Modern Marketing in Music City: Tips for Nashville’s Small Businesses

Nashville’s transformation is no secret. From a thriving music scene to a booming hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, our city has become a magnet for aspiring business owners across all industries. A flourishing economy and a rapidly growing population paint a picture perfect for running a business. 

However, Nashville’s meteoric rise has also presented new challenges, especially for small businesses navigating this changing landscape. At Green Apple Strategy, we’ve been a trusted marketing partner for Nashville businesses for over a decade, helping them navigate these unique challenges. In this post, we’ll highlight some of the most common marketing hurdles both B2B and B2C businesses face in Nashville and offer practical tips to overcome them.

New Marketing Challenges for B2B Businesses in Nashville

The influx of larger corporations and established brands into Nashville has created a more competitive landscape. Here’s a closer look at some of the significant challenges B2B businesses face:

Cutting Through the Hype

Nashville’s growth attracts hundreds of new businesses, creating a competitive landscape with established brands. One of the challenges we’ve seen is that new businesses and startups struggle to cut through the noise. To stand out, B2B companies must showcase their unique value propositions clearly and compellingly. It’s not enough to simply be present; businesses need to highlight what makes them different and why their services are indispensable.

Identifying Decision-Makers

With the influx of businesses, pinpointing the right decision-makers in target companies has become more challenging. Traditional prospecting methods might be less effective in this crowded market. We’ve observed that navigating this complexity requires innovative approaches to networking and utilizing platforms that help identify key players within organizations.

Building Trust and Relationships

Nashville’s friendly culture fosters a “who you know” environment. B2B businesses often struggle to compete with the established relationships that larger companies have built over time. Establishing trust takes time and effort. We’ve seen that consistent engagement, quality interactions, and demonstrating value upfront are crucial for newer businesses making their mark.

Limited Marketing Resources

Small B2B businesses often have limited budgets and staff for dedicated marketing teams, which can hinder their ability to implement complex marketing strategies. Many companies are forced to make tough decisions to balance their budgets while trying to grow their market presence. This scarcity of resources means every marketing dollar must be spent wisely and strategically.

New Marketing Challenges for B2C Businesses in Nashville

While B2B businesses face their own set of challenges, Nashville’s growth also presents hurdles for B2C brands:

Rising Costs and Competition

As highlighted by a recent Truist survey, inflation and rising costs are top concerns for Nashville small businesses. This makes it harder for smaller companies to compete with larger ones that have bigger marketing budgets. Because of these financial constraints, smaller businesses often feel hamstrung and struggle to keep up with the marketing power of their larger counterparts.

Standing Out in a Crowded Market

Nashville’s influx of new residents and businesses has created a saturated market. Small businesses need to find ways to differentiate themselves and attract attention. The challenge is to cut through the noise and communicate a compelling brand story that resonates with potential customers.

Building and Maintaining Customer Loyalty

Retaining customers and building loyalty in such a competitive market is challenging, especially when larger businesses can offer more incentives. Small businesses must go the extra mile to foster strong relationships and create memorable experiences that keep customers coming back.

Proven Tips to Navigate New Marketing Challenges

Despite these challenges, Nashville’s dynamic market presents as many opportunities as obstacles. Here are some tips to help you navigate these challenges and thrive:

Embrace SEO Through a Google Business Profile

Since Nashville is a popular tourist destination, many rely on Google Maps to find local businesses. Optimize your Google Business Profile listing with accurate information, positive reviews, and engaging photos. At Green Apple, we’ve worked strategically with clients in both the B2B and B2C spaces to optimize their Google Business Profiles, increase positive customer reviews, and take control of their online reputation management.

Leverage Nashville’s Strong Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Our city’s support for startups and small businesses shouldn’t be overlooked. Take advantage of local incubators, accelerators, and business development programs. These resources can provide valuable guidance, mentorship, and networking opportunities. At Green Apple, we actively participate in the Nashville Entrepreneurial Center and other industry events. We’ve found that collaborating with other businesses in the ecosystem fosters a sense of community and opens doors for potential partnerships.

Partner with Complementary Businesses in Creative Ways 

Nashville’s still a town known for our friendly, collaborative ethos. One way to leverage our culture is to partner with non-competitive businesses that cater to your ideal client base. This cross-promotion can expand your reach and build trust with potential customers. 

We’ve facilitated dozens of such partnerships for our clients, from curating grand opening events to developing cause marketing campaigns that support local organizations in meaningful ways.

