• TheDigitalJen
    Jennifer Stalzer on November 19, 2013

    Tough Lessons to Becoming a Socially Engaged Brand

    About 18 months ago, MasterCard set out on a mission to become the most socially connected and engaged brand in the payments space. As I look back, here's a look at almost ten hard lessons we learned.
  • ChristopherCarfi
    Christopher Carfi on December 9, 2013

    Five Trends That Are Going to Affect Marketing in 2014

    Agile marketing is now a common approach, and includes a healthy loop of building, testing, measuring, learning, refining and improving. There are five trends that you need to be on the lookout for when creating your marketing plans in the coming year, a combination of focus on results and a set of new channels that can connect directly to the bottom line.
  • JeffreyDachis
    Jeffrey Dachis on December 18, 2013

    Real-Time Marketing 101: It All Starts With The Trends

    Imagine you are a marketer in 1951. Harry S. Truman is president and Milton Berle is the most famous person on T.V., raking in 80% of all television viewers every night of the week. It’s the dawn of modern mass marketing. What if you were the first marketer to figure out how to use T.V. to sell stuff? You’d probably be in pretty high demand. The potential to sell your products would be effectively limitless. Well, an innovative, new marketing channel with the potential to rival television for its importance has arrived and marketers are starting to take notice.
  • Act-On Software
    Act-On Software on April 18, 2014

    Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

    Content marketing is the linchpin of demand creation –the link between brand awareness and lead generation. Done well, it builds familiarity, affinity and trust with prospective and current customers by providing information that resonates – in the right format, through the right channel, at the right time.
  • IBM Social Business
    IBM Social Business on April 18, 2014

    Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations

    Here is an excerpt from “Patterns in Achieving Social Business Success by Leading and Pioneering Organizations,” an exclusive whitepaper brought to you by IBM. This whitepaper provides a step-by-step guide for determining your strategy to achieving social business success.
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on May 1, 2014

    The Social Media Pocket Guide: Six Ways Marketers Should Use Social

    This guide walks through each of the “Big Six” objectives and provides a tactical overview of the business case, team considerations and actual content examples and templates to use for your social media initiatives. 
Download the guide now and use it as a cheat sheet on how to get started today using proven tactics and best practices.
  • Actiance
    Actiance Compliance on May 9, 2014

    The Forrester Wave: Social Risk and Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014

    Forbidding employees to use social networks because they may expose your business to risk is no longer a viable business strategy. According to its new report published today, “The Forrester Wave™: Social Risk And Compliance Solutions, Q2 2014,” Forrester Research, Inc. says “the practice of prohibiting social [is] no longer feasible.”
  • Spredfast
    Spredfast Business on June 9, 2014

    6 Blueprints for Social Network Success

    The Big 6 social networks offer tremendous marketing opportunities - but each one is very different from the next. That’s why Spredfast has assembled the 6 Blueprints for Social Network Success. In this quick-read collection, you’ll discover more than 50 constructive, actionable marketing tips and real-world examples from major brands like Hyatt, British Airways, Target, and General Mills. Let’s start building!
  • Synapsify
    Synapsify, Inc. on June 16, 2014

    Piecing Together the Story: Synapsify’s Annual Voice of Customer Industry Survey and Insight

    This eBook reveals the common practices and challenges faced today by social media managers/directors and brand insight analyst and conducted an online survey of 70 social media and content analysts professionally recruited for this survey. The survey results are presented as part of a complimentary eBook in which insight industry professionals shed light on their challenges and common practices they face in understanding the true voice of their customers.
  • Yelp is ten years old and they gave everybody else a gift to celebrate, a new toy called Yelp Trends. Now I know it’s a serious tool because it is a decade of data, but is it fun.

    Yelp is ten years old and they gave everybody else a gift to celebrate — a new toy called Yelp Trends. Now I know it’s a serious tool because it is a decade of data on 98 cities in 20 different countries but wow, is it fun. You can look at their suggestions, like whether chicken & waffles became popular before deviled eggs in San Francisco. This answers their question about which came first, the chicken or the egg…..

