Question: What are the procedures for entering a party, networking event, or reception when many people are already engaged in conversation and/or already know each other? Sometimes you do not see acquaintances, and those locked in coversation do not create an opening—physically or otherwise. What are the mingling/socializing secrets? First, how do you begin, and then how do you work the room if no one is introducing you? How long do you linger if you find an opening? (Not navigating well is frustrating and awkward for me.)
Answer from Callie Gordon, college senior, 20-something: Don’t fret! I look for people I know as I go get myself something to drink. For some reason just simply holding a drink makes me feel more comfortable at an event. Smile and look for someone you know. Sooner or later you will find an opening.
Answer from Lillie-Beth Brinkman, assistant features editior, 40-something: Awkward, even for the most social, talkative people. It’s hard to connect with peoplle when you know few peoplle to introduce you. But you can do a few things to “work the room” and meet people. Sometimes I’ll look for the one person I do know and vist with him or her while pointing out my awkwardness with a smile: “You’re the only one here I know. Can you introduce me to people, or can I hang out with you for a while?” Often they’ll take pity on you and help.
You also could go get something to drink, and as you’re standing in line, ask a friendly person what brings him or her to this event and strike up a conversation that way. Whatever the event, just by being there you have enough common ground with the other guests to start talking about something. You could even joke with them about not knowing anyone and say that you’re glad you do now. Most people are open to meeting new people, and we’ve all be in this situation.
Also, look for opportunities to commiserate with someone else who might be standing around uncomfortably, not knowing anyone either. Eventually it will all work out, and you’ll know more people than you did when you arrived.
For more information see: vimarketingandbranding.com/archives/7835/11_08_11
While there may be a place for social media marketing in your sales-building plan, businesses of every sector continue to jump on the social media bandwagon believing it offers a way to easy profits. To put all of the hype into a grounded perspective, here is our Eight-Point Social Media Reality Check:
1. Social media marketing is not advertising. Consider it a form of public relations and eliminate the expectation of a typical return on investment.
2. There are no social media miracles that will increase your profits immediately.
3. Social media marketing is extremely time intensive. It takes much effort, energy and creativity to write regular posts that are interesting and relevant to your readers.
4. Utilizing various social media tools is not perfect for every business.
5. Just because social media activities work for one business doesn’t mean they will work for your business.
6. Don’t believe everything you hear and read. Many articles state social media is effective, while plenty argue the opposite. What matters is that your participation in social media meets your business objectives.
7. Don’t be misled by the huge number of Facebook users. Most people only use Facebook to connect with their family and friends.
8. Finally, developing an overall process and plan for increasing profits is more important than any social media tool you’ll ever use.
For more information contact Visual Image, vimarketingandbranding.com/archives/7835/11_02_03.
The Super Bowl is considered advertising’s biggest day. Some brands put forth their biggest effort on Super Bowl Sunday. In fact Master Lock used to spend it’s entire budget that one day alone (remember the lock that survived the bullet spot?). My hope is that more (all) of those involved in the game this year will make it marketing’s biggest day. In other words, they’ll use their ads as part of a much larger marketing program that initiates and supports relationships with consumers. Here are some random thoughts on the Super Bowl:
The Fox Network gets the game this year. They are reportedly running 4 minutes of ads during the game to promote their own programming. With about 100 million viewers tuning in, Fox has the opportunity to expose their programming to those that don’t normally watch the network. The opportunity that comes with the Super Bowl is much greater than the revenue they will generate ($3mm per 30 second spot). If they can increase viewers to their other programs, the long-term benefit dwarfs the one day opportunity. Larger audiences bring more revenues. Every week. 4 minutes isn’t taking full advantage of the opportunity.
General Motors directed their agencies to ignore the ad polls (which ads consumers like best) and focus on the brand. That’s good direction every day. However, they need to recognize the stage they’re on and not show up as milquetoast. As you watch the ads on Sunday, pay attention to who is supporting their brand and who is just trying to be the funniest. The ones that do both gain the most.
