• 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.
  • Russ Fradin
    Russ Fradin on July 29, 2014

    An Introduction to Employee Advocacy

    Employee advocacy is an emerging new marketing strategy where companies empower their influential employees to authentically distribute brand approved content, create original content, and in turn earn recognition and rewards for their activity and participation.
  • BeverlyMay
    Beverly May on July 28, 2014

    4th Annual UX Awards are September 11-12 in San Francisco- get 15% off early bird tickets on us before July 31!

    4th Annual UX Awards, the premier awards for exceptional digital experience, will be held in San Francisco on Sept. 11-12 2014!
  • If you're hesitant to redesign your business's website responsively, you might think again after analyzing your mobile e-commerce performance. Take a look at some stats showing how customers behave when shopping on mobile and where your potential revenue could be lost.

    If you're hesitant to redesign your business's website responsively, you might think again after analyzing your mobile e-commerce performance. By analyzing your site's checkout process on mobile, you might gain a new perspective. Is your process easy? Is it frustrating? Take a look at some stats showing how customers behave when shopping on mobile and where your potential revenue could be lost. By consulting a UX designer, you can find out some practical changes that could decrease the amount of sales you're losing on mobile. 

    [[{"fid":"122281","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_caption[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_caption[und][0][format]":"filtered_html","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"e-commerce responsive infographic design by Blue Stout, NYC","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"e-commerce responsive design infographic by Blue Stout, NYC"},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"e-commerce responsive infographic design by Blue Stout, NYC","title":"e-commerce responsive design infographic by Blue Stout, NYC","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

    If you have a brick and mortar store, you may have written off online lead generation as the domain of ecommerce sites, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Here are just a few ways that local businesses can use online marketing to reach out to their target audience and get more customers in their stores.

    Although many small businesses have created a website and Facebook page that covers the bare minimum, plenty of local businesses are still missing out on opportunities to use their websites to generate qualified leads.

    If you have a brick and mortar store, you may have written off online lead generation as the domain of ecommerce sites, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Here are just a few ways that local businesses can use online marketing to reach out to their target audience and get more customers in their stores.

    Align your internet strategy with a focus on leads, not traffic. Many businesses (and SEO consultants) make the mistake of aiming to drive as many visitors as possible to a website.  That may sound great, but 100 visitors that fit your target demographic are worth far more than 10,000 visitors who have absolutely no need for your products or services. Make sure your strategy is driven by your business goals, not just traffic generation.

    Ensure your have a lead capture mechanism on each landing page. At the very least, you want a clear call-to-action on each and every page, but there are dozens of ways to encourage people to reach out to you. Just a few ideas include incentivizing them by offering a free e-newsletter, e-book, or coupon in exchange for their email address. What’s right for a business depends highly on your demographic and business goals, and the right internet marketing expert can help guide you in the process.

    Develop a system to follow-up on those leads. If you’re capturing dozens or hundreds of leads, you’re headed in the right direction, but you have to do something with those leads. You must follow up in order to get them to convert.

    Make contact information easy to find – on desktop and mobile devices. Don’t make web users do an in-depth search of your website just to find your phone number and address. Many consumers will be searching from mobile devices, and if they have to do a lot of scrolling or squinting, they’ll turn to another business with a better website layout.

    Invest in mobile click-to-call. The fewer clicks a web user has to make to contact your business, the more likely they are to actually do it. Recognizing this, Google recently added a click-to-call extension for their Adwords. If you use this extension, a phone icon and the word “Call” will appear below your ad listing in search results, and people who have performed the search from their phone can simply click the button to immediately call your number.

    Get listed online. When was the last time you used a phonebook to look up the number for a business? If you can’t remember, you’re certainly not alone. With more and more people eschewing land lines for cell phones and businesses listing their contact information online, bulky phonebooks have largely become obsolete.

    However, as the physical yellow pages have vanished, virtual Yellow Pages and other local business directories have sprung up. In addition to prominently displaying your business contact information on your website, get your company listed in these directories – and keep them updated – so that local consumers can easily find you. You can also use them to do communicate with customers about new products, changing hours, or other important announcements, and run specials and promotions.

