Midsized Company 2015 Marketing Communications Forecasts

Developing marketing communications strategies and plans presents a challenge every year, but 2015 seems especially problematic. While 2015 should be a good year for business in general, we believe that most B2B, B2C and nonprofit marketers should still be prepared for a bumpy ride.

Most financial advisors expect the stock market to keep gaining, and most projections assume modest GDP growth and low inflation. Even Madison Avenue predicts advertising spending to increase by 4.8 to 5.0 percent. So what’s the problem?

Well, the average American’s earnings haven’t risen in more than six years. Cheap money in the financial markets will limit corporate acquisitions. And political and economic unrest around the world continue to be major unknowns.

Marketing Communications Considerations For 2015

In discussions with clients, prospects and colleagues, my takeaway has led to the following ten forecasts for 2015:

  1. The tax deductibility of advertising investment is at great risk. As forecast last year, Congress is still considering putting a limit on the 100 percent deductibility of advertising in a single year. One potential in-coming Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee has already told advertisers that he’ll consider a proposal deducting advertising spending over a five to ten year period rather than just one. If or when this passes, it will have a huge impact on budget planning.
  2. There will be a much deeper and expanded look at the use of “Big Data” as a means of improving customer service, responsiveness, product development and measurement of social media. Fully understanding the “wants and needs” of customers and prospects will take center stage. Analytics will rule, and so will savvy analysts.
  3. There will be increased pressure on proving and improving marketing communications ROI. Evaluating each tactic employed (in traditional or new media) and how each contributes to the overall marketing program is a necessity for profitable growth. Professional and apolitical measurement will be a must.
  4. Outsourced consultants and staff will continue to grow in importance. Companies and nonprofits will continue to pursue a work-as-needed strategy, as opposed to full-time employment. By 2020, these “guns for hire” will comprise forty percent of the U.S. workforce. Now is the time to identify and evaluate these people who you will be so dependent on in the future.
  5. Companies and nonprofits will increasingly focus on internal communications. Employees are as much of a legitimate marketing asset as the product or service itself. Making every employee a marketer and true brand ambassador is becoming a priority. Be sure to make every meeting or internal function a brand building platform. And, above all, keep monitoring your employees’ opinion of the brand.
  6. Small and startup company entrepreneurs will realize that – to be successful – they will require a lot more than just their “big idea”. Building a profitable brand is team sport. And using marketing and marketing communications as part of your team will get you the leverage you need to turn an idea into a sustainable brand.
  7. More emphasis will be placed on marketing to older adults. A recent Nielsen study points out that by 2017 American boomers will control 70 percent of the country’s disposable income. And, according to Forrester Research, the 28 million people over 55 years of age buy twice as much online as do younger adults. In fact, the millennial generation has even less money to spend than did their counterparts of previous generations. However, new approaches will be needed. Marketing to boomers (and older) is a lot different than marketing to 18 – 34 year olds.
  8. The Yahoo-Bing Network (YBN) will grow in importance. Currently, 70 percent of the people who search business and financial service categories on YBN (17 million people) do not search these categories on Google. YBN now represents 29 percent of U.S. search volume (149 million unique searches/month), and the searchers themselves skew towards older, better educated and wealthier people.
  9. Being media neutral in your marketing decisions will become even more important. A recent Gallup study among 18,000 consumers reported that 62 percent said social media had “no influence at all on their buying decision”, while only 5 percent said “it had a great deal of influence”. And, reading between the lines on the importance of traditional media, Advertising Age projected an increase of 48 percent in event spending, 34 percent direct mail, 6 percent in radio and 4 percent in television. Make sure you understand the difference between efficiency and effectiveness for both new and traditional media.
  10. Considerably more time and effort will be spent on improving creative messaging. As competition increases, more effort will be placed on determining what customers and prospects want to know about a brand – fact, not opinion. More respect will then be given to the resulting creative product, regardless of media, to make sure it’s authentic, relevant and timely. As Tom Bradley, head of marketing at Nestle, said, “The best source of marketing communications leverage is the quality of message. It’s not the media vehicle, new or traditional, that does or does not deliver.”

Obviously, there are many other areas worthy of prognostication and discussion (e.g., Facebook’s decline, the rise of native advertising, fraudulent clicking on digital ads, the importance of marketing to women and Hispanics, etc.), but the forecasts discussed above seem to have greater impact on marketing communications in 2015. The question then becomes what to do about them.

