13 smart ways to leverage media coverage to spread the word about your business

There are more media outlets than ever before, which gives every organization a variety of options and opportunities for getting its message out to the public. However, choosing the right avenue to share information about your business or organization is important.

There are many unique strategies organizations of all kinds and industries can leverage to garner attention and play to the strengths of various media outlets. Below, 13 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share strategies to capture media attention and reach your desired audience.

The Business Journals

1. Focus on your core audience.
First, focus on your core audience and choose media outlets that your core audience is consuming. Next, expand to halo outlets that reach your extended tiers of audiences and new audience targets you wish to reach. The key is to first focus on your core business, ROI and segment and then expand from there. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

2. Partner with a charity.
Our firm’s culture is integrated with our affiliate charity, which allows us to not only continue to do good things but also to gain exposure through the highlighted projects and work of the charity that is picked up by the news, radio and social media outlets. In addition, the larger sponsors of these projects ultimately have greater access to media and PR outlets, which adds to our exposure. – Dale Gillmore, Quest

3. Choose the best platform for the content.
Honing in on the best platform for the content and coverage is key. Identifying the best outlet for your target market and ensuring your content is perfectly suited for the platform chosen will garner the best leverage of time and energy and maximize success. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

4. Share your clients’ social media posts.
We work with a lot of different clients through a wide array of services. Sharing our client’s LinkedIn posts, along with a comment, not only gets us seen by our followers but by theirs as well. Commenting about how we appreciated assisting on the project and how we added value has helped us be associated with a large number of projects and clients and highlighted our value to the work. – Tom Jaleski, Code Unlimited LLC

5. Pitch local business organization newsletters.
One often-overlooked avenue — particularly for B2B PR — is industry and local business organization newsletters. For example, if you want to drive attendees to an event you are hosting, it can be more effective to pitch industry groups to include your event in a member email than to earn a story in the local newspaper. The reason is the newsletter is more likely to be seen by your target audience. – Scott Baradell, Idea Grove

6. Provide content to industry trade publications.
Leveraging industry trade publications is a particularly effective way of getting your message and your brand in front of potential customers. For example, if your business is food, coverage in food-specific trade publications puts your brand in front of those who can buy your services. Showing your expertise where your current and future customers are is incredibly valuable when it comes to business growth. – Hinda Mitchell, Inspire PR Group

7. Know what outlets are most closely aligned with your customers’ needs.
Before looking at editorial opportunities, understand what your core and best customers are most interested in and what media they consume. Survey them, talk to them and then find the outlets most closely aligned. For some, that’s easy, while for others, it takes a bit of creativity; but guest blogging, sponsorship and appearing on certain podcasts and even syndication platforms can be highly effective. – Rodger Roeser, The Eisen Agency

8. Respond to HARO requests.
The most impactful PR strategy I’ve used is pitching Help a Reporter Out (HARO) requests from the media. Over the past four years, my agency has been mentioned in the press more than 100 times annually. It’s great for exposure and thought leadership positioning and it’s good for search engine optimization. – Kent Lewis, Anvil Media, Inc.

9. Build relationships with editors.
As a commercial real estate brokerage, we are able to target very specific industry publications in our area, both online and in print. We have built relationships with the editors and send them personnel updates, deal closings and other company news. Through these media, we are able to get in front of real estate investors and other business leaders and show our success in the market. – E. Tanner Milne, Menlo Group Commercial Real Estate

10. Amplify any press coverage you get.
Amplification is key. Articles, videos, podcasts, blog posts and press releases should all be amplified across multiple channels, such as your website, newsletters, social media and more. Encourage employees to share via their social networks. Post content on branded social media channels with a small paid investment for extra exposure. Too often companies have great content but don’t think about a multi-channel strategy. – Jen McClure, JEM

11. Publish professional newsletters.
We produce two short professional email newsletters each week. Typically, each is three short panels. It’s produced by our marketing team based on my input. They have fans (as we heard loud and clear when we briefly stopped sending them), but they also provide new content to be shared directly with customers and on social media platforms. Our team amplifies our organic media’s value in a targeted way. – Billy Hodges, Digital Filaments

12. Outsource your social media strategy.
We farm out our social media implementation. My team and I add to our channels in real time, but our contracted team has a schedule that they follow closely. We worked together initially until they fully understood our branding needs and social media strategy. Now I trust them completely to do the work for our LinkedIn and Facebook pages, which are our biggest drivers of business via social media. – Liz Wooten-Reschke, Connect For More

13. Try TikTok.
Create TikTok content. We have started to see the range of potential new clients we can reach through this platform. Producing short-form content has helped us continue to expand our brand reach while nurturing the audience with intriguing information. – Brian Walters, Walters Gilbreath, PLLC

Traditional Trade Shows and Live Events Are Returning—and Better This Time

They’re set to be engaging and effective


When the pandemic began in March 2020, one of the first industries to take a hit was business travel. Trade shows and other live events quickly followed in a world where large gatherings of any kind were considered a health risk. Within a few months, we began to see virtual events sprouting up online as an alternative to face-to-face shows.

As that trend matured, and as event organizers honed their virtual approaches, it looks like these online events are here to stay. Even as the pandemic retreats and it becomes safer to gather in person, virtual events will likely remain a key part of how businesses and their employees get together to display, discuss and demonstrate their latest products and services.

