One of our clients wanted to improve the marketing on two of their online brands (websites). After an initial audit, we determined that the right starting point was to create Marketing Strategy Templates for each of the brands that would clarify the marketing choices on the brand and serve as a key reference tool for the program managers for several years to come.

The template applied best practices from the Consumer Packaged Goods industry modified to suit a much smaller organization with scarce marketing resources. It included:

  1. Targeting
  2. Brand Equity Messages: Benefit/Unique Selling Proposition, Brand Character, Taglines
  3. A Tactical Advertising Plan with a focus on online media, specifically Google AdWords and Facebook and the purchase of ad space in opt-in email newsletters.

We then executed the marketing plan including buying the media and then optimized the campaigns through test and roll-out period. So far the programs that are running as a result of these Strat-Plans have acquired new registrants at the lowest cost yet seen by the client.

This summer we have done many hours of training for our clients including:

  • Leadership training. The course covered what leadership at different levels in an organization looks like, especially among entry level positions, and it focused specifically on the importance of “leading upwards” or “leading your management’s thinking.” This was done over two 2-hour “Lunch and Learn’s” with about 12 staff in each session.
  • How to write a recommendation: This course was aimed at solving the common problem of staff bringing unsolved problems to their manager, expecting their manager to solve them and the manager becoming a bottleneck for decision-making. The course teaches the organization how to push problem solving down to the staff closest to the issues and to force them to think through the problem (analysis), come up with a solution, gain alignment from their colleagues and then put it all down succinctly on paper. The discipline of writing is necessary because the act of writing clarifies thinking and produces better recommendations which take less time for senior managers to approve. This was done over a 2-hour “Lunch and Learn” with about 13 staff in attendance.
  • Marketing 101: This course covered the basics of branding, targeting, positioning and messaging. We provided templates commonly used in Tier 1 Packaged Goods Companies to lay out marketing strategies. We explained the most common key measures for marketing programs including CPC, CPM, CPA, Cost of Acquisition and Lifetime Value of a Customer. We discussed how and why to write a good Creative Brief when working with an agency and we provided a good template. We also covered off how to use your annual marketing budget to “test and learn” in a disciplined way so as to become a learning organization capable of making better marketing choices over time. This was done over a 2-hour “Lunch and Learn” with about 14 staff in attendance.
  • Google AdWords and Facebook campaigns: We trained 6 staff members of one of our clients in how to create, run and optimize both Google AdWords and Facebook ad campaigns. We also covered how to use the Google Analytics tool to measure Cost of Acquisition for key acquisition marketing programs.

One of Jonathan’s passions is the use of technology to solve problems and make organizations more efficient. We have recently researched vendors and implemented solutions including deploying the program without IT resources and training all the staff for the following:

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

Because our client had very lean IT resources we only looked at online, hosted CRM solutions. We examined NetSuite, salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics and Entellium over a 2-month period. We ultimately chose salesforce.com based on the client’s unique needs.

Mass email management

Our client needed to send several thousand emails every 2 months and used to have a staff member spend several days preparing the lists in Excel and then sending out the emails using Outlook in batches of 100 email addresses in the BCC field. They didn’t know that most of these email will never reach the intended recipient because they will get stopped by spam filters that look for multiple addresses in the BCC field. We looked at Constant Contact, Campaigner and Vertical Response and ultimately chose and rolled out Vertical Response because of their offer of 10,000 free emails a month for registered non-profits, which our client was. The client recently sent out a far more professional looking mass email and it took the staff member a fraction of the time to send it. They are extremely happy with the solution.

Event management

One of our clients runs several live conferences a year. These events are a huge drain on the staff for the weeks leading up to the event. They used to manage all the registrations manually via phone and email and capture the data in a spreadsheet. Fees were processed through a special online merchant account but the data did not connect to any internal system. All outbound communication to attendees was handled manually.

We researched several online event management solutions and chose RegOnline.com for them. RegOnline is a hosted, pay per use, solution that automates almost every conceivable aspect of running a large event and massively reduces the staff required to pull the event off.

Web conferencing & archiving

The same client as above also wanted to know how much it would cost to have a company come to their live events, capture the audio and video, stream it out via the web to a disparate audience, allow for Q&A with online attendees and then archive it online for later on-demand viewing. We researched several providers and found a Toronto based company that provides this service at the right level of cost and quality for our clients needs.

One of our clients needed a report created, at the request of one of their stakeholders, to outline the vision and plans for a project related to workforce management issues in a region of the Golden Horseshoe. We took 3 months and over 50 hours of research and report writing to create the 50 page report. The most innovative section of the report is a recommendation on how to use web enabled mass collaboration and web 2.0 technologies to solve regional workforce management related issues. The report included a detailed, “best practices” marketing strategy and plan as well as findings and recommendations related to web conferencing solutions and webinar creation & archiving solutions.