The Importance of Marketing Objectives

Every business wants to be successful in their industry. However, there is no point in aiming for success if the entity does not measure their progress. The goal of marketing objectives is to create a desirable end state, measure results, and determine whether or not those goals were met, and why.

One way that companies use marketing objectives is to keep everyone focused. Objectives give the company something to work for, and allow individuals to stay focused on their specific tasks. Objectives with desired results dictate the way people make decisions. Company-wide objectives also help to keep employees across different departments and locations on the same page.

Objectives also work to create recognizable achievements, which in turn help motivate employees. With an objective in mind, employees can come to work each day, knowing what they need to do to reach their goal. Once the time period of the objective is over, they can look at the results and see what they have achieved. If the objective as not achieved, they can go back to the drawing board, see what went wrong, and create a new objective.

In order for objectives to work in a company, they must be SMART objectives. SMART objective are those that are specific in what needs to be achieved, measure bale in a quantifiable manner, achievable and realistic, relevant to the industry, and abide by a certain time frame.

Woman writing and planning business strategyThese SMART objectives guide business leaders in making decisions for the organization as a whole, as well as the marketing mix for different product lines. A goal consisting of growing brand awareness may focus on Place and Promotion, while a goal striving o raise sales may focus on Price and Product. Internally, an executive may wish to increase employee morale, and measure results through a year-end survey.

When objectives are set, people inside they company may be pressured to meet those goals by any means possible. It is important that ethical guidelines are enforced to prevent individuals from taking advantage of stakeholders in the company. Marketing messages must be reliable, and not misleading to consumers, while financial statements must be accurately reported. Some marketing objectives include the use of powerful CRM systems that hold consumer date. The security of customer information is of most important when considering this type of marketing.

In conclusion, objectives are meant to help a company, whether they are achieved or not. They inform decision makers of what did and did not work, while keeping everyone on task. There is no definitive way of creating objectives because they can vary greatly between organizations, time period, and competitors. As long as the SMART method is followed, the objectives can be customized to any company.

 

All images provided by Pexels.com under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

 

Advertisements

Digital Tools to Help Define Target Markets

It’s 2017 and you are about to release a new product that will take the world by storm. Every day companies are advancing technology, and making consumers’ lives easier through new goods and services. While innovation continues to grow, so does the way in which these products are marketed. Even the marketing landscape from five years ago is completely different than it is today,

With products and services designed to offer convenience like never before, people cannot be bothered to gain marketing information. Luckily, there are a variety of online tools that marketers can now use to gather their data.

Marketers can use this in one of two ways. They can first determine what demographics, and psychographics they want to target, then find the best geographic region to market towards. They can also use it in reverse to make changes to their marketing plan, if they want to stay in the same geographic region. Claritas gathers all the information and even suggests other things the consumers may have in common such as places they go to eat, cars they drive, and what hobbies they partake in (Claritas, LLC, 2017).pexels-photo-29532

Another great tool marketers can use is Google Analytics. Almost every social media platform has a built in analytics system to track your page’s traffic. You may want to see how many likes a certain post has generated, or how far a specific tweet reached. Google Analytics goes a step further and analyzes an entire website’s traffic, breaking it down into demographic information, lifestyle groups, and how the consumer arrived at the site. This helps marketers choose where to advertise online (Kaplan, 2017). If your target market is middle-aged soccer moms, you may realize you will have better luck advertising on Facebook, rather than Instagram

It is important to use tools, like the ones mentioned above, to pinpoint your target early on in the marketing plan. This saves times and resources, as you can target just the people who are likely to see the advertisement, rather than trying to cover a large area, or broad audience. Social media marketers can are able to quickly see what posts receive engagement and which ones do not, driving future creative decisions.

