Davenport, Iowa – The region’s most comprehensive marketing and communications services provider is expanding its client offerings. TAG has established a Public Relations/Public Affairs practice within the agency. In making the announcement, TAG Chief Executive Officer, Mike Vondran says, “Focus on new, ‘break-through’ digital marketing tactics has ignited TAG’s success and client growth in recent years. But, it also has distracted many TAG clients from more traditional, ‘tried-and-true’ marketing activities. By offering a ‘one-stop-shopping’ solution, our clients will now benefit from a more coordinated and highly effective marketing program.”
According to Vondran, this new TAG specialty practice is a response to growing client recognition of the value of broader, coordinated customer outreach beyond the ‘social-sphere.’ Services provided by the new practice include general interest media and trade press relations, government affairs and advocacy, guerilla marketing and special events. “These tactics influence and strengthen brand image when employed in conjunction with additional web-based and social media marketing,” Vondran adds.
TAG’s Public Relations/Public Affairs practice is led by TAG Senior Vice President, Ken Croken, who joined the firm earlier this year. Croken served as Chief Marketing Officer at Genesis Health System. He previously led the consumer technology practice at Edelman PR Worldwide in New York City and was the corporate communications “lead” for the global government industry marketing division of IBM Corporation in Washington, D.C.
Commenting on the announcement, Croken says, “While the marketing and sales landscape has changed dramatically over the past 25 years, one key principle has not. Comprehensive and relentless brand management is critical to consumer preference and business success. New trends and shifting circumstances only underscore the imperative of a ‘go-to-market’ strategy that employs all effective tactics, not just the most recent.”
TAG, established in 1990, began with a firm foundation in broadcast production and media. Since then we’ve evolved to meet the needs of our clients and build their brands. TAG provides web design and development, social media marketing, video production, SEO, public relations, public affairs and much more. We invest in the stories and success of our clients and meet every challenge with creative thinking and enthusiasm. For more information visit www.tagteam.agency.
You start your day getting up, showering, brushing your teeth, grabbing a cup of coffee on the run and finally making it to the office. What’s the first thing you do? Check your email. We all do it. In fact, the average office worker receives 120 emails every day! With so much to sift through, a lot of emails can get lost in the shuffle. Create a successful email marketing strategy to keep your company top-of-mind and to engage with both current and prospective customers.
Create Segmented Email Lists
Have you been sending every email to every person who’s ever subscribed to your emails? Yikes! It’s time for that to change. To continue to build your email lists you can solicit subscriptions on your website and social sites. But, instead of simply having an individual provide their name and email address, create a more robust form. After they provide the basics, ask additional questions to get to know the customer. How often do they want to receive emails from you? What are they interested in hearing about from your business? What do their buying habits look like? Questions like this will allow for you to create separate email lists and speak directly to their interests when crafting your emails, increasing your chances of conversion.
Establish Your End Goal
Before you begin writing your email, start by figuring out what it is that you want your audience to do. Are you looking to increase traffic to your website? Attend an event? Write a review? Then, what does a successful campaign look like for that specific objective? Not only will this strategy help you to write your send, but it will also prove to be beneficial when it comes the measuring its success and showing real, measurable ROI.
Once you’ve established a goal for your email, writing will be a breeze! Make sure the content provides your audience with enough information to pique their interest, but short enough to where they aren’t reading paragraphs. Call-to-action buttons (Learn More, Contact Us, RSVP, Book An Appointment, etc.) are particularly helpful in inciting action from your audience while increasing the chances of a click-through to a website or other landing page. Make the content as personal as possible. Sprinkle in verbiage that makes your audience feel like you’re just talking to them, as opposed to the hundreds of people on your list.
Mind Your Design
When writing your email, incorporate as much of your brand as possible – i.e. logos, color schemes, fonts, etc. so that it’s an accurate representation of your brand standards and so that your audience can identify that the email is from you and isn’t spam. Before you go ahead and schedule your email or press “send,” send a preview to yourself and view it on a mobile device, desktop and tablet to catch any formatting issues proactively rather than retroactively.
Consistency is Key
Remember when we were creating segmented email lists and asked our audience how often they’d like to hear from us? Well, it’s time to make good on those requests. Some people may want to hear from you once every week, while others may opt for less frequent communication. Or, if you can’t commit to sending more than a couple emails every month, tell them! It’s important to set a clear expectation up front and then follow through.
