<![CDATA[Dashboard Marketing - Stuff]]>Fri, 03 May 2024 02:24:41 -0300Weebly<![CDATA[Personas and the power of audience insight]]>Tue, 30 Apr 2024 18:11:25 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/personas-and-the-power-of-audience-insight
At Dashboard, we always highlight to our clients the power of audience insights and understanding. We note that it’s very important to listen to your customers (vs just talking to them). We also advocate for these insights to be turned in action. There are a good number of organizations out there that don’t reach out and connect with their customers. They’re missing out on a myriad of market intelligence that could make small and big shifts. Shifts that impact sales, product development, retention rates, employee happiness and brand loyalty.   
Any good marketer or business textbook will tell you that understanding your target audience is essential for a successful marketing strategy. Audience understanding is one of 3 pillars in the marketing strategies we develop for our clients. What’s important to note is that traditional audience segmentation can only provide so much to an organization. Going deeper and more personal will take an organization’s marketing efforts to a whole new level of effectiveness.
Audience Segments vs. Buyer Personas… what’s the difference?
Audience segmentation involves categorizing your audience based on demographic, geographic, psychographic, or behavioral data. It’s a broad definition of groups of people who might be interested in your product or service. Buyer personas are detailed, personal, semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. They go beyond demographics, diving deep into motivations, pain points, behaviors, goals, aspirations, and feelings.
If you want to see how defining a buyer segment can only take you so far, take a look at how one 'segment' can be very quickly split into two very different personas. :) 
Here’s a quick list of benefits around why an organization should develop Buyer Personas:

  1. Effective Targeting: Having some level of deeper understanding will enable you to effectively and meaningfully target specific individuals within your audience segments. This focus and understanding allows you to tailor your messaging, content, and offerings to resonate deeply with each persona's needs and wants.
  2. Content Relevance: By understanding what challenges, concerns, desires, etc. your personas face and what solutions they seek, you can create valuable and sticky content that speaks directly to them. This relevance increases engagement, builds brand trust, and drives conversions.
  3. Product or Service Development: Deeper understanding drives ongoing refinement of a product or service. Connecting features, offers, pricing, functionality, timing, channels, etc. with what your ideal customers value most, will see ongoing improvements and ensures relevancy.
  4. Problem Resolution: Gaining input and understanding around pain points and behaviours could prevent issues from happening. The more you know, the more you can predict, resolve and react to. This insight can help prevent or resolve a potential problem well before it becomes one.
  5. Powerful Creative: There is so much noise in the market. The deeper you understand your ‘buyer’ the more effective and relevant your creative can be. Human insights and emotional triggers can be powerful. Connecting creative to those will ensure they act.
  6. Improved Results: Connecting with the right person, through the right channel, with the right message will deliver results. The more you know and appreciate, the more impactful your marketing will be. Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, the key is to focus on activities that have the greatest impact on your personas.
  7. Increased Satisfaction: Understanding and addressing specific needs leads to happier customers who feel valued and appreciated. This satisfaction fosters brand loyalty and advocacy, driving long-term recurring business growth. 

​Over the last few months, the team at Dashboard have developed a number of marketing strategies that showcase detailed buyer personas. Some were created based on 1:1 customer interviews and 1st party research, while others were supported by 3rd party research and the client’s ‘gut’. While you want to ensure any persona is based on human insight and behavioural data, you need to start somewhere. Therefore, you can always establish a foundation and continually expand and refine it.
As with websites, buyer personas are never done. Markets evolve, consumer behaviors change, new trends emerge and even pandemics derail human and business engagement. Because of that, it’s very important to regularly review and update your personas and ensure that your engagement strategies remain relevant and effective. Here's how to keep your personas dynamic:

