It’s Safe to Say CSR is Important

By: Sarah Murphy, Account Coordinatorblog picture

About the Kids’ Safety Expo

For eight consecutive years, Market Mentors, along with 94.7 WMAS, Sports Radio 1450 The Hall and MYCHIP, have hosted the annual Kids’ Safety Expo at the Basketball Hall of Fame. The main purpose of the event is to provide an opportunity for families to gather information and tools to keep their children safe. It’s entirely free and there are plenty of fun activities to keep children entertained throughout the morning.

While the benefits to our community are quite obvious, the event also offers great opportunities for local businesses.

CSR

Chances are, your company participates in some sort of CSR, or Corporate Social Responsibility, whether it’s through sponsorships, donations or volunteering. If you don’t, what are you waiting for?! According to a 2015 Aflac Case Study, 81 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from corporations that are active in philanthropic efforts year-round as opposed to only in times of need. Along with that, 69 percent of consumers with children are likely to invest in a company well-known for its corporate social responsibly program and 69 percent of consumers are likely to purchase stock in a company well-known for its ethical standards. Those are large percentages of potential new customers who are likely to switch from a competitor just because a company gives back or supports organizations.

Think to yourself. Would you rather buy a product or service from a company that donates to important causes or buy from a company that doesn’t? I think it is a no-brainer. After all, when it comes to important philanthropic causes, consumers rank children’s health at No. 1 (Aflac).

Companies that participate in the Kids’ Safety Expo exceed CSR guidelines. They have the opportunity to make a positive difference in children’s lives. Businesses can reinforce their image and show how they are compassionate and a caring company. Being affiliated with a well-known event in the western Massachusetts area, businesses are increasing awareness of their company through on-site event and promotional exposure.

Along with raising awareness, businesses reach a large adult demographic of 25-54-year-olds with children or grandchildren. The wide range of attendees is a huge opportunity for many kinds of businesses to attract new customers.

MYCHIP & AAA

While it’s easy to see the business benefits of supporting an event like the Kids’ Safety Expo – none of it would be possible without the help of MYCHIP (the Masonic Youth Child Identification Program). This main attraction provides parents/guardians with a toolkit that helps law enforcement identify a child if they are lost or missing.

This program includes:

  • Capturing fingerprints
  • Voice Recording
  • Dental impressions*
  • DNA cheek swab

*We encourage families to complete this package yearly seeing how the dental impressions only last one year.

All materials are packaged up and given to the parents/guardians. Over 275,000 children have been identified since 1988 with the help of MYCHIP, which demonstrates the importance of this resource.

It’s also important to show children that safety can be fun, which is why we are thankful for the support of our local AAA (American Automobile Association), that has graciously sponsored the bike safety program this year. Thanks to AAA, the first 500 children at the event will receive a free bicycle helmet. Attendees are also able to engage with several other sponsors with free giveaways and fun activities, including but not limited to:

  • The Forest Park Zoo
  • Fire Department
  • Police Department (featuring an police dog demonstration – a fan favorite for years!)
  • Local sports teams and mascots

We hope you see the value of this community resource and to see you at the Kids’ Safety Expo this year. Join us Saturday, July 30 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame from 9 a.m. to noon.

What: 8th Annual Kids’ Safety Expo

When: Saturday July 30, 2016 (9 a.m. to Noon)

Where: Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Price: FREE

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The Sales and Marketing Seesaw

By:Evan Murphy, Account Executive

Freshly armed with a marketing degree, but desperately trying to avoid returning home to live with mom and dad, I jumped at the opportunity to take a sales gig. While it wasn’t directly related to marketing it was very rewarding, sometimes frustrating and surprisingly educational. Fast forward eight years, and I finally get to put my marketing cap on full-time here at Market Mentors. I still have a “new biz” role here, so I thought I would bring a little bit of my perspective to the table.Evan_0740-4x6

Often times when we meet with prospects or are reviewing a campaign with current clients, the conversation naturally turns toward sales. “Making the register ring” is typically the foremost objective for our clients. However, there can often be a disconnect between what the roles are in a revenue generating initiative. Maybe your sales staff says they need more, or better-qualified leads (cue Alec Baldwin). Perhaps your marketing team is seeing the fruits of their labors die on the vine by way of poor closing rates. A well-executed strategy would have a seamless cycle, where everyone knows their role in generating new business. In some instances, the confusion of these roles can lead to inefficiency, frustration and wasted dollars.

