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So far Tricia White has created 28 blog entries.

When is Advertising too Much?

When Ads get too Intrusive and Obnoxious

Marketing and advertising exist as a professions because someone has to promote the right products and services to the right people. When done right,  marketing/advertising can bring the right amount of awareness to businesses and events both large and small. But when I hear about players in the NBA selling ad space on their jerseys and Sony Entertainment creating a 90-minute advertisement for theatres, it does make me ask an important question. “When is it enough?”

According to the latest 2o18 polls, people are starting to get burnt out on the insanity of advertising. Out of a group census on Hubspot, 87% of

people say there are more ads than two years ago. What’s more this frustration is killing the reputation of businesses as well as marketers and advertisers.  72% of consumers say they would have a lower opinion of a brand if they subjected the consumer to a pop-up ad and 81% of consumers have closed a browser or exited a webpage because of a pop-up ad.

So, if the way we are advertising now is hurting us and our clients more than it is helping, what changes can we make to reduce ad fatigue to our audiences?

The short answer is to just change our advertising habits.

The Problem with Intrusive Advertisement

There is more than meets the eye with ad complaints if you dig a little deeper into the issue. When researching how people felt about ads, I came across this interesting statistic.  “77% of consumers agree that they would prefer to ad filter than completely ad block. ” This statistic speaks a lot more about the reality of their frustration more than I realized.  People are fine with the idea of advertising. They have accepted it as a part of their daily lives.  Their problem isn’t with advertising in general. Their problem is with the intrusive nature of online advertising.

And it makes perfect sense.

If you were minding your own business,  sitting in a doctor’s office the last thing you would want to deal with is a door to door salesman bursting into the room and interrupting the quiet atmosphere with a loud pitch. It is obnoxious, annoying, and counterproductive to the person trying to sell their product in the first place.  That is the reason that businesses post signs all over the place that state “no solicitation”.

So, if interrupting someone at an inconvenient time is considered a sales faux pas, then why don’t we expect the same behavior from online advertising?

Would you be willing to listen to someone weigh in on a conversation if they were interrupting with no idea of what you were talking about?  Of course not. You would be annoyed, confused, and a little angry that you were interrupted.  That is the feeling that customers are getting with pop-ups and autoplaying videos.

Now that we know where the problem lies, what can we do to fix it?

Advertisements that Work

Vieodesign said it best, “Successful digital ads don’t overtly disrupt the consumer’s browsing experience in an intrusive or annoying way. They make sense in the content and location where they’re placed, look professional, are easy to understand and use. They are well targeted to the consumer, so they’re relevant and speak the consumer’s language. They’re clear about what’s being offered, so people don’t feel tricked.”

We have to be honest about the product and service we are selling, our intentions as advertisers, and we have to be relevant to the people we are adverting to.

Customers need to feel like they have a choice in what they are consuming, and they need to feel at ease with what we are offering as well as how we are offering it.

 

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By | 2018-05-19T22:40:35+00:00 May 19th, 2018|Post|0 Comments

Marketing Case Study- Hobby Lobby

Is Politics in Business a Good or Bad Thing?

2012 was a big year for America when it came to answering and reanswering important questions. Are corporate entities people? If corporations are people, do they have a voice? Can a for-profit corporation use their money to exercise their first amendment rights and if so, do the rights of a company outweigh the rights of the employees working for the company? When a corporation makes an openly public stance on religion or politics, does it hurt or help their revenue?

Today, 4 years after the 2014 hearing of Burwell v Hobby Lobby Stores,  I am going to examine this through the lens of a marketer.

 

Hobby Lobby

 

hobby lobbyHobby Lobby is an arts and crafts store chain that was founded in Oklahoma City, in 1972. Since then, the business has grown since then to 600 stores nationwide as of April 2015.

It was founded by David Green, who started the company on a $600 loan. Mr. Green is a devout Evangelical Christian who has stated to have come from a family of preachers and has donated much of his earnings to a portfolio of evangelical ministries since at least 2010.  Mr. Green has not been shy about stating that his company had been founded on Christian values and makes a habit of incorporating it into his business policies over the years, such as giving employees mandatory Sundays off for time to worship and spend with family members.

 

Can a For-Profit Company Exercise Religious Belief?

In 2014, political activists from both liberal and conservative lines and the people that were caught in between all the madness watched as Hobby Lobby make its way to the Supreme Court for a ruling. The conflict had come as a byproduct of the Affordable Care Act, that required health insurance provided by employers to cover emergency contraceptives or pay a government fine. The owner of Hobby Lobby stated that providing this was a violation of his, and by extension, his company’s religious liberties and took it to court.  After several arguments over multiple court cases, a decision was finally made.

