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Tanner Friedman Article on Effective Marketing Featured on Detroiter Online

Apr 15, 2009

Marketing your company effectively is more vital than ever

Don Tanner, Partner Tanner Friedman Strategic Communications

All of us are operating in trying times. Where marketing is concerned, it is, today, something of a "Catch-22." Finding means by which to set your company's products and services apart from the competition is imperative. At the same time, how do you accomplish this effectively while faced with budgetary constraints like never before?

With traditional media 'holes' shrinking and new ones emerging, it is becoming more and more important for companies to tell their own stories and engage their clients and prospects in new ways. One of the first and best means by which to do this is through your Web site.

Quite often providing a first impression of your company, your site must be so much more than a mere "online brochure." It should:

(1) Accurately and compellingly communicate your company's messages. What is the brand image you want to put across? What makes your company special, different, better? Beyond your site, these messages should pervade all elements of your marketing materials in a uniform, consistent way.

(2) Serve as a repository for news about your business, whether published in traditional media or just for the Web site. This increases your Internet searchability and enables this content to be visible to literally a global audience, not just its original recipients. (

3) Be the "blast-off" point for communicating company news and information, including, via e-blast updates, announcements and newsletters sent directly to clients and prospects.

(4) Contain client success stories, or, "case studies" which further underscore your company's differentiators and positive results for your customers.

(5) Consider Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Today, this is much more than paying fees to Google to garner a higher ranking. Again, proper "messaging" throughout your site comes into play here.

(6) Embrace social media, where appropriate and if approached correctly. With regard to ever-evolving social media, it is important to keep in mind that blogging, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and others doesn't necessarily make sense for everyone. Take the time to research and investigate options. Also, remember that such channels are only effective when utilized in the right way. If you are too commercial or self-promoting, you will be ignored.

And, there is no interaction like good, old-fashioned human interaction. If ever there was a time when relationships and face-to-face contact was vital, it is now. Reexamine how you strategically network, including affiliations and memberships. Have these organizations become merely names used to fill out your curriculum vitae or are you truly utilizing them as a resource to get involved - including via boards, committees and events - and connected? Hone your company's "elevator pitch"; again using proper "messages" to describe what you do and why someone should care, for one-on-one interface.

There is obviously much to consider and it often makes sense to seek out a communications consultant to discuss and determine an effective course of action. Regardless, in good times and bad, successful, forward thinking companies understand that to do nothing is to stagnate. Rather, you must evolve - taking on the challenges of a competitive environment - in order to succeed.

Don Tanner is a founding partner of Tanner Friedman, a strategic communications agency specializing in traditional and emerging media relations, public relations, marketing, branding and adversity management. He can be reached at dtanner@tannerfriedman.com, or, (248) 626-0006. Tanner Friedman is a Bronze member of the Detroit Regional Chamber.

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