Smart Marketers Move Beyond the Transaction

Hessie Jones

I was blown away by an article I read the other week: “When advertising no longer works, It’s time to reinvent.”

The author of that statement was S Yesudas, founder of a new agency called Trigger Bridge and a 20-year ad veteran with experience in top media agencies like Vizeum and its parent, Aegis Media.

This struck a chord with me:

I have been part of the advertising industry for over two decades. Have sat in seminars and conferences pointing towards the need for redefining the practice. The only change I witnessed is the influx of super specialised verticals set up by most agencies, resulting in incremental noise by marketers to sell their products/service to consumers and agencies upselling and cross-selling those specialisations to clients…

New-age companies are replacing fundamentally strong long-running companies, largely based on two factors: Their investors’ willingness to wait for long-term returns, and brand love by consumers.

While the shareholder mindset on returns from the already profitable companies cannot be changed overnight, brand love and a possible impact of the same on the balance sheets can surely be a reality.

Companies fundamentally know this. They understand that protocols and processes that have worked for decades may need some serious adjustment.

Then there are others who blindly feel they are emerging into an increasingly agile environment, willing to try the “new digital” frameworks. However, when all is said and done, the “new” just sits on an archaic platform that has been deemed as the tried and true. The “new” succumbs to the complacency and the tradition of the company and eventually fails to meet its true potential.

Call it what you like. That is not evolution. It’s this:

lipstick on a pig

Agency performance models are broken

Campaigns. Clicks. Views. Performance. Agencies are only as good as their last campaign. Their goals have always been short-term performance-based. It’s never really been about the customers as much as it’s been about the numbers. Scalability on views and awareness has been the name of the game. Accountability from a revenue standpoint is another layer that puts further pressure on agency performance.

The main issue is that the focus on performance negates the need to really understand customers. I’ve witnessed agencies today continuing to reference PMB (Print Measurement Bureau) as part of their targeting research. The data they find continues to be based on demographics and psychographics to find customers (who may be unwilling to buy). Nobody understands the customer anymore — inside and outside of the company relationship. What matters to them? What do they need? Who influences them? What are their interests?

… NOT how can I influence them to buy my product?

S Yesudas put this nicely:

How can there ever be “love” if transaction is the only motive in an interaction?

The incessant media noise demands a need for relevance

Advertising dollars are being wasted today. We know that media fragmentation is now a reality. Consumers are bombarded with messages, ads, communications (email, text, chats, social networks). Consumers have created our own filters for sorting through this daily clutter.

In reality, we can’t possibly consume everything that is thrown at us. Consider this:info

This number has been debated, and the latest article suggests we consume about 5,000 messages per day. This assumes the following:

  • 8 hours of sleep each day leaves 57,600 awake seconds per day.
  • To see 5,000 ads/branding messages per day, we would need to see one every 11.52 seconds.

Chalk it up to science to determine what our brains really absorb in a given day.

“Even if those ads/brands are within eyesight, the reality is our brains see very few of them. Our senses are bombarded with over 11 million bits of data every SECOND. The average person’s working memory can handle 40-50 bits, max. That means we ignore 10,999,950 bits of data every second we are awake.”

This author asserts that 300-700 marketing messages per day is a more reasonable estimate. This fragmentation makes it increasingly difficult to battle for the customer’s attention.

My colleague Susan Silver referenced the success of BuzzFeed:

BuzzFeed has flipped the model of engagement on its head, and discovered the key to connecting with audiences that many brands haven’t figured out: Great content isn’t about the content itself, but the emotion it can evoke from its audience.

By analyzing the interactions readers have with their content, BuzzFeed realized what people really care about. They tapped into many cultural trends and were able to connect with users on a deep level. Jonah Peretti, founder of Buzzfeed, acknowledged this:

We think of media as something people use to help them in their lives.

Advertising simply isn’t working… as well anymore

We’ve seen the rise of ad blocking and its current impact on consumers, especially on mobile. I referenced the declining average click-through performance of .06%.

