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Mobile Interaction: Website or app? Optimize for both

January 20th, 2015 No comments

Over the past several years, marketers have often been faced with the conundrum of where to allocate funds in order to better compete in the mobile space. Should I focus my budget on the mobile app for my business, on making the website optimized for multiple device types (responsive or adaptive) or should I attempt to do both?

 

Take user behavior into account

While I feel like the question above has been well documented in other resources, I think one of the most important concepts to keep in mind is that whether you are focusing on a mobile app or on your website, user behavior should be considered first.

As the expectations of the billions of users with mobile devices continue to converge, the question should no longer focus on which medium (the mobile web or an app) you should focus on connecting with your users on, but instead on how you can most effectively connect with them no matter which medium you choose.

Luckily, there are numerous transferable principles between the world of app interaction and web design that can be applied with relatively little effort on your part.

 

Visual attention vs. interaction

Visual attention vs interaction

 

Don’t forget the classics. Despite the ever-expanding screen sizes of devices,  in most regions, people still start reading at the top left of their device. However, it is important to remember that on touch-reliant devices, interacting with content at the top of the screen with your thumb has become increasingly more difficult as screen sizes in mobile devices have grown.

Why do you think Apple implemented a new “Reachability” control on the iPhone 6 that brings content from the top of the screen down about a third of the phone?

This being said, whether you have an app or a mobile site, make sure you prioritize content you want read at the top of the screen, but be selective in placing content you want interacted with at the top of most screens.

For items such as buttons, filters, drop-downs, quick navigation, etc., consider utilizing real-estate toward the bottom of the screen instead of toward the top to make the user’s life easier. Menus and navigation are still generally better at the top of the screen as the menu “hamburger” (see screenshot below) now seems to be so ubiquitous that it has become web-standard for responsive sites  Techcrunch also offers a great article on mobile navigation and reasons to “kill the hamburger” here.

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Global Ecommerce: The $1.2 trillion opportunity outside North America

January 16th, 2015 No comments

According to eMarketer, a marketing research company, ecommerce sales are expected to hit $1.771 trillion this year — with $1.233 trillion of those sales coming from outside North America.

Keeping this figure in mind, I sat down with Don Davis, Editor-in-Chief, Internet Retailer, after his trip to Shanghai to get some tips and advice for you as you expand your ecommerce business internationally:

 

We talked about the similarities and differences to the U.S. market, challenges of fulfillment and the important of trust to the Chinese consumer.

For example, when discussing trust, Don said, “Ratings and reviews are really important in China, because there are still a lot of fakes.”

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Tweetables: Top 10 MarketingSherpa posts of 2014 (according to you)

December 30th, 2014 No comments

It seems like only a short time ago I was sitting at my desk, staring at a fresh new calendar in front of me — an act that spurred feelings of intimidation, daunt and excitement.

But that was 12 whole months ago.

Over the past year, our team of bloggers have written over 100 posts for the MarketingSherpa Blog alone. I’m pulling together the ones that you’ve shared the most over the past year with your friends and colleagues into a single tidy post.

Something that stood out as I sorted the top shares by category (content marketing, email marketing and social media) is that marketers are evolving their mindsets from company-focused messaging to customer-centric messaging.

 

Content Marketing

Although content marketing may no longer be considered shiny and new, marketers continue to learn how to harness their talents and abilities into this form. No longer are we only marketers, but we are also artists, authors and videographers who strive to reach customers in ways that were not possible only a few years before.

Bolstered by the rest of the categories covered in this post, content is now an essential lighthouse to guide your customer to conversion in a world of saturated and stormy information across the Web.

 

Posts you shared the most:

 

What your peers said:

Tweet 1
 

The above tweet is is reference to Content Marketing: 9 examples of transparent marketing.

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Big Data: No longer a big buzzword

December 16th, 2014 2 comments

This week in the MarketingSherpa Book Giveaway, we’re giving out five free copies of The Big Data-Driven Business: How to use big data to win customers, beat competitors and boost profits.

In this MarketingSherpa Blog post, we interviewed one of the co-authors, Russell Glass, for his insights on leveraging big data and what’s on the horizon for this much-discussed topic.

Russell currently serves as Head of B2B Marketing Products at LinkedIn and previously served as Founder, President and CEO of Bizo, acquired by LinkedIn this year for $175 million.

Sean Callahan, Senior Manager of Content Marketing, LinkedIn, and former Marketing Director of Bizo, served as co-author of The Big Data-Driven Business.

