How to Be Prepared for Missed Holiday Calls

Office phone
Christmas is quickly approaching, and we know what's haunting your dreams. Well, aside from a dry turkey and your visiting in-laws. No, what's really keeping you up at night is the thought of a telephone ringing in an empty office. Is it a disgruntled customer? Is it a new lead? Will they call back when you reopen on Monday?

The holidays can be a hectic time for anybody but don't let the activity on your phones be a  distraction as you spend time with friends and family. Here are a couple tips for helping you rest easy so you can enjoy the holiday.

Know How to Respond (When You Get Back)


We get it. It's Christmas Day. You just got the fire lit. Cousin Jimmy is anxious to relive his Southwest Tech State glory days playing football in the backyard. Why would you want to be worried about work when you could be enjoying the time off? Having a call tracking software can help you rest easy while you're home.

If you want to wait to respond to that ringing phone when you're open for business again, be sure you use a call tracking software that allows you to easily manage missed and after hour calls. The software should catch caller information, letting you know what number they dialed and if they're an existing customer. This way when you return, you can quickly manage the missed calls your company received while it was closed.

If You Can't Wait, There's an App for That


If playing football with way-too-excited-to-tackle-family-members Jimmy has you reaching for your smartphone, you can do more than play Candy Crush while you're hiding out in the back room. Your call tracking software should have a mobile app that gives you all the same features on the go that you would have at the desk.

The mobile app should give you the ability to manage missed and after hour calls right from your smartphone. Looking at the info captured from a missed call can help you understand what kinds of calls are coming in during the holiday break and help you prioritize the various calls. If you really want to be able to respond on the fly, have your office's calls redirect to your smartphone. Then you won't be playing catch up on Monday.

Now we know Jimmy is probably still begging you to go play football in the backyard. If you need some marketing-centric tips on a good football strategy, check out our post "What the Gridiron Can Teach Us About Marketing."

May the Force Be With Your Marketing


Obi-Wan Kenobi
Image courtesy Lucasfilm
If you didn’t know a new Star Wars movie is releasing in theaters this week, then you might have been living in a cave on Tatooine for the last few years. Even though Disney has been taking it relatively easy on the direct marketing of its shiny new franchise, it would be quite the challenge to avoid hearing about the newest chapter of the galactic saga.

We’ve been preparing our Jedi robes and Stormtrooper armor for the big premiere, and that got us thinking about some things we as marketers can learn from some of the original Star Wars characters. Whether you want your campaign to be wise and calculating like Obi-Wan Kenobi or brash and wild like Han Solo, we have some tips for using the Force when it comes to your marketing.

Han Solo


This scruffy-looking smuggler might not be especially charming, but he certainly has some suave characteristics. His bravado frequently puts him in tricky situations — whether he’s dodging bounty hunters or trying to earn Princess Leia’s affection — but he always finds a way to meet his goals.

Han Solo is like your unconventional marketing campaigns that might not always make sense at first but work out in the end. Take for example Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign. The commercials can be a bit weird, but Old Spice connected with consumers like never before because of the buzz they created. There’s always an element of risk when you do something different but there’s something lovable about those wild ideas. And when they work, they can steal the show.


Obi-Wan Kenobi


Like we said before, Obi-Wan is wise and calculating. In many ways he is the anti-Han Solo in that every decision he makes is carefully calculated. Even when he finds himself in trouble (like when he crossed lightsabers with Darth Vader in “A New Hope”) he knows the incident will serve a purpose. In the aforementioned case, he gave Han Solo and the gang time to escape, which ultimately led to the successful destruction of a deadly space station.

Making wise decisions like Obi-Wan when it comes to your marketing campaigns is a crucial part of finding success. While Obi-Wan had the Force to help guide him, you can use TFNs to track the effectiveness of your campaigns or analytics tools that track online to offline conversions so you know what campaigns are working. That knowledge can help you make wise decisions when it comes to planning future campaigns.

Princess Leia


The first movie’s damsel in distress might seem to be just that on the surface, but it became clear that she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty in the other films of the original trilogy. Leia provided leadership during the Imperial invasion of Hoth in “Empire Strikes Back” and donned a disguise in “Return of the Jedi” in an attempt to save Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt. She might be royalty, but she’s a spunky woman that gets things done.

We’re not saying your campaigns are in distress. Our point is that you can’t sit back and just expect to have great marketing success just because you had success in the past. Sometimes you’ll have to dive in and get your hands dirty with a new strategy that goes against the grain. T-Mobile’s "Un-Carrier" campaign is a perfect example of that. T-Mobile was an established cellular service provider but was losing market share before it shook things up with its campaign in 2013. They quickly became a major player in the market again and are still having success with the strategy change.

Does the new Star Wars movie have you feeling nostalgic? Check out our post “What These Digital Heroes Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing” to get another dose of your childhood.  

How Your Thanksgiving Dinner Can Improve Your Marketing Campaigns

Thanksgiving Dinner
The crackle of burning wood in the fireplace, the smell of pumpkin pie in the oven, the roar of Uncle Jim as the Cowboys score a critical fourth quarter touchdown — there are all sorts of things to love about Thanksgiving Day. Here at Who's Calling, we and our stomachs are pretty excited for the quickly approaching holiday.

You might be wondering what prepping for Thanksgiving and planning a marketing strategy have in common. Well we put together some tips that will help you understand how to impress your target audience in both arenas.

It's All About the Side Dishes


There are some pretty good methods for preparing a Thanksgiving turkey, but let's be honest — you know you're way more excited about filling your plate with gobs of mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and macaroni and cheese. That's why you need massive plates for piling up lots and lots of side dish goodness (and a couple small slices of turkey on top).

