How to Craft Your Marketing Plan for 2014

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Wed, Oct 30, 2013 @ 04:07 PM

Ruwena Healy, CEO of Marketing 24/7, Inc., in Trussville, Alabama, USA chaired the final judging committee for the Communications and Marketing Awards categories in the 2013 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's top honors for women executive, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run. Her company won the Gold Stevie for Low Budget Communications Campaign of the Year in the 2012 Stevies for women. Here she applies her own award-winning marketing expertise to provide some tips for marketers on planning for 2014.

Like many companies, you are probably in the midst of preparing your strategic plans for 2014. Successful business leaders understand that in order to anticipate a profitable upcoming year, you have to plan.

Ruwena HealyIf you are struggling with the planning process for your marketing and social media, or need a few ideas about how to implement a plan going forward, here are a few important tips to keep in mind:

1. Figure out where you stand.

It may seem obvious, but in order for you to move forward, you have to figure out where you are right now. This means taking a serious look at the inner workings of your marketing and social media plan. Conducting an internal and external audit of where your business really is—and not where you think it is—will give you a true picture of where you stand. Now would also be a good time to examine the strengths and weaknesses of your business. What are you doing right and what have you done that hasn’t worked?

2. What are you trying to accomplish?

Too often, businesses think that if they advertise everywhere and post everything on social media, they will magically receive countless leads, gain more loyal customers, and increase their bottom line. In order to craft the right message to get concerted results, you must identify what outcome you are looking for and then proceed to target the right market with the right message through the right medium.

3. Identify your target market and plan how to reach them.

The best way to identify your target market is by investing the time to create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is an example of a real person you need to influence crafted from information you retrieve from interviews you conduct with customers or potential customers, or from website and social media analytics you collect from your website or social media business page. For example, you can gather the analytics from your Facebook page to find out the exact age group, demographics, and gender of the individuals who visit your page the most. From this information, create a persona of an individual within that median group and make a plan that targets your message toward him/her to gain more engagement and interest in your business. Understanding who your clients are will help you serve their needs and keep them coming back.

4. Have clear objectives and goals and research, research, research.

Be specific about your own objectives and goals. Do they align with your business’ mission and priorities? How will you get there? Which team members will be accountable for implementation? What are your competitors doing? Research is a critical component that too often is left out of the planning process. Research is a continual part of the process that you have to take time to achieve if you want your overall plan to be succinct and, most of all, successful.

5. Evaluate.

You’re not done: You must evaluate! Put benchmarks in place (i.e. quarterly) to review what you’ve done, measure your success, research some more, and evaluate your successes and failures.

Conclusion
Strategic planning is a vital part of any business and if you want to use marketing and social media to help brand your business, you need to take the time to think things through and get the most out of your time and resources. Remember the old saying: “Plan your work and work your plan!”

About Ruwena Healy
Ruwena Healy is the CEO of Marketing 24/7, Inc., a full-service marketing, branding, and public relations firm, which she founded 8 years ago. Marketing 24/7 has a diverse client list and is one of Birmingham, Alabama’s Top 10 PR firms. Marketing 24/7 and Ruwena have garnered numerous international, national, state, and local business awards. In addition to recently being awarded “Honorable Mention” in the international Enterprising Women of the Year Award by Enterprising Women magazine, Ruwena won a Gold Stevie in the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women In Business. Ruwena was recently named 1st runner up in the Birmingham Business Journal’s Social Madness competition that showcased a company’s social media savvy by gaining new followers and encouraging follower engagement. 

Ruwena continues to gain popularity as a LinkedIn expert and trainer (her LinkedIn profile was among the Top 1% of the Most Viewed profiles in 2012). She is a sought-after speaker, trainer, and lecturer, and has also presented numerous programs on branding, social media, public relations, and how to successfully get the word out about your business. Ruwena maintains a marketing blog at MasterMarketing247.com and her articles have appeared in PR News’ 2011 Crisis Management Guidebook, Birmingham Business Journal, The Birmingham News, Alabama Business News, and al.com. Ruwena is an active member of the Birmingham, Alabama community:  she is a member of The Women’s Network; a member of the Board of Directors of the Public Relations Council of Alabama’s Birmingham Chapter; a former Board member and currently a member of the Public Relations Society of America Alabama Chapter; and a current member of Alabama Women In Business.