Participating and engaging from anywhere
Forced to get creative about how they hold events during a pandemic, some organizers have adopted a hybrid approach. Cloud-based digital event platform ON24 says the hybrid event encompasses both physical and digital tactics, effectively allowing marketers to “scale up or down based on safety concerns for themselves, sponsors and audience members.”

Here’s how it works: There are in-person “live” attendees as well as a virtual component that allows the audience to participate and engage from anywhere. The digital components of the hybrid event can include Twitter chats, livestream sessions, targeted landing pages, virtual networking experiences and other interactive elements.

The virtual portion broadens the event’s message and reach because it’s easier and cheaper for attendees to participate. Hybrid events also attract attendees who wouldn’t otherwise have the time or resources to be able to travel to a live trade show, and they can literally live forever online and be offered on demand long after the show is over.

People can attend from anywhere—their homes, offices or vacation spots—utilize breakout rooms to connect with small groups, and select the best use of their time (e.g., only those keynotes that are most relevant). “[Hybrid] events allow you to mix both in-person and digital experiences,” ON24 points out, “giving your gathering a sense of immediateness both online and off.”

Virtual is here to stay
Even as people begin to resume their normal routines and as business travel kicks back into gear, the hybrid event is here to stay—and for good reason. It allows marketers to reach a broader audience, creates opportunities for more one-on-one interactions with prospects, and utilizes advanced communication tools to extend those relationships past the day of the event.

Online events also set the stage for better networking—in many cases, the very reason that professionals attend trade shows and conferences in the first place. Registered attendees at the recent ProMatDX 2021 logistics show, for example, could set up short, virtual “appointments” with potential customers and business partners in advance of the actual show date. The show also featured a matchmaking portal that used artificial intelligence (AI) that allowed both sponsors and attendees to determine how to tailor their interactions based on specific interests. The show host plans to use the AI-enabled networking tool at its next live event.

The virtual setting also allows show organizers to pack more content into a shorter amount of time, and helps attendees make the most of their time. Dedicating a few hours to an online event versus taking five days out of a busy schedule would be a no-brainer for most, and also opens the door to attend even more events within a truncated time frame.

The new breed
Whether hybrid or fully virtual, the “new breed” of trade show also breaks down some of the barriers that exist when thousands of people converge in person, expecting to make valuable contacts and meet new prospects. Arranging these meetings is never easy, but meeting someone in the online format and then sending them a LinkedIn invitation presents an instant connection opportunity to solidify that interaction.

For brands, hybrid events provide good sponsorship opportunities. Much like podcasts, which cater to specific listener segments, virtual events can be narrowly targeted to certain groups. They also provide different touchpoints—advertising, banner ads, breakout sessions, etc.—for brands to create new connections with the audience. And because the shows are evergreen and available on-demand, the longevity of those touchpoints is better than you’d see with a live event.

Hybrid events also appeal to millennials and Gen Z professionals that are accustomed to digital interactions and to having choices. With many of these individuals working remotely, the opportunity to participate in a relevant, engaging event—and one that invites and supports safe social interaction—may be particularly compelling for the younger audience.

Looking ahead, it’s becoming pretty clear that virtual and hybrid events aren’t going away. In fact, the model will continue to evolve, but the bottom line is that organizations that don’t embrace it now will miss out. People are accepting this new way to connect, and the unique way that it brings us together to interact and collaborate.

3 Reasons Virtual Events Are Here To Stay

More than one in five Americans is fully vaccinated, and travel rates are soaring to yearlong highs, but virtual events are not going anywhere. Or virtual components of events, anyway.

Streetfight Magazine - Virtual Events


There are at least three reasons for that, said Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne Advertising. Those are the accessibility, personalization, and new revenue possibilities that adding virtual components to events allows.

The simplest reason to retain a virtual component to events even after the US reaches herd immunity: You can reach more people, and it’s easier for them to show up.

Previously, exclusively in-person conferences, even while providing strong experiences, were “almost inaccessible,” Hawthorne-Castro said.

Convenience has become a basic principle of retail and hospitality as digital techniques have taken hold, especially during the pandemic. Why should events be any different?

What’s more, once event providers make it easy, and possibly even cheaper, for attendees to join events, they get the opportunity to share their message with more people. And they may do so in a way that in-person events make less seamless (picture the corporate guy walking on stage to offer a brief message about the value of such and such company’s services). Virtual messaging can be more organic.

“It’s like a podcast situation,” Hawthorne-Castro said. “Podcasts can be powerful when there’s advertising within them.”

In the omnichannel era, the golden rule in commerce is to meet customers wherever they are. Hawthorne-Castro said this same personalization-focused mentality should drive events and that virtual components will help events rise to those standards.

Obviously, the first component to hybrid event personalization is letting people attend whether by plane or video conference. But virtual events can also be structured to offer a guest-tailored experience. One way to do this is by offering breakout rooms, or smaller virtual meetings open to attendees, alongside a main attraction, Hawthorne-Castro said.

All event attendees scroll through their phone at some point during a keynote presentation of no interest. Virtual events offer the ability to draw those event goers uninterested in the main attraction to smaller sessions.

