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Published by Bill White , April 17th, 2015
 
Feeding the New Beast
 
There are few things more angst-ridden than sitting in front of a blank screen eager for words. Not so long ago we called this blank page “The Beast”. No more.
 
The real Beast is something we can’t see. It’s an ambiguous, amorphous and cold-blooded reality called The Algorithm. Powerful, deadly, rich with cash, better leveraged than anything Atlas needed to move the earth, it’s now controlling our lives and businesses.
 
As we know, the search engine is the way we find anything and everything in an instant, at home and at work. Understanding The Algorithm is the key to organic search engine results.
 
As marketers, we have no defense against such an invasive and seductive tool beyond our ability to understand The Algorithm, learn to use it, keep a light touch on the controls and avoid getting comfortable; it will surely change tomorrow.
 
Intelligent Content has emerged as the newest buzz phrase in the marketing world. According to the Content Marketing Institute, Intelligent Content is “structurally rich and semantically aware, . . . automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable, and adaptable.”
 
Shakespeare was way ahead of all this.
 
"If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, speak then unto me."
 
Intelligent Content is our key to managing The Algorithm. It is a phrase dumped into a new corporate silo managed by a new crop of corporate chiefs building new rules about what’s said about a brand on the global digital platform. All must bow to The Algorithm in the quest for a page one ranking.
 
At OffWhite we’ve made it our business to craft content around and within websites and social media to match what The Algorithm wants to see. This combination of words and phrases, repeated with continuity throughout website and social media posts, is what The Algorithm requires before we are rewarded with a rise in search rankings.
 
Our business of information management and education as a marketing tool remains the same. In the new world, however, we must craft our messages with consideration for each word, knowing that fewer words improve the potency of the words we ultimately use. Less is more.
 
From words to phrases, phrases to pages, pages to logic paths within site maps, we must orchestrate what we say with a renewed appreciation for efficiency in language, a reality imposed by our hunger to find things on the internet at light speed.
 
It is The Algorithm that drives our addiction. It is Intelligent Content that tames the Beast.
 
 
 
 
Published by Jane Cirigliano, October 31st, 2014

Terrified Marketing ProfessionalIn honor of Halloween, here are some scary marketing statistics.

 
79% of your leads will never convert to customers (Hubspot)
Lead nurturing is an art. Find out what information your prospects need, and speak right to their pain points. Aid your efforts with marketing automation programs that prequalify prospects for follow up.
 
 
By 2020, 85% of your customers will complete their purchases without ever interacting with a human (Gartner Predicts)
Learning how your prospects make buying decisions has never been more important. Automated customer experiences through email marketing, social media, ecommerce, retargeted ads, and more will drive sales in the future. Personalize your content to target buyers as they move through your sales process and interact with your brand.
 
 
In 2012, there were 6 times as many display ads served up to website visitors as there were pages on the internet (Hubspot)
The information overload that customers experience on a daily basis has trained them to tune out ads. Even if you are reaching your perfect demographic through advertising efforts, it doesn’t mean that your message will resonate.
 
 
63% of consumers need to hear your message 3-5 times before it registers (Hubspot)
With all of the clutter out there, consistency and reach are key. Your brand message must be clearly defined and presented methodically across multiple marketing channels. Reach your customers where they are instead of waiting for them to come to you.
 
 
75% of consumers don’t go beyond the first page of search results (Hubspot)
Search engine optimization and content optimization are more critical now than ever before. Develop and invest in a content marketing strategy to ensure that you can be found in the deluge of information available to your potential customers.
 
 
A product recommendation from a friend is up to 50 times more likely to trigger a sale than a recommendation from a stranger (Hubspot)
While customer reviews are highly valuable, finding your brand champions and leveraging them on social media, blogs and other new media can have a larger impact.
 
 
If you are having marketing nightmares, contact Bill White for a solution.
 
 
 
Published by Bill White , September 4th, 2014
 
People are the most valuable assets of any organization. Developing employees increases productivity, enhances performance, and ensures quality service throughout the organization. The first step to a holistic professional development program begins with consistent, interactive training. Corporate training programs can be implemented in one of two ways: 1) developed and integrated internally, or 2) constructed and launched by an outside firm.
 
There are benefits and downfalls to both methods. If you force an already busy internal staff to determine what training materials need created on top of their list of other duties, there will likely be inconsistency and gaps in information. If you contract an outside firm to deliver your training, information may be missed or overlooked simply because they do not have the same background and expertise as your internal staff.
 
At OffWhite, we have developed a “hybrid” method to help create and launch your training program. Through initial information gathering and collaboration with your internal staff, we can develop an outline for professional development that eventually turns into a standalone, online training system that can be managed and populated by your staff from anywhere with internet access.
 

Step-by-Step Curriculum Development Process

  1. Curriculum Outline - We become familiar with your company, your goals, and the corporate culture. Once we understand what you need to say and how you need to say it, we then develop an information map which turns into a hierarchical model of your curriculum. During these discussions, we also help you determine what delivery platform will work best for your particular situation and user group.

  2. Raw Materials Review - All currently available digital and hard copy raw materials are gathered and organized into informational repositories as staging materials for the upcoming curriculum build.

