Author Archives for Market Mentors

Partner with an agency to complete your marketing puzzle
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Why You Should Partner with an Agency

Completing Your Marketing Puzzle

Nobody is an expert in everything. If you own or manage a business, no doubt there are some aspects of running it at which you excel, and others where you are better off hiring an expert, whether it’s for human resources, accounting or marketing.

Marketing is like a puzzle with lots of pieces, such as public relations, advertising, website development and maintenance, social media, content creation, design and more. You may have staff who specialize in one or two of these areas, but unless you have an extensive marketing department, you are likely missing pieces needed for the big picture.

When you partner with our agency, we become an extension of your in-house team. We fill in the gaps in expertise and focus your marketing efforts while steering clear of common—and potentially costly—pitfalls.

We Are a One-Stop Shop

If you’re working with a myriad of vendors, from freelance designers and writers to web developers and media salespeople, you are likely spending more time and money than you should be managing your marketing needs and ensuring they are consistent and on brand.

With our agency, you get everything you need in one place. Perhaps you only require web development expertise to start; you’ll always have access to our comprehensive range of services when you need them.

Our team is all under one roof, so we work collaboratively on your marketing needs and become true brand ambassadors. We offer complete marketing and advertising services that hit their mark, from strategy through measuring your return on investment.

You Know Your Business. We Know Ours.

We let you focus on what you do best and take care of the rest. Successfully marketing your business is an art and a science. You are the expert about your business. We are the experts in all things media. When you pair what you know best with what we do, it’s a winning combination.

The media landscape is vast and ever-changing. If you’re not up to speed about the best ways to optimize your website’s SEO, launch a digital advertising campaign, or even maintain a Facebook page for your company, your efforts can do more harm than good.

We employ best practices and stay current with industry trends. We can help you cut through the clutter to reach your key audience through a successful combination of paid, earned, owned and shared media. We develop messaging that helps you make an impact, be memorable and build your name recognition.

We Only Succeed When You Do

When you hire us, we become your partners in success. We aren’t selling widgets; we are selling results. That means we are fully invested in getting you where you want to go. Contact us today to make us part of your team. You’ll have more time to focus on your business, while reaping the rewards of a solid strategy.

Our new home in Springfield
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Market Mentors Has a New Home!

…And Room to Expand

From our humble beginnings in the home of our founder and president, Michelle Abdow, in 2003, we have grown slowly but steadily to become the region’s most trusted full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency. Over 15 years (and five moves!), our team now offers a depth and breadth of experience that is hard to match in western Massachusetts. Moving every few years as we grew was exhausting, so we are all relieved to be settling into our expansive new home at 155 Brookdale Drive in Springfield.

Leaving West Springfield was bittersweet, but after once again finding ourselves in need of more space, we decided to bite the bullet (pun intended as we moved into a building that used to house the FBI!) and make a permanent move to the other side of the river. Westside will always have a place in our hearts, but we are thrilled that our gorgeous new facility has everything we need to call it home—short of a laundry room (seriously, we have showers).

Our new space is inviting and features the latest in connectivity. Now, our entire team can work its collaborative magic in the comfort of “home.” Clients and employees alike are thrilled with additional conference rooms and creative spaces, as well as a large, fully equipped kitchen (think commercial refrigerator and full-size range and oven) where we are already enjoying family-style lunches. Don’t be surprised if you smell banana bread baking when you stop by—our creativity is often fueled by food! And there is more to come, with plans for a video production studio, editing suites and a fitness area.

New Home, but Same Commitment to Clients

Our team

Our location has changed, but our commitment to our clients and mission to deliver results has not. As a true full-service agency, we connect brands to customers with unmatched market experience. While we are the largest agency in western Mass., we are still small enough to be personally invested in each client’s success. At Market Mentors, it’s all about results.

Whether you are a current client or looking to connect with an experienced agency for your next big project, we invite you to contact us to learn more about our marketing solutions. And if you happen to be in the Springfield area, don’t be a stranger—make it a point to stop by our new office!

To see more behind-the-scenes photos, follow us on Facebook!

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Mara Chapin discusses identity resolution
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Identity Resolution’s Future

Mara Chapin, our digital and social media specialist, weighs in about the future of identity resolution in this article featured in MarTechToday.


