Author: admin

20 Feb 2017
PRODUCT LAUNCH: DOES THE RIGHT HAND KNOW WHAT THE LEFT HAND IS DOING? | Manufacturing Marketing Blog

Product Launch: Does the Right Hand Know What the Left Hand is Doing?

Especially with new product launches, but anytime there are more than a few people involved, communications and motivations can be difficult to align. For instance, if you look at an industry like manufacturing, their R&D and marketing teams couldn’t be further apart in their styles of communication, and often their measure of success is a department goal versus a corporate one. I once lead a marketing team for a worldwide manufacturer and just trying to get feedback from R&D was difficult. They had so many high level executives to report to, they certainly didn’t want pressure from marketing for a product launch! Of course if you remove all emotion from it, there would be no use releasing a new product if there were no sales collateral or market awareness that it existed. So, there in lies the problem, and it is a team effort to design the solution. I have reviewed many product development flowcharts, and as you’re probably aware, they basically define a flow that goes in this general order:

  1. Idea – product team
  2. Market Analysis – R&D
  3. Product Development – R&D
  4. Production – Manufacturing
  5. Marketing & Launch – Marketing & Sales
  6. Aftermarket Service – Service

Oh sure, we always say we’ll get more organized next time, but there rarely seems to be a significant product that gets launched the same way twice, right? That’s because budget, testing, software development, etc. rarely happens in a steady stream as planned. So, here is another One, Two, Three from me to suggest an efficient communication process from idea to service when launching a product of any kind.

  1. Establish a new product development team. This would include a group of people from each department including R&D, Sales, Marketing, Accounting, Supply Chain Management and any team who will be impacted by the product. This team is NOT comprised of management – we all recognize management has enough meetings! This is a group who should be made to feel privileged that they are in-the-know about the latest and greatest things the company is working toward. They are merely to report back to their managers and groups with progress and questions as needed.
  2. Merge marketing. Though it can be common for marketing teams to be responsible for the layout of technical documents including specs, etc of a new product, often the promotions team isn’t aware of what drawings or animations may be available. Also, there may be a brand team who has a budget for offline that doesn’t coordinate with promotion online, who may not even coordinate with the web development team who is responsible for updating the website and creating a URL for the product to begin with. A clear workflow should be established within marketing that is largely motivated around the KPI’s for the performance of the product. Namely, yes, sales! Marketing should be accountable to bottom line sales. This will often set the tone for the team to be proactive in having the collateral ready.
  3. Training. Of course there should be time set for the sales team to be trained on a product launch. But, be sure that early in the process, training includes the marketing messaging, marketing distribution (i.e. magazine, websites, etc), and any brochure collateral that is created. The sales team is your feet on the street. Make sure they’re repeating the message that so much time and money was spent to create. A uniform voice to the customer is the powerful one!

Happy product launching! Remember that Leopard Digital’s Sales Mobile App can help sales teams retrieve information faster than ever before. Ask Us How.

Thank you for your time,
Katherine Campbell

14 Feb 2017

Emotional Re-Branding: 3 Steps to Remember

Developing a brand for a new company is exciting work. With a world of options, one could dive into GoDaddy domain name search and type away until the right mix of creative options and available URL’s finally align. At Leopard Digital, we provide a brand board for clients to look at varying concepts of how we could turn that new brand name into a customer-facing and engaging website, business cards, etc. Everyone who goes through this process with us finds it a rewarding effort. However, redeveloping a brand that already exists, can be a whole different story.

When a company has been around for a while and they’re looking to freshen up the brand, re-branding often means everything from the name of a business to the colors, logos, and style can come into question. Often, a re-brand is a re-commitment from the management team or owner of the business. They may want to grow the business to the next level or invest in cleaning up a brand that was never fully developed in the first place. Though even after the decision has been made, change can be hard. Of course, the longer a company has existed, the harder change can be. Even someone in accounting will weigh in on the decision based on what it will cost the company to change letterhead and business cards. Yet, there is a lot of emotion around change and there are real consequences to consider. Re-branding can be expensive, can make employees anxious, and can confuse loyal customers. So, consider the following three things when deciding to take the leap and change your image.

