Lend Us Your Eyes
Everyone wants eyeballs on their content. But humans have the attention span of a gnat. Such is the Catch 22 of modern marketing.
By 2020, half the world’s population will be online every day. That’s almost four billion people, and the average attention span of those people is about eight seconds and declining all the time.
So long gone are the days of folks sitting down with the newspaper (and accompanying newsprint on their fingers) for a few hours, it’s almost impossible to imagine anymore.
The competition among marketers for those eight seconds of our attention is fierce, and the ways to get it are many. Only a strategy that employs a multimedia approach has a fighting chance of engaging your target audiences.
Different Learning Styles, Different Media
Even more important than identifying what kinds of content to produce (the list is long) is understanding why and for whom it should be created. People learn and engage in a variety of ways and through many different media channels. Generally, there are three different learning styles: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (learning through touch).
Visual Is King
Nearly everyone processes visual content more quickly and easily than text. It also stays in our long-term memory longer. This is why videos, photos, animations, webcasts, slideshares, and infographics are so important to a robust marketing campaign. Most smart phones today have high-quality camcorders, so producing simple videos and uploading them to YouTube (the second most popular search engine after Google) is inexpensive and relatively straightforward, as long as your content is engaging, meaningful and consumer-centric. And super awesome, too.
Multimedia utilizes all learning styles and appeals to almost all consumers.
Where Is Your Audience?
So Many Screens. Reaching consumers on the platforms they frequent is every bit as important as the types of media you choose to deliver your messages. The average adult 18 and older spends as many as 11 hours a day looking at a screen. Most of that time is spent watching live TV, and a large portion (almost two and a half hours) is spent on a smartphone. Only about a half hour is spent at a desktop computer (outside of work) or on a tablet.
Social Media. While Facebook has become decidedly uncool among people under 25, 72 percent of Facebook users are between the ages of 50 and 64, and 62 percent of seniors 65+ are on Facebook. Younger audiences live on YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram and binge-worthy TV, such as “Game of Thrones.” Brands are also wise to leverage Twitter, where 37 percent of people aged 18-29 and 25 percent aged 30-49 follow their favorite celebrities, athletes and politicos. About 347,222 tweets go out per minute.
WWW. Your website is your virtual front door. This is where all your owned content lives and where prospects will either engage with you or move on to your competitor’s site. It’s safe to say that nearly all segments of society consult and expect comprehensive information from a website and have at least a basic understanding of how to navigate around. A killer website is an absolute must for all businesses today, no matter how small. There are just too many fish in the digital sea for anything less.
Print. Print is still a viable marketing medium, even in today’s online world, and resonates more with older audiences who still value the experience of receiving something tangible in the mail. Print also has special appeal to those who learn best through tactile experiences, as modern printing presses can do some amazing things with surface texture!
Email. Nearly 4 billion people across the world use email, up 100 million from last year. Needless to say, email campaigns are also still relevant, especially if they include good storytelling, personalization and interactive features.
Consumers Demand It
There’s no going back to the days of three media: print, radio and TV, none of which facilitated any conversation with audiences. Today’s consumers are “prosumers,” active participants in the buyer journey with the ability – and willingness – to advocate, critique, persuade, dissuade, advise, share, upload, download, and build up or tear down a brand before the entire world. They demand engagement – experiences – and only a multimedia marketing approach will satisfy them. Anything less will knock your brand back into the dark ages and leave you wanting for leads and customers.
Let our team of experts help you strategize, develop and deliver the best multimedia campaigns for your unique audiences.
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
Have you ever been in a business meeting when someone used an acronym you didn’t know? Did you sit there with sweaty palms, hoping your part of the meeting wouldn’t require you to know what it stands for? Did you ask what it means? Or did you quickly and surreptitiously look it up on your device at hand?
While the word “acronym” was first coined by Bell Laboratories in 1943, acronyms themselves are nothing new. Even the Romans used them (as in the roll-off-your-tongue SPQR for Senatus Populusque Romanus), but more are tossed around these days than ever before.
