Living Life in the Otherhood

Over the past 10 years, one of marketing’s hottest topics has been, “Marketing to moms.” And while marketers have been laser-targeted on figuring out how to reach the mom audience, they have, quite frankly, been ignoring me.

I’m one of the estimated 19 million women age 20-44 in the U.S. who do not have children – part of the group that is becoming known as the “otherhood.

So, what do marketers need to know about the otherhood? First, we make up 47% of the women of childbearing age – and we’re well worth marketing to.

No children = more expendable income

Research shows that women without children spend 35% more per person on groceries, and tend to spend twice as much per person on beauty and hair care products. Brands and retailers can capitalize on this trend, especially in the beauty space. Offering a larger beauty or hair care section can transform a store into a destination, and using smart placement strategies can entice women to make additional purchases outside of the beauty category. A leader in this space is Target, which already has begun to revamp its beauty and skincare section, furthering its reputation as a beauty destination for female shoppers. Nearly 750 Target stores offer premium lines such as La Roche-Posay, and Beauty Concierge kiosks are being planned for additional locations in 2015. CVS also has announced plans to redesign its beauty section for 2015, with a focus on creating a specialty look and feel in-store.

With free time comes freedom to socialize – online and off

With no babysitter to schedule, women in the otherhood are free to spend their weekends – and weeknights – in any manner they wish. Be it a ladies lunch or a late night out, the otherhood is known to be socially connected, with 58% reporting that their friends are the most important thing in their life, and nearly one-quarter agreeing completely that they are “very sociable.”[i] This social behavior is especially evident online, where these women average 1,500 friends and followers, and spend 28 hours weekly engaging on social networks.

For brands, social sampling programs, such as Influenster’s VoxBoxes, can be impactful in terms of raising product awareness with the otherhood and their networks. When Martino Flynn worked with Softlips Cube as part of its VoxBox program, the impact was phenomenal. The program generated 31.1 million impressions overall, with 28.1 million of these on social media. During the Twitter party associated with the VoxBox sampling, Martino Flynn responded to more than 3,000 interactions, causing four Softlips-related terms to trend nationally. Beyond the social impact, 1.4 million offline conversations were held about the Cube.

The “otherhood” isn’t anti-children, it’s just child-free.

I have a niece, a nephew, and a goddaughter who just became a big sister. Like 80% of women in the otherhood, children are an active part of my life. Does this mean the otherhood aspires to be mothers? Not necessarily. 36% of non-mothers are so by choice.

Instead of always focusing on children + mother, or children + parents, brands can look for alternate family scenarios to make their products relevant to the otherhood. Imagine if Cheerios had an ad that featured a happy, fulfilled child-free couple. Or even just a single person enjoying breakfast while leisurely reading the Sunday paper. The otherhood may see children and the traditional family as an inspiration, but that doesn’t mean it has to be an aspiration.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s research and consumer marketing capabilities, contact Rose Feor at rfeor@martinoflynn.com

[i] Women 25-44 who do not have children. From MRI 2014 Doublebase.

Trade Shows

Building an Integrated Trade Show Program: A New Approach to an Old Standby

In today’s buyer-empowered world, it’s key for marketers to use every opportunity to start and grow relationships with prospective and current B2B customers. Modern consumers want more than just a sales pitch when they are in the purchasing decision cycle. Trade shows provide a unique environment for customers to interact with a brand and a company’s product, service, or solution.

While trade shows present an opportunity to garner quality leads and spread brand awareness, much more can be achieved by taking an integrated approach to this old standby method. Implementing an integrated strategy that incorporates marketing, public relations, social media, and sales is critical to connecting with target customers and providing a strong ROI for each event.

When coordinated, impact from the basics—such as booth design, collateral, and booth staff attire—can be boosted when supplemented with proactive and aggressive social media, interactive displays, shareable online videos, email marketing, and other show-specific content generation. Bringing to bear all the tools modern marketers have for use at trade shows can help brands cut through the clutter, stand out, and, ultimately, close deals. The following checklist will help you stay focused on building an integrated program.

Set Goals

With any marketing campaign, the strategy and tactics need to help support and achieve specific goals and metrics. Trade shows are no different. Specific goals can include, but certainly are not limited to, (1) increasing lead generation, (2) increasing engagement with customers for upsell, (3) increasing organic and direct traffic, and (4) accelerating those in the sales pipeline.

Identify Call-To-Actions

Once goals and metrics are set for the trade show, the next step is determining the call-to-actions for communicating with target customers. The call-to-actions should be integrated into every aspect of the trade show strategy and are the key components in connecting and achieving trade show goals.

