Blog : Traditional Advertising

Creating a marketing plan

Creating a marketing plan

Every business needs a marketing plan. Businesses rely on sales and customers. These commodities cannot be generated without an effective marketing campaign that effectively communicates the company, product, and message. Though many businesses are well aware of the need for a strategic marketing plan, not all of them understand exactly how to implement it.

A marketing plan can include all of the following and much more: content development, emails and newsletters, market research and data analysis, SEO, social media management, sponsorships, website development, and mobile app marketing. While it is possible for a business owner to create, manage, and maintain a marketing plan alone, it takes a considerable amount of time and patience.

The ‘Do It Yourself’ approach

Owners thinking of a DIY approach should realistically calculate how much effort they can spare. For those undeterred by the tasks ahead, willing to tackle this challenge, below are three cheap and effective steps towards better results.

    • Do your homework: Research is key. Understand the market you are targeting and decide on your company’s message. Analyze competitors for blind spots and opportunities to shine. Don’t compete in areas they’re good—find your niche.

    • Email is big, cheap and often provides the highest ROI: It is also a preferred method of communication by customers.

    • Your website matters: Make sure it works on different platforms. Streamline the online experience. 81% of consumers use online to explore their options beforehand and gather information about purchases. Don’t give them a reason to be disappointed.

Hiring an individual or an advertising agency

Perhaps the amount of work ahead is too daunting, or perhaps you might not have the time to invest in creating something polished that best represents your company. While the immediate idea you might have is to hire an employee in charge of marketing operations, you’ll be surprised to realize that, in the long run, hiring a person could be more expensive than hiring an agency. Employees have more costs than salary once you include training costs, taxes, insurance, and the software needed. Excluding price, advertising agencies have other benefits, most notably:

    • Expertise: both in the niche market you’re seeking and in the types of marketing you might require whether that be mobile marketing or marketing online.
    • Experience: with creating and executing plans and consulting businesses.
    • Efficiency: a marketing agency does not require training. They can start often times immediately and implement a plan of action urgently.

Working with a marketer requires trust and a willingness to try new things. Communication is crucial to keep both sides on the same page. Both parties must have an understanding of the other party. You should discuss the roles each party with play in the process. Advertising agencies make life easier by freeing you up to focus on what you do best – running our own company. Regardless, they still rely on you for information and the materials needed to create the campaign, so there is no easy shortcut when it comes to marketing your business. The tools for success are out there at your disposal, but the drive ultimately comes from you.

Reach out to Colure’s development team to discuss a plan to advance your next project.

Programmatic media buying

Programmatic media buying

The ability to present the right advertisement, to the right person, at the right moment is priceless. Computers have forever changed the advertising landscape. They have brought together all of the key stakeholders in a place of efficiency and finesse. This is called programmatic media buying (sometimes simply referred to as ‘programmatic’). Its simple beauty is founded in highly complex math. This is the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time (1). Fluid and seamless; it presents seemingly effortless connections between the consumer, publisher, and advertiser.

It is more than just the computerized buying and selling of ad space. It’s an interactive relationship between all of the players of the online advertising world. One definition is “the automated method of buying digital advertising in which supply and demand partners make decisions on a per-impression basis and adhere to business rules as provided by the operators of each platform”. Defining the inter-relationships between the stakeholders can be difficult. A group of industry experts offered their insights to help define the process for the layperson.

Simply stated, this process levels the playing field for companies of all sizes. If two companies have the same amount of funds for advertisements, ‘Bob’s Key Shop’ can have the same market reach as a ‘Target’.

This process provides an established pathway allowing all parties to reach highly focused goals. Companies can focus their advertising budgets toward an exact audience. If they need assistance in defining their target audience, they system provides the support and data to bring the parties together. Long gone are the guesses of “how do I get my audience to notice my business?” A focused approach delivers data based results.

Programmatics have dramatically changed the marketplace for everyone. For clients entering the marketplace for the first time, the system is tremendously beneficial. “Programmatic buys are a good thing for our clients when it comes to paid media campaigns, (meaning SEM, display banners, desktop and mobile marketing) along with traditional tv campaigns. It allows us to get inventory which normally wouldn’t be available to the client, at an affordable rate. It’s definitely a good thing for paid media campaigns.” – William Belle, Chief Colure Advisor.

