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Zodiac Marketer: Pisces

zodiac compassion in content marketing_news

In astrology, people belonging to each zodiac sign allegedly have individual inclinations in personality, relationships, and even fate according to the alignment of the stars at the time of birth. Whether or not you believe in astrology, it can be interesting to read about the different personality traits, relationship tendencies, career paths, and the various aspects of a person’s “sign.” In this series, we will approach marketing using the different characteristics of the zodiac signs.

Pisces is a water sign, with the strengths: compassion, creativity, intuition, gentleness, wisdom, and they are musically inclined. This is a no-brainer. So much of marketing encompasses so many of these traits. Let’s also take a look at Pisces’ weaknesses: fearful, overly trusting, desire to escape reality, can be a victim or a martyr.

Compassion in Marketing

How do you apply compassion to marketing? The truth is, we marketers do it every day, probably without even knowing it. If you really think about the word compassion, at its root is empathy and understanding. In a sense, compassion is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. A good marketer will do this with every piece of marketing material she or he creates.

Some examples:

  • We think about how the user will experience our website designs. Will the flow of the site and the content be easy to navigate? Is the text readable? Is the overall design pleasing to the eye, or are there clashing colors or fonts that will cause an unpleasant experience? We are concerned first and foremost with user experience.
  • When we are creating a new logo, we think about what the end customer is looking for in a company. Are they looking for a solid, trustworthy partner or a fun, cool experience? This will influence everything from the color palette to the font selection.

Creativity in Marketing

This one couldn’t be any simpler to apply to marketing. Creativity is at the heart of design, certainly, but it’s also a key part of marketing strategy. When we create marketing campaigns, creative problem solving is incredibly important. We start with the objective and a set of goals, and from there we develop a strategy of how to best reach those goals. The content development and design process is inherently creative, but applying creative thinking to public relations, media buying, and even management reporting can make all the difference between success and failure.

For example, in one client’s marketing mix, we reallocated a portion of their budget to create more digital ads with analytics. Our rationale for this move is to get a better sense of keyword performance from the digital advertising analytics and then apply those top performing keywords to other parts of the campaign to step up organic web traffic and eventually increase leads, sales, and ultimately revenue.

Intuition in Marketing

Intuition is defined as quick and ready insight or the immediate apprehension or cognition of something, without the need for conscious reasoning. It is one of those “soft skills” that thought leaders are tossing around a lot lately. How do we apply our intuition to a design project? Number one: WE LISTEN. We ask a lot of questions, and then we listen. We ask for a client’s favorite examples, and then we listen. We spend a lot of time listening, watching, notating reactions, passions, subtle hints. During this discovery process, we are experiencing what the client shares and says without judgment. Once we’ve collected our notations from this discovery meeting, we let the full weight of the experience set in and start the process of design or strategy outline. When you’ve spent the entire meeting listening, often there is little need to spend hours toiling over the next step. Sometimes it will even begin to manifest itself during the meeting so that it flows, intuitively, onto the page.

Avoid: Fear in Marketing

As in any business, fear is crippling to marketing and is to be avoided at all costs. Marketing is one of the fastest moving industries – the technology, applications, solutions, and tools are constantly evolving. This is no place for fear. A marketer must be curious, not fearful. You must be willing to try a new shiny tool and have the confidence to either adopt or discard it. You must trust your instincts when you make these decisions, and don’t be afraid to consult with colleagues, read up, take a course! Forge on, be spontaneous, educate yourself constantly – these are some ways to crush fear and thrive in the marketing world.

Avoid: Playing the Victim in Marketing

Let’s frame this from the perspective of online reputation management. Without going into great detail about this topic, which you can read more about HERE, we will touch on the one item that is most relevant to the Pisces victim role. That is – don’t respond to negative reviews or comments with anger, defensiveness, excuses, or any other immature chaff. This is placing yourself in the role of being the victim of someone else’s negativity. This type of response often leads to a pathetic comment battle, in which nothing is accomplished, except that your business looks petty and ridiculous. Instead, play the role of responsible, concerned customer service professional who wants to turn the negative into a positive.

By reacting in an authentic tone that shows that #1 – you want to try to make this right, #2 – you accept responsibility for the mistake and #3 – you plan on using the incident to improve future customer experience, you will often gain the trust and appreciation of the dissatisfied client. In some cases you will turn them into a raving fan. However, even if they are still not happy, at least you’ve demonstrated to other potential clients that you handle sensitive situations with genuine concern and the desire to improve.

We hope that you can take some of the above recommendations and apply them to your business or marketing plan. Stay tuned for the next zodiac sign, fiery Aries!

Your Best Customer is the One You’re Already With

love your client marketing_news

You’ve seen the meme. A young couple is walking down the sidewalk and he spins around to take a look at another girl walking by. The meme is funny because … well there is truth in the attraction to something new. The grass appearing to be greener on the other side of the fence. Of course, most of the people reading this article would never behave so atrociously. We would never fail to appreciate the wonderful person we’re already with. Or would we?