Email isn’t something you can “set and forget.” Every month, sit down and look at how each individual email performed. What were your open, delivery, and click-through rates? Does certain content receive more engagement than others? What kind of devices is your audience using to open and view your emails on? Do certain times of the (AM/PM) day have an effect on email performance? After each send, take a look at your email’s data and draw some conclusions in order to determine the most valuable content for your consumers and your business.
Want more? Let’s talk! TAG’s Digital Media Team can help you in all areas of Email Marketing – from design and email list creation to copy, and beyond!
Knowing your target audience is important to effectively market your business. For example, audience members for an interior design business are typically going to look, and act, a lot differently than audience members for a company selling beef jerky. Defining your audience is key in getting your business’ message in front of people who are ready to engage and convert.
Just when you think you’ve mastered marketing to Millennials, a new generation comes running through the doors full speed ahead. Allow us to introduce you to Gen Z.
Who is Gen Z?
Gen Z is the generation born between 1996 and 2012. There are over 23 million people in the U.S. alone who identify as members of Gen Z and it is considered America’s most diverse, multicultural generation to date.
Unlike Millennials, Gen Z is characterized by their initiative and entrepreneurial skills. They grew up during tough times (post 9/11, the recession) and over half of the generation is already actively saving for retirement, in fear that they will never have social security to claim.
Celebrity endorsements really resonated with a Millennial audience and this remains true when talking to members of Gen Z as well. But, Gen Z puts importance on transparency so if celebrities are in the ads they’re seeing, they prefer the endorser discloses that they’re getting paid to talk about a brand or product. Authenticity is (major) key!
What social platforms do they prefer?
While Gen Z spends most of their time on YouTube, they do still utilize other social platforms – but for different reasons.
They’re most likely to keep in touch with friends on Snapchat, while Facebook is where they keep tabs on Grandma. YouTube comes out on top for where Gen Z is interested in getting shopping recommendations (product reviews) and how-to videos (tutorials).
Gen Z loves technology – and as they should. They grew up with accessibility to technology and don’t know a world without the internet, cell phones or Mark Zuckerberg. Gen Z’s dependency on tech has already impacted the way businesses are marketing their products and services. They consume information online – with YouTube leading the charge. YouTube is how members of Gen Z learn how to change a tire, bake a cake, learn an instrument, and more! In fact, 95% of Gen Z uses YouTube regularly and 50% believe they can’t live without it.
With so much focus on digital, traditional media (TV) has taken a back seat. But don’t get it confused, video consumption continues to grow – it’s just on more non-traditional platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and ConnectedTV. In fact, these platforms are instrumental in getting video messages across to members of Gen Z.
How do I reach Gen Z?
Gen Z is really in-tune with brands that are being genuine and authentic in their marketing, more so than any other generation. They identify and focus on meaningful brand interactions and are most likely to dismiss marketing efforts that come across as insincere. Because Gen Z prioritizes transparency, social channels, like Instagram, give consumers the opportunity to
learn and interact with businesses more organically. Gen Z prefers unobtrusive brand messaging, which is evident in the rise, and success, of influencer marketing.
Your business can also reach members of Gen Z by creating a YouTube channel and uploading engaging and informative content. Or, if you’re looking for paid advertising opportunities, YouTube TrueView and/or Bumper Ads will deliver your messages on platforms Gen Z is already using in a cost-effective manner.
Often, the biggest hurdle for advertisers is making sure that the right message is seen by the right people at the right time. And over the years, advertisers and marketers have developed and implemented creepy, but cool, ways to make that happen through the use of different digital tactics.
Digital targeting takes on many different forms and can be executed multiple ways – it really just depends on what’s best for your message and your target audience. Below are five digital tactics that the TAG team has found extremely effective.
1. Mobile Targeting
Advertisers have the ability to target their intended audience through their mobile devices. Targeting ads on a mobile device are cool because you can capture, or target, people who have visited your competitors – online or in-store – with your messaging. Mobile targeting also allows you to vary your messages by time of day, what they’ve searched for online, or what’s happening with the weather!
Bumper ads are the 6-second, non-skippable ads that play before a user’s video on YouTube. Because of their length, bumper ads are great for building brand awareness and they act as a nice reinforcement for other digital strategies. Another digital tactic we love is YouTube TrueView which are longer in length and more educational than a bumper ad. TrueView ads are connected to Google, meaning you can get extremely granular with your targeting because it knows your audience’s search history and patterns. Just be careful your messages don’t become too targeted because you may miss someone in the upper funnel.
