Marketing as a Game of Chess

Edan Gelt

What is marketing strategy and what do strategists do? I feel like I’ve answered this question so many ways but defining it through the game of Chess is my ultimate favorite.

Marketing is the act of taking a look at your business from a 500-foot level. In comparison to Chess, the board is your marketplace (or your business) depending on how you want to play, and the goal is to either capture your clients or maybe it’s to remove your competitors (depending on your 500-ft view).

So how is Chess like Marketing Strategy?

Goal: Checkmate an opponent’s king

Strategy: I’ll open with “X strategy of opening moves” and attempt to control the middle of the board. Protect my king.

Tactics: I will move my knight here to respond to you moving your pawn.

Do Opponents Moves Change Strategy?

Like Chess, even with the ultimate strategic plan, you can’t always control your opponent’s moves so your strategy needs to be nimble enough to account for the unexpected.

Referring to the above example, I’ve created a mock client. Assuming, I am the owner of my own football stadium (don’t I wish) and I’ve set my goal, objective, strategies and tactics as below:

Goal: Increase NOI

Objective*: Increase attendance and food sales

Strategy: Offer promotional prices for pre-season buyers

Incorporate a ticket/food combo plan

Tactics: Send email newsletter to attendees of last seasons games

Create social media ad for my target audience (research zip codes of prior attendees to establish list)

Create special offer of ticket/food and send out postcards to existing attendee database to upgrade ticket to combo

Place media on X,X,X radio stations promoting pre-season prices and food combo.

Buy bus backs and billboards in markets whose demos match fans.

Looking at the above – the marketer creates strategies and tactics that match the goal of the company (increase NOI) and coordinates the mediums and professionals that will go into making the plan a success.

Going back to the game of chess, imagine the plan is in the implementation stage and the weather has been rainier and cooler than expected leading up to pre-season. Ticket sales aren’t moving. Food sales are no longer important – it’s time to change the strategy and tactics.

Move queen, reevaluate strategy and adjust the tactical plan.

Goal: Increase NOI

Objective*: Increase attendance and ancillary gear sales

Strategy: Offer promotional prices for pre-season buyers

Incorporate a ticket/gear combo plan

Offer rain or snow gear with ticket prices (branded umbrellas, rain sticks, hats, gloves, etc)

Tactics: Send email newsletter to attendees of last season’s games

Create social media ad for my target audience (research zip codes of prior attendees to establish list)

Create special offer of ticket/gear and send out postcards to existing attendee database to upgrade ticket to combo

Place media on X,X,X radio stations promoting pre-season prices and gear combo.

Buy bus backs and billboards in markets which demos match fans.

Once you have your marketplace set up and you enter it, time to play!

Marketing Directors/Strategists:“What is your Role?”

Edan Gelt - Marketing

I remember the first time I told a friend I was going to school to become a “marketer” (over 20 years ago). I was asked if I was going to “hand out flyers”. Yep, that’s me; I’m the flyer distributor. I went off to get my BS in marketing and economics and later my MBA. Even as I progressed throughout my career, people were confused about what I actually did. Employers and clients rewarded me for a job well done when NOI was up but truly had no clue of what I did to get it there. Even after a decade in my last job, I was still occasionally asked to sit at my computer and design a flyer. “Um, I’m not an artist, sorry!”

There is a vast misunderstanding of what marketing is. Some people think marketing = sales, others think marketing = advertising, and my favorite, marketing = graphic design. No.

Well, yes and no.

No wonder it is so confusing, just look at the general definitions of marketing!

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” — American Marketing Association
“Marketing is not only much broader than selling; it is not a specialized activity at all. It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of the final result, that is, from the customer’s point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must, therefore, permeate all areas of the enterprise.” — Peter Drucker
“Marketing is the process by which companies create customer interest in products or services. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business development. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves.” — Wikipedia

Graphic design, web development, creative writing and even flyer distribution, are tactical elements of an overall marketing strategy. The sales role is a completely different discipline, though sales and marketing quite often work together (or they should).

