Researching Household Income for Your Marketing Plan?

census driven income information for your marketing planHaving a tool that allows you to modify the settings can be really helpful.

That’s why I like this interactive map that is driven from data from the US census.

If you are including average household income in your marketing plan and your business is geographically based, you may find this interactive map that uses census data to isolate counties and tracts within the county by income extremely helpful.

It allows you to have a visual analysis of average income which could be a handy tool in creating your marketing program in your business plan.

Narrowing your marketing plan to include visuals of areas of higher income for target advertising

The tool includes the enlarge and reduce map components with the Google guy (the little orange/yellow figure that you can drag into the map to get a visual of walking or driving in the area.)

I could imagine if you were trying to figure out an EDDM mailing or where to open your next store, this could be a real help!

How do You Go About Branding and Marketing a City, County or State?

Hudson Ohio gazebo in the fall on the greenHow important is it that people know about your city, county or state?

Test yourself on your ability to name the 50 states here.

I think you’ll agree that the scores make it apparent which ones invest in branding and marketing their state.

When a city or economic area leaders decide they need to brand and market their city, town, county or state, critics often argue back with two threads: why does it cost so much… and why do we need someone outside to tell us who we are?

The costs to market vary widely — but most areas will agree hiring someone from the outside is more effective than trying to do it yourself. They have often tried to do it themselves without a lot of success.

Probably the best way is to hire a marketing firm that specializes in location marketing for cities, counties or specific areas. While that may seem too expensive, trying to do it from the inside, can result in lost opportunity dollars for many many years to come. When someone looks at his or her own area, it’s too easy to assume that people should just KNOW how great your area is and all the wonderful benefits it has to offer.

My hometown (population about 25,000) has hired a marketing company to help bring new business into town. The city council hired a firm that specializes in helping cities distinguish itself from surrounding towns and county, to help promote tourism, to help create jobs, and to help retain or increase home sales in Hudson Ohio. The three year program from Atlas Advertising from Denver CO will total over $250,000.

A town just north of Hilton Head, Port Royal South Carolina decided to hire a branding company with this RFP. They hired Rawle Murdy Associates for $40,000. It is likely that, for the winning associates, they either hired a specific firm to help them win the business, or they held rfp training to increase their chance of winning the business with an effective rfp.

The nearby area, just a 10 minute drive away Port Royal, Main Street Beaufort is spending $12,000 collected from parking meters for their marketing plan.

And a little farther south, Miami Florida and Dade county are doing it for free “in house” with the help of the tourist and convention center’s staff.

Regardless of what is actually spent on the plan, there are usually several stages… discovery, gathering information, surveying people, creative – developing the positioning, creating a logo and tagline and all the supporting materials, and execution – distribution of the materials and getting all the stakeholders to actually use the branding in their marketing efforts.

Some companies will use steps like these:

1) Establishing core values through a Marketing Audit
2) Best-practices review
3) Work session meetings with residents and social media monitoring
4) Developing a brand identity
5) Action plan for marketing

Getting the community to embrace it after the work has been done and paid for is a crucial step.

Other area marketing plans:
Tour Chautauqua
Visit California – Find Yourself Here
Virginia – LOVE campaign. Virginia Tourism Authority 2012-2014 Strategic Plan
Teton County – Idaho

Have a good one? Please leave a link to it in the comments. Add the price that was paid as well if you know it.


If you only had $5000 to Spend on Marketing, What would You Do?

I was recently asked by a small business owner, “If I only have $5000 to spend on marketing… What would you do for my business?”

Generally, its best to begin with a plan rather than jump in on a tactic. Having a plan is important – even if you are trying to figure out how much to spend on marketing budget or you have a budget and are trying to figure out where to spend it.

Start with the goal.  What do you want to accomplish?  I know, I know, you want more sales. But back it up.  Do you want to sell more products to existing customers? New products to new customers? Existing products to new customers?

where to put your marketing budget dollars
Where do you want to put your marketing budget dollars?

What’s your goal? What actions will get you closer to your goal? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?

For instance, if we assume your objective is to get more Request For Quotes (RFQs) and you know who your best target customers might be – we would select one of the industries from your “who we supply” page, research a list of good potential customers and develop a plan for reaching out to them with a variety of media.  You would be working on more market penetration and more market development.

