Category Archives: Fostering Ideas Newsletter

A Successful Marketing Mix

As any good chef knows, it takes more than one ingredient to create a truly delicious dish. It’s often the combination of flavors and textures that make the recipe work. So is the case in marketing. To build a successful – and growing – business, you must have the right marketing mix for your company.

What is Your Marketing Mix?

Your company’s marketing mix refers to the tactics you use to promote your brand, products and services to your audiences. The 4Ps of marketing – product (or service), price, place and promotion are key factors to consider. Foster Marketing has long been an advocate of the fifth P, people, because we’ve seen time and again that people are often a company’s most valuable resource.

7Ps of Marketing

7Ps of Marketing

As the tools available to marketers have expanded, so too has the level of competitive for your audience’s attention. Today’s marketers now have to focus on the 7Ps of marketing – product, price, place, promotion, people, physical environment and process.

  • PRODUCT: Your audience needs to know the significance of your offerings, whether it is advanced technology that brings efficiencies or superior service that can help move their business ahead.
     
  • PRICE: It is important to show the value of what you are offering, be it a service or product, so the cost your customer will pay is easily justified. Even if you product costs more than what customers have previously paid, they should clearly see they are getting more for their money.
     
  • PLACE (OR PLACEMENT): Are you being seen in the right place? This can refer to physical geography of your operations, but Foster Marketing advises our marketing partnering to focus on where you are placing ads, billboards and participating in industry events to maximize your chances of getting in front of your specific potential buyers.
     
  • PROMOTION (OR PRESENTATION): How are you presenting yourself in the marketplace? And are you using the right tactics to reach your audiences? Foster advises having the right recipe in place for marketing success by sprinkling in a dash of several marketing tactics that work together to create a successful mix. For one company, the right mix could mean lead generation efforts through trade shows and brand awareness through print/digital advertising, public relations and social media; while another company’s mix may focus on thought leadership via content generation, speaking events and articles and lead generation through product-focused online events and a search-engine optimized website to ensure they are found first.
     
  • PEOPLE: As we said, people are your most valuable asset due to the knowledge, experience and reputation in the industry, but consider who you should be presenting in the market as thought leaders via speaking events, articles, webinars and white papers, and how you can connect with prospective clients and partners using tools such as social media.
     
  • PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT: How are you perceived in the market? As the field of competitors expands, you want to be seen as an established company who can be trusted to deliver. This could include how your crews appear when they show up at a jobsite – professionals who proudly wear your brand and demonstrate your core company values, and also how long you’ve been active in an industry sector and the results you deliver. For Foster Marketing, a key part of who we are is that we have a successful track record of helping energy clients achieve results for nearly four decades.
     
  • PROCESS: This can refer to how your services are delivered and used; but with the wealth of marketing tools available, savvy marketers have a firm grasp on what happens next in their efforts. For example, what happens after a prospective customer completes an online form requesting a bid; when someone sees your advertisement in an industry publication or clicks an ad online, how do you deliver the next level of information; or when someone shows interest at a trade show, what is the plan for following up? There should always be path for every marketing effort that takes a prospective customer from casual interest and research to a signed and paying client.

Add Some Flavor

As you factor in all of the above and filter through how to efficiently stretch your marketing spend to maximize your potential reach using multiple tactics, the overall impression and feel you present matters. Effective branding adds flavor to your total marketing mix. The messaging, core values, colors and images you use in every campaign should make prospective customers know you are the right choice to meet their needs and make them want to work with you.

Building Your Recipe

We help clients find the recipe that works for them by creating an integrated strategic marketing plan — the complete action plan for their marketing mix. We consider how they are currently positioned and perceived in the market, competitors in the sector, what they’d like to achieve and the key value they offer before selecting which ingredients to use in the mix. The right recipe factors in brand awareness, lead generation and thought leadership using efforts that fit their specific industry sector and could include news releases and articles, website optimization and social media, event marketing and email promotion, just to name a few likely possibilities to be included in the marketing mix.

As you build your recipe and add a dash of this or that to season your marketing mix, Foster Marketing wishes you much success; and as always, we’re here to help create the perfect flavor for marketing success. Contact us today.

The Marketing Mix

MORE TOOLS FROM FOSTER

Put Some Power Into Your Media Picks

Use Media Analysis to Prove the Value Of What You’re Getting with Media Buys

Marketing managers have long felt the burden of demonstrating return for their marketing efforts, but in today’s market, showing results is even more important when you have a limited budget.
 
