Ideas, insights and inspirations.

The goal of marketing is to win the hearts, minds and trust of people. If you win them over, you might win their business too. It has taken a lifetime of experiences to learn these timeless laws of marketing. Being the youngest of 11 kids, losing my Dad at 6, being raised primarily by women and becoming a bridge builder shaped my worldview towards human-centered marketing. I hope you find them beneficial. 1. The Law of Humanity Great brands always remember that prospects, customers, users, ambassadors and loyalists are real people, with real needs, wants, motivations and ambitions. They never forget that they are in the business of making the lives of their customers easier and helping them realize their ambitions. Be empathetic. Treat customers like human beings. Humanize your brand. 2.The Law of Findability If they can’t find you, they can’t buy you. If a prospect can’t find you on Google page 1, your product or service won’t be … Continue reading

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As one of Pittsburgh’s longest standing web development agencies, Elliance has been delivering prosperity to regional and national clients for the past 30 years. Our arsenal of web development best practices includes: 1. Begin with a Good Plan Map out and outline all of these facets up-front: Goals and objectives Requirements – users, business, content administrators Specifications – for interactive components Functional requirements – including a system of calls-to-action Merchandising approach Integration requirements – with third-party applications Navigation and sub-navigation system Domain architecture – including subdomains The right scale (program, department or enterprise) Content-migration and URL redirects – retaining your SEO rankings and building upon them Despite all the planning, be prepared for some surprises along the way such as with third-party integrations and new requirements surfacing midstream. 2. Make it Easy to Use for Content People Content people naturally don’t have sufficient programming know-how. They are looking for easy to use, point-click-and-type interfaces on their web platform. They want … Continue reading

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Today, more than any other touch point, a website is the digital soul of an organization. All roads lead to it. As one of Pittsburgh’s longest standing website design agencies, Elliance has been delivering prosperity with websites for regional, national and global clients for the past 30 years. Our arsenal of best practices includes: 1. Start with the Wise Strategy Revenue Strategy, Communication Strategy and Search Engine Ranking Strategy are the three building blocks of Website Strategy. Bake each of them into every stage of website development. 2. Make it Beautiful Strategy is invisible. Good design makes it visible. Milton Glaser, the iconic designer, once said “There are only three reactions to a piece of design: no, yes or WOW! Wow is one to aim for.” We couldn’t agree more. Create a beautiful website with contemporary aesthetics. And like retailers, refresh it periodically so if reflects the most current aesthetic. 3. Delight Prospects and Customers You can’t bore people into … Continue reading

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As one of Pittsburgh’s longest standing B2b and higher education branding agencies, Elliance has been delivering prosperity to regional and national clients for the past 28 years. Our arsenal of branding best practices includes: 1. Know Why You Brand When choices proliferate, branding ascends. Three reasons why successful organizations brand: In the sea of sameness, brands always win. Brands command premium prices. Financial markets value brands higher than generics. 2. Define “Brand” A brand is the sum of all experiences. It attaches an idea to a product or service e.g. achievement for Nike, freedom for Southwest Air, great books for St. John’s College, and engaged learning for Elon University. A brand creates expectations and promises around a product or a service while creating strong or even impenetrable differentiation in the marketplace. 3. Discover Your Brand Bring both a rational and an investigative mind to brand discoveries. Scour all available data to look for key insights. When listening to internal stakeholders, customers … Continue reading

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As Pittsburgh’s longest standing SEO/Inbound agency, Elliance has been delivering prosperity to regional, national and multinational clients for the past 28 years. Before I share our best practices, let me define two terms with a little history lesson. SEO or “search engine optimization” is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility on Google, Microsoft Bing, and other search engines. In the early days, the first search engines trusted marketer’s claims and the quantity of claims. Marketers naturally began to game website content by jamming boatloads of content on their websites. Google came into the picture and changed the game: instead of ranking websites based on marketers claims, it started ranking them based on conversations and inbound links to the marketer’s website from other websites. In turn, marketers started buying inbound links from content farms that were created to game Google’s algorithm. Google got smarter yet again. It started penalizing websites for content stuffing and buying links from … Continue reading

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ChatGPT, the latest AI tool, has taken the world by storm. Should under-staffed and under-resourced marketing teams use it? And can it make marketing teams more productive? Before I answer that, let’s just review how this artificial intelligence (AI) tool works. How ChatGPT Works ChatGPT does not have a mind of its own, nor does it have its own thoughts. Instead, its responses are based on the collective memory of humanity, embedded in billions of web documents – imbued with the entire spectrum of humanity’s truthful, partially true, baseless, misinformed, racist and sexist points of views. Based on existing written sentence and document structure patterns, it completes or predicts word and sentence combinations weaving them together into authoritative-sounding, smooth, somewhat verbose and human-like answers.  Next, an army of human reviewers — with their unique personal biases — manually fine-tune the responses by ranking for quality. Using ChatGPT For Marketing Let’s examine how chatGPT fares in various components of marketing: S T … Continue reading

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Marketing, like ecology, is a complex ecosystem of reciprocal relationships thriving in a network of mutuality. Parts grow, interdependence begins and symbiotic relationships form. It adapts to each new season. Mutual Reinforcement in a Marketing Ecosystem On the organizational or micro-level, marketing is a highly interconnected, mutually reinforcing and complex ecosystem of paid, owned and earned media tactics – part digital and part traditional. Examples include: Brand strategy and strategic plans build strength upon strength. Magazine stories lift program/service offerings; in turn, program/service offerings imbue the stories with context and relevance. Tightly aligned page content and SEO meta-coding persuades humans and influences the Google bot alike. Content marketing creates a rising tide of website visitors, and paid advertising lifts the site visitor volume disproportionally.   The presence of the brand in both Google organic and Google paid results creates a four-fold increase in click-throughs. Billboards and the website tango to enhance brand reputation. Lean print pieces and advertising complement smart websites. … Continue reading

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Great marketers are a rare breed. They are shapeshifters who play ten crucial roles and gracefully switch between them: S T R A T E G I S T As strategic thinkers, they imagine new possibilities, combinations and offerings that don’t yet exist. They don’t confuse strategy with planning or tactics. They play to win. D I R E C T O R The daily work of a marketing leader is to orchestrate in-house and out-sourced talent in service of larger goals. They recognize, motivate and unleash talent…wherever they can find it. I N T E G R A T I V E   T H I N K E R They understand that marketing is a highly interconnected, mutually reinforcing and complex ecosystem of paid, owned and earned media tactics – part digital and part traditional. They have the capacity and the desire to work through its complexities. E V A N G E L I S T They help … Continue reading

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