This is also where sponsorships come in. Sponsors can run breakout sessions similar to the booths available at in-person conferences. This, too, could be an application where the accessibility and number of attendees at virtual conferences spurs a successful program.

New revenue streams
The dawn of virtual events spawned new revenue streams and content channels.

For example, a number of companies started subscription models, Hawthorne-Castro said. Subscriptions allow event providers to put content online and regularly engage potential attendees instead of luring them somewhere for a few days of interactions.

Not only could this bring in some revenue, but it could also drive stronger relationships with specific attendees. “You can even position it like being one of the first members of an organization,” Hawthorne-Castro said, adding that subscription providers could create tiers or special privileges for some subscribers.

As far as discovering extra channels is concerned, virtual content is also easily repurposable content. A recorded panel can be shared on social media or on a company’s website.

For these reasons and others, virtual events, or at least partially virtual events, will be a fixture of the business long beyond the dark days of COVID-19.

‘The world of either is behind us’: Marketers predict the future of events will be a hybrid of online, in-person

As the Covid-19 vaccine rollout continues and consumers resume life as normal, marketers say they expect events in the future to be a hybrid of in-person and virtual.


The pandemic rattled in-person events and shifted some of the industry’s biggest occasions, like the Consumer Electronics Show and the South by Southwest festival, to a virtual stage. In-person networking and conversations were replaced with Zoom panels, chatboxes and pre-recorded fireside chats. Meanwhile, other firms have experimented with virtual reality to offer attendees more than a video link.

And after last year’s pandemic postponed award events, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity returns this year as Cannes Lions Live, a fully digital experience. The boondoggles, wining and dining typically done at one of the industry’s biggest events may look different this summer, although details on particulars have yet to be disclosed.

“The last purely in-person event ever to occur has already happened,” said Joe Davy, CEO of the event marketing company Banzai, which has worked with software companies like Red Hat and Egnyte. “Going forward, every virtual conference is going to be an online, offline and on-demand component.”

By the end of 2021, he predicts the industry will see an uptick in small in-person events with a focus on hybrid virtual events for bigger happenings. But “the world of either is behind us,” Davy said.

Given the pandemic is ongoing, Davy said heavily populated, in-person events come with a lot of logistics and safety concerns, but the need for human connection is still there. Meanwhile, digital events are more accessible, meaning marketers can reach more event-goers, but “it’s very hard to replicate or replace relationship building and connections.”

“Marketers have to think about how do they create really compelling [virtual] experiences that the audiences really want to get behind,” Davy said.

Earlier this year, the Sundance Film Festival took their event to the virtual landscape, working with Active Theory, a company that creatives digital experiences.

Using an in-house technology called Dreamwave, Active Theory was able to mimic the festival’s in-person experience with avatars for event-goers to move about the online world as they would in real life. There was also a chat feature that made for social interactions. Overall, the virtual festival was different, but considered a success, proving that virtual film festivals can be done well, according to IndieWire.

According to Active Theory co-founder Nick Mountford, the company has seen an increased interest in its Dreamwave product as more marketers look for ways to customize their virtual events.

However, he does believe that as the pandemic lets up, in-person events will return but with companies like his own providing the customized digital component that makes up the hybrid experience.

“The person that can go to a digital event is not necessarily the same person that can go to a physical event,” he said. “And both of those people could be a valuable customer for the brand.”

The hybrid model makes sense, according to Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of Hawthorne Advertising agency. It allows flexibility for businesses to experiment with online and offline marketing and encourages more attendees, given they can stream content whenever they want.

“Events are absolutely changing, from formatting to guest lists, as a result of the pandemic, but our need for human interaction won’t change,” Hawthorne-Castro said in an email. “The forum may shift, and we may need to get creative, but at the end of the day, marketers should still prioritize connection and communication.”

10 Must-Attend Conferences For Agency Owners And Professionals

The advertising and marketing world is chock-full of events claiming to be unmissable. As agency owners and professionals know, the buzz alone that surrounds some industry conferences is enough to lead scores of people to flock to them every year. How can you tell which ones are worth not only the hype, but also the expense?

Here, 10 members of Forbes Agency Council share their top picks for can’t-miss conferences in the agency world. These genuinely impactful events provide so much value and networking potential, no serious professional can afford to miss out.

Forbes Agency Council

1. 10X Growth Conference

The 10X Growth Conference hosted by Grant Cardone is a must-attend for agency owners and professionals. It’s a great event to attend if you’re looking to stay ahead of the trends, make powerful connections and stay motivated to produce results. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

2. Adobe Summit

Adobe Summit is one of my favorite conferences in our industry. Adobe’s emphasis on digital experiences is leading the industry, turning insights into easy-to-understand information that leads to better managerial decision making. – Ahmad Kareh, Twistlab Marketing

3. Build A Better Agency Summit

An important conference is the Build a Better Agency Summit. The entire focus is on helping agency owners and key managers learn how to better manage and plan for the growth trajectory of their business. It covers topics such as financial management, staffing challenges and the sales process specific to advertising agencies. Plus, it creates a safe place for agency owners to collaborate and help one another through challenges. – Korena Keys, KeyMedia Solutions

