Tag Archive: marketing

  1. The Top 5 2014 List Posts to Ring in the New Year

    It’s my favorite time of year: List time.

    Best of, worst of, top-selling, funniest, weirdest, most viral – I love those compact, summarizing, quick-hit catalogues of cool.

    When I was little, I read The Guinness Book of World Records cover to cover. It was my favorite Christmas gift. As an adult, I’m a grocery store, housework honey-do, holiday shopping, bucket list kind of person, so when you put anything on a list, I will probably read it. I especially can’t wait for those annual who-said-what, who-watched-who and what-sucked-most list posts because they’re a mind-blowing reminder of how fast 365 days actually pass by (the Olympics were a few months ago? Really?).

    List Posts = Efficiency

    How to Enjoy List Posts

    On social media and blogs, list posts are the most read social posts. There is so much content out there that searching for quick answers to your questions can be overwhelming. Because of this, simple, digestible bullet points are rewarded. When sifting through millions of Google results or clicking through to find out the 4 Steps to Creating a Marketing Strategy, people are more likely to take a look at this concise dose of facts than a vague title that…well…sounds loooong. Sad, but true. And when it comes to list posts, laziness is good. It is a promise of efficiency.

    So, my lazy and nostalgic friends, I give you my 5 Favorite “Best of 2014 Lists” List (listception!).

    1. The most popular “word” in 2014 was not a word at all; it was an emoji. A heart-shaped one, to be exact. This “word” barely edged out Ebola, which makes it a little less upsetting that our most popular word wasn’t even a word.
    2. The best advertisements of the year featured people acting “like a girl,” Bill Gates dumping ice water on his head, and Matthew McConaughey acting weird normal.
    3. Of course we were appalled every day on social media about something “important” so why not make an Outrage List? Take for instance, on July 2 we found out that Facebook was doing mood experiments on us without our knowledge and on October 21 we were abuzz by Renee Zellweger’s new eyes! Yes. We. Were.
    4. The Top Ten Viral Videos of the year include a couple of my favorites, such as Emma Stone’s lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon and President Obama on “Between Two Ferns,” but how did I miss the video with the Lion King cast on the New York subway? Wow!
    5. 2014 was the year many people tried to “break the internet” and the Masters of Photoshop were very bored…I mean…busy.

    What lists are you reading to ring in the new year?

    P.S.: I still can’t believe Pharrell’s hat was 2014. It seems like that was so 2013!

  2. What Is The Value Of A Website?

    “I want a new website, and I want it cheap.” Trust me, many people do.  Plus who doesn’t like a bargain deal?  But, maybe there’s a reason why cheap isn’t always better.

    Value in Website

    Maybe you’re a new company, or perhaps an existing company — but you’ve realized you need a new website.  When thinking of the cost and what you might need, it may be something that you imagined to be fairly quick, simple, and low budget. 

    Companies that typically try to get the best bang for their buck end up spending more in the long run.  Why?  Well, that picture perfect website you imagined only ends up working on one platform, such as Internet Explorer, and unfortunately it wasn’t designed to match your brand.

    There are many reasons why investing in a well-crafted website is a must:

    Get it right, the first time.

    Use a reputable company with great experience.  An agency that focuses on design to best represent your brand is a first indicator that you’re on the right track.  Consistency  is key in marketing your company and building credibility.  If your site ends up looking like something completely different then your business, then it wasn’t built for success.  Your website should visually encompass your brand. 

    Using an agency that cares and takes the time to ensure that the design meets your business standards is the first measure in incorporating a well-made site.

    Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it works.

    Sure, it looks great.   And yes, I’m sure you’re thinking “didn’t you say it was supposed to match my brand?”

    An innovative and contemporary design is great, but what’s great about a website that doesn’t function on all browsers and devices?  Design and Programming are best friends and work together like Jack and Sally.   You want a user-friendly site that is easy to navigate, fast loading, clean and concise, and works on all supported browsers and devices. 

