Like many fields in today’s workplace, marketing is collaborative. If you’re employed by an agency, you will likely find yourself working very closely with colleagues. This provides an excellent opportunity to learn from others while expanding your skill set, but it’s possible you’ll hit a few bumps in the road. Differences in personality and the way work is approached can often delay a project’s progress. Below are a few communication guidelines to help future workplace collaboration go smoothly.

Practice active listening.

One of the first steps in improving communication is learning how to listen. During conversations, it’s easy to get lured into letting your thoughts wander…thinking about what time kids need to be picked up from practice, what you’re making for dinner, or what’s left on the day’s to-do list. This, alongside the backdrop of a busy office, can prevent you from understanding important messages managers and coworkers are communicating. Always try to keep your focus on actively listening to what others are saying. Maintain eye contact, give encouraging non-verbals, and don’t interrupt or shift too much of your focus to what you’re going to say next. By actively listening to others, you’ll foster respect and prevent future misunderstandings.

Keep an open mind.

It’s human nature to make snap judgments about others. Many people, for example, categorize millennials as entitled, lazy or self-absorbed. Of course, not every millennial conforms to those qualities, and making assumptions about colleagues can cause real problems. They’ll drive a wedge between you and your coworkers and prevent you from uniting as a team.

Communicate face-to-face when possible.

In today’s workplace, there is a heavy reliance on emails, texting and instant messaging. And as our use of technology has increased, face-to-face interactions have become markedly devalued. As a result, messages often get lost in translation. When possible, speak to coworkers in person, and if email is necessary, focus on making your message concise and easy to understand.

Be straightforward.

Whether you’re presenting an idea or project at a meeting or emailing a request to a coworker, it’s easy to get longwinded. When this occurs, people can lose sight of your message’s objectives. Strive to make your workplace communication speedy and straightforward with your goals made clear.

React sympathetically.

Before you react to what you believe is baseless criticism, consider the source of the attack and the possible circumstances surrounding it. When people are having a bad day, they sometimes respond by attacking others for no reason. After hostilities have defused, contact the coworker to learn more about the problem they’ve communicated and how you can help address it. When heads are cooler, the coworker may admit they’ve overreacted and that the attack had nothing to do with you or your work.

 

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On the surface, writing product descriptions sounds like a simple enough task. However, even the most seasoned copywriter can fall prey to a common mistake: writing a description that only describes a product.

Product descriptions are to be thought of as a sales tool. Customers need to know why they should buy the product. A list specs, features and other technical details can help a customer visualize a product. However, a description limited to those items fails to illustrate the product’s value, and what truly sells a customer on a product is its perceived value.

So, what is considered valuable? When potential customers read a product description, they’re looking at the fairness of its cost and how and why the product will be helpful to them.

An effective product description well clearly illustrate a product’s unique benefits, engage the reader, solidify your brand’s voice, and include keywords.

As you embark in the description writing process, here some additional tips to help your conversions grow:

  • Focus on the solution. As we mentioned before, it’s easy to write about what a product looks like. However, for a description to really resonate with a reader, it needs to provide them with a solution. Before you start writing, ask yourself questions similar to, “How will this product increase a customer’s happiness? How will it make his or her life easier? What problems does it solve?”

Say, for example, you’re selling lipstick online. Through research, you may find women are annoyed with how their lipstick dries out their lips or rubs off too easily. If you were to write an effective product description, you’d provide a clear explanation on how your product combats these common issues.

 

  • Consider the text’s readability. When shopping online, potential customers are likely skimming your content. It’s important your text describes your product’s value quickly and clearly. Customers will read a description more thoroughly once you’ve piqued their interest. Sub-headers and bulleted lists can both help make content easier to read. Also, try to avoid being redundant.

 

  • Optimize your products. Get products to the top of Google searches by optimizing your content around keywords and phrases. Incorporate keywords into product headlines, description content, and title tags. Also, be sure to throw in some synonyms for good measure (search engines are getting better at guessing what people want when they enter a search word of phrase).

 

  • Sprinkle in some humor. Humor speaks to humans on a very basic level and can nudge potential customers to act on a call to action. It gives the tone of your copy a personality, helps hold the attention of readers, separates your brand from that of the competition and will ultimately make potential customers more receptive to purchasing your product.

