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Responsive Design & Mobile Display Advertising 101

You’ve heard about mobile advertising and know that your website must be mobile optimized, but you still aren’t 100% sure how to take the best advantage of mobile display advertising for your Houston business. Understanding the benefits of an effective mobile advertising plan is crucial and starts with having a responsive design website. So – here are the goods you need to know.

Mobile Display Advertising vs. Regular Display Advertising

Mobile display advertising is a form of advertising on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. Regular display advertising can be seen on desktop computers. Examples of mobile display advertising include: apps, mobile image ads, QR codes, mobile searches, SMS (text messages), and local ads.

Responsive Design vs. Mobile Website Design

Smart mobile advertising is only successful if your business has a website that is mobile optimized. Furthermore, having a responsive design website is pertinent to today’s success as a business owner. Mobile design entails creating an entirely different website to accommodate mobile devices. Using the desktop design website is not conducive or practical for mobile use. However, in today’s rapidly evolving, technologically-driven marketing world, having a mobile website and a desktop URL are not sufficient anymore.

Responsive design is becoming the standard in the digital and marketing world. TechTerms states that responsive web design (RWD) “provides a customized viewing experience for different browser platforms. A website created with RWD will display a different interface depending on what device is used to access the site.” This is especially helpful when displaying content on small screens. Responsive web design ensures that the user can receive and read all content, no matter the size of the screen being used.

The Benefits of Mobile Advertising/Responsive Design

1. Cost-$$avings

Mobile display advertising costs are significantly lower than radio, TV, and print ads, helping you to reach more people for less money. You will see a higher return on investment (ROI) using mobile display ads, while maintaining the same level of quality that traditional advertising previously provided.

2. Accessibility 24/7

People don’t stray far from their mobile devices these days, therefore, your Houston business can reach customers at all times of the day. They can read your time-sensitive messages any time and at their convenience. The best part is that businesses don’t have to wait for customers to sit down at their desktop computers, you can reach them where they are. In addition, most people have their devices “on” at all times, which means your mobile display advertising is always “on”.

3. Larger Audiences (and Growing)

More people are accessing the internet using a mobile device, giving you larger access to the general public and to an audience that is constantly growing. A 2013 survey showed that 73.4% of smartphone owners used their devices to access the internet. This number is expected to exceed 90% by 2017. Consequently, you have the opportunity to reach an audience you might not have using traditional display advertising, only accessed via a desktop computer.

4. Relationship Building

People have a deep connection with and dependency upon their mobile devices now more than ever. You can use this to your advantage by creating a responsive ad campaign that connects intimately with customers to meets their expectations. This low-pressure advertising will garner repeat customers for your business, while allowing a casual, friendly relationship.

5. 2014 Mobile Advertising Results and 2015 Predictions

As of January 2014, 58% of adults own a smartphone; 32% own an e-reader; and 42% own a tablet. Needless to say, it would greatly benefit your Houston business to take advantage of mobile display advertising, as the mobile market is expected to generate $400 billion dollars in sales by 2015 compared to $139 billion in 2012.

recent study has revealed that 50.1% of spending on paid search ads and SEO efforts will go towards mobile advertising in 2015. It is predicted that 76.7% of search spend will go to mobile marketing by 2018.

The idea that your ads can go straight to your customers’ phones is not surprising, yet can make a significant difference, almost immediately for your business. The caveat to this success, however, is to make sure you plan and prepare your mobile display advertising plan correctly and efficiently, while understanding the benefits of such marketing choices and responsive design.

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Houston Marketing Moguls: Recognizing Suzan Sherburn

1-Suzan_Sherburn_12_20_04_v2On behalf of Cox Media Group Houston, I’m pleased to publish the inaugural interview for our Marketing Moguls feature section by highlighting a dear friend of mine – Suzan Sherburn – who also happens to be a rock star in the marketing world.

Suzan comes from a background steeped in corporate branding, marketing and sponsorship’s. Her views are always based on broad knowledge and experience – which makes her one of those credible experts you know has gone through it before. When Suzan talks – we listen. Enjoy.

