As I look back on the year 2016, five favorite M/C/C moments come to mind.
About Mike Crawford
When it comes to continuing education, many executives may be reluctant to invest in conferences and seminars for their employees. This is especially true in industries where continuing education isn’t a requirement. Just because an employee has graduated from college or gotten their master’s degree doesn’t mean that they should stop learning. In fact, professional development has many benefits that can help a company in the long run.
Let’s take a look at the importance of professional development and some best practices to consider in order to glean the most from these career activities for employees.
This month, M/C/C reached a new milestone – our 30th year in marketing communications. In that time, we’ve seen a number of advances. Amongst them, some of the broadest have included the design implications of personal computers, the birth of analytics in marketing and an entire evolution of how people receive information. Those changes are societal though. Everyone has seen the impacts firsthand. The business of advertising and public relations has progressed just as much one or two levels deeper as well, and that’s the part of our sausage-making that outsiders rarely get to see.
Having completed its 21st year, the SXSW Interactive conference has been around almost as long as M/C/C has, and that is impressive. Its hundreds of panel sessions cover a variety of topics from future trends to marketing and branding. For a full-service digital marketing communications agency like ours, this conference is a great source for insights, ideas and inspiration as well as validation for our employees.
Our agency has always been on top of new media, technologies and applications. We have proactive relationships with our clients, and they expect us to continually recommend new ideas and tactics that will improve their efficiencies and increase their ROI.
At M/C/C, we’re always looking for seminars and conferences that add value. Our employees get new ideas, and we pass those onto our clients through enhanced services and/or increased performance.
As I look back on the year 2015, five favorite M/C/C moments come to mind. Here they are.
DFW AMA Marketer of the Year Award
We were awarded the 2015 DFW AMA Marketer of the Year honor in the “New Product/Service Launch” category. Our client, ReTrak by Emerge Technologies, created headphones for children branded Animalz. Designed for little ears, the headphones feature volume-limiting technology, fun animal designs and a retractable cord that makes clean up a breeze and tantrums about tangled wires nearly obsolete.
The pressure was on for a new product without brand recognition in a crowded marketplace at the busiest time of the year. Not only did Animalz have little brand recognition, neither did its parent company, so major retailers were concerned about selling the headphones to consumers. In the fall of 2014, the company approached M/C/C about launching its new lovable, retractable headphones. M/C/C’s public relations and creative teams developed a comprehensive integrated blogger outreach and media relations program that would best target the main buyer of the headphones—moms.
M/C/C garnered coverage for Animalz that reached more than 210 million readers/visitors. We secured 79 blog posts, which generated 600,000+ impressions and engaged consumers through almost 7,000 trackable social actions. Media outlets such as The Boston Globe, Newsday and its sister TV station, News 12 Long Island, picked up the Animalz story. M/C/C’s outreach even influenced CNET to include the headphones in a stocking stuffers video segment. Additionally, nearly 30 percent of the blogs and a variety of top tier media sites including CBS News, The Huffington Post and Yahoo featured the product video created by M/C/C.
Overall, Animalz sales increased 1,755 percent with more than half of the sales coming through the three-month blogger and media relations campaign period.
CyrusOne Chooses M/C/C
Also in 2015, CyrusOne selected M/C/C for planning and management of the global data center company’s integrated media strategies and implementation. Scott Brueggeman, CMO of CyrusOne, commented that M/C/C was an easy decision because of our track record as well as our experience. He went on to say that M/C/C’s focus on measurable and actionable results gives his organization complete confidence in our ability to help CyrusOne deliver the next successful chapter in the company’s marketing and advertising efforts.
The results have been strong and have continued to grow since our relationship began in July, indicating 2016 should truly be exciting.
Valor Business Solutions was prepared to launch their service offerings in a number of cities. They were going to make a major investment in marketing to promote their services, but there was a tremendous amount of trepidation among their senior management. There were mixed opinions and views about what their messaging should be to the marketplace.
We made the recommendation to Valor’s management that we develop a market research program internally and externally to clearly understand the purchase criteria among their buyers and prospects prior to market launch. This would solidify the company’s direction, prioritize their service offerings in the decision-making process and assist in creating consensus within the management team. Everyone would feel confident that their external communications programs would be on message and on target, while the financial investment would reap a huge return.
The research program was approved and the rest is history. Valor became a very successful company over the next few years and was acquired as a result.
This is one of many examples that demonstrate how significantly market research influences your company’s communications programs and assists in creating consensus within your organization.
While reporters can be great assets to your brand with their non-biased, third-party opinion when you are looking to establish credibility, they can also be like a pack of wolves that tear into your brand and leave you in shreds when an unfortunate incident emerges.
How do you react when that happens?
In the U.S., we love to compete and win. We take a great sense of pride in our accomplishments and love to be recognized for them. We love being on a winning team as well as being fans of sports teams or individuals that are winners. It feels good when you are winning, and you earn a new level of respect as well as credibility. An example of this is the most recent winner of the Masters Golf Tournament, Jordan Speith. He is now perceived as one of the top two professional golfers in the world and ranks No. 5 when it comes to endorsement value at the ripe old age of 21.
Awards in the corporate environment are just as important if not more so. They have a
huge impact on a company’s credibility and therefore the perception of its buyers and prospects. In addition, awards create a sense of pride among a company’s employees which has a direct effect on productivity and turnover. Finally, awards also influence the value of a company, its brand and its position in the marketplace.
Bloggers allow readers to have an inside peek at their family lives. They write in a way that makes you feel like you’re a close friend and they let you in on all kinds of tips and secrets. From travel to technology and health to fashion, mom bloggers write about every industry and specific topics, similar to beat reporters.
Did you know 55 percent of moms who use social media daily made a purchase based on the recommendation of a blog? With that kind of impact, it is an absolute must for brands targeting moms to reach out to bloggers, but these influencers are not like traditional reporters.
When pitching bloggers there are three important things to remember:
1. Customize your pitch
Bloggers are able to see right through a mail-merged, cookie-cutter pitch. Describe why your product or service is perfect for their exact situations. It helps to look at each blog and read some recent posts. Look at social platforms to see what kind of content engages their readers. Get to know their families and see where your brand could fit into their lives. Do not ask what type of content they write about — you should already know this.
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