Friday, August 21, 2015

How to Be More Successful When Advertising on a Budget

Advertising on a Budget
By Rodger Roeser

There’s an old saying in the advertising game: “I know half of my advertising is working, I just don’t know which half!” But, in reality almost all advertising works equally well or equally poorly because most super budget conscious teams fail to clearly define a target or fail to clearly communicate what they want those targets to do. So, before you spend a dime on purchasing any advertising, consider a few foundational items first.
Before you do anything, take a good look at exactly what you’re trying to sell or share. Specifically list the benefits of what you’re selling and why someone may want to buy it (a consumer good) or go there (a restaurant) or hire it (a professional service). Understanding the benefits to a potential buyer is the first step in creating some type of sales connection with the target. If there are competing interests, look at the competition and endeavor to differentiate your product or service – this is basic branding.
Now that you have created some benefit, you need to take a real hard look at exactly whom you believe would benefit from your product or service. It needs to be clearly, clearly defined. Gender, age, income, and a dozen other profile traits as best you can to really hone in on the exact target you want to go after. A simple rule of thumb, the more limited the budget, the more specific the target has to be. This type of data, combined with buyers habits, demographics, psychographics and all manner of other research is critical in not only finding your target, but also in the next critical step.
Messaging and positioning. Ask yourself what types of phrasings and branding and look and feel do you need to convey to clearly and effectively get your message across. Is your advertisement going to be funny, it is serious? Eye catching. Is it straightforward or more esoteric? All of these decisions should be based on what you want your target to do – we call this the CTA (Call To Action). Define your call to action, make it clear and work backwards from there in your messaging. Try to keep the words to a bare minimum, and only try to convey one thought or one offer.
Okay, now that you have defined your brand, your target and your message, now you can actually spend the money on “doing” advertising. Remember the simple formula: Think first. Buy second. Measure last. Understanding these things up front now allows you to start considering when, where and how much advertising you should be considering. For most businesses, there is a formula for determining exactly how much you should invest in your advertising and it varies wildly from less than one percent to more than 10 percent of annual gross revenue depending on a number of factors – size of business, type of business, years in business, on and on and on. So, unless you have an agency that give you the answer, you’re probably going to have to trust your gut.
Do NOT blindly trust the media representative, whose job it is to sell you their media – always remember that. They’re not bad people, but the media representative’s job is to sell you on their offerings. It’s always better to know what you want first and have a defined budget, then reach out to the appropriate media outlet with what you want and what goals you have so they can tailor a solution for you. Don’t screw these guys around or play them off against one another – they are professionals, and you should be as well. Also, keep in mind depending on your budget and who you’re targeting, there are a variety of advertising mediums that you can consider, such as online, television, radio, print, billboards and so on and so on – typically a good advertising campaign combines a number of mediums and other tactics. Direct mail can be incredibly effective, as can sponsorships or literally a virtually endless array of opportunities. Because if this fact, it can be incredibly daunting for a layperson to do good advertising. If you don’t know what you’re doing or you’re in over your head, for goodness sakes, hire a professional marketing consultant. They’ll save you more money than they’ll cost you. And, you can focus on your business, rather than marketing. A good agency is skilled at planning and advertising, design, copy and all the necessary pieces of a good campaign.
When you’re on a tight budget, you’re most likely smartest to keep your tactics more focused on a single medium, rather than water that down and spread it amongst many. Focus on a single service, single offering and give your advertising enough time to work. If you can’t afford to run a program for at least three months, don’t do it at all. If you’re planning on doing a one off – don’t. Also, don’t expect instant gratification or immediate results. Good advertising is a commitment and a journey, not a quick fix or single step. A point of caution, and back to the branding. Before you do any advertising, take a real hard look at your operation. For example, are folks not coming to your restaurant because you’re not advertising and they don’t about you, or is it because the food and service are lousy? You have to be honest with yourself – after all, this your hard earned money.
And remember, the point of marketing and advertising is to help make you money, so think of it as an investment that will help you grow, rather than an expense. The tighter the budget, the more focused you need to be on your brand, your benefit, your offering, your target, your design and your placement. Try one thing, but do it all the way. Then move on to the next thing – for example, if you can’t afford to “do it all” don’t try. Do one thing. Own that, and move on.
Or, my very best advice? Just hire a trusted professional to do it for you.

Rodger Roeser is the CEO of Greater Cincinnati’s premier professional services branding and marketing firm The Eisen Agency. Roeser is an award winning television, radio and print journalist, and an award winning public relations and marketing executive. He can be reached at

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Boost Your SEO with these FREE keyword research tools

Boost your SEO with these 10 free keyword research tools
By Matthew Royse | Posted: August 12, 2015

Whether you are writing headlines or copy for your website, blog posts or news releases, keyword research can help you reach your audience better.
You will know which words your audience cares about, how consumers search for things and how they group keywords together. Some benefits of optimizing keywords:

Increases website traffic
Improves visibility in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo
Raises the likelihood your audience finds it valuable to share on their social networks
Generates ideas for future content creation and curation
Keyword research is the foundation of a good search engine optimization (SEO) strategy and a vital component of your content marketing strategy.

Here are 10 helpful keyword research tools worth exploring:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Top 6 Ways to Grow Your Opt In Email List

Top Six Ways to Grow Your Email Subscription List

by Linda West

Email, the Internet's first killer app, remains an essential tool in the modern marketer's arsenal. Whether it's to introduce a specific product or service, burnish and validate a brand's offerings, or follow up post-purchase, email remains one of the most popular and effective channels for connecting with customers.

