All posts by Kelli Cesarz

Five Tips for Helping Your Marketing Efforts Finish Strong in 2017 & Five More Hints to Prepare for 2018

As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to start reviewing your 2017 marketing strategy and making adjustments as you plan for 2018. Here are five tips to finish strong this year and make 2018 your best year yet.

Make 2017 Count

Solidify your message. Make sure that every employee—from the receptionist to the CEO—understands your organization’s philosophy, message and brand. Craft your company’s message so that employees can tell prospective clients what sets you apart in under two minutes.

Review your goals. What did you hope to achieve this year? Review the goals you set in January 2017 and track your progress, accounting for anything that needs to be revised or changed now or in 2018.

Examine your analytics. How many people have opened your company-wide emails this year? How many views does your blog get each time you share a new post? Did one Facebook post have more interactions than another? Tracking these analytics can help you determine the type of content in which your customers are most interested. Continue reading this article

Five Rules to Improve Your Powerpoint Presentations

The web is littered with articles giving helpful advice for improving PowerPoint presentations. However, these presentations rarely improve. Why? The advice out there is helpful, but bland. improving your presentations involves turning those standard guidelines on their head.

  1. Find your “solution story” and share that with your audience.

There are the three parts of a solution story:

Act I: The Problem

Act II: The Solution

Act III: Happily Ever After

Every good presentation has at least one cycle of a story in which a pressing problem was solved and everyone ended up joyful. If you are presenting several products or ideas, repeat the process for each one.

  1. Don’t confuse presentation slides with the story.

Slides are like costumes and props on a theatrical stage. They aren’t the characters or the story. They aren’t even the plot. They are tools that help the actor, or presenter, convey a story to the audience. Continue reading this article

BNP Media Named a Winner of The Top Workplaces in Michigan Award

BNP Media has been awarded a 2017 Top Workplaces honor by The Detroit Free Press. The Top Workplaces lists are based solely on the results of an employee feedback survey administered by Energage, LLC (formerly WorkplaceDynamics), a leading research firm that specializes in organizational health and workplace improvement. Several aspects of workplace culture were measured, including Alignment, Execution, and Connection, just to name a few.  The most desirable places to work in Michigan were named and celebrated on November 2 at a ceremony held at the Detroit Marriott in Troy.

In its first year of being nominated for the award, BNP Media placed 32nd in the midsize company category, out of 55 winners in the category for companies with 150 to 499 employees.   The Free Press Top Workplaces competition is open to public and private companies, as well as nonprofit organizations, with more than 50 employees. This year, 150 companies were recognized in the large, midsize and small workplace categories. Continue reading this article

How to Use Business-Related Research as Compelling Content

For business-to-business (B2B) marketers, one of the most engaging types of content is industry research. The findings can be used across all communication platforms and channels a company might use. Working with an independent research company like BNP Media’s Clear Seas Research, the research can give your customers insight into an emerging issue while serving as a hook for blog posts, news stories, infographics, eBooks and more. Here are five ways to use the results of your research.

News coverage: Press releases and content marketing activities like infographics, guest blog posts on popular industry websites and interviews with industry influencers can spread the impact of a survey across several forms of media.

Blog and social media posts: Generating news on your own blog posts and social media will get picked up by others if the findings of your survey are of interest to leaders in your industry. Each release of information about the research findings should be treated as a media campaign. Continue reading this article

Why Case Studies Are Critical in Business-to-Business Marketing

When it comes to ranking the most credible forms of advertising, word of mouth always comes out on top. That’s because we trust people we know more than experts we don’t know.

Why don’t customers believe the experts?

Americans have always been a little skeptical of experts and the theories (or facts) they espouse. In fact, there’s a theory called the “backfire effect” that suggests some people become even more convinced they are right when experts give them evidence disproving their beliefs.

For that reason, it’s often better to let your product’s story be told by a third party with whom a potential customer can identify. That third party may not be a university professor, but if he or she has worked in the trenches—perhaps just like your customer—then that person is granted automatic credibility.

