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Amsterdam, Integrators and Belgian Beer

Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) is one of my favorite trade shows. Launched in 2004, I’ve watched it grow tremendously in the ten years I’ve attended. As a joint venture between InfoComm and CEDIA, it’s the largest AV show in the world with 60,000 visitors this year.

I love going to Amsterdam. From Lang’s stunning 432” 8K display to the Italian Garvan ceramic hanging loudspeakers, some of the coolest tech products in the world are all under one roof. And, the food is spectacular – even at the RAI Convention Center! There are fresh flowers everywhere. Did I mention you can get great Belgian beer on tap?

Marketing Matters worked with four of our clients at ISE this year – Metra Home Theater Group, KanexPro, StreamUnlimited and Jetbuilt. Product debuts included everything from cutting-edge audio connectivity and streaming software/modules, a cool new video tiler switcher scaler and a super-economical video distribution system to automated purchase order features in online AV proposal software. You may have seen these recent product introductions in ISE show coverage or trade publications.

You can view some fantastic images from my trip on our Facebook page. I hope you enjoy them!

What is a meme and what does it have to do with my brand?

Internet memes have become a cultural phenomenon, bringing together diverse generations and cultures over common pop culture trends. Meme, pronounced as “mēm” was coined by Richard Dawkins, a British evolutionary biologist, as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles to explain the spread of cultural phenomenon’s and trends. If you’ve perfected the art of collectively sharing cultural ideas through words, symbols and pictures; and if done right; they tend to go viral. Ranging from jokes, urban legends, viral videos, funny pictures or contagious music, memes have a large influence on modern language as they resonate and gain momentum and exposure. Memes offer an interesting proposition for marketers looking to get creative, whether you create the meme or just spoof it while it’s hot.

Think your brand could use a little extra flavor with the power of memes? Here’s a few things you need to know about responsibly using meme marketing for corporate social media:

1. Pay attention to pop culture: If you want to understand what people are thinking, why things are trending and if an idea is going to be popular, it’s crucial to pay attention to the culture. How can you create a meme or anything for modern thinkers if you don’t put yourself in that mindset? Study trends that are popular and pay attention to memes that have been received well in the past. It’s important to do your research.

2. Work quickly: Once something is trending in pop culture that is appropriate to the brand, it’s important to work quickly. Jumping right on board not only positions the brand as a trendsetter but you’ll have a better chance of it catching on. There’s a short shelf life to memes, like most things in pop culture. Most of pop culture follows a trend where it catches on, sometimes quickly, and escalates in popularity before it peaks and gradually falls off. Timing is everything.

3. Relevancy to your audience: We can’t stress enough how important it is to study the audience and understand the things that are relevant to them. Additionally, you have to select things that are relevant to the brand you’re trying to promote. It’s crucial that the content is both engaging and resonates with the people you’re trying to reach. Promoting a meme that doesn’t click with the projected audience is a waste of time, energy and resource and could potentially cause a disconnect between a brand and their target audience.

4. Cost and timeframe: Determine how much the brand is willing to spend on development of memes and how long it will take to develop the creative. According to a recent article from Bloomberg, “Some memes can bring in anywhere from a few thousand dollars for a single licensed broadcast of a popular video to six figures for an integrated marketing campaign based around a meme,” and that’s only if it’s properly executed. Lately, brands such as Nike, Nokia, and Lipton Brisk Iced Tea have utilized their own original memes while brands such as Coca-Cola, Sony and Google have purchased rights to popular pop culture videos to include in their advertising.

5. Don’t use expired milk: Continuing to use a meme after the popularity has expired is a bad idea and it makes a brand seem like they’re out of touch with their audience. It’s important to understand that the content created in a meme will only be relevant for a particular amount of time. New trends are constantly forming and something that was hot four months ago most likely isn’t hot now. Make the most of the timeframe you’ve created and be prepared for upcoming trends.

Memes can be the trendiest way to market a brand without incurring a large expense. Unique trends spread like a virus so always be proactive and look for elements of a brand that can be meme-worthy. Interested in creating a meme for your brand? Enlist in the help of the professionals.

You’re Ruining Your Business By Not Knowing This Single Word

By Guess Blogger Johnnie Sanchez, Adelyte

The #1 thing you’re doing wrong with your business? You don’t know your clients or your potential clients psychographics. Which basically means you don’t know anything about them. You may know that they’re generally between the ages of 45-55, male, and live in Kansas. You know their demographics, but you barely know their geographics or psychographics.