It's a noisy world, though. Consumers are bombarded with information at every turn. And vendors looking to reach a global audience (in today's economy, that could be any of us) have to exercise caution: Many countries have enacted stringent email-related policies to better protect their citizens' privacy. Canada's recent anti-spam law, for example, has effectively ended the longstanding practice of batch-and-blast emails, sent to prospects en masse regardless of their consent or opt-ins.

Creating lasting connections with powerful, personalized emails has never been more challenging.

Here are six tips to help you cut through the clutter while adhering to ever-changing government regulations and convincing your subscribers to stay loyal.

1. Get creative in eliciting opt-ins

Click Here!
Sending one-off blast campaigns to people who have not opted in carries the potential to reach more prospects only theoretically. Because those recipients aren't expecting your message, you run the risk of getting those messages flagged as spam. And if you continue sending to unengaged, random recipients, you're asking for an abuse complaint. Plus, purchased lists often have high bounce rates. Even worse, purchased lists may contain spam traps, which could get you blacklisted.

Read more:

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When Should You Start a PR Campaign?

When should you start a PR campaign?
By Dave Manzer

There’s no definitive right or wrong answer about when to start a PR campaign, but there’s definitely a wrong time.

It’s after something newsworthy happens. If something important for your brand with a degree of popular appeal or relevance to a trending topic, and you are two weeks late in getting the news to the local or national media and don’t have any timely pictures or video to share, you're too late. When that happens, what you typically hear from most reporters and editors is, “I wish you had called us the day it happened or given us some prior notice.” Then all you hear are crickets, because you just blew it.

So when should you start a PR campaign? Is there a point in time in the build up to a big event or announcement when you should bring on outside PR help?

A lot depends upon the nature of the news itself (hard or soft), as well as what kind of media (print, TV, online) you want to pitch.

Soft news

Soft news concerns itself with less-urgent matters related to the community at large. Say, for example, you are small retailer in your hometown and you are opening up a third store. You are planning a grand opening and ribbon cutting and have invited the mayor and town council to attend. In this case, your news is tied to an event and because it involves some VIPs like the mayor and is about a local business doing well and expanding then there’s a good chance it will be of interest to a local reporter.

Hard news

If, however, there is an urgent news story about, say heavy rains flooding Main Street, and it turns out your business was impacted by the flooding, then reporters will be on the lookout for interviews with local business owners. Your chance for media coverage is immediate and requires prompt action.

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Media lead-time:

When you should start a PR campaign also depends upon the kind of media you are targeting. If you own a specialty hearing aid store, then you would be smart to go after TV and print news rather than online media, as many retirees tend to spend more time watching day-time TV and reading the newspaper compared to millennials.

Each media outlet, however, has its own lead-time when it comes to accepting suggested story pitches.

Here are a few examples:

TV News: TV news is still a wonderful way to get your business or nonprofit noticed by thousands of viewers looking for what’s going on in the community. The lead-time it takes to pitch your story to a TV news reporter is typically not longer than a week, possibly even just a few days, as many TV stations don’t know what they will cover until each morning’s news meeting. [Radio is similar to TV.]

Newspaper: If it’s a daily newspaper, then plan on a lead-time of one to three weeks depending upon whether your news is tied to a timely event like a product launch or is an evergreen story that is tied to an annually reccurring event such as Spring Break, Labor Day or Halloween. If you want to be included in a list of tips like “Spring cleaning tips” or “Where to plant a tree on Arbor Day,” then it pays to contact a reporter one to two months in advance depending upon how big the holiday is on the calendar, Christmas being the 900-pound gorilla of holidays.

Blogs: Blogs can be very nimble and turn out content fast, especially newsy blogs such as Mashable and TechCrunch. Some smaller blogs are not as well staffed and may take longer. A typical lead-time on a submitted news pitch could be anywhere from 48 hours to two weeks. Best to err on the side of caution and at least give yourself a week.

Magazines: The bigger and glossier they are, the longer it takes to get published. I once heard of People Magazine taking over a year to publish a story. That’s an extreme case, to be sure, and there were some odd events surrounding it, but what is true is that magazines source content for upcoming editions as far out as 4-5 months. If you have a nifty educational toy for tots and want to be included in a list of suggested Christmas gifts, then you would have to start pitching in June or July. If it’s a local magazine, the lead-time may be less, but not by much. Alow yourself a three-month margin when pitching local glossies.

Final thoughts

When considering how soon to start a PR campaign, you should clearly identify your target audience, where it resides and what media outlets serve it. Also, decide whether you will pitch locally, nationally, or a mix of both.

I always encourage my clients to start one month in advance of a major announcement or event to allow enough time for media research, message design and outreach. After all, it can take several weeks to get an email answered by, or land a coveted phone call with, a busy reporter. Why, I just got off the phone with a business reporter in Dallas after three weeks of emails and voicemails. PR isn’t called “earned media” for nothing.

Moral of the story? Start early, don’t expect immediate results, and keep plugging away.

Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. A version of this article originally appeared on the PR Over Coffee blog.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Looking to Generate Sales Leads? Report says email is most effective

Marketing, sales, and business professionals say email is the most effective digital tactic they use to generate leads, according to a recent report from Ascend2.