My current client was disappointed that I wasn’t going to drive to businesses 30-miles away to pitch the company’s services. She didn’t understand marketing strategy implementation was not a sale and didn’t include knocking doors and selling services.

I’ve struggled for years to explain what marketers really do and finally came up with an analogy that makes sense or at least can be digested by non-marketers.

Edan Gelt

Marketing Strategist to Business = General Contractor to Home Building

Imagine you are building a house and you hire a General Contractor. The GC plans the creation of the house with your input and then coordinates construction by first hiring an architect, then a plumber, carpenter, electrician, tuck-pointing company, etc. Now, compare this: a Marketer develops strategy, creates the campaign and then hires an ad agency, PR agency, designer, copywriter, or other professional consultants/agencies to implement the strategy.

The GC may be proficient in some of the areas required to build the home like carpentry, architecture or plumbing or maybe not. Similarly, your Marketing Strategist may be proficient in copywriting, research, analysis, media buying or design. This does not, however, mean the contractor or strategist is hired to do these specific tasks. It is the job of the strategist or contractor to manage these tasks, not perform them personally unless negotiated otherwise.

Unlike GC’s, marketers are often expected to complete all the tasks (tactics) to achieve the marketing strategy. If you put this into GC terms, imagine a general contractor that first has to serve as an architect, draw up the home plans, purchase and haul all the materials to the job site, frame the house, run electrical, rough plumbing, install and tape drywall and tuck-point. When complete, the GC would then inspect your home for mistakes. This process would not only be slow, it would be inefficient and likely riddled with mistakes.

Putting this into the perspective of marketing, that is exactly what many employers and clients expect from their marketing directors or strategists: create the strategic plan, write the copy of the promotions, edit, scour Shutterstock for an image, design the ad, buy the media, haul printed material to the fulfillment house, program e-blasts, create and purchase ad words, host events, set up tables, greet and sell services and analyze the results.

Whew, I’m exhausted even thinking about it all; yet, been there, done that! This type of expectation is what often gives marketers and strategists a bad rap, just like the GC, the project doesn’t end well in this type of scenario.

Edan Gelt - Zalmen Pollak

Scope & Education

As I move on in my career, I spend a lot of time talking about this topic because I’ve often struggled to explain the role and value of a marketing strategist, even after 20 years in the profession.

As marketers, it is our job to educate our employers and clients about what it is we do and set a defined scope of work before the project begins.

In regards to my client’s request for me to cold call business and knock on doors, I respectfully declined the fun opportunity of playing the salesman. This was the first time I used my general contractor analysis and surprisingly got buy-in by the client. Although disappointed that marketing strategists are not sales people, I was able to move forward and focus on creating strategic marketing programs versus knocking doors.

By: EdanGelt, MBA, CMD

With more than 20 years of diverse marketing experience, EdanGelt has an extensive capability in diverse marketing mediums across various industries, offering insight on marketing strategy, research, public relations, advertising, special events, social media, direct marketing, branding and more.

Edan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Elmhurst College and an Executive MBA degree from the University of Illinois.

For more information visit www.edangelt.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/edan-joy-gelt/.

Originally Published at http://www.allperfectstories.com/author/edangelt/.

Basics of Search Engine Optimization

PPC, SEO, ORM, SMM? What are they and what do they do? I’ve often been on the other side of the table as a client being handed hefty reports filled with stats and concepts that just don’t make sense. The graphs show me positive and my sales are negative or vice-versa. I’ve also been lead to believe marketing efforts aren’t effective without these fancy acronym strategies in my toolbox.

If you’re like me, relax. It’s okay. Traditional marketing still works but having an EFFECTIVE digital presence is a must in today’s environment. Start slowly and do it right – understand what you are doing and what you are paying for before you sign up for it all.

The TRANSLATION:

PPC = Pay Per Click
SEO = Search Engine Optimization
ORM = Online Reputation Management
SMM = Social Media Marketing

SEO

I’ll start with SEO as it is a key foundation to building a relevant website. After all, without a good website, PPC, ORM and SMM efforts may be fruitless.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the areas of website development that improves the ranking by search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo in organic search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) relates to visible content on your website which will appear in search engine results.