Demographics: Studies of a population based on factors such as age, race, sex, economic status, level of education, income level and employment, among others.

Geographics: Studies where your clients are buying or where they live. From the data you collect, you can then divide markets based on city, county, state’s, region’s, country’s or any other way that makes sense.

Psychographics: Studies the personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles of your clients.

Surprisingly, little has been written about psychographics. A quick search on Amazon reveals that books about the topic are sparse and have mainly been sequestered into textbooks. Psychographics is really just about the natural curiosity we have towards people, specifically in terms of the people who we serve or could potentially serve.

Let’s set up an example case:

Bob owns two different branches of his family-owned Home Electronics Store, HES. One is in Portland, Oregon, and the other one is in Bend, Oregon.

The HES office in Portland, OR is located in the 97266 zip code. It survived the Great Recession, and has steadily made 1.2M gross profit the last few years. He made $3M gross profit in 2001 though, and he wants to get back there and exceed it. He employs five people, including himself.

After crunching some numbers, Bob could tell you that 63% of his clients have come from the Lake Oswego neighborhood, zip code 97034. Bob could immediately tell you that Lake Oswego clients are 50-80 years of age, 90% white, are highly educated, and usually married. Bob couldn’t tell you anything else in depth.

The HES office in Bend, OR is located in the 97756 zip code. It takes a little over three hours to get there from Portland, and he checks in about once a month. His son, Tommy, has run it with his wife, Tammy, for over 3 years. HES-Bend employs 3 people, including Tommy and Tammy. It made $200K gross profit in 2014. Tommy needs more customers who will spend larger amounts of money, but he doesn’t know where to find them.

How do Bob and Tommy use geographics and psychographics to better strategically run their businesses, build more meaningful relationships with their current and potential clients, and ultimately increase their profits?

Bob must first realize that the most important thing about his business is his clients. And then sales. Not the other way around. They are worth studying. Most small business owners think of marketing as an after thought after the 17 other things they do in a given day. Studying your clients will save you a lot of time in the future though, and will help you properly market and sell to the right people. So Bob clears an entire Saturday to do this.

He’s realized that where exactly his clients live is very important, and that he can figure out clues about his clients directly from zip codes with free tools like Esri ZIP Lookup. He looks up the zip code “97034”. Median age is 49.4, median income is $103K, and “Top Tapestry Segments” include fancy phrases like “Exurbanites”, “Top Tier”, and “Urban Chic”. Huh?

By reading their definitions he finds out that people in this zip code tend to be:

  • “Empty nesters…approaching retirement…tech savvy”

These clients will be interested in the newest gadgets, and might have some coins to throw for grandkids gifts. They’re of the generation that will want to touch and feel something before they buy it. They might have extra time to go shopping in person since many are retired. Don’t be afraid to invest in some fun stock that people can immediately buy when they walk in the door.

  • “We support the arts and local radio/TV”

They listen to public radio and TV. Should Bob start paying for ad’s on the top stations? How can Bob network with the local arts? Can he host local art conferences or meetings in his showroom?

  • “We go online for everything. Quality instead of price governs our shopping choices.”

They go online for everything. When they google “portland home entertainment systems” where can HES be found? Are they the first result? Are they on the third page? Bob needs to start researching SEO (search engine optimization) next.

By knowing this information, he can also gleam that coupon’s won’t help him out. They’re not concerned with price. They want the best quality they can find. Selling tactics should almost never include giving discounts.

  • “We travel frequently…visiting our second homes in the US or overseas.”

Many of these people might have possible other projects they need done (without even knowing it). It’s Bob’s job (or his salesman’s job) to upsell them into getting systems for their vacation homes or businesses.

  • “We…shop…at high-end retailers for anything we desire.”

What local high-end retailers can Bob cross-promote with? What local interior designers can he connect with? By giving other business’s a percentage cut of any system they sell, everyone wins.

Bob’s Conclusion for HES-Portland

Bob looks up where his office is located, “97266”. He’s never gotten a lot of sales in his vicinity, or in the surrounding vicinity’s. His showroom is located in an area that makes 2.5 times less than that of the Lake Oswego area, with a median income of 39K. That alone is enough reason to not focus marketing to that neighborhood. Without even knowing it, Bob has started to gain a lot of knowledge that will help him when he makes a buyer persona or ideal customer.

Bob decides to double his efforts in Lake Oswego and focus on researching zip codes with incomes of at least a median income of $100K. He immediately finds 97229, 97068, 98606. If he has a particularly special theater, he could even eventually market it nationally, especially if the theater/system would sell for $500K+.