The report was based on data from a July 2015 survey of 300 professionals from around the world (80% working at B2B-focused companies; 20%, B2C).

Some 48% of respondents say email is among the most effective tactics they use to generate sales leads; creating websites/landing pages ranked second (cited by 44% of respondents), followed by content marketing (43%) and search engine optimization (37%).

Read more:

Thursday, July 9, 2015

8 Reasons Your Media Relations Activity Isn't Working

8 reasons your PR isn't working
By Dorothy Crenshaw

Investing in a relationship with the right PR agency can pay enormous dividends when it comes to building reputation and even demand.

However, businesses that benefit from building or engaging PR teams can be hesitant due to uncertainty about outcomes.

PR hasn’t always done a great job defining or managing client expectations, particularly when it comes to earned media. When PR falls short, it often boils down to a handful of reasons, including these:
Expectations aren’t clear. If you’re bringing on a PR agency anticipating vague outcomes like “brand visibility” or “thought leadership,” think more deeply. One company’s visibility is another’s table stakes. It’s best to agree upon specific goals and carefully worded messaging for your program. You should also choose news outlets, social platforms, and content distribution strategies to target, among other elements. Here, the devil is truly in the details. The PR Council offers some very useful guidelines, including this PR relationship “owner’s manual.”

You don’t have news. Working journalists are looking for something new, timely, or relevant to their particular area. While a PR team’s expertise can help identify and develop a pitch, it needs the raw material (example: a new website isn’t news.). It’s important that you or your PR agency put yourself in the reporter’s shoes and approach him or her with needs in mind.

Your story is all about you. There’s definitely a place for service content, particularly in business-to-business sectors, but the key word here is service. Whether it’s earned or owned, the resulting article or post must focus on a customer problem or solution, trend, or offer useful information of interest to your end user. If it’s all about selling, it’s likely to be overlooked.

Read More:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Want to Attract Millennials? Get Video:

Brand Video Imperative: 80% of Millennials Consider Video Content When Researching a Purchase Decision
7 of 10 Millennials Will Watch a Company Video When Shopping Online

Generation Y is a demographic coveted by retailers and marketers for their purchasing power. Millennials, the generation born between 1980-2000, will spend more than $200 billion annually starting in 2017, and $10 trillion in their lifetimes. This week, online video creation application Animoto announced new data from the 2015 Animoto Online and Social Video Marketing Study, which reveals that video is no longer optional for brands and businesses looking to market to Millennials—seven in 10 Millennials are likely to watch a video when shopping online, and 80 percent of Millennials find video helpful when researching a purchase decision online.

Read More:

Monday, June 22, 2015

You Have Influencers on Your Business: Are You Influencing the Influencers?

The State of Influencer Engagement: Online Influencers Are Key to Increasing Brand Visibility—and PR Should Take the Lead
84% of Marcoms Professionals Use Influencer Engagement Strategies

The evolution of company PR outreach to online influencers such as bloggers, social media users, online journalists and other experts is showing many signs of maturity—in fact, this growing influencer engagement trend has been reaffirmed for the current year: According to new research from software provider Augure, 84% of marketing and communications professionals surveyed say they use influencer engagement in their campaigns—an increase of 24% compared to 2014.

Furthermore, 81% of those surveyed considered influencer engagement to be effective or very effective for meeting their objectives, while 74% of those surveyed want to increase (33%) or maintain (41%) the budget allocated to influencer engagement activities.

Read More:

Friday, June 19, 2015

Three Videos Every Business Should Have

The 3 Videos Every Business Should Have

As a former television news reporter and broadcast journalist, putting together a video was a daily task. Later in my career, I had no trouble developing full scale business videos for a variety of different purposes, all with varying concepts or budgets or goals. But video isn't something you should do without someone experienced it their creation. Here's a great article by Megan O'Neill that shares three types every business should have. (and if you need one, call The Eisen Agency).

Jun 9, 2015 / By Megan O'Neill

Getting ready to take the plunge into video marketing but not sure which videos to start with? Earlier this year, we surveyed over 1000 consumers to find out how they feel about, and interact with, video marketing from businesses. One of the things we asked about was what types of videos consumers find most helpful. We put together the results in a list of the top three videos every business should have.

#1: Product Videos

Product videos clocked in as the most important, with 4 in 5 consumers saying they find videos showing how a product or service works, helpful. Product videos are your opportunity to bring your products and services to life in a way that photos and text just can’t. You can show products in action, from different angles, or focus on unique product features, and tell a story that leads viewers to imagine themselves using or owning the product.

#2: Customer Testimonial Videos

A majority of consumers also reported finding customer testimonial videos helpful. This lines up with 2014 data from BrightLocal that revealed that 85% of consumers turn to online reviews to determine whether or not a local business is reputable.

Including video testimonials on your site in a good way to ensure that the first reviews of your product that your customers see are positive. Additionally, when consumers see their peers talking about your product or service, it builds a sense of trust and allows viewers to put themselves in the shoes of the person giving the testimonial. They think, “If this customer was happy, I will be, too!”

#3: Business Overview Videos

The third most important video for businesses to have, according to the consumers we surveyed, is a video about your company. Business overview, about us, or explainer videos shed light on who you are, what you do, why you do it, and why people should care. These types of videos are especially helpful for small businesses that want customers to feel more at ease doing business with them.