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of  Hobby Lobby from a  5-4 Yes to No vote. A company can be exempt from having to pay for certain medical treatments based on religious exemption. But the ruling is a lot more nuanced than most people realize.

It does back up the notion that for-profit corporations are persons, that can set policies based on religious exemption. However, there are a few basic requirements that need to be met for that exemption to apply.  For starters, the company needs to be ‘closely’ held by 5 or fewer people. Whats more, this small group of people needs to at least own 50% of the business assets before it can claim any religious exemption.

 

How does this Affect their Business?

profit

 

With the ruling made, there was only one loose end to this story. Did this legal battle hurt their business? After all, Hobby Lobby sparked quite the spirited political debate over its unwavering stance on its religious policies. There were even articles stating that it was a bad marketing decision. But the truth is, it didn’t cause any negative impact on the company, whatsoever.

Hobby Lobby’s annual revenue in 2011 was 2.28 billion dollars. 5 years later, their revenue has almost doubled at 4.3 Billion dollars.  And it is important to note that this is a craft store that has little online activity and does not even have a barcode system for their stores. They also barely spend any money on marketing materials or promotions compared to other chain business stores on that scale.  So, why didn’t they lose any business after all the insanity over this political issue?

 

Reasons Why They are Thriving

 

  • They had free promotion from the court case

Not many store chains can say that they took part in American History through a Supreme Court case. Whether you agree with them or not, they were the talk of news stations for over two years. And they didn’t even have to buy that sort of publicity. No other craft store chain could say that. It was a great marketing tactic on their part, intentional or not.

  • The Greens never made their belief a private part of their identity

This was a business that openly declared that they took Sundays off for religious observance. They also openly donated money to various Christian charities. Of course, they were going to take a conservative political stance on something like health insurance. To expect otherwise would be incredibly ridiculous. They knew where they stood and so did their customers.

In order to lose a customer base,  a business would have to either subvert public expectations or just stop self-promoting. So, it would make sense that they didn’t get any damage from the fallout.

 

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company, huntsville marketing company, alabama marketing companyPurple Tie Guys is a  Huntsville Alabama Marketing company that specializes in Online Marketing, SEO, Web Design, and More! If you want to know more about us, Click here! If you want to see more business analysis click here!

By | 2018-05-11T21:11:47+00:00 May 11th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Marketing Case Study- Hobby Lobby

Influencer Marketing and Reputation Management

Company Representation Matters

When it comes to the reputation of a person, there is one rule that everyone follows, when they pass judgment. Who you associate with and their group behavior will determine how other people will define you. If someone catches a group of people doing good things, they will see anyone associated with them as good people.  If they catch a group of people doing harmful things, they will lump that group of people into the category as harmful.  That is the reason why most of today’s public see politicians as liars, policemen as violent, and teenagers as foolish.

cliquesThe rational part of a person’s brain knows better than to assume that not all politicians are liars, or that all teenagers are stupid, but humans are emotional decision makers first.  People are prone to creating bias. Even without full context.  It is not a fair rule, and it takes a long time for a person to build a positive reputation over a negative one. But all things worthwhile will take the time and effort in order to succeed.

The same logic can be applied to companies, brands, and mascots. As long as a person can attribute a personality to a brand or a company, they will use the same judgment. And when a business starts to gain traction and a community starts to develop its product, influencers will start to appear. But how do you know who should represent your company? Nobody wants to stake the reputation of their company on someone that is a poor fit or is just unreputable.  Today, I will focus on the traits that a company should look for when choosing to back a marketing influencer.

 

Does your Influencer Align with your Company Values?

company values, group values marketing influencer

Your influencer doesn’t have to believe everything that the owner of the company does, and does not have to approach certain things the same way.  After all, people are different.  And it takes a team of different people with different talents to make a company work.  But, it is important for everyone that works for your company to have the same goals and mind. Especially the face of your company.

Is your company community minded? Are they about embracing diversity, being a child-friendly platform, or promoting creativity? When you are able to pin down your company’s values, you start to shape its identity.  When you start to shape its identity you will be able to get a better idea of what kind of face to give your company.

Your influencer should be able to share and promote the values of your company in order to use their powers of influence marketing to give audiences the right impression of your business and its products.

 

Does your Influencer have an Understanding of Ethics and Social Responsibility?

