Marketing Eye

Small Business Marketing - Page 4

There are so many Apps around today, that it is hard to know which one's to download and take up space on either your smart phone, tablet or computer.

As a marketing agency, we use a number of "must have" apps to ensure that we are regularly monitoring our clients performance online and ensuring that we are abreast of their competitors movements, campaigns and conversations as well as leveraging industry news and developments to bring their brands to the forefront.

While we continue to grow audiences, increasing our clients brands within the circles in which they trade, it becomes increasingly important to utilize Apps that cut-through the clutter and help ensures that we don't waste time on social media where possible.

Here are 8 of the most efficient analytical Apps that Marketing Eye uses:

1. HootSuite: If you don't use this, then you have not only been hiding under a rock, but you are missing a valuable tool. HootSuite is a social media management solution that enables teams to collaborately execute social media campaigns across multiple platforms from one single view point - a dashboard. HootSuite includes audience identification tools, the ability to streamline workflow and customize reporting. It is perfect for managing Twitter accounts.
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Last month I missed a dinner with a bunch of business women because my diary was overbooked and I was stuck in Atlanta instead of being in Los Angeles. I felt terrible. How did this happen? I am beginning to be quite unreliable with this business group and I respect their time and efforts in putting this dinner together particularly since I don't live in the same city.

The leader, a highly successful international business woman with companies in Europe, UK, and Australia, had gathered a small group of people together as a favor to her cousin, for a woman that she didn't know.

Always ready to help out, THE LEADER, gathered seven or so women that all run successful businesses together to meet for dinner. As they all arrived, they introduced themselves and talked about what they did and where their businesses were going. All normal stuff in a meeting of like-minded individuals there for the sole purpose of sharing ideas and experiences regarding business.
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What started out as a dream became a reality, much faster than I anticipated.

Many entrepreneurs can attest to having a dream or maybe just something on their bucket list that needs to be crossed off. I am one of those people. I have a dream but most importantly for me, an item on my bucket list that needs to be crossed off by a given time frame.

What once was a dirty word to me, the position of entrepreneur in a fast growing, dynamic company is the most exhilarating career choice I could have every made.

What other job has you jumping out of bed at 5am each morning, dressing in a matter of minutes and rushing off to the office to start your day? For that matter, what other job gives you the highs of an entrepreneur and the flexibility to be exactly who you are?
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If I could have a dollar for every time I didn't trust my gut instinct, I would be a very rich woman.

Like most entrepreneurs, I have failed more times than I have succeeded and every single time I have failed I have thought back to how I could have done things differently. 9 times out of 10, it was because I didn't trust my gut instinct.

Trusting in yourself and your intuition is important, but if you are anything like me, you second guess what you think you should do and find reasons as to why you should do something a different way. It's not too indifferent from taking a risk. We are all reluctant to take risks but sometimes there is this thing inside us that tells us that we must do it - even though there a thousand reasons why we shouldn't.
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A few weeks ago, we met with the delightful Jack Rehm and Karen Larkin of Midsouth Planning in Atlanta. The first thing that struck me about both Jack and Karen is how nice they are. Now, nice isn't a word that many people would like associated with themselves because of the connotations that it has, but its true. They are smart, thoughtful, considerate and nice.

It was a big step for both of them to take to hire a marketing company as it isn't something that they had done before.
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"Same bed, but it feels a bit bigger now" is the lyrics in the famous Bruno Mars song "When I was your man".  An apt description of Marketing Eye's business expansion into the US market. It's the same company, but its a bit bigger now. 

What started out as a step to expand the international footprint of our brand, has taken on a whole new dimension. Australian and America have long been tied and now more so than ever. The ebbs of the economy has led to an opportunity for Australian companies that are geared for expansion to leverage the strength of the Australian dollar, and affordable set up costs in the US market without breaking the bank. The downside, is US dollars are not worth as much, as the dollar loses its grip on parity.

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We hit the road running in Atlanta and haven't looked back since.

In just six short months, we have embarked on changing the mindsets of many small businesses in Atlanta, that have been pressured by the Global Financial Crisis and are reluctant to ease their way out and invest in marketing.

As we know, many companies that increased their investment in marketing during this period grew significantly. It's just like when everyone is walking one way and you are walking the other. You all of a sudden stand out and people take notice of you. If they like what they see, then you make connections.

The past few months, we have been working with one of the most impressive companies in the US - Accretive Solutions. They provide consulting, staffing and outsourcing solutions to companies and have 11 offices throughout the country.

What impresses me most about Accretive Solutions is their people. If you ask any of their clients, they all say that it's their people that set Accretive Solutions apart from competitors. They don't hire juniors, and instead invest in people with experience and passion for doing challenging, interesting work.
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After reading HBR's 10 Must Reads book "On Strategic Marketing", it has made me realize how much small businesses are being confused by what they read and hear in regards to strategic marketing.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Right? Well, not always, but it is a good idea to have a plan in place that is a blueprint for what your business is trying to achieve.

