Tag Archives: client relationship

A Conference With A Cause: ALFA 2012

Not many people would call senior living a cause. It’s a business. A place to live. A service. But when you work within the industry every day, you learn that it is, in fact, a cause—and a calling.

Before you can market, advertise or strategize, it’s essential to understand an industry inside and out. Senior living is no exception. In today’s digital age, you can get a certain amount of marketplace knowledge through LinkedIn forums, books, magazines, and blogs. But, nothing matches old-fashioned in-person networking. Talking with the people who live and breathe an industry is the best way to learn its ins and outs.

This year, I had the chance to attend my first Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) conference in Dallas. I packed my bags and headed off, expecting to see a lot of cowboy boots and to learn a little something, too.

Little did I know just how much I would gain. And the lessons started right at the event kickoff, with a presentation by Bill Strickland, President and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corporation.

Growing up in impoverished Pittsburgh, Bill knew what it took to succeed. As his career flourished, he sought to help others growing up in poverty build a better future. This simple goal changed many lives. The training center he built in Pittsburgh, in the neighborhood where he grew up, now boasts world-class galleries, gourmet food programs, training for medical technicians, and even space for growing and selling orchids.

Why go to these lengths? “You have to change the way people see themselves before you can change their behavior,” Bill explained. “Environment drives behavior. Prisons create prisoners. Beautiful spaces create hope.”

Turns out, senior living isn’t so different.

In senior living communities, residents get to express themselves, rediscover beloved hobbies, and share their talents. They get to be pampered, celebrated, and recognized for their achievements. They discover a better life, surrounded by people who are truly there for them, cheering their success.

Looking at senior living as a cause, rather than a business, keeps us all connected. It brings out our humanity, and helps us remember we’re all in this thing called life together. It’s truly a great way to approach any industry.


“Call Me Maybe”: What the summer’s catchiest hit can teach your business

It’s the #1 song on iTunes and #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. By now we’ve all seen what the boys from Harvard did with it, and then the women from SMU. We even watched as the crew from the Today Show danced to it. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” has been dubbed the song of the summer, and it’s not even summer yet. So what’s the fascination?

It’s much more than the catchy melody and feel-good strings that has everyone singing along.  It’s the song’s meaning – the vulnerability of wanting to be liked – that we all relate to.

And it’s not just in our personal lives.  It works for business too. The very best advertising speaks to the audience’s emotions, wants, and needs. You have to feel good about the brand, feel like it “gets” you, and then investigate a little more before you make that phone call – or visit or click.

Think about what your customer needs, wants, and feels in this very moment – the moment you are reaching them, be it online, in print, on their phone, or TV. While they’re getting ready in the morning, while they’re at work, driving in their car, or relaxing at home. Then speak to that precise moment with honesty and make that human connection.

Show you understand, and that what you have to offer makes their lives better.

That’s the way to get the phone to ring when you’re asking a potential new customer “call me maybe.”

What do you think of the “Call Me Maybe” phenomenon? Has it inspired you to use a new approach to get the phone to ring? Let us know!

Which Half of Your Advertising is Wasted? – 5 Simple Ways to Start Measuring Your Marketing

“I know half my advertising is wasted – I just don’t know which half.”
-John Wanamaker, 19th century merchant, considered the father of modern advertising

Why with all we’ve accomplished in the last two centuries, is this quote still relevant to business owners and marketers today? It shouldn’t be. There are very simple measurement tools and strategies that can tell you which media and messaging investments are working and which are “wasted”.

Here are five quick tips for developing an effective measurement strategy:

1) Monitor the Phones
Place unique, trackable phone numbers in different media placements to measure which get the most response. Each number re-routes to the same line, so you won’t need to make any changes to your current phone operations. You can even assign different numbers to different ad creative or to different elements within a single medium to monitor which section of the paper gets you the most traffic or whether one set of ad copy works better than another. This data can be invaluable when optimizing your campaigns.

A word of caution, don’t over-measure. Placing too many different numbers, especially within a single medium can confuse your target audience. We recommend keeping it simple. One number per medium is a good rule of thumb.

