Beth Albin Knabel Strategic Marketing Planning
Print, Digital, and Visual Communications
Summary December 2010
Nearly thirty years of marketing and management experience in higher education, telecommunications, insurance, information systems, automotive manufacturing and automotive supplier chain, hotels and hospitalityâ€”Ms. Knabel is well-practiced at assessing the needs, prescribing a solution, and producing cost-justified print, digital, and visual communications.
Marketing Analysis and Brand Strategy Surveys Using the voice of the customer
Print Communications Adv
ert wil ise w l p e ros ll an per d oft you en
Digital and Interactive Communications
Writing Samples Feature Writing Fundraising Newsletters Brochures Radio/Video Scripts
Integrated Communications Case Study: HoneyTree Early Learning Centers Case Study: Holiday Travel Case Study: Hotel Affinity Program
Marketing Analysis and Brand Strategy
Market Surveys, Customer Hot Buttons, Keywords Brand Development
Successful marketing starts with good data. Data informs decisions on product attributes, tone of advertising, message, media, and frequency of contact. Situation: Commercial real estate entrepreneur identified a business opportunity based upon a market trend and built a Web-based borrower/broker matching system for commercial loans. Marketing challenge: Client had a 3-word tag line that framed the mssion of the company and the business model. Yet as a start-up, the business had no recognition in the market and needed a plan to differentiate themselves, get noticed, and grow quickly. Solution: A study of the competition and perceived competition, along with a survey of prospective brokers, shaped the product features, the marketing tools, the digital roll-out strategy, and dictated the type of messages for the integrated follow-up system. Quantitative data and verbatim responses from surveys were used to define the creative approach and the copy points for the print ads and e-mail messages, and to refine the keywords for search engine optimization and banner ads.
Ad Concepts, Testing, Words, Pictures, Offers
Print ads and 30-second TV spots: Established graphic design agency wanted more client work in corporate identity and branding. These concepts tested wellâ€”minimal copy and dialog allowed the visuals to showcase the designerâ€™s work.
magazine ads: Complex new regulations created an opportunity for this insurance broker to educate agents and help them capture more business from their mortgage servicing clients.
Direct mail: Targeted at overworked sales assistants, this mailer broke through the clutter and answered the objections right up front. Responses were processed via e-mail, building a database of willing and qualified prospects.
Oversized postcard: Large photo, read-my-mind headline, and low-risk offer helped this ad get noticed by homeowners. Contractor used supplier marketing credits to offset project costs, so ROI was 600%
Newsletter: Rapid change dictated the need for a simple newsletter to a wide audience. Printed quickly in black and white, newsletter was also posted to the Web site. A link to the news was broadcast e-mailed to reduce distribution costs and increase pass-along readership. Currently, headlines from main stories in newsletters are posted to social networks and on Twitter, with links to the full story.
Self-mailer: Competition from other offerings and confusion in the market compressed the timeframe to capture registrations from current customers and new customers. A direct mail brochure was needed share the registration information quickly, capture initial interest, and drive the prospects to the Web site for a complete registration packet. The graphics and text complemented the customers core brand, but also launched a signature graphic for camp t-shirts and giveaways, (craft aprons and
Sales flyers: Often used at trade shows and as leave-behind collateral at cold calls, sales flyers make technical explanations more clear and reinforce product benefits.
Customer profiles: Written to answer the â€œwho else uses your productâ€? question, almost before it is posed. Nothing like a customer profile to reassure a prospective buyer.
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HTML newsletters: E-mail marketing lists were compiled from list brokers and industry publications to sell memberships in the VEC network of lenders and buyers. To nurture prospects, a series of six e-mails were written and published in a html template that visually reinforced the company brand. Each e-mail had links to company Web pages and to short forms to request additional information. Reports from the e-mail server tracked delivery rate, open rate, links clicked, and dwell time.
Paid Search: From keywords identified in prospect surveys and organic searches, paid searches assured product visibility on the first page of search results. Both pay-per-click and paid guaranteed position were recommended for the commercial loan broker/borrower network.
