How to Create a Marketing Budget

Let’s talk about the ‘b’ word everyone likes to avoid: Budgets. When it comes to putting together your marketing plan or next project, writing down that number next to each line item can be tricky. While you’re planning out how to create a marketing budget, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Look at previous plans and budgets. Past project costs will shed a lot of light on your budget and is a great place to start when planning.

Don’t forget the details. Make sure you fully understand what all needs to come out of your marketing budget (salaries, agency fees, printing, postage, media, etc.). Next, add as much detail next to each line item as possible. Understanding where expenses come from within each project will help you make a more accurate projection.

Be upfront and honest. If you work with an agency, talk candidly about your objectives and budget. There’s always multiple ways to skin the cat so perhaps they can find ways to shave off dollars without losing the impact. Even if the initial project estimate is out of your ballpark, it’s worth a conversation to explore the possibilities.

Prioritize based on your goals. Which projects will have the most impact and will directly affect your annual objectives? Move these to the top so that if you can’t stretch your budget to accommodate all your activities, you’re at least getting done the ones that will move the needle.

If you’ve got too much on your plate or are looking for a fresh perspective on your marketing plan, remember agencies have experience planning and budgeting for a variety of clients and can add valuable perspective to the budgeting and planning process.

Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

Old People Candy Offered By Upper-Middle-Aged Business Manager

No wheelchair or blue hair required. Element’s Business Manager, Sue Barrett, is now set to offer the best selection of “old people candy” this side of the Fox River.shutterstock_42891820

Providing a delicious assortment of candy, set perfectly in a decorative lead crystal bowl, started as a way to entice coworkers to stop by her office as a distraction from her busy day. “I am so busy with opening each new project in two different computer programs that I hardly have time to interact with people,” stated Barrett. “It gets lonely sitting by myself with only my filing cabinets and the faint sound of Lance [Agency Principal] working quietly in the next office over.”

The idea came to Barrett one afternoon as she was randomly walking around her local Shopko trying to remember the reason why she needed to go there in the first place.

Barrett prides herself on the wide selection of her candy. “Werther’s Original is a classic, and who says those orange and black candies are just for Halloween?” She also rambled on, stating one cannot beat the delicious mouth-drying taste of a chalky after-dinner mint and that she makes sure a few Bit-O-Honey pieces are on hand at all times because people deserve something as sweet as they are. “Mary Janes are my absolute favorite though, there’s something about them that just makes me happy.”

Other options include butterscotch disks, unwrapped ribbon hard candy, and Necco Wafers. And if you look in her top desk drawer, you’ll find a hidden stash of candy cigarettes.

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.

Tips for Crafting Your Story

By: Kate Shropshire

Twitter started real-time conversations, now they have facilitated real-time video with their on-the-rise app, Periscope. We can do more than listen, we can watch things happen live. Periscope is a platform for users or brands to live stream video to the world where users are tuning in to see live broadcasts of the first appearance of the Royal baby or sunsets on mountains.

Similarly, Snapchat is bringing brands to the devices consumers are attached to. Snapchat users can see celebrities get ready for award shows or watch a video story of an international musical festival and its attendees.

So why do these platforms matter? They provide new ways for brands to showcase a story on social media. These platforms also require creativity to breakthrough the status update quo. Here are 4 tips for brands when crafting a storytelling strategy.

  1. Think Mobile. As more and more people rely on the Internet for news, entertainment, and communication, it’s no secret your consumers are on their phones. To reach consumers, brands need to participate on the platforms people use daily. Brands are using Snapchat to give an inside look to consumers. Taco Bell shows off new products in Snapchat stories and the NBA generates excitement around the playoffs. As a brand, you can be one click away to consumers on the platforms they already trust and love.taco bell snapchat (picture source)
  2. Offer True Engagement. Engagement comes naturally as users can comment on Periscope streaming videos while they are happening. As a brand, there are now opportunities to really connect with consumers instead of pushing one-way messages at them.periscope on phone(picture source)
  3. Keep It Short. Some users are watching 8-second Snapchats instead of 2-minute videos. People want quick content that costs them little time as they move on to the next thing. Consumers want behind the scenes, exclusive looks at the world around them, and they want it fast. For the Billboard Music Awards, brands showed red carpet updates to fans through quick stories that highlighted the popular stars.IMG_4546
  4. Channel Your Inner Artist. With Snapchat, brands can type, doodle, use emojis, and pick filters for video and pictures. Brands can create anything they want since custom content is easy. Use the opportunity to show case some personality and get creative.SnapChat_Scavenger_FB-300x300 (picture source)

Now go explore the story-telling possibilities. Try it out and showcase the personality of your brand.