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PR 101: Composition of a Press Release (Infographic)

Who, What, Where, When & Why: Here’s the How

Public relations is a key component of a robust marketing strategy, and the press release is its star. Successful public relations results in earned media, which boosts your brand’s credibility and garners attention. Here, we cover the basics of PR 101.

The 411 on PR 101

This infographic shows what goes into a press release:

PR_101_Infographic_press_release_templateBeyond the Basics: Where We Add Value

Of course, knowing what to include in a press release is only half the battle. You also must make sure it’s newsworthy, compelling and offers information of value to the reader. Technical details matter, too, like proper grammar, spelling and following AP Style.

Beyond that, you’ll want to make sure your press release gets into the right hands, so it gets in front of the right eyes. We use a variety of distribution channels and follow up with vigorous pitching. Our strong relationships with media, developed over the past 15 years, aid these efforts.

Whether you need a one-off press release for a big event or breaking news, or a comprehensive public relations campaign to grow your brand, contact us to get the job done.

SEO Assessments
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Understanding SEO Assessments

Important resource or an email scammer’s dream?

As a business owner, you invest time, money and resources into creating a powerful and captivating website that generates brand awareness with your customer base. Using carefully chosen keywords, your goal is to increase the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. So why are companies soliciting you to tell you how much you need their help? It’s confusing and worrisome. We’re here to break down what SEO assessments are, why they may/may not be necessary, and how to avoid unwarranted email scams.

Why Won’t They Stop Harassing Me About SEO Assessments?!

You’re probably familiar with the emails by now:

 “Dear Sir/Madam: I would like to disclose some facts about your website. By investing a few months in SEO, you can see drastic changes in your website internally and externally. We will show you improvements in your keyword rankings, link popularity, organic traffic and many more.” 


Most companies today have a website. It allows you to create brand awareness and targets your end-users. That’s why your goal is to appear at the top of a web search—so you know your brand is top-of-mind with your audience. You can achieve this “priority placement” through a combination of carefully selected keywords, headlines and content. Businesses continually conduct SEO assessments to ensure their website is performing as they desire. Web companies know this and now inundate business owners with a “value-add” by selling them a website audit.

What is an SEO Audit?

Every SEO company does audits and assessments a bit differently. Some simply run your website through software that spits out a standard report. Others take a deeper dive into that data and give you an unparalleled look into your site’s performance, structure, and authority. Most of the information these companies charge you for are things you should be discussing with your trusted agency partner. We can help explain what all this data means to you, and what you should pay attention to.

A proper SEO assessment should include the following touch-points:

  • Robots.txt: This file is used to prevent search engine crawlers from indexing pages on your website that you want hidden from public view. Similar to the sitemap, it identifies pages you want search engines to include or exclude.
  • Site errors:  These can have a devastating impact on your website’s performance. Any errors on the page send signals to search engines that your site is not trustworthy and will not receive a priority listing spot.
  • Indexed status:  This process adds web pages to a Google search. Depending upon which meta tags you use, Google crawls and indexes your pages. You want your report to show that the number of pages crawled is relatively equal to the number indexed.
  • Page speed:  Users are impatient, and search engines know this. Even a fraction of a second can impact conversion rate.
  • Meta tags:  Duplicate titles, descriptions, and site content can all negatively impact your site’s search engine rankings and click-through-rate.
  • Linking domains:  How popular your site is affects its ranking. Search engines use external links from other domains as an indicator of popularity.
  • Action plan: Any audit should conclude with a clearly defined plan-of-action and next steps.

The Market Mentors Difference

At Market Mentors, we help you grow your digital footprint with our search engine marketing expertise. We take the extra step with all our clients and conduct rigorous SEO assessments of their websites on a continual basis. For instance, rather than just using standard algorithms that are oftentimes cost-prohibitive, we look at a variety of factors that these scam companies often overlook. This includes website performance (speed matters), key competitors and how you stack up, who is linking to your website (to determine if the leads you receive are relevant), and keyword selections (word choice matters and drives search engine rankings).

Many of our clients have recently noticed an uptick in the number of SEO assessment solicitation emails they are receiving.  Our advice is  to not fall victim to these scams. It’s always best to consult the experts. We can help you gain a much better understanding of your SEO strategy than an automated system ever could!

While we can’t stop the emails from coming, we can provide you with the guidance you need to ensure your website is fully optimized and performing to your goals. We’d love to have one of our SEO experts share our best practices with you. Contact us today to get started!

