Decreasing Marketing Revenues is Dangerous During Current Inflation Trends

The increase of the cost of living is no secret. From the gas prices, to milk and bread, and even simple Dollar Stores now being $1.25 stores, the inflation rate is increasing everywhere. But even as prices soar, that doesn’t mean wages increase, which in turn means consumers are paying closer attention to where their money is spent and at what cost. 

When Covid started, we told our clients to keep going full steam ahead. Don’t cut back as you will come out ahead when things turn back around. Now that we are slowly but surely coming out of the other end of the Covid tunnel, our clients are still on top of their marketing and advertising. Now we are being asked about the current times. It is hard for a business to make decisions on where budgets need to be cut. But we are here to tell you that marketing should not be one of those cutbacks.

Decreasing Marketing Revenues is Dangerous During Current Inflation Trends Trust In The Brand

Your customers purchase your products/services/goods, whatever it is because they have a trust in the brand. It isn’t because people can be “brand snobs”. People buy particular brands because there is a level of trust in the goods. We know that it is hard to increase prices on a customer base, but as long as the brand trust is there, your clientele will find a way to pay for it. And to have brand trust means you need a strong brand presence to nurture the trust. That is why marketing should remain an essential part of your business and shouldn’t be decreased. Once a marketing budget gets decreased, it is inevitable that it will ever be increased. By marketing to your customer base the reasons why they should continue to trust you in times like these may help to ease the pain of a price increase. And along the way you will still be able to gain new customers since other brands may just fall into the pits of zero marketing, while others will just glide along by the seat of their pants, hoping their customers will stick with them for the ride. 

Pay Attention to the Data

Paying closer attention to your marketing metrics will help when it comes to where to focus your budget and where to pull back. When data shows increased sales from a particular location, double down your efforts and move around some marketing budget to that sales stream. If something isn’t working, now really isn’t the time to do trial and error. Take the loss and move on to where you’re seeing success. And let’s not forget that success in marketing can be a myriad of different things. Talk with your marketing team to discuss what success is and then trickle down to how you get to that success. Doing this will help weed out anything underperforming and could even save you some money in the long run.

Know What Your Customers Want

It is sad to think that some consumers are buying just the bare minimum to get by in times like these. Now is a good time to reaffirm to your customer base that you value them and that your product or service makes their life better. And it is an opportune moment to really relate to how your customers may be feeling and show them that you care either way. The relationship of a customer is a two-way street. You need them and they need you. Don’t shy away from content that sparks an emotional connection. Pull on the heartstrings.

We know times are different now than they were when high inflation struck in the 1970s and 1980s because of the Internet and digital media, but those times were a goldmine for businesses, especially the ones that kept marketing. So many new businesses launched those years as audiences were ready for something that might be a little cheaper (since it was new) but were also open to trying new things. This is why brand trust is vital so that consumers don’t just switch in an instant to something else. Now in 2022, we have e-commerce at our fingertips, and this could be a great opportunity for new businesses to jump in and steal some thunder from other businesses. That is why we suggest staying on course and keep on going with your marketing efforts. You aren’t starting from scratch like new businesses and you already have a key customer base. Don’t decrease marketing budget now or you will be on a dangerous trend of always trying to build back up to where you once were.

Are Generational Groupings Helpful for Marketers and Business Owners?

Generations X, Y, Z (add in whatever other letters – but don’t get confused when the Gen X’ers are older than the Gen A kids – phew!), Millennials, Boomers or Baby Boomers, and the list of names goes on and on. There are only six living generations in America (hmmm…that’s pushing it though because these people would be 95+), but it seems like so many more due to some having multiple names for the same generation. It can get confusing and messy trying to decipher who belongs in which demographic. And sometimes it even depends on who the study is by because some years get mixed in with other generations. Sometimes a Gen Y person falls into the Gen Z demographic and it gets complicated. The real question here is, does someone born into a set grouping of years really fall into the stereotypes that are aligned with them? As marketers and business owners, does all of this really have an effect on how we target them, and the way we send messages to them – specifically when it comes to advertising? 

It All Began When…

We don’t really know this answer but what we can tell you is that the first generation to be grouped demographically, and agreed upon by demographers and market researchers, are The Depression Era people. These are people born in 1912s. From there, that is where the years and demographics kind of get skewed. The generations are widely agreed upon, but not universally. So that means there are always going to be people who don’t fall into the generational breakdown. 

