Tuesday, September 19, 2017
The Dreaded Question
How are you using social media to Market your Business?
Every day, I have the pleasure of creating & executing marketing plans for companies. When creating a plan, there is always a business discussion around business objectives for the next year so that I can align the marketing plan to those goals. During this process, the executive is very appreciative to this type of discussion around marketing. When aligning marketing with business goals it provides a different perspective to the conversation.
Until, I ask the dreaded question…“How are you unitizing social media to grow your business”?
Then, the easy flowing conversation, just became a long awkward silence.
Social Media is here to stay
Most business are behind the curve when it come to their social media presence, I get it…but we still need to discuss it as it’s not going away. Typically, most of the Executives I speak with are more mature in age so they did not grow up using social media so it’s understandable that the answer to my standard question is usually, “I am not sure how that works so we have not really put forth focus on social media” or “We really have no idea how to use social media to grow our business”. As a marketer, I pride myself on trying and learning new marketing techniques every day. Staying ahead of new ways to market is crucial to any business. I understand that trying new things is out of people’s comfort zone but in today’s work of technology, social media is a necessity.
Social Media Stats for 2017
22% of the world’s total population uses Facebook. If that number does not astound you, remember that each of those people have at least 100+ friends. Here are just a few more stats to help understand how social media is driving sales in 2017.
Why Social Media?
Social Media is a great way to educate your audience on what you do, your services, your culture, your solutions, your super star employees. Each social media platform has a different audience, Facebook is a more mature audience, and LinkedIn is more professional where Instagram is younger so targeted education on each social platform must be geared to that audience.
Engage your audience with call to actions to direct them back to your website using content, video, promos, incentives, free services and landing pages. Another way to engage is to respond to comments on your social media platforms, which increases the algorithms.
Communicate who you are as a company, what you do, services you have to offer. Do not be afraid to toot your own horn, post awards your company has earned, share contracts your company has won, and share how you helped a particular company save budget with your solution. Share about a superstar employee, employees loved to be recognized and doing it on social media shows them how much you appreciate them and that employee has friends on social media whop will read that post thinking, “Wow, that is pretty cool”. Many companies give back to their communities, social media is great way to share.
It's totally understandable how overwhelming social media can be, so getting started is the hardest part. Outsourcing is the best way to get started, having an outside perspective looking at your business to see which social platforms meets your target customer. Research, Planning, execution and follow up are the key factors when it comes to social media.
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Finding My Path to Happiness
At age 36, I started my personal development journey. I had dreamed of a life of peace, love, and happiness. I began training myself to be more positive, attended therapy, and became obsessed with self-help books, such as those written by Dwayne Dryer, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Rick Warren—their books were some of my first favorites. In my 20s, I used to ask myself “What is my talent? What is my purpose?” After reading What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren, I was able to answer those two questions, and it changed my life.
Personal development is work. It took courage to look at myself, wanting to be a better person and mother, and effort to kill the ego, but once I started, I wanted more. I kept reading, watching, going to church, and even attending Oprah's Master Class weekend in Miami. Yep, I spent a weekend with Oprah, and it was amazing! Now, at age 49, I can say that I have grown as a person over the years. I understand forgiveness, self-worth, self-respect, listening, compassion, empathy, healing, and the power of love. It’s been a tremendous road, and I’m so thankful to have traveled it. Don't get me wrong, I’m no guru or anything like that…I still have my sassy New York attitude at times, and more work to do which will last the rest of my life, but now I truly love myself for it.
Life Changes and Skincare?
One day, I was introduced to a company that happens to be a break-thru anti-aging skincare and wellness company. As a professional technology marketer, I understand business, so I looked at the numbers because I was naturally curious. The company had reached $1B in sales in 4 years; my mouth dropped. Being in technology for the last 20 years, I had never seen any company reach sales numbers like this so quickly; not even Amazon. So, I jumped in, recognizing emerging markets and the potential of growth…I didn’t want to miss the beginning of something big again (like I did when Apple exploded). Besides, I wasn’t a big fan of my wrinkles, so it made the decision easier. Turns out, it's one of the best decisions I ever made. Within a few months, all my wrinkles were gone, and I uncovered something I never thought existed far beyond my physical appearance.
After a month of signing up, this company was having their annual conference in Dallas. I decided, if I’m going to take this “YouEconomy” business seriously, I need to attend this conference. I booked my flight and off I went for a three-day conference on anti-aging…so I thought.
