Run Social Media The Way Your Grandfather Ran His Business

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect How should you run your social media?  To answer that question, perhaps you should ask instead, "How would my grandfather have run his business?" Or at least that's the question Mark Schaefer asked. Mark is a globally-recognized speaker, educator, business consultant, and author, he blogs at one of the top marketing blogs of the world. One of his recent videos, "Social media marketing lessons from my grandfather, the plumber," dug into the attributes that made his grandfather successful in the plumbing business and how they can be applied to social media. For those of us marketing to the trades, his example is even more important. How did Mark's grandfather, a plumber from Pittsburgh, grow a successful business? 10439read more >

Get Your Message Across in an Ad-Blocked World

By Rachel Kerstetter, PR Architect, Sonnhalter A recent report shared that 32% of global page views are impacted by the use of ad block and mobile sees three times the rate of ad block use than desktop. Did you know that even some people who work in advertising block ads? Let’s face it, website ads are mostly annoying. If you’ve ever opened a webpage and had an ad start talking to you that you couldn’t turn off, you know what I mean. Although digital advertising has a solid place in integrated marketing programs, accompanying it with other tactics can get your message to audiences that wouldn’t be reached otherwise – those who use ad blockers. How do you get your marketing messages past ad blockers? 10247read more >

Time (and Advertising) Stops for No One

By Chris Ilcin, Account Superintendent, Sonnhalter That’s one of my favorite quotes. Not because I’m in marketing and advertising, but because it dispels one of the biggest myths about manufacturers. That is: All manufacturers are engineering and sales driven, and advertising is an afterthought, or a “necessary evil.” Henry Ford wasn’t just any old manufacturer. He transformed not only American manufacturing, but revolutionized manufacturing processes. He changed the way we live. His streamlined assembly line could churn out a Model T every 24 seconds. As summer winds down, it’s worth noting that he’s partially responsible for all the grilling you did as well. 10313read more >

Time for a Checkup?

Let’s check your marketing vitals. We’re offering a thorough B2T Marketing Checkup allowing for an independent examination that helps you take your marketing program’s temperature and choose the right prescription for a healthy marketing communication program that reaches the professional tradesmen in the construction, industrial and MRO markets. We all see a doctor for checkups if we want to stay healthy, and we take our cars to the mechanic to keep them running smoothly. It’s about prevention. Bring your marketing program to Sonnhalter to get independent, third-party advice, recommendations and guidance on your current marketing plan. A win win if there ever was one. To get started on your company’s B2T Marketing Checkup, contact Matt Sonnhalter at 216.242.0420 x 132 or msonnhalter@sonnhalter.com.  read more >

Plan, Plan, Plan

From Rachel Kerstetter, PR Engineer For most of us, a new year is a lot like a blank slate. New goals are set at the beginning of each year and new initiatives are undertaken. To have a successful year, it’s important to do more than just set goals. You don’t just jump in the car to go to a new location for the first time, you look at how to get there, how long the trip will take or at least put the destination into your GPS. That’s planning. Planning is crucial no matter how big of a project you’re going to start. Whether you’re initiating a rebranding campaign or creating a 30-second video, you have to plan, plan, plan. To map out your journey to your goal, decide: Who will be involved. Make sure you know who will be in charge of each aspect of your project and if you’ll need outside help. What outline the strategy and tactics of your plan. Sometimes this is a simple statement of intent and the steps the “who” of your plan will take. Other times this is a large document that will guide your team in your new effort. Where you will focus. In the example of a 30-second video, the where is not only your filming location but where the video will go next. If it’s a product advertising campaign, will you use print, digital, broadcast or other types of ads? When will your project start, end and when are your check-in points. A large year-end goal is great, but plan for pit stops along the way to see how you’re progressing and rework that plan. How will your project get done and how much will it cost. Make sure you know what time, talent and equipment resources you need and…read more >

