David Kirkpatrick

Content Marketing: User-generated content tips from Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia

July 15th, 2014

At the recently held Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, and Allison Banko, Reporter, both of MECLABS, interviewed event speakers and attendees in the MarketingSherpa Media Center.

In this 11-minute video, watch as Daniel spoke with Wikipedia CEO and Founder Jimmy Wales on how to encourage user-generated content – a powerful element within an overall content marketing strategy. Jimmy also discussed why Wikipedia is the only top 50 website in a Wall Street Journal study covering companies that do not engage in any visitor tracking.

 

Empower people to provide the content they want to provide

Jimmy explained that user-generated content is not free labor for marketers, and that he dislikes the term “crowdsourcing” for that reason.

Retailers think, “I want people to do this work – I want them to write reviews for me.”

He explained, “Instead, they should turn it around and say, ‘What do my customers want to accomplish? What is it they are trying to express, and how can I help them express that?’”

Jimmy continued to say this mindset might lead you in new and different ways. Maybe reviewing products is boring for your customers, but what they are really interested in is discussing your products or services in a more general way in which they can add their expertise to a community.

“That’s the first idea I would give – flip it on its head,” Jimmy said. “Don’t think about the work you would like people to do; think about what it is people want to do and how you can empower them to do that.”

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John Tackett

Email Marketing: Don’t let email own the ecommerce showroom floor

July 11th, 2014

According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study (free download at that link), email was one of the most frequent sources of ecommerce traffic for organizations across every revenue range.

Email marketing being at the forefront of ecommerce marketing tactics is quite obvious when you consider the mass of storefronts that greet you with an email squeeze before you can even get to the shelves.

channels-drive-growth

 

It works, but only to a degree. According to Ben Pressley, Head of Worldwide Sales, Magento, there is one big problem.

Ben, who was accompanied with Pete Prestipino, Editor-in-Chief, Website Magazine, joined Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, at MarketingSherpa’s Media Center at IRCE to discuss the state of ecommerce in 2014.

As Ben explained, email now owns the showroom floor because it’s where a lot of organizations attribute revenue, perhaps even when they shouldn’t.

“Email and search are the two top channels in marketing, no surprise there,” Ben explained, “But I think we would classify that as having the approach of last-touch attribution, where you’re giving credit to the channel that didn’t necessarily stimulate the demand; you’re giving the credit to the channel that brought you the sale.”

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John Tackett

Ecommerce: Why going global really means going local

July 8th, 2014

Global ecommerce is growing.

With that growth comes two insights:

One is satisfaction on my part in seeing fellow anthropologists land jobs at Microsoft and Absolut Vodka to aid in marketing research.

The other part of that growth is the realization among savvy ecommerce marketers that delivering a consistent brand experience in a multi-cultural global marketplace is not going to be easy.

I say this in light of the recent interview between MarketingSherpa Reporter Allison Banko and Rob Garf, Vice President, Industry Strategy, Demandware, in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition.

Rob, who spoke at IRCE this year in Chicago, shared his thoughts on how preserving brand value and relevance across multiple cultures will be vital to delivering a consistent brand experience in new markets.

 

Brands looking to expand their reach into new cultures need to understand: It’s not about you; it’s about the locals.

“It comes down to really being entrenched in how consumers behave and how they want to interact with the brand,” Rob explained. “One key aspect is to have a local presence.”

If you want to see more interviews from ecommerce experts and in-the-trenches marketers, visit MarketingSherpa.com/IRCE.

Want to dig deeper into what’s working in ecommerce today? Download the MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study for insights gathered from 4,346 marketers on everything from what’s happening to the ecommerce landscape, to which strategies successful ecommerce companies are employing.

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Selena Blue

Email Marketing: Combining design and content for mobile success

July 1st, 2014

400%.

That’s how much mobile email opens have increased in just three years.

“Which is kind of crazy,” Justine Jordan, Marketing Director, Litmus, said following the recent statistics from Litmus’ research on mobile.

And she’s right. How many channels increase that much in usage in that short amount of time? Not many.

Because of the sudden growth, not all marketing departments have been able to keep up with the trend.

With 50% of emails being opened on a mobile device, mobile email strategy is worth considering for any market, even B2B companies.

Justine spoke at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 as an industry perspective in the session, “Email Design: How to optimize for ALL environments in a mobile world.”

She joined Allison Banko, Reporter, MECLABS, in the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014 Media Center. There, she recapped her industry perspective session, as well as hit on two mistakes she still sees among mobile emails: content strategy and best practices of mobile design.

“It’s key to get those two things working in tandem to really optimize the full experience,” she said.