  1. Get buy-in. It’s a good idea to talk about the concept of re-branding for a while before diving right into it. Ask for people’s input or you can even take a survey, but let employees express their emotions on a new brand. It’s not a matter of them making the decision, but they are often the front line to your customers, and their feedback can be mutually valuable.
  2. It’s not what you’re selling, it who you’re selling to. When you start to work with the marketing team on what the new image should be, it is important to try to remove emotion from decisions. First, differentiation in the marketplace is important. Consider how to stand out versus looking like everyone else. Second, the image should reflect the clientele you want to attract. So, if you like the look and feel of a highly polished, sleek look but your customer base is casual and active, they may not see a reflection of themselves in your company.
  3. Share the outcome of the re-brand and why you did it. Once you launch the brand, have something that we call a launch party! It can be on varying levels of celebration, sometimes there can be an actual party to show off the new logo on the door, etc. For some clients, we put together a unique gift with the new logo, package it with a page of content about the change, and mail it to any number of people – including friends. At the very least, you should share your new brand by sending a nice email with an explanation and announcement both before the change is published and then after. This way people are not blindsided by the change.

Every size company should go through brand evolution. It keeps the company current, and if presented in the right way, it can re-energize the engagement with both employees and the marketplace.

Let us know if Leopard Digital can help you find your spot with a re-brand. We’re experts at guiding you while you take the leap!

Thank you for your time,

Katherine Campbell

05 Feb 2017

“What’s in a name?” Why Website Naming is no Shakespeare

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – William Shakespeare.

That beautiful quote by Shakespeare is intended to mean that a name doesn’t change the value of a particular thing. However, when it comes to naming a website, nothing could be less true. Lately, I have had the opportunity to consult for two midsize companies who are looking to take the leap and scale their businesses. I believe the only things that keep a $20mm company from becoming a $60mm company are efficiencies and effective marketing. Efficiencies of scale becomes a business within the business, but some parts of marketing can be best served if outsourced.  This is precisely what these two companies have chosen to do. Largely for them, this means it’s time to focus more heavily on competing online in highly competitive spaces including mortgage and insurance. These are noisy markets to be sure, however, there is plenty of pie to serve themselves a piece.

So, it begins. Where does one determine how to create online growth in a profitable manner when a keyword in these industries for a paid search campaign could easily cost $20 for one click?! There is a lot of planning involved to pre-determine the customer path because getting the click can be easy enough, but fulfilling the expectation from that click to the point of a visitor completing a lead form needs to be planned with intention all the way through the thank you email and longer term follow-up messaging. The biggest challenge with these two companies isn’t so much with their websites as it the name of them. For instance, one company (I’m not using real names to protect the innocent) is called, let’s say Mortgage Leader. But their URL or website name is www.WeLendMoney.com. Now, to attain large scale growth online is not for the cheap nor faint of heart. One must be in the game all the way or probably not play. On this, Superbowl Sunday, it would be like asking if the Falcons can win if they only put half of their team on the field against the Patriots? Of course not. There are two major problems with this website name disconnect. One is search engine optimization and the other is user trust.

When it comes to SEO or search engine optimization, there are very particular rules for online success. One may argue that there is a lot of room for creativity, but for the most part, it is more about specific types of web development, coding, and clear messaging than a catchy marketing phrase or beautiful images. To put it simply, the website name and the company name need to match. Search engines like Google and Yahoo take great care to provide excellent results for the user experience. Of course, the better the user experience, the more often users choose their search engine than someone else’s, and the more money they ultimately make. This ties directly to the user trust issue. If someone sees an ad for Mortgage Leader and a few days later she decides to search online with the name, she may not want to click on a result that reads, WeLendMoney.com. It almost feels like a scam. But, now that she’s typed a search term with a highly competitive word like “mortgage,” the results will include trusted names like Quicken Loans or Wells Fargo, so she may decide to click one of those options. And, she’ll make that decision within just a couple of seconds.

Since she moved on to easier options, Google will count this slightly against WeLendMoney.com because it might mean that the website wasn’t a good result for her search, and they want to provide the best results possible. If this happened many hundreds of times, it could significantly discount the result value. Obviously, making a move as significant as changing the web address of a company can be a costly decision – business cards, stationary, etc. would all need to be changed. But sometimes we have to realize a 10-year-old decision of which website name to buy is stunting our growth, and it’s best to take a step back to take a huge leap forward. What’s in a name? Success!

