The world of digital marketing is complex and ever-changing, with new and interesting channels seemingly around every turn. It’s easy to get excited about your digital campaigns, but for many organizations, it’s understandably also easy to get lost in the confusion this environment can create. If your digital campaigns are going to be everything you’re hoping for, it’s imperative that you understand and adhere to industry best practices and avoid the common pitfalls that so many businesses find themselves succumbing to.
We’re here to help, with our Seven Proven Steps for Digital Campaign Success. Here they are:
1. Begin with a sensible plan
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn – many businesses become a bit awe-struck with all the channels at their disposal and try to do too much too soon. Remember that to execute badly can do as much harm as a well-executed campaign can do good. Remember, too, that it takes manpower to successfully execute a digital campaign and the more complicated it is the more people you’ll likely need to do it right. Start slowly with the channels that make sense for you and your prospects and customers.
2. Consider an integrated approach
We often tell our clients that new and buzzworthy channels don’t necessarily negate or replace older, proven ones. Email marketing is a great example. Companies in a host of industries continue to have remarkable success with their email campaigns, and if your list is good and your execution consistent, you can too. In a big-picture sense, an integrated approach is often best when it comes to marketing, so consider (after you consider your audience, of course) a blend of “old” and new.
3. Test, test, and test again
The best marketing results are usually the result of the best marketing data. But how do you determine what data is the most prudent for your audience, and what resulting campaign messaging will most likely resonate with them? The answer is “testing.” While you may be inclined to resist the expense of A/B testing, the truth is you can’t afford not to do it – consistently. The information you obtain from testing limited-run variations of your campaign creative will most likely lead you to a more targeted and results-delivering full campaign. And you should continue to test options then, too, so you’re continually tweaking and improving as you go.
4. Land them on your landing pages
Every campaign needs to have a specific call-to-action, and that call-to-action should drive directly to a campaign-specific landing page. In days of old, ads would drive people to a website’s homepage but that only interrupted the flow and intent of the campaign with details that, while important, had little to do with the campaign’s intent. The resulting confusing and cumbersome user experience only frustrated respondents, causing them to have to click around to get to their intended destination. And that’s not what you want when trying to nurture your prospects through the sales funnel to the point of conversion. The easier that journey is, the more likely those prospects become customers.
5. Keep your eye on your ROI
It’s all about return on investment, but with all the metrics and reporting options available today a focused, deep-dive ROI analysis is important. Go beyond the typical, basic analysis to see exactly what your return on a digital initiative is and then evaluate whether to continue in that vein or try something else that might get better results. Then repeat the process.
6. Don’t sit on your leads
To make sure a qualified lead remains a qualified lead, get it over to your sales team as fast as you can. If they’re the ones following up, you’ll want to help them do so quickly so they’ll be calling on prospects for whom the campaign is still top of mind. Much like your digital campaign options, your prospects are bombarded with advertising from all over – including from your competitors. So make sure your sales team is equipped to get a jump on competing firms.
7. Remember remarketing
Many companies were initially a bit hesitant to embrace remarketing. Ads following someone around online seemed a bit too intrusive. But the truth is, it works, and evidence shows that a significant percentage of undecided consumers will return to your website due to the repeated reminders remarketing delivers. If you’re considering it but aren’t sure, remember that these consumers are pre-qualified, having already expressed an interest in your product or service by visiting your website or online store. When you’re thinking in terms of targeted ad spend, remarketing seems a wise choice.
So there you have them. Our Seven Proven Steps for Digital Campaign Success.
If you’d like to learn more about how Stackpole has helped clients in diverse industries develop and implement successful digital campaigns, contact us today.
Objectively Speaking, Rethink the Formula
If there’s anything a bank marketing professional can say with absolute certainty these days, it’s that nothing is certain. Quite simply, the tried and true rules of the past don’t apply anymore. In this transformative age, the rules have changed.