Context and Credibility

Presenting your story in the form of a case study provides potential customers the ability to not only understand the product, but also redefine their expectations. Rather than believe a manufacturer’s claims, which could be seen as hype, prospective customers often find it easier to believe the claims of an independent third party. Continue reading this article

Why B-to-B Marketers Should be Concerned About Ad Blockers

Unlike business-to-business (B2B) online media, the business model of online consumer media is nearly 100 percent focused on generating traffic, clicks and views. (B2B online media uses a business model that is focused on who uses a site, not just how many clicks they generate.) Because consumer websites need to boost a lot of traffic, consumers who use the web are bombarded with click-bait pop-ups, automatic animation, audio and video, and slideshows featuring what child actors look like now that they are adults. Such blinking and screaming ads are annoying on a desktop or laptop computer, but they are even more obnoxious on the small screen of a smartphone—the largest and fastest growing segment of online usage.

The online audience is responding with outrage

Blinking pop-ups and instant video techniques have led a growing number of web users to download “ad-blocking” extensions to their computers’ web browsers.

In a 2016 report, Juniper Research predicted ad blocking could cost publishers $27 billion globally in lost ad revenue by 2020. Continue reading this article

How to Come Up With Content Ideas for Your Company Blog

When was the last time you posted an article on your company blog? If it was more than a few weeks ago, you are communicating to your customers and prospects that you put little emphasis on keeping them informed and up-to-date.

A blog can be a marketing tool that separates you from your competition. It can also be a go-to source for information about your industry. It can teach customers how to better use your products.

It shouldn’t be seen as a burden or the last thing on your to-do list. If that’s why it’s been a few months since you’ve posted something, here are some suggestions to help break through your blogging writer’s block. Continue reading this article

Six Ways to Improve the Quality of the Photos on Your Company Blog

Graphics—whether professional photography, infographics or stock photography—have the power to grab an audience’s attention. Approximately 65 percent of people say they are visual learners, so chances are, the first thing people will notice when they visit your company’s blog are its images. That’s why it’s critical to take quality photographs or use high-quality stock photography.

Follow these tips to enhance the quality of photos on your company’s blog.

 

Head shots

When you post employee head shots on your company’s blog or website, make sure you’re putting the representatives of your business in the best light. Be sure to:

·  Shoot in natural light, not fluorescent or other artificial light.

·  Avoid harsh shadows and objects behind the subject’s head.

·  Pick a uncluttered background. You don’t have to use a flat white background, but make sure whatever background you use isn’t busy or cluttered—or detracts from the real focus of the photo.

·  Take the shot face on, not sideways! Profile shots have their place, but for this type of photo, you want to see the subject’s face. Continue reading this article

The Power of a B2B Handwritten Note

When was the last time you sent a handwritten note to an employee or customer, thanking them for their work or business?

In today’s world of instant communication, it’s easier than ever to send a brief text message or email. It’s quick, painless and requires little effort. But the next time you think about sending an email or text message to a customer or employee, consider sending a handwritten card or note instead. Why? A handwritten note is more personal than a quick email sent from your smartphone. People like to feel valued, and taking the time to write a note, address an envelope and stick it in the mailbox communicates that you care for and appreciate that individual.

When writing handwritten notes, consider the following tips: Continue reading this article

Think Ahead: Ideas For Your 2018 Marketing Calendar and Budget

If you haven’t started planning for 2018, here are a few suggestions to consider when you begin. (And if you haven’t started, start soon, because your competitors are.)

 1. Check in with industry experts

Listening to those you trust can help you become aware of a trend you may have missed or had not considered correctly. Industry analysts are great sources of what’s happening; so are other marketers who are not working for a direct competitor. And when it comes to providing neutral, non-proprietary information, your BNP representative is available with information about new marketing opportunities.

 2. Preview the 2018 live event calendar

BNP research indicate marketers and customers have tried-and-true events they attend annually, but they are always open to something new if the criteria fits.

 https://www.bnpsolutions.com/events/ Continue reading this article

Four Google-Approved SEO Tips for Mid-Year 2017


Full-time search marketing experts spend a lot of their time debating the tweaks and trends of Google’s worldwide network of engineers and scientists. While such understanding of Google is important, for most of us mere mortal marketers, it’s probably more important to steer clear of the theoretical until after we embrace those practices we know that Google already endorses.

There are many resources Google provides to help marketers use search marketing. But right now, if you don’t have months and months to dedicate yourself to mastering all that Google does, sign up for these three resources:

    1. Think With Google: This is a non-technical resource that focuses on case studies, tools and trends that showcase Google’s advertising solutions. While not directly related to SEO, it’s a great insight into what Google is “thinking” about.