    A site that was thrown together like paper mache, won’t give you the benefits of programming for all platforms, browsers and devices that our everyday users are consumed with. 

    Building the site with SEO in mind will help in your search rankings.   Web developers that take the time to do this will help you benefit the most with your search by adding title tags, alt-tags, keywords and making the page(s) SEO optimized.

    Testing of the website is another big factor that many businesses tend to forget or don’t think about when factoring in the build of a website.   Just because it’s built, definitely doesn’t mean that it’s perfect.   That’s like building a house but not having anyone check the foundation or inspect the wiring.   Taking the time to view and utilize the website as a user would on each device is important.  Occasionally, the site may look flawless on a laptop, but may be buggy on an iPhone.   Troubleshooting to make all elements correct on each device may take longer than scoped, but it’s worth the time to make it right.

    Why I Ought To.

    A well built, up-to-date site will give your company the validation that it deserves.   Your site can provide information to your clients 24/7.  Being accessible when your clients want to obtain information about your company is key to marketing effectively.  These days, we are instantaneously driven to find out information about a company, place, or thing as fast as we can.  It’s crucial that you’re there readily with that answer.

    Your website can also help you gain new leads by providing an email sign up or contact area.  This is another marketing tool that you can eventually use to your advantage.   Give your customers a reason to want to be on your email list or to provide you with their contact information. 

    A site built with great imagery allows you to demo your office, explain where it’s located and introduce the people that work there.  This helps to promote familiarity.  People like to know that you’re real and who exactly they’re working with to create a trusting relationship. 

    Being able to build your website the way you want, allows you the flexibility to be creative and original – to show off why you’re different from your competitors.  

    So, how much…?

    If you’re wondering how much to invest in building a site or rebuilding a website, there is no clear cut answer.  In fact, a website scope typically alters as the building occurs. However, before assuming what it may cost, have a digital marketing agency give a proper look at your overall needs and see how to best optimize your site to give a proper assessment.

    Keep in mind that the question isn’t always, “how much is the cost?”, the question should be “how much value will my website provide me?”.

  3. Rebranding: You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

    Rebrands can be an exciting, scary and often times necessary “evil”.  It can shake up what you thought was the core of your brand and force you to reevaluate everything from who you were, who you currently are and who you want to be. When a rebrand occurs, sometimes you won’t be ready for it. Heck, you might downright be afraid of it and not willing to embrace it, but something brought you to this point to make you realize that maybe, just maybe, this is necessary.

    For me, rebranding is an interesting process. It’s definitely not easy, but it most definitely is fun and a great challenge. You get to tap into creativity and strategy all the while positioning a brand so that it speaks to its past (if it’s worthy of being spoken to), its present and its future. Who doesn’t want a brand that can stand the test of time?

    When starting on the path of a rebrand, make sure to keep the following in mind:

    1. Position is key.

    The first step in the rebranding process is positioning. Positioning aids in identifying an appropriate market niche for your brand and being known for that. Positioning will lead you to create your “brand positioning statement” which is an expression of how your brand fills a particular consumer’s needs and desires. With a brand positioning statement you are telling consumers how to think of you in terms of what category you are in.

    2. Who’s your target?

    Your positioning will lead you to identifying your target audience. This target audience should encompass your primary and secondary decision-making customers (and influencers) to whom you are trying to sell. Who do you want to sell to and why?

    3. It’s key to have keywords in play.

    Make a list of words that describe your business and focus on expressing your brand to your target audiences. These words aid in influencing consumers and should be used consistently in training and in internal/external marketing. Keywords keep your brand focused on its identity and maintain that identity in consumer’s minds.

    4. It’s all about the experience.

    A brand experience statement defines the overall feeling and ideal experience that you want a customer to have when encountering your brand. This statement helps influence the consumer experience and set expectations for how their interaction with your brand will go. Note that planning is only part of this process; it’s up to you and your employees to deliver on that brand experience statement.