That’s certainly true when it comes to establishing a marketing budget for the year. With thoughts of social media campaigns, cross-platform initiatives, and customer lifetime value metrics dancing in your head, it might be very tempting to fall back on the default American Bankers Association .01 percent-of-assets method. A few taps of the calculator and mission accomplished.
But is it? You probably know that a percentage-based budget is based on your bank’s past performance, not future objectives. Like an Indy car driver chasing the checkered flag, you want to be laser focused on what’s in front of you, not what’s in the rearview mirror. To maintain that focus, you want to have a clearly defined objective – or two or ten.
Keep the Focus on Objectives
That’s why objective based marketing, is, in our minds, the best way to define real goals and formulate a real budget that will help your bank achieve real results. That’s a lot of real for one sentence, but let’s not forget that real is the root of reality. When it comes to establishing a strategic, results-driven budget, you don’t want pie in the sky, do you?
“There’s nothing wrong with using the standard percentage of assets budget formula as a rule of thumb,” Stackpole President, Pete Stackpole, points out. “But as a forward-looking strategy, that’s really not an effective way of achieving objectives. Banks should really be focusing on first defining those objectives, and then budgeting in a strategic way to accomplish them.”
Bank CMO’s don’t need to be reminded that there are as many factors impacting the size of a bank marketing budget as there are boats in China – or at least it can seem that way. Is there a new competitor threat? Are you introducing a new product? Are you trying to boost the performance of an underperforming product? New technology adoption? Are you undergoing a rebranding campaign?
And if you’re building a new website, it should be supporting digital banking transactions as much as it serves as a marketing tool. So where does this cost get recognized? Build a case for splitting between marketing and operations and build a site that creates some market differentiation.
For the Best Results, Choose Quality Over Quantity
All of this can make your ‘To Do’ list longer than the epic Tolstoy novel, War and Peace. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you can’t do it all. But you and your team can identify the objectives that are most crucial to your bank’s success and focus your resources and energy on them.
“In some cases, a bank might find itself outspent by a bigger competitor. But that’s OK. It just has to be smarter, more strategic, more focused,” explains Stackpole. “We tell our clients, if you don’t have the budget, pare down your list from say, top 10, to top 7 and concentrate on them. It’s really a question of scaling down your objectives or scaling up your budget. They key is staying focused and not skim coating over the whole list.”
Not only is that approach more effective in achieving results, he points out, it’s also more cost effective. Too many agencies work on an annual budget basis, essentially reverse-engineering a plan, and timing campaigns around how the bank has historically invested its annual or quarterly budgets. That formula is a bit myopic as it doesn’t account for new market opportunities or threats.
“That kind of amortized investment approach is structured to benefit the agency through a fixed and predictable income, but doesn’t serve the strategic needs of the client,” cautions Stackpole. “We consider ourselves advisors to our clients. We help them identify their specific marketing objectives and focus on achieving those objectives— rather than just applying a broad-brush approach across all of our clients.”
Don’t Lose Sight of the Big Picture
The only downside to maintaining a razor-sharp focus on your bank marketing budget and specific objectives is that it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. It’s important to take a step away sometimes and look at the big picture. Neatly framed in that picture should be your brand.
As you know, developing that brand and enhancing awareness is key to achieving overall success. Without that, all these focused initiatives will likely die on the vine. Brand awareness might be harder to measure than a specifically targeted campaign, but if it’s treated like the linchpin it is in an integrated approach, you’ll know whether it is increasing.
“I think that banks – specifically bank marketing executives – are coming to understand that their brand is a reflection of who they are,” Stackpole adds. “There’s a lot of product parity in the banking industry. It’s hard to stand on product alone. Establishing and refining a sense of personality is key. The importance of building the brand – and making sure to budget for that – can’t be stressed enough.”