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2018 Super 60 award
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Always Business. Never as Usual. Proud to be a 2018 Super 60 Winner

Market Mentors Recognized by Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce

We are delighted that the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce has again honored us as one of the 2018 Super 60 businesses.

Now in its 29th year, the 2018 Super 60 awards program celebrates the success of the fastest-growing and privately-owned businesses in the region that continue to make significant contributions to the strength of the regional economy.

The program recognizes the 30 local companies with the highest revenue and the 30 with the fastest growing revenue. We qualified in both categories and the Chamber recognized us for our revenue growth at the awards luncheon Friday, Oct. 26 at Chez Josef in Agawam.

We Appreciate You

It’s an honor to be included among the region’s most successful local businesses. Our growth has been steady and is built upon the strong and trusting relationships we develop with our clients, our partners and vendors. We appreciate the opportunity every day to work with professionals across a range of industries from retail, education and automotive to health care, manufacturing, politics, law, insurance and more.

This year, we are celebrating 15 years in business and growing. Since we started in 2003, our team has continued to grow and now includes 22 employees.  Our team offers in-depth marketing expertise in all things media—paid, earned, owned and shared—making us a true, full-service agency. We will soon move to a new, larger office space in Springfield—our fifth move in 15 years—where we look forward to expanding our media department.

Many thanks to everyone who plays a role in our success! We invite you to learn how we can play a part in yours; contact us today.


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15 years, 15 lessons
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15 Years of Rowing the Boat: Lessons We Live By

Market Mentors Is Celebrating Its 15 Year Anniversary!

Experience is the best teacher. Consequently, since beginning Market Mentors 15 years ago, we’ve learned plenty of lessons—some the easy way and some the hard way. These lessons became our guiding principles. In honor of our anniversary, here are 15 lessons we live by.

15 Lessons We Live By

15. We all need to row the boat in the same direction. It’s the only way to move forward. We even keep a mini Viking boat in our conference room to remind us!

14. Eat the frog. This gem is from Mark Twain who said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Don’t be surprised to find gummy frogs in our candy dishes when you visit!

13. Take notes. Refer to them. You think you’ll remember, but you probably won’t.

12. Pick up the phone. It’s all too easy to send an email, instant message or text, but a quick phone call is often faster and usually more efficient.

11. Follow the 80/20 rule. Reprioritize when necessary.

10. “Don’t put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today,” an important reminder from Thomas Jefferson.

9. Proper planning prevents poor performance. We have this one framed in our office.

8. Make fact-based decisions and use common sense. If something doesn’t make sense, ask questions.

7. Take initiative. Don’t wait to be asked to do something that you know needs doing.

6. Plan to follow up. Don’t send a message and assume the task is off your plate.

5. Button up. Pay attention to details to ensure a smooth execution. It’s OK to make mistakes, but don’t repeat them.

4. Set expectations, because it’s better to under promise then over deliver.

3. Make the next person’s job easier. You’ll be amazed how much this improves efficiency and goodwill.

2. Be direct. Honest, constructive communication with each other and our clients lets us get things done and avoid miscommunication.

1. Our clients are everything to us. Always do your part to exceed their expectations.

Thank You

Thank you to the many people who have helped Market Mentors grow and evolve over the past 15 years. This includes the clients we’ve had since the beginning, as well as those with whom we’ve recently partnered; employees and interns past and present; media partners and vendors; mentors, friends and our families.

Every year is as exciting as the last, and we are looking forward to our next chapter. Stay tuned as we make our move to our new corporate offices in Springfield.

Contact us today to find out we can apply our lessons learned to benefit your business.

Like, share, follows on social media reshaping public relations
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How Social Media Is Reshaping Public Relations

With a global user-ship in the billions, social media is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and it’s reshaping public relations. Its influence is simply too large to ignore. A recent survey from Cumulus Media shows that users accomplish the following on social media in just one minute:

  • 4 million Snapchat messages
  • 973,000 Facebook logins
  • 481,000 Tweets
  • 174,000 Instagram posts

While social media is now woven into just about every industry in some capacity, it’s impact on the public relations industry is tremendous. It has forced PR professionals to adapt to the way people consume their news. It’s also opened up a growing landscape of citizen journalists with a smartphone.

