Content Marketing A Must for Your 2013 Business Success Toolbox
Most business owners understand that establishing an online presence with a well-branded website is critical to business exposure and growth. Increasingly, many also recognize the value of social media communication. However, the importance of developing interesting, consumer-relevant, and consistently posted content for these marketing tools is often overlooked or underestimated.
Fresh, online content targeted to potential and existing customer interests and needs will enhance website search engine optimization; help build customer relationships; provide a cross marketing and product introduction vehicle; differentiate your product and company; grow your social media audience; strengthen your company's brand, authority and influence as an industry expert; and increase traffic to your website and business. Content marketing is also a highly cost effective business building and retention strategy.
However, it can be difficult for business owners and marketing executives to commit the time required take full advantage of content marketing opportunities. Ocean Marketing Group works with clients on an outsourced basis to develop and consistently post content that positions your company as a partner in the success of those you serve. To hear more about how content marketing can help you reach 2013 business goals, contact Stephanie DeLay Edmiston at 318.746.3040.
Maximize ROI with Strategic Marketing Planning
By: Stephanie DeLay Edmiston, President & CEO, Ocean Marketing Group, LLC
(as printed in the October 2011 issue of NWLA Business Monthly)
As we move into the fourth quarter of the year, companies throughout northwest Louisiana are beginning 2012 marketing planning. Are you?
Mark Twain once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” However, when asked about marketing planning, many businesses simply list advertising placements. While advertising is an important marketing tool, it is not the complete picture. Advertising is one component of the overall marketing process. Marketing is the larger umbrella which requires thoughtful planning, market evaluation and strategy development to create awareness of products, services and brands with the ultimate goal of bringing together sellers and buyers.
In absence of planning and analysis, advertising often yields “hit or miss” results. With businesses being increasingly challenged to do more with less, strategic marketing planning to make the best use of available marketing dollars and receive the highest return on investment is critical.
When a business makes marketing decisions without a plan, promotional efforts also tend to be less targeted and more visually disjointed with little attention to branding. This runs counter to the need for frequency, consistency and reach in building company, product or service awareness. All marketing efforts must be coordinated to convey consistent positioning and reflect a cohesive look and feel that will build a memorable brand.
Where do you start? Create a strategic marketing mission statement which succinctly identifies what you’re selling, who you are selling it to and what makes your product unique. This may seem like a simple step, but if employees don’t answer these basic questions the same general way, your marketing efforts will be fragmented.
Next research and analyze the business environment you operate within to evaluate the competition, define your customer profile, and note industry trends. Identify internal strengths and weaknesses, and forecast upcoming external opportunities and threats. Then apply this knowledge to the marketing mix: product, price, place, promotion and positioning.
As a next step, establish existing benchmarks and set measurable goals in areas such as sales, retention, customer service, target market penetration and brand awareness. It has often been said that if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. Yet many businesses spend marketing dollars without taking the time to establish realistic and quantifiable goals.
Once goals have been developed, outline specific strategies and tactics to reach each one. Then establish an estimated budget and a timeline associated with plan implementation. Adjust strategies and tactics as necessary to work within budget and timing parameters.
When planning is finalized, make a commitment to adhere to the plan to avoid making knee-jerk marketing decisions. However, market conditions can and do change, so it is also wise to re-evaluate your plan periodically through the year.
Track and evaluate results to determine which marketing strategies are working and which ones are not. Consider emerging market conditions which may also dictate adjustments, and change strategy approaches if needed.
Marketing planning is an essential investment in your business’s growth. Begin planning now and enjoy a successful 2012!
Stay Connected to Customers and Prospects
August 16, 2011
Have you communicated with customers and potential customers today? In a highly competitive global business environment, consistent communication is more critical to small business success than ever before.
Businesses that survive and thrive are learning to take advantage of a variety of communication options to build customer and client relationships. However, it's important to recognize that marketing tools such as web sites, newsletters, press releases, email, RSS feeds, direct mail, and social networking are only effective when updated regularly and used consistently to communicate your company or organization's message, success stories and brand.
