My Resolutions for 2014

With so many people grappling with their new year’s resolutions on this last day of January, I started to think, “Instead of focusing on what I wanted to achieve personally this year, what if I resolved to give clients what they wanted (and needed) from a communications consultant?”

Good client service. Results that matter. Fresh approaches to content development and social media.

So I came up with this plan on how to turn clients’ wishes into service resolutions:

Want No. 1: Resource Extensions

The economy may be picking up, but I have yet to see one client who has too many staffers or too much money sitting in their budgets. (If you know of any, I’d appreciate a referral!) Resources are tight, and you need a partner who not only provides expert consultation but also produces deliverables on time and under budget.

My resolution: Get in-the-trenches with clients. One of the best compliments I received last year was from a long-time client who said, “Cara is an extension of our team.”

Want No. 2: Make Me Look Good (to the Boss, to the Board, to my Customers)

All eyes are on you when you hire a new copywriter or communications consultant. Did you make the right decision? Will the CFO pummel your social media efforts as a frivolous marketing expense? Will the new demand-generation campaign produce sales? Will we win during the product reviews process?

My resolution: Never become a consultant more concerned about winning industry awards than about delivering what matters most to my clients. I know that if your content, social media and marketing communications efforts don’t produce a return — on investment, objectives or reputation — they’re not working, and no award for creative copywriting or hashtag coinage will fix them!

Want No. 3: Communication

In real estate investment, the three most important words are, “location, location, location.” In the business of client relationships, the three most important words are “communication, communication, communication.” You may hire consultants because they are creative, but if their business protocols aren’t methodical and their communication skills aren’t proactive, you won’t keep them.

My resolution: Never keep you in the dark. I believe in Jack Welch-style candor. If a campaign isn’t working, I’ll let you know and help you find a solution. If I can’t deliver what you’re asking for, I’ll let you know before taking on the assignment. I have client communications protocols in place, such as weekly status reports, regular face-to-face meetings or quarterly assessments.

Want No. 4: To Have It My Way

Clients only know one way of doing things: their way. Of course, my objective is to bring crisp approaches to your account and tantalize you with new ways of doing communications that produce results. But if it’s not what you want or it exceeds your budget, you won’t care.

My resolution: To be easy to work with so you don’t have another headache. I know formulaic approaches don’t work. I’ll listen to your business problems, create a communications solution together and then deliver on the agreed-upon results. It really can be that simple.

Now, it’s your turn: What do you want and how can I help?

 

 

New Year-New Habit No. 7: Sales Letter Writing Tips

In my New Year-New Habit series yesterday, I suggested you find new ways to incorporate customer testimonials into your marketing and sales communications. Let’s look further at sales communications today and focus on the art of writing sales letters that sizzle.

A sales letter is one of the most common forms of direct marketing. However, writing an effective one isn’t easy. Many companies hire direct-marketing professionals to create their mailings, but you can write your own by following these tips.

[Read more...]

New Year-New Habit No. 6: Use Customer Testimonials

Congratulations! You’ve completed the first work week of 2012. Are you developing new public relations or social media habits that will set you apart? If not, it’s not too late. Review my suggestions this week about good social media etiquette, calling instead of emailing, using social media productivity tools, updating your image and becoming headline-worthy. Today my suggestion will rev up your marketing communications. If you are looking for new ways to market your company, don’t overlook the importance of customer testimonials. [Read more...]

Business Blogging: Sales & Marketing Roundtable

I’m giving another talk on corporate blogging, and would love to see you there.

Build a Rapport with Your Customers and Prospects…Sign-up Today!

Build a rapport with customers by blogging

Build a rapport with customers by blogging

Given the decline in effectiveness of business-to-business (B2B) advertising, more companies are turning to blogs to promote their products and services. B2B technology marketers are publishing applicable content on corporate blogs to educate prospects, embrace current customers and gather leads. But how do you turn content into sales?