Meet Suzan Sherburn – Associate Director, Global Branding and Sponsorship’s

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

Maintains 25 years+ experience in marketing and communications positions within the financial, high-tech, transportation and health care industries.

CMG: How did you wind up in sales/marketing?

SS: I ended up in marketing because I couldn’t find a teaching job.  After grad school, I moved to Los Angeles to continue teaching English as a second language. I had previously taught ESL at the University of North Texas and at the American Cultural Center in Alexandria, Egypt.  When I landed in LA, I got a job at Glendale Federal Bank as an advertising copywriter just to pay the bills.  I realized I had a knack for business communications and so I never went back to teaching.

CMG: Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why? 

SS: I would not be where I am today in my career without the unconditional love and support from my family.  Whether it’s working late, travelling out of town on business, changing jobs, or relocating, my husband and son have always been my biggest cheerleaders.

CMG: What in your marketing experience are you most proud of? 

SS: I was on the core team that led the rebranding of UPS in 2001.  Getting to completely rebrand a company the size of UPS was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I learned so much about the business and the complexities of changing a logo on everything from airplanes and trucks to uniforms and packaging.  After working in secret for 18 months, the best part was when we finally revealed the brand strategy and seeing UPSers, customers and partners embrace the new direction. 

CMG: Where do you come up with your most creative ideas? 

SS: I usually do my best creative thinking when I’m reading about others’ ideas and innovations. It gets me thinking about how I could take that concept or product and apply it to what I’m doing.  I try to read a variety of web sites, blogs, novels, and magazines across multiple industries and topics.  Right now I’m reading several golf publications to get ideas for a golf sponsorship.  I also share what I’m reading and learning with my colleagues which often sparks creative conversations.

CMG: One word that describes you? 

SS: Purposeful

CMG: In the Houston business world – what do you want to be remembered for?

SS: Helping others succeed and make connections.  I love it when I can connect two colleagues and they end up collaborating on some level.  In fact, an associate at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo connected me with Cox Media.  And now I’m being featured in their marketing blog!

CMG: What is one hard lesson you’ve learned about marketing?

SS: You may have the greatest idea in the history of marketing, but if the decision makers aren’t buying it, it’s dead in the water.  So, be well prepared when pitching ideas.  The follow-up lesson is that if your idea is shot down, don’t waste time sulking.  Have a drink with a friend to mourn the loss and then move on to your next great idea.

CMG: How do you integrate your marketing efforts? Can you give us an example? 

SS: Marketing can be so specialized these days.  You’ve got one group doing traditional advertising, one doing social media and another doing sponsorships.  While everyone usually sees the value in integrating efforts, it’s still a challenge to get teams to work together and “open their borders.” 

One way I’ve been able to integrate our sponsorship efforts was to form a cross-functional team, made up from staffers from communications, development, corporate alliances, community relations and marketing. We meet regularly to brainstorm ideas, address third-party requests, and approve strategies.  Everyone is expected to participate and be accountable.  Once a sponsorship event has concluded, we publish an executive summary that highlights efforts of the entire team.  I think our team understands that our collective efforts make for a bigger story and certainly has more impact with our target audiences.

CMG: Do you have any tips or best practices for measuring ROI?

SS: Determine what you want to measure before you activate. Then create a process for capturing the data. For example, if you have a team, you might delegate one metric to each person to be responsible for and then give them a timeframe for reporting back to you for the final summary report.

CMG: What is your secret weapon?

SS: As one colleague recently said to me, “You take work seriously, but not yourself.”  Being approachable, keeping it real and injecting humor is my secret to developing great work relationships

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Don’t Waste Your Digital Marketing Dollars on Popular Keywords for PPC

Digital marketing, and specifically Pay-Per-Click (PPC) in Houston, can get expensive if you are competing with national brands. To go head-to-head with the ‘Big Guys’ over popular keywords can be a budgetary disaster for smaller businesses.

The Big Guys will always win because of the size of their budgets. However, the ‘Little Guys’ can carve out an affordable strategy by targeting less popular long-tail key phrases. These phrases, although less popular, are more powerful because they resonate with the consumer at the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT.)