Focus on Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

When you’re dealing with limited resources, B2B businesses can prioritize specific high-value accounts. Account-based marketing is a great way to tailor your marketing efforts to target the decision-makers within the right companies. This focused approach allows you to deliver personalized messages and build stronger relationships with potential clients.

Leverage Social Media and Social Selling

Nashville boasts a socially engaged population. For B2C companies, focus on platforms like Instagram and Facebook to showcase your brand personality and connect with potential customers. Run targeted ads and partner with local influencers for broader reach. 

For B2B marketing, LinkedIn is a powerful tool. Optimize your company profile and individual profiles of sales representatives, connect with potential clients, and engage in relevant industry discussions to build brand awareness.

Nashville Marketing Mastery: Design Your Roadmap to Success

In times of change, it’s more important than ever for Nashville businesses to implement effective marketing tactics. Our team at Green Apple Strategy is here to help. We go beyond cookie-cutter solutions and develop customized marketing strategies that drive real results for our clients.

Learn more about our process or explore our strategic planning services to help you eliminate the guesswork of your marketing challenges. With the right strategies and partnerships, your business can thrive in Nashville’s vibrant market.

How to Leverage AI to Improve Marketing Outcomes

In the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, there’s a startling projection: a 10% chance exists that AI will outperform humans in virtually every task within the next three years. This assertion highlights the immense potential of AI to revolutionize how we work across various sectors—from construction and roofing to early childhood education and hospitality. At Green Apple, we recognize the importance of utilizing AI tools in our daily work while integrating them strategically to maximize the benefits to us and our clients.  

Our team experiments with the latest AI tools and closely monitors emerging best practices and evolving regulations. Here are a few insights into the latest ways to use these tools and what to consider as you get started.

Why We Should Embrace AI 


AI enables businesses to streamline operations, automating mundane tasks to free up time for more critical, strategic initiatives. For construction companies, this could translate into faster data analysis for project planning; for marketers, AI-driven automation can manage customer data, optimize campaign strategies, and personalize customer interactions, allowing marketing teams to devote more time to creative and strategic pursuits.

Creative Inspiration and Brainstorming:

AI-powered tools can generate new concepts and solutions, aiding in tasks such as designing marketing campaigns, planning urban constructions, and designing educational curricula.

Competitive Edge:

Staying ahead in today’s business world requires a blend of speed, innovation, and quality—attributes that AI enhances by providing data-driven insights and faster operational capabilities.

AI In Marketing and PR 

The current utilization of AI in marketing and PR shows that 70% of professionals already use these tools for generating ideas, conducting research, and creating content. Specific applications include:

  • Sentiment analysis and media monitoring: Essential for understanding public perception and managing brand reputation effectively.
  • Performance monitoring: Linking sales data with media coverage to gauge marketing effectiveness.
  • SEO and online content optimization: Essential for improving online visibility in highly competitive markets.

Navigating Comfort Levels 

Getting comfortable with AI can take time! You can start by using it for brainstorming, grammar checks, and SEO optimization. More advanced uses involve refining audience targeting strategies and leveraging AI for more complex data analysis tasks. The highest level of engagement involves continual adoption, regularly assessing how AI can assist with current tasks to maximize its utility.

Ethical Considerations in AI Use

While AI presents significant opportunities, it also comes with challenges that need addressing.

  • Security and Privacy: It’s important to ensure that AI systems protect sensitive data and do not inadvertently share proprietary information.
  • Bias and Discrimination: AI systems can perpetuate existing biases if not properly trained or monitored, making regular audits crucial.
  • Accuracy and Misinformation: AI tools need regular updates to handle the most current data and avoid spreading outdated or incorrect information.

Do’s and Don’ts 

  • Do engage with AI actively: Use it as a co-creator, not just a tool.
  • Don’t compromise on privacy: Avoid inputting confidential information into AI systems.
  • Do experiment and iterate: Use AI outputs as a starting point and refine them to fit your specific needs.
  • Do prompt AI with kindness. Use your manners. Saying please and thank you does provide better results. It also makes your experience better.

Strategy Is Everything 

AI is reshaping industries by offering tools that enhance productivity, creativity, and decision-making. By understanding how to use these tools effectively and ethically, businesses can stay competitive and pioneer new ways of operating. As we continue to explore the capabilities of AI, it is becoming clear that the future of work will be characterized by those who can integrate these technologies thoughtfully and strategically. Our team is here to help, and you can contact us with any questions.

How Small Businesses Can Conquer B2B & B2C Marketing in Nashville

Nashville. Music City. It’s a city synonymous with hot chicken, country music, and a vibrant energy that’s contagious. But Nashville is more than just a tourist destination. It’s a booming metropolis, home to over 2 million people and a staggering 70,000 businesses.