What is also clear is that increasing consumer control over which messages they see and which ones they’ll eventually respond to is making marketers question the value of their ad dollars. A recent article, Advertising’s Promised Land has become a Digital Desert, states the impending doom of digital media – however prematurely – as it references the softening in ad revenue for the giant Daily Mail:

We were told to expect £80m in digital revenues. In fact only £73m transpired. Hopes of £100m next year duly expire. Some 41% growth last year has slowed to 18% – and though that sounds good by most standards, it is also signals a grinding halt to vaulting expectation…

“We think we’re beginning to skate on thin ice in terms of the relationships we have with advertisers and audiences,” Tim Gentry, the Guardian’s global revenue director, told an industry meeting recently. “Five to six years on, we have to look at ourselves with a bit of a harsh yardstick and say we’ve not really delivered on that promise.”

Compounding this is the move to retreat to more conservative ad spending estimates for 2016, Firms Trim Ad Spending Growth Forecasts for 2016. Media forecasters indicate much of this can be attributed to the decrease in TV advertising spend in favor of less expensive digital media. Let’s not forget that while there will be modest expenditure gains in the coming year(s), marketers have become much wiser to the issues of ad fraud, ad blocking, and viewability of online ads.

The move to focus on relevance and the right audience vs. scalability

Here are the things I know: Developing customer relationships goes beyond clicks, campaigns, or ROI. It takes time. Today’s increasingly fragmented environment means we need to take the time to understand the holistic view of consumer, not simply whether they are ripe for purchase. Because that customer is no longer clicking, we must vie for his/her attention by appealing to things that matter to him/her.

This needs to go beyond demographics… beyond psychographics… beyond retargeting… something will eventually give. As S Yesudas contends:

Transactional advertising can never build bridges of relevance.

I believe in the Pareto Principle: Things are not distributed evenly. Those customers who love you the most may only be 20% of the total targeted audience. But they may very well impact 80% of your business.

I am in an industry where these types of insights are readily available. I am vigilant in my belief that the knowledge that we have access to today will profoundly change the way we communicate to customers. It allows us all to abandon the crutches we’ve held on to – practices that will continue to limit our ability to gain and keep customers.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Are marketers willing to shed old practices to embrace the value of truly understanding customer?

Want more insight to boost your marketing success? See Top 10 Left-Brian Skills Marketers Need In 2016.

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Amazing Digital Marketing Trends And Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015

Sunny Popali

Amazing Digital Marketing Trends & Tips To Expand Your Business In 2015The fast-paced world of digital marketing is changing too quickly for most companies to adapt. But staying up to date with the latest industry trends is imperative for anyone involved with expanding a business.

Here are five trends that have shaped the industry this year and that will become more important as we move forward:

  1. Email marketing will need to become smarter

Whether you like it or not, email is the most ubiquitous tool online. Everyone has it, and utilizing it properly can push your marketing ahead of your rivals. Because business use of email is still very widespread, you need to get smarter about email marketing in order to fully realize your business’s marketing strategy. Luckily, there are a number of tools that can help you market more effectively, such as Mailchimp.

  1. Content marketing will become integrated and more valuable

Content is king, and it seems to be getting more important every day. Google and other search engines are focusing more on the content you create as the potential of the online world as marketing tool becomes apparent. Now there seems to be a push for current, relevant content that you can use for your services and promote your business.

Staying fresh with the content you provide is almost as important as ensuring high-quality content. Customers will pay more attention if your content is relevant and timely.

  1. Mobile assets and paid social media are more important than ever

It’s no secret that mobile is key to your marketing efforts. More mobile devices are sold and more people are reading content on mobile screens than ever before, so it is crucial to your overall strategy to have mobile marketing expertise on your team. London-based Abacus Marketing agrees that mobile marketing could overtake desktop website marketing in just a few years.

