Marketing Action Client Wins Economic Development Award

Marketing Action, Inc. is honored to work with Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Director, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT), Sierra College, who recently won a Placer County Economic Development Award for “Best Support for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Deployment.”

The CACT program is funded through the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Workforce and Economic Development program.  Organizations, manufacturers and technology companies throughout Northern California have benefited from customized training and preparation of their future workforce provided by Sierra College CACT since 1992.

Veronica Blake, CEO, Placer Community Foundation, and Vice Chair of the Economic Development Board for Placer County presented the award to Pepper-Kittredge, mentioning that 480 employees from local companies received training last year. “We know that successful societies are those that attract and nurture the most creative workers and entrepreneurs,” said Blake.  “Sierra College CACT is a dynamic partner and contributor to this effort, building a quality workforce with technical skills, problem-solving abilities and cost effective customer focused solutions.”

Blake also explained the role Sierra College CACT has played in encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship through the unique partnership with Hacker Lab as well as by working with high school Career Technical Education programs supported by the Sierra STEM Collaborative.  “Additionally, through the Sierra STEM Collaborative, more than 15,000 students at eight local high schools completed manufacturing and product development courses,” said Blake.

Learn more about the award presentation —  Sierra College CACT Wins Placer County Economic Development Award

Loomis Soroptimist Distributes Community Grants

1490 Soroptimist Loomis Contributions to Del Oro Pool and Softball field projects – LtoR Dan Gayaldo, Grace Kamphefner, MacKenzie Parks, Olivia Moore & Sean EricksonMarketing Action is pleased to support Soroptimist International Loomis Basin. The club recently  presented more than $7,500 in community awards to support women’s education and recognize other community contributions. Soroptimist (soroptimist.org) is an international volunteer service organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin is a 501(c)(3) organization.

The Live your Dream Award supports women in achieving their career aspirations by providing funding for education. Cassandra Harrison of Roseville, a single mother of two children, who works full time and graduated from Sierra College with honors in Child Development, won the Live Your Dream award. She is currently taking classes that will enable her to transfer to a university program this fall. 
1469 Violet Richardson Award -- Taylor Froomin of Loomis, a student at Del Oro High School, volunteers with Placer TOP Soccer with Randi Beasley

The Violet Richardson Award recognizes a young woman who volunteers in the community. Taylor Froomin of Loomis, a student at Del Oro High School, who volunteers with Placer TOP Soccer was selected to win the Violet Richardson scholarship. The program is offered through the Placer Youth Soccer League and enables children with disabilities from ages 4-18 to play soccer.

The Ruby Award for Women Helping Women recognizes those who improve the lives of other women or girls through their professional or personal activities. Terri DuPriest, who impacts, inspires and encourages the young women, and men, in the Del Oro High School Golden Eagle Marching Band’s color guard and winter guard, received the Ruby Award.

1472 Ruby Award Winner -- Terri DuPriest Del Oro Band in center, (L)Emily Knisley & (R) Erika Rotchford, President, SILBSILB helped found the Senior L.I.F.E. Center of Loomis in 1978. Fred & Acsa Hitchen received a grant to continue to provide social and educational activities as well as nutritious lunches to over 80 seniors weekly at the center.

The Loomis club’s Teacher Grant program helps instructors fund projects that will have lasting impact on students. The Soroptimist grants will be used by K12 teachers for projects such as community gardens, electronic readers, headphones and 3D shapes for hands-on math activities.

The club also gave donations to support the Del Oro High School Aquatic Center and Softball Field projects that will be assets to the community.

Donation to Support Soroptimist Projects — At the ceremony, Don Mashburn, General Manager for the California Breeze Softball Organization and Board member of Florin Road Bingo, presented a donation of $2500 to the SI Loomis Basin club. The funds will be used to develop education projects such the Soroptimist Dream It Be It Career Support for Girls.