New ones are born seemingly every day, in every industry and social arena. You’d have to be a walking urban dictionary to know or remember them all. So, forgive yourself your FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and accept that you’re never going to keep up.
That said, there are some acronyms that marketing professionals simply CNK (Can’t Not Know, and we just made that up). But first, why is it important to know and use them?
Why Use Acronyms?
- You’re going to look like a dinosaur if you don’t. Remember that business meeting, when CMO Joe kept dropping DKA (Don’t Know Acronyms), and you felt like a dope? You felt that way for a reason. Anything that’s used in the normal lexicon of your industry should be second nature to you. Otherwise, you and your company look well behind the times.
- They’re efficient and convenient. It may not seem like such a big deal to type out “as soon as possible” one time, but multiply that by the number of times you convey that sense of urgency in a week, and you’ve added several minutes to your precious time.
- They save money and trees. If you’re printing hard documents, acronyms take up less room and, thus, use less paper.
- They’re quicker and easier to say. Consider the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Emergency Guidance Abort Destruct System, for example. Isn’t it just a lot faster and simpler to say NASA’s EGADS?
- Their brief, snappy character lends itself perfectly to texting and social media, especially on hand-held devices.
- They’re hip (think young) and fun to use, as in the EGADS example above.
The acronyms one should know off the top of their head depends largely on the business one is in. Because you’re reading a marketing blog, we’re going to focus on that arena, along with its first cousins, social media and email. Keep in mind that the same acronyms can have multiple meanings, depending on the industry. Therefore, it’s best to specify that industry when searching acronyms. For example, “AMA in healthcare.”
We’re not going to include the acronyms that are familiar to the lay person, such as FYI, OMG, ASAP, TGIF, LOL. If you’re not familiar with those, here’s a good primer.
Top Marketing (and a Few Sales) Acronyms You Need to Know
B2B: Business to Business
B2C: Business to Consumer
CRM: Customer Relationship Management
MAP: Marketing Automation Platform
RSS: Really Simple Syndication
HTML: Hypertext Markup Language
CPC: Cost Per Click
CPL: Cost Per Lead
CTA: Call to Action
CTR: Click Through Rate
PPC: Pay Per Click
BR: Bounce Rate
SEO: Search Engine Optimization
RFP: Request For Proposal
SAAS: Software As A Service
PR: Lest we insult your intelligence, PR stands for Page Rank as well as the better known Public Relations
SMM: Social Media Marketing
ROI: Return On Investment
Top Social Media Acronyms You Need to Know
AMA: Ask Me Anything
IDK: I Don’t Know
DM: Direct Message
LMK: Let Me Know
IMO/IMHO: In My Opinion/In My Humble Opinion
SMH: Shaking My Head
YOLO: You Only Live Once
JSYK: Just So You Know
ELI5: Explain Like I’m 5
LMAO: Laughing My Ass Off
NSFW: Not Safe For Work
Top Email Acronyms You Need to Know
NRN: No Response Necessary
EOD: End Of Day
EOM: End Of Message (allows you to put your brief message in the subject line so email doesn’t need to be opened; e.g., “Meeting at 4:00 – EOM”)
BCC: Blind Carbon Copy
CC: Carbon Copy
OOO: Out Of Office
OT: Off Topic
YTD: Year To Date
We at IVY have enjoyed sharing this sampling of common marketing acronyms with you. We ask you to remember one more: our MAPS approach to all your marketing needs. Let us help you make the most of your campaigns in the following areas of expertise:
If you have a favorite acronym(s) that is not on our list, please let us know what it is and what it stands for. Please share this blog on your social media for even more feedback!
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
Probably the least unique word to describe one’s brand is, well, “unique.” Almost everyone says they are but saying and being are two different animals. What’s more, some businesses and organizations can’t even identify to themselves what’s truly different about them among their competitors.
While we sometimes question our own personal “normalcy” (does anyone else feel/think/act this way, or is it just me?), that is the very self-conscious question businesses should be asking themselves. Does anyone else feel/think/act as we do? If the answer is no, that’s cause for great celebration (at least from a marketing standpoint) because that genuine distinction is the foundation upon which absolutely everything about your brand is built.