In your marketing campaigns, sure, you could just slap your main product on an ad and call it a day. But consumers don't want to feel like they're being pushed to purchase something. Try putting the emphasis on the side dishes — the little nuggets of information that compliment the product and convince customers they need it. You're not selling the turkey, you're letting the side dishes do the talking.

Don't Forget the Giblets


As the wise Julia Child would say: "Save the giblets!" We agree. Creating a marketing campaign is like prepping a turkey. There are inevitably parts that are taken out because they don't add much to the final product. Like the giblets! They're not necessary to make the turkey complete, but you can't make giblet gravy without giblets, can you? Anyway, we're not here to talk about turkey giblets, but rather the giblets of your marketing campaigns.

When you create a new campaign, it usually goes through an extensive creative process. By the time you have your final product, it may only be part of what you started with. But that doesn't mean you should throw out all the little parts that helped along the way. Those marketing giblets can be saved and simmered into a brand new campaign in the future.

Change up the Turkey


Turkey can be prepared in some amazing ways, but we've probably all had some bad Thanksgiving experiences thanks to a dry and boring main course. When it comes to planning your big dinner, why not just skip the turkey? Some people like to have a little variety and cook alternatives such as ham, pot roast or prime rib. Don't get tied down by tradition just because that's what you've always done.

Cook up some fresh campaigns and let them give your products new life. Spice things up by changing your message or upgrading your ad layouts. You can even track the effectiveness of these new ideas by using toll-free numbers (TFNs), so you don't waste time and money on campaigns that aren't working.

These are just a few of our favorite ideas when it comes to marketing campaigns. Here are some other marketing philosophies that may help you out this season.

How to Get Your Marketing into the Spirit of the Season

Christmas shoppers
Brace yourselves, holiday marketing is coming. Actually, it's already here, and research indicates that's not a bad thing. Sure, many grumble about the appearance of Christmas decorations and marketing before Thanksgiving, but if your holiday campaigns aren't already in motion, you might be missing out on leads.

Here are some tips that can help your company separate itself from a tidal wave of holiday marketing campaigns. You'll bring in customers and create a positive image during a hectic time of the year.

Host a Social Media Contest


Holiday marketing is flooded with great deals every year, and there's nothing wrong with you joining the chorus. This year use the gift-giving spirit of the holidays to not only engage existing customers through your social media channels but also to attract new customers by hosting a contest or giveaway for a free product or service.

Social media contests can be as simple as "share this" or "like this" to get customers entered, or you could ask your customers to do something creative like record a video or take a picture. The latter will get your customers more involved than simply clicking a link and will keep your company at the forefront of their minds while they're preparing their entry.

Give Back to Your Community


Giving back doesn't have to be part of a holiday sale or a contest. You can do something truly philanthropic during the holiday season by participating in or sponsoring charitable events in your community. Whether you're volunteering or making donations, giving back to your community is a good way to show your customer base that you care.

Take for example Food Network's partnership with "Share Our Strength" and the "No Kid Hungry" campaign. Food Network is using its massive social media reach (its Twitter account has 3.78 million followers) to fight child hunger. Food Network asked its fans to bake treats at home and share pictures of them on social media with the hashtag #BakeItForward. For every entry in the #BakeItForward campaign, Food Network is donating $1 (worth 10 meals) to No Kid Hungry.

Go Against the Grain


Black Friday has quickly become the busiest shopping day of the year and retailers are constantly fighting to get a bigger piece of the (pumpkin) pie. Many stores have started opening on Thanksgiving Day in an attempt to bring in more and more customers during the four-day weekend. However some companies, such as Nordstrom, Costco and Dillard's, have taken a stand against being open on Thanksgiving Day, and REI took it a step further this year.

REI will be closed on Black Friday this year and announced its decision with the hashtag #OptOutside on Twitter, earning respect from many for allowing its employees to enjoy time with friends and family during the holiday. Going against the grain this holiday season — in this case not opening when many of your competitors are — is one way to show your employees some love and to get some good PR.

Have you developed any tried and true holiday marketing tactics that helped your business get customers and respect? Let us know in the comments.

What the Teams in the World Series Can Teach Us About Marketing

Baseball stadium
Outside temperatures are cooling, the NFL season is in full swing, and pumpkin spice flavor is invading everything. Fall might be upon us, but that doesn't mean the boys of summer are done for the year. In fact, the biggest baseball games are just getting started.

The New York Mets and the Kansas City Royals started the World Series earlier this week. That got us thinking about what these once-struggling franchises can teach us about taking our marketing to the top. Here are some lessons we can learn from these World Series rivals.

Start Strong


MLB's 162-game season is a grueling schedule for every team — and that doesn't include the additional possible 11-19 games in the postseason. That's why it's important to get off to a good start and set the tone for the season. The Mets led their division for much of April and from mid-July to the end of the season. The Royals won their first seven games and had led their division since late May.

The MLB season isn't the only thing that can turn into a never-ending endeavor — marketing campaigns can be built for the long haul, too. That's why it's important to set the tone early. Help your campaigns get off to a quick start by using vanity numbers in your marketing materials and advertisements. A vanity number such as 800.PLU.MBER is easy for customers to remember and will give your marketing a boost from the start.

... But Be Patient


The Mets and the Royals have endured a large amount of losing over the years. The Royals had nine consecutive losing seasons before 2013 and ended a 28-year playoff drought last year when they went to the World Series (which they lost). The Mets have had similar trouble lately, going through six straight losing seasons and missing the playoffs 10 years in a row before this year. Both teams had to be patient as they waited for their plans to finally come together.

