We’ve come a long way from Edward Bernays’ Torches of Freedom and his United Fruit Company campaigns. Crystallizing Public Opinion (1923) was instrumental in guiding government agencies, politicians, and non-profit organizations to become skilled practitioners of crowd psychology and psychoanalysis, but now the hyper-adoption of social media and the world wide web place us in an even stranger spot.
Thread Marketing Group, an award-winning marketing communications agency in Toledo, received another national award for its excellence in healthcare digital marketing. The Healthcare Digital Marketing Awards gave Thread Marketing a Gold Award for its video ad series for The Toledo Clinic that ran on digital platforms such as social media, You Tube, and OTT.
Thread Marketing Group Vice President Jim Rush has been racking up the air miles to make connections for Team Thread and Toledo area businesses.
If 60 is the new 30, Thread Marketing Group is helping their newest intern turn 50 into the new 25. Thread decided to look beyond age and bring on a non-traditional intern to work with the Toledo Jeep Fest project this summer.
People don’t like ads. They never did. Consumers avoid ads in video content with ad blockers, or by skipping ahead and sometimes even paying a premium to avoid video ads completely.
Toledo Jeep® Fest (TJF) will return during the weekend of August 6, 2021; and, the wildly popular event is on track to welcome Jeep enthusiasts to the city of Toledo – HOME of the Jeep – once again.
As the second week of the new year comes to a close, so does intern Sofia Szymanski’s first week at Thread. Since beginning her internship last Monday, Sofia has worked on multiple projects, all of which have given her a deeper understanding of the professional world of marketing.
Today’s healthcare consumer has more choice and more access to information than ever before.
Healthcare marketers know that 2020 was a year of fear, confusion, and loss…especially in that industry. As patients struggle with the “new normal” we, as healthcare marketers, can help calm consumer anxiety by providing information that both educates and empowers them to choose the best solution for their unique set of needs. After all, today’s healthcare consumer has more choice and more access to information than ever before which is why it is critically important to deliver solutions in a timely and technology driven manner.
As new digital opportunities emerge, marketers and agencies will look to how they can adapt and improve their messaging. Livestreaming has been around for years - YouTube Live (2006), Twitch (2011), Periscope (2015), Facebook Watch (2016) - but livestreaming was often limited to the platform where the livestream broadcast was offered and the technical ability of the content creator.
We have all dabbled with online meeting software through the course of the recent pandemic – using platforms like Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams.
Healthcare marketers have their work cut out for them in 2021 with the many changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. With healthcare top-of-mind, both locally and nationally, healthcare marketers continue to walk a path fraught with tremendous uncertainty, economic instability and patient anxiety.
People use their phones and social platforms nonstop. The preferred usage patterns that match these devices and their most common format and display calls for brief, concise, and global language. Hashtags and emoji are popular on social media and phones because they are simple, universal, and effective ways to communicate.
Thread Marketing Group is excited to be providing public relations and marketing support for Buff City Soap’s Holland location, which has had a successful and impressive first year of business.
Buff City Soap focuses on creating and selling handmade products that avoid harsh ingredients and are full of nourishing plant-based minerals that satisfy their customers and their skin. Ranging from hand soap to shampoo bars, from bath bombs to facial cleansers, from lotions to laundry soap – their products are guaranteed to make you feel and smell clean.
In March of 2020, many universities made an unprecedented decision to transition to online classes for the rest of the Spring semester. Then orientations, graduations, and summer classes were affected by COVID-19 as well. There is no doubt that this pandemic has changed higher education in a big way. In these uncertain times, students need guidance and reassurance from institutions.
If you had asked me last fall what my plans were for the summer before my junior year, they would not have included dealing with a global pandemic and learning through a remote internship. My name is Ansley Carr, and I am from the Atlanta area. I am entering my junior year at the University of Alabama pursuing a dual degree with a B.S. in Marketing with a minor in Entrepreneurship and a B.A. in Dance. As a member of Alpha Omicron Pi, Riptide Dance Crew, and the Alabama football fanbase (roll tide!), and more, I am very involved on campus.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact companies, schools, and individuals, it has also changed the summer, work, and school plans of college students throughout the country. Students already had to accept the unfortunate news that they wouldn’t be finishing their spring semesters as planned and that they wouldn’t be having the summer they expected, and now they will need to learn how to face the unique challenges and excel under the new guidelines and restrictions for this upcoming school year.
As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to cause shifts in many industries, healthcare is one that is in the center of it all. Hospitals are extremely overcrowded, and primary care has taken a hit. Annual check-ups and elective surgeries are being rescheduled, and many offices have changed hours or even lost personnel. Outcomes can be detrimental if these trends continue, especially for high-need patients.