The system hasn’t always been embraced by everyone in the marketplace. This response is from a blog posting from just two years ago:

“Sounds like another thing for large companies to spend more on staff figuring it out than they’ll ever make/save on ROI, and another thing for scammy marketing companies to sell contract services to small businesses. In 3 to 5 years, the fad will have passed, some lessons will have been learned and the smart businesses will come and implement changes and software then. My ROI is not a beta test.”

Some of the concern is based on who the end consumer may actually be. “There is some skepticism of Programmatics because we don’t truly know if a real human is absorbing the content,” says William Belle, Chief Colure Advisor. The focus and delivery are there, but it’s impossible to gain a definitive assessment of the message consumption. The fact that a human is still the ultimate consumer leaves a variable in the equation. The true level of message absorption can never be accurately measured. Like they say, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make ’em drink’.

Despite voices of concern, the marketplace performance of programmatic purchasing has been well established. The significant growth in market share has provided the viability that few question.

If you want to discuss entering the marketplace with your business, contact Colure’s project managers to see how programmatic media buying can assist your company.

How to calculate an advertising budget

How to calculate an advertising budget

Every company must stake its own space in the marketplace to survive. In order to successfully interact with your customers, each business must decide on the best course of communication. This function is facilitated by your company’s marketing budget.

Each business owner is an expert in their given area of practice. Everyone needs customers, yet often, stakeholders haven’t been provided with a game-plan of how to reach those customers through advertising.

We’re providing a roadmap for your future marketing budget. The purpose is to help the business owners focus their resources for the best ROI on their investment. If you begin with a focused process, your odds of success greatly increase.

When deciding on a typical marketing budget, there is no definitive answer on the dollar amount a business should spend. How much you plan to allocate depends on a number of variables including the industry you are in, the size of your business, its growth stage, your annual revenue goals, your projected sales, your cost per acquisition, whether you are willing to spend on websites, mobile apps or some other long term project.

It may be helpful to examine some methods of determining marketing budgets and average percentages that companies use in their calculations. You need to determine your marketing budget wisely and not depend on what is left over after your business expenses are covered. We are here to give you some guidelines that you can use to determine your marketing budget.

As a general rule of thumb, Colure Media suggests that the marketing and advertising budget should be on an average 10% of the company’s overall revenue. This budget should be split between brand development costs including the channels you use for marketing and the costs of promoting your business (campaign, events, and advertising etc.). The percentage of revenue calculation should account for possible additional factors such as new product launch, new market entries, and mergers/acquisitions.

For companies who are unsure of their revenue goals or don’t know their exact overall revenue, we suggest calculating their marketing budgets using cost per acquisition (or CPA). Using a CPA, we help companies reverse engineer their budgets by understanding their sales goals. For example, if a company wants to sell 10000 units of something and if they know their CPA, they can calculate their marketing budget by multiplying their sales goals of 10000 by CPA.

It is very important to re-examine your CPA, as this is a number that you want to optimize. Your goal is to make it lower since you want to receive a higher rate of return on every dollar you spend on marketing. Continually look around for new and more effective methods of reaching out to your target market. The use of new and improved technology can help you optimize your cost per acquisition.

If you are seeking out the development of projects like mobile applications, website development, and mobile marketing (or some other long term project), our advice is that you pull that project out of your total budget and calculate its own budget as a separate line item. The reason being is that these long-term (5 to 7 years) marketing tactics require an initial heavy investment and small investments later on. You are better off doing an initial investment of around 8 to 10% on these large projects and then 2% of your annual revenue towards web development for the next 3 years. After that, you need to put money only for updates and maintenance for the next couple for years.

Once you have set your marketing budget, remember that it is not a fixed value. There might be times when you will be throwing in another unplanned event or campaign. The main thing is to know whether your spending is giving you your required ROI.

One of the biggest issues facing new and existing businesses is that they may not know what their marketing and advertising budget should be. Often, businesses don’t understand the process of media planning. Many times budgets are set blindly, with a number just being thrown into the air and hoping that it lands on the success outlined in their business plan (if they have created one).