We’d also need to develop the measuring tools so that you’d have a way to tell which tool in your marketing program was the most effective so you could enhance that one and ease up on the not so effective ones. That would be the push marketing (more expensive but faster results). I would prefer to mix that up with a pull marketing program too (more of an investment in long term results and less cost per lead).

Plus, besides selecting a target market, we’d have to determine which of their 4 products (in this case compression, torsion, and extension, or manufacture of custom wire forms) or features (engineering design, quality, service or price) would be the focus of their message. What’s the benefit to the customer? What does the customer care about.

It’s tempting to jump in on a tactic (like a direct mail postcard program, Google adwords or a video or advertising specialty or press release etc.) but if that particular tactic is not the right way to go, without building a plan and having tested a few things, you might be out the money with little results. And if all the tactics were set for short term results without balancing with some long term passive tactics, it won’t help you down the road.

If you’re measuring results towards a sales goal, you’ll need to make sure you have sales actions as part of your budget. You can be successful with your marketing program, but not have it translate to sales if you don’t have the sales part of your program in place. You’ve got to complete the chain and not let sales be the weak link.

While I usually recommend that you start with a plan that you can use to roll out over time as you are able to fund the marketing budget, you’ve got to define the basics first.  What are you hoping to accomplish when you spend your marketing budget? Leave your answer in the comments below:

Keeping Your Marketing Efforts Secure

We all want to keep our marketing efforts secure. By now, you’ve probably heard about HeartBleed, the security loophole that is very serious for many many websites.

Time to change your password on your accounts for these websites and more: Twitter, FaceBook, GoDaddy, Tumblr, Dropbox, YouTube, Google, Vine, Pinterest, Instagram, Gmail, Foursquare, Yahoo, Amazon, SoundCloud… Basically everything.

This infograph, from LWG Consulting, says it all in very few words.

Major Sites for Marketing Efforts that are Affected By Heartbleed

Marketing efforts are not worth it if you have compromised security. Before you have a bigger problem on your hands, change your passwords on these sites.

Having a problem with your logins and getting your website or accounts stolen, not only locks you out of your own accounts, but allows someone else to post on your behalf. Which could ruin all the work of your marketing efforts. Worse, some of these sites are attached to your credit card, which can lead to credit problems.

Take the time now to switch your passwords. Make sure you keep your marketing efforts secure or you may turn a good thing into a very bad thing!

Online Marketing Guide Helps with Branding

online marketing tips in 2014 CMO Social LandscapeTrying to build your brand? Should you focus on Twitter or Facebook? The use of advertising plays similar roles in any industry. Whether you find yourself in the food business or the law industry, where it’s best to get an understanding of the law firm marketing debate, advertising and marketing does play a large part in any business’ success. For example, many businesses flock to SEO specialists in order to market their brand efficiently. Using SEO professional companies like results in an increase in website traffic due to an increase in visibility of the website.

A quick glance at this chart (green means go) you’ll know what to do. The guide indicates which social media program is best to use to help you to meet your online marketing goals and objectives.

I know what happens to me. I get more comfortable with one format or one of the media outlets makes a big change. Then it’s harder to get comfortable again posting and using the media. CMO has made it easier for me to push myself to learn. It’ll help me use some of the less popular social media outlets, because I know it will better help me meet my goals. If you still feel after this article that you aren’t brave enough to give it a go. Consider consulting someone similar to Ram Digital Marketing Agency.

Online Marketing Tips You Can Use

If your goals for your online marketing are any of these four… improving search engine results, building brand awareness, increasing customer communication or generating traffic, you’ll like the new CMO’s 2014 Guide to the Social Landscape.

Customer communication? Consider Instagram for communication, but it doesn’t look like Google+ will help you very much. I’m sure it matters how many followers you have for each of your various social media accounts, but the using the right medium to communicate the message that best supports your overall goal will help you align your tactics with your goals.

I was surprised that YouTube only had one green category. Here I thought that Video was it!! Maybe it’s great for customer communication. But I guess not as much for seo, brand awareness or traffic generation. It used to be that a video with a keyword phrase and link to your website would really help with brand awareness .

What about you? How do you use social media to improve your online marketing? Do you consider your goals when you’re taking time to do your social media marketing? What is your “go to” format? Some businesses try to build their awareness through word of mouth or even through apparel. If you would like some ideas on how to build brand awareness you might be interested in visiting a company similar to Design Brand Print and browse tshirts here.

Thanks Denise Wakeman for the tip. (She posted it on Google+ which is my least favorite media, but probably the one with the most upside for me at the moment.)