Category Archives: Client Services

Soft-Selling Your Technology Services Through Thought Leadership

From cloud connectivity to cyber security, it seems like almost every technology company is expanding their communication services. However, having the most extensive fiber route or the most customizable cloud configuration simply isn’t enough when it comes to landing new customers. Speeds, feeds, lines and features may sound like strong differentiators to service providers, but IT decision makers know all too well that solution capabilities, and their own business needs, change rapidly. In this fast-paced industry, C-Suite and IT professionals aren’t likely to jump at the latest solution to hit the market, rather they are more apt to make purchasing decisions based on brand affinity, reputation, and loyalty. With this in mind, we often recommend our clients consider executing upon a strategic thought leadership program to better position their company as a strong business partner.

How do thought leadership programs work?

After a company identifies the correct company spokesperson for its program—often based on factors such as the individual’s industry knowledge, product expertise, authenticity, and likeability—the next step is to identify and implement a series of communication tactics to position him or her as the company’s Subject-Matter Expert (SME). This can include setting up a speakers bureau so that the SME can speak at trade shows or customer events, pitching that SME for media interviews in targeted trade, regional, and national outlets; authoring a blog series portraying the SME’s opinions on various topics; or executing a social media engagement effort to build the SME’s personal brand.

With the right mix of communication tactics, a thought leadership program can help a company:

  • Evangelize company culture by using an SME who embodies brand values
  • Establish credibility through the expertise of their employees
  • Develop stronger rapport with customers/prospects by humanizing the brand
  • Deliver value to a topic and steer the direction of an industry conversation
  • Sell products and solutions through storytelling

What type of thought leadership content resonates the most?

Despite common misconceptions, audiences are not looking for your SME’s opinions to be all that differentiated from the industry standard. In fact, many SMEs who cover topics like cyber security will naturally emphasize the same key advantages of implementing network and cloud security solutions. However, audiences want to find the best answers to their questions; and if you have the right SME—one who is well-respected, knowledgeable, and trustworthy—your company will be able to do just that. By addressing customer pain points, industry changes, and the latest trends, your SME can become the “go-to” authority.

From the public relations perspective, thought leaders can play a valuable role in “soft selling” products and/or services without ever hinting at promotion. The best SMEs are those individuals who are respected within the industry and trusted by customers and prospects alike; therefore your target audiences will find value in hearing what they have to say. SMEs can talk about solutions in terms of capabilities vs. features and dance on the line of vendor neutrality when discussing “hot” topics. Company thought leaders are not your salesmen, they are your influencers; this is a subtle, but important, distinction.

To learn more about creating a thought leadership program, contact Jenny LePore at Martino Flynn.

Most Memorable Marketing Moments of 2016

Another year has come and gone—and it was a memorable one, to say the least. We endured a long and exhausting election season, faced the threat of the Zika virus, and watched fellow citizens suffer from the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. However, 2016 wasn’t all bad news. We watched the Chicago Cubs break a 108-year dry spell to win the World Series, civil rights leader Harriet Tubman will soon have a place on the $20 note, and—in case you hadn’t heard—the U.S. divorce rate is the lowest it’s been in 40 years. That’s something, right?

The world of marketing also had its share of memorable moments in 2016. Walk into an agency like Martino Flynn and ask a group of professional marketers to talk about a standout TV commercial, marketing campaign, viral social media post, or PR stunt in 2016 and you’ll likely get a slew of opinions.

So, that’s what I did.

We do outstanding work here at Martino Flynn, but we also don’t shy away from recognizing the great work of others. I know many people want to leave 2016 in the dust—but before forgetting about last year, let’s remember a few of its great marketing moments, as told by marketers:

Pokémon Go

“Pokémon Go” was the top trending Google search in 2016—beating out “Donald Trump” and “iPhone 7” for the number one spot—that’s some stiff competition. Pokémon Go was tweeted about more than Brexit.

The marketing genius behind the year’s most popular mobile app is really… well… a lack of marketing. The hugely popular mobile game from Niantic was launched on July 7 without a massive marketing campaign; the only notable marketing tactic was the “Get Up and Go” trailer released one day before the game’s launch.

However, once the game was released the rest of the world did the marketing for Niantic. Businesses even used the game to market their own products and services. Everything from local car dealerships to chain restaurants began to incorporate Pokémon Go into their own advertising messaging, so the team at Niantic hardly had to lift a finger. Meanwhile, businesses were reaching a whole new audience of Pokémon Go users by using game lingo and inviting them to visit their establishment to find “PokeStops” and “Catch ’Em All.”

This was a bit of an anomaly in the marketing world. And while the average brand shouldn’t rely on this minimalist approach, it certainly worked out well for Niantic and the companies that capitalized on the game’s popularity.

Gilmore Girls “A Year in the Life”

The Gilmore Girls revival made many of us fall in love with—and kind of hate—the witty, intelligent mother-daughter duo that is Lorelai and Rory Gilmore all over again. I admit that I was less than thrilled with the four reunion episodes, but I can’t deny the success of the show’s marketing strategy.

Netflix used experiential marketing, transforming 200 coffee shops around the country into replicas of Luke’s Diner—the well-known coffee spot frequented by the Gilmores—for a day. There was at least one location in each state and the shops even gave out free coffee. All it took was a well thought out social media strategy to get show fans psyched about the Luke’s Diner event; there were lines out the door at nearly every location.

Giving fans the first-hand experience of being in one of the show’s cornerstone settings—Luke’s Diner—certainly paid off. According to Symphony Advanced Media, the first episode of the Gilmore Girls revival season drew 5.99 million viewers in the 18-49 year old age demographic in the U.S. over the first three days it was available. It’s clear that this unique marketing strategy paid off, attracting lifelong fans and newcomers to the show.

Always “Like a Girl” Campaign

Continuing the success of this cause marketing campaign from 2015 into 2016, Always (P&G) took aim at emojis—specifically the lack of female representation in the tiny images that have become their own language in texting and social media. The video calls out the lack of professions depicted by women, “unless you count being a bride as a profession.” It’s powerful and relatable for all women.

Best of all, it seems that someone at Apple was listening because the latest iOS update includes both male and female emojis depicted as firefighters, teachers, artists, mechanics, and even the Queen’s Guard! Okay, that last one was a curveball—but I love the initiative.

These are only three examples from the millions of successful marketing strategies we saw throughout the year. There’s no telling what new video, meme, print ad, or unconventional marketing tactic will be a standout star in the year to come, but if you want your company to make a splash in 2017, we can help. Create a memorable marketing moment for your company: contact Martino Flynn at info@martinoflynn.com or give us a call at 585.421.0100.