Did you know:

  • Business.com reports 81 percent of B2B companies maintain company-related accounts or profiles on social media sites.
  • Seventy five percent of B2Bers participate in micro-blogging, such as Twitter.
  • Demand Gen Reports reveals nine out of 10 buyers say when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you online.
  • Cision and The George Washington University reports 89 percent of journalists make use of blogs while conducting their online research and 96 percent turn to corporate websites. Sixty three percent of C-suite execs turn to the web to locate information, and six out of 10 conduct more than six searches a day.

Boy…Do we have a case study treat for YOU!

Considering the escalating prominence of B2B blogging, TechAmerica Orange County has assembled a roundtable about B2B blogging to answer some key questions about trends. I’ll moderate a talk about the benefits of B2B blogging and demonstrate how tech companies can incorporate it into their integrated marketing mix.

This program will headline Roland DGA Marketing Communication Manager Dede Sabey. She will reveal Roland DGA’s social media and blogging best practices, metrics, wins and disappointments.

What You Will Learn:
During this presentation, Dede and I will share how to best:

  • Present a blog initiative for executive approval
  • Select a blog platform
  • Position your company as a thought leader in your industry
  • Share stories about your products and services in a savvy, meaningful way
  • Keep your customers coming back to your blog
  • Re-purpose content from other marketing channels for your blog
  • Interact with your community and nurture leads
  • Determine metrics
  • Measure results and report them for company-wide buy in

Who Should Attend:

  • CEOs, Marketing VPs and Managers, SEOs, CIOs, Social Media Specialists, Directors and Managers, Brand Evangelists, Technologists, and anyone on the team responsible for your company’s brand visibility!

Admission:
Members: $10
Non-Members: $30
@ The Door: $20/$40
*Breakfast included. Receive $10 OFF when you use this exclusive discount code [BlogTAOC]

Date: Wednesday, Aug 31, 2011

Agenda:
7:30 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
8 a.m. Program Begins
9 a.m. Program Concludes

New Host Location: SYSPRO
959 S. Coast Dr # 100
Costa Mesa, CA 92626-1786
Driving Map

Registration:
To registration of if you have questions, please contact Program Marketing & Event Manager Yalanda Oglesby at 949-502-0051 or Yalanda.Oglesby@TechAmerica.org. If you send an email, please kindly call to confirm receipt as they have strong filters.

Featured Thought Leaders:

About Dede Sabey
As the Marketing Communications Manager at Roland, Dede has seen Roland DGA more than double in both number of employees and annual revenue during her 13 year tenure. She co-runs the marketing department, overseeing social media initiatives, event management, collateral, and advertising efforts for all four of Roland’s product lines: wide-format inkjet, engravers, vinyl cutters and milling machines. Her strengths are marketing operations, including budget responsibility, team leadership and project management.

A little about Me (Yup here comes the boilerplate bio!)
Cara Stewart is the founder and chief rabble-rouser of Remarx Media. She’s a fearless leader and entrepreneur with more than 17 years of experience in journalism, marketing communications and public relations. Clients say Cara stands out because of her intricate knowledge of B2B social media and PR. KTLA 5 News (Los Angeles), Mashable, MSNBC, The Orange County Register, The Orange County Business Journal, Communication World and other outlets have considered her as a go-to media resource on the topics of business branding and the use of social media in PR. She also speaks frequently to business, civic and academic organizations, including the Association for Women in Technology, Harvard Business Review, NAWBO-Orange County and Vanguard University, on these topics.

Sponsorship:
To learn how your company can benefit from the visibility associated with the TechAmerica Orange County Sales & Marketing Roundtable Series, please contact Bob Brunson at 949-502-0053 or Bob.Brunson@TechAmerica.org.

When Fashion Meets Technology

In November, I bragged about my love affair with the Maddie Powers computer bags from Mobile Edge. Maddie Powers is an edgy, retro-styled laptop bag collection featuring actual pulp magazine images from the 1940s and 50s.

Since November, I carried a purple messenger bag that featured an image from a 1949 pulp magazine. When Mobile Edge learned of my enthusiasm for the laptop bag, they told my story on their corporate blog. The marketing lesson: I will be a Mobile Edge fan for life and recommend the company and its products to others.

[Read more...]