What’s the ZMOT?

The ZMOT is the moment when the consumer has decided, consciously or unconsciously, to find what they need and buy it. This person searches quite differently from someone who just wants general information about a subject. They have a pressing need and an immediate desire to fulfill it.

Imagine you are selling a book for parents of toddlers. You want to find the key words, or phrases to bid on that will have the biggest impact. If you target the word “parenting,” you are going to run through your budget very quickly because it is a popular keyword. The people searching for this very general term probably aren’t trying to solve a pressing need.

Less competitive phrases can be more powerful.

Contrast this to a Houston mother who is searching “how to get my toddler to sleep through the night in her own bed.” This is a much less competitive key phrase, but it is much more powerful. If you can provide this person a solution to their pressing need, they are very likely to take action on it. You have found them at their Zero Moment of Truth.

PPC best practices allow smaller companies can focus on less competitive key phrases that have a stronger impact. There is no need to break the bank with Houston PPC. By targeting these key phrases that consumers use when in a buying state, the Little Guys can attract more business without wasting money trying to compete with the Big Guys.

3 Different Examples of Marketing ROI

For many Houston businesses, the purpose and goal of any successful marketing endeavor is to have measurable ROI. But, there’s another side to marketing that often gets ignored in this great push for everything to be about dollar and cents – creating lasting impressions, getting people through the door, getting the phone to ring, driving traffic to your company blog, or making sure people know your brand’s name and message.

A powerful marketing message can give lasting impressions, staying in people’s psyche for months (or even years) to come. Below are some examples we can learn from:

1. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches Campaign

A really great example of the type of impression a marketing campaign can leave is the Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign, which had a recent ad in 2013 via a series of YouTube videos. The video consisted of several women being asked to describe themselves while an FBI forensic artist used these descriptors to draw them (individually) from behind a divider. These women were also paired with eachother and asked to get acquainted. They were then asked to describe their other woman for the artist – and another drawing was created for each person. Finally, each woman took a look at the images – one image based on their own description, and the other image based on another woman’s perception. The women were taken aback by the differences in how they described themselves versus how others perceived them.

The goal of this campaign wasn’t to sell Dove, or even to promote Dove’s numerous products – it was simply to address an issue that Dove saw in its own demographic while focusing on its core message: beauty and women.

2. The Walking Dead Promotion in South Africa

While lesser known, another great example took place in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2011. It was a marketing attempt to get more people interested in watching the second season of the wildly popular The Walking Dead. During the trailer for a romantic comedy, an actor dressed up in zombie make-up was sent into the theater as the trailer played. Then toward the end, the lead actress pulled out her gun, effectively “killing” the zombie (from the movie screen!) before rolling a promo for the next season.

3. Nonprofit Builds Awareness

Another interactive campaign took place in Vancouver in 2008, when Rethink Communications created an ad for Offsetters, a nonprofit group that encourages people to reduce their carbon emissions. Its ad consisted of hanging life rafts throughout the city alongside office buildings with the words “Stop Global Warming” underneath. Additionally, lifeguards were positioned around the city and park benches equipped with life jackets to further illustrate what would happen if people didn’t work harder to prevent global warming.

Understanding How to Measure Your Marketing ROI

Each of these marketing campaigns are extraordinarily different – from nonprofits to television shows – but they each had a core concept: getting their message out, getting people to interact with their message in a very non-traditional way. Each also used a different medium that you wouldn’t normally expect in a way that is extremely memorable.

Successful marketing doesn’t have to be – and isn’t always – about a direct sale; not right away at least. In fact, marketing ROI comes in many forms. Your first goal should be to get your audience engaged. Get them inspired by a unique approach to advertising and messaging that breaks through the clutter. Show them that you’re keen on what matters to them. Build that bond. Create a lasting impression and be patient for what’s to come as a result: revenue.