When you create a campaign, you can't expect it to skyrocket to the top immediately. You might have to endure the feelings of loss before it gains enough traction to be a hit. In fact, it has taken some viral content years to catch on. If a campaign isn't booming right off the bat, be patient and give it a chance to be successful before abandoning it. To help with this, assign the campaign a unique toll-free number to track your monthly ROI and make sure it's increasing steadily — that'll indicate it's on the path to success.

It Takes an All-Around Effort


There are a multitude of strategies in baseball, but in the end it almost always comes down to having good players and a bit of luck (especially in the postseason). The Mets were one of the best defensive teams in the National League this year, had solid pitching on the mound and did well enough batting to get wins.

Just like how the Mets had success in almost every facet of the game, it takes an all-around effort from your marketing team to really make a successful campaign. Your writers might produce some fantastic advertorials for publications, but are they catching your customers' eyes? Conversely, a graphic heavy production can be attractive, but does it get your message across? A good marketing campaign brings both together to balance out the campaign. Your campaigns need to get attention and inform or they could strike out.

While baseball has reached the zenith of its season, the action on the football field is getting more intense every week. For some pigskin insight about marketing, check out our post "What the Gridiron Can Teach Us About Marketing."

[INFOGRAPHIC] The State of the Internet 2015: Content Marketing

Remember back in the day when the world was shifting to flat, widescreen TVs? All of the shows had to be stretched to fit the screen from their prior days on square, boxy TVs. These days marketers are experiencing a similar adjustment.

Five short years ago, all video viewing was done on big screens. But today, 29 percent of video viewing is done on a mobile device — and that number's only getting higher. We marketers have to change our video recording methods and sizing to keep up with the trends and stay relevant. That's just one of the few 2015 content trends found by MDG Advertising. Check out MDG's infographic below for a few more developments.

The State of the Internet 2015: Content Trends [Infographic]

Once you've figured out how to approach these trends, you need a content marketing strategy. Check out this post to find out how "The Lego Movie" inspired our content marketing!

What These Digital Heroes Can Teach Us About Digital Marketing

Tennager playing a video game
When Pong became the first truly successful video game in the 1970s, few could have expected the video game boom that would exist 40 years later. These days, blockbuster games cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, and their marketing budgets are just as high — if not considerably higher.

This got us thinking about a simpler time, when games didn't rival Hollywood hits in budget or revenue. Here are some of our favorite iconic digital heroes of the 80s and 90s and what they've taught us about digital marketing in the 21st century.

Mario


Mario is arguably the most well-known video game character in the world, which is amazing considering his first appearance was in the game named for his nemesis, Donkey Kong. But whether he was hopping over Donkey Kong's barrels or facing a never-ending swarm of Koopas, Mario always kept his focus on his ultimate goal: saving the princess.

Just as Mario never lost sight of his goal, you need to keep you digital marketing strategy focused to deliver a consistent message. It's easy to think you need to be involved in all of the social media platforms in today's digital world, but when you chase every digital bell and whistle, your message can end up seeming fragmented. Aim your digital marketing at one consistent goal, and leads will come.

Sonic


Sonic the Hedgehog was a heavyweight contender from the start, going toe to toe with Mario to win the hearts and minds of children in the 1990s. With his bright colors and never-slow-down style, it's easy to see why Sonic was a favorite of many.

Much like Sonic, today's consumers have a go-go-go attitude — so it should come as no surprise that they want things on the go. Mobile Internet usage exceeded desktop usage for the first time in 2014, and it showed in the way consumers preferred to use mobile devices when online shopping. Make sure your website is mobile ready and can be navigated on small screens. A non-responsive site might push your prospects to your competitors' websites.

Pac-Man


To today's video gamers, navigating a repetitive maze and gobbling up tiny dots might seem dull, but in the 80s and 90s Pac-Man was arguably the king of the arcade. The menacing ghosts really ratcheted up the intensity, especially as you got deeper into the game. The only way Pac-Man could defeat the ghosts was by chomping up some big dots; so of course, those were always sought after.

Pac-Man's food of choice is a bit like search terms. There are thousands you can use (small dots), but only the really good ones (big dots) are worth your time. Pac-Man has it easy since he can see which dots are the biggest and thus most advantageous. But as a marketer, you have to do research to optimize search terms and find which ones work best. A program that tracks online-to-offline conversions can help you sniff out the big dots.

Check out another ones our favorite digital heroes in our blog post "What Does Angry Birds Have in Common With a Call Tracking App?"

[INFOGRAPHIC] Blockbuster Marketing: Lessons from Hollywood's Mega-Earners

We're going to be blunt here: Sometimes your marketing is a damsel in distress. It's barely hanging on by a thread, and you can't figure out how to save it. Well, what does a damsel in distress need? A hero.

That's just one of the many lessons from the silver screen that Marketo suggests we use to boost our marketing. Check out the infographic below to see a few more.

[Infographic] Blockbuster Marketing: Lessons from Hollywood's Mega-Earners

For more tips from a slightly smaller screen, check out our post "Marketing Philosophies According to "Phil's-osophy."

What the Gridiron Can Teach Us About Marketing

Spectacular football catch
Football is coming!

OK, maybe it's just that the NFL preseason and college football are still a few weeks away, but can you blame us for getting excited? Big plays, big hits and big sodas (or adult beverages, if you're into that) are just a few of the things that make watching the boys on the gridiron great.

