Tag Archives: public relations

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HMA Promotes Brockway to senior account executive

HMA Public Relations, recognized regionally as a leader in public relations and marketing communications, has announced the promotion of Rachel Brockway to senior account executive.

Brockway previously worked as an account executive and has been with HMA Public Relations since 2012. As a senior account executive, her responsibilities include client management, strategic media relations, digital communications, new business development, online content management, promotional marketing and creative writing.

“Rachel is a huge asset to our team,” said Abbie S. Fink, vice president/general manager at HMA Public Relations. “Her varied experience across many marketing communications disciplines will continue to be invaluable to our team and to our clients.”

Brockway is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and is currently working with the PRSA Phoenix Chapter’s PR Serving America Project with the O’Conner House. She is among the list of Top 100 marketing professors from around the world and she is also an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University.

Brockway holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Northeastern State University and a Masters of Business Administration in global management and leadership from Arizona State University. She has a true passion for giving back and is a graduate of Scottsdale Leadership Class 23. She currently serves as a board member with the Anne Rita Monahan Foundation for Ovarian Cancer; is a member of the Scottsdale Unified School District Capital Override Oversight Committee; and volunteers with the marketing committee of Girls on the Run of Maricopa County. An Arizona native and a Phoenix resident, Brockway enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, playing tennis, reading and social media.

Medical Technology - AZ Business Magazine January/February 2012

Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation Honor Lavidges

Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), and its nonprofit Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation, will present its 2013 “Powerful Mind Award” to Bill and Julie Lavidge at its annual fete and fund-raiser, “A Night to Remember,” on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Musical Instrument Museum.

Bill Lavidge is CEO of The Lavidge Company (TLC), a full-service advertising, public relations, communications, consulting and interactive marketing agency. Bill and Julie serve as Vice Chairs of The BAI Breakthrough Campaign Cabinet, a $40 million fund-raising initiative to help fund groundbreaking Alzheimer’s research and support BAI’s nationally recognized care model for patients and families made possible by philanthropic investments from individuals, corporations and foundations. The campaign was launched in 2011. In addition, Julie Lavidge serves on the Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation Board of Directors and is a founding member of Women Inspiring Scientific Progress (WISP), a Phoenix-based community group dedicated to advancing Alzheimer’s research through education and advocacy.

Each year, BAI recognizes outstanding contributions from member volunteers and honors them with the Powerful Mind Award. Last year’s recipient was Gene D’Adamo, vice president of community relations for Republic Media, which operates The Arizona Republic and 12 News.

“We are proud to be involved in such a great organization like Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and are humbled to receive the Powerful Mind Award,” said Bill Lavidge. “The pioneering research being done at BAI is truly groundbreaking and inspiring. We believe there are many deserving candidates for this award and we are grateful for the recognition.”

The Breakthrough Campaign is a collaboration between a team of renowned scientists and clinicians and an outstanding group of individuals, corporations and foundations dedicated to funding the breakthrough that could change lives for generations to come.

“Bill and Julie exemplify the spirit of selflessness and dedication necessary to foster great change and even greater outcomes,” remarked Andy Kramer-Petersen, president and CEO of Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation. “The way they have, for years, rallied around the cause, given of their time and talents, and engaged others in the mission to end Alzheimer’s is admirable and most certainly a powerful reminder of the impact we can all make.”

More information about The BAI Breakthrough and the work being done at BAI can be found at www.banneralz.org.

Through its research and care, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is dedicated to the goal of ending Alzheimer’s disease without losing another generation. It is helping to launch a new era of Alzheimer’s research – treatment and prevention at the pre-symptomatic stage – and to establish a new comprehensive model of care. Established in 2006 by Banner Health, one of the country’s largest nonprofit health care systems, BAI has a three-fold focus: to conduct revolutionary studies in the detection, treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s; to set a national standard of patient and family care; and to forge scientific collaborations that bring together institutions and disciplines internationally.

Go Daddy founder and former CEO Bob Parsons is resigning as executive chairman to spend time on other ventures.

Parsons Acquires Scottsdale-based Martz Agency

Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Parsons today announced the acquisition of Martz Agency by MP Agency, L.L.C., an organization owned by Parsons. The award-winning Scottsdale based marketing and public relations firm, which will be renamed Martz Parsons, will bring creative firepower to Parsons’ growing portfolio of businesses.

Parsons has said that by looking at and structuring their marketing as a revenue generator that makes money rather than an expense item, businesses are able to not only bring attention to their brand but also increase their revenue streams. Parsons’ numerous Valley based entities, including Harley-Davidson of Scottsdale, Go AZ Motorcycles, Spooky Fast Parts & Engineering, YAM Properties, The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation and Scottsdale National Golf Club, will be using Martz Parsons as their agency of record. The agency will immediately add talent to keep pace with the growth.

Martz Agency, founded by Carrie Martz in 1980, is among the most highly regarded agencies in Arizona. Moving forward, Carrie Martz will assume the title of CEO and the agency will continue to serve its existing clients. Existing and future accounts, including Parsons personal enterprises, will be able to leverage the Agency’s unparalleled talent and newly expanded resources to further develop and empower their brands.

“I am thrilled that someone I consider to be a marketing genius has purchased the Agency,” said Carrie Martz.  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our agency and for our clients. With Bob Parsons behind us, I believe our Agency will become even more value to the clients we serve.”

Bob Parsons, like Carrie Martz, is well-known for his intense focus on providing an excellent customer experience. Moving forward, clients can expect their accounts to be managed with the same level of personalized care that Martz Agency has delivered for the last 33 years.

“It’s no secret that I am passionate about marketing,” said Bob Parsons. “The formula is simple … great brands that deliver an uncontested customer experience thrive. Martz Agency brings years of experience, professionalism and enthusiasm to the table. Together, we should knock it out of the park.”