Digital Marketing Specialist

Just Press Play – Tips for Video Storytelling

By: Tara Brzozowski

This month I had the privilege and honor to be a judge for the Public Relations Society of America’s National Bronze Anvil Awards. I judged the video programs category, and I saw firsthand the creative and impactful ways today’s marketers are using video in their marketing and communications strategies.

From national products looking to build brand awareness to nonprofits using high-emotion stories to inspire action, video is hot and it’s everywhere. Over 70% of B2B marketers today claim video performs better than any other form of content for engaging and producing conversions*. That’s because video has been proven to elicit emotion, build trust, and help influence behavior better than other forms of text-based communication.

I realize I don’t need to convince you on the merits of video communications. But, before you run off and press play on that iPhone, take a moment to make sure your strategy is on track for success.

  1. Identify your audience and be specific. Unless you are a big brand with a large target audience, your video does not need to have mass appeal. In fact, the more specific your audience is, the better your video will perform. It makes sense right? The more you can define your target audience, the more directly you can speak to their needs.
  2. Show some personality. Good videos have personality. Don’t just tell people about your product or company, but give them a feel for your culture and what you have to offer. That means your new product video should not feel dull or boring, like you are reading a set of stereo instructions. No one wants to watch that. You can be funny, excited, and yes, even passionate about your company. Marketers, this is your opportunity to break the mold, show some personality, and stand out in the marketplace.
  3. Understand your broadcast options. YouTube isn’t the only game in town anymore. Last week, Facebook announced that it is making a strong play to become the place people watch online video. Also, Instagram, Vine, and SnapChat all have native video options, and Twitter’s recently released Periscope App has us all talking about opportunities for live streaming. Before you start posting video online, it is important to understand the different options on each channel and what is the best approach to grab people’s attention.
  4. Measure your results. One of the greatest reasons to start using video in your content marketing strategy is that it’s trackable. Downloads, audience views, shares, likes, comments, and other call-to-action activities provide you with leads and insights for future video opportunities. Begin with the end in mind. Have your metrics for success in place before you start shooting.

*Demand Metric

 

Director of Public Relations
A self-decribed chatterbox, it’s rumored that Tara was born with a phone in her hand. It was only a natural that she ended up in the marketing communications industry. With more than 12 years of industry experience, Tara specializes in campaign strategy, planning, publicity, and content marketing. In addition to socializing with just about anyone, Tara enjoys running, yoga, and watching her beloved Wisconsin Badgers. She also appreciates the occasional quiet weekend at home cooking and relaxing with her husband Ryan and daughter Julia.

Marketing Yourself—Little ways to make a big impact.

By: Nikki Peroutka

When it comes to making a good impression, everything counts. From the second you walk in the door at an interview, to the way you respond to a follow up email, you want to be your best self. These tips and tricks are little ways to market yourself and make a positive impact at your next job interview. Take notes!

  • Make sure there’s nothing embarrassing on your social media pages. One of the first things a potential employer is going to do is an internet search of your name. You might want to make sure that profile picture of you doing a beer bong in college is deleted. Permanently. Make sure your social media pages reflect the image you are trying to portray.
  • Think about what you can offer the company, not what the company can offer you. Really think about how your resume and cover letter are positioned. Concentrate on explaining what you bring to the table more than what you are looking for in a potential employer. Most employers seek a ‘givers’ not ‘takers.’
  • Provide exactly what the company is asking for. If a job posting requests you send a cover letter, salary requirements and references, make sure you comply with their requests. It proves you can follow directions (even if they are simple) and makes things easier for the person collecting the applications.
  • Do a little research on the company and get a feel for their culture. Reference the company’s culture when it makes sense in your communications, but don’t overdo it. Spending a little time getting to know the company shows initiative.
  • Every communication is being judged. From the way you format your resume and cover letter, to emails you send to set up interviews, PROOF, PROOF, PROOF and then PROOF again! The only thing you’ll land with a typo or poor organization of your resume is at the top of the ‘no’ pile.
  • A handwritten note goes a long way. The handwritten note is a lost art. At the very least, you should be sending an email thanking the interviewee for their time and consideration (but I’m still a fan of getting mail!).
  • Watch the use of emojis in your communication. Some may see this form of communication as too casual in the initial stages of getting to know each other. Leave the LOLs and smileys for friends and family.
Director of Account Services
Nikki Peroutka has handled account service duties at Element for more than a decade. She remembers pre-PDF days when every proof required a face-to-face client meeting, and the number of colors in an ad determined its price. This, of course, makes her feel like an old marketing-weary battle-ax. Yet, she brings a youthful, fresh perspective to overseeing all client relationships as well as managing her own accounts. When her daily Director of Account Services duties are done, she enjoys relaxing with a good magazine or book, chasing around her son Oakley, and doing DIY projects around the house.