Five Ways Social Media Is Influencing Public Relations

Here are five ways social media is reshaping public relations and why PR professionals need to be on board with the latest trends.

1. News stories have a shorter lifespan, but their reach is astronomical

Social media is an immediate outlet. On average, people send 8,000 tweets on Twitter per second. That means that per day, people share nearly 700 million thoughts, ideas or stories. And that’s just one social media outlet.

What makes social media a highly effective tool is its ability to instantly communicate breaking news coverage. However, it’s lifespan is drastically shorter with the next viral story sitting on the horizon. For this reason, journalists are constantly searching for the next big thing and PR professionals need to be ready. Although stories’ ‘lives’ are shorter, they reach a broader audience than ever before.

2. Crisis communication has become more crucial than ever

As if PR pros needed another thing to keep them up at night, social media allows a whole new way for brands to “mess up” in front of their audience. Recently, Buffalo Wild Wings had to issue an apology following a malicious hack of its Twitter account. Along with scheduling interviews and pitching stories, PR professionals must now manage brand voice, protect the organization’s online reputation, and promote additional content and community engagement.

It’s essential that companies monitor social media for brand mentions. Not having a plan for responding to customer feedback can lead to a missed opportunity at best or a full-scale crisis at worst.

3. Public relations professionals have increased access to journalists

Social media helps public relations professionals get closer to reporters. You can follow a journalist on social media to learn their tone of voice, opinions and recent work. Applications like Muck Rack make it easier to find publications and journalists that meet the criteria you’re seeking and get instantly connected. But while social media is a great place to research reporters and make connections, direct messaging or tweeting your pitch directly to a reporter is considered bad form.

4. Public relations professionals find themselves in the customer service trenches

Social media interactions happen in real time. Users expect immediate responses from brands when they voice a concern, complaint or question. Traditionally, PR teams’ primary responsibility was to secure media placements for their client or company. Now, they also have to be much more customer-focused. Building your brand community on social media is just as important as booking an interview for your CEO, and it might be even more influential than traditional media coverage.

5. Social media introduced the influencer phenomenon

Social media doesn’t just provide an outlet for trained journalists to share breaking news; it’s also created a new type of citizen journalist: the influencer. From a vlogger with 3 million subscribers on YouTube to a travel blogger with 200k Instagram followers, influencers can attract new customers to a brand. A 2016 poll showed that 71 percent of American consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference. Social media influencers can mean big public relations opportunities for the brands they represent.

You may feel like you’re ready to begin your social media campaign on your own, but mishandling it can alienate customers and create bad PR. At Market Mentors, we stay on top of the trends and can help you build a social media strategy that works with your public relations strategy. Contact us today to get started.

Amanda Moyer on Mass Appeal
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Tips For A Successful On-Camera Interview

Broadcast interviews can make even the most sophisticated executive uneasy, but they offer the opportunity to deliver messages to a wide audience quickly and simultaneously. Since television is a visual medium, your demeanor and style are just as important as what you say. In addition, with the rise of our quick-clip culture, the packaging of information in shorter bits makes it imperative to be opportunistic, delivering messages succinctly and clearly in every on-air exchange. With the right preparation and approach, everyone can be an effective on-camera communicator.

Practice Makes Perfect

Nothing beats practice to prepare for a broadcast interview. Prior to the interview, run through potential questions you might face and refine the answers until you are comfortable with the responses. Through this process, you can make sure to communicate the message in a concise format with strong supporting evidence.

As part of the practice, watch videos of successful and unsuccessful on-camera  interviews to learn what made the interview a success or a failure. YouTube is a great source for videos of executives navigating the waters of friendly and unfriendly questions.

Try using the bridging and blocking method. This method steers the interview along your agenda by using phrases like, “the real issue here is…” and underscore main points with phrases like, “the bottom line is…”

Fight Stage Fright

Broadcast interviews offer you an unparalleled opportunity to connect with audiences, deliver key messages, and engage in dialogue in a polished manner that positions both you and your brand in a positive light.

It’s normal to be nervous before a broadcast interview. In fact, the accompanying adrenaline rush can sometimes help with alertness. However, being fully prepared will go a long way toward instilling confidence and reducing nerves. Make sure to arrive early for the interview. Get acclimated to the interview space and the surroundings. Focus on the interview as more of a conversation with the host or reporter rather than with the larger audience that will watch the interview.

