Category : Marketing Advice

Generation ZWhat’s next – Generation Z – Post Millennial Marketing

What’s next – Generation Z – Post Millennial Marketing

We’ve all heard about Millennials and how to market to them but what comes next? Well it’s Generation Z, also known as the iGeneration, the Founders, or the Plurals1. Anyway you name them, marketers and advertisers are gearing up to monopolize them. In this article, we will discuss who they are and what they will expect from businesses and brands.

Depending on the source, Gen Z’ers are born between 1993, and anywhere up to 2005 to the present day. They make up roughly 25% of the U.S. Population, making them a larger community than the Baby Boomers or Millennials. As Gen Z members are still largely kids and adolescents, many of their adult characteristics are yet to be vetted. Early indications are that they are increasingly self-aware, self-reliant, innovative, and goal-oriented. They also appear to be more pragmatic than their Millennial predecessors, but we’ll have to wait and see if that plays out as they age2. One major difference they have from their predecessors is that they do not remember a time without social media. As a result, they have a tendency to live their lives online and via their smartphones.

A 2014 study Generation Z Goes to College found that Generation Z students self-identify as being loyal, compassionate, thoughtful, open-minded, responsible, and determined. How they see their Generation Z peers is quite different from their own self-identity. They view their peers as competitive, spontaneous, adventuresome, and curious; all characteristics that they do not see readily in themselves.

The future of brands and businesses will depend on the next generation’s habits, characteristics, and goals; and we need to get ahead of the shift or risk the loss of employees and profits. It may be beneficial for companies to magnify their company culture and highlight their employees’ social responsibility. As in the case with Millennials, connecting their jobs to social impact will be a priority for Gen Zs.

Seemiller and Grace’s study of Generation Z revealed trends and behaviors that are influencing Generation Z’s attitudes about life, education and work3.

Here are some of their critical findings about the newer, next generation:

  • They are motivated by making a difference for others and not so much by public recognition.
  • They prefer to “do” rather than “lead” when working in groups
  • As much as they love their technology, they prefer face-to-face communication.
  • They lean left on social issues and center to right on financial issues
  • They use social media, but prefer to share on Instagram or Snapchat and follow on Facebook and Twitter. Although, Facebook is considered to be for “older” people.
  • To learn something new, they “YouTube it” before they “Google it.”
  • They care passionately about issues related to education, employment and racial equality.

These type of consumers stay loyal to the brands they shop, and stick with them throughout their life. In the long term, this is a jackpot for businesses, since they receive long term revenue benefits. They are more accepting of differences and are quick to eliminate those brands that do not foster an inclusive community. They have no expectation to be perfect. Rather than degrading others for their differences, they will be more accepting of natural beauty vs “photoshopped” perfection and won’t be loyal to brands and businesses that adhere to more traditional images. They would rather be unique and real.

Now that we know what makes them tick, how do we advertise and market to them?

To be successful, brands will need to utilize campaigns that embrace differences and remove the branding or logo as the featured image. The goal must be to enhance the personal character of the consumer, not the brand, and allow them to arrange the product or service to create whatever unique image they want to present4.

An example of a brand advertising correctly to the Plurals is Taco Bell. According to an article written by AdAge5, Melissa Friebe, VP-Taco Bell Insights Lab, began asking what it could do for the next generation. “It took some digging, and we found that similar themes are manifesting themselves in different ways.”

“We’re always in beta and trying things out,” said Ms. Friebe. She said that approach resonates with the way young people, who were born into technology, experience things. “[Our consumers] are used to living in this world where people are constantly trying something, seeing if it works and making changes.”

Bottom line is they will be brand loyal. If you reach them now they will stick around for years.


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website design for manufacturersDressing your Website for Success

Dressing your Website for Success

“Dress to impress.” “Dress for success.” “Always look your best.”

There are various sayings such as these that emphasize the importance of looking your absolute best in order to make a positive first impression. Whether it be an important job interview, a romantic date, or your first day of school, a first impression is crucial to how someone thinks of you. Similar to a job interview, your website will make a strong first impression on it’s viewers, but instead of wearing a nice outfit, your website must have an updated layout, theme, and color scheme.

An updated website can mean multiple things to your customers in the manufacturing industry. Most importantly, it means that your company cares about its image and always wants to look its best. If you care about your company, then future customers will see that and want to work with your company. Another bonus to dressing your website for success is that an updated website allows viewers to easily navigate throughout various pages and links. By having easy-to-use navigation features, your potential clients will have a positive experience, wanting them to return to your website, leading to potential business. Lastly, an updated website can ultimately give off the impression to potential clients that you are modern in the manufacturing world and ready to change according to what is the best for your company. Clients want to work with a manufacturing company that is always moving forward.