4. Consumer Electronics Show

In terms of global trends, the CES is a great show to attend to get a view of the overall landscape of current and emerging products and technologies. This conference facilitates forward-thinking so that agency professionals can be on top of upcoming trends. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

5. Content Marketing World

I love Content Marketing World in Cleveland, Ohio. I learned all about the power of positioning yourself as an authority and growing your audience by attending this amazing conference. I am waiting until after the pandemic to go again so that I can network fully without a mask on my face! – Nancy Marshall, Marshall Communications


INBOUND, HubSpot’s annual conference, is a must-attend event for agency owners and marketing professionals. This conference brings together a wide variety of speakers who provide insights on all things related to marketing, sales, leadership, agency management and more. There are tracks of sessions for everyone, and compared to any other throughout the year, I feel I get the most out of this conference. – Elyse Flynn Meyer, Prism Global Marketing Solutions

7. SMX East

SMX East offers news and exhibits on the latest and greatest in the search industry. There is no shortage of live demos, seminars from well-known search rockstars within the industry or vendors offering new and exciting tools to be discovered. – Larry Gurreri, Sosemo LLC

8. Social Media Marketing World

One of my favorites is Social Media Marketing World because it covers pretty much every kind of social media. In addition to that, it also covers all of the different rules you need to consider as you plan out your strategy for the next year. These are all very critical things to know as you are planning the coming year. – Jon James, Ignited Results

9. South By Southwest

We’ve found the best conference for agencies is SXSW. It can be used as a way to plan bigger events and connect with clients by inviting them to join you. Until last year, we had some pretty incredible events over barbecue with our clients. The content is great, but the city and mindset are what set it apart as a place to build stronger connections with teams, partners and clients. – Jackson Murphy, Pound & Grain

10. Collision

That’s a really tough one. I’ve made some of my best connections and gotten ideas at conferences that have nothing to do with the marketing industry, so I believe in attending conferences in the verticals that you market to. This way, you also know what trends are having an impact on that industry. I also love Collision, which is packed full of intriguing and thought-provoking speakers. – Nancy A Shenker, theONswitch

15 Ways To Handle Client Requests That Could Damage The Campaign

In agency-client relationships, the client plays an important role in helping to develop successful marketing campaigns for their brand.

Certain clients, however, feel inclined to take the lead instead of allowing their marketing partners to do what they do best. Sometimes, they’ll ask for changes to be made to the copy, design, direction or other aspects of a project that, in the expert judgment of their agency, would likely damage the campaign.

To help marketers deal with this issue, a panel of Forbes Agency Council members shared tips for maintaining a healthy balance of client input in campaign development.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Talk Through Their Concerns

Learning to work together is core to the client-agency relationship and overall account success, but nothing happens overnight. Clients who trust the firms they work with tend to be more open to feedback than those who don’t and may lack confidence in the guidance being provided. Understanding why that is, talking through scenarios and bringing in third-party opinions would be most productive here. – Chi Zhao, Hokku PR

2. Run An A/B Test Campaign

When this happens, we run a campaign with the client’s recommendations as well as a campaign with our recommendations. This allows the client to see the results for both, and then we can make a more informed decision moving forward. In some cases, you just have to remind the client why they hired you in the first place. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC

3. Explain Your Strategy

The most common reasons clients regularly try to make changes to the campaign are unclear goals or brand vision in the strategy development stage or a desperate desire to copy their competitors’ successful campaigns. In both cases, it’s crucial to speak to them and explain the advantages of the selected strategy. – Oganes Vagramovich Barsegyan, Digital Beverly Marketing Solutions

4. Be As Open As Possible

My one tip for dealing with clients who regularly try to make changes to aspects that, in our judgment, could damage the campaign is to be as open as possible. There have to be certain boundaries in order for us to create successful campaigns, but for the most part, small changes in design or copy will most likely not cause a significant difference in results. Add their creatives and begin to test. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

5. Weigh The Impact Of Client Input

There is give and take in every successful relationship. The client is the expert in their product or service, and the agency is the brand and messaging expert. When clients provide marketing direction, weigh the impact (positive or negative) on the campaign and provide expert recommendations for moving forward. If this is an ongoing issue, the agency decides which battles to fight and which to let go. – Patrick Nycz, NewPoint Marketing

6. Identify The Cause Of The Pushback

Do they think the campaign is off-brand, or is it that the business is developing into new, unfamiliar territory? If it’s the former, then the creative teams need to realign to make sure they fully understand the brand. If the latter is true, then walk the client through data and research that explains the “why” behind the “what” of your campaign strategy. – Christoph Kastenholz, Pulse Advertising

7. Explain How Your Process Is Proven And Tested

We make sure that our clients understand that there is a process to everything we do. It’s a proven and tested algorithm. While we welcome and encourage their ideas and suggestions, we can’t just randomly jump in and change what’s been agreed upon because every effort takes time to be measured. If you keep changing shoes on the go, you’ll never know which pair is the most comfortable. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

8. Let Clients Define Goals, Not How To Get There

Keep them accountable for changing their goal if they also try to define how you are going to get there. If you hired a plumber, and your goal was to fix a leak, you would never tell him to use a different pipe upon his arrival. And if you did insist, the plumber would not be able to properly fix your leak. Clients can define their goal, and you can tell them how you’ll get there, but they can’t define both. – Lindsey Groepper, BLASTmedia