Banner ads: Industry megasites sell banner ad space and promise minimum number of exposures based upon documented Web site visitors. Animated banners were developed and ran for several months on the commercial lender Web pages Scotsman Guide, and National Mortgage Broker magazine.
Free Downloads After clicking on the highlighted selection, the visitor was directed to a squeeze page (short informational page before the main Web site) to enter name and valid e-mail address to receive one of several free reports written for this industry.
Web site copy: Simple banner ads were used to direct visitors from the home page to the listing of classes offered by this Internet cafe. To overcome hesitation to sign up, specific sales language was written for this section of Cybercafeâ€™s Web site. Short and convincing, the copy was peppered with visuals and clinched the sale with a no-risk satisfaction offer.
Web-based survey tools: To gain the greatest reach in the shortest timeframe, the Alumnae Associationâ€™s 2007 survey was built and published as a web-based form. While a paper copy of the survey form was printed in a quarterly magazine, over 98% of the input was collected via the electronic survey tool. Invitations to participate with links to the survey start were e-mailed twice to 5400 alumnae. Compiling and publishing the results was automated by the Web-based survey tool.
4 Press Relations
Getting Others to Tell Your Story: Earning Good Press Curbing Bad Press
Lifestyle publication: After winning the contract to provide high-speed Internet service for Web TV, media coverage, and the Internet cafe at the International Auto Show in Detroit, SpeedChoice was nearly a household name. Press releases about the win and curiosity about the companyâ€™s claims made lifestyle publications like Detroiter clamor for interviews with the company president.
Non-profit publicity: Press releases were a key element of the marketing strategy for Sedalia Center, a non-profit celebrating the arts with workshops and festivals. All six electronic news releases on the the seasonâ€™s events earned press, either a feature story prior to the event or a photo journal story the day following the event. Photos, e-flyers, and sponsor links were included whenever possible.
5 Writing Samples
Writing to Persuade, Inform, Incite Impress
Concept to completion: magazine articles for alumnae and parents of current students. Content re-purposed for Web site.
Feature stories for magazine and Web: Longer articles to explain and explore a program, project, or achievement. Writer, photograher, and graphic editor.
Profiles: Cameos of accomplished alumnae written to illustrate interesting outcomes from a liberal arts education. Useful in college admissions and marketing, and with fundraising. As Web content, these short biographies are rich in keywords for search engine optimization and inbound and outbound Web links.
Fundraising/Solicitation: Collaterals to tell a story and sell a cause. Concept, writer, photographer, layout and print production.
Technical newsletters: Communicating technical milestones and project benchmarks to employees and suppliers each month was a challenge for two automotive supplier management teams. Not all employees had access to e-mail, so tabloid-sized newsletters worked well and were cost-effective.
Product brochure and video script: Expanded services for the financial systems division of Unisys were introduced at a user conference. A user testimonial video was the next tool needed for the product launch. Armed with knowledge acquired while writing the product brochure and prior experience producing industrial television, a videoscript was written with ease to transition interview scenes shot at the user conference with footage from various Unisys facilities and installations.
Corporate brochures: A specialized insurance company benefited from an elegantly executed corporate resume brochure to communicate its long history and capabilites. Marking its centennial year, the company relocated to new offices, and asked for an updated corporate identity package and corporate brochure. Stationary, business cards, sales folders, and building signage were also created in a 4 month timeframe.
ďƒ˜ For a client with 11 childcare centers; I crystallized their branding message by conducting a comprehensive industry survey, including key words and pictures and their significance to the parents, and developed and tested a written and visual brand statement. This eliminated non-productive advertising, reduced printing costs by 12%, and made information available more timely via their Web site, e-mail, and postcards, and also reduced administrative labor costs.