Thread Marketing Group's dedication, creativity, and exceptional ability to make a difference through our work has been recognized and awarded on three occasions since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. We take pride in receiving outstanding awards, especially during such challenging times.
If you haven’t heard of the term “Zoom Bombing,” consider yourself lucky. If you’ve experienced it yourself, I’m sorry. Either way, consider yourself warned. It’s happening and will likely continue to plague our new virtual meeting world.
Blog Series #2: Media Relations Key Role In Fighting Coronavirus Pandemic
Last week’s blog regarding the central role media relations is playing during the coronavirus pandemic generated a lot of interest, so I’m going to continue sharing my timely client experiences in a blog series. I’ve been in the thick of things – meaning real-time issues making major impacts on lives, business and community safety – every day since Ohioans were instructed to shelter in place by Governor DeWine. On a daily basis I’m facilitating clear, instrumental communications to people and organizations in northwest Ohio as they seek timely financial support … healthcare support … or just old-fashioned support in solidarity. We’re all navigating these uncertain times together – sharing resources, talking to each other, and connecting is of paramount importance.
This week, I had the pleasure of supporting my friends at the Greater Toledo Community Foundation (GTCF), and the important work they are spearheading alongside local philanthropists, businesses, and corporations. GTCF’s newly created COVID-19 Response Fund has granted $330,000 in funding support to over 50 local organizations in need.
Keith Burwell, GTCF’s President explained, “We are pleased to help immediately fill the gap in funding for basic human needs of some of the most vulnerable individuals in our community, but we can do more. Every day, we’re working to connect more local organizations with the vital funding they need to continue supporting our community and those facing the most hardships.”
Media Relations in Action
Helping spread the word about this important COVID-19 Relief Response Fund, AND ultimately connecting local nonprofits with crucial funding support, is where I come in.
This week, I worked with the media to generate two widely consumed news stories featured in the Blade and on Channel 13 ABC. Powerful stories like these clearly showcase the impact of grant funds, which are assisting dozens of key nonprofits such as the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northwest Ohio, Center of Hope Family Services, Inc., and Connecting Kids to Meals. But, there’s room for more help … more donations … more connections.
GTCF’s program department and Board of Trustees are reviewing applications and approving grants at record pace. One hundred percent of the generous donations to the Fund are made to local nonprofits that are vital community resources on the front lines during this pandemic.
Organizations in need of financial support can apply here, and those looking for ways to contribute can visit the Greater Toledo Community Foundation website.
For media relations support and help spreading the word about information the public NEEDS to be aware of, please feel free to connect with me.
Sharing client insights on timely topics – such as consumer fraud due to Coronavirus outbreak – is a public service.
It is important to have a developed plan in place before a crisis appears. When in the middle of a crisis event it is easy to be overwhelmed with stress, which may cause tunnel-vision for some and emotional, not strategic thinking. Having a plan in place in advance will allow your team to focus on strategy and rapid execution of crisis management procedures.
These 10 principles will remain consistent through any crisis and will act as your road map as you handle the situation:
We know that many of our clients and friends are dealing with or anticipating potential crises. We've also developed a Thread Marketing Group Orange Paper on the ABC's of Crisis Communications with additional information for handling a crisis. This helpful document is available for download via the link below.
As I have watched this crisis unfold, I have been keeping a keen eye on the messaging that has been being pushed out though ads, social posts, and marketing emails (occupational hazard). Watching to see what brands have been quick to respond and which have not.
How to evaluate your marketing plan during a downturn.The difference between Price and Value is something all marketers need to know and use during our daily lives. With the current situation, its importance will only increase. As marketing professionals we are going to be doing daily battle with attacks on our budgets during these uncertain times. Now more than ever, we need to prove the value of what we do. Our co-executives may look at marketing tactics and only see price. We must show them the value.
You may have already had the “Cut Back” not “Cut Off” conversation regarding marketing. Assuming it went well and your company has not decided to go completely dark during this unprecedented downturn, you may be considering “What next?” How do I best determine what to cut back on, what to completely stop, and where to pivot budget into? Let Value be your guide.
Customer support, service, and success are all critical to your business's prosperity and growth. Often these areas are confused and referred to interchangeably. The results of each of these potential interactions play a huge role in how customers feel about your business and your brand. It’s important to recognize the difference of each one and treat them all as a major factor on your business’s reputation, customer retention and bottom line.
What’s your new pandemic-era social media routine?
We’ve-always-done-it-that-way might have worked fairly well up to this point. But we're now working in unprecedented times.
