Thursday, August 20, 2009

Staying Relevant in a Tough Economy

c21’s Sharon Goldmacher shared the stage with Patrick Fitzmaurice of The Capre Group and Moira Vetter of Modo Modo Agency at a recent American Marketing Association luncheon. Richard Warner of What’s Up Interactive moderated the panel, which addressed how small businesses can effectively market in the tough economy. Click to hear the full hour-long podcast, including valuable tips such as:

· View the current economic climate as an opportunity to invest and experiment – you’ll be surprised how quickly your competition will zoom past you when the economy recovers if you’ve dramatically cut your marketing efforts.
· Treat yourself as a client – test the techniques you’re selling. This gives team members first-hand knowledge and demonstrates that your company walks the walk.
· Consider developing a board of advisors to assist with business development and major operational decisions. An outside perspective can be invaluable.
· People look for capabilities; they hire people – a company’s employees are a differentiator. Communicate not just what you do and how you do it, but who is going to do it.
· If you pursue new business but don’t win the account, ask why. You can’t change your pitch unless you know why it wasn’t effective.
· Focus on a product. What “space” do you own? Everyone can be a generalist – identify your core capabilities and communicate them.
· BusinessWeek reported that 18% of Fortune 500 companies are reducing salaries across the board and 24% are considering it. Be clear and transparent about business revenue and forecasts – communicate openly with employees to alleviate fears and dissipate rumors.
· Develop your business pipeline with a mix of industry and trade involvement, social media, e-mail marketing and other tactics where you can measure audience response.
· Industry associations are ideal for sharing best practices and gaining skill building opportunities. Trade associations can get you in front of customers through networking, white papers, speaking engagements and more. Don’t fall into the trap of finding yourself in a pond with your peers, but not your buyers.

To learn about other upcoming AMA events, click here.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Reinventing the wheel…

Something happened to me in May: I became a Twenty-Something.

Although I’ve only been in these new shoes for two months, already the gap is growing between college life and the real world.

Ads on Facebook remind me that I’m no longer the target audience for beer commercials and spring break rentals in Panama City but instead for diamond rings and

Friends only a year or two older are constantly asking me: “Wait, what’s Twitter?” While those a year or two younger are beginning to refer to me only as @Wbiber.

And, as I watch the way my friends still in college use Twitter and Facebook versus the way companies, such as c21, use the same social media sites, I realize my feelings of being caught between two very different worlds are legitimate.

For the last four years, every professor, counselor and career advisor warned us to deactivate from Facebook prior to beginning the job hunt. We were told that employers were creating Facebook accounts solely to watch us and make sure we behaved in the ideal manner for a potential employee. College students all around me constantly changed their privacy settings, took their last names off their account, or deactivated altogether.

But when I began working at c21 this summer, I quickly realized social media had changed, and we’d been so busy hiding from employers, we failed to notice.

We thought employers were on Facebook to find us (college kids tend to be narcissistic- which I can say now that I’m a Twenty-Something), when in actuality companies are using social media for their own advancement.

Facebook, a social site we thought only our generation had truly mastered, can be an amazing and inexpensive engagement tool for companies. While my peers use Twitter to discuss plans for the evening, my colleagues use it to gain insight into their clients, discuss marketing trends with other industry experts, and facilitate relationships. Although the two are equally as proficient and reliant upon the resource, each one uses it for entirely different reasons.

This versatility is what makes social media so genius. We all need it. We all forget what life was like without it. And we’re constantly asking ourselves why we didn’t think of it first.

Social media has become so engrained into our lives that “I heard it through the grapevine” really means “I saw it on Facebook.” It’s part of the daily routine for computer-users both young and old.

Although I was sad to say goodbye to college, I’m grateful for what I’ve already learned and excited to watch my perspective continue to change as the definition of “public relations” evolves.

Friday, July 31, 2009

c21 Is Looking for a Fall Intern

c21 is looking for a Fall intern to start in late August. Our paid, full-time internship is ideal for marketing, public relations or communications majors. Responsibilities include media list development, writing of press releases and media alerts, as well as e-newsletter stories and collateral copy, media relations and general administrative duties.

