Sigmund Freud once said, “if you really want to know someone, look at their browser history.” OK. That’s not true. But, he’d probably think reading blog posts would provide insight into what a company thinks is important and a glimpse into the personalities that drive the business.
In the world of business, creating a solid brand image is essential for success. As a business Running on the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS®), we found that harnessing the power of our "Three Uniques" proved to be extremely helpful.
Let’s explore how to use brand storytelling to foster greater belief and engagement with your customers.
In the world of business, this means understanding where your customers begin interacting with your brand – and creating a rewarding path with messaging touchpoints to help them along the way.
In today’s pivotal world of business, aligning marketing strategies with your entrepreneurial vision is the key to bringing more stability and productivity to your brand.
AI is here to stay – and from a marketing perspective, that’s probably a good thing.
Your organization can effectively compete with the big guys, enhance your brand recognition and market positioning, and attract the customers you are focused on.
If you find yourself struggling to develop effective content for your business, you are not alone.
The Four Ms can help you set a productive course for marketing success with plenty of checkpoints along the way.
If your marketing Rocks are beginning to feel like a heavy burden instead of inspiration, here are a few things you can do to lighten your load and move ahead.
So what is backlinking, and why is it important to your online brand awareness and, ultimately, your bottom line? Let’s take a closer look.
When ATIS, a leading elevator and escalator inspection company, wanted to spread the word about their consulting services and generate more qualified leads, they looked to Spoke for marketing assistance.
Most companies have a defined and written vision for their business. We have that too, but we also developed a list of core values that help us to make sure everyone is on the same page and consistently stays the course.
At Spoke, we’ve found the best way to stay in touch with your ideal market.
When a strategic planning platform provider wanted to rebrand its image, create a new website, attract a wider audience, and generate more qualified leads, they looked to Spoke for direction.
How to Create Honest and Impactful Conversations with Your Audience
Now you see them. Now you don’t. It’s called job applicant ghosting. This disturbing trend is impacting businesses nationwide as ghosters bail on scheduled job interviews and even the first day of work.
Over the past few months as I’ve spoken with local business owners and corporate decision makers, one common topic and challenge has surfaced: the need for more qualified candidates to fill roles in the workforce.
It’s a simple concept but it’s surprising how many companies fall short of developing a brand that delivers the best possible customer experience. How can you take these words of wisdom and put them into action? Here’s how customer success strategies can make it happen.
Inspired by Coach Brooks and his Xs and Os chalkboard sessions, let’s develop a sales enablement strategy for you and your team to create productive and profitable results.
Speak directly to customers, brand followers and prospects in a way that initiates a productive dialogue and builds brand relationships.
Now’s the time for you to take action and launch a strategy worthy of your marketing dollars and your brand. Think of Spoke as your marketing enablement mission control.
At Spoke, we believe you haven’t truly told your story until someone else can tell it, too. A story that connects with your audience.
Summoning Ancient Wisdom to Connect with Customers on Their Inspired Journeys
Our North Star – developing marketing strategies that inspire your customers to take action – will always be what motivates our every action.
Heading to a trade show to network with current customers and meet new prospects? That’s great. Even in a hyper-connected world, trade shows and conferences remain a valuable and necessary staple for businesses and organizations looking to connect with key stakeholders.
Consumers have more power than ever before. When they’re upset, they can do incredible harm to your brand (through things such as online reviews and even your social media), and they have access to more information (mostly true) about your products and services at their fingertips.
Growing share during a booming economy is difficult (everyone is spending). Gaining market share during a recession requires capital, but the eventual ROI can’t be beat.
Most companies have great data. The problem is that it’s stuck in silos (CRM, Marketing Automation, Web Analytics, Accounting, Social Data, Customer Support, etc.). By combining the data into one Customer Data Platform, marketers obtain a Single View of the Customer…and then your marketing can really start cookin’.
Like many things, marketing used to be much simpler; the days of brands targeting broad categories (i.e., adults 18-49 years old) are long gone. Today, there are three distinct generations within that one category (GenX, Millennials, and GenZ), each with a completely different set of values.
Should you have a defined digital strategy for your business? Absolutely. But you likely aren’t utilizing the digital space to its full potential, and you’re not alone.
