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Marketing questions you were afraid to ask

Amanda Karfakis webAfter several years of success in corporate America and at other advertising agencies, we decided to go into business for ourselves in 2002 to follow our passion for business and marketing – in a way that better served clients and their brands.

We’re excited to share our knowledge, experiences and advice on marketing-communications (“marcomm”). Our goal is to contribute relevant content that will answer all of those marcomm questions that are burning a hole in your brain. You know, the questions that you’re afraid to ask out loud, the questions you don’t know you should be asking and the questions you don’t have time to answer on your own.

Questions such as:

1. Isn’t print dead?

Those that say the printed medium is dead are missing opportunities to break through the digital clutter. In today’s business climate, we’re inundated with emails, web sites and social media. We ignore a lot of it by simply becoming accustomed to deleting or clicking away from what we do not want to interact with. But it’s hard to ignore a well-crafted brochure sitting on your desk. And it’s hard for those walking by your desk to ignore it, too.

When was the last time you hand-wrote a thank-you letter? Or handed a prospect truly compelling sales materials? Direct mail, anniversary brochures, pocket folders, sell sheets and collateral packages are ready and waiting opportunities.

Mike Karfakis WEB2. Does anyone really open e-blasts anymore?

Yes! That’s what opt-in email marketing is all about: gathering a list of addresses from people who say they want to hear from you and then actively communicating with them in reasonable intervals. Will everyone on your list open or read your campaign? No, they won’t.

Good lists can expect a 5 percent to 40 percent open rate and a 5 percent to 20 percent click-through rate, depending on the industry you’re in. The efficacy of the campaign comes down to the quality of the list and quality of your content. We often hear clients ask, “Only 40 percent will open?!” What these folks sometimes forget is that no marketing campaign is seen by 100 percent of the population it targets. With direct mail, some never make it to the address. With outdoor, not everyone sees the ad. With print, the entire circulation won’t view your ad.

Where email marketing wins is in measurability and the ability to track user statistics: to see who opened, how many times they opened, what links they clicked, et cetera. It’s an extremely powerful and rewarding way to market to people who reach out to you and say, “Please email me; I want to be on the list.”

3. How often do we need to update our website?

Quarterly at the very least. The web evolves as fast as or faster than cell phone technology. What’s relevant today gets old quickly unless it is proactively revisited in an effort to keep it fresh and current. Gone are the days of building a great-looking site and leaving it to sit just as it looked the day it was launched.

Most of today’s website home pages are designed in a modular fashion to bring forward otherwise buried content. These modularized areas (e.g., news, featured project/product/service, et cetera) should be revisited and updated as new information becomes relevant. Primary support artwork should also be updated and kept fresh along with relevant content. After all, content is king.

Amanda and Mike Karfakis own the Baltimore-based boutique branding and PR firm Vitamin. Contact Amanda and Mike at pr@vitaminisgood.com.

About Amanda and Mike Karfakis