Most Important Considerations
In a recent blog, we highlighted some important considerations for banks and credit unions who are initially considering social media or ramping up their social media efforts. Today, we’ll take a look at some equally important things for law firms to consider regarding social media usage.
As we stated in the previous post, social media helps you meet your audience where they live and facilitates:
Like the financial services industry, many law firms came (or are still coming) to the social media game a little late. Many at first didn’t understand it, some thought it a waste of time, others still were afraid of it from a compliance perspective given the strict regulations governing it.
If you haven’t yet fully implemented a social media game plan but you’re ready to forge ahead now, here are some things think about.
Know the legal restrictions
While it seems a bit silly to offer that advice to someone in the legal profession, the truth is each state has its own laws and restrictions and it can be confusing. So it is important that you know your state’s laws about social media with regard to offers, contests, giveaways, etc. Not to mention, each platform has its own regulations, so be sure you’ve educated yourself about what’s acceptable and what’s not before you begin.
Create a plan
Begin by setting realistic goals and expectations. Ask yourself what your objectives are and develop a game plan that makes sense. How many posts are right for you per month? Who will be the person(s) in charge of regular posting? How quickly will you react to complaints, and so on? You’ll also need to know where your audience lives online, and make sure your plan includes the platforms they use. A great way to determine that is to create a keyword list of terms and conduct your own search to find them.
Offer valuable content
Social media is a great way to engage prospects/customers/clients/users, but you should be sure you’re posting things that interest them, and that show your firm in the best possible light (think thought leadership). When you’re posting content, make sure it’s interesting, informative and of value to them, and invite their feedback. Make great content part of your initial plan (again, think about your goals) and make sure that content remains fresh and new. It won’t take long to lose them if they see the same things posted again and again. And think video – video content is an incredibly effective medium when it’s well planned and done right.
Remember your brand
Your reach on social platforms (if you do it right) is going to be broad. This is a great way to promote your brand so be sure the design of all your posts – regardless of the different platform requirements – works to promote your brand both visually and from a messaging standpoint.
If you’re already rolling with social and are reaping benefits, great. If you’re not, or you’re looking to use it more effectively, we hope you’ll consider these basic but important steps. And if you’d like to talk about how we might help with your social media strategy and implementation, feel free to drop us a line.
To sling mud or not? For political candidates and their campaign surrogates in the overheated midterm elections of 2018, that’s the question.
Is it worth it for a candidate to hitch their wagon to negative attack ads? Are social scientists correct in saying that voters might say they abhor negativity, but are biologically rigged to pay more attention to negative messages?
Or will they be in the minority and take the high road to emphasize their position on issues and tell their personal story as so many newly minted political candidates, like Texas congressional candidate MJ Hegar, are doing this year.
While candidates are weighing the pros and cons, commercial brands that are advertising in this election season have some questions to ask and answer of their own. The primary one is whether they’ve carefully considered the impact that all this negative advertising will have on their brand’s reputation. If your ad follows a political mud-slinger, does some of the mud land on you?
Does Negative Political Advertising Hurt Your Brand?
It is a question that has been hotly debated in hotel bars at marketing and advertising conventions around the country for decades. It started in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson attacked Barry Goldwater in a TV commercial titled Miss Daisy, the first recorded attack TV ad in American politics. Campaign operatives were terrified the ad would backfire, but it was widely credited with effectively painting Goldwater as a warmonger and appealing to a public fear of nuclear war.
Since then, the opinions about the strategy have become as passion-filled as the ads themselves. Alex Kroll, a past chairman of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, had a very strong aversion to the negativity. In 1991, he said in no uncertain terms, “We must stop politicians from ruining our reputation,” and, argued emphatically that, “Positivity is the currency of product advertising.”
Twenty-five years later, the J. Walter Thompson agency confirmed Kroll’s opinion, issuing a report that brand advertising was viewed as 32 percent less relevant when it aired following a negative political ad. Based on responses from 3600 survey participants, the report found that viewers suffered a negative “hangover effect” after viewing a negative political ad and it carried over to any subsequent advertising they viewed.