The speed at which business happens today is crazy fast. And it is only getting faster. Business owners and operators need to make hundreds of decisions each day, and it can be tempting to let decisions about brand and marketing slip through the cracks.
Keeping burnout at bay. After 35 years in the industry (did I just write that?), I’ve been fortunate to have seen some fascinating changes; new technology, new ways to slice and dice messaging, and new techniques.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a lousy stock photo’s thousand words are ‘crap.’ OK, maybe some of them are ‘lazy.’
What was once a simple spike (first attributed to Homer Jones of the New York Giants in 1965) has evolved into a choreographed party – so long as it’s not deemed ‘excessive.’
You are defined by your customer. You are not in the business of whatever your product or service you sell, you are actually “a customer-creating and customer-satisfying organism,” as spoken by Theodore Levitt in his classic article “Marketing Myopia,” first published in 1960 by Harvard Business Review and revisited by Levitt in 2004.
“Let’s practice what we preach” … that was our mindset before we began the task of rebranding ourselves. The goal was to do exactly what we do for our clients, but this time, do it for ourselves.
There are a lot of great ways to burn money (we’ve seen ‘em all). Our favorites are the ones where you spend a lot of money, but don’t spend it the right way and get no results. Hilarity ensues.
If you’ve opened a national newspaper, INC, Fortune, Fast Company, Wired or read any news story about fastest growing cities in the last few years, each recognizes Austin as a great place to live. But why? The cost of living is rising, traffic is a nightmare, and the city is in constant change.
You know that saying about the ‘cobbler’s kids with no shoes’ (implying he’s too busy with work to take care of himself). Have you ever noticed that it’s the ‘cobbler’s kids’ and not the cobbler himself? I bet the cobbler didn’t just have shoes, he had really nice ones (for the record, my great-grandfather was a cobbler, and legend has it that he always wore nice shoes).
Advertising should make you visible, not invisible.
How our intimate get-togethers turned into a networking party.
Yes, content marketing is important. Per a recent article in The Harvard Business Review, nine of ten organizations are using content marketing as part of their marketing efforts.
Spoke Friday has been a tradition going back since we opened in 2008.
For a company whose primary business is dependent upon communication, it seems obvious that being able to write compelling copy for print ads, brochures, TV and radio ads is a basic requirement. Yet, crafting a compelling message can be challenging. Why?
We all know the central role that the customer has in business. But this doesn’t always translate into listening to the voice of the customer when it comes to product development, improving operations, marketing, and customer service, among other areas.
First, let’s get one thing clear; a great brand is no guarantee of success (pets.com was fun while it lasted). As marketing pioneer, Bill Bernbach famously quoted, “a great ad campaign will make a bad product fail faster.” In other words, you can only fool people once.
No, the alien robots from the 1989 video game Zero Wing aren’t coming to get you.
OK, not everyone can be a trendsetter (wrote the guy wearing tattered Chuck Taylor’s and well-worn Levi 501’s). One of the things I love most about our industry is that it’s constantly changing; it requires an unwavering commitment to learning.
You love your new ‘precious’ product, don’t you? It’s okay, admit it. The problem is; nobody knows your product better than you. If you hope to have any chance of selling it, that’s got to change. Like now.
No knock on the promotional products industry, but the sales and marketing effort for your tradeshow shouldn’t revolve around the tchotchke that you give away. I’ve yet to make a purchase decision based on the logo on my squishy ball or pen.
There’s knowing who your customer is, and then there’s knowing your customer (hint: the second one is better).
Many companies are living in a fantasy world in which they are not personalizing messaging to provide the right message to the right target at the right time.
As we set up clients’ marketing automation programs, we’ve found that many are confused by creating personas. “How is it different than my target market?” Personas aren’t different; they’re better.
You’ve realized that you want to feel the ease and freedom that marketing automation brings (plus the extra dough doesn’t hurt). Now, what? There are many choices for marketing automation systems, and you should find what is right for your budget, resources, and goals.
It’s the future, and it’s a push-button world. Hovercrafts exist, robots clean our floors (at least until the uprising), and we automate as many tasks as possible in our everyday lives (how dare you suggest that I do manual math like a peasant!). In this world where we consistently choose automation over manual tasks, it amazes me that less than ten percent of companies are utilizing marketing automation.
