Learn My Name!

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter

78_3294477-HelloThere’s a woman who I know from a local professional organization. We’ve been “formally” introduced multiple times. After the first time we met, I knew her name, her face, we traded cards and connected on LinkedIn.

The next time I saw her, I said “hello” and she introduced herself as if we’d never met. I wasn’t really offended because not everyone has a knack for names and faces. I let her know we’d met before and where.

Meanwhile, I’ve been getting emails and LinkedIn messages from her to support her nonprofit organization through monetary donations or volunteering. At least twice a month, I get a message from this woman asking me for something.

The third time we “met” I was a little annoyed at her re-introduction and didn’t spend much time after shaking her hand, because I felt like she would ask me for something again.

Then last week, I was at an event with a colleague and she entered the room and greeted my colleague, who then asked her, “Do you know Rachel?”

She said “No” and tried to introduce herself for a fourth time.

On a personal level, it’s extremely frustrating to seem so forgettable. These four introductions and constant digital “asks” left me screaming internally, “LEARN MY NAME!”

It says a lot about you as a communicator if you can’t actually build a relationship with your audience. If you want something from me, I’m more likely to give it to you if I feel like you know me, you get me and you might have something to offer me in return.

Before you inundate your audience with promotional messages, make sure you know them. Who are they? What problems do they deal with? Can you be a help to them as well or do you just want their dollars? You can’t have a one-sided relationship with anyone. This woman is no longer a part of my professional network because clearly she doesn’t want to be a connection… unless I’m giving her something.

How do you engage with your audiences in a way that builds a relationship rather than tears it down?

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Super Bowl 50 Commercial Review

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

It’s not late, I promise.

Yes, I know the Super Bowl was well over a month ago. So what’s the point of reviewing the commercials now? Well that’s pretty much my point.

Advertisers at this year’s “Big Game” (as the nonsponsoring like to call it) spent more on commercials during the broadcast that was spent on Super Bowl ads in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s COMBINED. So quick, how many do you remember like the 1984 Apple commercial? How many have become the new brand for a company like Chrysler’s “Imported from Detroit”?

Not one. And that’s because for most major brands (or at least the ones that can afford Super Bowl ads) that’s no longer the point. These ads are now focused more on creating “buzz” by being as interruptive as possible. It’s about how many tweets it can spark when it airs, how many shares it can get on Facebook, and how many best/worst listicles it can make it onto the next day. And then it’s on to the next thing, or back to the standard messaging.

A perfect example? PuppyMonkeyBaby. Outrageous by design, its general air of “too cool for you” hits you harder than the overly caffeinated drink it’s selling. It’s all buzz and very little brand (other than the 3 dudes on the couch representing their target demo).

The antithesis? Death Wish Coffee. Sure it’s a CGI-filled 30 seconds, but it sets up the niche this coffee wants to serve, and doesn’t lose its message in the effects.
Of course it was also done for them for free as part of an Intuit campaign. But that makes it an even smarter move for them as they show that they truly are willing to help small businesses, while also poking fun at the bloated advertising/pop culture spectacle that the Super Bowl has become.

So what’s the takeaway for B2T Marketing?

Don’t believe the hype. Set your brand and create collateral that builds on it, not on a fad or trend. Be a thought leader, not another voice in the crowd. And know you market well enough not to launch a broadside at everyone, but a targeted message where you need it to be.

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Passion Isn’t the Problem

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter

I recently listened to a report on NPR about how big companies are analyzing their social media followers to make sure they’re “passionate” enough. It’s not enough for these brands anymore to just rack up followers; they need to re-tweet, blog and be engaged enough to matter.

In manufacturing, the opposite could very easily be said. There’s no shortage of passion, but social media numbers and avenues continue to be a struggle.

Passion side of the argument, the case is easy to make. There simply aren’t people more passionate about their work than skilled craftsmen. It’s part of what makes that jump from simply doing a job, to doing a job right so distinct. And look at the time and effort the average tradesman puts into sharing knowledge with others and the next generation, it’s unmatched in any other field. Lastly, look at the brand loyalty and rivalries that do exist in our industry. The passion generated by Ford/Chevy, Lincoln/Miller, Deere/Case IH, Snap-On/Mac/Matco and a hundred other make Coke/Pepsi look like a kindergarten sandbox dispute.

So how can you use that passion to improve your social media numbers?

  • Be on the Right Channel – Facebook can allow for a more direct line of access, but it can also be demographically wrong. Twitter allows for quick hits of info, but requires more monitoring. LinkedIn is great for professional development, but has a structure that takes some getting used to. You don’t need to have all your eggs in one basket, but you should prioritize your message and messaging.
  • It’s Not All Rah Rah – If you’re only going on social media to talk about the latest products and re-post press releases, stop now. Be a source for more than just self-promotion.
  • Know What Your Audience Wants to be Doing – What do your customers do when they’re not working? Share stories about that every once and a while, so you become a resource.
  • Share the Bigger Picture – Community outreach, training and other industry rather than company issues should be a regular feature of your feed.
  • Don’t Read the Comments, Except When You Do – Part of the passionate rivalries I mentioned above seems to be following the brand you DON’T like, just to constantly comment on how much you don’t like it. Don’t give those comments the time of day (or attention their posters want). However, social media can be an excellent point of contact for legitimate customer issues. Act on those, and quickly.
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Positioning: Have You Found Your Focus?

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter

Last fall, Sonnhalter was recognized by HubSpot as an agency that “gets” positioning and has found its focus. (Check out the blog post here.)

It’s no secret that we’re known for our B2T marketing communication niche and that we really dig in and get our hands dirty. But the question we often get is:

“Does B2T limit you?”

The short answer is “No!” The opportunities in our niche seem limitless, in fact more than half of our business is generated by relationships with brands located outside of our hometown.

A deep understanding of the audience of the B2T marketplace not only helps us help our clients, but it also helps us form relationships.

Truly understanding your audience: their needs, their jobs, their struggles and their personalities are key to making any marketing communication effort successful.

It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t be all things, to all people, all the time. Identify your strengths so that you can hone your focus.

And of course, when you need help, be sure that you consult with someone who really “gets” your audience.

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What are you doing to build your “Proprietary Audience?

I had the chance to hear Jeffrey Rohrs speak at a WTWH Media event recently and subsequently read his new book, Audience.

Jeff’s take on social media and content marketing revolves around one thing – THE AUDIENCE.

Companies need audiences to survive – before they are customers they first have to be part of an audience. As we all are focusing on creating content, it won’t mean much if you don’t have someone to read and react to it.

And that’s his point, to build what he calls the “Proprietary Audience.” He defines it as ” a comprehensive, collaborative and cross-channel effort to build audiences that your company alone can access.”

He shows you how to build your database using paid, owned and earned media to identify your audience. He also shows you how to identify and communicate with Seekers (those that are looking for info), Amplifiers (those who have audiences that can share your info) and Joiners (those that are buyers).

The book is an easy read and I would recommend your marketing teams look at Audience as a new marketing discipline.

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