Case Study: HoneyTree Early Learning Centers For 25 years a client with 11 childcare centers grew by word-of-mouth and acquisition. As a result, their brand became diluted, misunderstood, and needed a visual update. By conducting a comprehensive industry survey, including key words and pictures and their significance to the parents, a fresh brand statement was developed and tested, followed by a visual brand makeover. Many materials previously commercially printed were migrated to the Web site, or to digital documents. Non-productive advertising was discontinued, printing costs were reduced by 12%, administrative labor costs were cut.
All the information was delivered more timely via their Web site, e-mail, and printed and e-postcards.
pocket folder with preprinted handbook stapled in the spine quickly became outdated. Cost to reprint $6.32 each After
tabbed pocket folder with die-cuts held business card, and tri-fold brochure. Cost per folder $. 76
Referral incentive and employee contest A friendly competition was launched between the 11 locations of this daycare facility with two elements: customers rewarded for referring their friends and employees recognized on posters and with incentive travel for increasing enrollment through referrals. Materials included a tri-fold brochure, wallet-sized referral cards and contest posters. A link to the program materials on the Web site also helped with retention, keywords and and search engine optimization.
Case Study: Holiday Travel Innovating a new business niche Internet travel booking engines squashed the traditional corporate travel agent business. One agency innovated and found another lucrative channel. Supplier incentives and the need for high-touch customer service convinced this travel agent to expand the cruise travel department.
Compare the cost of a cruise wit basis--the cost per person, per h a resort vacation on a per diem When you figu day. re the per diem on a cruise or a remember to incl reso ude airfare, hot el, meals and sna rt, it’s important to rental, as well as all activities cks, taxi, bus or and entertainm car vacations cost ent. On averag 33-36 % less per e, cruise day than a com parable land vac ation. Start Your Cru ise Club Saving s Account Now Your dream cru with Bank of ise vacation is the James closer than you special savings think when you account at one open a of the Bank of the James’ loca l bra nches: 4698 S. Amher st Madison Heights Highway , VA 24572 434-846-8887
Following market resarch that indicated misperceptions on the cost/value of a cruise vacation, a full-out marketing campaign was launched and included print ads, radio funded by co-op ad dollars, direct mail, customer incentives and an affiliate partner— a local bank. The Cruise Club Savings Account, modeled after a Christmas savings plan, was created to help the bank attract new money from existing customers, and to acquire more savings customers. The travel agent advertised the savings program, provided the marketing materials and gained an additional share of the market by removing an objection to booking: affordability.
A cruise is the ulti ultimate incom mate vacation, but it doesn't e. have to requir Cruise vacations e an are one low price that a great value for families, sen iors, and singles and snacks, 24- includes virtually everything with ; accommodati hour room serv ons, meals ice, most shipboard activities, the gym fun activities, lavish entertai nment, the supervised (so you won’t activities for the miss any workou kids. Cruises hav destinations for ts) and fam e proven to be popular exploring the wor ily reunions, honeymoons, spe cial anniversari ld during retirem es or ent.
615 Church Stre et Lynchburg, VA 24504 434-846-2000
5204 Fort Ave nue Lynchburg, VA 24502 434-237-1144
17000 Forest Roa Forest, VA 245 d 51 434-534-8080
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Most people exp ect a Hassle-fre The certified cru e Vacation Pur ise counselors chase at Holiday Tra the details awa vel take the wor y by: ries about Doing the research based upon 7 simple present your opt interest questio ions in writing ns, in 48 hours, then through the pro s and cons talking you Putting the terms and conditi ons in simple lang Making you r cruise vacatio uage n purchase eas Cruise Club Sav y to afford with ings Plan. your
Mailings and four free informative reports were automated through the agency’s CRM system.
A cruise is the ultimate vacation, but it doesn't have to require an ultimate income. When it comes to cruising, the law of supply and demand is working for you right now. Fierce competition and many new ships and itineraries make for good travel bargains. Shorter, less expensive cruises are attractive for first time cruisers or travelers with limited time or vacation dollars. A Cruise Isn’t a Expensive as It May Seem Compare the cost of a cruise with a resort vacation on a per diem basis--the cost per person, per day. When you figure the per diem on a cruise or a resort, it’s important to remember to include airfare, hotel, meals and snacks, taxi, bus or car rental, as well as all activities and entertainment.