 

In addition to her industry perspective session, Justine also joined a diverse panel of experts, solution providers and brand-side marketers on responsive email design. Watch a brief excerpt from that panel discussion below:

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Jessica Lorenz

Ecommerce: 2 tips to help small businesses navigate multichannel marketing

June 27th, 2014

This year at the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, Nicole Snow, Founder, Darn Good Yarn, sat down with Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, in the MarketingSherpa Media Center to discuss the challenges of navigating a multichannel digital landscape while retaining a small business identity.

Darn Good Yarn’s value proposition is based on stimulating growth in poverty-stricken areas of Nepal and India by recycling silk yarn into products Nicole imports and sells in the United States.

Nicole does not have a background of making yarn. In fact, when she began, knitting was only a hobby.

“[Starting my business was] a lot of learning and I tried to do things on the cheap; I was self-funded,” she said. “It was a real benefit because I respected every single marketing dollar. Every single test I did had to be really the right choice for me as a business.”

 

These careful business decisions penetrate the whole of Nicole’s business, from hiring employees to protecting her suppliers.

“People around the world work for me,” Nicole said. “I’m pretty proud of that business model because it really is indicative of a newer economy.”

Nicole has been very protective over the growth of her company, both in the U.S. and abroad.

She insisted part of becoming a successful small business includes “controlling growth and not allowing it to just blow up.”

“Then, you start getting abuses of supply chains and of humans that way and that’s important to us, to make sure that doesn’t happen,” she explained.

Here were two important takeaways Nicole offered to help small businesses navigate a multichannel digital world:

  • Purposefully enter channels – Find a few channels that work best for your small business because you can’t be everywhere.
  • Find advocates – Look for supporters who want you to succeed and build relationships with them.

 

Remember your roots

Let your passion bleed through every decision that you make for your business.

As companies grow, adaptations to an organization’s process and strategy are inevitable. We surveyed 4,436 marketers on how management styles and approaches should shift as ecommerce companies grow. You can see that data on page 15 of the MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study.

Want to see more interviews with IRCE speakers, industry experts and in-the-trenches marketers from the MarketingSherpa Media Center? All 32 exclusive interviews from IRCE are available for viewing.

 

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John Tackett

2 Tough Questions to Ask About Your Content Marketing Strategy

June 24th, 2014

At MarketingSherpa Lead Gen Summit 2013, Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute, shared some of the forgotten strategies for generating epic content.

One of those strategies revealed how creating a mission statement for your content can help you define the desired outcome for your content marketing efforts.

So in today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, I wanted to share two questions every marketer should ask about their mission statement to help craft (or refine) the ultimate purpose for content creation.

 

Question #1. Is our purpose clear?

Content-purpose

 

Here are two examples Joe shared of mission statements that are clear and concise in their purpose and intent. They also have one other unique similarity that’s worth mentioning.

Their focus is exclusively on helping customers instead of trying to sell to them, or as Joe explained:

“It’s not about trying to sell more,” Joe said, “It’s about what is the outcome for my persona.”

 

Question #2. Who does our content serve?

content-mission-statement

 

Joe also explained that creating a mission statement help fill in the strategy gaps is essential to give content a much needed targeted focus.

“This is part of the strategy that most of us don’t have,” Joe explained.

Here are three recommendations Joe had for crafting (or refining) your content marketing mission statement:

  • Core target audience – Who is your persona? What are you talking to?
  • What will be delivered? – Is this information useful?
  • The outcomes for the audience – What will your audience get out of consuming your content?

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John Tackett

Why Savvy Marketers Establish Affiliate Relationships with Bloggers

June 20th, 2014

Having in-house bloggers on your marketing team can keep your content flowing, but there are limits to the audience they can reach.

One way to solve this challenge, according to Carolyn Kmet, Chief Marketing Officer, All Inclusive Marketing, is strategically recruiting third-party bloggers outside of your team to help deliver the right mix of credibility and content that can reach new audiences.

At this year’s Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, MarketingSherpa hosted the event’s official Media Center. Our team of reporters interviewed marketers from across a variety of business verticals to learn insights on what works in ecommerce marketing.

As Carolyn explained to Allison Banko, Reporter, MECLABS, third-party bloggers can deliver additional exposure opportunities for your brand.

“Bloggers can position brands beyond traditional reach,” Carolyn explained.

 

According to the MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study, less than 40% of all companies surveyed utilize affiliate marketing as a traffic driver to an ecommerce site. Using bloggers as affiliates can help with driving traffic from audiences outside of your reach.

The trick is, as Carolyn explained, is to build relationships with bloggers and offer them content opportunities that make exposing your brand to their audience worthwhile.

To do that, she often recruits third-party bloggers outside of her team as affiliates and helps them access industry thought leaders for interviews that would be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain otherwise.

The affiliates create content from those interviews to share with their respective audiences.

