Goodbye Facebook?

I recently read an article about a company dropping their Facebook Page, and focusing all their social media efforts on Google Plus.  Initially, I was a bit shocked because, in my own experience, I have not seen the levels of involvement with Google Plus that I do with Facebook. But, the analytics in the article actually showed a better conversion rate to sales with Google Plus than with Facebook.

While I am certainly not suggesting that the above article is a sign we should all unquestioningly drop our Facebook pages and move to Google Plus, it does serve as a reminder of the ongoing importance of the communications audit (a step in the Mustang RoadMap strategic planning process).

For instance, several years ago everyone was signing up for Twitter.  It was the platform every business HAD to be on.  I must admit, Mustang followed suit and joined, as well.  Now, years later, Twitter has not gone away, but there is more clarity about the types of businesses best-suited for the platform and the types of use that make the most sense.  Despite still recommending Twitter to some of our clients, Mustang closed its own account almost two years ago. For us, considering our position in our market, it no longer made sense to invest the staff time needed to maintain the account.

Sometimes, the most successful marketing vehicles surprise us.  I was consulting a friend last month who was struggling to improve her search engine rank, and was willing to put some money and time into that effort.  But, while we were talking, she mentioned that her number one source of leads was a stack of business cards she left at the local car wash.  I advised her to focus on that effort and put her cards in more places. In our increasingly digital world, creating a web presence is often the first marketing avenue that comes to mind. While digital vehicles are important to consider, it is also important to focus and build on the efforts that have already proven successful.

The communications audit is a very important tool for maximizing ROI–making every dollar and hour count towards your business’ goals. This is not limited to traditional advertising, but needs to span every aspect of your marketing.  Sometimes, it is valuable to take risks, to try something new or to join in on a fad. But, it is also important not to settle for “everyone is doing it,” or, “we always do it that way,” and, instead, step back to see what is working and make those things even better.

Posted in From the Mustang Team | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Game of Words

Image-1 (1)In the marketing world there exists a secret weapon, a weapon that offers nearly unlimited power to those trained in its use. When used effectively, it provides the ability to influence emotions, shape perceptions and impact decisions—often without the conscious awareness of those affected—bringing even the loftiest marketing goals to fruition. But, if used improperly, its power can wreak total havoc, leading to public relations crises and irreparable reputation damage.

This valuable and dangerous weapon is none other than the written word, and the copywriters and public relations professionals entrusted with its use must ensure that its remarkable power works to the advantage of those they represent. To do this, they must find the perfect balance of the following elements—a balance that continually shifts, depending on individual audiences, messages and channels, as well as the images that will accompany written content.

Word Count

Sometimes copywriters find themselves confined by restrictive word count requirements that seem to crush creative freedom and hamper the effectiveness of language. But, the best writers can still prevail by digging deep into the recesses of their vocabularies to select only the most dynamic words and showing no mercy in eradicating any terms not vital to the message’s survival.

Often, however, there is no limit on the number of words a writer may use. These ambiguous times call for careful consideration of audiences, channels and messages to determine the most compelling length for content.

Connotations

One of language’s strangest intricacies is the way the meaning of words seems to extend beyond their dictionary definitions. The way words are understood—and the associated feelings and actions they inspire—are largely a product of the preconceived attitudes of those interpreting them. For example, the word “childhood” (literally, the state of being a child) can carry a positive or negative connotation depending on an individual’s personal experiences. The meaning of a given word can also be greatly impacted by the implications of the words and images that surround it.

True masters of the written word take the time to consider the many possible connotations a word may have in each unique context. Only then can they strategically decipher the words that will convey their intended message most precisely, thus generating the greatest impact.

Complexity

A vast vocabulary—usually considered an asset for writers—is only a strength if it is used wisely. Writers may be tempted seek opportunities to use obscure or unusually long words in order to impress others with their knowledge. But knowing a lot of words is not the same as truly having a command over the language. Real wisdom lies in the ability to apply different levels of complexity to different situations, depending on the audience and type of writing project. For example, the simple, straightforward language that is ideal for most press releases is very different than the highly technical wording needed to demonstrate industry-related knowledge when answering a specific request for proposal.

Finding the right number of words, with the perfect connotations and ideal level of complexity can prove remarkably challenging. But, once the full power of the written word has been unleashed, marketing victory is imminent!

Posted in From the Mustang Team | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Mustang Celebrates Team Birthdays!

Today the Mustang team celebrated two very special birthdays! We wished the best to Jenny,who first graced the world with her lively presence on Oct. 15, and Jess, who came into the world with all her witty…charm…on Oct. 17. Without these intelligent, talented ladies Mustang just wouldn’t be the same, and we are all very thankful to have them.

In honor of their birthdays, here are some fun facts you might not know about Jess and Jenny:

1) Jenny just turned 26.  A few days before her birthday, she ran 26.2 miles in the Long Beach Marathon.

2) Jess totally would run a marathon, but she just can’t right now because she is recovering from a ruptured tendon, torn ligament and fracture in her right ankle. Okay, so maybe she wouldn’t run a marathon even if that weren’t the case. But she can deadlift 200 pounds!

Check out these photos of the festivities:

photo (5) photo (4) photo (3) photo (2) photo (6)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Love What You Do and Do What You Love…

“Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love.” Author and poet Ray Bradbury said it best.

Every career path has challenges. You may go down the wrong path on more than one occasion. The path may be rougher, less traveled than you originally thought. Or, maybe it’s not a path at all. Maybe it’s a buzzing highway. Maybe it’s LA traffic, where you’re competing with countless, faceless others to get where you want to go. No matter the road ahead or the path you’re on, your desire, passion and even hobbies will fuel you to do what you love.

When I was younger, my dad and I used to have entire conversations in puns.

“Oh, GOUDA! Aren’t these cheeses GRATE?”

“BRIE-whiz, Dad! That’s NACHO cheese, it’s my cheese.”

“Well, now I’m BLEU.”

“Sorry, Dad. I didn’t mean to STRING you along. Have some provolone.”

We’d spend mealtimes laughing, changing topics and going on and on. I lived for it. I would stay up late at night thinking of new puns or funny phrasings to make my family laugh as my dad and I played this game. Little did he know, or maybe he did, my dad was priming me for my future career in marketing.

Playing with words and writing stories, I eventually majored in communication in college. Looking back, it may sound mapped out, planned, strategic, but it was far from it. I originally wanted to major in exercise science and sports medicine. I was an athlete and enjoyed playing sports. Plus, I like the thought of being a doctor — the title more than the occupation — but I ended up bored and uninspired in every class. I learned from that experience: the difference between following what you think you are supposed to do versus what you love to do.

Wanting to write, entertain, plan events, bring life to clever ideas, and manage social media for clubs and causes, I followed what I loved and I went on to become president of my university’s chapter of the American Marketing Association. I signed up for internships, devouring all the knowledge I could and developing new ways to pursue what I love. Two days after graduating, I landed my first real job, my first step to my career in marketing, and I thrived in that position for a number of years.

I’ve followed different paths since then and I’ll admit I’ve made a wrong turn or two, but each time I ask myself, “Is this what you love?” I’m pulled back. Asking myself this question is actually what brought me to Mustang Marketing. Where creativity meets inspiration and no two days are the same, I’m proud to be in this position, doing what I love and making “punny” jokes with coworkers once again.

Finding what you love and making a career out of it isn’t easy, but you’ll feel it when it happens, because when you’re lucky enough to discover what you want to do the rest of your life, everything else just feels like work.

Posted in From the Mustang Team | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off