Outdated or poorly branded communication can be more damaging to your business than no communication. Yet, many small businesses and organizations simply cannot dedicate enough internal resources to keep customer and prospect communication relevant, interesting and frequent. In fact, this task is often relegated to the business owner or another team member as a secondary role and approached as a "when I can get to it" priority level task.
If this sounds familiar, contact Ocean Marketing Group (OMG). The OMG team provides monthly services on an outsourced basis to update the content and images used in business or organizational communication and promotion. OMG will conduct a communication audit once a month. As needed, OMG will provide professional copy writing, conduct client interviews, shoot fresh photography, distribute news releases, update mail and/or email distribution lists, create branded graphics, check for outdated phone greetings or stationery, and make web site changes or additions to ensure that all of your communication consistently builds relationships, increases sales, promotes a cohesive brand image, and retains existing customers.
Align your communication with your marketing goals. Contact Stephanie Edmiston at (318) 746-3040 for a free consultation.
Ocean Marketing Group Provides Cohesive Branding To Increase ROI
July 6, 2011
Ocean Marketing Group (OMG) provides turn-key marketing services that ensure cohesive branding throughout all communication and promotional efforts. With most small businesses, governments and non-profits working with limited marketing and communication budgets, consistency and frequency are critically important to achieving measurable results," said Stephanie DeLay Edmiston, Ocean Marketing Group President and CEO. "Too many businesses have disjointed marketing efforts. For example, some businesses and organizations put a lot of effort into advertising design but have no web presence at all or one which is inconsistent with other branding."
Branding must be echoed throughout all promotion from corporate communications to web site development to email newsletter design. “As a one stop shop for marketing related needs, we can help ensure a consistent look and feel that strengthens branding efforts and impact cumulatively across all media,” said Edmiston. “Through strategic marketing planning and consistent branding, a client’s return on investment can be dramatically increased versus a hit or miss approach."
Ocean Marketing Group Promotes Bowman Systems with Interactive Newsletter
June 17, 2009
Ocean Marketing Group (OMG) recently developed a new interactive company newsletter for Bowman Systems to showcase customer achievements, announce product development innovations as well as new services offered, and to highlight key aspects of Bowman Systems’ ever growing capabilities in the human services arena.
“Using a navigable electronic format as well as a print-ready version of the news organ, OMG put just the right emphasis on key components of the company’s growing profile in this highly competitive arena,” said James (Jamie) Muller, Vice President of Account Development & Marketing for Bowman Systems “In addition to the newsletter’s presentation and positioning of Bowman Systems as a company, it also provided the reader—an information field consumer—several items of field-specific general interest.”
“In working with the OMG team, I found their ability to understand key market dynamics facing this company to be excellent, and their ability to work with a variety of players on our team to create a final product which accurately presented the face of the company to be outstanding,” said Muller. OMG provides turn-key newsletter development (design, layout, copywriting, photography and email database management) on an outsourced basis for growing companies that are seeking to remain competitive in an increasingly electronic communication oriented world market.
For additional information, call (318) 746-3040.
Announcing Ocean Marketing Group
OCEAN MARKETING GROUP IS REGION’S NEW
TURN-KEY OUTSOURCED MARKETING RESOURCE
Bossier City, LA: Ocean Marketing Group, LLC (OMG) will begin a new era in North Louisiana on August 1, 2008 as the region’s first fully outsourced marketing service company. OMG provides cost effective and turn-key outsourced marketing solutions designed to meet the unique demands of government agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations. Recognizing that this client group often operates without the budget to hire sufficient full-time marketing staff, OMG operates remotely as the client’s outsourced marketing department.
“This means you pay only for the services you need…when you need them,” said OMG President and CEO Stephanie Edmiston. “Outsourcing allows our clients to perform the marketing function on a fixed-cost basis. This approach removes expense variables and growing office space needs associated with adding employees.”
