Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

Video with IMPACT

This video is a PSA from the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership in the UK, a government organization. Their mission is to work together to increase road safety and reduce road casualties across Sussex, through education, engineering and enforcement.

This is an amazing example of excellent messaging and creative.

The production values are not incredible. They didn’t need to be.  Simple is better for this message.  The cost could not have been very much. They “wrote” entirely with pictures and music  — worth more than a thousand words…

Click Here To See The Video

To see more about the organization, click here: www.sussexsaferroads.gov.uk

Filed under: Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Video & YouTube, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

Media Relations is not Public Relations

David Meerman Scott has done it again. He makes an important point in the public relations / media relations industry.  Read his blog post, including the comments, and understand the differences:

http://www.webinknow.com/2010/04/media-relations-is-not-public-relations.html

Filed under: Blogging, Public & Media Relations, Social Media Marketing, , , , , , , , ,

Blogging, Free Speech, the Law, and Reality

I was recently criticized by an idealist blogger about my position on blogging, publishing, and why you should be careful when publishing negative content. 

One of my specialties is Reputation Management and Crisis Communication.  I’m not a lawyer, but I have prepared Rep and Crisis Communication Strategy and Plans, and had to execute them for many companies and clients.  Plus, I’ve been on both sides of the fence as a journalist and PR pro – including communication law cases.

I’m a 30-year professional journalist and college j-school teacher.  I’ve taken and taught media law for a long time. You should know there are consequences for libel and slander.

This post isn’t a class in media law; but, it is a practical overview of the issue on the street.

I encourage you or anyone to speak your mind anytime you want. Freedom of speech is of vital importance to our country and liberty.  I get it.

Supreme Court

But the truth matters. Facts matter. So does reality.

If you purposefully lie, distort the truth, publish outright false information, and it materially damages someone or their reputation, and they can prove it, the legal action could be a real drag.

I’m not talking about opinion. That’s different.

If you want to publish that you don’t like something or someone, it’s not illegal. Most companies or individuals won’t take legal action. It’s a business decision. Cost vs. bad press, reputation, or customer relations. Public companies usually won’t take action.

Plus the burden of proof to prove libel is all on the person bringing the lawsuit and it’s hard to prove to the standards set by the law.  Congress and the Supreme Court made it that way to protect free speech.

What I’ve explained so far is the ideal world.  Now for some reality.

 

Front & Backroom Legal Action

Private individuals or privately held companies are a different matter when you attack them with a blog, especially ones with deep pockets and no board of directors to report to, when they decide they personally don’t like something a blogger publishes.

I witnessed the president of a privately held company legally and financially game and drain someone dry because of blogging.  The blogger is living with his mother now. 

Would the president win in court?  Probably not, even though the blogger was a jerk.  However, the legal amusement from a vindictive person with lots of money is endless and so is the cost – for the other party AND YOU.

The question is… as a blogger, how much time and money do you want to spend with lawyers?  How much do you have?

How much do you have?

If you turn your publishing into a full-time rant, the savvy will launch their reputation management system and make your posts irrelevant or worse – you can ruin your own reputation.

If you’re really nasty in your posts, with the sole purpose to ruin someone’s reputation, some will take legal action based on “poison pen” law. I just read that a ranter just got found guilty of that.  They’ve gone for years in the legal process. Great fun for them I’m sure.

By the way, this isn’t just about one or two court cases.  There have been many.  Most don’t make the press.  You have to read the court records.

Many posts and blogs have been taken down by an ISP or blog hosting company because of violations of terms of service.  Most article directories won’t even allow you to mention a company name unless it’s yours.  They don’t want the grief.  Censorship?  Yes.

In an ideal world, you’re right.  Nobody should censor.

Unfortunately, this is a hugely litigious country and the folks with the biggest bank account can bleed you dry.  Is it right?  No.  Does it happen?  Everyday.

Here’s how it works.

In almost all cases, lawsuits settle – you never get to court to have a “decision” based on what is right.  Most of the time there is a signed agreement by both parties - and the judge that you never get to meet - requiring you to shut up about the case.  So you won’t read much about it or the litigant that leaked will have to go before that judge and defend against contempt of court.

Usually they settle somewhere in the middle after both parties are tired of spending or the hassle.  Your time and cost will be yours – at $150-$350 per hour for your lawyer, who usually wants to keep it going, plus mediators at $750 a day.  When all is said and done, the lawyers got richer and you got poorer.  Is it worth it?

My point is: there is an ideal and purely constitutional law side to this – and there is a practical and real-world (and some would say cynical) side.