Dress for Success

Conservative dress is the best option when preparing for an on-camera interview. For men, a dark suit with a blue shirt is a good go-to selection; women should also choose dark outfits in solid colors for best appearance. Men should unbutton suit jackets while seated, and button them when standing.

Most studios are cold until the lights are on and then they become quite warm, so mid-weight clothing is the best choice. Avoid loud colors and prints with small patterns, and large, shiny or noisy jewelry. Due to potential glare, contact lenses are better than glasses, but if you do wear glasses, choose a pair with non-reflective lenses if possible.

Be Aware You’re on the Air

Once you enter a room and sit down for the interview, always operate under the assumption that all the microphones and cameras in the room are on and recording the entire time. Be wary of what you say before and after the interview, as live microphones can still be recording. Controversy ensues when an executive talks into a microphone they presumed wasn’t on. If you see a microphone or camera, assume it’s recording.

Your Body Speaks Volumes

If you’re seated, use proper posture and lean slightly forward or toward the interviewer. If standing, put your arms at your side or put one hand in a pocket. Planting one foot slightly in front of the other will help you avoid swaying.

Keep gestures small and in front of you and avoid sudden body movement. Make sure your expression matches your words. Smile if appropriate and keep a mildly pleasant expression at all times. Don’t nod your head to indicate that you understand or are ready to answer questions; it may inadvertently be interpreted as agreement with the questioner’s premise.

You may benefit from coaching or having someone to help you prepare before going on-camera. We can help make sure you deliver the proper message to the target audience in a professional manner. Contact us today and take your first steps toward becoming an expert on camera.


Blog Contributor Laura Stopa
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Raster vs Vector Graphics

Digital graphics can be divided into two categories: raster and vector. Never heard of them? Here’s how — and when — each should be used.

Raster graphics are composed of pixels, which are tiny squares that make up an image. These little squares of different colors join together to form an image when viewed at normal size. Depending on the media output you plan to use the graphic in, there are standards for how many pixels (or dots) per inch (dpi) there should be to see a crisp, clean picture. For example, most onscreen graphics work well at 72 dpi, but printed graphics should typically have 300 dpi.

Raster Graphic Example

Raster graphics lose quality as they are scaled up (or down!).

Vector graphics are composed of points and lines generated by mathematical formulas. These points and lines are used to compose the final graphic. The computer uses math to determine the shape of the object based on placement of the points and lines. Unlike raster graphics, there are no pixels, which means you do not need to worry about the size of the graphic, it will look crisp at any size regardless of media.

Vector Graphic Example

Vector graphics do not lose quality whether you scale them up or down.

When to use raster and vector graphics

Whether you use raster or vector graphics depends on the type of graphic you’re looking for.

If you’re going to create or use a photograph, graphics with many different effects, or a highly detailed image, you should use a raster graphic. This will give you maximum control over the image and allow for better gradient/color blending. Depending on the use, you can only scale the image up to 100% before you start to see some quality loss. Even resizing a raster image smaller can cause loss of quality, so be sure that whoever is handling the files knows how to properly edit and save the file to avoid loss of quality.

If you’re going to create or use logos, illustrations, graphics with minimal (preferably no) effects, graphics with little detail, line drawings or artwork with clearly discernable shapes, you should use vector images. This will maximize your editing capability, allow you to reshape the artwork endlessly without loss of quality, and resize smaller or larger without quality distortion.

Some common file formats give you a clue as to the type of graphic you have:

  • Common raster formats: JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP
  • Common vector formats: PDF, EPS, AI, SVG

The trick with vector formats is that they can also contain raster graphics alone or in conjunction with vector graphics. Try opening the file in an application like Adobe Acrobat and see what happens when you scale the graphic up past 100%. If all parts stay in focus and clear, then it’s most likely a vector graphic. If things start to get fuzzy and pixelated as you zoom in, the file likely contains raster images, and will not work if scaled too large.

Make sure to use the correct format for the needs of your graphics. One of the biggest mistakes many companies make is creating something like a logo with a photo in it, or making the logo in Adobe Photoshop and saving it in a raster format rather than a vector. This results in distorted or pixelated images, which is never good for your brand.

When in doubt, contact us and we’ll make sure you have the right format for your graphic needs.

