Retargeted Ads: The Future Is Here!

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Did you know we live in the future? It’s true. With advancements in technology, marketers can target specific customers and serve up ads to them no matter what website they visit. It’s called retargeted advertising and it’s the marketing equivalent to wearing a jetpack or zooming around in a flying car.



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How TV Commercials Have Changed [And How They’ve Stayed The Same]

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Back in the early 1930’s, the television made its big debut into American culture. By the 1950’s owning a television was seen as a status symbol and cultural rite-of-passage. Soon, the idea of living in a house without a TV at the center was virtually unheard of.

 

Today, even though traditional television viewership is beginning to become eclipsed by online media services like Hulu, Netflix and other streaming services, the commercial still reigns supreme.

 

Let’s face it, without advertising there would be no television entertainment. Without great commercials there’s little chance that advertising on television would have proven itself worthy of corporate investment in the first place. But thankfully the marriage of television and advertising proved to be a strong one.

 

Sure, we all love to complain about commercials, but the truth is they work, and they often are more entertaining than the actual programming we’re tuning in to.

 

So, let’s take a look at how commercials have changed over the years.



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How to Create Your 2016 Marketing Plan


MARKETING PLAN 2016

 

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, and without a marketing plan, your business is just shooting in the dark–and wasting valuable marketing opportunities–all year long.

Even though we’re already a few weeks into the new year, it’s not too late to start developing your marketing plan for 2016.



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social media

What You Don’t Know About Social Media CAN Hurt You.

In today’s business world, social media isn’t just for geeky college students or self-absorbed celebrities. It’s actually changing the way thousands of technology solution providers communicate with their customers. But it’s not for everyone, and it’s not a replacement for traditional marketing tools such as direct mail or print advertising.

Many IT solution providers are asking a lot of questions about social media today and how to—or if they should—use tools like Twitter, Facebook, WordPress or YouTube to reach their customers. Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself before you decide whether social media is right for your company:



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What’s Your Hedgehog?

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There’s a power in simplicity. According to Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great”, your hedgehog is the one big thing your business focuses on. Collins tells us not to be the fox, sleek and beautiful, cunning and knowing of many things. Your power is in the simplicity of knowing your business and what you do great. Define what you do great and do it greater than your competition.



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Well, That’s Just Not Natural

Flexibility is something we learn. Nobody wakes up one morning and decides to do a complicated yoga pose and just flows right into it. (Trust me, I know because I’ve been doing yoga for two years now and I still can’t master the “King” of all poses – the headstand). I’m getting there, but it takes time. My point, however, is that I’m trying.

Human beings are intrinsically rigid. We avoid change at all cost. It’s not comfortable. It’s scary. We’re not ready. There are so many reasons to avoid change. However, how many times have you heard this saying?



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Ode To The Corporate Holiday Card

Sending out a corporate Holiday card to your customers is as American as apple pie. But it was invented by a British businessman, Sir Henry Cole, in 1846.

Sir Henry created the first mass-produced holiday card (and even overhauled the Royal Mail service and created the Penny Post, which made the postal service available to the average British citizen in the 19th century).

Fellow Brit John Calcott Horsley commissioned Sir Henry to design the first corporate Christmas card, and they printed just 1,000 copies to share with friends and professional associates. A few were even sold to the public.

The idea was such a hit that it soon spread to other nations throughout Europe and, eventually, made its way to the good ole’ USA, where today we send more than 2 billion commercially produced holiday cards every year.

With that in mind, Agency Ingram Micro is proud to present to you our very own corporate holiday card, in video format.

Enjoy!

 



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!_dogbone_



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SHHHHHH…It’s the Secret Sauce Recipe for Great Marketing?

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What makes marketing special? Do you have to have a special mind to excel in marketing? Is there a secret sauce that the great marketers use to be successful?

No. It’s a matter of thinking just a little bit differently. It’s about looking at the world through a different lens. And it’s about spinning consumer perspective to make them just a bit more curious about what you are offering than your competition.

Truthfully, great marketers are passionate about what they do; they geek out over current trends. They study what makes one subject line successful over another, and they get analytical about why one specific, 140 character tweet was re-tweeted 657 times.