“Nothing except the mint can make money without advertising.” – Thomas Babington Macaulay
 
Seasoned marketers know that it is crucial to keep a brand in front of the market, especially in volatile times when some companies go silent and others are closing their doors. But, when times get tough, marketing budgets seem to shrink and it becomes increasingly difficult to convince company leadership that this could be the best time to put its best foot forward and step up public relations and marketing efforts.

When marketing moves to the top of the list of potential budgetary cutbacks, proven data becomes a marketer’s best defense to show how efforts are impacting today’s buyer, as well as the sales pipeline for months to come.

This is where media analysis reporting can come in handy, especially for advertising. A media analysis report provides a clear picture of who your ad will reach, how many potential customers will see your ad and how much it will cost to reach these potential buyers. Budget-conscious executives appreciate having an easy-to-decipher tool that allows them to make informed buying decisions.
 

What Should a Media Analysis Report Include?

One common media planning mistake is only looking at a publication’s editorial calendar and making all your placement decisions solely from this limited information. Sure, editorial content is what helps attract a specific audience, but there are other factors you can consider.

For example, consider geography. If you are only active in the United States, should you be buying ads in a publication with 75 percent international circulation? Probably not.

Additionally, publications know you are looking for specific audiences, so they usually can provide in-depth demographic information showing their readers by job title, location, industry segment, decision-making power, etc.

If you have a clear picture of the target audience you want to reach, this should be factored into your analysis and can be ranked based on how closely a publication’s reach matches your ideal customer.

Once you have determined how each publication is used by your target audience, you can take a look at how many potential prospects receive each publication. Most major trade publications provide a Business Publication Audit (BPA) statement showing total circulation. The BPA statement can reliably be used to determine the potential reach of each placement opportunity.

Some publications will even sweeten the deal with the promise of extra eyeballs on your ad via bonus circulation at a trade show, pass-along readership stats and the promise of online viewers; however, make sure you are using comparable numbers for each publication. Sticking with the BPA reported circulation can help ensure consistency in your analysis.

Next, consider cost. Using the total reported circulation and the cost of each placement, a cost per 1,000 (CPM) viewers can be calculated to make comparing the placement cost of multiple publications much easier to evaluate. Even better would be to develop a CPM for those readers by geography or title.

When building a media analysis:

  • Make sure you are measuring apples to apples – evaluate all contenders using the same methodology.
  • Consider each factor important to you separately, such as percentage of offshore market, and give it a separate rank. Once you are done, you can decide which factors are most important to you now or next quarter.
  • Calculate cost per impression using the same reported number such as BPA statement circulation.

 

Creating a media analysis report can be a very beneficial tool for evaluating media placement opportunities. While market conditions are difficult, it is important to use all the tools available to best reach your clients and prospects. Additionally, having data that supports your marketing spend is essential and helps prove that efforts align with your company’s overall business goals.

Foster intern Chandler Coffing contributed to this article.

Foster Marketing develops media plans and strategically places ads to help our clients reach their customers, build awareness for their products and services and turn prospective customers into buyers. Contact us today to discuss your advertising goals!

Sell Your Digital Success to Get Buy-In

Are you banging your head against a brick wall trying to get your company involved in social media? Or, as the person in charge of business development, are you tired of getting line items for digital marketing slashed from your annual budget?

You know the value of digital marketing; your problem is a lack of buy-in. But, you can change perceptions by showing real results and soon have your team singing the praises of digital marketing efforts.

Digital marketing tactics offer a wealth of avenues to showcase the gains you are making to get your company on board the digital bandwagon. Here are some helpful ways to dazzle them with data to sell your digital success and get buy-in.  

Win Them Over

Share the Top 5 List

Show the Top 5 liked/commented on/shared social posts from the previous month. When your team sees how many people they’ve helped or reached by snapping a photo from a job site, they’ll remember to keep the photos coming.

Dig Into the Data

If your new business/sales team is actively targeting a specific geographic region through trade shows/industry events and setting up meetings, show them the impact. Using Google Analytics, you can show the number of users from a specific geographic region who have viewed your site in the past month versus previous months. Helping quantify new business efforts is a great way to show the value of digital.

Show Them the Leads

If you have a request-a-bid form on your website, share a snapshot of all the actionable leads that have come into the website in the past month. Your sales team may get emails to follow up on from your website but showing that multiple leads come in directly through your website each month can have a greater impact and highlight the importance of your ongoing online efforts to keep the leads coming.

Ask Google

If you’re actively working on optimizing your site, keep track of your SEO progress. If you started out ranked number 30 in the search results for a key term and you now claim one of the top three positions, tell your team where you started but show them what prospects find now when they search for that term … your company! And they are just one click away from connecting with you and your products and services.

