How Green Marketing Makes a Difference

Posted November 1st, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in Marketing, Texas Marketing Forum

There are many different ways to be “green” these days. Environmental sustainability can be applied to nearly every aspect of our lives from the cars we drive to the light bulbs we use. Aside from selling “green” products, how can your business make a difference for the environment? Green marketing is one way to achieve this goal.

E-marketing

E-marketing is a great idea for many reasons. E-mail, social media, blogs and online news sources have supplanted printed communications in many people’s lives. So in order to reach some target audiences, e-marketing is an important component of today’s marketing plans. Going electronic is also a green marketing tactic. Replacing printed materials with electronic versions, whenever possible, eliminates the environmental impact associated with paper production and printing. It also cuts out any energy required for delivery of the materials because there is no physical marketing piece to mail, ship or otherwise distribute. Finding an electronic replacement for communications with a short shelf life, such as newsletters, invitations and direct mail postcards, prevents them from falling into a landfill as well. E-mail blasts, e-newsletters, e-mail invitations and blogs are all great marketing tools that have proven effective. Like many green tactics, going electronic has a secondary benefit of eliminating costs associated with traditional marketing, such as printing and shipping, as well.

Recycle

Using recycled paper is a start, but have you ever considered designing a printed piece to be reused? For example, a stitched brochure might work just as well as a pocket folder with inserts. The inserts can be printed in small quantities so they can be updated as necessary. Since the pocket folder doesn’t go out of date, it continues to be usable as it is filled with new inserts. Some companies even encourage customers to help them recycle packaging such as pizza boxes. Customers receive a discount for bringing back their pizza box for recycling. It effectively sends the message “we are a green company,” and the customers have to return to participate in the effort. Even adding a simple reminder such as “Please Recycle” to printed marketing materials and packaging can go a long way to communicating your commitment to sustainability with customers.

Meetings

If you’re a business to business (B2B) company and enjoy frequent meetings with clients, you can be greener by teleconferencing with them instead. In situations where it is appropriate, it saves gas, not to mention travel time. The further you would have traveled to meet your client, the greater the energy, time and cost savings. Be sure to make it clear that the suggestion to teleconference is part of your commitment to environmental sustainability.

Events

When it comes to event planning, webinars and podcasts are a very impactful green alternative. Rather than holding an event that requires people to come to you and utilizing all the energy required to air condition, light and set up a space for them, hold a webinar or podcast to bring your message to their mobile device, home or office computer. As with teleconferencing, they’ll appreciate the time and costs savings, and you’ll realize your goals of being greener. At the very least, you could opt to have a keynote speaker teleconference their presentation to avoid the energy impact of flying them in for the event.

Green Messaging

Take full advantage of your green marketing program by crafting key messages about these efforts. Share the launch of new environmental initiatives where appropriate. Perhaps it is part of the About Us page on your website. Share the news on your blog, and ask customers to “like” your ideas for sustainable marketing in social media posts. Engage your customers by asking them for feedback about customizing green marketing tactics for your business. As with all marketing initiatives, authenticity is critical. Don’t overstate your commitment to being green, and respect the fact that even small steps to a more environmentally sustainable marketing program will be appreciated by customers.

If you’re interested in developing a greener marketing plan, let us know. The team at Priority Marketing would be happy to help you evaluate your current program and customize it to meet both your marketing needs and your green goals. Also, if you have any cool green marketing ideas, please share them. The possibilities are endless!

Using “The Social Network” for your business

“The Social Network” tells the story behind the fastest growing phenomenon in Internet history, Facebook. The movie introduces the intelligent, sarcastic and obsessive Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook. It all starts in a Harvard dorm room when Zuckerberg and best friend, Eduardo Saverin, create “The Facebook.”

“I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it on the Internet,” says Zuckerberg, in the film. The original website was based on exclusivity, where Harvard students shared comments, pictures and relationship status. The Facebook was an instant hit with Harvard students, attracting 22,000 hits in the first two hours it was launched.

After a recommendation from Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, The Facebook was changed to Facebook. Today Facebook is worth $25 billion, and Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest self-made billionaire. Today college students are not the only users of Facebook, people all over the world are using the site.   