  1. Big Data for personalization plays a key role

Marketers are increasingly using Big Data to get their brand message out to the public in a more personalized format. One obvious example is Google Trend analysis, a highly useful tool that marketing experts use to obtain the latest on what is trending around the world. You can — and should — use it in your business marketing efforts. Big Data will also let you offer specific content to buyers who are more likely to look for certain items, for example, and offer personalized deals to specific groups of within your customer base. Other tools, which until recently were the stuff of science fiction, are also available that let you do things like use predictive analysis to score leads.

  1. Visual media matters

A picture really is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and nobody can deny the effectiveness of a well-designed infographic. In fact, some studies suggest that Millennials are particularly attracted to content with great visuals. Animated gifs and colorful bar graphs have even found their way into heavy-duty financial reports, so why not give them a try in your business marketing efforts?

A few more tips:

  • Always keep your content relevant and current to attract the attention of your target audience.
  • Always keep all your social media and public accounts fresh. Don’t use old content or outdated pictures in any public forum.
  • Your reviews are a proxy for your online reputation, so pay careful attention to them.
  • Much online content is being consumed on mobile now, so focus specifically on the design and usability of your mobile apps.
  • Online marketing is essentially geared towards getting more traffic onto your site. The more people visit, the better your chances of increasing sales.

Want more insight on how digital marketing is evolving? See Shutterstock Report: The Face Of Marketing Is Changing — And It Doesn’t Include Vince Vaughn.

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About Sunny Popali

Sunny Popali is SEO Director at www.tempocreative.com. Tempo Creative is a Phoenix inbound marketing company that has served over 700 clients since 2001. Tempos team specializes in digital and internet marketing services including web design, SEO, social media and strategy.

Social Media Matters: 6 Content And Social Media Trend Predictions For 2016 [INFOGRAPHIC]

Julie Ellis

As 2015 winds down, it’s time to look forward to 2016 and explore the social media and content marketing trends that will impact marketing strategies over the next 15 months or so.

Some of the upcoming trends simply indicate an intensification of current trends, however others indicate that there are new things that will have a big impact in 2016.

Take a look at a few trends that should definitely factor in your planning for 2016.

1. SEO will focus more on social media platforms and less on search engines

Clearly Google is going nowhere. In fact, in 2016 Google’s word will still essentially be law when it comes to search engine optimization.

However, in 2016 there will be some changes in SEO. Many of these changes will be due to the fact that users are increasingly searching for products and services directly from websites such as Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

There are two reasons for this shift in customer habits:

  • Customers are relying more and more on customer comments, feedback, and reviews before making purchasing decisions. This means that they are most likely to search directly on platforms where they can find that information.
  • Customers who are seeking information about products and services feel that video- and image-based content is more trustworthy.

2. The need to optimize for mobile and touchscreens will intensify

Consumers are using their mobile devices and tablets for the following tasks at a sharply increasing rate:

  • Sending and receiving emails and messages
  • Making purchases
  • Researching products and services
  • Watching videos
  • Reading or writing reviews and comments
  • Obtaining driving directions and using navigation apps
  • Visiting news and entertainment websites
  • Using social media

Most marketers would be hard-pressed to look at this list and see any case for continuing to avoid mobile and touchscreen optimization. Yet, for some reason many companies still see mobile optimization as something that is nice to do, but not urgent.

This lack of a sense of urgency seemingly ignores the fact that more than 80% of the highest growing group of consumers indicate that it is highly important that retailers provide mobile apps that work well. According to the same study, nearly 90% of Millennials believe that there are a large number of websites that have not done a very good job of optimizing for mobile.

3. Content marketing will move to edgier social media platforms

Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat weren’t considered to be valid targets for mainstream content marketing efforts until now.

This is because they were considered to be too unproven and too “on the fringe” to warrant the time and marketing budget investments, when platforms such as Facebook and YouTube were so popular and had proven track records when it came to content marketing opportunity and success.

However, now that Instagram is enjoying such tremendous growth, and is opening up advertising opportunities to businesses beyond its brand partners, it (along with other platforms) will be seen as more and more viable in 2016.