 

Apply by March 17 for Startup Hustle Immersive Bootcamp for Entrepreneurs

Sacramento area students and entrepreneurs can apply by the new deadline of March 17 for Startup Hustle. Hacker Lab’s Startup Hustle is supported by Sierra College, one of the first community colleges in the United States to establish a public-private partnership with a community maker space.

The eight-week boot camp delivered by Hacker Lab immerses participants in developing entrepreneurial skills to turn their ideas into successful businesses.

Important Dates

March 10 – Startup Expo 8: Meet the Mentors (Sierra College Edition)

March 17 – Deadline to Apply to Startup Hustle

March 24 – Startup Hustle Spring 2016 Kicks off

March 29 – Online sessions begin on Tuesday evenings for 8 weeks

March 31 – In-person Entrepreneurial training from industry experts in Sacramento and Rocklin, CA for 8 weeks

May 19 – Last Session

May 26 – Demo Night where selected particpatns make their pitch

Don’t Miss Out on this Chance to Join Sacramento’s Entrepreneurial Community

Get started by applying at Startup Hustle. Once your application is accepted, participation is free for Hacker Lab members and Sierra College students, and the fee is $149 for other participants.

According to Eric Ullrich, Co-founder, Hacker Lab, Startup Hustle supports participants in discovering their own path to successful entrepreneurship through the support of Hacker Lab’s Startup Community.

“We’ll stretch your thinking and help you incubate your ideas to start or grow your business.”

The immersive bootcamp is for those who dream of becoming entrepreneurs as well as those interested in taking an invention or business to the next level, explained Ullrich. “Startup Hustle is for people who want to learn innovation skills, identify potential customers, test viability and prepare to present to investors, all in a very supportive environment.”

Students are encouraged to apply according to Carol Pepper-Kittredge, Center for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT), Sierra College.

“Students who want to start a business or work for a company where innovation is valued will benefit from participating.”

Sponsors of Startup Hustle include The Shop VSP Global, Business Composer, Sierra College, City of Rocklin, SMUD, California Community Colleges Workforce and Economic Development Division, City of Sacramento, Sierra College CACT, Golden Sierra and Bosley Till Neue & Talerico LLP.

Read about past Startup Hustle participants.

Placer & Nevada County Adult Schools – Public Meeting March 9

(Source Press Release) The Sierra Joint Consortium for Adult Education (SJCAE) will hold a public meeting on March 9, 2016, from 4 – 5:30 PM at the Holiday Inn located at 120 Grass Valley Highway in Auburn CA. The public is invited to attend this meeting. There will be opportunities to make public comments as well as ask questions.

IMG_0018 Sierra ASSETS workgroup of faculty co-chairs from both Adult Education schools and Sierra CollegeThe consortium, also known as Sierra ASSETS (Adult Student Support, Education & Training Services), was formed in 2014 to develop a comprehensive plan for Adult Education in Placer and Nevada counties. The goal of Sierra ASSETS is to leverage the strengths of members and partners to deliver outstanding adult education programs and services with seamless transitions into the workforce or postsecondary education.

Members of the consortium include the Nevada Union Adult School, Placer School for Adults, Roseville Adult School, Tahoe Truckee Unified Adult Education Programs and Sierra College. The California Department of Education provides funding to the consortium through the Adult Education Block Grant Program (AEBG). To help connect services that support adult students in Placer and Nevada counties, the consortium has also formed partnerships with many community organizations.

At this public meeting, the consortium will officially welcome Tahoe Truckee Unified Adult Education Programs as its newest member. Consortium representatives will present a report on the 2015-16 budget and the projected budget for 2016-17. Attendees will hear highlights of the three year plan, receive information on the performance measures and learn what progress has been made toward goals.

The Adult Schools that belong to the consortium offer a wide range of classes including English as a Second Language (ESL), General Educational Development (GED) preparation, high school completion, career technical education, civics and citizenship preparation and personal enrichment.  The schools teach skills that increase employability, prepare students to attend Sierra College and help students reach their goals.