Some may use Facebook as a social network to share experiences and conversation with friends, but there’s more to the site than that. The site is a great marketing platform for any business. Your business profile should be used as a communication tool that offers professional experiences and expertise. One way to offer advice or inform is through status updates.

The update should offer insight and links that direct viewers to more information on the topic addressed. Your post is more than an update on what you’re actually doing. It should be an informative and interactive post that fans of your page can learn from or be apart of.   

If used strategically the site can help your business. It’s important to be part of the conversation and communicate with people that impact you. It’s a powerful way to connect, observe and listen to people interested or affected by your company.

Everything you share on your Facebook page from the posts, groups, comments, photos and people you connect with, contribute to your company’s image and overall perception. It’s important to connect with other professionals, friends and groups that influence your business.

Your profile says who you are and why people should connect with you or your business. The Facebook page for your business becomes the brand and its own promotional form of marketing. 

“The Social Network” tells the story behind the creation of Facebook. It’s up to Facebook users to keep this Social Media powerhouse a part of Internet history. Take advantage of this form of marketing and contribute to the conversation!

For more tips on the power of social media, contact us at Priority Marketing, where we implement social media marketing plans for a variety of business and organizations each day.

Luis Ramirez of Sivage Homes named Rookie of the Year

Posted October 13th, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in News, Texas Marketing Forum

Luis Ramirez, a sales counselor with Sivage Homes, was named Rookie of the Year by the Greater San Antonio Builders Association at the organization’s annual Summit Awards recognition ceremony.

“My job is to make the American dream of homeownership come true,” said Ramirez. “I do that by offering home buying solutions with honesty and integrity. It helps to partner with other like-minded professionals who are also dedicated to making a difference. We have the advantage of strong teamwork at Sivage Homes.”

A Texas-licensed Realtor, Ramirez is a bilingual service provider with eight years of experience in residential real estate sales.

Sivage Homes builds homes in eleven communities throughout San Antonio.  The company has been building homes for 30 years and currently serves homebuyers in New Mexico and Texas. The builder has received many awards including the title of “America’s Best Builder” by Builder magazine. The company is also a 2009 and 2010 Greater San Antonio Builders Association Summit Award winner for best design. For more information, please visit http://www.sivage.com/ or call 210-403-4750.

Shane Cox of Sivage Homes named Builder of the Year

Posted October 7th, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in News, Texas Marketing Forum

Shane Cox of Sivage Homes was named Builder of the Year by the Greater San Antonio Builders Association at the organization’s annual Summit Awards recognition ceremony.

“Building a home is a team effort, so I share this recognition with all my co-workers, partners and vendors at Sivage Homes,” said Cox, construction superintendent for Sivage Homes. “These are quality homes with innovative designs, so that’s a great foundation for our success.”

Cox currently manages three subdivisions for Sivage Homes, building approximately 54 homes per year. He has been a construction superintendent in San Antonio since May 2005. Prior to that, he worked for his family’s plumbing company in Seagoville, Texas. He holds a bachelor of business administration from Texas State University-San Marcos, where he was a scholarship athlete on the school’s football team.

“His organizational skills, dedication and passion for building quality homes on time and under budget are second to none,” said David Murtagh, vice president of construction for Sivage Homes. “Customer and vendor relations are his real strengths, and it shows with each home he builds and each customer survey that is returned.”

Sivage Homes has been building homes for 30 years and currently serves homebuyers in New Mexico and Texas. The builder has received many awards including the title of “America’s Best Builder” by Builder magazine. The company is also a 2009 and 2010 Greater San Antonio Builders Association Summit Award winner for best design. Sivage Home’s Texas office is located at 17319 San Pedro Ave., Suite 140 in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit http://www.sivagehomes.com/ or call 210-403-4750.

Are you “Linked In?”

Posted October 6th, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in Social Media, Texas Marketing Forum

When exploring social media options to promote your business and to raise your credibility, we advise clients to consider “LinkedIn”. 

While Facebook is great for both personal and professional use, LinkedIn is a platform for connecting with professional associates through past and current employers and educational institutions. Rather than updates on your personal activities and photos of your kids, you can share your professional accomplishments and network with others in related industries. It’s about building relationships versus maintaining friendships and relationships which is really what Facebook is about.

