Next-Mark Shares Prize With City

Bay Runner marketing campaign nets agency international prize

SARASOTA, FLORIDA – As part of the International Parking & Mobility Institute’s (IPMI) annual Awards of Excellence, the City of Sarasota and Next-Mark, LLC have taken home top prize in the “Innovation in a Mobility, Transportation or Parking Program” category for the Bay Runner Trolley.

The free trolley operates seven days a week from 8 a.m. to midnight and has seen ridership in the tens of thousands thanks in part to the success of the robust, impactful and creative marketing campaign created by the downtown marketing agency, Next-Mark, LLC. “More than anything, we were really invested in helping the trolley program garner strong ridership numbers,” says Next-Mark founder Joe Grano, “but an award like this is really humbling and reflects the energy we put into this project.”

The award recognizes projects in five categories that all “reflect the zeitgeist in their originality, creativity, and responsiveness to owner goals, user needs, and social and environmental impact,” according to the IPMI. As one juror commented, “the motto of ‘Live more, drive less’ is perfectly put into practice with this experiential journey,” while the award announcement also cited robust print, TV and in-person advertising as a vital component of the program’s selection for the award.

“It truly takes a village to successfully execute something this big,” says City of Sarasota parking manager Mark Lyons. That “village” was comprised of the city, the Downtown Improvement District, the St. Armands Business Improvement District, and the Florida Department of Transportation, who all contributed funding and insight into the program. “And, of course, hats off to the team at Next-Mark for helping the Bay Runner exceed our expectations,” continues Lyons.

To view the full listing of awards, visit the IPMI website here.

ABOUT NEXT-MARK, LLC: Based in downtown Sarasota, Next-Mark, LLC is a full-service marketing agency that specializes in marketing communications, marketing strategy, public relations, content development, brand strategy and Salesforce services. With both local and national clients, Next-Mark brings a high level of creativity and professionalism to every campaign, regardless of industry or scope.

Marketing The Invisible: 4 Tips to Effectively Market a Service-Based Business

If the entire production output of the service economy were compiled into an empty 10,000-sq-ft. warehouse, that warehouse would still have 10,000-sq-ft. of empty space. That’s because, unlike the manufacturing economy that produces cameras, clothing and candles, the service economy produces no tangible goods.

According to Frances X. Frei of the Harvard Business School, this means a service business’s offerings must be focused on the customer experience rather than on the intrinsic characteristics of a product’s utility. Since a customer’s experience is difficult to quantify, service businesses often have a difficult time conceptualizing a message that can clearly communicate how their service will add value to their customers’ lives. After all, how do you measure “convenience,” “entertainment,” or “peace of mind”?

The key to addressing the challenge isn’t always simple, and that’s before a service business even arrives at the equally important step of designing a tactical plan. With that, here are 5 tips to effectively market a service-based business.

1. Define what you do.

This seemingly innocuous task can elicit crickets from service providers, who often have no clear idea of what they do beyond one or two fundamental actions. For example, a web designer designs websites (obviously), but the process of designing the website might also involve discovery sessions to discern a client’s needs, several rounds of client feedback, regular site maintenance, and incorporating different functions into the site. It’s important to have a clear understanding of a business process that can then be clearly delineated for customers. The most important places to explain these processes are on a website, in social media bios, or on introductory print collateral.

2. Make the case for your value.

Like item #1, a value proposition can be difficult for a service provider to compose because there’s no tangible product. A plumber, for example, most commonly uses their skill to repair existing items like toilets, faucets or bathtubs, as opposed to selling the toilets, faucets or bathtubs themselves. So, a plumber might be “selling” their expertise to get the job done, their professionalism in arriving on time and keeping the worksite clean, and/or selling the client the peace of mind that their plumbing will operate smoothly for years to come. In some cases, the effects of the service might have measurable results like greater sales, reduced operating costs, or, as in the example of the plumber, reduced water bills. Tactically, some things to consider incorporating into a marketing plan to help make the case for your value are client testimonials, concise taglines, and images that depict the kind of satisfaction your service can provide.