Read on to discover how big data has brought Marketing and Sales closer than ever and what marketers can do to use big data effectively and ethically.

 

What really is big data?

“One of the reasons we wrote the book is that we saw a big discrepancy between those who understand big data and those who were either skeptical of it or didn’t know what to think about it,” Russell said.

For a marketer just getting started in understanding and leveraging big data, Russell explained that it’s all about knowing your customers much better than you know them today through technology.

 

Why is big data so valuable?

For CMOs and marketers driving success for their company and achieving huge gains by using big data, they are putting a culture in place that is asking deep and insightful questions about their customers.

“They are understanding what makes a customer tick, what their customer is looking for and how can marketers create more relevant experiences for that customer,” Russell said.

Then, these marketers using big data are putting the systems in place to answer those questions as well as using all of those increases in processing power, storage and technology to create a better experience for their customers.

“These CMOs, because they are so close to the customer, they become the person in the organization that’s most likely able to move shareholder value,” he explained.

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Email Marketing: Which of these 5 Award nominees can help you improve results?

December 9th, 2014 No comments

Email marketing is often a constant grind of tiny wins and (hopefully) tiny losses.

That’s why it’s such an honor to be able to recognize a marketing team for their relentless work on a campaign, where despite limitations, they were able to make a real difference in the email conversation between company and customer.

This is my second year as a judge for the MarketingSherpa Email Awards (sponsored this year by Blue Hornet) and it’s always a lot of work (30 hours of pre-screening, followed by 20 hours of deliberation) but a privilege to be able to debate and discuss strengths and weaknesses in email marketing with four other judges, who all come from different email marketing perspectives.

The joy that we get out of it is why this year we wanted to share that process with you, the MarketingSherpa Blog reader, by creating the MarketingSherpa Award – Readers’ Choice category.

Out of 500 speaking submissions and email case studies, the judging panel selected two Best-in-Show winners for B2B and B2C, as well as five finalists for the Readers’ Choice. All five are listed and detailed below with links to full case studies if you wish to learn more.

You can now vote for your Readers’ Choice Award winner. After voting, give your Klout score a workout by showing your favorite some love and sharing on social media.

All of the campaigns met our judging criteria of being transformative, customer-centric, innovative and offering transferable principles that marketing peers can apply to their efforts. Each case study displayed strong results. From there, it’s up to you to decide which one deserves top honors.

Have different criteria? Thoughts to share on any of the campaigns? Let us know in the comments.

Happy voting!

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3 Steps for Crafting a Crowdfunding Pitch (and Improve Your Marketing)

December 2nd, 2014 No comments

The hardest part of getting any endeavor off the ground is to secure funding. Traditionally, in order to gain enough funding for a project, entrepreneurs had to go to banks or find funding through willing investors.

Today, entrepreneurs can achieve funding through a variety of ways including friends and family, angel investors or venture capitalists, but none of them are as interesting as the crowdfunding phenomenon that has surged into legitimacy in the past decade.

Crowdfunding might be an activity for startup companies raising funds, but marketers can learn a lot from the crowdfunding process, from the importance of the pitch to creating effective video marketing content – in this case, the startups are marketing themselves to potential investors.

 

How does crowdfunding work?

In crowdfunding, the entrepreneur solicits donations from the public either in person at events like Jacksonville’s One Spark Festival, or by using a variety of online websites like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.

Crowdfunding is unique because it allows the entrepreneur to pitch their product while simultaneously perform a focus group dedicated to their product with very little risk. The more people who invest in a campaign, the higher the interest there will be in the final product.

There has been a lot written about crowdfunding campaigns. You can find, in my opinion, one of the best blogs written by Tim Ferriss of The Four-Hour Work Week fame on how to raise $100,000 in 10 days.

My focus in this blog will be to explain how to craft the most important part of a crowdfunding campaign: the pitch.

 

Pitching a crowdfunding project

The pitch is generally a 3-5 minute video explaining to your potential investors who you are, what you are trying to accomplish, how much money it would take to reach your goal, why you need that specific amount, and what’s in it for them.

Depending on your budget, your video could be professionally made or shot with a simple camera phone. What matters most is your content:

“The strength of your video pitch often determines how likely you are to meet your crowdfunding goal.”

The Bank to the Future

 

The pitch can be broken down into three sections: The hook, the core and the bribe.