    The Toy Is A Tool

    Seriously, being able to look at what real people looked for in local searches gives you a handle on what, over time, has trended in different regions. If you are anywhere close to one of those regions it would be very helpful in seeing how your own products or services have trended over the last ten years. You can identify at a glance what’s hot and what’s cooling off. And you could put in your competition to see how they have done.

    Data crunching is not always fun, but this tool does make it amusing if you want to get sidetracked. It’s a good way to see how trends grow and die all over the world and give a larger perspective on marketing and local search.

    Local Search Is Usually Mobile

    One thing that strikes me as I look at Yelp Trends is the fact that most of the searches were probably on a mobile device. Somebody got hungry for chicken & waffles or deviled eggs and looked for where they could get it nearby. One of the trends that isn’t a fad is mobile search and if your business isn’t ready for it you will miss the boat.

    Responsive website design & development and local search engines like Yelp have grown together over the last ten years and while I can’t predict the future for Yelp, I am pretty sure that mobile devices and local search is here to stay.

    Photo Credit: Local Search Toys/shutterstock

    In the late 90s, some organization declared the World Wide Web over. The prediction of the web’s demise was based on the decline in the number of press releases announcing the launch of a new corporate website.

    With apologies to Monty Python...

    In the late 90s, some organization declared the World Wide Web was over. The prediction of the web’s demise was based on the decline in the number of corporate press releases announcing the launch of a new corporate website. (I have tried to find that report. I’ve come up empty, but my memory of the report is so clear that I’m willing to bet real money that the prediction happened.)

    Of course, the web was not in decline. It had just become so common for companies to have websites that announcing it not only didn’t get you any coverage, it made you look behind the times. (“Oh, you’re finally getting around to launching a website, are you?”)

    It wasn’t long after that when you stopped hearing so much about the development of new web technologies. The really cool stuff in any new technology tends to come early in it life when the big advances—like being able to watch video on the web—catch everyone’s eye. But neither the decline in site launch announcements nor the slowed pace of innovation signaled that we had somehow moved into a post-web era.

    The assertion that the web was over back in the late 90s came to mind as I read Geoff Livingston’s intriguing post claiming that we have entered a post social media era. Geoff’s a smart guy whose posts spark some deep thinking. But I don’t agree that we’re in a post social media era, or even close to one. Geoff listed seven reasons, but I want to address only the first two in this post.

    Firs, Geoff argues:

    New social networking apps, while still developing, are not generating huge investment rounds or attention anymore. Heck, even the most mainstream of social networking apps are retooling to meet the new mobile visual Internet. As the old adage goes, follow the money.

    His second reason notes that the social media IPO craze might be drawing to a close. “No big U.S. social media start-ups are on the horizon with the exception of Pinterest,” he says.

    Reddit For {fill in the blank}

    In a comment, I challenged the idea that innovation was over, and Geoff replied that incremental advances will continue, but that the big money will flow toward other types of tools. I don’t disagree that the Internet of Things and the age of context will drive a lot of innovation and investment, but doesn’t signal an automatic and conurrent decline in social media innovation.

    I just learned, for example, of the launch of a relatively new site called Product Hunt, which founder Ryan Hoover calls “Reddit for products.” It’s a pure social media play, a community built around new products in which community members vote new products up or down and comment on them. According to TechCrunch, Product Hunt is in the current Y Combinator batch.

    Product Hunt isn’t the only “Reddit for Blank” tool that has found its footing in recent months. I have reported on Betterific, which you could call Reddit for customer feedback. There are few tools more social media-centric than Reddit, which is serving as a model for a lot of new sites.

    The rise of the professional social network

    Professional-centric social networks are another category attracting investors. Forty percent of all doctors in the U.S. use Doximity, which recently was financed to the tune of $50 million. College students are flocking to Piazza, which raised $8 million. RallyPoint raised $5.3 million; it’s billed as “LinkedIn for the military.” It was only in 2012 when GitHub, a social network for software engineers, raised $100 million.