There are three components to every business:

     1. Unique product/service

     2. Profit

     3. Marketing/Advertising/Sales

At the end of the day, a business with unlimited funds can spend plenty of money and time running test after test, but they may sacrifice market share to competitors (who may have inferior products/services) who are knowledgeable and have navigated these seas time and time again. Blindly throwing money at your advertisements is not the answer. Define your goals. Examine your numbers. Start with a solid plan that can be modified, with purpose, as time passes. We hope that this will help your gain a better perspective on your marketing efforts.

If you want to discuss your advertising needs, contact Colure’s Project Managers to help you reach your target audience.

Successful Content Marketing Campaigns

Successful Content Marketing Campaigns

Content marketing is the technique for creating and sharing free content to provide the consumer with an additional level of product interaction. It is meant to attract new customers and to encourage current customers into developing a loyal, repeat business. But, it should be more than a portion of a company or product. It should be used as a tool to engage your audience.

Four successful content marketing campaigns:

  • Birchbox – a monthly subscription service that provides an array of carefully selected beauty samples to customers. They use content marketing to enhance the online shopping experience for their customers. Birchbox features articles about personal grooming, fitness, and popular beauty products to engage its customers. This has been the key to Birchbox’s success, allowing Birchbox to create an interactive experience for customers as if they were in a store.
  • Red Bull – the energy drink maker uses its content marketing to blend in with the community that enjoys its products. Red Bull specifically chooses to be associated with extreme sports through their advertising. They provide featured videos, films and photos of extreme sports and stunts to associate high energy with the essence of its community.
  • MasterCard – the financial institution uses their content marketing to create a hassle-free, convenient way for costumers to enjoy MasterCard’s features. On the MasterCard website, MasterCard offers features such as a saving calculator and debt FAQs to assist customers with their finances. To minimize inconvenience for it’s customers, helpful videos and ATM locators are located in its “Priceless Pointers” section on its website.
  • Kraft – the international food conglomerate, mastered the use of content long before it was a popular marketing technique. Kraft’s website features recipes, tips, ideas, and videos to assist customers with their products. They understand the power of connecting with their customers. Kraft has created a forum where customers can go beyond simply sharing their recipes. Customers experience those products on a most basic human level – while breaking bread. Kraft expanded its brand from simply selling their products to forming an online community that has become ingrained in the lives of its consumers.

A company’s content marketing has to be relevant to the company’s mission, products, and services. It should allow customers to consistently learn and engage with a brand. As content marketing continues to grow, it proves to be more of a long-lasting relationship than a trend. Content marketing will continue to be a necessity for companies to grow and actively engage their customers.

Contact Colure’s team to discuss marketing strategies for your business. See how a focused approach on your project can dramatically modify your performance in the marketplace.

Why Content is Critical to Your Audience

Why Content is Critical to Your Audience

Relevant content is critical to grabbing your audience on an emotional level because they’re searching for answers to their questions. If your content is nothing but bologna, you will lose your audience in a matter of seconds.

So, how do you engage your audience? Take the proper steps to ensure valuable and easily readable content

Three things you need for strong content:
  1. A goal: Provide a focal point of the article. All ideas will contribute towards this central theme.
  2. A voice: Define your point of view and express yourself in the content. Make your statement and provide examples to support your statement. People will need to understand why they should believe what you think.
  3. A lesson: Remember, you are the author. You may not be in a classroom, but be sure to enrich your readers. Be sure that they gain something from reading your work. You are educating and entertaining them by providing information they may not have.

The average Internet user will view a web page and determine whether to continue reading or visit another website in approximately 8 seconds. Even if the user stays longer than those 8 seconds, they have the tendency to skim through, reading only about a quarter of the article. Your content needs to stand out and grab their attention quickly. You must understand your audience.

A short attention span is a dangerous thing. Like the bull that charges a red flag, Internet users flee when they are distracted. They’ll begin to scroll down the page to see a picture or a video. If they notice that the article is going to take 10 minutes to read… Bon voyage! They’ll be gone in a flash. Why would they waste their precious little time reading an elongated article, when they can go visit another web page that tells them what they want in half the time?

Quality content is critical to your audience because it’s the only thing that engages your reader.

Contact Colure to discuss your project’s content, vision and scope.