Martz Agency’s current client roster includes Yurbuds, Arizona Commerce Authority, Toronto based Pacific Links International, Valley of the Sun YMCA, Fennemore Craig, RLC Labs, One Neck, Mirabel, The Reef Residences at Atlantis, Estrella by Newland Communities, and Olympia Group.

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Facebook Is Top Social Media Site for Marketing Spend

What are the hot spots for social media marketing in the coming year?

According to a new survey by The Creative Group, more than six in 10 (62 percent) advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they expect companies to increase their spending on Facebook marketing in the next 12 months. This is up from 53 percent who planned to boost their Facebook budget one year ago. Executives also anticipate companies will channel more marketing dollars toward LinkedIn (51 percent) and Google Plus (50 percent), up from 38 percent and 41 percent of respondents, respectively, last year.

The national survey was developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service for interactive, design, marketing, advertising and public relations professionals. It was conducted by an independent research firm.

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Lavidge Launches National Campaign with Dole

The Lavidge Company (TLC), a full-service advertising, public relations, communications, consulting and interactive marketing agency, and Dole® Food Company have partnered in developing the summer “Peel the Love” campaign.

TLC edged out national agencies with its Peel the Love campaign idea and was selected to lead the concept, design and messaging standards of the year-long Dole campaign. The Peel the Love theme focuses on the fun, versatility and universally loved aspects of the iconic yellow fruit, which Dole grows more of globally than anyone else. The campaign is playful and modern, utilizing vibrant, summer colors, that invites people to Peel like a kid again. Dole. Peel the love.

TLC’s team created the overall campaign concept, developed the messaging and visual direction, and worked on in-store promotional materials including posters and special recipe cards. Additionally, the agency oversaw the production of the campaign standards guide, working in collaboration with Dole’s public relations and interactive agencies that extended the campaign through additional channels.

A feature of the Peel the Love campaign is the Peel the Love Summer Food Truck tour that will be visiting banana-loving cities across the country. The brightly colored Peel the Love food truck, featuring TLC designs, is staffed by healthy-eating advocates and will stop at supermarkets, parks and other venues to dispense samples and recipes that use DOLE Bananas in fun ways. The truck will be making several stops in Phoenix, Arizona and surrounding areas from June 27 through July 6. Dates, times and truck stop locations can be found at www.dole.com/peelthelove.

“We’re extremely proud to have worked with Dole on this campaign,” says Bob Case, chief creative officer of TLC. “The work was strategically driven, smart, and incredibly fun to do – we thank Dole for the opportunity and look forward to continuing our work with them.”

TLC is a Phoenix based full-service advertising, public relations, and interactive marketing agency offering best-in-class traditional and leading-edge marketing services all in-house. Since 1982, The Lavidge Company has specialized in developing brand positioning for products and services. Lavidge serves prominent national, regional and local brands including Dole, United Rentals, Phoenix International Raceway, Republic Services, Discount Tire, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Massage Envy, Phiten USA, Banner Health, McDonald’s and many more. The agency has helped companies increase sales, raise brand awareness and grow their businesses.

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R&R Partners Wins Big

R&R Partners’ government and public affairs and public relations practices were big winners at the 2013 Best of the Capitol Awards held this week at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Jim Norton, R&R’s government and public affairs director, was recognized as Best Lobbyist. Norton, an instrumental force behind the passage of key legislation over the past 20 years represents many of the state’s most well-known companies and trade associations.

Jeff Gray, government and public affairs deputy director client services, took home Best Lobbyist Under 40 and is considered a rising star.

David Weissman, R&R’s public relations director, known for his adept, high-profile-client reputation management skills, accepted the award for Best PR Firm on behalf of his team.

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R&R Partners Wins Big

R&R Partners’ government and public affairs and public relations practices were big winners at the 2013 Best of the Capitol Awards held this week at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Jim Norton, R&R’s government and public affairs director, was recognized as Best Lobbyist. Norton, an instrumental force behind the passage of key legislation over the past 20 years represents many of the state’s most well-known companies and trade associations.

Jeff Gray, government and public affairs deputy director client services, took home Best Lobbyist Under 40 and is considered a rising star.

David Weissman, R&R’s public relations director, known for his adept, high-profile-client reputation management skills, accepted the award for Best PR Firm on behalf of his team.

becky-armendariz

Armendariz named PR director for Banner East Region

Rebecca Armendariz, 27, public relations specialist at Banner Health, has been named public relations director for Banner Arizona East Region, effective June 24. She will oversee the public relations efforts at the following Banner Health facilities: Banner Baywood Medical Center, Banner Behavioral Health Hospital, Banner Desert Medical Center, Banner Gateway Medical Center, Banner Goldfield Medical Center, Banner Heart Hospital, Banner Home Care and Hospice and Banner Ironwood Medical Center.

Rebecca Armendariz has served as a PR specialist at Banner Health since September 2008. She is also the vice president of the board of directors for Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona, where she has held a board position since November 2009. Prior to joining Banner Health, Armendariz was an account coordinator at a local PR agency.

Armendariz received a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in 2008.

Whitney Murray

Fennemore Craig Hires Legal Marketing Professional

Fennemore Craig, a full-service law firm based in Phoenix, is expanding its marketing team hiring Whitney Murray. As Marketing Manager, Murray will oversee the firm’s advertising and public relations efforts for Fennemore Craig’s offices in Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Las Vegas, Reno and Nogales.

Relocating from Boston, Murray led marketing and new business efforts for Prince Lobel Tye LLP law firm. Murray’s areas of expertise, include marketing, business development, public relations, event management and corporate communications. Murray holds a Master of Science in Communications Management from Simmons College.

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Harkins marketing duo forms Syndicate PR

Bryan Laurel and Melissa Rich, the two top-ranking marketing executives at Harkins Theatres, left the theatre chain to form their own PR firm – Syndicate Public Relations. Additionally, Laurel and Rich are proud to announce they will handle all publicity efforts for the Scottsdale International Film Festival, which celebrates its 13th year in October.

