Not So Fast

Much of today’s marketing is shaped with quick and easy access to data. This allows marketers to alter faltering campaigns before too much time and money is sunk into something that doesn’t work. However, our ability to get information so swiftly can also lead us to act rashly and shut down something that might be successful if given the time. Moving too fast can lead you to miss out on opportunities to impact consumer behavior. To avoid this outcome, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

Before launching a campaign or a test, or new materials, define an appropriate test period. Balance the need to be agile and decisive with the need to get the right data. What are the appropriate metrics? How much time is needed to get reliable data? The answers to these questions will help create the right timeline. In addition, you need to be flexible based on the information you get once things are live. Have a plan and be ready to tweak it as you learn more.

Make sure you are looking at the results at different stages of the consumer’s path to purchase. Look at both front-end and back-end data. For example, if you conduct a head-to-head test, an option with the better initial response rate might not be the real winner. A lower response rate can be countered by a much stronger conversion rate.

After the results are in and the appropriate actions have been taken, there is still more that can be done. Keep an eye on the long-term retention rates to see if something that may have not done as well at first actually produces a strong long-term value. Perhaps the given execution fills a niche or hits a smaller target more effectively. This is rare, but it does happen.

By all means, marketers should leverage the reams of quickly accessible data to be responsive. Listen to the market and react, but make sure you are listening to everything the market is telling you – and try not to react before knowing the whole story.

Plan a Successful Grand Opening

Every retail grand opening comes with challenges and opportunities. And while each new location’s opening can be treated as a unique event, one thing all retail outlets share in common is that they’re looking to make a splash in the marketplace. Two objectives almost always apply: increase brand awareness and generate sales. Here are several best practices that retail outlets and their advertising agencies can utilize to successfully achieve these goals and increase the impact of any retail grand opening.

Plan Early, Communicate Often
The planning process for a grand opening can never begin too early. It’s important to discuss “big-picture” items and define your strategy as early as possible to ensure a consistent, on-brand, and effective campaign.

During the initial planning stages for a grand opening, decisions should be made regarding campaign objectives, target audience, key messaging, and tools for measurement of success. Specificity is paramount at this stage of the process, and the retailer should work closely with its advertising agency to develop a strategy that is unique to its brand.

Throughout the entirety of the campaign, the retailer and advertising agency should be in continuous contact with each other, with communication frequency increasing as the grand opening date approaches. This collaboration will allow the team to remain on track with messaging, anticipate potential roadblocks, and adjust strategy to ensure peak performance across all tactics.

Execute a Fully Integrated Campaign
To generate better results, best practices indicate that a retail grand opening campaign should spread messaging across digital, print, and broadcast mediums.

Of course, target audiences will differ depending on the retailer, as each group consumes media differently. The right media mix is crucial, and the budget will be allocated differently depending upon the intended end user. However, spreading the message across digital, print, and broadcast will allow more opportunities for the target audience to be exposed to the message, and then have that message repeated at a higher frequency to achieve retention.

While each medium differs, the same grand opening message should be tailored to play on the strengths of each tactic. It’s the responsibility of the ad agency to ensure consistency across the campaign, as well as modifying the creative appropriately to fit the parameters and best practices of each chosen tactic.

Expect the Unexpected
Retail is a 24-hour-a-day industry that is charged with the difficult task of adjusting quickly to an ever-changing consumer landscape. Grand openings can be particularly fickle. Working as an extension of a retail client’s team, an ad agency needs to be prepared to react to any potential wrinkles in the fabric of the grand opening plan.

This is also where planning and communication will serve the team well–if a potential issue was identified during the beginning stages of the planning process, and the retailer alerts the team of the issue immediately upon its occurrence, the ad agency will likely be ready to adjust the campaign promptly.

Even when the team cannot anticipate or prepare for a particular situation, understanding the need to be nimble is often half the battle when it comes to alleviating unexpected problems. Adjusting strategy to address issues quickly will then allow for the campaign to continue moving forward on the right track and reach its intended audience.

A grand opening is an exciting and challenging undertaking for any retailer. An effective, working partnership between the retail outlet and its ad agency can be the difference between a mediocre and a highly successful event. If the team plans early, communicates regularly, remains flexible, and executes appropriately, then the retailer will be poised for success–during the grand opening, and beyond.

Making Your Blog Attractive to Brands—Blog Tips

So, you’ve followed all the best practices and tips and are now ready to take your blog to the next level: here are four final blog tips to help you get the most out of (and possibly monetize!) your blog.

Search Engine Optimization

If your blog is search engine optimized, it’s more likely to be found when a consumer does an online search for the topic that your blog is centered around, and using proper search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can help increase your overall blog traffic. First, make sure that your blog posts contain the proper keywords related to the posts’ topics. Don’t overstuff keywords; use just one keyword per paragraph. Remember to place keywords in your page titles, page-specific URLs, and meta copy. Lastly, image tags are a great place to include keywords, as these also help SEO.

Many blog platforms, such as WordPress, have built-in tools that allow you to test and refine the SEO of a post before you push it live.

Leverage Your Social Media Networks

Do you share your blog posts across your social media networks? If you are active on multiple social media platforms, sharing your blog across them can help increase its reach and exposure. Additionally, this is a good way to connect with new audiences that may not have seen your content before. Plus, with the variety of affordable paid promotion options available on many social media platforms, this can be an extremely efficient way to share content and increase visibility.

