Seems everyone knows the statistics about customer retention and the associated costs to acquire new customers. Pick a number but it is significantly less expensive to keep your current customers. We all know that but what about re-engaging those that have gone to sleep. Where does that fall into your marketing plan? Wait, you have a marketing plan don’t you?

A recent Ivy League Graduate School study has suggested that companies with a balanced marketing strategy, getting new customers, keeping current customers AND re-engaging those that have been customers, are leading their market segments when growth and profitability are measured. And yes, they are growing. It further states that up to 80% of their sales are coming from repeat customer and word of mouth. Think that is worth some of your marketing attention?

Re-engagement needs to be strategic and tactical just like any of your other marketing efforts. Email, Google adwords, two way social media interaction and direct mail are all tactics (there are more) that can be used to re-engage your past customers and website visitors. Your strategy needs to have campaign specifics, a defined timeline for engagement, the ability to up sell or down sell from their past purchase, and the timeline to acknowledge that they are not coming back and to move on. Some will be won back but some are really just one time buyers.

Your Hey Remember Me campaign needs to focus on the life time value of your customers, not just their one time purchase. Maybe a tickler campaign, maybe a call to action based upon a really attractive offer or maybe something informative that will bring them back.

We can help; let’s talk about your business.

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If I had to guess, I would presume that you’ve never associated bottled water with superheroes. Depending on your activities the night before, a good swig of water might make you feel like a superhero, but that’s probably been the extent.

Evian water is hoping to change all of that with their latest Twitter campaign – #AmazingBabyRescueMe.

It’s been said that 2014 is the ‘year of the video’ when it comes to marketing, and the first part of the year has certainly supported that prediction. We’re seeing some very witty, inspiring, and thought provoking videos trying to sell everything but the kitchen sink – and I say that only because I haven’t yet come upon a kitchen sink video.

What did give me a chuckle this week was watching Evian’s newest instalment in their “Evian babies” video series.

I’ve read that what started this video marketing campaign was to emphasize that drinking water makes one feel youthful and to get people to “channel their inner baby”. This is not the first time Evian has tried to get us in touch with our youthful side – remember the roller skating babies?

Now they’re tying the Evian babies to a superhero and what’s expected to be a blockbuster movie – The Amazing Spiderman 2, coming to North American theatres in a couple of weeks.

The beautiful thing about video marketing is that you can take things that are largely unrelated – Evian water and babies, for example – and create a video that correlates them in people’s minds into perpetuity.

Pure. Marketing. Genius.

The team at Hep knows a thing or two about genius marketing tactics, so if you want to dip your toes into the fun world of video marketing, let’s talk!

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We’ve seen it before. Over time, companies big and small go through re-branding. It may be a change in how the logo looks, like the Hudson’s Bay Company did last year, a change in tagline, or the look and feel, such as Tim Hortons updating the facades of their restaurants.

So much time, energy, resources, and money goes into a re-brand, no matter the size. There needs to be a calculated plan, from idea conception to launch, and everything needs to be consistent: everything from how your locations will look to what type of font your advertising uses.

Even with all of that figured out, the big question is at the very end of the process, you need to ask the questions: how will you introduce your brand to the world? What will people think? How will they react? Will they embrace it or disown it? You need to anticipate the reactions of not only current but potential customers as well. Sometimes it doesn’t always work out, as we’ve seen branding failures in the past. Marketers need to remind themselves that re-branding needs to be handled in a delicate way. Updating the essence of the company, the products and service, must always come first before updating the company’s image.

We talk about using the 5 “W’s” (who, what, when, where, why) in middle school as a benchmark to properly explain a topic, story, or event. The same applies for re-branding. The most important one of them all: Why.

You may have seen there’s a new bank in town called, Tangerine. Wait, Tangerine? If you’ve been watching TV lately, or seen ads online, ING Direct Canada has changed their name to Tangerine. The ads talk about how they aren’t just a new bank, they have been around since 1997, and have been helping Canadians saving money ever since. One excerpt from the commercial is the following:

“They’ve changed people’s perceptions of what a bank could be, and now comes a new change – their name! Tangerine’s a different kind of name because it’s a different kind of bank”

What did that leave me with? The feeling that ING Direct just decided to change their name for no reason. They explained the who, what, when, where, but not the ‘why’. Because I find branding fascinating – I’ve been polling friends and family and asking them “what do you think about ING Direct’s new name?” and the answers have been the same. Everyone I have talked to expressed and assumed the name change was done “just because” or “for the sake of it” because why they did it has not been in any of their advertising, or on their website!

After some digging, I found a YouTube video posted 2 months ago, with only 600 views (below for your viewing pleasure) that answers the question of why.