Most great results are the product of experience and a solid understanding of fundamentals. The following guidelines may seem simple in nature, but are often misunderstood. Before taking on any business development endeavor, regardless of industry, these principles set expectations for everyone.

  • While a successful marketing strategy hopes to target a specific audience or group, a successful sales campaign hopes to distill that audience and communicate directly with one identified lead.
  • Effective marketing engages audiences via multiple channels of communication depending on the campaign, but properly qualifying the leads that result should always be a two-way, open conversation with a sales person.
  • Valuable items are often offered to promote a product or service as a component of a marketing plan. Case studies, white papers and collateral seek to expedite the education process. In sales, “over-educating” a lead can often stymie the closing process and frustrate both the sales person and the prospect.
  • A well-executed marketing effort will inspire audiences to find more information and how the product or service relates to them personally. The sales person then attempts to find the prospect-specific challenges, and leads them to “yes” or “no” conclusions.
  • In most cases, a marketing plan becomes more successful with greater frequency, creating more exposure. Conversely, an efficient sales strategy strives to reduce the number of “touches” to reduce the sales cycle.

While these marketing and sales functions are different, both sides rely on each other for success. Have your sales people discovered that the target audience has a specific objection? That may be an excellent opportunity to create a campaign tailored around that particular issue. Market Mentors can help collaborate with your team, and create a case study, printed piece or even web content to aid your sales staff! Or perhaps your sales force might be experiencing a high number of pre-qualified incoming leads, but aren’t converting. This may indicate there is a fundamental flaw in the sales process, that can sometimes be something as simple as not asking the right questions. While we aren’t sales trainers, effective marketing strategies create more demand and opportunity to look closer at your closing rates.

Wrapping up, I promise!  Most folks not involved in the sales and or marketing process see them as the same thing. Those involved in one side or the other can sometimes see each other as two worlds apart. Success lies in the middle. These departments should be working in tandem, keeping communication open and continuous. If everyone knows their roles there’s no need for finger pointing. Let Market Mentors work to discover the “secret sauce” to get your sales team tuned in perfect unison with your marketing strategy! It will make your life as easy as “ABC.” Sorry, had to do it.

The Inside Story: Case Studies Support Sales

By: Caroline Lee, Director of Public Relations

One of the most powerful sales tools marketing can provide is a case study. While case studies can take many forms, from feature articles to testimonial ads and videos, they are one of the most valued marketing investments. Maybe you’re interested in supporting your sales team but you don’t know exactly what a case study is, or perhaps you just need the right pitch to make sure your business earmarks part of the marketing budget to develop your story. At Market Mentors, we’ve drafted case studiCase Study Photoes that have helped sales teams deliver results across multiple platforms and industries. Here is what it’s all about:

What is a case study?

Case studies are storytelling for sales. Presented in a “problem, solution an
d results” format, these narratives hone in on the most
common pain points of the personas you sell to — and then they offer a real-world solution with demonstrated results. These stories can be crafted in the form of an article and shared with trade press for editorial coverage, condensed into short statements that are just the right size for a print ad or billboard, and they can even be very effective television and radio ad messages… and the best part is that you don’t have to pick just one. Once developed, a case study can be repurposed across mediums that will be sure to reach your target audience, while maximizing the ma
rketing budget.

Why are case studies so effective? The answer is threefold:

  1. Case studies identify with your target audience first. Sometimes radio or TV commercials are only 15 to 30 seconds long… so it’s easy to use up all that time just talking about your business, products or ser
    vices. However, that “hard sell” approach can alienate your target audience because you don’t take the time to identify with them first. The same holds true for longer articles. It can be so tempting to write a full-page article about all the great things you do and offer… but people have short attention spans and know when they are being sold. Take a moment to paint a picture for your audience by using a “soft sell.” Show them you understand the challenges they face, and then show them your solution.
  2. Customer contribution adds credibility. You can say your product or services are the best, but it resonates more when a third party agrees. Capitalize on your success and ask your happy customers to share their experience working with you. Not only is the end result more credible marketing, but it’s an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with key clientele.
  3. They answer, “What’s in it for me?” By providing an actual example of real-world application, the burden of proof is lifted and the question changes from “why would I buy your product or use your service?” to “why wouldn’t that work for me?” That’s a much warmer conversation for your sales team, and one step closer to converting a prospect to a customer.