Have you created any of these types of videos for your business? If so, we’d love to see what you’ve made. Feel free to share links in the comments below. To find out more about our recent study, check out our 2015 Video Marketing Cheat Sheet infographic.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Social Media Important, But Almost Impossible to Measure Holistically Says Survey

Social Disruption: Social Media Data Is Not Actionable, and Can’t Be Measured Outside of its Own Silo, Top Marketing Execs Say
Marketing Leaders Also Agree With Consumers: Social Media Is Intrusive

Two nationwide surveys commissioned by the Marketing Executives Networking Group reveal consumers' and senior marketing executives' views on the digital marketing industry. The results indicate that companies' use of social media is perceived by both groups as potentially disruptive—55% of senior marketing executives and 52% of consumers perceive social media as intrusive.

In addition, the survey among senior marketing executives reveals that many believe the data generated by social media analytics is not yet actionable. More than 39% agree the information gleaned is not useful to their businesses.

Read More:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Real Time Marketing Very Effective, But Businesses Challenged to Implement It

98% of Brands See Positive Revenue Impact from Real-Time Marketing Efforts—But Report Challenges with Effectiveness
Marketers Leveraging Real-Time Marketing See Positive Revenue ROI

Brands that respond to breaking news on social media see a higher return on their real-time marketing investments than those that don’t, according to a new study from social intelligence and marketing software firm Wayin. The 2015 Wayin Real-Time Marketing Report, based on a survey of 200 manager and executive-level real-time marketers at companies with more than $100 million in revenue, finds that 64 percent of real-time marketers have leveraged breaking news on social media in the past year. That number jumps to 78 percent for brands seeing an ROI of at least 50 percent on their real-time marketing investment, compared to only 57 percent for brands with an ROI of less than 50 percent.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

It's All About Content Marketing

Do you have a content marketing strategy? A tactical plan? How about looking at an agency of brand journalists to help your business get what many are considering THE most important piece of the marketing mix off the ground.

Comms Executives’ Commitment to Content Marketing Has Doubled In Two Years—and Is Poised to Double Again
By 2017, CM Will Make Up One Third of Total Marketing Budgets

Journalists and PR pros have been declaring that “Content is king” for ages now, and new research shows that marketing and comms execs are finally joining the content revolution. Marketing leaders’ commitment to content marketing has doubled since 2013—and should nearly do so again by 2017, according to a new study produced by The Content Council in conjunction with Ad Age, based on survey responses from nearly 500 U.S. marketing and advertising executives that tout the importance and challenges of producing meaningful, measurable content in a fragmented digital media world.

Monday, June 1, 2015

If you're in charge of, overseeing, or doing it...YOU need to know these four Digital Marketing Skills

Marketing is changing, and those who run businesses are noting the move online, which requires digital marketers.

Are you keeping up?

In my work training marketing professionals, I’ve studied hundreds of job postings for marketing talent. The numbers I’ve seen show what skills are most valuable, and it’s no surprise that they’re all digital.

Nearly 90 percent of marketers don’t feel equipped to navigate the digital landscape, but in my research I found that 93 percent of marketing jobs require a digital skill set.

These skills run the gamut from one year of SEO experience to 10 years of social media experience (which of course digital marketers don’t yet have).

While the latter may not be possible for anyone, here’s what you should do to stay competitive with other digital marketers.

Read More:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Are You or Your Business Making These LinkedIn Mistakes?

If you are DIYing your marketing or social media, there's a million things you need to stay up on. Constantly. Is it worth your time to become an expert, or is it smarter just to hire a professional? Either way, here's some news you can use:

With over 329 million members, LinkedIn can provide invaluable networking opportunities for professional services firms. Since it is a social network geared specifically to business professionals, LinkedIn users don’t have to battle the private and public persona struggle that other sites like Facebook or Twitter can create.

Users can join industry-specific groups and connect with others in their niche without having to worry about a newsfeed filled with photographs of their followers’ children. LinkedIn isn’t just a great networking tool—it can also be the perfect platform for B2B social media marketing.

Even though LinkedIn maintains a professional environment, it’s still all-too-easy to make social media blunders. Luckily, all of our top seven LinkedIn mistakes are easily corrected once realized.

Are You Making Any of These 7 LinkedIn Mistakes?


Thursday, April 16, 2015

We'll Be Wearing, Walking & Working with our Tech

PR’s “Next Big Thing”: Nearly 70 Percent of Consumers Say They Are Ready to Engage with Brands via Wearable Technology Devices
Wearable Tech Poised to Emerge as a New Channel for Customer Engagement

Wearable technology is slowly but surely becoming a part of life for mainstream consumers, most visibly chronicled by the popular launch of the Apple Watch, and it is soon expected to revolutionize technology—and marketing communications. According to new research from ACCENT Marketing, the key to a successful customer engagement strategy via wearable technology is to first understand how consumers use wearable technology. From fitness monitors to smart watches to clothing, wearable tech is the new frontier in customer engagement. This new channel can help brands deepen their customer relationships, build brand advocates, and reach new audiences through wearable technologies, giving them access to be with the consumer as they move throughout their day.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Millennials Service Expectations Show that Many Brands Risk Going Out of Business if they Don't Adapt

Customer, Serve Thyself! Millennials Reveal Desire for Self Service—and for Brands to Improve Experiences Reflecting These Preferences
Companies Must Address These Changes or Risk Going Out of Business

Customer interaction management firm Aspect Software this week released a study examining the generational and technological divergence between consumer groups and their perceptions and preferences towards customer service. The key takeaway: Companies need to quickly address the customer engagement preferences of the Millennial demographic or risk going out of business.

