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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.

The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage

Justin Somaini and Dan Wellers

 

The cost of data breaches will reach US$2.1 trillion globally by 2019—nearly four times the cost in 2015.

Cyberattacks could cost up to $90 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030 if cybersecurity doesn’t keep pace with growing threat levels.

Cyber insurance premiums could increase tenfold to $20 billion annually by 2025.

Cyberattacks are one of the top 10 global risks of highest concern for the next decade.


Companies are collaborating with a wider network of partners, embracing distributed systems, and meeting new demands for 24/7 operations.

But the bad guys are sharing intelligence, harnessing emerging technologies, and working round the clock as well—and companies are giving them plenty of weaknesses to exploit.

  • 33% of companies today are prepared to prevent a worst-case attack.
  • 25% treat cyber risk as a significant corporate risk.
  • 80% fail to assess their customers and suppliers for cyber risk.

The ROI of Zero Trust

Perimeter security will not be enough. As interconnectivity increases so will the adoption of zero-trust networks, which place controls around data assets and increases visibility into how they are used across the digital ecosystem.


A Layered Approach

Companies that embrace trust as a competitive advantage will build robust security on three core tenets:

  • Prevention: Evolving defensive strategies from security policies and educational approaches to access controls
  • Detection: Deploying effective systems for the timely detection and notification of intrusions
  • Reaction: Implementing incident response plans similar to those for other disaster recovery scenarios

They’ll build security into their digital ecosystems at three levels:

  1. Secure products. Security in all applications to protect data and transactions
  2. Secure operations. Hardened systems, patch management, security monitoring, end-to-end incident handling, and a comprehensive cloud-operations security framework
  3. Secure companies. A security-aware workforce, end-to-end physical security, and a thorough business continuity framework

Against Digital Armageddon

Experts warn that the worst-case scenario is a state of perpetual cybercrime and cyber warfare, vulnerable critical infrastructure, and trillions of dollars in losses. A collaborative approach will be critical to combatting this persistent global threat with implications not just for corporate and personal data but also strategy, supply chains, products, and physical operations.


Download the executive brief The Future of Cybersecurity: Trust as Competitive Advantage.


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How Digital Transformation Is Rewriting Business Models

Ginger Shimp

Everybody knows someone who has a stack of 3½-inch floppies in a desk drawer “just in case we may need them someday.” While that might be amusing, the truth is that relatively few people are confident that they’re making satisfactory progress on their digital journey. The boundaries between the digital and physical worlds continue to blur — with profound implications for the way we do business. Virtually every industry and every enterprise feels the effects of this ongoing digital transformation, whether from its own initiative or due to pressure from competitors.

What is digital transformation? It’s the wholesale reimagining and reinvention of how businesses operate, enabled by today’s advanced technology. Businesses have always changed with the times, but the confluence of technologies such as mobile, cloud, social, and Big Data analytics has accelerated the pace at which today’s businesses are evolving — and the degree to which they transform the way they innovate, operate, and serve customers.

The process of digital transformation began decades ago. Think back to how word processing fundamentally changed the way we write, or how email transformed the way we communicate. However, the scale of transformation currently underway is drastically more significant, with dramatically higher stakes. For some businesses, digital transformation is a disruptive force that leaves them playing catch-up. For others, it opens to door to unparalleled opportunities.

Upending traditional business models

To understand how the businesses that embrace digital transformation can ultimately benefit, it helps to look at the changes in business models currently in process.

Some of the more prominent examples include:

  • A focus on outcome-based models — Open the door to business value to customers as determined by the outcome or impact on the customer’s business.
  • Expansion into new industries and markets — Extend the business’ reach virtually anywhere — beyond strictly defined customer demographics, physical locations, and traditional market segments.
  • Pervasive digitization of products and services — Accelerate the way products and services are conceived, designed, and delivered with no barriers between customers and the businesses that serve them.
  • Ecosystem competition — Create a more compelling value proposition in new markets through connections with other companies to enhance the value available to the customer.
  • Access a shared economy — Realize more value from underutilized sources by extending access to other business entities and customers — with the ability to access the resources of others.
  • Realize value from digital platforms — Monetize the inherent, previously untapped value of customer relationships to improve customer experiences, collaborate more effectively with partners, and drive ongoing innovation in products and services,

In other words, the time-tested assumptions about how to identify customers, develop and market products and services, and manage organizations may no longer apply. Every aspect of business operations — from forecasting demand to sourcing materials to recruiting and training staff to balancing the books — is subject to this wave of reinvention.

The question is not if, but when

These new models aren’t predictions of what could happen. They’re already realities for innovative, fast-moving companies across the globe. In this environment, playing the role of late adopter can put a business at a serious disadvantage. Ready or not, digital transformation is coming — and it’s coming fast.

Is your company ready for this sea of change in business models? At SAP, we’ve helped thousands of organizations embrace digital transformation — and turn the threat of disruption into new opportunities for innovation and growth. We’d relish the opportunity to do the same for you. Our Digital Readiness Assessment can help you see where you are in the journey and map out the next steps you’ll need to take.

Up next I’ll discuss the impact of digital transformation on processes and work. Until then, you can read more on how digital transformation is impacting your industry.

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About Ginger Shimp

With more than 20 years’ experience in marketing, Ginger Shimp has been with SAP since 2004. She has won numerous awards and honors at SAP, including being designated “Top Talent” for two consecutive years. Not only is she a Professional Certified Marketer with the American Marketing Association, but she's also earned her Connoisseur's Certificate in California Reds from the Chicago Wine School. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of San Francisco, and an MBA in marketing and managerial economics from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Personally, Ginger is the proud mother of a precocious son and happy wife of one of YouTube's 10 EDU Gurus, Ed Shimp.