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

Engage Your Customers: Social Media Advice From a Stevie Awards Chair

Posted by Liz Dean on Tue, Apr 02, 2013 @ 01:33 PM

Carmen Yazejian is President of Network9, a Web design firm in New York City, and Chair of the Committee for Final Judging of the marketing awards categories in The 2013 (11th Annual) American Business Awards, the top business awards in the United States. (April 24 is the last day that late entries will be accepted with payment of a late fee per entry. If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

Carmen Yazejian, President, Network9As the president of Network9, you regularly post on your own blog.  What advice do you have for businesses on beefing up their own social media?
Be proud of who you are, and know that you have something unique to contribute. Present a point of view only you can express, be entertaining, and have fun!

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
I only read good news. It helps keep me positive and have continued faith in the good in people.

What is your favorite business app?
I have Zite on my iPad. It gets smarter about what I like to read, and does the legwork for me. I get to read a ton of great articles all in one place. 

If you were to meet young people starting out in Web design, what career advice would you give them?
Learn your craft well: Know the technology and study good examples. Intern or work with a good studio. Always remember you are in service to your client, and place their success above all. Be respectful, read between the lines, communicate clearly and often, and be honest. Always give clients what they ask for, but go a step further and give them what they don’t always know they need.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I enjoy working on new and diverse projects with challenging goals, being on the hunt for new technologies, and solving at least one problem each day. Sharing new ideas with brilliant people keeps everything fresh.

About Carmen Yazejian:
“Design is just problem-solving and communication,” says Network9 President Carmen Yazejian. Raised in a close-knit community of multigenerational families—a model echoed in Network9’s Manhattan studio—she studied fashion design and co-founded two companies: Harrow Clothiers, a line of English school blazers that graced Saks Fifth Avenue’s windows; and Pirelli Bags, artist portfolios made of rubber that rocked the art supply market. One marriage and two kids later, she retooled her brain to think digital, fell in love with the Web, and founded Network9 in 2005.  It is now one of the fastest-growing agencies in the country. 

About Network9:
Network9
is a New York-based Web design firm at the cutting-edge intersection of traditional marketing and online communication. Founded in 2005 by former fashion designer Carmen Yazejian, its customer-centric approach brings clients of all sizes a highly talented team with individual expertise in brand development, web and graphic design, search engine optimization (SEO), copywriting, print work, and more.

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, American business awards, stevie awards, Carmen Yazejian, Network9, social media tips

Go Viral: How to Get 1 Million Views on YouTube, From a Stevie® Awards Winner

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Mar 21, 2013 @ 12:56 PM

Thai Life Insurance Plc., in Bangkok, Thailand, received the Gold Stevie® Award for Consumer Advertising Campaign of the Year in the marketing awards categories of The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (10 April is the early-bird entry deadline for the 2013 IBAs, take advantage of discounted entry fees for those entries submitted by 10 April, request your entry kit here. Interested in similar business award categories? The Stevie Awards now manage the IPRA Golden World Awards, which will be accepting entries through 20 May.) We look at how Thai Life’s ad campaign touched the hearts of millions.

Thai Life Insurance Plc. headquartersPopulation statistics from a 2010 survey found that Thailand's population composition has changed significantly over the last 10 years. Thai society is aging and the 0-14 age group has proportionately decreased compared to seniors aged 60 years and up. This trend is a consequence of the decline in Thailand’s birthrate and the fact that Thais are living longer, higher-quality lives.

Because of this, many life insurance companies in Thailand have shifted their focus in order to communicate with seniors and to create customized insurance products for them.

A Different Approach
While also providing insurance products for seniors, Thai Life chose a different approach to their competitors: they focused on employed adults and their duty to their elderly parents.

Working with Ogilvy & Mather Thailand, Thai Life created an advertising campaign that communicated the message to working adults that purchasing life insurance for their parents would be a way for them to repay the kindness that their elderly parents had showed to them.

This strategy has been a powerful one. Today’s employed adults devote ever larger amounts of their life to work, leaving less time for expressing their love for their families and parents. The reality of modern life in Thailand has meant that long-standing traditions of parental care and family relationships are now crumbling.

This trend has adversely affected Thai Life’s core business. The family unit is the main source of business for the company, with most people purchasing life insurance as a source of security for the family.

