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Sinclair and Ruiz is a consultancy that creates integrated local, national and international marketing strategies


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How important is it to develop strategic relationships and contacts inside target markets?

The importance of making strategic contacts is fundamental to success – particularly when expanding into new territory. Relationships facilitate market penetration, assist in identifying new audiences, and measuring product performance. Partnerships can be formal or informal and require different levels of commitment in order to keep the relationship beneficial.

strategic relationships

 

Rahul Samant CEO of Rehabtronics told us that… “it’s very critical to establish strong sales and distribution channels as well as relationships with key opinion leaders”. Cindy Collins founder of Mining Technology Partners noted relationships are …”  huge and the focus of [her] company. [They] put providers together with contacts in Mexico and help them with distribution or [creating a] sales network.  Not only this, but to find references and the who’s who of using your products… this industry [mining] is very dependent on the usual early adopters.  We are often asked for who is using our customers’ products, especially for the more innovative or game changing products” . Alejandro Godoy founder of  Seafood Business Solutions highlighted “…it is very important to develop relationships with key decision makers, specialty seafood buyers in new markets.” Carlos Escobosa Commercial and Administrative Director of  The Residences at Solaz observed that “contacts in target markets offer a direct line to what consumers in those markets want, and most importantly, how to reach them in a cost-efficient way”.

This article is part 2 of 3.
In case you missed Part 1: Top 4 Challenges to Business Development.

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Case Study: Tennis Sponsorship Campaign

Tennis Sponsorship CampaignSinclair and Ruiz designed and implemented a sports marketing sponsorship campaign to reach a niche market for a resort client. The client’s infrastructure encompasses 4 hotels, a marina, golf and country club, and a gated residential community. The multi-dimensional campaign included advertising, PR and event participation, which secured leads as desired.

Following the initial campaign and implementation of the subsequent inbound marketing strategy, leads purchased all-inclusive packages at our client’s resort to participate in a 4-day tennis tournament.

The tournament was incorporated into the sports marketing campaign in order to generate an immediate return on investment. In addition to the tournament participants, those leads provided referrals to spouses and other family members who also traveled to the resort on dates within the 4 months following the conclusion of the campaign. Therefore the encouragement of referrals as part of the campaign increased the client’s short-term return on investment.  Within the first 4 months following the conclusion of the campaign, our client registered a lead conversion rate of 11%, concluding the 12 month cycle with a conversion rate of 33%.

Contact info@sinclairandruiz.com to discuss how sponsorship campaigns and sports marketing can increase your organization’s brand awareness and sales. You may also visit www.sinclairandruiz.com.

 

 


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Case Study: Destination Branding for Real Estate Investment

Sinclair and Ruiz coordinated a multi-year effort to draw real estate investment (from developers as well as consumers) to a beach destination.  Our client was a co-op made up of various stakeholders including the Mexico Tourism Board, a state government, and a developers association. The targeted $1.4 million USD campaign focused on Canadian provinces from B.C to Ontario; as well as the American west coast states, Nevada, Ohio, Colorado and Texas. After the initial cycle of brand awareness, the percentage of registered leads generated by the marketing initiatives grew by 300%, participation in information and promotional events across Canada grew by 38 %. By the campaign’s third year, the number of Canadian travelers to the destination – mainly Baby Boomers- grew by 30%. Furthermore, at a national level the destination rose from 11th place to 4th place among tourist destinations in terms of real estate investment. Residential real estate sales to Canadian investors totaled over $300 million USD over the three years of campaign implementation. Marketing efforts included multi- media advertising, public relations, and network building.

Contact S&R to request further information on marketing campaign design and execution. http://www.sinclairandruiz.com


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Professional Duty: Acting Ethically and in the Client’s Best Interest

There are three important things to keep in mind with regards to an agency’s duty to the client: never lose sight of who the client is, what they want to achieve, and how to act in their best interest. There are several situations that can interfere with the clarity of these three points. Regardless of the outcome agencies must work ethically to achieve client’s best interest; and this may not always take shape the client has in mind. The following article will touch upon some examples of these situations.

The Agency Works for the Client Not the Client’s Contact Person

The contact person for a client may be the owner of the company, an employee of an organization, or council members, among others. It is important to keep in mind that the main contact for the organization and the client are not one and the same; and that unfortunately their expectations may not always aligned. The situation may arise where the contact may make requests that are not related to the business relationship or the best interest of the client.

