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4 PR Trends You Must Adopt in 2017

19 Apr

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Last year proved that public relations (PR) is more important than ever before in the nearly real-time existence of today. The combination of a controversial presidential race and several major stumbles by well-known corporations made 2016 a year that will go down in the history books. Throughout it all, there were nuggets of knowledge and information that businesses need to tease out and remember. Keep the following PR trends in mind during 2017 to stay on stop of the increased growth that is expected during the remainder of the year.

  1. Reputation matters

This might seem like a point that is rather obvious. However, it is worth repeating given the explosion of fake news stories that spawned blow back against more than a few businesses. In many instances, by the time it was apparent that the news was fake, the damage had been done. When coupled with the increasing popularity of websites where nearly anyone can rate a business, it’s easy to see how a well-cultivated reputation can be nearly destroyed in record time. Handling potential crises means PR professionals will need to exercise transparency and tact.

  1. Market influencers will be tapped

Regardless of which market a business is in, there are influencers who are valued for their expertise. While this is not a static pool of contenders, it is one that is likely to be tapped with an eye toward adding validity to a business. Finding the right influencer to become a contributor to a business doesn’t have to mean looking outside your company either. Plenty of businesses generate their own influencers as well.

  1. Measuring continues to evolve

Measuring market influence and results continues to evolve. Staying abreast of the latest trends within the industry – as well as what is being attributed to a particular business – is crucial to you success. Marketing professionals will need to craft targeted PR materials based on projections as well as past statistics. Smart PR teams will use constantly evolving metrics to stay on top of their campaign results.

  1. Live video expands

Live video was just getting its footing toward the end of 2016, so expect it to become a major player in the PR game during 2017. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that video – live or otherwise – will plateau this year either. Instead, approach live video with the mindset that the trend is only just in its infancy and there is lots of room for growth.

Public relations – while a vital component of any business –  is not a concept that can be neatly compartmentalized. Complex, fluid and robust, good PR management is crucial for today’s companies. Learn how ER Marketing can make 2017 a banner year for your business.

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Consolidation and Convergence: B2B Marketing in 2017

5 Jan

 

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Many industry experts agree; the idea of collective data will be a driving force moving forward into 2017. Proprietary data and walled gardens for individual publishers aren’t cutting it anymore, there is new content daily and new iterations of the same data thousands of times per day.

Consolidation and convergence giants such as Forbes have been ahead of the curve in the B2B market, with most smaller publishers consolidating in the B2C market. However, smaller brand data collectives with an emphasis on the B2B market are now a viable option, with platforms aggregating data from CRM platforms and industry analysts alongside traditional publishers.

The Takeover of Account Based Marketing (ABM)

2016 saw some very interesting changes in B2B, mostly because of the takeover of account based marketing. ABM was not a new technology; however, 2016 was the year that it became viable for the average business to use.

The market for ABM is now in its consolidation stage. Marketers are not looking to purchase a separate dashboard for each product, especially when networks are converging and providing more data in one place at once.

Where is Business Truly Converging?

The convergence of ABM platforms is all about sales and marketing teams converging as well. There is less of a gap between the two disciplines, as well as a new outlay of business specific metrics that are creating a shorter distance between acquisition, visibility, and revenue. 

The marketing qualified lead (MQL) went the way of the dinosaur in 2016, and experts are still debating what the replacement metrics will be in 2017 and moving forward. Some of the metrics that are being tested include target account engagement level, brand exposure, opportunity for acquisition, and campaign sales funnel depth per target account.

Will Ownership Be Socialized?

In 2017, the notion of owning data may also move in favor of the collective pool of data that is useful to all partner companies. There are already efforts to develop a Universal ID standard that will be used to identify different audience profiles. The precursor for these developments was proven to be profitable in the B2C market, prodding the big budgets associated with B2B to move on the issue in 2017.

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Visiting New York on 9/11: A Note on Perspective

15 Sep

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Don’t Lose Sight of What Really Matters

I recently had the unique experience of traveling to New York City for a Business Marketing Association (BMA) meeting that coincided with the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Consequently, this year was a little different than past BMA meetings in that my trip was an opportunity not only to talk about the B2B marketing industry with some of the leading companies and agencies in the country, but also to gain some important and much needed perspective.

This year, I arrived on the day of September 11 and decided to visit the memorial and see the lights, which are illuminated only a couple of nights a year. As I walked around Ground Zero, I saw firemen in dress blues from Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Antonio, Las Vegas, Miami, and many other cities. These men and women had been at Ground Zero in the weeks and months after the attack, lending a hand with the recovery, clean up, and other support efforts for their brothers and sisters in the NYFD.

As I walked from the reflecting pools where the Twin Towers once stood, I saw a big crowd around the Irish pub next to the fire station. Approaching the pub, I realized this was the place to be for all the firemen and women. I wasn’t sure if I could even go in, but as I entered, I realized I was more than welcome.

The firemen and women in the pub and the streets surrounding it were all talking, hugging, laughing, and sometimes even crying with their brothers and sisters who work to serve so many Americans in different cities across the country. Several times I attempted to buy these amazing, everyday heroes a beer or a drink. But every time, they replied with, “No, let me buy you a drink.”

