Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

You get what you pay for – maybe you get a lot less?

March 9, 2015

PR versus advertising

You get what you pay for ..maybe when you pay you get less?

At nearly every talk I attend about social media these days a business Facebook user asks the question about the crashing reach of their posts – a few years ago when you posted something this post would reach a large number of your users (fans) who had signed up and followed your page.

Over the last few years the ‘reach’ of your posts has been crashing and we are now at a stage when some posts will get just a handful of views.

PR versus Advertising

A savvy customer will believe editorial or an article they read a lot more than an advert – a standard mechanism in the PR industry values media coverage three times more than the equivalent advertising space. (Have a peep at a blog post that our own Edel Cox has written on the topic).

After all if you pay to say you are great it’s not worth as much as someone else saying you are great!

The very same argument can be applied to your posts on social media.

As we have mentioned above Facebook have well and truly entered the ‘show me the money‘ era as fans of your page are no longer seeing your posts that they have signed up to see. Sooner or later this moment was going to come as all the social media platforms must make money just like any other business.

If 10% of your fans are seeing your posts then you are doing extremely well. From my experience those doing better than this are generally either giving away bucket loads of free stuff or have fallen into the trap of posting irrelevant funny videos.

Show me the money

The only way to really ensure that your fans are seeing your posts is to ‘boost‘ them. This is done simply by paying a few quid (the amount will vary depending on how many fans you have) to ensure that your post is pushed out by Facebook to your existing fans and beyond that if you wish.

The big problem with this approach is that suddenly these posts appear in your fans timeline with the word ‘sponsored‘ above them. Your post that was never intended to be an advert has now become an advert and just like the PR versus advertising argument its value has reduced to a third.

In my view the only way around this is to find other ways of talking to your “tribe” – we need to post frequently on Facebook (carefully choose the times that your audience are online) so that we are not fully reliant on the adverts, we must start using the other social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram (which are still relatively “pure”) or try to get your fans to sign up for your e-newsletter, which isn’t quite as conversational.

The important thing, however you go about it is that your tribe believe and trust what you are saying to them

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

Hiding your story

November 20, 2014

Sharing your story

We were having this big battle with a client about our approach to generating press coverage for her new business.

She has a fabulous new product, with some really unique features, which she has developed herself.

While the product is really good it will compete in a world of so many other products waiting for people to notice it, trust it, buy it, use it and then having the confidence to recommend it to others.

Something that makes this product really credible and special is our clients’ personal story. Her profession for nearly 20 years and the experiences she had in that time all led her to noticing a huge gap in the market and developing a product that would fill this gap perfectly.

When prospective customers consider the product on the shelf it will be considered on its merits as they see it. If they like what they see and are convinced by the features and benefits as conveyed on the packaging they might buy it.

We believe that when prospective customers hear her story (if we ever get the chance to tell it!) and understand the experience and expertise that went behind developing the product we feel they will trust it more making that purchase decision easier.

Our dilemma with our client is that she is insisting that we don’t talk about her. She feels no one will be interested and the product is good enough to stand on it’s own merits. This personal reluctance issue is one we come up against a lot and to maximise your PR you just have to get over it.

I gave her my ‘support beam‘ speech and went to great lengths to stress that we wanted the campaign to be a maximum success and the best way of achieving this was to put our best foot forward, which did most definitely include her personal story.

It’s a battle we haven’t quite given up on yet..

Will telling your story make a difference to your business?

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Searching for Gold in the world of Glamour

March 22, 2014

Panning for Gold

Is there one thing that you can do can that can help you find gold for your business?

Back in 2001 I had this crazy idea for an event – how about getting the best models in Ireland, with the best fashion brands, adding in a beauty exhibition area, spicing it up with some entertainment and then taking this on tour to the best hotels in the country in major locations?

I woke in the early hours of the morning with this crazy idea, insisted that I explained it to Dee before I forgot it and then I turned around and went back to sleep.

Soon after that we met Michael Doherty the owner of VIP magazine who liked the idea – if we went ahead with the event he would come on board as a Media Partner.

That was the last piece of encouragement we needed and from that conversation “Catwalks” was born. Both Dee and I had the job of bringing Ireland’s most glamourous fashion and beauty event on tour around the country.

