Mobile Marketing

Marketing Trend Predictions for 2015

2015 TrendsNearing the end of 2014, we sat down to make a few marketing trend predictions as to what brands should be on the lookout for in 2015. Here are our predictions:

Shareable Social Content

Be informed about what your audiences like and where they spend time. In 2015 brands will have to delve into customization and personalization for social channels, because the most shareable content (thus the most beneficial for your business!) is content with social value.

Original Content Marketing

Using content to market is an old strategy that has always been around. However, the topic of content marketing seemed to attract an abundance of attention in 2014, with regards to efficacy and about how hard it can be to produce quality content in large qualities. Marketers have been challenged to create more original content for more channels (websites, social, blog, newsletters and more) that is also valuable and educational.

Inbound Marketing

Similar to content marketing, inbound marketing relies on earning people’s interest instead of buying it. Creating quality content will attract people to your company and/or product. By aligning your published content with your customers’ interests, you will naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert and close over time. Publish the right content in the right place at the right time, and your brand will become relevant and valuable to your customers.

It’s a Smartphone World

Simply put, more people are spending time on mobile. Millennials especially – their phones never leave their side (it’s rare). Information and images should be optimized for mobile viewing. It may even be a good idea to start with mobile and plan to scale up content for desktops and laptops!

Use Video to Cement Relationships

Yes, video production if done professionally is expensive and time-consuming, but it really is worth it. Good content is conversational and creates a “human” aspect to a brand. Not only will brands have to explore more creative ways to produce content, they will also have to understand how to be trustworthy and authentic. Their chosen content, matched with a human touch, will help build the trusting relationships that help consumers keep brands at the forefront of their minds.

Advanced Analytics

In 2015 we should expect to see companies adopting data-driven strategies that go beyond accessing “big data” to actually integrating that data into everyday marketing decisions, campaign strategy, and product development. Brands will dig deep to uncover those actionable insights they can leverage to generate growth, sales, and identify prospects.

Do our predictions make sense to your business? Which trends would you like to implement in 2015? What are your predictions for 2015? Share your predictions with us in the comment section.

What’s Your Biggest Pain Point?

painpoint

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As marketers, we try to assess client’s needs and results to understand what strategy should be followed to help them achieve their goals.  As success can be measured on various levels including ROI, awareness, reach, leads, and conversions, it is critical to clearly define your needs, so a targeted strategy can be developed.  Needs are usually rooted in what I like to call “pain points”. In this weeks blog, I thought I would take the pulse of the industry and ask you what you feel are biggest pain points facing your business.

As a result of this quick survey, I hope to share with you “pain point” trends and some analysis of what these trends might mean for our industry and your business. The results will only be as strong as your participation, so I hope you’ll participate. What is the top “pain point” facing your business?

  • Financial concerns
  • Employee/personnel issues
  • Marketing ROI
  • Marketing strategy
  • Online marketing (emails, web, ads)
  • Mobile application of business
  • No brand awareness
  • Lack of sales
  • Lack of innovation
  • Other – define:

I look forward to reading the results and sharing the trends in next week’s blog.

How does content “Go Viral”?

Perhaps you remember the #KONY2012 video, which was the fastest video to receive 100-million views  in the shortest amount of time. Or maybe you recall the Dove Real Beauty sketches, where the brand invited a group of women to sit down with a sketch artist and describe themselves to him. 

These campaigns are examples of marketing content that has gone viral, but what does this concept actually mean, and how can we channel it into your marketing strategy?

To say something has “gone viral”  usually means that a piece of content has been well-received and widely shared, which is a a marketer’s dream, but the truth is, the vast majority of even great content will never enjoy widespread attention.

The infographic below discusses the science behind viral content and how it comes to be:

viral

What are your takeaways from this infographic? As a marketer, several tactics stand out to me:

Content: Make a statement with your content. Do you want it to be funny? Incredible? Dramatic? Emotional? Decide what message you want to send and choose a way to communicate it.

Integrated: A great video may get a lot of traction on it’s own merit, but many campaigns rely on integrated approaches that share the same brand message. The other platforms will support to the overall success of your viral campaigns.

Easy-to-Share: If your platforms aren’t easily accessible, fans of the content can’t share even if they wanted to. Make sure you give your audience both a way AND reason to share.

What kind of content could go viral for your business? Do you think viral marketing could work for you? I look forward to your comments below.

 

Three Strikes and Online Shopping is Out!

Online Shopping

I recently decided to buy a bicycle for my wife online. I really don’t have the time to go to the store and I knew exactly what size, tire rim and features, including colour my wife wanted.  Simple task… or so I thought.

As a Canadian, I started my online experience at Canadian Tire. I found the site easy to navigate, lots of product information and even videos about getting the right fit, but looking through the FAQs, I found they did not have the right size tires on the bike I wanted.  I called the store to speak to a sports representative and I am still waiting for them to call me back… (Strike one.)