Ruwena has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Florida and a Masters in Business Administration from Florida State University. Today, with twin boys that are seven years old, Ruwena gives her time to fundraisers for their school and as a leader in the Cub Scouts.

About Marketing 24/7
Marketing 24/7, Inc. works with a diverse client list of companies, entrepreneurs, and professionals to offer unique expertise in personal branding and company branding. The firm has proven itself with marketing and business development effectiveness for the purpose of increasing revenue and profits.  For more information go to: www.marketing247.net

Topics: communications awards, business awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, women awards, women in business awards, Ruwena Healy

50 Ways to Win Marketing Awards in The 2013 American Business Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Nov 26, 2012 @ 03:29 PM

There are 50 marketing awards categories in The 2013 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A., to help you highlight your marketing successes. (Wednesday, December 12, is the second early-bird entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs, request your entry kit here  and you'll receive it right away.)

Our Marketing Campaign of the Year Categories for Industries include:

  • AccountingThe American Business Awards
  • Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Automotive & Transport Equipment
  • Banking
  • Business Services
  • Chemicals
  • Computer Hardware
  • Computer Software
  • Computer Services
  • Conglomerates
  • Consumer Products - Durables
  • Consumer Products - Non-Durables
  • Diversified Services
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • Health Products & Services
  • Hospitality & Leisure
  • Internet/New Media
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials & Construction
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Metals & Mining
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation
  • Utilities

Our Marketing Campaign of the Year - Specialty Categories include:

  • Brand Experience of the Year (New category for 2013)
  •  Business-to-Business Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Online Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • New Product or Service Introduction of the Year (New category for 2013)
  • Retail/Merchandising Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year (<$3 million)
  • Viral Marketing Campaign of the Year

Our Marketing Professional Categories include:

  • Marketing or Advertising Agency of the Year
  • Marketing Department of the Year
  • Marketing Team of the Year
  • Marketing Executive of the Year
  • Marketer of the Year (for non-executive marketing professionals)

If you can't make the December 12, 2012 deadline, March 27, 2013 is the entry deadline and April 24, 2013 is the last day that late entries will be accepted with payment of a late fee. Finalists will be announced on May 8, 2013. Entry details are available at www.StevieAwards.com/ABA

Looking for more ways to showcase your organization? There are a number of other ABA categories that should be of interest to communications professionals, including many of the corporate literature awards, annual report awards, website awards, video awards, and live event awards categories.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, website awards, corporate literature awards, marketing awards, annual report awards, marketing campaign of the year, marketing award

4 Reasons to Submit Marketing Awards Entries in The 2012 IBAs

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, May 29, 2012 @ 03:43 PM

Wednesday, 27 June, is the final entry deadline for The 2012 (Ninth Annual) International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here and you will receive it right away.) 

We thought it would be helpful for communications professionals if we highlighted four reasons to submit entries to the 2012 IBA marketing awards categories.

  1. Low entry fees.  The Stevie Awards
    The publicity that comes with winning a Stevie® Award is well worth the low entry fees.
  2. Earn industry status.
    Submitting IBA entries is a great way to benchmark your achievements against competitors in your industry.
  3. Impress potential clients.
    Your work will not only be reviewed and honored by peers and competitors, but also by potential clients.  Show off your organization's achievements in the 2012 IBAs.
  4. Global recognition and free publicity.
    Gold Stevie® Award winners will have the opportunity to make a 30-second acceptance speech before an audience of executives from across the world. The ceremony will also be streamed worldwide over the Internet.

Winners of the competition will be celebrated at the ninth annual awards banquet on Monday, 15 October at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Seoul, South Korea. 

The 8th Annual International Business Awards were presented in October 2011 in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.  Honorees included American Express, Bombardier, Inc., Etisalat, Everything Everywhere, Saudi Basic Industries Corporation, Siemens AG, TATA Motors, Tesco Poland, Toyota Motor Corporation, Turk Telekom, and Unilever N.V., among others.  View all 2011 results here

Want more communications awards? There are a number of other IBA categories that should be of interest to communications professionals, including many of the annual report awards and other literature categories, website awards categories, app awards categories, video awards categories, and live event awards categories.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, corporate awards, video awards, website awards, marketing awards, International business awards

3 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in The 2012 IBAs

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, May 09, 2012 @ 03:57 PM

16 May is the entry deadline for The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. If you haven't yet done so, you can request your entry kit here and you will receive it right away.  