    There are other social media companies getting healthy investment rounds, including Inbilin, a social networking voice call app, which raised $15 million. A Chinese social shopping platform, Mogujie, raised $200 million. Why haven’t we heard of these? Why aren’t they all over the news? They’re just not as sexy as Facebook and Pinterest were when they were new. They represent more infrastructure than the networking itself. And, let’s face it, we’re kind of bored by new innovations for maturing technologies.

    Investment isn’t the only sign that social media innovation continues unabated, even if the most of the sexiest innovations were introduced back in the early, heady days of social media. The Wall Street Journal points out that Facebook continues to soar among consumers, the adoption of social media in the enterprise still hasn’t ramped up. The integration of social media into work processes is taking longer than expected, and a lot of innovation is still to come on that front.

    Much of the innovation currently taking is wrapped up in the shift to mobile, with Facebook and other social networks launching apps. These may be single-purpose apps—consider Instagram, which Facebook acquired—but they’re still pure social plays.

    Baking social media into the web

    Nothing, however, speaks more to the continuing rise of social media than the announcement a few days ago that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has launched an initiative to standardize social networking technology into the web. The W3C effort will “create a standard way of building social-network operations into the Web,” according to C|Net. This includes “adding friends, commenting, and sharing updates with text, photos, and video,” and will also feature the ability for multiple sites to federate.

    As B2B marketers continue to struggle figuring out social media, C-suites and boards of directors just begin paying attention to it as a high-level responsibility, and enterprises grapple with how employees use it, it seems counterintuitive to suggest we have already moved beyond social media.

    A point on a continuum

    Part of my perspective is based on the fact that I have been watching the way people engage with each other online since 1985 when I first logged on to a BBS. After that came Compuserve and AOL, and then the web. Some people argue that Compuserve forums (like the PR and Marketing Forum, which rocked) and usenet news groups all fit into the social media category. For me, though, social media is defined largely by the tools that made it possible for the average person to engage without gaining more technical prowess than they wanted to.

    There is ample data to make it clear that what others say about brands and products drives purchase decisions. In his book, “Absolute Value, Emanuel Rosen and co-author Itamar Simonson argue that getting third-party consumer reviews should be a marketer’s most important task. As one review of the book noted, “Consumers are acutely aware of both consumer and expert reviews. If a particular product does not meet the expectations of the consumer, loyalty will not hold consumers in a franchise.”

    As I noted in an earlier post, a Dutch study found that positive consumer reviews of your organization will lead the reviewer’s friends and followers to form equally favorable views, and that the more people use social media, the more likely they are to engage with your brand. The study pointed out that, because social media use is surging among all demographic groups, this represents a huge opportunity to boost your company’s reputation.

    And let’s not overlook the fact that brands, institutions and individuals continue to find innovative ways to apply social media to various opportunities and challenges.

    None of which sounds like a post social media era to me. The desire to connect and share online predates social media; it’s a continuum with no end in site. Social media in five years will most likely look completely different than it did five years ago. That’s what happens on continuums.

    The greatest risk with adopting a post social media mentality is that business leaders will have another excuse to dismiss it.

    That would be a fatal mistake.

    If there is one powerful outcome from the advancement of technology it would be marketing. Gone are the days of running an ad in the local paper and wondering if anyone saw it.


    If there is one powerful outcome from the advancement of technology it would be marketing. Gone are the days of running an ad in the local paper and wondering if anyone saw it. Asking people how they heard about your business seems so yesterday.

    Thinking back to 1998 when I was placing full page ads in the Winston Salem Journal for $18,000 a pop. Clueless to the effectiveness other than Saturday at the dealership being a busy day or not. Three years later the world changed and I have not looked back since.