 

  • Don’t copy the competition. While you may feel pressured to fall in line with what other successful competitors are doing in their online stores, it’s important you don’t replicate them. Yes, you’ll benefit from knowing what they’re doing, but if you want to sell, you need to communicate through a unique voice.

 

  • Avoid overselling. If your description isn’t accurate, you’ll find yourself with product returns and poor reviews. Be sure to always double check sizes, weights, and colors.

 

Are you an online shopper? What do you look for in a product description? What has helped convince you to make a purchase? Let us know in the comment section!

Applying for an internship? Smart decision! College internships help students develop valuable professional contacts and are a powerful addition to any resume. It will show you have experience in a specific field and that you put in the extra effort to gain this experience by juggling the position with school.

With that in mind, there are general rules that apply to all internships. The following tips can help ensure your internship experience is a success:

 

Practice effective communication

A successful internship experience requires strong communication skills. While you may feel a degree of uncertainty with your ideas and the new industry lingo, it’s important you speak clearly and enthusiastically. This is especially important for interns at a marketing agency. When working with clients, marketing professionals must deliver suggestions and strategies in a clear, confident manner.

Take notes

Whether your manager is explaining a new project or providing feedback on your performance, taking notes will help you remember the details. Plus, it will show you are taking your work seriously!

Seek out help when you need it

This is super important. There is nothing worse than saying you know how to tackle project when you know it’s outside your realm of expertise. It’s a waste of everyone’s time. As an intern, it is your responsibility to ask questions and for assistance when you need it. Check your ego at the door.

Commit yourself

Show up on time your first day and every day following it. If you know your team is working on a project with a tight deadline, monitor your emails outside of the office to ensure you can answer any questions that come up in a timely fashion. If you notice a coworker is overwhelmed or planning to stay late, volunteer to help them. Sacrificing a little free time to show your commitment will pay off in the long term.

Approach the position with an open mind

At your internship, you’ll be introduced to a diverse group of coworkers with a wide range of talents, educational backgrounds, and knowledge. Use this to your advantage, and be sure to ask a lot of questions! As Bill Nye the Science Guy once said, Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”

 

 

Learn More

For additional insights on how to prepare for a college internship, be sure to check out what Baer Performance Marketing’s interns had to say about their internship experience. Get an overview of the challenges they faced, what they learned along the way, and the tips they collected for future interns.

Blog post by: Drew Rhodes, Baer Performance Marketing Intern

 

In business, you have a product or a service, and your goal is to differentiate yourself from competitors in your market. If your market is crowded, and you, as a business, are repeating the same selling points as your competitors, your business will get lost at sea, and brand irrelevance is on the horizon.

Successful businesses also know how and when to take risks while avoiding being too risky. The word “risk” is a scary one. We are human and mostly just want to be comfortable, but most people and businesses that become successful will tell you that they didn’t get to where they are today without taking risks.

 

Understanding Your Market

When you begin developing a new marketing strategy for your service/product, you may ask yourself, “How do we take chances while staying true to our values and brand?”

It’s a tough question to answer–especially living in a world where consumers seem to be easily offended by everything.

You have to be careful, and before taking the leap, it’s important to get to know your target market and current customers through focus groups and surveys. Additionally, the risks you take with your brand should support your brand values. Consumers are increasingly seeking out authenticity in the brands they support.

 

Old Spice Took the Risk, Came Out On Top 

Old Spice is a perfect example of updating and reformatting a brand. They were known as the deodorant for “old men.” Today, they are the top deodorant in the market…all because they rebranded themselves. They wanted their brand to be “swaggerized,”and they did just that–now targeting men in the 18-34 year range (explains the commercials).

This was a big risk for them, but it paid off. The lesson here is: Your products might not change, but you can change how you present them. Knowing when to present it to the public is also important. Too early, and the market could take it the wrong way–too late, and you could be seen as a copycat. It’s also important to ensure that new content and new formats correlate directly with the brand you’re looking to project.

 

How do You Know When to Change Course?