Over the past three decades, the city has undergone a remarkable transformation. Consistently ranking among the top 10 U.S. metros for job growth, Nashville offers a thriving economy with a cost of living that remains below the national average. While headlines often focus on major corporations relocating here, there’s another exciting story unfolding—an explosion of small businesses. Tennessee shattered records in 2023 with the state’s highest number of business formations and renewals ever recorded.

At Green Apple Strategy, a full-service marketing agency located in Nashville, we’ve witnessed this growth firsthand. We’ve had the privilege of walking alongside dozens of businesses as our city has transformed over the past 15 years. Established companies face stiff competition, and newcomers need a strategic advantage to establish themselves.

Here’s the good news: this dynamic environment presents a wealth of opportunities. Here at Green Apple Strategy, we’ve learned a thing or two about navigating Nashville’s marketing landscape. This post will delve into some proven best practices that can help your small business thrive in Nashville’s dynamic market.

Marketing Insights and Best Practices for Nashville’s Small Businesses

Here are some key insights and best practices to help you conquer B2B and B2C marketing in Nashville’s next wave:

1. New Challenges Demand Fresh Thinking

The days of “business as usual” are over. Nashville’s growth presents fantastic opportunities for adaptation and innovation. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with new marketing strategies. Explore emerging social media platforms, attend industry events that focus on cutting-edge solutions, and actively engage with your target audience to understand their evolving needs. Remember, a willingness to embrace change is your secret weapon in an evolving market.

2. Cultivate Loyal Customers – They’re A Gold Mine

Did you know that acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing one? Statistics like these highlight the immense value of fostering customer loyalty for both B2B and B2C businesses. By offering loyalty programs, personalized communication, and exceptional experiences, you’ll build a loyal customer base that acts as your strongest marketing advocate.

This philosophy is a core principle behind Olive + Leo, our sister company that provides a customer loyalty platform specifically for the hospitality industry.

3. Exceptional Customer Service is the Differentiator

In a marketplace brimming with options, exceptional customer service can be the tipping point for both B2B and B2C businesses. Prioritize building genuine relationships with your customers. Respond promptly to inquiries, address concerns with empathy, and go the extra mile to exceed expectations. Remember, happy customers become loyal customers, and loyal customers become brand ambassadors.

4. Embrace Data-Driven Decisions and Agile Strategies

Gone are the days of gut-feeling marketing. Today, data is king. Utilize website analytics, social media insights, and customer feedback to track your marketing campaign’s performance and identify improvement areas. This data-driven approach allows you to optimize your efforts and maximize your return on investment (ROI). Remember, the Nashville market is dynamic, so stay agile through your marketing strategies. Always be prepared to adapt quickly based on new data insights and market trends.

5. Develop an Authentic Brand Narrative

Your brand narrative is your story. It’s your voice, your personality, and your promise to your customers. In a crowded marketplace, a clear and compelling brand narrative is essential. What makes your business unique? What values do you represent? Infuse these unique elements into your marketing materials to ensure your brand resonates with your target audience. Nashville is a city known for its authenticity, so feel free to let your brand’s unique personality shine through.

Partnering for Success: How Green Apple Strategy Can Help

Nashville’s next wave is here, and it’s brimming with possibilities for small businesses. At Green Apple Strategy, we’re passionate about helping local companies to thrive in this dynamic environment. 

If you’re looking to navigate the ever-evolving marketing landscape, we’d love to chat. Contact us today to discuss your specific business needs and explore our approach to developing tailored marketing solutions. Let’s work together to turn the city’s vibrant energy into your business success story.

5 Ways to Maximize Your Q1 Marketing Analytics

The first quarter of the new year has passed. You’re gathering data from your marketing campaigns so you can use it to inform your next move. With so much data readily at your fingertips—from sales to social media interactions—it can be difficult to determine which data to focus on and how to use it to improve your marketing ROI.


Marketing analytics can help you assess the performance of your marketing campaigns, identify areas of improvement, and drive conversions. Now is the perfect time to assess your Q1 data and reports to reset or adjust your marketing goals for a successful 2023.


Different Types of Data

There are different types of marketing analytics insights that can be used depending on what type of information you want to gather. You could review data related to digital marketing efforts, content marketing, social media ads and interactions, customer preferences and feedback, and even competitor data. Each data source offers its own unique insight into the successes and challenges of your marketing campaigns. While data is immensely helpful to glean what worked and what didn’t, it can also help you identify ways to improve moving forward.