    My marketing budget shifted from those expensive print ads to 100% digital. Instead of wondering how effective the ads where, I tracked every lead and response in our Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. The sales staff received every inquiry in the CRM and we could report on the performance of our digital marketing channels. We tracked KPI’s like:

    • Number of leads by ad source
    • Number of appointments set by lead source
    • Number of cars sold by source
    • Gross profit and finance income per lead closed
    • Total lead conversion ratios
    • ROI on marketing dollars spent

    This technology was in place and working well in 2001. Fast forward to 2014 and you would be amazed at the possibilities available to large and small businesses today. Social media marketing, pay per click campaigns, organic website traffic, and content marketing technology lends no excuse for any business of any size to not maximize their advertising budgets.

    Digital marketing today has been advanced through technology in amazing ways. Two of the most obvious are social media and inbound content marketing. Think for a minute about how a business can target a marketing campaign:

    • Gender – Is your product’s primary audience men or women?
    • Age – Is there a target age group in your audience demographic?
    • Location – Local companies can specifically target an audience within a certain radius of their location.
    • Interest – Social media enables you to target your ads based on the likes and interest of potential customers.

    Taking that thought a step further, marketing automation software now enables you create marketing channels to provide relevant content based on the behavior of your prospects. For example, you have an email marketing list of people who opt in for product information. Today you can create automated email campaigns to send targeted content to a prospect based on their engagement with your company. What webpages they visit on your website, do they open the emails you send, how often do they visit your website, and are they engaging with product information as in downloading product brochures? All of these activity types can trigger a campaign for lead generation to prospects you know are showing ‘in-market’ activity.

    These examples only scratch the surface. Have you experienced viewing a product on eBay or Amazon and then have that same product appear in your social news feeds as promoted posts? Technology enables this experience and provides an enhanced user experience as they are presented with relevant content and also provides a business with a cost effect and targeted marketing opportunities.

    The post Digital Marketing Technology appeared first on Neil Tolbert.

    There are many channels (like social media, search engines, blogging, etc.) when it comes to building brand awareness and marketing your products and services on the Internet.
    Are you looking for some effective (yet free) ways to grow your business online? There are many channels (like social media, search engines, blogging, etc.) when it comes to building brand awareness and marketing your products and services on the Internet.
    Naturally, you might be wondering where you should start or what channels you should use to achieve the best results, right?
    Sadly, there is no one answer because it varies from business to business.
    But fret not.
    Neil Patel created a handy infographic that proposes some tips on how to build brand awareness for your company through internet marketing.
    Building Brand Awareness for Your Small Business
    “If these walls could speak…” The phrase invokes wonder and horror, depending on who you are, and what may have happened within the walls in question. Surprisingly, we’re now at a place in history where we can envision a time where the walls might actually be able to speak. And the imagination of this scenario invokes utopian and dystopian visions of what the extreme scenarios might be.

    “If these walls could speak…”

    The phrase invokes wonder and horror, depending on who you are, and what may have happened within the walls in question.

    Surprisingly, we’re now at a place in history where we can envision a time where the walls might actually be able to speak. And the imagination of this scenario invokes utopian and dystopian visions of what the extreme scenarios might be.

    But, do we want this? What would we want our walls to say us? What if they could not only speak, but also do much more?

    Do we want them to inform us on what they see on the outside; the weather, the traffic, the people, the animals that are just on the other side of our walls?

    Do we want them to change color to reflect the mood of the people within the walls, or the style and trends of the season?

    Do we want them to virtually transport us to different places or times?

    Do we want them to show us or tell us about how they observe our lives; Our comings and goings? Our current behaviors? Our bioinformatics? And how those behaviors and bioinformatics compare to previous time periods, or the neighborhood, or the general population of your country, or the world?

    These are significant things to consider.

    But these possibilities and questions aren’t just limited to walls. What if tables, park benches, swings, appliances, cars, and nearly everything around us were suddenly able to sense, communicate, and respond? And what if they were able to sense, communicate, and respond not just with us, but with other things and people as well? The limits of these connections are continually extended outwards towards an ever extending edge. Anything that is connected can potentially sense, respond, and communicate with any other connected thing.