Have a great story to share but not sure how to get started? Contact us today and we can not only help you draft the story, but we’ll also help you extend the reach of your message. From traditional advertising and public relations, to websites and social media, Market Mentors can help shine a spotlight on your success.

 

What the new reaction feature on Facebook means for businesses

By: Paula Bailey, Media Coordinator

Have you noticed the new reaction button on Facebook? Chances are you have! If not, this is the set of six emoji’s that sit alongside the original “like” button. Users can quickly respond with love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger. This gives users the ability to respond to posts and ads with different reactions beyond the like button, but isn’t quite as bold as creating a dislike button, which is why these were created. This new set of reactions will appear on mobile and desktop versions.

FB-Reactions

Photo Credit: Facebook

While it seems like a fun tool to use when scrolling through your news feed, this could actually be harmful to users and businesses. This feature is available to use on ads that businesses have paid for. It is worrisome that users have the ability to negatively impact those businesses whom have paid for these ads.  Some users tend to dislike any ads on Facebook and will react with an angry face even though it might not be towards what the ad is really promoting. Since there is no feedback as to why that reaction was posted for their ad, it is harder for businesses to gauge why that reaction is there. It is more practical when users comment on something they don’t agree with and then someone can respond appropriately and investigate further as to why someone is unhappy.

Although the reactions add a nice touch to other types of posts, it has become something that all businesses will now have to worry about since users have the freedom to post any reaction they want and you cannot remove it. Moving forward Facebook business pages will need to be monitored more carefully. Additionally with this negative reaction, it could cause businesses to not want to advertise on Facebook since they run the risk of having negative reactions linked to their ads with no other type of feedback as to why they had that reaction.

So what’s the good news you ask? Well, you can see who had a negative reaction and would still be able to reach out if you wanted to investigate further and get feedback on why they are unhappy. These new reactions also opens Facebook up to a new level of experimentation. Since users can see how others react to certain posts or ads, there is more information available to us than only likes and impressions. We can use this information to see what posts and ads users respond to and what types of reactions they are having to help with future posts and ads geared toward what people like.

Overall, this new change to Facebook has both pros and cons. We will have to wait and see how this new feature progresses and if this ends up being beneficial or more of a hassle for Facebook users.

 

Spot Colors and their Importance to your Branding

By: Laura Stopa, Graphic Designer

Many small companies or businesses that started without a creative agency or designer may not be using spot colors, which is an essential element for brand consistency. Spot colors are premixed solid inks that provide consistent results when printing. They also have standard formulas to be viewed across different types of media. For example, Pantone has a complete color matching system that allows companies to keep the colors in their business materials consistent. To break this down in a way that is easier to understand, you’ll need to know about the different ways artwork is used and the variation of colors needed for each media. Offset printing, digital printing, and on-screen artwork are some of the most common ways business materials end up in the consumers hands.

Offset printing is done with separate plates for each color. In a typical offset printing project, there are four plates for the following colors: cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK). This is because these four colors are printed one at a time to build up to all the colors you are normally used to seeing in a full color print. If you are printing in black and white, you will only need one plate: black. When using spot colors, each one requires a separate plate. For example, if you have a full color project with additional 2 spot colors, you will need 6 plates: cyan, magenta, yellow, black, spot color 1 and spot color 2. Offset printing is usually recommended for bigger projects or when a high volume of materials is needed. When one project requires spot colors for a portion, but not on others, it’s possible that the colors will be inconsistent. One brochure could look more cyan vs another brochure you had printed looking more magenta for example. Spot colors help avoid this issue.