 

 influencer marketingThis is one of the major lessons in hindsight that large companies and even some political groups are learning the hard way.  If your marketing influencer has little understanding of just how seriously people take their actions, you should not use them as the spokesperson. If your marketing influencer does not have a clear understanding that people will associate their behavior with their sponsors, you should not endorse them.  Your prospective endorsee’s first reaction to criticism about making openly racist slurs on social media is “It’s just a prank, bro” then you should not be dumping millions of dollars from your advertising budget to have them represent your brand!

If you expect to have workers in retail to be polite, you should at least expect the very same from your marketing influencer.

That is why Youtube as a brand and company is going through a serious reputation scandal, and why Fox News has lost many advertisers before they fired Bill O’Riley.   These scandals all came to light within the time frame of late last year to early this year.  Even more of them are coming to light because companies are focusing on excusing bad behavior instead of cleaning house.

If you want to avoid this sort of fiasco while your business is growing, you should have the foresight as a company to react appropriately to that behavior and nip it in the bud. When your company is in the middle of the hiring process pay attention to what they are doing with their influence already. Should they be using their influence to brag about their income, or treat other people with open disrespect, then they are a walking talking PR disaster waiting to happen.

 

Does your Influencer Understand your Product/Service?

 

influencer marketing

 

Anyone popular can stand in front of a camera, hold something up and say “Buy this”.  But let’s be real with ourselves. If that tactic worked today, we wouldn’t be spending so much money on

marketing research.  Popularity alone doesn’t sell. People are emotionally attached to what they want to buy.  People only buy what they believe works.

And if a marketing influencer is involved in the persuasion process, then they need give off the natural impression that they believe in the product they are selling. The more they believe in what they are sponsoring, and the more they can convey that to an audience, the more the audience has faith in their purchase making decision.  It would be an added bonus and excellent boon to your company if you are able to find an influencer that:

 

  1. Actually believes in what they are selling.
  2. Are able to explain the product to someone outside of their target demographic.

 

If you want to know more about influencer marketing, click the article here. If you want to schedule a marketing consultation, head Home and click on the pop-up!

By | 2018-04-24T15:17:51+00:00 April 21st, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Influencer Marketing and Reputation Management

Being Social on Your Social Media Part 2

Being Social on Your Social Media

 

Aside from a few bigger companies that fear no controversy, most small to medium-sized businesses are very passive with their social media presence.

It’s like, they are aware of what social media is, and put up a page. However, they hardly do anything with it aside from the bare minimum.  It’s almost like they understand the media part of “Social Media”, but don’t understand its use as an interactive platform. So, I am going to go over some ways that you can make your social media more social.

 

Ways to Interact with Other Businesses

 

Brag About Your Business in a Fun Competition

One of the major things that people do on their private social media, is brag about the good things that happen in their lives. Sometimes, its a picture of a scrumptious meal, other times, it’s a photo of an amazing outfit or a breathtaking view. The point is, that if something awesome is happening in their lives, they are going to feel the need to brag about it.  Why shouldn’t businesses social media accounts do the same thing?

It always brings a boost to someone’s day when they get a chance to brag about something they love to do, and it gives your audience on social media a chance to take part in what makes the people in your workplace excited.

For example, I know that one of the few things that everyone on the internet can agree on is that baby animals are adorable.

So, when the Smithsonian national zoo posted, a picture of their latest arrival,

View image on Twitter
 The Virginia Aquarium decided to throw down a challenge that their animals were cuter.
View image on Twitter
After that, a friendly “twitter war” from every zoo and animal rescue center was declared over which animals were the cutest.
Who won? Everyone. Audiences got to see some adorable animals, the zoos got some free promotion, and everyone was left feeling happy.

And it doesn’t have to stop!  Not all friendly twitter wars need to be about adorable baby animals! It can be about how ridiculous someone could dress up in a costume shop, or how much cool stuff can be found in a retail store, or how creatively a grocer can stack the soda display. The possibilities are endless! As long as things are kept light-hearted and amusing, there would be no reason that you shouldn’t brag about your business social media page.

 

Collaborate on a Charity with a Rival

 

charity event,social media

 

There is an old saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.  In a world full of self-interest, profit margins, and bottom lines, we don’t hear that often about businesses working together to fight for a cause.  While healthy competition can be a good thing for growth, our society also relies on cooperation for survival. Even Charles Darwin had even outright stated in his published work The Descent of Man, ” There can be no doubt that the tribe including many members who are always ready to give aid to each other, and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over other tribes. And this would be natural selection.”

So, why don’t you try a new approach to your business’s publicity by collaborating for a charity? Find a cause that you have in common with your corporate business rivals and create a charity event. Maybe the public schools in your area are underfunded? Or perhaps, you both know a children’s hospital that you would be willing to donate to? Whatever the cause, as long as you can be seen doing right by your local community, you will only receive the best of publicity. And what is one of the best ways to record and share a collaborative charity event? Your company social media. When you do something for your community, people will take notice and every business needs the occasional positive attention.