3. Pamper your repeat customers.

Everyone wants to grow their business, but getting new customers is more expensive than keeping the ones you already have. It’s important to commit resources in a marketing budget to customer retention instead of focusing exclusively on new leads. Especially when providing services that have maintenance capabilities built into the initial offerings, it’s important to nurture existing client relationships to maintain their awareness of the full scope of your offerings. An A/C company might make a sale for installation, for example, but it’s the maintenance that helps support the livelihoods of technicians and will ensure the customers return to that A/C company when they need a new system in 10 years. Some ways to pamper your repeat customers are with regular follow-ups via phone or email, newsletters to keep them up to date on new services or offerings, referral bonuses or discounts, or brief emails to celebrate birthdays or milestones.

4. Establish your expertise.

Simply put, you can do something for your customers that they cannot do for themselves, most often because they lack the know-how. The more you can demonstrate your services require specialized skills and experience, the more trust you can build in existing and prospective customers. It’s important to let people know not just what you do, but all of the time and specialized training it took for you to become proficient at it. Does your service require extensive schooling? Have you practiced your service in multiple industries? How many years of professional experience do you have? Are you a leader in your field? These are questions your customers will want answered whether they ask them out loud or not. Some ways to answer them are with white papers, case studies, blogs/vlogs, editorial commentary, or speaking engagements.

Ultimately, all of these tips are designed to help service businesses make their intangible offerings seem more real. It’s about connecting with your customers in a dialogue in which you can walk them through their journey with you. As that guide, it’s important to communicate clearly, be relatable, demonstrate that you understand their needs and that you are just the person to meet their needs.

Are you a business operating in the service economy? If so, reach out to Next-Mark to see what we can do for you. We’ve worked extensively with clients in banking, medical services, government agencies, public sector, nonprofit organizations, design firms, and professional trades.

Some years ago, we were part of a PR professionals meeting held at a local daily newspaper. While we were waiting for the session to begin, a biz reporter popped in to thank us—yeah, we were surprised too. In essence, this reporter told us he was glad when a company was represented by an agency because, when left to their own devices, they often didn’t know how to work with the media.

That holes true today even as media forms and platforms have emerged and changed radically over the past few years, each with its own purpose, process and potential value.

Ultimately, that’s the gap we work to bridge every day, keeping clients connected to an ever-changing collection of dots to create and maintain a favorable public image and grow market share. In that pursuit, we have developed a process that is both solid and flexible, grounded yet nimble. And it works.

A Strong Beginning

It starts with research. Before our first substantive meeting with the client, we dig into their organization’s existing media to get a customer’s perspective and find gaps in their messaging.

After that comes a strategic messaging meeting, where we explore how a company wishes to be perceived with our proprietary method.

From there, we work hands-on with the client to compile the nuts and bolts of a messaging strategy to build a thought leadership position through content and implement a media strategy across platforms and vehicles, choosing the right message at the right time with the right language.

Client Education

All along the way, there’s client education, because it’s true most owners and managers are too busy with their day jobs to care about the kind of deliverable we’re producing. They just want to know that it’s working.

For instance, we recently created a virtual press kit for a client who was curious about its purpose. The answer (to us) is simple: To make everything as easy as possible for the inquiring media outlet. The press kit is a snapshot of the company today, including its leadership, services/capabilities, history, contact info, story pitches, topics on which they are qualified to comment, and so on. Whether shared as a hardcopy or digitally, it’s a calling card to meet with local media and an introduction to those beyond earshot. And, since it’s professionally designed to represent the company’s character and personality, it makes a concise, compelling first impression.

More than just a convenience for reporters; now, it’s fodder for today’s understaffed outlets. Other tried-and-still-true methodologies are video (in spades) and social media (a must). Bottom line: It’s all about removing every conceivable hurdle between our client and media.

Ongoing Evaluation

Underlying all PR efforts is an insightful assessment of emerging outreach avenues. This involves keeping track of trends and measuring their worth to each client. In 2022, these trends include:

Sponsored Content

This entails material in a print or online publication that resembles the publication’s editorial content but is placed there, and paid for, by the advertiser. We know what you’re thinking: “Nobody reads this content”. But according to Reuters, 75 percent of consumers say they will engage with whatever well-written content interests them, sponsored or not. So, it’s a great option for some when employed strategically.

The Pitch

“Pitching” a story or an event to an outlet has changed in many ways, with mass email going the way of the dodo. Today, the process must be driven by research and based on a compelling, relevant, personalized story concept. That takes specialized knowledge of how editorial teams work to know how to grab their attention.