    Lassie

    Lassie (a 76 year-old brand – 532 in dog years) is a great example of a rebrand initiative that is taking place utilizing some of the steps above. Dreamworks decided that instead of reviving Lassie with a movie or TV show, they would instead rebrand her as a merchandising star and market her to adults as a “national treasure.” As soon as early 2015, you’ll see a large rush of products that all showcase Lassie’s good looks and sweet mane. This is proof that you can teach an old dog new tricks and rebranding can occur at any point in a brand’s life cycle.

    Remember, a rebrand signifies change – not only in the look, but also the attitude which is the heart and soul of the brand. So before you can move on with a new look, you must lock down the attitude.

    Happy rebranding!

     

  4. Focus Your Digital Marketing: From Chaos to Order

    Nearly every day a new app, social network, or technology appears promising to make your job easier and kick your next campaign in to high gear. Thanks to the real-time component of social media, marketers can invest a lot of time and energy in the things that will impress and connect with customers online.

    The function of marketing has evolved significantly as there’s been an explosion new channels – both online and offline – including web, email, social, video, e-commerce, and mobile devices. We build community engagement initiatives, develop content around the objectives of of education and awareness, and hope that we can establish early connections with customers online with the end goal of earning their trust and interest. 

    While new and emerging tools allow us to get closer to our prospects, customers, and fans, the integration of all these digital marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.

    As our world of marketing has become much more complex, the objectives have ultimately stayed the same and are the connective tissue that brings these tools together into one cohesive strategy.

    Digital Chaos to Order

    Goal-Setting 

    New technology and social marketing present an overwhelming array of options to marketers, who have become disillusioned by the allure of “the next big thing” and the endless array of possibilities. So often we take the view that doing something is at least better than doing nothing–How many times have you heard, “Let’s create an app” without first asking why?

    Specific short and long-term goals are essential to creating your marketing strategy.  Any exercise in marketing planning should begin by exploring your expectations of the plan itself. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! Established goals should center on how well the technology aids brand engagement, and whether it helps users consume your content and products.

    Metrics and ROI

    Of course we want to reach the right audience with the right message to drive a conversion, but too often, we waste valuable resources evaluating every metric we have access to, rather than focusing on the metrics that really matter to our campaign.

    Marketo offers this advice: “To streamline your next campaign, make a list of everything you want to measure. How many items are on your list? 20? 30? More? Look at each metric, and ask yourself: ‘What decision would I make differently if I knew this number?’ If you can‘t come up with a clear answer, it’s not a good metric.”

    Solid marketing metrics should make your decisions significantly easier.  Data is everywhere (and very “big” these days), so we need to become increasingly savvy about the best ways to leverage it. Marketing in the digital world is still all about results.

    Stop Doing What Isn’t Working

    As famed author Mark Twain once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Stop doing what isn't working

    Sometimes a campaign won’t produce the results you were hoping to see.  The trick is learning to identify when these situations just need a few small tweaks to realign with your goals and when the campaign is going to fail, no matter how much tweaking you do. A willingness to risk failure also requires the confidence and resolve to cut and run.

    While this might be a sore topic for your team’s next planning meeting, you must stop doing things that don’t work.

    There can be lots of reasons why something fails, but resources are finite and the correct distribution of resources to achieve the maximum results is what separates mindless execution from strategic marketing.

    Whether you’re brand new to social marketing and technology or a seasoned digital marketing manager, the integration of all these marketing disciplines can often lead to chaos.  If you find yourself lost in the explosion of new marketing tools, don’t forget the bottom line: Why are you marketing in the first place?

  5. Marketing to Generation Z

    I am getting married soon and my ten-year-old bonus child (we like that better than “stepchild”) plays Minecraft like I played Pac-Man.  Except I played in an arcade with tokens.  He plays for free.  In our living room.  On a computer.  While on FaceTime with his friends while they battle strangers from around the world.

