At FocalPoint, we think it’s fair to say networking is on the marketing spectrum. After all, it is a way to get your brand or name out there using communication.
The biggest difference is that unlike paid advertising, networking is impossible to control. You don’t know what is being said about you or your company – or where your business card or a friend’s text may end up. Could be deleted or thrown out. Could be put to good use. Who knows?
Of course, there is always a chance that it could lead to a key contribution to your work, or can impact someone else in your network, or become a customer by virtue of their sphere of influence, network, or present job. And yes, they could also screw things up for whomever you connect them to, reflecting badly on you.
Most importantly, networking outside your usual planes has the potential to broaden your knowledge, gain new perspectives in life and business, and maybe help open doors for someone simply needing help to build a new opportunity. We’d say that’s well worth the effort.
Spearheading a new product launch or marketing initiative? Although all of us understand change is ubiquitous and needed, it does seem to be in our very nature to resist it. And that we all do, in big ways and small.
If the marketing launch you are undertaking is massive, here at FocalPoint, we recommend taking small steps from the gate. Here’s what we mean:
For instance, separating communication about the initiative from action. Start by outlining what’s changing and provide a clear “why.” Customers, staff, senior advisers and folks on down the line – even the voice in your head – all need that.
Follow that first step by parsing out a series of additional ‘bite-sized’ steps, and attach a dateline to each. This way, you can provide those in your organization with a chance to taste success one step at a time, and build confidence along the way.
Every couple of weeks, provide a status update and remind your team (and your customers, as appropriate) of the big picture.
Breaking any big marketing change down into smaller elements while keeping the big picture in mind can help everyone in your organization appreciate the ultimate goal, gain positive momentum and contribute to its ultimate success.
Do you want your marketing to fit in with everyone else’s? You want to stand out. Get noticed.
We thought so.
At FocalPoint, we know it takes real work to become a stand out. It takes questioning basic assumptions and trying a few crazy new ideas to create something different. Something of value.
If you have a vision that’s different from the norm and a passion that pushes you to move forward with it, here at FocalPoint, we consider that a gift.
We like to work with the movers and the shakers in the business and tech world. We enjoy working with folks that aren’t looking for different just to be different. Like us, they are looking for different to be better.
If that sounds like you, let’s shake a few things up together.
We believe in getting things right. The first time.
And – what we seek to get right that first time matters more than just about anything else. Like what’s really important.
Really important like…
Creating a product or a service you are truly proud of
Addressing a workable business plan that meets a real need
Hiring a team that cares about the dream and the details
Building shrewd creative marketing around your business model that will speak to your mission and your audience
About that last bullet point…
FocalPoint creates marketing strategy with an end point in mind. The tag line won’t simply be ‘catchy.’ It will support that business plan you lost sleep over.
We understand that there will be endless details to get right before you launch your web site and your social media plan. That’s the ground point where we work best together. Before you have something that you’re truly proud of. That’s an ideal place for us to be. So together we can create, double check, test, and launch with more than just a hunch.
We want to get things launched right— right alongside you and your team. Greeting success together after hard work ironing out what’s most important.
How many Super Bowl commercials can you remember, a couple of weeks or so out from the game? And of those you do remember, how many do you also remember the brand?
Chances are good, not many.
I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had with folks over the years about an ad they “loved,” but couldn’t remember the name of the product.
And then, there are the generic brands. They don’t advertise because they aren’t going for brand recognition. Generic products like black and white cans labeled “Cat food,” or “Dish soap,” don’t want brand recognition. They are just filling a product need with direct, brutally obvious, hyper clear messaging.
And that labeling is certainly marketing, too. And it works for stuff where we don’t care about quality; we are just filling a need as cheaply as possible.
But for the majority of brands, making a connection with potential users of the product is what is at stake. We want that connection to last. Like the Doritos Super Bowl commercials, for example. You not only remember that the chips are Doritos’ brand, but you also remember the commercial’s payoff – humor. In fact, Doritos brand was the one most often mentioned when folks were asked which commercials they remembered a week after the Super Bowl.