There Are Two Sides to Every Argument
But, just like on the debate stage, every argument has a strong counter. In 1999, Stanford University researchers published their findings in a report succinctly titled, Political Advertising: What Effect on Commercial Advertisers? The conclusion was fairly surprising. After studying their subjects’ reactions during an actual presidential campaign season, the researchers recommended that commercial advertisers should actually “encourage the greater use of political advertising in general and negative political advertising in particular.”
The logic was akin to the good seed/bad seed sibling comparison. Negative advertising was so repulsive to viewers, the researchers concluded, that product advertising looked great in comparison and therefore elicited a positive response.
The fact of the matter is that we humans are drawn to conflict. Negativity is an attention-grabber, and all advertisers want those eyes and ears.
Big Money, Digital Influence and TV Logjam for Advertisers
Borrell Associates, a research and consulting firm that tracks local advertising, forecasts that at the national, state and local levels political ad spending will reach a staggering $8.5 billion. Who are the big winners? Broadcast TV will rake in $3.3 billion, while digital media will continue on its dizzying meteoric pace, taking in $1.8 billion.
Digital advertising is clearly changing the game, both for political candidates and companies advertising during the election season. In addition to the possibility that a candidate’s ad goes viral and produces off-the-charts ROI, unlike TV, digital advertising also offers unlimited access. That allows campaigns the time to develop a cohesive model and get it out in front of voters in targeted ways. That’s a distinct advantage over broadcast and cable TV.
In fact, to judge the importance of the digital platform in modern day American politics, look no further than who was selected to run President Trump’s 2020 campaign. Originally hired by the Trump Organization to build websites, Brad Parscale was Trump’s 2016 digital campaign manager and is widely credited with being the X-factor in his victory.
TV, on the other hand, doesn’t have the wide-open frontiers of the digital platforms. It’s still the medium of choice for most candidates, however. But we’re a long time removed from Dwight Eisenhower’s 1952 ad Eisenhower Answers America, which is the first political ad run on broadcast TV. If you’re based in a hotly contested district, it’s non-stop political ads now; an endless cycle of finger-pointing, backbiting and candidates posing with smiling children.
Think of TV’s limited time slots in the midst of an election cycle as a crowded subway platform with a train entering the station. It’s all push and pull, jostle and elbow. Especially at rush hour. There are only so many seats available.
Given that federal law mandates that TV stations offer federal candidates their lowest rate for a time period, campaigns can lock in at discounted rates if they sign up early. But political campaigns tend to adjust on the fly, which means that the closer to an election it gets, the more expensive ad slots become. In heavily contested races that might mean missing out on a valuable time slot altogether.
Candidates nearing the finish line are hardly the only ones to feel the pinch of limited inventory. An analysis of the 2014 midterm found that car dealers were impacted appreciably by a dearth of open TV ad slots. They ran up to 50 percent less ads than normal in peak hours and saw a resultant drop in sales. Retail, professional services, medical services, and other businesses saw a 30- to 40-percent drop in their ads as well.
We’ll know more about what’s working best in just a few days. After election, fatigue wears off and analysts get to work digging through the data, these midterms should offer up a goldmine of information to inform future campaigns and companies considering how to align their brand in the next election cycle.
Three Important Considerations
It used to be that many in banking considered social media a waste of time. But times have changed, and more and more banks have come to the conclusion that social media is indeed not a waste of time, but rather an imperative. They’ve grasped the reality that if they’re not online talking about their institutions, others likely are – so it’s wise to be part of the conversation. Not just to quickly address any naysayers or false impressions (more about that later), but also to take advantage of all the tools social media delivers. Tools that help you meet your audience where they live and facilitate:
If you’ve already jumped in with social and are reaping benefits, great! You’re in good company. Some of the big names in financial services are as well, according to a 2017 list published by The Financial Brand. It contained names like Wells Fargo, Capital One, TD Bank, Chase and many more.
