Stir Blog
Aug-28-2014

Use Twitter cards to increase engagement

Twitter is an important part of any company’s social media marketing plan. The rollout of Twitter cards allows a brand to encourage users to visit a specific web page, including a blog post, image gallery or specific product page. Twitter cards can be used to drive engagement by attaching videos, photos and calls to action to your brand’s tweets.

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Posted under Digital Marketing, Social Marketing, Social Media
Aug-12-2014

Why this is the golden age of marketing empowerment

For ambitious businesses, entrepreneurial and growing brands, there has never been a better time to be a marketer. No longer is marketing the sole bastion of the well funded. Today the critical currency is conviction, courage and commitment. If you’ve got it, you can be enormously successful.

In spite of a bad economy in many sectors, the opportunity for growth is magnificent, as the marketer has unprecedented control at all levels. This reality has changed the game, particularly at the lower budget/spend levels, largely because the barriers to entry aren’t as high, while control and the ability to target is greater and real time feedback creates higher levels of efficiency.

All of this means that a small, emerging company or brand working with a minimal budget can have serious impact and make immediate inroads. Companies that know how to market in the digital age – or those that associate with the right integrated marketing agency – can realize their upside quicker and more efficiently than ever before.

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Posted under Ad Agency, Brand Marketing, Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Branding, Digital Marketing, Entrepreneur, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Technology
Jul-22-2014

Five benefits of inbound marketing

Long gone are the days of relying solely on outbound marketing as the only source of a company’s lead generation and means to convert leads into customers. “Inbound marketing,” the art of drawing subject matter qualified prospects to you versus mass outbound marketing to demographically targeted audiences, works most effectively when integrated into your overall marketing strategy. There is no doubt that inbound marketing is an investment, but the return on investment will prove to be much more accountable with less out-of-pocket cost than your typical outbound marketing strategy alone.

While outbound marketing features control and relies on a captive audience in a time sensitive way through media such as television, cold calling and direct mail, inbound marketing allows you to connect with your audience wherever they may be – and over time. They compliment each other, which is why the best marketing strategies include both.

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Posted under Brand Marketing, Brand Strategy, Content Marketing, Integrated Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy
Jun-23-2014

Be an active brand in any industry

What does your prospect/customer/consumer (prospective patients) know about your brand? And where do they get their information and impressions? These are perhaps the most important questions in marketing. It’s imperative that you have an accurate read on this.

The answers could range from little or nothing to largely negative to overwhelmingly positive. Each situation is different, but the vast majority of the brands I encounter would tell you that they aren’t where they want to be in terms of positive impressions and web/retail traffic. Critical perceptions are coming from a huge variety of potential sources. You’ve got to get a grip on it.

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Posted under Brand Marketing, Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Branding, Content Marketing
Apr-2-2014

Has Mobile Blurred “The Fold”?

As long as I can remember in the world of web design, one of the first problems to solve was “What information goes above ‘The Fold’”?

For those who don’t know,“The Fold” refers to the imaginary line created by computer monitors where the website cuts off before a user begins to scroll. To date the term even more, it’s an old term used by newspaper editors to determine what stories readers would first see when they would pick up a copy of the paper.

In the past, this was a usability issue for web designers. Clients wanted to keep everything above “the fold,” which usually resulted in having too much information crammed in a small space jockeying for position to get noticed.

With larger, higher resolution monitors becoming standard on our PCs  and the dominance of tablets and smart phones for web browsing taking over, the question I pose is, “Is mobile blurring ‘The Fold’ in web design?” Read the rest of this entry »

Posted under Advertising, Brand Marketing, Branding, Digital Marketing, IT, Marketing, Technology, Web Development
Mar-8-2014

Media Relations Maintains Relevance

We live in a golden age of communication. Everyone has access to self-publishing tools. We no longer have to depend entirely on traditional media gatekeepers. If we want to share a unique perspective or increase awareness about a product or issue, we can Tweet, Like or Blog our way to instant online exposure – something that would have been unimaginable just a few short years ago.

While technology has made it faster and easier to spread compelling ideas, there’s still tremendous value in more traditional outreach efforts, including media relations. Non-paid editorial placements earned in newspapers, magazines and other outlets still get noticed.

Of course, traditional outlets no longer have the same clout they had in decades past, but they still drive the collective conversation and unquestionably pull large numbers. For reference, the top 12 daily newspapers in the United States all have a circulation greater than 400,000 and the top 15 monthly magazines each have more than 3,000,000 paid subscribers.

That’s a lot of eyeballs, by any measure. If your message can resonate with even a small percentage of these audiences, it can really help to build awareness, boost credibility, and differentiate your organization from its competitors.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the most successful news outlets today are savvy online publishers too, which can create an appealing opportunity for triple exposure – in the actual outlet, on the outlet’s website, and then through the outlet’s social media channels. This is the secret sauce of message integration – a subject that we’ve been preaching at STIR for well over a decade.

So, what are the key takeaways here? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted under Advertising, Branding, General, Marketing, Media Relations, PR, Social Media
Feb-20-2014

STIR IMC Webisode 4-The Marketing Power Of Sharing

The fourth in our series of webisodes: Speaking at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Brian Bennett shares important takeaways from a research study conducted by Edelman which highlight the importance of sharing in your marketing program. The study finds not only how valuable it can be in creating brand loyalty, but also segments the different types of sharing – so that you can make your social media marketing strategy more effective.

This webisode is titled “The Marketing Power of Sharing.”

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Posted under Brand Marketing, Brand Story, Brand Strategy, Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Social Marketing, Social Media
Feb-19-2014

You have three seconds. Entertain me. (Or, how to create a high-impact ad campaign)

Three seconds or less. That’s the amount of time it takes someone to decide whether they will consume your message or move on. Is it interesting or is it a dreaded sales call? This is the litmus test, the determining factor in whether your campaign has a chance to succeed, or whether it will be ignored.

When creating an ad campaign the natural instinct is to include as much information about your company as possible because you paid a lot of money for the space. In reality you’re probably wasting all that money by overwhelming the consumer with data. Few people will invite a lengthy sales call into their lives.

How can you break through in three seconds? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted under Advertising, Branding, Creative, Disruptive messaging, General, Marketing, Tips & Tricks
Jan-28-2014

The Super Bowl Variety Show

Once again on February 2, the largest audience assembled in the history of mankind will gather before television, computer screens, tablets, and cell phones to view the Super Bowl. Many viewers will admit to being more interested in the ads than the actual football game.

And once again corporations will invest $4+ million to put their 30-second spot in front of that audience – the most expensive spots and biggest gambit in the history of advertising.

The Super Bowl is not just a football game. It has become a variety show, with the advertisers serving as the acts. It is the American Idol of advertising.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted under Advertising, Brand Marketing, Brand Strategy, Branding, General, Marketing, Super Bowl Commercials, Super Bowl Marketing Strategies