    2. Google Webmasters: This can be very technical at times, but provides a treasure trove of tools and advice about being found by those who search for information using Google (translation: everyone).

    3. Google Analytics and Data Studio: Okay, this may get a little geeky to set up, but the first step in understanding how Google interacts with your website is installing the free Google Analytics mega-tool. Recently, Google added another free resource called Data Studio that provides several visualization tools that help explain to us mere mortals what’s taking place at Google Analytics. (You’ll probably need help setting up both of these, but after you know the basics, you’ll find you have lots of data at your fingertips.) Continue reading this article

The Importance of Having a Multichannel Marketing Strategy

During the period dramatized on “Mad Men,” the marketers and media companies along Madison Avenue could do a year’s worth of ad buys in an afternoon—between martinis. Three TV networks and a few major magazines would reach every customer in America. For example, the highest-rated TV series of the 1950s was “I Love Lucy.” At its peak, the show was watched by more than 67 percent of everyone with a TV turned on. Fast-forward to the 2010s, and the most-watched TV series today is “Sunday Night Football.” Yet only 13 percent of every TV is turned on to watch it.

Today, advertising decisions are often made by software using real-time data to determine where and when to place ads. Advertising can not only be tailored to a person’s location, but it can also take into account a customer’s interests based on previous patterns of usage.

In other words, as people have more and more media options and advertisers have more and more ways to distribute advertising, using all of these different types of media to reach a specific group of customers becomes more and more challenging—not easier as the future is sometimes promised to be. Continue reading this article

The Role Blogging Plays in Improving Your SEO and Serving Your Customers

There are many reasons your company website should have a blog. A blog can help you build relationships with your current and potential customers, position you as a subject matter expert, and provide an easy outlet for sharing company news, events and information. But a blog can also boost search engine optimization (SEO) and drive traffic toward your site. It’s a win-win.

Here are five ways to use your blog to improve your SEO rankings and drive more traffic toward your company’s website.

    1. Create original—and quality—content. Unique content can boost your website in search rankings. But the information found on your website probably doesn’t change that often. That’s why it’s important to write blog posts on a regular basis. That way, you’re always adding new and fresh content to attract readers.

    2. Stop overusing keywords. The more keywords, the better, right? Not exactly. While keywords are important, search engines are now paying attention to the whole query instead of individual words. In 2013, Google introduced Hummingbird, an algorithm that judges the context and intent of the person doing the search, attempting to zero in on what they are trying to figure out. So, instead of focusing on 10–15 individual keywords in your blog post, try using long-tail keywords and phrases that people would typically use when searching for something relevant to your site. Continue reading this article

How New Media Enhances, Not Hurts, Traditional Media

The term “traditional media” sounds like something one’s grandparents may have used back in the good ole days. But in a business context, traditional media refers to the evolution of ways we access news and information for our work interests and free time passions.

Traditional media was a daily newspaper with a thick sports section filled with lots of ads for tires and used cars. Traditional media was having three or four local TV affiliates of major broadcast networks. Traditional media meant lots of local TV ads during the news, weather and sports. Traditional media meant thick weekly news magazines, Reader’s Digest and TV Guide.

Now we have something called “new media,” a term that refers to anything that includes the words digital, social, streaming, data and content. For nearly 20 years, new media people have claimed to be disrupting the traditional media titans. However, in reality, new media is turning to traditional media to help them find sustainable channels of growth. Facebook, Google and Twitter are constantly experimenting with how to pay for streaming sports and other live events so that TV viewers will have something to be social about. Continue reading this article

The Importance of Having a Multichannel Marketing Strategy

During the period dramatized on “Mad Men,” the marketers and media companies along Madison Avenue could do a year’s worth of ad buys in an afternoon—between martinis. Three TV networks and a few major magazines would reach every customer in America. For example, the highest-rated TV series of the 1950s was “I Love Lucy.” At its peak, the show was watched by more than 67 percent of everyone with a TV turned on. Fast-forward to the 2010s, and the most-watched TV series today is “Sunday Night Football.” Yet only 13 percent of every TV is turned on to watch it.

Today, advertising decisions are often made by software using real-time data to determine where and when to place ads. Advertising can not only be tailored to a person’s location, but it can also take into account a customer’s interests based on previous patterns of usage.