The NFL is a marketer's dream (just look at the Super Bowl!), so where better to look for tips on how to boost your marketing than football? Here are some things we can learn from the gridiron that will keep your marketing campaigns from deflating.

Find the Gaps


Whether you're a linebacker blitzing to sack the quarterback, a running back looking for a hole in the defense to break a big run, or a quarterback finding an opening in the secondary for a receiver to make a clean catch, finding gaps is a fundamental aspect of football.

The same applies to your marketing. Whether it's an audience you haven't thought to target yet or a campaign that isn't performing well, you have to find the areas in your marketing where you can best take advantage of the situation and break away for a touchdown.

Hit Your Targets


The quarterbacks we watch on Sundays make it look easy as they launch footballs over defenders and perfectly into a receiver's hands. But the fact is, it takes years and years of practice and honing of skills to get that good. That's not to mention having the ability to read what the defense is doing, to know where the receivers are going to be in relation to the defenders and to make a split-second decision to throw to the receiver that's best positioned to make a great play.

Just as quarterbacks have to put the ball where it needs to be, you have to hit your targets when it comes to campaigns. Putting together a big campaign that falls incomplete can put your marketing team in a tough fourth-down situation. When you're preparing a new campaign, know your target audience and make sure your message will land right in their outstretched hands.

Play Hard to the End


We see it almost every weekend. There's always that one team that squeaks out a victory in the final minutes. It's even more amazing when that team has had to make up a sizable deficit. Coming back for a last-minute victory takes the right attitude. Teams have to play hard to the end not only to have a chance to win but also to avoid being the team that loses in the final seconds.

Even when things aren't looking good — a campaign is off to a rough start, you don't quite understand your target audience, you're new to the market — sometimes all it takes is a never-quit attitude to make a campaign a success. This applies also to campaigns that are doing well already. Don't slack off and let your campaign go from a first-half blowout to a second-half disaster.

Football might be just starting up for the year, but we're hitting the final stretch of baseball with playoffs around the corner. If your marketing team is looking for a call tracking program and baseball is more your speed, read our post "Hit a Homerun With Your Call Tracking Program."

Look to the Stars to Boost Your Marketing

Moon footprint
When Neil Armstrong took one small step on the moon on July 20, 1969, marketers everywhere had already taken a giant leap at trying to  capitalize on the era's space craze. From all-purpose cleaners to cars, companies couldn't resist tying their products to astronauts, rocket ships and the cosmos.

While the volume of astronomical advertising has waned over the years, the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon got us thinking about some of the more recent space-themed marketing campaigns that reignited our interest.

Angry Birds FROM SPACE


You already know we're big fans of Angry Birds, and we fell in love with it all over again in 2012 when Rovio Entertainment announced a space-themed sequel by way of a video broadcast from the International Space Station (ISS). During the broadcast, flight engineer Don Pettit used the new Angry Birds Space game to explain the physics of space and demonstrate the effects of zero gravity with a plush Angry Birds toy and an improvised catapult.

The campaign highlighted the interaction between NASA engineers and Rovio to make the space physics of the game as realistic as possible. The video from the ISS was a unique way to announce the game and definitely got every excited for the game's sequel.

Houston, the Cadillac Has Landed


Only 12 men have ever stepped foot on the moon, starting with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, but how would you like to get there in your car? Cadillac aimed to spark imaginations with its moon commercial for the 2014 CTS in which the car is heading toward a shockingly large moon on the horizon. As vintage radio transmissions play in the background, the child in the backseat imagines the Cadillac as a spaceship on its way to the moon.

Cadillac hit all the right notes with the child in all of us. Many of us grew up playing with toy space shuttles and Apollo rockets and have been patiently waiting for an easier way to get to the moon. While the CTS might not be up to the task in reality, the commercial gave our imaginations a boost. If only space travel were as simple.

Kia Answers Age-Old Question


Did you know babies come from space? And not just human babies — adorable elephant babies, tiger cubs and puppies too! We didn't know that until Kia brought us the far-off planet of Babylandia in a commercial for the 2013 Sorento. In the commercial, a bewildered father tries to explain to his young son where babies come from and paints a pretty amazing picture of Babylandia.

Space has long captured the imagination of humans. Obviously babies don't come from space, but this commercial is all about letting your imagination run wild. The quest to discover what's out there has driven space exploration from the get-go. Kia makes us want to explore the planets and discover the unknown. Plus, who doesn't love seeing adorable critters in space suits?

Have a hankering for some more space adventures? Read about skydiver spacediver Felix Baumgartner in our post "Take Your Marketing to New Heights."

[INFOGRAPHIC] 8 Strategic Steps to Improve Digital Marketing Results

Quiz time! What type of customer will pay four times more than other customers?

Give up? OK, we’ll tell you: consumers connected with a multi-channel approach. To get the most bang for your digital marketing buck, integrate display, mobile, social and video marketing into your marketing strategy.

Check out the below infographic by Digital Marketing Philippines for more tips on improving your digital marketing results.

8 Strategic Steps to Improve Digital Marketing Results (Infographic) - An Infographic from Digital Marketing Philippines

[INFOGRAPHIC] How to Not Be Awkward on the Phone

"So, um, hi. I, uh… was thinking, and there's this thing I want to tell you about. It's this thing that... Yeah."

Ever had a phone conversation that went something like this? We get that not everyone is a pro on the phone. But just because talking to someone you can't see over a receiver isn't your thing doesn't mean you can’t have a positive, professional and (dare we say it?) understandable phone conversation.

To avoid sounding awkward on the phone, follow the tips in this infographic the folks at Expert Market put together.