Right Now, Customer Retention Strategies Should be a Top Priority
Chances are sales are important to your success as a business. Management generally expects to see a steady stream of new business flowing in the front door. But that’s not as important to your growth as you might think.
Finding the Good During an Economic Slowdown
We have all seen it before. The first thing to be cut in a down economy is marketing. It's the easiest thing to do and generally doesn’t require l
aying off employees or reducing production. It hearkens back to the days of when marketing couldn't show return on investment (ROI). And even now in the days of data overload, it still tends to be the fallback position. However, research shows that companies that continue to spend on marketing and even increase their spends, fare better during recessions than those that do not.
It is an understatement to say that these are highly unusual and trying times. Everyone is holding their collective breath to see what happens next. We are also consuming content at an incredible pace. We want to know how to protect ourselves, what we can and can’t do as part of growing quarantines, what the economy is going to do, and what stores have restocked their shelves with toilet paper.
This unprecedented pandemic is a wake-up call for companies to carefully review the strategies, policies, and procedures in place to protect employees, customers, and operations. An important part of those policies and procedures includes how you communicate, both internally and externally.
In today's fast-paced, tight-budget, not-enough-hours-in-the-day world, we all could use ways to do more with less. And fundraisers aren't the only ones. In fact, that's what makes this next fundraising tip so important.
In the world of digital advertising, one of the most common filters to add to a campaign is geographic targeting. A lot has changed and more options are available when it comes to geotargeting. We thought it might be a good time to stop and share our thoughts on these strategies which can improve your digital marketing campaign.
It’s commonly said that organizations need a plan for thanking donors at least 3 times for every 1 gift. Oftentimes, how and when you thank them is even more important than how often. Think quality, over quantity.
How complacency and a “Maintenance Managed” mentality brought down an industry leader.
The media today is filled with sobering news of the demise or slow deaths of once iconic brand leaders. With names like Blockbuster Video, Borders, Toys R Us, Sears, Kmart, Pier One and even Neiman-Marcus exiting the retail landscape, it illustrates how the way we now buy products has changed the retail sector. The technology market as well, has not gone unaffected. Names like MSN Messenger, Kodak, Polaroid, My Space, Compaq Computer and yes Gateway Computers (who could forget that great packaging) haven fallen to changing buying environments or newer, more innovative answers to customer needs/demands.
Helping Northwest Ohio’s First-of-its-kind “Forest School” Make A Smash Debut
I recently had the privilege, along with my colleague Rod Frysinger, of creating and executing a remarkable media event on behalf of Maumee Valley County Day School. The educational and playful press conference showcased the school’s new approach to education called “Forest School,” which allows kids to be outside while learning social and educational lessons and exploring a 75-acre wooded campus.
As the mother of a 15-year-old boy, I've heard "OK Boomer!" way more times than probably necessary. I have to admit, the first time I heard it, I reacted negatively and loudly announced "I'm not a Boomer!" (I'm close. But technically, no, I'm not a boomer.) This reaction of course delighted my son and now it is his mantra every time he talks about something I don't understand or every time I talk about something he doesn't understand.
We are pleased to announce that Jim Rush has joined #TeamThread as our new Vice-President, Strategic Relationships.
Building marketing success with what you’ve learned
A few years ago, I challenged myself to put my experience and (debatable) knowledge on paper and draft one fundraising tip that I could share with friends, colleagues and new professionals/volunteers to the field of fundraising. While I’ve shared a few of the tips in a variety of forums, I’ve decided it’s time to bring it back. I won’t promise the tips will come weekly, but they will come and hopefully you’ll find them helpful – even if you don’t work in fundraising.
All Customer Relationship Management Systems (CRMs) are not created equal. You need to seek out one that is the right fit for your organization. In Joe Sharp's blog post last week, "Marketing your Business with CRM Software" we shared reasons that Thread chose HubSpot as our CRM. But every organization needs to find a CRM that provides you with the tools you desire but is not overwhelming to learn and use. The highest-rated CRM system is of no use if no one wants to use it.
Most established organizations recognize the importance of marketing and the effect it has on sales, customer growth and retention, brand awareness, legitimacy ... the list goes on and on. The problem is that effective marketing is not something that is "one and done." It takes time. Time for research, planning, strategy, execution, follow up and time to start all over again in today's ever-changing business environment.
Today the business environment is ever-changing, and the use of digital marketing is leaving traditional marketing in its wake, for good reason. Business operations today are more complex. Companies are challenged to understand and utilize a myriad of channels while attempting to retain existing customers and also connect with potential new customers every single day.
Sometime in your life, you’ve probably heard the old canard that the Chinese symbol for crisis is a combination of the symbols for danger and opportunity.
It turns out to be one of those things that isn’t true but should be.