For more information on how to keep your website current, contact 360 Direct at 262-289-9210 or fill out our contact form here.

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video in manufacturingThe Importance of Video in 2016

The Importance of Video in 2016

Why Video?

2016. It’s a digital age and if you don’t keep up with the times then you risk being left behind by the competition. Marketing has long been an important component of successful businesses and that is not going to change this year, however the focus and strategies may be shifting. You may have heard the term “YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world”, and this is nothing but the truth. It processes more than 3 billion monthly searches, attracts 1 billion unique monthly users, and is bigger than Bing, Yahoo, Ask and AOL combined. Yes, you read that correctly, COMBINED. 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute with 6 billion hours viewed every month. In fact if YouTube was a country it would be the third biggest in the world behind China and India. So what am I getting at? In 2016 video content is essential.

So why the focus on video? What benefits does it offer? Well other than the wider reach offered by being accessible by 1 billion monthly YouTube users, there are significant other benefits.

  1. SEO Enhancement 70% of the top 100 search listings are now some form of video content meaning using video is now more important than ever. Search engines are effectively rewarding video users with an increased level of traffic. Increased level of traffic = increased leads. You do the math.
  2. Become More Memorable Everybody has heard the saying “a picture is worth a thousand words”, well video could be worth even more than that. A well constructed video can leave somebody with a bigger impression than a block of text ever could. By reaching out with video you will become more memorable and as a result more likely to capture a viewers business.
  3. Showcase Your Talents Whilst pictures and text can do a good job of explaining your products and services nothing can demonstrate the true qualities quite like a video does. It gives a different dimension and really lets the customer see the full attributes. It is more interactive and exciting and will no doubt end up engaging more prospective customers.

Application in Manufacturing:

The application for video within the manufacturing industry is massive. If a customer can see your workshop skills and machines in action as well as the quality of your work they are all the more likely to go into business with you. On top of this if you make a particularly good video highlighting your qualities it is likely to get many more views online than any one picture would (think athletes highlight reel). It helps people understand the process more and helps to cultivate a relationship with potential customers. By watching your business at work they feel like they already know you.

If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: video is the future.

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social-media-in-manufacturing4 Social Media Sites for Manufacturers

4 Social Media Sites for Manufacturers

As most of us know, the manufacturing industry can have, shall we say, a bit of an old school approach to marketing and the digital tools available. Many manufacturing execs do not see the need for social media channels to enhance the searchability of their brand and create qualified inbound leads that makes the sales process easier. Unknown corners of the Internet can seem a bit scary, and most prefer to stick to the old tactics they know best.

Now all of this does have to start with a website. For sake of conversation, we’ll assume you have a killer website already created.

Think of your website as Central Station and social media channels as the tracks leading in and out of the station. People coming and going and taking in as much as they can in short bursts. We’ll take a look at some of the key social media channels and the importance of using them for the manufacturing sector.

1. Twitter

Twitter is likely the hardest social media channel to convey its importance to manufacturers. “Why do I need Twitter?” “I don’t know how to use Twitter, why should I bother?” “Twitter is for the younger generation, not us.” First and foremost, Twitter is not just for the younger generation. More and more companies are finding usefulness in Twitter, no matter the age of the manager utilizing the program. Sales teams use it to quickly build what I would call an online roladex to call on later when the time is right. With Twitter, the fire can build so fast that a company can expose their message exponentially in a matter of minutes. The more eyes you have on your message, the more opportunity to sell your product/service to the right target with minimal effort.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a necessity for manufacturers for 2 reasons:

  1. It’s another great avenue for a digital presence. LinkedIn profiles are showing up high in search results without having to do any extra work, other than building a profile and maintaining steady posts. LinkedIn does the rest.
  2. Recruitment. LinkedIn is a resource that many young professionals looking for jobs are using as a tool to find companies of interest, and to make sure they see something interesting coming from the company. Manufacturers know that it is difficult to find good employees that are qualified or trainable. A good LinkedIn presence will help weed out those that may not be the right fit.

3. Facebook

Facebook helps bring humanity to a relatively sterile looking industry. The messages are light and the imagery is friendly. Again, like LinkedIn, Facebook will help in search results and those looking for a manufacturing job. Like Google Places, it also provides location and contact information in an accessible fashion for those trying to look you up. Searchers also consider an active company time-line to signal the credibility and success of a business.