now hiring: senior art director

Element is looking for a Senior Art Director that can design, supervise, and art direct for both print and web. Five to seven years of agency experience is a must!

If you’re looking for an agency setting with a wide variety of concepting and design challenges, this is your chance to prove you have what it takes. You know who you are. Now we’d like to meet you.

Check out our website (goelement.com) to get a feel for our work.

If you know your stuff, let us see it! Electronic work samples (PDF or web) are REQUIRED. Resumes sent without links to samples will not be considered. No phone calls please.

View the full listing here

Element Welcomes New Team Member with Drag Race

Cracking UpWhen new Designer, Mike Thornton, rolled up to Element on a Harley, long-time motorcycle enthusiasts, Aldis Strazdins, Creative Director, and Mike Tessmer, Art Director, saw an opportunity for a friendly “Welcome to Element” competition.

Not all can look as cool as Mike, Mike, and Aldis, cruising the streets on a hog; the matching Kia Souls in the Element parking lot are a testament to that. However, the drag race was meant for all—not just seasoned motorcyclists. Every employee was welcome to participate in the race, provided they find their own vehicle.

So there they were, waiting impatiently behind the starting line: the three motorcycled amigos, Derek in a land-converted duck-bodied pedal boat, Brad on a silver Razr scooter, Ann and Lori saddled up on a Hover-Round they borrowed from Ann’s grandmother, and Chad, on a pair of the so-called “fastest in the Midwest” rollerblades. The rest of the group’s vehicles ranged from a pogo stick to a simple cape. The group appeared like a carnival of rejected modes of transportation. Despite the gum-and-paperclip cast, excitement filled the air as racers readied themselves to take off.

Sue counted down and waved the green flag. Wheels screeched; the smell of burnt rubber scented the air as smoke hovered above the once populated starting line.

The heat was on.

The three motorcycles left everyone in the dust, as Eric Severstad, copywriter, stood on the sidelines, waving supportive, grammatically correct signage in the air.

While Mike, Mike, and Aldis were tied for first place, the results were in for second: Brad won propelling his Razr scooter past the finish line; a bittersweet victory he says, now walking with a limp from extensive strength training to his right leg.

The two Mikes and Aldis enjoyed the race so much that they are planning to bring “the gang” onto the open road, providing marketing services on wheels across the nation. The “Hexterminators” will declare “death to boring marketing,” Aldis states. “We’re going to get custom leather jackets for everyone, with our club colors—PMS 300 and PMS 220.”

 

The Unofficial Element Spokes-Moose
Canuck is a surprisingly intelligent and humorous character that could talk your ear off. He loves life, learning new things and, most of all, sharing new insight with people. He’s adjusted well since emigrating to the U.S. from Canada and settling down at Element. In fact, he’s taken strongly to blogging about marketing, branding, social media, and the Element office happenings. He’s still very loyal to his homeland, insisting that hockey is the only real-man’s sport, pancakes are acceptable at any meal, and Canadian beer is superior to the swill made everywhere else.

Today’s Best Practices in SEO

Best SEO PracticesSEO is an integral component of a website’s performance. If a site is not optimized with keywords that reflect it’s content and doesn’t have backlinks from respected sites, it won’t show up when someone searches for it. Well, it might show up on page 3, 4, or 17, but let’s be honest—no one goes past the first page.