  1. Continuous Research: Conduct qualitative and quantitative research to gather insights about your audience's evolving preferences, pain points, and behaviors. This could be quarterly 1:1 interviews with 10-14 customers, posing a quick poll on social media, or including an online survey in a monthly email newsletter.
  2. Utilize Multiple Sources: Don't rely solely on surveys or interviews. Incorporate data from sales, Google Analytics, social media analytics, customer success interactions, and feedback from any other front-line staff. Pulling from data sources you control, and have easy access to, paints a comprehensive picture of your personas.
  3. Engage Your Team: Your sales, marketing, and customer success teams interact directly with customers. Continually tap into their knowledge and experiences to refine your personas and align internal strategies and approaches with customer expectations and demands.
Audience understanding and persona development should be a key part of any marketing strategy. As outlined, digging deep goes beyond surface-level segmentation, and will in-turn provide actionable insights that drive effective marketing – both from an acquisition and retention point-of-view. By creating a list of buyer personas, and then continuously refining them based on real-time data and insights, ensures that you stay relevant, connected to your customers, and delivering results.
<![CDATA[Is branding an investment or a cost?]]>Tue, 12 Dec 2023 00:29:55 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/is-branding-an-investment-or-a-cost
As a company that does a great deal of work in the area of #branding, we often have conversations around it being a cost vs an investment. Many feel that branding is a hard cost and don’t see it as something you invest in or nourish. They don’t recognize that the power of brand spreads across a wide variety of areas internally and externally, and is an investment that pays off in both the short and the long-term. As we’ve often stated, it goes way beyond a logo, colour palette or brand book. A brand is a living, breathing element of every business that needs to be invested in just like product development, staff training, warehousing space, or a new website.
In our view, there are 8 reasons why ‘brand’ should be seen as an investment:
  1. It helps your company differentiate, and standout out from the crowded market place
  2. It ensures you attract the right customers, and ignores the rest (and that’s ok)
  3. It sees those customers re-engage, return and re-invest
  4. It could, if appropriate, allow you to place a premium price on your product or service
  5. It helps reduce dependency on promotional efforts you need to pay for
  6. It ensures alignment and focus across an organization and reduces/removes silos
  7. It will help you attract and retain good talent
  8. It is always reinventing and reworking, and therefore relevant to all those that are connected
As you can see in the above, these points have a strong fiscal impact on any organization. The wrong customer can chew up time and unnecessary costs, returning customers are much easy to sell to, advertising budgets are significant budget line items, keeping good talent increases operational performance, and irrelevancy is a company killer.
For another perspective on why to invest in branding, check out this feature from Interbrand. As a leading organizing in the branding space, they know what they’re talking about. We often speak to their brand rankings and how organizations need to always keep an eye on the bouncing brand ball.
In our many branding presentations and workshops, we feature the quote below from Seth Godin. His statement is so very relevant, and in such a simple and powerful way speaks to the ‘squishy’ yet fiscally important aspect of branding. You may think relations, stories and magic have little to do with the financial success of a company. However, we think IKEA, Virgin, and Disney may say different. 
​We’d welcome any other comments or thoughts around why branding is an investment, not a cost. We’d also welcome a chance to discuss this if you need help. Thank you for reading.
<![CDATA[Benefits of using a Fractional CMO]]>Wed, 11 Oct 2023 13:41:50 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/benefits-of-using-a-fractional-cmo
It's been 15 years since our company launched our Marketing Management service. We first stepped in as the Director of Marketing & Communications for StFX University. Since then, we have worked as a marketing lead (CMO, VP, Director, Manager, etc.) for a wide selection of companies such as Eden Textile, Tirecraft Canada, Kinduct (now Movella), GOALLINE, Community Foundation of Nova Scotia, MacLeod Cares, MOBIA, Cresco and Graphite Innovation & Technologies (GIT). In these roles we've done everything from develop and own all of the elements within the marketing strategy; manage or evolve the organization's brand; support strategic planning across the organization; align a strategy with Sales and Client Success; bring on and manage resources - internal and external - to help execute the strategy; execute the tactical needs ourselves; and/or manage and mentor an internal marketing team that is responsible for executing the go-to-market plan. We have also offered counsel and advice in other areas such as pricing, product development, operations, client success, and organizational structure.

Based on our experience and the feedback from our clients, we can highlight 6 benefits for bringing on a Fractional CMO:
1. Cost effectiveness - access years of experience and knowledge without the hefty price
2. Customization - put together a custom strategy or plan based on your current business needs
3. Wisdom - unlock something unique you, or the wider team, didn't know you needed
4. Lighten expenses - using remote services, that can work anywhere, reduces overhead costs
5. Mitigate risk - project work, or short-term retainers, reduce any unnecessary long-term financial commitments
6. New perspective - a new, fresh set of eyes and ears can bring dynamic and unique strategic thinking

When we look back at the mix of contracts we have been involved with, we'd highlight three key learnings:
1. There has to be a handover or transition plan. Having an in-house resource(s) is always important. If no one is available on the client's team, we help hire those resources so that we can then pass the strategy over to be executed.
2. It doesn't matter the size of the company, they could all benefit from outside senior marketing leadership. Companies often have a hard time working on the business vs in the business. This is has been the case in every contract, we're not just pitching our services. 
3. There's still some training or education needed internally in most companies once we step in. Some teams (Product, Sales, Client Success, Ops, etc) may not fully understand our role and how immersed we'll be in the business.