How to Not Be Awkward on the Phone

Make Your Marketing Light up the Sky This Fourth of July

Last Fourth of July we taught you how to grill a mouthwatering steak to perfection and threw in some marketing lessons too. Why stop there when there are so many great lessons learned from this land-of-the-free celebration? This time we're talking about the main event: the fireworks show. By following these simple steps, your marketing campaign is sure to light up the sky.

Plan, Plan, Plan


There's a lot more to fireworks shows than crackling lights and pretty skies. Shows must be strategically planned, from the fuse alignment to the variation of fireworks. No one wants to send off all their Willows and Chrysanthemums at the same time!

The same planning strategies apply to marketing. Sit down and organize your campaign from beginning to end. This approach allows you to continually build on each campaign and guarantees that your main campaigns launch at the right times.

Set Them off in Increments


Whether you're spending $150 or $15,000 on fireworks, you want every single one of them seen and appreciated without boring your viewers. Lighting them off in increments allows viewers to beg for more and keeps their full attention. What better goal for a marketing campaign?

Marketers should focus on grabbing prospects' attention and keeping it for the rest of the show, er… campaign. By utilizing social media, mobile and email marketing, you can market products at different times using a variety of resources.

Check out these marketing strategies for tips on how to win over customers with strategically timed advertisements.

Wait for the Explosion


Zizzzz-phhht! POW! Have you ever noticed the whimper fireworks give off as they rise and explode into something beautiful? That’s the sound a rockin' marketing campaign makes. The work leading up to a release can be exhausting and feel unrewarding, but when you catch yourself feeling like your campaign is off to a slow start, keep going and wait for your time to shine.

Don’t Forget the Grand Finale


Just like Katy Perry’s hit song "Firework" advises, you've gotta "show them what you're worth/make 'em go, 'Oh, oh, oh.'" (You're welcome for getting that one stuck in your head all day.)

The grand finale to your campaign is like the end of a fireworks show. Everyone will talk about it, and they'll have high expectations for the next one. These last impressions are important and will leave your customer satisfied and smiling.

Looking for more activities to enjoy this summer? Brush up your golf skills while you learn how to hit a hole in one with your marketing.

Have a Cup of Joe With Us at NAA 2015

This year at NAA 2015 we want to chat with you in our ClickPath CafĂ©. We’ll fill you in on our Google Analytics integration, online-to-offline conversion tracking, Dynamic Number Insertion (DNI) and more.

In the meantime, check out this infographic from Doghouse to learn what type of coffee you are. Let us know if you’re an espresso, latte or macchiato when you visit us in booth #1536 at NAA 2015!

"What Your Coffee Says About You" infographic

Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From a Coffee Shop

Whether you're running late to your business meeting or claiming a cozy chair for the rest of the afternoon, coffee shops provide a comfortable and enjoyable environment to all who enter (unless you can't stand the smell of coffee — then the patio might be your best bet).

At Who's Calling, we're all people watchers and noticed that there are quite a few marketing lessons we can take away from our local coffee shop.

Baristas Serve More Than Just Coffee 


Since only 54 percent of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day, coffee shops offer a variety of beverages to reel in the other 46 percent. Whether it's green tea, chai or a big cup of hot chocolate, coffee shops have learned to build on their current menu to bring in new customers. The same is true for your marketing. To gain new customers, you have to give consumers what they want. Sometimes that means expanding your product offerings to include some niche products and services that offer benefits specific to your audience. Just remember, don't lose sight of what you do best.

Coffee cup with coffee beansCampaigns Change With the Seasons


From Pumpkin Spice Lattes in the fall to seasonal red cups in the winter, Starbucks takes brewing a hot (or cold) cup of joe to the next level. Starbucks is constantly running seasonal campaign items to reflect the notion that the company is always relevant — not just during certain seasons.

As a marketer, you can use the constant change in seasons to your advantage to keep new and old customers excited. First, you have to figure out what consumers want, and then you have to make it happen. Sounds easy enough, but you'll have to change up your marketing frequently keep up with current trends. If you're not flexible enough to roll with the changes, your message won't capture your audience's attention.

Regulars Keep Comin' Back


If there's one thing coffee lovers have in common, it's that they are very particular about their order. If John orders a nonfat soy mocha latte with extra cream, John means it, and he expects it to taste exactly the same every single time. If a coffee shop keeps that lovely drink consistent, John will spread the word and return for more nonfat soy mocha lattes with extra cream.

Loyal customers are worth up to 10 times more than their first purchase. Bad customer service can make customers try new brands and leave yours. To make sure your employees are providing top-notch customer service, try investing in a call recording tool so you can review phone calls and enforce high standards.

For more fun facts and figures on customer experiences, check out this infographic.

What We Can Learn From These Social Media Disasters

Woman using phone
Social media can be a great tool for furthering your brand message and engaging customers and prospects. It can also be a minefield of potential disasters that can irrevocably damage your company image.

While companies such as Pizza Hut and Coca-Cola have enjoyed social media success, other companies haven't been quite as fortunate when it comes to engaging in real time.

Ill-timed tweets, canned responses, backfiring hashtags and malicious hackers have all caused trouble for some companies. Here are some things we can learn from three social media disasters.

Don't Misuse Trending Topics


Habitat, a trendy British furniture store, learned a hard lesson about using social media when Twitter was still in its relative infancy in 2009. The company had only been on Twitter a few days when it tried to take advantage of several trending topics by sending an identical promotional message several times in a row while inputting different trending topics such as #Apple, #iPhone and #mms with each tweet. Followers criticized the company for spamming and the tweets were soon deleted.