9. Duplicate Facebook Ad Campaigns And Let Them Tinker

We love it when clients are involved with our campaigns. It means they are trying to understand how the ads work. However, when it comes to Facebook ads, we often have a talk about how changes can wipe away all our data and learning from the algorithm, which will cost them higher ad prices. If they want to test something, we’ll duplicate the campaign and let them tinker in the new area. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

10. Test Your Client’s Hypothesis

Despite my experience, I never pretend that I know what the results will be. What I insist on is testing the client’s hypothesis as well as our own to see what the results are. Because our clients understand their customers so well, we’re often pleasantly surprised at how well their recommendation works. Other times, they’re surprised by ours. Keep an open mind! – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

11. Take The Conversation Offline

Move the conversation to a phone or Zoom meeting. Often your expertise isn’t communicated in the same way through email or text. Take the conversation offline and reiterate that you are concerned about being able to produce the best work for your client. – Kelly Samuel, Snack Toronto

12. Showcase Your Expertise

If it’s an ongoing issue, let them go. There isn’t much you can do for a client who doesn’t reasonably value your expertise except push words and pixels around on a page and waste their budget. But first, have you done enough to show that you are an expert? It may be too late for this relationship, but identifying how they lost faith could set your next relationship up to be much more successful. – Benjamin Collins, Laughing Samurai

13. Always Be Respectful Of All Client Feedback

Continue to remind them of the mutual goals of the campaign and the metrics they seek to achieve. Position any changes or creative direction coming from the agency as recommendations that are tailored to the client’s goals and KPIs to ensure mutual understanding and alignment. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

14. Remind Them Of Your Responsibilities

I was told by a client that once a strategy was decided upon, her job was done. That is because copy and design are best left up to the experts; they have the responsibility to connect the audience to the brand promise on both emotional and logical levels. If your client is looking to make changes for the sake of changes, remind them of that. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

15. Express Appreciation For Their Input

Always appreciate your clients’ input because they play a crucial role in the outcome of your marketing campaigns. Be sure to take into account what they are saying, then show them how their ideas can be combined with your team’s skills and experience. Nobody wants their ideas to be shut down completely, but in this case, their ideas can be transformed into something that fits into your vision. – Adrian Falk, Believe Advertising & PR

14 Ways The Rise Of Account-Based Marketing Will Impact Agency Work

Account-based marketing has become a big priority for B2B companies. It allows businesses to better understand and target consumers by personalizing outreach to their specific needs and priorities.

While the concept of ABM is not new, today’s emerging technologies allow businesses to gather richer data to improve their customer outreach efforts. Below, a panel of Forbes Agency Council members share ways they foresee the increase in ABM impacting their work and how agencies can stay ahead of the curve.

Forbes Agency Council


1. More Sophisticated Competition

The rise of ABM is predicated on deep audience and account insight, which can result in significant commercial gains. The race to obtain, manage and analyze data to drive commercially valuable insights, and then crucially, to turn those insights into clear marketing and sales actions will determine the winners and losers in the agency world. – Greg Salmon, Agent3

2. More Dedicated Resources

ABM is critical for companies wanting to create truly personalized buying experiences and deeper connections with customers and clients. Personalized marketing helps build trust and greatly improves the customer journey. The need for dedicated resources for ABM is here to stay because of the impact it has on engagement. – Seth Winterer, Digital Logic

3. More Tech-Enabled Results And Complexity

ABM is not new, but there has recently been a proliferation of supporting technology that provides more insight, personalization, efficiency and, in some cases, unnecessary complexity. Establish your goals first, then research where technology can (and should) be applied. Consider conducting ABM pilots where more work is manual. Then, if successful, onboard technology to scale. – Wendy Covey, TREW Marketing

4. A More Philosophical Approach

I’d say don’t rely on it as a tool that will solve all of your problems. In fact, you might need more than one tool to make ABM work, so treat it as a philosophy. ABM is understanding who you are targeting, who those key accounts are, the personas within those accounts and what will be the most effective way to get in front of them, explain to them your value and get them to become your customers. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

5. More Personalized Content To Lead Prospects

It’s critical that your business audits your content and marketing initiatives to ensure that you have developed effective and personalized content for each stage of the buyer’s journey, including problem identification, solution exploration, requirements building, supplier selection, validation and consensus. The journey is predominantly self-service nowadays, so you must lead your prospects. – Douglas Karr, DK New Media

6. More Specialized Niches

Have a specialty and market openly for only that specialty. You can have multiple websites targeting different niches, but brands want to work with agencies that speak directly to their niche. – Kelly Samuel, Snack Toronto

7. More Investment In Data And Research

For SEO, we do a good amount of ABM already in our work. An increase would be as simple as further tailoring the services we offer to account for a more narrow field of interest, depending on the accounts in question. If agencies want to stay ahead, invest in research. Data collection is going to be more reliable than anything else, as long as you keep collecting and updating your research methods. – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