Blossom Hill CatwalksWe met model agencies, we chose models, we chose a fashion show producer, we met staging companies, we booked hotels, we chose menus. we set up a lo-call number, we developed a brand and we sold the idea to top national brands and before we knew it we had six dates booked around Ireland – all we needed now was to sell tickets to the women around the country. Simple!

We went back to Michael Doherty and sure enough as promised he agreed to be our media partner. He believed in our event but he also agreed that it was a great fit for VIP magazine and it’s readers. He boldly predicted that the very first double page advert in VIP magazine, would effectively sell out the event.

When we heard this we were delighted – if that was the case our events would be a huge success, we would make money and there would be little need for all the other planned promotional activity.

The day that issue of VIP magazine hit the shelves across the country we braced ourselves. Our phone was manned and we waited for the avalanche of women booking tickets for this first of it’s kind event. We’ll never forget the name Marie Carroll, a hairdresser from Tralee who rang and booked two tickets – Yes, we were up and running!

And that was it ….nothing for another two weeks.

Panic started to set in big time. Was this great idea such a great idea after all?

Our other advertising started including local radio and newspapers. We ran competitions, we managed to get media coverage through Dee’s PR skills including a great piece on TV. We sent flyers and posters to each of the participating hotels who promised to distribute them.

Slowly but surely we started to get bookings but not enough to take away that awful sense of panic.

Tony Hadley - Catwalks

We made a decision to hit the road and visit each of the locations where we were holding our events. When we went to a town we distributed large quantities of flyers and posters – we went into the boutiques, the hair salons, the beauty salons and any place where we felt we could grab the attention  of our target audience.

We handed out our flyers and posters and we could see the reaction of the women we handed these to. What was this event all about? We stopped and we chatted and we explained what it was all about. Boutiques asked could they participate – “If you buy a table at the event we will give you a segment of the fashion show” was our response. We shifted a lot of tickets through this simple mechanism.

We got a call from our girl manning the phones. “Where are you?” she asked “I’m getting lots of calls for tickets from Limerick“. We had just spent four hours hard slog in Limerick and were totally exhausted. My shoulder was nearly broken from the weight of the promotional material I had been carrying around the place.

This was the day we learnt some big lessons:

There is no one thing that will make the promotion of your event, initiative, product or service a success – It is the combination of everything.

The one absolutely essential ingredient for success was us working our socks off!

The events turned out to be a huge success and in total over a four year period we ran 72 separate shows with our final event being in Killarney with Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet fame closing it with an incredible version of “Gold“.

Gold….it is never easy to find!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Support Beam Advice

January 13, 2014

Support Beam Advice

I know you don’t like that big beam and you want to remove it but you can’t – It’s a support beam. Take it away and the building falls down

That’s black and white advice you just wouldn’t ignore and you would have to accept.

When advice like that comes with such a critical consequence you just have to follow it, and in a way it makes it really simple to take on board.

Often we give specific advice to clients, which we believe is critical to the success of their projects or business.

It’s really problematic when the person you are advising just won’t take the advice on board. Because no building is falling down as a consequence sometimes they ignore it because they feel they know better, they have a strong resistance for some reason, someone somewhere told them to do something else, they want to save money or they just have some other reason for digging in and not taking what you say on board. Often a course of action might simply take them out of their comfort zone.

In our case it could be advice around one or more of these elements:

  • A business name change
  • Branding refresh
  • Merchandising and POS
  • A new website
  • Optimisation of the website so you will be found on Google searches
  • Engaging on social media regularly
  • Dealing pro-actively with a  crisis PR situation
  • PR for successful initiatives or good news
  • Commissioning professional photos
  • Creating an event to generate interest
  • Profiling the individuals as well as the business
  • Supporting  campaigns with advertising
  • Allocating sufficient budget to campaigns

I found myself chatting to a new client recently and we were reviewing their proposal.

The client was very reluctant about one really important element in the plan, which I felt was critical to the success of the campaign. For me if we didn’t do this element the plan would definitely not work.

After a long conversation and some unsuccessful persuasion I had to change my approach.

Imagine I am your engineer and this is your house we are talking about. This element that you don’t want to go with is a support beam. If we take it away your house will fall down. Do you get my point?

The penny drops …

If your client won’t take your “support beam” advice then maybe you should just walk away – you don’t want to watch a house falling down!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a Marketing, PR and Graphic Design agency in Ireland with offices in Cork and Dublin

Who does the world think you are?