But if you’re just starting out with social, or are focused on improving the results you’re getting from your efforts, please consider these Three Important Social Media Considerations for Banks and Credit Unions.
#1 Content is King, but less is more.
Banks across the country who’ve been marketing via social channels for some time have come to realize that constantly posting details about what is, as The Financial Brand posted recently, “the equivalent of what they had for breakfast” is a bad idea. Post less and make it count with information that’s useful to your audience, that makes them realize how much you value them and that elevates your brand.
Also, on Facebook, consider using promoted content. The truth is that organic content is pretty much dead on Facebook, so if you want to get in front of your audience on this insanely popular platform, you’ll have to pay for it. Of course, targeted posts cost more than generic posts so you’ll need to evaluate your cost per interaction and ask whether the desired result is worth the expense.
Lastly, use video. According to The Financial Brand, there’s been a 631% increase in video content in 2017. Let’s face it, the point of social interaction is to engage your audience and we all know that nothing engages people like a well-produced video. But again, make the content memorable, interesting and meaningful.
#2 Respond to complaints quickly.
This seems obvious on the face of it, but many financial institutions still miss the boat here. When someone wants to gripe about your bank or credit union, Twitter and Facebook are going to be the venues. So, you need to be there and you need to be ready to respond fast.
Again, the point of social is to be involved in and (in a perfect world) to direct the conversation toward the positives of your bank and your brand. But people are people and not everyone is going to love everything you do. When complaints do arise online, quickly countering with a positive spin will help you calm any potential storms.
Of course, the best way to minimize negative posts about your institution and your brand is to proactively engage your audience in meaningful, valuable and informative conversations.
#3 Don’t view social as a standalone.
The best social media campaigns of all time would have been impossible were it not for advertising, so your social media should be part of a larger, integrated approach. In an online article highlighting the results of its 2017 Report, The State of Social Media in Banking, the American Banking Association (ABA) cites that of the banks surveyed:
You want big social results? Integrate your social media and advertising strategies. Here’s a lofty but wonderful illustration.
Remember the Old Spice Guy, whose deadpan delivery of silly monologues and costume changes were made all the more humorous because of his unwavering gaze into the camera? All while riding on a white horse?
The character was part of one of the most successful social campaigns ever, which included more than 180 personal video responses to fans’ tweets and comments. But without the initial ads to introduce the Old Spice Guy to America, no one would have known him and the results would surely have been different. While your ad budget might not allow for such pricey campaigns, the logic of an integrated strategy makes sense.
There’s much more to talk about regarding social media, but we’ll save that for future blogs. In the meantime, if you’d like to talk with us about your social media strategy and implementation, get in touch any time.
People are talking about geofencing, and the applications and opportunities are pretty far-reaching, across a number of industries. A quick definition before we jump in: Geofencing involves the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area.
Wikipedia lists some of the most recognized applications for Geofencing as child-location, where parents can be alerted when and if a child leaves a predesignated area; telematics, where users draw zones around places of work, customer sites, etc., and receive warnings when someone crosses the geofence; and human resources, where HR departments can monitor employees by location.
Of course, Geofencing is part of the increasingly popular Location-Based Marketing (LBM) methodology, where retailers, for instance, can reach consumers when they’re in the vicinity of their stores or those of their competitor’s, with messaging designed to elicit a certain response. Like “Come buy our stuff and not theirs.”
At the risk of overstating the obvious, the negative implications of Geofencing revolve around information privacy and data security. More and more, consumers are uncomfortable with their personal information being so readily available to businesses – and potential hackers. If you’re considering the possibility of Geofencing as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need to be sensitive to this reality and make sure your content offers easy opt-in and opt-out opportunities for your target audience. Look for more blogs on the privacy implications of Location-Based Marketing in the future.