Education Fundraiser “It’s in the bag” Jan 28

Erica & Chis DSC07429 (2)Soroptimist International of Loomis Basin will host “It’s in the Bag – the Ultimate Girl’s Night Out” on Thursday, January 28, 2016. The fundraiser will be held from 6 to 8:30 PM at the Blue Goose Event Center, located at 3550 Taylor Rd. in Loomis.

The funds collected will be used for education projects focused on girls as well as teacher grants, high school scholarships and the Live Your Dream Award to help women going back to school to support their families. To address an unmet community need, in 2016 SI Loomis will develop a new program with Koinonia Foster Homes/Group Home for girls. The Dream It Be It project helps girls in secondary school overcome obstacles and plan for future success. The women in the club will share their professional talents as mentors, offer career education and introduce resources to help girls live their dreams.

Fundraiser event tickets are $30 and include dinner, water, table games and door prizes. Wine will be sold separately. Tickets are available from Hebard Insurance & Tax at 916-652-0404 or  3837 Taylor Rd, Loomis.

The event sells out so the community is encouraged to buy tickets early from Soroptimist members, according to Chris Hebard-Summers, co-chair of the event. Event attendees buy purse raffle tickets separately and enter them for a chance to win the designer purses that they like best. “There are also chances to win table games as well as purses,” said Hebard-Summers. “Best of all, it is for a good cause.”

To support SI Loomis education projects, businesses are encouraged to consider becoming sponsors. The Platinum sponsor contribution of $1500 enables companies to be recognized on all event materials as well as enjoy a table for eight with two bottles of wine and table service at the event. Gold level sponsors receive logo recognition on event materials for $1000. Table sponsors benefit from a reserved table with two bottles of wine for $500. Swag Bag sponsors may provide 250 items by January 15 for inclusion in the attendees’ gift bags.

To learn more about this 501(c)(3) organization, join SI Loomis Basin for weekly club meetings at the Train Depot at Taylor Rd. and Horseshoe Bar Rd. in Loomis. First and third Wednesday meetings are held at 5:30 PM, and second and fourth Wednesday meetings are held at 8 AM. Also find the club on Facebook under Soroptimist Loomis Basin.

Soroptimist (soroptimist.org) is an international volunteer service organization for business, professional and retired women who work to improve the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world.

What Should be in Your 2016 Marketing Action Plan?

As 2015 sunsets, many of my clients are updating their marketing plans to chart their progress in the next year. I believe that the best direction for approaching annual planning is to have a simple set of five to seven goals for the New Year.

Each objective should include a measure of how well you performed in 2015. It should include an improvement anticipated for 2016. When a client isn’t sure what the stretch for annual improvement should be, I often suggest 10%. Once you’ve been doing this for several years you’ll be able to base goals partially on past performance. You need to set the bar high enough to motivate the team to do things differently to achieve better results without overstating your expectations. Put in writing the strategy you’ll use to make the anticipated improvements as well as your planned dates for implementing tactics.

What marketing tips might be helpful as you think about next year’s plan?

  1. Make a plan – Don’t just talk about it general terms. Develop a written plan, share it with staff and go back over the objectives monthly to review progress.
  2. Track Progress – You’d be surprised how many small businesses are not looking at website analytics to track changes and improvements. You can see what key words people use to find your site, see how long they engage with your content and identify effectiveness of social media in directing prospects to your website.
  3. Tell Stories – If you hear from clients how they have benefited from your product or services, write down their stories. You can use the content on your blog, include it in sales presentations and share it with staff to reinforce company culture.
  4. Pre-plan Topics – My clients that take the time to brainstorm a list of blog topics and then slowly work through the list are more successful in keeping up with writing regular posts. You can also assign people to topics once you’ve got a list. Continually adding fresh content to your website with blog posts can help with search engine optimization.
  5. Think Retention – Many companies are more focused on getting new customers than retaining loyal clients. Long-term clients are valuable and you should plan to meet with them to see how you can support them in meeting their 2016 goals.
  6. Be Inclusive – Rather than developing your marketing action plan on your own, reach out to your staff to participate in writing goals and strategies for the New Year. People from different departments have useful perspectives and may have many useful ideas gleaned form their interaction with clients.
  7. Take Photos – Your communication will be more interesting and engaging when you include photos. Camera phones take great pictures and can quickly capture events and activities that you could report in a newsletter or blog post.