A great marketer is a great observer of human behavior. A thoughtful marketer goes into the mind of the consumer and positions his or her company’s message to reflect exactly what the consumer is thinking about.

Sometimes, we get it right. Sometimes, we get it wrong. But always, we take it personally. The ROI on marketing has historically been difficult to track because the marketing is the start of a sales cycle and generally, sales get the credit for the deal closing. But marketing is what brought the prospect to the table in the first place. If we can’t get those inbound leads, we’re not being successful, and if we’re not being successful, we’re not satisfied with our work.

Challenge yourself when you’re looking at your business. Step back and take a look at it from an outside perspective. It’s difficult to do and sometimes it takes the assistance of a third-party opinion, but next time you’re going to run your marketing campaign, think about what you as a consumer would want from your product.

For some reason, the masses have spoken and coffee drinkers want snowflakes or snowmen on their red Starbucks cups. In fact, #StarbucksRedCups is a trending hashtag on Twitter. Did Starbucks make a mistake that will impact their holiday ROI? That’s yet to be determined. What’s also yet to be determined is whether Starbucks will respond to consumer demand and change their cups yet again.

Are you doing enough to make your product stand out? Good or bad, Starbucks has created buzz. Does your product draw attention?

Contributed by Wendy Sanacore, Agency Ingram Micro field marketing manager, IBM Software.



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Facebook Fouls

When it comes to managing your company Facebook page, dealing with difficult people [sometimes referred to as “trolls”] can be challenging.

On the one hand, you certainly don’t want to come across as rude or petty, but on the other hand, you also don’t want to allow people to use your corporate Facebook page to air their personal grievances–or just hijack your platform to elevate their own brand of vitriolic nonsense. [That’s what the “unfollow” and “block” buttons are for].

Honestly, this is why every company needs to have at least one dedicated social media manager on staff–to take care of these troublesome realities quickly and tactfully.

Now, your own personal Facebook page is another story. This is where you can have a bit more fun with your online conversations and get a bit more creative with your responses, especially when people aren’t playing fair.

Here are a few fun memes you might want to keep handy the next time you find yourself in an online comment war with someone who just won’t listen to reason:

READING COMPREHENSION:


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STICK TO THE FACTS:

 

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LACK OF EVIDENCE IS NOT EVIDENCE:

 

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FOR THE “EITHER/OR” VARIETY:

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WHEN YOU’VE WON BUT THEY DON’T KNOW IT YET:

 

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WHAT’S YOUR SOURCE?

 

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WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?

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MOST COMMON FOUL OF ALL TIME:

 

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Next time you find yourself in the heat of another Facebook comment battle, use these handy memes to call “foul” on the play.

[You’re welcome]

 

Post contributed by Keith Giles, copywriter for Agency Ingram Micro.

 



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5 Tactics to Win the Twitter Game

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There’s just one thing you need to know about Twitter: It’s a game. Once you understand that, all you need to know is how to play–and win–at Twitter.

To start off, you need to understand that Twitter is a game where you win by earning new followers every day. How do you do that? Well, you start by sharing tweets that are informative, interesting and relevant to your followers. If they like what you tweet they will re-tweet it to their followers. If their followers like it, then they may decide to follow you too. Then your follower count goes up and you score. You’ve also increased your chances of gaining more followers the next time you tweet. If those people like it, they’ll re-tweet to their followers, you’ll gain new followers, and the whole process repeats exponentially.

Once you understand that, all you have to do is to keep these five things in mind to win at Twitter:

1. Follow Those Who Follow You

Gaining new followers on Twitter can be challenging. I’ve built my following up to over 4,000 over time and there’s a simple secret to that: Just follow everyone who follows you. The reason why is that Twitter puts a cap on how many people you can follow based on a ratio of how many people are following you. For example, you can’t follow 2,000 people if you only have 50 followers of your own. But if you have 2,000 followers you can easily follow 2,000 people. So, don’t follow those who don’t follow you back and only follow those who actually follow you. This way you can slowly, but surely, build up your followers count, which translates to more influence and a wider reach.