Taking advantage of a trending topic to promote your company or a product is good way to engage with customers and insert yourself into a wider conversation. But don't blast your fans with a trend overload — especially if the topics are irrelevant. A trending topic such as #NationalBurgerDay represents a great opportunity to engage and improve your brand's image so long as it's attached to a related message and not just sales jargon.

Maintain Password Security


Burger King learned the hard way how important password security is when a hacker took over the company's Twitter account in 2012. The hack changed the account's name to fast food rival "McDonald's" as well as swapped the Burger King logo profile photo for the McDonald's logo. The hacker posted several tweets about drugs and hip hop for about an hour before the account was suspended and Burger King regained control.

It's not uncommon for people or companies to blame negative or ill-timed tweets on hackers, but in this case it seemed Burger King really did fall prey to a cybercriminal. Just as it's important to maintain good security on your company's systems, it's also important to keep your social media accounts secure to prevent losing control of your message.

Don't Mislead Your Fans


It was supposed to be a clever way to thank fans for their support, but German soccer club Bayern Munich earned the ire of its backers with a clumsily executed social media campaign in 2012. Bayern led fans and journalists to believe that a new player would be announced during a news conference streamed to the club's Facebook page. Instead, the fans were named the "star player" and were treated to their Facebook profile photo and name appearing on a Bayern jersey as a reward for being a fan.

After hours of predicting who the new player might be, the fans were understandably irate when things weren't what they seemed. Even if you think the payoff is noble — such as recognizing fans for supporting the team — it's never a good idea to mislead consumers in an attempt to lure them to your social media accounts.

For more tips on how to be professionally social, read our post "The Good and the Bad of Social Media Marketing."

How Archery Can Help You Hit a Bull's Eye in Marketing

Archery target
In marketing we talk about knowing your target market all the time. But do your campaigns hit the bull's eye every time? In professional archery the difference between first and second place at a tournament can come down to a few centimeters, and like marketing, it's not as easy as it looks to make the perfect shot every time.

Archery experienced a surge in popularity with appearances in movies such as "The Hunger Games" and "Brave" getting new generations interested. But as many young archers have learned in recent years, the sport can be difficult to master. Here are a few tips you can take from archery to help you hit the bull's eye on your target market.

Maintain Your Focus


With the arrow drawn and the target in your sights, you goal shouldn't be to fire off as many arrows as possible. It takes an intense level of focus to clear your mind and dedicate everything toward making the perfect shot every time you draw. It can take several seconds or even minutes for professionals to feel ready to shoot an arrow.

Similarly, you don't want to fire off campaign after campaign with little consideration. If you do, your message and brand can get lost in a volley of ads that aren't hitting your intended target market. It's a good practice to create a marketing strategy that maintains a consistent focus and helps you win over consumers.

Build up Your Strength


Archery doesn't use traditional muscles, and this is never more apparent than when you're attempting to draw a high-poundage compound bow for the first time. It takes practice, practice and more practice to build up the strength in your back and shoulders to be able to draw consistently and hold the bow steadily enough to make a good shot.

In marketing it takes time to build a brand. You can't expect to have the brand recognition of Apple or LEGO right from the start. It takes hard work and, much like archery, lots of practice to build your brand's strength. You have to stretch and build up your marketing muscles before you can expect to have a household name.

Learn from the Pros


Never feel like you're too good to take some advice from a more experienced archer. As we've already pointed out, the very nature of archery is that it takes practice and patience to become a master. Who better to get advice from than a professional?

Even if you're not learning directly from the masters of marketing, there are a few things you can pick up from looking at the marketing successes and failures of the past. Sometimes it's good to be edgy, but other times that approach can fall flat. Look at campaigns that share your audience to learn what works and what doesn't so you don't end up missing the target.

To learn how another hobby can help you hone your marketing skills, read our post "How Marketing Is Like Yoga."

What Does Angry Birds Have in Common with a Call Tracking App?

Hey, you! Yes, you there, trying to get three stars on the latest Angry Birds level. We know you like using your mobile device. Everybody knows you like using your mobile device. The friends you're enjoying lunch with at this very moment know you like using your mobile device. But do you ever use your mobile device at work?

We know what you're thinking, but don't worry — we're not trying to get you in trouble with your boss. What we mean is, do you use your mobile device for work? Sure, you can use it for emails and texts, but we're talking about really working. Do you know what calls are coming into your company when you're away from your desk?

Since we know you like Angry Birds (and really, who doesn't?), here are some thing our happiness-challenged friends have in common with getting your call tracking information on a mobile device.

Red


Angry Brids Red
Image courtesy of Rovio Entertainment
Red is the leader of the pack. He's one of the first birds we got to know when the original iOS app was released in the Apple App Store in 2009 and has continued to be a reliable, all-purpose bird of destruction throughout most of the 14 sequels and spin-offs.

Your call tracking software should be just as reliable as Red. To make sure you always know what calls are coming into your company, consider using a provider that integrates their desktop software with a mobile app. Even when you're away from your desk, a mobile app would allow you to scroll through lists of recent calls, listen to call recordings, assign agents to missed calls and view reports.

Chuck


Angry Birds Chuck
Image courtesy of Rovio Entertainment
Chuck is the yellow, triangle-shaped bird that provides an extra boost of speed and destructive power when you need it. While Red is certainly capable of getting a job done, Chuck always has that extra oomph that can get you out of a tight spot.

 A mobile app that can alert you to missed or after-hours calls can give you the extra boost you need to keep a prospect or customer from going to a competitor. A recent study said 67 percent of customers who switched providers would have stayed with the original company had their customer service issue been resolved during the first contact.