4. Google+ and Google Places

We are all aware at this point that Google loves itself. So it’s simply a necessary step to be on the platforms Google owns. Google+ will help in search rankings and Google Places is what’s seen in the map search. Both are important and should be used simultaneously. These profiles greatly help drive relevancy for Google users as well, meaning, Google wants to be sure that their users are getting the right search results. A lot of it is location specific, so having those profiles again helps get you the right customers to your website or social sites.

There are many more social sites that can be utilized, such as, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, etc. It is highly important to talk to your marketing professional about the right social media channels to be on. Not every one of the channels is right for every company. Your target audience is out there, both buyers and potential employees; it’s using the right tool to engage them that gets your inbound marketing engine up and running.

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BloggingWhy Blogging Can Make a Difference

Why Blogging Can Make a Difference

What does food, shopping, movies, books, health, and relationship advice all have in common?

The answer: BLOGGING

Throughout the past 15 years, blogging has grown into an Internet phenomenon, with countless new blogs being created each day. It appears that any topic can be blogged about and anyone can be the author, ranging from celebrities to just the average person who wants to express his passion through writing. Blogging allows for endless possibilities in getting your thoughts out for all of society to see.

How is blogging applicable to marketing your company?

Find Your Perfect Outsource Marketing PartnerFind Your Perfect Outsource Marketing Partner

Find Your Perfect Outsource Marketing Partner

Imagine a world where Batman didn’t have Robin, Sherlock didn’t have Watson, Lewis didn’t have Clark, or Lennon didn’t have McCartney. It would feel as if a piece of something great was missing. Batman wouldn’t have stopped as many villains. Sherlock would not have solved as many mysteries. Lewis wouldn’t have discovered as much of the United States. And Beatles songs would never have skyrocketed to the top of the charts, forever changing music. Each individual needed his partner to achieve greatness. However, there is one great duo that I have forgotten to list: Your company and an outsource marketing agency.

Have you ever thought of outsourcing your marketing needs to a marketing agency, such as 360 Direct, that specializes in marketing plans and strategy? Just like Robin was to Batman, partnering with an agency can allow you to accomplish far more with less stress and uncertainty. Why worry about trying to focus on marketing yourself when an outsourced agency specializes specifically on marketing other companies? It’s far more effective to outsource your marketing to experts who already know how to make companies expand their profits, rather than trying to learn a crash course in an industry that often requires a master’s degree to be successful.

Outsource marketing is a great way to allow your employees to focus on what they do best at your company. If marketing is not your specialty, why waste time trying to do it yourself?

For more information on outsourcing your marketing needs, contact 360 Direct at 262-289-9210.

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There Can Be Only One...Advertising MessageThere Can Be Only One…Advertising Message

There Can Be Only One…Advertising Message

Too often I see good businesses harm their images and miss out on customers by trying to communicate a patchwork of their services, products, and values in several different places. All may be fantastic messages, but not when thrown together in different places. These businesses can benefit from choosing a cohesive advertising message, communicated clearly and consistently across all channels.

Let’s say your business has the best product available, amazing customer service, and a defined culture and set of values. Which of those qualities should your company communicate to its market? If you said all of them, you’re right…and wrong. All of those qualities are worthy of expressing, but communicating more than one at a time in different advertisements proves confusing to customers. Your business’ advertising message must be focused and steady. This doesn’t guarantee a good message, so much as the right one, but consistency is key.

The most important factors in choosing an advertising message are your market’s needs and wants. Cater to the most pressing issues with your idea, and show your targets your business’ other qualities when they walk through the door. Depending on what your market requires, your business should say what you need it to say, not just what you want it to say.

Consider the following example. Your business provides an amazing experience that goes above and beyond anything any customer could possibly expect. Everyone who does business with you is enthusiastically happy and can’t wait to shout it from the top of a mountain. This is a great message to broadcast, except that your market’s biggest need is your product. Your advertising message should couple the need with the want. Great customer service is what people want (and they deserve it), but your product fills a need. That should be in the message you convey.

Now that you’ve determined what you’re going to tell your market, it’s time to be consistent. Communicate your message in a magazine ad. Post it on your Web site, in your newsletter, your presentation folder, sell sheets, brochures, radio spots—and every other channel you use to market your business. Then make sure all staff who interact with customers, from sales to customer service, all speak the same message. A consistent message is just as important as the message itself, and provides three key benefits:

1. Consistency eliminates confusion. Highlighting your product in one place, then your customer service in another, and your values somewhere else can be confusing and frustrating for your market. It is likely that one or more of those communications is not what your market needs to hear. Potential customers will think, “They said product there, and values here. Which one should I believe?” Saying the same thing everywhere eliminates this confusion.