Note: Sites like www.JustUnfollow.com are specifically designed to help you identify who is following you and who isn’t. Try to keep a tight ratio of who you follow and who follows you. Obviously there are some people you’ll want to follow who will never follow you back [like Beyonce or Bieber], but for everyone else, if they’re not following you, you need to drop them like a hot potato.

2. Engage With Your Followers

Like all social media, Twitter is meant to be a dialog, not a monologue. Think more telephone and less megaphone. Simply put, people want a chance to respond, and when they do you should reciprocate. Plus, it turns out that the key to keeping the followers you have is to engage with them. If they re-tweet something you’ve posted, thank them for it with a  “Favorite/Heart” and/or reply to them and thank them for sharing your tweet with their followers. Be sure to re-tweet what others share, too. Or, you can ask questions and engage in a dialog with those who respond. I’ve personally established a few actual friendships with people I’ve only “met” on Twitter by simply engaging those who engage with me. Try it!

3. Provide Useful Content [Not Just Pushing Your Links/Ads]

For the love of tweet, please don’t use Twitter to send a constant barrage of links to your website. That’s not how it works. Instead, use the platform as a way to demonstrate your expertise and establish yourself as a thought-leader in your space. Having a blog where you answer typical questions and/or explain difficult concepts to your customers is one easy way to accomplish this. Then just tweet out a link to that post and watch people respond with favorites and re-tweets of your helpful article. That’s how it works.

4. Tweet With Images, Not Just Links

Twitter allows you to add an animated GIF or a JPG image to accompany your tweets. Doing so removes a few of your precious characters, but it’s well worth the trade. Tweets with images or animated GIFs are 10 times more likely to get noticed, and clicked on, than text-only tweets. *Bonus tip: If you need a source for great, free images to perk up your tweets, try searching on Pinterest rather than Google and you’ll find a gold mine of undiscovered awesomeness.

5. Share a Mix of Professional and Sometimes Funny/Personal Content

Believe it or not, your followers like cat videos, too. So try to mix up your tweets with a balanced set of interesting, thought-provoking and humorous links, sprinkled with an occasional note about your company brag or upcoming discounts on services. The goal is for your followers to actually look forward to what you tweet and value what you have to share, not ignore your constant ad-speak and eventually unfollow you. Speaking of that, you’ll want to keep your personal opinions about the president, the government, and the upcoming elections to yourself [or on your own personal blog or Twitter account]. Spouting off about something in the news will no doubt help you engage with your followers, but it will also polarize your business into a corner you’ll wish you never painted yourself into. Keep it light, and humorous, but not controversial for best results.

Are you ready to tweet like a ninja and start winning at Twitter? Just put these simple rules into practice and watch your follower count improve over time.

Did I miss anything? Share your insights for winning at Twitter in the comments below.

 

Post contributed by Keith Giles, copywriter for Agency Ingram Micro.

 

 



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Tips for a More Productive Day

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Feel like you can’t get everything done in the day? Overwhelmed with what’s on your plate? Here are some tips to help you get through it all and become more productive.

Build a routine that works for you: Stay on track with self-imposed deadlines by limiting how much time you’re spending on tasks. If you can do an assignment in a couple of minutes, finish it right away. Increase your stamina by working in three-hour intervals followed by breaks.

Take regular breaks: If strategizing takes a lot of mental energy, take a break to avoid fatigue and improve your concentration over the day. And when you take a break, don’t spend it at your desk: Take a walk around the office talking to people (as long as you’re not interrupting). Give yourself something pleasant to look at, or go outside and get some fresh air.

Just say no to meetings: Yes, some meetings are important. But don’t have meetings just to have meetings; ask if it can be accomplished faster via email or phone call. When you must have one, plan in advance what you’ll discuss with key points and then stick to your schedule. If you plan on having a 30-minute meeting, don’t let it turn into an hour-long time waste. Remember, your time is valuable.

Just say no: Minimize interruptions from the outside world and in the office. Close your door, work from home or set office hours when necessary. It’s tempting to respond to emails and phone messages. Build allotted time for those into your schedule. Turn off notifications, silencing your cell phone and email. This will keep you focused while working.

Contributed by Alex Ross, marketing coordinator, Agency Ingram Micro.



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