Consider Fresh Eyes From Marketing Communication Consultants

Another recent study from Forrester Research reports that 34 percent of marketers currently feel overwhelmed by change. And, unfortunately, most companies and nonprofits don’t have the financial or intellectual resources to deal with the challenges in either the short or long term.

If this hits home, now many be the time to tap into established, experienced, consultants. Look for people with broad industry and brand experience, across organizations large and small. Candor should flourish. Most of all, make you future better than your past.

Difference Between Event Marketing and Integrated Marketing Communication

All businesses need communication to develop, prosper and create relationships. In fact, communication is so vital for the success of any business. You may have excellent products but if the external and internal communications are not strong, your business will experience a decline. IMC or integrated marketing communications offer an approach whereby there is a consistent message put across to buyers during a promotion that can include different media types.

Utilizing Events to Drive IMC

When you receive a sampling of free coffee, you are actually experiencing the new product and you could be a potential buyer. Therefore, event marketing is nothing but spreading recognition of a product at a social event. Consumers today, resort to multiple sources of information; businesses are realizing the ineffectiveness of depending on advertisements alone, hence, the importance of IMC is becoming apparent. Well-planned and focused integrated campaigns depend on digital media, advertising, social networking and live events to effectively move and engage potential buyers through sales. In today’s competitive business scenario, organizations are looking at integrated marketing in order to have a cost-effective and efficient approach. The main difference between promoting or marketing using events is that an event offers chances for individual interaction with a product. Therefore, it is clear that a group of consumers and media meeting at one place can effectively use multiple disciplines to achieve a common objective. Hence, events can drive IMC.

Events Open Doors for Products

Event marketing spreads awareness of a product at social events. There is constant competition to catch the attention of a product using the print and visual media. However, when you try to create recognition at a social gathering, you can engage the potential buyer in a better way and help him experience the product personally. Unlike the print media and televisions, events are fun and participatory. Often, this will translate prospective consumers into buyers. It makes your marketing effort cost-effective. Corporate groups use events extensively; they also sponsor events making the objective of marketing less obvious. Well-planned occasions can become regular local attractions.

Basic Tools of IMC

If companies plan, communicate and follow industry guidelines ethically, they can earn customer trust. The basic tools of integrated marketing communications are as follows. Advertising is the age-old form of marketing that can reach a large audience effectively. Sales promotions are used to encourage repeat buying and to speed up short-term sales. Public relations, another IMC tool is carried out through press releases, public appearances or sponsorships. Direct marketing uses catalogs, emails and mails and other marketing techniques to launch new products. Finally, there is personal selling wherein presentations, sales appointments and other type of personal communications are established to reach customers and to strengthen relationships.

How An Internet Marketing Community Can Unlock Your Ability To Succeed Making Money Online

Some people flounder for a while first, others join an internet marketing community right off the bat to help them start making money online.

In my case I happened to start my internet marketing career by attending a five day workshop that, in the end, promoted one particular company’s solution to putting others in business online. A strong user based community was critical to helping me along.

When you are an affiliate marketing newbie there are so many questions and a dizzying amount of information that is all new to you. I think most people soon become simply overwhelmed with it all and, unless they have a support person or group, just quit and never achieve their dream of online success.

There are many ways that an internet marketing community are key to success:

1.) Show you the ropes. Making money online is a business, and what business can you just jump into without any clue how that industry operates?

2.) Provide training in key concepts. Like article marketing. Sure anyone can write and article, but to write something that will get accepted online, get found and read by real people, then lead them to do something requires help.

3.) Outline a strategy for you to follow. Even when digging a ditch, someone must tell you how deep to dig, which direction, how wide and where to put the dirt. Trying to make money online without a strategy is a sure path to frustration and failure.

4.) Offer technical and moral support. Everyone needs a go-to place to get questions answered. For affiliate marketers, an internet marketing community is second to none. Even a mentor, which few people have, does not know everything.

The moral support factor can not be emphasized enough. There are times when you will want to quit and need someone to lend an ear and share with you how they once were in your shoes and how they moved past it to ultimately achieve success.

Whether you are new to affiliate marketing or just want to finally start making some real money online, I know you can really benefit from what a great internet marketing community can offer you.

Keep in mind that a community is just that, a community. You can hang on the edges as a “lurker” but that will not allow you to get all of the potential advantages that is there for your benefit.