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27th August 2015 0

Joe

Studying advertising and marketing at university got me interested in the communication between businesses and consumers, and I was interested in interning with Lava because I didn’t have any prior experience in marketing. I particularly enjoy writing, researching and anything creative, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity.


30th July 2015 0

Matt

Back in 2013, we wrote a series of articles for The Lincolnite looking at measuring marketing activity and return on investment. We also had a look at evaluating digital campaigns. How have things changed?


After recently writing a post about PR evaluation and the death of Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE), it got me thinking about measuring success for wider marketing campaigns.

In such a creative industry, planning and measurement is often pushed to the bottom of the pile, while actually doing is seen as a much more attractive role.

I like to think that planning and measurement are part of a journey. If you don’t know where you are, how do you know where you’re going? If you don’t know where you’re going, how do you know when you get there?

It sounds simple, but without planning campaigns and evaluating their outcomes, it’s virtually impossible to measure if your work was successful or not.

Most people think of planning and analysis as a boring, costly and long-winded, often giving the task to juniors or outsourcing it to specialists. However, measurement doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. In fact, there are a wide range of cheap or free methods that can be easily implemented and used in campaign measurement.

I’ve put together the following five ways to evaluate your marketing campaigns, to help make sure that you meet your objectives and exceed expectations.

Tracking your digital campaigns
With over 80% of the population connected to the internet, no marketing campaign can be complete without the use of social media, search engine optimization (SEO) and blogging. Tools like Google Analytics let you measure sales and conversions, giving you insights into how visitors use your site, where they enter and where they leave. The tool is completely free, easy to use and allows you to track the success of your online activity.

Tracking your advertising campaigns
Although adverts reach a large audience and therefore can often be difficult to measure, by planning it is possible to evaluate their success.

Why not add a unique URL, unique reference number or QR code to your advert. This way, you can directly track responses and customer feedback.

Tracking your public relations campaigns
Most people still use advertising value equivalent (AVE) to measure the success of PR campaigns, but thinking outside the box can help to provide more accurate feedback.

Look at the reach and circulation of your key messages, as well as the positivity of reporting. This can highlight how many people received your message and simple sales analysis can highlight how many acted upon it.

Measuring the success of your events
Although measuring footfall is the standard evaluation technique used in events management, it doesn’t highlight if your event was successful or not.

Try introducing a questionnaire and asking attendees to fill it out. By doing this, you can collect genuine feedback and gather other useful market research information.

Tracking your sales promotion campaigns
Sales promotion is a great way of increasing sales. Why not add a unique code or voucher system to your promotion? This way, you can track exactly how many customers purchased from you as a result of the promotion, helping you to plan future campaigns.

By taking time to measure the effects of your marketing, you can easily test the effectiveness of your work. It can also help inform your next move and future campaigns.


28th July 2015 0

Joe

As marketing communications specialists, we’re tasked with raising awareness of our clients’ products and services. Public relations activity, therefore, features heavily in the majority of our campaigns.

Reaching the right people at the right time with a targeted message is key, and we believe a media campaign can be the perfect way to increase brand awareness, engage audiences and build great relationships.

Whether it’s announcing the latest company news, launching a brand new product or revealing an innovative programme, keeping front of mind and reaching out to customers is all down to great media coverage.

People often ask me the secret to publicity and PR – how to take a press release and encourage top news outlets to feature the content.

The answer is simple – the perfect PR phone pitch.

Long gone are the days of emailing a press release to hundreds of reporters in a vague effort to achieve a few small news stories. Instead, you need a surefire way to get your news noticed and your company remembered.

To give you a helping hand, here’s some top tips to making the perfect PR pitch:

Cut the small talk
It’s no surprise that the typical reporter receives hundreds of PR phone calls every day. Unfortunately there’s a limit on how many times they can discuss the weather without collapsing into boredom – so keep your call concise and clear.

If you can, be sure to get the key facts across in the first 15 seconds – most importantly the who, what, where, when, why and how.

