March 31, 2015

Marketer's Morning Brew March 31, 2015 -- Legal Issues with Meerkat and Periscope

Tuesday March 31, 2015

Today's reads for Marketers

Content Marketing

Content Marketing Is NOT About Content

5 Keys to Success for US Hispanic Content Marketing

5 Steps to Kickstart Your Mobile Content Marketing Strategy 

Video Marketing

Videos are taking over the internet, here's how to boost your video marketing 

Is video the future of email marketing? 

4 Legal Issues Brands Need to Understand Before Livestreaming on Periscope or Meerkat 

MarTech and Marketing Automation

Are You Ready for Market Consolidation and MarTech Spending? 

Email Marketing: Is it Cheap or Does It Have a High ROI? 

Is video the future of email marketing? 

March 25, 2015

Marketers tell stories, but it's what happens next that really counts

From story to customer experience

Telling stories in content marketing is all the rage these days. And that's a good thing, no doubt.

The principles being followed are

People don't want to be sold to anymore, and
People love stories.
Both true, at least when it comes to awareness, branding, and top of the funnel.

Let's step back a bit.

A Very Brief History of Digital Content Marketing

Starting in the late 20th Century, digital technologies and the internet broke down a lot of the information asymmetry between buyers and sellers. When a person wanted to get educated about a product space or to get references on product experiences, no longer was the easiest route to call a bunch of sales reps. Between web search, forums, blogs, social media, and other online media, information became much more directly accessible.

So marketing, first in the form of SEO, then with digital Content Marketing, adapted to meet the challenge. Sellers realized that if buyers are searching and finding the information themselves, they (sellers) had better publish the content that gets found first. In the beginning, it was the same old "market-y" content, littered with the right keywords to beat the search process.

And the world gets flooded with marketing created content. Some good, some still the same old selling wolf in sheep's clothing. Still, the Darwinian selection of search rankings, ratings, social sharing continuously culls the herd, more or less efficiently.

As it gets harder and harder to stand out among the good content--and keep in mind it's resource intensive and expensive to be "a publisher, not a marketer"--something new is now needed to get found, get read, and get shared.

It is no longer enough to be useful, informative, and keyword optimized. You have to tell a story. A compelling story. Not enough to plainly state your value, you have to show it with a story.

Necessary but ...

So stories are effective, even necessary, to marketing. But are they sufficient to meet the business goals? Are we done when we're telling great stories?

Are we done when we're telling great stories?
I mean, story has been around in marketing and advertising forever. "They laughed when I sat down at the piano ..." was a story. The Hathaway shirt guy with that eye patch told a story, without saying a word!

So what's different now? What's the bigger picture here?

It's the customer experience (CX)

By the book, customer experience is the sum of all the experiences a person has with a company, brand, or product--from how they hear about it, who they interact with, how they try it, how they buy it, how it arrives, is packaged ... you get the idea.

What we're focusing on here is that aspect of the sum experience that differentiates your offering in a memorable and positive way in order to drive competitive advantage.

Story plays a role in queuing up that experience. But unless your product is literally a story--movie, book, TV show--story is not the whole experience. (And even then, it's really not all of it, as the experience lives both before and after consumption of the specific story-product.)

Customer experience starts with a brand promise. Then the entire customer experience has to support the brand promise. In turn, the customer experience circles back and influences the future brand promise.

This requires an explicit change in the way branding, marketing, sales, storefronts, customer support, IT, and so on work together to deliver a positively differentiated customer experience.

The CMO, the Brand, and the CX

An impediment today is that CMO's and their marketing operations remain largely focused on acquisition. This acquisition bias is over a known winner like customer retention and certainly over a company-wide, consistent implementation of CX. Even with the story telling mantra of today, marketing leans toward transactions, not conversation and experience. Just look at the metrics and the tools that dominate execution and measurement: Visits, conversions, retweets, marketing automation.

But without a brand strategy and marketing to pave the road and put up the guardrails for it, CX is fractured. Parts of customer experience report to different department heads, and not everyone is marching to the brand story. Ideally, brand strategy lays out the road map, marketing tells the brand story, and CX delivers the brand promise. They all march to the same tune.

