5 Tips for Living in an Omni-Channel World

By: Tammy Tufty

‘‘Cause we are living in a omni-channel world. And I’m a omni-channel girl’

Madonna sang about living in a material world and I’m here to tell you that we are living in an omni-channel world. Marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. The rise of digital technologies and the intersection of data combined with a millennial generation present challenges that skilled marketing practitioners need to get their strategic arms around. According to the Retailing 2020 Report, the demand for an omni-channel customer experience will be amplified by the need for nearly perfect execution.  Here are a few tips for living in an Omni-Channel World:

Tip #1 Data is the Alpha and Omega

Data management is the foundation of omni-channel marketing. Ask yourself, is your customer data validated? Is it a mess? Do you know how to leverage it? Are you collecting the right information? You need to be where your customers are and tailor your efforts to the interactions they have with your business.

Tip #2: Know your customers.

This is not “new school” marketing. You should always know your customers, but now customers expect one to one conversations. You have a ton of data on them. Therefore, you should know what they want, where and how they want it. Do you deliver a uniform message and provide a seamless experience for potential customers across all channels and devices?

Tip #3: Walk Your Customer Journey

As marketers, we now need to meet our customers where they are. 98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day according to Google Research. Do you know how customers are interacting with your company? Is your site optimized for mobile and social interactions?

According to Salesforce, 86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical to create a cohesive customer journey.

Tip #4: Break down Silo’s

Is your marketing department siloed? Do you have a unified strategy so your customers receive a consistent message? All components of marketing have to work together to provide a consistent marketing experience on the customer journey. This can be harder in larger corporations where many people manage the pieces of the marketing strategy.

Tip #5: Technology is Your BFF

Every marketer should be best friends with their IT department. Omni-channel success requires tools such as marketing automation and platforms to help you execute across channels and devices. Additionally, our customers create mountains of data with their company interactions and you need to be able to analyze and make sense of it all.

Marketing is evolving at a rapid pace and presents several unique challenges for today’s professionals. You need the right mix of people, processes and technology to achieve a fully seamless customer experience. Marketers need to account for each platform and device customers use to interact with the company and then delivering an integrated experience to align messaging, goals, objectives, and design across each channel and device.

About the Author: Tammy Tufty

Tammy Tufty is a Brand and Marketing Strategist who partners with CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs to grow their professional brands. After spending 18 years in marketing for sports nutrition brands and Fortune 500 companies, Tammy knows how to craft strategies to propel your brand forward. She is an award-winning marketer, blogger and relationship builder. In addition to her extensive marketing experience, Tammy is a mom to two girls, a wife, and a die-hard Virginia Tech football fan. Learn more at TammyTufty.com.

Engaging with the Hispanic Market Beyond Hispanic Heritage Month

This post is by our annual sponsor AC&M Cultural Marketing.

Every year around this time, brands begin to bombard Hispanic consumers with special promotions, ad campaigns and cameo appearances in the community. Many brands take advantage of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) to engage with the U.S. Hispanic community and celebrate Hispanic heritage and culture. But are they perceived as authentic?

Yes, celebrating our success and contributions to this wonderful country is important, and I applaud all of the companies that leverage community events and craft campaigns to engage with Hispanics during this special time period. But, if the Hispanic community is such an important consumer (and I can give you trillion$ of reasons to care), shouldn’t brands be connecting with us year-round? Hispanic marketing outreach shouldn’t be limited to 30 days. Hispanic outreach should be incorporated into a brand’s ongoing marketing efforts.

Here are 4 tips to help brands connect with Hispanic audiences beyond Hispanic Heritage month and create long-lasting authentic customer relationships:

1.    Partner with Local Organizations & Events: Yes, many events and celebrations take place during Hispanic Heritage month, but they also take place throughout the year. Support your local organizations and events, i.e. attend a luncheon, sponsor a scholarship program, or provide supplies for a back-to-school drive or community event.

2.    Know Your Audience: You can’t lump all Hispanics into one bucket. Many are bicultural, bilingual and live in a complex duality with family heritage and American traditions. Create initiatives and campaigns that can speak to specific market segments. Find their passion points. For example, buying Spanish-language radio can help you reach abuelita, but a Snapchat filter may help you reach “Bi-llenials” (Hispanic Millenials).

3.    Be Inclusive: As we shift to a minority-majority nation, all marketing efforts should be inclusive of minorities. You don’t need a specific campaign to engage with Hispanics – as you develop “general market” campaigns, you should be inclusive of Hispanics in your efforts. Ensure that the images that you create are reflective of people of different races, ethnicities and culture.

4.    Be Consistent: In order for your brand to truly connect with this important consumer segment (and positively impact your bottom line), you need to be consistent in your outreach. Remember that your goal is to develop a long-lasting relationship with us and that means that we want you to engage with us often. Connecting with us in a meaningful way throughout the year will help Hispanic consumers truly embrace your brand.

Hispanic consumers account for more than 57 million in the U.S. with a buying power of $1.4 trillion. Hispanics are brand loyal, highly tech-savvy, bicultural, bilingual and super consumers.  Brands need to make engaging with the Hispanic community a year-round commitment. At the end of the day, Hispanic consumers interact with brands that speak to them authentically.

