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Society for Marketing Professional Services Announces 2018-19 Board

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Pinstripe senior project manager, Nikki Devereux, joins the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) board as Director of Communications for her third year. During the last three years, Devereux has worked with the SMPS board to enhance member experience via website improvements and streamlining of communications.

“Our board is constantly looking for ways to add value to the SMPS membership. The programs we offer are top notch both for educational purposes and for networking, a testament to the efforts of our board to present substantial events that provide opportunities for business and career growth,” says Devereux. “Last year we implemented some new programs and events and this year, we will streamline those events to make them even more beneficial for our members. As always, we welcome and encourage feedback and are looking for more involvement from our member base.”

The Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Tampa Bay is the only organization in the Tampa Bay area devoted to providing members in professional services industries with opportunities for education, networking with other A/E/C professionals, and career development. The majority of SMPS members are responsible for marketing, communications, and business development for companies in the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. By organizing presentations, panel discussions, socials, coffee meet-ups, and educational webinars, SMPS Tampa Bay hopes to serve the best interests of its members. Learn more at www.smpstampabay.com.

Photography and Video: Building a Media Library

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Building a media library is to marketing what building a foundation is to a house. Nearly every marketing piece in your repertoire will utilize some asset from your media library. From your social media posts to your brochures and collateral, illustrations, icons, photos and video are at the core of your business, so having a media library is essential.

It can feel like a daunting process to build your media library, but it doesn’t have to be. Take small steps and make sure to stay organized, and you’ll be on your way in no time. Below are a few suggestions to get your media library up and running, whether you’re a large firm or a small company.

  • Take photos at events, product demonstrations, trade shows and any other events – start keeping these in folders with the date and name of the event to stay organized.
  • Hire a photographer or videographer – even small businesses should be able to fit a professional photographer in the budget, as long as you stay organized and know what you want. If you plan the shoot yourself, including making a shot list, organizing talent, and setting a timeline, you can hire the photographer for a half day and get a huge return. If you hire a person or agency that offers both still photography and video, even better. You can capture some b-roll to add to your library for future use.
  • Use stock photography – stock photography can be inexpensive, but still beautiful, so be sure to do some research and find photos that are unique. Before you purchase, keep an eye on competitor and industry websites to be sure you are not pulling from the same stock photo collections as your competition.
  • Find someone on your staff who is passionate about photography and see if they would be willing to take on the media library project, provided their work schedule allows for it. Use your resources when available! There are many hobby photographers who would love to break up their work day a bit with some photo sessions. Just make sure their new assignment isn’t cutting into their productivity.

We have helped many companies, large and small, develop their media libraries. Get in touch for help with building yours!

Budget Season Coming Soon!

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I know, it’s still summer and I’m writing about marketing budgets. How about this? Instead of writing about budgets, I could write about something fun, like branding and networking. But we wouldn’t get to do any of those fun things without a budget. Am I right? So, let’s talk budgeting for your marketing and I promise to make it worthwhile.

Budgeting for What’s Next

You have a budget in place, but it probably needs to be tweaked a little to fit next year’s needs. Marketers have a lot more data to go on these days, so they know what brings in returns and what’s stale. Staying on top of the data means getting the right activities into your mix. There are several activities we think you should put as line items in your budget, if they aren’t in it already.

Building Communities

We are in an engagement economy where businesses need to engage with their clients and their employees to strive for success. When you build a community for your clients, you’re creating a stronger network and engaging with them as an industry leader. This type of engagement opens new possibilities and leads to organic growth through word-of-mouth recommendations. So, it definitely deserves some consideration in your budget.

LEGO has a great example of engaging with their community through LEGO IDEAS. This interactive community setting allows everyone to contribute ideas and vote on great designs. Communities like this are a two way street—offering enthusiasts a platform while providing valuable marketing data. Another example of a great community is the Oracle Interactive Community. This is mixed-use site with a forum and lots of information to support their users better.

To build a community, you’ll need a cause for your platform. Usually, the cause you pick is something that separates you from the competition. It’s how you add value to your business. Then, you can pick your platform where this cause is supported. This will need social media and maybe an interactive website. How about an annual event? Print materials? You’ll definitely need employees to run it all. Starting slow and small to test the waters is always a sure bet.

Public Relations

This area of marketing has changed quite a bit over the past 10 years. I’ve seen how it’s changed and why. Good public relations have developed into consistent, positive messaging that crosses multiple platforms. It also helps with search engine optimization (SEO) and keeps your community connected. The press release is still the foundation, but how it’s used and why have evolved. Spreading the word means spending more time and energy.

Looking at ROI

There is more data available to us than ever before. Marketing is no longer a guessing game. It’s strategic planning and implementation. Contextualized data will show how your clients are engaging with your marketing campaigns. If you’re having trouble seeing what works and what doesn’t, beef up your data gathering and analytics. This may be in the form of analytics software or statistical research.

