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Posts Tagged ‘content’

How a Roll of Sushi Changed My View on Marketing

December 1st, 2015
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As a marketer, sushi really fascinates me.

I do enjoy a good sushi roll, but I am by no means a “sushi connoisseur.” However, the fact that I have met so many of them really intrigues me. How can so many people be so passionate about the rolling up of raw fish and rice?

I was recently visiting a friend, and he began to pontificate about the best local sushi restaurant, apparently rated one of the best in the world. He also claimed that I technically have never had sushi until I’d had it from this restaurant. He said I would “simply die” after just one bite (see irony). And I know my friend was not alone, for it took several weeks to get reservations for this restaurant.

Again, the sushi phenomenon fascinates me. Why would anyone wait weeks for sushi when they can just go to the local grocery store? Sushi and sushi, right?

How a Roll of Sushi Changed My View on Marketing

 

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How Dunkin’ Donuts Increased Mobile Engagement Through Customer Relationships

November 24th, 2015
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“I think that mobile is one of the most profound changes we’ve seen in marketing in years,” John Costello, Global Marketing & Innovation, Dunkin’ Brands, Inc, said when I sat down with him in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at DMA’s event &THEN.

‘America Runs on Dunkin’ is more than just a slogan, he said. It really infiltrates every aspect of the brand to customer relationship.

“Because of that, mobile is absolutely perfect for us,” he said, adding that, “mobile has really evolved from a small phone to a smart phone to a hand-help computer, to really, the remote control for your life.”

With mobile’s transition to becoming an essential part of consumers’ lives, Dunkin’ decided to put mobile front and center in its marketing strategies.

That decision goes back to being customer-focused, John said.

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Tips for Incorporating GIFs in Email

November 3rd, 2015
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I am a serial email subscriber. If I think there’s even a chance that a company’s subscription list will provide me with discounts, fashion tips, insightful news stories or even just a joke every now and then, I will most likely click that sign up button.

This email addiction paired with my experience reporting for MarketingSherpa’s Email beat has transformed my promotional Gmail folder into a nest of virtual hoarding. But it has also given me insight into the latest trends in email marketing.

One trend that seems to overwhelm my inbox is adding GIFs to emails. If you’re unfamiliar, a GIF (commonly pronounced “JIF,” like the peanut butter) is a short animated graphic without sound that typically replays the same visual sequence on a loop.

In the Internet age where memes and GIFs seem to reign supreme, adding these fun graphics seems like an engaging and relatable strategy for companies to employ. However, as I’ve learned sifting through my inbox, there is a proper and an improper way to incorporate graphic animations.

Read on for a quick guide on the do’s and don’ts of GIFing while emailing.

 

Use a GIF when: Flat images would detract from a specific message

For the majority of emails, using an image that relates to its content is enough of an illustration. However, there are instances where using a flat image actually detracts from your overall message. Take a promotional campaign from Dell, for example.

The computer company wanted to send out an email advertising its new Dell XPS 12 Convertible Ultrabook: a laptop with a hinge design that allowed it to transform into a tablet. While Dell could use flat images of the device in both computer and tablet mode, the company decided to instead use a GIF, showing the device’s transformation. This illustrated the full capabilities of the product in a fun way.

Dell

 

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Email Marketing 101: How to determine the right email content for your subscribers

August 21st, 2015
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As a consumer, nothing makes my day like reading or shopping for anything related to arts and crafts (it’s my thing). However, one annoyance we all seem to run into is being sent an email to sell you on a product that you would never want nor need.

How can you avoid being that pain in a customer’s inbox?

The answer is in targeting your content. It is one of the most important, and sometimes underutilized, elements of email marketing.

At the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center, Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, interviewed Jessica Best, Digital Marketer, emfluence, on ways marketers can focus on their customers in order to build the right content.

 

From this interview, below are four key takeaways on how marketers can provide customers with the best content for their needs.

