Tag Archives: advertising

Social Media Trends to Watch in 2016

2016 is almost here! At Yearick-Millea we’re starting to map out next year’s social media strategy for our clients and taking a look at some things we believe will be important come 2016. Here are some of the things we’ll be keeping an eye on in the upcoming year:

  •  The continued rise of advertising – The importance of advertising on social media will continue to grow throughout 2016, as social media will become more “pay to play” than before. The good news is that ad targeting will keep getting more drilled down, resulting in more effective ad campaigns.
  • Periscope – The live broadcasting app owned by Twitter will be a huge part of social media in 2016. It has been used in the obvious ways – news and sporting events – but in 2016 it will replace video in some cases to create an exclusive feeling for content.
  • User-generated content – We will continue to see a rise in the use of user-generated content for social media, especially for retail brands. Customers trust the word of other consumers far more than the brand, so creating a trust based on how other customers feel and interact with your brand will be vital.
  • Quality over quantity – Create quality posts with thought and strategy behind them instead of large quantities of simple posts that don’t provide quality information or contribute to your overall brand strategy.
  • A move away from clickbait-type headlines – The backlash from “You’ll never believe what happened next…” type headlines will grow on Twitter and Facebook. In 2016, we’ll see a shift from headlines written for clicks back to informative headlines that rely on the piece’s quality.
  • Expanding integration of e-commerce – Everywhere you look on social media you can find one-click buying and donation buttons. This proliferation of e-commerce on social media channels will continue to expand throughout 2016. The real question to determine their success will be if people trust the security behind these easy shopping shortcuts or not.

What do you predict will be the social media trends during 2016? Let us know in the comments.

The Ever-Evolving Marketing Industry

“Whatever happened to traditional marketing?”

If you’ve been working in marketing and advertising for more than a decade, you’ve probably asked yourself that question once or twice. The simple answer: data sophistication. Several decades ago, businesses and organizations had access to a short-list of techniques that could help them promote their businesses. However, today’s marketing industry is constantly evolving with data sophistication, and in order for clients to achieve success, individual agencies must do the same.

There was an era when advertising agencies merely matched a radio or TV station’s ratings with their demographics and then placed the ad schedule for their clients. As the industry evolved, media buying became super-categorized by market share, programming, demographics and more. With buyer profiles and habits, household incomes, and so much more, marketing professionals began to have the capability to tally quantitative and qualitative data for use in their clients’ marketing plans, strategies and campaigns.

The industry is currently experiencing the power of the internet, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, which can help marketing professionals target a diverse audience for clients. We now can learn about our audience’s online searching and buying habits, as well as social and engagement trends. These outlets have opened communication channels between brands and their audiences, keeping them totally connected 24/7.

Compared to all the data and statistics available these days, marketing research back then could be considered “cut-and-dried.” And over the next decade, even our current marketing strategies and techniques may seem ancient. That could seem a little intimidating, but there’s a reason why agencies like Yearick-Millea offer services to help businesses and brands make sense of this information in order to craft a successful marketing or public relations campaign. The industry is changing by the minute, and we are responsible for changing along with it.

Yearick-Millea Acquires SWZ Design, Adds Design Capability

Yearick-Millea is pleased to announce that Kristi Schaefer and Scot Wallace, formerly of SWZ Design, have joined our staff following our acquisition of that firm.

As long-time collaborators and neighbors in our building, Kristi and Scot have furnished their creative talents to several Yearick-Millea clients, and independently to Eat ‘n Park Hospitality Group, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, DRS Architects, Cleaveland/Price Inc., Elliott Group, the American Heart Association and other well-known organizations.

Over the next few months, we will be working with Kristi and Scot to integrate their design, creative and strategic capabilities, as we chart an exciting new direction for our firm.  We’ll post more news to our social media feeds, website, blog and e-newsletter as progress continues.  In the meantime, we invite you to see samples of Kristi and Scot’s work at their website.

The Importance of Accuracy in Public Relations

As public relations and marketing professionals, we spend a lot of our time distributing information to the public on behalf of our clients—whether it’s via a press release, print collateral, website content, social media or other outlets.

But it’s important for that information to be accurate. As we’ve covered in a previous blog, accuracy is a crucial aspect of ethical behavior within the industry, and distributing false information could ruin the credibility of your firm or client.

In 2010, BP’s credibility took several blows as statements issued to the public addressing the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill were challenged and proven to be wrong.

However, the distribution of false information isn’t always an intentional action. Working with clients in a variety of industries, public relations and marketing experts are tasked with learning about those industries—whether or not we’ve had previous experience with them or knowledge about them in the past—in order to assist with communications efforts.