How much attention do you devote to your existing customers versus prospects?  It’s very easy to become so focused on new business development that we ignore the great catch right in front of us.

No one likes to feel unappreciated, but rather than sending you a meme (You. Me. New Business.), that customer will more likely decide to finally take that sales call from one of your competitors. And where does that leave you but frantically “wining and dining” a new prospect to bring a new business relationship to the level of the one you just lost.

The good news is that your customers know you have other clients. Our business relationship vs. dating analogy only goes so far, and rational people understand this. Most estimates are that the marketing effort necessary to retain a customer is only about 20% of that needed to land a new account.  Why not resolve to give your current customers at least that minimal amount of attention necessary to keep them satisfied and feeling “loved.”

Now you could assess your marketing budget and say one in five dollars needs to be devoted to existing clients, but it may be just as effective to look at the issue from the standpoint of hours rather than hard currency. Devotion doesn’t have to be measured in cash.

If you think it may be time to put the spark back in your existing relationships, here are a few tips presented as phrases that you’re probably familiar with. (And you’ll notice they aren’t costly at all.)

“How was your day?” Find out what’s new with your customers’ businesses, what changes they’re experiencing, and what trends they see. You may find an opportunity where you can help (or know someone who can – see below).

“You were on my mind.” Reach out to old clients you haven’t heard from in a while. It’s possible they’ve found someone new, but it’s more likely they just haven’t required your services. Ask them the same questions as those directly above to find out what is going on in their worlds. You’ll be surprised how often you hear, “I’ve been meaning to call you.”

“Let’s go out on the town.” For those of us in sales, we spend a lot of time at networking events. Ask your clients to join you and introduce them to the people you know. Networking isn’t always about what you can get, it’s also what you can give. Give the gift of new connections, and your clients will never forget it.

“This made me think of you.” Books, magazine articles, blogs or videos … there are likely dozens of things you read on a weekly basis that could be of interest to your clients. Pass them along.

“Have I told you lately …” We purchase a lot of goods and services in our daily lives — for work and for business. When was the last time you were thanked? A sincere ‘thank you’ or a handwritten note goes a long way.

As long as you are in business to make money it would be ridiculous to “stay true” to just one customer. Unfortunately, what’s expected is even tougher. You need to remain true to all of them. Love the one you’re with.

SEO Tips Introduction

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a moving target with a mysterious algorithm that no one seems to be able to define precisely. While this fact can be frustrating, if you can look at it from a positive standpoint, it can be to your benefit. Why?

No One Else Has the Exact Answer Either

We are all at the same disadvantage in our inability to crack the Google SEO code. You can count on the fact that no one else knows the code, so if you stay up to date on SEO techniques like the ones we are about to discuss in this series, you will stay on top of the SEO game.

There Are Ways to Stay at the Top

There are many techniques to staying at the top of Google’s search engine results page (SERP), though you’ll never find the exact formula. Let’s say you’ve been blogging for a couple years, continuously creating new content and seeing engagement with your blog. All that content does not have to have an expiration date. Take some time to review your collection of blogs and see if there are any particular articles that received more traffic than others. These articles will be the starting point for a blog refresh and update, which can yield a significant increase in website traffic.

Now that you have this list of top performing blogs, look to see if there is a relationship between any of these articles. If there is a relationship, can you seamlessly combine these articles into one longer-form, more in-depth article? Find a common thread to connect a few of your blogs, especially if they are around 250-400 words each. You want to combine them to make a longer blog of at least 1000 words.

What’s the reasoning behind this? User-generated content has become prolific ever since we all figured out that generating fresh content is one of the best ways to receive a thumbs up from Google. Look how far we’ve come! From the days of totally useless, “keyword stuffing” articles that had no value other than attracting Google’s attention, to the days of more valuable, readable and meaningful articles, to today. Google has essentially learned how to read over the years, which forced businesses to start writing that real content. And now that real content needs to be even more meaningful and in-depth to offer users and searchers even more valuable information. Google’s reading level is rising.

Now, think about it – this is not a bad thing! Who needs loads of shallow content that offers readers no insight or useful information? While more thoughtful, in-depth content takes longer to create, it is more helpful to your audience. At the end of the day, helping your customers and potential customers is, simply, the right thing to do. They are the lifeline of your business!

Check back monthly during 2019 to receive more SEO tips to improve your organic search traffic and add value to your customers’ experience on your website. Click here to signup for our monthly newsletter to receive the tips directly in your inbox.

Pinstripe Team: Early Influences

In my experience, successful entrepreneurs and business leaders had someone or something that influenced them. Mentors are often pointed to as being the most common influencers, while others have had amazing experiences with a company that promoted growth and autonomy.

The Pinstripe team has decades of experience, and, early in their careers, there was something that guided each one through the challenges of everyday life. So, I wanted my team to share what or who were influences early in their careers.