Thank you for your time,

Katherine Campbell

29 Jan 2017

Fail Fast – Marketing Tactic or Life Lesson?

In the world of online marketing, there is a saying, “fail fast.” Essentially it means you are to measure every part of a marketing effort, learn what is working and what is not, and optimize the effort to what converts for the goal. The faster you learn, the faster you stop the bleeding and increase the success. It is a great philosophy as it immediately reminds us that we will not launch perfect campaigns every time, and we will be forgiven because failure is expected. However, the pressure side of the saying is the “fast” part. Fortunately, in the digital marketing world, pretty much everything (other than dark social….pesky privacy!) is measurable. So, potentially, we can learn quickly to optimize quickly. The challenge is knowing what separates people who login to analytics tools versus people who know how to utilize them to the specific metrics for the company’s goal. Positive ROI is the obvious name of the game. But many goals, including email capture for buyers early in the process, have a longer sales cycle and lower conversion cost goal, and need to be monitored over a longer period than the campaign is even live and running. Not usually anything ‘fast” about getting the final metrics.

Now that we are wrapping up our first month of business at Leopard Digital, I am realizing that “fail fast” is just as much of a business mission and not just for the campaigns we run. There are many nuances of running a company, even if the company appears to be just a different umbrella covering the same work you’ve done for years. For instance, our original business model that is nothing original in the industry is already starting to make less sense and evolve to something unique. The markets that were the original targets are not as appealing as others we hadn’t considered in the beginning. Even the name has shocked me – would you be surprised to know how many people have trouble spelling Leopard? Lots! As the founder/owner, I have been hard on myself about these unexpected learnings. Though I’m not changing the name – I love it! – it is the only emotional decision I’m allowing myself. But, I have been in this field of online marketing from its beginning. How did I not conceive the needs just a mere few weeks ago that are already so obvious to me now?

This, I realize, is why “fail fast” is a worthy life value, too. Give yourself a break. It is inevitable that we will fail. We will say the wrong thing (or even worse, say nothing) and make bad decisions throughout our entire lives. But, if we use the philosophy to fail fast, we can quickly apologize or start over in the right direction. We can linger in the air of failure, guilt, and self-punishment as long as we’d like, but it is a total choice.  Bring on the many quotes including, “It’s better to have tried and failed than to have never tried at all,” “I’d rather have a life of “oh wells” than a life of “what ifs,” and my personal favorite, “we’re not so much afraid of our failure as we are of our success.”

So, I encourage you to do most everything that comes to mind. If it enters your mind then it already exists. Speak from your heart and be heard. Argue with kindness until your point is made. Set clear boundaries for even the people you love most. And then, fail very, very fast.

Thank you for your time,
Katherine

23 Jan 2017

Do I advertise Offline if I advertise Online?

THAT is the $1,000,000 question!  Should I advertise offline in local magazines, newspapers, direct mail, bus benches, billboards, radio and all the stuff I get sold all day long, or do I take the leap and spend my marketing money online? The simple answer is, YES…to both.

Occasionally I come across a professional who doesn’t “believe in marketing,” as if it’s a faith that may or may not be sending or receiving the right messages to live a full life. And, no doubt about it, marketing does require a certain amount of faith. But, by and large, most professionals believe in the opportunities of marketing, they’re just unsure how to go about it. They ask, “Should I keep it local where I can frame it and hang it in my business, or do I try to look super savvy and do that Google stuff?” Many advertising purchases are often made out of emotional decisions – “I want to see my logo in the magazine that I read.” However, the idea of advertising offline or online are not mutually exclusive and doing both can have exponential benefits. There are clear guidelines to reaping those benefits, and it all revolves around customer behavior.

So, think about it. You’re a customer. You search online for products and services all the time. When you go to click on a result after searching, often times you may choose a brand name you recognize. So, let’s say you need a real estate agent. You may type in the search bar, “real estate agent near me.” When the list of results appears, you probably see a familiar option. The agent who has her name on the grocery cart or logo on a bus bench that you’ve driven by 100 times, seems like a comfortable choice. You may not have ever met her, and you didn’t even think to search her name, but once she appeared as an online option, her offline advertising gave you a sense of comfort to click her link.  This is similar to the concept of my last blog: Yellow Pages vs. White Pages in case you missed it.