 

We are Purple Tie Guys, Social Media Experts, SEO Enthusiasts and Top-notch Web Designers from North Alabama. If you like what you read, check out this article! Or this one! If you want to book an appointment, Click here and check out the Pop-Up!

By | 2018-04-14T17:38:30+00:00 April 14th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Being Social on Your Social Media Part 2

Being Social on your Social Media Part 1

Being Social on Your Social Media

 

Like anyone who has a specialized job or skill, you often live, breathe and die by your knowledge of your trade. Naturally, that means you incorporate it to as much of your daily life as possible. My sister, for example, is a psychology student, and she can’t go a day without noticing things that factor into an individual person’s behavior. It is the same way with me and marketing or visual design. So it should come as no surprise that I, a person who has dedicated herself to a career of marketing in a business filled with social media experts, notice a trend in businesses and their social media accounts.

Aside from a few bigger companies that fear no controversy, most small to medium-sized businesses are very passive with their social media presence.

It’s like, they are aware of what social media is, and put up a page. However, they hardly do anything with it aside from the bare minimum.  It’s almost like they understand the media part of “Social Media”, but don’t understand its use as an interactive platform. So, I am going to go over some ways that you can make your social media more social.

 

Interacting with Other Customers

 

Greet Each and Every Follower

 

seo experts, social media, customer serviceAny business owner with a brick and mortar store will tell you that the most important thing to do, to gain business, is to interact with your customers. A good employee and a good store owner would go out of their way to ask customers how their day was, figure out what they are interested in, and find something in common.

If that’s the foundation of customer interaction, then why on Earth should the level of customer service go away as soon as your business became digital?

People are using social media to inform their purchase decisions more than ever! Why waste an opportunity to engage with them? Heck, even in the latest study that polled multiple customers, they stated that response was the utmost important thing to them on a business’s social media page!

When people visit your social media account or add you as a friend, they are doing the digital version of walking through your door and looking around.  If you do not provide them with a friendly greeting or are silently watching them comment,  you are literally doing the opposite of customer service. It would be no different from ignoring somebody while they are talking to you.

It doesn’t need to even be an overly official or a grand gesture. A simple “Thanks for liking our page!” is enough. Staying silent on your social media is doing a disservice to your business because customers will not have made a connection, ultimately leaving your business to be forgotten.

Offer Opinion Posts and Ask Questions

 

Whether your company has a mascot, or if the face of the company is its workers, it is beneficial for your business to use social media to engage in public posts. By striking up a conversation or posing a question to your audience, you are giving the public a stronger impression of your brand. This may seem difficult to someone who is not “social media-minded” or knows any social media experts. However, your customers will find your company more likable if they feel they have someone or something to relate to. And the best way to relate to someone is an open conversation.

For instance, most people work at a 9-5 job. A simple statement of “Yikes! It’s another Manic Monday!” or “Free at last on Friday night!” are ways to get people to relate to you and by association your company in a tasteful and harmless way with a pinch of humor.

 

customer engagement, social media, seo experts

 

The key to pulling this off successfully is to abide by a few general rules of social media etiquette:

  1. Don’t be disrespectful or  have malicious intent with your posts
  2. If you are not qualified to talk about a topic, do not engage in that conversation.
  3. Avoid taking hard-line stances on opinions ( unless it is satirical like pineapple on pizza.)
  4. Don’t state opinion as fact or declare something without evidence.
  5. Avoid talking about sensitive topics things like politics or religion unless it is your literal business.
  6. Be polite with people engaging you in conversation.
  7. Spell and grammar check everything before you post.
  8. Never post when you are tired or angry.

 

Good Examples:

A coffee shop on Instagram with a photo of several cups of their unique coffee drink mixes asking, “Which one is your favorite?”

A toy store with an employee posting a photo of him holding his favorite childhood toy with text below stating, “This was my favorite toy growing up. What was your favorite toy as a child?”

Bad Examples:

A clothing store employee posting about their terrible breakup and using the companies Facebook business page.

A restaurant business owner stating on Twitter that he was sick of immigrants taking over the country. He then states that he spots a few illegals in a rival restaurant from across the street, in hopes of destroying their reputation.

 

More suggestions in Part 2!

 

We are Purple Tie Guys, Social Media Experts, SEO Enthusiasts and Top-notch Web Designers from North Alabama. If you like what you read, check out this article! Or this one! If you want to book an appointment, Click here and check out the Pop-Up!

