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With an MBA from Tulane, plus two undergrad degrees in design, Sanford manages in a way that combines both the operational precision and drive of an MBA with a keen eye for creative detail. He specializes in developing digital products that help small/mid-size companies make larger impacts in heavily saturated and highly competitive markets. Having spent several years working in the newspaper and radio industries, he now prefers digital media to traditional because of its ever-growing capability to yield instantaneous connections.
Sanford was raised in Miami, but moved to Manhattan when the company expanded in 2004, planting his roots just blocks from the bustle and blaring lights of Times Square. He is a self-described "tech geek" and foodie, and co-authors "The Coolest Gadgets" blog while chasing down the stranger side of global-regional cuisine. His greatest culinary conquests include sampling fugu (a potentially toxic Japanese pufferfish) in Tokyo, and rattlesnake in the American Southwest. His tendency to encourage similar gastronomic challenges to the EIC staff is known to send flocks of less-adventurous team members scurrying for the door when takeout orders arrive for lunch.
Home page: http://www.eic.net
Posts by Sanford Wilk
Your brand defines you as a company. When people respect your brand’s reputation, they put their trust in you. However, the opposite of this statement is also true. If your brand’s reputation tanks, then you can be sure to expect some form of negative impact. As a business owner, you need to keep in mind the risks to your company when you don’t protect your brand’s reputation.
Losing Time and Money
A brand is like a baby. You nurture it, you feed it, and shape what it is going to be. That requires time and money. An investment that you stand to lose if you are not careful. Even worse, any negative impact on the perception of your brand will cost you more in the future. You are not going to give up on your brand, and it takes more effort to bring it back into a positive light then it does to give it life.
Your Company’s Sales
When your brand’s reputation suffers, how do you think your customers will react? If your brand gets into trouble, everyone starts to look at it differently. For your customers, some of them will start to distance themselves from you. They do this with their wallets. Customer spending on your products or services declines and the growth of your company is stunted.
Reputation Affects Expansion
Most businesses know that they can’t do it alone. They can build a company at the start, but along the way they are going to need help from competent and qualified employees. When people think ill of your company, they stay away. That includes qualified talent, who can help bring new ideas that may help expand your business. Unfortunately, public perception forces them to go elsewhere for work. After all, who would want to work for a company that no one respects?
There is a right time for everything, and when the holidays roll around, nothing rings truer. If you are an advertiser, this means setting up your ads to reflect the holiday spirit. How do you do this? By following these tips in order to bring your holiday marketing up to snuff.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
Your target audience is always ever changing, and you need to keep up in order to market your products properly. Pay attention to trends leading into the holiday season. Customers will change their buying habits, as well as where they shop.
Did your customers avoid buying a certain product earlier in the year because it was too expensive? A really enticing sale during the winter season might bring them back as they are looking for the perfect holiday gift. Knowing information like this will help you develop better campaigns.
Holiday Marketing and Social Media
Everyone is attached to their social media accounts. Use that to your advantage. First, see what your customers are talking about online. This can help shape your ideas for how to reach them effectively. Your next step is to capitalize on your social media presence to inform everyone about new deals during the holidays.
Make Buying Your Products Easier
When gift-giving, season rolls around, customers begin to scramble to find the right gift and to find it right away. Help them do just that. Update your SEO on all platforms so that people can find your products online without any problems. Remember, Google, Amazon, YouTube, and other platforms are all search engines in their own right. Follow trends on each so that you can develop better search terms.
Another tip to make your customers’ lives happier. Free shipping. Nothing beats a good sale more than having it arrive at your home, free of charge. This builds good will with customers who need their gifts fast and without worry.
Building a website has evolved. What marketers have to focus on is different than 10 years ago. You have to implement evolving technology and the people who use it. Tablets and mobile phones have changed the way people access and interact with websites. With that in mind, find out what the new generation is using to browse online.
Mobile vs. Desktop Websites
Mobile phones are used to do everything. Today, it has allowed people to access information much faster and from anywhere. So, it goes without saying that more people are using mobile phones and tablets to browse the internet, especially Millennials.
It makes sense that the new generation is using their mobile devices to visit websites, order online, and inquire about information. Millennials grew up on this type of technology. Also, with the rise of mobile apps, it is easier for people to access a company’s content.
Unfortunately, this means that desktop use is on the decline. According to comScore, 20% of people in their 20’s are going mobile-only. They also state that desktop use has declined year-over-year. While this does not mean that every millennial is abandoning their home computer, it does mean that they are relying more on their phones.
Should I Focus on Mobile-Only?
No, mobile should be your focus but it should not replace designing websites for the desktop. When your website appears on a desktop it should still be usable and attract. Users stay on a website longer when they browsing through a desktop.
Another factor is your ad revenue. You lose viewing space when your website is on mobile. That means that there is no space for advertisements. A desktop website is where you will make the most money from advertisement, so make sure that people do not leave your site because the quality is poor.
Remember, the new generation prefers mobile but desktops are still a part of their lives. Plan for what you can realistically build on mobile, and create a functional desktop version afterward.