What Was a Major Influence In Your Career?


Nikki
:

When I was working as an instructional designer at Suncoast Hospice, I was surrounded by incredibly supportive women who helped me to recognize my potential and value my own skill set.I began to see myself through their eyes: as a computer whiz, a creative guru, a natural leader, and even a kind-hearted, intuitive listener who was sensitive to others’ needs.Before I met these women, I didn’t realize how valuable my intelligence, creativity and soft skills were, and how much of each I possessed. Ever since then, I’ve made sure to be more self-aware and appreciate not just what others around me have to offer, but honor the gifts that I bring to the table as well.

Evie Larson - art director
Evie
:

Early in my career I worked with a young lady named Marlenys Rojas, who taught me so many valuable lessons. From Marlenys I learned the importance of connectedness and collaboration with other creatives; to vibe off other designers’ energy during brainstorming sessions; to be more inquisitive, rigorous and experimental with each project I tackled. She instilled in me a desire to be enthusiastic and present to the process of graphic design; to love the craft; to obsess over my craft; to make it personal; to give a shit.

Heather Christman - art director
Heather
:
My first influence and appreciation for art comes from my Dad who is a talented and accomplished fine artist. I don’t recall having a specific mentor during my career but did enjoy learning from many different people, all of whom contributed to my career as a graphic designer.  As for many, my most significant lessons were learned at my first job in the industry which was at a small family owned advertising agency. They included me in every facet of the business, not just in my area of design. I learned the ropes in account and project management, art direction, photo shoots, and vendor relationships. Those experiences helped me later in various career moves as I was able to adapt more easily in various work environments throughout my career.


Michael
:
My first advertising gig was with an established boutique firm in Central Minnesota. I was the assistant to one of two account executives, Ronn Paulson.I learned from his Norwegian honest and authentic demeanor; his amazing project management skills and sense of organization that had been honed during the height of print marketing; and his work-life balance, juggling two young children and a career. He taught me many of the fundamentals that became the bedrock of my career.

This article is part of a series on getting to know our team a little more. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic. Can you relate with any of our influencers? Got a mentor story to share? Let us hear about it in the comments section below!

Public Relations: Be Honest, Be Authentic

pr public relations honest authentic_news

In the past few years, we’ve seen a whole bunch of public relations disasters. Hollywood has been wracked with them, from famous celebrities to powerful executive producers. Some were handled quickly and with compassion, while others not so much. We have also seen major corporations suffer the fate of PR mismanagement. Some are still trying their best to regain consumer confidence.

You may be wondering why all of this matters. Well, it’s because consumers say authenticity is important when choosing the brands they support. This means that any missteps by their PR departments can derail their fiscal goals. We’ve got some great examples that any business, big or small, can learn from.

 

The Need to Be Honest

In 2016, Wells Fargo had a crisis of major proportions. When the public learned about employees at the bank creating over 2 million fake accounts, customers and shareholders felt betrayed. What made this crisis worse was the PR nightmare that followed. Executives tried to cover up the problem. Then, they couldn’t get their story straight. It was obvious that they were lying to our faces. Today, the bank’s stock is rated as “Sell” and their current campaign to build trust is having little impact. Too little too late.

Had the company been open and more transparent about their problems, they could have stopped the bleeding immediately and worked quickly to gain consumers’ trust. When a company appears to be covering something up, or being dishonest, that’s when the media really takes an interest and starts digging into the story—often making more trouble than usual. Honesty and authenticity are the best policies in public relations.

 

The Need to Be Authentic

In April of this year, Southwest Airlines suffered an enormous setback to their reputation when an engine blew up mid-flight, killing one person onboard. Luckily, the airplane landed safely and the entire fleet was grounded.

At the time of the accident, the Southwest crisis communications team went into action, communicating brief statements on social media and online networks. When they had the complete story to share, they provided the media and the general public with a written statement and a heartfelt video statement by their CEO. Both have a conciliatory tone and avoid the boilerplate tones we so often hear in media coverage. Both are authentic and reassure future passengers that they care about getting them safely to their destinations.

 

The Same Goes for Smaller Business

Reputation management is much the same for small and midsized businesses. There will always be threats to reputation from within as well as outside the company.

One of the best ways to prevent a PR nightmare is to be proactive. This means showing all of the good things that happen in your organization on a regular basis (not just as a reaction to a crisis). Show how your employees engage with clients and the community, because these can help drown out that one, unexpected bad thing that comes along to damage your hard earned reputation.

When a crisis does occur, take a hint from Southwest Airlines’ CEO. Respond as soon as possible after you are completely informed about the situation, respond in a sincere manner on an appropriate platform (sometimes video makes sense, sometimes written), and promise that you are doing your best to rectify the issue and prevent future issues (because you are and you should be).

The Pinstripe PR team can answer any questions you may have about PR crisis preparedness, so reach out if you are interested in planning ahead.