The Aspect Consumer Experience Index: Millennial Research on Customer Service Expectations provides analysis on how companies can adapt to this shifting consumer challenge. The new survey developed with Millennial expert Jason Dorsey (“The Gen Y Guy”) is designed to help businesses identify key characteristics of an increasingly influential Millennial population (individuals aged 18-34). Insights in the study will help companies address Millennials' evolving needs and expectations when engaging with brands.

Key findings from the study include:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

SEO Checklist: 15 Steps to Optimize Your Website

Or, just call The Eisen Agency and we'll take care of all this for you, but if you wanna DIY, here's some tips:

by Eugene Dediu | March 26, 2015 | 231 views

Today, just about anyone can create a new website on any topic and gather a team around it to develop and grow the site through content.

But many people fail to get on the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs) because they believe it's just about content, rather than also doing keyword research, creating a semantic kernel, making the website mobile friendly, or even putting the right alt text for images, and so on.

The following list is an SEO checklist of actions that you need to take to optimize your website for search engines.

Read more:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Why Hire a Professional Marketing Firm: Reason #2: Tools

If you're a landscaper, contractor, cook, barber or doctor -- you have tools to do your job. Those tools are critical to the success of your operation. If you're a landscaping firm, you have invested 10s of thousands (or more) dollars into lawn and garden equipment, allowing you to perform your job professionally and efficiently, and properly address the client needs. After all, when a client needs their lawn mowed, you don't use garden sheers. While it "could" work, it would obviously be incredibly labor intensive. Same with a contractor, you don't install finish trim by cutting it with a reciprocating saw.

And worst of all, it's hard to be a cook without pots, pans, knives and all the great gizmos they have. Same holds true in professional marketing and communications services. Our firm, for example, invests 10s of thousands of dollars on all the latest tools and technology that enables us to professionally and efficiently do our job for our clients. Things like Creative Suite, and ProfNET and Cision and Animoto -- research tools, survey tools, audio and video equipment and on and on and on -- all to be used professionally on behalf of a client.

Why on earth would you, as a dental practice, go spend $5,000 on cooking tools or landscaping equipment? You wouldn't right? So, for small to medium sized businesses, it's foolish to purchase these tools for your business, but it's easy to have access to all of them free of charge -- hire a professional firm. They have all the tools to do the job right, and know how in how best to use them in making great ads, nice collateral, to send releases, find reporters, tweet and make a cool video. Fix teeth. Let the agency grow your business.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ten Great Social Media Marketing Campaigns

At The Eisen Agency, we believe social media is an important part of a good marketing mix. And while social media certainly shouldn't be the only thing you're doing to market your business, here's a sampling of 10 great ideas. Of course, if you need help or someone just the lift the marketing burden from your shoulders, give us a call.

10 Great Social Media Marketing Campaign Ideas

These are some of the most innovate and successful recent social media campaigns. They used photo contests, caption contest, coupons, polls and other strategies to strengthen brand affinity, increase engagement and drive traffic to their websites. Some of them went viral; some increased their customer gradually over time.

Digital marketing platform Offerpop cited 50 social marketing campaigns ideas gathered from its clients. Mashable named its own top social media campaigns in its “Mashies 2014.”

Here’s a sampling of the top campaigns.

Friday, March 6, 2015

You Need Editors, Not "Brand" Managers

And, at The Eisen Agency, we couldn't agree more. Founded by award winning television, radio and print journalist Rodger Roeser, he turned his combination expertise of journalism and entertainment promotions into one of Greater Cincinnati's (and the region's) most successful marketing and PR firms.

‘You Need Editors, Not Brand Managers': Marketing Legend Seth Godin on the Future of Branded Content
Seth Godin is the godfather of modern marketing—or, at least, the type of modern marketing we all want to be doing.

In 1999, Godin published Permission Marketing, and, in every way, it was a revelation. At a time when Bill Clinton was still in office, TLC’s “No Scrubs” was a #1 hit, and was about to IPO, Godin released a practical guide to how brands could leverage the incredible connectivity of the web to engage consumers by seeking permission to do so. His creation of the concept of of permission marketing—which posited that marketing should be as anticipated, personal, and relevant, rather than interruptive—continues to echo in darn near every marketing brainstorm today.

Read More:

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

How You Know It's Time to ReBrand!!

Last Thursday, I arrived at the office, but instead of being greeted by the same AtTask logo I was so familiar with, I found myself staring at a new dynamic logo with new colors and a new name: Workfront. In the months leading up to this, there had been a flood of emails, scores of intense meetings, and countless man hours logged by our marketing team, communications team, and development team. Don’t even get me started on all the surveys, brainstorming, consulting, and nitpicking that finally produced the new name and design. And we’re only just getting started. In the days to come, we will be spending significant time and dollars into introducing our new brand to the marketplace and getting back to the level of recognition we once had with our former brand.

All of which might lead you to ask, “Why go to all this trouble?”

First off, let me say a rebrand is certainly not something company leadership takes on just for fun or on a whim. You don’t do it just because you’re tired of looking at your old one. A rebrand is the right solution for some very specific scenarios. If you can learn to recognize those scenarios, a rebrand could supercharge your company’s potential in the years to come. So how do you know if your company needs a rebrand?

