Why Hiring a Marketing Specialist is Better than a Marketing Agency

I love the phrase that appearances are not always what they appear to be. That is so true in the marketing world. In this world, it’s our job to sell and promote – and some use smoke and mirrors to make it work.

 

There’s an emerging trend in the marketing world – specialists over the traditional agency. Agencies – marketing and advertising – are seeing a nationwide decline in favor of marketing being moved in-house or outsourced to specialists who work with strategic partners. We, of course, fall in the latter of that.

 

I’m going to take a bold stand and make a statement that needs to be said – when you work with a marketing specialist who works with strategic partners who are experts in their fields, you and your business will be better off than with a one-stop-shop marketing agency who does it all for you.

 

Why? Read on.

 

I know you’re saying, but wait, isn’t ME Marketing an agency? Well, no, not in the true definition of an agency. We are marketing specialists – yes, we can do all facets of marketing, but we specialize in the field of digital marketing, and going even further, social media. Social Media Marketing is our area of expertise. We are not a one-stop-do-it-all-for-you agency. We do not have a videographer, or photographer, or multiple account managers, or graphic designers on staff. We know what we are good at and stick with that. We are a speciality marketing company – specializing in the field of marketing on social media.

 

But what if I need more than that?

 

That’s fine – we have strategic partners we work with that are experts in their own fields. We are partners with an SEO expert. A branding and identity expert. A videographer. A graphic designer. A promotional products company. The ones we partner with do their own lanes 100% and when they have clients who need social media, they call us. A wise mentor once told me, “know what you are good at and outsource the rest.” So I started working with strategic partners (my theme for 2019 – strategic partnerships).

 

So why not just use that one-stop agency?

 

The problem with the one-stop marketing agency in this day and age is that rarely are any of the staff there experts in any one marketing field. They have some experience, yes, but they don’t specialize. So you get an overall half-way done job because you have a bunch of pseudo-experienced people handling your marketing. And marketing is expensive. The only exception to this would be if you were located in a major city like Atlanta, Chicago, or New York.

 

When you work with a specialist, you are not going to be upsold on other things your business may not need. For example, if you hired us to help with your social media marketing, we are not going to sell you on having new photographs done for your business. Or make you buy ads on TV. Or update your logo. Specialists do what they are hired to do and if another marketing need came up, that specialist would help to make sure that need was taken care of by someone who knows what they are doing.

 

Another reason to use a specialist is that you know who you are working with. Typically you work directly with that specialist – you aren’t signed then passed off to an account manager, who may or may not have any experience in marketing strategy or know your business.

 

I’m not going to lie, working with a specialist who pulls in other experts to fill the needs you have may cost a little more, but isn’t it worth spending a little more to have true experts who know their field handling your marketing and knowing it’s being done by experts?

 

I would pay. Gladly.

 

But it may just not be in your budget. And us specialists get that. We work to network with people so we have a broad network of professionals who can fit your budget.

 

What will you opt for this year for your business? The choice is yours.

 

This year, we are focused on strategic partnerships to bring our clients the absolute best to make sure their marketing is a success. If you are a creative and interested in being a strategic partner, contact us!

 

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

12 Marketing Ideas to Try Out in 2019

By now I’m sure you’ve read numerous posts about your marketing strategy for this year. Although it’s beneficial and important to lay all of this before the end of the previous year, that doesn’t work for everyone.

 

If you are still working on your marketing plan for this year – or you are just open to new ideas – this is a post for you.

 

I love to see what other businesses are doing – that is one of the greatest resources we have, watching each other. We can see what worked and what didn’t. Who stepped outside the box and who fell on their face. Every great marketing campaign started with an idea from somewhere. And maybe this is that somewhere!

 

Here are 12 marketing ideas to try out for your business this year.

 

Review your existing strategy (and if you don’t have one, make one).

The beginning of any year is a good time to look at what you have planned and see if anything needs to be tweaked as we move forward into 2019. And don’t worry if you don’t have a marketing plan at all – it’s never too late to get started on one!

 

Focus on your best performing social media platform.

What platforms are you currently using? Do you see one (or two) out-performing the rest? Stop wasting time on the ones that aren’t working and focus on the one or two that are. It will save you time and give you time to focus on that core community.

 

Create an editorial calendar.

We create editorial calendars 30 days in advance, so we know what is going to post when – because you have to have a purpose behind every action you do. You can do this one or two weeks in advance if it’s easier, but have a plan and be purposeful about it!

 

Put your customers first.

There’s a rebellion coming, and your marketing will soon be in your customer’s hands. Put their needs first – solve their problems and stop pushing why you are better.

 

Get involved in something locally this year.

Not only is personal philanthropy important, but having your business involved is too. However, do it for the right reasons. Don’t do it to get your logo on a banner or your name mentioned in an article. Do it with a servant’s heart and you will be rewarded.

 

Use your data to guide your decisions.