What is most important is to understand the intention of each type of advertising, and make logical decisions based on the goals they can achieve. Let’s stick with the real estate agent example. Just because you see an ad for a real estate agent, doesn’t make you have a need to sell your home. There is not a lot a real estate agent can do to create the need for his service. However, when someone does need the service, he can position himself to be chosen based on his consistent impressions in the marketplace. This is why people in the service industry, like a financial planner, may say, “I tried advertising, and I didn’t get one call off of my one ad in that magazine.” For the most part, advertising a professional service in an offline vehicle is merely a very brief impression for consumers. Clearly, the more ads, the more impressions in a consumer’s mind, the more likely it will stick. It is difficult (and expensive) to build an advertising campaign that creates a need. But, it can be quite reasonable to be in the right place at the right time to fill a need. This is where online advertising has huge benefits. People reading a magazine may not need a realtor at the moment, but people searching “real estate agent near me” certainly do!

So, how do you actually execute a budget-friendly strategy?
Advertise offline in the same area and publication to develop a relationship with a niche market. If you don’t have the budget to advertise all over town, then focus on owning one section of it. It may be one publication only. At least the people who read that publication every month will begin to recognize you. Visit the publication’s social pages regularly and comment on the different topics. Mention that publication on your website and social media, and show the advertisement. It can help with your search engine optimization and instantly make the connection for the potential customer – “Ah yes, I’ve seen that ad.”

You can dip your toe in the water of advertising, or you may jump in the deep end from the high-dive, but you do have to be in it to win it!  There is only so much time in the day, however, and we know you have your real job to do.  We at Leopard Digital would be happy to help you take the leap and Find Your Spot.  Contact us today!

Thank you for your time,

Katherine Campbell

15 Jan 2017
Learn how to get out of the competitive Yellow Pages with three inexpensive ways for people to find you online. Leopard Digital

Yellow Pages vs. White Pages

For the few that can even find a phone book today, there is little use for it outside of a cheap booster seat for the little ones. But, back in the day it was THE solution to marketing your business and making sure someone could Find Your Spot. It was a big decision, too, as to what size ad you wanted to place in the yellow pages which could cost a couple of thousand bucks. If you are XYZ Patent Attorney, for instance, it was the only way you could “advertise” without embarrassingly going to market to advertise. So, making sure you had a good presence under “A” for attorney helped you stand out from your competitors. But what if they already knew your name? If you did advertise and people remembered your name, they would never visit the yellow pages and see your competitors at all. A potential customer would instead go to the white pages and look under “X” for XYZ Patent Attorney – right next to Xavier Printing Press, no competition there. Today, of course, we use online directories of all kinds that allow us to search for the service we want, select from a list of options, and click to call – all in about 10 seconds without moving from our seat…or having to lift 10 pounds!

Yet, many companies forget that the process of finding a service hasn’t changed at all.  A potential customer opens a search bar and either chooses to type the name of the service you provide, or they type your business name. I regularly see professionals not only making the mistake of not buying the search terms in their respective field of service, but they often don’t even buy their own name when someone is specifically searching for them. The business owner is often overwhelmed by online behavior and opts out of participation all-together. Even worse, they continue to spend money on the actual yellow pages because it’s what they’ve always done. It would be like Nike only putting their logo on the bottom of their shoes. Sure, the people in your home may eventually see the logo, but out in the real world, no one can. Why brand to four people when you could brand to everyone who sees you walking around?

So, here are 3 important and inexpensive steps you should take so that people who are searching for you can find you: buy your business name, use social media, and SEO (search engine optimization) maintenance.

