Published by Jane Cirigliano, December 21st, 2015
In the spirit of the holidays and banding together to achieve common goals, I want to talk about one of the most effective, and often overlooked, forms of marketing: affinity marketing.
When a business partners with another business or organization to provide a product or service in exchange for access to a new set of potential customers, both partners stand to benefit through affinity marketing.
Here’s a mainstream example of affinity marketing – the relationship between Visa and Amazon. Visa offers credit cards to Amazon customers, gaining new customers for itself. Amazon presumably gains more orders from customers taking advantage of the rewards points they receive from shopping on Amazon.
In the sports arena, sponsorships in exchange for advertising on uniforms or stadium walls drive affinity relationships.
But affinity marketing has the potential to be so much more.
In life science marketing, we see affinity marketing at play through collaborations between companies and universities to develop new products. The university publishes its findings, leading to product sales for the partner company.
We also see equipment and consumables companies partner together to provide free consumables samples with new machine purchases. Scientists receive free products and often convert into long-term customers for the consumables company.
Affinity marketing is all about choosing the right partner and aligning your goals to create a combined ROI that is greater than what you would be able to achieve on your own. So how do you pick the right partner?
- Values. Look for an organization that shares your corporate values and beliefs. Find people you connect with on a professional and personal level with a mission you can stand behind.
- Big Picture Goals. Make sure you share common goals. Whether it is curing cancer or bringing vaccinations to third-world countries, agree on a high-level vision that resonates with everyone on your team.
- Audience. Determine how you can leverage each other’s contacts to maximize the impact of your individual and combined efforts.
- Mutual Benefit. Identify areas of mutual interest to focus on, driving long-term relationships centered around real change and growth for both groups.
- Synergy. Make sure that there is positive energy, not a competitive atmosphere, between your teams. Challenge each other to work smarter, helping each other along the way.
- Measurement. Set milestones and keep each other accountable to your partnership and mutual goals.
As we look toward 2016, it’s time to get creative about how we work together to reach new markets and achieve our common goals. Contact Bill White to learn how you can use affinity marketing to reach new audiences.
Published by Jane Cirigliano, October 16th, 2015
I've written in previous years about how privileged we are at OffWhite to work with life science companies who contribute to research and cutting-edge discoveries for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Not only do these companies support their customers - the researchers looking for a cure - through innovative products and world class service, these companies give back to scientists. By saving research facilities money on utilities, offering more cost-effective solutions and collaborating with institutions, our clients keep more research dollars going toward what matters most - the search for a cure.
Cancer touches everyone, and breast cancer is possibly the most poignant reminder of how precious life truly is. We have all known someone who has fought valliantly - Bill's wife, Abby's mother-in-law and my mom, to name a few. We are all connected by our triumphs and our losses.
That is why when we see companies supporting breast cancer awareness, we in turn want to support them. It's amazing how such a terrible disease can bring so many people from different walks of life together. Over the past few years, we have watched as first research organizations and nonprofits, then retailers, and even sports teams have "gone pink" in October to raise awareness and funds to support breast cancer research.
We have been honored this year to be involved with several companies - in the life sciences and beyond - to raise awareness through news about cancer research breakthroughs and to donate a portion of their sales this month back to cancer research. We even got to help a client outside of the life sciences sector launch a new pink product inspired by the fighters in our lives. Check it out here.
Whether you are a cancer survivor, a researcher working on a cure or a marketing director, we are all connected by a common goal. Let's find a cure together.
Published by Bill White , August 21st, 2015
The first time I sat at the controls of a helicopter the pilot said “This is like a bumblebee; it’s not supposed to fly but it does.” The first time I sat at the controls of an airplane my pilot friend pushed the throttle forward and said “Don’t be afraid of it; it wants to fly”. And it did.
The difference, I learned, was one of inherent stability. Properly designed, the airplane wants to fly. The helicopter does not. It has no inherent stability. You have to create it by managing collective and cyclic pitch, rotor speed and rudder controls.
This obtuse comparison is a perfect metaphor for managing the new algorithmic mysteries of search engine optimization to optimize page rankings and intelligent content enriched by metadata. A few years ago, if you wrote the copy and it was well done, readable and accurate, it would be understood. Inherent stability.
This is no longer good enough. Content marketing, according to industry expert Ann Rockley, “. . . is structurally rich, semantically aware and . . . automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable”.
As marketing people, we depend on the internet and digital marketing platforms to distribute our content as far and as high as it can go. Amid a crowded landscape, everyone has a message. The push to the top is brutal. Today, brute force and big bucks are no longer keys to success when it comes to showing up on search engines. We have to finesse our way into the equation using a combination of tools all related to content.