If a journalist is interested in your story, they’ll have made a decision almost straightaway. Follow this up with a well-written press release and you’re on the right track to great media coverage.

Keep it simple, stupid!
Although you may be an expert on your company, product or service, don’t expect a journalist to share the same specialist knowledge.

Just as you would write a press release, keep your pitch simple. A long speech about the latest technology or technical specifications is more likely to confuse and deter, rather than engage and entice.

Stick to the basics and focus on the benefits so that you engage with reporters, increasing the chance of seeing your news printed.

Believe in your story
There’s nothing worse than talking to a salesperson who doesn’t have any passion for their product, and it’s the same with PR – if you don’t believe in your story, neither will an editor.

However, if you show interest, enthusiasm and can demonstrate how relevant your story or idea is for readers, you’re more likely to find yourself featured in the press.

Timing
With more and more publications moving to a weekly, quarterly or annual print basis, it’s becoming ever more important to pick the perfect time to pitch.

Research the publications you want to target and know their deadlines. If the outlet goes to print on a Thursday, pitching a front-page splash on Wednesday afternoon is unlikely to be worth your while.

Planning is key, so don’t leave it to the last minute.

Don’t fall at the last hurdle
Even if you have the perfect pitch, a sloppy email or press release can be the difference between a lead story and missing out on being featured.

Grammar, spelling and syntax are essential. Proof your release, take time to send a follow-up email and make sure the publication has everything needed for a story to go to print.


23rd July 2015 0

Matt

This post was originally written for The Lincolnite news website in 2013 but it’s still all relevant to today.


Despite sustained economic growth during the first and second quarters of 2013, businesses nationwide are still faced with challenging market conditions.

In fact, with few companies reporting notable share price rises, minimal consumer spending figures and high lending charges across the UK, it seems that we have significant distance to go before reaching dry ground.

With this in mind, more and more businesses are looking towards marketing initiatives to maintain income and stay afloat. In particular, focus is being driven towards a customer-relations approach.

Although a simple principle, keeping your customers front of mind is essential to long-term business success. Long gone are the days of asymmetric communication, identifying quick leads and hard selling. Instead, focus must shift towards listening to your customers, reacting to their changing requirements, building trust and developing relationships.

Listening, however, is something often overshadowed by sales targets, promotional strategies and finance plans. But with daily reports of business bankruptcy, liquidation and administration, can you really afford not to?

Retaining Customers
There is no straightforward equation to ensure a high customer retention rate. This said, we do know that trust, confidence and self-association are all key to building emotional bonds.

Although this sounds complex, building and retaining trust is relatively simple. In fact, it should come naturally from good business practice.

Monitoring market trends and requirements, creating new and improved products and rectifying poor customer experiences is key, and, what’s more, there are a number of marketing tools that allow you to do this easily.

Here’s some of the most popular examples to get you started:

Social Media
From Facebook and Twitter to YouTube, Pinterest and blogging, social media gives a direct communications channel to engage with stakeholders, interact directly, respond to queries and monitor feedback.

Free to set up, simple to run and easy to manage, social media is one of the most effective relationship management tools.

Digital Marketing
With over 85% of the population online, 74% using email and nearly 35% owning a tablet device*, digital marketing techniques, such as infographics and e-newsletters, can provide a great way to stay in contact and build relationships.

Personalised, targeted and cost-effective, e-newsletters are a great way to keep front of mind, tell customers about the latest news and views, as well as ask for feedback. Cloud-based software, such as Mailchimp and Bronto, can distribute information free of charge, as well as provide open and click-through reports – giving useful data capture information.

Direct Mail
Developing relationships, building confidence and engaging customers relies on consistent impact and repetition.

Although historically used to advertise, direct mail is a great engagement tool. You can let customers know about the latest products, provide discount offers, give them something for nothing and easily keep front of mind.

Low cost and powerful, direct mail is still the most widely used marketing tool and a great tactic to build relationships.