June 19, 2013

Facebook advertisingApparently I’m someone who is interested in Adult Fantasy Games, the odd bet and I wouldn’t mind driving the new Volvo V40.

I’d like to go on holidays to Tuscany after needing the help of a Retail Consultant and playing some more adult fantasy games!

LinkedIn AdvertisingWhen I get serious I’m interested in ERP (excuse my ignorance but I have no idea what that is) for small business, a white board device for waking up ideas and I might even like to earn some extra money.

When I’m done with all of that I might like to find a new  file sharing platform while I take on my one year diploma course in Corporate Governance with DCU.

Finally I might be interested in switching to UPC.

Interesting person!!

Social Media Advertising

This is a sample of the advertising that is being targeted at me across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

With all of the different social media platforms it is possible to do some very specific targeting with your advertising campaigns.

Facebook – this probably has the biggest targeting capability as it can focus on your location (as precise as towns), age, personal status and declared personal interests.

For the advertiser  it works on either a pay per click basis (you only pay when someone clicks your advert) or on impressions (the number of times your advert has been shown).

You set a daily budget and you also have the capability of setting a maximum amount per click. The big limitation with Facebook advertising is that most people are in a very social frame of mind when they are using the platform so it probably isn’t great for “heavy” topics.

With Facebook you can also enjoy an element of what I call “endorsed” or “trust” advertising – where you see an advert and it declares that one of your friends likes that brand/product. If you want extra oomph from your page posts you can invest a few bob to push them out to the people who have liked your pages and their friends.

We have found it to be quite effective for many of our clients.

LinkedIn – the targeting capability for advertisers is really good here with options around location (just country so far), age, seniority, the size of the company the person works for, job role, sector and you can even target Groups that have been set up. This also operates on a pay per click basis (these are quite expensive) – you set the maximum per click and a daily budget.

I haven’t used it yet for clients but I have experimented with it for Fuzion – we have won some business as a result.

Twitter ADvertisingTwitter – advertising on twitter is still in it’s infancy and my feeling is that targeting will be more difficult because a user provides limited information when they set up their account. However if you read the blurb twitter reckon you can target by gender, geography and special interests (it must track the content of your tweets  or maybe who you are following to assess this – it might be tricky to target the huge number of users on twitter who lurk and never tweet). You have a choice between promoting your account or pushing your tweets into peoples twitter feed).

We haven’t used twitter advertising for any clients yet.

Collectively across all platforms there is a lot of information and capability that can help you target customers – the skill is knowing who your customer might be and using the targeting tools to attract their attention.

For the record when it comes to me other than a trip to Tuscany (off there next week!), Facebook marketing and pulling my hair out with Sky last Christmas the world just doesn’t know me at all.

I definitely have no interest in adult fantasy games… (al least that what I keep telling everyone!)

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion 

Fuzion with offices in Cork and Dublin in Ireland provide Social Media Consultancy and Training services.

Sometimes are you better off not saying the right thing?

August 19, 2012
terrible names for a business

Must be a great shop!

At this stage between the initial briefing meeting and the time spent researching and working on the plan we have spent well over a day’s work before we meet with the prospect and present our Marketing\PR plan for his business.

This is always a tricky stage for us – if you want to have a chance of winning the new account you have to punch in the time, put in the research, brainstorm and put all your best ideas and thinking into the plan.

We don’t get paid for this but we do obviously hope that the client likes what we are proposing and then engages us to execute the plan for them – Put your best foot forward if you are serious about winning the business.

We are two hours into our presentation and the prospect seems to be embracing the plan and it is all looking very positive. Our plans are always quite comprehensive and cover everything from being found on-line, a review of marketing collateral and website, a PR plan including ideas that should generate the right media coverage and a social media plan to accelerate all of these efforts.

At the end of the presentation, while everything seems to be going well there is one huge, risky issue that we wish to discuss.

We feel your business name isn’t right” we gently explain to the prospect. This could be as delicate as telling someone you don’t like their child’s name!

But what about my website, my branding, the money I’ve invested to date in advertising, pushing the name out there?” he asks.