Study your social media insights, Google Analytics, and email marketing reports and see what your audience is doing. What type of content are they clicking on? What are they responding to? Let these results help guide what you need to provide in your content marketing strategy.

 

Start a referral program.

In a time when customer loyalty is at an all-time low, reward the loyal customers you have by offering rewards and incentives when they refer their friends and family!

 

Add a photo booth in your store or office.

If allowed, set up a place for customers to take pictures and post to social media! Use a backdrop with your logo, or just a plain wall with some props. This is an easy way for your customers to share the love on social media.

 

Get stickers printed.

If you’ve been to a coffee shop, chances are you’ve seen laptops covered in brand stickers. Why not get some of your own and hand them out!

BTW, we have some FREE ME Marketing stickers that we will gladly send out – just email us and let us know you want one!

 

Get in front of the camera.

Video is here whether we like it or not, so grin and bear it and get in front of the camera! Your customers want to see you (and/or your staff), so take them on a tour, or just say hi. You can even do it very easily and take advantage of Instagram Stories.

 

Get your staff involved.

Employee advocacy is huge. Get your staff involved in sharing content – and creating it as well! It will show off your business online and can provide some light-hearted entertainment as well.

 

Personalize.

This will forever be an idea because it’s what marketing is becoming – personalization for our customers, making the user experience unique. From emails, to ad campaigns, make sure you are tailoring your efforts specifically to them, the customers.

 

What ideas will you be taking advantage of this year? Share with us some of your favorites that either worked for you or someone you know!

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

Why I Stopped Blogging for 6 Months

Hello! Let me introduce myself. My name is…

 

I’m sure you’ve noticed, but I haven’t posted a blog article is almost six months. I talk to clients about the importance of blogging and how it can help their business, yet I stopped doing it.

 

Why?

 

My heart just wasn’t in it.

 

I had a punch to the gut towards the end of 2017 when my father passed away and it took until about February or March of 2018 for me to really come out of the fog I had been in that previous five to six months. When that fog lifted, my priorities shifted. And with my business, that included my blogging.

 

I trucked along blogging the first part of 2018 and then got to the point where I was just recycling and updating old posts because I just did not feel I had anything new to say that someone else was not already saying. So around July, I just stopped. I figured why reinvent the wheel if it was already rolling.

 

But I missed it.

 

Blogging (writing) is a great exercise in getting out what you want to say. I can write out my thoughts better than I can say them (and also not stumble over my words, which I have a problem doing). Blogging gave me a platform to help other businesses – and help Google come back to my site over and over. Thanks to my Revive Old Post plug-in, older posts continued to be shared on my Twitter account so traffic still came, but nothing new ever published.

 

Social media news came and went and I just shared other’s content instead of my own. I mean, seriously, how many times can people report on an Instagram change or another Facebook data breach? It’s like beating a dead horse with a stick. People are going to go to the sources they are used to – I know I do.

 

That brings me to January 2019. I start this year with a renewed spirit and focus on the business, and more importantly, my blog.

 

So, welcome back to the blog, where you’ll see a new post every other Tuesday, and let’s rock 2019!

 

Mandy Edwards is the founder of ME Marketing Services, a marketing company specializing in digital & social media marketing located in Statesboro, Georgia. A proud graduate of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia she has a thorough marketing background of 17+ years. In the fall you can find her along with her family at Sanford Stadium cheering on their beloved Georgia Bulldogs. Mandy has been mentioned in Forbes, named to the Statesboro Herald’s Top 20 under 40, has been ranked as a Top 100 Social Media Power Influencer by StatSocial and is a Sprout Social All-Star Elite. In 2016 she was recognized as a member of the University of Georgia’s top 40 Under 40 Alumni.

3 Attributes of Today's Consumer

3 Attributes of Today’s Consumer

With the rise of online consumerism, it is crucial for businesses to understand their customers, and what they want in a product. Plus, in a digital age where anything and everything can be found online, the proper marketing tactics must be implemented to have the desired effect on the target audience.

 

Take a minute and imagine the world we were in 10 years ago (it’s hard to believe 2007 was 10 years ago). Facebook was still competing with MySpace for traffic, Amazon was primarily known for selling books, and the iPhone was just released. Back in those days, the way we shopped for products was drastically different from the way we shop today.

 

Today’s Consumer Is…

 

Curious

“Curiosity just might be the most important desire a content marketer has to elicit in a story.” Consumers enjoy browsing the internet for the latest and greatest products. With digital ads tailored to these consumer searches, websites have the ability to project their ads through social media outlets which then propels the consumer to respond to the click bait. “Curiosity impels us to do things beyond functional need. It makes us explorers, discoverers.” The social media powerhouse – Facebook – is notorious for using this tactic and marketing products based on what the consumer has previously searched. While this seems like an invasion of privacy, it is also how many people attain their desired products. They wish to know the best product available, where to buy it, and what’s open now. Information is power, and consumers have it.