Syndicate PR specializes in public relations strategy and execution, promotional and strategic marketing and special events including product launches and fundraisers.  While working with retailers, businesses and charitable organizations, Syndicate PR will capitalize upon recent successes by working with motion picture distributors and independent filmmakers.

Laurel left his post as Director of Marketing in early January after 15 years with the company. His previous experience includes marketing roles for such brands as Apple Computer, Inc., General Electric, Dillard’s Box Office and AMC Theatres. Laurel spent much of his career at Harkins managing a well-rounded marketing team, executing high-profile promotions and cultivating relationships with valley media and executives at Hollywood motion picture studios.

Rich landed at Harkins in 2004 after building her career within several local full-service advertising agencies and ABC News in Washington D.C. Prior to her departure in February, Rich oversaw Harkins’ community relations program and in-kind partnerships with local charities generating more than $2 million in in-kind donations annually.

Together, Laurel and Rich created hundreds of motion picture promotions with major Hollywood studios and helped the company double in size via marketing campaigns for 18 new theatres in the Phoenix-metro area, Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado and California.  They also spearheaded the successful effort to bring the world premiere of 20th Century Fox’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine to their theatre at Tempe Marketplace in 2009. The event attracted thousands of moviegoers, hundreds of national and international media entities and hosted Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Liev Schreiber and Will.i.am. as well as Valley-based celebrities.

“I had a great experience with Harkins. Giving fifteen years of my life to the company was easy when working for a man like Dan Harkins.  Melissa and I accomplished all we wanted to and now we’re taking our unique skills from the motion picture industry to a new world of clients” said Bryan Laurel, Principal at Syndicate PR.

“Bryan and I work together so well and this partnership made perfect sense for us as a next logical step upon leaving our corporate lives,” said Melissa Rich, Syndicate PR Principal. “I am extremely grateful for all of the opportunities I was given at Harkins Theatres, and I’m excited to showcase our expertise in new areas.”

Marketing action plan

Enterprise Offers Free Course for Business Leaders

Enterprise University, an educational program offered by Enterprise Bank & Trust, will continue its Spring 2013 courses with an April 24 class on “Creating a Marketing Strategy to Build Brands and Drive Results.” The morning workshop includes a continental breakfast and will focus on strategic, smart and innovative techniques that not only build brands but produce impressive results and generate a ROI.

This session will cover the best marketing practices online and offline for the following:
* Research and brand positioning
* Creative services
* Media planning/buying
* Web design and interactive marketing
* Public relations and special events

The instructors are David Nobs, Director of Business Development and Ben Smith, Director of Account Development at The Lavidge Company, a Phoenix-based advertising, public relationsand interactive marketing agency.

Enterprise University provides free educational seminars on a variety of relevant topics for business owners and their leadership taught by experts in a variety of fields including advertising, marketing, business continuity, financial planning and more.

WHAT: Course for business leaders on “Creating a Marketing Strategy to Build Brands and Drive Results”

WHERE: Phoenix Country Club, 2901 N. 7th St. Phoenix, Ariz. 85014

WHEN: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.

COST: Free to business owners and leaders. Registration is required.

RSVP: Visit www.enterprisebank.com/eu to register

David Nobs has more than 25 years of experience in marketing, advertising and public relations. He’s directed high-profile campaigns for clients ranging from Bank of America and Microsoft to NASCAR, the NFL, NHL, LPGA and PGA of America.

Ben Smith has been on the leading edge of Arizona business and technology since 1985. Ben developed his expertise in project, design and long-range planning during his work in the public and private sectors, including serving as Director of Operations for a multi-million-dollar consulting firm where he managed engineering, programming and R&D teams nationwide.

Enterprise University will continue through May, with courses during the month of April focusing on marketing strategy and sales management.

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Super Bowl power outage shines light on PR opportunity

One of the biggest victories that came out of this year’s Super Bowl was not the Baltimore Ravens win, but the fast thinking public relations and creative teams that seized the moment when the lights went out. When the players were side lined due to a 34-minute power outage viewers immediately took to social media. According to Twitter, users sent an estimated 24.1 million tweets during the game, with a bulk of postings taking place during the blackout.

While television ads during the Super Bowl broadcast were at an all-time premium at $3.8 million for 30 second spots, outreach and engagement on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube was a fraction of the cost.

Quick turn around

Two major brands that pulled out all the stops and generated considerable buzz were Tide and Oreo. Tide posted an image with a simple headline reading, “We can’t get your blackout. But we can get your stains out.” The image was retweeted more than 1,300 times. Oreo generated even more interest with its post showing on Oreo cookie illuminated on a dark page with copy reading, “You can still dunk in the dark.” This tweet was retweeted approximately15,000 times and was still being talked about the next day.

While fans waited for the lights to turn back on and for the game to resume, there was an estimated 231,000 tweets taking place per minute.

Looking to the companies and brands that recognized the opportunity serves as a valuable lesson in PR communications, and aptly demonstrates the advantage of a timely response. Having the ability to seize the moment and turnaround clever content quickly, paid off. While the NFL covered the blackout with banter about the game, viewers and ticket holders turned to their smartphones and tablets to access social media sites to receive updates and share.

Expanding reach

Unlike any other televised event, the enormous publicity building up to and surrounding the NFL championship takes on a life well beyond the match-up of teams. Viewers have equally as much interest, if not more in the half-time entertainment and the commercials. It may even be safe to say that the Super Bowl is the only televised program where viewers do not consider the commercials or half time as an optimal time for a bathroom break. Nor do most viewers set the DVR just so they can fast forward to get to the “good stuff.”

Most notable is the significant amount of pre and post publicity coverage centered on the ads themselves. News teams on local and national stations discuss which companies will be advertising during the game and in some case go so far to show video clip teasers. In the days after the game the buzz continues with post game dissection of which ads were deemed favorites.

On YouTube this year’s award-winning Budweiser ad featuring the Clydesdales has received more than 11 million views and 56 thousand “likes”. In addition, while we don’t have access to the statistics, we know they also benefited from viral email, Facebook, and Twitter shares. In other words, the $3 million plus price tag for ad time may be warranted not just because of high program viewership, but because of the added value received from PR and the viral viewing via social media.