4. Facebook will remain a strong player, but the demographic of the average user will age

In 2016, Facebook will likely remain the flagship social media website when it comes to sharing and promoting content, engaging with customers, and increasing Internet recognition.

However, it will become less and less possible to ignore the fact that younger consumers are moving away from the platform as their primary source of online social interaction and content consumption. Some companies may be able to maintain status quo for 2016 without feeling any negative impacts.

However, others may need to rethink their content marketing strategies for 2016 to take these shifts into account. Depending on their branding and the products or services that they offer, some companies may be able to profit from these changes by customizing the content that they promote on Facebook for an older demographic.

5. Content production must reflect quality and variety

  • Both B2B and B2C buyers value video based content over text based content.
  • While some curated content is a good thing, consumers believe that custom content is an indication that a company wishes to create a relationship with them.
  • The great majority of these same consumers report that customized content is useful for them.
  • B2B customers prefer learning about products and services through content as opposed to paid advertising.
  • Consumers believe that videos are more trustworthy forms of content than text.

Here is a great infographic depicting the importance of video in content marketing efforts:
Small Business Video infographic

A final, very important thing to note when considering content trends for 2016 is the decreasing value of the keyword as a way of optimizing content. In fact, in an effort to crack down on keyword stuffing, Google’s optimization rules have been updated to to kick offending sites out of prime SERP positions.

6. Oculus Rift will create significant changes in customer engagement

Oculus Rift is not likely to offer much to marketers in 2016. After all, it isn’t expected to ship to consumers until the first quarter. However, what Oculus Rift will do is influence the decisions that marketers make when it comes to creating customer interaction.

For example, companies that have not yet embraced storytelling may want to make 2016 the year that they do just that, because later in 2016 Oculus Rift may be the platform that their competitors will be using to tell stories while giving consumers a 360-degree vantage point.

For a deeper dive on engaging with customers through storytelling, see Brand Storytelling: Where Humanity Takes Center Stage.

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About Julie Ellis

Julie Ellis – marketer and professional blogger, writes about social media, education, self-improvement, marketing and psychology. To contact Julie follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences

Kai Goerlich

 

Google Cardboard VR goggles cost US$8
By 2019, immersive solutions
will be adopted in 20% of enterprise businesses
By 2025, the market for immersive hardware and software technology could be $182 billion
In 2017, Lowe’s launched
Holoroom How To VR DIY clinics

Link to Sources


From Dipping a Toe to Fully Immersed

The first wave of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) is here,

using smartphones, glasses, and goggles to place us in the middle of 360-degree digital environments or overlay digital artifacts on the physical world. Prototypes, pilot projects, and first movers have already emerged:

  • Guiding warehouse pickers, cargo loaders, and truck drivers with AR
  • Overlaying constantly updated blueprints, measurements, and other construction data on building sites in real time with AR
  • Building 3D machine prototypes in VR for virtual testing and maintenance planning
  • Exhibiting new appliances and fixtures in a VR mockup of the customer’s home
  • Teaching medicine with AR tools that overlay diagnostics and instructions on patients’ bodies

A Vast Sea of Possibilities

Immersive technologies leapt forward in spring 2017 with the introduction of three new products:

  • Nvidia’s Project Holodeck, which generates shared photorealistic VR environments
  • A cloud-based platform for industrial AR from Lenovo New Vision AR and Wikitude
  • A workspace and headset from Meta that lets users use their hands to interact with AR artifacts

The Truly Digital Workplace

New immersive experiences won’t simply be new tools for existing tasks. They promise to create entirely new ways of working.

VR avatars that look and sound like their owners will soon be able to meet in realistic virtual meeting spaces without requiring users to leave their desks or even their homes. With enough computing power and a smart-enough AI, we could soon let VR avatars act as our proxies while we’re doing other things—and (theoretically) do it well enough that no one can tell the difference.