1. Know Your Sales Numbers

The first step in gathering any marketing analytics insights is to review conversions. Depending on your business, this could be leads generated or actual sales made. If these numbers are on track to meet your goals, it’s a sure sign that your marketing strategies are working. But if these numbers fall short, you can take a deep dive into your campaigns to find out what isn’t working and take the necessary steps to make a change.


2. Alleviate Customer Pain Points

Data from customer interactions such as sales calls, support chats, social media interactions, and onboarding calls can offer insight into your customers’ opinions about your product or service. Gathering this information can help you find out what your customers need to know in order to fully appreciate what you have to offer. For example, if they are upset over or do not fully understand a product’s complex features, you could create an informational campaign highlighting the area in question—and alleviating an otherwise frustrating experience in the process.


3. Beat the Competition

Digital marketing efforts make it easy to see what competitors are doing and the impact it has on customers. Take a look at your competition’s product reviews and social media pages. Make note of common themes among commenters. What do they like? What are their complaints? What type of content is getting the most interaction? Use your findings to fine-tune your own plans and stay ahead of the curve.


4. Determine Customer Preferences 

Knowing your customers’ pain points and assessing the competition also helps you understand what potential customers prefer. This can make it possible for you to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time. Say your product has a feature that a competitor’s product does not. You know this is a feature that can meet an unmet need for your target audience. You can use this information to craft digital marketing efforts that position your product as a much-needed solution.


5. Optimize Your Website

When it comes to websites, customers like an easy, user-friendly search, shopping, and checkout process. But is your website set up to optimize customer experience, or are potential buyers getting lost along the way? Knowing how your customers navigate your website can provide insight into why they may not be taking the actions you want them to take. By determining which pages users are viewing and what links they’re clicking, you can design, update, and optimize your site to keep your prospects on the right track.


If you’d like help maximizing your marketing efforts, contact our team today. We’d love to help develop a customized, strategic approach for your business that gets you the results you want.

5 Current Digital Marketing Trends You Should Know

Man holding an iPhone

We’re only a few months into 2023, and we’ve already seen massive shifts in the tools and trends that are shaping digital marketing. After the launch of ChatGPT and Google’s new AI program, Bard, many business leaders and marketers are wondering if we are on the precipice of a seismic shift in how we work. But artificial intelligence tools from big companies aren’t the only trends that are shaping the digital landscape in 2023. Evolving consumer preferences, influencer marketing, and social media platform updates are also making a difference. 


That’s why we asked our digital marketing team to highlight a few of the current digital marketing trends that are shaping our industry today. 

1. The impact of AI is just beginning. 

As we mentioned earlier, artificial intelligence tools have been the hottest topic amongst business leaders and marketers. But really, this is just the beginning of the way AI will influence the way we work and interact. For example, Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that Meta is looking to add AI tools to Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram soon. 


It will be interesting to see how AI continues to impact our work. Right now, these tools provide ways that marketers can work smarter. But the need for intuition and understanding what your customers think and feel is still a fundamental skill that AI can’t finesse.  

2. “Deinfluencing” on TikTok has become the latest influencer trend. 

Influencer marketing has become an increasingly important tactic for businesses in every industry. Platforms like TikTok have provided brands with a way to reach their audience with products or solutions, especially for Millennials and Gen Z customers. Recently, these influencers have taken a different approach by telling their followers which products they shouldn’t buy. This TikTok trend has become a marketing tactic in itself.


While you may not use TikTok or influencer marketing as part of your strategy, we believe this trend speaks to the way younger generations value authenticity and honesty as they consider your products and services. 

3. Twitter is planning to expand its character limit to 10,000.

The platform that started with short-form content is now getting into the long-form content game for its Twitter Blue subscribers. For Twitter, the vision for long-form content in the app is that creators won’t have to redirect their audiences to other platforms to view their content.


We’ll be interested to see if this move enhances the experience for Twitter users or if people decide to abandon the platform and continue to look for short-form social content that’s easy to consume.

4. Brands are turning to user-generated content more than ever and encouraging customers to post content about their brand.  

User-generated content continues to be one of the most popular B2B social media trends for 2023. Now, brands are finding creative ways to encourage their customers to post. For example, our team member Katie recently ordered OliPop from the brand’s website. After her order, she received a promotion saying that OliPop will pay customers $1 for every 50 views on their content and potentially even pay customers to create content for the brand.

5. Brands are going “unhinged” on social media to stand out.

Let’s face it: standing out on social media has become increasingly difficult. One way brands are trying to rise above the noise is by embracing a social media strategy that subverts their audience’s expectations. Whether it’s a snarky tweet or unusual Instagram images, brands like Duolingo, Parachute, and Sweetgreen are incorporating content that moves away from the highly-curated images and content we’re used to seeing from most brands. 