References
Claritas MyBestSegments. (2017). Claritas, LLC. Retrieved from https://segmentationsolutions.nielsen.com/mybestsegments/Default.jsp?ID=100&pageName=What%2Bis%20Segmentation&menuOption=learnmore&filterstate=&sortby=segment_code&prevSegID=CLA.PZP
Kaplan, A. (2017). 6 Online Tools Anyone Can Use to Identify Their Target Audience. Hey Now! Media. Retrieved from http://info.heynowmedia.com/6-online-tools-anyone-can-use

All images provided by Pexels.com under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license

Evaluating Marketing Campaigns

With a growing number of marketing mediums, there are several ways to evaluate the effectiveness of campaigns. From traditional techniques, to more modern digital methods, marketers have a variety of tools when it comes to measuring their success. One way marketers can evaluate their campaigns is through message evaluation. This is great for getting subjective information about the ad’s messaging and how it fits with the target market. Tools like surveys and focus groups allow consumers to give input as to how the ad affects their perception of the brand, and whether or not they are motivated by the campaign (Ashe-Edmunds, n.d.). These may be more time consuming, and have higher costs associated with them. Marketers must distribute surveys, or hold gatherings, collect information, and then analyze it.

 

Another method marketers can sue is online analytical tools. These are much quick than the above method, as they allow marketers to collect data at any point in time. If the campaign’s goal is to increase website traffic, the marketing team can easily track how many people are visiting the website, and what pages they are going to (Ashe-Edmunds, n.d). This allows brands to quickly gather data, analyze it, and then incorporate any adjustments into their campaign. This is great for social media campaigns, as many platforms already come with their own built-in analytical tools.

Ashe-Edmunds, S. (n.d.) Evaluation of Marketing Communications. Chron. Retrieved on        April 30, 2017 from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/evaluation-marketing-                             communications-74376.html

10 Thoughts About the Unicorn Frappuccino®

Love them or hate them, you have to admit Starbucks is a marketing genius. They were back at it again with the new Unicorn Frappuccino®, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on the coveted drink before they sold out. The Starbucks website describes it as changing colors and flavors that “start off sweet and fruity transforming to pleasantly sour” ¹ . Here are my thoughts before, during, and after my experience

1. OK I NEED THIS

Not one cell in my body cared what this drink would taste like because I am Starbucks’ dream consumer. I was there for the Pink Drink, I obsess over when the holiday cups drop, and I take limited edition drinks VERY seriously. The minute I saw this on Instagram, all other priorities shifted.

2. Mango?

Upon placing my order the barista informed me that they were out of mango syrup so they would be making my drink with raspberry instead. I was slightly confused as to why a pink and blue drink would even be mango flavored in the first place. IT IS PINK. RASPBERRIES ARE ALSO PINK. MANGOES ARE YELLOW.

3. GRANDE OR VENTI

I planned the release of this drink perfectly so that I could use a reward to get a free one. 9/10 times I will get a venti sized drink because it’s free, pretty much a no brainer. However, I had a strange feeling with this one. While I was extremely excited for this drink, 24 oz. of this sugar slurry would be too much.

4. Guilt

I have never felt bad for a drink that I ordered. I am usually a simple customer without any crazy requests. But this was different. After placing my order and watching the baristas at work, I truly felt like I had committed a crime. They were running around frantically, with a literal assembly line of these drinks.

5. Was it worth it?

It took forever to get my drink. I have no problem waiting, and I was not upset with the baristas at all. I was more upset with myself for choosing something that was so time-consuming. I watched as they made the base, added the extra pink powder, blended it, then carefully swirled the cup with the blue syrup, filled the drink, topped with whip, and then covered it in the special sprinkles.

6.It is time

After standing in line for about 5 minutes, my drink was ready. I walked over to the receiving area, excited, and scared that one of the nearby teens would swoop in and take it.

7. The moment of truth

Eh. The first sip was essentially a raspberry Frappuccino®. Nothing special, and something that people get all the time. I pushed my straw towards the blue swirl and was able to get a bit of the sourness.

8.The point where I almost die

As with any frappuccino, I like to get in on the whip action pretty early. My friend had said the topping was pretty sour but I figured she was overreacting. I was sorely mistaken. The whipped cream is essentially covered in atomic sour dust. My jaw actually locked up at one point. I could not believe they were serving this without a waiver. I decided to stir the whole drink together to disperse the sourness.

9.I’m literally going to die

About 3/4 of the way through my drink, I got up to use the restroom. When I stood up my stomach instantly told me this was a horrible mistake. It probably did not help that my stomach was empty until I had consumed the 59 grams of sugar.¹

10. Never again

The drink was not bad by any means. Once you stir it all up it has a pleasant sourness, but it was nothing I was eager to get the next day. At the end of the day, it would have made a good Instagram pic, but I didn’t even accomplish that.