In this day and age, your product credibility means everything. People want more in-depth information on what a product does, how it works, and most importantly, who has tested it. So, the question is: How do you go about building credibility? The answer lies in campaigns featuring testimonials and product demonstrations.
Building Credibility With Testimonials and Product Demonstrations
Every year a new phone seems to come out. However, it becomes harder and harder to tell the difference between this year’s and last year’s model. The rapid pace at which new technology come out has left many consumers cautious. It will take a little bit of extra effort to convince them that the new version of your product is worth buying. So create campaigns, videos or otherwise, using these marketing techniques.
Testimonials give your consumers someone to relate to. This is why they work so well. Remember that your existing customers have a reason for buying your product. Use their unique story to show how their lives have improved since buying from you. Their story will motivate other consumers to take action.
Product Demonstrations leave little room for doubt. They answer all the questions your prospective consumers have. This type of campaign will also separate this year’s model from last year’s. Does the new version of your device offer Bluetooth connectivity? Are you now offering a new mattress with twice the amount of comfort as last year’s model? Then test the product and show that it works. If you demonstrate all of the products features and how they work, people can make an informed decision.
Both of these campaigns have proven to grab people’s attention. Samsung’s introduction of the Galaxy Note 7 received 94 million views online, and Nike’s “Unlimited” commercial, which showcased the stories of world class athletes, made up 86 percent of the company’s views. Start using these proven marketing techniques as a means of building credibility with your audience.
The world moves fast. As a marketer, that means that you have to be on the forefront of the newest trends. More importantly, changing demographics. With that in mind, here are a couple of groups you should focus on. These target demographics are the people you should be putting your resources towards.
Important Target Demographics
Millennials – The dreaded word, “Millennials.” Even though most people in this group do not like to be called by this term, it defines this generation. This generation of technologically capable individuals are known to be driven and diverse. They are also in the prime of their adulthood, so it is the perfect time to approach them with things they want and need.
Most of the people in this group grew up with technology. As a marketer, you can use this to your advantage. Target marketing works best for them. Find out what they like, what they do, and offer them products and services on the social media channels they frequent.
Women – With the possibility of the United States’ first female president on the way, you should be thinking about how to target women in the future. According to the United States Department of Labor, women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. work force. This means that they have purchasing power. Many of them are also the primary breadwinner of their household, making them the decision makers for what to buy and when to splurge.
Children – The children are our future. If you find out what they like now, this can lead to plenty of opportunities. While this group (known as Generation Z) is pretty much unknown, we do know that they are growing up with the internet as an everyday tool.
Another important factor to remember is that parents are concerned about their child’s health and well-being the most. That includes making sure they are happy and have a pleasant childhood. Parents are also more inclined to want to provide their children with everything they didn’t have. Out of all the target demographics, children have the power to influence what their parents buy.
There is a lot of criticism when it comes to native advertising. While it is one of the more effective ways of reaching your audience, and helps to avoid ad blocking software, some customers are not fans of this marketing technique. In order to persuade apprehensive consumers, honesty is the best policy.
What is Native Advertising?
Native advertising is a “disguised” form of advertising media. This means that your advertisement looks and appears in the same style as the platform it is advertising on. Whether it is an article, video, or any other form of media, it is almost indistinguishable from the platform’s primary content.
The problem with native advertising is that most customers see it as deceptive. Most customers have trouble distinguishing the difference between regular content (written by the editor) and advertorial content. This confusion leads to some customers feeling like they have been misled. As a marketer or advertiser, you do not want your customers to feel like you have betrayed their trust.
Effectively Using Native Advertising
The best way to approach native advertising is to be honest with your audience. It is common practice to label any article, video, image, or content as an advertisement. This label lets visitors know that the content they are about to engage with is sponsored. By adding a layer of transparency viewers are not confused.
You can also be transparent in your content as well. Introduce your company before you discuss the benefits of your new product or service. Even if the viewers know that your piece of content was not written by the editorial staff, good content will grab their attention.
The best part about native advertising is that it is becoming more and more accepted every day. People expect to see promoted content on websites they frequent. Just stay honest and you will have plenty of opportunities to reach new audiences.
When you think about the term demographics, you have to remember that some people are categorized using very broad terms. The fact is that most companies need to shy away from going too far in that direction. If you are still targeting any of these three groups as your primary demographic, you need to narrow your target audience.
The Whole World of Demographics
If you think you can target everyone because everyone needs what you are selling, your marketing dollars are being wasted. First of all, you can’t please everybody, so even a great product isn’t for all people. Second, you can’t market to everyone. If you don’t have a narrower target, you’re going to miss more often than hit. If you can narrow things down, this gives you a means of focusing your marketing efforts. The result will be greater success, especially when it comes to the conversion rate of your efforts.
The problem here is not that you have too few people to target, but rather the idea of not having diverse enough criteria. You can’t select one factor, like people who like to read, and have that as your only criteria for a customer. Even if you are operating a bookstore, your individual campaigns need to target people who like specific genres of books, like those who listen to audiobooks. You may even need to target people who like movies that are based on books. After all, some people actually do like to watch the movie first and then go get the book. You may also need to target some individuals by age range or education level to market the right level of reading difficulty to people.