Blog Contributor Laura Stopa
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How to Make the Most of Your Headshot

Clients often ask us for professional headshots to use in various marketing materials and for PR purposes. If you’re like me, most people hate getting their photo taken. However, it’s easy to get the most out of your headshot and reduce some of the stress that comes along with showing us your pearly whites.

What to Wear and How to Prepare

When we get confirmation that you’re coming in for a professional headshot, one of the things we typically do for people who haven’t had one before is to send an informational sheet over that includes tips for what to wear to a photo shoot. I always say “simple is better.” Don’t come to a photo shoot wearing clothing that has florescent colors or crazy patterns (even if you love them like I do). That’s just a recipe for disaster, and a sure way to bet you won’t be happy with your photos.

It's not's Photoshop!

For women, it’s usually best to keep your makeup and jewelry simple. Regarding makeup, it is recommended to apply a little heavier than normal as it will enhance your features. Especially things like mascara and eyeliner to help your eyes stand out and face powder/foundation to reduce glare. Making sure hair and facial hair is well-groomed for men will also help improve photos. If you wear glasses and plan to have them in your photo, be ready to take them off in a few shots in case there is glare. We’ll need some photos without them on to help reduce glare via Photoshop (magic!).


It’s usually best to try and stay relaxed. Try taking a deep breath right before we start shooting. It will help release some of your worry and relax your posture. We usually suggest your feet be about shoulder width apart and stand tall — without being a statue (no slouching allowed!). It’s usually best to clasp your hands in front of your body than to leave them dangling by your sides. Try to move your face closer to the camera — without moving your neck/body — and lifting from your chin a bit to reduce potential “double chin” issues. It’s also a good idea to “smize” a term coined by fashion model Tyra Banks (who loves watching America’s Next Top Model — this girl!). It means to smile with your eyes. We don’t want you to look vacant in your photos, we want the viewer to engage with you and see the fire behind your eyes.

Smize with your Eyes

Let’s Talk

Typically, when I take photos I try to engage in some small talk with you to help relax the situation and get some real expressions from you. It’s always best when we can have a conversation to keep from those awkward silences (crickets anyone?). Tell me a joke, or something funny that happened recently; it helps to break the ice. I was just learning from a client I took photos of the other day that she loves zip-lining, something I would never have expected after meeting her. Learning about you helps me get a better feel for your personality and lightens the mood. Coming in uber-serious and un-communicative tends to come across in your photos. Hey, if it helps pretend you are a movie star, pretending you are someone you aren’t can totally help you relax and give you a confidence boost.

Relax, We’ve Got This

We’re going to take a whole series of pictures so that once we wrap up the shoot, we can send you over a contact sheet with some options. You get to pick one, and we’ll retouch it for you. That horrible pimple that showed up last night while thinking about how awful getting your professional portrait taken the next day? Gone. We’ll do our best to help you look your best—while still looking natural and not like a plastic Barbie doll. The moral of the story here is to come in relaxed and positive. The happier you are, the better your photo will come out.

P.S. If you’re looking for more information on what to wear (or not to), give us a ring or email your account rep. We’ll send our informational sheet right over.

Blog Contributor Evan
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The Sales and Marketing Seesaw

Freshly armed with a marketing degree, but desperately trying to avoid returning home to live with mom and dad, I jumped at the opportunity to take a sales gig. While it wasn’t directly related to marketing it was very rewarding, sometimes frustrating and surprisingly educational. Fast forward eight years, and I finally get to put my marketing cap on full-time here at Market Mentors. I still have a “new biz” role here, so I thought I would bring a little bit of my perspective to the table.

Often times when we meet with prospects or are reviewing a campaign with current clients, the conversation naturally turns toward sales. “Making the register ring” is typically the foremost objective for our clients. However, there can often be a disconnect between what the roles are in a revenue generating initiative. Maybe your sales staff says they need more, or better-qualified leads (cue Alec Baldwin). Perhaps your marketing team is seeing the fruits of their labors die on the vine by way of poor closing rates. A well-executed strategy would have a seamless cycle, where everyone knows their role in generating new business. In some instances, the confusion of these roles can lead to inefficiency, frustration and wasted dollars.

Most great results are the product of experience and a solid understanding of fundamentals. The following guidelines may seem simple in nature, but are often misunderstood. Before taking on any business development endeavor, regardless of industry, these principles set expectations for everyone.

