Marketing

B2B Content Marketing Dirty Little Secrets

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B2B Content Marketing Secrets

According to Content Marketing Institute’s latest report, B2B marketers’ biggest challenge is producing enough content to feed their online channels. As an agency managing content marketing initiatives for our clients, we learned that content quantity is key for driving traffic, but the secret sauce lies elsewhere. More

You've got to Learn to Listen: Three Ways To Increase Marketing Effectiveness

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Let’s face it. We love to hear the sound of our own voices.

When I was single, one of the best pieces of dating advice I ever got was to let the other person speak through the whole date because she will adore you by the end of it. The reason is simple: It is much easier to talk than to listen to others.

But the reality that just like in any relationship, one must listen to the other side in order to better understand them. Brands are facing the same situation on a daily basis. The holy grail of modern marketing is creating and cultivating relationships between brands and their target audience.  Therefore, listening is a key to reaching this goal

Thankfully, several companies are offering listening and monitoring platforms that makes this task easy. We’ve chosen Tra.cx due to their great team, technology, and customer service.

Conversation Distribution by Platforms via Tra.cx

But technology is not enough. It is all about what you do with it. So, with no further ado, here are some of the key ways to use listening as a strategic tool in your digital marketing toolbox:

Tweak your product and pitch – by listening to target audience conversations, we have been able to gain insight about general topics of interest. For example, when listening to online discussions of IT managers, we were able to ascertain their key concerns and challenges. This provided  valuable input to our client, as they could fine-tune their pitch and online presence.

Evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing – one of our clients invested a lot of money in extending the warranty of their products. They saw it as a key way to differentiate themselves from their competition. A month after they launched their program we analyzed online discussions of potential buyers of their equipment, and saw that warranty was not mentioned as a key decision factor. Not only that, but we also saw that the amount of online conversations about their offering didn’t change at all after launching their extended warranty.. These findings helped our client reach a decision regarding the efficacy and value of their new marketing program.

Prioritize your marketing efforts – the digital landscape is becoming more and more fragmented. Multiple social networks, the need to combine inbound and outbound marketing methods, the ever growing pressure to reach results, and the shrinking marketing budgets pose a challenge to every decision maker. The value of Inbound marketing increases based on corporate investment. This investment grows based on the amount of platforms and campaigns a company is managing at any given time. Therefore, prioritizing and choosing which platform to focus on is extremely important. By effectively  listening to online conversations  about your market, you can easily identify the hotspots that require attention. For some, LinkedIn is the key to success. Others  prefer Facebook, and others still – heaven forbid —continue to use good old fashioned forums to discuss their buying decisions. We are using a cool Tra.cx report to quickly plan and prioritize our marketing efforts, and make sure we are handling the most important platforms for our clients.

Listening in love — and in marketing — is a key to success. It is not a one time thing, but should be part of an  ongoing process interwoven in the world of digital marketing. We gave here only a couple of examples on how to use it strategically. Stay tuned for future posts with additional case studies. And in the meantime, we would love to hear your insights.

Email Marketing + Social Web = Bliss

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Take a look at this diagram:

North American marketers see major improvements when integrating email marketing and social media efforts. This is another proof that the power of digital marketing lies in channel integration, and not in short term campaigns. As social web marketing requires an ongoing nurturing of branded online assets (brand’s Facebook page, Twitter account, on so on), the biggest advantages are for those who combine different channels to utilize these assets.
This information also sheds light on the expected announcement of Facebook Mail today. My friend Yaniv Golan have some interesting thoughts about this move.

In a world were marketing ROI becomes critical for brands success, the combination of strong branding tools with direct marketing tools provide major advantages to the ones who use them well.