AC&M Group is a full-service marketing agency that connects brands with consumers using cultural insights. Our motto is: Universal Ideas, Cultural Connections.  Through our expertise in crafting culturally relevant campaigns, we help companies reach and efficiently communicate with the new mainstream. Based in Charlotte, AC&M Group has been developing culturally relevant creative campaigns for more than a decade and has expertise spanning industries within retail, food & beverage, soccer, travel, finance and home improvement / construction.

Source: ACMconnect.com

Letter From the President- Cindy Fox

Greetings to our Members and Friends:

Many of you may have noticed that the American Marketing Association is going through a rebrand.  We would like to explain why and what it means to you as Members/Friends of the American Marketing Association-Charlotte Chapter.

As Marketers, we understand the importance of a strong brand.  In the past, each chapter has been allowed to create their own logos and other collateral, some of which fit with the brand and some that didn’t.  One objective of this rebrand is to unite all our many chapters behind one strong brand.  We want you to understand that all the chapters are working together with our international organization (now called the Support Center) to ensure that you are provided a community essential to all marketers-inspiring curiosity, fueling advancement and providing connection, this move is to make that collaboration more apparent.

As part of the brand evolution, the AMA is working to meld together thought leadership from its academic community and experts from the industry to deliver the most relevant and compelling knowledge for today’s marketers.  With the most useful, current and rigorous content, the AMA will continue innovating as the marketing world’s best place for learning, curiosity, debate and connections.

If you haven’t visited our Support Center’s website lately, AMA Source  , check it out-you will find a variety of topics addressed and some questions for you.  A main focus of the new intellectual agenda an exploration of Seven Big Problems that marketers around the globe are wrestling with.  These seven problems were compiled by asking marketers all over the globe what they thought were the most important questions confronting marketers now.  Your Charlotte Chapter will join in this exploration of these seven problems in a variety of ways, so watch for opportunities to hear more about these compelling problems and how you can share your expertise/experience on these topics.

Let us know if you have any questions, Thanks for your support of the American Marketing Association-Charlotte Chapter!

How much should you be spending on digital in 2017?

By: Patrick Rouillard

According to projections from eMarketer, 2017 will be the first year where digital marketing budgets exceed TV in the US. They also anticipate that by 2020, digital spend will surpass TV by 36%. Likewise, in the article “The End of TV’ from the January 2017 issue of marketing news, the authors identify one of the advantages digital has over other media as the ability to establish a social connection with the audience. They said, “online customer experiences are continually being designed by marketers to create the cultural and emotional bonds that ensure higher degrees of engagement and social acceptance”.  

What does this all mean?

Probably what you already realized - digital marketing is here and obviously not going anywhere. That much is clear. However, what might not be as clear is the amount of marketing dollars you should be allocating towards digital.  You want to increase the spend, but by how much and through what channels? 

If these are questions you and your team are asking, you’re not alone. In fact, digital transformation of the modern corporation is listed as number three on AMA’s 7 Big Problems in Marketing.  And one of the key points made is that an increase in digital means less of a one-sided conversation between seller and buyer and more of a back and forth exchange. As well more communications between buyers. 

How do you best navigate these changes as a marketer?

This Wednesday January 25th you take can take a big step forward to answering some of these questions by attending the latest presentation in AMA Charlotte’s Digital Series - Tips for Planning Your 2017 Digital Marketing Budget. You’ll get expert tips, strategies, and best practices for planning your digital budget from Cassie Bernat, a social media marketing expert who is currently ACN’s social media and content marketing manager. Cassie has worked with brands such as Chiquita, Fresh Express, and Off Broadway Shoes. 
So why continue to ‘guess’ about your digital spend for 2017? AMA Charlotte is here to help. Register here for tickets! 

 

Maximize Your Social Media Footprint

By: Caitlin Rodermund 

 

It is no surprise that social media is a driving force for most businesses in the 21st century. But it is not just about creating these accounts; it is about using them to your advantage. Many factors can determine whether your post gets that double tap likable quality or vanish into cyber space. A strong social media presence can have a huge impact on the success of a business. So how do you maximize your social media footprint? Here are a few helpful tips to get you on the right path to successful social media.

1.     Timing is everything

Posting successful content on your social media pages is correlated with the timing of each post. It is important to look at the analytics and see when your followers are mostly online and active. It is important to get the timing right so the most amount of traffic sees the your post.

2.     Follow through with posts

If you are a business that likes to have multiple events a month you need to be posting about each one of those events. Not only do you need to post about the upcoming events but also recap on the previous one. The smart strategy would be to take as many pictures as you can at the event and post one of those. It also helps keep your account consistent and reliable. 

3.     #Hashtags, locations, and tags 

Hashtags are essential in all of your posts in order to reach as many people as possible. They do not always have to be super creative but make them relevant to the posts. If you are posting about exercising put hashtag #healthy. People who search the word healthy will see your post pop up and it might enhance their interest. Locations are necessary because they allow you to notify the audience of your location without having to add it into your caption. People can then click on your location and see where you are and other posts with that location. Also, if you are collaborating with another company/organization make sure you tag them. They might repost your posting and show it to all of their followers.

