Exploring marketing communication: for fun and profit
Message from Garcia

Moving my blog to jgmarketing.com.au

As a marcomms practitioner I don't always practice what I preach. But, I do try to as much as possible.

I've been suggesting clients move their sites when re-designing and doing major updates to the WordPress format. So, I also made sure that what we preached we did. Hence our website was upgraded to WordPress some months ago.

Now, in the process of building an authority site, including a blog in a website is a good idea. You get your chance to put up more content on a regular basis. And, search engines don't mind you telling them that you've uploaded a new post.

That is one great advantage, believe me!

Well, I've bitten the bullet and have moved all my posts to my website, jgmarketing.com.au.

messagefromgarcia.net moves to jgmarketing

The posts are uploaded in the blog section. Hence, the date of the posts is 31 August, when the effective transfer was made. (Sorry to take so long to let you know.)

So, if you want to look at new posts or comment on them, please go to the blog section of my website.

All the best.

An actual product enquiry at bananascreens.com

In a blog post earlier this year, I discussed how I set up a new website/blog with a URL <bananascreens.com>. This started as a bit of a lark to prove some theories and strategies to attain high search engine rankings.

From a standing start, the website was able to make it to the front page of Google in a matter of six weeks. Not bad, so I thought. Well, doing very little else, the site was able to make it to number one listing for the keywords "banana screens".bananascreens.com gets first page ranking on google

As of the last time I checked, it's now at number two. It is second to a banana screen manufacturer—a former client, for whom I prepared at least two brochures on this product, as well as a number of PR articles.

Where am I getting at? Well, yesterday, I got an enquiry from a user. What? Yes, an actual enquiry. Well, it looks like a real enquiry. (Note that like pretty much anyone with a website or blog, I've received my share of spam.)

How do I think this is for real, it that it had specs like "feed size of mill", "mass flow", "percentage passing size distribution", etc.

If that person doesn't hear back from me, he will realise I am not serious about selling banana screens. And, as I no longer work for a banana screen manufacturer, I can't really pass it on.

So, why am I writing this post. Only to advise you dear reader that a blog on a particular subject matter is really serious stuff. And, if your blog/website makes it to the front page of Google, you will get enquiries.

After all, that is one of the more important, if not the most important reason for getting high search engine rankings. To be noticed and to get click throughs.

If there is more to this story, I will put up another post.

Watch this space.

We update our website to take advantage of WP format

jgmarketing.com.au website using WordPressSometime back I wrote about the need to update the website regularly. Click here to read it.

Search engines like new content. That’s what web robots like to do crawl through new content to index these.

What about a major website upgrade? Even better because a new look will mean that your regular viewers would see that there is something new and worth looking at.

With the rise of WordPress and the many benefits it gives the user, it made a lot of sense to use this format. Not only is this format easy to update when required, i.e., great CMS, but it is also one that Google and other search engines like.

Once you set up a website, the job is not done. It's really just starting. A website should be looked at as a work in progress. Updates and new content should be continuous affair.

Robot.txt used on most websites that request search engines to return after a certain period will work for a while. But, if the site has not had any new content in revisits by web robots, you can pretty much bet your last dollar, the frequency of returns will decrease. It wouldn’t surprise me if they stop altogether, but maybe I’m being too harsh.

Most of the new sites we do now use the WP platform. One of the latest was for Aztex Equipment. I wrote about the change in an earlier post.

In that post I specially extolled the great ease of the CMS. And, I put it to you dear reader, if for any reason, this is the number one justification for the use of the WordPress platform.

I invite you to visit our website, and give us your comments.

Until the next post.

Still more on social media

Here are some more thoughts on the subject of social media. I came across a recent article in AdWeek, which discussed how some B2B brands are making strides in social media.

Social Media, B2B and JG MarketingThe main thrust of the article is that while some business-to-business brands were doing  well using social media, they are just playing catch up with their business-to-consumer cousins. The author mentioned American Express Open, General Electric, Philips and a few others as ahead of the pack.

On the positive side, the article also said that the gap between B2C and B2B use of social media may well close soon. 

So far, I’ve only set up one Facebook page for one client. The project didn’t get too far as he sold the company shortly after this was set up.

But, I’m still out there preaching about the value one can get from social media.

Again, referring to the Social Media seminar I recently attended, a few presenters were from the B2B sphere. One speaker who sold software to business used Twitter, Facebook, Slideshare, LinkedIn, YouTube and Google+. He did different campaigns and set up different communications in each social medium, but he was out there.

And, he had the runs to prove it. Mind you the guy’s company spending many thousands of dollars in the effort. But, according to him he was getting good return on the investment for those dollars.