    The simultaneous advancement of disparate technologies are causing futuristic scenarios haphazardly drop into the present, without precedence, and without clarity. The growth of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now are bringing the reality of speaking walls, appliances, or anything else that has enough processing power and a connection to the internet into the present. But, that’s only a small fragment of the story.

    As more and more things and people become connected, the world is collectively getting smarter.

    Cities and farming are becoming smarter. For instance, what Santader, Spain is doing to help make finding a parking spot easier, creating a better citizen experience and cutting down significantly on pollution. A number of solutions are helping make vineyard management easier by monitoring plants for indications of disease, water levels, and weather information, allowing greater yields to be produced with greater reliability.

    Management and utilization of our natural resources like water and electricity are being improvedbecause of automated sensors that are optimizing the use of these precious natural resources. Smart metering is being used and deployed by both utilities and private citizens and corporations around the world.

    Advancements in retail, logistics management, and industrial control are being realized when information about customers, products, spaces, and devices can be synthesized and optimized for optimum levels of transactions.

    Homes are being automated based on established rules and conditions, and the advancements in personalized and contextual health care will revolutionize how we think of medicine in the next couple of decades.

    New Possibilities Everywhere

    Advances in available broadband, storage, computing power, and the exponential decrease in costs are allowing new possibilities to reveal themselves faster than most of us can keep up. If the trajectory holds, these core building blocks of (technology) innovation will continue to become more capable, and more available to a broader selection of people.

    In addition, these broadly available capabilities are being assembled in ever smaller packages. Not only will most of the humans on the planet be connected to the internet via their smartphones, but in the near future, small devices will be inside of us, allowing medicine to be automatically administered, and instantly relaying critical information about internal details to anywhere on the planet (or the universe).

    Increase of Digital Anarchy

    But when everything gets smarter, the potential for digital anarchy rises. For the mainstream. the technology may actually be racing ahead of the realistic appetite for its collective application(s). It’s advances are outpacing the ability for legislation to understand what’s happening, let alone put the appropriate guardrails up.

    The likelihood of new power structures that disrupt traditional institutional and geo-political boundaries seems to be increasing. As we’re increasingly connected across these boundaries, more and more questions are arises about who has jurisdiction to govern global interactions that happen in the new digital realm.

    The Discovery of a New Flame

    The discovery of fire revolutionized the world.

    (1) It introduced for the first time the ability to extend the day beyond when the sun was up.
    (2) It provided the ability to cook meat, which changed diets and body composition.
    (3) It enabled humans to stay warm when cold.
    (4) It provided protection from predators.
    (5) It created a meeting place that likely brought people together to share stories, communicate, and collaborate like they never had before.

    Human history was significantly altered. But it’s important to note that all of these new possibilities arose from the ability to harness and control the use of fire.

    Without the ability to create, manage, and extinguish fire, it is a force out of control, incredibly unreliable, and vastly destructive.

    It is likely that these things that we now recognize as fundamental took hundreds or thousands of years of trial and error to comprehend and properly apply. We’re now going through a similar process in a vastly condensed time continuum.

    In addition to fire, humans have harnessed auxiliary capabilities to perform tasks throughout human history; Beasts of burden, other humans (voluntarily or involuntarily), pick axes, the wheel, the automobile, and more recently computing power and technology.

    We are outsourcing increasingly complex tasks to our “machines”; Emerging hardware, embedded software, advancing algorithms, all armed with the collective power and capabilities of the internet are lighting new flames of possibility. Many experts expect that in the next several decades, artificial intelligence will be capable of competing with or even exceeding human intelligence. Because of this, many existing corporations, institutions, and jobs are at risk, but new ones are evolving.

    These impact of these changes are not limited to a finite few. Corporate leaders, marketers, sales people, service agents, inventory and production managers, government officials, and citizens in every socio-economic class of every country the planet will be effected by the Internet of Everything. The impacts may vary in their severity and in their timing, but the second coming of fire is now upon us.

    How will you respond?

    This post is brought to you by InnovateThink and Cisco and has been cross posted at Value Creator.

    IMG Credit: Behnaz Ferahi