In conclusion, I would give this a 5 out of 10. It was an obvious success because the next day they had already run out of most of the ingredients. Starbucks could add pink dye to water and people would buy it. I’m just wondering when the S’mores Frappuccino® is coming back,

1.Unicorn Frappuccino® Blended Crème. (2017). Starbucks. Retrieved from https://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/frappuccino-blended-beverages/unicorn-frappuccino-blended-cr%C3%A8me#size=11076714&milk=67&whip=125

Spring Haze

Can we all just take a moment of silence to appreciate how much my photography has improved….

Ok.

Spring is here and I’m not sure how to feel. I normally despise spring because of allergies, rain and wind, chilly mornings interrupted by blistering afternoons, and being forced to show off my pasty white limbs. However, this year is different as I am embracing the meaning of spring- new growth.

I have so many things to look forward to in the next months. I will be finishing school at the end of June and then looking to begin a career after working in a grocery store for almost 4 years. I have longed for the day when I can sleep in past 6 a.m. and go to my 9-5 job, enjoy my weekends off, and not have to touch rotten tomatoes every day. I am so excited for what’s to come in this season!


Today was the first day I wore shorts. Thankfully, no one reported me to the authorities for inciting blindness. We visited Maumee Bay State Park and spent the day on the beach. Enjoy these pictures I took of my best friend, Cam.MaumeeBay-9IMG_3860MaumeeBay-5MaumeeBay-1

Kroger Advertising Through SEO

The Kroger Co. already utilizes a variety of advertising media channels from traditional billboards and TV commercials, to new techniques like social media. One new media channel for them to explore could be search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is the practice of designing a website in such a way that the architecture, content, and links that make up the website help it rank better in search engine results (Rapp, 2010). For a company like Kroger, a grocery store, this would be beneficial whenever someone performs a search query for certain ingredients, grocery store locations, or special services that Kroger provides like, a bakery or florist.

There are several research steps that go into creating a successful SEO campaign. Research is what allows the brand to elevate their message, assess the industry and competition, and identify the target market (Fletcher, 2013). These are the most crucial factors to consider when determining a keyword campaign for successful SEO. The first steps are to analyze the current website and consumer behavior.

Kroger will have to use analytical tools to explore what consumers are searching. These keywords help segment the market into desired targets and determine what content is placed on the website (Rapp, 2010). Once Kroger analyses what keywords are most influential they may create specific web pages that give those campaigns the best opportunity for growth.

Implementing successful SEO is a matter of trial and error. Kroger will need to use diagnostic tools to measure the effectiveness of their web design. Tools like Google Analytics allows brand to track their website traffic and most searched keywords (Rapp, 2010). If Kroger notices their website is not receiving an increase in visits, they may use diagnostic tools to see what is preventing search engine spiders from navigating their page (Rapp, 2010). It may be that the site architecture does not flow well, content is not coded correctly, or elements like flash animations are blocking content (Rapp, 2010). Kroger can take this data and go back to the drawing board to build a better website.

 

 

References
Fletcher, B. (2013, April 25). Five Reasons Why Market Research Matters (and Five Tips for Using It). MarketingProfs. Retrieved from                                                                          http://www.marketingprofs.com/opinions/2013/23874/five-reasons-why- market-research-matters-and-five-tips-for-using-it
Rapp, S. (2010). Reinventing Interactive and Direct Marketing: Leading Experts Show How to Maximize Digital ROI with iDirect and iBranding Imperatives. New York, NY: Mcgraw-Hill

Could Starbucks Rebrand?

Starbucks is one of my favorite companies, and I probably would not be able to get through school with out it. While I am sitting in the corner by myself, typing my papers and sipping on my chai latte, I can’t help but think about what Starbucks could be in the future. I already see them branching out with more hot paninis, breakfast sandwiches, and even a new poached egg breakfast item.  I see the potential to make a switch from a quick stop on the way to work, to a place you come and socialize after your 9-5.

