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Online Marketing

The Business Benefits of Bilingual Employees

Language – written and spoken — is the primary tool people use to communicate. While babies are not born speaking, they begin to acquire language skills relatively shortly after birth. By about one year old, babies are babbling and saying some words, and by two years of age most toddlers are learning new words daily and starting to form sentences. Based on the results of over 2 million people testing their vocabulary on www.testyourvocab.com, by age 9, the average American test-taker already has a vocabulary of 10,000 words and most American adult test-takers have vocabularies ranging from 20,000-35,000 words. That is for Americans learning one language: English.
It is generally believed that a person with a large vocabulary is better able to communicate with others, and that is usually a sign of intellect. If language is tied to intelligence, then it stands to reason that someone with the ability to speak more than one language would thus have an even larger overall vocabulary and would be even better able to communicate with others. Yet, there has been a great deal of debate in the U.S. over the years regarding teaching and speaking “English only”. Indeed, only 19.7% of Americans speak more than one language, versus 56% of Europeans. Looking at this issue strictly from a business standpoint, it appears that having bilingual or multilingual employees is good for business. Recent research shows that being able to speak more than one language is not only useful to businesses in places with a lot of diversity, it also makes for better – as in more talented – employees even in places where everyone speaks English. Continue reading

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Capricious or Cutting-Edge: When Should a Business Make Changes?

It’s been said that “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.” The point is that sometimes you have to break routines and try new processes, products, systems or strategies to find better ways of doing things. Innovation usually leads to improvement, and refusing to ever try new things is futile and foolish. Consider the Luddites. The Luddites were 19th-century English textile workers and weavers who, fearing the end of their trade, protested against newly developed labor-saving technologies between 1811 and 1816. New inventions such as the stocking frames, spinning frames and power of the Industrial Revolution threatened to replace Luddites with less-skilled, low-wage laborers, leaving them unemployed and obsolete. The Luddite movement culminated in a region-wide rebellion in Northwestern England that required a massive deployment of military force to suppress. So famous was their rebellion that today the term Luddite has become synonymous with anyone opposed to industrialization, automation, computerization or new technology, in general.

Of course, there is also an argument to be made that a business that is always changing processes, products and strategies may find itself wasting both time and talent. It can be expensive to constantly be shifting gears and updating systems. Learning new software or revamping procedures takes time and can be confusing – and even frustrating — for employees. So change for the sake of change can also be counterproductive and costly. It is important for businesses to evolve, but it should be done carefully and thoughtfully to ensure it causes the least amount of disturbance, distraction and distress internally and externally. Continue reading

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Marketing Focus: Client Acquisition vs. Client Retention

Every business wants to increase their bottom line. And every company promises growth in revenue and earnings, but only one in nine companies is able to achieve sustainable, profitable growth. That explains why businesses spend a lot of money on activities to achieve profitable growth! Statista, the Statistical Portal, estimates that over 180 billion U.S. dollars was spent in advertising in the United States in 2015. And that is expected to reach $200 billion this year. Those funds are being spent basically to either acquire or retain customers. Or both.
While some companies focus on customer acquisition because they view it as a quick and effective way of increasing revenue, other companies focus on customer retention because they are marketing to customers who are already engaged with the brand, making it easier to capitalize on their experiences with the company. But which is more cost effective at driving up sales and increasing revenue? And should it be an either/or approach, or should companies focus equally on both? Given the amount of money spent on marketing, it is a question that should be carefully considered. Continue reading

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Meeting Infinite Sales Demands with Finite Marketing Resources

There is a silent (or sometimes not-so-silent) battle waged between what the sales department wants and what the marketing department can and should deliver. Business leaders may only be vaguely aware of this tug-of-war but it exists in most organizations. There are two reasons for this. First, salespeople are always under great pressure (internal and external) to make sales. Not only does the company want them to sell more, but they themselves want to earn more. But selling requires a lot of time and effort. To ease the burden, they look to marketing for help. Second, salespeople are bombarded by other companies’ impressive marketing efforts. Newsletters. Email drip campaigns. Remarketing Campaigns. Seminars. Blogs. Billboards. Ads. Videos. Tradeshow exhibits. Competitor marketing is particularly irksome. Logically, salespeople believe that if they do the same marketing, they too will succeed. This is the business equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses.”