It is saying the wrong thing about your business, it is giving the wrong impression of what you are about” … he seems to be digesting and contemplating what we are saying , so we continue “we feel strongly that we would be doing a huge disservice to you if we drove on with a plan without first addressing the issue of your business name“.

After a few minutes he admitted that he always had some concerns about the name “fit” and we were the only (maybe foolish?) ones he met that had raised the issue.

We presented him with some alternative names that we felt more accurately captured the essence of the business offering and he seemed genuinely interested in them.

In truth we could have made life easier for ourselves and probably for him by just ignoring the business name issue and presenting a plan that was in keeping exactly to the brief.

He asked us to leave the plan with him to mull over while he went on leave and we are still waiting to hear…

Sometimes are you better off not saying the right thing?

(p.s. – We’ll let you know how this one turns out!)

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion are a PR firm with offices in Cork and Dublin

Facebook – “Show Me the Money !”

June 11, 2012
Show me the money

Show me the money !!

I was doing a simple status update on the Fuzion Facebook business page and I noticed a “notification” window open up that I had not spotted before.

Promote this post to get more views and comments” the notification window shouted at me. I already knew that I could create an advert for specific posts but it had never been waved at me so blatantly.

Between the changes to business pages that went through at the end of March, the stricter rules about running competitions and no longer being able to specify “landing” pages, Facebook are really hitting the brakes on your ability to generate activity and “likes” without writing a cheque…. the free ride is over.

promoted posts - facebookFor the business page owner/administrator you need to provide huge value, personality and clever content to make it attractive for users to “like” your page or you must simply write a cheque.

Facebook is now serious business and we have officially entered the era of “Show me the Money

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

The bad back and the Referral Engine

May 6, 2012
referral engine

Is your engine working?

I’m crippled with my back at the moment, would you know of a good chiropractor?” my client asks.

We automatically find ourselves wanting to solve their problem, be helpful and resourceful …. Who do we know? Thinking cap on … Yep, a name of one came up in conversation recently or maybe we spotted a blog post or a tweet, maybe we spotted an advert or a piece of editorial.

In any case we want to be helpful and even if we haven’t had a personal experience with a bad back and scientifically been in a position to carefully assess the attributes and success rate of all the chiropractors in the local area we offer up a suggestion ” Norman Wesson is supposed to be really good“.

..job done and hopefully Norman was able to solve the client’s back trouble.

Every day we are asked for recommendations and mostly we offer them without truthfully knowing scientifically that who we are recommending is the best option available.

80% is the statistic that is always quoted as the source of business that we get from referrals and word of mouth – we find ourselves that a lot of business comes this way but often it comes via surprising sources, frequently from people that we have never actually done business with.

John Jantsch in his clever book The Referral Engine makes the point that if we accept the 80% principle about the power of referrals then we need to make sure that we make it easy for people to recommend us, that our “engine” is in good working order.

So how about looking after your engine….

– Do Great Work!
– Send Regular Newsletters
– Attend Networking Events
– Advertise
– Optimise your Website
– Get Editorial about what you do
– Host an Event
– Write Blog Posts about your area of expertise
– Boost your Visibility on Social Media platforms
– Ask for happy clients to Recommend you (LinkedIn is a great place for this)

Whatever you do, make sure that the next time someone is looking for someone in your area of expertise that your name springs to mind!

That Fuzion crowd are supposed to be a brilliant PR firm by the way …!

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Are You Ready..?

January 9, 2012
Phil Lynott - This Lizzy

Are you Ready !!!!

I was 14, it was 1979 and I stood there in awe in a hot, sweaty and packed City Hall as Phil Lynott roared down at us with his fist shaking .. “Are You Ready?“.

Of course he was greeted by loud roars from the thousands of rockers. Again he roared “Are You Ready?” and he managed to increase the decibels even more from the devoted audience.

Once more he roared the same even louder and with the crowd now in a frenzy the band launched into an incredible version of the song “Are You Ready” and lifted the roof off the place!

I was mesmerised…to this day it must have been my best ever concert moment and it cemented my passion for music. Thank you Phil!

So, start of another year and to take a lesson from the Phil Lynott school of motivation … Are You Ready?

It’s a time for resolutions and of course we all have the very best of intentions so I just wanted to offer you a few of our Marketing & PR tips to help you on the way – if you’re as passionate as Phil about your business as he was about his music this will be valuable ..