 Gaining traffic and awareness come only when a plan is carefully crafted; it must involve keyword research and networking structured around the site’s unique goals. Every site will have its own SEO strategy that works to complete the desired goals. SEO used to be all about keywords. It still is, to a point, but it has grown to be so much more. It is entwined with content marketing, web design, and marketing. Here are some of the need-to-know best practices in SEO:

  • Owning Long Tail Queries 

    Long Tail Queries are super-specific phrases that searchers use. For example, the long tail search for “black wool jackets under $100” will bring a searcher more relevant results to what they’re looking for versus searching key words “black jackets”. The best part about optimizing for long tail queries is while they may have less traffic is that it also means less competition. Not to mention you’ll be gaining traffic from a group of solid potential customers and not someone who meant “black track jackets”.
     
  • Writing How You Speak 
    Since Google’s “Hummingbird” update, it’s become increasingly important to write exactly as you would speak, using “conversational speech” in optimization efforts. An SEO specialist is versed in how to write for the web and knows that Google favors natural-flowing speech over mechanical, stiff phrasing.
     
  • Quality Over Quantity 
    Using good keywords over and over again isn’t going to help your rankings; neither are links to your site from other low-ranking sites. In fact, these tactics will hurt them. Today’s SEO focuses on the context of web pages. The best practice is to use keywords only where they fit, discuss niche and related products if applicable, and have original, useful content that is valuable to users. Fluff need not apply.
     
  • Full Service Integration
 
    Good SEO is not freestanding; it needs support. This support comes from marketing pieces that are directly related to your content, for example: an info graphic that is easily shareable on social networks, optimized with keywords, and distributed to the right areas. Achieving good SEO involves a comprehensive digital marketing plan that connects each component with actionable data. Each marketing effort is only a slice of the pie that makes up the whole.

 

In order to be successful, these tips should always be a part of your SEO plan. No matter what your site’s goals are, knowing strategies like these will help you on your journey to Google’s first page!

student shadows element

As part of Element’s continued effort to encourage young professional growth within Northeast Wisconsin, we recently opened our doors to a motivated scholar wanting to learn more about us and how an advertising agency works.

It was our pleasure to meet Tara Lovdahl, an art and English double major at St. Norbert College. Tara is a movie critic, competitive board game player, and freestyle dancer. She doesn’t have a favorite color. “I don’t discriminate,” she said.

Tara came to Element in hopes of gaining a better understanding of how an agency works, along with getting some advice from our experienced staff on what it’s like to be part of the professional world.

After introductions and a tour, we put Tara to work with our copywriter, Eric. “Since Tara’s double-major gives her a unique skill set, I was able to put her writing and concepting skills to the test using some real-life examples. Tara showed insight and abilities beyond what I expected.”

Before visiting Element, Tara had a Mad Men-like impression of ad agencies; a smoky collection of offices filled with suited, scotch-drinking men.  Fortunately (we think), we demystified her stereotype and were able to show her Element’s uncommon personality.

“As an English major, I like to think of things in terms of stories; hearing everyone’s unique professional experience in the creative field was helpful for me as I approach my own journey into a career.” She says she enjoyed getting a better idea of the ad agency’s process along with getting to know Element’s unique culture. “It was also nice being recognized as an improvisational performer from Comedy City, which might make me a J-list celebrity.”

It was a pleasure to meet Tara and have her job shadow at Element. If you or anyone you know is interested in getting to know more about Element, please contact us. We’d love to meet you!

Account Assistant / SEO Coordinator

Element is seeking a full-time Account Assistant / SEO Coordinator, requiring a minimum of one year experience. Responsibilities include general administration duties, assisting account executives, and coordinating client search engine optimization programs as listed below. To apply, please email a PDF of your resume and cover letter to derek@goelement.com.

Job Responsibilities Include:

-Answer telephone calls and perform general reception duties that include ordering office supplies, proofreading copy, artwork, and agency proofs as requested, and assisting with new business mailings.
 
-Provide administrative assistance to account executives on day-to-day client activities, including responding to client phone calls and emails, handling mail/packages, production and creative deadlines, media placements, etc., to ensure continued progress of client workflow in the absence of the assigned account executive.
 
-Prepare meeting rooms and act as a host/hostess for visiting clients.
 
-Maintain digital/hard copy client and general office files.
 
-Research, collect, and analyze search engine data, leveraging internal and external resources to execute effective search engine optimization programs.
 
-Manage day-to-day paid search campaigns, including keyword generation and ad testing.
 
-Analyze monthly search engine optimization reports and provide assistance on all search engine optimization tactics.
 
-Monitor social media and search engine optimization trends.