Super Bowl XLVII proved to be an exciting game full of entertainment, surprise blackout and all. While the city of New Orleans and the operations team at Mercedes-Benz Superdome were not prepared for an electrical outage, some savvy marketing and PR professionals were certainly prepared. Let Super Bowl XLVII be a lesson to us all in how to maximize PR and utilize the increasing power and up-to-the-minute connection of social media to engage and expand a campaign.

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Public Relations Resolutions for 2013

For the first time in years we are beginning to see public relations’ budgets increase. While the economy is slowly improving and consumers are beginning to spend, the real contributing factor for investing in PR is the shift in the way we work, live and communicate. We now see marketing collateral and messaging built into websites, posted on Facebook pages and Pinterest boards and linked to tweets. We are seeing more and more printed publications increasing their online presence or switching to online entirely; and the popularity of the smart phone and tablets has the public seeking and exchanging information in a click. As a result, the connections between PR and marketing are more significant than ever and the lines between the two more blurred.

A white paper may still be used for lead generation and database development, but it can also be a great tool for pitching an article to targeted media. Direct ads may be considered a part of marketing, but the credibility of an ad is certainly enhanced with a proactive PR campaign, making potential customers more likely to pay attention and take action. A news release is still a valuable tool for securing media coverage, but it is now also valuable for boosting SEO.

As PR plans take shape and begin to be implemented in 2013, consider the following for maximizing results:

Leverage campaigns across multiple channels

When your company is featured in the news, share it. Post it on your social media pages, add a link to your website, mention it in your blog, and include it in your next email newsletter.

Use visuals whenever possible

A picture speaks 1000 words and people love to share them. The media is more likely to respond to a news pitch that includes photos or video, and the same rings true for the public. Video and photos both generate significantly more engagement. According to Mashable, a photo posted on a Facebook page increases the percent of fans reached and gets as much as twenty times more engagement than a status, link, or video, The popularity of YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are all visual mediums that promote sharing of information and can be valuable tools for driving traffic to a website or customers in the door.

Tell your story

You don’t have to always wait for the media to come to you. Utilize your blog, industry news sites and LinkedIn to share your company story. Educate the public on your product or services. Provide tips and information that they may find helpful in their personal or professional lives.

Become a resource for the media

Journalists are now under a great deal of pressure to produce print, broadcast and online stories in the same amount of time with less assistance. Whatever industry or profession you are in, you may be the perfect source to speak on a topic they need to cover. This is especially true when local newsrooms are looking to build a story that relates to breaking news or new findings happening on a national level.

Create an online newsroom.

Make your corporate news accessible to your staff, clients, customers and the media. Include your news content on your website and provide the media with contact information, should they wish to speak with someone.

Recognize the power of social media

There are still a number of companies and business owners that question the impact of social media or its ability to reach their specific target market. From a PR perspective, social media has become a significant tool for the media to not only push out news but also receive and report news, so if you do not have a presence on social media, you cannot be part of the conversation. From a marketing perspective, companies now have the ability to know what their customers are saying, instantly responding to the good, the bad and the ugly, giving business owners a better opportunity to control the message.

The connection or cross-over we see in PR tells us that the division between marketing and media relations can no longer be separate, if you want your marketing efforts to be successful. While traditional advertising and marketing will reach out to target audiences and push out information and message, your public relations, social media and digital marketing will engage, connect and pull in your target audience. Regardless of the tools a company enlists for its marketing and PR strategy in 2013, collaboration and integration will be key to its success.

Marketing action plan

Implement A Marketing Action Plan For The New Year

Holiday parties are in full swing as another year comes to a close. While it seems both natural and logical to look back and review what was, I challenge companies and business owners to look forward and set goals for the year ahead. In doing so, we start the year with hope. The hope that the economy continues to improve, that business grows, and that new jobs are created.

To help spur that growth and achieve those goals, companies need to take a serious look at their marketing efforts and implement a marketing action plan.

1. Make sure your website works

Is the information on your website still relevant? Does the message speak to your target audience? Are you integrating your marketing campaign and driving new business to your site and through your doors? If not, it may be time for an update.

2. Consider the benefits of public relations

If your company or business has a story to tell or expertise to share, share it. A proactive public relations campaign can increase a company’s visibility and, more importantly, its credibility tenfold. An ongoing public relations campaign will also directly benefit your online marketing efforts by successfully increasing the impact of your search engine optimization (SEO).

3. Build it, and make sure they come

Having a current website that accurately reflects your brand is only the first step. The next step is utilizing a variety of available tools to help increase your ranking on Google. You can hire experts to manage your SEO, or if budgets are tight consider using rankpay.com, a performance-based service that only charges if the company website moves up in ranking.

4. Expand your reach

Even if you are a small local retailer, the Internet provides the opportunity to reach potential customers from across the country and around the globe. If your business sells a product that might appeal to others in other geographic areas, consider adding e-commerce. According to Forrester Research, e-commerce sales grew to $200 billion in 2011. The same study also predicts that online sales will continue to grow from 7 percent of overall retail sales to nearly 9 percent by 2016.

5. Get social

If you have established social media pages, then make sure you are consistently posting and engaging. If you have not, consider which ones may be the best fit for your business to help reach your potential customer. Take the show beyond cyberspace, and get involved in the community, participate in business organizations and associations, network, speak, get out of the office and away from the computer, and connect with others the old-fashion way. One coffee, lunch or chance meeting at a networking event can result in new business.

The start of a new year is the ideal time to launch a new, proactive approach to building your business. After mapping out your 2013 goals, put together a plan that is achievable, and make sure it is measurable. And remember marketing does not succeed overnight. It takes commitment to implement an integrated and consistent action plan to generate results. If all companies would do this, imagine the job growth we might see.

For more information about marketingworx, visit marketingworxpr.com.

