Marketing Challenges for Diversified Companies

Diversified companies face challenges in their marketing outreach that need to be addressed. Goals should be set to overcome those challenges. The greatest challenges have to do with diversity. Diversity can lead to lack of focus and poor marketing communication. If objectives are met, diversity can become a strength.


The main challenge is how to better manage marketing for diverse businesses under one corporate umbrella. Those diverse businesses were probably stand-alone companies at one time. They all had separate marketing departments and separate brands. They were probably bought and assembled into one corporation with the aim of reducing costs and leveraging each others strengths.

Cost reductions usually come by integrating systems, de-duplicating personnel, and sometimes reducing interest on debt if the acquiring company has a better debt rating. Marketing is sometimes left alone because of a lack of overlap in that area. Put another way, there is a perceived lack of synergy in the marketing departments.

Opportunities for Betterment

Integration should be the goal. Not necessarily complete integration, because the individual brands still have value. Nevertheless, some overarching corporate image should go along with the individual brands so the market can start to see some connectedness.

Some grouping of the diversified companies is desirable. Those groups should ideally have overlap among buyers of the products. That’s because the marketing outreach should start to converge so that a buyer of one product, service, or solution can recognize kinship with the other brands.

An important goal of branding is developing brand loyalty. It makes perfect sense to leverage the brand loyalty of one brand to develop loyalty toward its kin. Customers like companies for lots of reasons, including quality, value, design, customer service, etc. By not leveraging these qualities between brands, the parent company is not getting full value out of its structure.

Similarly, if one brand is clearly better and more recognizable over another, serious consideration should be given to eliminating the weaker brand. The stronger brand can absorb it.

Contact Think of Whiting

Contact Think of Whiting to help organize your brands and to develop a marketing and brand integration strategy.

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Using Case Studies to Achieve Communications Objectives

The Case Study – An Effective Communication Tool

A case study is one of the most effective communications tools available. Case studies work because they tell a story that people can relate to and learn from. People like to see how a product or service is used by others. A case study is often a good way to show that.

A case study can be written to lead the reader (or listener) on a narrative, guiding the reader to specific objectives, such as to fill out a form, take a survey, attend a webinar, etc.

Communications Objectives – Education and Raising Comfort Level

Companies need to communicate with lots of different people: potential customers, customers, their own sales people, their development teams, their investors, influencers, and others. The communication objectives often have several things in common. Educating readers about some topic is a common objective. Case study narratives can be very good at achieving this objective with these diverse audiences.

Even if the readers are generally familiar with the topic of the case study, a case study can still be used to raise the reader’s comfort level with the product or service. This is an important objective, not necessarily for the earliest adopters, but for those coming later. Developing a comfort level can be a critical factor for many people, whether they be buyers, influencers, or for those selling to others. Increasing the reader’s comfort level can allay fears of failure that hold people back from making a purchase.

Communications Objectives – Introducing Terminology

A third objective for a case study can be to introduce the reader to terminology and concepts they may not be familiar with. Introducing terminology within the context of a case study is a good way to convey how that terminology applies in real-world situations.

Using Early Adopters as Case Study Subjects

Early adopters are people who buy a product or service when it is first introduced. Often, early adopters are loyal customers who trust the company, and the promised value of the new product or service. Whatever the case may be, early adopters can be the best subjects for a case study.

People relate to the stories of others. When a narrative reveals a person making a decision that shows intelligence and leadership, readers are more likely to follow suit. The challenges faced by the early adopter, and the rewards and successes to the adopter by making a good decision can be inspiring.

The reader may develop an affinity for the product or service by recognizing similar challenges faced by the adopter in the narrative. The affinity grows stronger when the case study shows how the subject of the narrative successfully overcomes those challenges. The experience of the early adopters can become a template for the approach of the reader toward the product, service or solution.

Two-way Learning from Case Studies

A surprising benefit of writing a case study is that there is often two-way learning happening. Writing a case study is a process of learning about the customer, and interviewing that customer about his or her challenges, failures, and successes. The study process helps the writer understand the customer better. Just from going through the process itself, valuable realizations and insights can occur.

That two-way learning should factor in when weighing the costs and benefits of the case study. That two-way learning can be hard to measure, but is unquestionably beneficial. You can start by asking yourself if you’ve learned anything from your completed case studies. Then ask your salespeople, marketers, customer-service representatives, and others if they gain value and insight from the case studies. If the internal benefits are great enough, the case study can be entirely justified from that back-flow of knowledge.

Case Study Help

Let Think of Whiting help you with your case studies. From planning, to interviewing, to writing and editing, image acquisitions, and formatting, Think of Whiting can help with every step of the process.

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Editing: Like Baking a Cake

Writing without editing is like mixing cake batter but not baking it. You might have all the right ingredients but you don’t have a finished product.

The goal of all your writing is not to fill a page with words, but rather, to communicate effectively with your audience. By giving you their time and attention, your audience should be at least a step closer to reaching the objective you have in mind, whether that be making a purchase, attending an event, or valuing your thought leadership.