    Welcome to Generation Z.

    We have gotten to know Gen X, are still learning about Y, and now we have to dig into the Z’s.  I’m already exhausted…ZZZZZ.

    From Boomers to GenZ we all have a context different than the one before us.  So, who are these little Z people?  They are our entire K-12 population.   They are the core of youth marketing and, of course, future leaders of the world.  Some call them “divergent” because they really are different.  In the words of Dr. Christina McCale they are “diverging from everything most of us have ever grown up with, taken for granted or assumed was normal.”

    So how do we describe these Z’s?

    • Highly connected having had lifelong use of communication technology.
    • In the US, the most racially diverse of any generation.
    • They have redefined celebrity in such places as YouTube and Vine.
    • In a world shaped by 9/11 and Columbine, they have a strong sense of social justice.
    • At home, they are raised by statistically older parents.
    • In the workplace, they will expect flexibility.

    What does this mean as it relates to marketing?  Don’t underestimate them.

    While these kids with their faces buried in iPhones appear to be antisocial and poor spellers (LOL, JK, Bae), teens today are more like adults.  They know more than we realize and they expect to be treated like adults, whether we like it or not.  Their access to information and their ability to process everything is changing the way we teach and learn.

    If this is an important target audience, don’t try to “dumb down” your marketing.  Know their channels and learn how to speak to them on their turf.  This generation is arguably the most multitasking in history; therefore consider creating cross-platform campaigns that increase awareness through a variety of mediums.  (84% of Gen Z has admitted to browsing the Internet while watching TV.)

    Be aware that they are very likely to share opinions about experiences with your brand, so remain sincerely engaged with this audience.  What they care about most is finding and sharing the best stuff in the world.  They are not just customers; they are curators.  Don’t squash their conversation about you, join in!

    Generation Z

  6. Apple Commercial: The Relatable Approach

    Perhaps you’re a skeptic of the latest Apple commercial, and with as much attention as Apple has received, you’re not alone if you’re second-guessing their motives.

    The hit commercial has been viewed more than any other video posted on Apple’s YouTube account. In fact, it has more than doubled their second highest video, one that introduced the new iPhone 5.

    If you haven’t experienced the Apple commercial yet, take a gander. For many families, the setting is familiar: a teenage boy appears to be attached to his iPhone 5s during key moments of a family holiday gathering. The video concludes with quite a heart-warming twist as the teenager reveals that he was secretly recording their family get-together, a scene that subtly highlights various Apple products. For many, the sentiment is shared that moments like these should be lived rather than recorded; advising that users should not be glued to their devices in lieu of spending time with loved ones. So what were Apple’s intentions?

    By provoking the all-familiar emotions of their audience, the video has become a highlight of conversations as evidenced by the hundreds of Facebook shares it has received, ultimately giving Apple the exposure they were seeking.

    Simply put: Apple cemented itself as a holiday household name.

    Besides the relatable storyline, Apple proved to be the company that is all-inclusive for their customers. To capture and display a touching family Christmas, the boy was able to incorporate four of their products within this commercial:

    iMovie
    AirPlay
    Apple TV
    iPhone5 s

    The video was recorded on the iPhone 5s, iMovie was utilized as an editing application, AirPlay was used to stream the video to the Apple TV device, and the video was viewed with the comfort of a family-room setting. Given that all of these products are available at the average consumer’s fingertips, viewers are not only familiar with the storyline, but they see themselves as capable of capturing similar magical moments.

    To give a recap of how well the Apple commercial performed from a user standpoint, Ace Metrix provides analytics based on polls taken by users. As seen on the graph below, Apple’s Christmas commercial scored high in the “like-ability” category.