Thai Life insurance decided to use the issues of gratitude, and of faithfully repaying a parent’s kindness, as a way of getting through to their target audience.   Thai Life’s advertising campaign helped its customers to appreciate the value of taking care of their parents’ well being.

The Value of Life
Thai Life took an emotional approach. They used the story of a single deaf-mute father desperately trying to bring up a troubled teenage daughter. The climax of the story proved how, in the end, money or material possessions are not means to regain a daughter’s love: it’s the way the father proves his love towards her. The message stimulates the audience into thinking about the value of life (the insurance moment) and to get people to take action by “taking care of those who take care of you.” 

Excellent Results
When the “Silence of Love” campaign was uploaded to YouTube it received over a million views in the first week.  It also received over 730,000 shares on Facebook.  The campaign generated 7,153 phone inquiries during August-September 2011 resulting in over 1,154 new policies, with a premium value of approximately US $303,125, being sold by telesales during that same period. Additionally, over 962 new policies with a premium value of approximately US $2,758,900 were sold during the period July-December 2011 via sales agents. 

Awards
The Thai Life “Silence of Love” campaign has received a number of awards, including Best TV Campaign over 90 seconds, Best Director, and Best Copywriting from the 2011 Bangkok Art Directors’ awards show, and a Bronze Award in the Corporate Image category from the 2011 Spikes Asia Awards.  Additionally, “Silence of Love” was named Top Talk-About Advertisement in the 2012 Mthai Top Talk-About Awards, organized by www.mthai.com.

About Thai Life Insurance Plc:
Thai Life Insurance Plc. is proud to be a leader in providing unique products and services. It's the first Thai-owned insurance to support Thai people by offering products that meet the client needs. This is confirmed by the company’s mission to be "More Than Just Life Insurance."

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, International business awards, stevie awards, Thai Life Insurance Plc

8 Tips to Spice Up Your Email Marketing, From a Multi-Stevie® Awards Winner

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Feb 07, 2013 @ 11:54 AM

Janine Popick, CEO and Founder of VerticalResponse in San Francisco, California, USA, has won multiple Stevie® Awards, most recently for Executive of the Year in Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in the management awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards, the premier business awards competition in the U.S.A. (The entry deadline for the 2013 ABAs is March 27, request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.)

Janine Popick, CEO, VerticalResponseNow that the novelty of a new year has come and gone, you may have slipped into some old bad habits with your email marketing. Today, I’m going to share 8 things that will spice up your email marketing in 2013.

  1. Facebook—More Than Status Updates: You have got a Facebook page, right? Well, it’s super easy to set up an email address sign-up form on your Facebook page, and nearly every email marketing service provider has instructions for this. Plus, while you’re driving people to check out your Facebook page, give them a reason—like a sale—for supplying you with their email address.
  1. Email + Social Media = Power Couple: Email and social media need to be thought of as a great team, like Jay-Z and Beyonce. If you utilize one and not the other, you could be missing out on some killer traffic back to your website or blog. Include social media icons linking to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Pinterest sites in all your emails and newsletters. These give your readers another way to engage and connect with your business. Want even more engagement? Share your emails on your social networks each time you send one.
  1. Start at the Top with Pre-header: We’ve all read a million times that your subject line is one of the most important parts of your email. But, the pre-header (i.e., the first line of text above the body of your email) serves as a wingman, or secondary subject line. It shows up in the mobile version of your email, and provides more content, which can get more people opening your emails. Use a pre-header regularly and see how it impacts your open rate. 
  1. Kick Dull to the Curb: If your subject lines are a snooze-fest, then using a pre-header won’t help. If you’re sending out a monthly newsletter and your subject line is “February 2013 Newsletter,” you can certainly do better. Read the content of your newsletter. What’s the most interesting thing that stands out? What do you think would make someone stop, read, and click-through to your website? Craft your subject line using that info. No more dull subject lines. Ever.
  1. ALT Text Has Got It Going On: Follow my advice from Kick Dull to the Curb and add some zing. ALT text is the copy you place “behind” an image (instead of the default tag) that displays if your recipient’s email browser turns images off by default. For example, instead of leaving your image’s super-exciting default tag of “dogfood3.JPG,” you could write: “Get 25% off all dog food until 3/31/13!” This will give your readers more context if their images are turned off, and prompt them to enable images to get the scoop.
  1. Target Practice: It’s time to do more with less. Take portions of your audience based on what they’re doing (or not doing) and send them a message that means something to them. Here’s an example: Got a winery? I bet you know who bought Pinot Noir in the last 6 months. Send an exclusive offer to your Pinot fans and see if you get better results than just sending it to everyone on your list. Give ‘em a killer deal to try a new varietal at a steep discount.
  1. How Often Do You Do It? Have you been sending monthly or weekly emails, at the same time, every time? Time to shake it up! Try to mail more often, or maybe less. It’s simple and easy to test: Just take a portion of your list (say 20% for trial purposes) and send two newsletters a month instead of one. See if you get a lift in opens and clicks, or a decrease in unsubscribes.
  1. Content Rules the Roost: You know your business inside and out, and everything that makes it interesting and unique, so share this in your emails, on your blog, everywhere. And use your content to your advantage. You can take blog posts you’ve created with a common theme and turn them into a helpful guide, or take a few guides you’ve written and turn them into an eBook. At VerticalResponse we do a number of webinars with a common theme, like Facebook, then send out a bundle of them to our prospects. By providing useful information, we help potential customers; and when it's time to look for an email and social media provider, we hope they’ll remember us.