Where to begin
To begin, sign in to LinkedIn and establish a free account. Next, set up your profile. Your profile is your online resume, so be sure to include past and current positions to maximize your connections. To help with search engine optimization for your current company website, there is a drop-down menu where you can enter your company blog and website URL. 

Features include status updates, similar to Facebook. By adding information about recent accomplishments and/or company awards, projects and business deals, you are promoting your current business and positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry. For example, if your company is hosting an upcoming event, this is a great way to update your connections on what is happening in your business.

Participating on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has interactive features such as “Ask and Answer.” If you come across a question in your industry – answer it! This will help position you as an expert in your field. In addition, you can interact in the following ways:

  • Make recommendation/ask for recommendations from colleagues. If you had a great experience working with a vendor you have a connection to – recommend them. Most of the time they will reciprocate with a recommendation back!
  • Find experts, vendors and prospects for your business. LinkedIn can serve as a great resource for referrals. If your former colleague is connected to someone with a compelling profile, you can contact them directly for more in-depth recommendations for job candidates, vendors or other networking purposes.
  • Join industry groups and follow discussions. This can provide some helpful tips and potential contacts. For example, Connecting SW Florida
    (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=2724362).

In order to maximize your time and efforts, it is recommended that you keep your profile up-to-date and look for opportunities to utilize LinkedIn as a resource for referrals, recommendations and B2B marketing opportunities. As with any tool, you get out of it what you put into it.

Optimizing social media as an effective marketing tool takes time, resources and depth of knowledge. As you and your organization focuses on daily business operations, Priority Marketing can provide counsel and help you create a social marketing strategy that is customized to meet your business goals. For more information on implementing LinkedIn and other social tools to increase exposure for you and your business, visit our website or call 239-267-2638.

Vickie Clark of Sivage Homes named Sales Person of the Year

Posted September 20th, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in News, Texas Marketing Forum

Vickie Clark of Sivage Homes was named Sales Person of the Year by the Greater San Antonio Builders Association at the organization’s annual Summit Awards recognition ceremony.

“I am excited about being a part of Sivage Homes and the product and value we offer customers,” said. Clark. “I am thrilled with receiving this honor and know all of the wonderful people I work with at Sivage Homes and the many Realtors© who regularly trust their clients to me played a significant role in this award.”

A Texas-licensed Realtor, Clark holds the following professional designations: Council of Residential Specialists (CRS), Graduate Real Estate Institute (GRI) and Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR). She has also completed multiple management development programs and is pursuing a degree in marketing and business management.

“Throughout my 13-year career it has been a pleasure to be a part of helping hundreds of families realize the dream of home ownership,” said Clark. “Nothing is as exciting as the day a person signs the closing papers and moves into their brand new home.”

Sivage Homes has been building homes for 30 years and currently serves homebuyers in New Mexico and Texas. The builder has received many awards including the title of “America’s Best Builder” by Builder magazine. The company is also a 2009 and 2010 Greater San Antonio Builders Association Summit Award winner for best design. Sivage Home’s Texas office is located at 17319 San Pedro Ave., Suite 140 in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, please visit http://www.sivagehomes.com/ or call 210-403-4750.

Why “Mom” is the Word in Marketing

Posted September 16th, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in Marketing, Texas Marketing Forum

There are dozens of best-selling books and professional blogs that discuss HOW to market to moms, and it’s one of those ever-evolving disciplines we marketing professionals are always tracking. If you’re really interested in staying on top of the mom marketing, we suggest following the Marketing to Moms blog by noted author, blogger and mom marketing expert Maria Bailey.  

Today, we just want to lay the groundwork for those of you who are still wondering why “Mom” is the word in marketing.

The “back to school” season is a prime example. You may have noticed recent headlines about the uptick in August consumer spending for back-to-school items, helped locally by the tax free holiday. This is big news, but few reporters cover who did the back-to-school spending. The answer, as you may have guessed, is mostly moms. We know this because, according to the Marketing to Moms Coalition, mothers control a whopping 85 percent of household spending.

Worth more than $2.1 trillion to American brands, moms could be the most important target market of our time. If you think that’s an exaggeration, here are some more statistics* that could convince you moms really are the most powerful demographic in the U.S.