Turns out, ING Group sold their Canadian conglomerate and one of rules of the contract was that they were no longer able to keep their name and the iconic lion imagery. Scotiabank bought them, and decided to grow their portfolio rather than assimilate.

This is the message that needs to be in front of Canadians. For it is this video that explains every decision they made, was well-thought out and calculated, instilling trust into consumers that this company has a plan and its in their best interest.

The moral of the story: when you choose to change any major part of your business, explain where you’re coming from, and most importantly why you did it, and how it will benefit your customers.

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Here at Hep, we talk to our clients a lot about blogging.   A lot.  But we have very valid reasons to.

Business blogging is an essential part to your online marketing strategy.  Think of it as a marketing channel all on its own that can help you grow your business.

Blogging can help drive traffic to your website, which in turn increases the opportunities for conversions once they get to your site.  It also allows you to highlight your capabilities, your unique products or services, and your brand personality.  It is a way for you to build a relationship with potential customers even before you ever get to talk to them or meet with them.

Many businesses fail at blogging because they start out either with unrealistic goals in mind or just don’t understand how to properly utilize the platform to their benefit.  Here are some key points to help you get started:

Consistency is Key

Every blog entry you post is a new page your website has.   The more you blog – the more chances you have of showing up in the search results for search terms that your customers … or prospects care about.

Use Social Media to Distribute Your Content

Once you publish a blog entry, be sure to maximize its reach by sharing the post across your social media channels.  Every time you share, it’ll make it easier for your followers or fans to share the content if they find it useful or interesting. This means reaching more customers in a cost effective way!

Your business blog is a great way for you to interact with potential customers that might be interested in your products or service.  Useful information that is educational or interesting can help your business get introduced to new audiences.

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We all have that one friend (or at least one friend) that’s a regular traveler for business. One day they’ll be in Chicago, the next Toronto, and later you’ll see their Facebook photos from Venice (when they actually take a break).

This is the case with an old friend in Toronto. Traveling for his work meant staying in hotels quite often, and he soon saw a trend develop – no matter what hotel he stayed at, the standard conversations would arise at some point.

Call it the ‘do you want fries with that?’ autoresponse.

Need a pillow? “I’ll have one sent up to your room Mr. Smith.” Can a couple extra towels be left in the room? “I’ll let the maid service know Mr. Smith.”

After observing the behaviour a few too many times over, my cohort came up with a game. The Muskrat game.

Occasionally, rather than call for an extra pillow, he would ask for a muskrat to be delivered to his room, creating a test of whether the attendant would pay attention enough to what he was asking when the bizarre request came in.

Sure, some front desk responses would alert to the unusual request, but quite often, he found, that he could substitute “muskrat” for “pillow” and would still get his extra headrest.

The test makes sense – it’s a great way to see how your customer service is operating – whether it’s on autopilot or if you are tending to your customer’s individual needs.

The same applies for your marketing program. Knowing your unique needs is what makes Hep Communications different. We don’t slot you into a standard program for your online needs – we listen to you and provide you with the right answer for what you’re looking to get out of your Winnipeg business.

So avoid the muskrats – call Hep Communications today at 204 992 6400.

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Cost vs Value

Cost vs Value

All companies work with different marketing budgets, small to large. I have worked with many different ranges over the course of my clients fiscal year.
It is important not only to market your business and make sure you’re reaching the target throughout the year. As you know your competitors will. It’s very important that the message they see is important to them.

Generic creative, content and ads are just that: Generic.

Ask yourself: Did it work? Did they contact me?

Investing in the creative and messaging for your ads and website content may be the key for you to see better results.
After all, if you’re going spend money marketing your business, why wouldn’t you do it with the best chance for a return on your investment?

Be budget focused, but Value wise!

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Spring is in the air, and there have been some very creative and inspiring marketing tidbits floating around of late – globally, we’re getting pretty good at this marketing stuff!

If you’re not a marketer by trade, but have a Winnipeg business to promote, figuring out what your target audience will find compelling can be challenging to say the least.

That’s why teaming up with a marketing company is so beneficial: You bring the expertise on your company/products/services and we bring the expertise on making sure the right message (The Creative) is seen by the right people (Your Target Audience) to evoke the desired feelings or actions (Interest in and Engagement With Your Company/ Products/ Services).

It’s basically a Marketing Dream Team.

Combining the two elements of product expert and marketing expert can result in some truly outstanding advertising messages. I’m sure you have some of your own personal favourites, hordes of people enjoyed and are still talking about Oreo’s “Dunking in the Dark” tweet sent during the blackout at the 2013 Superbowl.

Finding that perfect combination of unique and memorable is typically the result of a client working in harmony with a marketing team.

Let me show you a couple of the items that have caught my eye in terms of originality, and you’ll see what I mean.