By getting back to the basics with these 8 Email Marketing tips you can succeed with your subscribers, prospects, and customers in 2013 and beyond.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

About Janine Popick:
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service email, social media, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail solutions for businesses and non-profits. She has won the Stevie Award for Best Entrepreneur in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business every year since 2008. Janine recently won the U.S. Small Business Administration award for Small Business Person of the Year and was named a 2012 Small Biz Influencer Champion by Small Biz Trends. Janine brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @janinepopick.

About VerticalResponse:
VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses, including email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, online surveys, and direct-mail marketing. Its mission is to empower small businesses and non-profit organizations to easily and affordably create, manage, and analyze their own marketing campaigns. Users can benefit from a wide variety of features via a single dashboard, including more than 700 free email-marketing templates; social media management tools to create, schedule, and publish content, and engage with followers; and robust reporting so that they can understand overall marketing success. VerticalResponse is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information visit www.verticalresponse.com.

Topics: Email Marketing, Janine Popick, business awards, American business awards, stevie awards, management awards, VerticalResponse

3 Tips on Marketing Abroad, From a Stevie Awards International Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 @ 10:30 AM

Jin Mu Cho, Vice President of the Korea Business Communicators Association and Chair of the new product awards and product management awards categories of the final judging committee for The 2012 International Business Awards shares insights on conducting business abroad. (Sign up here to receive information on how to enter The 2013 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition, opening in January.)

Jin Mu ChoAs someone at the top of the communications profession, what advice do you have for people marketing abroad?

  1. Surround yourself with motivated individuals. In PR and marketing it is important to be surrounded by creative individuals with original ideas.
  2. Meet with top professionals in the marketing industry, to observe how they work, and to learn their perspectives. 
  3. Find a mentor who is willing to share his or her experiences in the marketing industry.

What are your top tips for companies seeking to promote their products or services?
To promote anything successfully, a marketing campaign should have originality and also simplicity in order to make an impact.

What was the best advice you ever received at the beginning of your career?
Keep things simple; think ahead; and always strive to improve.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The lawsuit between Apple and Samsung over cellular phone patents was fascinating. Because the lawsuit attracted an enormous amount of media coverage it caught the public’s attention, and both companies were able to promote their technologies and brands.  As a result, it increased brand awareness throughout the world.

About Jin Mu Cho:
Jin Mu Cho has been Vice President of the Korea Business Communicators Association (KBCA) since 2006. From 1988 to 2011, Jin Mu worked at the advertising company Daehong Communications Inc., a division of the LOTTE Group, in Seoul, where he was Director of the Public Relations, Events, Marketing, and Administration Division.

Jin Mu is a regular consultant and lecturer on topics including marketing, PR, crisis management, and events for the education institutions of The Korea Economic Daily and The HankyoReh daily newspapers, and at Yonsei University and Korea University. He is also a public relations advisor to the Korean Government since becoming a member of the Presidential Committee on Social Cohesion in 2010, and he was a public relations member on the Korean Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission from 2010 to 2011.