Rewards
Something as simple as saying thank you can help to retain custom. From loyalty cards and vouchers to repeat purchase rewards, events and priority services, delivering a personal approach and ensuring each customer is considered a valued individual can develop strong bonds.

This can even be integrated with social media, digital marketing, direct mail and other marketing tools to ensure increase influence and ensure communications efficiency.

Although just a few ideas of customer relations tactics, the tactics above give insight into the importance of listening, rewarding, responding and actioning.


21st July 2015 0

Joe

Storytelling is part of human nature.

Whether it’s through prehistoric cave drawings, fireside folk songs or 140 Twitter characters – how we do it might have changed a bit over the years but that desire to tell the world our story is as strong now as it ever was.

The big challenge for businesses in the digital age is how to make their story stand out, with so many different ones being told in so many different places. Most of us see hundreds if not thousands of marketing messages every day – on the bus, on TV and on our Smartphones.

Book sales might be falling but storytelling through advertising and news stories is as important as ever. Developing your ability to do it well is vital. Here are five quick tips to bear in mind:

Know your audience
Who are you trying to talk to? If your answer to that question is ‘everyone’ then you need to think again. Socially, we are less homogenous now than ever – our relationships with the brands and businesses we buy from are complex and differ from person to person.

Identify your audience and research what they enjoy reading already. Then, if needs be, adapt your own writing style to suit.

Get to the point
Be clear in your own mind about the purpose of your writing and make sure it’s clear to the people reading it. Work out the important points you want to say before you start and include them early on – don’t make readers have to work for it.

The genuine article
No one likes a tall tale so make sure everything you write is authentic. You should believe in what you’re writing in the same way that a salesperson should believe in the product or service they’re selling

No-nonsense
Keep it simple and write in the same way you would talk. A good way to check you’re doing this is to read what you’ve written out loud to someone else and ask them whether it makes sense. It sounds obvious but don’t overlook it.

Be yourself
Like any good spoken story, a written one engages and entertains through the way it’s told. Bring your business’ personality into your writing. Ask yourself: ‘Would I want to read this?’ Make sure the answer is yes before you expect someone else to.

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9th July 2015 0

Matt

Lava, the integrated marketing agency, has been appointed to handle PR and social media engagement for Festival800, Lincoln’s artistic response to Magna Carta.

Organised by cultural solutions UK on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, Festival800 will offer ten days of live music, comedy, spoken word, street theatre, lectures and debate. Unlike previous celebrations of Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary, Festival800 will focus on how the document’s powers of liberty, justice and freedom of speech have shaped today’s society.

Levellers
Festival800 features an amazing array of artists set to perform in Lincoln, including the Levellers

Some of Festival800’s highlights include performances by acclaimed musicians Billy Bragg and the Levellers; author, screenwriter and comedian Shappi Khorsandi; YouTube sensation Alfie Deyes; and Poet Laureate Dame Carol Ann Duffy, DBE, FRSL. A host of national and international artists and human rights activists will also visit Lincoln for Festival800, which takes place between 28th August and 6th September.

Lava, which offers copywriting, design, PR and social media marketing services, started work this month and will provide a full press office service along with audience development and social media engagement for Festival800.

David Lambert, director of cultural solutions UK: “We’re all really excited about Festival800. It’s going to be an amazing event and we have a varied and challenging programme. We need to create an audience and raise awareness of Festival800 quickly. Lava has an incredibly strong track record of delivering impressive results for arts events and festivals – that’s why we chose to work with them. We’ve been working with them for just over a fortnight now and we’re really impressed with their understanding of our needs, their contacts and the speed at which they work. We can’t wait to see the results of their campaign.”

As well as Festival800, Lava has an impressive track record of helping festival organisers build audiences, having worked on the visit of Black/North SEAS to the UK in 2009, Lincoln Book Festival and SO Festival between 2010 and 2014.

For more information about Festival800 visit www.festival800.co.uk