If a site appears at a higher and more frequent rate in the search results list, the higher number of visitors your website should attract. These visitors likewise may be turned into customers.

SEO covers different types of search that include local information, imagery, shopping, video content, news and more.

Edan Gelt

SEO strategy is understanding how search engines work and developing the exact keywords or terms your target market is searching for, what platform they are using and how to develop content to meet consumer demand.

Optimizing a website includes activities such as editing the content of the website to increase the relevance of searches, backlinks to relevant sites, inbound links on social, removal of indexing barriers, etc.

Basic Ways to Optimize Your Web Contents

Widely recognized as SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, the principles of optimizing web content is continually changing as mobile behavior, social media and search engine algorithms continue to evolve. Here are some tips to optimize your web content to engage, inform, and share information and content with your target audience.

Learn About “Real Time” User Behavior

Before even writing your website content, know your target market. Learn about what their interests are, what platforms they are using to search, what information they are searching for. Monitor Reddit, Facebook, Linked-in, and other social sites to come up with compelling articles and web content to drive social shares and gain influential coverage.

Improve the Format

Improving the format of your web content is also a good optimization tactic. Make use of formatting such as bold, bullet points, italics, short headlines and subheadings, and so on. This will make it possible for your audience to be able to read the page easily and find what they are looking for but at the same time, help enhance SEO.

Headlines should be clear, brief and approximately 70 characters long. Encourage your target audience to click the headline, read the content, engage and share the news.

Even though this may only be one of the factors which determine the visibility of your web content, headlines and subheadings are often the deciding factor if a reader is going to click through to your story or not. Make use of the headline and sub-headings to strengthen the relevance and theme of your story. This will improve the interest of your viewers, as well as the open rates. Make sure the content supports the headline to prevent bounces.

DO NOT include text in pictures formats. If you have a promotion or something that is important, formats such as .jpg or .pdfs are often not recognized by the search engines and won’t be discovered in search (ie…Text embedded in MEMES).

Edan Gelt Chicago Business

Use Natural Links

Natural links are links to your content from other sites. They are often earned and not solicited. The links are often regarded as natural or native since the third-party sites are only linking to your articles and web content because they find it interesting and useful. Using natural links of your own content within your web content will also help enhance your site while at the same time provide the reader with additional relevant information. This will drive more traffic to your website.

Include Multimedia

Including multimedia such as pictures, videos, etc. is also a good way of optimizing your web content. You can insert your company logo for branding, as well as embed photos. You can also include graphics, charts, and video links. Rather than describing the news you are passing across in words, showing what you are writing about in graphs, pictures, sound & motion, is a wonderful idea.

Make Use of the Algorithms

Search engine algorithms are vital to effective digital web content. Algorithms make use of mathematical equations in determining the relevance of your story to a particular search. The goal of the algorithm is to be able to match the right content with the specific requirement of the individual performing the search. This may be best left to an SEO expert as I’m still trying to get a grasp on google-bots (this is even out of my league).

By following all the tips mentioned above, you will be improving the chances of your articles and web contents ranking higher in Google or other search engines.

The above tips lay the foundation of what SEO is and how to start optimizing your own website or content. For more information about SEO, feel free to contact me directly through Linkedin at :  https://www.linkedin.com/in/edan-joy-gelt/

By: Edan Joy Gelt, CMD, MBA
www.Edangelt.com

Marketing Psychology: Maintaining Toy Demand Post Holiday Season

If you’re a parent, have you ever wondered why you find yourself in a line, expensive toy in hand, after the holiday season?

I have.

Whether you are loaded with gift cards or cash-in-hand from family and friends, there is always that one big spend after the holidays.

This is not an accident. Toy manufacturers have our number!

Toy manufacturers are faced with the dilemma of keeping demand post-holiday. Luckily, they have a strategy for that. It starts with the basics of supply and demand, add a splash of marketing and a thick layer of psychology – and wa-la, we are the fools in line in February.