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 It is a regular part of business to provide value added assistance to important clients.  However, it is not normal to consistently oblige to requests in the name of a business relationship that may personally benefit the contact at the expense of the client. For example, a manager once requested we amend a proposal to include planning an event in a city that was not a target market of the client. The manager had a clear personal interest in the request, although it would divert important marketing funds to an exercise that would not generate a return on investment. The Client was not aware of this. One may think that it is the Client’s problem and that ultimately that manager should be accountable for these decisions. However, it is not an Agent’s place to get involved in office politics, and it is the Agency’s duty to act in the best interest of the client. An Agency can make the right recommendations, document them, and follow the Client’s direction.

The Agency’s Duty to Act Ethically As Well As in the Client’s Best Interest

There are also occasions when the client makes good faith requests that are not in their own best interest. Agents have a duty to inform their Client if they believe what they want will not provide the desired results. An Agency can make alternate suggestions, but ultimately the client makes the decisions. Generally, Agencies  act on the client’s direction even if it is against the Agency’s advice. This of course, changes when the matter relates to ethical choices.

This topic was well described in a recent article in The Economist, as explained by the following excerpt:

Professional organisations are bound by professional ethics to put limits on what they will do for their customers: lawyers have to apply the law, for example, and universities have to apply objective standards, rather than just pleasing their customers. Arthur Andersen, once a big accounting firm, went bust because it broke professional rules in order to help one of its best customers, Enron. Monitor Group, a consultancy, provoked mockery because it adopted an excessively customer-centric approach to the late Colonel Qaddafi, including helping his son, Saif al-Islam, prepare a thesis for the London School of Economics and proposing a book that would present the Colonel as “a man of action and a man of ideas”.

  It often makes perfect sense to refuse to give your customers what they want, or at least what they say they want.  “You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them,” Steve Jobs told Inc. magazine in 1989.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/03/how-deal-muppets?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/downwiththem

DO BUSINESS RELATIONSHIPS ALWAYS STRENGTHEN WHEN THE AGENCY ACTS IN THE CLIENT’S BEST INTEREST?

As professionals we can listen to clients and design strategies to help them achieve their goals. In most cases this is the way contracts work and result in great business relationships. Yet the reality for some circumstances, such as those outlined above, is that the correct alternative may be to fire the client or lose the account. When it comes to a client’s representative directing an Agency to act contrary to the client’s best interest, refusal to act may result in a lost account. In this scenario, the agency will retain its integrity while the alternative could be shouldering responsibility for the client employee’s unethical behavior.

 

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When it comes to implementing a strategy the Agency considers will not work, it is important to weigh the consequences of following through. Most businesses at one time or another have taken on a job that they later wished they hadn’t. These kinds of situations are not always obvious or clear cut. A Focus post provides a useful exercise for those considering if it is worth walking away from a client. They say “Sometimes, even an unprofitable customer can be worth the headache for other reasons. However if they’re not, this due diligence can help you know for sure and not have to spend any time second-guessing your decision.” You may read the full post at http://www.focus.com/questions/when-it-time-walk-away-customer-and-stop-doing-business-them/

Business relationships are not always easy. Parties do not always have to agree. But clients are entitled to the certainty that their Agency will always act with their best interest and in an ethical manner. For a professional business, the right decision may be the most difficult one, but it in the end it will generate the best results for all parties.

Sinclair and Ruiz Consulting

http://www.sinclairandruiz.com

LINKS:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/schumpeter/2012/03/how-deal-muppets?fsrc=scn/fb/wl/bl/downwiththem

http://www.focus.com/questions/when-it-time-walk-away-customer-and-stop-doing-business-them/

 


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Gaining an Edge through Partnership and Sponsorship Marketing

Marketing partnerships and event sponsorships are effective marketing tools.  The first refers to linking two or more different non-competing brands for marketing purposes. The second refers to brands that become supporters of charities, sporting events, trade shows, etc.  We highly recommend both options because they are cost-effective and – when implemented correctly- provide outstanding results. When S&R designs and implements such strategies for our clients, the efforts generate all or o most of the following (depending on the clients’ needs):

  • Exposure to new consumers
  • Partnerships  with brands that are prestigious and important to

the target market

  • Positive brand association
  •   Increased brand awareness and enhanced image
  •  Exposure in the media
  • Revenue

We rely on our networks and those of our clients to carefully seek-out and evaluate opportunities that will provide the best return on investment. When searching for the best opportunity for your brand it is important to know who the target market is and how you want to reach them. Some organizations are better set-up than others to provide the right value.  Annual events and sports organizations often have an established framework within which they work with partners and sponsors.  Others, who have access to your target market, may not have previously provided the service your company requires or are simply less efficient.  Therefore it is important for the marketer to be involved through every step of the campaign.

