March NewsWaves 2019
Table of Contents
How Idaho is Leading the Charge with Marketing
At a time when state agencies are struggling to justify hiring for marketing-specific roles, Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) has developed a strong three-person team to spread the agency’s messages and help to increase revenue. The great news is, it’s working! Take a listen to IDFG’s Director of Marketing, Ian Malepeai on what it took to develop their marketing team and how they’ve focused on R3 to grow their team and make a real impact on the agency:
Starting with just two employees in 2017, IDFG’s marketing team has grown to three full time members plus a social media intern. The team already has some impressive accomplishments, including the successful implementation of the Price Lock campaign to reduce churn, strategic email engagement, a strong social media presence, launch of a millennial fishing campaign, appearing on the MeatEater podcast with Steven Rinella, sportsman expo marketing, loyalty programs, data mining, and partnering with other state agencies, NGO’s, and outdoor recreation companies.
So what does IDFG’s marketing team do? The answer is simple: they focus on R3, customer engagement, and branding the agency as the premier conservation organization in the state. Fish and wildlife agencies are like any other organization – they all require revenue to survive. You accomplish this by recruiting, retaining, and reactivating customers; creating relationships with your stakeholders by providing useful information and services, and by sharing the work your passionate staff does on behalf of citizens and wildlife.
Are you ready to take your agency’s marketing to the next level? Take cues from IDFG’s example and start engaging your constituents. Need more help getting off the ground? Take a look at our R3 resources and never hesitate to contact RBFF for assistance.
Staying Afloat in a Media-Driven World
Consumers are hungrier than ever for dynamic content. In fact, according to Nielsen, American adults now spend nearly half the day interacting with media, whether that be on a mobile device, computer, TV or another device. But how do you stand out in such a saturated, media-driven world? After spending some time with Yamaha Marine Group and some of their talented marketing and digital content team members including Frank Wilhelm, Advertising & Digital Marketing Manager and Melissa Boudoux, Communications & Dealer Education Manager, we were blown away by the energy they are dedicating to digital content and how well the media is being received by Yamaha’s core audience. We decided to ask their marketing team for some insights and tips on how others in the industry can replicate their efforts:
What trends are you seeing in social media?
Social media is one of the fastest evolving spheres of influence. Five years ago, Facebook was the hottest platform out there. Today, Facebook is declining with certain demographics. While still effective, its reach is not as extensive as it once was. You’re starting to see platforms like Instagram, which is the fastest growing social media site in the world right now, rise up to fill in the gap Facebook is leaving. Consumers are wanting more video and live streams in their social media, so you’re starting to see many platforms evolve to meet those demands. Recent news stories regarding privacy and data collection have also shaped the evolution of these platforms in significant ways. Private groups that keep algorithms out of the process have grown, as has the use of chat bots. Many platforms are changing up their algorithms for how content is shown to consumers, meaning the ability to get your message in front of potential customers without spending money on ads is decreasing. So, in the end, analytics tools are more important now than ever before. Social media can be a powerful tool, so long as you know how to use it and how to quickly respond to the always-evolving trends.
Do you have any tips for companies just getting started in social media?
Planning content is key. Being successful on social media requires constancy and quality. Decide your goals and what you are hoping to get out of your presence on social media, then develop a strategy based on those. No two companies are identical, so no two social media strategies should be identical. Make sure you are getting in front of your customers as much as possible. Produce daily content, and make sure it is topical. Consumers will get bored if it is just product messages. Mix up your messaging and make sure it is quality content consumers would want to engage with. If you can afford to do so, boost posts as much as you can to help you reach more consumers and increase your number of followers. Be sure to also optimize your metatags, as this will make sure customers searching for you or your products will be able to find you when using online search engines.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned in using social media?
Consumers are using social media for more than just entertainment. Many of them are using social media more than traditional media like television or print to see current conditions on bodies of water. Many consumers love interaction and feel appreciated when their favorite brands engage with them on social media. “It is important to comment and like posts that include your brand. It may not seem like much, but it can lead to consumers telling their friends and family, who in turn will check out your pages and increase your reach,” said Melissa Boudoux. Also, be sure to show a personal touch. If a customer posts a photo of their new purchase, comment on the photo and say, “thank you”, or “congratulations”. That can be a big deal for a lot of people. Always be on the lookout for user generated content, as that is a great way for your brand’s social media presence to grow. Lastly, sometimes not engaging at all is the best way to go. If you are unsure about something, or if something seems like it could be misconstrued, take a step back. When in doubt, just don’t do it.
Do you have any social media success stories you can share? A campaign that performed particularly well?
Visual content, such as video, is very popular with consumers. That’s what brings in the most traffic and has the most engagement from consumers. Our how-to and maintenance tips and tricks content performs extremely well among our followers. We also love sharing user-interest stories. Yamaha’s government advocacy campaigns drum up a large following as well. Our pursuit of solutions to issues facing the recreational fishing and boating communities has generated over 100,000 signatures since the launch of our Bass Anglers for Saltwater Conservation advocacy site in 2015.
What are some of your favorite resources for keeping up with the latest social media information and trends?
Primarily, just being active on social media and keeping up with your customers is the best way to monitor and evaluate how things are changing and developing. Facebook private groups are another great resource, as they facilitate good discussions and put a bunch of like-minded consumers together. In-person brand managers and peer groups also help too. It shows that your brand is more than just someone sitting behind a computer. It reminds customers that you share their passions for the industry and the world surrounding it.
This last point is key for many in our industry who want to get into or increase their digital footprint, but might be cash strapped (for now). The takeaway here is that engaging with consumers on digital channels may not take a big budget or highly-trained team. The biggest part of the equation is just being there. Interact with your customers and learn how they like to communicate online. Perhaps take the same conversations you have on your retail floor, at trade shows or events, and broadcast that information with whatever form of digital media your audience interacts with most.
You already know the customers are out there; now it’s time to use digital media to interact with them.
Thanks to Yamaha Motor Division Marketing Manager Dale Barnes, Frank Wilhelm, and Melissa Boudoux for helping to develop this case study.
Measuring Marketing Efforts with MassWildlife
Through RBFF’s State R3 Program Grants, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) was able to evaluate their R3 programs through an increased customer tracking capability.
MassWildlife tested the implementation of new tracking techniques, primarily through a digital marketing campaign on Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads. Postcards and emails were sent in an effort to retain anglers. With various online tools, MassWildlife measured the effectiveness of communications, thereby learning more about their customers.
This full campaign brought in more than $360,000 in revenue for MassWildlife!
“More of our customers are now online, and we’re using digital marketing as a cost-effective tool to drive license sales. By tracking our communication efforts, we’re learning more about our customers and how to better serve them,” states Mark Tisa, MassWildlife Director, about the importance of this campaign.
For more details read the full case study and final report. For other state success stories, please visit the R3 webpage.