How it Works:

Your kids are dialed into toy advertising pre-holiday, whether on an iPad, the Cartoon Network or the flashy toy catalogs that come in the mail. Retailers and manufacturers spend a lot of money promoting the year’s hottest find(s). Kids beg their parents for the “toy of the year” and the parents undoubtedly promise that if they’re good, Santa will bring it or it will be a gift from mom and dad.

This toy is the primo gift and your child cannot wait to get it. It is the topic of every conversation and you’re excited to gift it.

Edan Gelt Chicago

You go holiday shopping and to your amazement, the toy is out of stock. Everywhere. All the stores have ordered it but they have no idea when it is coming in and every store in a 30-mile radius is depleted.

You look on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist and the toy is 10 times the retail asking price.

In hopes of the toy actually being stocked, you wait. And wait. And wait.

A few days before Christmas, you give in and buy something else. A substitute. Something the same manufacturer has created similar to what was actually wanted but different enough to not be the “ultimate coveted toy”. And on Christmas day, you have one very disappointed child.

In hopes your child will be happy with the substitute gift, you move one. The toy companies don’t, neither does your child. “You promised” or “Santa thinks I’m bad,” is all you really hear.

The manufacturers start once again heavily marketing that coveted toy online, on TV, within games and then, there you have it; you are back at the store buying the promised gift, post-holiday on a blustery day in February.

This is not a coincidence. This is the strategy of economics, marketing and psychology. The toy manufacturers heavily advertise pre-holiday, create a shortage in the midst of holiday but offer a substitute, resupply post-holiday and heavily advertise.

Now that you know how it work, will you still be in-line next year post-holiday?

By: Edan Gelt, CMD, MBA
Marketing Strategist

Concept for this blog came from “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert B. Ciladini PhD

“You Are Fat” & Bad Messaging

Before starting my fitness blog (www.edanjoygelt.com) – I was working with a MedSpa on a marketing project. I was hired to drive sales for non-invasive body contouring (I know, totally anti-fitness).

In addition to digital marketing, we decided an oversized postcard to the target market would be the most direct way to get this message out. The owner really wanted the message to be prominent – something to capture attention about lipo-type services the MedSpa offered. She said “Edan, I want you to make the headline “You are Fat” or “Are you Fat?”. I couldn’t.

I had to educate my client about messaging, marketing and branding. It was actually challenging to overcome her insistence of such a crass headline. She wanted something bold, something to capture attention (which bad messaging did) but not in the way it needed to. I was challenged – I could never put my name on such an advertisement.

Edan Gelt

First, fat people don’t really believe or even know they are fat. Second, if they were really “FAT”, non-invasive body contouring probably isn’t the answer. Lastly, I don’t body shame – ever!.

I needed to come up with a clever way to sell body services without being rude, but at the same time, not boring. The campaign wound up being “Hangover?” It fit perfectly since it was over the holidays, a lot of people were likely a bit hungover and were feeling a bit “bloated”.

To further drive home the message of health in the campaign (which I couldn’t help but include), I suggested the client partner with a local gym to offer a 3-month membership with any body-contouring procedure over $1,000. The campaign landed as a win-win, it was well accepted by the client base, generated new leads for the gym and resulted in double-digit increase for body contouring.

What I really liked about the campaign is that by partnering with the gym, It positioned the MedSpa as a facility that cared about the long term health of the client.

The Social Experiment -Social Media 101

Two weeks ago, I tried a social experiment.  I attempted to brand myself as a fitness expert.  I’m 40 years old (maybe 41 but who’s counting), I can’t run worth anything and I would not be considered athletic by any stretch of the imagination.  Regardless, I wanted to try my hand at building a brand and using only organic ways to do it.

Edan Gelt

In the corporate world, I was never truly trained in social media.  I mean, I went to social media conferences, I attended a certification class at U of I  (I’m certified in digital marketing) and read countless articles on the importance of brand building in the social environment.

