The Reno-Tahoe AMA’s annual marketing workshop is one of my favorite local marketing events to attend each year, and this year’s event did not disappoint! Below follows a brief recap of the presentations and key lessons learned from the day, which included:
- Tips for transforming your business into a lead-generating machine
- Tricks for achieving higher search results rankings through an informed content strategy
- Advice for monitoring and responding to what’s being said about your brand in the digital marketplace, i.e. defending your brand’s reputation online
How to Systematically Generate Leads for Your Company
Frank Cowell, president of the San Diego-based agency Elevator, kicked off the event with a highly energizing talk about systematic lead generation. Using gold mining as an analogy, he talked about his gold miner method for producing systematic, quality leads that can be tracked and optimized via the following seven step process:
What I enjoyed most about Cowell’s presentation is that he clearly explained marketing’s role in helping to systematically drive leads for a business, and he also provided actionable steps for integrating these ideas . Cowell also covered the importance of understanding buyer personas, and offered plenty of “nugget-sized” tips throughout his presentation to get people motivated and excited about the process of lead generation. View the full presentation here.
Demystifying SEO > How to Dominate Search Rankings
Next up to share their knowledge at this event was Eric Bergman, Director of Client Services at the leading global SEO company, BrightEdge. Bergman shared many facts and tidbits about how to effectively use content to leverage search rankings, as informed by his company’s experience working with 1,300+ global customers that include brands like 3M, Adobe, Microsoft, VMWare, Nike, Macy’s, Wyndham, Marriott, Groupon, Audi, Monster Energy, and more.
What struck a chord with me personally was the statistic that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now online: what that means is if you’re a business without an effective SEO strategy then you’re simply being left out of the online conversation. Bergman talked about the fact that brands today are spending more than ever on content. For example:
- Coca-cola now spends more on content creation than on TV
- Nestle has an editorial team of 20 that produces content every day, and
- Red Bull employs 135 people just for its media house
Bergman also touched on the process of awareness, intent, consideration, and decision-making, and how marketers can be more effective at each stage of the buyer’s journey through an informed content strategy:
In short, by following a few simple steps as outlined in Eric’s presentation, you can quickly scout your competition, find gaps in the market, and devise strategies to increase your organic search rankings (which make up the majority of links that are clicked on) for increased exposure.
Proactive Crisis Communications Planning
The University of Nevada, Reno’s own Todd Felts wrapped up the event with an energetic presentation about the importance of effectively handling crisis communications in the digital age. Felts shared a personal story from his younger years, when he was the PIO for a large zoo, which he used as a case study for how to effectively handle crisis communications. In short, an elephant drowned in front of hundreds of people and live television cameras. Though it was later determined that the elephant had died of a heart attack, it was up to him to manage the communications crisis that unfolded during a period of chaos, as well as to protect the brand.
In addition to having worked as a PIO for a large zoo, Felts has also served as press secretary and speechwriter for Governor Jim Hunt of North Carolina, as well as director of community relations for the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Aside from sharing info about about how to respond to a crisis in real-time on behalf of a brand, Felts also talked about the need to research and identify rumors, which can serve as a precursor to a larger crisis. To fight rumors, Felts suggested:
- Uncover where the rumor originated
- Disseminate to public accurate information and do NOT mention the rumor itself
In the end, it all goes back to having an active strategy for both offensively and defensively protecting your brand when things don’t go as planned. Having a solid crisis communications plan in place can make or break your brand’s perception.