That’s because too many leaders have a one-sided view of a crisis. You can tell by the kind of language that’s used. Leaders want to:
- manage a crisis
- mitigate damage
- survive the situation
While those things are certainly important, at Thread we think they lead to companies and nonprofits thinking defensively during crisis planning.
Two Sides to Every Story
Our counsel is to remember that there truly are two sides to a crisis situation in our times, if not in ancient Chinese typology. Beyond merely avoiding damage to a brand, we believe that a well-handled crisis can actually increase the trust a brand has and improve it’s overall reputation. Further, that philosophy should be baked into every part of the planning process.
My favorite example came when I was working for a local retail business with a high profile in our region. One of the company’s employees had been caught fraudulently providing an add-on service to customer’s orders. He was due to be charged by the County Prosecutor following a thorough investigation.
By traditional measures, there was no reason for my client to be damaged. An employee was cheating the company as well as the customers. The company had discovered it, reported it to authorities and cooperated with the investigation. As long as we told that story, things were likely to be fine.
Even so. our counsel was to think bigger. As with any situation, you want to tell your own bad news and not leave the key details in the hands of others, if at all possible. Our recommendation was to mail a letter to every customer, self-report what had happened, take responsibility and then offer a small gift to compensate. Timing was key: the letter had to hit between the time when the employee was notified of his indictment but before the media found out. What we told the client:
“If we do that, your trust will not just be protected. People will trust you more.”
We executed that plan and were pleased with the results. Because we told the story and told it first, we were credited by consumers for having nothing to hide. We weren’t concerned about a lurid headline sidetracking public opinion. And we had done the right thing—all the way down the line—and people were going to see it.
The feedback to the company was excellent. Numerous people said that they believed more in our client than they had before. Just as important was what didn’t happen: customers who walked in the door didn’t mention the story…customers didn’t leave…and business didn’t take a hit.
Not all crisis situations are as well set up as this one. In some cases, the company or non-profit might be more culpable than my client was in this case. I’d argue that even if that was the case, a company that makes a mistake and owns up to it and offers to make it good is well positioned to realize a long-term gain in public reputation. People understand that mistakes are made—what they don’t tolerate is spin, evading responsibility, or callous behavior.
If you’re interested in seeing how we create crisis plans that seek benefit as well as damage mitigation, let us know.
A rebrand can be a powerful force for change. The decision to do so is never taken lightly. In fact jumping into a rebrand prematurely can result in a significant waste of time, money and energy. All of which are often scarce resources in a nonprofit environment.
I’ve worked in a lot of different industries and companies throughout my career. Many of these were for-profit companies, but the majority of my professional experience comes from the not-for-profit sector. And in seeing the view from both sides of the fence, I’ve found more similarities between these two sectors than I think most people realize.
If you're not using an integrated marketing strategy, then you might want to rethink your approach. Executing an integrated marketing campaign is really all about identifying the channels that work best for your company or organization and leveraging them to make the most impact. But to ensure success, it's important to understand and expand upon past success. Gathering critical information and marketing intelligence is an important part of any integrated marketing strategy. Understanding and using the right analytics to track and measure success is not only important for the success of a current campaign but for future campaigns as well.
Okay, I will save my, “Your brand is bigger than your logo,” speech for another time. Today I want to focus on reasons why you should change or consider changing the most important, outward facing components of your brand:
Far too often, agencies and companies alike unwittingly focus on tactics, rather than strategy, in their marketing and communications activities.
The state of marketing is in constant and rapid flux. There are now more places than ever to spend marketing dollars and the pressure to create campaigns and content to use across all these channels is a real thing. That’s why everyone now talks about “integrated marketing”.
As a rising Junior at the University of Dayton, I was so thankful that Thread Marketing Group offered me an internship position for Summer 2019 in my hometown of Toledo, OH. A first internship entails many learning opportunities for any student, but I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did. Throughout the past 3 months, I’ve been working with various clients across service lines including PR, Social Media, Web, etc, and these are the 5 main things that I have learned about working in the business world with professional adults.
The U.S. automotive aftermarket industry grew retail sales by 2.5% in 2018, according to The NPD Group. Not surprising. As we keep our vehicles longer, we need replacement auto parts to keep them fit for service and road ready.
Last evening in New York City, Thread Marketing Group was awarded the prestigious 2019 Silver Anvil Award by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the nation’s largest community for public relations professionals. Thread is thrilled to take home this award on behalf of all those who contributed, sponsored and supported the firm’s work with Toledo Jeep Fest, an annual community event that celebrates Toledo as the HOME of the Jeep. Thread has handled Toledo Jeep Fest’s public relations initiatives since its inception in 2016.