Affiliate Marketing, Brands and Social Media

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A lot of exciting things happened recently, and can’t wait to tell you all about it. However they affected our blog updates, and we are now getting back to speed with that too…
The incentives of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is an important tool in online marketer toolbox. Companies big and small use this method to reach new audiences effectively. The principle is simple – Company A provides incentives to everyone online to promote their product. Usually a cut of the deal is paid to the affiliate. Companies such as Amazon provide dedicated links and widgets for these partners who in turn distribute them to their audience.
Besides Amazon and other well known brands, many found affiliate marketing a profitable business in other business line such as diet and nutrition and investment tools . In many cases a small operation of two to three smart people, with strong knowledge in SEO and PPC can make a lot of money in these activities.
Affiliate marketing is in many cases more a science than art. Where everything can be measured, smart affiliate marketers optimize their efforts again and again to reach the best conversion rate possible. The ability to instantly measure every activity as well as reassign resources makes it a very dynamic business.
Some in this business are using tactics that are ethically questionable such as fake blogs and spam.
Brands are interested in creating meaningful relationships with their audience, in order to make their brand affect buying decisions.
In short, while affiliate marketing is all about one night stands with customers, branding is more like a long term relationship. More

Facebook New Marketing Rules – A Cheat Sheet

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Facebook, Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

Facebook is slowly removing many of the elements that made it a marketer’s wet dream.

Facebook announced several major changes that affect marketers using the platform to promote their services:
1. Splitting feeds to news feed and live feed – users see, as defualt, a feed with only content and comments from their friends. Information about groups etc was moved to a separate feed.
2. Removal of app notification – Facebook apps will not be able to send notifications to users.
These changes reduce the virality of the platform in a major way.
For example, if in the past one could invite friends to become fans of a page, and his friends would have seen that he joined, now they wouldn’t see it unless they look for it. This effect was crucial for virality of fan pages and applications. The same goes for notifications.
While many users rejoice, as they see more relevant and focused information on their feed and notification tab, marketers should rethink the way they interact in Facebook.

The two most important consequences for marketers are:

1.  Advertising becomes more important in creating traffic to Facebook applications and fan pages – without virality, paid advertisement within the platform, or in other channels, is an important part of any Facebook marketing activity

2. Fan pages and apps should provide more value to users, as it will be more difficult to attract repeat visitors.

In the next part we will discuss additional changes in the platform and what are the opportunities for marketers in this area.

HTC Shows The Real Meaning of Mobile Communication

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If you follow my blog you know that I hate HTC devices with passion.
However, their latest multimillion dollars campaign is brilliant (even though I’d change the music to something more sentimental). HTC challenge is huge – they are making many phones for many carriers. As such, they need to find a way to distinguish themselves without harming the carrier brand. They chose to go with a campaign showing how significant mobile phones are in our life.
Brilliant and to the point.

Enjoy the rest of the day.

End of Faceless Brands – The Risks

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Image representing Richard Branson as depicted...
Image via CrunchBase

In my previous post we’ve discussed the challenges that brands are facing when required to interact with their consumers directly. The main point of the post is that consumers are not satisfied anymore with presenters or low level employees, and are looking for authoritative figure to represent the company.

This post generated some very interesting comments, especially in face to face meetings I recently had with CEOs of brand and service companies.
The main point raised was that relying a company value on one person is extremely dangerous, especially for the shareholders. Many mentioned the fluctuations in Apple’s share price in response to Jobs’ health as a showcase of these dangers.

Yes, star CEOs pose a challenge to  shareholders. Larry Ellisson, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and others are the real life incarnation of their companies. Without them, they will never be the same. But the fact is that the general direction of the relationship between consumers and brands is leading to an era that is  fundamentally different than what we were used to. Companies are already having hard time hiding behind PR pros and shiny logos. Customers want to talk, be heard, and in a sense have a meaningful relationship with companies they finance.  It is getting harder and harder to differentiate in products and technology. It is the feeling that matters. And if in the past the slogans and logos did all the work – now, the  social web is changing the expectation of consumers.

Brands are already part of the game – with their Twitter accounts, Facebook pages, and such.

There is no escape from the demise of faceless brands. You might as well wake up and smell the coffee.

The End of Faceless Brands?