But…what if you don’t know how you’re different, or even if you are? Again, there is a lot of ground between saying you’re unique, believing it and, ultimately, proving it. You can almost hear Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders belting out “Brass in Pocket”: I’m special, so special, I gotta have some of your attention; give it to me! But how?
For every not, there’s an “is”
Sometimes it’s best to discover who or what your brand is by knowing what it’s not. For example, if you’re a small company with only a few (albeit dedicated and talented) employees, you wouldn’t make promises or claims that could only be delivered by a large staff. You’re not a big company, and that’s more than okay. It might just be better and exactly what your prospects are looking for.
Staying with our size example, because your company is not big, it is likely nimble, flexible, less bureaucratic and more customer-centric. When you’re assessing what your brand is not, always look on the other side of the mirror to see what it is.
Lead with who you are
While understanding what you’re not is crucial, be sure to meet prospects with confidence in who you are. Make sure that what you share about your brand is memorable and credible. Knowing how to pitch your truly unique brand also means knowing what your prospective customer wants. Easier said than done – not just in determining what they want, but also in knowing what you can deliver. Sometimes we are too close to our brands to discern that distinctive quality that really makes us stand out. A helpful approach might be to poll your current customers about what they like most (and least) about your brand or start insightful conversations online.
Get it on the table
For starters, sit down with your team (preferably away from the workplace) and make a list of your company’s pros and cons, strengths/weaknesses, is/is not’s. Talk openly and honestly about everything, from the clothing you wear to the way you answer your business line, the effort you bring to a client meeting, the quality of your product or service, and the manner and time frame in which it’s delivered. Nothing is too inconsequential in this important time of self-discovery.
Assign roles to your team
In the “mini-retreat” described above, decide whose role will be what going forward, once free discussion has concluded. Some of these roles might include:
o The Research Assistant: This is the one (or more) who identifies prospects and their needs and gathers information about your competitors’ strengths and shortcomings.
o The Sleuth: This is the “secret shopper” who engages first-hand with your competition to investigate what it does well and what could be improved.
o The Demonstrator: This is the person who is most comfortable pitching to potential customers the value of your brand and how it can benefit that particular prospect. This person may vary, depending on what is being presented.
o The Truth Teller: This is everyone on your team offering an honest assessment of what could change or be improved in your company. You can offer your suggestions anonymously, if this is more comfortable. Again, don’t hesitate to solicit your current customers’ opinions, too.
Be experts in a niche area
Many brands specialize in fulfilling a specific consumer need. Take every opportunity through every available means (and there are many!) to let customers and prospects know why you can be trusted as the niche expert they seek.
Focus on purpose
Here’s a great example, provided by author Jesse Lyn Stoner, of focusing on purpose: “When I’m at a cocktail party and someone asks me what I do, I have a choice about whether I want to talk to them or not. If I say, ‘I’m a consultant,’ their eyes glaze over, and they move on to the next person. If I say, ‘I help leaders and their teams create a shared vision and put it into action,’ they’re usually curious and begin to ask questions.” Focus on the end-result or experience your brand makes happen, not the services or products you provide.
Don’t copy, and don’t be copied
While knowing what your competition is up to is always good marketing practice, trying to replicate it will likely result in lackluster results and an identity crisis. Choosing a different angle within your particular industry is a more productive – and distinctive – tactic. For example, when Progressive Insurance developed a tool that allowed adjusters to immediately and accurately provide claims assistance at the site of an accident, it distinguished itself among the insurance giants and has since enjoyed great commercial success.
On the other side of the coin, don’t allow your own brand to be replicated. Once you’ve created and perfected an attribute that is truly exceptional, make sure it’s not something others can just as easily do. Pinpoint what is timeless and time-honored about your brand and ensure that your entire team makes showcasing and strengthening that asset their number one priority.
Our team of experts can help you discover what’s unique to you and, once identified, make the very most of your special qualities.
