Our favorite headlines this week: March 13-17

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

However you landed here this fine Friday, lucky you! Our roundup this week includes a mix of inspiration, a little bit of a reality check, and some simple advice to help you improve your marketing message.

Before you start on that green beer, take a quick few minutes to check out our favorite headlines from this week and how they apply to your business.


Cheerios’ mascot is notably absent from latest campaign

The Takeaway: This week, we’ve seen a couple great examples of brands combining traditional advertising and public relations. For one, Heinz announced that it will run ads first pitched by Don Draper in the AMC series “Mad Men” (which were originally rejected by the client in the show). And Cheerios announced their #BringBackTheBees campaign, which is meant to bring awareness to the fact that honey bees are disappearing worldwide. Both campaigns are using earned media to build buzz (pun intended) for their marketing efforts – a strategy that will expand the reach of their paid ads significantly. It’s a smart move by both brands and speaks to the importance of integrating campaigns across channels, and even across departments.

One thing we particularly like about the Cheerios campaign is the element of social responsibility with no-strings-attached. This is one promotion that doesn’t require customers to purchase something to help make a difference; the campaign is simply trying to boost awareness of a real problem. And it seems to be working; since Cheerios launched the campaign just over a week ago, the brand has sent out 1.5 billion wildflower seeds, far exceeded their goal of 100,000.


Rhonda Abrams: Be honest. Is social media making you money?

The Takeaway: Don’t get us wrong: we believe that social media can have true benefits for businesses of all sizes. We use social media ourselves to increase our share of voice, promote our content, and boost the Extend Your Reach brand. But social media success (read: making money) requires having the time and resources to dedicate to developing a carefully thought-out strategy, creating and finding quality content to share, and engaging customers in conversations that drive business. Unfortunately, many small businesses don’t have these resources (or the budget to outsource). If you suspect you might be one of these, think critically about what your social media efforts are doing for you. Would you be better off investing your time in marketing tactics that truly drive revenue? Go past vanity metrics like Page Likes and comments, and measure things that directly correlate to making money: leads gained from social media, website clickthroughs and conversions, and influence.

A second, equally important point: Use this same critical eye with all of your marketing efforts. Some tactics will require a longer measurement period, but it helps to set goals at the onset and know what metrics you will use to determine success or failure.


How to Reach Millennials: A Simple Trick From a Successful, 70-Year-Old Basketball Coach

The Takeaway: The lesson here is simple, yet easy to over-complicate: Whoever your audience, speak their language.

This is where the practice of creating personas becomes invaluable. Make sure you have a full picture of your audience before you try to create a marketing message: What are their motivations, their fears, and their habits? What tools do they use to communicate with each other? How do they speak? Whether you’re trying to reach college students or middle-aged homeowners, communication is easiest and most effective when you use the same language. Younger Millennials today like to communicate using GIFs, memes, and Bitmoji – why not try incorporating some of these into your marketing? Professional audiences don’t want to hear jargon, but you can gain credibility and trust when you speak the same way they do about their jobs. The key is to really know your audience – you’ll gain trust, send effective messages, and create passionate fans.


What articles did you find particularly interesting or relevant? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter!

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