Author Archives: rkilgannon

About rkilgannon

Founder and Principal of Kilgannon, Inc. a full service marketing communications firm.

Is Your Media Buyer a Closet Search Analyst?

Times are indeed tough. Even those of us who have been around long enough to weather a few recessions haven’t quite seen an environment quite like this one. Client dollars are shrinking, which means fewer employees are needed to handle the load. The economy has caused many companies, like ours, to close the door to new talent. Not because we don’t welcome fresh ideas and a little more help, but because, like so many other companies, we simply can’t risk hiring during uncertain times.

Despite having fewer employees on payroll these days, we don’t want to do “business as usual.” It’s not in our DNA. And, our clients, like yours, expect more. So, where do we go from here?

You have to dig deep. When we looked inside our company, we discovered untapped assets, including a search analyst working as a media buyer and a social media expert writing copy. In your organization you may find your next online manager answering calls in sales or your next data analyst fixing your laptop.

Talk to your employees. Know their backgrounds. Study their strengths. Learn their passions. And, don’t forget younger talent. Chances are good that your intern probably knows more about social media than your director of account management. Tap talent wherever you can. Don’t count anyone out!

Today’s environment requires that you develop a startup mentality again. Ask people to redefine their roles. In our case, we found real talent under our roof. We’re also finding employees who truly welcome the challenge and the opportunity.

Great companies don’t plan to just “get through the next year,” rather, they always plan for growth. And, like ours, maybe your company can also do it without spending additional dollars. Go ahead. See what talents and assets lie beneath the surface of your company.

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Even When Customers Aren’t Buying, Communication is Crucial

Marketing communications is not linear. Particularly not in today’s environment, when the average American consumer is exposed to more than 3,000 advertising messages per day. So how does a smart marketer cut through the clutter, especially when the product or service being sold is a considered purchase with a high price tag?

There is a distinct approach that marketers need to consider when selling products or services with longer life cycles in industries such as automotive, building products and financial services, just to name a few. We’ve used the methodology through the years and have found it to be very successful for our clients.

Consumers are rarely driven by a single source to purchase, especially if it’s a big-ticket item or considered purchase. Take, for example, a car. A typical consumer looking to purchase a car may start listening more closely to ads, talk to friends and colleagues, do some research online and visit a few dealerships.

If a consumer is not in the market for a car, he or she is not interested in what you’ve got to say; however, it’s still important to set the stage for when that consumer does enter the market. We refer to these consumers that have little or no interest in a particular product category, but may in the future, as passive.

Then a consumer’s car breaks down, or there is a baby on the way, and suddenly, that consumer needs a new car. This potential buyer has moved from the passive phase into an active one. He or she starts tuning in to ads, researching the product category and begins seeking advice.

Aaah…Nirvana! The consumer purchases and is now engaged. As a marketer, your job is not done. A smart marketer now desires to convert these engaged customers into brand advocates. As a brand advocate, a consumer will recommend your product to others, use service offerings associated with what they just purchased and become a repeat buyer.

While these different phases of purchasing take a unique understanding of where customers are at specific buying points, it’s not a linear process. Often, a consumer can be categorized into more than one phase at a particular point in time, so how do you handle that? Consistency is key when developing a communications program. It’s important that a marketer does not change the story once a prospect becomes a customer.

Think about how you are communicating with potential prospects in the passive stage. Make sure you take that same voice into the active stage, and lastly, be sure that your voice remains consistent once you convert these consumers to customers. Lastly, remember one critical aspect – your media is everywhere and everyone – even your staff, your channel partners, and the consumer. This is why engaging with everyone associated with your brand in a dialog is so vital – but that’s another blog post.

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Marketing a Considered Purchase? Social Media Can Steer You to Success

If your job is to market a considered purchase, should social media be a part of your marketing plan? In a word, “YES!”

Many of the brands we’ve worked with over the years are considered purchases — products and services that people don’t choose every day.  Often, these things are big-ticket items that people may research for weeks or even months prior to making a decision.

So, if you are a marketer of a considered purchase, you are responsible for communicating your messages to several target audiences.  In addition to end users, you also may be talking with dealers, distributors, direct sales groups, or third party “partners.”

Sound like your business?

If so, here is the advice we give our clients, “One of the most important things to do with disparate front-line channels is to talk to them. And, do it often. Let them know what’s going on with your marketing program.”

Lots of companies communicate with their front-line teams through a secure web portal to increase efficiency. But, like talking to your buying audience, one-way communication is a weak sister to participating in a dialogue. A much better solution is to introduce a social media program, if you haven’t already implemented one, or rev it up if one is already in place!

Social media tools enable you to create a conversation about your upcoming efforts. Encouraging discussion of plans makes your channel partners feel like they are participating, and in the process, there’s good chance you’ll learn something important from them. As you well know, when the field feels they’ve participated, they’re destined to feel more passionate about the program and work harder to make it a success.

Go ahead.  Do whatever you have to do to ramp up your social media program. You’ll definitely be glad you did!

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