Houston Businesses: Here’s How To Lose Business

apples_and_orangesI’m a month short of my wedding date and the past ten months of planning taught me a lot about super important things like…the seasonality of peonies…what navy, non-metallic, ecru linen stationary (with gold printing) looks like…the best website to order custom tartan swatches in a 10oz wool weight…and the fact that the wedding industry is pretty much a racket. (No offense wedding folks – I get it. We all gotta make a living.)

However – this blog isn’t about where to find the best priced designer bridesmaid dresses (ahem The Wedding Shoppe). It’s about what factors helped me narrow down the list of vendors by category – to ensure I had the best professionals on my team – from the cake artist down to the tailor I trusted with my gown alterations.

With so many different businesses touting like products and price points, the process of narrowing it all down at first appeared incredibly overwhelming. But when I got into the decision making I found it wasn’t so bad after all. There were five, distinct qualities I used to evaluate vendors, regardless of industry. And these five criteria are exactly what your target consumers use as a part of any buying decision.

My message here is directed to all Houston business professionals who are responsible for any of the following… I strongly encourage you pay heed – I GUARANTEE your consumers are:

1. Have a mobile-friendly site.

I must’ve made about 90% of my decisions based on research conducted on my iPad while I watched Homeland. If I was constantly pinching at my screen to select an option from a drop down – forget it. It’s 2014. I’m used to mobile-friendly sites and I expect it. So do your consumers.

2. Respond to my emails – like – right away.

I’m likely reaching out to more than one of you in that same category so being responsive is probably the best way to make a first impression – especially if we’re talking similar product selection and pricing (according to me – the customer.) You may think you’re the best – but I don’t know that just yet.

3. Give me ideas.

You’re the expert. Tell me what I should be thinking about. Ask me probing questions. Be innovative. Be creative.  I’m looking for you to tell me what types of hydrangea you recommend for a bouquet.  I’m a Director of Marketing Services – not an expert in floral design. If I knew how to put a bouquet of hydrangea together – I sure as heck wouldn’t pay a mortgage payment for you to do it.

4. What if it were your money?

Again – I get it. We’re all about making a buck. However – if you’ve got a customer in your doors who is already spending money – offering add-ons for added-value or at a discounted rate will go farther than you can even imagine. Mention these up front. Hot leads are easily schmoozed.

On this same note – don’t be a miser. If someone brings in an expired coupon or mentions an offer you no longer have…honor it. I commend you for having an engaged consumer who saved the direct mailer and forgot to use it sooner.Who cares?  Here’s a great opportunity to woo and win a client – forever.

BTW – everyone loves to talk about the savings they received. How fun is it to say you paid full price for anything? No one likes to feel like a schmuck. If you’ve got room in your margins…give us a break. Great way to get us to spread the word.

5. Google yourself.

Because I’m DEFINITELY Googling you. What comes up? In a competitive business environment – when I’m about to spend money with any new vendor – I’m looking for four stars and higher. You got less than that? May be a good idea to start focusing on how to raise those ratings – immediately.

So – if you’re a Houston business looking to win customers now – and you see yourself losing customers because of any one of the five reasons above…you definitely need to start making some changes.

And if you’re not sure – think about what goes through your mind the next time you’re trying to purchase 100, seven-hour, unscented, white tea-lights from a Houston candle company on your iPad…because you prefer to give a local guy a chance…but it takes you a full minute and a half to figure out how to add the quantity to your “shopping cart”?

Here’s what you say:  Meh. I can find these on Amazon.

Yep. Easy. And done.

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5 Ways SEO Helps Your Business Get Found Online

seo_image_graphicWhat is SEO? You probably already know this, but just in case… it is an abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, the practice of making content easily recognizable by search engines. In simplest terms, SEO helps webmasters, businesses, and individuals reach their online goals.

So what does this mean for you? As a business owner in Houston, SEO will bring you more customers and sales. Here are some things to know about SEO in Houston that can help your business:

1. SEO Increases Visibility, Credibility and Branding

You want to be at the top of the search engine results. However, the old phrase “build it and they will come” does NOT apply to the internet. This is where SEO plays a vital role: it allows you to the keywords you want rank for in search engines. There are plenty of SEO tools that allow you to designate keywords, and can even track the amount of times a keyword appears in content, a.k.a. keyword density.