“What? You’re buying me a drink? I should be thanking you.”

But because of their honor and pride, they wouldn’t allow me to buy them one.

We don’t always value the relationships with the people we serve, or who serve us. If you were offered something by the very people you serve, would you accept—or refuse and offer them one instead? Do you say thank you enough to the people who work for you? How about the people you work for?

From the memorial itself to the people I met in the city on this day, the experience of being in New York on the anniversary of 9/11 is something I wish everyone could experience. While a somber reminder of the worst attack on American soil, it’s also the location where thousands of people perished on what should have been just another typical Tuesday at the office.

As marketers, we have lots of “typical days” in the office. They tend to involve helping our companies or clients sell their products and services—they don’t tend to involve saving lives.

For us, making a mistake means a painful meeting or a brutal phone call—it doesn’t mean life or death.

When every project is rushed, we say it’s hot—but it’s not actually on fire.

We might run into a crazy meeting—but it’s not a burning building.

There is always another “typical day” at the office. But as we recognize and recall the events that forever changed our world, let’s also keep our perspective and remember that we can always be more humble, more thankful, and more appreciative of the opportunities we have. In short, more kind.

Appreciate the people you work with and work for, and those who work for you.

Do good work, but remember that your work isn’t the only thing that matters.

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The 4 Cs of Change Communications

7 Sep

Communicate Cost-Cutting Measures with Care

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Guest Contributor:
Kate O’Neil Rauber, Vice President of Public Relations

It was a record year for mergers and acquisitions in 2015, and 2016 is expected to follow suit. Experts also say certain industries will be more susceptible to layoffs, including tech and oil.

Whether companies are thinning teams to avoid M&A duplication or right-sizing staff in order to regain financial footing, executives must communicate cost-cutting measures with care.

“Survivors,” or those who remain with a company after massive changes, tend to have three initial thoughts:

First, shock. They can’t believe it’s happening. They may even be worried about having lost a close work friend.

Next, survivor shock quickly shifts to me. As in: Am I next?

Finally, there’s workload. Meaning, how much more work will I have to do now that others are gone? Or, how will I get my current projects done without a critical member of the team?

Understanding the survivor mind frame, executives communicating tough change management messages should embrace the four “Cs”:

1. Compassion: Someone is either losing a job or getting more work — when they already feel overworked. Show compassion and appreciation for everyone impacted. Remember, you’re talking about someone’s livelihood.

2. Candor: The story behind why this change is being made must be crisp and paint a compelling business case. Fluff and spin have no place here. Remember, employees will be looking to executive leadership — you — for answers.

3. Clarity: Paint the vision for where the company is headed. The initial sting hurts. But, (most) survivors will get on board if they understand and believe your vision. Remember, jobs have been lost and workloads have ballooned. Overnight.

4. Confidence: Survivors need to believe you. They want to know that in your bones, you believe this change is the best thing for the company. Remember, confidence is not the same as arrogance; one attracts — the other detracts.

Cost-cutting measures should be communicated with care — whether it’s a right-sizing, restructuring, downsizing, or another corporate code word for layoffs. You can’t merge corporate cultures or right the financial ship without your survivors on board.

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Measure Value, Not Activity

30 Aug

Are You Measuring the Right Results?
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Open rates, click through rates (CTRs), and conversions are just a few of the metrics most B2B marketers tend to use when determining the results of their work. But are those really the best metrics for determining success?

According to new data from Forrester, not necessarily. More and more B2B marketers are now struggling to tie these results to revenue. The truth is that while the metrics described above do a good job in a vacuum of helping marketers determine whether their marketing is working, they don’t necessarily shed light on whether or not the marketing efforts are generating real dollars for the business as a whole.

Increasingly, it’s not just CMOs who are looking at marketing results, it’s the CEOs. They want to see a direct correlation between marketing spend and sales generation. If the numbers don’t work out, then the marketing department or creative agency might not work out either.

Despite the demand for revenue-based results looming above them, B2B marketers are still struggling to deliver these types of results. So what is complicating their efforts? According to the article, there are several main challenges:

  •  Internal data is difficult to collect, connect, and analyze given the silos that exist in many workplaces.
  • Too much data! Marketers have access to more than ever before, and sometimes it is difficult to cut through the clutter.
  • Marketers aren’t always “numbers people.” Think of the best ones you know—they’re usually creative types who may not have developed the analytical skills necessary to excel—no pun intended.
    Marketing is a subjective field, but by looking at the right numbers and presenting them to the right people, B2B marketers can convert numbers into usable information that can drive real results for the business. (For some fabulous tips about presenting results to others, read this blog by an account service professional at ER Marketing, Matt Bartlett.)

Testing subject lines and measuring open rates and CTRs is great, but only insofar as it improves your approach to your marketing goals. If it helps you fine tune your approach, all the better. To prove your worth as a B2B marketer, you need to start measuring the value of what you do, not just the activity.

To read the full article about the Forrester findings, click here.

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