spy for British Intelligence, a farmer in Amish country, then, at the tender age of 38 he became an ad man.

David Ogilvy is considered by many to be the father of advertising. His obsession with research and information-based marketing changed the world of advertising. I’m reading one of his earliest books, Confessions of an Advertising Man . He is credited with many things, including honesty and candor in advertising. According to Ogilvy , “The consumer is not a moron, she’s your wife! Don’t insult her intelligence. You wouldn’t lie to your wife, don’t lie to mine.” He also believed that “unless your campaign is built on a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night.” For him, a big idea had to last 20 years or more. One of his least known but greatest successes was the Dove (soap) bar. He created the image of the one-quarter cleansing cream that doesn’t dry your skin that is still in use today. And Dove is the largest-selling soap brand in the world.

On the analytics front, I was watching an interview with Ogilvy on the David Susskind show . Ogilvy talked about research. He was constantly challenging assumptions. For instance, he said, do you know how many families say grace before they eat? This was back in the 1960s. Most people assumed it was low, 3-4%. So Ogilvy researched it. He found that the actual answer is 67%!!! What a dramatic difference. It’s a great example of how dangerous our assumptions can be.

For instance, many businesses we talk to don’t track the analytics for their email or enewsletter campaigns. They assume traffic is sufficient. But how do you know which part of your enews is working and which isn’t if you don’t measure? We now have data that shows us how important a video tutorial is because we measure…obsessively. Our clients also tend to have open rates and click-throughs that are much higher than average because we can guide them on where to make improvements. Cut out the non-performing portions and substitute something new and hopefully more engaging.

The bottom line is…marketing is a constant testing process. Do A, measure it, do something different with the pieces of A that don’t produce results and then do B. Measure and repeat.

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Press Releases: Back to Basics

There has been a lot of debate recently about whether press releases are still an essential part of a PR or marketing campaign.  Some people think that blogs and social media sites have taken the place of press releases, but that the reality is…press releases can be easily used to gain free publicity for your company IF you know how to make them work for you.

First, we’ll review the basic components of a press release.  Then, look at what are considered to be the keys for a successful press release followed by an example.

In getting back to the basics, let’s recall what a press release is.  According to www.dictionary.com, a press release is “an announcement of a newsworthy item that is issued to the press”.  The primary components of a press release are:

  • Contact information –should include the contact person’s name, phone number, email address, and company website URL.  It’s important for the reporter/editor to be able to reach a contact person for more details.
  • Headline –serves as a concise summary of your press release in order to grab the journalist’s attention.
  • Subhead –offers a few additional details to your headline.
  • Lead paragraph – the who, what, when, where, and why of your story are briefly answered here.
  • Body – expand your story with details, statistics, quotes, and background information.  Though you’re expanding, do it in as few words as possible, preferably 1 page or less.  List information in order from most newsworthy (top) to least newsworthy (bottom).  Readers have been known to bail on your story before reaching the end, so give them the important stuff first.
  • Boilerplate – the final paragraph is a standard, reusable paragraph that describes your company and what you do.

In a presentation titled “Public Relations for the Automation Industry”, Walt Boyes, Editor in Chief of Control Magazine, states that a press release must be “news, noteworthy, well written, topical and targeted”.

  • News/Noteworthy – Journalists want stories that will capture their readers’ interest.  And we want to capture the journalists’ interest.  Thus, if we in sales and marketing want our press releases published, our goal should also be to write our press releases in such a way that a reporter will want to use our press release to capture their readers’ attention.  This often means avoiding salesy lingo.
  • Well Written – Proper grammar, spelling, and formatting are absolutely required.  Poorly written press releases are likely to be discarded.  Walt recommends that they be written by a professional release writer.
  • Topical and Targeted – Keep in mind who your target audience is and which distribution methods and sources will get your press release to that audience.

In addition, images—such as photos or logos—can help express your story as well as catch the reporter’s eye.  If images are part of your press release, they must be easily accessible by the press.  This can be accomplished by including with your press release a link to your downloadable images or by including your image files on a removable storage device to be distributed with your hard or softcopy press release.

Let’s take a look at “Apple Sells One Million iPads”, a press release which can be found at www.apple.com.  The release communicates the contact information, the “who, what, when, where, and why”, access to downloadable images, quotes and stats, and the boilerplate—all without typos.  In my opinion, a headline containing your company name won’t always work, but Apple (and other big shots) can sometimes get away with it.  In other words, when lesser-known companies put their name in their press release headlines, it can come across as an advertisement packaged as a press release, which will not appeal to journalists.  Along these same lines, the third and fourth paragraphs of Apple’s release contain some obvious marketing plugs—a typical no-no.  A few other things to point out: the subhead is missing, and I did initially overlook the link to the images, which could be improved by an actually including an image on the same release page.

For more information and tips on press releases, visit the following links.

Photo Source: stock.xchng/Gastonmag

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