 

Demanding

Consumers are now in control and they have a high expectation that their experience will be individually tailored to their demands. They are better informed due to the advancement of technology which makes it easier for them to acquire knowledge about a product. Consumers know what they want and are on the hunt to find it within an attainable price range. “This one, single device that we keep in our pockets can be used to review products, check prices, share purchases, request coupons – and sometimes even to purchase products from one retailer’s online channel while standing in a competitor’s store.” Consumers can research products and services thoroughly before deciding to buy. With various outlets and companies to receive products from, using digital searches is a main way for consumers to know what to buy and where to buy it. Companies have to be adapting to consumers evolving needs. Bottom line, today’s customer is better informed and harder to please.

5 Customer Demands:

1. be on our side

2. be personally accountable for our desired results

3. be proactive

4. solve our problems

5. be innovative in responding to our needs

 

Impatient

We are living in the era of impatience. Velaro recently commissioned a single-question survey of over 2,500 Americans and asked, “For customer service, how long are you willing to be put on hold?” 6 out of 10 said one minute or less. Another third of the respondents said 1-5 minutes.

Consumers now enjoy increased levels of convenience, simplicity, and knowledge. Smartphones have connected consumers instantly to markets and information no matter where they might be, which allows them to find answers to almost any question, at any time. Fetch and YouGov conducted a research poll that reports 41% of respondents say technology has made them more impatient than they were five years ago. Among Millennials, the proportion is 45%.

The bar is being raised for fulfillment services with speed and flexibility both expected as standard. It’s 2018, almost everyone has bought something from Amazon one way or another. Amazon Prime, with it’s free 24 hour shipping, has only aided in the grown impatience of consumers as they want their product to be delivered yesterday. According to Google the average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. In this digital, high speed world, we are the epitome of instant gratification.

 

Whether the consumer is curious, demanding, impatient, or all three, the rapid popularity of online consumerism does not seem to be slowing down – and neither does today’s consumer.

Twitter as a News Source

Twitter as a News Source

With Gen Z-ers on the rise, strategies and tactics everywhere are adapting to how the generations work. One peculiar thing that sticks out to me, but I think is often overlooked about this generation, is the look to Twitter for news.

 

We know that traditional news sources have been on the decline for a while now: just look at traditional newspapers versus the internet and television. Since the major increase in internet popularity and use around, I would say the 2000s mark, the newspaper market has been steadily decreasing. Newspapers were forced to require online outlets of their publications in order to keep up with the flow of instantaneous (and in many cases free) flow of news and information happening. When smartphones hit the game about a decade later, things got even harder for traditional print.

 

However, another shift in the news source spectrum has occurred in recent years that I think gets overlooked: Twitter as a primary news source.

 

Twitter.com is an online social networking site that started in 2006, became one of the ten most visited sites in 2013, and currently has over 100 million monthly active users. While Twitter started as a social media site for people to share blurbs and thoughts in under 140 characters, it has since become a hub of information in all different ways…

 

When I personally start my day, I turn to Twitter first. Not only is it where I get a good laugh at jokes and see what my friends are up to, but I also get a pretty instantaneous look at current events and news. And under the umbrella of a now 280 character limit these blurbs are (at first) mostly just facts and not so much opinions.

 

Sure, traditional news source and media outlets have Twitter accounts that they use – and that’s definitely one of the ways Twitter helps in being a news source. But more than that, Twitter compiles “Moments” that are collections of tweets from news outlets and citizens that accumulate into one tweet slide show that highlights what is happening with a specific event or topic. And along these lines, Twitter is also a whole new way for citizen journalists to shine. While we all know citizen journalists have their pros and cons, they are still crucial to stories being told to the public.

 

A quick fact to throw in here: those who use Twitter may recall that in the Parkland, Florida shooting on February 14thof this year, students who were in the classrooms on lockdown took to Twitter almost immediately to share their experiences and update what was happening from their points of view. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the incident, students also took straight to Twitter to take a stand and plan a protest on the topic of gun control.

 

A similar instance happened in the 2013 Amtrak Metro North train derailment: citizens who were there took to Twitter to discuss their experiences. This kind of access to citizen journalists and the public is, in my opinion, vital to a news cycle.

 

Businesses even take to Twitter to announce big news – just take a look at IHOP’s recent bold move where they took to Twitter to announce their new rebranding: IHOb, International House of Burgers. Many other businesses also jumped on this media frenzy to throw in their two cents on the beloved chain’s brash name change. Whataburger Tweeted that they’d never change their name to “Whatapancake,” and Burger King even temporarily changed their name on Twitter to “Pancake King.” In fact, here’s a whole article on how multiple businesses clapped back at IHOb with jokes after their name change announcement.

 

So, next time you’re looking for news and want it in one place from all the major traditional outlets and some citizen journalists – give Twitter a try. While it may not be what everyone thinks of when they hear “news source,” it could be worth the shot!

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