Content Marketing

Coordinating Content Marketing Creates Buzz

It’s not exactly news to report that the growing influence of the Internet and popularity of social media has expanded public relations beyond the traditional methods. When taking a look at your company’s public relations strategy, it is no longer just about developing an individual or organization’s public image through news stories and public appearances. Public relations now includes managing communication messaging through all mediums. This can include a company’s social media posts, blogs, e-newsletters, articles, videos and anything communicating a message to your target audience. As a result, the lines between PR and the push for content marketing are becoming blurred.

So what exactly is content marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute, “It is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience ― with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Whether you have a designated in-house team handling PR or you have hired a public relations consultant or firm, it is in the best interest of your business to make sure that you are integrating and coordinating your content marketing with your PR campaign.

As you develop content that conveys your message, you will want your PR team to weigh in on what you are saying, how you are saying it and where you may be placing it — as all of it impacts the public’s perception of your brand.

Content marketing mediums include:

Company blogs

Your blog is a great place to share news, educate your target market, leverage press coverage, and engage customers in conversation.

Video

Think of the Old Spice ads that went viral on YouTube and the launch of Justin Bieber’s career. Videos can show and tell your company’s story.

Infographics

The latest way to share stats and make them more compelling than the old graphs you would find in your econ. book from school. Fast Company does it well with their Infographic of the day.

Online articles

Share your expertise by writing articles and white papers and publishing them online.

Webinars or Podcasts

Sharing your knowledge with others in this format is another powerful tool for expanding your reach.

Ebooks or magazines

Publishing a free ebook or digital magazine can be extremely effective. Zappos digital magazine serves as a great example with stories, interviews, product features and the ability to make a purchase.

Coordinating your public relations with your content marketing efforts can increase your efficiency and your effectiveness. According to the Roper Public Affairs, 80 percent of business decision-makers prefer to get company information in a series of articles versus an advertisement.

Similar to PR, content marketing delivers information to your audience that is not direct advertisement. It is in a format that shares information as a manner of educating and creating conversation. It encourages the public to share with others. This helps leverage your PR and marketing and broaden your reach. In essence, it creates buzz.

For more information on marketingworx and its services visit marketingworxpr.com.

marketing budget

Show Me The Money: How Much Is The Marketing Budget?

One of the most common questions I get from people starting a new venture is how much should they plan to spend on marketing; and one of the biggest mistakes I see with new businesses is a tremendous amount of time and money invested in opening the doors making the new office, restaurant or retail space look great, but leaving little to no money in the budget to promote the new venture.

The reality is that whether you are a newly launched company or you’ve been around for years, you cannot expect to attract new customers without marketing.

The marketing budget

So how much should you spend? The general rule of thumb is plan on budgeting one to 10 percent of gross revenues. For newer businesses, that number should be on the higher end of the spectrum or even beyond (possibly as much as 15 percent). Then, once you’ve set a budget, you must determine how it should be allocated.

A few things to consider that will help determine what percentage you may need to budget:

  • How well known is your company name, service or product?
  • What are your competitors spending and where?
  • Who are you trying to reach and what is the best way to reach them?

If you are a fairly unknown entity or your competitors are marketing aggressively, you may need to spend more.

The target market

Next, determining the best marketing mix for promoting your company or product requires a clear understanding of your target market in order to select the most cost effective allocation of your marketing budget.

Starbucks is clearly an established brand, and with 33 percent of the market share, it is the leader in coffee sales. Yet, compared to most leading consumer brands it spends less on traditional marketing. In 2010, the company actually doubled its spend on marketing, according an article in Advertising Age. The company spent only $97.6 million — about one percent of the coffee chain’s U.S. sales. A large portion of the company’s marketing dollars are invested in digital and social media with a focus on engaging customers in what they call, “the customer experience.”

For smaller companies with more limited budgets, Starbucks serves as an interesting example of what you can do spending less. Using Facebook and individually designed websites, such as MyStarbucksIdea, customers are encouraged to make suggestions and share ideas. For the company’s 40th anniversary, it launched MyStarbucksSignature, a website that lets customers create customized drinks.

Utilizing social media

Employing online advertising and utilizing social media can be one of the most cost-effective marketing tools available. But business owners are mistaken if they think it’s free. Social Media marketing requires an investment of time and/or money, or both. Other cost-effective marketing tools to employ include public relations, grassroots guerrilla marketing, and community outreach. Regardless of what you do, the key is consistency and repetition.

As you create your marketing plan, think about how much you can afford to invest and where you may want to spend it. Then, when you think you can’t possibly allocate 10 percent of your gross revenues, realize that if you want your company to succeed, you can’t afford not to.

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Solari Hospice Foundation Names Muth As Executive Director

Solari Hospice Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides vital bereavement assistance to grieving children and families in the southwestern United States, is pleased to announce the appointment of Jamie Muth as its first executive director.

“We’re excited to have Jamie Muth at the helm of Solari Hospice Foundation as we strategically ramp up our educational and outreach efforts to help even more young people,” says Gary Polsky, founder of Solari Hospice Foundation, which is headquartered in Scottsdale. “Jamie brings an incredible passion, energy and enthusiasm to this newly-created position and we can’t wait to start implementing her ideas. Along with Jamie’s expertise in fundraising, public relations and special event planning, I’m confident that we will be able to significantly expand our programs for children and their families who are struggling to cope with the death of a close loved one.”

Prior to joining Solari Hospice Foundation, Muth was director of development for Word of Grace Ministries, where she helped develop and implement a two-year capital campaign that solicited more than $3 million in pledges. Muth also served as director of development for two years with the American Heart Association in Phoenix, Ariz., where she was in charge of fundraising, event planning, advertising, budgeting and relationship building. In addition, Muth has worked as experience coordinator for LivingSocial Adventures, sales and marketing coordinator for Golfland Entertainment Centers, Inc., and as fundraising consultant to Room for Joy.