Anyone who applies should be a talented writer with strong oral and computer skills, and demonstrate the desire to learn in a team-oriented environment. College juniors, seniors or recent graduates preferred.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume and one writing sample to Ruth Mitcham at

Thursday, July 23, 2009

No Business is too "Niche" for Social Media

Great article from about the impact of Twitter on super-small businesses. In my opinion, the key takeaway from the article is that no matter the size or subject-matter of your business, smart social media use must be part of your marketing efforts.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

c21 Gives You Moore Contest Winners

Congratulations to our “c21 Gives You Moore” Facebook contest winners: Amy Roush, Lindsey Laband, Monica Thomas Yano, Jessica Kirkwood and Marion Yoder. They will post photos of their visit to the Henry Moore exhibit at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, so check c21’s Facebook page regularly for pictures, marketing news and "Moore."

Monday, July 6, 2009

New Opportunities for PR

With the decline of traditional media outlets – newspaper circulation fell 4.8 percent in the past year and an estimated 5,000 reporters lost their jobs – PR practitioners are looking for new ways to get their messages out. Traditional public relations involves sending a press release to the major newspapers, TV and radio stations in a market, making follow-up calls and waiting for the clips to come in. Now, decreasing numbers of newspaper jobs mean that there may no longer be a contact dedicated to your company’s or client’s beat, and you have to cut through even more clutter to generate interest in your company’s news.

While print coverage may be increasingly difficult to come by, opportunities for online coverage are ever-increasing. More than 60 million people are blogging; reporters are contacting people through Facebook and Twitter to obtain information; you can post your own content on and YouTube, in addition to opportunities to live-stream content through Kyte, UStream and other online applications. It’s simply a matter of finding these outlets, providing quality content and using them to your benefit.

c21i – c21’s interactive marketing team – recently helped the Atlanta Botanical Garden enhance its online presence and secured outstanding traditional media coverage for the Moore in America exhibition as well. Through the Garden’s Facebook page and online media portal, we provided robust content, including press releases and media alerts to bloggers and online editors, as well as traditional print editors. The result was more than 19 million online media impressions for the exhibit.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Useless promotional items, or are they?

Emblazoning brand logos on various pens, jump drives, stress balls, etc. has long been a staple of the marketer’s handbook. I’m sure if you look around your desk right now, you’ll see a cup of pens with various logos, a couple of stress balls you picked up at a trade show, maybe a coffee cup with a vendor’s logo and various other tchotchkes that you’ve accumulated from vendors, clients and even your own company. These do serve as brand reminders, but, honestly, how often do you even take a second look at one of these items on your desk?

Smart marketers are now taking promo products to the next level by incorporating social media elements. Two examples on my desk right now are a stress ball in the shape of the duck and an inflatable dinosaur. I’m sure you guessed that the duck is from Aflac, after all, the Aflac duck is enshrined on the Advertising Walk of Fame, has its own Facebook page with more than 110,000 fans and has an online store for merchandise featuring the duck. But, even if you don’t have a highly recognizable brand, you can use creativity to develop something memorable.

The dinosaurs on my desk came from Bronto Software, the engine behind Direct Dialogue, c21’s award-winning e-mail marketing service. Bronto incorporates interactive media, including Twitter, Flickr and Facebook, with its promo products. The company invites anyone with one of its inflatable brontos to snap a pic and send it to them so they can add it to the “Traveling Bronto” feature on their Flickr page, and then link it to Facebook and Twitter. And yes, this tactic even works on other marketers – click here to see the c21 brontos on the Flickr page.

Successful marketing tactics require a combination of audience targeting and creativity to break through the clutter. Since everyone loves tchotchkes (whether they admit it or not), they are a great way to give current and potential clients a way to remember your brand. Taking the next step and using them as a conduit to encourage people to interact with your brand can be very effective in building brand evangelists.

If you think your company has an interesting tchotchke or you just want to share one of your personal favorites, just e-mail me and I’ll post it here and on our Facebook page.