 

Step #1. The hook

According to the Bank to the Future’s useful video on crafting a pitch, the first 8-16 seconds of your video should be used to capture your potential investor’s interest.

In those seconds, it’s important to introduce them to the purpose of your video and to tell them visually or verbally what they are going to get out of watching it. If you have a prototype, show it in action. If you don’t, state your value proposition.

To craft your value proposition, ask yourself the following question; “If I am your ideal investor, why should I help you reach your crowdfunding goal?”

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Marketing: Science versus art

November 25th, 2014 2 comments

The discoveries of science can never fully bridge the mystery of the human mind. We need art to discern the difference. The effective marketer converts experiments and metrics into elegant forms of communication. For the marketing organization to be truly successful, it must respect both the science and the art. Indeed, marketing translates science into art.

-Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS Institute

 

As the FlintsNotes.com curator, I often come across profound observations like this one.

I try to have Flint elaborate on them, or at least jot down some notes of other lectures or observations that pertain to it. Flint sometimes says jokingly that he has been “accused of being a scientist,” the scientific approach to marketing being sometimes seen as a means to an end.

In a perfect world, we would instinctively know what our customers want, and the best way to communicate our message.

 

The science of marketing

The science behind online marketing today is a fairly new tool in which we can use to learn a great deal about our prospects.

This tool, the Internet, enables us to track how prospects react to our various offers or messaging. One of the reasons why this method of testing is superior is because it is a record of how your customers have already performed. It is far more powerful than a focus group – for example, where a person may believe they will act one way, but in reality, behave a in a completely different manner.

The art of marketing has been around for arguably much longer.

Since the dawn of man, we have been convincing each other to purchase or accept food, weapons, goods or even religious beliefs. The ability to connect with another human being, to innately know what the other person is seeking, becomes one of the sharpest weapons in the marketer’s arsenal.

Metrics and data analytics can begin to paint the picture of what your prospects are truly interested in.

Even when prospects do not accept an offer or click the desired button, the choices they do not make tell a great deal about what they want.

By interpreting these results, the marketer can glean discoveries about their customers’ behavior that can be implemented across various other channels.

When the marketer can be sure an offer is being communicated effectively online through testing, that same messaging is likely to be just as effective in other channels like direct mail, or in-person at a store.

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Event Marketing: How much should I expect to pay for a keynote?

November 21st, 2014 8 comments

When I was asked to find costs for keynotes as a younger, fresher and greener event content coordinator, I thought it would be as easy as asking Google, “How much does it cost to have [name] speak at an event?”

After all, Google holds the answer for almost everything – it can even answer questions like: Do I have Ebola? How do you know if a guy likes you? What should I eat for dinner?

Unfortunately, it turned out to not be as simple as Googling it. Many factors determined behind the scenes go into how much you’ll spend on a keynote. This is why many speaker bureaus say “contact us for fee” in order to share that number.

Whenever I searched for an estimated keynote cost for a specific speaker, or even a generic title, the search results brought up speaker agencies, which is not what I wanted.

Although Google has been faithful to me in the past, there are some questions I ask that I’m still forced to answer and research on my own.

Here are the questions I typed into the search bar – in a million different ways – which I eventually had to learn.

 

Why is there such secrecy around speaker fees?

Depending on location, duration of the keynote and audience size, a speaker will adjust his or her fees.

The easiest way to establish and negotiate a keynote’s cost is by contacting them directly, which has been made moderately easy with the rise of social media and the ability to get (almost) anyone’s email address with a quick search.

However, not all speakers are so easy to track down.

You might decide to use a speaker agency. These resources can be incredibly frustrating to use as an event planner because once you contact the bureau for a speaker fee, you become a sales lead. You can now expect the agent to inevitably harass you about booking one of their speakers and to generously “keep you in mind” for future events.

With so many other things that I juggle throughout the day, like establishing the rest of the Summit agenda and working with other speakers, fielding calls is the last thing I have time for.

However, speaker bureaus can be helpful if you’re working with a blank slate or have a notoriously private speaker. They specialize in finding and contacting a highly sought-after keynotes who you can’t get a hold of on your own (at a price, of course).

 

Is there any way that I can estimate a budget for a keynote? How much does it cost to have a [insert career vertical] keynote at my event?

Although costs vary from speaker to speaker, I’ve noticed some trends while doing research for keynote speakers on our events – basic guidelines to help estimate spend.

keynote-speaker-ranges

 

Speakers determine their own fees. One speaker might think that their content is worth $10,000 and is more than happy to work with you, whereas someone more qualified might think that they’re worth $250,000 and there’s no flexibility in their mind.