Enter the Influencer

It’s a fact: A teenager in Iowa with 100,000 followers on Instagram can have a profound impact on your brand. It’s also a bit unnerving: If your fingers aren’t on the pulse of so-called influencers, there could be forces at work against you. There’s an art to dealing with influencers, figuring out who they are, their level of actual credibility and whether they’re just in it for the free stuff. With the right connections to the right people, though, outreach to bloggers and influencers can be effective, especially for openings and product launches that match their areas of purported expertise.

Consumer Reviews

Unhappy customers today have scores of places to voice their dissatisfaction. With more consumers relying on reviews to make their buying decisions, it’s important that your organization stay true to its brand promise. This will reduce the risk of bad reviews and allow you to collect your own testimonials to display proudly and prominently on your own channels. In addition, responding to reviews is a great opportunity to engage directly with clients to thank them for their input or personally invite them back in to make up for a bad review.

Benchmarks in Perception


Unless yours is the only feed store in Cowtown, people are going to compare your organization to others. Most are going to start online. Your website and social channels will tell a consumer right away how seriously you take your business. Quality content and good design build trust and respect. Decades-old web design templets, outdated fonts and grammatical errors can hurt your image. You can keep it simple, but professionalism is communicated with clear content that’s in your unique voice.

Consistency and Frequency

A lack of these is poison, especially when it comes to social media and online presence. As with personal relationships, it takes consistent, frequent engagement to build/reinforce trust. Does your company finish what it starts? Does it regularly have something worth saying? Is its project list up to date? A lack of effort in communicating an answer to these questions can make a company seem like it’s barely getting by or doesn’t have the time to consider the ease of their customers’ journey.

If we’ve spurred your interest or encouraged you to dig deeper into opportunities, give us a call. We’re always available for a chat and always open to a new mutually beneficial relationship.

In Conversation Series with Bonnie Merrill Limbach

Our In Conversation series continues with another look inside the mind of one of our many talented marketing communications pros. In this edition, we explore the career of Director of Communication Strategy, Bonnie Merrill Limbach. Read on to find out how Bonnie came into the marketing field and some insider tips on the importance of a comprehensive marketing strategy. 

Tell us about your background, and how you chose communications as a career.

I’m a born storyteller, perhaps because of my Appalachian heritage, and I have loved to write for as long as I could do it. Thus, when I finally got the opportunity to go to college full time (and because I haven’t the attention span to write a novel), Mass Communications called my name. By the end of my sophomore year, I was editor of the school newspaper and president of the state collegiate press association, so the passion seemed mutual. For decades now, our love story has continued through stints in journalism, corporate and crisis communications and marketing. 

Why is strategic messaging so vital to organizations?

Strategic messaging is purposeful and persuasive communication, and the sheer process of developing it is, in my opinion, its primary strength. It forces leaders to hit the pause button for a little while to really think about where the company/organization/governmental entity has been, is and wants to go. It’s amazing how often our clients have discovered that they’ve been too busy succeeding to actually take advantage of it, communicating their evolution and truly preparing for the next level. 

Many organizations get caught up in the ever-changing, fast-paced nature of digital marketing tools. What do businesses miss when they fail to enter into a messaging exercise?

Digital marketing tools give companies unprecedented reach. But, without a solid knowledge of the various tools, their purpose, and their users, companies can wind up standing out in the wrong way. Without a unified approach to string all the tools together, a company can end up reaching the wrong audience with the wrong message at the wrong time. Creating an affinity for your brand, it requires mindfulness of whom a company is targeting, and how they prefer to be communicated to. A messaging exercise explores all of these components and gives an organization a cohesive strategy.

You’ve provided messaging counsel for businesses, governmental agencies and politicians. What’s at the core of drafting a messaging platform, regardless of the entity you’re drafting it for?

As Lewis Carroll famously noted (and strategists like to quote): “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” A platform gives you clear direction, a pathway to follow. Key components are messaging goals, desired positioning in the market, a strong value proposition and a brand promise only you can make to set you apart and clearly show differentiators. Key messaging then can be developed with supporting points to create and maintain a consistent voice. 

A messaging session can sometimes feel like conducting a “DNA” eval on an organization. Is this a fruitful analogy? Why or why not?