The conference was at the Dallas conference center, and thousands of people were in attendance. It was pretty exciting! The CEO, Jeff Olson, was the first to speak. When I signed up, I was given the book Jeff Olson wrote years prior to starting this company. Personally, I had never heard of him before, but I was currently reading his book, The Slight Edge. As I sat there I heard words and phrase like love, make people better, live happy, happy acts, dreams, belief, vision, kindness, and personal development. At that moment, I had an epiphany: the relationship that I had dreamed about for years was not a personal relationship, but a company that lives and breathes the way I do. Additionally, I realized I could help others on their journey.
Achieving Ongoing Personal Growth and Practicing Gratitude
This company has brought so much more to me than great skin! The personal growth that I have received is so much more than I ever thought I would experience in my life. The people that have come into my world are incredible, inspirational, courageous, and strong, and have helped me grow more each and every day. Now, I even attend a daily happiness call that strives to help others with personal development.
To most people that know me, this company is just a side gig, but to me, it’s my dream come true. For me, the personal development, the people, the culture, and the growth is so much more than the monetary value. I am very grateful for my life today.
Friday, August 4, 2017
What Does Marketing With Intention Mean?
“Marketing with intention” is a fairly new buzz phrase circulating among marketing professionals. What does it actually mean? How does it differ from the traditional approach to marketing?
Today’s technology channel marketer is responsible for all things marketing: corporate brand, website, social media, lead and demand gen, collateral, budget management, content creation, video creation, events, vertical-based marketing, vendor-based marketing, services marketing, managed services marketing, training (internal and external), etc. It’s an overwhelming amount of responsibility—how can you be intentional when you’re always in reactive mode?
Marketing with intention is all about asking yourself and your team why you’re carrying out a given marketing activity rather than beginning by asking yourself what marketing activity is being carried out. If you start with the “what,” you’re limiting yourself to the first idea you come up with for driving inbound leads without really stopping to delineate why you’re doing it at all. If you start with the “why,” you’ll end up with endless ideas for the “whats,” and find yourself evaluating the marketing activities that best align with what you’re trying to accomplish, Kissmetrics explained.
“People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
-Simon Sinek, reported by HubSpot
The ultimate result is successfully appealing to the people who share your beliefs, and can see that your products and services are in alignment with your core purpose and values as a business.
How Can Our Team Ensure We’re Marketing with Intention?
First, define your intention! Many marketing activities are being requested by sales, management, and vendors who think they have marketing experience, but actually have limited expertise (sorry, but it’s true). The reason there are channel marketers is for their proven experience in marketing. When asked to carry out an activity by other personnel, ask yourself:
· Does the activity qualify as marketing with intention? What is the specific intent of the activity, and is it in alignment with our values?
· Is it targeting a particular market/vertical?
· What is the call to action?
· What is the follow-up plan?
· Can a nurture process be put in place?
Second, to market with intention is to have a marketing plan that aligns with the business goals, as explained above. If you plan on growing a particular vendor business by a certain percentage, then your marketing plan should reflect activities to drive that goal. If you plan on hiring 10 more people in the next year, then your marketing plan should reflect that goal, as well! Whatever the business goal, the plan is key to achieving it. With that being said, both the business driver and marketing plan may change as the year progresses, and that’s okay, as long as you have intent behind each goal and activity.
Lastly, do you have the resources to execute? If you have no marketing resource, or only one marketing resource, intention goes out the window. There is no way to market with intention if your resources are limited—that goes back to being in reactive mode. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth saying again: limited marketing resources who are responsible for all corporate, vendor, product, lead and demand gen, and social media marketing is WAY too big for one person to handle, no matter how good they are, and no matter how much you pay them. Effective intentional marketing needs planning, vision, and execution. Hire those third-party vendors you trust to help so that your internal resources aren’t burnt out. Besides, third party resources are considered an expense, and you can use MDF to pay for them.
Bringing It All Together: Do You Need Support for Realigning Your Strategy?
If you’re a marketer reading this blog, share it with your CEO/executive leadership! Sometimes, it takes an outside source to drill the message home. Happy marketing!
Strauser Marketing is comprised technology marketing experts with over 20 years’ experience in channel marketing. We help reseller technology partners manage, create, and execute marketing plans for all vendors, helping small businesses grow their sales and lead funnel.