Apart from that human element, this chart has three explanations:

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Why You Should Consider Customer Service to be 1-to-1 Marketing

November 7th, 2014 No comments

Some retailers only see customer service as an expense.

They view it as a cost that needs to be ruthlessly cut to the bare minimum by incentivizing call center reps to get the customer off the phone as quickly as possible and push customers to self-service portals instead of providing easy contact information.

Yet, a major challenge retailers face is that many are resellers and the products they sell are commodities.

 

If a customer can buy the product in many places, why should they buy from you?

Since the products are the same, retailers need to create a unique value proposition for their store.

One unique element of value can be your store’s customer service. According to data from the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study, customer responsiveness correlates with success.

Stop thinking of customer service as a cost center and start thinking about it as an investment in one-to-one marketing.

Let me show you what I mean by using a customer journey as an example.

In this case, the customer journey is one I intimately understand since it was my own. (Please Note: I am overdramatizing it for effect and to highlight different decisions that go through the buyer’s head. In reality, some of these journeys may happen in a matter of minutes and many happen at a subconscious level for the customer.)

 

My customer journey

In my hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., it has been raining and hot and cold and dark and bright and buggy and all sorts of other excuses I could come up with for not going running. I needed a fool-proof method for exercising.

After doing some pain-point-level research, I discovered a recumbent exercise bike would be the solution I was looking for, since I could comfortably catch up on HBO Go while exercising – just the motivation I needed. Some product category research led me to the Marcy ME 709 Recumbent Exercise Bike.

Now that my product search was complete, I had to decide where to buy it. This was a commodity product with the same exact model available at many retailers. A quick foray into a shopping search engine identified 38 online stores that sold the exact same bike.

 

One-to-many marketing

There were price differences, and that helped with store selection. But another factor that helped with store selection was one-to-many marketing.

With so many selections, there were various stores I trusted thanks to their overall advertising and branding campaigns, print ads, newspaper circulars, content marketing, a physical presence in my hometown and many other tactics I would consider one-to-many marketing.

This branding, combined with my overall experience with these stores in the past – even excellent branding can’t outweigh negative customer experiences – caused me to prefer some stores over others.

However, there were still many stores to choose from.

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Corporate Creativity: Managing your marketing team (and career) to balance innovation and execution

October 28th, 2014 No comments

You, my friend, are a knowledge worker.

All marketers are.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it was first coined by management guru Peter Drucker in the 50s.

Of Drucker’s six factors for knowledge worker productivity, the one I want to discuss in today’s MarketingSherpa blog post is:

“Continuing innovation has to be part of the work, the task and the responsibility of knowledge workers.”

This sounds like the perfect description of the challenges facing the modern marketer today.

 

Come up with out-of-the-box ideas (while sitting in a box)

Corporate CreativityNo longer can you rely on reaching potential customers by running a TV ad on the three major networks. Marketers must find innovative ways to use an endless (and growing) array of channels to reach customers.

They must combine smart uses of data and metrics to understand what their customers want and make sure they are delivering that content effectively (while proving the effectiveness to business leaders).

They must also combine this innovative thinking with persistence and process-orientation. After all, marketers must be able to execute these campaigns in complex corporate environments while managing budgets, agency and vendor relationships and corporate policy.

Essentially, marketers need corporate creativity.

 

Is corporate creativity an oxymoron?

“Creativity” is defined as “the use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work.”

Also, the connotation of “corporate” is “Oppressively awful in that numbingly ‘cubicle in a hermetically-sealed office’ kind of way: lacking good quality, morality or ethics, excellence, creativity, spontaneity, kindness, love, integrity, beauty or intrinsic worth and meaning,” according to the ever-reliable Urban Dictionary.

In other words, these two aspects of marketing success do not necessarily go hand-in-hand  — innovation and execution.

It is your challenge as a marketing leader to make sure your team (and even your agencies and vendors) never lose that wild spark when working on your brand and campaigns.

Yet, they must be able to execute, manage projects and deliver on time and on budget.

Quite the conundrum. It’s a challenge that deeply interests me, so when I recently came across an article by Joe Robinson in Entrepreneur magazine, “The Secret to Increased Productivity: Taking Time Off,” I knew I had to talk to Jeff Stibel, CEO, Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. and author of Wired for Thought from Harvard Business Press and Breakpoint from Palgrave Macmillan Trade.

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