Partnership and Sponsorship Marketing initiatives Sinclair and Ruiz has coordinated on behalf of our clients include:

  • In-kind sponsorships for charity tournaments, cultural and business events. Benefits include brand exposure in printed materials; value added advertising; spoken acknowledgements; speaking opportunities, and activation at the events.

 

  • Coordination and implementation of advertising campaigns between different segments of the tourism industry (destination, country, airline, travel agents).

 

  • Sponsorship and partnership of sporting events and organizations. Benefits include media exposure, brand exposure in printed materials, spoken acknowledgements, speaking opportunities, activation at the events.

 

These marketing efforts work well for small businesses as well as large organizations.  In order to make the most of partnerships and sponsorships, companies should gain exposure through an integrated mix of advertising and PR.  As always there should be a consistent message directed towards a clear objective.

Related articles that may be of interest:

http://www.businessknowhow.com/marketing/marketing-partnership.htm

http://marketing.about.com/od/eventandseminarmarketing/a/sponsorship.htm

info@sinclairandruiz.com

http://www.facebook.com/sinclairandruiz

 


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Points to Consider for Successful Press Trips

  • Objective. Determine what you want to achieve and the line of communication that you want to transmit. Target the media you want to invite accordingly and the numbers you can successfully host. Quantity of journalists should not be the objective.

 

  • Plan ahead.  Often press trips are planned with only a few weeks advance notice. The more time there is to plan and provide journalists with detailed information, the better.

 

  • Collaborate. The team in charge of logistics on the ground should work closely with the agency or persons coordinating with the media.

 

  • Individual media visits vs. group press trips.  Many journalists participate on group trips on a regular basis, and prefer group activities. Yet many others will not participate in group trips, period. Depending on the industry and size of the company/organization launching a PR strategy it is important to decide if individual media visits will be accommodated. If you host a group, make sure your itinerary is relevant to their interests. If you host an individual visit, get to know the journalist before he or she visits.

 

  • Downtime/ free time. Press trip hosts understandably want to show their media guests as much as possible.  However, in a recent survey conducted by S&R we found free time was a “must have” for all respondents.  This includes sufficient time between tours and meals for your guests to change and rest.

 

  • Internet access. Press trips are work trips. This means media reps need to work on stories and stay in touch with their office. It is imperative that guests have easy access to internet at all hours.  Hotel room internet access is preferred, but as some hotels begin to focus internet usage in common areas it is important that the setting is comfortable, and provides privacy if needed.

 

  •  Flexibility. Group visits should allow flexibility within reason. It is especially important to accommodate certain requests that are in reference to assigned story topics.

 

  • Hour by hour itineraries.  Everyone is different. Often journalists who have never visited a destination prefer more detailed itineraries, whereas journalists who are familiar prefer less structure. It is important to assign reasonable start and end times so the days are not too long.

There will always be imperfections during press trips, but when they are well organized they can generate great benefits. A couple of weeks ago we received a note from a  journalist for whom we arranged a media visit. He wrote “[the] trip was one of the best media trips I’ve been on, and I’ve been on quite a few! My hat is off to you… and everyone who helped. I was very pleased with all the arrangements, schedule, etc. Outstanding  trip.”  Our client benefited from two months of premium national exposure through the print and online circulation of this journalists article. The article’s message was consistent with the client’s communication strategy, and that is what defines a successful press trip.


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Elements of Successful Marketing Campaigns

I’d like to share some elements that have made marketing campaigns successful in our experience:

  • Effective communication and promotions that are attractive to the target audience. In addition to a new audience, the communication strategy should motivate contacts who have known about the company for over a year – but had not done business with the company – to finally respond to the call to action.
  • The strategy should take into account past strategies that worked as well as strategies that  may been good ideas originally – but weren’t implemented properly. They should be modified to fit into the objectives of the current campaign if it is thought they can meet the needs of the target market.
  • The campaign execution should include plenty of follow-up with  prospects along the way.
  • The strategy design and execution phases need to run their course without being rushed. Each phase should be implemented without cutting corners. Once the campaign ends, it is importante for the client’s staff to continue to engage the segments of brand new audiences who were not ready to act right away.