In most companies, this ‘sales-marketing tug-of-war’ plays out with sales making infinite demands for marketing support with little understanding of the budget or resources required for implementing those ideas, or if those strategies fit in with or duplicate existing efforts. Sales teams claim that they either cannot meet their sales goals or they can be exponentially more successful if their specific marketing ideas are implemented. Unlimited sales demands are thus made on marketing departments that have limited resources. What is the company’s leadership to do? To handle infinite sales demands with finite marketing resources, leaders should implement this three-step process. Continue reading

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Retargeting: Digital Ads that Hit the Bulls-Eye

Have you ever done a search for a product or service and then seen ads for companies that deliver that product or service later on websites that have nothing to do with that product or service? For example, you might have done a search for lenders that handle commercial property loans and mezzanine financing. You clicked on the websites of a few of those lenders. Then later — hours, days or even weeks later — you did a totally unrelated search for hotels in Dallas for an upcoming conference and you saw an ad for a lender you perused earlier offering mezzanine financing on the hotel aggregator’s website. At first, you thought “coincidence.” Then you saw a similar ad for another lender when you searched for an upscale restaurant to dine at with your spouse and clicked on the Opentable.com site to make a reservation. You thought, “Strange.” Then you saw yet another ad for a commercial real estate lender when you checked accuweather.com for the weather forecast for your golf outing on Sunday. At that point, you felt like “Big Brother was watching.” How could such diverse and unrelated websites know you were looking for a commercial real estate lender? How could those lenders know to advertise on sites that you frequent? The answer is retargeting.

Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, remarketing or retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising in which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions, in situations where these actions did not result in a sale or conversion. This type of online advertising has been around for a few years and is highly effective and yet not widely used. That makes it a great tool for businesses that want to stand out in the crowd. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of Search

Most people use search engines with little or no understanding of how they actually work – such as why one listing ranks higher than another or what cookies do or even how search engines are monetized. This is partly the fault of the search engines, who keep a lot of what they do a secret. But it is also partly because most people don’t really care how it works. As long as it provides a wealth of information easily, accurately and quickly, the functionality hasn’t really mattered much. However, business owners, managers and professionals should care, if they want their products or services to be ‘findable’ on the World Wide Web. Without understanding how search engines work, it is impossible to ensure that a company’s desired messaging will be found by potential clients or customers.

What is interesting is that, while search engines may seem static and unchanging to users, the reality is that search engines and the world of search is constantly changing. Search engines adjust their algorithms (the step-by-step functions to be performed to find and deliver information) regularly to stay a step ahead of those who manipulate online information for their own needs or wants. Updates are rolled out periodically that alter how information is ranked. Moreover, the search engine market is constantly evolving to meet the needs and concerns of those using search engines. And the search engine market is growing exponentially. But how will all this affect business? Continue reading

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Converged Media: A Mix of Owned, Earned and Paid

It used to be so much simpler to market a company 25 years ago. That was before a computer programmer in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web in 1991. In the days before the Internet, search engines and smart phones, marketing consisted primarily of campaigns to targeted audiences using a controlled number of channels and a controlled message. Practically all marketing efforts were paid for and directed by the company. That’s not to say that getting the message across or selling a customer on a product or service was easier. It wasn’t. But for companies trying to communicate a message to a customer, the approach was simpler and more direct. There was less messaging ‘noise’ to distract and confuse audiences.

