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Posts Tagged ‘social-media’

Content marketing 2014, Debbie Meltzer, Canimpact

Content marketing 2014 guidelines

It baffles me… B2B businesses spend on average 30% of the marketing budget on content marketing. A flood of  statistics show that 58% of marketers will increase their budget in 2014, even though only 42% find their efforts successful.

 So, where are we getting it wrong?

What can be done in 2014 to prevent the run-of-the-mill content factories from churning out digital debris?
Probably the hardest step is the first one.  As a marketer I have fallen into the trap of creating customer personas, developing a strategic plan, assessing marketing automation tools and neatly executing task driven excel sheets. If you’re about to fall down that rabbit hole, hit the pause button now!

Stretch beyond the cubicle. Scan the digital sphere like a giraffe from the tree tops.
Why bother? Well, another blog post, e-newsletter or video may meet your manager’s checklist, but sometime in 2014 management will lose patience, especially after tracking  conversion rates.

 

Follow the money trail, especially the one from Mountain View
You might want to ask; who is responsible for the digital content transformation, and why? How come most SEO strategies are not working as well as they used to? And why most social media posts, even videos, reach mediocre results?

New Google ranking tactics are partly to blame.

Digital nectar for the elusive hummingbird
Each month, on average, 8.5 of the top 10 will change their Google ranking.  Why? Because Google wants to link searchers’ intent with what they’re actually looking for. They want to connect millions of search requests seeking quality content, that lack keywords. So the mountain people figured; if they could build an infrastructure round these search streams, they could help searchers find what they want; help their customers reach better advertising results and help themselves to more revenue. Incidentally, Google’s new platform is appropriately called Hummingbird.

In 2014 thou shalt stop ignoring Google+
Google+, Shmoogle+… Why bother, when the world of Social Media gravitated round Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn? Well, no more… A new Google+ toolset will help to boost brand positioning by exploiting Serp  real estate opportunities.

Premium content in the right place at the right time will rake rewards
Strong keyword signals simply won’t work anymore; neither will Social Media spins that churn out shallow posts padded with key phrases.  Premium content written or designed in the right context that adheres to Google’s new guidelines will realize rankings and better CTR (Click Through Rates).  Content optimization solutions such as Sitecore, Optimove and Outbrain are digital candy for big brand and e-commerce sites seeking better, more measurable results.

Thinking like a brand again
2014 signals the growth of internal branding. The era of hiring inexperienced social media and SEO novices is over. Organizations will need to strengthen their own team’s skills and if needed, outsource for high quality content.  Brands that can afford it, will invest in multi-content platforms that integrate owned, earned and paid media to grow more targeted distribution. Native advertising and mobile advertising will continue to surge.  Ads designed smartly for mobile could generate interesting metrics, despite size and functionality limitations.

 Companies investing in brand journalism will need to build better content factories.
Innovative brands have been ditching the news makers to become the news makers. Already big brands such as Southwest airlines, American Express, and TopShop have been establishing their own editorial channels. The flip side is that some brand content is not only competing against other companies, but the brand’s own eco-sphere, even their own customers. To avoid digital debacles, branded content will need to be more personalized and measurable.

Content will need to be more visual and more useful.
People are visual. Visual stands out. It resonates in ways that words cannot. Effective how-to-videos, eye-catching Slideshares and Snapchats are some examples of attention grabbing visual content formats that will trump in 2014, as long as they have SEO link-backs. Short form video will continue to rise. Short form video is easy to consume and can even be shared on Pinterest. The concept of video blogging or “vlogging” continues to grow as an industry.
Now the only real enemy is time.

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2013 predictions, marketing predictions, future mega trends 2013

future marketing 2013

I went to a marketing conference last week. The entrance, enrollment and aura were ‘uber’ chic. The miniature pastries were impressive and the panoramic views of rolling meadows injected mini-shots of euphoria.

Throughout the presentations something strange happened. Everyone seemed to recall the real role of marketing. Never mind future megatrends, it was all about lead generation. Gee whiz we forgot our roots… Amidst all these conversations, engagements and connectivity, we collectively got sidetracked, meandered aimlessly down pixelated paths – only to discover they were split ends or dead ends.

We think we have it figured out…

At last we can make sense of the waterfalls of social media streams, SEO metrics and the big fat data. 2012 is supposed to be the year we harness social media to get results – the year we build real online communities and translate it into revenue. No more spaghetti throwing on the wall to see what sticks.  Finally we can make smarter decisions.

Hang on… Can we be so sure we got it this time round? What if we have lost the ability to know how we know?

Digital philosopher David Weinberger, in his book “Too big to know” flips the concept of knowledge around its very axel. Until not that long ago, knowledge in the form of science, marketing, education… was sourced from books and experts. Today knowledge is in the networks. Myriads of streams of data coil their way through connections and communities.

Supposedly, our friends, family, even you and I are churning out valuable information nodes. Believe it or not someone is actually tracking some of this information some of the time and measuring it in real time.

But who is to say these digital dust storms generate value? Since when did everything become so manageable? And who is to say that what we consider facts really are the facts?

Somewhere along the way, the line between – writers, bloggers, post creators, spectators and spotters, got blurred. Suddenly everyone is an expert.

So… how do you weigh the expertise of this crowd?

As a marketing consultant, not that long ago, I spent a large amount of my time researching  material and presenting it in polished power point presentations. Today I am also sourcing some information from “network experts.” Like many of my colleagues, I am experimenting with meta data gleaned from social media monitoring tools.

The question is – does it provide enough insight? We are trying so hard to hear the voice of the customer, we are hoping to analyze it, but there is so much noise out there. No matter how well we try to capture and present engagement, can we really create marketing intelligence out of it?

Too often there is a disparity in the demographics between those who, let’s say, tweeted about a product, and those who bought the product, and the disparity is large enough to overturn any predicted result.

The US Republican race between Romney and Santorum is a great example of how often one candidate is overrated based on network noise that was analyzed with the coolest tools to date (and you can bet on it that millions will continue to be spent on extracting that information and presenting it in glossy reports).

Towards 2013, what can we do to avoid marketing traps, digital delusions and data debris?

Social media data mining is growing but it is firstly and fore mostly a guide rather than the ultimate answer. We can’t just neatly enter all the parameters into an app, click go and hope that it spits out the answer in real time.

Sure there is a place for big data and its new cousin – affinity data (valuable relationships between consumer behavior, products and content used to create more targeted marketing), but social network platforms are mercurial. Just look how sites like Digg, Foursquare and Gowalla are declining and Pinterest is rising.

Sure we need to take advantage of the expertise shared around the networks. After all, collaborative sharing is spreading valuable information and network knowledge. But there are also endless echo chambers spreading masses of unedited mush.

In the end we still need to combine tools with experience, instinct and an ability to think.

Perhaps our greatest task is balance – A balance between data mining –with more direct information eco-systems.

Perhaps towards 2013 we need to focus more on lead generation by talking, yes physically talking  more directly, and more often to the market. We need to build smaller, more focused network communities, and never lose sight of why the hell should they listen to us in the first place.

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