Read More:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Your Logo is Critical to the Success of Your Business

Great logos are recognizable in a blink. They also should make a lasting impression.

Target hits the bullseye, Nike goes swoosh, and Apple catches the eye. All three company’s iconic logos are unique, memorable and stand the test of time. They instantly and consistently do what a potent logo should: Identify a brand, make it stand out and, ideally, drive customer interest and sales.

We all know great logos, but we don’t all know that great logos aren’t easy to create. From concept to color to rollout, there’s much to consider when boiling your brand down to a single emblem.

Related: 5 Must-Haves for a Successful Logo

“We have less time and less space to tell our stories in than ever before,” says Alina Wheeler, a Philadelphia-based branding expert and author of Designing Brand Identity (John Wiley and Sons, Inc., fourth edition, 2013). “To rise above the clutter, a symbol or a logo is the fastest communication known to man. It unlocks associations with your brand on sight, so it’s important to get it right the first time around.”

Read More:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

12 Secrets of the Human Brain to Use in Your Marketing

12 Secrets of the Human Brain to Use in Your Marketing [Infographic]

by VerĂ³nica Maria Jarski

Knowing how the human mind processes information and images—and putting that knowledge to use—can help you become a more engaging and effective marketer.

Here's a look at some fascinating facts about the human mind, from a marketing perspective.

Did you know that the human brain processes emotions far more quickly than rational thought? "Emotions process input five times faster than our conscious brain," according to the following Emma infographic.

Our brains also really love images. "Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text," states Emma. "We comprehend and remember pictures with text more than text alone."

To get more facts about the human brain to help you imp

Read more:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why Hire a Professional Marketing Firm? Reason #31: Connections

It's true, everyone knows someone. But, when it comes to the growth and marketing of your business, just like when you were looking for a job or trying to find clients, it's true when they say "it's all who you know." A good agency and good agency leadership is well connected not only the media contacts and marketing services providers (video teams, printers, database vendors, caterers, swag producers and so on and on), but perhaps more importantly to potential business, government and other influencer connections. A good business understands to whom it wishes to reach out to, and can find an agency or agency leadership skilled in those circles of influence. Having these types of connections is another reason why every business (even the ones that "do it all in house") should have an agency they value and trust. It's smart networking, and particularly in the professional services realm, having professional connections and word of mouth remains the best source of new business.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Why Hire a Professional Marketing Firm? Reason #17: Objectivity

In our continuing series on understanding some nuances and reasons to hire a professional marketing firm, today we're going to focus on objectivity. In the efforts of marketing, all too often businesses and organizations can get caught up in their own culture and language. And, while that is indeed important to have, what is critical from a marketing standpoint is translating your business to addressing the wants and needs of your customers or clientele.

And, oftentimes, like looking in the mirror with your nose pushed up to it, it can be very difficult to see the true picture. Having an agency can offer solid objectivity based on the simple notion of we provide "X" and these are the potential customers for "X" so here's how we should position this. Good agencies are more focused on their clients client, and will be honest when the company is saying, doing or projecting something not likely to engage or get a certain type of client to act.

This objectivity allows a good agency to take a step back, employ trusted and sound marketing principles, even test those if necessary, and provide solid strategies and recommendations that will most likely succeed. Also, if you're the owner of the business, having an objective look at internal marketing staff and practices may be quite enlightening in learning perhaps better, more efficient or smarter ways to execute a given marketing strategy.

A good agency is a must have for every business, but often is a critical partner in the SMB space where there is little margin for error and where you may not otherwise be able to afford the very best and brightest "in house." Good counsel is always a smart thing, so seek a trusted agency partner that you value for their honesty and objectivity.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Content is Only Smart Marketing When Someone Actually Reads It

by Rodger Roeser

Content marketing is an excellent way to inexpensively establish your people, services and your overall brand as relevant in the market place. Unfortunately, content marketing is often just self serving blather that speaks more to corporate gobbedly gook rather than the true intent of content marketing – creating relevant content to those publics with whom you wish to relate. So, good content marketing truly is about knowing thy audience. Whether a speaking engagement, a writing assignment, a video or infographic, social media or good old fashioned advertising, a keen understand what is interesting and what will motive your target public to action is critical. But, where do you get that type of information.

Fortunately, information on consumers is everywhere, and most savvy marketers know they have access to such things as claritas, scarborough, nielsen, and literally dozens of other sources that can provide the most detailed information about consumer habits. While rather expensive, these types of services are readily available for purchase and are a treasure trove of consumer information. Most media outlets also have access to this type of information, and when considering making a media buy, this type of information is used to gain access to detailed demographic data.

And while great for larger type businesses and consumer goods, these are not great in the B2B market place, and in most cases out of the reach of small businesses simply because of cost. So, the smartest and least expensive ways to garner data are two fold – quantitative and qualitative research. Survey your customers or clients often and reward them for taking the survey. You seem this commonly among restaurants and chains. Also, each quarter randomly select 5 – 10 actual customers or clients to sit in for a “round table” meeting on what they like and what they feel could be improved about your business. Most current customers have and will have striking similarities to one another, so combining data from a round table with data from surveys and you have an excellent, albeit, basic view of the likes, patterns, wants and needs of your customer or client base.