The Cake Batter

The process of writing involves gathering thoughts together, and perhaps mixing in data, quotes, metaphors, and some descriptions of one kind or another. Words become sentences, the sentences become paragraphs, and the paragraphs become sections. Within this amalgamation of words and paragraphs are the kernels of the the finished product, but chances are there are loose ends, jagged edges, and inconsistencies of one kind or another. Possibly even some misspelled words that slipped through the spell-checker because they are real words but used in the wrong grammatical context (e.g. there, their, they’re). It is common to see inconsistencies in time (e.g. past participle, perfect participle, present), inconsistencies in writer’s perspective, and so on. Left as-is, you will have some disappointed readers. Your chance to communicate will be wasted.

The Baking

Once you have your “batter” ready, you then must bake it. Careful editing is the process that bakes the cake so it is delicious to look at and taste. The editing process is one that rearranges thoughts to make them more coherent. Editing looks at organization and reorganizes where necessary. Editing trims out excess words and jargon, eliminates duplicate statements and extraneous paragraphs, creates better focus, and facilitates flow.

The Tasting

You may have heard the old adage “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”. The same goes for our cake.

After completing the editing process, the content is now ready for your audience to spend time on. It’s presented in a way that is interesting and informative. The content is well organized and flows easily. It’s easy to understand and hopefully memorable as well. Your readers will appreciate the extra effort, and will hold your communications in higher esteem than they might have otherwise. The objectives you had in mind at the beginning of this process should be met or at least in closer reach.

Give it a try and see how you like it. Chances are, you will want to keep on baking!

Editing Services

Contact Think of Whiting for professional editing services.

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Writing for Websites

Making Good First Impressions

Popular wisdom has long maintained that first impressions are very important. For many if not most corporations, that first impression to the outside world is made by its website. As a website’s primary impression-producing assets are its content and its organization, it’s fair to say that the content and organization of the website are very important for creating a good first impression with viewers. A good first impression along with good organization and writing makes viewer engagement with the website much more likely.

Communicating with Words

Think about the objectives you have for your website. If your website is intended to promote your business, you should break it up into discrete pages that might be attractive to different groups of visitors. Some visitors are first-timers. They might want to know about the history of the business, the owners, and the people who they might be in contact with if they call. Most visitors also want to hear about your products and/or services, so one or more pages devoted to that would be appropriate. Other visitors are looking for resources, contact information, reasons to buy from you.

All the information you post to your website should be well organized and should flow easily from one sentence to the next. Think about the website from the perspective of the typical visitors you expect. Certainly people want to read about your products and services. They may also want to know why you do what you do, and how you do it. Think about how you might work these important aspects of your business into your website.

You may find that you don’t have the time to do great writing from the get-go. If that’s the case, try to at least get the structure right from the beginning. Then, over time, go back and improve the content bit by bit until it is an accurate reflection of who you are. If you take pride in your business, that pride should show through in your website, through its content.

Website Images

Many websites today contain a lot of images. Often, those same websites are light on content. The problem with image-heavy websites is that images do not engage the viewer. They might make a nice impression, but they don’t hold the viewer and draw them in. If a website is overly dependent on images, there is less reason for a first-time visitor to explore, or even return for more information, tips, announcements, engagement with a blog, etc.

While we’re on the topic of images, there are some which should be avoided under any circumstance. A good example is images that are automatically changing in front of the viewers eyes. If you’ve seen those websites, you’ve probably noticed that the movement of the images is very distracting. It’s the same on sites that load up with advertisements. Other bad images would be employee pictures that look like mug shots, or those that are blurry, poorly cropped, too small or too large. A good approach is to look at what others have done… see what you like, and use those to guide your choice of images.

If your objective is to get the site viewer to buy something, learn about something, or inquire about something, then make sure your site’s organization, writing, and images support that objective.

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Writing to Optimize Search Engines (SEO)

If your web site content is well written and well organized, your web site’s visitors will not only have a good first impression, they will also spend more time on your site.  The more time viewers spend on a web site, the better that site will perform in search engine rankings.  This is an observation made from experience, and from consideration of what search engine optimization (or SEO) software values in its guidance.

How search engines rank web sites is not completely clear because the search engines don’t publish their methods. Clues can be found in looking at what SEO software providers prioritize.  One of the top recommendations in SEO software is for publishing a minimum of 300 words per page.  Although this number may actually be somewhat arbitrary, someone reading 300+ words is bound to be spending more time on that web page than on a page with fewer words.

Of course, if the writing is uninteresting or poorly organized, the page viewer won’t spend much time on the page, and thus the page ranking will probably not improve.

A web site may also benefit in its SEO from repeat visitors.  Encouraging repeat visits is not something that SEO software can help with, but it does seem to have some effect with SEO rankings.  Whether or not having repeat visitors plays an important role in SEO, it is clearly beneficial to have people re-engaging with your content.

A good way to encourage repeat visits is to keep creating and posting new and worthwhile content so people will have more reason to come back.  Also an email newsletter with links to the web site provides the prompting when new content is added. If people click through to the site, the fresh content will hopefully hold their interest.  Of course, to do this it helps to have people sign up for the newsletter when they visit, and to give them good reasons why they should sign up.

Perhaps your web site could use some attention to its content, to help with SEO and to better engage your site visitors. If you could use some help with the writing and organization of your web site, please call or email.

By the way, this blog posting has 388 words in it.  I hope you’ve enjoyed every word of it!

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