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Standouts: Marketing mavens dish out best advice to be seen, heard among the crowd

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People are consuming more information today than ever before. The latest audience report from The Nielsen Co. found the average American spends 11 hours a day consuming media in some form.

Digital marketers face the task of breaking through the noise to get their clients’ products or services seen, heard and, ultimately, utilized. Local experts say finding an authentic voice that connects with a target audience is paramount.

Becca Godsey, marketing analyst with digital marketing agency Mostly Serious LLC, said prospective clients are typically missing one or both.

“The key thing is making sure that your clients’ voice is very honed in – exactly what it is, what makes it different and then matching it to the right audience,” Godsey said.

She said drilling down a target audience based on demographics and interests, rather than, for example, having the whole city of Springfield as an audience, allows companies to compete more effectively.

She said when a company finds its niche audience, the competitive aspects diminish. Rather than 15 competitors, for instance, she said there might only be a few vying for a single audience.

“You can compete against three,” Godsey said.

Ettie Berneking, a freelance social media consultant and founder of Sidecar Social LLC, said her clients face the task of connecting with their audiences online.

“They have a good brand; they just cannot for the life of them figure out the voice of that brand,” she said.

“The product is great, the audience is pretty decent, but they can’t figure out how to create a personality and voice that translates on social media.”

One way marketers are connecting with their audiences is making social and mobile content to match the platform or look like something they would see on a friend’s profile, aka native content, said Josh Coleman, assistant professor of marketing at Missouri State University.

“We see so many ads today and we get so accustomed to blocking ads and avoiding them; that’s a way to catch consumers,” he said.

Measuring metrics
A handful of years ago, Mostly Serious Content Strategy Director Molly Riddle-Nunn said some clients simply needed a presence online. Now, it’s all about making sure that presence is converting into business.

“Website traffic, and things like that, are important, but when it comes to clients and their sales, we want what is going to make them more money,” she said. “That’s where we go beyond Google Analytics and say here’s how this tactic is making you more money.”

Colleague Godsey said it’s not enough to set objectives of only growing an audience because numbers can be misleading.

“At any point you might say, ‘Oh, we’ve reached 20,000 people,’” she said. “But how many people actually bought it? How many of those people will interact with your page again?”

With retail client Pits N Grills LLC, the Mostly Serious team created a Facebook group to foster a community around Springfield’s barbecue scene. The group has reached 260 members compared with over 3,500 who like the store’s page, but Godsey said every member is consistently active creating posts and engaging with comments.

She added the “shotgun approach” of having a presence across all social platforms can backfire, especially if a company doesn’t have the resources to support consistent, meaningful content.

“It’s learning to be strategic of what you can do, what is important and what the client sees as important,” Godsey said.

Berneking said she reviews usage patterns to analyze success on social posts. She said she learns a lot about a client’s audience through social media by tracking where they engage and what they ignore.

For one client, Backpocket Brewing in Coralville, Iowa, she learned through monitoring Facebook metrics that the followers of the brewery’s satellite location wanted edgier, less promotional content.

She said taking time to evaluate metrics is time well spent.

Video impact
Of the 11 hours each day Nielsen finds people are consuming media, more than half of those hours are spent watching video.

Godsey said video, and video storytelling in particular, is gaining success in marketing products. Coleman agreed, adding that storytelling through video bucks the trend of traditional rules in advertising and marketing.

“Before, it was all pushing the product. Now, it’s, ‘No, let’s connect with the consumers on a personal level,’” he said. “They use stories that capture your heart.”

Austin Elliott, co-owner of Locke and Stache Media LLC, said the demand for video services is growing.

“It’s more than just a 30-second spot for TV,” he said. “We could make a video that is seen one time on an Instagram story, and that’s all. The variety of output has grown for the client.”

Elliott said he brings that understanding of the broad channels for video to his shoots. He knows a video project could be used as a voiceover, a Facebook banner video or displayed on a vertical screen in a hotel lobby, for instance. And it has to work well in each scenario.

“As we’re shooting for whatever the product is, it’s thinking of all of those things,” he said.

As video demand grows, Coleman said the biggest challenge is keeping a viewer watching.

“You either put everything in the first three seconds of the video or find a way to capture their attention,” he said.

Godsey said cutting through the noise while marketing a product doesn’t have to be daunting or expensive.

“If you make a one-minute video, you should be able to cut that up 15 different ways,” she said, what she calls using “every piece of the content buffalo.”

“If you know your research and your message is right, you should have content that will last a while,” she said.

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