The ideal is a free flow of ideas and honest discussion, agreement, and disagreement. That exists most of the time and it’s good.

But get your facts wrong and in the process harm someone badly, or go over the top with opinion to the point that you anger someone with deep pockets, and I guarantee you’ll wish you never wrote that post.

I know: reality stinks.  You can live in an ideal la-la land in your head.  Or you can live in the real world.  It’s your choice.  The key is to pick your battles.

Sometimes, it’s just better to listen to what your mother taught you, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all.”

Filed under: Blogging, Crisis Communication, Media Law, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Sources to Help You Take the Guesswork Out of Marketing & Advertising

I’ll bet you want to find out how to get more qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales?

I’ve received a lot of questions in the last couple of weeks about what are the best sources for practical information on marketing – especially online.

One of my specialties is to look across industries, find best practices, and test to see if what I learned applies to a particular industry.  This method has helped me introduce new marketing methods and systems for many products and brands.

There is NO magic bullet for marketing, especially in this economy, even though there are a lot of marketing pros searching for it, and a lot of hucksters promoting it.

Like many industries, marketing is an evolving science.  I say science because if you are doing it right, you don’t spend a dime on marketing without a strict measurement system in place – that means a well-thought-out-system [including Math] to check the results!

This next statement is going to surprise you. Please let me explain.

Two of the best sources of advertising knowledge today come from an early advertising copywriter, John Caples, that wrote “Tested Advertising Methods” in 1932, and Claude Hopkins, an engineer and inventor that wrote “Scientific Advertising,” also in 1932.

Most of their principles for testing marketing and advertising work today – you just apply their methods to traditional advertising AND online.  I read these books early in my career and have worked to apply what they taught me to direct mail, traditional advertising (print, TV, radio), and online.

I use systems to measure and quantify results to find out if a marketing component or campaign is working.  It’s extra work but it takes most of the guesswork out of advertising and saves huge $$ in the marketing budget.

The more recent book that will help you learn the new marketing and PR paradigm is written by a friend, David Meerman Scott.

There have been thousands of books written about marketing, advertising, and PR from 1932 to today.   I’ve studied a lot of them.

If you will combine the fundamentals from the earlier books and add New Rules, you’ll go a long way to gaining an in-depth knowledge of practical advertising and marketing that works to increase your qualified leads, prospects, clients, and sales – for the lowest cost / customer.

Let me know what you think!

Filed under: Advertising, Marketing Measurement, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Will Technology Change Real Estate Sales & Marketing in the Future?

My last job in the tech world of IBM (wired) and Motorola (wireless) was future vision marketing manager before I “got off the plane” and applied what I learned about digital marketing and PR in real estate.

We looked out 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years to try and imagine what is possible with wired and wireless technology. Then we would go tell customers about it.

My method involved interviewing patent holding engineers, scientists, marketing gurus, and futurists.

But one of the most valuable sources I had was from the sales force. They told me what was working and would not work, what customers asked for and expected in the future, and they actually gave me requirements for developing future products and programs.

One of the things I realized early on was that I came up with maybe 20% of the good ideas. The rest came from others. That’s where you come in.  I’ve created a starter list below.  Brainstorm!  Let’s create the idea of real estate marketing in the future together!

I would like to do that here, and share it online with Real Estate pros.

BASELINE

Here’s what we know as a baseline for the real estate market today:

- Digital imagery (photos, renderings, visual tours) made a big difference and are here to stay. 
- Social Networking and blogging leaped forward and will continue to grow.
- Email marketing is now full of pictures and is working great.
- Websites are including:
  = Listings
  = IDX integration
  = Property locators
  = Mapping
  = Galleries and Slide Shows
  = Some Facebook and blog integration
  = Some Video (in the early adopter phase and will expand in this next year)
  = Links to sites like Realtor.com, Zillow.com, Trulia.com, local community information like schools and shopping, etc., plus many others.
  = Multiple languages in addition to English (Spanish, French)
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems (Early Adopters using & winning!)
- Electronic “Video” Billboards (just started)
- Newspapers/Media Company Advertising Media Buys Happening on Google (Early Adopters only)
- Direct Mail
- Radio
- TV
- Signs
- Events
- Telemarketing
- Marketing Measurement Systems to track media buys and campaigns (Early Adopters only)

So here’s the question:  What will the future of real estate marketing look like?