I see it more as a therapy session. DNA denotes something you’re stuck with from birth, for good or for bad. A messaging exercise is a dynamic process, a deep look into both structure and personality, with decisions made that can change or accelerate a chosen course. It’s a matter of taking control vs. stasis.

We know a messaging document can help a client understand their own organization, but how does a messaging document improve an agency’s ability to generate deliverables?

An approved messaging document is a ticket on an express train. No back and forth is needed, and, with also approved strategies and tactics, work can be completed expeditiously and with – again – purpose, moving steadily toward stated goals. 

What is the greatest advice you have for companies approaching a strategic messaging exercise?

 Specifically, I would say don’t forget the people in the trenches, that is, those in sales, customer service, etc., who actually deal with prospects and customers. Their input can be invaluable. In general, I would say to relax and enjoy the introspection and honest evaluation of the organization and its potential. I honestly can’t remember a client who didn’t find the process enlightening. That’s our goal, and, so far, we’ve succeeded. 

Three Things to Know When Picking a Salesforce Partner

by JT Grano

As Sarasota’s only certified Salesforce Partner, we at Next-Mark are uniquely positioned to help you understand what to look for when integrating the Salesforce software into your business. Salesforce is a powerful tool to add to your analytics, but with that great power comes a great responsibility to leverage the data correctly so that it increases your bottom line rather than clouding your sales flow with more noise.

For years, we’ve been helping clients in a variety of fields—from healthcare to ride shares to publishers—utilize the platform to unleash the full potential of their client relationships by maximizing their digital marketing environments. When it’s time for you to choose a Salesforce partner, here are some insights we’ve learned about the competencies you should look for:

1. A Good Listener

No two businesses are built the same, even when in the same industry and offering the same service. It’s important that you find a Salesforce partner that takes the time to listen carefully and conscientiously to your organization’s specific needs. We have seen too many times how a templated approach to digital marketing solutions prevents businesses from standing out from the crowd. In the end, our job is to translate your unique business processes into the Salesforce platform, which is only maximized when it aligns with your needs. In addition, a strong start to a Salesforce migration ensures a solid architecture to build future processes on.

2. A Strategic Planner

The integration of Salesforce is not a simple, short-term solution to your organization’s needs. Managing, tracking and automating requires frequent upkeep over the duration of the process, which is comprised of a long string of milestones. Make sure your Salesforce partner demonstrates an understanding of how those milestones are achieved and tracked over the full breadth of your relationship, with KPIs established early on. In addition, make sure to choose a Salesforce partner with a proven track record of long-term client relationships, as this helps reveal a partner’s ability to reliably evolve and grow in tandem with your organization.

3. A Team Player

A large component of Salesforce implementation is your organization’s ability to navigate the platform. The right partner, rather than keep you in the dark and keep the expertise to themselves, should exercise patience and enthusiasm when walking you through the software’s capabilities and utilization. That’s why at Next-Mark we developed our Next Methodology for Salesforce implementation, which lays out our collaborative approach from the initial conversation to the go-live result and emphasizes a educational dialogue along that entire journey to ensure our Salesforce clients know how to utilize the platform. In addition to helping foster transparency and open communication, this collaborative approach inevitably leads to more creative use of the software. The more perspectives from knowledgeable users, the more new ideas and techniques can be leveraged to make the team stronger than any single individual.

Next-Mark Adds Three New Hires, Expands Client Base

The Sarasota-based marketing and communications agency announces the addition of three new team members as it expands client footprint locally

SARASOTA, Fla. – Next-Mark, a full-service marketing and communications firm serving clients in Florida and nationwide, announced today the addition of three new team members to meet demand for its growing roster of clients and service offerings.

Each team member brings a unique blend of experience and skillsets that bode well for the agency’s new and existing clients. “I’ve tried to build a company that champions three main traits in team members; expertise, talent and kindness,” says Next-Mark founder Joseph Grano. “With these three additions, I think we’re ready to keep growing in 2022.” The new hires include:

Manager of Client Experience, Kristen Lundy, a Sarasota-native and graduate of University of South Florida, comes to the firm with a background in Professional and Technical Communications. Seamlessly blending her technical proficiency in website management, marketing platforms, and writing skills, Lundy manages some of the agency’s biggest clients.