To help make the most out of your marketing awards entries, we suggest the following tips:

1. Review the business awards categories.
There are several marketing award categories being celebrated at the 2012 IBAs including:

  • Marketing Department of the Year The Stevie Awards
  • Marketing Team of the Year
  • Marketing Executive of the Year
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year - Industry Categories
  • Marketing Campaign of the Year - Specialty Categories

There are a number of other IBA categories that should be of interest to marketing professionals, including many of the annual report awards and other literature categories, website awards categories, app awards categories, video awards categories, and live event awards categories.

2. Review the entry submission criteria.
Information to be submitted online for entries in these categories include:

  • An essay of up to 500 words describing the nominee's accomplishments since 1 January 2011
  • A biography of the nominee or the leader of the nominated company, department, or team of up to 100 words, and
  • Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files, work samples, and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges.

3. Contact us.
If you have any questions about the 2012 IBAs, email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389.

Entries submitted after 16 May, through the final entry deadline of 27 June, will be assessed a late fee in addition to any entry fee. Finalists will be announced in late July and 2012 honorees will be celebrated at the 9th annual awards banquet on Monday, 15 October in Seoul, South Korea.

Leave us a comment and let us know how our corporate awards categories will help you to highlight your organization's successes.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, corporate awards, live event awards, video awards, website awards, corporate literature awards, marketing awards, annual report awards, marketing campaign of the year, marketing award

Top 4 Reasons to Submit Marketing Awards Entries in The 2012 ABAs

Posted by Liz Dean on Wed, Apr 25, 2012 @ 06:10 PM

Today is the final entry deadline for The 2012 (10th Annual) American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A. All ABA entries are submitted directly online through your account and the web site will be open all night to accept your entries. You can begin by registering here.The American Business Awards

We thought it would be helpful for marketing professionals if we highlighted the top four reasons to submit entries to the 2012 ABA marketing awards categories.  

  1. Impress potential clients.
    Your work will not only be reviewed and honored by peers and competitors, but also by potential clients.  Show off your organization's achievements in the 2012 ABAs.
  2. Global recognition and free publicity.   
    Gold Stevie® Award winners will have the opportunity to make a 30-second acceptance speech before an audience of 600+ executives from across the country during a nationally-broadcast awards ceremony that will also be streamed worldwide over the Internet.
  3. Earn industry status.
    Submitting ABA entries is a great way to benchmark your achievements against competitors in your industry.
  4. Low entry fees. 
    The publicity that comes with winning a Stevie Award is well worth the low entry fees.

Marketing award entries should include the following information:

  • An essay of up to 500 words describing the nominee's achievements since January 1 2011
  • A biography of the nominee or the leader of the nominated company, department or team of up to 100 words
  • Optional (but highly recommended), a collection of supporting files and web addresses that you may upload to our server to support your entry and provide more background information to the judges

If you have questions regarding the submission process, we have several resources including a step-by-step video on how to submit entries, past winners' entries for your review, and  7 tips on submitting winning entries to help you make the most out of your entries. Don't hesitate to contact us with your questions about how to participate in The 2012 American Business Awards, email us at help@stevieawards.com or call us at + 1 703-547-8389.

2012 ABA Finalists will be announced mid-May and the 10th Annual award winners will be announced at our traditional banquet on June 18th at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. Click here to see the ABA calendar.

Looking for more communication awards? Our corporate literature awards, annual report awards, website awards, video awards, and live event awards categories have several opportunities that would be of interest to communications professionals.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, live event awards, video awards, website awards, corporate literature awards, marketing awards, communication award, annual report awards, marketing campaign of the year, marketing award

43 New Marketing Awards Categories in The 2012 International Business Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Apr 05, 2012 @ 11:02 AM

We have added 43 new marketing awards categories to The 2012 International Business Awards to help marketing professionals highlight their successes. (The 2012 IBAs, the world's premiere business awards program, is now open for entries. Showcase your organization's best marketing practices and submit entries by the 11 April early-bird deadline for discounted entry fees. Don't worry if you can't make the 11 April early-bird deadline, the entry deadline is 16 May and we will continue to accept late entries through 27 June; request your entry kit here.)