If you’re working on a project for a client and you don’t understand something, ask them for clarification. For example, if you’re working on a press release about a new product launch, but you don’t comprehend what the product is or what it does, reach out to the client before you start writing. If you don’t, you might be sending the client a draft of copy full of inaccuracies, and you’ll have to start from scratch once they’ve reviewed it. The client should appreciate your desire to get the information right much more than your ability to “wing it.”

Similarly, your relationship with journalists could be negatively impacted if they discover multiple inaccuracies in your content or if they publish the wrong information directly from the release you sent—even if the mistakes were not intentional.

Luckily, most organizations have an approval process in place before any type of information is distributed or published on their behalf, but there’s always a chance for incorrect information to slip through the cracks.

Avoid making careless mistakes by proofreading your content, asking the client for clarification if you need it and checking your facts—especially names, dates, statistics and even basic facts. Remember that not all sources are credible, reputable or up-to-date when you’re verifying information online.

Do you have any other tips that help promote the distribution of accurate content? What tools do you use to check your facts? Let us know in the comments!

How Brands Are Using Snapchat

Snapchat, the free photo- and video-sharing app that allows users to share self-destructing photos/brief videos (“snaps”), is the latest social sharing app being used to drive brand awareness and grow brand loyalty.

Brands that are targeting a younger demographic, who are more likely to use Snapchat, are finding the app especially useful. Snapchat’s video and “My Story” features, in which a user puts together a series of snaps that can be viewed by all their “friends” for a 24-hour window, are the most common ways that brands are reaching out to their customers. Both these features let brands share more information than one single picture can.

Brands are sharing promotions, launching new products and sharing behind-the-scenes footage for those people who follow them on Snapchat. The common denominator between brands that use Snapchat seems to be the brand’s voice – young, fun-loving and they don’t take themselves too seriously.

Taco Bell chat

A story from Taco Bell featured on Snapchat.

The unique benefit of using Snapchat to grow brand awareness is the focus the app requires from users– Snapchat’s users are consciously clicking on snaps or stories to see what brands are sharing. Unlike Instagram, Twitter or Facebook where users can just scroll over a brand’s post or paid ad, users are actively seeking out brand content on Snapchat. Where else on the Internet does your content get that much attention?

How Less Content In An Ad Can Be More Productive

It’s long been the belief of some advertisers that “bigger is better,” meaning a company’s message should provide you—the consumer—with every little detail that can be wedged into a sales pitch. Make the ad big, bold and bright! That practice, fortunately, is beginning to fade.

Shoppers today are more selective about the advertising they choose to review. Readers/viewers are able to tell the difference between an ad that’s “over the top” with superfluous text and flashy graphics, and one that gets straight to the point and carries a focused message. With today’s hectic lifestyles, consumers don’t have the time to read lengthy claims. They know what they want to purchase and want to determine whether or not you have it.

Think about it: How often have you driven by an outdoor display but were unable to read its message because the artwork was so busy? Have you ever browsed through a magazine, newspaper or online ad only to have your interest disappear in a maze of words and useless glitter?

Thankfully, more and more companies that advertise on a regular basis are discovering the value of stepping back from their (or their agency’s) work, placing themselves in the role of their consumer and asking, “Is my message clear?” The answer to that question lies with the firm’s return on investment. If the leaner/cleaner new advertising is producing higher sales totals and improved revenue, then you’ve discovered the “secret” to getting more out of less.

Pinterest Launches Ads

Everyone’s favorite virtual pinboard, Pinterest, just launched ads for the social network this past week. Tearing a page out of Instagram’s book, ads are being tested by a small group of brands in the fashion, food and travel industries, all of which are highly visual industries, making them perfect for Pinterest.

To minimize user unhappiness over the introduction of ads, they will not be placed in users’ home feeds, the start-up page of the site. The ads will look just like regular pins, only being distinguished with “promoted pin” text at the bottom, similar to Twitter and Instagram’s ad models.

pinterest

Once Pinterest expands its ad program to accommodate other businesses, it will be something for businesses in the retail, food, travel, home design or other popular Pinterest categories to consider. Another reason for businesses to consider advertising on Pinterest would be their target audience – if women (who account for 92 percent of all pins on the site) are your target audience, it should be something you explore.

Pinterest will need to lower its prices considerably for smaller companies to be able to advertise with them though, as reports are showing that the social network is asking for commitments between $1 million and $2 million for the testing phase.

Traditional Advertising in the Digital Age

The dictionary describes the word traditional as, “something that has been used by society, or a particular group, for an extended period of time.”  In the field of marketing, that definition can be accurately applied to advertising.

Traditional advertising has been in use since the earliest days of modern civilization.  Posters on a wall, leaflets, rudimentary newspapers and even the heralded town crier all existed then—many have survived and grown to this very day with the sole purpose of disseminating targeted information to the general public.  And by doing that, traditional advertising has played a vital role in global history.

