Monday, March 10, 2014

Understanding Copyright Protection:
Part of Your Marketing Efforts

Most people know the U.S. government’s copyright provides a form of protection to authors, dramatists, composers, and other artists for their original works in print, digital, or other forms. But it’s important for businesses planning event marketing to understand that copyright protection may also extend to the use of written content, images, videos, and graphics in their online presence and print use, including the content in websites, printed material, and tradeshows. At the same time, companies and organizations must avoid copying and using the copyrighted material of others, or they could face legal consequences.


In their summary of copyright protection, the Copyright Clearance Center says that sharing published reports, articles, photos, and other information found online can have implications and put a business at risk of infringement. Businesses can avoid costly surprises in several ways.
   
Protect your original work. This refers to written, recorded, or digital work including the descriptions, explanations, and illustrations of your devices, systems, or methods. This protection may include a fee. In the digital age, your work can be more easily copied than ever before. It could be more cost-effective to pay a fee for the protection of a copyright, trademark, or service mark than to lose unknown amounts of income because you did not obtain such protection.

Avoid copyright infringement. Learn about what is and is not protected by copyright. Train your employees to be aware of the potential for copyright infringement and provide them with up-to-date links to copyright information, including www.copyright.gov and www.copyright.com.
   
Consider trademark protection. A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others. A service mark is used for the source of a service rather than goods. Using the TM or SM symbols for your mark alerts the public that you claim rights in the mark, but does not provide the legal protection of a federal trademark registration. (Learn more at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office website at http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks.)

For more information about NM Marketing, visit us at Chicago branding agency.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Three Marketing "Must Dos" for 2014

If you do nothing else this year to boost sales and generate leads, do the following three things:

1.    Implement Search Engine Optimization so prospects will find you.
2.    Revise your website copy for keywords and phrases so your web copy is relevant to your prospect’s information needs.
3.    Implement a monthly email program to create Top of Mind Awareness for your company.

marketing must dos for 2014


If you need help with any of these, NM Marketing Communications (NMMC), LLC can help. We are a leading business-to-business marketing firm serving clients nationally and internationally from our headquarters in suburban Chicago. We are an ideal choice to be your marketing firm because:

•    Google currently rates us No. 1 for B2B marketing planning and auditing services.
•    We are experienced in industrial and event marketing.
•    We know how to get results for our clients

But it isn’t enough to take your marketing to next level if you don’t take your business up a notch. As you move forward into 2014, consider how you will make your company more attractive to prospects.
1.    What three things will you do to improve quality?
2.    What three things will you do to improve service?
3.    What three things will you do to justify a price increase?

May I suggest that you throw these challenges at your management team for discussion… more importantly… for action.

For more ideas on how to build your business in 2014, call or email NMMC at 847.657.6011 or info@nmmarketingbiz.com

Monday, January 20, 2014

How to Improve Your Business Reach Resolutions for 2014: Your Marketing Communications Checklist & Toolkit


It’s that time again—the start of a new year.  Time to think about what you can do better than last year.  The point when business people make plans to improve their outlook, financial and otherwise.  And time to ask, what can you do to enhance your marketing and promotion efforts in 2014?

As with any resolution for self-improvement, a reality check can help guide your progress.  Some timely questions to ask include:
  • Has our marketing been effective in the past?  If not, why not?
  • How can we generate new sales and attract customers?
  • How can we communicate and interact with clients so they will return?
  • Is our marketing content up-to-date, consistent, and relevant to our audience?
A successful B2B and B2c marketing plan is built with multiple components.  NM Marketing Communications, LLC (NMMC) recommends the following are part of your 2014 marketing toolkit.

A search engine optimized/navigation friendly website
Is your company website inviting and informative?  Does your content establish your expertise, superior product, credibility, and reliability?  Content should be clear, direct, and informative.  Rather than only pitching your products or services, the successful website enables a buyer to become a better-informed and more loyal customer and raving fan.

Print collateral, direct mail & social media
Print material remains an important and practical marketing tool in the digital age.  When designed to be consistent with an online presence and your company branding, print collateral, direct mail and social media, it provides a positive introduction to your company for a targeted audience.

Ongoing networking activities
The well-known adage “Eighty percent of success is showing up,” attributed to comic Woody Allen, could be a networking mantra.  Seek out the groups associated with your business or industry segments.  Attend industry events and meetings.  Be visible: Showcase your company.  Showcase your capabilities/products/services.

Trade shows budgeting/planning
The best trade show exhibits are carefully planned.  Elements of a successful exhibit include informative content, preparation of materials, coordination, and logistics, and the means to carry on an interactive and ongoing communications program with buyers and customers once the tabletop exhibition or trade show has ended.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
The aim of CRM is to improve customer satisfaction; because of a satisfied customer is a repeat customer.  CRM involves a multifaceted approach to winning customers.  NMMC helps companies better understand CRM, including tips for learning how to increase customer loyalty, training employees to ensure exceptional customer service, making customer service consistent, and using marketing and online search tools to target and track customer satisfaction.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Customers Want Information Before Buying:
Why Content Marketing Works

The Internet has changed the buyer/seller dynamic. Surveys show that most people go online to research and evaluate products and services. They view video demonstrations, read company website articles, and search other online forms of information. This is true whether they’re thinking about buying a computer, a car or metal castings, as reported in the recent LINKS’ magazine feature article prepared by NM Marketing Communications (NMMC) for the North American Die Casting Association, Arlington Heights, IL.