When I went off on my own, I sold social media as a skill but did I really know what I was doing?  I kept up on the social changes but honestly, I didn’t have a clue.  I posted on FB daily like any social gal should do but my impressions sucked.  Even when I linked the social content across multiple platforms.  I would have 500 followers on a page and get like 30 impressions – blah.

Thankfully I had a friend who spent countless hours with me showing me the importance of linking, building unique content, introducing me to new platforms and convincing me to lose all inhibition and go “all out” – (which later included publicly pole dancing but you can only find that on my social platforms – take a peak).

I set up a Tumblr blog on edanjoygelt.com and began visiting studios and writing opinions on each visit.  Because the content was unique, it was already a win.  But once it was posted on Tumblr – then what?  It was going nowhere unless someone knew it existed.

I then curated the content through Scoop.it to social platforms I had set up, which gave me a little more power but still, nothing to write home about.

The biggest key was Facebook – I started a Joy of Fitness page https://www.facebook.com/edanjoyfitness/, then I tagged everything with my name #fitnessmom #joyoffitness and then also with my name Edan Gelt and Edan Joy Gelt (so it would share across my personal content as well).

I invited everyone I knew, I added friends and asked them to do the same.  This exercise landed me 200+ followers.  Pressure was on!

I started a twitter page, a google plus page and more and began curating my original content on tumblr, sweeping it up through scoop.it to and sharing it across the platforms.  I’m still struggling with tagging on scoop.it so I some times just post direct for my own unique content.

The fitness locations I would write about would also share my facebook page posts – and why wouldn’t they, it promotes the studios too.  The result – the Facebok fitness posts and reviews would sometimes get up to 1700 views!  But wait – I only had 200 followers, how could this be?

This is how organic social works.  The content was unique, the sharing told FB it was interesting and the engagement confirmed it with some sort of top secret FB algorithm.  This shows up organically in people’s feed without paying for ads.

I’m still learning and I’m only on my 11th post but I thought I would share my first ever social experiment.  Stay tuned for more!

By:  Edan Gelt CMD MBA

Originally posted on http://edangelt.com/post/157502587301/social-media-training-101

 

The Fun of Rehabbing an Old Building

All of the shows on TV make flipping homes very attractive but once you purchase an old building, what in the world do you do with it?

When we purchased our first building, it was built in the 1890’s and came equipped with gas space heaters – we had no idea of what they even were.   This means no central heat.  The contraptions looked like large space ships in the middle of the room.  The joy I thought I would feel starting the project suddenly felt overwhelming.

Given below are some highlighted points that help you decide how to approach rehabbing:

Vision

The first thing that you need to decide is if you are rehabbing to hold or rehabbing to flip – this can impact your budget and expectations.  Obviously if you are going to flip, you are going to spend less and will be more focused on aesthetics and may not invest much in mechanicals.

Edan Gelt

Renovation

Think kitchen and bathrooms – this is where the value is.  This is what your potential buyer or renter will be most focused on.  If you are renovating to hold, you will have to address not only the cabinetry, appliances, floors and counters but also make sure that the plumbing is updated and the electrical systems are addressed.

Also consider curb appeal, sometimes just painting old siding can give an old home a fresh look.

Electrical

Many homes that were built in late 1800’s or early 1900’s are not equipped to handle today’s electrical load.  They were built with only 30 – 60 amps for the entire home, using a just a few circuits. Combining old circuits with today’s electrical load, the circuits can overload and become hot, sometimes catching fire, according to Edan Gelt

To add central A/C, you will at least need to add a 220VAC Circuit if you are not updating all of the wiring.

Problems

You never know what you will find once you start opening walls to update electric or plumbing, you can find mold issues, structural issues, roaches and more.  It is important to ensure you have reserves to cover the unexpected.

According to Edan Gelt, finding a good inspector before you purchase the property may help you forecast some issues but some won’t be discovered until after your start construction.

 Edan Gelt and her husband have rehabbed apartments and homes with a rent and hold approach.

Originally published at http://www.allperfectstories.com/author/edangelt/