    Apple commercial Analytics for likeability, watchability, relevance, information, attention, change, the harris' holiday commercial, ace metrix

    Analytics for the  Apple commercial provided by www.acemetrix.com

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Apple succeeds because they relate the content to their consumers. By allowing users to see themselves in the shoes of the commercial characters and by subtly flashing the Apple products that capture such a moment, consumers walk away with a greater appreciation of what Apple products offer to consumers – re-livable family moments.

  7. Want to Rank Highly on Google? Think Responsive Web Design.

    As more and more websites and web pages are launched and refreshed, Google continues to index and rank them according to the rules of the company’s ever-evolving algorithm.  When new technologies or user challenges emerge, Google sometimes gives marketers some guidance on how to increase search visibility.

    The explosion in mobile web browsing has presented just such an instance for Google to help marketers reach their customers.  Consumers are increasingly dependent upon their mobile phones to help them research and interact with companies with whom they might want to do business.  A family on a road trip, for example, might lean heavily on their mobile devices to navigate roadways, find a Starbucks, choose a restaurant, or post a hotel review.

     

    responsive web design

    Responsive web design ensures that your site works well on any screen and helps your site to rank well on Google.

     

    Google is quite mindful of this and has altered its search ranking methodology to encourage and reward those marketers who make this mobile experience as helpful to users as possible.  In multiple instances, Google has encouraged web designers to embrace responsive web design in their efforts to do this.

    We touched on the merits of responsive web design several months ago because of the efficiency factor.  One of the key benefits of developing a responsive website for a company is that it allows them to streamline their content management efforts:  a company need only add/edit/delete content one time in order for the change to materialize across the mobile, desktop, and tablet versions of the site.  This was a huge efficiency gain for some marketers who were having to maintain three separate versions of the same site.

    Google’s recent guidance is now implying quite clearly that those sites who embrace responsive web design are likely to be rewarded in the search rankings.  And while there are countless numbers of search ranking factors, ensuring that your website is responsive appears to be a very important one.  If search results are particularly important to your business, be sure to check for its ability to adapt to multiple screens.  Your users will thank you and so will your bottom line!

  8. The Best Free Marketing Tool You Have

    This brief (approximately 90 seconds) video is a quick but important exchange between Seth Godin and Tom Peters on blogging and its marketing power. In it, Peters calls blogging “the best marketing damn marketing tool by an order of magnitude” he’s ever had and ironically notes that it happens to be free.  If you are contemplating a blog or content marketing strategy, maybe this is the last nudge you need to move forward.

     

  9. Michael Dell’s New Red Laptop

    Dell got a fairly bad rap a while back its treatment of famous blogger Jeff Jarvis. Dubbed “dell hell,” it has become a case study in how bloggers can have a true impact in commerce.
    Fast forward almost three years and Dell has really turned the tables in many respects. An item in the Wall Street Journal tells a pretty cool story of Michael Dell getting the blogosphere to work for him in an effort to launch a new product. I think this is a very good example of social media coming full circle within a corporation.

  10. Social Networking’s Gold Rush

    The New York Times has an interesting article today about social networking and its next phase. Most have followed the meteoric rise of social networking sites like MySpace.com, FaceBook, and others. They became so very popular when users discovered that they could not just read content, but congregate with others around the content, communicate with others about the content, and in some ways actually become the content. Advertising dollars and investment capital have quickly followed.
    At this point, it seems like countless sites are trying to figure out how to tap into the social networking phenomenon (and capital pool). You hear fairly often that we’re going to be “the MySpace of X” or “the MySpace of Y.” While this isn’t necessarily a bad goal, I wonder how realistic it is.
    The article in The Times brings up two good points. First, it’s tough to convince users to join a social networking site when there are few other members; starting from scratch has even proven difficult for Nike’s Joga.com. Second, it is inconvenient for users to go through the registration process for more than one or two of these sites.
    It’s almost a necessity for every corporation to be thinking about social networking and how to integrate it into a marketing and/or customer service strategy. But I think that most would do better to explore joining existing ommunities instead of creating new ones.