Quick Glance— Competitive Analysis Per Person Typical Caribbean Land Vacation Cruise Fare
Typical Caribbean Cruise
A Feasibility Study on Travel Insurance: Worth the Cost?
All Meals and Snacks
Most cruise vacation travelers can be placed in one of two groups: Those that have dreamed and planned for months, (maybe even years) and those that can be ready to go on short notice, say within 60 days of departure. Whether you’re that first type or the second; your dreams for your vacation are big. The last thing you want is some unforeseen problems stealing your fun and relaxing vacation, costing time and money to replace luggage or contents (if that is even possible); and forcing you to spend out-of-pocket for medical care. If you’ve ever missed a flight, lost your luggage or forfeited your hard-earned money on a trip because sickness or an accident, you feel cheated. You’re thinking, “I lived up to my end of the bargain and paid on time, but now something beyond my control has ruined my dream vacation.”
Entertainment: Vegas/Broadway Show
Case and Point
Tips and Service Charges
Trip Cancellation or Interruption o Sickness, Injury or death of the traveler or immediate family member. o Sickness that causes a trip to be delayed, canceled or interrupted.
mean pre-paid honest or forthright. In the cruise industry Core feature of travel insurance. Coverage reimburses nonthis means: the cabins located above the refundable expenses if you must cancel or interruptwaterline. your trip Typically, due to passenger accommodations unforeseen circumstances are above the waterline and crew cabins are waterline. Mr. and Mrs. BB Snow of Florida had planned the below cruisethe vacation of Be aware of the class of cabin you’veto book. Some cheap ‘teaser’ rates their dreams. Everything was set and they were fully prepared leave. may be for inside cabins below or at the One day before their scheduled trip departure, Mrs. Snow became quite waterline of the ship ill and was hospitalized. The trip fell by the wayside. There was no refund available through the cruise line since they were withinCabin a 100– side by side cabins with Adjoining percent cruise cancellation window. According to common the cruisewall. line,Enter the and travel between the cabinsinsurance; in only through tickets were worthless. Since they had purchased travel they the main corridor of the ship were reimbursed IN FULL, $2930 for their trip cancellation expenses.
Let’s examine some all-to-common scenarios:
Whether you’ve book your cruise vacation already or you’re still considering your options; there’s some terminology you’ll read or hear about cruise ships that might not make sense the first time you hear it. Misunderstanding the terms may lead to a less than satisfactory cruise experience. Keep this quick reference handy when talking to a certified cruise counselor or when reviewing your documents. A
Cost Per Diem
A cruise has certain advantages over other forms of vacation travel.
1. It is relaxing - There are no constant packing and unpacking, taxi rides from airport to hotel or hectic schedules to maintain. o
Holiday Travel Bureau, Inc.
Agency Cancellation Fees
Above Board – a common expression used to
An often overlooked factor, these fees are imposed by the travel agency – Near, should you cancel for any reason, basically to coverAft their coststoward for or rear of the vessel. Not to be confused with the STERN, the final point at managing the reservation. Travel insurance will cover this fee.
Connecting Cabin – side by side accommodations with interior door from one cabin to the next. Sometimes referred to as family cabins
Customs Manifest – document listing all personal goods, services and supplies brought into a country. Each passenger or cabin will be required to make a declaration prior to disembarking, even if you have not purchased anything. D
Amidship – In or toward the middle of the ship;
Financial Default o airline, cruise line or tour operator
the longitudinal center portion of the ship. Ms. Maben of California was traveling a rather extensive trip in the Midshipand cabins are less subject to the motion of Caribbean. She had planned stop in San Juan, Barbados, Antigua. the sea and are priced accordingly. When she went to the airport in San Juan, she could not find the airline for which she had be confirmed. It had simply operations, Berth – Dock orclosed pier. Sometimes this term is B ceased its office and its phone lines. Ms. Maben had no choice to purchase used tobut describe sleeping quarters like a bunk or hammock. Upper plans berth in a cruise ship a new set of airline tickets at full fare to continue with her vacation stateroom a single bed that folds down and to get to her destination. Since she had purchased travelmeans insurance, from the wall. she was paid in full for the new airline tickets she had to purchase.
