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A Review of Top Marketing Tactics | Erin Strong


David McBee: Hello and welcome to TV. I'm David McBee. Our guest today is Erin Strong. Erin is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing at BrandMuscle. She has 20 years of progressive leadership experience with hands-on skills as a social and digital media strategist and customer research analyst, both on the agency and client side of strategic development. She has industry experience in food, beverage and alcohol, CPG, gaming, hospitality, telecommunications, automotive, retail, manufacturing, and many other verticals. She has worked with brands such as BMW, Toyota, T-Mobile, Verizon, eBay, Edmunds, Ritz Carlton, Hilton, MGM, Marriott, M&M's, Budweiser, White Claw, Red Bull, and Coke. Erin studied creative and technical writing before serving in the Peace Corps Ukraine as a teacher, trainer and university speaker. Erin, welcome to TV. Erin Strong: Thanks for having me. I'm excited to be here. David McBee: That's quite the list of brands that you've worked with. I'm very impressed and I'm excited to learn from you today. Erin Strong: Thank you. You should see here the list of brands I'm not allowed to talk about. David McBee: Okay. Okay. So, you've got a lot of experience working with big brands, right? Erin Strong: Yeah, I love working. I'm an 80 hours a week kind of person, so I've gotten to work with a lot of great brands over the years. David McBee: That's awesome. Well, I know that BrandMuscle conducts a lot of research on local marketing for the state of local marketing publication every year, and I know you're working on that. So, what are the top tactics utilized in 2022 by local marketers? Erin Strong: That's a great question, and we did see some upsets this year and changes year over year. The number one tactic really isn't that surprising. It's social media posting and engagement. And that's great news for marketers with small budgets because you can achieve this just with your niece or an intern or on your own free time. Email marketing was the second tactic that we saw shooting up this year. And then of course number three isn't surprising at all, paid social advertising, huge opportunity. And if you are doing a lot of organic social posting and engagement, that paid social compliment is the perfect way to get the biggest bang for your buck. Next was kind of surprising. Shwag in promotional items came in number four. That isn't what I want to see. And then number five was direct mail. David McBee: I noticed you said that on organic social you could have your niece do it, and I love that. I think that nieces are definitely in the know, right? Especially the whole TikTok generation. But I recently interviewed someone who said, "Absolutely don't do that." So, what do you think? Erin Strong: I think it depends on your business and your brand voice. If the person doing your organic social matches your brand voice, then there's not a problem. They also have to have good common sense and be responsible people, and they should be coached on what you're allowed to say and what you're not allowed to say of course. But I think empowering the younger generation to help us with these business needs is a great way to coach them into becoming proactive members of our community in the future. David McBee: I love that. All right, so did the top tactic utilization vary from the tactics local marketers perceived as the most effective? Erin Strong: Yes, and this is disappointing again, right? I hate to see a gap in utilization and perception. But what really hurts is when you see a gap between perception and actual efficacy, which we'll talk about I'm sure next. But in the perception of what's most effective, people ranked sponsorships and local activation, networking, and then again, posting and engagement on social media. That's not really surprising because we find that local marketers like the instant gratification of interaction. They like to shake someone's hand, kiss their baby, they like to see the thumbs up on Facebook, they like to see on TikTok that people are sharing their post with others. So, it doesn't surprise me that those engagement and human interaction pieces are ranking the highest on perceived efficacy. Of course, you perceive something to be effective if you're meeting with someone in person at an event and they're nodding and excited and smiling, that feels really gratifying. But that perception of what's effective and the investment of time and how you value your own time and the investment of a booth and the printouts and the setup is really hard to calculate when you consider how cheap it is to do digital, right? Programmatic, CTV, paid social, those things have a really clear return on ad spend. And for the same investment of time and dollars, you get a much higher return and you can track it. So, although I know those in-person things are really gratifying and they're important in your marketing funnel, they're not the best opportunity with your budget, typically. They're one of the best opportunities, but not the best. David McBee: I find this absolutely fascinating. It's the things that people can see and touch and feel that they want to do and that they are doing and that they're perceiving as effective. But you're saying that's really not the case. Erin Strong: Yeah. So, when we get into what's actually effective, of course social media posting and engagement is important. It grew 326% during the pandemic, and that's not really a surprise. People wanted to be engaged, but they wanted to be home and safe. So, really pairing that with social media advertising is the best way to get that bang for your buck. Make sure you go in and boost those posts or do a paid social compliment so that you can get a lot of traction, engage new audiences, expand your reach beyond the people who are subscribing to you today. Half of TikToks are ... Or sorry, half of households are on TikTok, as we know, from everything happening in Congress. And the average household is now spending 2.5 hours a day on social media. So, it is going to continue to be a huge opportunity. And when you look at the opportunity cost of investing your time in paid social and organic social or at an event and the cost of setting up an event, paid social and organic social continue to be the highest opportunity for local businesses. Second, of course, as you probably know, is CTV. And it is a bit costly when you look at it, but it is hyper local. You can get into someone's house. And I know from working with, you can target the actual device within a household or within an apartment complex so you can know exactly who you're reaching and really be conscientious about your ad dollars. You're not just targeting mom, dad, and the three kids in a house and wasting money on marketing to three children who can't possibly buy your products. You can target just the dad who's interested in those NBA tickets, or you can target just the mom who's been shopping for dresses at Anthropologie. And that can be really exciting because the cost per click can be really high, but it's extremely valid. And then lastly, I do want to say sponsorships and local activations do come in number three. They are valid. They're just not the highest opportunity. I don't want people neglecting their social media and their CTV because local events are so gratifying. David McBee: That is some fantastic information. Thank you very much for sharing that with us. Erin Strong: Oh, you're welcome. Thanks for having the time today. David McBee: I do want to ask you one more question before I let you go though, and I like to ask every guest. Is there a book that you feel has played a role in your success that you'd like to recommend? Erin Strong: Oh my, heck yes. So, it's right over there. It's Contagious by Jonah Berger. He is just a brilliant marketer and business person. He's a professor. I've seen him speak in person three different times because I love him so much. I go get a signed copy and give it to my favorite person each time. It is brilliant. And the thing I like about it is it doesn't just tell you about what's best in marketing. It gives you examples and it gives you stories that are really relatable. It's a fun read. I recommend it to anyone. David McBee: Okay, I'll add that to the list. Thank you. Erin Strong: Yeah, thank you. David McBee: I appreciate you being on TV with us. Erin Strong: Thank you for your time. I appreciate it. David McBee: And thank you guys for watching. I'm David McBee. Be awesome and we'll see you next time.

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