A great example of using lead generation to target qualified leads to maximize ROI is our client AppointLink. They show that if you build it (correctly), they will come.
61% of companies surveyed say that getting leads is their biggest challenge (IDG Study).
Prospects often call us because they want more leads; plain-and-simple. Most of the time, the quantity of leads isn’t the problem. After asking a few questions (using our patented client decoder), we find that they really want more ‘qualified’ leads (after all, why waste your time trying to sell people that have no likelihood of buying?).
You know who you’re targeting for qualified leads and what you want them to do, right? Oh, and you’re converting those qualified leads into sales at a good rate, and high return on investment? Good.
A great (maybe the best) example we have of executing a marketing plan is a campaign we developed for ANOVA. Their marketing plan revealed that landscape architects were a prime target to grow their business. The tactic chosen was a simple (giant) cardboard chair (2 big pieces, two pegs) and delivered it in a giant box, along with assembly instructions and information about ANOVA.
Having a marketing plan is a great first step (really, the only first step) to grow your business employing cost-effective marketing. But, it’s just a first step.
Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu – The Art of War
Remember paper calendars? It was always refreshing to start January with a clean slate. The fresh pad always smelled good, too. Like optimism, or something.
The state of Missouri has a program, Missouri Works, that offers tax incentives to companies adding as few as two jobs.
For years, we’ve been thinking, “how could we make Spoke better?” We’ve tried everything, Ouija boards, Tarot cards, sage smudging, and hired a shaman (who turned out to be just a college kid selling CutCo knives). The answer turned out to be pretty simple.
St. Louis, MO (January 22, 2015) — Spoke Marketing, full-service marketing for the emerging and middle markets, is announcing today the agency is expanding into Austin, TX, with the new office being headed by Managing Director Joanna Heinrich.
It’s that time of year; doctors get the call all the time – patients looking for a quick fix to whatever’s ailing them. We get similar calls almost daily (no, not for drugs…not anymore, anyway). Prospective clients call up wanting a solution without knowing the cause of their problem.
Remember in the late 90’s when all anyone talked about was ‘eyeballs’? That was the (really stupid) rationale to invest in dotcoms based solely on the traffic the site would generate (even if the site operated at a loss). It was the reason companies had insane valuations and no real, sustainable revenue model.
What do you think a good direct mail response rate would be? How about 100%? Would that be good enough for you?
For years marketing experts have been stressing the importance of including social media in the marketing mix of small and large businesses alike. How is it, then, that so many companies are still solely relying on their company website and paid media to enhance their online presence?
This month we’ll be looking at choosing the best medium for your advertising. It’s estimated that consumers are exposed to hundreds (likely thousands) of marketing messages each day. Breaking through the clutter is one of a marketer’s biggest challenges, and finding the right media mix is a key ingredient to success.
For years, I’ve been suggesting that marketing students go to dental school. Great money, great hours, and nobody (hardly) ever dies in a dentist’s chair.
Arch Grants Winner CoMo Medical wanted to rebrand…and we weren’t about to stop them.
Spoke has been able to grow during the ‘great recession’ and ‘slow rebound’ not just because we do great work and focus on finding our clients’ fastest path to cash™; it’s through referrals. Literally 90% of our business comes in the door that way.
If The Blessing Basket Project had a hoard of obnoxious groupies, they’d have to get in line behind us. We’ve done multiple projects for them over the years (you try to say no to their founder Theresa…let us know how that goes).
Spoke is excited to start off the fall season with a philanthropic bang! On Friday, September 26, we will be entering our Devil’s Tongue Kölsch beer into the 1st Annual Agency Homebrew Competition to benefit the Megan Foundation.
As summer’s closing (along with our sixth year of the Sprockets program), we thought it would be fun to tell you what (kickass, pro bono) work our interns have been doing for non-profits and start-ups.
Garbage in, garbage out. With direct marketing, having a good list is the most important element (more important than creative).
Yeah, we liked the line so much we trademarked it. But, it really is our key touchstone for every client we work with and something we focus on every day.