What other brands do you recall immediately when you think of a product? Hoover, Kentucky Fried Chicken, The Beatles, Apple computers… all of these products have name recognition because of marketing tying brand to product.
But how to get there — especially when you don’t have the corporate budget of Apple computers? The best idea is not to do it in house. A group of untrained folks searching for a word or phrase tends to push toward obvious or generic way of thinking about a product. And generic advertising doesn’t stick. Instead, you need a hook, something memorable to link your product and brand to your customer’s need.
That’s where we come in. Folks experienced in marketing, who will see your product from a different perspective, and explore how to set your brand apart. Maybe with humor, maybe with elegance. Perhaps with music or a tag line that sticks.
So if you’re exploring new ways to get your brand to stick like a Doritos ad, we would be delighted to share some of our interesting branding work. Give us a call. We’ll provide the chips.
As 2014 comes to an end, this is the time when marketers naturally reflect on the past year and look forward to the new one. Over the past couple months, I’ve written about must have’s for 2015 marketing plans and some dynamic shifts in Internet marketing as we know it. But I wouldn’t be considered an online marketer if I didn’t touch on one of the most dramatic changes we’ve seen over the last couple of years – the evolution of SEO (search engine optimization).
I recently participated in a webinar with Rand Fishkin from Moz entitled: Cracking the SEO Code for 2015: Tactics to Love vs. Leave and I’ve got to tell you he pointed out some pretty eye opening things. These are things that many online marketers are doing wrong and things that must change if there’s any hope in your website showing up in Google. I’m going to break it all down with a few major points from the presentation.
Gone are the Days of Traditional SEO The good old fashioned tactics of trying to match on-page for exact phrase keywords by using the phrase in the domain, headings, within the content and links are just that – old fashioned. That’s no longer what SEO is about. In fact, Rand pulled up several Google search examples showing the first few results not even mentioning the exact keyword phrase at all in the traditional on-page SEO way.
It’s now about understanding user intent and moving away from keyword matching to topic association. What topics are you the authority on and what type of content naturally revolves around those topics? Sure, keywords are naturally going to be used, but it’s not necessary to setup a new page for every single keyword – it can all be grouped together into one page with info around a specific topic.
Google is Becoming Smarter Google is functioning more like a person and less like a robot. It’s getting better at understanding user intent. It knows what people actually want to read based upon social signals and the searcher’s behavior. Results are also becoming more personalized and it’s increasingly difficult to “dominate” a keyword or phrase across the board. It’s now about what Google is able to associate with your brand vs. what keywords you’re using.
Real Brands are Winning Search Google is now learning more toward rewarding brands. Brands are what people know and trust. Brands are what create quality content that people actually want to read. The days of being able to setup a website, publish a few articles and expect to instantly begin getting traffic for the keywords your site is targeting are history.
Ranking well in search engines such as Google is now about being in more than one place, developing a reputation and consistently producing different types of useful multimedia content.
Winning at the New SEO is Winning at Online Branding If you want to be successful in getting your website to rank well in search engines such as Google and get a good deal of organic traffic, it’s imperative that to truly understand your company’s brand. What are the unique strengths of your company and how can you create a truly unique online experience centered around those strengths?
The best tactic to employ here is what Rand referred to as “modern content investments.” What type of content marketing plan can you put together to create information that is:
One of a kind – it could take weeks or months to develop it, but no one else ever has
Relevant – extremely on point with user intent
Helpful – solves a problem or multiple problems the user is facing
Uniquely valuable – there’s a high level of worth to the info you’re providing
Great UX – the content is easy to consume/interact with on all devices
Likely to spread – who will share this content and why?
What to Do Next
Take the time to really think about your brand. Not just the way you see it, but the way your customers do. What do you want to focus on and what problems are you trying to solve? Now, every single piece of content you put out should easily be tied back to solving those problems or discussing those topics to create the ultimate brand association in Google’s eyes.
If more brand development needs to be done, that’s OK. The sooner you can nail this down, the easier it’s going to be to understand how you’re going to be able to win at the new SEO – online business branding.