Employ these marketing tips and develop a written plan for 2016 and your marketing program will be off to an excellent start.

How to plan your next article

The reason to send out a press release, post a blog entry or publish a newsletter is to convey useful, interesting information and drive readers to your website to learn more. The ultimate reward is new customers or more sales, class registrations, event attendance or other engagement with your organization.

Find topic Ideas

To give your article focus, determine what problems or challenges our clients face. Think about questions that you get asked frequently. These may be good topic ideas.

In thinking about a subject for your article or blog post, research what is trending in the national news. You might offer an industry specific or local perspective.

Locate internal experts

Next, identify experts within your company who can be quoted. They may be able to describe how your product or service has been used by customers to overcome a challenge. Share the impact on the customer by describing benefits such as gaining a competitive advantage, making money or saving time.

Match images to the subject

As you plan, think about where you can get images to help tell your story.

  • Do you have photos from past events?
  • Is an activity coming up that you could send a photographer to in order to get images?
  • What is the best way to show customers benefiting from your solution?

In addition to photos, video is another powerful way to tell your story and intrigue your audience.

Build a distribution list

You can research journalists, bloggers and publications that may be interested in your company’s perspective. Start building the distribution list ahead of time.

Last steps

After you write the article, be sure to leave time for internal review before it is sent out or posted. Look for multiple ways to use portions of the content with links in eblasts, blog posts and social media. Use google analytics to identify which efforts generated website traffic.

 

Calling Sacramento Start-Ups

The “Start-up Hustle Incubator” is coming to the Sacramento region from Oct. 1 to Nov. 12, 2015.

Apply now if you have a concept for a business and want to hustle for six weeks to turn your dream into a going concern.

Hacker Lab in partnership with Sierra College in Rocklin will help teams join a community of entrepreneurs and get incredible support to accelerate their success.

Winners will receive prizes to support the business launch.

Go to http://www.startuphustle.in/ and apply by the Sept. 24, 2015 deadline.

Participants will ‘hack’ their start-up by hustling to test ideas and build a business model in six weeks. Teams can have one to five members, all of whom should plan on committing 15 hours per week to the new venture during the competition. It can be any kind of business but applicants should be ready to demonstrate how their ideas benefit society.

Teams will benefit from start-up resources to guide them, including mentorship, community connections, education and a proven start-up process. The winner will pitch the start-up to investors and win legal, financial, accounting and marketing services.

The group is seeking mentors to provide advice during the six week hustle. The City of Rocklin and Golden Sierra Job Training Agency are also sponsors of the event.

To learn how you can apply, or be a sponsor and mentor, go to http://www.startuphustle.in/ or email: startuphustle@hackerlab.org. Find out more: http://www.meetup.com/HackerLab/events/225103149/.

Save money on marketing

Thomas Jefferson was one of our most innovative presidents. On a recent tour on Monticello, I was able learn more about his constant tinkering and inventing to make his home more comfortable, save time and money, and produce more at harvest time. His home is featured on the back of the nickel. Since my clients are always interested in saving money, I thought you’d be interested in some cost saving ideas related to producing marketing materials. It might put more nickels in your pocket.

Before you embark on a marketing project, consider how you can save money by finding many purposes for your efforts. When customers are looking for ways to save money on marketing, we take action by finding multiple uses for the messages, materials and graphic images.