 

Project management tools for advertising agencies

Project management tools for advertising agencies

Project management tools are designed to help agencies to bring their projects from conception to completion. The ways in which you manage every idea, resource, and staffer will affect your ultimate destination. Given the span of variables in the creation process, it’s impossible to find one simple answer to meet everyone’s needs. Whether you are a team of one or 50 members, success is built upon a systematic approach.

A simple starting point to determine your PM (project management) needs, is to look back at your last three projects. What went wrong? What worked well? Was your problem time management? Was it information management? Was it the way you utilized your teams? Were you able to reconcile your billable hours against your accounts? Did you have an organized plan of attack or did you feel as though you were trying to round-up a bunch of wild cats?

The completion of your project is based on the premise that you have a solid footing in project management. This requires being able to wear multiple managerial hats. When it comes to project management skills, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. It’s critical to identify what skills you have mastered and which may need a bit of help. It’s safe to say that almost everyone needs a bit of assistance with at least one skill.

An organized approach to your project is critical. Here are a few tools that can help you and your team better understand your project needs. Each of these applications has their own feel; all of these are strong tools to move you closer to a successful completion.

Suggested Project Management Tools:
  • Tomsplanner.com This is a simple, Gantt chart subscription service. This offers a strong starting point to organize your thoughts. This is a great place to organize a project’s multiple needs and resources.
  • Basecamp.com Organize your teams’ efforts around multiple projects. This system works well by internalizing conversations.
  • Wrike.com This platform likes to expand its communications across email platforms.
  • Getharvest.com This system does a great job of integrating your various finances.
  • Pivotstack.com offers a multitude of services from PM, accounting, and communications.

Every journey begins with a first step. Be sure that you move your project forward, towards a successful destination. Contact Colure’s Project Managers to discuss your visions for successful software development, marketing and concept development.

Branding for Small Businesses: Are you branding your business?

Branding for Small Businesses: Are you branding your business?

Everyone works to present their clients in the best possible light. As marketers and advertisers, our industry fights to win over each and every possible customer. But that fight is often long and tiresome. It becomes easy to fall into a deep trap. Sometimes, marketers negate the entire process of communication because they become too worried about the tools they use, trying to communicate. In short, the mechanism of communication actually impedes the process of communicating with someone. It’s the age old problem of not seeing the forest for the trees.

From time to time, you may need to step back, close your files and get a breath of fresh air. When your nose is too deep in a project, it’s easy to lose track of the fundamental concepts involved with communication. You might be speaking, but is anyone listening? Does anyone care what you have to say? If you keep hitting the same wall day after day, try keeping these simple ideas in mind:

Clear Communication for Businesses

  1. Keep It Simple Stupid (the K.I.S.S. Rule) – Keep your focus and get to the point. Avoid the temptation to create too many layers, providing too many details about the same thing. Stay on task; tell me a simple story. Businesses need to effectively communicate.
  2. Describe your product or service in less than 10 seconds – If you are not able to communicate the value of your service or product in that short amount of time, you may have lost your customer. Worse than that, you might have lost their repeat business. Some national sources place internet attention spans at less than 10 seconds.
  3. Poorly delivered content is worse than weak content – Let’s be honest, you won’t always have the opportunity to sell the biggest and best widget. Sometimes we work hard to sell something ordinary, something simple and plain. Regardless of what we are selling, you must be able to use both the medium and language of choice perfectly. There is no way a client will trust you with their advertising budget if you cannot create a properly structured sentence. If you ever have a question with your copy – ask someone for help.

  4. Learn to Listen – This is critical. Listen to a client’s ideas and concerns. Invest the time to discover which words they use to communicate. Keep in mind your audience’s mindset. Find out what is important to them – not you. Businesses are constantly trying to stand out from the crowd, to be seen as different. Be sure that you are not seen as being indifferent to your audience. Listen to what they are saying.
  5. Identify your client’s values – Don’t confuse your values for those of your client.

At the end of the day, we are storytellers. Our one task is simple: “Tell me a story.” If you can’t do this clearly and simply, you may want to take a step back and take a breath. Listen to what is happening around you.

Let us help you tell your story. Contact Colure’s storytellers.