Published by Jane Cirigliano, May 29th, 2014
If you built a strategic marketing plan five years ago, would it have included LinkedIn? Search Engine Optimization? A sufficient budget for online advertising?
At OffWhite, we are always looking for the next best thing in technology that will advance marketing efforts, and we understand that your plans need to be flexible enough to change quickly as new tools become available. You do, however, still need a plan. That’s why we’ve developed a different approach.
Long-term planning is no more. Strategic marketing plans should only extend 1-2 years into the future because most businesses can’t (and shouldn’t) try to foresee the future beyond 24 months. Things change too fast, and you shouldn’t feel locked into a plan that becomes obsolete after the first few quarters.
Plans must be concise. Most companies invest countless hours of time and energy - not to mention budgets - into creating plans that no one ever reads, let alone follows. Your overall plan should fit on one page. You still need the facts and figures to back up your strategy, but you shouldn't expect everyone in your company to memorize them.
Review plans quarterly and alter your course. Sticking with a concise plan makes regular reviews much more palatable. As your goals (or the methods you will use to reach those goals) change, don't be bashful about updating your master document. Do not, however, use this fluid document approach to justify putting off the work it takes to reach your goals.
As the third quarter approaches, we are reviewing marketing plans to ensure that our clients are on target to meet their annual marketing goals. If you need a refresher on your plan, or a new plan altogether, contact Bill White to get started today.
Published by Jodie Reiter , May 22nd, 2014
With the increasing speed of business, technology and growth in the life science industry, it is easy to lose sight of your company's overall goals in the day-to-day minutia. That's why at OffWhite, we work to simplify strategic planning and develop realistic, measurable goals for ourselves and our clients.
While we take your target markets, market share, competition and more into account in developing overall marketing strategies, we strive to build plans that are easy to reference with quarterly and annual goals. We know that you are busy, and it is imperative that you have a plan that is simple to review so you stay on task throughout the year.
We are also very sensitive to the fact that your immediate business goals can change at a moment's notice. We set up concise plans that are easily adapted as your business environment changes, without losing sight of the big picture.
Are you following your marketing plan for 2014? If you need help getting back on track and generating results that matter, contact Bill White at 1.800.606.1610.
Published by Nat Miller, May 15th, 2014
Optimizing for Today's Marketplace
Social media has become more than a place to post photos of friends or catch up with long-distance family members. Social networks now lead you to where real business is being done. Today's online marketplace is fast paced and constantly changing, with best practices centered on analytics reporting and measurable traffic results. Content marketing and content optimization allow companies from all sectors, including the biotechnology and life sciences, to compete worldwide for online visitors. While much has been written on optimizing content for Google search results on individual company webpages and websites, the same theories and principles hold true for social media content.
Social media networks have come a long way in the development of tools for businesses, with Facebook making one of the most notable investments in analytics tracking and reporting. Whereas Facebook business pages used to be little more than glorified personal accounts, today they are dedicated marketing tools complete with a robust backend reporting system. Businesses are now able to monitor much more than Likes. Understanding how total visitors, reach, impressions, and interaction data all correspond is a daunting task. However, just as business content managers have learned to optimize for Google search results, social media managers should learn to optimize Facebook content as well.
At OffWhite, we spend alot of time reviewing social media information, best practices, and analytics data to ensure our clients are using the appropriate strategies to reach their target markets. Through our review, we have identified three main items that most companies do not do well in terms of optimizing their Facebook presence.
- Not using photos: “A picture is worth a thousand words” is a common phrase that still rings true for online content, especially social content. Facebook allows you to easily upload photos, tag “friends”, leave comments, and post to your wall, all of which can help to increase the reach of your posts.
- Inactivity: Being active on social media is the single best method of attracting additional buzz and interactions. Posting relevant information and status updates 3-5 times a week is an appropriate level for a business. Posting much more than that can seem bothersome and may cause you to lose hard-earned “Likes”.