    Claim your location on map sites. Speaking of local directories, claim your profile on map sites, like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By doing this, you can make sure these sites aren’t posting inaccurate information about you (you won’t see new customers if your physical address is listed incorrectly online) and respond to consumer feedback.

    Include a contact form on your website. Adding a contact form to your site is incredibly easy to do (there are many templates available, and if you use a platform like Wordpress, they already have contact templates built in) and also incredibly advantageous. It provides site visitors with an easy way to provide feedback, ask questions, and request services and information, and it allows you to directly communicate with site visitors who may be interested in your products, improving your lead generation as a result.

    Ask for reviews. If a current customer emails you or tells you in person how great they think your business is, politely ask if they’d be willing to write a short testimonial for your website or post a review on a site like Yelp. These positive reviews can help your business rank more highly in the search engine listings, and they’ll also encourage the many people who use review sites as research tools to come visit your brick and mortar location.

    Try drip marketing. This communication strategy involves sending shorter, pre-written messages to prospects over time. These messages are called “drips”, and they are designed to help lead a prospect to converting into a sale. If you have captured online leads, this is just one strategy available to you for following up via email marketing.

    Effective online marketing can drive impressive results for brick and mortar locations, but it requires keen analysis, frequent monitoring, and adjustment to ensure a positive ROI. Many businesses don’t have this type of expertise in-house and may find it valuable to elicit the help of an online marketing expert to develop a strategy for them.

    One of the first steps to building an online community is creating and implementing a community engagement strategy. As you build and grow, keep in mind these five hard and fast rules of community engagement.

    One of the first steps to building an online community is creating and implementing a community engagement strategy. Once you have a solid following of members, it will be the most important thing that you do, as engagement is one of the two main types of measuring online community performance. As you build and grow your online community, keep in mind these five hard and fast rules of community engagement.

    1.         Have a Strategy Plan and Stick to It

    Once you’ve decided what your community is about and what you see for the future, hold on to it dearly. Figure out your plan of action for the 1st week, 1st month, then 3, 6 and 9 months. Develop your brand and decide what types of weekly or bi-weekly features you might have. Perhaps you want to start a tradition of weekly forums. Write everything down and stick to it. You’ll feel accomplished and members will appreciate your commitment.

    2.         Tools and Apps don’t build Communities, Members do.

    In the early days of building your community, it’s important to keep things simple. New members can often become overwhelmed if there are too many options for engagement. Stick to a text post field, a photo upload capability, etc. No more than two or three applications. Focus on your members needs and wants, not on the gadgets/widgets/what-have-you.

    3.         Provide Guidelines

    This may seem restrictive but early adopters to online communities can benefit from a little direction. Setting guidelines for what and what not to post is crucial for setting the tone of your community. Provide members with a welcome email and include a few dos and don’ts as far as engagement goes. They’ll appreciate the effort on your part, as the community manager, to keep things on track.

    4.         Trust is Paramount

    Don’t try to be anything you or your brand is not. Members are much more in tune with who you really are than you might think, so don’t undermine them. Plus, the more human you seem, the fiercer the connection they will feel to you and your community. Also remember it goes both ways - trust your community members and give them opportunities to shine in front of the community.

    5.         Seek Out Key Members and Reward Them

    As you grow your community, you’ll notice a handful of members who have taken to you and your community quickly. These members are your biggest advocates and your most effective salespersons. Engage them directly, early and often. If you keep these guys around, they’ll perform for you - meaning they’ll enhance the activity of the community and even bring others in for you. Highlight their accomplishments, reach out to them to offer a weekly column or profile piece, etc. Let them know they’re valued.

    How do you engage your online community? Share your strategy tips with me in the comments sections below!

    Without a doubt, there is a need to redefine the role of the marketer for the digital age. But that's not sufficient. Digital is not limited to marketing; change has to originate from the C-Suite to actively lead the transformation to the social business.

    Without a doubt, there is a need to redefine the role of the marketer for the digital age. But that's not sufficient. Digital is not limited to marketing, change has to originate from the C-Suite to actively lead the transformation to the social business.

    The Case for the CDO

    A good contribution to the topic is the report The Case for the Chief Digital Officer (free download) by Ex-Constellation Researcher Peter Kim, who - interestingly - has since become CDO at Cheil Worldwide. Talk about defining your own role.