Some other points he made are: 

  • Facebook was used for lead generation to great success. 
  • Never underestimate the power of peer-to-peer communication. (In fact a constant theme in many of the speakers is the power of social media is in the use of building this method of communication. You would trust what your peer would tell you more you would some organisation spruiking its wares.)
  • Remember that people in B2B like to have fun as well. (The use of social media has its seriousness, but on the main, its more laid back than other marketing communications efforts.)
  • B2C and B2B lines are blurring. (Just like the digital world has blurred many lines, the two marketing spheres are blurring. After all a marketing executive in a B2B organisation is also a consumer. He/she uses social media and uses peer-to-peer recommendations to make buying decisions.)

This is a follow on of several posts I wrote on the subject. Here's a link to the latest one and the the one before that.

Again, more on Social Media in my next post. 

Social Media and B2B Marketing Communication: more thoughts

When I first set up a website in 1997, to find our website was easy. Ok, it was slow to download (remember dial-up), even if the site was light on pics and didn’t have much content or only had a few pages.

B2B and Social Media-JG Marketing

Approaching clients and prospective customers asking if they wanted a website, I got some awkward looks. Yes, though already several years into Web 1.0, websites were still a relatively new phenomenon. Printed brochures and print ad were still the go.

Flash forward to today, and a client or prospective client will ask for a website at about the same time he would for business cards, when he sets up a new business. Brochures come later. While print ads are still in use, their popularity has definitely declined.

So, I mention social media to a client and I get the same puzzled look I did in 1997 when I asked about a website.

But, then does social media apply to the B2B sphere? Short answer: yes. Let’s face it, social media is not exclusive to B2C. It is becoming more prevalent and I’m sure that most of us in B2B have one or more accounts in one of its many forms.

Really? Yes, do you have a Facebook account? Do you use LinkedIn? How about YouTube, Google+, Twitter, etc.? Do you follow anyone’s podcast, blog, vlog or what not?

You get the picture.

So, there’s no denying, that social media is here. And, here to stay. And, grow more in importance.

Just as we now have smart phones, tablets and other electronic equipment that we now use more and more to access the worldwide web, we are being caught more and more into the grip of social media.

I’ve mentioned Web 2.0 before. Well, this is just another manifestation of the growth and expansion of Web 2.0. More and more interactivity, inter-connection, community and so on are growing with the use of the web.

So, as marketers and marketing communications practitioners, we cannot overlook social media. We should not only us it (in one or more of its many forms), we should embrace.

I know it’s a challenge, but hey, nothing worthwhile really came easy, right?

More thoughts on this in my next post.

Social Media and B2B Marketing, to like or not to like

B2B marketing Social MediaIt's a subject close to my heart: social media. I recently suggested social media to client. The conversation quickly turned to Facebook and how the client didn’t particularly like it. I must admit that I agreed with most of his thoughts. So do I think forget Facebook for your marketing communications efforts. No, I don’t.

Allow me to explain.

First of all, let’s not forget that Facebook is the number one social media platform there is today. Over a billion users and counting. The platform has been used by small and big marketers alike. And, judging from thepopularity, the regular updates from corporations/organisations that use the platform, this is in no way slowing.

But, then you might say hey what does a B2B organisation like us have to do with Facebook? Or social media for that matter?

First of all, let’s look at why social media exists.

I suppose it’s because man is a social animal would be a simple way of putting it. People like to interact, exchange information, ideas, share stuff and so on. With the growth and expansion of Web 2.0 , this interaction has been greatly facilitated. It was, I suppose, inevitable with interactivity being the norm, that this sort of activity would grow.

Web 1.0 was more about static and I might add boring web pages. With interactivity and growth of different web platforms, interactivity was given a freer rein. And, grew it did.

Remember that Facebook for it ubiquity is not the only social media platform. There’s LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest to name a few. The latter two are still relatively new and growing. Of course, they’re not all the same but they serve different uses. And, will help a marketer in different ways.

The important thing to remember is social media helps to get your customers (current and/or prospective) engaged, involved and interested in what you have to offer. 

In a recent Social Media seminar I attended, the thinking was to push content (stuff that users/viewers would find interesting and of use) and leave the promotion almost as an after-thought. In fact the speaker was positing a 95% to 5% ratio.

In other words, more useful stuff and less of sales pitches would keep your users/viewers interested in coming back for more. If it were the other way around, I suggest that you would lose your users.

Yes, to build up a following (or, better yet a community) is not easy. There’s a lot of work involved and I intend to put up some suggestions in coming posts.

Keep tuned in as more thoughts on this to come.