Topics: marketing awards, International business awards, stevie awards, new product awards, product management awards, Korea Business Communicators Association, Jin Mu Cho

4 Ways to Make the Most Out of Your Social Media, From an America Means Business Presenter

Posted by Liz Dean on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 @ 02:52 PM

Janine Popick, CEO and Founder of VerticalResponse in San Francisco, California, USA, has won multiple Stevie® Awards, most recently for Best Entrepreneur in the 2011 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, and the Gold Stevie for Executive of the Year/Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in The 2012 American Business Awards. (The entry deadline for the 2012 Stevie Awards for Women in Business, the world's premier awards for women executives, entrepreneurs, and the organizations they run, is August 29. If you can't make the deadline, late entries will be accepted through September 28 with payment of a late fee. Request your entry kit today.) Janine recently spoke at America Means Business, a three day event for entrepreneurs, sponsored by the Stevie Awards. The following is an extract from that presentation: Janine Popick

As a business owner, the last thing you’re probably thinking about as you go through your day is posting to Facebook or tweeting on Twitter. I get it. I’ve been there. But getting started with social media is not that hard or intimidating—really! And if you are already using some form of email marketing, it’s even easier. Here are four tips on how to make the most of your already limited time and to make social media work to grow your business.

1. What to Publish
You’ve probably heard the phrase: Content is king. With social media, content is more important than ever. But who has all this content, and who has the time to create it?  Not me, you’re thinking.

Here’s a secret: You already have a ton of content that you can share with your fans and customers. Here are some fresh examples:

- Employee stories

- Photos and videos

- Guides, whitepapers, or notes

- Outside content (content you don’t own but can share)

- Questions and polls

- Great offers

- Events

- Press and awards

If you have a blog, this is where all your content should reside because a) you can post your content there and easily link to it in your social media posts, and b) a blog is ever-changing while your website is not. (If you don’t already have a blog yet, this is a key reason to start one.) A blog also gives you search engine optimization (SEO) benefits because search engines like Google love content. The more new content you have about a particular topic or category such as your industry, the more likely it is to appear on the results pages when someone is searching for those words.

The next step is to create a social media content calendar. It can be as simple as a monthly calendar that shows what you plan to post every day throughout the month. You'll want to leave room for spur-of-the-moment posts, of course, but having a plan will keep you organized and focused on the big picture. Don’t forget to designate who will be in charge of writing and/or posting them.

2. How to Increase Reach
The ultimate goal of being on social media is to increase your reach—i.e. the number of people who have the opportunity to be exposed to your company and message—and to increase engagement. There are multiple ways people can engage with you on social media, from someone answering a question, sharing your post or your tweet, or commenting on a post, to liking your Facebook post or Facebook page.

How do you encourage engagement? You can:

- Ask questions

- Share blog posts, events, company news, industry news, videos, and photos

- Thank your customers on their Facebook profiles or send them a tweet for mentioning your company or sharing your content (people love to be acknowledged!)

- Include calls to action with your content

- Use contests and giveaways to incentivize your followers

- Send solo email campaigns encouraging a follow or like (be sure to offer a bonus offer or flash discount)

Just remember: Your posts don’t have to be all about business, and they definitely shouldn’t just be about you. Tap in to your audience’s interests. You can share content about topics that are currently in the news, or a worthy cause, or just something fun. The goal is to catch your readers’ attention and get them to take an action.

3. Get it all to Work Together
Recent research by my marketing technology company VerticalResponse found that businesses that use both email and social media get a 28% higher open rate on their emails than those that don’t use both channels. Here are some easy ways to integrate email, blog content, and social media that will get more people to pay attention:

Blog:

- Add an email opt-in form to your blog.

- Repurpose blog posts as content for your email newsletters.

- Use email to help build a strong following for your blog.

Get that email address!

- Ask Facebook followers for their email address.

- Have a welcome tab on your Facebook page with a form asking for their email address.

- Tweet “sign up to receive email-only” offers, then link to an opt-in form.

Email and Social Media:

- Post your email to your Facebook page and Twitter feed.

- Include “like us on Facebook” and “follow us on Twitter” buttons in your emails. Most email service providers offer the option to include these.

- Send a solo email asking recipients to follow you on your social networks.

4. Keeping Track
Like any business plan or strategy, when it comes to social media it’s important to see what’s working, what isn’t, and to learn from what you’re doing. Fortunately there are a lot of free or low-cost tools out there. Google Analytics is a great, free tool that tells you how many people visit your website and what they like to click on. Facebook Insights is another free, easy-to-use tool that lets you see which posts are popular, how many people they reach, and other metrics. For Twitter, check out Twitter Counter or TweetDeck.