Send, Receive, Repeat

Managing an email list of customers and prospects can be daunting as it is ever changing because of job moves, cutbacks and restructuring. Sending out a monthly or quarterly e-newsletter can help keep you informed of changes – even before a salesperson shows up at the door and finds their contact has left the company. When you get email kickbacks saying Bob Smith is no longer with Company ABC, share these with your sales team. This can be a useful heads-up that it is time for them to show up at the company with a box of doughnuts to find out who their new contact is.

Web-event Windfall

If you have a new technology or product you are trying to garner interest in, consider hosting a web event. Whether you do it in-house or via an industry publication, you can set it up to capture a list of warm leads that your sales team can follow up on. If a potential customer has viewed the online event on your new product, it may be a perfect time for a sales person to set up a lunch meeting to answer their questions on how your product could help their company.

Go for Social Gold

Share a comment or endorsement from a customer that was posted on LinkedIn noting your good work and recommending your products and services. Everyone loves to get good reviews!

Partner Up to Show Wins

Marketing departments sometimes don’t know what happens once a lead gets turned over to the sales team. Team up with sales to show the online leads that turn into sales – with a dollar amount, if possible. Showing that one web lead turned into a $10,000 sale is definitely worth noting.

Once your team sees that digital marketing is having a real impact on getting them closer to a sale and changing the way your company is viewed in the marketplace, the social content ideas will come pouring in and you’ll have a much better chance of keeping your digital marketing spend in your next budget meeting.
Foster Marketing develops digital strategies to help our clients engage with their customers, build awareness for their products and services and turn prospective customers into buyers. Contact us today to discuss your digital goals!

These Two Will Pass

George Foster, CEO

As you get older you learn to adapt the Persian adage that “this too will pass” indicating that all conditions, positive or negative, are temporary. Never has this been truer than following the years-old oil and gas slump or the recent election.

These two will pass.

Despite low oil and gas prices, there are opportunities to grow in the oil and gas industry with foresight and creativity. One of my favorite oil and gas quotes is from Parke Atherton Dickey, the legendary geologist, dedicated researcher and inspiring educator. In assessing the lot of oil and gas exploration (or lack of) he said:

"We usually find gas in new places with old ideas. Sometimes, also, we find gas in an old place with a new idea, but we seldom find much gas in an old place with an old idea. Several times in the past we have thought that we were running out of gas, whereas actually we were only running out of ideas."       

With oil prices hovering in the mid-40s per barrel and gas at 2.6 MMBtu you aren’t going to drill your way to prosperity without doing things more cost effectively and creatively. It’s going to be accomplished with fresh ideas as Dickey opined – drilling cheaper, faster and safer.

Another long-time oilman, Paul Hilliard of Badger Oil (Life at 90, Paul Hilliard Looks Ahead) has been in the oil and gas business for five decades. The 90-year-old Hilliard, who went through the Arab Oil Embargo and the turbulent ‘80s has a pragmatic view of the industry. “Sometimes you’re the fireplug; sometimes you’re the dog.”

He looks to the future with hope, despite his age, so how can we do less. Hilliard likes to quote Proverbs 12:25 — “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” He adds, “Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow, a promissory note. Today is cash in hand.”

While Hilliard is optimistic, there are a bunch of folks unhappy about the recent presidential election (as well as a bunch more thrilled with the results). It doesn’t matter which side you were on during the election; the sun will come up tomorrow. There’s hope.

For those feeling no hope (even though a new President has yet to be inaugurated, pick a new cabinet or pass a law) and may need a therapy dog (Distraught Students Get Therapy Dogs) here are four tricks to take control of your catastrophic thoughts: from Ron Breazeale, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Portland, Maine:

  • Identify your thought as “catastrophic.” Recognize that what you’re thinking about is extremely unlikely to happen—think seriously about the realistic odds. Mass deportations or you’ll lose your healthcare, for example, are possible, but they aren’t likely.
     
  • Think about the more likely scenario. Force yourself to come up with other potential scenarios—ones that are much more likely to happen. With the above example, consider that Congress will be involved in the immigration issue and that even President Trump has said he wants to take care of pre-existing conditions and extended healthcare for young adults. Then tell yourself that chances are that one of these “more likely” scenarios will take place. The more that you consciously force yourself to do this, the more likely you are to start thinking rationally automatically when you’re stressed.
     