All of CX might not report to the CMO. But the CMO has to lead beyond Marketing to ensure that the customer experience matches the promise.

And what of story?

Story, like the rest of marketing operations, is about setting the expectations for customer experience with the brand. Better storytelling leads to higher expectations.

Be careful, though. If you don't first organize around a consistent, brand-driven CX operation, telling great stories risks the creation of a bigger gap between expectations and actual experience.

So Marketers, tell those stories. Just remember, it's what happens next that really counts.

March 24, 2015

Marketer's Morning Brew March 24, 2015

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Today's useful reads for Marketers.

MarTech and Marketing Automation

Insider Selling: Marketo CEO Phillip M. Fernandez Sells 12,000 Shares of Stock (MKTO)

3 Ways to Make Storytelling the Core of Your Email Marketing Strategy

Multi-channel communication is the future of e-mail marketing: Kalpit Jain

Video Marketing

Snapchat: How Ephemeral Video Marketing is Engaging Viewers

Video Marketing: Strategic Moves To Consider

Content Marketing

You've Heard of Banner Blindness; Get Ready for Content Blindness

The 10 New Rules Of Visual Content Marketing

March 04, 2015

Video in Your B2B Content Marketing Mix

It seems that each year is “The Breakout Year” for video in content marketing. 
2015 is no exception. For good reason.
Video's rise in consumption reflects an inevitable march toward total world domination!
Here are just two of the forecasts from the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI).
  • It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month in 2018
  • Globally, IP video traffic will be 79% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2018, up from 66 percent in 2013
These forecasts cover IP video traffic overall--which includes the streaming of a lot of entertainment content plus a relatively small slice of B2B marketing video.
Still, they demonstrate a couple of trends for B2B marketers.
First, content creation, distribution, delivery and engagement technologies, including mobile, have improved enough that it is feasible to access all that video.
Second, people really like watching video!
Plus, for B2B marketers, platforms are getting more sophisticated. Along with measurement and tracking, there’s more capability for viewers to engage with your video—click on calls-to-action or navigate to other content—without a lot of friction.
Q: So should you consider video for your B2B marketing?
A: Yes, clearly.
Q: Should you rearrange the deck chairs (and the budget) to focus on video?
A: Let’s see.

It's the Content Marketing, Stupid

Luckily, tried-and-true Content Marketing best practices come to our rescue here:
  • Who are your targets?
  • What information needs do they have in the intersection of their jobs and your offerings?
  • Do they show an affinity for consuming information as video?
  • Where in the engagement cycle will video have the most impact?
The answers will depend on your target personas and their information needs overtheir engagement cycles. It cannot be stressed enough that the decisions of if, when, where, and how to use video cannot be properly made until you have the usual discovery, analyses, and content planning completed.
For each content opportunity, ask yourself questions like, do moving pictures enhance the information transfer and increase engagement? Would an infographic or text piece work better?

Wired for Video

Keep in mind that video has one trump card: it is Brain Candy!
From facial recognition to audio & language processingemotional susceptibility, and plain old motion detection, our brains are wired to respond to video. More precisely, they are wired to keep us alive in a real world full of scary interpersonal dynamics and nasty predators hidden behind bushes.
By leveraging all that evolutionary wiring, video is currently the best stand-in for real-life brain stimulus. (Do stay tuned for my future article, “Holograms in Your B2B Marketing Mix!”)
To boil it down, your market and content planning will let you answer the question: Is there incremental value in the video presentation of your content over--or in conjunction with--written text or infographics?

Don’t Video in a Vacuum

Whether it’s a tent pole or a supporting content piece, in most cases, a video should not be a one-off, standalone piece. It should be integrated into a content plan, including planned promotion pieces, supporting copy, and additional premium content. The creative can be leveraged into posters, infographics, and blog posts. Longer videos can have trailers and teasers. The video can have a call-to-action to the next information need in the engagement map.
To make your videos discoverable and shareable, have a plan. Research and use the right keywords in the titles, descriptions and tags. Don't forget to name drop customers, products, technologies and notable personalities appearing in the video.
More generally, optimize your video channel for the right look and feel in-line with your brand.

Planning First, Video Second

So should you be embracing more video?
First, do your target market and content planning. Then you'll know.
(Hint: Yes!)