  1. Buy your own name.  For goodness sake, if someone does think to search for XYZ Patent Attorney, you don’t want to miss them.  Many businesses don’t buy their own name on Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, yet competitors are buying words in their industry like, “Patent Attorney” “Business Attorney”, etc. Even worse, THEY may be buying YOUR name. So, even though your website may appear as a result somewhere on the page, it may not appear in the first few options, and now you’ve opened up the “yellow pages” of competition even though someone started in the “white pages.” Make sense?  I have bought the same business name up to 300 different ways because you might be surprised to learn how close (yet so far away) someone can be to remembering your name but get it wrong. It could even just be a typo, but people might search for “ZYX Attorney” “YXZ Patent” “Lawyer XYZ” – all kinds of crazy things, but they want to find YOU!
  2. Use social media. Your website should remain current, but most professionals don’t edit it very often. Searchable content for your brand name can be found in more places than just your site if you’re using social media. So, instead of the list of results only being your website and then your competition, the results could be your website, your Twitter page, Facebook page, then LinkedIn page, and THEN your competitors.  You could potentially take up to half of the first page results…who could compete with that?
  3. SEO maintenance. The services of attorneys, for instance, don’t change. So, once the site is done, they feel there is nothing to add. Doing regular SEO (search engine optimization) maintenance on your website is important if you want people to Find Your Spot. Not only is there regular improvement that can be made on the development side that no one can see, but regularly creating content adds to your search scope for people to find you. One such form of content would be to blog. All you have to do is type about what you already know, and viola! People may be searching for just such a thing. (Ahem…for example, you’re reading this blog now.)

As always, we at Leopard Digital recognize you have a real job to do. Making you successful online is ours. Let us #FindYourSpot.

Thank you for your time,

Katherine Campbell

08 Jan 2017

Ask your website: Isn’t it time to Find Your Spot?

Social media, website management, and search engine optimization may not be how you want to spend your time, but businesses today must be aggressive in all of them. The good news is that it’s not too late to start! It is the whole reason we decided to #TakeTheLeap into this new venture. After our first week of exciting meetings with potential new clients, I sit to write the first blog for Leopard Digital, and it is crystal clear what our mission is. Competition, competition, competition. Allow me to define competition in relation to the digital world – the world in which your website thrives, your brand exists, and your company lives – whether or not you’re a willing participant in this world.

First, I think it’s a spiritually phenomenal belief system to feel that there is no competition, that there is abundance, and that hard work pays off no matter who else offers your same service. However, competition online means something a bit more than other specialists who may or may not be as good at your service offering. Odds are that you offer a service that is not new, even if you specialize in a niche of the service. Real Estate Brokers, Contractors, Attorneys, Financial Planners, and Medical Doctors are highly specialized needs that would rarely get crossed over for one another. The challenge is not so much convincing a potential client that you are the choice for the service, the challenge online is getting them to know you are an option at all, at the same exact time they need you! Today, your real competition is not so much competing professionals. Your real competition is retaining mind-share by potential clients who are bombarded with brand ads, tweets, likes, news headlines, and transactional versus relational requests. The consistent opportunity to “get this done now,” “get this done fast,” and “get this discount today only,” can easily sway a click on a “Get Started” button even if you did spend an hour at the chamber of commerce meeting to discuss their needs. It’s not that people don’t want to remember you… they simply can’t. Too much information today is competing for our mind-share. Most likely, when you meet someone offline who may one day need your service, they try to remember who you are, they go online to search for your specialty, and boom! You’re either in the game or you’re not.

The difference is the timing of the client’s need. That is typically something that not even the best marketer can predict down to the exact minute before the user search. When you meet someone through a networking or personal introduction, the need is typically not immediate. They take your business card, you share a nice connection, and you assume one day you will get their call. Yet, from the time your potential client leaves you to the time they get home that day, they will see hundreds to thousands of other brands, messages, and media that fades your meeting’s memory pretty quickly. Then one day, weeks later, that person needs your service. Again, they go online, do a search, and a list of results is gratifyingly displayed at the exact moment they want their options presented… ahhh, gotta love the web! They may even remember your conversation and will glance at the first page of results to see if they find the name that they just know “I will remember it if I see it.” But alas, your website is not listed and they opt to click “Get Started Now” on someone else’s.

We at Leopard Digital realize that it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with every potential client and attempt to be in the right place at the right time for the right pace of your business growth. That’s why we’re here. You need to have a spot online. You need to be seen when it is relevant to your business at the price that is sensible for your business. You need to stay focused on the actual service you offer without strategizing the best time to tweet or post. Your website needs efficient search engine optimization and trackable analytics. All you need from your online presence is a regular report that highlights what’s going on with your website, who’s using your business name, your existing clients and potential clients, and a consistent growth of visitors to your business. Whether or not you consider yourself a highly competitive person, you live in a naturally competitive world. Let us help you #FindYourSpot.

Thank you for your time,

Katherine Campbell

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