  • While a successful marketing strategy hopes to target a specific audience or group, a successful sales campaign hopes to distill that audience and communicate directly with one identified lead.
  • Effective marketing engages audiences via multiple channels of communication depending on the campaign, but properly qualifying the leads that result should always be a two-way, open conversation with a sales person.
  • Valuable items are often offered to promote a product or service as a component of a marketing plan. Case studies, white papers and collateral seek to expedite the education process. In sales, “over-educating” a lead can often stymie the closing process and frustrate both the sales person and the prospect.
  • A well-executed marketing effort will inspire audiences to find more information and how the product or service relates to them personally. The sales person then attempts to find the prospect-specific challenges, and leads them to “yes” or “no” conclusions.
  • In most cases, a marketing plan becomes more successful with greater frequency, creating more exposure. Conversely, an efficient sales strategy strives to reduce the number of “touches” to reduce the sales cycle.

While these marketing and sales functions are different, both sides rely on each other for success. Have your sales people discovered that the target audience has a specific objection? That may be an excellent opportunity to create a campaign tailored around that particular issue. Market Mentors can help collaborate with your team, and create a case study, printed piece or even web content to aid your sales staff! Or perhaps your sales force might be experiencing a high number of pre-qualified incoming leads, but aren’t converting. This may indicate there is a fundamental flaw in the sales process, that can sometimes be something as simple as not asking the right questions. While we aren’t sales trainers, effective marketing strategies create more demand and opportunity to look closer at your closing rates.

Wrapping up, I promise!  Most folks not involved in the sales and or marketing process see them as the same thing. Those involved in one side or the other can sometimes see each other as two worlds apart. Success lies in the middle. These departments should be working in tandem, keeping communication open and continuous. If everyone knows their roles there’s no need for finger pointing. Let Market Mentors work to discover the “secret sauce” to get your sales team tuned in perfect unison with your marketing strategy! It will make your life as easy as “ABC.” Sorry, had to do it.

Meredith Springfield case study
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The Inside Story: Case Studies Support Sales

One of the most powerful sales tools marketing can provide is a case study. While case studies can take many forms, from feature articles to testimonial ads and videos, they are one of the most valued marketing investments. Maybe you’re interested in supporting your sales team but you don’t know exactly what a case study is, or perhaps you just need the right pitch to make sure your business earmarks part of the marketing budget to develop your story. At Market Mentors, we’ve drafted case studies that have helped sales teams deliver results across multiple platforms and industries. Here is what it’s all about:

What is a case study?

Case studies are storytelling for sales. Presented in a “problem, solution and results” format, these narratives home in on the most common pain points of the personas you sell to — and then they offer a real-world solution with demonstrated results. These stories can be crafted in the form of an article and shared with trade press for editorial coverage, condensed into short statements that are just the right size for a print ad or billboard, and they can even be very effective television and radio ad messages… and the best part is that you don’t have to pick just one. Once developed, a case study can be repurposed across mediums that will be sure to reach your target audience, while maximizing the marketing budget.

Why are case studies so effective? The answer is threefold:

  1. Case studies identify with your target audience first. Sometimes radio or TV commercials are only 15 to 30 seconds long… so it’s easy to use up all that time just talking about your business, products or services. However, that “hard sell” approach can alienate your target audience because you don’t take the time to identify with them first. The same holds true for longer articles. It can be so tempting to write a full-page article about all the great things you do and offer… but people have short attention spans and know when they are being sold. Take a moment to paint a picture for your audience by using a “soft sell.” Show them you understand the challenges they face, and then show them your solution.
  2. Customer contribution adds credibility. You can say your product or services are the best, but it resonates more when a third party agrees. Capitalize on your success and ask your happy customers to share their experience working with you. Not only is the end result more credible marketing, but it’s an opportunity to strengthen your relationship with key clientele.
  3. They answer, “What’s in it for me?” By providing an actual example of real-world application, the burden of proof is lifted and the question changes from “why would I buy your product or use your service?” to “why wouldn’t that work for me?” That’s a much warmer conversation for your sales team, and one step closer to converting a prospect to a customer.