Holiday Travel Bureau, Inc.
Embarkation/Embark – to enter or go aboard the ship or boat
Boat – a type of vessel carried on the ship as a lifeboat. Just remember-you cruise on a ship not on a boat
Gross Registered Ton – a measurement of 100 cubic feet of enclosed revenue-earning space within a ship.
Cabin – officer and/or crew quarters. Most cruise lines will describe passenger accommodations as a stateroom, but strictly speaking, a cabin is for the crew. You’ll hear both terms used interchangeably..
Head – a slang nautical term for restroom. Usually just a toilet.
CDC Score – Center for Disease Control Ship Inspection Report. All passenger cruise ships arriving at US ports are subject to unannounced inspection. Ships are rated to determine if they meet CDC sanitation A score of 86 or above is considered "satisfactory" while ratings of 85 and below are considered "unsatisfactory.
Knot – One nautical mile per hour (6,080.2 feet) as compared to land mile of 5,280 feet. Often the description of the ship will list its speed in knots. If speed is important to you, compare and contrast these figures on the cruise ships you’re considering.
Holiday Travel Bureau, Inc.
Along with the excitement of booking your cruise vacation comes some paperwork. My job is to make it easy for you to know what to read first and what to just keep handy for reference. Often first time cruisers (and even experienced cruisers) need clarification on the fine print of a cruise contract. As a travel counselor and an experienced cruiser, let me point out a couple of sections you’ll find in your contract that you should be familiar with. This is not only my responsibility to you, but will help your trip go as smoothly as possible. Know What You’re Paying For
Identification and Travel Documents
Your cruise fare quote from me as a certified travel counselor will include the FARE, the amount you pay for staying and eating on the ship, plus taxes and fees. These are not hidden fees and should be quoted accurately. The taxes and fees come from various governments. They are imposed or sanctioned by the U.S. Government or other governments. While these vary depending on your itinerary, they cannot be discounted and are not negotiable. The terms and conditions typically will list, but not describe, all of these. Don’t get confused by pricing that does not include theses taxes and fees.
Your passport is the recommended form of picture identification when traveling, especially when your itinerary has ports of call outside the United States. A passport will speed your ship check-in as well as your disembarking and clearing Customs at the end of your cruise. If you don’t have a passport, an original or certified copy of your birth certificate, plus a government issued STRESS FREE TRAVEL TIPS picture ID is required. Any minors under 16 do not require MAINTAIN A READY-TO-GO TRAVEL KIT. (The things you need every day to get ready to go out of the a picture ID. Some destinations may require a visa for entry and proof of current inoculations. I can helphouse) you by identifying these requirements in the review of your travelInclude miniature shampoo, soap, toothpaste and free samples needed on the trip. Free samples may include over-the-counter medicine, hand cream, hand sanitzer, and sun screen documents but, ultimately it is the responsibility of you, the traveler, to obtain and carry the proper documentation. KEEP A TRAVEL CHECKLIST
Once the cruise line has received your deposit, the cruise rates or air fare (if booked through the cruise line or agent) will not change, but the taxes could. The taxes, fees and surcharges are levied by the government, so the cruise line passes these costs on to you. The cruise line does have the right to increase fares and may do so at any time. Your full deposit locks in your rate and protects your from an unannounced increase. Safety Is Your Responsibility Since you’ll be in several ports in different countries, the cruise line cannot guarantee your safety at all times— especially when you leave the ship.. They’ll direct you to the US Department of State, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be aware of any advisories and/or warning to travelers. The cruise line cannot be responsible for weather conditions and may alter their course to avoid weather systems for the comfort of the passengers and the safety of the ship. You should ask me about the seasons to avoid a particular region, but be prepare for the likelihood of a weather-related safety hazard.