I have tended to skip buying ads in the game from a local market level because the local affiliate doesn’t get a break until halftime. I have always felt that people stop paying as much attention to the ads by halftime for a variety of reasons (the game, they eventually take breaks during the breaks, etc). But, a new study by Millward Brown Optimor (MBO) says that recall is not affected by the time or quarter in which an ad runs. That’s pretty significant data and will certainly influence my attitude going forward.
The same study said that in order to get the same brand lift that a spot in the Super Bowl provides, you’d have to spend about $9 million (about 250 spots). To me, this means an engaged audience is more important than a large one. Obviously the Super Bowl has both. But, we have been talking for two years about switching ads to live shows for this very reason. An engaged consumer is key to any effort. I’ll say it again and again: Your marketing plans need to have ways to engage your prospects.
The MBO study also said that a spot for a particular product within a brand family lifts the entire brand. Last year, Skechers ran a spot with Joe Montana for their Shape-up toning shoes (yes, Joe had his man card revoked shortly after). That effort lifted the entire brand and sales across the Skechers family of products were up 30% last year.
By permission of Tim Berney, president of Visual Image. For more information see vimarketingandbranding.com/archives/7835/10_12_07 .
I could probably convince the majority of you that persons that listen to National Public Radio (NPR) watch their fair share of television. They wouldn’t necessarily be fans of SNL or even the CSI series. But, because we assume they’re more educated people, they might spend the majority of their time with the news channels, keeping up-to-date on local and national news that may perhaps influence their business affairs. And, they tend to watch more TV than the average consumer because they always have CNBC running for the stock index. Call that passive viewing if you like, but it counts. These assumptions make a lot of sense, right?
The fact of the matter (you saw this coming?) is that assumption is not accurate. One of the many research vehicles that we subscribe to provides media habits of consumers. And, we can cross-tabulate various habits and categories to get a feel for how a person that fits a typical profile consumes media. It’s pretty expensive research, but it guides our marketing efforts every day.
In this scenario, the NPR listener is assumed to be an intense consumer of information. But, the research tells us that they actually watch about half as much television as the typical consumer does. As such, television is not an ideal medium to use in cross promotion to reach the NPR listener (we have lots more information about them of course). A lot of times our experience and instinct lead us in the right direction. But, just often enough we uncover data that tells us that we were wrong. And that’s why we pay the fees and do the research every time. The only time to skip the research is when the results don’t matter.
For more information see Visual Image archives at vimarketingandbranding.com/archives/7835/10_12_07.
The sales of ‘green’ products have been shrinking during the latter half of 2010. In 2008, marketers scrambled to add some element of environmentalism to their products. Most did it with packaging (recycled, less product, etc.), while others addressed manufacturing methods that claimed a smaller carbon footprint. Other products that truly were more inherently environmental sprang up and have created a niche industry. Example: Method cleaning products.
Why is the category shrinking? Consumers tried the products and found no new benefit in many of the products themselves - sometimes less benefit than their counterparts. In the end, we have lots of companies who have some sort of commitment to environmentalism (great!), and plenty of confused brands (bad!). Companies that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars building and reinforcing their brand position suddenly tossed that aside to jump on the green bandwagon. But as the parade winds down, a brand still has to have value. And like it or not, the American public is putting less value in green today than they did two years ago. In other words, I still want my laundry detergent to clean my clothes, keep the colors bright, and maybe soften them a little. If it’s green too, fine. But, if it’s only green? Well, I’ll find another that does the job. Take care of the brand and it will take care of you.
Permission granted from Visual Image Advertising, Oklahoma City. For more information, see http://www.visualimage.net/visualize/09302010/ .
While most companies focus on marketing their products and services, many are missing a huge opportunity by not marketing themselves as a great company for employees.
Talented people naturally want to work for great employers. Furthermore, customers prefer to purchase products and services from companies that tell the story of their strong employee culture. It’s a sales point that can differentiate your company from others.
In addition, by marketing yourself as a great employer, you continuously build up your resource file with names of those talented people who would like to work for you, thus minimizing your time and costs of recruiting when positions need to be filled immediately.