Want to Stay Up-to-Date on all the Latest Trends?

If there’s one lesson we’ve learned in the past three months, it’s that digital marketing seems to be shifting faster than ever. If you’re interested in staying informed about the latest trends (and how they impact your business), our team is here to help. You can sign up for The Core, our monthly newsletter, to get the latest marketing insights and inspiration delivered directly to your inbox.

5 Keys for B2B Content Marketing Strategy that Drives Business

Sticky notes on a board

Content marketing has become a crucial component of nearly every B2B marketer’s strategy. In fact, 91% of B2B marketers say they use content marketing in their overall strategy. The good news is that content marketing has become a proven way to reach ​​customers, earn trust, and impact the bottom line. The challenge for many marketers is identifying the right tactics and channels that work for their business and within their budget. It seems like everyone is competing for attention or popular keywords, and artificial intelligence is changing content creation.


In this blog post, we wanted to explore a few best practices we’ve used with clients when it comes to developing a content marketing strategy that directly impacts business development.

1. Take time to truly understand your audience. 

The first step in developing an effective content marketing strategy is to understand your target audience. If you want your content to resonate with potential customers, you need to know who they are, their daily pain points and challenges, and what type of content resonates with them. This ensures you develop content that addresses their specific needs and interests rather than guessing if you’re creating valuable content. 

2. Make sure your content is aligned with your overall business goals.

What are you hoping to achieve this year? Are you launching a new product or hoping to increase customers in a particular area of business? If so, you should incorporate those goals as you develop your content strategy. One key factor in this approach is giving yourself plenty of runway to educate and inspire your audience to take action. As the old saying goes, the moment you’re tired of talking about it is likely the time your customers are starting to recognize the message. Give your top-of-the-funnel content marketing plenty of time to work before you start expecting results. 

3. Be strategic as you diversify your content. 

In addition to creating high-quality content that resonates with your audience, it’s important to diversify the format in which you share it. Today’s digital landscape offers a variety of channels that allow you to get more out of your content marketing. For example, you can turn a white paper into a podcast or webinar. You can break down a blog post into a social infographic. As you explore ways to diversify your content, it’s important to remember what formats your audience prefers. The good news is that diversifying your content allows you to meet the different preferences and consumption habits of your target audience.

4. Don’t forget to promote your content.

You could write the most amazing blog post in the world. But it could quickly fall by the wayside without an intentional promotional strategy. B2B marketers must ensure that their content reaches their content audience by promoting it through a variety of channels. This includes strategically thinking about how to promote content on social media, email marketing, paid advertising, and influencer marketing. Promoting your content is essential for amplifying your reach and increasing the ROI of your content marketing efforts. 

5. Let data inform your decisions. 

Measuring the effectiveness of your efforts is an essential part of marketing. But often, evaluating content marketing becomes anecdotal and causes you to question how to adapt your strategy. This is why evaluating the data and adopting a more agile approach to content marketing is key. Which content pieces are most popular with your audience? What promotional tactics seemed to be most effective? How can you use these insights to plan your content marketing and areas such as product development or customer solutions? These are all helpful questions that provide valuable insights for your business. 


Need Help with Content Marketing?

At Green Apple, we’ve used these principles to help dozens of businesses develop a content marketing strategy that creates a pipeline for business development. ​Our strategic, full-service marketing firm can help you plan and deploy an innovative content marketing approach to court customers and build brand loyalty. Contact Green Apple Strategy today to schedule a consultation. Our team is happy to sit down with you to discuss your marketing goals and how we can help you achieve each one of them.

Marketing and Customer Service: Improve Collaboration to Enhance Experiences

Overhead shot of two people working on laptops

Businesses need both marketing and customer service to survive. While each team’s day-to-day activities look very different, both play an important role in engaging clients, increasing new sales opportunities, and generating more profit.

Collaboration between your marketing department and customer service team is critical for creating a more customer-centric culture. But where do you start? In this article, we want to unpack a few helpful principles we’ve learned over the years when it comes to collaborating with our clients’ customer service teams to enhance the experience for their clientele.