We are pleased to announce the addition of Kevin P. Mullan, Vice President, New Business Development to the Thread team.
As Mental Health Awareness month reaches its end, we need to find a way to continue this conversation and make the workplace environment a positive and healthy place. Let’s face it, there is stigma surrounding mental health because it can be a tricky topic to discuss at work.
Amazon owns a Top 3 spot on nearly every current consumer survey related to customer service, technology and innovation, brand trust and just plain, old fashion company growth.
Data from the Center for Workplace Mental Health indicates that employees with depression miss an average of 31.4 workdays each year and lost another 27.9 workdays to nonproductive time, costing employers an estimated $44 billion annually.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In a world that is increasingly opening to – and understanding those with – mental health issues, it’s no surprise that Mental Health Awareness Month is now a firmer fixture on calendars and in organizations around the U.S.
Thread Marketing Group was recently named a 2019 Silver Anvil Award finalist by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the nation’s largest community for public relations professionals. Thread is being recognized for the firm’s work with Toledo Jeep Fest, an annual community event that celebrates Toledo as the HOME of the Jeep and the all-American workforce that has made it all possible for eight decades. Thread has handled Toledo Jeep Fest’s public relations initiatives since its inception in 2016.
Just a few years ago, brand activation was a phrase most of us had never heard. But as the era of “engagement” dawned in marketing, brand activation became an essential part of any professional’s toolkit.
The equation was simple: replace impressions with experiences to create a stronger relationship and deeper loyalty between the consumer and the brand. In its truest sense, brand activation is the art of driving consumer action through brand interaction. The key aim of brand activation marketing campaigns is to get consumers to act. It’s about bringing brands to life via experiences and forming long-term emotional connections.
If you are a nonprofit organization, here are three important marketing trends you should include in your 2019 planning.
1. The Revival of Email
As the reach on social media channels like Facebook declines through stricter algorithms and policies, nonprofits should ramp up email communications. By 2021, 7.7 billion email accounts are expected worldwide. Smartphone users check emails 81% of the time on their device. And with 59% of email opens occurring on mobile, you need to ensure any landing page click thru’s are mobile optimized as well.
As a marketer, you know it’s essential to keep your website content fresh by updating it frequently, often in the form of blogs. Most likely, you’re aware that the digital world of 280-character tweets, abbreviated text messages and emoji conversations is shortening our attention spans. Medical Daily writes that the human attention span has shortened from 12 seconds to eight seconds in recent years. Therefore, it makes sense to fill your marketing content strategy with shorter pieces of content that are easy for you to write and easy for your readers to digest.
However, data has shown that long-form content (pages that have a word count of up to 3,000 words) increase time on page − an important metric for SEO − and can garner more page views than a short blog post.
Google has always seen itself as more than a search bar. In fact, if you saw the news last week, Google is committing itself to the healthcare space from a variety of angles.
Google announced last Friday that Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg has been hired to head up their healthcare initiatives. Feinberg will work to coordinate Google’s move into the $3 trillion healthcare market across many groups including Google Brain (the artificial intelligence team), Nest home automation group and Google Fit wearables team.
On November 9, 2018, we welcomed divided government back to Washington.
I had a conversation with a recent college graduate last week and I asked him if he used LinkedIn to prep for a meeting. His response surprised me. “I already have a job. I don’t need LinkedIn.” Really? In this time of big-data, constant networking and social media driven everything, LinkedIn still is thought of as just a place to find a job?
LinkedIn is so much more. And if you’re not using it as part of your organizations digital marketing strategy you are missing out.
Learning the Ropes of Social Media
Connecting Kids to Meals (CKM) is one of the largest hunger-relief organizations in Northwest Ohio, having served more than 5 million nutritious meals to children in over 15 years in operation. Thread Marketing Group started working with this community organization in 2017. In fact, Whitney Rofkar, one of our team members is a CKM board member and helps keep this important issue and organization front and center in Northwest Ohio.
Lead generation is at the heart of most marketing teams’ goals. And it’s a challenge for nearly everyone. We regularly assist our clients with building effective lead generation strategies, and we regularly hear the same challenges presented.
Here are the top three lead gen challenges we see and suggestions on how to solve them.
A strategic partnership with a marketing agency can be a great investment, but evaluating and selecting the best marketing agency for your specific organization and its goals is a challenge many marketing and sales leaders face.
With so many marketing agencies out there, in order to find the one that’s best for you, you’ll need to know exactly what you’re looking for and how to find it.
Below are six steps to help you evaluate and select the best marketing agency for you.
The Midwest is full of world-class marketing events this summer. With warmer weather finally here, it’s a great time to feel refreshed, get inspired and expand your marketing knowledge at some upcoming can’t-miss marketing conferences.