Locate your passport and/or birth certificate, prescription medicine, first aid items and sunglasses Investigate hotel or cruise ship amenities. They may furnish a hair dryer and iron in the room. If
Cruising as an Unaccompanied Minor
If you’re over 18 but under 21, you’ll have to be booked intraveling out of the country you may need a current converter and adapter kit. a stateroom with an adult who is 21 or older. A parent or Check on the availability of converting US dollars locally, at the airports or while on your trip. legal guardian must accompany guests under the age of 18 Hotels charge the most to convert money. and be booked in the same stateroom. Depending upon the configuration of the ship and its cabins, there may be Check your camera and make sure it is good repair. Gather all the film, lenses, cords and accessories some choices of family cabins or connecting cabins for and pack in carry-on travel case. minor children. Rarely do cruise lines accept groups of CHOOSE YOUR WARDROBE young adults, age 21 and under.
Check your travel itinerary when planning your wardrobe. Make a list of clothes needed for each day. Remember to check for day and evening wear. You may only need one dressy outfit. Your travel agent can help with information from the cruise line or the resort on suggested or required dress code.
Unlimited Luggage With Limited Liability
Terms clearly state you can bring all the clothing, toiletries Check the weather forecast to pack the appropriate clothing. Layers are best. Rain jacket/coat and and personal effects you want free of charge. If you’re small umbrellas are a must. Your travel agent will have information on average daily temperatures for your destination. planning to bring irreplaceable antiques, one-of-kinds, expensive high-end clothing or jewelry; be prepared to Plan your wardrobe around one basic color. For example, choose black or blue, not both. This declare and document the actual cash value in writing prior reduces the need to carry accessories to match every outfit. to departure. The cruise line will supply a form. Otherwise, they’ll only pay a maximum of $100 per Carry only two or three pair of shoes: dress, casual and comfortable walking shoes. Plan to wear stateroom should for loss or damage. slacks, shorts and skirts more than once.
Choose clothing as wrinkle free as possible. You want to be able to throw it on and go, not iron. Remember, for the most part you’ll be living out of your luggage. This document is meant as an easy-read guide to the legal terms and conditions of the contract for a cruise. It is not intended to be or should not be considered legal advice.
Leave your valuable jewelry at home.
Holiday Travel Bureau, Inc. 434 847-6668
AT LEAST ONE WEEK BEFORE TRAVEL Optional: Arrange with the Postmaster to hold the mail
Cancel the newspaper
Gather all items in one place and remember your passport or picture ID, air tickets and tour vouchers. Have enough prescription medicine for the length of your trip. Follow your list of clothing needed for each day. Decide how many tops you need to go with a few bottoms. Find your luggage and choose the size you need. Check with your travel agent for airline luggage size and weight restrictions. One small tote bag, a purse and reading material should be carried on board. Also plan to carry a coat or sweater on board, as the airplane ride may be cold. Copyright 2003
Holiday Travel Bureau, Inc.
434 . 847-6668
Disembark/Debark – fancy word for leave the ship or vessel
Deposits Lock-in Your Price
Deck – simply means the floor
the back of the boat.
434 . 847-6668
Case Study: Hotel Affinity Program A mid-tier hotel had a frequency reward program for parents of college students that ran well for four yearsâ€”the only one the area. Only 10% of the target audience ever enrolled, yet the program produced 4-6% of annual hotel revenues. When competitors launched copycat programs with a lower room rate but no amenities, there was much confusion about who had the best deal. After surveying the competition, talking to college parents and past customers, the hotel gave the program a facelift, adding more value for the families. An attention-grabbing headline and brochure were needed to communicate the benefits of College Family Club membership. The new affinity program brochure made it easy to enroll instantlyâ€”a wallet-sized membership card popped out of the mailing panel. The application captured e-mail addresses to use in later marketing offers. Without increasing the costs for the program materials, the re-write and re-design increased enrollment to 22% of potential families. Reservations were up 12% over the same period in prior years.
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