3 Reasons to Cultivate Collaboration Between Marketing and Customer Service 

Before we dive into the “how,” here are a few important reasons to break down the silos between your marketing and customer service teams:  

1. It’s more profitable to retain current customers than acquire new ones.

Let’s face it. Attracting new customers is hard. It requires a lot of time, energy, and resources to engage a prospective customer all the way through the sales cycle. In fact, numerous studies have found that it is 6 to 7 times more expensive to acquire new customers than it is to keep a current one. On the other hand, a 10% increase in customer retention levels results in a 30% increase in the value of the company. Because of the role that marketing plays within the organization, it can be a valuable asset when it comes to developing an intentional retention strategy. 

2. Marketing can learn from customer service to develop smarter campaigns. 

Your service team has a front-row seat to understanding how people really feel about your products and services. They know the challenges your customers face every day. They also know how people use your solutions to make their lives better. This information can be an invaluable resource for your marketing team as they develop marketing campaigns that speak directly to the pain points of prospective customers. 

3. You offer the same personal experience and congruent messaging for your customers.

The last thing you want your clients to feel is that you only cared about closing the sale. That’s why retaining business requires as much involvement from marketing as it does from your service team. Today’s consumers expect a consistent journey from the brands they support. In fact, 78% of customers expect consistent interactions with your business from the time they first engage your brand until they become a customer. Combining the efforts of marketing and service not only benefits your customers, it ultimately impacts your bottom line. 

5 Ways Marketing and Customer Service Can Make Each Other Better

If you’re looking to create more collaboration between your marketing and service teams, here are a few best practices to consider: 

1. Ensure your product marketing resonates with new and prospective buyers. 

Creating buyer personas is an important part of building a marketing strategy. If you want your messaging to resonate, it’s important to know what prospective (or current) customers are thinking, feeling, and facing on a daily basis. Because your service team is talking to your customers all the time, they likely know more about them than any other department in your company. Make time for these two teams to work together to create buyer personas. Their collaboration will make sure your marketing materials are targeted and relevant. 

2. Leverage the expertise of your service team in your content creation.

Your customer service team also knows your products and services better than anyone else. They’re often the ones helping clients find ways to solve challenges or provide helpful information. That’s why they make incredible thought leaders within your company. Your marketing team should collaborate with your service team around content ideas to capture helpful best practices and share valuable knowledge about prospective customers. 

3. Collaborate to monitor and respond to customers on social media. 

Social media put the power of brand perception into the hands of your clients and customers. Today, people can leave comments or reviews on social media platforms, Google, or industry-specific message boards. Many times, it’s the marketing team’s responsibility to monitor these channels. But working with the customer service team is key for transforming a negative comment into a more positive experience. 

We all know when a brand’s social media response seems cold and canned. Developing a process for marketing and service to respond collaboratively, even personally reaching out to the customer through their email, can make a tremendous difference when it comes to reputation management.  

4. Capture client success stories and testimonials for marketing collateral. 

While learning from complaints is important, capturing positive feedback can be just as valuable for your marketing efforts. When customer service and marketing work together, it helps the marketing team find testimonies or case study candidates more efficiently. This is particularly helpful if you want to turn customer reviews into a solid content marketing plan for your business. 

5. Create exceptional experiences for clientele with a loyalty program or a “surprise and delight” campaign. 

Your service team spends most of its time “in the weeds,” supporting customers. Finding the time or mental capacity to consider outside-the-box ways to strengthen the bond with clients can be difficult. As a department that’s generally known for being more creative, your marketing team can help enhance your customer experience with surprise and delight efforts. 

Despite having different job responsibilities, marketing and customer teams share common goals of attracting and converting new visitors into customers and providing exceptional service to retain those customers. To learn more about how we can help your internal teams cross-pollinate, reach out to schedule a meeting with us.

Marketing & Operations: 4 Keys to Successful Scalability

People sitting around a conference table with laptops

One of today’s business realities is that everything is marketing. Gone are the days when marketing and sales worked in their own silo. The effectiveness of your marketing department impacts other departments. At the same time, other departments have a direct impact on areas of marketing such as brand perception or customer experience.  

Over the years at Green Apple, we’ve found the connection between marketing and operations is one of the most important relationships in a business. On one hand, successful marketing should lead to more customers. More customers will naturally impact operational needs. On the other hand, many operations teams make decisions that directly impact marketing needs. Whether you’re the CEO of a company or a leader of a specific department, it’s essential to ensure both teams work together so that your company can thrive.

4 Keys to Successful Scalability with Marketing & Operations 

Here are a few specific ways marketing and operations can collaborate. That way, marketing is focused on the right areas of growth, and operations have what they need to scale the business:

1. Define your ideal customer. 

Operations are responsible for ensuring your company can fulfill the business it generates. Unfortunately, most marketing departments are only focused on generating leads… not how you’re going to serve them through the sales pipeline.  