  3. Copy Development - A full length narrative is written based on the curriculum outline and the gathered raw materials. This narrative provides the directives that drive the remainder of the content housed in the curriculum and serves as the main copy narrative that will be placed in each module or course to engage students that learn best by reading.

  4. Beta – Branded Prototype - Once all of the content files are created, the branded prototype of your curriculum is built and delivered for testing. Trial accounts and passwords are issued so that you can review the content, take quizzes and offer feedback prior to full deployment.

  5. Build Out - The build out phase of the curriculum involves finalizing the content management customization and completely populating the system with the remaining content pieces, including copy narratives, presentations, videos and audio files. Once completed, our team provides you with the administrative rights to begin setting up user groups.

  6. Ongoing Training and Maintenance - Our team can help train your staff on how to use your new curriculum program and will assist in maintaining content and administrative oversight until you are comfortable taking over program leadership.
 
OffWhite has always been systematic in our approach to developing marketing campaigns for a wide range of scientific and technical markets. This approach works equally well for curriculum development, regardless of overall size and market.
 
To learn more about our approach or to get started on building your education program, contact us at 800.606.1610.
 
 
 
Published by Rebecca Miller, August 7th, 2014
By now, you’ve probably caught on to the idea that your website needs to be mobile compatible in order for your business to remain competitive in the marketplace. According to Forbes Insights’ report, “The Connected Executive: Mobilizing the Path to Purchase,” 90 percent of B2B decision makers are using their smartphones and tablets daily to complete business-related tasks. Of these senior-level executives, almost three-fourths confirmed that they would not engage with a company if they had a poor mobile experience.
 
Another tidbit of marketing advice that you’ve likely heard is that you need to have a social media presence and social marketing strategy. In a way, these two pieces of advice are connected. While you’ve likely adjusted your website to meet these expectations, have you applied the reality of mobile to your social media plan?
 
According to the 2014 Nielsen Digital Consumer Report, 47 percent of smartphone users access social media on their phone daily. This percentage is likely to include the industry influencers, buyers and decision makers you are trying to reach.
 
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Another striking statistic from Forbes Insights, is that 78 percent of B2B decision makers use their personal time for mobile browsing. I think you and I both know executives aren’t immune to the temptation of checking their social networks while they’re on mobile, especially on their personal time. I mean apps make it so easy, right?
 

What does all of this mean to you?

Recognizing the shift from computers to mobile devices allows you to step back and look at social media in a different way. For most people, their phone doesn’t leave their side for more than two hours of the day. Social media is no longer a desktop experience; it’s an ongoing event. So, forget pushing advertising and promotions, and start trying to figure out how you can be a part of your target audience’s lifestyle.
 
At OffWhite, we thrive on the ever-changing digital landscape and the opportunities it brings. If you would like to learn more about our approach to social marketing or begin designing your own strategy contact us today.  
 
 
 
 
 
Published by Jane Cirigliano, July 24th, 2014
Email marketing has been an active part of digital marketing programs since the 1990s. As social media, big data, content marketing, SEO and more join the mix, is email marketing losing its relevancy?
 
Email marketing is adapting to the times. Email is still a main form of business communication. Everyone has an email account - it is a business necessity. Leveraging email communications to maximize your return on investment is an essential part of any digital marketing program. Here are a few ways you can ensure that your email campaigns are effective.
 
Visibility
No email campaign will be effective without a quality list, or better yet, multiple targeted lists. If the emails you are sending are not reaching the right people, or your recipients are not opening or engaging with your message, then you need to look closely at your email strategy and make some adjustments. To learn more about targeted lists, email personalization and cross-channel promotions, see our blog "Get More from Your Email Marketing."
 
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With the ever-changing news feed algorithms on social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook, email messages are more likely to be seen than social messages since they are sent directly to your customers' inboxes. According to a study by McKinsey & Company, email is one of the fastest growing customer acquisition channels, second behind organic search. Emails prompt purchases at almost three times the rate of social media, and the order dollar amounts are 17 percent higher.
 
Responsive Design
According to Lionbridge's 2014 Global Email Survey, 41 percent of recipients open email for the first time on a mobile device. If opened a second time, 70 percent use the same device, but 30 percent choose a different device.
 
Your messages have to be easily viewed in all screen sizes so the transition between devices is seamless. Responsive email design is being adopted by top brands to ensure that their messages are relevant and easy to understand on any device. And don't forget to send your email readers on to a responsive website so they can continue the experience as they respond to your calls to action.
 
Analytics and ROI
Based on findings from the Lionbridge survey, nearly 80 percent of marketers admitted to not being able to directly track ROI from email campaigns. So how do they know if their email campaigns are working? A recent Adobe survey indicates that 49 percent of marketers said they "trust their gut" when it comes to deciding where to spend their marketing dollars, email marketing included. That's frightening.
 
You need to know which marketing activities are driving your leads and sales, and invest accordingly.  Analytics can also tell you which content, targeted lists, promotions, etc. are performing the best, helping you improve on what works and increase the ROI of your campaigns.
 
When done right, email marketing remains one of the top-performing marketing channels. Contact us today for an evaluation of your email marketing program, or to start a new campaign.
 
 
 
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Offenberger & White, Inc. (OffWhite) is an integrated marketing solutions company based in Marietta, Ohio, USA.
 
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