Repeated occurrences in search results also builds familiarity, which builds credibility. It’s a simple fact of psychology that the more someone sees something, the more he or she will formulate a positive opinion of it.

The more your website shows up in search results, the more people will see it. The more it shows up, the better the branding for your company.

2. SEO Drives Traffic to Your Site

Traffic is the lifeblood of online marketing. And while traffic alone does not make sales, would you rather have your business in downtown Houston or out in the middle of nowhere? It’s the same thing online: the more people you can drive to your site, the more sales you will have. Once you get a healthy amount of traffic, you can evolve your website to help convert those visitors into customers.

3. SEO Gives Insight Into Your Customers

SEO also allows you track traffic with tools like Google Analytics. This is the bread and butter of any internet marketer in Houstonr, as it gives invaluable data and metrics that give you an inside look at your customers. Google Analytics allows you to know what languages they use, the region they live in, how they search, how they browse, and every other kind of demographic information.

4. SEO is a Long-Term Strategy

SEO can deliver results in a short period of time, but it pays dividends in the long term as well. Backlinking, blogging, and other good SEO practices will last for a very long time. Even after you stop your SEO efforts, you will still gain the benefits of links to your site, and the high ranking in search engine results.

5. SEO is an Investment, Not a Cost

SEO has one of the highest ROI’s of any marketing expense. When coupled with analytics, SEO will provide you with the information you need to improve conversion rates for your website. For instance, you may find that certain keywords convert better than other keywords, even in you rank further back in the search engine results.

The top three spots on the first page of search results get the most amount of traffic, and can provide a huge return on just a modest investment.

There’s No Time Like the Present

Now that you know what SEO can do for you, you should get started on implementing your marketing strategy to reach Houstonians online. If you are a DIY kind of person, then sign up for a Google Analytics account and start researching.

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3 Reasons Why SEO Can’t be Your Only Online Marketing Strategy

analyticsThe importance of incorporating SEO into your Houston online marketing strategy cannot be underestimated. Millions of Houston residents turn to the internet on a daily basis to find local companies that can supply products and services that they need. If your business website is not prominently listed for industry-related and localized keywords, then chances are you are missing out on reaching a lot of potential customers. However, SEO can’t be your only online marketing strategy. We’re about to explain why. But first, let’s discuss what we mean when we talk about SEO.

What is SEO and How Does it Work?

There are literally tens of thousands of websites on any given topic. When a person searches for a particular keyword (i.e. “discount appliances in Houston”), Google provides a long list of answers. However, statistics show that 90% of search engine users do not look past the answers on the first page. For this reason, it is important for a company to do everything possible (and ethical) to be on the first page of search engine results.

There are many ways in which Google determines how well a site should rank. Some factors that influence this decision are:

  • The number of inbound links a site has (that is, the number of other sites linking to yours)

  • The quality of inbound links, i.e. what type of sites are linking to your site

  • The relevancy of your site to the topic in question (this is why having content pertaining to the right topics on your site is very important)

  • Your website’s bounce rate (that is, how long people stay on your website)

  • The number of indexed pages your site has

  • Whether people are sharing your website and content on social media

If you are not familiar with how to optimize your site for search engines and all this sounds pretty foreign to you, then employing the services of a Houston SEO company can be a good idea. These types of experts can ensure that your site is properly optimized at all times so that it can earn a high position in Google and other major search engines.

However, SEO cannot be your only strategy for reaching customers via the internet. Following are three important reasons why.

1. Search engines will not buy your products.

What matters in the end is not how many people visit your website but how many of these people turn into paying customers. For this reason, your site must appeal to real people, not just search engines. SEO tactics such as keyword stuffing may temporarily boost your site’s ranking. However, they will turn away potential customers. What’s more, Google will catch on and demote your site’s standing.