- Using an unprofessional tone: Facebook is a social network and therefore is a forum where businesses can interact on a more personal level with their customers. This is not a license to post as freely as if you were an individual. All content postings should be professional in nature, well written, and pertinent to your audience. Encourage interaction and position your company as an authority in the industry, offering to answer questions or providing best practice suggestions.
By focusing on fixing these three issues, businesses can drive more visitors to their websites and increase the ROI on their existing social media program.
Today's social media networks are becoming powerful marketing tools with integrated reporting capabilities and broad professional reach. Businesses in a variety of industries can benefit from creating an additional touch point with their customers on any of the major social networks.
Is your social media program working for you? To learn more about how OffWhite can build a program that works for you, contact Bill White at 800-606-1610.
Published by Jane Cirigliano, May 8th, 2014
With all of the big data available to companies, all too often we see people looking at too many numbers and not focusing in on the right metrics. Businesses should only collect data that will help them make decisions that will generate qualified leads and drive sales efforts. However, most of the data readily available through off-the-shelf software is what we refer to as Vanity Metrics.
Actionable Metrics tell you what you should do to increase your website's effectiveness. They show you what is working, and areas that you need to improve. Perhaps you saw a spike in traffic or online sales toward the end of the month. Actionable Metrics help you track exactly what caused those extra visitors and ecommerce conversions. Actionable Metrics are more time-consuming to collect than vanity metrics because you may look at several metrics to determine a cause-and-effect scenario that will drive traffic through your website along a path that you have chosen to optimize sales.
Examples of Actionable Metrics include:
- A/B Testing
Setting up a split test allows you to confirm what you believe about your customers' behavior. When launching a new product on your website, show 50% of your visitors one image and message, and the other 50% a different message. Track your sales to see which message performs better, and adopt it for all visitors.
- Determine ROI
Simply knowing your top traffic sources is interesting, but knowing which traffic sources are resulting in the most sales gives you ROI and helps you decide where to spend your time and advertising budget.
- Segment Data
Remember that your website visitors are people. Segment your metrics so that you can track user behavior based on whether they are new or returning customers, their market segment, product interest and more.
- Funnel Analysis
If you haven't already, determine the stages of your sales funnel. As customers move from one stage of your funnel to the next, the percentage of those conversion rates should remain steady or grow. If your conversion rates are dropping at a particular stage, you need to take action.
Are you collecting the right data? To learn more about collecting Actionable Metrics for your business, contact Bill White at 800-606-1610.
Published by Bill White , May 1st, 2014
A little wine goes a long way.
A committee of the Marietta Rotary Club asked me for some assistance on redesigning a 36 year-old Safetytown program one night last winter. My first order of business was to savor the Pinot Noir they sent over to my table at a local Italian restaurant. The committee happened to be meeting at the same restaurant that night to discuss their options.
Sure, I said, knowing that I was going to pass this off to our creative department for the heavy lifting.
My first decision the next day was to sell our creative team on the idea of another community service project. Led by our Vice President and Creative Director Abby Spung, and assisted by Steven Hollis and Bobby Schehl, Abby immediately took the project to her Marietta College classes where she is an adjunct instructor in graphic design. The rest, as we say, is history.
Throughout the spring semester, Abby’s two teams, one led by Steven and Bobby, and the other led by Abby, worked separately to develop a new look and feel for Safetytown. Following a preliminary review by the Rotary committee, a concept was selected and the two teams were combined to work together for the balance of the semester. As a result, they were able to fulfill a combination of extra credit, internships and community service obligations that made for a win/win situation.
Above all, more than 200 five-year old children entering kindergarten this fall will benefit from a two-week camp all about safety graced by a contemporary look designed by Marietta College students highly sensitive to the points of view expressed by five and six year old children.
As an extra bonus, another Mariette College faculty member, Fred Jesser, was looking for an excuse to create a documentary. Although his first effort is in final edit, you can view the long version here. It’s a good story and one we’ll see in the final cut when the program kicks off at the Safetytown Volunteer luncheon in June.
The Marietta Rotary project is another of our own community service efforts designed to enrich the lives of the people of Washington County and the Mid-Ohio Valley.
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
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