For example, one of my clients creates graphic email messages to go out from the association promoting members’ services. To help members with their budgets and as an added value of membership, the association shares the graphic art file through a private portal. That way, those who are part of the group can modify the eblast by adding their own logo and information. Some of the members use the text from the message and customize it to more prominently promote their own firms when sending it out to their own contact lists. This saves members the cost of writing and designing the message.

To take the project a step further, the association then turns the email into a pdf flyer that can be inserted into mailings or used as an attachment on individual emails. The flyer graphics are similar to the eblast; this cohesive look reinforces the brand. This is another cost saving measure as it does not take the designer very much time to use similar graphics on the flyer.

When you are implementing your communication tactics, you should think about ways your efforts can be repurposed for multiple uses to save money on your marketing budget. You can make very nickel count.

If you interview a client you may be able to get:

  • Testimonials to use on brochures or tradeshow displays
  • Content for a blog post
  • Information for an article in your newsletter
  • An announcement in a press release

If you take photos at an event, you can use them:

  • In social media posts
  • On your website
  • In ads or billboards

If you produce postcards, use them to:

  • Mail out to your contact list
  • Hand out at a tradeshow
  • Package in a gift basket with promotional items

Planning ahead and thinking creatively can help you get the most out of your marketing budget and leave more nickels jingling in your pocket.

What should you include in your brochure?

Although websites are now the most common way to describe what your company does for your customers, there is still a place for brochures in your bouquet of marketing tactics.

Produce an attractive brochure for your business and you can use it in the following ways:

  • Hand them out at tradeshows
  • Leave it behind after a sales call
  • Send the brochure as an introduction
  • Include it with follow-up materials

Working in the Sacramento region, people frequently ask me what information should be included in a brochure. It is much more than just a pretty blossom that shows off what your company does. An effective brochure may plant the seed of a long term business relationship that will generate profits for many years to come.

An effective brochure should make it easy for a prospective customer to learn what you do best to help your clients. In addition to giving your organization credibility, it should spur the reader to action, confident that your company is ideally suited to meet their needs. Just a beautiful flower begs you to lean over to sample the scent, your brochure should entice people to learn more about the benefits of doing business with you.

Some of the key components of a brochure include:

  1. An attention grabbing headline, enticing the reader to open the brochure and learn more
  2. Your logo on the front and back
  3. Your website and contact information, usually on the back
  4. An introductory statement that summarizes your primary way of serving your customers
  5. At least three benefits that your clients enjoy as a result of working with your firm
  6. Testimonials from satisfied customers demonstrating the results your company achieved for them
  7. More detailed summary of your main services
  8. Subheads that give the reader an idea what the detailed section will include
  9. Photos or graphics that help the reader understand what you do
  10. Data, facts or other results to support your marketing claims and to induce readers to take action
  11. White space makes it easier for prospects to digest your message because it provides a visual break and prevents you from putting in so much text in that reader becomes fatigued

At Marketing Action, Inc. we are often asked to write a brochure as a first project. It is a great way to get started working with a marketing consultant. The exercise of thinking from a customer’s perspective, identifying unique benefits and explaining what the company does often becomes the cornerstone of future marketing tactics.

Additionally, when you are busy running a business, you have so much knowledge, that it is difficult to boil it down to a few key points in a brochure. That is where the marketing consultant can help hone down masses of content into a few key benefit statements.

Use a professional designer to create the graphics and layout for your brochure. The visual appeal is just as important as the words you use to describe your business.

Quality paper and printing are the last steps in creating a brochure that represents your business. A professional graphic designer is essential to providing high resolution artwork that meets the printers’ specifications. Ensure that the final product is a brochure that you can be proud to hand out by working with professionals who are experienced in producing exceptional brochures.

In nature, beautiful flowers attract bees so that the species can be propagated. In marketing, an attractive brochure can be a credible introduction that may bloom into a long-term profitable business partnership. (The flower photo was taken in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California.)