Are you doing the Deadline Scramble?

Is the Deadline Scramble the latest dance craze in your office? If it is, we’re here to help!

As many spread sheets as you create, calendars you layout, and to-do lists you lay down, it is inevitable that some urgent project will slip through the cracks and force you to drop everything and start working at warp speed to make that 5 o’clock deadline.
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Back to Basics: What is your Marketing Objective?

When it comes to this whole marketing thing, do you sometimes feel like you’re in over your head? Maybe you’re new to the “branding” concept? You hear so much talk about “engaging your audience” via Facebook and social media, but are you completely lost in where to even start?

I’m not surprised. Go ahead, just try Googling “marketing ideas.” You’ll get 40,200,000 search results.

Talk about information overload. No wonder most business owners don’t even want to think about their marketing, so they put it off for as long as possible. I’m thinking you need a little direction. Am I right?

I’m gonna level with you – doing it right is not as easy as it looks. That’s why there are millions of professional marketing firms out there. And for the most part, the professionals will do a good job for you. But whether you’re coming up with the creative ideas, or you’re paying someone else to do it for you, you should NEVER go into your own marketing strategy blindly. It’s EXTREMELY important that you get involved. After all, who knows your clients, your product and your company’s needs and goals better than you do?

So before you delve into the details of how often to Tweet and which keywords to base your SEO around, let’s start with the basics. I just want to get your feet wet and get you thinking. Always start by figuring out what your marketing OBJECTIVE is. Everything else will come from there.

What’s your Objective?

1. Awareness – Potential customers must know of, or be reminded of your existence, your location, your product, your price range, and what makes you stand out from the competition

2. Build Contact List – Your mailing list is like gold. It’s what you rely on for promoting any campaign, and it takes a lot of nurturing to build and keep.

3. Get Involved – Your business is not soul-less. Companies are made up of people, and people like to patronize companies that they know go out of their way to help other people. Your company’s positive image reinforces the perception that you are genuinely caring and sharing.

4. Staff Incentives – A cared for and happy team makes for a harmonious, smooth operation. Customers can tell when your employees don’t want to be there. Think about the grouchy, frowning cashier at the supermarket. Make sure your employees feel appreciated!

5. Excitement – This is the kind of energy and excitement that makes you stand out from the competition. This is when you need to turn on your thinking cap and come up with some really creative promotions.

6. Frequency – When you’re trying to be “the place to go.” This is a brand loyalty thing, and keeping them coming as frequently as possible.

7. Publicity – For this one you’ve got to be interesting and newsworthy. Maybe you’re doing BIG things for the community, or you’re doing something so completely out of the box that it’s a story too good to pass up.

8. Generate Traffic - Simply getting people in the door or on the website is your goal here. Contests are great for this! You want to get potential customers to complete some sort of action, whether it’s entering the contest or downloading a form.

9. Branding – Image is everything. Period. If you don’t define your company and your brand, the market will define it for you. And that’s never what you want!

10. Increase Sales – a.k.a. Up-selling – This is every CEO’s favorite! From the sneaky but ingenious psychological tactics (a la putting candy, gum and magazines in the grocery checkout line) to having an in-depth understanding of how your industry works, there are really unlimited opportunities to do this one.

11. Creating Activity - Most industries have their “slow” periods during the year, but that’s not set in stone. This is where you will get creative to make the slow season profitable.

12. Trial Offer – Who’s gonna turn down a free sample? Come on, you’ll love it. This is when you really want to get those potential customers who are living on the edge to finally make the plunge – but without any of the risk.

(Great list compiled by Tom Feltenstein – And if you’re looking for a good book on the basics, try Tom’s “Encyclopedia of 401 Proven Killer Promotional Tactics”)

Meet Ally: Baltimore’s Best Copy Writer!

Alexandra L.

Nickname: “Ally”

She’s worked her way up the ranks from college intern to copy writing Project Manager of the entire creative team at MOS. This September marks her 2 year anniversary – make sure to wish her congrats when you see her!

First thing she does in the AM: Brush her teeth! This chipper lady is always ready to greet the team with a Crest smile.

Guiltiest pleasure: HGTV’s House Hunters. We love the suspense of a good apartment hunt!

What she loves about MOS: The people, especially the Creative Team.

Her personal style in 3 words: Eclectic, Bi-polar, seasonal – it’s a girl’s prerogative to change her mind.

How she got to where she is today: While working as Editor-in-Chief of “The Villager,” Stevenson University’s school newspaper, a fellow co-ed and former MOS intern brought Ally in for an interview. She clicked with the whole crew and the rest is Ad world history.

Her favorite place in the world (besides work) : The beaches of Southern Italy. Pass us a slice of ¬†mozzarella and we’ll gladly join!

Last thing she does at night: Listen to “The Secret Universal Mind“, a meditation CD to help her re-coop after busy days at the office.

Her life motto: “You don’t have to know the answer to everything, you just need to know where to find it.” -such wise words; we’re all working on this one!

Neighbor marketing when you’re the new kid in town

When I started high school I didn’t know anybody. Literally, the first day I school I walked through those hollow halls and did not know a single soul. We had moved that summer, to a brand new house in a brand new town and a brand new state. Everyone else around me had known each other since kindergarten. They already had their clicks and social classes established. I was the new kid in high school. I bet you don’t envy me that.

And I don’t regret it a bit. Trust me, being the new kid has its perks. It’s a fresh start. You can create your image and define yourself to your neighbors. You can be whatever you want to be! That’s what I liked about it in high school, and that’s what i like about it still today, as we settle in to our great big new office space in a new neighborhood and new part of town. We get to be the new kids again, and meet a whole new set of neighbors!

I don’t just mean the local businesses near our Columbia office. I mean our new friends who work in the other offices of our complex. I never had trouble making friends back in high school, and things haven’t changed since then. If you’ve ever spent time in our office, you know that we aren’t shy.

So how do we plan on meeting the new neighbors in style? The same way we carry out any serious initiative… By planning an (inexpensive) full campaign around it, of course. What better way to get acquainted to our new surroundings (and network with people who know other people) than to host a “conversations and cocktails” office-warming party.

We’ll share a few drinks and funny stories, compile a list of birthdays,

I can’t even emphasize how important first impressions are. So be excited to be the new kid in town!

Grand Prix is a Boost for Business, but a Pain in the Butt for Baltimoreans

Is the economic boost really worth the HEADACHE for people living in the city?

Crazed drivers high on adrenaline will be speeding through the Baltimore city streets at ridiculous speeds, drafting around sharp turns and probably resulting in several head-on collisions with the wall and other drivers. So what makes this scene different from any other day in Baltimore City? This time it’s sanctioned. It’s Baltimore’s Grand Prix, baby!

In case you haven’t noticed the precariously placed sets of bleachers that have magically erected in the harbor over the last few weeks, and inconvenient road closures that you’ve been swearing at for weeks now, something exciting is coming to town. Exciting, that is, unless you have to navigate anywhere in a hurry this weekend. Even getting to work this morning was a frustrating experience.

The Baltimore Business Journal has already reported about the traffic nightmares today, including Lombard St. traffic halting to a stop during this morning’s rush hour, and creating some cranky commuters. One woman complained about sitting in traffic one block from her office for an hour. That’s enough to drive any rational person way over the edge. Continue reading