Avoiding Marketing MistakesThe unforgettable children’s song, “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” is one of the most well known hooks in popular music. Used all over the globe as an engaging “how-to” in locating body parts, we’ve decided that if it works for kids, it may work for you, too!

“How could it possibly?” you ask? Well, at the very core, most everything in marketing (and the world beyond that) has a very basic composition and function. Like the human body, individual components of marketing are comprised to form an efficient and effective ‘marketing machine’, as we like to call it. Just as your shoulders support your head, the marketing machine also only functions if each nut and bolt functions symbiotically: advertising, SEO & SEM, social media, public relations, and more.

The Online Presence of Your Business: Is it effective?

In the new age of social media and endless Google algorithm changes that put just about everyone on edge, a strong online presence has evolved within the marketing machine. Here is the issue: many of us believe that your online presence stands on its own, and treat it as such. Well, it doesn’t! Change is inevitable in this market, just as our own bodies adapt and evolve over time, naturally. Many businesses, both small and large spend a lot of time and resources zeroing in on how to grab the latest and greatest by the horns, when instead they should be looking more at their existing marketing plan — how to update it, modify it and prep it for integration with the newest products and strategies to hit the market.

In a nearly saturated market, we understand there’s little room to flourish between the stop and go bandwagon traffic, but the success of your business doesn’t necessarily fall somewhere between a hashtag and a press release. Let Ashworth help you step outside the box, and see the bigger picture.

Full service agencies, much like Ashworth Creative, offer a wide variety of both digital and traditional services customized to fit individual business models and client needs. As the landscape of marketing changes, we too, scale our services, methods and staff accordingly. If you’re still caught up in the Triassic period of obsolete this and passé that, here is a brief overview of how the marketing machine has evolved (without you):

Public Relations, Advertising, Digital and Social Media: Who Does What

No, Google did not necessarily kill PR agencies. Though Google did perform many updates including content guidelines for links and keywords in press releases, public relations has grown to encompasses so much more that the standard press release. As one of the oldest forms of relationship building, PR won’t go down without a fight. It now sits somewhere between other components like advertising, digital, and social.

Peter Friedman, chairman and CEO of LiveWorld and former social media visionary of Apple, was lofty enough to devise a real-life scenario that illustrates this marketing ensemble perfectly: “Think of advertising as the invitations, PR as the promotion and digital as the arcade game at the entrance. But the party itself, — the ambiance, the DJ, the bouncer, the guest themselves; talking to one another, dancing, forming relationships, having a great experience together – that’s social.”

As aforementioned, this little party-throwing team is a single process defined by multiple moving parts. Want to boost your social media presence? Think daily posts and tweets will do the trick? Unfortunately, alone, you will achieve minimal and quite dismal results. There’s a recipe for success and it includes all of the ingredients:

An Integrated Marketing Strategy: Recipe for Success

  1. Storytelling – Long gone are the days of “fluff” advertising, or lifeless statistics on paper. Your audience is much more privy to what is going on in the new age of the Internet than they were in the past. Where information is at the tip of your fingertips, consumers long for a more personal connection with marketers. Create something that tells a story, be personable, and most importantly, approachable. You are a business, but your business is comprised of people. And who can relate to people better than, well…other people?
  1. Visual Communication – Though PR agencies haven’t been killed off completely; it doesn’t mean that the methods of attaining good press have not changed some. A dying breed, printed news has been replaced by an influx of multimedia, such as viral video and infographics. The trade-off? A more engaging experience for users. You’re allowing the user to step into your world, take a look around, and answer questions for themselves rather than you dictating their opinion of your brand. After all, a picture is worth a 1,000 words.
  1. Native Advertising – Though the marketing and media landscape look like nothing we’ve ever seen, most trends is cyclical. Just as bell-bottom jeans come back in style every 20 years or so, the same is true of our current state of marketing. The 60s mad men style of advertising is somewhat of the new standard. This method of online advertising works at capturing the attention of users by placing content in the context of their experience. Are you more receptive to the Facebook promoted ads in your newsfeed or the banner ads on any given website? By providing your message in the user’s native habitat — camouflaged by familiarity — the success of in-stream ads tends to be much greater, and the user feels less intruded upon.
  1. Talking WITH, not TO – If you’re looking to truly engage with your audience or online users, perhaps you should try striking up a conversation. No one likes being “talked to.” It can feel intimidating, demanding and even rude. Whether it is on social media, or within an advertising campaign, the inclusion of the user in your message provides the opportunity for you to earn their trust, and invites them in. When your user feels like a part of your brand, you’ve won.
  1. More Effective Hyper Targeting – A very high click-through rate is impressive on paper, but not if your bounce rate is rising along with it. You’re expending resources on audiences that are not looking for your service or product at the price of saving face on your analytic reports. For many clients, this can be a point of contention in which a thorough understanding of targeting is mandatory. Providing the right message to a smaller number of likely buyers will ensure your advertising dollars are converting into actual results: $$$.
  1. Smarter Content – Arguably, the “heart” of all marketing, content creation is pivotal and more in-demand than ever. Buzzfeed, the new standard in online advertising is essentially solely fueled by “social, content-driven published technology.” With their ear on the tracks, Buzzfeed heard the public’s cry for real, fresh and meaningful content. Hiring journalists to muster up original reporting and ideas, passing it along as news, Buzzfeed has more than 130 million viewers worldwide and their success has been virtually unmatched. What has the greatest shift in content been exactly? The need for new and original thought rather than intensifying and reinventing the same old message.
  1. Research, Analytics and Analysis – As mentioned above in #5, favorable metrics may have you grinning ear to ear, but deciphering the data and actually using it for future marketing decisions is quintessential, and rarely done. Who has time, right? Well, good results are only as useful as what you decide to do with them. Take the time to make the data work for you, long term.