There is no clear cut answer for this. Many companies struggle when deciding whether they should continue with a current marketing/creative plan or change it up. They often ask themselves, “Will this change bring in new customers or annoy faithful ones?”

There are many different factors that go into a decision on when to change, but the key is understanding your market and how customers feel toward you moving in a different direction. Again, market/customer research will provide a great deal of value here.

 

In Conclusion

Brands must evolve to stay afloat. That means taking risks without being risky. The smart brands are those that will take risk in a well thought out and strategized manner. As long as you stay true to your brand values and understand your clients and the market you are in, you should be closer to taking a risk that propels you forward.

 

Blog post by: Drew Rhodes, Baer Performance Marketing Intern

 

Relationships in business mean everything, and today, technology can further build and strengthen those relationships. Consumers are placing an increasing amount of trust in what they read online. First impressions are being made through profile pictures and social media advertising, and after a quick peek at a rating, we’re climbing into strangers’ cars and staying in other people’s homes while on vacation.

And while face-to-face recommendations and referrals will always be a part of bringing in new business, today, the battle is also won through positive online reviews. By inserting social proof online for potential customers to see and including it as part of your marketing strategy, you will build confidence with prospective clients and draw them into your business.

There are a few things any business can do when trying to build relationships with a faceless online customer:

 

Establish an Easy System

The first step in building positive reviews online is “establishing a system” that allows your previous customers to conveniently write a review about your company. Unless the customer has had a terribly upsetting or negative experience with your business, they probably aren’t going to go out of their way to leave a review. You must encourage them to do so while making the process as easy as possible for them. Consider placing links to your review profiles in other marketing channels, including email marketing, printed newsletters and your website.

 

Promotion Plan

Once you start collecting positive reviews from customers, be sure to have a plan in place with how you will promote them! Reviews can be incorporated into graphics and shared through social media or paid online advertising campaigns. They can also be displayed on your website to help build trust.

 

Reward Referrals

The best PR is a personal recommendation. In today’s technology-driven world, there are countless ways to generate referrals, but the most successful programs typically present some sort of value to both the customer providing the referral as well as the potential customer receiving the referral. UBER, for example, incentivizes referrals by offering current customers $5 off for every new rider they refer. The new customers are then given their first ride for free. UBER also makes it easy for riders to invite new customers through social media.

 

Conclusion

If your online marketing strategy relies on driving search traffic to your business’ website, then it also relies, to a major extent, on online reviews. And while you can’t expect every customer to take the extra time to leave a review or pass along a referral—even when you ask—if you develop a process or routine that can be followed consistently by your sales and marketing staff, you’ll see them accumulate.

 

If you have any questions or experiences you’d like to share regarding online reviews and referrals, please connect with us in the comment section!

 

 

Baer Performance Marketing is a marketing firm representing national, regional, and local businesses. Our company offers a diverse and fast-paced environment for expanding professional skills and career development.

Position Description:

The marketing internship is a temporary position intended to provide undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity for professional development in the rapidly-evolving marketing industry.

Interns will be assisting in media planning and buying, writing radio and television advertising scripts, writing media releases, updating social media, brand development, market research, blogging, preparation for client meetings, and much more.

The internship will last for at least 12 weeks, and the schedule is flexible. Exact hours will be discussed and agreed upon by the successful applicants, Aaron Baer (company President), and academic advisor (if internship is being used for class credit).

*****Please note that while this is an unpaid internship, many of the current clients provide perks for BPM’s interns.*****

Qualifications:

Interns will be selected based on applicable coursework and experience relating to Marketing/Communications/Public Relations. To be considered, applicants should have completed a significant amount of upper division coursework.

Necessary skills include:

· Strong communication skills, both oral and written

· Intermediate to advanced computer skills

· Strong critical thinking skills

· Demonstrated ability to manage multiple assignments

· Must be a go-getter and possess the ability and desire to bring ideas to the table

To apply:

Email resume and cover letter to Molly Behnke at molly@baerpm.com.

Please check out www.baerpm.com for additional information.

 

Analyzing marketing and communication from an external perspective is a priority for most business owners. However, it’s just as important to evaluate the success of internal communication. This is because employees are your most loyal brand advocates!