By | 2018-04-06T12:56:32+00:00 April 6th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Being Social on your Social Media Part 1

Advice for SEO Content

Good Sources for  Writing Quality Content- By an Alabama SEO Blogger

Google, these days, are ranking websites based on not only how much you post, but also by how useful that post is to others. This is the major rule of thumb that I have learned as an Alabama SEO blogger. Which means that unless your keywords are relevant to the posts you are making, Google would either ignore or outright penalize you for bad content. If you have trouble coming up with new or informative content, click here and read the related article. If you have already gone past this part, I am going to be focusing on the “relevant” part of the Google SEO search algorithm.

So,  if you have a topic in mind that you want to blog about, what do you do about gathering the right information? Here is where we start talking about…

 

blogging, alabama seo

Minding Your Sources

The internet in the U.S. has done amazing things for us over the last two decades. We are free to find almost all the information we could ever want about every subject with a lack of censorship, and we can connect to pretty much any community with common interests. However, the ‘power of the internet’ is more of a double-edged sword than most people think. Because the internet isn’t as regulated as some other forms of media, there is little to nothing stopping anyone from spreading false information or forming a negative community. So, how do we appear reputable to our readers and to Google? This is where minding your sources come in.

What Makes a Good Informative Source?

Know The Sources You Need

primary sourceAfter being an Alabama SEO blogger for multiple companies for over two years, I’ve learned if you want to prove a point or provide an answer, you need to err on the side of primary sources. If you are writing an opinion piece, or if you are just trying to share a recipe that will match a certain theme or ingredient, then you would bebetter off to use a secondary or even a tertiary source.

According to Willamette University, these are the three types of sources of information, when it comes to accuracy and filtration:

  • A Primary Source is “a first-hand account or individual representations and creative work. They are created by those who have directly witnessed what they are describing, and bring us as close to the original event or thought as possible without being filtered, influenced or analyzed through interpretation.”

General Examples: Letters, diaries, speeches, interviews, correspondence, original works of art or fiction, analyzed results from a biological study, etc.

  • Secondary sources build off of primary sources with more extensive and in-depth analyses. They summarize, evaluate, and analytically interpret primary material, often by offering a personal perspective. While these are used to check what other experts in the field have to say, they are not considered evidence.

General examples: Textbooks, monographs (books), encyclopedias, analysis, review articles, dissertations, thesis, reviews of other experiments, lectures.

  • Tertiary sources are These are sources that index, abstract, organize, compile, or digest other sources. Some reference materials and textbooks are considered tertiary sources when their chief purpose is to list, summarize or simply repackage ideas or other information.

General Examples: Dictionaries/encyclopedias (may also be secondary), almanacs, fact books, Wikipedia, bibliographies (may also be secondary), directories, guidebooks, and manuals.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Source

What source would be considered credible? After all, anyone can claim anything and claim its a study. After all, one scientific journal claimed that vaccines caused autism and since then we had eradicated diseases come back thanks to anti-vaxxers who read it. So, who can you trust? What makes a good source?

First, you need to ask these questions, when considering a source:

  • Do they have an agenda?
  • Are they an expert in their field?
  • Are they being paid by a company for favorable results?
  • Is there political or religious motivation involved that could bring bias?
  • Is money a motivation?
  • Do they intend to educate people?
  • How current is this source?

Cite Your Sources

Even an Alabama SEO blogger like myself knows that citing your sources is crucial to gain credibility with your audience. But in the case of the SEO writer, it is also crucial to Google website rankings.  Google penalizes plagiarism, and if you don’t cite your sources, your website will suffer and all the SEO in the world can’t save it.  So how does Google recognize when you are citing a source? It isn’t like blogs have an MLA or APA format.

That is where backlinks come in.

By backlinking your sources, you are telling Google and your audience, “This is where I got my information from!” The older the website, and the more relevant the information, the more the backlinks will actually count in your favor.

What’s more, if you link to other relevant parts of your own site, you will gain further credibility as a someone who has taken the time to study the relevant subject matter.

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company, huntsville marketing company, alabama marketing companyThis Blog was brought to you by Huntsville, Alabama SEO experts, the Purple Tie Guys. If you want to read more about something like this, click here! If you want to set up an appointment to get your business visible on the web, head to the home page and click on the pop-up.

By | 2018-03-27T17:12:23+00:00 March 27th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Advice for SEO Content

Advice for SEO Content

What Makes Quality Content?