IVY MARKETING. COME GROW WITH US.
As marketing and public relations professionals in the senior housing niche, we at IVY are intimately aware of the unique challenges and rewards of the journey from individual homeownership to retirement community living.
Not only have we nearly 30 years of experience crafting the right messages and communications for those seniors and their loved ones contemplating a move to a senior living environment, we have personal and very deeply felt connections to this life transition in our own families.
Choice or Necessity?
What are the “right messages” for this monumental decision? Let’s start by saying that sometimes it’s not a decision at all. All too often, people are forced into a situation that requires care beyond what they or their family can provide, and they must “go somewhere” on a dime. In such cases, the sales cycle is short, and decisions are based principally on price and proximity to the primary family care taker.
A move to community senior living, however, should not be a dire necessity. This is not how our clients wish to welcome new residents. Still, that predicament is likely and understandable, as many of us are hesitant to move from the perceived independence associated with managing our own homes unless we have to.
The Beautiful Truth
Indeed, while senior living has evolved dramatically over the past decade, much slower to change is the perception by the aging population of their options. It’s extremely difficult to get past seniors’ preconceived notions of what “those places” are like and share the reality of the vibrant, engaging, carefree lifestyle that awaits them.
But share we must. The absolute truth is that our retirement community clients offer opportunities and freedom that older adults never dared imagine. The messages we help our clients to convey are, quite simply, that a senior living environment is an optimal choice.
Today’s senior living communities are stunning – not only in their physical accommodations, but in all they have to offer their residents – endless possibilities they would never have had the chance or inclination to experience before, and the liberty to pursue them without the burdens of managing a household.
Friendships blossom and flourish in senior living communities; loneliness and depression fade like the stress and fear associated with the move in the first place.
Undeniably, fear and stress are realities for most people contemplating a move to a retirement community. For most potential buyers of senior housing, the move signals that they are aging, an acknowledgment few relish. It is also one of the most expensive decisions to make and has a sense of finality to it, because many assume that a senior community is the last place they will ever live.
This is not something we or our clients try to downplay or disguise. We know that effective marketing for senior living must include honest addressing of prospects’ concerns as well as profound understanding of just how different this industry is from others. Rarely is an offering as life-altering as senior housing, and most markets are not subjected to such intellectual or emotional disconnect.
Bridging the head and heart can take a very long time for independent living accommodations where residents do not need assisted or skilled care. It also takes many visits, calls and assurances from a trusted source, usually the sales person, as well as other residents to close the deal. It is not uncommon for there to be 12-14 interactions with a potential resident prior to making the sale of an independent senior living residence. Once the decision to buy into or rent at an independent senior living community is made, it becomes a logical, well-planned transition without the emotional acceptance.
Sharing the Truth
We are as excited to tell everyone about our clients’ amazing communities as they are!
Strong is the bond we have with our clients in senior housing, and great are its rewards. Our team has true partnerships with those we serve, bringing talent, skill and the latest trends and technology to the table as well as regular presence in their communities (telling the wonderful stories of both staff and residents), constant encouragement and enthusiasm, and in-depth knowledge of the exceptionally unique process of marketing senior living.
Our niche expertise in senior housing helps guide the lengthy process of making sales, all the while ensuring that messaging is relevant, useful and consistent. Our experience in the market also helps new clients determine their brand positioning – how they’re going to stand out among competitors.
Because we’re so entrenched in senior living, we can steer our clients in campaigns with fresh content, creative advertising and a blend of up-to-the-minute digital and traditional strategies to keep them top of mind and eventually drive sales into target markets.
We at IVY Marketing have the distinct challenge, and joy, of helping shift misconceptions and, in doing so, helping seniors discover what should and truly can be their golden years.
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.
The sharing economy has arrived. And if the multiple ways in which it is manifesting itself in the real world (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Snapgoods, Rent the Runway, HomeExchange, city bicycles, carpool lanes, social media, and the list goes on) is not proof enough, we have only to look at art imitating life, as it so often does.