No matter what you call this new discipline – content optimization, intelligent content, whatever – there are good ways and useless ways to approach the balancing act. The good ways involve managing analytics, processing feedback, adjusting what we say on a website or in social media, and watching the impact of our changes as they propagate throughout cyberspace.
The days of writing good content and letting it fly are over. Good content doesn’t want to fly; it has to be flown, and the only inherent stability we can count on is the stability we create with hands-on control. Without expertise and a keen understanding of algorithms, traveling through the digital world can be a white knuckle experience.
Don’t try this at home. Find someone you can trust, work with them and enjoy the ride. Click here for more on Intelligent Content. To discuss how we can assist with the challenges you're facing with content optimization contact Jane Cirigliano or Bill White at 800-606-1610.
Published by Jane Cirigliano, August 13th, 2015
As part of any marketing program, determining your audience and developing targeted messaging are key. Many B2B companies' campaigns target older audiences with traditional consumer pathway thinking. Are you missing out on a valuable audience?
Millennials, born after 1981, are reaching the stage in their careers where they have decision-making power. The millennial generation now makes up over 25% of the population in the U.S., and should be a key target for most companies. Millennials' purchasing activity and thinking is different from previous generations. They are much more hands-on in terms of product research before purchase, actively seeking recommendations before making purchasing decisions and engaging with brands they trust.
According to a study performed by AdWeek, 93% of millennials have purchased a product after hearing about it from a friend or family member. They tend to trust personal recommendations over claims made by a brand, and even value anonymous reviews on websites such as Amazon more than reviews on a company's website.
- 93% of millennials read reviews before making a purchase
- 71% browse online and then purchase in stores
- 68% of millennials don’t care about celebrity endorsements
- 66% follow brands on social media
- 38% feel that brands using social media are more trustworthy and accessible
Purchasing trends show that younger audiences do their homework before they share their contact information with companies. They research products online, read reviews and ask friends and colleagues for advice before they contact a sales representative or request information online. How many new leads are you missing by not appealing to millennials?
Why You Should Care
Half of millennials talk to their parents every day. By reaching millennials, you also reach an older generation. Their role as influencers makes them invaluable as brand advocates both in social communities and with their friends and families. Millennials also tend to be early adopters when it comes to new products and technology, so reaching them early can make all the difference in the success of new products.
Published by Jane Cirigliano, June 30th, 2015
Using new tools to respond faster
Agile Marketing aims to improve the speed, transparency, predictability and adaptability to change for your business. Based on Agile Development for software, Agile Marketing often employs tools such as marketing automation, social media monitoring and scheduling, and content development to move quickly in response to current events, customer interactions and crisis management.
Agile Marketers follow a process that allows for short marketing experiments, feedback (internal and external), assessment of results and adjustments to react to the changing market environment. The goals are to increase the swiftness and responsiveness of marketing, improve communication and better align the company goals with the sales staff.
Sounds great, right? But using Agile Marketing often requires a culture shift in established companies where there is a hierarchy for decisions and approvals. So how can you make your company culture more Agile?
Quickly responding to what is happening in the industry, customers and competitors is a key component of Agile Marketing. Agile Marketers focus on responding to change over following a plan.
However, that does not mean that there isn’t a plan. Agile Marketers think in sprints rather than long-term plans, though their sprints are designed to accomplish long-term goals. This method helps achieve over-arching goals while allowing marketers the flexibility and autonomy to make decisions on short-term campaigns.
If your company has a long-term plan (and you should), it will not hinder your ability to go Agile. Your company may need to look at the plan a little differently and you may need to set some decision-making boundaries with your management team.
Agile Marketing values the use of several smaller campaigns as opposed to investing primarily in large marketing campaigns. Smaller campaigns are typically faster to deploy. They can also be targeted based on market or position in the sales cycle.
Continuing to run large corporate campaigns is still a valuable component of your marketing mix. As with most media, it’s a matter of finding the right balance and integrating your messages.
Agile Marketing focuses on individuals and interactions rather than speaking to the masses. From customer service monitoring on social media to personalized content when a returning customer visits your website, Agile Marketers create experiences for customers that keep them coming back for more.
You must truly understand your customer base and develop deep profiles to take full advantage of personalization. Online tools can help you speed up and automate the process while producing quality interactions.
More and more, we are seeing companies collaborate with customers, suppliers and other external sources to generate content, extend each other’s reach and cross-sell. External orientation shows customers you care about meeting their needs, and it also gives you some built-in endorsements.
Agile Marketers trust data and insights over opinions and a “we’ve always done it this way” attitude. They use A/B and other forms of testing to determine what works best and constantly improve their marketing efforts.
This test-and-learn approach integrates automation, collaboration and monitoring to help Agile Marketers learn what works with small campaigns, then invest in what works to increase ROI.
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
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