Below are Thread’s picks for the top five marketing conferences in the Midwest this summer.
Content marketing and inbound marketing are modern approaches to marketing that are often confused, even by experienced marketers.
It’s easy to see why confusion might arise between the two. Both content marketing and inbound marketing are both:
- Strategic approaches to marketing
- Targeted to a specifically defined audience
- Executed according to a content marketing strategy
- Designed to provide helpful, unique and relevant content to the user
Despite the similarities, there are important distinctions as well. Understanding the differences between content marketing and inbound marketing is important when making decisions about what is best for your brand.
Marketing automation software is a category of powerful technology that enables organizations to increase efficiency and get better results from their marketing departments in order to fuel revenue growth.
Many organizations today are familiar with the existence of marketing automation software; however, many marketers don’t have a great handle on how to best leverage marketing automation within their specific business.
The potential advantages of marketing automation are tremendous. Here are four of the top-cited reasons to start using marketing automation software in your organization.
Thread Marketing Group has earned multiple honors for their outstanding work in healthcare marketing.
The 35th Annual Healthcare Advertising Awards presented the Toledo agency with four (4) Healthcare Advertising Awards (Gold, Silver, Bronze and Merit) across multiple categories for their work with both St. Luke’s Hospital and The Toledo Clinic.
The Healthcare Advertising Awards is the oldest, largest and most widely respected healthcare marketing awards competition. The annual awards are sponsored by Healthcare Marketing Report, the leading publication covering all aspects of healthcare marketing, advertising and strategic business development.
Plus 5 Free Tools to Get You Started
A marketing technology (or “martech”) stack is no longer optional for mid-sized companies. In fact, for most companies, it’s not a matter of choosing if it’s a good idea to use technology to market your brand. Instead, it’s a matter of choosing which pieces of marketing technology to incorporate in order to get you the best lead generation and business results.
The marketing technology landscape is complicated, period. From ecommerce tools to A/B testing to social media to live chat to heat mapping to ABM software, martech solutions exist today for nearly every facet of marketing that you can imagine.
So, let’s start with the basics and simplify the landscape a bit. Below are five essential elements that make up a basic marketing tech stack, plus five free tools to help you get started leveraging technology for better marketing results.
If you want to generate more leads from your marketing and sales efforts, your website is the perfect place to start. A website is a brand’s most valuable sales and marketing asset, yet so few marketers truly leverage its lead generation potential.
Many marketers find themselves overwhelmed and unsure where to start. The good news is that transforming your website into a lead generation powerhouse usually doesn’t require a total overhaul or rebuild, which can drain substantial time and resources. Rather, most websites really only need a series of strategic tweaks in order to successfully transition from a stale online brochure to a repeatable and scalable lead generation machine.
Here are seven secrets to get started transforming your website into a lead generation machine.
Thread Marketing Group recently earned honors as a 2018 best-in-class advertising agency in Toledo by Three Best Rated®, an independent, third-party review organization whose mission is to connect consumers with the top three local businesses, professionals, restaurants and health care providers in any city.
“We are thrilled to have been recognized as a marketing and advertising leader in the Toledo area,” said Judy McFarland, CEO of Thread Marketing Group. “We work in an extremely competitive industry, so to be recognized as the best-in-class amid a group of premiere agencies is an incredible distinction and a tribute to our outstanding staff.”
If you’re a marketer looking to improve lead generation, adding a blog to your website is one of the best investments you can make.
But blogging only produces lead generation results when it’s planned and executed properly. Here are ten blogging best practices sure to improve lead generation for B2B companies.
Set your team up for success
A lot can happen in 12 months, especially in the context of a digital landscape laden with new technologies. While your 2017 marketing strategy may have been on-point, you can take it up a notch by getting a jump-start on 2018. Adopting marketing ideas that help your brand rise above the noise and equip your marketing team to do more with less effort can lead to increased brand awareness and higher revenue for your organization. Here is an inside look at what experts see coming down the pipeline.
As a recent bride who has been through the wedding dress shopping experience, I have realized that the steps to choosing a wedding gown are the same steps to selecting a brand logo.
Your website’s metadata is crucial to search engines and to customers being able to discover your information and in order to use it to research or make a purchase.
As Thread’s Senior Vice President of Communications Technology, I have been helping clients develop custom websites for over 15 years and, therefore helpful advice that will save you time and money when seeking a web development partner.
If you missed it, Whitney Rofkar, Thread’s Director of Public Affairs, was featured on WTOL News 11 discussing the national lunch trends, consumer behavior and how it’s affecting our local economy.