Today, we are overwhelmed by sales and marketing messages coming at us from every direction. To be heard, companies must use a variety of approaches and a multitude of channels. This includes Paid Media, Owned Media and Earned Media efforts. Today’s marketing efforts must converge these to create a mixed approach. Each is a different way for potential clients or customers to learn about a business’ message. Each functions differently. And each has its pros and cons. In order to reach a target audience, a company has to understand and determine the right mix of its owned, earned and paid media efforts. Let’s look at how they work. Continue reading

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Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 2

Last week, we explored some of the latest terms trending in sales and marketing in 2015. Some may have felt lost in lingo limbo, but most probably learned a thing or two about the emerging myriad of strategies and products available for businesses today to reach customers. Knowledge is power. But that doesn’t mean that a company should adopt every strategy, product and approach. Quite the contrary. When it comes to sales and marketing, it is different strokes for different folks. What works for one company may not have any value for another business. The goal is to be discerning. While early adopters embrace every trend, haphazardly trying each new thing, and late bloomers wait until a marketing strategy is thoroughly vetted and ubiquitous before even dipping a toe in the water, both extremes can be dangerous. The key is to be knowledgeable of all the approaches exist and determine what might work best for a particular business in a particular industry.

With that in mind, here are a few more 2015 trending terms to add to the sales and marketing vocab. Responsive web design. Adaptive web design. QR Codes. Click fraud. H2H. Nueromorphics. Media agnostic. Advertainment (not related to Advertorial, a much older but still useful marketing term referring to an article (instead of an ad) that is written to inform but with a slant/bias). Twinternship. mCommerce. Here’s what they mean. Continue reading

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Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 1

Ever heard the term storyscaping? How about snackable content? Conversation marketing. Brand storytelling. Snaps. Promoted chats. Owned media. Content studio. Omnichannel. Native advertising. Programmatic Marketing. Culture of Content. Data-Driven Publishing. Growth hacking. Newsjacking. Big data. Millennials. Local. Responsive web design. Adaptive web design. QR Codes. Beacons. Click fraud. Customer-centric. Engagement. H2H. Deep Linking. Nueromorphics. Media agnostic. Immersive design. Advertainment (not related to Advertorial, a much older but still useful marketing term referring to an article (instead of an ad) that is written to inform but with a slant/bias). Phablet. Twinternship. Remarketing. Freemium. mCommerce. If it feels like you’re reading Chinese — in English – you’re not alone.

These are just some (not all) of the latest sales and marketing terms making the rounds this year. The typical business owner, manager or professional is probably not familiar with most (if any) of these terms. Even some marketers might not be familiar with all of the strategies and ideas behind this terminology. But anyone running a business must stay current because, in today’s business world, the fast eat the slow. These terms reflect the ever-evolving face of sales and marketing today, and he who understands the opportunities best is best able to maintain an edge over the competition. So here’s a quick ‘cheat sheet’ to bring you up-to-date fast. Continue reading

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Marketing and Selling to Specific Generations – Part 5

In the crowded landscape of generations, Millennials – initially dubbed Generation Y — may be the most popular, examined and adored of any generational group in a long while. Millennials, the first group to live from birth-to-death in the technology age, are one of the largest and most noteworthy cohorts. Born roughly between 1981 to 2000, it’s estimated that there were approximately 80 million Millennials in the U.S. in 2012. That number is expected to continue growing due to immigration of large numbers of younger people into the country.

Although scrutinized ad nauseam by analysts, demographers and sociologists alike, few agree on what qualities and quirks Millennials have in common. In fact, very diverse opinions reign on what defines a Millennial and what attributes the generation shares. Perhaps that is because it is still early in the process. After all, Millennials currently range in age from 16 to 35 years old. The younger members of that generation are just now coming of age and being shaped by the economic, social, political and technological developments of the 21st century. So what do businesses need to understand to be able to create a Millennial-friendly sales experience and customer service approach? And what should businesses consider as they hire and manage employees from this generation? Continue reading

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