2. Consistency creates lasting impressions. If all your materials, Web site, and advertisements carry the same message, you guarantee that your market will hear the right thing whether they talk to you, visit your business, see your ad, or look for you online. Each impression reinforces your message, and your market will begin to associate your business with an idea that they have been exposed to by your advertisement.

3. Consistency keeps customers. Repeatedly hearing your message that addresses your market’s need drills the message into your market’s collective head to come back to you whenever they have a need for a product or service like yours.

What you communicate to your market is just as important for gaining and keeping customers as the product or service your business provides. Decide what message you need to communicate with your market. Then, communicate that message with consistency through all channels and human resources.

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Why the World Would End Without Small Business MarketingWhy the World Would End Without Small Business Marketing

Why the World Would End Without Small Business Marketing

The most fragile part of the American economy is also the most important, with 2 out of every 3 jobs created being generated by small business.

So how do they compete when they’ve got the odds stacked against them? With lower budgets, smaller markets, and less revenue than behemoths like Walmart, you’d think they’d be out of luck. But just take a look at this one-woman-retailer carving herself a piece of Amazon’s market share. Or this 21st century cobbler with a seriously global brand.

Small businesses make it big all the time – the stories are everywhere. So what’s the difference between the successful ones and those that fail? Well-strategized small business marketing.

Small Business Marketing Creates Niches

Take the previously mentioned small-scale retailer. Darcy Lee has made herself the place for finding the perfect gift for any loved one in a whole lot less time than the hours spent browsing the e-commerce sites of her competitors.

“Heartfelt is all about one-on-one personal shopping and finding the right thing for that special person.”

Darcy isn’t worried about big time retailers duplicating her personal approach, because in this case, bigger means less personal. And personality is the meat and potatoes of her brand.

Small Business Marketing Transmits Personality

Social media is one way to reach out to customers and allow them to bond with you on a level deeper than “Here’s some ________ you should buy. It’s nice.” Posts including pictures, jokes, memes, or something useful other than your product builds trust, and from there, an actual relationship. It’s these emotional ties that make customers choose smaller businesses over bigger ones.

For some social media inspiration, take a look at what these small businesses have done with their Twitter presence.

Small Business Marketing Creates a Roadmap

Small companies are acutely aware of their stature in comparison to their competitors, and are therefore taking measures to compensate for it. At least that’s what the data says. And according to that data, the little guys (as opposed to enterprise companies) are more likely to have a content marketing plan, as well as someone to oversee and implement it, so their digital efforts aren’t wasted.

So instead of pinching pennies and marketing willy-nilly, successful small businesses are making online marketing an investment. And that investment is growing fast. But that’s only content marketing. There are so many other strategies for small businesses to take advantage. At 360, most businesses we see aren’t aware of all that’s out there, and the ones that are, are reaping the benefits.

Biggest takeaway from this chunk of data: explore your options and put someone in charge of implementing them, because a well researched and well executed marketing plan can only help your business. We should all be dedicated to helping small businesses become thriving enterprises. One such help is CloudPay services that enable business to manage their payroll in an efficient and effective fashion. This would certainly be ideal for most businesses.

So maybe the world wouldn’t end if small business marketing wasn’t a thing. But our economy sure wouldn’t be the same if the millions of small businesses across the country didn’t have a way to survive on a stage monopolized by the Amazons of the world.

Curious about what 360 has to offer when it comes to marketing? Check us out by clicking the graphic below.

And if you’d like to see more from us, give us your email and we’ll keep you updated on the latest marketing insights.

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The Guide to Growing a Startup with Inbound MarketingThe Guide to Growing a Startup with Inbound Marketing

The Guide to Growing a Startup with Inbound Marketing

When you’ve just built a new business or are trying to start growing a startup with very little money to throw around in the name of marketing, having someone else who’s been there done that lay it all out for you, can be pretty useful.

…Or even if you’ve been around forever, but still need to brush up on the basics of Inbound Marketing, someone else doing the work for you is always convenient.

Wherever in the business world you come from, we have Dharmesh Shah from Hubspot to thank for putting together this fantastic (and entertaining) Slide Share on how inbound can help your business take off, NASA-style.

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