Our marketing award categories for Marketing Campaign of the Year - Industry include:

  • Accounting
  • Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations
  • Aerospace & Defense
  • Automotive & Transport Equipment
  • Banking
  • Business Services
  • Chemicals
  • Computer HardwareInternational Business Awards Logo
  • Computer Software
  • Computer Services
  • Conglomerates
  • Consumer Products - Durables
  • Consumer Products - Non-Durables
  • Diversified Services
  • Electronics
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • Health Products & Services
  • Hospitality & Leisure
  • Internet/New Media
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials & Construction
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Metals & Mining
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecommunications
  • Transportation
  • Utilities

Our Marketing Campaign of the Year - Specialty Categories include:

  • Business-to-Business Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Online Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Retail/Merchandising Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year (<$3 million / €5 million)
  • Viral Marketing Campaign of the Year

Our communication award categories include:

  • Marketing Department of the Year
  • Marketing Team of the Year
  • Marketing Executive of the Year

Want more communications awards? There are a number of other IBA categories that should be of interest to marketing professionals, including many of the annual report awards and other literature categories, website awards categories, app awards categories, video awards categories, and live event awards categories.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, live event awards, video awards, website awards, corporate literature awards, marketing awards, International business awards, communication award, annual report awards, marketing campaign of the year, best marketing, marketing award

54 Marketing Awards Categories in The 2012 American Business Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 @ 04:50 PM

The entry deadline for The 2012 American Business Awards is this Wednesday, March 28 and we thought it would be helpful for communications professionals if we highlighted the many marketing awards categories available. (Don't fret if you can't make the entry deadline, entries for The 2012 American Business Awards, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A., can still be submitted through the final entry deadline of April 25 with a late fee of $35.00; download your entry kit here.)

Our marketing award categories for Marketing Campaign of the Year - Industry include:

  • AccountingThe Stevie Awards
  • Advertising, Marketing, & Public Relations
  • Aerospace & Defense 
  • Automotive & Transport Equipment
  • Banking
  • Business Services
  • Chemicals
  • Computer Hardware 
  • Computer Software 
  • Computer Services 
  • Conglomerates
  • Consumer Products - Durables
  • Consumer Products - Non-Durables
  • Diversified Services
  • Electronics 
  • Energy
  • Financial Services
  • Food & Beverage
  • Health Products & Services
  • Hospitality & Leisure
  • Internet/New Media 
  • Insurance
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Materials & Construction
  • Media
  • Metals & Mining
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Telecommunications 
  • Transportation
  • Utilities

Our Marketing Campaign of the Year - Specialty Categories include:

  • Business-to-Business Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Business-to-Business Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Advertising Campaign of the Year
  • Consumer Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Mobile Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Online Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Retail/Merchandising Marketing Campaign of the Year
  • Small-Budget Marketing Campaign of the Year (<$3 million)
  • Viral Marketing Campaign of the Year

Our communication award categories for professionals include:

  • Marketing or Advertising Agency of the Year
  • Marketing Department of the Year
  • Marketing Team of the Year
  • Marketing Executive of the Year
  • Marketing Professional of the Year (for non-executive marketing professionals)

Looking for more communication awards? Our corporate literature awards, annual report awards, website awards, video awards, and live event awards categories have several opportunities that would be of interest to communications professionals.

Topics: communications awards, business awards, live event awards, video awards, website awards, corporate literature awards, marketing awards, communication award, annual report awards, marketing campaign of the year, marketing award

10 TIps for Winning Marketing Awards in the 2012 Stevie Awards

Posted by Liz Dean on Fri, Dec 02, 2011 @ 10:40 AM

We've just updated our 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the Stevie® Awards tipsheet for 2012!  Get it here.

We want to help you recognize your organization’s marketing efforts, so we’ve updated our 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the Stevie Awards tipsheet to help make the most of your submissions!

There are several benefits to downloading our 10 Tips for Winning Marketing Awards in the 2012 Stevie Awards Tipsheet

  1. View an array of marketing categories in one location
    We’ve made it simple for you! Our tipsheet organizes the Stevie Award programs and marketing awards categories in one easy-to-read document.
  2. Increase your chances of winning a Stevie Award
    Get insider tricks to help you choose the best marketing categories for your organization.
  3. Get a first look at our new 2012 categories
    We are continuously adding categories to our awards programs: Check out our newest additions!

The 2012 marketing tipsheet provides helpful information on all four Stevie Awards programs:

There are several categories to recognize marketing departments, campaigns, teams, and individuals, categories for work such as produced tools including web sites, blogs videos, and much more. 

Which 2012 marketing tip did you find most helpful?

Topics: communications awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, marketing award

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