  • What is the key message and takeaway?
  • What are the desired actions that attendees should make?
    • Stop by the booth
    • Share an email address
    • Enter a contest
    • Follow brand social media accounts
    • Visit a landing page
    • Set up an informational sales meeting

Every piece of content and form of communication—from signs, handouts, and booth activity—should reflect the messaging of the call-to-actions.

Leverage Social Reach

Do not underestimate the power of social media when it comes to the world of trade shows. The platforms available (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, YouTube) not only provide a place for pre-, during-, and post-event promotion, but they also provide another level of engagement that complements trade show activities and call-to-actions.

Over the past few years, the number of trade shows with a specific hashtag has skyrocketed. Including a specific hashtag with trade show social content is a great way to make sure that key messages and call-to-actions are served up to the target attendees.

Follow Up and Nurture

Implementing timely trade show follow-up allows a brand to stay fresh in the minds of prospects and nurture leads along the sales pipeline. Some of the best ways to stay organized when executing a post-show follow-up include:

  • Developing a lead list with qualifications:
    • The data for this list can be collected through lead scanners and supplemented with any business cards gathered at the booth.
  • Developing and distributing a personalized email follow-up:
    • All email follow-ups should be drafted before the event, to allow for timely distribution, and should include a compelling message that will nurture relationships.

Measure ROI

Determining whether a brand’s presence at a trade show was successful or not comes down to measuring results against the goals set during the planning stage. Setting quantitative goals will help determine whether the efforts spent for the trade show were worth the results.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s trade show marketing capabilities, call 585.421.0100.

Medical Device

Tips to a Successful Medical Device Trade Show

At medical device trade shows, every company there is trying to capture the attention of existing and potential customers. What’s the right strategy? What’s the pièce de résistance? What can medical device marketers do to stand out? Showcasing new products at trade shows can be a sound investment, but it can also be a costly one. Thus, the importance of a clearly defined trade show strategy to ensure that you’re getting a sound return on your investment and that your goals are being met. Here are a few tips that might help simplify the process.

Identify Key Trade Shows and Set Goals

First of all, choose the trade shows that are best for your company and product offering. Typically, a company knows which trade shows are significant within its industry, but additional research is necessary. Confer with your trade associations because they are a good resource with a deep understanding of your offering and the market, and they can make recommendations. Evaluation of what your competitors are doing and have done in the past is also important. Analyze the attendee list in order to target the individuals you want to connect with and perhaps reach out to them ahead of the show. And be clear on what you hope to get from the show (e.g., leads, sales, prospect awareness, etc.).

Exhibit a Significant Presence and Commitment

Once you’ve chosen the right trade shows, it’s time to make certain that you take advantage of all opportunities in order to stand out from the crowd of companies and competitors. The key here is to develop your space around an idea that will cause you to be both memorable and easy to find on the trade show floor. Seek to become a “landmark” on the floor to help attract your prospects and make it easy for them to find you. Bigger is not necessarily better. The exhibit design should stand out while serving to frame the key messages and value proposition.

Drive Targeted Traffic

It’s not enough to have a lot of people at your booth; they need to be the right people. To be successful, you need to think beyond the booth. Invest in a direct marketing strategy to reach your prospects before they leave for the show and once they arrive in the host city. Use prospects or direct mail to invite people to visit your booth. If you need to gather email addresses, consider capturing them with the offer of a topical white paper sent out post-show. Entice them with the promise of relevant information (e.g., product introductions or demos), useful giveaways, and/or engaging entertainment.

Stimulate Participation

Once your prospects are at your space, you need to engage them effectively. First, make sure your space is open and inviting and non-threatening to visitors who might be adverse to another “sales speech.” Then, consider using interactive devices such as iBooks to allow visitors to view product demonstrations at their own pace. Finally, be prepared to personally engage any prospects who seem to linger or who clearly signal interest. Use friendly questions to start the conversation and further qualify each prospect who is interested in exploring your offering further. If feasible, feature a speaker at a breakout session who presents on a topic relative to your prospects and/or is consistent with the trade show’s theme.

Develop a Follow-Up Strategy

Capture the information from as many prospects as possible. Many trade shows offer badge scanners, and these are invaluable tools for capturing leads. Most badge scanners can be programmed so you or your staff can capture the product focus and interest level of prospects. If the trade show offers it, take advantage of the service to have your lead database delivered back to you in electronic form. Don’t rely on transferring any leads you acquire on paper to a database after the show. Then, make sure you follow up on all the leads within five business days after the show.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s healthcare marketing capabilities, please call 585.421.0100.