  • Take action (when possible). In certain cases, there’s an easy way to disprove your catastrophic thoughts and confirm a “more likely” reason for your thinking. Talk to someone whose opinion you respect and will give you an objective viewpoint. But here’s an important part of this step: Make only one call. If you call him or her and they don’t pick up; or make calls to 10 other people then skip this step altogether, because it’ll only inflate your worries.
     
  • Dig deeper. Ask yourself if the election results are what you’re really worried about. Your anxiety might be manifesting itself as stress about the election, but it actually may be stemming from a separate problem altogether.

    For example, maybe you’re seriously scared because you’re struggling financially…or maybe you’re panicked about a serious health diagnosis…or maybe you’re not performing well at work. If you figure out the root problem and then take steps to solve that problem, you might find that your catastrophic thinking dissipates.
     

  • Get extra help, if needed. If the tips above don’t curtail your catastrophic thinking and it’s interfering with your life in a serious way—perhaps it keeps you from sleeping or hurts your relationships, for example—then it’s time to seek help from a psychologist who uses cognitive behavioral therapy. Find one near you by checking the American Psychological Association and ask him or her, “Can you help me with catastrophic thinking?”
Finally, smile. Let me end on a positive note from one of my favorite songs Smile. And, it won’t hurt to sing along:
 
“Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by.
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
For you.
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what’s the use of crying.
You’ll see that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile.”
 
Our goal at Foster Marketing is to keep you smiling, providing creative, marketing-driven communications helping our clients engage with their customers, build awareness for their products and services and turn prospective customers into buyers. Contact us today to discuss your marketing communications goals for 2017! Happy Thanksgiving!

Showcase Your Experience

Case Studies Allow You to Share How You’ve Helped Other Clients and Prove Your Value

By the Foster Marketing PR Team

Over the last decade, the dependency on product and service reviews, online testimonials and social media posts before potential customers make a final purchase decision has grown exponentially. In today’s tech-savvy society, consumers refer to a company’s online presence to see how its product or service stacks up against other company offerings of the same thing.

Online reviews and testimonials of consumers who have previously purchased a product or service are one of the resources most heavily relied on by consumers. But how can you leverage these comments to create a powerful marketing tool that can be used throughout your entire campaign? The answer: case studies.

A case study can be used to provide current and prospective clients a specific, real-life example of a scenario in which one or more of your company’s unique products or services were used to overcome a challenge, with the final results demonstrating the proven success of your company and solution you provided. Case studies establish proof of validity and quality of services, all endorsed by the success of another client—essentially, a documented testimonial.

And it doesn’t stop there. These insight pieces can be strategically repurposed in numerous ways to ensure your company gets its full value throughout the entire span of your marketing campaign. Here’s how:

8 Ways to Use Case Studies

  1. Website – Case studies can be featured on your company’s website (in addition to media sites) to identify the key points of success such as initial challenges, project goals, processes and final results.
  2. Testimonial – Companies can pull information and quotes from the case study to be used for a customer testimonial section on their website which can then link back to the full case study so prospective clients can keep reading to learn more.
  3. Blog – Developing blog content featuring new case studies provides exposure for your target audiences including current and prospective clients (not to mention the SEO benefits from additional relevant content on your site). Case studies are a great means for identifying with your customers by relaying their needs and demonstrating a proven solution.
  4. Videos – Creating informative videos from previously developed case studies could pique the interest of some of your target audience who would prefer to watch a quick video rather than read.
  5. Social media – Case studies are ideal sharing material for social media platforms allowing you to tag the operator or customer in the post or share within relevant groups to leverage the value of this resource in a way that attracts the appropriate audiences.
  6. Email marketing and newsletters – Case studies, how-to guides and other useful information can be an effective method to attract the attention of prospects – and capture leads. When you provide information potential customers want or need, they are more likely to share their contact details with you, which will help fill your pipeline of potential customers and get them closer to a sale.
  7. Internal use – Case studies are an excellent resource for training your company’s sales staff. The tailored content can be useful in demonstrating to prospects the success and benefits other clients experienced while using your product or service.
  8. Evergreen presentations – Evergreen presentations contain material that will always be relevant to your audience. Developing a brief slideshow presentation focused on the key points of the case study can be used to stir interest, and these presentations can then be made available for future use by your employees across the board.

Case studies are powerful and effective tools that tell the story of how your products or services align with your customers’ needs. They are relatively inexpensive resources to create and are invaluable in spreading useful information across multiple platforms.

The team at Foster Marketing is equipped to not only help you develop strong case studies, but also show you how to leverage these tools across multiple channels to maximize the impact and reach a broader audience.