Caliber Group has launched to help businesses stay abreast of the latest consumer behaviors, opinions and marketing trends to survive and thrive. Our agency excels at building brands and relationships. We’re well versed in the use of both traditional and social media to educate, influence or persuade audiences. To deliver an effective message, we know you have to understand your clients/customers: what they want and what they need.

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Social Media Strategies to Help Local Companies Build Brands and Businesses

The Caliber Group will host the second in a series of Smart Marketing Workshops 7:30-9:30 a.m. June 17 at the Tucson Association of REALTORS®, 2445 N. Tucson Blvd. This month’s workshop will offer how to build brands and business using social media. More than 350 million conversations are taking place routinely online, with users telling their friends where to shop and eat, what to buy, who to vote for, and what’s news. “Using Social Media to Build Your Brand and Business” will offer a primer on social media and representatives from Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Arizona Daily Star, KOLD News 13 and Buffalo Exchange will share examples of how they’ve used social media to improve their businesses. Interested businesses can reserve a seat today at or call 795-4500 for more information. The workshop is free and open to the public. This month’s Smart Marketing Workshop is sponsored by The Caliber Group, Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, Arizona Daily Star, KOLD News 13 and Buffalo Exchange.

K.I.S.S. and Retweet!

Newcomers to Twitter will quickly find that the philosophy of "Keep It Short and Simple", also known as K.I.S.S., is the key to successful tweets. One good reason: shorter tweets enable other users to retweet your post and share it with their online followers. However, retweeting takes up some of the 140 characters Twitter allots for users. This means if the post uses all of the available space, it's nearly impossible for you to share it. For companies and agencies using Twitter for marketing purposes, this could translate to less traffic and people wanting to follow your account.

YouTube Ad Targets Arizona Education Cuts

Regardless of your political affiliation or philosophy, here's a great example of getting a message across using social media, in this case a YouTube ad. What makes it so great? Instead of asking your coworker at the watercooler, "Hey, did you see that Dodgeball ad last night," you can forward the link to her. Businesses or organizations which come up with an original and engaging message strategy can rely on their audience to spread the message, as opposed to hoping enough people were sitting in front of their television between 7:05 and 7:06 p.m. Thursday. Why does this ad message engage you? How do you feel watching it? Enraged? Angry? Disgusted? My guess is that's exactly what the Arizona Economic Council was going for. The Call to Action is the last screen - the Council's Web site, where you'll find a petition to sign on the right side of the homepage. I'd love to hear if this ad strategy is working. According to YouTube, the video has been viewed more than 2,000 times. How many viewers have visited the Council's Web site? How many of those have signed the petition?

GM Starts Over With Social Media

General Motors is taking significant steps to improve its image with customers and investors – which now consists of American taxpayers. The company launched GM Reinvention, a customer-focused and social media-driven Web site, hours after filing for bankruptcy protection. Regardless of whether your business is booming or in a similar situation as the national automaker, GM’s new marketing practices are worthy accolades. Rather than staying quiet and licking their wounds, the company is using popular social media tools like Twitter and Flickr to give customers access to speak with company engineers, developers and executives about new products and steps GM is taking toward reinvention.

Writing Online Content That Counts

I always feel a cheeky smirk coming on when a stranger acts surprised that I can make a living at writing. Well I have some great news for writers and a surprise for the naysayers: Writers rule! You can be the smartest dude on Earth, the savviest senorita in the board room - but what good are your fan-TAB-u-lous (that's a shout out to a former colleague!) ideas if you can't communicate them to the right people? Here's a great post on Lateral Action's blog this morning about writing online content that counts. I've heard every excuse I can stand for not embracing strong writing skills. TV and radio eradicated books. The Internet murdered newspapers. Twitter and Facebook are the wave of the advertising and marketing future.

Hulu: Is it the End of Cable TV and What Could That Mean for Advertisers?

Hulu, an online application that allows users to watch movies and television shows, has recently launched a desktop application that could affect how advertisers reach their desired audiences. The application brings the service to both PC and Mac users and works with Apple and Windows Media Center remote controls. With its slick interface, Internet streaming video is now an attractive option to cable television. A recent Wall Street Journal article indicates more viewers are foregoing expensive cable bills for YouTube, Netflix and now Hulu. As my personal cable bill runs close to $200 a month (including a landline phone and Internet service), I don't blame the "cord cutters" and have considered making the switch. But how could this shift affect advertisers and marketers?

E-mail Marketing

Part of the “Low-Cost, High-Impact” Smart Marketing Workshop You probably get them in your inbox frequently: newsletters, announcements, surveys and invitations. In a marketing study conducted by the National Retail Federation, 90 percent of all business respondents identified e-mail marketing as a top priority in their marketing plan. If you haven’t tried this technique of reaching customers, you should. Not only does it allow you to communicate directly to new and existing customers, there are no printing or postage costs. All you need to get started is a database of customers and their e-mail addresses. If you aren’t already asking your customers for their e-mail addresses, you can ask them to voluntarily sign up for any sales or business news. It’s an easy way to build your own database of customers who want your information and are therefore less likely to treat your e-mail marketing as spam and hit the delete button.

Don’t Think Customer Service Counts?

Desperate times call for desperate measures. And good customer service (see our earlier post from account director Dana Robbins-Murray) is one of the easiest ways to market your business. These customers went to great lengths to track down the help they should have received on a first phone call to the business.

Follow The Baby Boomer Audience Online

According to a report from Forrester Research, nearly two-thirds of Baby Boomers ages 53-63 consume social media – blogs, video, podcasts, etc. Why should businesses care about how many Baby Boomers are posting pics of the grandkids on Facebook? Because they’re getting braver about participating in social media, that’s why. The same report stated that the number of Baby Boomers responding to online content more than doubled from 15 to 34 percent last year.

Is Your Message Strategy Outdated?

Every business out there can probably say they offer a product or service relevant to today’s consumers. But do you tell your consumers that? Is your message strategy telling would-be customers what they want to hear given today’s economic climate?

First Impressions .. and Second, and Third

When did you last take the time to experience your business as a customer? First impressions, and second and third, often count. How customers perceive you in person, online or over the telephone can impact your bottom line. When you walk in the front door is this the impression you want to give to your customers? Are you greeted? Does the furniture and décor in the lobby fit the image you are trying to portray? If you are kid-friendly, do you have small size seating, a play area or both?

Reduced-Cost Advertising

Part of the “Low-Cost, High-Impact” Smart Marketing Workshop One way to reduce your marketing cost and a simple one, is to share your advertising. Take a 60-second radio spot and share it with two other businesses. That gives you 20 seconds each. Develop a direct-mail piece that advertises two businesses and share mailing lists and the costs of the development and postage. Find the right partner. The best business partnerships are ones that have similar customers and credibility. Clothing store and shoe store Drywaller and Painter Restaurant and Nightclub Green products and Recycling plant A great example is Tucson Originals, A number of Tucson restaurants formed this organization to market their businesses as a group. Their Web site features all of the businesses in the partnership as well as upcoming events and specials. By working together they not only get to share advertising costs but also harvest the power of a larger customer base.