Striking a Balance

Some experts believe that many traditional marketing activities no longer work. That’s why it’s so important to engage with clients and customers in a more authentic, one-on-one basis. Building a customer community is the perfect thing to do using content marketing, social media, and possibly a website to interact with them. Investments in public relations and getting a better grip on ROI will help your bottom line. These are definitely things we need stay on top of in this dynamic marketing landscape.

 

 

Confidence Conveys Strength in Marketing

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There’s no denying that Wonder Woman is super strong. It’s said that she is even stronger than Hercules. And, in the comic book series, she beat Superman twice to save the world. This kind of strength gives her confidence and vice versa—her confidence also gives her strength.

The Confident, Trusted Advisor

Wonder Woman’s confidence is something that resonates with me. With every battle, she gained more experience and tested her limits. I feel like I have done the same over the past 25 years of my career. My confidence has given me the strength to be a trusted advisor for my clients and a counselor for my peers. Malcolm Gladwell introduced the concept of becoming an expert at just about anything with “10,000 hours of deliberate practice.” By focusing your efforts at developing expertise and skill, you will become more confident.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this. I can take on the next thing that comes along.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Building Confidence

My confidence also comes from continuing education. Every year, I attend conferences and seminars to learn about the latest trends in marketing and technology. I also love reading books and listening to podcasts about entrepreneurs and artists, because they give me more insight on how I can improve and never become stagnant. I’m a naturally curious person and I look for that trait in the people I work with because it multiplies our capacity for knowledge. With every group of students I meet, I give them the news that learning doesn’t (or at least shouldn’t) stop after graduation. This builds tremendous confidence, which feeds the strength of the work we do at Pinstripe.

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. – Ben Franklin

Strength in Soft Skills

I wouldn’t be in this position today if I hadn’t worked with such great people over the years. Relationship building requires “soft skills”—those intangible character traits of people like good listening, kindness, compassion, and empathy. These are all important skills that help us to be better communicators, as well as vulnerable and sensitive in unique situations. It takes a special strength of character to be vulnerable in this way, open to new experiences and others’ opinions.

I’m a very strong believer in listening and learning from others. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

Being Consistent

Another strength of the Pinstripe brand is consistent performance. We have established ourselves as a trusted partner through consistently delivering on project after project. We do what we say we are going to do, and we do it well. Sure, the awards we’ve won are nice, but it’s not why we do it. Doing our best every time for our clients is what matters.

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently. – Tony Robbins, Author and Inspirational Speaker

Would I love to have Wonder Woman’s super strength? Of course, but that’s not realistic. What is real is building the strengths I do have, and constantly improving in what I do and with the relationships I’ve built.

This article is part of a series on how Wonder Woman inspires our marketing philosophy. Throughout the year, we will be featuring more on this topic, so let us know how you feel about it.

 

The Combined Power of Public Relations and Search Engine Optimization

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Most people don’t associate public relations (PR) with search engine optimization (SEO), but if you play your cards right, PR can lead to great SEO. In fact, sometimes we undertake PR activities with the specific goal of increasing SEO for ourselves or our clients.

Help a Reporter Out (HARO)

Every day, HARO sends out several emails with queries from traditional media reporters and producers, but also blogs and and other online platforms looking for experts in certain fields and topics, and opinions about popular news items. The list sometimes contains over 50 different queries, ranging in content from health to finance to entrepreneurship to technology. Some of them are very specific and some are more general. The process goes like this:

  • We scan this list looking for opportunities for ourselves and our clients.
  • When we find one that fits, we immediately begin the process of writing the answers.
  • Complete an internal review
  • Request final approval from the client.
  • Once that is complete, we send our response to the query, and then wait for publication.
  • If the reporter decides to use our information in his article, we send a link to the client’s website, name, and sometimes even a bio and website.
  • Post the final article to all social media, including Google+

And there it is – the link back to the client’s site is SEO gold, especially if the site that it’s coming from is a reputable company in a related industry.

A perfect example is the story we contributed to for CEO Nation. The article is a really good social media tips from fifteen different entrepreneurs, including our very own Ginger Reichl! If you check out the story here, you’ll see that this particular article included Ginger’s head shot, name, and a link to our site. The article turned out great, and we learned some new social media techniques as well.

Online Press Release Distribution

Press releases are written for many reasons, including announcements, company news, events, and interesting stories that apply to trending topics. Knowing where and when to distribute a press release is as important and strategic as the writing of the press release itself. For traditional media relations, we rarely use releases anymore – with the exception of major news and investor relations, they typically just get ignored.

However, for SEO purposes, we’ll draft a release for ‘clean up’ work once our usual media relations efforts have been exhausted. There are several free places to distribute press releases online. We make sure that the press release contains the keywords that we want to rank for in search results, and always have the company’s website in the boiler plate at the end of the release. This is considered a backlink, which is, again, SEO gold. Plus, in some cases, we’ve had those releases picked up by a reporter or news outlet and posted on their site, which adds even more to the SEO credibility of the company.

Other content marketing strategies like guest articles and podcasts also have SEO benefits in addition to their traditionally PR role and we will continue to see the lines blur as search continues to drive interest … and traffic.

Connect with us if you need help writing your next press release or finding creative ways to use PR to promote your company.