Social media should not take you away from running your business. Instead, put these timesaving ideas in to action and watch your business grow!

For the full American Means Business Days presentation, download it for free here.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz weekly newsletter and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

About Janine Popick:
Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a leading provider of self-service email, social media, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail solutions for businesses and non-profits. She has won the Stevie Award for Best Entrepreneur in the Stevie Awards for Women in Business every year since 2008. Janine recently won the U.S. Small Business Administration award for Small Business Person of the Year and was named a 2012 Small Biz Influencer Champion by Small Biz Trends. Janine brings over 20 years of experience leading direct and Internet marketing programs for some of the biggest brands in technology and entertainment. Follow her on Twitter at @janinepopick.

About VerticalResponse:
VerticalResponse Inc. provides a full suite of self-service marketing solutions for small businesses including email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, online surveys, and direct mail marketing. Its mission is to empower small businesses and non-profit organizations to easily and affordably create, manage, and analyze their own marketing campaigns. Users can benefit from a wide variety of features via a single dashboard, including more than 700 free email-marketing templates; social media management tools to create, schedule, and publish content, and engage with followers; and robust reporting so that they can understand overall marketing success. VerticalResponse is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information visit www.verticalresponse.com

Topics: Social Media, Email Marketing, Janine Popick, VeritcalResponse, America Means Business, American business awards, stevie awards for women in business, stevie awards

7 Tips on Building a Global Brand, From a Stevie Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Jun 28, 2012 @ 11:49 AM

Allyson Stewart-Allen is the Founder & Director of International Marketing Partners in London, United Kingdom, and a member of the committee for final judging of the management awards categories in The 2012 International Business Awards, the world's premier business awards competition. (The final entry deadline for the 2012 IBAs has been extended to July 18. Get your entry kit today.) Here Allyson shares advice on ensuring brand success in the international arena.

Allyson Stewart-Allen Internationalization in a recession can be done—it just takes thorough planning and confidence. Instead of listening to the constant stream of headlines about brands that have failed overseas, let’s replace those with some success stories about the companies that have done it right, that have been methodical, that have adapted and made great profits.

Plan for Success
Research the structure of your target international markets and your competitors.  It is critically important that you know the potential challenges ahead.  Through your research, identify key editorial and press opportunities that can help you become known in your growth markets. 

Consider a tradeshow and arrange meetings in advance with potential buyers. 

Identify cities for growth that will attract your target clients/customers and focus on saturating those.  Focus is the name of the game.

Measure the Market:
If the USA is your target market for expansion, even if the “English” used seems to be the same language as that used in the U.K., it’s important to understand cultural differences.  Try our quiz: Are you ready to work with Americans?

Your expansion will be more likely to succeed if you’ve recognized which aspects of your brand travels well—we call it BrandTravel™—and can adapt to local markets when necessary.  You might want to consider hiring local marketing experts with on-the-ground knowledge.

Here are my top 7 tips to help ensure your brand will succeed in the international arena:

1. Manage “local” and “global”: Managing this dilemma well separates the winners from the mediocre. It is possible to obtain economies of scale while delivering local services or products, as global food and drink brands have learned so well. Zara is one of the few companies in the fashion world to have created ranges specifically for their southern hemisphere markets rather than just selling them past season’s wares from its northern stores.

2. Transfer knowledge: To ensure innovation and profit when opening stores in a new market it is important to transfer what’s been learned from the culture, consumer behaviors, and preferences in each market. Tesco’s Fresh & Easy small-store format in the United States had some costly merchandising hiccups at the start because of the company’s failure to apply the localization lessons gathered from similar expansions into Asian markets.

3. Be resilient: The ability to change processes and manage costs in turbulent economic climates is an essential skill for operations teams and retail business leaders. Some setbacks are to be expected as part of the process of aligning a business to local cultures and tastes.

4. Assume difference: Making assumptions about a target culture is a mistake, as Best Buy, Starbucks, Disneyland Paris, and many others have learned at great cost. Starbucks recently attempted to market its Trenta size (30 oz) drink in the UK—larger than a full bottle of wine­—and this was seen as an overly indulgent American “super-sized” product not fit for European tastes. Coach, however, brought only the US leather goods ranges it knew would appeal to customers at its recently opened Bond Street, London store, while leaving behind the “wristlet” (a small zip wallet with a carrying strap for the wrist) that is so successful in the U.S. market.