When we launched the business in 2007, our model and approach was very new and not well understood. When we introduced the Fractional CMO offering to people, most couldn't wrap their heads around the structure or how it could work. Now it's well understood and embraced, and there's a number of people or companies offering the service. We like to say our offering is still unique, especially now that we have 15 years of experience in this type of role. That's a lot of knowledge and insight to bring to the table. We also really enjoy being part of the team. Our clients always appreciate having another set of eyes or hands to help grow their business through effective marketing. 
<![CDATA[6 Tips for Maintaining Your UX]]>Thu, 19 Jan 2023 04:00:00 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/6-tips-for-maintaining-your-uxHappy New Year! We know it has been ages since we posted "stuff" so it's fitting that the first topic of 2023 is about keeping the user experience (aka UX) of your website in top shape.

Big thanks to our trusted partner, UX Consultant Stephanie Lummis, for providing these six tasks you should do regularly to maintain the user experience on your website.
1. Update your CMS, plug-ins and modules to the latest versions.
2. Check for broken links. External sites may have changed their URLs and not redirected them. (Or maybe you've changed some on your own site.)

3. Fill out the forms on your site and verify that sender and receiver emails are being sent. You don’t want to miss out on any leads!
4. View your site on the latest browsers and devices and see if everything still works the way it should.

5. Run an accessibility audit. 20% of people identify as having a disability. Accessibility is good business sense!
6. Update the copyright date in your footer

Of course, these are just a few of the tasks you should conduct on a regular basis. There is SO much more to consider when building and maintaining a website. That's why you need a UX expert like Stephanie in your corner. 'We need a new website' is one of the most common phrases we hear from clients - yet, in many cases, they just need to optimize the user experience. Get in touch with us now to find out more.
<![CDATA[Social Media Content Ideas]]>Thu, 25 Jul 2019 18:18:33 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/social-media-content-ideas
Feeling less than creative when it comes to posting on social media? Running out of ideas or getting stuck in a rut? You're certainly not alone. In fact, even over the last few weeks, "help with social media content" has been a popular request from more than a few clients. Since it's fresh in our minds, it seemed like a good time to share a few ideas that we recommend to help build out you content calendar.
  1. Testimonials: don't be shy about sharing great reviews and feedback from your clients. Be creative with how you post them as well. Use a suitable image or use a background with the quote to make it stand out. Video testimonials would be even better! If you don't have any reviews or testimonials, don't be shy about asking for them.
  2. From Our Inbox: post questions you have received from customers and,  depending your business, either ask your followers for their answers or provide the answer yourself with a Q&A style approach.
  3. Teasers: If you're working on a new product launch or have some big news to share, build up the hype before hand with some hints or a countdown to the big reveal.
  4. ICYMI: if you have a blog or You Tube channel with lots of great content, use the "ICYMI"(Incase You Missed It) tag to re-share past posts that would still be relevant.
  5. Spotlight on a Staffer: This is a great post to include in your social schedule on a regular basis.  With each post, simply share a nice pic or video and some details of each person on your team. Ask them fun questions like why they love working at your company and what their favourite product you sell is.
  6. Spread the Love: if you work with different partners or have a number of key influencers - dedicate some spots in your schedule to show them some love. Be sure to @mention them with a link to their page and share some thoughts as to why your business is better because of them.
  7. Comparison: If you're in the business of transforming things (homes, people, smiles, gardens etc) a great way to show your work is with a before & after post. If not, a this-or-that/help us choose post can work well too!
  8. Info Sharing: Depending on your industry, there is likely a load of reliable, third party information available to share with your customers. Whether it's articles to support your business, trends in the sector or research stats - the information can go a long way in helping your customers with their purchase decision.
No matter what you are posting, it's important to make sure it's relevant to your business, aligned with your brand and supports your business goals. 

If you need support developing your monthly social media content calendar, give us a shout. We would love to help you grow your business!
<![CDATA[Case Study: Brand & Marketing Strategy]]>Tue, 19 Mar 2019 03:00:00 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/case-study-brand-marketing-strategy
We have worked with Golf PEI on two projects. The first was in 2006 when we were brought onboard by Golf PEI’s online partner, Modern Media, to reposition the brand and define an audience engagement strategy. The initial phase of the included: competitive analysis; review of all current research; sourcing additional third party research; and facilitating a stakeholder planning session.

Through this exercise, we compiled key insights and knowledge around the industry, audience, and brand. We also developed a new customer segmentation structure that expanded the current perceptions of Golf PEI’s audiences, and broadened the marketing opportunities.