You might think all of this is trivial in the grand scheme of daily operations but it will make a difference. Social media is only getting bigger and staying in tune with all of the added features is essential to being successful with online marketing. While it might help to have a savvy social media coordinator not everyone can hire one. These hints will help your business get that second look from all your followers and non-followers. Never stop thinking of creative ways to spice up your social media and add that extra flare to your business. If you are interested in more aspects of social media and marketing I highly suggest joining AMA. Check out the Charlotte AMA social media accounts and website and learn how to get involved. 

6 FAQs for The Ronald MacDonald House of Charlotte

By: Patrick Rouillard

You've probably heard of the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) but if not, they keep families with sick children close to each other while giving them the care and resources they need. RMHC started in Philadelphia over 40 years ago and now their chapters can be found in more than 63 countries and regions around the world. In 2015, they helped lessen the burden for more than 7 million families going through difficult times.

On Tuesday December 6th, AMA Charlotte will be hosting the SIlverbell Shindig along with CIMA, BMA, CIABC, PRSA and SMCLT and all proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. Get Tickets HERE.

To familiarize yourself with the amazing work of the RMHC, here are 6 FAQs:

  1. What is the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte? The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte is a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children from across the Carolinas and country who are receiving medical treatment in Charlotte medical facilities.
  2. Why was a Ronald McDonald House built in Charlotte? The opening of Carolinas Medical Center's new 240-bed Levine Children's Hospital and the expansion of Novant Health Hemby Children's Hospital created the need for a nearby facility to host families with sick children seeking world-class medical care in Charlotte.
  3. Are there other Ronald McDonald Houses in the Carolinas? The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte is the 5th facility in North Carolina and the first was in Durham in 1980. There are also facilities across North and South Carolina in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Winston-Salem, Charleston, Columbia and Greenville NC and SC.
  4. Who owns and operates the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte? Ronald McDonald House programs are owned and operated by the local community. The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte is managed by a local Board of Directors.
  5. How much does it cost for families to stay in the Ronald McDonald House? The Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte offers an economic alternative to families with seriously ill children during short-term and extended hospital stays, as well as the support and comfort of other families facing similar medical crises together. Families are asked to make a modest donation but no one will ever be turned away due to inability to pay.
  6. How can I help? Attend the Silverbell Shindig on December 6th or click here to learn more about how to contribute to Charlotte's "home away from home" for families of sick children.

3 Tips for Ensuring Your SEO Strategy Keeps Your Content Interesting

When considering SEO, it’s easy to focus on keywords. And for good reason. At the core of any successful SEO strategy is proper research and use of keywords. However, with all the focus on the strategic use of words that build your content – whether it be a web page, eBook, or case study – you want to make sure the quality of the content is not being sacrificed for the strategy. And by quality I mean how readable and appealing your content is to the target audience. Because if your content is not interesting to them, you won’t get the results you want- no matter how effectively you employ keywords.

This can be especially true in B2B, where there can be the tendency to produce dry content because business professionals are the target audience. In fact, Heather Lloyd-Martin from SEO Content Institute recently said in an interview “Some industries expect content to be dry and boring, but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, you need to get facts to the buyer. But factual and boring aren’t the same thing”.

So what steps can you take to make sure you’re not producing content that will make your prospects fall asleep in their chair? Here are 3 tips:

1.  Watch your tone

In B2B, just because you’re marketing to business professionals doesn’t mean your content needs to read like a textbook, no matter how technical your product or service may be. Prospects are going to relate best to materials that read like people talk. Meaning the writing should flow in a conversational style.  This will help the piece seem more inviting to read and allow the prospects to easily connect with it. I think a ‘business casual’ style of writing works best, where your content would read as if you were having a conversation with the prospect during a meeting or at a trade show.

2. Use storytelling

Effective storytelling works just as well in B2B as it does in B2C. When making a purchase decision for a product or service, business buyers are obviously motivated by improving the bottom line. However, personal motivations can play just as large of a role. Maybe it could help them get a promotion, or even just save enough time to be home earlier for their families.  Whatever the reason, storytelling can keep your content interesting by helping clearly express benefits that appeal to both the business and personal buying motivations of your prospects.

3. Have people outside the target audience read the content

One way to effectively test how engaging your content is to have people who are not in the target audience read it. This allows you to see where your content falls on the ‘readability scale’. Because even though they may have no knowledge, interest, or use for your product, they can provide useful feedback on how well it flows. You and your team know your audience, so you already know its ‘useful’ content for them. The question you’re trying to answer with this exercise is “Is it written in an appealing, conversational-style where anyone can make their way through it and get the general idea?”

Hope these tips help. Interested in more on SEO best practices?

Don’t miss AMA Charlotte’s digital marketing event this Tuesday 10/18 at UNION:  Performing SEO audits with Sona Medspa’s CMO Rene Fielder and Digital Marketing Director Brett Lutz.

Click Here For Details and Registration