But how is traditional advertising faring within our current digital age?  How has the time and preparation required by the standard approach to advertising been impacted by today’s faster, easier and less complicated approach to “stating your case?”  Simply put, traditional advertising is alive and well, and it’s even co-existing quite nicely with web-based methods of marketing.

The secret to obtaining the highest degree of results from both forms of advertising is allowing them to work together for your common goal — profits.  Web advertising alone will not necessarily achieve the desired results. However, incorporating your website and/or social media URLs into your traditional outreach campaign (TV, outdoor, print ads, direct mail, etc.) will increase the odds of attracting customers. Once consumers make it to your website, Facebook page, Twitter page, etc., the web content could hold their attention and increase the chances of new business relationships.

So if you’re on the fence regarding where to direct your advertising revenue for the foreseeable future, you may feel confident in the knowledge that the strategic combination of traditional advertising — utilizing references that drive people to your attractive, informative website and social media pages — will result in increased brand awareness and greater profitability for your business.

 

Marketing 101: Radio

Marketing 101 is a series of blog posts in which we will explore a variety of different mediums, methods and strategies along with some basic ideas for making them work for you. We hope you’ll continue to check in with this series as we go and share your ideas and insights with us.

Radio

Owning and operating a radio station with competition from CDs, iPods, DVRs and other devices that deliver similar programming are a true challenge.  I know, because for 20 years, I had the good fortune to be the program director and/or on-air talent at several radio stations within the Pittsburgh market.

Radio stations operate not as jukeboxes or newsrooms, but as businesses. They are profit centers for the companies that own them. Radio stations have multiple means of generating revenue, which out of necessity may take precedence over your favorite song or a juicy talk show spat! The largest of these means are commercials. Stations sell airtime to advertisers as a way of increasing the merchant’s bottom line.

As the commercial repetition heard on most stations indicates, radio works really well. At Yearick-Millea, we purchase radio air-time for some of our clients, and we retain media buyers whose specialty is the proper use and budgeting of radio advertising. It really works!

But if you want music rather than commercials from your station, know that the music is actually sponsored by the advertisements.  How’s that for some cruel irony?

If too many listeners tune to an alternate radio station, the remaining audience may influence lower ratings for the station, which over time, translates to a loss of revenue. So, how does a radio station build a strategy for battling today’s fierce competition for attracting and holding an audience?  Many times, the station will change its format — rock to country, or oldies to news/talk — to take-on a new brand/identity.

It may lure new on-air talent or reporters to expand local news coverage.  If the dollars are available, a radio station may even stage events where listening to the station is required — a guaranteed method of boosting both ratings and revenue. Even multimedia ad campaigns are often utilized in promoting a station’s awareness.

Unfortunately, all of these actions do not automatically result in more people listening and continuing to listen to a particular radio station. But a loyal audience is best maintained through a consistent format, coupled with personalities who nurture the on-air product.

A radio station‘s success (high ratings/revenue) will only be realized if it learns to “listen” to its audience – and not just the other-way-round.

The 10 Criteria of Successful B2B Advertising

A “Copy Chasers” Critique 17 Years Later

I was going through old files the other day when I came across a B2B ad our firm submitted to Copy Chasers in 1997. In the pre-blogging days of the Internet, Copy Chasers was a regular feature in Business Marketing magazine that critiqued B2B ads submitted by agencies based on the “Copy Chaser’s 10 Criteria of Successful Advertising,” which were as follows:

  1. Successful ads have a high degree of visual interest.
  2. Successful ads select the right audience.
  3. Successful ads invite the reader into the scene.
  4. Successful ads promise a reward.
  5. Successful ads back up the promise.
  6. Successful ads present the selling proposition in logical sequence.
  7. Successful ads talk person to person.
  8. Successful ads are easy to read.
  9. Successful ads emphasize service, not the source.
  10. Successful ads reflect the company’s character.

I don’t know about you, but I think those rules are still tried and true.  Does our vintage ad hold up?  Tell us what you think.

"Taking Teamwork to a Higher Degree": Yearick-Millea created this ad for Harbison-Walker.

“Taking Teamwork to a Higher Degree”: Yearick-Millea created this ad for Harbison-Walker.

Here’s what the Copy Chaser guru had to say 17 years ago:  

“This is one in a series of ads for Harbison-Walker by Yearick-Millea.  What I want to see is a stronger headline that invites the reader into the ad. Perhaps a bigger, black type in place of the red ‘We Speak Your Language.’ Otherwise, the ad is good. The visuals hit directly at the target audience, and the red bar with the white type offers up the ad’s theme – in this case, ‘Taking Teamwork to a Higher Degree.’ This ‘higher degree’ line runs through all the ads and each has a fiery image. The body copy is clear and friendly, and the small picture adds a subtle element that enhances the overall ad. Overall, this is a good effort – all it needs is to take it invitation to a higher degree.”

Do you have an old or new B2B ad that successfully “chases copy”?  If so, please share it here.