“I feel like my background in charitable giving has led me to this point in my career and to Solari Hospice Foundation,” says Muth. “I am thrilled to be able to use my experience to help children at such a tender and pivotal time in their lives.”

Muth earned a bachelor of science degree in public relations from Northern Arizona University. She also completed the Professional Sales Skills training program through AchieveGlobal.

Solari Hospice Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2002 to support children and families facing complex end-of-life issues. The Foundation provides education and bereavement support so young survivors can move forward with joy and hope, while continuing to honor the memories of those they have lost. For the past decade, the Foundation has realized this vision through an innovative bereavement camp, called Camp Solari, which provides professional grief counseling in a fun, relaxing and healing atmosphere.

For more information about Solari Hospice Foundation, visit www.solarihospicefoundation.org, e-mail Foundation@SolariHospice.net, or call 602-589-5950.

Get your ads noticed

Get Your Ads Noticed, And Other PR Lessons

How to get your ads notice ― and other lessons in public relations


Advertising can be vital to attracting attention to your business, but it’s not all that gets customers through the door. For companies touting consumer-related products and services, the role of public relations is crucial to extend the impact and credibility of advertising and to enhance the overall marketing campaign.

The strategic purpose of PR is to create a sense of community, to make a brand or service more memorable, and to ultimately entice consumers to want to learn more and share the information with others.

Unlike advertising, PR is uniquely capable of building relationships with the public. It can effectively reach specific target markets through events, interactions on social media, in-kind support for a cause, sponsorships, presentations and, of course, traditional media interviews. This engagement through shared stories and interactions allows a brand to actually come to life. In other words, PR is used to deliver messages not normally conveyed in conventional advertising.

Positive news stories can be shared to create buzz about a company, including recent achievements, the addition of new products or services, the addition of someone to the team, or the involvement in a community event. Through increased visibility comes increased awareness, which attracts more attention and gets people to notice traditional ads.

In addition to getting your company seen and heard, PR can work with advertising to effectively help build momentum for the launch of a new ad campaign. Interviews, quotes or news segments provide a company with media exposure between ad placements and can actually increase the frequency of brand exposures during the time period ads are running. In an effort to build brand awareness and keep a company top-of-mind, there are few substitutes for pure frequency.

When looking at developing a PR campaign, begin by asking three major questions:

(1) What are you trying to achieve with PR?

(2) Who are you trying to reach?

(3) How will your PR campaign integrate with your marketing and communications plan?

Think of PR as a tool for reinforcing. When a company launches into a new market, acquires another company, establishes a new partnership, or introduces a new product, public relations is one of the most cost effective and credible tools for telling the story.

Unfortunately many companies fail to incorporate PR into their marketing mix after realizing the amount of money that they are spending in other areas, including advertising. When weighing the costs, it is one oversight that can be costly. After all, it makes sense to have the various mediums work hand in hand ― that is, if you want consumers to take notice.

For more information on how to get your ads noticed, marketingworx and/or its services, visit marketingworxpr.com.

social media tweet bird

Social Media: Turning Tweets Into Tourists

Used correctly, social media can pay off for the hospitality industry

Over the holidays, the JW Marriott Desert Ridge built a giant village out of 800 pounds of gingerbread and 250 pounds of chocolate to display in its lobby. For four weeks, the cookie town was posted on the JW Facebook page and fans were invited to guess how many gumdrops, pounds of dough, poinsettias and twinkling lights were decorating the resort. Winners received a weekend stay.

Did the campaign succeed?
Definitely, according to Jennifer Whittle, account supervisor with the Lavidge Co., which represents the resort. The goal was to increase fans on Facebook, a figure that doubled in a month. “Additional objectives were to drive traffic to the resort’s website and property,” she said, “and to position the resort as a fun place to visit.”

But still, just as with traditional advertising, marketing or public relations, it can be tough to measure how social media translates into revenue in the tourism industry.

Measuring whether this new medium is working depends on what a business wants to achieve, said Rebecca Seymann, Lavidge director of interactive campaigns. Some businesses believe that the more people who “see” them on Facebook or on a blog or in an app, the more awareness of their brand will grow, thus driving up sales.

But businesses do try to compute results. “Many hospitality businesses use social media, email, their websites and aggregators to promote special offers and then measure direct sales using a variety of tracking tools,” Seymann notes. And many use social media to respond to customer complaints as well.

One attraction of social media is that the cost of use seems minimal. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are all free. Writing the copy and getting the photos or videos for social media do cost something; as does monitoring the site. A cottage industry has grown to help businesses interpret the data from social media; but some measuring systems are still free.

“Facebook has metrics built in that don’t cost anything,” says Christine Carlson, advertising manager at Las Vegas-based Allegiant Travel, which flies out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. “And we also use Google Analytics, which is free as well.”

So Allegiant can find out how many Web users click on its Facebook page and repost the page to other fans; how many viewers like the company’s site; even how many viewers switch from Facebook to the Allegiant Web site to book a trip. But if a Facebook user looks at the company’s website, signs off and then comes back four days later to book a trip, Allegiant can’t easily track that. In its brief time using social media, Allegiant has attracted more than 50,000 fans on Facebook.

social media icons

For some hospitality businesses, such as W Scottsdale, the main objective of a social media campaign is to “engage in conversation with our fans,” according to Joe Iturri, director of sales and marketing. The hotel uses Facebook and Twitter particularly to promote W happenings to fans first. The events often involve fashion design and music. “W often gives fans insider access, like sending information to them first about our big New Year’s Eve event,” he says.

But W’s use of social media can be even more up-close and personal in pursuing contact with potential customers. When fans post messages saying they will visit the hotel soon, W’s social media rep tries to chat online with them about their likes and dislikes. “We’ll ask what wines they like, for example, and when they arrive, we have a bottle of a great wine in their room. Or we’ll find out whether they like foam or feather pillows,” Iturri says. Facebook and Twitter get top billing. Other channels used: YouTube, FourSquare, Yelp.