Recommended Media: Print, direct mail, email, transit, billboards, and other out of home

Potential Challenges: Brands that are highly identifiable with a vanity phone number – 1-800-54-GIANT for instance, present challenges for phone tracking. Obviously you can’t measure one medium against another when all of the numbers are 1-800-54-GIANT, but using another number undermines decades of brand development. For some brands, phone tracking just isn’t viable.

Next Level: Try recording the inbound calls. It costs a little more, but the recorded conversations give you real insight into the interest level, frequently asked questions, and mindset of your potential customers. The recordings also serve as a terrific sales training tool.

2) Use Your Own Ad Server
This one takes a little know how, but serving your own online ads allows a lot of flexibility and measurement opportunities. When you see a banner, video, or text ad online, it has been sent to your screen from an ad server. Operating your own (or having your agency operate one) allows you to change your online creative in real time and to monitor impressions, clicks, and conversions without depending on your media vendor for these vital measurement statistics.

Recommended Media: Any online advertising (banner, video, or text)

Potential Challenges: Not all web publishers support an ad server, or they may not support your particular ad server. Mediaplex, Adblade, and AdTech are some of the most popular. Also note that many ad servers cannot work with rich media, so if your online advertising includes a page takeover, expanding ads, or rovion technology, you may not be able to measure using your ad server.

Next Level: One of the true benefits of managing your own ad server is A/B testing. Want to test different creative or landing page designs/concepts against each other? Use your ad server to set up true 50/50 A/B tests to allow your audience to tell you what messaging they respond to most.

3) Set Up Specific Landing Pages
Most people know that online ads should direct users to landing pages with the specific content you were advertising rather than dump the user on your home page. The landing page gives the user a more customized experience and allows you to set the stage for an inquiry or sale.

But landing pages can also be an extremely effective measurement tool. If you set up landing pages on different URLs and assign those URLs to different media, when a prospect converts, you can directly attribute that conversion to a specific media. This strategy is specifically useful for brands that tend to have an inquiry process before a sale like higher education, senior living, B2B, etc., because those brands can now attribute final sales to the media where the inquiry originated.

Recommended Media: Everything – both online and offline media

Next Level: Use friendly URLs to drive traffic from offline media. Landing pages usually live on long URLs, which are difficult for people to remember from TV, Radio, Print, or Out of Home advertising. Use a friendly URL that will re-direct to the long form one to improve recall and action.

Potential Challenges: If the friendly URL doesn’t have immediate relevance to the user, they won’t use it. For instance, mybrand.com/tv1 doesn’t mean anything to a user. mybrand.com/holidayoffer gives them a reason to go there. The next challenge is that you don’t want to dilute your message with too many different friendly URLs. If you have ten different offline media placements, ten different iterations of mybrand.com/holidayoffer are nearly impossible to come up with and may confuse your audience. There are some limits to what you can measure.

4) Google Analytics
Google Analytics, like the human brain, rarely gets used to anywhere near its full potential. Analytics gives you the tools to measure where users go when they navigate away from your landing page, the top search terms visitors use to get to your site (invaluable for Adwords campaigns), even where users click most on a given page.

Recommended Media: Your Web Site

Potential Challenges: Analytics, like many Google properties, are sometimes difficult to use. But there are some terrific online resources here.

Next Level: Learn to set up “Goals” in Analytics, so you can set up certain online behaviors you want to measure.

5) Know the Limits of Measurement
No matter how sophisticated your measurement strategy, you can’t measure everything. Some users are going to simply look up your regular number and bypass your call tracking. Or they’ll see your online ad and look you up in the yellow pages bypassing your landing page. Or maybe they’ll see your ad on TV, Google you for more info, and finally ask a friend how to get in touch with you. There’s always a way around measurement, so the key is to see your measurement as a representative sample. It’s simply data that can help you make better decisions about your media. There are no magic bullets.

Want to add a strategy you’ve used effectively? Have any questions? What about social engagement measurement? Continue the conversation with us on Facebook at facebook.com/triadadvertising or on Twitter @Triad_Ideas #ThinkSuccess.

If you’ve read this far, you’re interested in the topic and have patience. Here’s a bonus for you!