When you read or regurgitate any information about SEO practices and technique for a while, you tend to read and hear the same thing over and over again.  Publish quality content. We need quality content. Only quality content will give your website an advantage. This rule of thumb turns into a never-ending nagging loop that is the blogger’s equivalent of the “wash your hands” sign in a fast food restaurant bathroom.  I hear so many people harping on writing quality content, but they forget to actually address what quality content is.

SEO, ranking on google

So, what do you do, when you have to write an article or two every week to bring up your SEO ranking?  How do you write something interesting about a topic that is maybe, boring, filled with technical jargon,  or something taboo that no one really wants to explore? After having done this a couple of years, I can confidently throw my hat in the ring of online articles that lecture about how a person can make good online written content.

 

Answer your Own Questions

If you ever been around a small child, you will hear a litany of questions that involve a diverse range of topics. Questions such as ” why is the sky blue?”, and  “where do babies come from?” It can be annoying, but it is how small children learn about their world. Human beings are naturally curious. So, out of our need for an explanation for our surroundings, we either fabricate or investigate an answer before sharing it with others.

seo blogging, alabama seo

SEO blogging may be one of the best ways to satisfy your own curiosity, as well as provide quality content for your audience. No, I am not kidding. D0 you think that all SEO keyword bloggers are experts in everything they write about? Do you think that I magically knew everything there is to know about air conditioning, gastric bypass surgery, marketing, and nutrition? Of course not. I graduated college as an art major. I did not go to technical school for AC repair, I am not that good at nutrition, and I am certainly no surgeon. But I write for them anyway, because it’s still my job.  So, how do I write for them?

I revert back to my childhood curiosity and start asking questions about the subject. Why do people respond to ads this way? Who invented the air conditioning unit? When was the first gastric bypass surgery? How do people in China define nutrition?

My best content came from asking my own questions and finding the answers to them while writing them down. Sure, I do what I can to add relevant keywords to the situation. But, for the most part, as long as the content is relevant, I write about what I learned.

 

Web Design By Purple Tie Guys Decatur Alabama, alabama seo company, huntsville marketing company, alabama marketing company This Blog was brought to you by Huntsville, Alabama SEO experts, the Purple Tie Guys. If you want to read more about something like this, click here! If you want to set up an appointment to get your business visible on the web, head to the home page and click on the pop-up.

By | 2018-03-24T13:26:01+00:00 March 24th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Advice for SEO Content

Why Did Toys-R-Us Go Out of Business?

Closing their Doors

After existing for many decades, the large toy company “Toys-R-Us” is closing its doors. This leaves over 31,000 employees without jobs, and many older generations feeling the pain of a nostalgic icon becoming no more. But where did all of this come from? While they did mention closing one-fifth of their stores back in January, it didn’t seem like their situation was that dire. What really went on? And what sort of factors played a part in the closure of this mega toy chain?

toys r us, closing, marketing strategy

Debt

Toys-R-Us had an issue with debt for years it seems. As far back as January 2005, Toys R Us had a hard time managing their monetary resources. This isn’t a new story. After all, many companies have gotten into debt at around this time period.

But, it seemed every effort they made into paying off that debt only made things worse. According to one article in Forbes.com  “In 2005 KKR and Bain Capital (which included former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney) bought Toys R Us for about $6.6billion, plus assuming just under $1B of debt, for a total valuation of $7.5billion.  But the private equity guys didn’t buy the company with equity.  They only put in $1.3billion and used the company’s assets to raise $5.3billion in additional debt, making total debt a whopping $6.2B. ”

Any money that was acquired from then on went towards paying the debt and only the debt, which left stores untended to and staff members underpaid and overworked.  This invoked a chain reaction of shoppers not being pleased with the environment, hurting the revenue of the business, and repeating the never-ending cycle of debt all over again.

In 2017, they tried declaring bankruptcy to consolidate the resources they had and use them to reinvest in the company. However, it was too late. They owed too much money and had to liquidate all assets.

Competition

Competition in the marketplace is a good thing. It provides customers a way to exercise their freedoms through choosing what to purchase or where to purchase an item. The unfortunate downside for companies when it comes to competition, however, is that there is always a loser involved. Some companies will last because they can adapt, while others will become a casualty of the rat race.  Toys R Us became the loser in a competing market.

When Walmart and Target started to grow in popularity, Hasbro and Mattel had sold just as much product to them, as they did to the Toys-R-Us chain. Also, Walmart/Target both had the advantage of placement. They had their toys in the same place that mothers would buy groceries and home appliances. All they had to do was add competitive pricing to blow away the competition.

Then the rise of Amazon came. With people willing to pay a little more for shipping in order to shop conveniently at home in their pajamas, Toys R US lost even more of their market share to the competition.