When favorable posts come in about a past visit, W responds, too. Or if there is a negative review on TripAdvisor, “we contact the poster and try to resolve the problem to the best of our ability,” Iturri says.

In 2009, the hotel hired a full-time social media person to answer postings around the clock, Iturri says. That employee checks Twitter, Facebook and other channels several times — both night and day — on a laptop and responds to questions and postings both favorable and unfavorable. The first person to hold the job was so successful that she was transferred to the W Hotel headquarters to start national programs.

That all might work for a national or international company, but what about the little guy — the independently owned restaurant or boutique or small resort?

For smaller businesses, social media can pay off, too, says Josh Kenzer, online marketing manager for the Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. The big issue for a smaller business, though, might be the labor costs in maintaining an up-to-date Facebook page, for example, adding pictures and news regularly.

“A business owner needs to be honest about the time he can devote to it,” Kenzer says. “Here at the bureau, someone has to spend about 30 minutes to an hour a day adding new content. You also don’t want someone to post a message on your page that says, ‘I’m here this weekend and what can you do for me?’ and then you don’t reply to them.”

Social media is also not a silver bullet. “Like website management, pay-per-click, SEO and banner campaigns — and like print, radio, public relations — social media should become a regular recurring marketing activity and a budget line item that incorporates key marketing messages to target audiences,” says Seymann of the Lavidge Co.

Arizona Business Magazine March/April 2012

Public Relations

Understanding The Why And How Of Public Relations

Marketing and promotions focuses on selling the products and services a company provides. In most cases, for marketing to succeed, companies need to find ways to stand out from the crowd — which may explain the $1 million-plus spent on 30- and 60-second Super Bowl commercials showcasing some of the most outrageous and creative work in advertising. The real value, though, comes from the after-buzz in the media and hits on YouTube. In other words, it comes from the publicity generated. While a majority of business owners cannot afford to run an ad during the Super Bowl, they can afford public relations to promote the company’s attributes.

Public relations can be utilized to strengthen a company’s image and develop public perception showing how the company is credible, active and innovative. It can help differentiate a company from its competitors and highlight its benefits. Public relations can also be an economical way to reach a target market to stimulate awareness of and demand for a company’s products or services.

But how does it work? Many start-ups and small businesses start with Facebook and Twitter, but this alone is not likely to do the trick. Building buzz, attracting followers on social media sites and new customers through your doors can be done with ongoing coverage in the media in the form of news articles and interviews. Then, when a company receives press coverage, they can utilize social media platforms they have in place to expand that coverage and to reach an even larger audience. Think of how many media outlets discussed Super Bowl ads in the following days and how many companies posted their Super Bowl ads or articles about their Super Bowl ads to their Facebook and Twitter pages. In addition to reaching a larger audience, social media can leverage publicity to help drive traffic to a company’s website by increasing its search engine visibility and organic results.

Securing media coverage starts with a well written press release or story pitch. Although simple in theory, getting the attention of the media can be challenging as they are inundated daily with emails and phone calls from many people pitching various story ideas. To help both the media and the public take notice of you and your business, consider the following:

  • Think about what your business has or does that may be newsworthy. Have you hit a new milestone? Are you introducing a new product or service? Are you hiring someone new to head up one of your departments, or are you doing something significant in the community? The media won’t publicize information if it is too promotional — that’s what ads are for.
  • Make yourself (or someone on your team) available to the media as an expert source. The media is always looking for business experts to comment on topics they are writing about. Letting writers and editors know who you are, what you do and how your knowledge and expertise may provide credibility to an article they are writing can be an effective tool for getting press.
  • If you haven’t done so already, consider adding a blog to your website and keeping it current by posting to it at least two to four times a month. A blog provides a platform for educating your target market about your industry, services, products and other related information that the public may want to know. Integrating your blog with social media can increase your exposure, support SEO and help expand your reach. It also helps establish your company as an expert in the industry and tell your company’s story.
  • Become a guest writer or radio guest. If your industry has a trade publication or radio show, find out if you can be a regular contributor.

In order to successfully launch a public relations campaign of any magnitude, it requires dedication from the company and expertise from someone within the organization or an outside consultant to lead and facilitate. In essence, a business owner or company leader needs should expect to be involved in the public relations process, but much of the writing and legwork can be done by a public relations specialist. Although a business owner can take on these responsibilities, it is usually more effective to hire a professional to advise and execute.

Juliet Straker is president of marketingworx, a Phoenix-based public relations and marketing communications firm founded in 2002. For more information on marketingworx and its services, visit www.marketingworxpr.com.

 

Marketing agency

Cultivating A Success Relationship With A Marketing Agency

Whether you are running a small start-up or a Fortune 500 company, the planning and execution of a marketing campaign demands a variety of skills and knowledge. While most large organizations may have an in-house marketing department, big companies and small businesses alike find it advantageous to enlist the expertise of an outside marketing agency or expert to help handle specifics like advertising, graphic design and public relations. But like any relationship, communication is the key to making it work.

The process of hiring a marketing agency is much like hiring a new employee — you conduct interviews, check references and then make a decision based on experience and chemistry in hopes of selecting the best fit.

An agency generally works one of three ways: an agreed-upon hourly rate (generally anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour), a per project fee, or a monthly retainer. Regardless of fee structure, you are making a significant investment, so it is in your best interest to get the most out of your budget to help generate the best results.

Once the courting period is complete and the decision to commit is made, the real work begins. To help navigate and cultivate a successful relationship with a marketing agency, here are some tips:

1. Share your expectations and your needs
What you communicate about and how you communicate it will nurture the relationship. Everyone has expectations; knowing what each party expects will help make the relationship run more smoothly.

2. Think of the relationship as a team
The marketing agency should be viewed as an extension of your team. You each bring different perspectives and strengths to the table, but part of the value of a team are the differences.

3. Be respectful
Whether it is a phone call, a meeting, or you need to respond to an email, be conscientious of the other’s time. Always respond in a timely manner, try to be efficient when you do, and remember to say “thank you.” Showing mutual respect is essential to any good relationship.

