Digital strategist and entrepreneur Mark Evans—a long-time technology reporter for the National Post, Bloomberg and the Globe and Mail—shared his experiences marketing his own brand. He said a layoff in 2008 inspired him to start off his own business, ME, a consultancy that “works with start-ups and fast-growing companies looking to create and deliver their stories to a variety of audiences.”
As Evans says, the problem of marketing communications can be paraphrased as “Hey, pay attention to me!”
Before you craft effective messaging, you must figure out who you are. The exercise of self-discovery took Evans more than a year. It was only through countless pitches that he could effectively summarize the essence of his firm.
Answer the basic questions:
These help make up the so-called “elevator pitch”. All the pitch really needs to do is to win your audience’s permission to give them more information.
Evans’ thoughts on some key marketing tools:
Web sites remain crucial
While social media is the current darling, don’t neglect your web site. This is the “workhorse” of your marketing communications efforts.
Love your data
Web traffic analysis tools like Google Analytics—free and rich with data—are invaluable for crafting targeted messaging: they give information not only about current but also potential customers.
To tweet or not to tweet
The benefits are social media are clear: You get feedback, can gather competitive intelligence, can deliver customer service, help generate media coverage, even cast yourself as a thought leader in your niche (through a blog, for example). But blogs, Twitter and Facebook are not a magic bullet and they aren’t free either: A useful presence on these platforms will require a lot of effort to build and maintain.
Rather than dabbling in all the social technologies, Evans suggests tacking one platform at a time. Make the decision based on your resources, your target audience, your estimated “bang for the buck” and also by considering what the competition is doing. If your competition isn’t using Twitter yet, maybe that’s one reason to start there. But when it comes to social media, always be able to answer, “WHY am I doing this?”
Evans’ rules of PR
Other branding tips
Your creativity should be your strength. Avoid defaulting to expensive graphic designers or slick commercials. Evans’ example is BlendTech’s Will It Blend? commercials sensation on YouTube – a simple promo so successful that companies are now clamouring to have their own products blended to bits in upcoming clips.
There’s no substitute for 1-on-1 meetings
Coffee (or non-decaf-soy) is your friend and a coffee shop can be your best PR office. The people you meet and chat with aren’t just potential customers, but future evangelists for your message. If they don’t buy, they can still talk you up.
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