Also, depending on your type of business, you may reasonably surmise that if you are an auto mechanic and vast majority of your clients are driving luxury cars, they likely own a home, have a family, that career is important to them and they may enjoy traveling. This type of information can be particularly valuable when creating custom publications or even newsletters with content that would be enjoyed by your audience. Remember, just because you’re a financial advisor, that doesn’t mean everything you write about needs to be financial in nature – it should reflect other things a customer or client would enjoy. After all, the greatest content in the universe is of no value if no one reads it.

And most likely, if you’re like most businesses, folks don’t like your newsletter. Be honest. Look at the metrics of the newsletter. Survey often. Have specific calls to action in your content, because after all, are you trying to educate? Or are you trying to sell more widgets? Measure what’s important, not how important you sound when writing something.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Charged with B2B Marketing? How to tie that into the Big Game this Sunday!

B2B Brands and the Super Bowl: How B2B Marketers Can Capitalize on Consumer Events

by Sandra Fathi |

Often, the Super Bowl seems as if it's more of a season than a one-day event. It dominates consumer conversations for weeks and weeks before Super Bowl Sunday arrives. From the food to the entertainment to the ads and the big game itself, the public is more focused on the Super Bowl than on most national holidays.

Communications professionals typically see the game as a time for business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers to capitalize on the benefits of all that conversation. But the truth is that business-to-business (B2B) companies can, and should, also take advantage of major consumer events.

Conversations from the newsroom to the living room and even the conference room are all about the Super Bowl. It's natural for companies to want to engage in that conversation—and they can, and they should.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You know you need to market your business, but how much should you budget for marketing to get the most for your investment?

Tips on Developing a Marketing Budget
By Rodger Roeser, CEO, The Eisen Agency

Creating a marketing budget can be one of the most daunting and insecure moments in the life of a business owner. How do I know what to spend? How do I know where to spend it, or what to spend it on? What if it doesn’t work? For the majority of business owners in the small business base, this is an area of expertise that you almost always should consult a strategic marketing firm or counselor if you feel uncomfortable doing the planning phase. A good marketing consultant will surely save you time and dollars, and direct you toward strategies and programs more likely to succeed – as a good, experienced counselor should know what will and what won’t work.

You can expect to pay between $5,000 and $15,000 for this type and this level of work, but it’s a smart and advised investment if marketing isn’t necessarily a core competency. And remember, there are two “worst and worster” things you can do with your marketing dollars – don’t market at all or just wing it. My absolute best advice is hire a professional agency, but if you insist on doing it yourself, here’s some tips to make sure you’re getting the most for your hard earned dollars. Think strategically before you think tactically.

1. Take Inventory
Gather all the materials you’ve used and have been using over the course of the year or so. Ads you’ve purchased, press announcements you’ve made, social media, trade shows, events – anything that you have spent dollars on in the marketing of your business. Take a look at what each cost and how you feel each performed in doing what you wanted it to do, and remember, putting out a press release isn’t designed to triple your business so be honest with yourself based on the tactic you chose, i.e.: develop leads, share some good news, gain exposure and the like, and attach a value between 1 (stunk) and 5 (worked perfectly) to each one. Were the items professional developed and designed? We’re they clearly written, with clear calls to action, and so forth. Once you have all your “stuff” decide what needs improved – for example, more frequency of this, better designed that, and so on. Now you know what “stuff” you need.
2. Competition is Key
Take a good look at your direct and indirect competition. What is in the way of your business adding that customer or why won’t they try you out. What is your competition doing that you’re not. What is their traffic on Facebook or LinkedIn? Do you see them mentioned in the newspaper often? Are there ads more frequent than yours or better developed? Do they do something creative that helps them build their business, such as earning local awards or hosting events? As you understand your competition, you can then look at ways to stand apart from them and invest your marketing dollars in areas where they may not – the riches are in the niches – so don’t be afraid to cater to a specific group. Don’t copy your competition, understand them and communicate why you’re better and share those benefits.
3. The Target Audience
Speaking of which, who you share that message to – your target publics – is obviously critical. And this target varies wildly depending on location, business type and literally dozens (or more) other variables. So, take a good look at your existing customers or clients and those you would like to add. Be brutally specific in creating a profile for your target public because that allows you to stretch your marketing dollars because you’re pinpointing exactly to which public you wish to relate – and your dollars can be invested in this group. Make the profile as specific and detailed as you can, for example: women between the ages of 18 – 24, income of $100,000, within a 10 mile radius of our restaurant who own their home and are single. This allows you to market in the right places and with the right type of message that would resonate to this type of individual – obviously, each business type will have to determine its own profile.

4. Be Smart
Remember, if you decide to go it alone without agency support, you’ll need to work with the various advertising representatives of each type of media and medium you are considering. So, when working with these ad reps, be mindful that they have a quota of sales to make and they are selling their specific outlet and medium with that outlet and medium in mind – they are not objective counselors – they are salespeople. There’s nothing wrong with that, and they’re certainly not bad people, but they are there to sell you their product, not what will necessarily be the smart marketing investment. Also, keep in mind the price of things varies wildly, so have some idea of what “things cost” before contacting them. Much information on the costs of basic tactical marketing purchases are available online.

5. Rule of Thumb
In many cases, you can determine your annual marketing budget with a relatively simple formula. Take your annual gross revenue and multiple that by a low of two percent and a high of 10 percent. This is most likely the range for your business – although my firm would be able to give you an exact percentage. Based on this range, one being the least you should invest and the other being the most, you now can start to look at your inventory of what you need (new collateral, a refreshed website, better ads, more media relations) and call that your foundational expense. As you look at proactive spend, it’s smart to focus on single areas and single mediums at a time, so look where your competition isn’t and consider going there – and don’t just rely on old print ads. Radio, online, sponsorships and events can be excellent tactical investments.