Like many Sarasota residents, Client Experience and Development Manager Travis Cornwell joins Sarasota from the Midwest. A graduate of Finlandia University in Hancock, Michigan, Cornwell brings a background in journalism, broadcasting, marketing and public relations. His friendly disposition, penchant for community outreach and intimate knowledge of marketing will serve to expand the agency’s client base.

Andrew Fabian joins the agency as its new Content and Creative Specialist after serving as Senior Editor for a prominent regional lifestyle magazine. With a degree in English in which he concentrated in fiction and literary non-fiction; Fabian balances a humanistic, emotive approach to storytelling with a deep understanding of how to craft different voices for different clients.

In addition to immediately lending their skills to the firm’s existing clients, all three new hires are also involved in some of the agency’s most recent, marquee local projects, including the launch of the City of Sarasota and Downtown Improvement District’s “Fresh Fridays” events programming, and the development and management of marketing for the Downtown Improvement District. “We love the challenge of working with our big national clients, but I think it’s really important to stay connected to the city we call home,” says Grano. “Kristen, Travis and Andrew have done a fantastic job of not just taking on these projects, but really believing in their positive impact on the greater Sarasota area.”

In Conversation Series with Creative Director, Ryan Hoevenaar

In this blog, we present another edition of “In Conversation,” which invites readers into the Next-Mark offices to meet our talented team of marketing and communications professionals. For this edition, we caught up with our Director of Creative Strategy, Ryan Hoevenaar. Born and raised in a small Midwestern town, Ryan dishes on how his upbringing helped him value faded storefronts just as much as contemporary graphic design, and sheds some light on how he creates visual assets that helped Next-Mark take home 13 Addy Awards at 2022’s AAF-Suncoast competition.

Paint us a picture of your youth in rural Illinois.

I grew up in what would be considered the archetype for a Midwestern town—an endless sea of cornfields punctuated by long forgotten farmhouses, a rifle still at the ready over an ash-filled mantle, that kind of thing. My town had a central cloister of stores and churches along with a Walmart. I remember intermittent advertising of both salvation and rollback prices. I spent a lot of time in a web of creeks where I’d corral tadpoles with friends and kick around bricks from fallen bridges. There were train tracks that served as late night teenage hangouts, which may or may not have been my stomping grounds. It was very much a town where the history could still be felt in creaky floorboards and faded hand-painted billboards. Think Norman Rockwell but moodier.

Was there a specific moment from your childhood when your parents made a formal acknowledgment of your creative predisposition?

My parents identified and cultivated my love for art at a really young age, so I can’t really remember a time when art wasn’t a part of my life. The family fridge was always filled with my paintings and drawings and the kitchen table always had the beginnings of a sculpture made from neon colored Play-Doh. My parents still have stacks of dinosaur drawings and landscape finger paintings in their closet. Of course, then in grade school I was always known as the “art kid”—usually in the bottom 10 of being picked for pick-up basketball in the gym but always picked first as a partner in art class.

Were there resources in your small town—magnet schools, workshops, galleries, etc.—where you could develop your creativity?

My town had very few outlets for artistic expression. Like most small towns, high school football reigned supreme. But the big city outside of our small sphere had galleries and art collectives that I would later tap into in my college years. There were all these old industrial factories that had become hubs for your stereotypical starving artists that would all push themselves and each other in their craft. Being a part of this scene in my early 20s really influenced my perception of what art was and what it could be. In a lot of ways, I still feel that way when I design, as though all those voices are looking over my shoulder encouraging me to try new things.

What’s your medium of choice in your art?

I’ve dabbled in a lot of different mediums, but I always come back to collage, specifically found ephemera collage. The idea of creating something new from things that have lost their initial purpose makes my mind soar. To weave bits of history and bygone culture into something new fascinates me. I think that probably comes from growing up in a small town that had experienced that same decline in industry that so many small towns did when manufacturing started being outsourced. I really came to appreciate the beauty of found objects, the aesthetics of Mid-Century advertising, the fender lines of rusty old Fords, even old candy wrappers.

Are you a designer first or an artist?