Be Responsible and FCC Compliant

Let’s say that you are approached by a brand that wants you to do a product review. Just post the review and have nothing to worry about, right? Not exactly.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations require that bloggers, as well as other online personalities such as celebrities, disclose if they have received compensation for a post. Just as if you receive a financial payment for a post, receiving a product to try for free is also considered compensation. To stay compliant—and demonstrate to brands that you are well-versed in the FCC rules—when applicable, a best practice is to include a simple statement in your post acknowledging that the product was provided for free, or that the post was sponsored. While you may be concerned that accepting financial compensation for posts affects your credibility, it’s a standard practice in today’s blogger landscape. A statement of “While this post is sponsored, the reviews and opinions expressed are my own” will help keep you in the clear. Also, consider tagging your related social media posts “#sponsored.”

Another FCC regulation to stay aware of is the disclosure statements required for online contests. If you ask your readers to undertake an action such as sharing a post on social media in order to enter a contest, it needs to be clear to an outside observer that they are doing so. Use a tag like “#contest” for your posts promoting the entries, and encourage your fanbase to do the same.

Know Your Analytics

If a brand wants to partner with your blog—and you would like to be financially compensated—the brand will likely want to know the online exposure that your blog receives. The number of unique visitors to your blog each month is an important metric that many brands will want to know, as well as the number of followers on your blog or social media platform. Any additional information you can provide, such as the demographics of your readership, is also worthwhile to brands. Adding a media kit or page to your site allows this information to be easily accessible to brands, and you should update it as your blog gains more traction. If your blog has received any notable press pickups, or mentions on any other online sites, it’s appropriate to include these as well. Demonstrating the value and exposure that your blog brings to a brand is key in convincing brands not only to partner with you, but also to compensate you for the posts.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s blogger outreach capabilities, please call 585.421.0100.

Making Your Blog Attractive to Brands—How It Looks

Last time, we shared some basics on how to make your blog attractive to brands. In this installment, we will cover some easy design and content tips to help your blog look its best.

Blog Name

Does your blog’s name convey what your blog is about? Will a reader be able to easily understand your blog’s purpose from that name? We often screen blogs in the early stages of our vetting process by their names. For example, we would likely rule out a blog named “A Girl and Her Dog” if we are pitching cosmetics, just based on the name alone, even if that blog covered content on both cosmetics and dogs. Giving your blog a name that is easy to understand does not necessitate that the name has to be boring. We encourage bloggers to be creative, while also considering how to communicate what their blog is about.


If your blog’s name isn’t a clear descriptor of the blog’s content, a good way to let readers know what your blog is about is via the tagline. Your tagline should provide a brief description of what your blog focuses on, beyond what is contained in the title. A tagline is meant to be short and sweet—a quick descriptor versus a Jane Austen novel. If your blog title is not very straightforward, your tagline is a good way to communicate the true content of the blog. It will also help with ensuring that your blog is search engine optimized!


Are you using a design template? Does your blog stay well-organized? Are images shown in a consistent format? If a brand is going to partner with your blog, it will want to ensure that its content will be easily viewed and be the blog post’s “star,” where it won’t be competing with a busy blog design or page that looks unorganized.


You do not need to be a Photoshop or design wizard to have great images on your blog. The easiest tip to follow for imagery is to ensure that your images are clear, and not pixelated. Many blogs have a “preview” feature that lets you check your images before they go live. Images that are too large—or too small—can disrupt your readers’ experience on the blog. Also, extremely high-resolution imagery can take a long time to download in certain web browsers. If you are looking for an easy to use, DIY design platform, Canva may be a good fit. Canva helps you create imagery using their image library, a variety of filters, and overlay fonts.

Overall, make sure that your images are clear, concise, and make sense for the post in which they are included.

Check back for our final installation of “How to Make Your Blog Attractive to Brands,” which will focus on ways to elevate your blog.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s blogger outreach capabilities, please call 585.421.0100.

Get Ready To Go With The Right Messaging Matrix

It’s hard to be nimble in a highly regulated space like medical device marketing—unless you have the right tools.

To get the right message to the right audience in a timely fashion, consider creating a messaging matrix. (For new product launches, it’s almost always our first step.) Once approved by all internal stakeholders—including, and most importantly, regulatory and legal reviewers—it becomes the go-to piece for streamlined and consistent marketing communications.

Within the messaging matrix, include specific claims—with supporting proof points aligned with each. If you’ll be marketing to different audiences—such as surgeons, value analysis committees, and patients—be sure to segment your matrix accordingly. You’ll want to write each claim in audience-specific language, so it’s relevant and impactful. For example, if your product helps to minimize complications, consider how that benefit will resonate with each audience, such as reduced time for surgeons, reduced costs for value analysis committees, and reduced suffering for patients.

Through the process of grouping, consolidating, and fine-tuning your messages, a natural organization will likely appear. You may even find that what you thought was a list of 20 benefits really boils down to two really important ones with some rock-solid support.

For every statement, be sure to add the substantiation needed to have it approved by both regulatory and legal reviewers. This is often the key to success! Try for the language you really want to use, but consider including alternate options that may be more acceptable to these internal audiences.

Because product managers have a natural bias when it comes to their products (but my baby is beautiful!), you may want to enlist the help of a marketing partner like Martino Flynn in crafting your messaging matrix. As a knowledgeable but impartial member of your team, we can ask the tough questions—and help turn the answers into powerful messaging.

Remember: the goal is to have compelling statements that will resonate, and that are permitted for use in your marketing. While an approved messaging matrix requires an investment in time upfront, it’s an investment that pays dividends over and over again.

The Official Blog of Martino Flynn