In other words, as people have more and more media options and advertisers have more and more ways to distribute advertising, using all of these different types of media to reach a specific group of customers becomes more and more challenging—not easier as the future is sometimes promised to be. Continue reading this article

Why Print B2B Magazines Matter

Since the release of early web browsers during the mid-1990s, self-proclaimed experts have been declaring that “print magazines are dead.” Of course, the media landscape has undergone a lot of change in the two decades since, but one thing hasn’t changed: Print magazines are alive and well. For example, followers of Samir Husni’s “Launch Monitor Blog” [https://launchmonitor.wordpress.com/] are aware that dozens of magazines are launched each month.

Many magazines have shut down since 1995, but that’s not unusual—magazines have opened and closed regularly since they first began. For example, a magazine published by Benjamin Franklin in 1741 titled The American lasted only one issue. But no one in those days declared magazines were dead.

New communications technologies since Franklin’s day have remade magazine publishing time and again. Improvements in printing technology, enhanced distribution methods enabled by the railroad, instant communication made possible by the wireless telegraph, and the creative mediums of radio, film and TV have all changed the business of publishing. Continue reading this article

New to Online Advertising Retargeting? BNP Media Can Help

During the past few weeks, we’ve been sharing information about retargeting, the type of marketing that helps you stay in front of potential customers across the web—even when they are visiting consumer-oriented sites.

Since retargeting is new for most B2B marketers, BNP Media can help you get up and running. We can help you:

• Develop and execute a strategy.

• Gain quality insights and prove performance of media spend.

• Understand deeper insights on ad effectiveness.

• Optimize your campaigns. Continue reading this article

How to Measure the Results of an Online Retargeting Campaign

At the end of each retargeting campaign, an advertiser receives an in-depth report that combines the information you’ve tracked while the campaign has been taking place.

Metrics Measured for Each Creative Used During a Campaign

  • Impressions: The number of ads that appear on the pages that users visit during a campaign.
  • Clicks: The number of times an ad is clicked on by a user.
  • Click-Through Rate (CTR): The ratio of clicks on one of your ads to the number of total ad impressions.
  • Post-Impression Reporting: Users may see an ad numerous times before acting on it. They may even act on the message by going back to an advertiser’s website and bypassing the ad. Post-impression conversion tracking reveals such delayed impact of an ad.

The Value of Post-Impression Recognition

Retargeting provides a benefit that has been considered one of the pillars of effective advertising in the mass media age: frequency. In short, it means that the more times potential customers see your ad, the more likely they are to recall it when it’s time for them to make a purchasing decision. This principle is sometimes called “The Rule of 7” to represent the number of times it takes for a customer to act.

With the long purchasing cycle of many business products and services, exposure to your brand and message is especially important over an extended period.

Why is this important? Many potential customers don’t click on an ad; instead, they go directly to the advertiser’s website or use Google. Repeated exposure to your brand from retargeting increases the likelihood the customer will recognize your brand and click it during such a search.

By placing a simple pixel on your site as well, BNP can track those who saw your ads, but visited your site without clicking—a critical component of a retargeting campaign’s success.

To learn more about B2B retargeting, click here.

The ROI of Retargeting

The customers you are trying to reach online don’t just view their laptops and mobile devices as tools for work. They use their devices throughout the day for tasks ranging from running a business to coaching a youth soccer team. Retargeting enables you to keep your marketing message in front of potential customers on a wide variety of websites that fit their lifestyle, as well as their professional interests.

Here are just some of the benefits retargeting provides to marketers who want to make sure potential customers stay engaged with your brand. Continue reading this article

How to Personalize Online Advertising With Retargeting

Consumer advertisers have the ability to advertise at a mass-market level. Online, they can use a lot of sophisticated methods to reveal the precise demographics of potential customers. With a big budget, consumer marketers can stir up demographic ingredients such as age, gender, household income, race, ethnicity and education to create a profile of the perfect potential customer.

Match that data with the traditional and digital media consumed by the perfect demographic, and you have your advertising strategy mapped out.

However, the job is more difficult for business-to-business (B2B) marketers. Other than interesting correlations, customer demographic profiles based on age and gender are of little to no importance in B2B online advertising. The factors that actually matter focus completely on the roles the potential buyers or influencers play in the procurement and purchasing processes of their business. Continue reading this article

 
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