Category Archives: advertising

Five Must Consider Marketing Strategies for 2011

Whether your organization is “flying high” or “getting by,” it is unquestionably in your best interest to always evaluate minimum-investment, maximum-return marketing strategies as key components of your marketing plan. Following are Sweeney’s Top 5 “Must Consider” strategies for 2011 – strategies we believe cannot be overlooked and whose value should not be underestimated:

Publicity & Media Relations. Though a standard in the world of public relations, publicity and media relations have never held more potential for organizations seeking to increase awareness through traditional and online media outlets. Publicity and media relations 2.0 allow you to secure print, broadcast and online media coverage to reach target audiences with both company and product information in a cost-efficient manner. In the process you are also creating valuable content that can be used to enhance your web site and enhance your search ranking.

Online Advertising. As an addition or alternative to traditional print and broadcast advertising, online advertising (both display and PPC) can help you will build awareness while also driving traffic to your web site – traffic that you can monitor and evaluate. You can control costs, messaging and placement in both a test and campaign environment.

E-mail Marketing. The regular distribution of email to existing or rented databases is an effective, fast and efficient strategy for staying in front of and engaging target audiences (customers, prospects, distributors, retailers, etc.). E-mail marketing allows you to monitor, measure, evaluate and respond to recipient actions almost immediately.

Social Media Marketing. The use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media – allows you to produce and share content, generate and participate in conversations and establish a trusted presence among target audiences. As with the other strategies, you can manage your involvement and costs while achieving desired results.

Creative. The difference between a good and great campaign is often determined by the creative. The ad that gets responses, the brochure that gets read, the business card that elicits calls, the e-mail that gets opened and clicked… they all have one thing in common – an impactful creative design and compelling creative message. This is one corner you don’t want to cut.

Need help implementing these marketing and public relations strategies or others?  Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.

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Evaluating Magazines for Print Advertising

We are developing a media plan for 2011 and are evaluating trade magazines to advertise in. How important is it that magazines have a BPA or ABC audited circulation?

By Jennifer Manocchio

Many trade publications are audited by BPA or ABC and many are not. Auditing verifies the publication’s circulation and confirms the titles of the people reading the magazine. If publications are not audited, it simply means they did not want to pay a third party to verify the circulation.

There are two major auditing companies – Business Publications Audit of Circulations (BPA) and Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). Since audits are expensive, publications that conduct audits want to make that information easily available. You will usually find the audited statement in the media kit. If you cannot locate the BPA or ABC statement in the media kit or online, ask the sales representative if the publication is audited.

If a publication is not audited, you should not immediately disregard it. Audits are not the only aspect you should consider when purchasing advertising. Look to see if the publication is free or requires a subscription. Magazines with a subscription tend to be seen as more credible to a reader.

Also, research what competitors are advertising in the publication. If major industry players are advertising, then they likely see the publication as valuable. Pay attention to the quality of the editorial coverage. Look for articles that are well-written and not blatant advertisements. Most readers will recognize poor writing and biased reporting, which reduces the credibility of the magazine in the readers’ eyes.

Additionally, consider if the publication is for a professional society. If so, that publication will likely have a captive audience that respects the publication.

The only time we would recommend an audited publication over an un-audited publication is if all things were created equal (subscription required, good editorial coverage and competitors were advertising in the publication), and you had to chose between the two.

The bottom line is use the audits as a tool to confirm circulation numbers and reader’s titles, but don’t let it be the end all be all to your decision making when developing media plans.

Advertising in 2011 and need support developing your media plan and creating print and online advertisements? Contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.

How Effective is In-Flight Radio?

I received a solicitation from Sky Radio promoting advertising for in-flight radio. How effective is in-flight radio and magazine advertising? See the email solicitation below.

I’m contacting you on behalf of Sky Radio to see if you would be interested in participating in our upcoming edition of “The Innovators”.

This special series spotlights innovative companies and is a cost effective way to enlighten millions of business travelers about your company. Our production team will produce a radio interview to broadcast on our business talk channels on American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, US Airways as well as a TV commercial to air on the CNN Airport Network.

By Jim Sweeney

In-flight magazines are a viable outlet to reach various audiences, as are the in-flight radio and TV programs, but it is a crapshoot at best. For $3,000, you may reach one potential customer or none or 10; on any given day it is anyone’s guess.

Do any of your customers/prospects travel on Delta, American or US Airways? Will they hear your ad when it runs?