I would say that’s not even a distinction worth making for me. The only real difference is that design incorporates the input of the client while my art is dictated purely by my whims. But I think both my art and design capture my preoccupation with grid-work and layout. I’d like to think it’s the Scandinavian in me that loves to have objects in a well-organized grid where angles and sides of objects line up in a way that’s almost mathematical but still visually interesting. I think, again, when you look at the faded advertising and logos that dotted my small town, those designers and artists were exceptional when it came to composition and balance. You figure they all probably had more formal training in fine art because graphic design was still a fairly new field, and their work had a great sense of color and alignment. I think a lot about vintage gas station logos with their boldness and clarity or hand-painted storefronts with their highly detailed line work that can make a regular font feel special. I’d like to think I bring some of that appreciation into my work here at Next-Mark, even when it’s for a client that you don’t really think of as requiring much flash. It all gets the neurons firing to varying degrees and is really satisfying to do. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do for a living.

Next-Mark Shines at Suncoast Advertising Awards

The Sarasota-based marketing and communications agency earns a company record of 13 awards for creative excellence.

Next-Mark, a full-service marketing and communications agency serving clients in Florida and nationwide, announces it earned a company record of 13 ADDY® Awards at the Advertising Federation’s annual competition hosted by AdFed, the Florida Suncoast’s regional AAF club.

The awards span multiple categories that directly impacted the success of Next-Mark’s clients. Clients for whom Next-Mark won awards include: St. Armands Circle Business Improvement District, Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors, CMX CinéBistro, Elsevier, The Met Sarasota, and Next-Mark’s own marketing. Categories of excellence included integrated marketing campaigns, video, ambient media, branded content, and digital media, among others.

Specific work recognized included the CMX CinéBistro Coastland theater launch in Naples, St. Armands’ “Sol of the Circle” event series, The Met Sarasota LookBook, the Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors website along with three architectural videos, an Elsevier tradeshow design, and Next-Mark’s capabilities LookBook.

“We are committed to delivering impactful creative content driven by a strategic business approach across client categories” said Next-Mark president and founder, Joseph S. Grano, Jr. “To be recognized by our peers is a testament to our results-driven process, as well as the commitment of our team in delivering exceptional work on behalf of our clients.

About Next-Mark
Next-Mark, LLC is a full-service, award-winning marketing communications agency based in Sarasota, FL. It helps business leaders beat their growth targets by delivering better competitive insights, more powerful branding, stronger strategies and faster results. Breaking away from the constraints of traditional marketing service organizations, the Next-Mark team facilitates new conversations about a client’s brand, integrating experience, analytics and innovation in developing strategic marketing solutions to meet clients’ individual needs. Next-Mark focuses on internationally and nationally recognized brands along with growing companies across a broad spectrum of categories, including healthcare, technology, hospitality and entertainment, technology, tourism, retail, destination, real estate, environmental, marine products and tourism. With clients from Beverly Hills to Amsterdam, its roster includes industry leaders such as Comcast/NBC, LexisNexis, Elsevier, Neuroflow, Nuance Communications, CMX/Cinebistro, Medecision, CGI, California Pizza Kitchen, along with Florida-based clients including The City of Sarasota, St. Armands Circle, Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors, Sun Protection of Florida, Yarnall Moving and Storage, CitySide Apartments, and The Met Sarasota among others. For more information, visit its website at

Ever Considered Podcasting as Part of Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

by Travis Cornwell

Have you thought tirelessly about how to enhance your digital marketing efforts? Ever consider launching a podcast? A podcast can provide your business with a tremendous amount of upside potential. When done properly expect not only a great ROI but an increase in your brands’ awareness and additional traffic to your website.

Starting a podcast can be challenging, but it deserves a place in your digital marketing strategy. First, consider what you will need to get started. Whether that be equipment, booking guests, planning out the content, or writing the scripts; you should know what your budget is and go from there. Once those are established, just go for it and have some fun along the way.

Measuring Growth

When you have successfully launched your podcast keep in mind that it will take time to see results. The three biggest ways to measure the success of your podcast can be the number of subscribers, the number of listens/downloads, and social media engagement (shares, comments, likes, etc.)

Driving Traffic to Your Website

Podcasts are a searchable form of content. Implementing them into your SEO strategy offers your clients a new and exciting form of content other than just a blog post. When your customers see a podcast link, hopefully, they will subscribe. Launching a podcast can help support your current SEO strategy and then help it skyrocket. The more website traffic you attract, the more Google takes notice and helps your algorithm overall. As you build an audience and attract more website traffic, you’ll soon turn those visitors into paying customers.