Image for Color Blog PostDigital printing is similar to using your laser or inkjet printer. There are different digital presses these days that offer either laser or inkjet capabilities. This is often a better choice for smaller size/volume projects, because it is less expensive (less setup involved because plates do not need to be created). One of the biggest downfalls to digital printing however, is the quality and color inconsistency. Spot colors can only be simulated in digital prints, leaving more room for color error as well, though many commercial printers are able to match the spot color very closely.

On-screen artwork for example, websites, emails, etc. is different than traditional printing in that the way colors are used is different. We mentioned CMYK earlier as being used in both offset and digital printing. On-screen artwork is typically displayed in red, green, blue (RGB). RGB light is produced on the monitor and the three colors mix to create all of the colors shown onscreen. All three colors mixed together create white. On-screen artwork also leaves room for inconsistency because every monitor is calibrated differently. If you have a spot color predetermined, it will help reduce this issue, though it can never be avoided 100% of the time.

With the different ways printing and on-screen artwork is displayed, there needs to be some consistency in how your branding or logo presents in each environment. Spot colors help keep the colors as close as possible across multiple avenues. For example, the Pantone Matching System (PMS) has created a system with all the colors they offer with the full spot color breakdown (pre-mixed inks that follow a specific formula and are meant to be exactly the same no matter what print shop you use for offset printing), a conversion to CMYK (offset printing without spots or digital printing) as well as a conversion for RGB (on-screen). This system tells designers/printers what information to use when designing/printing to achieve the most accurate color and consistency possible. This is good for your brand so consumers do not see completely different shades of your color across all your business materials. There will be some color change between the different medias (offset, digital, and on-screen) as each one functions differently and cannot be reproduced on the other media. Another reason for this is the range of colors available to each media is different for each. CMYK has the smallest gamut range, followed by Pantone and then RGB.

 

KEY:

CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black: Used in offset and digital printing to put color on the printing material.

RGB – Red, Green, Blue: Used in monitors and displays to produce light that creates the colors available.

PMS – Pantone Matching System: A system of predetermined colors that allows you more control over the consistency of the color in your business materials with formulas to convert to CMYK and RGB when necessary.

Keep Calm & Wear Pink

Market Mentors to host annual ‘Pink Day’ Oct. 23 to benefit Rays of Hope

By: Jennifer Lopez, Content Marketing Associate

1510086_PinkDay

Market Mentors Pink Day 2015

We’re seeing it everywhere this month: pink accents on the uniforms of our favorite NFL players; pink frosted doughnuts and ribbon-shaped cookies at our favorite bakeries. Pink, pink, and more pink.

The color pink is used to mark the observance of October’s designation as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities every October to increase awareness of the disease and raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure.

To mark the designation each year, Market Mentors holds an annual “Pink Day” event with local business leaders to raise money for Rays of Hope. Since it was founded in 1994, Rays of Hope has raised over $12.4 million, all of which has been awarded locally throughout western Massachusetts. Last year, thanks to the generosity of many of our clients, Market Mentors was able to present Rays of Hope with a check for $5,000 and this year we hope to raise even more!

This week, Market Mentors will “Keep Calm & Wear Pink” to benefit Rays of Hope, culminating in our “Pink Day” on Friday, Oct. 23. Participating local businesses include: 94.7 WMAS Springfield, Aaron Smith, P.C., Aesthetic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Baystate Rug & Flooring, Braman Termite & Pest Elimination, Collins Electric, Collins Pipe & Supply, Excel Dryer, Hampden Zimmerman, Keith G. Roy Construction, ML Schmitt, New York Sound and Motion, Noonan Energy, NUVO Bank, Ondrick Natural Earth, Robinson Donovan, Shatz, Schwartz & Fentin, Springfield Label and Tape, Sturbridge Seafood, The Dowd Agencies, The Spa at New England Dermatology and Laser Center, Westfield News, Women’s Health Associates.

We will once again utilize our social media hashtag, #MMPinkDay, for the event and will share photos of us and our clients wearing pink across various social media platforms. Anyone interested in joining us by wearing pink on Oct. 23 is encouraged to use our hashtag – we’ll share your photos too! Help us raise awareness and money for this worthwhile cause. For more information, call us at (413) 787-1133.