At my location, the majority of seating options consist of small tables that seat two people. Part of Starbuck’s rebranding process could include adding seating that accommodates larger groups. They may even add rooms that can be reserved for special meetings, away from the bustle of the busy store. Ultimately, this rebranding could result in adding one more item to the consumer’s basket, in grocery store terms. Instead of buying your lone grande mocha, you may buy a salad or wrap to enjoy with your best friend. Perhaps there are spaces for your children to color or watch TV while you do your work.

Social Media & Me

As a 22-year-old, social media has been a part of my life since high school. It’s sad to say, but I can’t imagine life without my smartphone and being able to mindlessly browse Twitter whenever I want. Social media has been both a time-killer before bed, and admittedly, a savior to avoid eye contact and awkward situations. As I go through school and see the potential social media now has in the business world, I am recognizing it is not just for entertainment – it is an actual tool.

The majority of my social media consumption takes place on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I usually check all three several times a day, to keep up on current events, my friends’ activities, and updates from my favorite celebrities or brands. Yes, I have notifications set up for every time Taylor Swift posts something. I also love finding new recipes to try through Facebook, or drawing inspiration for photography from Instagram and Pinterest.

Twitter is where I really let my thoughts fly. I love the micro blogging style of Twitter that allows immediate contact with people all over the world, to discuss important issues, and connect on similar interests. I also use Twitter to reach out to companies that I have had a bad experience with, questions, or simply let them know I was satisfied. It seems social media yields quicker replies than customer service lines these days.

I’ve recently tried to use these tools for more professional matters. I revisited my LinkedIn, which had gone neglected for some time, and updated my information, while making some new connections. I also discovered the world of Twitter chats, and that there are several of them being led by influences in a variety of subjects every day.

I don’t have much to gripe about when it comes to social media. If there is one issue I have, it is that all of these platforms are trying to become too similar to each other. All three of my favorite platforms now offer live video streaming, and brands seem to post the same exact content on every platform at once.

Instagram recently rolled out their Stories feature, a move to take on Snapchat, and Facebook now has a similar feature in their Messenger app. I would prefer each of my social media tools play very distinct roles, rather than vary just enough for me to keep all three.

Meanwhile, we still don’t have an edit button on Twitter.

The ROI of Social Media

Social media campaigns need to be treated just like any traditional marketing campaign. Measuring the return on investment is the only way to know whether or not it is effective. Return on investment is more than just tracking how many followers a brand has gained. While follows, likes, and mentions are great, a ROI based on actual dollars is important to measure the usefulness of the campaign.

Social media ROI is no different than regular ROI, except that it may be more challenging to assign dollar values to some resources. Any resources used to execute the social media campaign are measured, then subtracted from the financial outcomes and calculated into a ratio (Tuten & Solomon, 2015).

Social media advertising takes up more time than before, so it is a cost for any company. Managers will expect social media marketers to provide a thorough return on investment analysis in order to prove that the campaign is worth making its ways into the budget.

While there are several ways to measure social media ROI, there is a general process to follow. Dag Holmboe describes a three-step process that includes defining a social media goal, defining a social media return, and defining how hard dollars will be tied to the return (2011). While sales may seem like the go-to way of measuring ROI, it can also be measured by customer insights, website traffic, or customer support.

For example, social media campaigns may be used to replace customer support calls, as they are cheaper and more efficient. A company can calculate how much a traditional call would cost them, verses how much it costs to conduct support on Twitter. The money saved is the return, and can be calculated as a ratio to the investment in those running the Twitter support team.

Social media is great because it has all the properties of traditional marketing, like building a positive brand image and driving customers to the brand, but add a level of engagement that brands cannot get elsewhere. However there are so many different levels of engagement, that brands must be precise in defining their objectives, and what metrics they use to measure their ROI. They must chose if they include early-stage engagements such as simply seeing, or rating a product, or want to only capture serious engagements such as purchases and recommendations.

 

References
Holmboe, D. (2011, October 12). How to Estimate Your Social Media Return on Investment. Retrieved from http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-estimate-your-social-media-return-on-investment/
Tuten, T. L., & Solomon, M. R. (2015). Social Media Marketing. Boston, MA: Pearson.