CURRENT TO 1 YEAR OUT
- Broker and Builder websites will integrate Social Networking technologies for easy sharing and interaction (Facebook, Google Buzz, Twitter, ShareThis, Digg, Delicious, Live, Stumbleupon, LinkedIn, Blogs, etc.)
- Content Marketing will expand
- Direct Mail will include more Newsletter Postcards (smart marketers)
- Email Marketing will include more news – less hype

1-5 YEARS OUT
The biggest change during this period for real estate pros isn’t in the technology.  The biggest change will come from you learning how to learn and adapt quicker.  You’re selling brick and mortar; but, you’re going to be using tools to do it that evolve quickly.  That means software.  Your customers and companies will demand that you know this new way to interact – forcing you to change.
- Mobile enabled websites for advertising, listings, and sales interaction
  = Images
  = Mapping
  = Video
  = Social Networking between selling organization and customers
  = GPS Enabled Listings
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems – more pervasive use and will center the effort of database marketing
- Newspaper/Websites and Media Buys Dominated by Google
- Content Marketing will become more layered so a buyer can get just the right amount of information they individually want rather than the seller, broker, or builder dictating the amount.
- Email marketing will add video
- Events will become more creative and integrated with other organizations
- Online & Mobile Chat & Texting
- Online Interactive Contracts & Documentation
- Smart Irrigation. Technology is cheap and easy today. Will become pervasive.
- Marketing Measurement Systems will link directly with CRM
  = Google May Be the Integrator

5-10 YEARS OUT
- Will websites become media rich enough to satisfy a customer enough to buy online?
- Interactive Video Television and/or Web [not sure what the devices will be called at this point - interactive displays?] about Properties. You’ll be able to select and “see” the systems work in a house.
- Smart Houses (I don’t think the house will sell itself but you’ll have to know about  these systems to show them)
- Smart Irrigation Standard
- Exterior and Interior Wired and Wireless integration (Security, Power, Appliances,  Entertainment, Info Systems)
- More Audio (Voice) enabled

Ideas?  What do you think?  Add your comments!

Filed under: Future Vision, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be afraid, Madison Avenue. Be very afraid.

The best Super Bowl Ads were done in-house.

That seems to be the discovery “in the aftermath of the crowded, frenetic advertising bowl that took place inside Super Bowl XLIV on Sunday. Among those commercials consistently deemed most effective, memorable and talked-about, many were created or suggested by consumers — or produced internally by the sponsors — rather than the work of agency professionals.”  NY Times

I’ll never forget having lunch with George Lucas in the 1980′s and listening to him tell us that “everyone was going to become a producer” because of desktop multimedia.  He was right.

I had to put up with “In-house isn’t good enough” from a lot of naysayers at IBM, Motorola, DiVosta Homes, Pulte Homes, and Minto – where I ran in-house agencies. 

The silly charge never made any sense:

We launched multimedia and the Internet at IBM from our Boca studios, Nextel from Motorola in Ft. Lauderdale, a new DiVosta brand that has 86% brand awareness (a household name in its market), a $9.8 million savings in the first year of going in-house at Pulte Homes in Florida with an increase of 2,400% in qualified leads, and a jump in sales revenue from $8 million to over $71 million at Minto Communities – all done in-house during a real estate market disaster.

Our in-house Motorola agency even produced the campaign that helped win “Product of the Decade” from Business Week Magazine.
See the i1000 smartphone to the right and Click Here for “Since the Beginning of Time” media.

To see more YouTube examples of our work: Click Here

To see some examples of E-Marketing and print, see the portfolio on the right side of this blog.

In addition, the cost of running an in-house agency & studio, including people, equipment, and media buying vs. using agencies is about one-third.  The other two-thirds is either profit to the company or additional media buying flexibility to really penetrate a market or extend the brand.

In-house is thought of as a dirty little secret among marketing, PR, and advertising executives. Many times “in-house isn’t good enough” relates more to the failure of the executive not knowing how to run an agency or they really like all the free perks and lunches they get from agencies.

The work and results speaks for itself.  See the rest of the NY Times article here:  Do It Yourself Super Ads

Filed under: Advertising, Content Development, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

Twitter Updates

Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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My Portfolio Below

In the My Shared File Box below you will see files to download from my portfolio. Download and let me know what you think!

Flickr Photos

Jaguar XJ8

Carlyle DiVosta Homes

Marketing 2.1

New Civic Website

VeronaWalk Naples

VeronaWalk Logo

Villas By-the-Sea EBlast

Brand Journalism

DiVosta Print Advertising

i1000: Business Week Magazine Product of the Decade

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