Building Your Brand

Sharing your podcasts on multiple channels allows you to build up your brand awareness. The more often people see your company name online, the better. With every episode they listen to, they pique more interest in your brand. Which builds loyalty and trust for your consumers.

Consistency is Key

Make sure you stick to a plan and be consistent with the process. Regular content provides a way to keep people connected with your brand. If you are consistent, over time you will build more awareness around your brand. Which will, in turn, result in more profit. Make sure you continue to measure your growth and make changes if necessary. If it’s not broken though, don’t fix it. As you make more and more episodes, compare and contrast your website traffic before the launch and after. An audience that regularly listens to your show will continue to come back to your website. This leads to increased revenue overall.

Three Predicted Marketing Trends for 2022

by Kristen Lundy

The best marketers always look to the future. Since consumers’ preferences constantly evolve, marketing professionals have to anticipate what’s next. Each year brings its own set of challenges that marketing plans must adapt to. It’s no secret that these past couple of years have changed the dynamics of the industry. Understanding future marketing trends and how they shape strategies is crucial for a company’s success. Next-Mark team members believe in staying ahead of the curve to remain competitive. We always ask ourselves “what’s next?”—which is why we put together some marketing practices that we believe will trend in 2022.

Hybrid events

Despite obstacles presented with the pandemic, live events are back and better than ever. However, some individuals aren’t ready to get back into crowds, whether that be due to health concerns or travel restrictions. The solution to those who want to experience an event without having to actually attend one in person is hybrid events. A hybrid event combines both an in-person experience with virtual elements. Additionally, hybrid events allow people to attend from anywhere, which ensures the audience can participate in activities while working within their comfort zone.

With these notions in mind, we believe there will be a growth of hybrid events, as they offer many benefits for an organization. According to Brella, some of the benefits of organizing a hybrid event include increased reach and attendance, higher audience engagement, more sponsor opportunities, and reduced costs. In addition, a hybrid event allows for the capture of more content throughout the event, which will aid in content creation and implementation for months post-event.

Adapting content for shorter attention spans

Due to the contemporary digital era, content marketers find it harder and harder to have the full attention of consumers. Individuals are surrounded by screens almost every minute of the day. In fact, the average American spends about 7 hours and 11 minutes looking at a screen every day, according to data from DataReportal. With social media and digital news, there is hardly a time throughout the day that we aren’t enticed to look at a screen. HubSpot states that the attention span of the average individual has fallen to just 8 seconds. Additionally, more than 59% of people share Twitter articles without reading them in full, and more than half of page views last less than a minute.

What does all of this mean for marketers? It’s simple. We have to adapt our content to this reality when developing content marketing strategies. A few ways you can achieve this is by creating quality and visual content, investing in thought leadership and meeting readers’ attention spans half way by using headers or summarizing long pieces of content. By using even a few of these elements you will be able to grab the attention of your consumers, get your point across and make an impression to your targeted audience.

Personalization becoming more prominent

Through a variety of mediums, we are flooded with all sorts of information. Whether it be through social media, billboards, TV commercials or emails, brands compete for our attention. Due to this (sometimes) overwhelming circumstance, individuals tend to tune a lot of it out. This means that creating impersonal content when trying to reach your target audience most likely won’t end with consumer engagement. Using personalized content allows your audience to feel a deeper connection to your brand.

According to PieSync, marketing personalization means interacting with your audience and customers in a way that feels personal and human, taking into consideration their interests and preferences. The average customer wants to have a personalized experience. In fact, research conducted by Salesforce found that 58% of respondents view personalization as very important when engaging with a company. Creating a personalization strategy can include personalized ads, custom email campaigns and tailored content. By utilizing personalization in a marketing strategy, companies have proven to increase conversions and customer retention.

With 2021 coming to a close and 2022 right around the corner, it’s important that we, as marketers, anticipate fundamental changes in the way we do our job. Over the next year, we are ready to learn and adapt to this ever changing industry. Our evolving techniques help take our clients’ success to the next level. At Next-Mark, we will never stop perfecting our practice and looking to the future. If you’re looking for an agency that will take your marketing plan to the next level, engage with us today. We’re ready for what’s next. Are you?