Between those three giants, they would net big losses on top of the debt they were in, and the lack of revenue from customers who weren’t thrilled with a dingy warehouse-setting and overworked staff.

Lack of Brand Awareness

brand awareness, toys r us, closing

Do me a favor, and think real hard. When was the last time that you have seen a Toy’s R Us commercial? Because I think maybe I remember seeing one at around Christmas time in 2008.And even then I was shocked that they were playing an out of date commercial.  Sure, kids of yesteryear remember the store chain, it was a huge part of their childhood. But what do the kids today know of that brand? Do they even know what a Toys -R-Us is? Or that its mascot is a giraffe? What about the jingle? Sure, Toys R Us does technically have a website but I didn’t know about it until I checked to see if there was a .com attached to that web address. This is proof of another one of the contributions to their downfall, the fact that there is no brand awareness of their company at all.

They have not actively stated who they were or what they did to the up and coming generation, literally leaving the kids clueless about the fact that their toy store company existed in the first place.

They say in the business world that it is better for people to hate your business than for them to be indifferent to it. That’s because indifference means that no one cares enough to even bother with your business in the first place.

It is no good for a brand to simply exist. If it exists with no marketing strategy then it will die a slow and painful death from a lack of public awareness, just like Toys R Us.

This post was brought to you by Purple Tie Guys, the best in Huntsville/Decatur marketing strategy. Do you want to know more about brand awareness? Click here! If you want to book an appointment to make your business visible today, Head here and Click on the Pop up!

By | 2018-03-16T13:02:04+00:00 March 16th, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Why Did Toys-R-Us Go Out of Business?

Brands, Memes, and Marketing

Are Brands and Memes all that Different?

Anyone in the marketing field worth their salt would know the definition of a brand on the top of their head. A brand is an image or slogan designed to promote a product or service.  It is an assigned identity given to a company for the public to identify with via visual or audio shorthand. When those in marketing who do their job well, people would only have to hear a few notes of a jingle or see a specific image to immediately know how to define a company. What if I were to tell you that memes, by definition, aren’t all that much different from brands.

For those who are unaware of meme culture, they would define memes as “funny internet pictures”. While it covers how the internet defines a meme, it is only a small fraction of the definition. It has a grander purpose and is defined by a cultural phenomenon that predates the internet.

 

kilroy memes and branding

What is a Meme?

The term meme was coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book, The Selfish Gene. A portmanteau of gene and the Greek word mimeme ( meaning roughly “imitated thing”), the word meme is defined as an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture—often with the aim of conveying a particular phenomenon, theme, or meaning represented by the meme. This serves the purpose of carrying, replicating, and dispersing information of cultural value from person to person as a form of natural selection.  Also, these ideas, just like the people who are sharing them, can grow and evolve. This is done to suit the needs of the culture carrying the information.

Anything can be a meme, and it doesn’t have to be limited to the internet to spread. Take, for instance, Kilroy, a meme that got its start as a private joke between WW2 soldiers out on the battlefield.  All that is required to make a meme is for someone to create a message that other people identify with and a vehicle for that message to spread.

Why are Memes Associated with the Internet?

When the internet became the most popular method of sharing and altering information, memes exploded.

meme brand culture

Many people who visited the same forums and websites started to create, alter,  and recycle inside jokes in the form of images and slogans to create a sense of community. These forums like 4Chan were somewhat niche and were mostly reserved for nerds, loners, and creatives. The would get on their computers making jokes with a brand of creativity that only people with too much time on their hands could possibly come up with.

Then, came the rise of social media, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which added a whole new level of connectivity. This expanded the popularity of memes where it escaped its niche origins and became more visible to the public eye.   The more popular a meme is, the faster it would spread onto public consciousness until the meme runs its course and is replaced by a new one.

When a message or a joke can spread like wildfire over the internet, people are going to take notice. Including high-end advertisers that are paid to come up with creative and popular ways to sell a product.

 

Can you Integrate Memes and Brands?

There are already some striking similarities between viral memes and popular brands. Both of them rely on people understanding an image or a slogan to represent their concept, both of them are created for people to share and consume, and both of them are culturally inclusive. The only

wheres the beef, memes, ads, advertising, marketing

difference between the two is that brands exist to connect with people to sell a product. Memes exist only as a cultural connection.

Can a brand be a meme? Yes. The most popular advertising slogans can be considered memes of the time. One example that comes to mind is Wendy’s 1980’s commercial campaign of  a little old lady asking, “Where’s the Beef?” It’s quick, catchy, funny, and people who watched that commercial in America during the 80’s are in on the joke. Another is the “Got Milk?” Ad. People still joke about it today or reference it in popular media.

