Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Using text messaging (SMS) in your marketing

And why not? Nearly everyone has a cell phone and I would be hard pressed to find anyone who wouldn't at least take note of a specialized text message sent to your cell phone encouraging you to take part in a poll or visit a website to win a prize.

The trick is learning some of the rules of etiquette involved in this emerging marketing method. It's also crucial to grasp the most appropriate uses of the technology. Among the common possibilities most experimented with, SMS is becoming popular to accomplish a number of objectives:

  1. SMS advertising,
  2. SMS competitions,
  3. SMS polls,
  4. Product/service branding,
  5. Promotion of specials and offers,
  6. Customer loyalty initiatives
  7. Chat engines to encourage immediate feedback on a recent company initiative
  8. Bulk distribution of SMS messages to your existing lists

Mobile marketing provides retailers the opportunity to reach customers with a reminder or incentive anytime, anywhere. More often than not, it is outside of the home, which allows for the opportunity to impact customers while they are out making shopping decisions or in transit.

Text messaging is a very targeted, private medium. Because a cell phone number is a unique identification number associated with an individual person, marketers must be respectful of the privacy and preferences of users. In essence, when a person gives someone their cell phone number they are providing an opportunity to be contacted on a device that is carried in a purse or pocket, which makes for a very direct, personal communication channel.

In the example of CollegeRecruiter.com , SMS messaging was even used to a targeted list of graduating university students. An article in Media Life Magazine has described how a Minnesota-based Campus Media Group is helping its clients target the college population by sending advertisements and other text messages to the cell phones of those students. Click here to see the article.

If you're up for something that will set you apart from the rest, SMS is sure to be a technology to watch.

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & marketing tips newsletter by visiting www.actionstrategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

What to Say When You're on the Phone with the Press

Getting the media's attention and developing a great story is one thing. However, when you have but only 30 seconds in the best of times to convince a journalist of the value of your story, you've got to get your message right. Just as a telemarketer or sales person invests time in writing down the essentials of their sales pitch, you've got to do the same in your media pitch.

Start first with a very brief introduction of yourself. Forget telling them right off the bat why you're calling (you haven't got time!). Instead, jump right into the exciting aspect of your story. For example, 'did you know that xyz product prices have jumped in price by 50% in just the last two weeks?''

Next, it's essential you get into exactly why this little factoid is so important to their readers/viewers/listeners. This is where your advance research into the beats covered by your targeted media comes in.

It's only there and then that IF you've captured their interest, you can get into some of the other specifics such as your credentials.

Make sure ever word you deliver counts! To give you an idea of what I mean, here's a successful example script I delivered to a targeted media list:

Hi, is _________ there? This is Mark Buzan, I'm calling you tofollow upp on an interesting trend that seems to be happening in _______ (small business, HR, internet) nowadays.

More and more, people are going online to bid for the services of freelancers. This is really interesting because it means people starting out a business have a real shot at quickly accessing a clientele base. For those looking for an economical way of meeting their needs, they now have the opportunity to have people from all over the world bid on their project but in the inverse way of Ebay.
Did you get the release from FUGUS.com?

They're new and Canadian taking on the bigger established business of elance.com.

Is this something of interest? I could arrange an interview with Chad Karroum - a Canadian, the innovator of this site who has launched two other successfulul online ventures.

Have any comments or questions? I'd love to hear them!

Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly PR & marketing tips newsletter by visiting www.actionstrategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Taking Your Lobbying to the Provinces

Most important in your government relations the further way you get from lobbying Ottawa and closer to local levels is one simple rule.

Think locally--before you act globally. As an advocate for a cause or a business, you can most likely have the best leverage with your own legislator, then with legislators representing other ridings in your province. Normally, if you want a bill sponsored or amendments made, you would go through your own legislator. Try getting municipal (and school board members if applicable) leaders on board. Because municipal leaders most often have a closer link to provincial legislators, they may provide a useful link in getting your agenda pushed one step further.

Second, do your homework. To be an effective voice you need to know where policymakers stand on specific bills or even particular funding programs. In some provinces such as Quebec, MNAs (Members of the National Assembly) even have specifically set aside budgets for various non-profit and infrastructure programes. If you are aware of where they have stood on these issues, you will be a step ahead of the gaqme.

Through your efforts, you'll identify key advocates, with a variety of viewpoints, who work in the public eye and behind the scenes.

To learn more about the policymakers and their positions,

* keep track of what officials say in the media;
* attend meetings and hearings (or obtain copies of transcripts or summaries if necessary);
* directly request a policymaker's statement of position; and
* learn the names and numbers of appropriate bills, their sponsors, and the rationale for support or opposition;
* check the World Wide Web pages many legislators now maintain.

Third, just as at the federal level, make sure you've registered your activites with the appropriate provincial lobbyist registration commission. Here are the links to a few of Canada's lobbyist registration agents:


Office of the Integrity Commissioner

Nova Scotia
Registry of Lobbyists

British Columbia
Office of the Lobbyists Registrar

Newfoundland and Labrador

Registry of Lobbyists


Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & marketing communications consultancy. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting www.action-strategies.ca and dropping down the newsletter menu.