  • Mother’s control 85 percent of household spending (yet 70 percent of them feel that companies aren’t doing a good job of speaking to them.)
  • 90 percent of mothers use the same products at home and the office (Many command corporate budgets as well as the household budget.)
  • 5 million moms own their own businesses
  • 88 percent of mothers refer to themselves as household CFO
  • 40 percent of boomer moms are involved in purchases for their aging parents
  • For the first time in history, four generations of mothers comprise the Mom Market

If there are still questions in your mind about the power of Mom, or if you have any interesting marketing-to-moms examples and anecdotes, please leave a comment. We’d love to discuss the topic!

* Adapted from the Marketing to Moms Coalition website.

Lunch, Learn and Laugh: Blogging 101

Posted September 3rd, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in Blogging, Hot Tips, Learn and Laugh, Social Media, Texas Marketing Forum

Yesterday, the Priority Marketing team enjoyed some great food, shared a few laughs and learned some valuable tips at our team Lunch, Learn and Laugh: Blogging 101. Our own blog experts Krista Cartee and Kim Geary led the other departments through an interactive learning session about blogging. Below are a few highlights from the presentation. We thought this might benefit your team as much as it did ours!

What is a Blog?
A blog is a type of website that functions as an online journal for an individual or business.  Blogs usually focus on a particular topic. A blog is where people with shared interests can discuss a certain subject.

Why not just use a website?

  • Blogs allow for content to be easily updated more frequently without the assistance of a web programmer
  • Often allows for people to comment on posts to encourage conversation
  • Typically written in first person, making it a more causal and personal form of communication.

Who is blogging?
Anyone can be a blogger, have a blog or comment on a blog. Blogs can be used for any industry, and position the blogger as an expert in his or her field.

Potential customers, media reporters, other bloggers, vendors, other industry professionals are all reading blogs. Mainstream media use blogs to identify expert sources for stories and, in many cases, bloggers are seen as the new reporter. PR professionals pitch stories to influential bloggers just as they do to mainstream media reporters.

How do people find blogs?
Most people who find blogs aren’t necessarily looking for them. Blogs tend to rank higher when people are searching for information on a certain topic.

  • Search engines find blogs because they meet the search engine index requirements (they are search engine friendly):
    • The site is frequently updated
    • The content on the site matches the search terms
    • There is a lot of content that is keyword rich
    • More outbound links on the site

There are also blog directory tools such as Technorati and Alltop which are helpful in searching for blogs by topic.

Why should a business build a blog?

  • You are creating your own news focused on the desired message, instead of relying on traditional media or other communicators (other bloggers, upset customers, etc.) to set perceptions of your company or product
  • Builds your brand through key messaging and imagery
  • Search Engine Optimization – creates outbound links to your website and with keywords and frequent updating, the blog has a higher chance of getting in front of your target audience than a static website.

We would love to hear suggestions on what you would like to see more of on our blog. Send us a question, or an idea for a post. We love the feedback!

Managing your brand image online

Posted August 23rd, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in Social Media, Texas Marketing Forum

We no longer live in a world of “set it and forget it” online marketing. It wasn’t long ago that when you created your company website it fully represented the company’s online brand image, and you had complete control over it. Once it was launched, all you had to do was maintain it, and your online marketing program was essentially set to auto-pilot.

Now, the web is a different place, where instead of static branded websites, users drive content from a much more dynamic “web” of interconnected social media sites, online review sites, blogs and message boards. Now “they” define your brand image as much as you do. Even if your company doesn’t yet participate in social media, there are countless websites that specialize in collecting “reviews.” Some popular examples include zagat.com, angieslist.com and tripadvisor.com. The result is high-speed word of mouth.

For this reason, it’s more important than ever to practice what you preach, providing the expected customer experience. No company can achieve perfection though, so you need to actively monitor and manage online forums and respond to any damaging statements in a carefully strategized way. There is also a bevy of opportunities in the challenging world of online image management, for those who are willing to devote the time and resources to capitalize on them.

We call this new practice “online trend management,” whereby we both promote and defend products, companies and ideas by keeping our pulse on online conversations. We monitor online news journals, industry blogs and topical message boards to capitalize on opportunities to participate in dialogue that pertains to a company’s industry, product and values. It is highly specialized work, an online networking of sorts, which can both protect and promote the company’s desired brand image.