The thing with strategic marketing plans is that there are so many variables that have changed and continue to change, that no plan can be set in stone. In fact, you really do need to pick it up out of your drawer every month and revise it, otherwise, you may find out that you are losing ground on what you are trying to achieve as a business.

Googling strategic marketing plans and looking up examples of what other people have written is a waste of time and energy. If this is how you put together your marketing blueprint, then think again. What comes up on Google is simply embarrassing to the marketing industry. Often the examples have been written years ago and do not take into account new marketing techniques, changes in economic conditions or the fact that social media is something that no business can ignore.

Like many books today, On Strategic Marketing is all cover, with little substance relating to the topic at all. Yes, it talks about how sales and marketing can work together, it talks on customer relationships, branding in the digital age adn more. But to be totally honest, its a bland read that needs some real substance. Not too indifferent from other reads on the bookshelf that have eye catching titles but fail to live up to expectations.

Strategic marketing has changed and there are many variables to take into account:

1. Overall business goals, objectives and resources
2. Target market and SWOT analysis
3. Customer relationships
4. Employee relationships and culture
5. 5 P's; Product, price, promotion, place and people
6. Social media
7. Technology 
8. KPI's

By moving Social media and technology out of what we all learnt at University in the 5P's, it allows us to give these areas of importance individual focus and accomodate the fact that social media and technology are the biggest drivers of marketing strategies today.

Establishing a workable marketing strategy that is continually updated and deeply ingrained in your company's DNA is paramount to achieving marketing success.
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A simple conversation can lead to anything. Literally, anything.

Like many entrepreneurs, gravitating to other entrepreneurs or business people is natural. Talking to a Neurosurgeon is not.

"It's not brain surgery" is one of my favorite sayings. The other, "it's not rocket science". It seems quite apt that I find myself in conversation with a neurosurgeon, whose gene pool is only bolstered by the fact his father is a rocket scientist.  Was I intimidated. Hell yes! But how impressed I was to be having such an intriguing and relevant conversation with a neurosurgeon, was only interrupted by moments of wanting to be opportunistic. I had to literally stop myself asking if a sperm donation was a point I could include in the discussion. Now, what single woman wouldn't want to have a child with this gene pool?

Nevertheless, when I pulled myself together, I realized the synergies between business and neurosurgery isn't actually poles apart and much closer than one would think. As a marketer, we have certainly learnt a lot from neuroscience and consumer behaviour, but the outlook of how a surgeon views what they do, was what struck me as being something every entrepreneur can learn from.
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Today I met with a woman who had worked in experiential marketing and it occured to me that so many experiential marketing companies are out of date with new marketing techniques. Only 18 months ago, I remember speaking to a local experiential marketing company and showing them how to incorporate social media into the mix. Really? Had they been sleeping under a rock? 

Fortunately for them, they were not alone, but I have noticed they have been using that free advice and have spruced up their efforts - big time! The old-fashion event gals and guys who started experiential marketing firms are being overtaken by more creative outfits like buzzer.nl who have taken experiential marketing to a whole new level.
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Yesterday I learnt that my reference to Hot Atlanta is actually not meant to be Hot Atlanta but in fact, Hotlanta. 

Here I am going around thinking I am uber cool using Hot Atlanta as reference to the city that I have come to love, all while everyone else desperately wants to correct me, but don't. Possibly because they feel sorry for my constant need to become more familiar with American terms and sayings to help me fit in a bit better and feel like I am really part of the crowd.

Unfortunately, that's not my only failed attempt at "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". At a launch party for Hublot and Ferrari last night at Buckhead's hottest bar, Yebo, I remember walking outside at 9pm and thinking how amazing it was that it was still light, after totally missing an entire thunderstorm with lightning as I was having a fabulous time. Everyone in sync began to tell me how "nasty" the weather had been. Really nasty!!!! I laughed and repeated it to them trying desperately to mimmick their accents.
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edMost founders and entrepreneurs have their heads stuck so far up their you know what, to actually take the time to truly learn something from the young guns in their offices.

Another gross generalization, but the reality is that too many of the Gen-Xers who have started businesses 5 years ago, are working their butts off and are not spending the time needed to lessen their load by giving the young, up-and-coming executives the chance to really make a difference.

Here's my experience. I was sharing a glass of wine with Maikayla Desjardins, a Marketing Executive at Marketing Eye Atlanta yesterday and I asked the question, "why did you leave your job in New York and come and work for me in Atlanta?"

Her first response was: "You sold me on Atlanta as this awesome place to live - but let's face it, it's not quite New York!"
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Today I was asked the question, "what inspires you to come up with blogs?"

The answer is simple: "things that happen in every day life often inspire me."

If the truth be told, the blogs have been few and far between of late because inspiration is being cluttered with real life work, legals and end of financial year in Australia.

Jackson, a talented young guy on a 3-month internship with Marketing Eye asked the question and then followed with, "what do you think of tattoos?"

I had to think - not much. I don't have one myself, but many people do. They don't offend me, nor do I think that it would affect my decision in hiring someone or giving them a promotion, but this is not the case with all organizations it seems.
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