So Now That We Have Cleared That Up… 

Let’s discuss who we are currently marketing to in terms of birth year. Remember, these six mentioned are not always agreed upon.

  1. Born 1901-1926: Again, there are absolutely businesses that are marketing to this generation, but how many 95+ year olds are on social media?
  2. Born 1927-1945: This would likely be what many refer to as our elderly population.
  3. Born 1946-1964: As a generalization, these are now the new grandparents.
  4. Born 1965-1980: They are getting younger! These are likely the parents of today’s world OR those who are choosing not to raise a family. There is a whole mix match of demographics that fall into this category.
  5. Born 1981-2000: The best generation alive (who said that????) Just kidding. This is the group many of our team falls into.
  6. Born after 2001: They are just starting to live in the real world.

Marketing to Each Generation

As a business or marketer, you should know your target market. From there, you should know the likes and dislikes of them. But does them being born during a certain year really help you as a marketer at all?

The likely answer is no, but we can discuss. 

Each generation is diverse. Just like each individual person is diverse. And just because someone was born in 1981 doesn’t automatically mean they feel a certain way about something, or purchases something just because of that. Let’s be real. The spenders of today, right now at the end of 2021, are buying out of necessity because of what is currently happening with the world. Marketers need to communicate their offerings in a way that makes their audience believe it is something they can’t live without. This is where targeting can become more specific.

A Better Way to Market

Forget the generations and the ideologies behind them for a minute. Would you ever go up to someone and say, “OK Boomer (get it?). Since you were born between 1946 and 1964, that means you like rock’n’roll, you experimented with drugs, you spent all kinds of money and didn’t save a penny.” Or how about people who live in rural versus urban areas…they are exposed to marketing efforts in different ways. From the farm to the city – lifestyles are different so marketing is different. So just because someone who lives in a rural area is a Gen X person, do they fit into all of the stereotypes? 

NO! You wouldn’t because that is not true for everyone. Hence why marketing toward generational stereotypes does not work.

Taking a look at your actual target market and knowing what they like, dislike, what their past is like and maybe their future is what is going to help make sales. Plus, knowing where your target audience is, whether they are on the Internet (is it computer or phone?), television (what stations? What subscription services?), or print media (things like magazines, billboards, newspapers – yes they still exist – mailers, etc.) will help make sure your business/product/service, whatever, is actually being delivered to them.

And Don’t Forget People Change

Just because at one time or another someone didn’t save money and spent every penny they had, doesn’t mean that they didn’t change their habits. And just because someone believed in something years ago doesn’t mean they can’t have a change of heart. A lot of factors are always being considered and that is why it is important to always be on the lookout for what your target audience is doing, saying, feeling, etc. Marketers and business owners need to consider all of their demographics to find the right target audience. And that doesn’t mean just pushing advertising to everyone in that target audience. It means getting whatever you’re selling in front of people that want or need it. 

There is no one size fits all approach to marketing and selling, but we can always do our best to ensure we are meeting the needs of our audience for today.

Google My Business – What Is It and How Does It Work?

Launched in 2014, Google My Business became a business’s best friend for online searching. Google My Business is an online business directory that lets you manage how your business appears on Google Search and Maps. If you skip out on using Google My Business, you potentially will miss out on customers and sales. Why? Well let’s dive a little deeper into what is Google My Business and how it works.

What is Google My Business?

In simple terms, it is a business profile within Google. But it is not just your Business Profile, rather a tool by which you enhance your Business Profile to boost its visibility and effectiveness. Business Profiles appear in Google Maps and in the local results of Google search. A listing on Google My Business can be an amazing marketing tool for search engine optimization (SEO). Obviously Google has some power on their search engine, but now it has allowed businesses to have their search space as well.

All that Google requires within the business profile is the business name, location, and category. Once it is confirmed that the business is not a duplicate, Google will create the business profile for that location. You can have multiple location profiles per business if you have separate addresses. For example, a doctor has two offices. The doctor can have two business profiles for the business with two separate locations. 

Is Google My Business Free?

YES! And it isn’t a scam. Google doesn’t charge to create a Google My Business profile. Plus, Google My Business does not operate on a pay by service level, like free, super, premium, etc., business model. This means that your business has the same level of access as your competitors. However, this could all change and it could become a paid service and eventually upsell the account levels. But for now, June of 2021, it is free.

Why Should I Use It for My Business?

Google always favors Google My Business profiles with extra information and user engagement, especially recent engagement. If your profile is up to date with a business image, hours, location, and services/products, Google will know that it is relevant information and will know to show it to someone searching for something similar. 