5. Innovate through insight: Involve consumers and supply-chain partners in identifying which new technologies, materials, designs, and services can change the business model. Crowdsourcing not only lowers the R&D costs, but also engages your target markets with the knock-on benefit that they will use social media to promote your foresight and engagement.

6. Build the brand: Most consumers are unfamiliar with soon-to-land-here trans-Atlantic brands. Seize this opportunity to (re) position the retailer in a new geography, as Abercrombie & Fitch has so successfully done in the UK. A blank canvas gives a retailer permission to seize a space it might not have been able to in its domestic market. Victoria’s Secret, the mass-market lingerie brand, will soon be launching in the UK and will have a great opportunity to position itself with new customer segments.

7. Assume success: Approach new markets intentionally, not just by licensing or franchising, but also by incorporating this approach as part of the long-term corporate strategy. Too often, expanding businesses treat international growth as a project rather than as a core part of their long-term evolution, choking the initiative of critically important capital and leadership resources. Confidence in an international foray—based, of course, on the thorough research and evidence that supports it—means it will be properly funded and given the management attention it deserves.

About Allyson Stewart-Allen:
Allyson Stewart-Allen, founder of International Marketing Partners, is an internationally recognized marketing advisor, author, speaker, and broadcaster who helps companies grow internationally by guiding them on localizing their brands, behavior, and businesses. An accomplished speaker, broadcaster, and author, Allyson is a frequent guest expert on CNN, CNBC, BBC, and Bloomberg, and Sky News hosted her four-year slot as “The Muse of Marketing.”  Allyson is a regular keynote speaker at business conferences and is a judge for The Stevie® Awards in the U.S. and the U.K.’s Women in Marketing Awards. Originally from Los Angeles, where she earned her MBA under the direct tutelage of Dr. Peter Drucker, Allyson has been based in Europe for more than 25 years and is the co-author of bestselling book Working With Americans.  She remains involved in the academic world via her work as an Associate Fellow at Said Business School, University of Oxford.

About International Marketing Partners:
Founded in 1991 by Allyson Stewart-Allen, International Marketing Partners Ltd. was born on the back of clients asking not only for general advice on how to grow the quality and number of customers in their home and international markets, but also specifically how to localize their products and services so they would be relevant and viable in those markets. Finding clients who were most interested in the know-how of its consulting team members meant the company could, in its early days, draw on the experience of recognized experts in Allyson’s network. International Marketing Partners today still uses this successful model: hand-selecting the right mix of consulting experience to match the goals, strategies, and culture of its clients’ businesses. For more information, visit www.intermarketingonline.com.

Topics: business awards, International business awards, stevie awards, management awards, Allyson Stewart-Allen, International Marketing Partners

3 Tips for Business-to-Business Marketing Success, From an American Business Awards Judge

Posted by Liz Dean on Thu, Apr 05, 2012 @ 10:13 AM

Kirby Wadsworth, Vice President of Global Marketing for F5 Networks, is Chair of the final judging committee for the marketing awards categories of The 2012 American Business Awards. (The final entry deadline for 10th Annual ABAs, the premier business awards program in the U.S.A., is April 25; request your entry kit now.) Here Kirby shares best marketing tips for business-to-business marketing.

What are your top 3 tips on how to make your mark in business-to-business Kirby Wadsworthmarketing?

  1. Align marketing and sales efforts into one holistic effort
    Marketing must start a conversation that sales is ready and willing to carry to conclusion.  Success here requires alignment of targets, content, training, process, and compensation systems. Research proves that companies that focus on sales and marketing alignment outperform those that allow the two functions to operate orthogonally.
  1. Measurement is the basis for alignment
    Marketing operations should be your first investment. Fill this group with experts in data analysis who are fully up to speed on modern marketing automation systems. Don’t be afraid of what you find initially. Measurement allows you to find and fix leaks in the system, and you will find many ugly ones when you first start measuring.
  1. Make sure you have broad cross-functional agreement on key performance indicators (KPIs)
    Make sure everyone understands and agrees with the areas you are measuring and reporting, then stick to it and report transparently on a regular basis. It's important to keep educating internal audiences, especially in finance, sales, and executive offices, on the value marketing is bringing to the business, and to do it without “taking credit.” Uniquely, marketing is both a service organization and a leadership organization, but is rarely appreciated for its contributions to pipeline. 