    Peter argues that the CDO needs to be separate from the CMO and CIO role to bridge the gap between marketing and IT. Reporting directly to the CEO, the CDO, will be responsible for digital disruption by driving a "digital-first mindset".

    The report quotes Benny Landa, who predicted in the 90s that "everything that can be digital will be digital." As this appears to be correct, businesses now have to figure out how to leverage "digital" to create customer value or risk being left behind.

    Code Halos

    This view fits in with the world described in the book Code Halos by Cognizant:

    "Every digital click, swipe, "like," buy, comment, and search produces a unique virtual identity – something we call a Code Halo™. While Code Halos are important to each of us, they are becoming increasingly vital to the success of every business."

    According to CodeHalos, for a business to create a winning solution:

    • A supporting business model is crucial.
    • "If it costs more than $50 and you can't eat it, put a Code Halo around it".

    Beyond the Case for the CDO

    Since Peter Kim's report about the CDO, Ray Wang, Founder of Constellation Research, has evolved the concept in line with the Code Halos model.

    For the Slideshare deck, Seven Design Rules for Digital Transformation and Digital Business, Ray chose the unambiguous sub-title "More than a Chief Digital Officer, we need Digital CXO's".

    Here the Abbreviated 7 Rules that Explain Why a CXO is Needed:

    Rule 1:

    Digital disruption is more than just a technology shift. It’s about transforming business models and how organizations engage. The goal is to create transformational business models.

    Rule 2:

    We move from selling products and services to keeping brand promises. Time to market, pricing, and product differentiation are not enough in a digital world. .

    Rule 3:

    Forget millenials, Gen-X, Gen-Y, baby boomers and others. How we communicate, the values we share, and how we interact with technology stem from our digital proficiency.

    Rule 4:

    Data is the foundation of digital business. Every touch point, every click, every digital exhaust is relevant insight.

    Rule 5:

    If 20 % of your revenue is not an insight stream by 2020, you won’t have a digital biz model.

    Rule 6:

    You need more than a CDO to infuse digital into your organization. You need a broad bench of Digital CXO’s.

    Rule 7:

    We must invest in digital artisans. Concurrently, a market will develop for those who can spread the digital business gospel and infuse digital artistry into organizations.

    Read Ray's full post with more great insights here.

    A special thanks to Ray, for allowing me to use his firm's research in this blog. Ray is a great analyst as well as a kind and supportive spirit!

    Further Reading:

    digital transformation / shutterstock

    Every employee plays a part in your business. Letting themselves brand on social media would give you an extra point as an employer. It’s a simple math. Your company’s social value = Your company’s official social media accounts + Each one of your employees’ social score.

    Would you be in agreement with me if I say social media is teamwork? The importance of social media for businesses is no more a secret. Similarly, social media is important for any individual, who belongs to the world of web. However, if you are asked to keep count on your social media score, most of you would rate it, based on your social media business pages and profiles. WRONG.

    Let’s assume your company has a strength of 50 people. When you are about to calculate your company’s social media score, you should count each and every member’s social media score along with that of your company’s. And this is the reason that every employer should ask his employees to brand themselves on social media.

    It’s a simple math.

    Your company’s social value = Your company’s official social media accounts + Each one of your employees’ social score

    Every employee plays a part in your business. Letting themselves brand on the space would give you an extra point as an employer. You can enrich your portfolio, stating that such talented people are working with you. And there are other benefits as well.

    When they will participate actively on social media, your company’s content will be shared more and more. It will increase your reach. Similarly, every person is different in nature and communication. By encouraging them to use social media, you are actually allowing them to market their skill set to a broader niche.

    Aren’t they good enough motivations to egg on your employees start from today?

    But there are some don’ts as well, if you want success from your initiative.

    Don’t ask your employees to share only your company content.

    This will bring boredom and they will consider it as a duty. Even if they will start with it, they will stop shortly. Rather, ask them to be themselves while maintaining the company decorum.

    Don’t let them share your company’s secrets.

    I still remember an incident, when a colleague tweeted about office power-cut and what consequences she had to face. Prepare a DON’Ts list beforehand and make sure everyone understands them properly.

    Happy teamworking!