Next.  I tried online shopping at Wal-Mart. The American site was far superior to the Canadian site with a lot more brand variety. Not as much product detail, but still easy to navigate, I found they didn’t even carry the brand I wanted. I called the store to double-check and was told they thought they did carry that brand, and I should check online.  I asked them a few questions and was told to come into the store. (Strike two.)

By now, this online saving me time experience has turned into over an hour, but I was not quite ready to give up.  I decide to give up on the large stores and go to a few smaller sporting stores and bike shops.  Needless to say, after invites to come to the store, and a few more phone conversations, I gave up looking online. (Strike three.)

I did what I usually do and drove over to my local Canadian Tire and low and behold they had the bike I was looking for right on the floor display. When I asked the sales representative why the bike was not online, he said, “It isn’t?”

As a marketer, I was surprised at my experience. I thought that large retailers were trying to push online sales, I see consistent online specials and even free delivery for online purchases – so it seems the strategy is to push incentive-based online sales. However my experience was not unique. Frontline personnel do not necessarily know what’s online and it seems the online system does not account for storefront displays or new arrivals.  This raises many questions – was I naive to think my online and in-store experience should be roughly the same? Am I expecting too much from online shopping? I am expecting too much from the store staff?  There is no push online to send me to the store, yet lots of push in the store to push me to online.

Online shopping has existed for many years now and yet I feel it often falls short of my needs and expectations.  As a key deliverable to customers, I expect integration between the store and the website at the very least.  Is this the online strategy (or lack of strategy) or simply our need to ultimately “see for ourselves” and interact with a product, to touch it, feel it and truly experience our product in the store?  Ultimately, online shopping has raised more questions for me than answers.

What has your online shopping experience been?  Do you think online shopping takes away or builds your trust in a brand? I look forward to reading your comments below.

My Weekday: Unplugged

unplug

As a CEO of a marketing agency in one of the largest cities in North America, imagine my horror when I realized on a busy weekday morning that I had left my iPhone at home!  After pulling over on the road to search my car, “maybe it slid down between the seats,” I thought. I checked my pants,jacket and briefcase several times. Nothing!  I headed to the office thinking maybe I left it in the office last night when I left late.  As I walked in the office door, one of my colleagues told me my wife had called to say I had indeed left my phone at home.  With meetings planned and my daily schedule booked, I knew I was going to spend the entire day disconnected.  Could I do it?  I actually thought of going back home, but it would have thrown off the timing for my day.  This seemed like such a huge decision, but I decided to challenge myself and spend the day without the phone.

At first it was extremely difficult. I found myself reaching for the phone every few minutes. It was even more difficult when I left the office for some client meetings, as being in the car without being “plugged in” highlighted my dependence on this device!  I didn’t know what emails I was receiving, what my staff was doing, I couldn’t make up time with client calls from the car, and there were no texts or LinkedIn updates!  I was in the car thinking about all the things I could be doing but couldn’t.  I felt very disconnected.  By the afternoon, I was looking forward to getting back to the office to see what I had missed while on my technology vacation.  My biggest surprise was that there were no immediate client needs, no burning staff questions… in fact it was business as usual.  I had always thought that my iPhone helped me to make up for time I would otherwise not find anywhere else, but the reality was that it wasn’t the device, but instead, my desire to feel like I am connected and am moving things forward.

So, on my drive home that night, I did what I haven’t done in a long time, I rolled down the window and played with the air through my fingers as I cranked up the stereo and enjoyed the ride!

My challenge to all the other business owners and CEOs out there, is to see if you can last one weekday without your mobile device.  Can you do it and if so, what was the most significant thing you noticed?  Will this have any impact on how you conduct business when on the road or out of the office?

Does Size Really Matter?

is-Buying-Facebook-Likes-a-Scam

In the realm of social media, more likes and more followers increases your brand’s recognition, engagement and ultimately sales.  So it seems simple that from a strategic view, your social media plan should include ways to increase your fan base and thereby increase leads if not sales.

This is straightforward, honest marketing: you try to showcase your activities or your brands offers and uniqueness and in turn you gain fans and followers. Did you know, though, that in an online platform, marketers are able to gain “fake” brand love by buying fans on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, Pinterest and even Yelp testimonials and LinkedIn contacts – all in the name of increasing the perceived size of their audience?

Many have questioned if “buying” these fans effects the bottom line?  Do more numbers/fans actually increase ROI?  “How can I trust anything online if it is all fake?” Ahhhh yes.  Well the jury is still out as one must question the legitimacy of these “fans”  – are they real people, are they bots, are they part of a general conspiracy for Facebook, for example, to look like they have a huge fan base of 85 million when in fact some of these are just “fake profiles”?