8. More Individualized Points Of Contact

ABM takes into account the long sales cycle of certain products or services. It focuses on individualized marketing for each account with the understanding that the client will reap the benefits of individualization and will see an increase in closed sales because of the increase in points of contact with consumers. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. More Strategic And Data-Driven Targeting

Thanks to Covid-19 and the new norm of working remotely, marketers should use platforms such as LinkedIn to understand the composition of first-party datasets and target key decision makers, rather than a blanket, all-employee approach. Update your customer experience to collect first- and zero-party data frequently, and make sure both the marketing and sales teams keep an updated CRM to maximize potential. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

10. More Granular Understanding Of Customers

ABM has been around for a long time and known by many different terms. I don’t think it changes the keys to success for an agency: Know your client’s customers really well. Know your client’s business. Find ways to help them win in the marketplace. ABM is a fancy way of breaking down groups, divisions, etc. inside the client’s organization. It works, but don’t let that distract you from the core. – Michael McFadden, eAccountable

11. More Effective Audience Segmentation

With the rise of advanced targeting tools, ABM has become more popular because it focuses on the highest-value customers first. Utilizing custom audiences and building intent funnels with Facebook advertising is one of the easiest ways for businesses to begin. Build ads for each segment and bid accordingly so that your key messages are seen by your audience first. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

12. More Customized Social Media Posts

ABM will change how we approach social media. What was previously posted for all types of audiences will need to be more customized for limited audiences, meeting prospects where they are in their buying journeys. This way, social media can lead to deeper conversations and successful sales conversions with a one-to-one approach, as opposed to a one-to-thousands approach. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications

13. More Effective One-To-One Marketing

ABM isn’t new. It’s what previous generations of advertisers were waiting for: one-to-one marketing. Its biggest impact will be on effectiveness. If you aren’t already, start thinking of your campaigns and sales efforts on an individual level. Harness the power of technology to connect with your ideal prospects on an individual level and have targeted conversations with them. – Mary Ann O’Brien, OBI Creative

14. More Interactive Microtargeting

ABM strategies vary from prospect to prospect. The trend in marketing is microtargeting prospects as though they are your only prospect. It’s evolving rapidly and becoming the industry standard, as it offers a collaborative, cooperative and experiential approach to connecting with real people on the other end of your pipeline. It simulates real-world interactions through a sophisticated tech stack. – Terry Tateossian, Socialfix Media

Consumers Are Checking Their Phones 60 Times a Day. Here’s How to Monetize These Micro-Moments

Scanning news headlines on a tablet before going to sleep. Using a mobile app to find an Italian restaurant with the highest number of 5-star reviews. Browsing this month’s best streaming videos.

For most of us, the brief activities described above have become habitual. Recognizing the trend, Google came up with the term “micro-moments” to describe the many times a day that people automatically grab their phones or tablets to watch a video, take an action or look up something. As society becomes truly “mobile-first,” these “micro-moments” are now intertwined with our daily lives.

Each micro-moment is an opportunity for brands
Whether consumers use mobile phones to look for a recipe on Allrecipes, search for a long-lost high school friend on Classmates or scroll through Zillow listings for a dream home, they are reflexively turning to their devices for answers and solutions.
The trend is common in the on-demand economy, where customers expect to have answers at their fingertips 24/7. “The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we’re looking for when we’re looking,” content director Joei Chan writes in Mention.

“With our increasing dependence on smartphones, the consumer journey has been fractured into hundreds of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments,” Chan continues. “Each one is a critical opportunity for brands to shape our decisions and preferences.”

Getting consumers to act
For marketers, micro-moments are an opportunity to get consumers to act when their expectations are high and their time is short. With over half of smartphone users discovering new companies or products when conducting searches online—and with brand awareness increasing by 46% when a company simply shows up in mobile search results—marketers have a lot of opportunities to maximize micro-moments.

For instance, a 20-something male watching a sports recap on his phone on YouTube may be persuaded to test drive the newest model of his favorite car brand. Or, a woman who goes online for help creating a top-knot hairstyle would probably be receptive to trying out a promising new hair product to keep that updo in place.

By using videos to put your brand in the middle of these moments, you can effectively address your customers’ needs and “help move them along [in] their decision journey,” Choi writes.
Micro-moments also help companies break out of the traditional linear sales funnel and present relevant content that aligns with those split seconds of time.

It’s important to remember to focus on creating an intuitive experience that guides customers to a frictionless purchase when developing video or other content. Use these micro-moments to tell your brand’s story, maximize these small flashes of time and improve your advertising return on investment.

Riding the ecommerce wave
With ecommerce sales expected to surpass $740 billion by 2023 in the U.S.—and 81% of shoppers researching products online before hitting “buy”—marketers can maximize micro-moments by simply listening to customers. For example, use social listening to ask simple questions in an Instagram story or on Twitter, or use a current event to grab your customer’s attention in the moment.

Younger consumers may be especially receptive to micro-moment marketing. “The question to ask is: ‘Would your Gen Z customer be interested in participating in a conversation with your brand about an ugly sweater?’” UNiDays asks. “If the answer is ‘yes,’ then perfect. Once you’ve found something that will resonate with Gen Z preferences, you can start a fun dialogue that might just convert to a sale.”
While disruptive and challenging, the global pandemic has also given marketers more opportunities to engage with their customers through micro-moments.