How to get number 1 in Google Search without really trying

Before you say "Oh, no! Another SEO practitioner with a really unproveable boast," please read on. It's a bit of story which could be of interest.

I got offered the domain name <bananascreens.com> quite by accident, while looking for another domain name for one of my clients. The name piqued my interest and I got the name. I thought, why not I can sell this to a banana screen manufacturer.

To find out more about just what a banana screen is, please check out the blog/website, which I consequently put up. Whooops, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Again, trying to make the deal more interesting, I set up the blog <bananascreens.com>. Then I did a blog post and as what I normally with my other blogs, including the ones I run for my clients, I notified the different search engines.

And, I forgot all about this. Thinking about this again, I decided to post on a separate blog, with links back to <bananascreens.com>. And, the following day, I did a search on Google for "banana screens" keyword. Lo and behold, the side was noted on page three. Hmmm, not bad.

bananascreens.com blog
Ok, so again didn't worry about it and looked again a few days later and what, the site was now on page two of Google. Wow. And, remember I was there on a listing of over 4,000,000 search links. I got so excited I posted the success on my other blog.

After that I checked Google again and found that the site was now number one. But, funny enough on another computer I was still on number eight on page one. What?

Well, that's what can happen depending on the location of the searcher (or it could have been on cache). Anyway, just today, I found the site as number one on page one. Bingo!

Again, note that this can change, but it will be easy to stay at least among the top three or four, with some tricks I can use. Again, it was good to see that on page one were links to articles I wrote for my banana screen manufacturer clients. A search on the Ferret  site for the keywords, I found three articles I wrote going back to 2001, for those same clients.

Well, it's an amazing result and I've learned more from it, as well as proven some strategies which I've used in the past. In fact, I showed the site to a client, who asked me to do the same for a range of products he markets. I will let you know what happens with that site, so watch this space! 

BTW, I know the home page is nothing plush, I didn't set it up to look good or win awards. This is just a search engine optimisation (ranking) game.

Until my next post. 

Happy 2013: What about a new year's resolution or two?

JG Marketing wishes Happy New Year

Did you know that even Wikipedia has an entry for new year’s resolution. I found that amazing. BTW, happy new year to you dear reader.

At the start of a new year, it is only human to make plans to do something different. And, usually, this will involve some lifestyle change. You know what I mean, e.g., lose weight, spend more time with the kids, give up smoking, that sort of stuff.

I didn’t realise that there was a religious history to making the resolution. Well, if you look up the Wikipedia listing, you will find the reference to different religions and how they look to beginning anew.

What was very interesting is the note at the end, that 88% of those surveyed (in a University of Bristol study) failed in meeting their resolutions. This is despite those surveyed being confident to meet their set goals.

Well, let’s put that aside and look at some goal setting in the area of marketing communication. 

My colleagues at Pulse Solutions set out some new year’s resolution for your website. They are shown in the visual, but allow me to repeat these for easier reading:

-Enable CMS and get in control of your site

-Shed site weight to improve loading time

-Deploy a Mobile-enabled version

-Improve security and encrypt confidential data

-Balanced social strategy with FB, G+ and Twitter

-Freshen up content to get better Google ranks

-Build a formal web marketing plan.

That’s a pretty comprehensive list one can seriously look at and use as a guide for their website improvement plans for 2013.

I specially like the shed site weight, though I would personally think more in terms of personal body weight. 

CMS accessibility is a good one. We are moving our clients to the WP platform for many reasons. Easier CMS is just one of them. I will cover this topic more in another post.

Another thing that we are pushing at JG Marketing is the setup of a Mobile-enabled version of the client’s website. Study of web access statistics for a number of clients has shown the increase in mobile access both for smart phones and tablets. It’s the way the web is going.

We are also pushing use of social media and have done a few Facebook pages for our clients.

If you want help with any of the above points, why not contact us at JG Marketing. We can make it happen for you a lot more easily. 

Have a great 2013!

Bulk Handling Awards Night - Industry At Its Best

The seventh annual Australian Bulk Handling Awards was held on Wednesday night at Doltone House in Pyrmont. And, I must admit that this is the first time I’ve attended this event. On the main, it was very professionally run and it seems that everyone who attended had a good time.

The TV personality, Deborah Hutton, was the compere. She did a pretty good job, considering that bulk handling, mining and the like are not the normal things she gets involved with. A long way from fashion and homewares she is better known for. Mind you, she is a popular spokesperson, who gets a good handle on the product she represents. This includes Qantas, which she did for many years.

I must admit that with two clients involved in this year’s event, I thought that the least I could do is show up and take some photos. Charles MacDonald, ABHR’s editor, opened the proceedings.