The Blues


Angry Birds The Blues
Image courtesy of Rovio Entertainment
Don't let the name fool you, the Blues aren't soulful tunes that turn your angry birds into sad birds. Jim, Jam and Jake are as angry as the rest of them and are a three-for-the-price-of-one team of destruction. The triplets start as a single mass before scattering to take on several targets at once with a single touch.

A call tracking mobile app can also pack more punch than it first seems. You'll be able to review reports such as after-hours calls, missed calls per campaign and more. After reviewing the missed calls, you can use a click-to-call feature to call back the lead or assign calls to your team.

If you're still considering it, but aren't quite sure you want to deal with a mobile app, check out these three alternatives that can help you manage your calls on the go.

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Ultimate Guide to Using PowerPoint Effectively

In marketing, we have to be prepared to create things like literature, blog posts and presentations on the fly. It's unacceptable for any of our materials to be boring or ugly (the horror!), but it's especially important for a presentation to look good, whether it's for internal or external use.

You want to show both your customers and your boss, coworkers, etc. that you're outrageously creative when you're making anything, even if it's just a slideshow of your pets. Not sure what exactly to do? No worries — our Cubicle Ninja friends have put together some tips to help us out.

The Ultimate Guide to Using PowerPoint Effectively Guide


What are some of your go-to tips for creating awesome presentations?

Hit a Homerun With Your Call Tracking Program

Baseball playerThe crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the click of the mouse — wait, what? It's baseball season and perhaps more importantly for some, fantasy baseball season.

If the phrase "fantasy baseball" conjures up images of nerds sitting around a table, pouring over statistics and box scores, you should know that things have changed a little bit in the last decade. Well, maybe there are still a few nerds. But just as fantasy baseball has evolved over the years, so has call tracking and its respective analytics. Here are some helpful tips for winning customers and your fantasy league this season.

Know Your Team's Value


Many fantasy baseball leagues use an auction-style draft for filling teams where participants bid on specific players. The value of a player is entirely up to participants, but over-valuing a player who doesn't perform well can be a bust for your entire season. To avoid a flop, you can use projections based on mock drafts to know how much you should spend on draft day.

Just as you need to know a player's value when you're making plans for your team, a call tracking application can let you know which of your marketing campaigns are providing the greatest return on your investment. This will help you determine what campaigns to invest more in and which ones you should send to the bench.

Take Statistics to a New Level


In the early days of fantasy baseball, all you needed for a solid team were strong performers in the five most common statistical categories. While traditional metrics, such as batting average and earned run average, are still around to grade teams, advanced analytics of today can provide even further insight, offering information on everything from the quality of a trade proposal to the predicted performance of a player.

Much how advanced analytics can boost your fantasy team, you can go beyond the basics in developing your campaigns with an analytics tool that tracks online to offline conversions down to the keyword or ad source. The ability to track these conversions can increase your search engine marketing effectiveness and easily allow you to track your ROI.

Track on the Go


Whether it's swapping pitchers in and out of your lineup or grabbing a no-name player who's crushing the ball off the waiver wire, the ability to make changes to your team from a mobile device has changed the way people play fantasy baseball.

Using a mobile app that ties into your call tracking program can give you immediate access to what's happening on your company's phones even while you're out of the office. Track calls, receive missed call alerts and follow up with your team while you're on the go to make sure you're never dropping the ball.

To learn more about how call tracking can get you more wins, check out this blog post.

Battle of the PPC Campaigns: Paid Search v. Display Advertising

When it comes to marketing, several mediums fight for your attention. With budgets restricting what you can use and leaving little room for error, you as a marketer have to consider the pros and cons of different channels. For online marketing, that means making the choice between two rivals: paid search and display advertising.

To help you decide, we've put pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns toe-to-toe with display advertising so you can decide which would work best for you. Let's get ready to rumble!

Paid Search


In one corner we have paid search, a PPC method that displays an ad at the top and sides of search engine results based on targeted keywords. Since 61 percent of global Internet users research products online, you can reach these consumers in the early stages of the buying process and drive them to your content. Let's see what paid search brings to the ring.

Strength


Paid search allows you to have control over your brand perception. This means you're able to manage the impression of your brand to consumers when they are actively searching for services you offer. You choose what keywords pull up your ads and what the ads say about you, so for the most part, you'll get action from people who are genuinely interested in the specific products or services you offer.

Weakness


To get consumers to see your brand, you must bid the highest for your targeted keywords (in addition to having a killer quality score). Paid search can get expensive for your marketing team if it's not approached properly. Fortunately if you optimize your keywords and continuously measure your results, you can maximize your investment and therefore your ROI.

Signature Move


Paid search has a secret skill that gives it a boost: negative keywords. If there are certain keywords you don't want to trigger your ads (e.g. "free"), you can add them to your negative keyword list. This allows you to significantly cut down on irrelevant searches and accidental click-throughs. Negative keywords provide an added level of control that helps ensure your ads attract as many relevant leads as possible.

Display Advertising


In the other corner we have display ads, which are graphic ads that appear on consumers' screens after they search for a product or service. They target consumers that have already begun perusing certain companies' websites, which means they're further down the sales funnel and therefore closer to making a purchase. Google's display ads now reach 80 percent of global Internet users and are optimized to reach relevant customers based on previously visited sites. Let's see what display ads have to offer.