For example, with more people interacting, socializing and shopping online, the number of potential “touches” has undoubtedly grown exponentially since 2020. And with the average smartphone user checking his or her phone 63 times a day (even higher with Gen Z audiences), there are still a lot of untapped touchpoints to explore and monetize.

15 Ways To Show Marketing ROI Beyond Sales Revenue

Some agency clients may think that an immediate bump in sales revenue is the only way to gauge the ROI of a marketing campaign. Of course, measuring the results of any campaign is more complex than simply tracking conversions.

While agency professionals might be focused on other positive aspects and developments, the real key to success lies in making sure the client understands the value of these less obvious metrics. But aside from increasing sales, what’s one method agencies can use to show clients the ROI of their work when it’s not apparent to the client?

Here, members of Forbes Agency Council discuss 15 unique methods of showing ROI to marketing and advertising clients that illuminate a far bigger picture than the number of sales.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Set Micro-Goals For SEO Campaigns

SEO inevitably becomes the least expensive acquisition channel for all businesses, but those results don’t come until you put in strong efforts early on and accept that you’ll see little return on those investments for weeks, or even months. It’s important to set micro-goals in these scenarios. We look at how many times a ranking occurs before we look at how many times a ranking gets clicked on. – Brent Payne, Loud Interactive, LLC

2. Track Clicks To Show Activity And Interest

Long-term partnerships often take time and don’t garner immediate growth for a client, but the revenue driven in the end is worth the wait. Setting expectations and early KPIs (other than ROI) can help the client focus on what’s important at the launch of a campaign. A good example of this is tracking clicks to show activity and interest before jumping into revenue. – Abby Campbell, Perform[cb] Agency

3. Study Customer Journey Analytics To Set Expected Timelines

Study the customer journey analytics closely for time dependencies to set client expectations. For example, unknown brands with high price points will see a much longer customer journey across a variety of touchpoints and devices. Pro tip: In Google Analytics, you can see this clearly in the Multi-Channel Funnels and Path Length reports to set a baseline for when to expect ROI on campaigns. – Jacob Cook, Tadpull

4. Measure Inbound Traffic, Queries And Social Media Engagement

It is unlikely that clients will see an immediate increase in sales. A better way to measure the success of your marketing or communications campaign is to look at your analytics for an increase in inbound website traffic, queries and social media engagement. If you don’t see these increases within the first quarter, it’s time to reassess your tactics. – Valerie Chan, Plat4orm PR

5. Use Different Metrics Across Different Time Horizons

There are many metrics used to gauge the ROI of a campaign, and it’s important to look at these metrics across different time horizons. For instance, sales, engagement and impressions are great metrics to measure across both the short term and the long term; repeat purchases and increased LTV are great metrics for the medium and long term. – Michael McFadden, eAccountable

6. Focus On Upper And Mid-Funnel Outcomes

Focus on measurable outcomes throughout the upper and middle parts of the funnel. This could be video completions, PDF downloads/content consumption or lead/contact form submits. Measuring these actions and optimizing toward an efficient cost per action allows us to prove that our marketing efforts are working while also collecting an audience that can be retargeted for future, lower-funnel efforts. – Russ Williams, Archer Malmo

7. Show Clients Metric Tracking Data

Showing clients metric tracking data does the trick. Numbers are harder to argue with than vague ideas of what successful sales goals should be. One method we use is to show exactly where and how marketing efforts are impacting visibility, increasing traffic and spurring growth. Set up a comparison of industry standards for perspective, and then you can say, “Look here—these are your dollars at work.” – Dmitrii Kustov, Regex SEO

8. Review How Boosting Longer-Term Indicators Also Lifts Revenue

ROI in terms of increased sales or revenue is usually a key indicator of a successful campaign. Other, longer-term indicators of a successful campaign include increases in activity, engagement with consumers, responsiveness, impressions and overall brand sentiment lift. These metrics should eventually lead to revenue lift as well. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

9. Think About Lifetime Value

In many instances, it actually makes sense to take a loss on a new customer or first-time purchase if you know the long-term value will be profitable for the business. Think of your loss leaders as “gateway” products that can bring you loyal customers willing to buy big-ticket items. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

10. Report Both Returns On Investment And Returns On Influence

There are two methods of reporting ROI to a client: as a return on investment and as a return on influence. Influence focuses on visibility, engagement and audience numbers. Investment is specifically targeting conversion-based metrics that you can track and tying them to the investment. Together, they tell the full story. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

11. Prove Aspirational ROI With A Quarterly Survey

ROI can only exist in two categories; it’s either part of an objective or part of an aspiration. Objective measurement is easy because it’s tangible. An aspirational ROI is far more difficult to measure, as it requires understanding what behaviors need to happen over time that will lead you to that goal. One way to do that is to create a baseline survey and distribute it every quarter. – Roger Hurni, Off Madison Ave

12. Use Distinct Metrics Based On The Client’s Biggest Goals

It depends on what the client’s biggest issues and goals are. For example, if there is a negative brand perception, do pre- and post-campaign surveys to measure the change. If the goal is more leads, measure website traffic to landing pages used in email campaigns and paid digital. Sales cycles vary; in healthcare tech, for instance, they can often last 12 to 18 months, so ROI should be measured in other ways too. – Jodi Amendola, Amendola Communications