Just an aside, I did ring Charles a few days before to make sure that I was allowed to take photos.

Flexco CEO Chris Bayliss Chris Bayliss (left) with James Lauritz

Flexco Australia, one of my clients, sponsored the category Excellence in Engineering Photography. This is the first time this category has been included in the awards presentation. Chris Bayliss, the company’s managing director, was there is a number of his team and their spouses to present the award.

The winner was James Lauritz, who was presented with the trophy by Chris. The prize commends the best photography around terminals, stockyards, mines and bulk handling facilities. Christian Sprogoe won highly commended.

My other client was Brevini Australia, who had a nomimation. I helped prepare the submission, so I knew about the nomination, after they passed the prelim review.
Brevini Australia's Mark Luyten
Mark Luyten (right) receiving award from Darren Deigan and Deborah Hutton making announcement

And, as luck would have it, Brevini Australia won Excellence in the Application of Gears, Motors or Drives for an installation of its PIVPosiplan gear units at the Genesis Xerowaste Facility at Eastern Creek, NSW.

NSW sales manager, Mark Luyten, was there to receive the award from Darren Deigan of Schenck Australia, sponsors of this category. I met Darren and told him that I used to do work for Schenck some years back. Actually, I helped the company from the time it started its Australian operations.

Some of the other winners include Intium Energy who won the most Innovative Technology for its Roller Condition Monitor. In Dust Control, Technology, Application or Practice, a joint nomination from Tecpro and the University of Wollongong won for a clever dust solution devised for Centennial Coal’s Mandalong mine, near Morisset in NSW.

For the other winners check out Bulk Handling Review’s website.

I got to meet Deborah Hutton, as well, so I can’t complain. (Photo below is proof of this.)

Jack Garcia wiith Deb Hutton

Positioning as part of marketing effort: some thoughts

marketing communication and positioningThrough the years I've seen many me-too products come and go. I have been involved with several products which were pretty much the same thing. It was a lot of fun (and frustration) coming with with a new brochure for a similar thing.

But, it was par for the course for a marketing communication practitioner. Try finding a different slant, or unique selling proposition for a membrane coating—the product I refer to. But, I must admit, I was able to do so. And, funny enough the other distributors of the same product were referrals from the manufacturer. As an aside, I did get to know the product inside out.

Now, you have a different USP,  a different slant on a new product, but how does the market place look at you? How are you positioning your product so that the perception of this is different in the eyes of customers and potential customer out there?

And, importantly we note that perception is the key.

Wikipedia puts forward the following definition. "Positioning is the process by which marketers try to create an image or identity in the minds of their target market for its product, brand, or organization."

And, adds:
Re-positioning involves changing the identity of a product, relative to the identity of competing products.
De-positioning involves attempting to change the identity of competing products, relative to the identity of your own product.
Although there are different definitions of brand positioning, probably the most common is: identifying a market niche for a brand, product or service utilizing traditional marketing placement strategies (i.e. price, promotion, distribution, packaging, and competition).
Positioning is also defined as the way by which the marketers create an impression in the customers mind.
Positioning is a concept in marketing which was first introduced by Jack Trout ( "Industrial Marketing" Magazine- June/1969) and then popularized by Al Ries and Jack Trout in their bestseller book "Positioning - The Battle for Your Mind." (McGraw-Hill 1981)

Here's link to an earlier post on positioning.
I stress this concept, as I have noted that some marketing practitioners fail to grasp the meaning and its application in the marketplace. How? The constant search for more sales, a short-term objective, takes the place of the long term marketing objective of building a brand, establishing a position in the market place.

And, sadly, sometimes the only difference is who can give a better price. Hence, what happens is a capital equipment is no longer a specialised piece of hardware, capable of producing something for the user, but another commodity, that is primarily bought on price.
To illustrate the difference, consider the need to buy a banana screen to process coal, to buying coal in bulk and going for the cheapest supplier.

Poles apart, but you get my drift.

And, to take the point further, if price is the only concern and other factors, after sales service, product longevity, reliability, cost of product through service life and so on, the sales person, with the sharpest pencil wins the day.

And, if the company that keeps pushing this approach will end up the reputation as the cheapo supplier. Place a reliable, marketing-savvy supplier in the mix, and we can see complications. Cheap means you have to cut some corners to survive. If the product fails, has to be replaced under warranty or whatever, the supplier should be able to back this.

And, if there is hardly any margin what will happen? You can just guess. And, the marketer with long-term thinking who has an established position with a quality product wins in the end.

More on these points on a later post.

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