  1. Positive Intent – before I go into all of the practical stuff it is vital that you have positive intent and that your let your team know that you want them to have the same. This should be the driving force behind every thing you do. You will be amazed the opportunities that come your way and will appear when you have this mindset.
  2. Get in the game on-line by being found – this is all about the low lying fruit. These are the prospective customers who are already looking for your products or services. Test it – try a few Google searches and see how your website performs (for example PR firms in Ireland should hopefully bring a listing for Fuzion). If you are not found for your priority keyword searches you need to optimise your website and maybe consider a pay-per-click advertising campaign on Google to ensure the right people find you.
  3. On-line Communication – if you decide to communicate to all your customers, previous prospects and other contacts right now could you do it? If not consider adding an email newsletter service to your communications routine and let people know of changes to the business, new products, new services, awards and other news on a regular basis. This is easy to set up and it is easy to capture new contacts for your newsletter directly from your website. Consider doing this at least quarterly.
  4. Social Media – one of my buddies gave me some guidance recently gently advising that I was too concerned about on-line matters. I’m sorry, when I see an opportunity maybe I just point it out until I see it being grasped! On-line gives you an opportunity to amplify your existing efforts – In truth very few people in business today are using the popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and even Facebook properly. There are a few who are thriving by using these very cleverly – thankfully we are one of these and to be honest we could always do even better. Social Media Consultancy is a thriving industry because there is a huge appetite to learn by those who have spotted the importance of this communication medium.
  5. Good stories – one of our motto’s at Fuzion with our clients is Never waste a Good Story. If there is good news happening in your business, if there are interesting personalities, if there are changes that should be publicised and great products then get them out there with a strong PR Plan. Every business has good stories – don’t waste them by not publicising them. PR can be a very effective and economical way of getting your message out there.
  6. The Mirror – have a good look in the mirror for your business. Does your branding, signage, website and other tangible visible elements properly reflect the essence and quality of your business, products and services? Right now take a glance at your business card! It may be time to refresh your branding and put your best foot forward.
  7. Advertising & Promotions – If you have pulled back on activity in this area then maybe it’s time to reconsider. There is terrific value to be had if you do this in a very planned way, securing great prices and also negotiating promotions and editorial coverage. There is a strong chance that your competitors have cut back on their activity – time to steal a march on them?
  8. Marketing Plan – Map out all of your Marketing & PR activity including your budgets for the year and share this with your team. Try to ensure that there is a constant stream of activity so that your business is always very visible with your target audience.
  9. Measure – Track the success of your activities, giving each of them a proper chance to seed so that you can properly assess their effectiveness. Flex your plan where necessary.
  10. Be Ready – Be ready to grab those new opportunities as they come along – they will!

Have a great year and we should leave the last word to Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Porridge & what I learnt about samples!

November 1, 2011
Flahavans Porridge

Hard habit to break?

I don’t like porridge, at least that’s what I always thought!

In truth I had never tasted it and at 46 what were the chances of me developing a taste for a new cereal? In particular one that was sticky, stodgy and a little messy to make.

I came down the stairs and as usual a really busy week at work meant that the shopping had been neglected and the cupboards were bare, except for this box of Flahavans porridge that had been given to each of the attendees at the Cork Chamber annual conference.

Ok, desperate times calls for desperate measures so let’s try it – how bad can it be? I crack open the carton and see 10 sachets inside with a handy little measuring cup. I quickly read the instructions, empty the sachet, two measures of milk, 2 minutes in the microwave and stir.

Hmmm ..not as bad as I was expecting but maybe it could have been a little sweeter?

Next morning and due to another hectic day at work and the small matter of final accounts being needed for the tax deadline the shopping had still been neglected – ok, let’s try the porridge again but this time lets add a small dash of maple syrup that I found at the back of the cupboard.

Hmmm..this was quite nice after all, it was easy to make and very warming on a cold and miserable morning.

Next morning – I’m looking forward to my porridge. A new habit was born!

It’s never too late to convert a customer but if you are doing it with samples don’t just give them a taste, give them enough so they can form a new habit.

Flahavans – well done to you!

I’m sure at some point that someone internally put their neck on the line and insisted that full boxes of product be given to participants at conferences instead of single sachets because they understood that’s what is needed to change habits.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion


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