When marketing and operations align, marketing understands the company’s capabilities and what it takes to follow through on what’s promised. This can help significantly when it comes to defining your ideal customer for better lead generation results

2. Align your technology and tools to optimize your processes. 

Most businesses function on an array of various technology platforms and software tools. In some cases, there might be more than a dozen platforms that support your marketing, sales, and operational efforts. While it’s not essential for there to be a seamless integration between all of your tools, it’s important to make sure the core components of your marketing technology stack are aligned with operational tools. 

When marketing and operations align in their technology strategy, they can run the race faster and farther for successful, scalable marketing.

3. Leverage data from both teams to make more informed decisions.

We have access to more data than ever before. Every marketing campaign provides dozens of analytics that can be measured. At the same time, the operations team has insights that can inform customer needs and marketing investment. But we all know there’s a difference between reporting on analytics and creating a data-driven culture for growing your businesses.

How can marketing and operations make sure they are collecting data in ways that can be used by everyone? Both teams need to agree on key business objectives and define which metrics are most helpful in evaluating success. 

4. Create open lines of communication between both teams

Effective communication breeds collaboration. That’s why consistent and candid conversations between the marketing and operations teams are vital. It’s not enough for marketing and operations to simply meet once a year or only collaborate if there’s a PR crisis. 

Instead, there needs to be a consistent feedback loop between marketing and operations. Operations can provide marketers with insight into what customers value. Marketing can inform operations about what’s being said about your business online. 

Need Help Getting Marketing & Operations on the Same Page?

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past decade, it’s that you can’t create your marketing plan in a vacuum. As we work alongside clients to develop a marketing strategy, we’ve found that having operations in the room for important marketing discussions is key to building a plan that supports your entire business. 

A rising tide should lift all boats without causing one to capsize. If you’re struggling to get marketing and operations on the same page, our team can help. Schedule a discovery call to learn more about the specific ways our team can help you design a marketing strategy that supports every area of your business.

How Businesses Can Use TikTok for Marketing

Photo of a phone on TikTok's TikTok profile on the screen

There’s no denying that TikTok has become the social media platform that’s garnished the most attention within the past couple of years. And it looks like it will continue to be one of the B2B social media trends in 2023 that businesses should consider. Whether you personally love it or hate it, business leaders and marketers are wrestling with the question, “Does our company need to be on TikTok?” 

As with any social media platform, investing in TikTok for marketing really comes down to whether it can help you reach and cultivate relationships with your potential customers. It’s also important to note that TikTok will continue to change and evolve as more innovations roll out, so you’ll have to stay updated on the changes to this platform.

4 Ways Businesses Can Use TikTok for Marketing

As we’ve worked alongside clients to determine how they can use TikTok for marketing, we’ve found a few helpful tactics that seem to work best for businesses. If you’re looking for a way to leverage TikTok for your brand, here are a few ideas to consider based on the latest trends: 

1. Post Educational Content 

TikTok can be a great way to educate current and potential customers with helpful insights about your products, services, or industry. According to Vidyard’s 2021 Video Benchmarks report, the most common types of business videos are product demos, followed by how-tos and explainers. Because of its visual nature, TikTok provides a way for you to create informational videos at a relatively low cost. You don’t have to invest in expensive cameras or editing software if you have someone with an engaging personality who is good at keeping people’s attention and teaching your audience. 

2. Find Your Target Audience 

One of the unique features of TikTok is the subcultures and threads that have been created around specific industries and areas of interest. For example, #BookTok and #MoneyTok are two distinct subcultures that make it easy for users to connect with like-minded people who share their interests and passions. One of the best ways to reach new customers on TikTok might be to invest time in developing a presence in a particular subculture that aligns with your business or industry. 

3. Invest in Influencer Marketing 

Sometimes the best TikTok strategy isn’t creating your own content but instead partnering with influencers who have already built an audience. The platform has proven to be a creative incubator for rising thought leaders and industry influencers. If you recognize that there is potential in reaching your target audience on TikTok, but you don’t have the time or resources to launch your own channel, it’s worth exploring how to identify and connect with influencers to promote your brand.  

4. Share “Behind-the-Scenes” Content 

In addition to providing the opportunity to educate customers, TikTok is also a social media platform that can humanize your brand. While every social media platform was created to help humans connect with one another, content that businesses create for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter can still feel very corporate and sterile. In many ways, TikTok opens the door to reconnecting with your audience in a way that feels authentic and not overly formal. You might consider sharing “behind the scenes” content for your brand or creating a “day in the life” video that features an employee. You can also collaborate with current customers or community members to feature their videos on your profile.