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?
The evolution in appreciation for Big Data and Business Intelligence—these areas are quickly becoming the hottest topics in a decade. I'm particularly fascinated by the potential for virtually every enterprise to leverage the power of Big Data to improve customer experience, create customized offers, and differentiate themselves.  In a lot of ways, Big Data feels like the Internet did back in the late 1990s: Lots of hype, but also massive underlying substance.

What is your favorite sport or hobby?
I use my time in airplanes and hotels to write. I'm 100,000 words into a paranormal novel that takes place in 1850s Nantucket.  It’s a lot of fun.

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?
Bestselling author…

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?
Honesty and a sense of humor.

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?
I get my motivation helping others learn and grow in our profession.  Teaching and coaching others forces me to really know my stuff—or at least stay one step ahead of my employees and students.  They push pretty hard, and keep me on my toes. My best day is the day I can help someone overcome a problem, learn something new, or take on a new responsibility.

About Kirby Wadsworth:
Kirby Wadsworth is Vice President of Global Marketing for F5 Networks and leads all marketing-demand generation and branding functions worldwide. Kirby has played a key role in many projects including the installation F5's global marketing function which delivers outbound communication, branding, PR/AR, marketing services, web experience, and global demand campaigns, introducing F5’s first marketing automation system, and creating a global revenue campaign model to align marketing with sales objectives. Prior to F5, Kirby served as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Business Development for several startups including Acopia Networks, Revivio, and Storability. Kirby has been named a Stevie® Award Finalist twice, and F5 received the Stevie Award for Best Marketing Campaign in The 2011 American Business Awards.

About F5 Networks:
F5 Networks, Inc., a global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), helps some of the world’s largest enterprises and service providers to realize the full value of virtualization, cloud computing, and on-demand IT. F5® solutions help integrate disparate technologies to provide greater control of the infrastructure, improve application delivery and data management, and give users seamless, secure, and accelerated access to applications from their corporate desktops and smart devices. F5 products give customers the agility they need to align IT with changing business conditions, deploy scalable solutions on demand, and manage mobile access to data and services. Enterprises, service and cloud providers, and leading online companies worldwide rely on F5 to optimize their IT investments and drive business forward. For more information, go to www.f5.com.

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, American business awards, stevie awards, Kirby Wadsworth, F5 Networks, marketing campaign of the year, best marketing

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

Top 3 Market Research Tips: Q&A with John Kearon of BrainJuicer Group

Posted by Michael Gallagher on Thu, Nov 03, 2011 @ 11:16 AM

BrainJuicer Group PLC was named Company of the Year in Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations in The 2011 International Business Awards. (The IBAs are the world's top business awards program, open to all organizations and individuals worldwide. The 2012 IBAs open for entries in January - get the entry kit.)

We asked BrainJuicer founder John Kearon for some insight on what's new in marketing research.

John KearonWhat are your top 3 tips for new marketing research methods?

OK, here’s a thought experiment for you: If you had shares in every market research approach and were prepared to create a portfolio to hold for the next decade, which market research methods would you be buying and selling?

I’d start by shedding my entire portfolio of classic research approaches that rely on people’s post-rationalized beliefs about why they do things and what they say they like, asked in environments unrelated to the behavior in question. I’m not saying they won’t continue to be important in MR, but I am saying I believe they will be declining rather than growing.  So my top 3 “sells” would be:

1. All current pre-testing and concept testing approaches.  They have a notoriously bad record for predicting failure for some of the best-known and commercially successful adverts and new product launches. Adverts such as the Cadbury Gorilla and Stella Artois’ Jean de Florette—both reassuringly expensive campaigns—were punished in classic pre-testing; and new product launches including Bailey’s Irish Cream, cash point machines, and the Sony Walkman also fared badly in classic-concept testing research.

2. Perhaps controversially, I would also be selling Focus Groups. Yes, they can reveal powerful insights in the hands of a great researcher, but all too often they are just the lazy default of unquestioning research buyers and produce little or no insight on the subject at hand.

3. My final sell would be Brand and Advertising Tracking. As far as I can see, this is dead from the neck up, offering little or no insight, direction, or positive contribution beyond the comfort blanket of a monthly number. If this sort of research were banned, businesses would suffer withdrawal symptoms for a couple of months, after which they’d never go back.   Instead, they’d spend the money on the sort of research techniques outlined below that can actually help companies grow.