3. Native Advertising
Native ads are great because they take on the form of whatever website a user is visiting, making your advertisement come across as less intrusive and more conversational. Click-through-rates for native ads can perform up to 10x higher than other display ads, just make sure that your ad doesn’t come off as click-bait.
Connected TV is defined as a television set that is connected to the internet via built-in capabilities, a media streaming device, gaming console, or Blu-ray player, and facilitates the delivery of streaming video content. As of right now, there are three different ways to advertise on ConnectedTV: in-stream video, interactive pre-roll and home screen placements.
Creepy but cool, right?! What’s even crazier is that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to digital advertising tactics! If you’re wanting to take your digital strategy to the next level, drop the TAG team a line and let’s talk.
When it comes to marketing, brands can learn a lesson or two from political campaigns.
Be human, trustworthy and transparent
Don’t forget to show some personality! It’s important and necessary to get your message across, but it should be done in a way that makes the audience feel at ease and comfortable with your brand. Just like no one wants to vote for someone that they cannot trust, people don’t want to do business with brands that they deem untrustworthy.
From the start of both a marketing and a political campaign, the goal and messaging needs to be defined. If messaging isn’t defined from the beginning, it leaves your intent and meaning up to interpretation. Identify what you’re trying to communicate and be active in advertising that message.
Video is still effective
Video is an extremely effective tool, especially for search engine optimization. It’s much more likely for your audience to remember a video than it is for them to remember a simple text message. Video, especially online, has seen a growth in spending over the last few years. In fact, it’s estimated that candidates will allocate 30 percent of their advertising budget to online media sources this year!
Promote your message on multiple channels
Political messages have been invading your television, radio, mail and social media feed for the last few months. Promoting messages across multiple platforms and channels is something that politicians have become very good at. From mail pieces to radio and television commercials, and now social media, politicians are everywhere.
In order to win a political campaign, a politician’s goal is to get their message in front of as many people as they possibly can. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are growing in popularity among political candidates. These aren’t the only social options though. Candidates can consider more ways to increase their content by using sites like Slideshare, YouTube, or Google+, too.
While promoting your message across multiple platforms is important, social media can be a double-edged sword. Social media is a great tool because such a large population is on these platforms. It extends your reach and your ability to have a conversation with your target audience. Those factors are great for any candidate and brand!
But the bad news is that things on social media can change in a second. Social media is a two-way conversation, and followers are bound to post, share and comment on the content you publish—both positively and negatively.
Politics may not be your favorite topic, but political ads and campaigns can teach us some great tactics about marketing. What have been your key takeaways from a marketing standpoint this election year? Join the conversation on our Facebook page! And if your business could use some help with your marketing efforts, visit our website!
A solid digital marketing recipe takes more than just sugar and spice. Video is the zest of the social media world. If it’s not in your strategy, its absence is definitely noticeable at a time when a good branded video experience can make 39 percent of viewers more likely to research your brand or product further and 19 percent more likely to share other content from your brand.
So, here are some video-sharing platforms to consider integrating into your digital marketing strategy—and fast.
YouTube ranks as the world’s second largest social network and second largest search engine, meaning posting video to YouTube puts you in a good place to be found by potential customers. And, YouTube is getting into the e-commerce referral game with interactive features allowing viewers to buy products and services directly from the video platform.
Video will rule Facebook in 2015. In the last year alone, video uploads have increased by 94 percent with Americans watching at least one video on the social network each day. Users will see four times more video in their Newsfeed in 2015—will your video be one of them?
Twitter is introducing Promoted Video in 2015. Video ads will autoplay for six seconds, and Twitter’s beta test found that these native videos generate better engagement and more views than before. In addition to better user experience, these promoted videos also offer a Cost Per View ad buying model—meaning marketers only pay when a user clicks to play the video.
200-million users strong, Instagram generates high engagement rates with 15 times more engagement than Facebook and 40 times more engagement than Twitter. And, this Facebook-owned platform now offers 15-second autoplay video advertising spots, though targeting ability is not as advanced as other channels. If brands can tailor their content to Instagram’s aesthetics, they can really bring in the engagement from this platform’s new sponsored videos.
Snapchat is growing as a marketing tool, allowing businesses to share messaging while being casual and relatable to their audience. Snapchat is perfect for showcasing your personality, and it’s also a good choice for teasing products, promoting sales and even hosting contests.
While there are many other video-hosting platforms available, these are the major players for 2015, and it will pay off BIG TIME to get them into your digital marketing strategy. From social media platforms to email campaigns to websites, video is perfect for showing off your brand and sharing your messaging in an engaging, meaningful way that drives traffic and conversion across channels.