In a new T.V. drama called “Wisdom of the Crowd,” Jeremy Piven plays a Silicon Valley tech innovator who uses crowdsourcing to find his daughter’s killer by creating a digital platform on which the entire world can share criminal evidence. An Enterprise car rental commercial features Joel McHale donning a wool cap to appeal to the Millennials who regularly use ride sharing. A feature documentary called “Shareconomy” explores the rise of the sharing economy, which the film claims is “revolutionizing society.”
That the marketing industry would also be affected by the sharing culture should come as no surprise. According to marketing guru Jon Wuebben, it is one of the mega trends of the future of marketing. Consumers want to learn from user-generated content, and they want to be the “experts” in the process as well.
Sharing is a natural act, and everyone, no matter their age, wants to belong to a community. Psychologically and emotionally, the concept of sharing – not owning – products, services or ideas does not require much convincing. But how can marketers leverage this human instinct to share to their advantage?
Establish a robust social media presence. Social media platforms epitomize the sharing economy, and vice versa. Entire communities, often made up of total strangers (the opinions of which Millennials have been found to trust over that of friends and family), come together to share comments, experiences, advice, reviews, and more. In today’s world of interconnectedness, your business must have multiple social media platforms in place. While “possession is 9/10th of the law,” as they say, more is needed than simply having a social media presence.
Actively engage your social communities. Make comments, conversations and reviews easy to provide on your website and social media pages. True, this may invite negative commentary (which can be managed by an administrator), but try to respond to and thank these visitors anyway, because people who hear back from a business are more apt to use them again, despite an initial challenge. This may seem counterintuitive, but customers knowing that their voice is heard goes a long way, and a complaint gives you a backdoor opportunity to show how much you value their satisfaction. Inviting reviews also begets valuable insight into your business and prospects, not only by way of your own platforms, but through online review sites as well.
Tap your best customers. Don’t be afraid to ask your most satisfied customers to offer their positive feedback and experiences. This will not only improve your presence on the review sites mentioned above, it will energize your own website and social media. Ask happy customers to post their success stories, or offer to write them on their behalf (with their approval), and be sure to respond back to them for all to see your generous attitude and gratitude!
Solicit audience content. Ask questions of your audiences, invite them to share their experiences with, or opinions about, your services or industry – or provoke conversations about something unrelated to your business. Maybe audiences could offer their best remedies for the “Mundane Mondays,” for example. On your end, don’t hesitate to share something funny, entertaining, thought-provoking, or comment-worthy. Create a “buzz,” but steer clear of anything that could be construed as political. The more user-generated content you have, the better your brand’s search engine rankings and online visibility.
Use multiple sharing tools. 89 percent of consumers use search engines (which also point to social media platforms and owned media) to help them make purchasing decisions. In addition to creating engaging social media content, be sure to also have a regular blog, video uploads, white papers, case studies, e-books, etc. that can easily be found and shared.
Incentivize your audience. Offer something truly desirable in exchange for customer engagement. Incentives such as referral rewards, gift cards, discounted prices on services, complimentary lunch/dinner…there are many ways to motivate engagement, and participants of the sharing economy not only want rewards, they expect them.
Think outside the box. Really. Yes, there’s an irony in using what’s become a cliché in reference to new and creative thinking, but a team of creative professionals can help you come up with something your competitors would never envision doing. With the online world packed to the gills with boundless information, companies can’t afford to blend in and stay within the margins.
Be fresh, stay fresh. Once you’ve created and enabled multiple channels of user-engaging, sharable content, it is critical to stay on top of it with fresh, regular contributions. Outdated material and old posts say volumes about your brand, none of it good. Not only does new content help SEO (search engine optimization), putting your site above others when people browse the Internet, it also demonstrates that you’re continually alert, curious, learning, teaching, relevant and “checked in.”
While these pointers are proven tactics for success, they’re not always easy to implement. Let our marketing experts help you make the most of the sharing economy that is here to stay and certain to flourish.
IVY MARKETING GROUP. COME GROW WITH US.