Now to what to buy. I’m interested in those research approaches most closely tied to Behavioural Economics. BE is finally explaining how people really make decisions and showing it to be quite different from what current market research believes. My top 3 “buys” would therefore be:

Any “We Research” techniques, such as prediction markets.  These techniques are increasing the accuracy of concept testing by tapping our ability as social animals to predict the behavior of other people, yet doing it better than we can predict our own.

I would also be buying shares in Ethnography and Netnography, as anything based on observation of what people really do is massively more accurate than what people say they do—or the reasons they give for saying it.

My final pick would be Game-Based Research. This can help put people into the context, mood, or hot state they would actually be in when choosing a response, so it elicits far more accurate research results than the vast majority of current, non-contextual research.

What item of news recently caught your eye and why?

In the UK, the quality newspapers’ reaction to Steve Job’s passing was sadly revealing of our liberal intelligentsia’s dismissal of the significance of anything they see as commercial. Some of the commentaries bordered on the Pythonesque in their “What have the Romans ever done for us?” tone.  Sure, Jobs invented the computer interfaces we take for granted; sure, he shaped the devices we use to play our music and changed the way we buy music and media; it’s true he redefined what a mobile phone is for and generated a global lust for beautiful and functional technology … but what did he ever do for us? The journalists urged us to get a little perspective. Jobs was hardly Nelson Mandela or Desmond Tutu, he was really just a good marketer and surely not deserving of the eulogies erupting around the world. I am saddened by the anti-commercial attitude that still survives in Britain towards the entrepreneurs and inventors who through creativity, boldness, and perseverance bring great products to a grateful public. I sincerely hope attitudes change and that we start to finally appreciate people like our own Jonathan Ive (selected by Jobs as his design guru, now SVP of Industrial Design at Apple Inc. and the conceptual mind behind everything from the iMac to the iPhone and iPad) and the engineer James Dyson, who has reinvented the way we clean our homes.

Do you have a favorite business app?

I love technology … but the wonderfully friendly, long suffering, Wayne Nightingale—who meets me off transatlantic flights with a cup of tea and drives me home to the kids—has to be my best business app. Thanks, Wayne!

If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

I’d be busy blowing up current approaches to education and setting up highly alternative schools whose motto might have to be: “You’d be mad to send your child here.”  Education must be the only field of life where a Victorian child transported in time to the present day would essentially recognize the experience. Now, that means either that our education system was perfected long ago, or—more likely—that there hasn’t been nearly enough progress since. You just have to compare it to the advances in medicine over the same time period to wonder how our education system could have looked. I hope I’ll get a chance to make a contribution to the system before I pop my clogs.

What quality or qualities do you most value in your business associates?

The passion and perseverance to be really good at the thing they do best; the integrity to be true to themselves; the tolerance to know what it takes to work well with others; and the playfulness to enjoy their work.

What do you think is the worst bad habit to have at work?

To think work is just the dull chore we’re forced to do before we retire. Don’t be boring, don’t be too serious, make sure you enjoy what you do, take some risks, have some fun … and see what you can achieve!

As someone at the top of your profession, what keeps you inspired or makes you hit the ground running in the morning?

Caffeine and alcohol help … as well as a contrarian spirit that enjoys change for change’s sake.  I like to question market research dogma and to invent exciting new ways to better understand and predict human behavior. 

About John Kearon
John Kearon, dubbed "the Steve Jobs of Market Research", is Chief Juicer and Founder of BrainJuicer Group PLC. John has been recognized by Ernst & Young twice for his entrepreneurship: Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 and the London region’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2009. BrainJuicer has been a two-time winner of the ESOMAR Award for Best Methodology (in 2005 and 2007), and John was awarded the Advertising Research Foundation’s Gold Award for Great Mind/Research Innovator in 2008.

John’s recipe for success is: creativity, resilience, determination, perseverance, stamina, drive, imagination, resourcefulness, courage, commitment, ability to go without sleep, and a touch of madness.

About Brainjuicer
BrainJuicer Group PLC, a thriving international marketing consultancy founded in 1999, provides fresh, validated, consumer-driven insight to 11 of the world’s top 20 consumer companies, their creative agencies, and many others. BrainJuicer specializes in helping clients with innovation, focusing on ideas, insights, concepts, communications, and the measurement of customer and employee satisfaction.  Learn more at BrainJuicer.com.  

 

Topics: business awards, marketing awards, stevie awards, best company, company of the year

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