“There’s a lot of transparency, Carolyn said. “It gives them fresh content for their audiences.”

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John Tackett

Email Marketing: Stop building lists and start building assets

June 17th, 2014

At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, Allison Banko, Reporter, MECLABS, captured an interview with speaker Jeff Rohrs, Vice President of Marketing Insights, ExactTarget, who shared a concept that should appeal to your inner entrepreneur.

If something doesn’t make money, then it doesn’t make sense.

I say this because, according to Jeff, email marketers are often underappreciated (and underpaid) because they don’t effectively connect the dots for executives on the true ROI of their marketing efforts.

“I think email marketers tend to be underappreciated in their organizations,” Jeff explained, “and I think part of that is the language we choose to communicate the value we bring to executives.”

 

Jeff’s proposed solution is to change the conversation by adjust the way marketers view what they contribute.

In sum, stop telling people you build email lists and start telling them you’re building proprietary assets that are exclusive to your company. One additional point Jeff shared was how social media is experiencing growing pains due to increasing pressure from executives to see clear ROI from social media.

“The executives are beginning to demand more from those channels and email marketers understand that because they’ve fought those battles,” Jeff explained.

Ultimately, Jeff delivered the bigger idea that your organizational marketing goals should supersede the channels you use to deliver them. As a result, hopefully marketers will be able to tear down the silos that emerge from those channels in the process.

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Rachel Minion

Social Media: 4 steps to build your personal brand using LinkedIn

June 13th, 2014

What is personal branding?

A personal brand is an expression of a value proposition.

It is a powerful message that clearly articulates who you are, what you do and how you create value.

When applied to social media, a personal brand creates a memorable first impression that entices visitors to connect with you. When using LinkedIn, a brand message should be the professional version of your value proposition. This brand messaging should be consistent throughout your profile and capture the attention of your visitors.

Here are some tips to establishing a personal brand on LinkedIn.

 

Step #1. Personalize your URL

In LinkedIn, you have the ability to personalize your public profile URL. A personalized URL is essential to establishing your personal brand as it is not only friendlier from an SEO perspective, but it allows for people to find you more easily.

Here are the steps to personalize your LinkedIn URL:

  1. Log in to LinkedIn.
  1. Move your cursor over Profile at the top of the page and select Edit Profile.
linkedin-edit-profile

 

  1. Find your current URL under your profile picture and click Edit.
linkedin-edit-url

 

  1. In the Your public profile URL box in the bottom right, click Customize your public profile URL.
customize-public-url
  1. Enter your new custom URL in the text box.
  • Your custom URL can have between five and 30 letters or numbers.
  • Do not use spaces, symbols or special characters.
  • You cannot change your URL more than three times in six months.
  • If the URL you want isn’t available, don’t give up. Try adding numbers to the end of the URL or slightly changing the text.
  1. Click Set Custom URL.

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Erin Hogg

Social Media: Marketing to millennials

June 11th, 2014

This week, MarketingSherpa is reporting live from the exhibit floor of the Internet Retailer Exhibition and Conference in Chicago. With a projected 10,000 attendees, IRCE is the world’s largest e-commerce marketing event, and we’re hosting its official Media Center, right in the middle of bustling McCormick Place.

We’ve interviewed IRCE speakers and attendees to get the pulse on e-commerce marketing in 2014. Interviewees have sat in  the hot seat to share what they’ve discovered on topics such as email, social, mobile and much more.

 

 

In today’s MarketingSherpa Blog post, watch this video with Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS, talking with Carlos Gil, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing, Save-A-Lot, on engaging with millennials on social media.

 

“Social media is not advertising; social media is relationship building,” Carlos said.

In his interview, Carlos stressed the importance of engaging with millennials on social media, rather than trying to sell them. According to Carlos, millennials behave differently online than other demographic groups, such as baby boomers, and marketers should adjust their efforts accordingly.

A great example of a brand doing social media right is Taco Bell, Carlos explained.

Watch his video to learn more, as well as insights on developing a personal brand and why picking the right social media platform for your own unique brand is so important.

Throughout IRCE, we’ll be posting the latest interviews from the Media Center, as well as live streaming straight from the set on MarketingSherpa.com/IRCE. You can also see alerts of the freshest content by following @MarketingSherpa on Twitter.

Want to dive deeper into e-commerce data? We recently conducted a nine-month editorially independent research study, made possible by a research grant from Magento, on the state of e-commerce marketing. With insights gathered from 4,346 marketers, download your complimentary MarketingSherpa E-commerce Benchmark Study to learn:

  • What is happening to the e-commerce landscape
  • What strategies successful e-commerce companies are employing
  • What marketing tactics successful e-commerce marketers are leveraging
  • And much more

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