The second project was in 2015. Since much had changed with consumer perceptions and market dynamics, Golf PEI realized they needed to revisit their brand positioning and develop a new, more comprehensive marketing strategy. Similar to the first time working with Golf PEI, we conducted a category analysis; sourced and reviewed industry research; facilitated one-on-one interviews and a stakeholder planning sessions; and executed and analyzed a quantitative research study with those that visited the Island.

Through this extensive process, we reinforced the brand story – Canada’s #1 Golf Destination – with 10 solid and substantiated brand attributes. This project also included the development of a ‘go-to-market’ plan that took into account the deeper level of audience understanding, a more focused list of markets, a clear and supported brand message, and a list of targeted tactics with key performance indicators. Within this process, we also worked with the current creative resource, and helped update their visual identity and website.

Outcome: The newly developed brand strategy and 10 distinct brand attributes are still being used today as part of Golf PEI’s marketing efforts
<![CDATA[Case Study: Recruitment Marketing]]>Wed, 09 Jan 2019 04:00:00 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/case-study-recruitment-marketing
Holland College, the community college of PEI, is an integral part of the provincial economy. In late 2011, the College engaged our company to develop their brand strategy. While there was an existing visual identity, and a new strategic plan, no brand strategy existed. This process included conducting qualitative research with a variety of stakeholders; reviewing the competitive environment; understanding the provincial and regional dynamics; pulling out key insights from the research; developing a distinctive brand positioning; and gaining buy-in from the College’s executive team. While developing the strategy, we pulled together a selection of valued partners to develop a comprehensive recruitment advertising campaign that included traditional and online advertising tools. This campaign supported the new brand positioning and celebrated the ‘new’ Holland College.
Outcome: Since that time, our company has developed the annual recruitment ad campaigns for the college. These campaigns have taken an omni-channel approach to target potential students in Atlantic Canada and Ontario, and have delivered a positive level of enrolled students year after year.

<![CDATA[Case Study: Building a Brand]]>Thu, 15 Nov 2018 04:00:00 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/case-study-building-a-brand
With a need to give the international cruise industry a clear understand of this region and why people should visit, our company co-developed a new ‘Atlantic Canada’ brand. This new brand allowed the Atlantic Canada Cruise Association (ACCA) to elevate the awareness of the region and market itself to the international cruise industry. In late 2007/early 2008, we created a new brand strategy that was accepted by all members of the ACCA (i.e. provincial tourism groups, ports and other members such as Parks Canada).
The process of developing this strategy included conducting extensive research with a variety of customers; conducting a competitive analysis; reviewing additional third-party research; pulling out key insights from the research; developing a distinctive positioning; and gaining buy-in from a variety of stakeholders. Once the brand strategy was formalized, a visual identity was developed and introduced through a new creative platform. The video produced to launch this new brand can be seen here. We also consulted on the development of support material for channel and consumer marketing, along with the website redesign.
Outcome: The brand has, and continues to be, incredibly successful at helping bring hundreds of thousands of cruisers to the region. It still exists, is actively used, and has been well accepted by the cruise industry.
<![CDATA[Sean was on Tech & Beer!]]>Wed, 12 Sep 2018 03:00:00 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/sean-was-on-tech-beerCheck it out! Our very own Sean Williams had the pleasure of enjoying a beer with Calvino Anderson from Tech and Beers. Have a listen as they chat about the impact that technology has on marketing .
<![CDATA[Case Study: Re-branding]]>Tue, 10 Jul 2018 03:00:00 GMThttp://dashboardmarketing.ca/stuff/case-study-re-branding
The Halifax Stanfield International Airport (HSIA) realized they needed to establish a true consumer friendly brand strategy, along with a refreshed ‘look’. In the Fall of 2013, our company was engaged to develop this brand strategy. We conducted qualitative and quantitative research with a variety of stakeholders – travellers, airlines, staff, executive, board members, community, government and many others.
Also included in this process was an industry review that saw us visit and meet with several other airports; collect and review a variety third party white papers, articles and research; and review findings and recommendations with the airport’s executive team and board of directors. After pulling out key insights from all sources, we developed a distinctive brand positioning.
In early 2015, we moved into to the next phase of the project which included the development of a new visual identity and ‘look’ that supported the new positioning. Through this process, we explored a variety of directions and ideas, and looked at design options, naming, on-site expressions (wayfaring, signage, etc.), guidelines, and many other support pieces. We also worked closely with HSIA's creative agency to further develop the brand story and visual identity.
Outcome: The new Halifax Stanfield branding was launched in early 2017. Since then, Halifax Stanfield has rolled out the new branding across all channels and assets, and continues to grow this ‘destination’ brand with passengers, air service partners and the broader community.