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Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase
the end of faceless brands?
Social media, sophisticated customers, and lack of control of the conversation are all pointing to the same direction – brands can’t afford to be faceless. But now they also need a soul, a spirit and a person that people can relate to.
If in the past, brands could use anonymous models, with shiny teeth and great curves, to lure eyeballs, If in the past brands could use celebrity presenters as a pillar of emotional attachment, now things are different.
You see, when brands are involved in social media tools, they are exposing themselves. They can’t afford not to be there, but their involvement make them more accessible. Their involvement in Twitter and such has one more effect – as people using Twitter in order to communicate with friends, when a brand is getting into their personal space they expect the brands to be, well, real.
But what’s real?
People are real. Individuals in the companies that are representing the values and position of the organization. But they can’t be just a front.
AT&T’s Blogger ads, explaining why iPhone customers are facing network issues, could have been great several years ago. The ad shows an AT&T blogger who explains why there are network issues. But then people realized two important things:
1. This blogger doesn’t have any authority to solve those problems. Meaning, he is nothing more that a glorified spokesperson with touch of social glare.
2. He isn’t  even employed by AT&T
Think – who is the true face of Apple? Is it the dude from “I’m a Mac” ads, or is it Steve Jobs?
Being real is tough. Really. But brands can no longer hide behind fancy ads and shiny logos. If they want to talk – they have to keep it real.

Social media, sophisticated customers, and lack of control of the conversation are all pointing to the same direction – brands can’t afford to be faceless. But now they also need a soul, a spirit and a person that people can relate to.

If in the past, brands could use anonymous models, with shiny teeth and great curves, to lure eyeballs, If in the past brands could use celebrity presenters as a pillar of emotional attachment, now things are different.

You see, when brands are involved in social media tools, they are exposing themselves. They can’t afford not to be there, but their involvement make them more accessible. Their involvement in Twitter and such has one more effect – as people using Twitter in order to communicate with friends, when a brand is getting into their personal space they expect the brands to be, well, real.

But what’s real?

People are real. Individuals in the companies that are representing the values and position of the organization. But they can’t be just a front.

AT&T’s Blogger ads, explaining why iPhone customers are facing network issues, could have been great several years ago. The ad shows an AT&T blogger who explains why there are network issues. But then people realized two important things:

1. This blogger doesn’t have any authority to solve those problems. Meaning, he is nothing more that a glorified spokesperson with touch of social glare.

2. He isn’t  even employed by AT&T

I am certain it would have worked better if C level AT&T guy had taken the stage.

Think – who is the true face of Apple? Is it the dude from “I’m a Mac” ads, or is it Steve Jobs?

Being real is tough. Really.

But brands can no longer hide behind fancy ads and shiny logos. They need a soul.

If they want to talk – they have to keep it real.

Another great post on this topic can be found here.

Jeffery Hayzlett, Kodak's CMO about Social Web and Marketing

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Eastman Kodak Company
Image via Wikipedia

Why … do I take the time to use social media like Twitter and Facebook? …. Because there is no better way to engage the various audiences that are important in my professional and personal life.

…Your involvement in social media will grow your brand, strengthen the connection between you and your company’s key audiences, and keep you aware of what’s really happening with your business. It’s well worth the time investment….

No, these are not the quotes of a social media consultant. Refreshingly, these are the words of a CMO of a well known company. More

Twitter and Brands – Once You're in, You Can't Go Out!

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Brands using Twitter should know – It is a double edge sword. Once you are in, you can’t go out.

Positive Example – Kimpton Hotel

I was very unhappy with the first night at Kimpton’s:

Picture 18.png

After this incident, I asked for the hotel’s manager address, and emailed him a complaint. Still angry, I looked for executives in Kimpton chain, and found Niki Leondakis, the hotel’s COO. The only way I could reach out to her was through a form in their site.

I hate these forms. They are not personal, and make me feel like I am in a test or something.

Quick twitter search revealed her twitter user name. So I sent a message addressed to her (@), stating that I was very unhappy with their service. Less than an hour later she replied me, followed me and sent me her contact details using direct message. From that point onward things went smoothly with the hotel staff and we reached a resolution for the weekend incident. Only later the hotel’s twitter team (yes, they have something like that) reached out.

The fact that an executive from the company was involved in resolving the situation, and that I had direct connection to her, improved my overall views on this hotel.

Another place you can’t leave

Negative Example – Roger Smith Hotel

Yes, I praised them in the past, but recently they turned bad. In the last trip I tried reaching out for them several times on Twitter without success.

Conclusions

1. Twitter can save your public image and increase customer satisfaction if used right – Niki’s Twitter responses turned me from an unsatisfied customer to a one writing this post.

2. Once your are in, you can’t go out – Roger Smith’s past twitter activity make their customer expect them to be responsive on this platform. When they stopped being responsive, they caused disappointment more than anything else, bigger than if they weren’t active at all on twitter.

What are your customer related Twitter experiences?

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