In the ever-changing world of social media, it can be overwhelming to keep up with all of the rules, best practices and techniques as they evolve across multiple platforms and devices. Lucky for you, Thread has a simple solution. Regardless of industry segment, audience type or social platform, here are three items that are essential to social media success.
Here at Thread, we have unveiled our updated brand, which is "Connect. Simply." Each of us has been asked to write a short blog post about that and what it means to them in their specialization.
Unveiling the evolution of our new brand identity is very exciting! We’ve modernized and updated our trademark logo, and a fresh vibe is running through all of our branded communications and client experiences.
At Thread, we pride ourselves on being innovative and embracing change for the better. This year, we believe we have our biggest and best change yet.
Despite our up-front and color-biased moniker, Team Orange is proficient with “all the colors in the crayon box.”
We’re about halfway through the 21-day phenomenon known as March Madness. Back when this all started in 1939, college basketball fans streamed quickly through an 8-team bracket to the final game where Oregon defeated Ohio State 46-33 for the national championship.
Thread Marketing Group and Toledo’s Black Cloister Brewing Company have been creating can and tap handle labels for Black Cloister’s craft beers since March of 2016.
Toledo Region UX Conference
In my role as Digital Project Manager at Thread Marketing Group, I had the privilege of attending the Toledo Region UX Virtual Conference, “User Research for Everyone.” The virtual conference was hosted and broadcast by Rosenfeld Media, a well-known name in the realm of user experience expertise.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is a strategic method of bringing attention to your brand or product by harnessing respected voices in your industry. The use of blogging and social media are common in online marketing, and because of that the digital landscape is saturated with messaging. Influencer marketing can amplify your message and make your brand stand out from the crowd.
2016 has been a great year for social media and the ever evolving platforms and tools that we use. As Thanksgiving approaches, we’re looking back at some of the biggest updates and social media releases that we’re thankful for and that have helped move our brand and clients forward.
The Thread team had the opportunity to travel to Chicago for the annual conference of the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development--known as SHSMD. Healthcare is at the intersection of two lines of dynamic change--healthcare delivery is changing and so is marketing. Leaders in this field are adapting with an incredible amount of innovation and creativity. For me, it boils down to the idea that you still need to make a connection with people, but in healthcare that increasingly means connecting with people when they aren't sick. In other words, you need to be part of the "ecosystem" of a customer's life, as one presenter put it.
Ripl Mobile App
Ripl mobile app is a new social media app that makes it easy to animate your static images. Combining images, text, hashtags, links and animations into a shareable video to your social media profiles has never been so easy.
Customer journey mapping is a valuable but frequently underestimated tool for marketing. As proven over and over by brands that create outstanding customer experiences, the joy is in the details. Take Disney, for example: whether it be the landscape, structures, or character interactions with guests, every element of a Disney park visit must exude wonder and magic. The process of journey mapping, then, enables brands to identify those make-or-break moments and change them for the better.
Good for your brand page? Good for engagement? Not necessarily both. Facebook's new News Feed algorithm puts more emphasis on livestreaming. Yes, sigh, Buzzfeed got 800,000 live viewers for exploding a watermelon with rubber bands during a Facebook Live session. What is a normal experience for most brands?
A recent Poynter Institute experiment with Live posts and non-Live posts showed a vast difference in Reach and Engagement.
Poynter’s live video of Corey Lewandowski accepting a CNN position reached more than 6,000 users for every engagement. Another top article post on changes to the Associated Press Stylebook only reached 36.
Poynter then looked at the post clicks and engagements these two posts received. The post linking to the Stylebook article had 7,851 post clicks — almost 40 times more than the Lewandowski live video.
Best Practices for Facebook Live
We want to achieve both Reach and Engagement with our published posts on Facebook. So while the goal of this new feature is to increase brand awareness by having Facebook deliver Reach to a wider audience, engagement is not automatic. That’s on you to create a great experience and make the engagement happen.
Here are some best practices for a good Facebook Live experience:
- Pre-announcement for Facebook Live post: Let your audience know when and what is coming. Write a compelling description before going live, then broadcast for at least 8-10 minutes. You can go live for up to 90 minutes.
- Check your connection: Wait for a strong signal/WiFi. Create a seamless experience.
- Questions and comments during a session: Actively engagement with the audience during the session. Answer questions, affirm statements and ask follow up questions.
- Major events or product Q&A: Pick your spots. Align with an event or discuss a product or product launch during your Facebook Live session.
- Behind the scenes: Some news organizations broadcast during breaks and commercials. Show your fans unique “behind the scenes” content.
