Com0014 – Assignment # 1- Blog Post #3 – Target Audiences

Determining the Target Audience in a B2B World

I work for a company in the food manufacturing sector that specializes in frozen enrobed goods and entrees. Our products are only sold to businesses under their private label as we currently do not have our own consumer brand. We also have made our products very customizable and we are often able to innovate to suit the requirements most customers within reason. This sales model can make defining target audiences a bit tricky as there are two segments to it: the business that you are selling to and the direct consumer. As a B2B company we never interact directly to the consumer so as much as we need to keep a pulse on what is trending in the market place and what the direct consumer wants, we also have to keep in mind the perceptions that the businesses that we are actually selling to think or define as the needs or the end customer. Oftentimes, each business has very different target customers; some market to children and their mothers, others to low income  or discount segment while some sell to the middle class and others yet to a more upscale and indulgent market.

Our target audience is typically a business entity that operates in the either in the quick service and fast casual restaurant category or a retail grocery chain. In order for us to be competitive in that market, we focus on businesses that are scaled up and operate many units whether that is corporate or franchise across any region in North America. The main contact in that operation will be often a category manager or buyer, who will be highly educated, can be male or female and who is usually in the 30 to 50 age bracket. They make purchasing decisions based on logic versus emotion (which tends to be the norm in consumer segments) and focused on a set of criteria that the particular business has decided is critical its overall strategy and benefit.

My plan for communicating with our customers through social media will include using a blog on our website to provide useful information and thought leadership on a variety of topics that would be of interest to our audience. I would also like to use Twitter and Google+ as fun and slightly less formal way to provide tips related to food such as recipes, food pairings as well as product capabilities or launch information. I think that LinkedIn will also be a good method to communicate by researching what groups our target audience is a part of and providing commentary on conversations or start thought provoking discussions there.

Com0014 -Assignment # 1 Blog post #2 – Communication Styles

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Communication is definitely a two way process; who really wants to read or listen to anyone blathering on about a topic that has no relevance to you personally? Without a doubt, learning to listen to your audience is a key component in being able to communicate effectively and engage with your community.

I worked for several years in a call center and one of my biggest takeaways from that experience is that people will often have a hard time hearing what you have to say if you don’t show them that you have listened to what they said first. When applying this to social media; you can’t know what your audience is interested in and build in riveting content if you don’t take the time to monitor the market you want to reach and understand what it is they want to know.

I also think that we live in an age of sensationalism, where big and bold catch phrases, title s or headlines are required to capture the attention of a society that certainly struggles with attention deficit disorder. Anything less, will tend to get lost in a sea of internet informational overload. There are just so many options and possibilities for finding just about anything that you are looking for.

Does any anyone else think it is amazing how the phrase “Google it” has become not only integral to our everyday language but in about 10 years that it is actually a dictionary definition? Am I alone in thinking that digital marketers or social media mavens are now a dime a dozen? Where maybe just 5 years ago, it was a relatively new field? How on earth does one stand out in the plethora of writers, bloggers and journalists who all have a story to tell and are pushing their content in our collective faces?

I guess it all comes back to communication; being concise, clear and laser targeting your audience with content that they will care about.

Com0015 – Blog Post #1 – Tools and Sources

thumb_toolkit Com0015 – Assignment #1 – Tools & Sources

There was a time when I was gaga for Facebook. When it first appeared on the Canadian social media scene, I was enamored with it and I couldn’t get enough. I was on it all the time and actually had competitions with my friends to see who could add the most friends. Somewhere along the line that began to change. I can’t give an exact date as to when my enthusiasm waned but slowly and surely I began to withdraw from the application. I became more of an observer than a participant. I also dabbled with Twitter for a time but personally, I didn’t really see the point. The people that I want to interact with have my phone number, email or blackberry messenger. Sometimes we even do that really strange thing called meeting in person to talk. There is no need to tell the world what I ate for breakfast this morning or where I am going to be.