6. Moving forward
And, this year, benchmark all your numbers right now, this month. Take a look at all the things you want to measure – website traffic, social media traffic, turn, butts in seats, votes, sales of widgets – and set a benchmark. Then, each month, based on the marketing work performed, measure that benchmark number to growth and divide by your monthly marketing spend. While rudimentary, it will help to give you something resembling an ROI.

Rodger Roeser is the CEO of Greater Cincinnati’s premier marketing, branding and public relations consultancy, The Eisen Agency. His firm specializes in developing leading and proven marketing and business strategies and tactical execution for small to mid-sized businesses across the country. More information can be accessed at

Monday, January 19, 2015

So, You're Thinking of Hiring a PR Firm. Why?

So, you’re thinking it’s time to hire a PR firm?

Great, I can help! I have hired 6 or 7 (and fired a few).

While the process might seem simple, in truth it is hard to do well. By “well” I mean hiring the right firm, for the right reasons, with goals set to deliver a positive impact. The first few times I went through the process it felt overwhelming, but over the years I have built up a list of tips that help me choose the right PR firm every time. I think my tip list might help you, too!

If you made it this far into the article, congratulations, you’ve already realized the value of PR. If not, and as a refresher, think of PR as key top of funnel customer touch point. As marketers know, we must touch our prospective customers a few times before they buy and there are many ways to do that, PR being one of the most powerful. If done right, PR subtly touches prospects in the media they consume and world they live in every day.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Time to do your Communications Audit!

The Mechanics of a Professional, Objective Communications Audit
By Rodger Roeser
It’s that time of the year where it’s smartest to sit back and review the work you’ve done over the course of the past 12 months. How did your team perform, how did you perform and how did your marketing perform are three big questions that are perfect to answer and address during the month of December. It’s called a communications audit, and it may the wisest task you take on this year to ensure you have a more successful, more rewarding and more profitable next year.
The basics of a communications audit are pretty simple – you need to gather up all the communications activities you did over the course of the year. From ads to press announcements to letters to collateral to web statistics – everything that was communicated either externally, if this is an external communications audit, or internally if it’s an internal audit. Once you have all the “stuff,” what we like to do is either spread across a conference table or post it to a wall so you can take a step back and review on first blush the general look, feel and presence of the “stuff.” As you have a vision in your mind as what this should communicate overall, take a look and see if you feel is conveys that idea or that brand. If so, check off the ‘look/feel’ box.
Next, review the copywriting and verbiage being used in things such as ad copy, sales letters, press announcements and collateral. Does it come from a singular and branded voice, or does it feel disjointed and penned by several writers. This can be exceptionally challenging when different folks in different departments or varying agencies are putting items together without consideration of the entirety of the branded conversation. While good communications can certainly have some degree of variance, you want your materials to be consistent throughout in tone and feel. Are the materials conveying the thoughts and concepts you want them to convey, are they portraying your business in the light you wish it to be conveyed, and does it help foster engagement and truly share a story.
After you’ve reviewed tone of voice and tone of look, now you need to look at your metrics. Assuming you had a marketing plan for the year (you didn’t have a marketing plan, well, that’s another article but you need to do this to start making your plan for next year) now you can begin the measurement of how things actually functioned. Look at increases in web traffic, social media voice, articles published, interviews conducted, sales leads generated, impressions and so on and so forth – whatever key performance indicators (KPIs) were important for you and your business to measure. My favorite, most often overlooked KPI is overall sales – did they increase? If not, what the hell is marketing doing? Right? These metrics take on a variety of forms and can be broad or incredibly granular depending on the program, product, service or goal. For example, let’s assume you wanted to measure the increase in sales of windshield washer fluid. Assuming you had a campaign to push said sales, it’s relatively simple to have benchmarked current sales, then after the campaign gauge those numbers and divide it by marketing investment. Or, on a much broader scale, if you’re looking towards increase web traffic, what percentage did that go up based on general branding and awareness activity.
Now, if all this sounds like a lot of extra work, well – it is and it isn’t. But, I’m a firm believe that you “can’t manage what you can’t measure” so having a tight communications audit is a critical, but sadly often overlooked aspect, of a good marketing plan and a good marketing leader. It’s important to have the numbers, it’s critical to look at what is and what isn’t working. Is your internal team coming up with good ideas and strategies that are helping to achieve goals, or are they simply executing random tactics as they come up. Is your agency working with you to proactively drive business success, or are they simply executing tactics. And, if they’re simply executing tactics (assuming they’re your tactics you’re directing them to execute) are you measuring them against your goals?
And, are you able to do so objectively. Can your CMO or marketing directly truly share when something is not working well, or spend is too high or simply not producing. Sadly, in some internal situations, the fox is guarding the hen house when reporting results, so keep an objective third party in mind that has the ability and expertise to perform a comprehensive communications audit to keep your marketing and your results on track – while also looking at other opportunities that may be a significantly better investment based on the goals and results you seek.
About the Author
Rodger Roeser is the CEO of Greater Cincinnati’s premier professional services branding and marketing firm The Eisen Agency. Roeser is an award winning television, radio and print journalist, and an award winning public relations and marketing executive. He can be reached at