B2B marketers use content marketing to take advantage of online marketing to:
            Build awareness
            Engage their target audiences
            Position their client company as an industry leader
            Create trust
            Make the sale

The following are some of the content forms that build awareness:
            Articles
            Video demonstrations
            E-Newsletters
            Industry research/analysis white papers
            Press releases

Once the customer is engaged, your company can provide product catalogs, customer case studies, tutorials, “how to” guides, and testimonials, usually through your website, LinkedIn or Facebook pages, and similar methods. One especially useful tool is a Resource Center on the company website. Prospective customers can go to the Resource Center to find basic and more technical information in article categories. Along the way, the customer is encouraged to contact the company for more information. These inquiries are priceless—often leading the customer to decide on a final purchase.

Content marketing can drive revenue because it builds demand through awareness and engagement. NMMC helps its manufacturing and professional services clients understand the needs of their target audience, produces the right kinds of content to meet those needs, and uses the best channels to reach prospective buyers.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Messages Make an Impact

Christmas is a magical time for children. A recent promotion I received reminded me about the innocent wonder of children as they wait for the big day. The e-mail promotion offered an official, personalized letter from Santa for a mere $19.99. Santa’s letter would also include a list of who was on Santa’s “nice” list, reassuring the youngsters that there would be presents under the tree.  I’m sure that even though the letter was unexpected, the message made an impact.
Thinking about Santa’s letter made me wonder how may B2B customers look forward to your messages during the holidays.  B2B marketers often reduce their efforts during the holidays because they believe executives and purchasing decision makers will be distracted by family celebrations, end-of-the year planning and similar events.  Some recent research by Eloqua casts a new light on that thinking, at least as far as e-mail marketing is concerned.



As you would expect, B2C e-mail marketing jumped during November and December, while the number of messages declined for B2B.  What’s surprising, though, is that the B2B messages are more effective during the holidays. The number of page views for those messages takes a 13% jump in November and December when compared to the rest of the year.  It’s a good reminder that a properly focused message can have a great deal of impact when you’d least expect it.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3 Tips for Branding Success

Branding is a very hot topic.  It seems like everywhere you turn, marketing and communications media are talking about the importance of branding for companies and individuals.  Yet with all the emphasis on ways to build a strong, successful brand it’s amazing how a few common mistakes can quickly destroy your brand.  I was reminded of this fact while reading a recent article on Ragan.com, “25 ways to screw up your brand,” by Shanna Mallon.

Reading the many blunders she describes, several common threads emerge. A slip-up in any of these key areas can destroy your brand as easy as 1, 2, 3.  Here are the three major elements of branding success.

Be Distinctive

Branding is the way you define your company or product.  Creating the proper perception is critical, and is affected by everything from the brand’s name to what market segments you pursue.

Be Consistent

Once you’ve identified what makes your brand distinctive, communicate that message consistently to internal and external audiences.

Be Responsive

The rapid growth of social media has made it more important than ever to be responsive to customers.

For more details on how these elements affect your brand, see the Viewpoint article “Brand Destruction is Simple as 1, 2, 3.”

Friday, July 6, 2012

Does Your Brand Really Matter?

Brand MarketingMany B2B companies or service businesses struggle with the concept of their brand.  Some organizations think of their brand only at the most rudimentary level – as a combination of logo, colors, design and taglines that they might use on their website or printed materials.  Others may have a deeper understanding that branding extends to the company’s personality, price, service and customer interactions. 

But however they consider their brand, many B2B organizations think that branding is something that’s only important for well-known, nationally advertised consumer products.  Granted, major consumer products companies can invest a lot of marketing dollars to reinforce their image.  But even without that advantage, companies should pay careful attention to their brand.

That’s because in one sense, perhaps the most important sense, a brand is a promise.  As Lois Geller explains in “Why A Brand Matters,” (Forbes.com, May 23) when you think of some top brands, such as McDonald’s Coca Cola or Apple, you immediately know what they promise.  The combination of a brand’s attributes creates an impression in the customer’s mind.  For instance, Geller says, when think of Volvo, your first thoughts are probably going to be something like “well built, comfortable, Swedish” and, most of all, “safety.”

The good news is that you don’t have to be a major company to create your own particular brand attributes.  In some respects, reinforcing a set of brand attributes for a B2B company is easier because you have a much more focused customer base. The other advantage is that you probably have more direct contact with customers, making the role of employees in reinforcing the brand vitally important. 

Employees should know what your brand stands for and what their roles are in supporting the brand. This is particularly true as social media and other communications methods have given customers methods to share their experiences – both good and bad – at light speed.  A failure to live up to a brand promise, whether through a poor sales experience or a faulty product, can quickly snowball into a full-fledged crisis of confidence among customers.  Studies by the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs show that a dissatisfied customer may tell as many as 11 people about his or her experience,
and each of them will tell others.

If your company needs to work on defining your brand’s promise, here are some questions we use with NMMC clients:
• What is your company's mission?
• What are the benefits and features of your products or services?
• What do your customers and prospects already think of your company?
• What qualities do you want them to associate with your company?

Answering these questions about your brand will pay big dividends.