One large indicator of a Facebook page with purchased fans is to look at engagement.  If for example they have 5,000 fans and the engagement (shares, comments and likes) on any one post is 14 people then I might question the legitimacy of their followship.

As a marketer dealing with smaller brands, social media is not so much about the size of the numbers as it is about the engagement and lead opportunities.   If buying fans can lead to your ultimate goal, then perhaps it is something worth considering.  Do your homework though as there are literally hundreds of “agencies” selling fans – make sure yours are legitimate or you could do major damage to your brand.

The bottom line remains that you really can’t “spam your way” to Facebook brand love or Google review love. Either you have a genuine brand and a genuine approach to the market… or you don’t. If you don’t, you can’t buy customer/client love- it’s really that simple.  So if you buy fake profiles it won’t make your brand any more loved, as the people don’t exist to engage with your brand and fake people don’t buy products or services.

Would you ever consider buying social media fans? Would an increased number of fans outweigh actual engagement on your social media sites? I look forward to your thoughts below.

Charming Your Way into Their Hearts

Spring is here (so they say) which means only one thing.

Love is in the air.

Everyone knows the kind of consumer who is in love with their preferred brand. The folks who won’t drink any coffee if it’s not Starbucks or eat ketchup if it’s not Heinz. For many of us, our favourite products and services have become habits ingrained in their daily life, rather than mere brands.

Brands like Starbucks, Heinz, and let’s not forget Apple, have charmed their way into people’s hearts, so what is their secret? How, exactly, do you make your customers fall in love with your brand?

The following infographic will give you some insight into how this relationship is built between businesses and consumers, and some of the traits truly speak to how you treat that special someone in your personal life, in terms of listening, going the extra mile and open communication.

6-ways-to-make-customers-fall-in-love-with-your-brand_52e843e89c070_w1500

 

Did anything surprise you about the statistics you read above? How can you include emotional content in your brand? I look forward to your comments below!

Fooled Ya! Or Did We…?

Today is April Fools’ Day and it is observed throughout the Western world. Practices include sending someone on a “fool’s errand,” looking for things that don’t exist, playing pranks and trying to get people to believe ridiculous things. As a marketer, I thought what better way to share this April Fools than to present a few unbelievable ads and see if you know which ones are true ads and which ones are false.  Try your luck:

Ad 1

 

 

 

Ad 2

 

 

 

 

Ad 3

 

 

 

 

Ad 4

 

 

 

 

How many do you think you got right? The answer is they are all real advertisements. The most concerning issue was there were so many to choose from when writing this blog, that I had a hard time deciding which ones to show you! So it’s not difficult to understand why advertising and in turn, marketing, have such a bad reputation for misleading the customer.

It is worth noting that many different cultures have had days of foolishness around the start of April, give or take a couple of weeks. The Romans had a festival named Hilaria on March 25th, rejoicing in the resurrection of Attis. The Hindu calendar has Holi, and the Jewish calendar has Purim. Perhaps there’s something about the time of year, with its turn from winter to spring, which lends itself to lighthearted celebrations!

I look forward to hearing how you fared in the above true and false and if you feel these types of ads are detrimental to the overall advertising reputation.  How will the industry ever become legitimate when agencies around the world continue to produce ads like these?  Please share you comments below.

Why You Need Video in your Strategy…Now!

Consumers have become wary of traditional marketing in terms of direct promotional materials and content. We know that companies want our money and will try to convince us we should spend it with them. This is why peer marketing has boomed in the past few years, where social media platforms have become a venue for consumers to recommend (or criticize) brand products and services to their social networks.

When it comes to B2B marketing, companies will find many ways to convince you they are the brand for you and, in the past, those with the most money to spend on marketing and advertising had greater influence on their audience. YouTube and social media equalize this playing field because there is a cost-effective opportunity to reach your target market if video marketing and social media are used the right way.

Successful marketing relies on trust – consumers trust their peers and trust what they can see and hear, which puts video marketing in an important position. Entertainment has become vital to successful video marketing, where one could argue that companies are looking to entertain first and promote second. Take, for example, a video that went viral a few weeks ago, “First Kiss” where strangers were asked to kiss each other after only meeting a moment before. The awkwardness and hesitancy in the encounters appealed to such a widespread audience with over 69-million views on YouTube, and countless parodies. Only later did the world find out this was an extremely clever marketing ploy by a ladies clothing brand in L.A.

With almost double the number of visitors converted into leads when a video is embedded in a web page, we know that video marketing is effective…but why? Let this infographic shed some light on why videos, a visual, audial and potentially emotional experience, make a difference in marketing.

DCustom_Content-Marketing_Video_Infographic

 

How often click on a YouTube thumbnail when visiting a website? Does this help you make your decision about a company? I look forward to your thoughts below.