2. Google is continually updating its algorithms.

Many SEO tactics that worked well yesterday do not work today, as Google continually changes the manner in which it ranks websites. However, if your website appeals to people and not just search engines, your traffic will grow as a result of referrals.

This is yet another reason why hiring experts for your SEO services is important. They should be knowledgable and up to date on the lateste agorithm changes and content marketing trends that will help you get found online, while also tying this with your other online marketing efforts.

3. Visitors’ behavior has a big bearing on your site’s ranking.

As was noted above, website bounce rate has an impact on your site’s standing in Google. If website visitors come to your site, visit various pages and are clearly engaged, this will boost your site’s standing. However, the only way to keep visitors on your web page is to provide something of value and showcase it in a customer-friendly light. Your website must have clear navigation, useful calls to action, relevant content, and be optimized for mobile.

In summary, contrary to what some experts have stated, SEO is neither dead nor a thing of the past. It can help boost your website’s standing in Google and enable you to reach customers you could not reach otherwise. However, it is important to realize that, when all is said and done, your site is for potential customers and not search engines. Make sure your content and website layout is people friendly as well as SEO friendly and you will get the results you are after.

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A 101 On Why Social Media Marketers Should Use Instagram

how_to_write_and_effective_blog_post

So what is this Insta-picture, photo, candy gram business anyway? The social media network you’re referring to is properly named Instagram, and if you don’t know about it, it’s time that you learn.

Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media networks on the scene in Houston and around the world. It provides viewers with a constant stream of photos from people that they choose to follow, updating constantly throughout the day as people continue to post more and more.

Why does it work for online marketers in Houston? The same reason that photos are the most popular item on Facebook. People want to visualize. They want to actually see what people are doing, wearing, selling, and boasting about. As social media continues to grow, words are becoming less and less important, and photos are taking the forefront. Instagram caters to just that.

So where’s the appeal? It’s just photos, what’s in it for me? When uploading photos to Instagram, you can add filters to them, crop them, angle them, add a border and basically ‘Photoshop’ them up to make them the best photos that they can be. Cue the ‘likes’ people! Each photo ‘like’ and comment increases your views on the network by sharing to other users. That’s not all. Not only can you upload photos for all of your followers to view, but now you can even upload 15 second videos right to your feed.

Even better? The videos can be pulled from the storage in your phone and be cut and merged together into a single 15 second clip. That’s right, you don’t have to record directly into the Instagram platform. This gives users endless opportunities to edit whatever they need to cater to their audience.

Once you’ve posted something, you can then choose to share it to all your other social accounts with just one click. Instagram allows its users to link to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, AND Flickr! All you have to do is select which accounts you want to share with, hit “post” and voila, you have now shared one picture/video to numerous other social networks. Are you seeing the endless marketing opportunities yet?

Instagram has even started to experiment with sponsored posts, one of the most popular sponsors being Michael Kors. We all know that clothing genius, and if you don’t, I guarantee your girlfriend does. Why would Instagram do this? For the same reason Facebook and Twitter have allowed users to now sponsor and pay money to further the success of a post… MARKETING.

The fact that Instagram has now realized its marketing potential should not be overlooked. If you are looking to jump on the train, now is the time. Instagram will continue to grow in success and you want your Houston-based company to establish itself in this photo realm before it becomes swallowed by the corporate sponsor giants.

So what’s the hitch? Instagram runs mainly off of mobile devices/tablets. Although the site instagram.com is accessible on a desktop and laptop computer and allows you to ‘like’ and comment on photos, you cannot actually load a photo to the network unless it is through a mobile device/tablet.

Has this put a dent in the company? Instagram is so far from hurting.  “The mobile app boasts over 50 million users, despite only living in iOS and Android devices. Instagram launched on Android just this year and it quickly earned 5 million downloads in six days. Its success caught the eye of the most valuable social network in the world. Facebook acquired Instagram in April for $1 billion.” (Mashable.com)

The biggest social media network in the world has bought them out! “Instagram’s presence on the web has improved enormously in the last year. You can now use the web version to do just about everything — edit your profile, comment and like photos, discover and follow other users — except upload pictures and videos.” (Mashable.com)

Instead of hurting themselves with this move, Instagram is working overtime to ensure that they are exclusive so their idea and also one of the most popular and current social media networks to date.