4. Make time for each other
Schedule a regular time to meet to review results, brainstorm ideas, discuss plans and determine project deadlines for the coming months.

5. Truly listen
You have hired experts to advise you on what is best for the company. Listen to what they have to say, and trust their opinion. This does not mean you must always agree, but be open to their recommendations and hear the reasoning behind it.

6. Cooperate
If you don’t agree on something, there is usually another option. Look for different solutions that you both agree on, or look for ways that you can improve it. Clear feedback can be the key to finding the best solution for both you.

It is important to realize that enlisting a marketing agency is not about just giving your stamp of approval on ideas and then handing things off for the marketing agency to create and implement; it is a collaborative and interactive relationship. Investing time and sharing thoughts and ideas will not only help build and strengthen the connection, but it will also ultimately help you receive better service and help the marketing agency generate better work. After all, finding the right match is only the first step to a successful union.

Juliet Straker is president of marketingworx, a Phoenix-based public relations and marketing communications firm founded in 2002. For more information on marketingworx and its services visit marketingworxpr.com.
Mobile Technology

Maximize Marketing Coverage With Mobile Technology

Marketing with Mobile Technology: Maximize Coverage Using New Tools

We all move quickly through our days, jumping from our computers to our phones to communicate information and share. While the changes in communication are moving at warp speed, companies can utilize the opportunity to expand its public relations campaigns and educate the public well beyond the day a story airs or an article runs.

The growth of mobile technology means information is literally now available at the consumer’s fingertips. In other words, with just a few clicks of a screen, buying decisions are now being made. Information sources like Google, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp and YouTube can influence where a person chooses to shop, dine, or go.

According to research recently conducted by Hubspot, mobile Internet users will reach 113.9 million in 2012, up 17.1 percent from 97.3 million in 2011. The data takes things further; looking at the growth in popularity of the iPad, tablet users will reach 54.8 million in 2012, up 62.8 percent from 33.7 million in 2011.

On a recent visit to Flagstaff, we were looking for a place to eat. Having nowhere special in mind, we turned to our iPhones to research the area. A click on Google Places immediately brought up a list of restaurants in the area showing four- and five-star ratings from reviewers. Quickly reading the descriptions, we found out about a breakfast spot that was featured on “Drive-ins, Diners and Dives” and received rave reviews from the host, Guy Fieri and a number of patrons. The restaurant was only a few miles away, but a bit off the beaten path, outside of downtown. Fortunately the mobile phone also provides directions with a direct route from your location.

It turned out that Brandy’s Restaurant and Bakery (which I highly recommend) was featured on the program in 2008. But this small business understood the value of leveraging that publicity. They made sure the message in their online description continued to publicize the national TV coverage. The segment still plays on a TV screen in the diner, and news clippings from the local newspaper can be found adorning the walls, but more importantly the information and the many other accolades the restaurant has received appear prominently on the home page of its website.

You can bet this small business owner does not have a large marketing budget, but by utilizing the technology that’s now available, they are maximizing the press they received almost four years ago to continue to bring in new customers.

Part of implementing a successful public relations and marketing campaign is to find ways to successfully weed through all of the clutter and information in order for your target audience to know more about your business and all it has to offer. However you choose to allocate your budget and to tell your story, there is no denying that the growth of mobile technology will now allow you to spread the word faster and stretch your dollars further.

For more information on marketing with mobile technology from marketingworx, visit marketingworxpr.com.

Maximizing Public Relations Efforts

Lessons From Apple: Maximizing Public Relations Efforts

When you are investing in real estate the mantra is, “location, location, location.” When it comes to an investment in marketing―and marketing is an investment―timing can make all the difference. Whether you are introducing a new product, opening the doors to a new business or simply wanting to promote existing products and services, a successful public relations and marketing campaign requires planning and coordination.

What many don’t realize is, to secure publicity for a company event or promotion it must first be considered newsworthy (and while it may seem newsworthy to a business owner, the media may not see it that way). Secondly, you must allow enough lead time to alert the media prior to their deadlines. Even daily and weekly publications and news shows plan stories and news segments weeks in advance; and editors of monthly publications are working on issues as much as three to six months before going to print. Allowing enough time in advance helps increase the possibility of traditional press coverage.

Landing press can provide a great boost to your business; and at the very least a boost to your credibility (and SEO). But to maximize public relations efforts, the additional benefits come in the follow-up with the marketing effort. If you are promoting an expansion of services, make sure your website is updated with the new information, have an email ready to send off to your database of customers and posts on your Facebook and Twitter pages.

You need to develop an integrated marketing campaign where public relations works hand-in-hand with advertising and promotional activities to convey the message of your company and/or product. Public relations can bring your story to life, build credibility and help increase visibility; while advertising helps build brand awareness and sells specifics, promotional efforts grab attention and generate buzz.

Under the direction and inspiration of Steve Jobs, Apple demonstrated some of the best practices in brand marketing and public relations. Jobs understood the art of a coordinated campaign and the results it could achieve.

A new product introduction from Apple is often unveiled on-stage in a theater of sorts packed with journalists, industry bloggers and technology insiders. The company typically avoids industry trade shows, opting to create their own events in the weeks prior.

 A product launch and publicity campaign is accompanied by traditional print, broadcast and outdoor ads, along with in-store displays and signage.

Apple’s website is poised for announcements with supportive pages and videos providing a firsthand look at their latest and greatest. Of course, emails are sent to a finely-tuned database prior to launch day, encouraging customers to get online to buy. 

An outreach of direct and indirect advertising orchestrated with public relations not only creates awareness and buzz, it creates demand. Apple’s seamless multi-channel, multi-touch approach demonstrates one of the best and most integrated examples for a successful marketing formula.

While most marketing budgets are significantly more limited than Apple’s, advance planning and coordination on any budget can still make or break the impact.

For more information about maximizing your public relations efforts, visit www.marketingworxpr.com.