Social Media; Facebook’s Newsfeed changes

Q&A: What Facebook’s Newsfeed changes really mean for your social strategy

Now they’ve really done it. Facebook has made the change that we marketers have long feared. Haven’t heard about it yet? The change is this: zero fans will see content that is promotional in nature organically (without paid support) in the Facebook Newsfeed. What does this mean for your overall brand strategy on social media? We’ve tapped our social experts, Alyssa Mayer, Digital Media Supervisor, and Katie D’Arcy, Social Media and Public Relations Strategist, for a quick Q&A to help break down Facebook’s Newsfeed changes.

Question: Why is Facebook changing its Newsfeed algorithm again?

AM: Once upon a time, Facebook was just for those with a .edu email address. It was then opened up to everyone 18 and over, then everyone else, and then brands. As part of an ongoing survey, Facebook asked hundreds of thousands of people how they feel about the content in their Newsfeeds. People told Facebook they wanted to see more stories from friends and Pages that they care about, and less promotional content. Facebook put certain measures into effect, such as filtering, or the option to “hide” certain posts or all posts from brands—but it wasn’t enough. This change has been a long time coming, and now brands must adjust in order to have their voice heard among the Newsfeed clutter.

Question: What type of content is considered promotional?

KD: We can’t assume to know exactly what Facebook means by “promotional,” but we can safely guess that contests, promotions, giveaways, deals, and retailer-focused posts are off the table. At the SMX Social Media Conference we attended earlier this year, a representative from Facebook shared the analogy that if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck—meaning if something looks promotional and sounds promotional—Facebook will put the axe to the content. Safe content that is more likely to make it into fans’ Newsfeeds would be engaging, shareable, and visual in nature—for example: a poll or posed question, an interesting fact, a third-party article, photos, etc.

Question: Does this mean I need to pay for all my posts to be seen?

AM: Not all of your posts, just the ones where you want the most eyeballs and engagement. If you’re mentioning your brand or products/services in a post, and it’s an important message to convey, then you’ll need to support the post with a paid spend. To be very honest, no one knows exactly what will happen to each individual page. As a whole, Facebook is implementing this rule to eliminate the overly promotional content. If you are producing engaging and valuable content for your fans, it may actually help your page.

 Question: Should I abandon Facebook and move to other channels?

KD: If your audience is on Facebook, absolutely do not abandon the platform. Social media is one of the only places you can communicate directly with consumers. It’s like one huge focus group. Just as you pay for viewers on television, radio, print, or online advertising, social media channels like Facebook allow you to hyper-target your audiences and get a direct response. That type of visibility and feedback is invaluable and should not be ignored. Additionally, Facebook has one of the most accurate targeting ad platforms, and if your content is engaging and you have a clear call to action, the ROI (return on investment) will be undeniable.

AM: Numbers are powerful in making business decisions and you cannot argue with Facebook’s numbers. Adults in America spend an average of 21 minutes on Facebook each day. One-third of the time US adults spend online each day is on social networks. 6.0% of time they spend with digital devices is on Facebook, and 2.8% of their average daily time spent with all media is on Facebook. This is a highly engaged audience, and with the advanced targeted advertising available, you have the ability to reach your target and limit waste. Facebook is just one platform, though, so you should also consider other channels in your social media/online strategy.

Question: What should my content strategy be moving forward?

KD: Treat your brand’s Facebook page like you’d want to be treated. You hate the friend who only posts “me, me, me” stuff, so don’t be that brand. Share visually appealing, organic (unpaid) content and grab your readers’ attention as you would in the first sentence of an article or commercial. If you can keep your fans coming back because they like the type of content you share outside of your brand, you’ll have higher engagement, shareability, and, therefore, organic reach. Post around four times weekly to increase your chances of content being seen by your fans, and put dollars behind brand posts that have a clear call to action. Use that promoted post budget to push promotions, distributor/retailer information—and don’t forget about giveaways. Fans often only follow brand pages for the freebies and coupons (what’s in it for me?). Deliver that content on a routine basis and your fans will stick around.

Question: What should my paid strategy be moving forward?