And to the surprise of many business owners, employees in 2017 are no longer satisfied with just receiving a regular paycheck—they want their work to matter and to make a difference in the world!  They want to feel like an important contributor to their company’s mission and success. They want to be empowered by their career. Internal communication plays a huge role in delivering all of these objectives.

However, executing effective internal communication doesn’t come easy! Below are five tips to guide your strategy:

Encourage Two-Way Communication

Listening to employees builds trust, and there are many ways to encourage two-way communication, including face-to-face meetings, polls or open-ended questions posted through social media, employee surveys, or town hall meetings with large groups or all of your employees.

Less is Sometimes More

A recent study found that professionals spend half of their work day (around four hours) using email, with many reporting they are working longer hours because of their time spent on emails. Furthermore, a staggering 39 percent of U.S. workers regularly check and send work-related emails outside of the office.

Bottom line: Sending too many emails will make your staff miserable! Emails after office hours keep employees handcuffed to their smartphones and computers. Plus, if you’re cluttering your employees’ inboxes with irrelevant or redundant messages, your email  communication will soon be ignored!

Support Show and Tell

Millennials seek out work settings that are “fun and social.” And in general, people enjoy sharing the positive aspects of their lives with others.  Establishing a bulletin board in the office or an online platform where employees can share ideas, quotes, photos and videos can help strengthen employee relationships and boost morale.

Timing is Key

It’s vital your staff hears important business-related news directly from you. Before info about a merger or layoffs is printed in the local newspaper, hold a meeting. Tell your employees everything they need to know, and be prepared to answer their questions.

Measure Your Efforts

To truly improve the effectiveness of your internal communication strategy, you must first determine how you will measure your success. Consider using employee feedback and surveys to gauge your employees’ perceptions and level of satisfaction. You can also analyze qualitative data, including employee retention rates and changes in profits.

An effective internal communication strategy is essential to any business, regardless of size. By constructing a cohesive plan, you can expect to reach goals more efficiently, see higher employee engagement and, ultimately, increase company profits!

Looking for more communication tips? Click here to learn how to effectively harness conflict and challenge ideas!

 

 

Blog post by: Drew Rhodes, Baer Performance Marketing Intern

What is brand awareness? Investopedia defines it as the “extent to which consumers are familiar with the distinctive qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services.”

Brand awareness is important when launching new products and services, and it drives consumers’ decisions when differentiating between competing companies. It encourages repeat purchases and leads to an increase in market share and incremental sales. Brand awareness is also very important to businesses that are marketing proactively through social media sites.

Being Proactive Through Technology and Social Media

Because we are in an era of constant advancements in technology, brand awareness is especially important for every business. This is because people always have some type of computer in their hand, whether it’s a smartphone, a tablet, or an actual laptop/desktop, which means they are able to quickly communicate with others in a matter of seconds.

This could either work in favor of, or against your business. It all comes down to how you go about using it and adapting to these many technological advances. Being proactive in brand building through social media will lead to a better brand experience for existing customers while turning prospective customers into loyal brand followers.

The Drive For Repeat Purchases

According to ISPO news, “90 percent of all purchasing decisions are made subconsciously. We use mental shortcuts to skip the process and avoid being overwhelmed by the number of available options from competitors.” With a good marketing campaign focused on your brand and business model, you will more effectively narrow in on your target audience and encourage them to feel connected to and empowered by your brand.  Brand awareness affects perceptions and attitudes, which drive brand choice and even brand loyalty. This means that without brand awareness, repeat purchases are less likely.

Increased Market Share and Sales

By building brand awareness, you can also increase your market share. If you are the first to the punch in getting your brand fused into customers’ minds, you will raise the barrier to other companies that are trying to enter the market. According to the Strategic Planning Institute,  “Aggressive marketing and advertising, are the key factors in increasing brand awareness and converting awareness into market share.” Brand awareness does not have a financial value on its own, but it is part of the collective marketing effort that drives incremental sales.

There are many ways you can go about boosting brand awareness amongst consumers, and making a brand mean something to consumers when they look at it is just as important as a sales pitch. Your marketing strategies may vary year-to-year, but a consistent brand message will help make your business top-of-mind when your target market is comparison shopping.