Admittedly, an ad about the Culture section of a newspaper isn’t something that would normally catch my eye, but this one is so cool, it challenges preconceived notions about newspapers and, quite frankly, about culture in general. It expertly illustrates how culture means something different to everybody.

I also came upon this innovative idea for a yoga instructor’s business card.

Once again, it illustrates something that is inherent to the matter at hand; it’s not your usual business card and that’s what makes it memorable.

Can you think of any memorable ad campaigns? What were the elements that made them memorable for you? Can you incorporate some of those same elements into your own marketing efforts?

If you’re ready to add some innovation to your marketing strategy, give us a call!

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Another social media network, another design change. After months of testing, Twitter is prompting profiles across the Twittersphere to update to their new layout. At first glance, the design is reminiscent of Facebook but don’t let that fool you, there’s a method to the madness.

This calculated redesign makes it easy for others to track your thoughts, and provides greater online real estate to showcase your personality through large banner and profile images. Users can scratch the old two-paned list of tweets and hashtags for tabs for photos and videos, followers, and more.

The best part of the new design, is that it doesn’t mess with what makes Twitter great. Your profile is still a digital stream of your online consciousness, and now you can allow some thoughts to be more prominent than others. Here are the major changes broken down:

  • Best Tweets: Tweets that have received more engagement will appear slightly larger, so your followers can easily find your best content.
  • Pinned Tweet: Sound like Facebook? Pin one of your Tweets to the top of your profile without it being pushed down by new content. This almost acts like a supplement to your bio. While the latter tells people about you, you can use the pinned tweet to say what you’re all about right now.
  • Filtered Tweets: Now you can choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles. Select from Tweets, Tweets with photos/videos, or Tweets and replies.

Between Twitter’s new Facebook-like look and a recently announced feature that lets you tag people in pictures, some are worried Twitter will lose what it’s micro-blogging core is all about. I personally am not worried. We can look forward to better placed content, opportunities to showcase our personalities through imagery, and greater control over how we want to consumer information – whether it be photos only, or tweets and replies.

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Small businesses are the backbone of this country. Did you know that of the 1.1 million businesses in Canada, 98.2% of them are considered small businesses?

Here in Manitoba, our percentage is similar to the national benchmark.  Of the 35, 980 businesses in the province, 98.1% of them are considered small businesses with less than 100 employees.

So, if you are a small business owner in Winnipeg – I want to say thank you!

Thank you for being one of the 835, 100 entrepreneurs in the country who are contributing to more than half of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP)!  You continue to insert creativity and innovation into our country’s economy even with limited resources that you work with.

One of the keys to growing your small business is to have a strong online presence (BDC SMEs at a glance, 2013). Canada is one of the most connected countries in the world; over 83% of all Canadian households have access to the Internet. Canadians routinely research online before making purchases (this applies to purchases big and small, as well as services too). To help your small business grow, go where your customers are – online!  Build a website that can represent your brand well online and make it easy for your customers to reach you should they have questions or wish to make a purchase.

Talk to us! As a small business in Winnipeg ourselves, we are passionate about helping other small businesses succeed.  In my opinion, small business owners are the best clients to work with!

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One of the facets of Facebook that has fallen by the wayside is the “Groups” function, but there are some that are thriving in the Echo stage of its usage.

As a backgrounder, Facebook Groups started much the same as Yahoo Groups did – you had the opportunity to join with like-minded users on a particular topic to encourage discussion, debate or keep in touch. Often this came in the form of practical uses like alumni groups or rallies around charitable causes, along with distractionary pieces like cute cat pictures or fans of a TV show.

The concept started strong but petered out as activity on Facebook became more specific. Common interest waned as users tended to more often use the social network for keeping in touch or sharing facets of their lives.

North Kildonan Facebook GroupWhat remains now is an interesting dynamic where those groups that are active are really active, and for some businesspeople it’s a fantastic tool for customer communication; and in the case of one Winnipeg politician, keeping an open ear to his constituents.

North Kildonan FB Group DescriptionDuring his initial term in office, Jeff Browaty started a group “North Kildonan – Your Neighbourhood, Your Priorities” to hear issues from members of issues in the community.

Since his election, he has maintained the group and often uses it to poll his community on issues while responding to concerns of citizens. The individuals in the group have also started to use it to exchange ideas or call-outs for services amongst themselves, such as babysitter needs.

Why has this group been sustained? It’s that word I mentioned above – maintain. It does take time investment, but when you keep that momentum going, the results are extremely positive. Take the care needed for these online forums and they can be your best marketing tools, showing that your dedication is more than just having Facebook for the sake of having Facebook – that you are using it as an effective tool in your marketing and communications package.

Jon Waldman is a Marketing Strategist with Hep Communications. View his profile here and be sure to like Hep on Facebook for more tips and updates from our company.

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