Strength


Display ads have the upper hand when it comes to brand awareness. Since display ads appear repeatedly to consumers when they visit relevant sites, these ads a great way to get people to consistently see your brand and recognize your company name, logo and graphics. The more you advertise, the more awareness your brand receives.

Weakness


The major downfall of display ads is the clickthrough rate. Weighing in at a dismally low 0.1 percent, they don't seem worth it compared to paid search campaigns. However, that is just an average and your company could find through testing that display ads work better than paid search advertisements.

Signature Move


Display advertising's secret weapon is remarketing. This impressive maneuver occurs when a cookie tracks users that click on your ad so you can advertise to consumers while they browse the Internet for products relevant to what you offer.

And the Winner Is...


Well, you tell us! Consider the strengths and weaknesses of both paid search and display ads and let us know which one you decide is better for your company!

[INFOGRAPHIC] The Good and the Bad of Social Media Marketing

Did you know that 46 percent of web users turn to social media when making a purchase? With this being the case, it might be a place you want to start marketing. But you can't pull the trigger without weighing the pros and cons.

Fortunately the folks over at Outmarket have put together this infographic to show the benefits and downfalls of social media marketing so you can decide if it's a good fit for your business.


If you've settled on starting up social media marketing, check out the predicted trends for 2015 as a starting point!

How March Madness Can Prepare You for Marketing Madness

It’s a basketball fan’s favorite time of year: March Madness is right around the corner! Selection Sunday is March 15 and the tournament is already creating literal madness over who will be the number 1 seeds after so many teams have had great seasons.

basketball players clamoring over ball near net
Just like the tournament committee has to decide which teams deserve the highest seeds, your prospects have to decide which companies rank highest in their minds. Here are a few tips you can take from the true NCAA contenders to make sure you’re the best in your consumers’ minds.

Fill Your Roster with Strong Players


It’s no secret that the best teams are made up of the best basketball players. Just take a look at The University of Kentucky and Duke University, who consistently bring in great players that propel them to the top of the rankings.

Your business is only as good as its employees, so you want to fill your positions with strong, qualified candidates. Once you have a dynamic roster, make sure your employees are always providing exceptional customer service. Use a call recording tool to evaluate their phone conversations each month to make sure they’re performing up to your standards.

Always Prepare a Game Plan


No team wins without strategies. Coaches plan for days or weeks to come up with plans for each individual game. Without one, a team would have a hard time winning enough games to earn a high seed.

You need to have that mindset in business, too. You can’t win over consumers without trying. If you don’t have a marketing strategy for each of your campaigns, consumers won’t know what your brand stands for — much less what your company does. Take a look at these marketing strategies to get some tips on how to win over consumers.

Keep Your Win-Loss Ratio High


The March Madness tournament committee isn’t going to attribute a number 1 seed to a team with a sub-par record. You need to obtain a high win-loss ratio to earn a high seed. The same is true in business: You have to keep a good ratio to rank high in consumers’ minds.

Nowadays, the easiest and quickest way for a consumer to find the right company is to do research online. A staggering 90 percent of consumers trust online reviews before making a purchase, which means you need to make sure you have considerably more positive reviews than negative ones. For some tips on how to trim down the negative reviews, check out this post.

Follow these steps and you’ll be on your way to cutting down the nets. Now that you’ve conquered the court, take to the green to learn how to hit a hole in one with your marketing.

[INFOGRAPHIC] 2015 Social Media Marketing Trends

With over half of Americans on a platform of social media today, it seems like the best way for companies to reach consumers is to tweet, post and snap their way into their hearts.

But social media marketing is about more than just posting a witty comment or a cat meme everyday. To make sure you're doing what you need to get noticed online, take a look at the trends JSH&A is predicting for this year.


For more social media marketing tips, check out this infographic.

What We Can Learn from Super Bowl Marketing Strategies

Budweiser puppy and Clydesdale
Photo courtesy of Anheuser-Busch
This year the Super Bowl advertisers really stepped it up. They made us cry, laugh and scratch our heads — and it worked.

Let's take a look at each of these companies' ads to see what they're doing right.

Budweiser's Lost Puppy


For the third year in a row, Budweiser created a tear-jerking Super Bowl commercial complete with an adorable puppy and fiercely protective Clydesdales. Now when I say these commercials are tear-jerkers, I mean I’ve seen them make grown men shed tears.

We marketers call this emotional marketing. By consistently depicting a super sweet puppy-horse friendship, Budweiser is essentially conditioning you to feel all mushy inside when you think of their brand. You can do the same: Create a campaign that's meant to evoke an emotion you want your brand to be associated with. You'll reel in prospects and create a positive perception of your brand.

Snickers' Brady Bunch Takeover


Everyone loved The Brady Bunch, especially when it involved Marcia's teenage drama. Snickers capitalized on this big time by exaggerating her teen angst and digitally inserting an angry Danny Trejo into a classic scene to use their tagline, "Eat a Snickers."

Snickers has been using this campaign for several years, but never with this level of creativity. More than the novelty of the Brady Bunch itself, Snickers impressed viewers with its editing and enhancement skills. Take it from Snickers: if you want to impress your audience, you have to do something they've never seen before.

BMW's Blast From the Past


When BMW decided to open their commercial with a clip from The Today Show from the 1990s, it had everyone a little confused. How could Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel not understand what the Internet is? It's the most popular thing we use!

BMW related the introduction of the Internet in the '90s to their new wind-powered cars. The idea is that nobody understands how it works right now, but eventually it'll be the norm. If you can approach your campaigns with the same humor and confidence, your audience will recognize it and perceive your brand as innovative (and funny, of course).

Which of these tactics do you like best? Let us know in the comments!