Setting up an account is very easy, if you can’t figure it out our friends over at Mashable have given a very nice step-by-step “Beginner’s Guide” to Instagram here.

My parting words… Get on it. Don’t be a fool, Instagram is where it’s at. Get your company on it. The best part? You don’t need to spend hours updating it. It IS possible to overshare on Instagram. Users who post too much do have a higher “unfollow” rate. This means that starting off, your company only needs to post once a day, or a few times a week at that. We can’t make this much easier for you. If you aren’t Instagramming, you’re losing.

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Houston Marketing Moguls: Leroy Shafer

Check out these video interviews to learn more about the marketing creative, integrating marketing decisions, and branding behind one of Houston’s best known events!

His decision behind 2014’s marketing creative:

 

Their 2014 digital, mobile, and social integrated marketing plan:

 

How to get respect in Houston:

 

Marketing tactics and strategies:

Why Cost Per Point Doesn’t Matter

helloPlanning media budgets is one of the most difficult aspects of marketing your business in Houston. Although you want to get your name and message out to the masses, you also don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a marketing strategy which includes advertising that doesn’t yield any results. In the past, many Houston businesses relied on cost per point (CPP) calculations to help them to reach their target audience, but even this isn’t a fool-proof method. So what should you do? In this post we will explore how to get the most out of media budgets and advertising in Houston by saying ‘goodbye’ to CPP, and ‘hello’ to market research and analysis.

Cost Per Point is a Flawed System

In theory, CPP should be a great tool for planning media budgets. And in fact, CPP can be effective when doing large, cross-market buys that don’t need to be targeted to a specific audience, which is why many ad agencies still use this as part of their media buying analysis. In reality, however, it’s really just another stab in the dark.

Basically, CPP represents that amount of money that you will need to spend in order to reach 1% of your targeted audience. In media jargon, this 1% is referred to as one “rating point” (sometimes abbreviated to GRP for “gross rating points.”) As an example, let’s say that your target audience is 94,000 people, and your CPP for a specific TV or radio station is $12. This would indicate that it will cost you $12 in order to reach 940 people at one time.

Sounds great, right? Unfortunately, there’s a problem with the system. The truth is that CPP cannot ensure that you will reach 940 different people at one time, or just a single person 940 times. And that’s a big problem. Ultimately, the best use for CPP is to treat it only as a cost comparison tool. CPP can tell you how much you will need to spend in order to (theoretically) reach your designated market audience (DMA) for various media platforms.

In this way, you can start to work out your media budgets with an idea in mind of how much it will cost you to advertise on radio station X vs TV station Y. Beyond this, however, CPP will not provide any added value to your marketing campaign, and relying upon it could result in lost dollars and sales.

Market Research Provides Solid Answers

If you want to get the most out of your media budgets in Houston, you’ve got to find concrete, accurate answers to questions like:

  • Who is receiving your message?
  • How often is your message being received?
  • How well is your message being understood?
  • How is your audience responding to your message?
  • Which media platforms are yielding the best results for your message?

Which brings us to yet another question: How can you obtain the best answers for these important questions? The solution is through incorporating market research and analysis into your media budgets and typically your media partners should be able to provide you with free, unbiased market research as well. If they aren’t you might want to ask yourself why.

Market research can help you to determine the reach of your advertisement (or how many people are hearing your message at one time,) and how frequently the message is being transmitted. It can also help you to study the outcome of your marketing campaign. You may consider working with a firm that specializes in testing how much of your ad that your Houston audience has understood, the impact it has made, or the audience ability to recall the message a day after viewing or listening to it. All of this is essential to ensuring that your message is not only seen or heard, but that it is actually absorbed by your DMA. After all, this is what will compel your consumer base to make a buying decision and drive sales.

The moral here is that if you’ve got a great market research team, CPP doesn’t matter. Spend your media budgets wisely — on analysis which will yield actual results.