Edmiston said outsourcing is a smart choice that also insulates clients from the unpredictability of market ups and downs. OMG has assembled a team of marketing service professionals that work remotely on an as-needed basis minimizing overhead expenses. OMG’s services include consultation in the following areas: advertising, design, communications, public relations, customer relations management, fundraising and market research. The detailed OMG service menu includes the following:
- Press Releases & Newsletters
- Media Relations & Training
- Grant Writing
- Governmental Relations
- Print & Electronic Ad Production, Design & Placement
- Direct Mail, Brochures & Collateral Materials
- Logos, Positioning & Branding
- Web Site Consultation & Design
- Meeting & Planning Facilitation
- Trade Show Booth Design
- Focus Groups & Secret Shopper Evaluations
- Database Management for Customer Tracking or Fundraising
- Community Visioning & Master Planning Facilitation
- Fundraising Case Statement Development & Pre-case Interviews
- Special Event Planning
“Since you only pay for the time you need, unnecessary costs that occur during work-flow valleys are avoided, and you can easily accommodate work-flow peaks without adding additional staff,” said Edmiston. “Most importantly, by outsourcing the marketing function, you direct us to do what we do best for your business, organization or agency, giving your internal team more time to do what they do best.
Edmiston has more than 22 years of strategic marketing, planning, fundraising and communications experience gained through work in highly visible public and private sector executive positions. Her former executive leadership roles include: Executive Vice President, Provenance Development Company; Public Affairs Manager, Port of Shreveport-Bossier; Executive Director, Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission; Vice President of Community Development, Sci-Port Discovery Center; Riverfront Marketing and Development Manager, City of Shreveport; Director of Communications, City of Shreveport Mayor’s Office; Director of Marketing & Development, Shreveport Downtown Development Authority; and Marketing Director, Pierre Bossier Mall.
Her civic leadership roles included past service on the Board of Directors of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau, the Red River Revel, the Better Business Bureau, the Bossier Rotary Club and the Shreveport-Bossier Leadership Council. She also served as the Communications Chairman for the Cypress Baptist Church Building Project, as a Shreveport Regional Arts Council Community Cultural Plan Advisory Council Member, as a focus group facilitator for the 1991 Shreve Memorial Library Tax Passage, and as a charter Krewe of Gemini member and founding Grand Ball Chairman.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Louisiana State University with a major in Journalism and a minor in Marketing and Economics. Edmiston is also a graduate of the National Association of Government Communicators Communications School, the Public Relations Society of American National Public Relations Programming Institute and the Leadership Shreveport-Bossier Program. Edmiston currently serves on the SB Magazine Editorial Board, is Chairman of the CHRISTUS Health Northern Louisiana Board of Directors and is an Executive Committee Member and Immediate Past Chairman of the Sci-Port Discovery Center Board of Directors.
George J. Valcho is a senior member of the OMG strategic marketing team specializing in direct marketing and marketing technology. He received a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in management information systems from Southern Methodist University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Youngstown State University. Valcho has over 24 years of direct marketing, marketing technology development and programming experience.
Before joining Bowman Systems in Shreveport as Vice President of Marketing and Product Management, he served as the Vice President of Client Services and Senior Technical Consultant for direct agency Rapp Collins Worldwide in Dallas. He was responsible for managing Rapp Collins’ involvement with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, American Isuzu Motors, Hilton Honors, Dell Computer Corporation, Bell Canada, The Loyalty Group, Sony PlayStation, Knoll Pharmaceutical and Thrifty Car Rental accounts. Valcho also served as a System Engineer for BancTec.
Kevin Martin is the senior design member of the OMG team. Martin graduated magna cum laude from Louisiana Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in graphic design. After serving as the senior designer for Gremillion, Pou & Associates in Shreveport, Kevin opened his own graphic design business in 2003. Martin Creative, Inc. is known as one of the top freelance design companies in the region. With clients such as the Louisiana Boardwalk, General Motors, General Motors, the Shreveport Convention & Tourist Bureau, Villaggio, Louisiana State University Shreveport, and High Lifter products, Martin has a proven track record for providing successful design solutions.