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Want to Know What Your Clients Think? Ask Them.

New online tools give marketers access to information formerly available only through research. Usually expensive research. But as we monitor the latest feedback from Google Analytics or Flowtown, we shouldn’t forget another proven tool: online surveys.

At Greteman Group, we’ve long championed the use of web-based survey tools to garner unique, collective insights from both clients and their customers. We never fail to uncover some nugget of truth that launches our strategy and creative in unexpected, results-generating directions.

Here’s How It Works

We create online surveys that we send to our main client contact. He or she forwards the survey link to key colleagues, customers and partners. This is especially valuable in new client-agency relationships. Survey feedback helps uncover a brand’s perception in the marketplace – and how that aligns or differs from the client’s. Even though we bring strategy and fresh thinking to these conversations, nothing can replace feedback from the folks who live and breath the brand.

Two benefits to a web-based survey tool that no other tool can match:

1. Efficiently gathering a large quantity of information.

Email chains and Twitter hashtags are nice, but if you want to get the answer to a question like “What is your company’s #1 reason for having a website?” nothing can replace that delightfully long bar after the “Increasing sales” or “Informing members” answer that received 100% of votes from the internal team. Not only does information like this affirm strategy, it dictates next steps, such as how the website will be built to drive sales or inform members.

2. Calling internal questions and driving strategic decisions.

But what the survey returns a lot of “non-100% answers?” What if half your team thinks your brand should be bright and fresh, and the other half thinks classic and muted is a better reflection of the company? Or a majority of your customers are on Facebook and you’re not? These are the kinds of facts that only a survey can reveal, and they can often force clients into much-needed exploration of a policy, process or position. These decisions must be made before a re-brand, campaign or project can take place.

Nothing has proven more efficient or effective than gathering and analyzing results from web-based surveys when embarking on a new client relationship or campaign.

Wichita Rallies for General Aviation

I witnessed history today. And it made me feel proud. Of my community and the industry we love so well: aviation.

Sunshine and cheering crowds set the tone for this morning’s rally at Cessna Aircraft sponsored by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). Employees from Cessna, Bombardier Learjet, Hawker Beechcraft, Spirit AeroSystems and countless GA vendor companies made up the bulk of the thousands-strong throng. Our friends from Learjet loaded up seven school buses with more than 350 employees, all wearing Learjet red. Dignitaries were out in abundance, too, from the federal, state and local level.

Rising Up Together

Bombardier Learjet VP and General Manager David Coleal kicked off the morning by reminding us of our unique aviation heritage. Mayor Brewer thanked the aviation community for supporting each other during challenging times. The crowd cheered when U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood made it clear that he’d do everything in his power to get President Obama to visit Wichita so he could see for himself manufacturing at its best.

Success for general aviation translates to success for Kansas and the nation. It contributes more than $7 billion a year to our state economy and $150 billion to the nation’s. It supports 17,000 jobs statewide and 1.2 million across the country.

We had much to celebrate this morning. I’m still smiling.

Media planning: Making every marketing dollar count

You’re ready. You’ve just developed a new brand or a new product, and now it’s time to get your message out there. It’s time to develop your engagement strategy.

There are many potential engagement channels – paid media, media relations, social media, internal communications. We’re going to focus on the paid component and how you can help your media buy dollars stretch farther.

Here are five ways you can make every dollar count.

1) Value-added opportunities

Ask your advertising rep if there are any value-added, no-cost (or low-cost) opportunities available to accompany your paid media schedule. Print publications may offer a bonus ad with a confirmed full-year schedule, websites may provide 100,000 free impressions with a six-month commitment, or a TV station may provide free banner advertising space on its website for the duration of your TV campaign. It never hurts to ask.

2) Media Relationship-Building

Keep in mind nonpaid media relations opportunities that might arise and how you can nurture those. If you’re opening a new sporting-goods store, for example, you may want to consider advertising in a neighborhood paper if it reaches and targets the store’s audience. The relationships built may lead to more editorial opportunities for grand-opening announcements and beyond.

3) Everything’s Negotiable

Is there a publication you’d really like to place in but your budget won’t allow for it? Let them know your budget is limited and ask if there’s flexibility with the pricing. If you have an amount in mind, let them know. Oftentimes reps are willing to work within your budget. After all, something is better than nothing.

4) Working Together, They’re Better

When you’re scheduling your campaigns and media buy, flight it out so that you have as much media running concurrently as possible.

Say, for example, you want to run the campaign over six months using online, print and television outlets, but you have a limited budget. It’s proven you need to see something multiple times before it registers, so you could instead run shorter, stronger flights incorporating all three media channels every other month (three months total) during that six-month time period. Scheduling the media to run together, you’re concentrating the campaign’s overall reach and frequency.

5) Plan Long-Term

As you plan for each fiscal year, develop a media-buy budget based upon your leadership and marketing teams’ planned initiatives for the coming year. If possible, break that overall budget out first by campaign, then by outlet/publication.

As you start to work with advertising reps to plan the year’s first campaign, provide them with the overall dollars you’re planning to spend with their outlet/publication during the next 12 months. They’ll be more willing to negotiate rates/pricing, incorporate frequency discounts or add in value-added opportunities if they know how much is coming their way over the entire year.

Note, if that overall budget decreases at any point in the year, they’ll likely prorate the invoicing to compensate if a minimum buy isn’t met.

Incorporating the above tactics into your media planning is sure to stretch your dollars. As you plan for your future marketing buys, it’s also important to build relationships with your advertising reps, be respectful to and show appreciation for what they do – just as you would with clients and colleagues.

Rules for Running Promotions through Facebook

Everybody likes a free burrito Facebook app.
Everybody likes a free burrito Facebook app.

With more than 500 million active users, and a recent study naming Facebook the top social network based on ROI, it’s no wonder companies love running promotions on it. They can be as simple as a sweepstakes, asking users to “throw their names in the digital hat,” up to a full-scale contest, inviting brand advocates to tap into their talents as they vie for a prize.

But beware. Facebook has some strict guidelines on using its platform for such activities, and breaking the rules could have your promotion shut down, or worse,your entire Facebook presence removed.

The social network has an easy-to-read, commonsense guide. Here are some key takeaways:

  • You may not require the user to provide any content through the platform. This includes liking a status, writing a wall post, uploading a photo etc.
  • You may require the user to like your Facebook page only as a first step before providing more information for/or participating in your promotion (name, email, address etc.). In other words, the act of simply “liking” a Facebook page may not be considered as an entry into a sweepstakes.
  • You may not communicate with the winner of your promotion using the Facebook platform (messages, wall posts etc.). Facebook encourages you to collect email addresses or phone numbers in the event that you’d like to contact the winner directly.
  • There’s a list of cut-and-dry limitations that can be found at Guideline 2.4. Such as the promotion cannot include or be targeted at persons below the age of 18 or the prize may not contain firearms.

Take Control With an App

The safest way to steer clear of transgressions when promoting on Facebook is to develop a Facebook app. You gain much more flexibility than trying to run a promotion through the Facebook platform itself.