Through online trend management, we can drive traffic to social media sites and blogs, maximizing SEO and generating sales leads. We can help meet customer service expectations by alerting business representatives to user questions and comments, and we sometimes can head off a communication crisis by addressing customer complaints. The scope of this work is virtually unlimited, and more important than ever, as people expand their interpersonal communication and interaction with brands online.

For a full list of our social media services visit http://prioritymarketing.com/services/socialmed/socialmed.html or give us a call at 239-267-2638!

Five Questions to Ask Your Marketing Agency

Posted August 16th, 2010 by Priority Marketing and filed in Hot Tips, Social Media, Texas Marketing Forum

Priority Marketing has been serving Southwest Florida with marketing solutions for nearly 20 years now, so there are very few questions we haven’t heard! Here are a few of the best questions to ask when evaluating a marketing firm and our answers.

If you have additional questions we don’t cover here, please leave a comment and we’ll be happy to respond with an answer.

How are You Different from Independent Contractors?
Thinking of starting your own agency? That’s pretty much what you’re taking on when you decide to employ sole proprietors, known as freelancers or independent contractors. There are many talented freelance designers, copywriters, website programmers, event planners and media relations experts out there. There are times when it is appropriate to use them. However, if you want a well-rounded strategic marketing effort and don’t have a dedicated full-time marketing director on staff to direct and coordinate the efforts of your independent contractors, that responsibility will fall on your shoulders. A true full-service agency has an established team of professionals dedicated to taking that burden off the client, including account managers who are adept at coordinating marketing efforts strategically and efficiently for optimum results. As a team, we can do things more quickly and more cost efficiently, and we are accountable every step of the way. Therefore, you are free to do what you do best – run your business!

Why Not Hire a Consultant?
Hiring a marketing consultant should provide you with the experienced manager you need to coordinate independent contractors, but what happens when an immediate need arises and your consultant is in a meeting, traveling or otherwise unavailable? No one person can be physically “on-call” all the time – but a team of people can be much more responsive and accommodating. When you hire a full-service agency, you hire an entire team of professionals who are experienced at working together to address long-range goals as well as unexpected situations. There are multiple people who are familiar with your account and can take the ball and run with it when necessary. Furthermore, the collective experiences, talents and connections of the team provide a greater depth of knowledge and value than one individual consultant can offer. Collectively, we’ve worked in almost every industry, and we rarely come across a situation someone on staff isn’t already experienced with.

What About That New Agency – Aren’t They Hungrier for My Business?
An agency values all of its clients, and an experienced, established firm can offer several things a new agency doesn’t. For example, the established agency has already established relationships in the marketing community, particular with vendors, the news media and advertising sales reps. We know who to rely on to provide quality printing, specialty items, catering, website programming and more. We know the editors and reporters we’re pitching your story to and enjoy a mutual respect that has been developed over many years of collaboration. We also negotiate with ad reps on a regular basis and enjoy the status of a preferred customer with many. Finally, if you’ve ever visited a restaurant on opening night, you already know the downside of working with a new business. Chances are the appetizers come out cold, the server doesn’t refill your drink, and the bill isn’t right. A year later, you may enjoy an amazing experience at the same place, but they just haven’t worked out the bugs yet.

Do You Practice What You Preach?
There’s an old adage that goes: “It’s the shoemaker’s children who go without shoes.” All too often it’s true for marketing firms, some of which don’t take the time to follow their own counsel. Our business has grown largely through the referrals of satisfied clients, it’s true, but we are dedicated to actively practicing what we preach. Think twice about hiring an agency that doesn’t have a blog but wants to create yours, hasn’t updated its website in five years and won’t tell you how they market themselves. Marketing our own business keeps us in touch with the client’s perspective and allows us to fine-tune emerging tactics so we are prepared to provide them to clients.

How Experienced Are You in Cutting Edge Media Marketing Tactics?
We believe we are one of the most innovative firms in Southwest Florida. The next question should be: “Will you stay that way?” Technology advances rapidly these days, and that has a huge impact on marketing. As a team, we make a coordinated effort to stay a step ahead of every new trend and advancement that affects our industry, including social media marketing, green marketing and cause marketing. Now, more than ever, it is important to understanding how social factors affect consumer decision making, and social influences can change just as rapidly as technological innovation. We are committed to ongoing professional development and applying our experience to strategically using new advancements to the client’s advantage.