Going goggle-eyed from too much Facebook!

Going goggle-eyed from too much Facebook!

My low interaction levels with social media all changed when I started my current position as a Marketing Project Coordinator. I proposed that my company redesign their website and start using social media to build our brand. I had to break through my reticence of being a participant and actively get involved. I needed to understand digital media, its uses and I had to experiment to see how it could best benefit my company.  I now had to be monitoring several social media channels to better comprehend the landscape that is digital media marketing

After hours upon hours of research through the various social media monitoring tools and countless experiments, I stumbled upon Hootsuite. It had a fairly simple user interface and it allowed for the monitoring of multiple social media accounts in one dashboard. Most importantly, it was free and I was able to try a variety of functions which included monitoring groups from LinkedIn, my company’s Google+ page and any list that I create from Twitter as a feed on one page. And if my company approves we can go to full functionality version that includes analytics and reports for a low monthly cost. The second tool that I have found extremely useful is Google Analytics. This free reporting and tracking application was simple to install on my company’s website and has provided a wealth of data and insights. This has allowed me to be a champion of change in regarding how involved we should be in social media. One of the most powerful things that I uncovered was despite our desire to be a bigger player in the United States a very low percentage of our traffic comes from south of the border. This factor alone has convinced some of the naysayers of the value of social media.

In terms of news sources and updates; I have found Google Alerts to be a simple and effective way to keep abreast of anytime our current or potential customers as well as our competitors are mentioned in an article, story or blog. With Google’s very easy to use wizard, all one has to do is plug in your keywords, view the preview to see if that combination brings the results that you are looking for and click create. This plays an important part of knowing what the major players of our industry are doing and helps determine what products we should pitch to our clients and why based on the trends that are occurring.  I also like utilizing the application Feedly to have all the blogs that interest me located in one place and organized under headings that quickly lets me zone into the area that I wish to focus on at that moment. I am a fan of simple and easy to use interfaces and Feedly does not disappoint. There is a low learning curve in figuring out how to configure it to match your preferences. I subscribe to a number of blogs in Feedly to help provide inspiration for content for tweets as well as to keep informed of best practices in utilizing social media or in content creation.

Com0014 – Blog Post #1 – Snow Bird for a Week!

After months of enduring one the most brutal winters in my life as a Canadian, I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I had to go, I needed to escape what felt like a never ending winter. So, in no time, I found a ridiculously cheap flight and literally fled the great white north for one of my favorite places to visit: South Beach, Miami. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. The weather was fabulous, hot days with just the right amount of breeze and comfortable evenings to enjoy the varied night life that South Beach is famous for.

Bliss at the Beach!

Bliss at the Beach!

My quick getaway was filled with lazy mornings that involved waking up whenever my body felt like it was time to face the sun. When we finally felt ready to take on the day we would have breakfasts at this cozy Cuban restaurant just a block away from our hotel. As soon as we finished our meals we would wander down to the beach to relax and enjoy the sun. If, it got too hot or too windy we would return to our hotel to lay poolside to soak up some more rays as well as the very bohemian chic vibe of the bar and entertainment areas that surrounded the pool. Of course, what sunny afternoon is complete without a mojito or two to accompany it?

Living la vida poolside!

Living la vida poolside!

Once the sun started setting we would head back to our rooms sometimes for a nap and then to get ready to check out the town. The beauty of South Beach is its accessibility; just about everything you want or need is either within walking distance or a short and cheap cab ride away. When my partner in crime and I were all glammed up for the evening, we would hop in a cab to Washington Street which bisects Lincoln Road mall where a bevy of restaurants, shopping and entertainment resides. We could choose our night’s destination at our leisure based on whatever caught our fancy.

The sweet night life!

The sweet night life!

Much too soon, it was time to head back to reality and the cold but luckily for us the weather had started to slowly warm up in Toronto and we didn’t have to endure the freezing cold for much longer.

Until next time,