13. Measure The Incrementality Of Advertising

One important metric that clients overlook is incrementality, which is defined as the lift in your chosen KPI that can be attributed to advertising. Your true advertising ROI should reflect the amount spent on those who need it to convince them to buy, not what was spent on people who were already shoo-ins. That number might be lower, but it is a better indicator of how well your advertising is performing. – Jeremy Fain, Cognitiv

14. Give Clients Data They Can Use To Target More Specific Audiences

Not all ROI has to be measured with sales increases. Show clients consumer data such as page views, demographics, location, gender, age, interests, clicks and more. This is valuable information that companies can use to market to a more specific audience that already likes their brand. Data is a measurable ROI that may not necessarily be an increase in sales, but which can lead to it. – Tony Pec, Y Not You Media

15. Show The ROI Of Clients Maximizing Value For Their Customers

Many brands measure value gained from customers, but few put the same effort into maximizing value. As such, most organizations meet a fraction of customer needs and values. By exploring the link between customer performance indicators and customer lifetime value, companies can optimize how their brands help customers function and succeed while ultimately growing their bottom line. – Camille Nicita, Gongos, Inc.

Does this growth strategy apply to my business? 10 questions to ask yourself

From seminars to books to online gurus, there’s no shortage of advice out there on growing your business. However, it’s important to recall that no two companies are identical in their circumstances, offerings and goals.

Not every growth strategy applies to every business, and taking a blanket approach without consideration may not work out the way you’d like it to. To determine if a growth tactic is a fit for your unique situation, ask yourself these 10 important questions, as recommended by the members of Business Journals Leadership Trust.

The Business Journals

1. ‘What is typical for our industry?’
First, be realistic about your business and others like it. What is typical for your industry? Not all businesses can scale — ask yourself if you even want to scale. While the internet has leveled the playing field for digital services and allowed companies in that sector to grow very fast, those that require physical labor may require a more creative structure and financial support if they’re prepared to scale. Think of companies such as Uber, Lyft and so on. – Jean-Paul Gedeon, JPG MEDIA

2. ‘How does this match up with our organization’s goals?’
Before adopting any major change, including a growth strategy, leadership needs to revisit the organization’s goals and priorities. When these are clearly identified and articulated, you can then test a potential growth strategy against them. Ask, “Will this strategy get us to where we want to go, or will it lead somewhere else?” Understanding your endpoint will help you build the roadmap to get there. – Daniel Serfaty, Aptima, Inc.

3. ‘What is our risk factor?’
One factor to assess when deciding if a particular growth strategy is applicable to your business is your risk factor. If you are comfortable with pushing all of your chips to the center and betting it all, you can likely go with a more aggressive strategy. If your risk tolerance is lower, a slower or more proven route may be the better strategy. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

4. ‘Will this impact our culture or change our brand identity?’
Be honest with yourself. What is the mission of your company? If you are the owner, what is the vision? “Success” may not be growth in revenue and employees — it may be about impact. How many organizations or lives can you help improve? Ask yourself, “Will growth impact our culture? Will growth change our brand identity?” Design your metrics and actions to support your goals, not others’ definition of success. – Aviva Ajmera, SoLVE KC

5. ‘Will it help diversify our business?’
Every business needs to grow, but not always for the same reasons. Some businesses are stagnant or may even be realizing declining revenues, while others are growing slowly in markets that are growing more quickly — and losing share. Most often businesses need growth to diversify and to avoid concentration. A good growth approach (such as horizon growth) can help you to define future opportunities. – Mark Coronna, Chief Outsiders

6. ‘Is it a challenge for us?’
We have stopped saying, “What if” — rather, we ask, “How does this challenge provide growth to another level?” We have to take risks, good or bad; a decision is needed to see how far we can go. We believe in pivots and always try to be a step ahead. Isn’t this what makes us who we are? – Gene Yoo, Resecurity, Inc.

7. ‘Does this strategy have elements that have supported past growth?’
If the strategy being considered has any elements that have supported growth in the past, it has a high likelihood of being successful. What has worked in the past will likely work in the future. Being crystal-clear about specifics for growth will give you the advantage to surgically analyze every opportunity. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

8. ‘Do we have a clear offering and resources in place?’
Many businesses are trying to grow prematurely, and it’s a big mistake. To ensure consistent growth, you need to have the right people and enough resources to execute. You also need a clear product or service offering. Finally, you must have all the processes in place, functioning like clockwork. It doesn’t make sense to start growing if you haven’t covered those basics. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

9. ‘Can we fail fast?’
Set up a trial run and test it. Failure is not fatal, and when done well — and fast — it helps build the foundation for future success. Set up measurable tests and have the discipline to see them through and respond accordingly. Falling in love with one approach and not believing the data can be costly. – Jon Schram, The Purple Guys

10. ‘Does it align with my exit strategy?’
You’ll sell your business to a strategic buyer, a financial buyer, family, employees or partners. You might want to go public or close it down. If you don’t have an exit strategy, start there and work backward to see if your growth strategy fits the long-term exit strategy. – Josephine Firat, Firat Education