The Largest Living Generation
You’re going to say, “He can’t be telling us to avoid targeting Millennials.” The fact is that Millennials are a generation of people, not a legitimate marketing demographic in their own right. They come from all walks of life, education levels, financial statuses, etc. If you treat all Millennials the same, you’ll alienate more of them than you’ll reach.
You can’t make the entire target a bull’s-eye and say you’ve hit the mark every time. That’s just not how marketing works.
Metrics can be the lifeblood of marketing. After all, measurable campaigns allow you to make needed changes on the fly, resulting in great ROI and profitability of marketing efforts. On the other hand, many aspects of the metric industry are flawed, and there are definitely a few things we can do without. Here are four of those things.
Sentiment Assessment Metrics
It’s not a bad thing to want to grow sentiment toward your social campaigns. The problem is that the ability to produce accurate metrics in this regard simply doesn’t exist yet, and it may never happen. The fact is that most sentiment analytic tools err on the side of the negative. This results in constant pressure on the marketing staff to improve a number that may be bogus to begin with.
Single-Score Metrics Provided by Third-Party Companies
Single-score metrics for social media are not necessarily the problem. The idea is that we look to a third party for this score, and they are trying to develop a single algorithm that works for every business across various industries and other factors. Remember that these scorekeepers can’t always tell the difference between a human and a bot. Is this how you want to determine which of your social followers are the most influential?
Traffic from Social Bookmarking Sites
The problem is that these sites provide little traffic with any value. The more that your metric for social booking traffic goes up, the more your bounce rate will also likely go up. You don’t need a metric to tell you this is bad for your site. Consumers like real social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Stick with those, and the traffic you measure will actually be worth something.
Stats Involving Check-Ins
Social sites that invite people to check in are nowhere near as popular as they once were. For example, Foursquare has about 55 million active users, but this stat refers only to people who use the app at least once per month. Facebook’s check-in feature is being all but abandoned.
If you find that you are swimming in metrics, the right ones to dump are the ones that can’t always be accurate or that don’t have any real meaning.
If your target audience is full of people with 3-letter titles that start with C, there’s no margin for error. However, the rewards for landing executive clients can be huge for almost every industry. With a C-level executive in your corner, you are assured to have a client with a much higher lifetime value. These are the type of influencers you can’t gain the backing of with a witty social media post. You have to design content marketing strategies specifically for executives, and that strategy has to be as elite as the people you are marketing to.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are trying to extend your business contacts all the way up to the top of the corporate ladder.
Hooking a Big Fish
If we take that analogy through to its completion, hooking a big fish means using the right bait, in the right location, and at the right time. Getting the attention of an executive requires the same factors. You need relevant content that is as current as possible. This means both knowing an industry well and being up-to-date on today’s news—and not just this month’s trends.
Creating the Right Degree of Value
We always talk about the need to create value for a consumer. For an executive, the level of substance has to be extremely tangible. You have to provide real business solutions, and be able to back up your ideas in order to gain credibility.
Break the Mold With New Content Marketing Strategies
You can’t market to an executive using the same material as for everyone else. You need to deliver something that really has an element of surprise,t and you have to deliver quickly with no time-wasting fillers. This is the content marketing version of an elevator pitch.
Being able to market to executives is a skill. It takes time to hone, and you can’t expect the same thing to work for every individual. However, the benefits of perseverance are tremendous. When you connect directly with C-level execs, it gives you a relationship with a company that you can’t have when working with project leaders, managers, or even directors.
You’ve asked customers for feedback in surveys. You’ve read all of the online reviews. You’ve listened to what people have told your customer service reps on the phone. So what do you do with all of this customer feedback? Here are a few ways you can turn feedback—positive or negative—into something productive.
Improve Your Staff With Customer Feedback
People love to receive good service. If you want to raise approval ratings for your brand, this is the fastest way to do it. It’s also what people are most likely to complain about. So listen to those customer-service call recordings, and pay attention to online reviews and survey responses to see what your team can do. Then provide better training for new employees, and try to train and salvage the employees you have, rather than getting rid of anyone who has ever made a mistake.
Make a Better First Impression
Learning from the mistakes of the past (as well as the things you did right) can help you to make a better first impression on future new customers. The better that first experience is with your brand, the more likely you are to get repeat business.
Learn Your Customers’ Lingo
If you speak like a consumer, you’ll get a better response. You may say that your new kitchen knife can cut through a shoe, but the customer may not care. If you read a ton of positive reviews that say the knife cuts through vegetables like they were butter, guess what your new slogan should be.
Research Your Own Market
This is a unique opportunity to direct feedback to the kind of information that you need to know. Do you have two or three products that are best sellers? Ask specific questions about what appeals to consumers in regard to those products. Then you know how to make the whole product line more appealing. And once you’ve made the changes, you know how to market the new and improved items.
Some customer feedback is requested, and other feedback is given whether you want it or not. Use both kinds to be a better brand