The most recent study I possess is from Arbitron (2006) confirming that in-flight radio has value as it reaches its audiences when they are not distracted by other outlets. However, as you know, this is no longer a valid point as many passengers now travel with smart phones and laptops. Also, there is no sure way to target a specific audience. Nonetheless, the report is worth reviewing.

If an organization plans to advertise, it needs to first identify its target audiences and then identify the media that most effectively reach them. There are a lot of ways to spend (and waste) money… a strategic marketing plan that commits to specific objectives and target audiences will help you identify if in-flight magazines or radio will help you achieve your objectives and reach your target audiences.

Importance of Web Landing Pages

Why are web site landing pages important, and when do I need to create one?

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By Jennifer Manocchio

By definition, a landing page is a web site that a visitor “lands” on when he or she clicks on an online banner advertisement, a search-engine result, an email or a pay-per-click advertisement.  The purpose is threefold.

First, the landing page is logical content that is an extension of the ad, email or search-engine result that keeps the visitor engaged.  For example, if a person sees a banner ad for a new cookie and clicks it, he or she expects to see a page about that specific cookie and perhaps a coupon that encourages a purchase, not the manufacturer’s home page.

Second, a landing page allows a company or individual to track the results of a specific campaign.  This allows you to see how many people clicked through the ad or email and what they did when they arrived at the landing page.  Based on the traffic patterns, the landing page can be improved to enhance the results.  For example, if visitors are going to the landing page and immediately leaving or are not taking the desired action (e.g. completing a form, purchasing a product, downloading a coupon, etc.), there is a problem that must be addressed.

Finally, you can also create several landing pages for an advertising or email campaign to see which landing page achieves the best results.

Each time you conduct an online banner ad campaign, pay-per-click campaign, organic search engine optimization or email campaign, you should consider if a landing page needs to be created.  Sometimes a page on the existing web site might already be relevant, and there is no need to create a new landing page.

For example, if you are promoting a special Valentine’s Day cookie and there is a web page already created that provides information on this special cookie and allows visitors to order it, a landing page might not be a worthwhile investment.  However, if this is a seasonal cookie and your web site doesn’t include a specific page about it, a landing page will be necessary.  You never want to drive potential customer to a generic page, or even worse, your homepage.  You will likely achieve a high bounce rate if consumers have to search for information that should be immediately available.

Ask yourself this question:  Will a landing page help explain the content in the advertisement or email better, and does it have the potential to increase conversions?  If yes, then create a landing page.  If you are already investing in an advertising, search engine optimization or an email campaign, why fall short and risk below average results?

Need to create a landing page or want to learn more about the benefits, please contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.

Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Paying for Product Reviews

I received a call from the company that produces The Balancing Act on Lifetime Television. They wanted to feature our products on their show, but there was a pretty significant cost associated with it. Should I consider this opportunity?

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By Jennifer Manocchio

It is not uncommon for Sweeney to receive calls from production companies that want to feature our clients’ products on their television show. The first time I received this type of call, I took the bait, but quickly learned after some investigating that this wasn’t a traditional media opportunity. In fact, it was a lot of smoke and mirrors.

In most cases these production companies fund specialty show by requiring companies to pay money for their product to be featured. The “producer” calling is typically an excellent sales person. He or she will rave about your product, make the opportunity sound glamorous and will push you with a quick timeline. Don’t fall into this trap. Traditional television news or credible talk show coverage (Ellen, Oprah, etc.) will not cost you anything and television news producers will not give you a sales pitch.

If you receive a call from a production company wanting to feature your product on their television show, ask these questions to determine if this is a media opportunity or simply advertising.

1. How many people watch this show? When you ask about audience reach, most production companies will tell you that the show “reaches X number of people”. However, since Neilson does not monitor most of these cable television shows there is no way to confirm the number of people actually watching the show.

2. How much will this cost? There is always a cost associated with these “opportunities”. Some could be as low as $5,000 and others can be as high as $40,000 and up. A traditional media opportunity with Good Morning America or CNN will not cost you a single penny. The most media will ask for is a product sample. And some media outlets will actually purchase the product on their own because the free sample can be considered a “gift” by the outlet’s guidelines.

In the case of The Balancing Act, I would immediately decline this advertising opportunity. You would be much better off investing that money into a publicity and media relations campaign where you can achieve two or three times the amount of coverage with more credible media.

Have questions or want to learn more about achieving high quality media coverage, contact me at jennifer at sweeneypr.com or 910.772.1688.