AM: This is a loaded question, so I am going to give you the CliffsNotes version. Your paid strategy should be strategic and completely dependent upon your business goals. If 75% of your content now is promotional, then you need to flip this to 75% valuable, insightful, engaging content. Then use promoted posts to make sure the 25%, which is promotional in nature, is still seen by your fans. Ad results will always vary depending on your goals: impressions, likes, clicks, shares, photo views, downloads, etc. Now marketers need to be smarter about how we are tracking ROI. Tracking needs to move beyond engagement and “like” metrics to cross-device reporting (via the Facebook conversion pixels) and Google Analytics campaign tracking and through conversion funnels.

To learn more about Martino Flynn’s social media marketing capabilities, call 585.421.0100.

Financial Communications

Customer Satisfaction and Banking: What Pays Big Dividends?

The modern day financial institution has deep roots that extend back hundreds of years to the medieval era. While banks and credit unions have evolved over time, adding new products and services to enhance the customer banking experience, the 21st century brought with it significant challenges for financial institutions–challenges such as the financial crisis and the technology boom. These events have forced banks and credit unions to shift the way they conduct business, and rethink their customer-related marketing strategies. With customer satisfaction being a moving target, how do financial service institutions (FSIs) ensure that their customers remain loyal and happy?

According to CFI Group’s 2014 survey of approximately 500 banking customers across the country, the number one driver of customer satisfaction is the quantity and quality of information and communications dispensed by their FSIs. In an age when search engines display results in nanoseconds, social media platforms post updates by the hour, and newspapers are printed daily, it’s not shocking that banking customers are expecting constant, reliable, and clear communications. Other factors such as new rules and regulations for bank products, the recent financial crash, and privacy and security, in general, are also driving customers to demand more information and communications from their FSIs.

So there’s good news and bad news for the banks and credit unions of America.

First, the bad news: according to a Mintel report, many FSIs seem to be falling short when it comes to giving customers the quantity and quality of information and communications that they desire. This dissatisfaction becomes especially pronounced when reviewing the level of customer satisfaction as it relates to online communications from FSIs. A major factor contributing to dissatisfaction is that customers are comparing their online experiences with services and products they receive from non-FSIs. These experiences set the standard for the service they expect when they utilize financial services in the digital space.

Here’s the good news: FSIs can change these challenges into opportunities to boost customer satisfaction and retention. Providing a continuous stream of relevant, reliable, and clear information and communications to banking customers can greatly increase their level of satisfaction. Adopting this continuous communications model will also allow FSIs to differentiate themselves. Armed with this knowledge, banks and credit unions can jump-start a continuous communications strategy by following some simple guidelines:

  1. Provide regular information to customers on a variety of topics.

While dispensing information on new products and services is important, maintaining the stream of communication in the interim between new launches is almost equally as important. Customers want information on all aspects of their financial lives and rely on their FSIs to deliver on this expectation. FSIs can turn this expectation into an opportunity to increase customer satisfaction. By discussing relevant financial topics on a regular basis, and offering continuous guidance to their customers, FSIs may also experience the added benefit of being perceived as industry leaders and experts.

  1. Communicate the same message across all marketing channels.

In the case of banking information and communications, the “less is more” adage does not necessarily apply. When dispensing any type of communication, FSIs should communicate the same message across every channel they have at their disposal–e. g. mailed letters, print media, in-branch displays, e-newsletters, websites, and social media. Keep in mind that each message should be tailored in length and detail to appropriately fit each individual method of communication. Giving customers a multitude of opportunities to receive the same message can increase overall customer awareness and boost the likelihood of information retention.

  1. Ensure that staff members are receiving the same messages as customers.

In many cases, an FSI’s staff members will be the institution’s biggest brand ambassadors. Each FSI employee has a large network of both current and potential customers that he or she interacts with regularly. By providing staff members with the same communications that customers receive, an FSI can add an additional channel to its marketing toolbox: word of mouth. Informed employees will be able to initiate discussions surrounding the FSI’s message or messages with customers, but will also be better prepared to respond to customer questions and concerns. This leads us to our next guideline …

  1. Put staff resources in place to respond to customer inquiries and comments across all marketing channels.

Closely tied to keeping staff members informed, it’s also important to have a plan in place for receiving and appropriately responding to customers. No matter if the inquiry is phoned in, posted on social media, or requested via email, FSIs should be able to address customer questions in a timely manner. Planning in advance, anticipating customer questions, and allocating staff resources to monitor specific marketing channels will allow the FSI to stay ahead of any concerns that may arise.

Opportunities are ripe for banks and credit unions when it comes to improving customer satisfaction. FSIs that both recognize and enact a plan to address their customers’ desire for information and communication will differentiate themselves from the competition, position themselves as industry leaders, and retain satisfied customers for years to come.

The Official Blog of Martino Flynn