- Call out to your audience to tap the Follow button, and opt-in to get notifications of upcoming Facebook Live broadcasts
Great Example of Facebook Live
Facebook has come out with new features including filters and the ability to doodle while going live. This is clearly targeted at users who do these things on Snapchat. Facebook has also suggested the ability to add multiple users who can tag-team and share a live broadcast. This is supposed to roll out in August.
What’s a good example or case study of Facebook Live? Check out Gettysburg National Military Park, which did a great job with the recent anniversary of the 1863 battle. Remember that your session must be compelling, unique and informative.
On August 13, 2016, an estimated 40,000 people invaded downtown Toledo to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Jeep. It was Toledo’s biggest single-day festival in decades. The inaugural event gave Toledoans the opportunity to celebrate one of the community’s great passions – its love of the Jeep brand and vehicles.
As Brand pages on Facebook fight harder and harder to stay relevant in the friend zone of their follower’s newsfeeds, an upcoming Facebook algorithm shift will hurt reach for a majority of brands, reducing their content in many people’s timelines. This means that brands will have an even tougher time getting their organic, unpaid content placed prominently in people’s feeds. The trick to upping your brand’s chances? Make your content even more share-worthy.
All companies know that they need SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for the success of their website. Search Engine Optimization is the process in which you design and create content for your website that search engines favor. SEO is like spices and seasoning. Without it your website is bland and flavorless to the search engines. But did you know that you can overseason your website to the point where the search engines find it unpalatable. Google’s algorithm not only rewards websites that do proper SEO, but it also punishes websites that over-optimize or try to game the system.
10-second video vs. the traditional 30-second video; which one is more successful in today’s digital landscape? Well, it depends on the generation.
We've gotten used to seeing the various "disciplines" within marketing converge, and the trend of placing advocacy into marketing and advertising, as noted by a former high-level executive with McDonald's Europe, would just be the latest example.
The folks from Gallup are out with the news that is probably not a surprise to anyone: employee engagement is stalled around the world. It is better in the US, but even here it is only 32%.
Subheadline about the topic here:
Your “how to” blog post should teach the reader how to do something by breaking it down into a series of steps.
Begin your blog post by explaining what problem you are going to solve through your explanation and be sure to include any relevant keywords. Add in a personal story to establish your credibility on this topic. And make sure to end your blog post with a summary of what your reader will gain by following your lead.
How many times have you asked yourself while scrolling through Pinterest “I wish I could buy that?" Pinterest has recently introduced its “Buy It” button which allows the user to purchase products straight from Pinterest itself. This feature is only be available for official brand pages and products.
Burrito lovers rejoice! Apple and Chipotle have come up with the Burrito button app for your Apple Watch. Chipotle’s Burrito Button app is so simple and straightforward, it revolutionizes the mobile purchase process and user experience. Once you set up your location, favorite meal and credit card info, you’ll only ever have to press the “Burrito Button”! The best part of the app – the countdown clock until your order is ready. How can you beat that?
Do you ever get tired of only being able to swipe up and down in your Instagram feed? That has now changed since Instagram has recently launched their newest version of sponsored advertisements called Carousel Ads. This new ad format allows users to swipe left and click on an interactive "Learn More" button. The button links to a different page of the brand's choice so that the user is able to find more information.
With cloud computing being arguably the hottest trend in the digital world right now and context rich systems being a very close second there is a paradigm shift about to take place in the world of technology as we know it. The Internet of Things (IoT) revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication that is built on cloud computing along with networks of data gathering sensors; It is an instantaneous connection that will make everything in our lives from streetlights to cities “smart.” The Internet of Things really becomes powerful with machines and sensors working together in order to gather and leverage data by analyzing it in real time. Cloud based applications are essential to interpreting and transmitting the data coming from these sensors.
(No, this is not an article about Pixar).
In PR, one of our biggest challenges is helping laypeople understand complicated subjects. Whether it is the science behind plant emissions, a complex financial issue or, really, any kind of communications related to change, helping people understand scientific, technical and mathematical concepts is among the toughest jobs we have. Early on, a big hero was Edward Tufte, whose classic book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information created a cult following devoted to the importance of design, graphics, and integrity in creating understanding in these situations.
2015 is turning out to be the year of ephemeral content, which is allowing communities and consumers the ability to interact with brands in real-time. How are brands and consumers able to interact in real-time? Well, there’s an app for that (or two). Meerkat and Periscope are both easy to use, and free to download for brands and personal users. Which one is the best for brands?
Anyone who works in the PR business or at a PR agency today knows that content is the hottest term in the business. We used to talk about writing copy or making videos--now we "create content."
Twitter and Google struck a deal in February to put real-time tweets back into Google’s search index after going without them for a few years.
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