For help creating an integrated digital marketing strategy that makes the most of video, get in touch with the team at TAG!
As the holidays approach, customers demand more and more of businesses, often becoming aggressive when products and services are not to their liking. If approached correctly, social media can be a blessing when it comes to soothing stressed consumers, providing an outlet for customer frustration as well as offering solutions to problems on both the customer and company end. This is a great chance to shine when it comes to customer service!
There are pros and cons to almost any tool these days, and social media is no different. Companies, businesses and organizations can leverage social media to their advantage when it comes to customer service but only if they are willing to take the risks and approach situations quickly, appropriately and accountably. Keep the season merry and bright with these considerations about social media.
The up side: Problems can be addressed more quickly, making customers feel valued and heard.
Organizations can immediately respond to notifications on social media channels, and it is in an organization’s best interest to do so. Especially when customer service phone lines are tied up or when offices are closed, social media is something that more and more customers are turning to in the event of an issue or emergency. Those quick responses garner customer respect and can smooth a few ruffled feathers before the conversation about their problem even begins.
The down side: The problems might not be able to be fixed as quickly as they are addressed.
Even when an organization representative can get back to a customer in record time, the customer’s issue itself may not be so easily resolved. Because their social media message received immediate attention, customers may then expect their problem will be fixed just as quickly, leaving them frustrated if that is not the case.
The take away: Extra lines of communication are always a good thing, enabling better feedback, understanding and a quick method of responding. Authentic replies build better good-will toward the organization which has the potential to offset frustrations that may arise. And, there’s a good chance the organization’s response can clear up the problem without further action, anyway!
The up side: It’s easier to be polite and organize your thoughts through text.
Written notes allow both the customer and the organization representative to plan out what they want to say, and frustrated tones are easier to leave out of text than speech. This means that the customer and the organization can have more productive conversations with less defensiveness.
The down side: Anonymity provides protection for bad manners, and some mediums (like Twitter) may be too limiting for thorough explanations.
Often, commenters will hide behind their keyboards as they sling insults and slanders at organizations or its members. There are some people that are more interested in tarnishing a reputation for past hurts than actually seeking a change in their service or product. In those cases, communication through social media offers few solutions beyond giving the customer the most positive impression possible.
Channels like Twitter that limit characters can also lead to misunderstandings as both parties try to appropriately abbreviate what they’re trying to say. It isn’t long before communicating through those social media channels feels more burdensome for both the customer and the organization than other methods of communicating, like a phone call or an email.
The take away: Always, always, always put your best foot forward in social media conversations. Manners, empathy and authenticity should shine through digital interaction—not irritation, condescension and apathy. If the organization reaches out with positivity, the customer will be more likely to respond in kind.
Use social media as a tool for starting a conversation—if the problem is too complex for the medium, offer other methods of communication such as a phone call, email or— depending on the organization—a face-to-face meeting. Organizations should use language that is accurate and precise but not confusing to the customer to ensure that the situation is handled appropriately and to both parties’ satisfaction.
It’s a public forum
The up side: Customers have the security of accountability on your part, and well-handled situations make the organization look good.
The promise of publicity helps to keep both customer and company honest in social media interactions, which means the customer may already be more relaxed than if he or she were to approach you over the phone or through contact forms. Organizations can take that natural security and turn it to their advantage by responding professionally, setting a precedent for the general audience about how they handle ALL forms of communication.
The down side: Bad reviews or organization mistakes can be broadcast to a wide audience and gain momentum.
If you build it, they will come. Once it’s clear that social media is an effective way to reach the organization, customers will jump on board, for better or for worse. Especially in the case of actual wrong-doing or fault on the part of a company or company representative, being called out on social media can snowball into a barrage of bad reviews and disparaging comments.
The take away: Organizations should respond publically to any queries on social media but promote a private method of communicating, like messaging, in order to have a more authentic conversation with the customer that is also less harmful to the organization brand. NEVER reveal a customer’s private information on a public medium or act rudely toward the customer. Your audience doesn’t know what may have happened in the past—make a good impression in the present.
Customers should not be punished for reaching out to an organization, no matter what attitude that customer adopts. Make social media work for your customer service strategy by responding quickly and politely to questions, issues or complaints, and don’t forget to reward positive feedback with a “like” or a retweet! The audience will be taking note of how the organization reacts to these situations, so always stay professional in public and private interactions!