Social Media Best Practices when Using TikTok for Marketing

As with any social media platform, it’s important to understand what makes marketing on TikTok effective. Here are a few basic best practices to follow when creating videos for TikTok: 

1. Make sure your content is authentic and represents your brand.

Becoming a thought leader in your industry requires authenticity and approachability, but don’t take yourself too seriously. Humorous, light, fun content works really well on TikTok. 

2. Engage with your followers so they feel valued. 

One way to increase engagement is to interact with your audience directly on the platform. People love to feel valued and heard.

3. Use data to consistently evaluate your investment

While you may not experience instant success, it’s important to always ask yourself, “Is this helping us work towards our larger marketing goals and objectives?” Asking the right questions to evaluate your social media content is an important way to make sure you’re maximizing your ROI.  

4. Test often to see what works and what doesn’t. 

You may be surprised by which ideas work and which ones fall flat. Don’t be afraid to experiment. 

While we don’t recommend TikTok to every client, it might be the best way for your business to get outside of your comfort zone this year. Once you’re ready to dive in, don’t forget to use TikTok Analytics to evaluate the success of your social media strategy and identify the type of content that can get you the greatest results.

How to Strategically Think About Your Annual Marketing Budget

Overhead shot of a group looking at charts

Creating and getting approval for your annual marketing budget is one of the most important (and often difficult) tasks for an in-house marketing team. It takes a lot of time to analyze results from the previous year, gather anticipated costs for new ideas, and finalize a budget that works within the limits of your business. The challenge becomes even greater in seasons of economic uncertainty, and the threat of a recession can create budget cuts at any point.

Over the past decade, we’ve had the opportunity to walk with dozens of clients through the budgeting process. We’ve helped start-ups looking for creative ways to maximize their resources. We’ve helped million-dollar companies navigate uncertainty during the pandemic and make marketing budget decisions during a recession. If you think of an issue or question, we’ve likely faced it. 

How to Strategically Think About Your Annual Marketing Budget

For this article, we’ve asked Senior Client Relations Specialist Marcie Prescott to share the wisdom and insight she’s learned from decades of experience developing marketing budgets. Here are the four best practices that Marcie shared to help you think more strategically about your annual marketing budget. Her tips can help ensure you stay on track toward your goals: 

1. Make sure your budget is connected to your objectives, goals, and key metrics. 

Your marketing budget should be closely integrated with your annual marketing plan. Every line item in your budget should be connected to a tactic. It’s also important to identify the success metrics you’re going to use to determine if your investment was worth it. 

If you can’t look at your budget and answer, “What are we wanting to achieve with this investment?” then take a step back and clarify your annual marketing goals and objectives.  

2. Recognize the common pitfalls that sink your marketing budget.

A big part of managing your budget is knowing what obstacles and roadblocks to avoid. Here are a few common pitfalls that can sink your marketing budget:

  • Failing to identify your target market and audience. It doesn’t matter how big your marketing budget is if you don’t connect with potential customers. 
  • Putting too much effort into big budget marketing efforts. If you’re gambling with your marketing budget, you’re doing it wrong. Instead, it’s important to diversify your marketing spend so that you’re not putting too many eggs in one basket. 
  • Underestimating the amount of work involved in a marketing campaign. It’s easy to develop an annual marketing strategy and budget without recognizing all of the time, energy, and resources that it will take to implement. Before you finalize your budget, it’s important to ask, “Can we really do this?” Getting input from your team is also important.
3. View your marketing budget as a fluid asset. 

If there’s one lesson we’ve learned, it’s that your budget should be a fluid document that is reviewed and updated regularly. Neither your annual marketing strategy nor your budget should be written in stone. You can pivot your marketing without abandoning your entire strategy and make necessary changes to your budget. 

Fluid marketing budgets allow companies to redirect marketing to tactics that perform well and channels that suddenly offer new opportunities. This is even more important during a recession, when potential cuts may be required. 

4. Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement toward your strategy and budget.

Marketers should constantly be learning, testing new ideas, and finding ways to maximize the ROI of their budget. Rather than using last year’s budget or “institutional wisdom” to drive your decisions, embrace a mindset of continuous improvement to develop a marketing budget based on where your business is headed. Just because something worked well five years ago doesn’t mean that it’s the best way to connect with today’s customers.

You don’t have to wait until the end of the year to be more strategic with your marketing budget. Whether the year is winding to a close or just getting underway, it’s always a good time to think about your budget and consider how you can be more strategic with the resources you’ve allocated.