Can you integrate memes with a brand? It’s possible but it must be done in the right context. Memes, like brands, stand for a particular idea or meaning and have a specific sense of humor. If you try to use it like an out of touch principal speaking outdated slang, the consequences of that campaign could be cringe-inducing.

There are a plethora of good and bad examples of companies that try to integrate memes into their marketing strategy. I will go over them into more detail in the next post!

This post was brought to you by the best of Alabama Marketing, the Purple Tie Guys! If you want to read more stuff like this, click here! If you want to contact us, click the call button on the homepage!

By | 2018-03-02T13:08:30+00:00 March 2nd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Brands, Memes, and Marketing

Mobile Marketing isn’t for Everyone

Why You Can’t always stick with Mobile Marketing

 

The standard practices of marketing are much more nuanced than people would like to think it is. It is more than just coming up with a bunch of slogans and slapping them all over in hopes of getting enough people to buy their product.  In fact, if you were to summarize the definition of marketing as a practice, you have smaller definitions that make them up as a whole.

There are “5 P’s”  that make up the definition of marketing. Promotion, place, price, product, and people. Each “P” needs to be kept in the minds of marketers while creating and executing an advertising campaign. Today, I am going to focus on the Promotion part of the “P’s”.

 

We all saw this coming. People have lectured on this subject for years. Hell, even us, a small Huntsville marketing company, called it over a year ago, when we were preaching incessantly about mobile-friendly websites on both our blog and our radio show. However, this headline has got me to thinking about something else.  Most of that money is a waste.

 

Rising Trends in Mobile Advertising

Marketing Strategy in Huntsville Alabama

 

 

I had been researching for an article topic when I noticed an interesting headline from 

 

Forbes.  “Mobile Advertising Will Drive 75% Of All Digital Ad Spend In 2018: Here’s What’s Changing”.  75% of America’s digital advertising budget is being spent on mobile advertising.  75%.  That’s a lot of revenue for one advertising platform.

 

 

Because not all businesses need to advertise through mobile. Some don’t even need a website.

I know, it sounds horrible for a digital marketing company to say, but there is a reason I am saying it.

 

No Marketing Platform is a One Size Fits All Deal

 

The only guaranteed advertising tactic that will work to some extent for all products and services are word of mouth. Period. But you still need to get people through the door for that to happen. And in order to do that, you need to find the right way to reach your audience. Advertising through Mobile devices seems like a lucrative venture. However, there is an important thing you need to realize about mobile devices and marketing. Not everyone owns a mobile device and not everybody uses their mobile device in the same way.

The current American Population, as of 2017, is 326,766,748. For the sake of ease, I am rounding the number up to 327 Million.   According to the latest census, 77% of Americans own a smartphone, so that is 252 lowered to million.

smart insights, mobile data usage

Copyright SmartInsights.com

In early 2017, a study was done what people used their mobile devices for.  55% of mobile users use social media, where, let’s face it, most of the ad revenue is going towards these days. This lowers the number further to 138 million. That excludes 188 million potential targets customers for your business alone.

The 138 million is a lot of people who will see your campaign but there are other factors that have to be taken into consideration in order to have your marketing money well spent.  You need to account for things like the age range of your customer base, how much spending power they have,  and if they have a quick and easy way to buy your product or service.

This can either narrow the numbers down even further and it could make your marketing campaign flop if you’re getting too few returns on your investment.

 

So Who Should Spend Money on  Mobile Advertising?

 

  • Businesses with an Online Store

Businesses that have an online store are more likely to succeed with mobile campaigns than purely physical stores.  This is because it decreases the amount of time it takes for a customer to make a purchase decision, leaving little room for them to change their minds. The quicker they can access your product, the better.

  • Businesses With a Target Demographic of a Younger Generation

Younger generations are more equipped with the skillset of handling technology, and see it more as a necessity since they haven’t lived long in a world without it.  They have learned to utilize technology as part of their daily lives, so you are much more likely to reach them with a mobile ad than you were for older generations.

  • Businesses Involve Travel and Entertainment

They get the highest click-through response rate at 60%. I think this has to do with the correlation of both escapism through leisure time in browsing social media, and the Gen X/Millennial need to experience new things.

  • Businesses with a Concise and Condensed Message

If your business has a short, simple message that states what it is, where it is, and why it is here then you are more likely to succeed than ads long-winded messages.  The attention span of mobile users are short since they are both always on the go, and live a fast-paced lifestyle.

 

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By | 2018-02-23T13:48:28+00:00 February 23rd, 2018|Post|Comments Off on Mobile Marketing isn’t for Everyone