The promise of Geofencing or LBM is undeniable, offering:
And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg, as they say. Of course, like any marketing method, if your Geofencing/LBM efforts are to be successful you’ll still need to offer a value proposition that resonates, and that’s where your content comes in. As with all marketing – inbound, outbound, digital, traditional, etc. – the message is the most important thing.
There are some pretty remarkable statistics on Geofencing/LBM. Look for more on this subject in the near future.
Stackpole Video Recruits for Respected Law Firm
Many law firms are finding it a challenge to recruit and retain millennial attorneys, and most realize they need to figure it out in a hurry. Recent studies show that by 2020 half the workforce in the US will consist of millennials, and that number grows to 75% by 2025.
But recruiting millennials is not necessarily a simple task; many law firms are struggling to understand the psyche of this unique demographic and how best to reach them. Stackpole research has uncovered some important insights, including these interesting facts:
As a result of these statistics and others, we stress to clients that when it comes to recruiting, few things are as effective as video. The use of video to draw potential candidates to an organization clearly puts a human face on what makes the firm a great place to work, the kinds of projects candidates can expect to work on, the company’s employee diversity, distinctive cultural aspects and more.
Video allows a law firm to tell their story and highlight their unique culture in a compelling way other mediums simply can’t. Recently, respected New Hampshire firm McLane Middleton asked Stackpole to help them reach millennials through video, and we were only too happy to oblige.
McLane has been named one of America’s leading law firms in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Business Lawyers, and The Best Lawyers in America® publication recently endorsed 38 of the firm’s 105 attorneys. In addition to the ability to work on some of New England’s most high-profile corporate cases, the firm offers candidates a culture that encourages great work, career advancement, diversity, work/life balance and more.
The Stackpole team was confident that a beautifully shot video where attorneys tell of their relationships and positive experiences with McLane would accomplish that in a memorable way.
Prior to filming, the Stackpole team prepared participating attorneys with carefully crafted questions designed to elicit natural, convincing and compelling responses. Each shared what it is that makes McLane special to them and offered new hires a glimpse of what they could expect should they be fortunate enough to receive an invitation to join the firm.
The end result is a beautifully filmed, two-minute video that exemplifies all that McLane Middleton has to offer young attorneys, touching specifically upon the firm’s:
McLane Middleton is special and so is the video. You can see both for yourself here.
If you’d like to learn more about Stackpole’s video capabilities and expertise, contact us today.
Stackpole is pleased to announce that the agency won two Summit Creative Awards at this year’s SIA International Marketing & Advertising Awards.
The Summit International Awards honors “the best web, design, video, advertising, interactive, mobile & social marketing from creative agencies worldwide.” The organization’s Summit Creative Award (SCA) specifically celebrates the best in those categories “from firms under $30 million in billings.”
Stackpole received a silver and bronze SCA for their recent work for clients Merchants Fleet Management and Goodsill, respectively.
“This is really exciting,” said agency president Pete Stackpole after the presentation. “These are two great clients and we’re really proud of the work we’ve done for them. To have the SIA recognize our efforts this way is really special.”
A long-time Stackpole client, Merchants has risen to be the nation’s leading provider of fleet management solutions. Stackpole’s print ad campaign, part of a larger brand refresh, was designed to remind the industry of their premier status. A series of ads ran under the headline, “Always Settle for Better” and received the Silver Award in the Print Advertising B2B Campaign category.
Goodsill is one of the oldest and most respected law firms in Hawaii, yet like many established organizations, they needed to remind the island nation of what set them apart from other firms practicing there. As with Merchants, these print ads were part of a larger brand repositioning effort establishing the firm as “the freshest name in Hawaii law,” and each iteration carried the headline: “Leaving our mark on Hawaii for 140 years.”
“We’d like to thank SIA for this award,” Stackpole continued. “Everyone here is thrilled to have been part of such great work and to be honored by such a great organization.”