Additionally, your business profile is open to people to leave reviews, add their personal pictures, ask questions and even answer others questions. Google might also populate your profile for you from information that it finds online. Of course that can always be edited to make it fit to your business standards. You know your business best!

How Do I Set Up A Google My Business Profile?

Yay! Glad you’ve made it to this point of wanting to set up a Google business profile. It is the right thing for your business. 

To get a Google My Business account, go to google.com/business and click “Manage now,” which will take you through the steps of creating an account. Enter all of your information. Google will then need to verify the business location is actually yours. You’ll be sent a postcard by mail that will have a code on it to confirm it is yours. 

In the meantime, optimize and nurture your profile. Add your business hours, ask your best customers to add in some pictures and reviews, add your own pictures and make sure the other business information like location and contact information are correct.

Now What Do I Do with My Google My Business Profile?

Post to your Google My Business listing at least once a week. Think of it as an additional social media post. Make the Google My Business post something specific to your business and link to your website. Hashtags won’t matter for this post. If you have an image that you took, post that instead of one that you create and is just a general image. When you use a picture that you took at the business, it has location tags within the file that Google will recognize. We don’t have to get deep into how that works. Just think of it as picture magic!

Being active on your listing is always a good idea. Manage reviews, good and bad, add events that are happening for your business, add a new picture of a product or someone doing your service, or add in an offer that you want to share with your potential and current customers. If Google releases updated information grabs, a new item where it already shows the things mentioned previously, this should be posted about. At the time of this blog (June 2021) there is a Covid-19 update area where businesses can post Covid updates, like if they are closed or the rules have changed. There is a good chance that this particular information will be ranked better than others. Update your profile to match whatever Google is suggesting. 

Good luck with your Google My Business profile! If you have any questions or would like help setting up or managing your profile, contact us.

Google Update – Modified Broad Match is Out the Door

In February, Google announced yet another change to the structure of its keyword match types. Modified broad match is going away. This is the 5th time Google has made updates to the keyword match types. Some are saying these changes are positives and others are looking at them in an unfortunate negative light. What does it mean for you, your business or your clients?

 

What are Match Types?

There are (well were) 4 kinds of match types within Google Ads. These deal with how your keywords can trigger an ad to show:

  • Broad Match
  • Modified Broad Match
  • Phrase Match
  • Exact Match

For the purpose of this blog, just know that each type has their own stipulations as to which words are focused on within a search query. Users said that modified broad match and phrase match were often interchangeable and served the same purpose. Not that it matters now, but within modified broad match keywords, you would choose specific keywords that are required for your ad to show, through the use of a plus sign. The ads would only show for queries that contain all of the words you used with a plus sign in your keyword or phrase. Order did not matter.

 

Why This Matters

The big takeaway right now is that order will matter for how you place your keywords. Google will treat keywords as a phrase match type, but will expand it to cover the modifier traffic. In Google’s example below, the updated phrase match will not show ads for search queries in the opposite direction. 

+moving +services +NYC +to +Boston may show up for the search query “moving services NYC to Boston.” Previously, the ad may also display when someone searches “moving services Boston to NYC,” which won’t help the advertiser because the searcher is moving in the opposite direction.

This change could save you time in the long run as it eliminates a step in building out an ad. It is time-consuming to put together all of the different keyword requirements per ad. But it could also cause an issue in that your keywords may not mean the same thing as what you want searched. An example provided by Allison Day, WordStream’s Lead Acquisition Specialist, is that “get more Google ads” does not mean the same thing as “get more conversions on Google ads.” Additionally, due to the change, your traffic could fluctuate. This is to be expected. Just keep that in mind and make adjustments to your new ads moving forward. 

 

What Do I Have To Do?

Nothing right now if you are comfortable with that. In July, after this change has rolled out worldwide, advertisers won’t be able to create new modified broad match keywords. The current ones that are used will basically be grandfathered into the new behaviors. But really, keep alert to how this change does affect your ads and keyword searches in the coming months. Continue to use those negative keywords to block out bad traffic. You can also take the time now to revisit your account structure and potentially move around your ad spend budgets to make sure you aren’t focusing on modified broad searches. 

 

Does this change make a difference for you, your business or your clients? If you aren’t sure or have questions on how to make sure your keywords are spot on, you can always ask us as we try to stay on top of all changes that affect our clients’ best interests.