We’ll need a way to signal when an avatar is being human driven in real time, when it’s on autopilot, and when it’s owned by a bot.


What Is Immersion?

A completely immersive experience that’s indistinguishable from real life is impossible given the current constraints on power, throughput, and battery life.

To make current digital experiences more convincing, we’ll need interactive sensors in objects and materials, more powerful infrastructure to create realistic images, and smarter interfaces to interpret and interact with data.

When everything around us is intelligent and interactive, every environment could have an AR overlay or VR presence, with use cases ranging from gaming to firefighting.

We could see a backlash touting the superiority of the unmediated physical world—but multisensory immersive experiences that we can navigate in 360-degree space will change what we consider “real.”


Download the executive brief Diving Deep Into Digital Experiences.


Read the full article Swimming in the Immersive Digital Experience.

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Kai Goerlich

About Kai Goerlich

Kai Goerlich is the Chief Futurist at SAP Innovation Center network His specialties include Competitive Intelligence, Market Intelligence, Corporate Foresight, Trends, Futuring and ideation. Share your thoughts with Kai on Twitter @KaiGoe.heif Futu

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Blockchain: Thoughts On The "Next Big Thing"

Ross Doherty

Many people associate blockchain with bitcoin—which is, at least for today, the most common application to leverage blockchain. However, when you dig a little deeper and consider the core concepts of blockchain—distribution, consensus achieved by algorithm rather than opinion, cryptographically secure, private—you start to think about how these aspects can be applied, both technically and strategically, to solve problems simple and  complex. Blockchain is neither a product nor a system – instead, it is a concept.

Blockchain applications disrupt conventional thinking and conventional approaches regarding data processing, handling, and storage. First we had the “move to the cloud,” and many were cautious and even frightened of what it meant to move their systems, infrastructure, and data to a platform outside their organization’s four walls. Compound this with blockchain in its purest form—a distributed and possibly shared resource—and you can see why many may be reluctant.

My sentiment, however, is a little different. Creating a solid basis that harnesses the concepts of blockchain with sufficient thought leadership and knowledge-sharing, along with a pragmatic and open-minded approach to problem-solving, can lead to innovative and disruptive outcomes and solid solutions for customers. Blockchain should not be feared, but rather rationalized and demystified, with the goal of making it someday as ubiquitous as the cloud. Blockchain should not be pigeonholed into a specific industry or use case—it is much more that, and it should be much more than that.

Grounding ourselves momentarily, allow me to relay some ideas from both within the enterprise and customers regarding possible use cases for blockchain technology: From placing blockchain at the core of business networks for traceability and auditability, to a way for ordinary people to easily and cheaply post a document as part of a patent process; a way to counteract bootlegging and counterfeiting in commodity supply chain, a way to add an additional layer of security to simple email exchange; from electronic voting systems through to medial record storage. The beauty of blockchain is that its application can scale as big as your imagination allows.

Blockchain is not the staple of the corporate, nor is it limited to grand and expansive development teams—most of the technology is open source, public, and tangible to everyone. It is not an exclusive or expert concept, prohibitive in terms of cost or resource. Blockchain is a new frontier, largely unmined and full of opportunity.

In closing, I invite you to invest some time to do what I did when I first encountered the concept and needed to better understand it. Plug “Blockchain explained simply” (or words to that effect) into your preferred search engine. Find the article that best speaks to you—there are plenty online. Once you get it (and I promise you will) and experience your “eureka!” moment, start to think how blockchain and its concepts might help you solve a business or technical problem.

For more insight on blockchain, see Blockchain’s Value Underestimated, Despite The Hype.

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Ross Doherty

About Ross Doherty

Ross Doherty is a manager in the SAP Innovative Business Solutions team, based in Galway, Ireland. Ross’s team’s focus is in the domain of Business Networks and Innovation. Ross is proud to lead a talented and diverse team of pre-sales, integration, quality management, user assistance and solution architects, and to be serving SAP for almost 4 years.