Have a great story to share but not sure how to get started? Contact us today and we can not only help you draft the story, but we’ll also help you extend the reach of your message. From traditional advertising and public relations, to websites and social media, Market Mentors can help shine a spotlight on your success.

facebook reactions
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What the new reaction feature on Facebook means for businesses

Have you noticed the new reaction button on Facebook? Chances are you have! If not, this is the set of six emoji’s that sit alongside the original “like” button. Users can quickly respond with love, laughter, happiness, shock, sadness and anger. This gives users the ability to respond to posts and ads with different reactions beyond the like button, but isn’t quite as bold as creating a dislike button, which is why these were created. This new set of reactions will appear on mobile and desktop versions.

While it seems like a fun tool to use when scrolling through your news feed, this could actually be harmful to users and businesses. This feature is available to use on ads that businesses have paid for. It is worrisome that users have the ability to negatively impact those businesses whom have paid for these ads.  Some users tend to dislike any ads on Facebook and will react with an angry face even though it might not be towards what the ad is really promoting. Since there is no feedback as to why that reaction was posted for their ad, it is harder for businesses to gauge why that reaction is there. It is more practical when users comment on something they don’t agree with and then someone can respond appropriately and investigate further as to why someone is unhappy.

Although the reactions add a nice touch to other types of posts, it has become something that all businesses will now have to worry about since users have the freedom to post any reaction they want and you cannot remove it. Moving forward Facebook business pages will need to be monitored more carefully. Additionally with this negative reaction, it could cause businesses to not want to advertise on Facebook since they run the risk of having negative reactions linked to their ads with no other type of feedback as to why they had that reaction.

So what’s the good news you ask? Well, you can see who had a negative reaction and would still be able to reach out if you wanted to investigate further and get feedback on why they are unhappy. These new reactions also opens Facebook up to a new level of experimentation. Since users can see how others react to certain posts or ads, there is more information available to us than only likes and impressions. We can use this information to see what posts and ads users respond to and what types of reactions they are having to help with future posts and ads geared toward what people like.

Overall, this new change to Facebook has both pros and cons. We will have to wait and see how this new feature progresses and if this ends up being beneficial or more of a hassle for Facebook users.

Blog Contributor Stephanie
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What is Your Company Logo Really Saying?

Have you ever been walking down the street and seen a logo on someone’s clothing and been able to identify the brand at first glance? Chances are you just answered “yes.” Company logos are essential in building brand awareness and in giving you an edge in the marketplace. Studies show that 65% of the population are visual learners, so it would behoove companies to use this as a competitive advantage. The key is to make the logo stand out above others, while still reflecting the value or product of the brand.

The real question is, what makes a good logo? Many of us don’t like to think about things any more than we already have to on a daily basis. “Keep it simple, stupid” will go a long way in the realm of brand recognition. Although Apple is already more established than most other brands, the simple apple emblem on the exterior of their products makes them easily recognizable. The same goes for Nike products. Who knew a “swoosh” would develop into such an iconic symbol? The point is, when logos and symbols become too complex, it can become unrecognizable to potential consumers.

One aspect that many companies may not consider when designing or choosing possible logos is if it is practical. By practical I mean, will it look good on paper, clothing, stickers, etc.? No matter what industry you are in, it’s important to have your logo transferable so it can be utilized on various platforms to maximize reach. FedEx, for example, utilizes the negative space in their logo so the “hidden” arrow appears on any surface it is printed on. Although it may seem like a minute detail, the arrow is crucial to their brand, symbolizing and communicating “movement, speed, and the dynamic nature of the company.”

Choosing a color that reflects who you are as a brand will help consumers to easily associate your company with your logo. Studies show that 80% of people think color increases brand recognition.  Every color in the color wheel has a meaning behind it; blue means strong or trustworthy, red conveys boldness and love, and green symbolizes growth or caring. For example, law firms and insurance agencies might consider using red or blue in their logo to show their strong presence, rather than purple which could be seen as more creative and imaginative in nature. This seems to be getting down to the nitty gritty but colors can have a large impact on the human mind and the way we associate things.

All of these tips are helpful when thinking of ideas for your new or improved company logo. However, they are just suggestions, they are not set-in-stone rules! So, when deciding on possible ideas for a logo, consider these 5 key points:

  1. Reflect the values, goods, and services of your brand
  2. Keep it simple, stupid
  3. Make it easily recognizable
  4. Make it practical
  5. Choose the right color(s)

If your company needs help redesigning or generating a new logo, give us a call at 413-787-1133. Market Mentors would be happy to give your brand that “extra something” it deserves!