Monday, July 24, 2017
Technology Marketing Then vs. Now
Back in the early days of network marketing, you worked for sales. Marketing was expected to create print ads, collateral, write up RFPs, and uncover which new products were being launched, which product was coming out in the next quarter by the vendor, and communicating to sales so they could update their customers. We relied on the vendor to tell us how to sell, how to market, and even at times to give us the PO. The Internet was just becoming available, email was just put on our desktop computers, and we all had beepers to find each other. Yes, my millennial readers, this was technology back in the 90s. Marketing was all event-based, relationships were key, and who you knew mattered. Technology was a “word of mouth” business until companies realized they could share information faster and quicker.
Mobile devices and laptops took over, and suddenly, we could work from home in the technology world. This was life changing for me; I was just starting to have children, so I could actually work from my home and be there when my kids got home from school, I could attend school events, and I didn't have to deal with traffic. However, since I was no longer going to the office, there was the question of how to communicate with my sales reps and customers. The answer? Email! That’s right, email, as the new form of communication for talking to our customers and coworkers. Vendors were just setting up their websites and used email to communicate with resellers, but not with their end users. So, Strauser Marketing started using email on behalf of vendors targeting end user customers. It was great until we realized we needed a website.
So now, we're creating a corporate website, sending emails, and working from home. Marketing is being relied on for geo-targeting customers, lead gen, demand gen and holding events all over the country. Then came webcasts, webinars, banner ads, landing pages, web content, and the evolution of channel marketing. Marketing was getting overwhelming as more and more vendors opened their doors and resellers started selling more than one vendor technology.
Keep that in mind while I go through today’s marketing.
Today’s marketer has to maintain corporate website, branding, logo development, fonts, colors, collateral, digital, social media, manage budget, content creation, video creation, advertising pro-services and vendor services, demand gen & lead gen programs, execute marketing plans, launch new products and services, handle email marketing. There could be 10 different verticals and 10 different vendors to do this for quarterly. Plus, you have to be an expert in all of it, because the likelihood of bringing on another marketing person is close to impossible.
The responsibility of marketing has shifted to more of a sales role then a marketing role over time without anyone realizing it. Marketing is asked to drive more leads to sales, drive attendance to events, come up with cheaper faster ways of targeting certain verticals, and find new ways to market as technology evolves daily, all using vendor marketing development funds (MDF), as most companies still do not carve out significant budget for marketing today.
ONE thing is for sure, whether then or now, technology marketers are still overwhelmed.
If you;re in business, technology or not, having a business/marketing plan is key to fostering business growth. Marketing plans need to align with your business objective to continue to grow your business. Marketing and sales need to be a partnership, working together, communicating, and executing. The best analogy I can think of: it's like a marriage; you have to work together everyday, or it will fall apart at some point.
Marketing is becoming the new sales, so provide your marketing team enough resources, MBO and the compensation you give sales, and it will benefit your business in the long term.
Strauser Marketing is made up of technology marketing experts with over 20 years’ experience in channel marketing. We help reseller technology partners manage, create and execute marketing plans for all vendors, helping small businesses grow their sales and lead funnel.
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Since 2003, Georgianna Strauser, CEO of Strauser Marketing has helped technology vendors, channel partners, distributors and small businesses create, manage and execute marketing plans that grow sales & enablement while staying within budget and using the latest marketing platforms.
Marketing may be a challenge to some, but to Strauser Marketing, we consider challenges opportunities. We are experts in the channel with over 20 years of experience. Our company has marketed in every vertical: Commercial, Healthcare, Public Sector (SLED), and Federal. Yes, we speak Federal! With more than 10 years working in the Federal Space, we understand compliance, FedRamp, RFPs, agencies and how to target those agencies through marketing.
At Strauser Marketing, we have a desire to achieve perfection. Perfection is always doing the right thing at the right time. Managing MDF is one of the largest challenges for technology vendors and resellers. Most resellers have only one resource dedicated to cover all vendor marketing. Additionally, that marketing person also covers corporate marketing, social media, email marketing, training and all events, etc. Today's channel marketer is often overwhelmed and challenged to work at their full potential. When it comes to MDF, lack of resources is the primary reason why MDF is lost each quarter. Resellers simply don't have the resources to execute all the marketing plans.
This is where third party resources, like Strauser Marketing, come in to help provide another marketing arm for vendors, resellers and distributors to create and manage the vendor MDF with intention that aligns to your business objectives. If your marketing plans do not align with your business goals, then you as a business owner are not marketing as effectively as you could be to generate leads and attract customers.
Strauser Marketing alleviates the overwhelming workload without the headcount. You can even pay us using MDF if preferred. Our consultants are ready to help with all your technology marketing needs, from demand generation to content and graphic design. Give us a challenge and we'll turn it into an opportunity.