Evolution of a Press Release

Today we have a guest blog post from Rosemarie Ascherl, PR Foreman at Sonnhalter, discussing the evolution of the press release. Yes, it still is a legitimate marketing communications tool.   Perhaps this will date me, but I remember the days when issuing a press release on behalf of one of my clients meant printing copies, stapling and affixing 4x5-inch prints or slides, folding, stuffing in envelopes and metering for postage. Whew! Eventually, many media outlets requested that the press release be faxed. The press release of today, while no longer issued on paper, still bears some similarities to press releases of yesterday. It should be well written, factual, using A.P. Style [which updates its guidelines each year]. Same as always, it shouldn’t present information in an opinionated or sale-sy style. But, today’s press release must be written with digital in mind. It will appear online first, that is, if it is properly optimized. To be effective, it should be clear and very concise. This is not the time for long-winded sentences filled with industry jargon. The headline, with proper key words for search, is key, and adding a subhead helps by adding more searchable key words near the top. It should include logos, photos, charts and videos to convey information. It should also contain two or more key links, directing readers to more information. Because of digital, the modern press release is getting to its audience faster and with even less filtering than in the past. Now, press releases are often published as-is on blogs, websites and e-newsletters. At Sonnhalter, when we issue a press release on behalf of our clients, within minutes, the press release shows up on trade publication websites. Occasionally, the debate will surface that the press release has run its course, and is no longer…read more >

6 Ways to Maximize Your Agency Relationship

Matt Sonnhalter, Vision Architect at Sonnhalter, is posting today on how to maximize your relationship with your agency. One of the most important questions that marketing communication clients should ask themselves is, “Are we making the most out of our relationship and interactions with our agency?” Merely talking about how to maximize synergies and rapport between client and agency versus actually implementing such strategies is an entirely different story. Here are a few way to get the most out of you client-agency relationships: Be on the same page. Fostering shared meaning and mutual understanding is a vital aspect of successful client-agency relationships. It is important to be on the same page. Setting clear expectations with one another enables clients and agencies to better communicate and forecast unexpected issues or changes. Establishing processes and responsibilities early on with an agency will decrease stress from time-crunching deadlines. Also, be sure to clearly define success with one another and develop a measurable method for evaluation. Understanding how agencies function and subsequently knowing how to utilize them can reduce the likelihood of miscommunication. Be clear. Efficiency is all about clear communication. To reduce confusion, frustrations and delay, have one main contact for the agency. Likewise, an agency should make sure its client knows with whom to communicate. There is nothing more frustrating than having too many cooks in the kitchen. Facilitating consistent, effective communication will aid in strengthening the bond between the client and agency. Companies are more likely to meet project goals by providing their agency with a concise point-of-view. Be accessible. Make sure to invest time in the agency. Frequently engage in face-to-face communication by arranging regular meetings to review and discuss active projects – take a necessary break from the computer and telephone. Being available will create a well-oiled working relationship…read more >

How Manufacturers are Managing Content Marketing: 7 B2B Insights

Today we have a guest blog post from Lisa Murton Beets director of CMI Books, from the Content Marketing Institute. The Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently published research on B2B and B2C Content Marketing in our 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends reports. While the findings give us insight into how B2B and B2C marketers are managing content marketing, we were still curious about the state of content marketing in specific key industries, and how content efforts in vertical markets were differing from those of their peers in other industries. We decided to first look at marketers who work for B2B manufacturing organizations in North America. This group has adopted content marketing at a slightly higher rate (94 percent) than their North American B2B peers across all industries (91 percent). Let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences: Manufacturing marketers have similar goals for content marketing Marketers in the manufacturing industry have the same top three objectives for content marketing as their peers across all B2B industries: brand awareness, lead generation, and customer acquisition. However, manufacturing marketers place less emphasis on thought leadership (47 percent versus 64 percent) and website traffic (47 percent versus 60 percent) as organizational goals, which indicates a disconnect, as they also cite website traffic as the primary way they measure content effectiveness. This fundamental disconnect between goals and measurement was present with B2B manufacturers when CMI surveyed them two years ago, but it has shown some improvement. Manufacturing marketers use video and print magazines more often Manufacturing marketers cite video as their top content marketing tactic (it was ranked seventh by this group two years ago). Their overall use of tactics is fairly similar to that of the overall population of marketers; however, they place far less emphasis on blogs (54 percent…read more >