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Creating Engaging Content: A five-step method for busting writer’s block

July 7th, 2015
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Ah … the ambience of a blank white computer screen. I am staring at one right now. There are the days when this glow speaks freedom and fresh opportunity and I take it. But then, there are those days, like right now, where the glow feels more like an impenetrable force field.

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Although I’m not a great author, it’s a comfort to know that I am not alone in suffering from terrible writer’s block. Dorothy Parker, who wrote hundreds of poems and short stories, sent this note about it to her editor in 1945.

 

So what do I do when I know I have something to say, but I just can’t get it into words? Should I start scouring the Web to find something interesting to comment on? Or should I just rehash something that I have thought about or written about before? Or, the most tempting, do I just give up and hope my muse shows up tomorrow?

I’m not going to lie — all those methods can work, and have worked for me in the past.

However, there is one particularly useful approach that I have learned over the years for dealing with content writer’s block, particularly when you are on a deadline. Because — face it — as much as we would like to let creativity gently come to us, sometimes we have to go and take it by force.

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Creating a Viral Environment to Serve Your Customers

June 23rd, 2015
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The impulse to share something new with someone else is a natural and universal trait.

In the age of the Internet, why are some things shared while others are not? What causes a piece of content to go viral? To help answer this, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Jonah Berger, author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 to learn how an email marketer can create a viral environment. 

 

Word-of-mouth is extremely important in creating a viral environment. You have a subscriber list but to grow that list you have to get people to share your content. We all know word-of-mouth marketing matters. What’s less clear is how to get it.

There is a science to word-of-mouth, and the key is to think about it internally and externally while keeping the customer at the center. Too often we find ourselves focusing on the product — but how in-depth do we go thinking about the users? What drives them? What is that underlying behavior that triggers them to share content?

After spending 15 years studying the science of why things catch on, Jonah Berger developed the S.T.E.P.P.S. framework, which is a series of psychological factors that drive and trigger the sharing mechanism.

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Four Key Discoveries from “The Economist’s” Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and Their B2B Audiences

June 16th, 2015
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The Economist, in association with New York-based marketing research firm Peppercomm, recently conducted a global survey of top business leaders and marketers on the topic of content marketing. 500 global business executives were surveyed to find out what they look for from content providers, and 500 global marketers were asked about how they build their content strategy. Findings were published in a study titled “Missing the Mark: Global Content Survey of Brand Marketers and their B2B Audiences.

Let’s take a brief look at four key discoveries from “Missing the Mark”:

 

1. Though marketers are increasing their investment in content, content strategy remains poorly understood organizationally

93% of brand marketers surveyed have plans to either maintain or increase their budget for content marketing. Despite this heavy investment in content creation, less than a third of marketers believe that the purpose of the brand’s content is highly understood within their organizations.

 

2. There is a massive disconnect between the content that business executives seek and the content that marketers provide

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The majority of global business leaders surveyed (75%) report that they turn to content to research complex business ideas within their industries. Specifically, executives find the most value in content that helps them to better understand the general views and practices of their peers. Also, content that presents two sides of complicated industry issues and content that confirms or sheds new light on business strategies are considered to have value.

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Designing Slides That Don’t Suck: 20 questions to ask before you present

March 24th, 2015
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When I first started at MarketingSherpa, I was hired under the title of “Visual Storyteller.” Although that title is ambiguous, I learned that I was hired to address a pain point that many professionals face: using PowerPoint efficiently.

My title has since changed, but I remain an advocate for fluent visual expression in the same way that editors are keen on using words efficiently.

As part of my position, I’ve consulted with many speakers over the past few years on creating effective presentations.

Time and time again, I find that confusion lies in how to treat PowerPoint. Many think of PowerPoint as a presentation buddy — that content is on the slides and coming out of the speaker’s mouth and bullet points are simply needed to reinforce the speaker’s message.

This is not true. A person can only process about 1.6 conversations at a time. He can choose to either listen to you or read your slides. The other .6 gets split between emails, texts and interior monologue, to name just a few other channels.

The dictators of any presentation include: audience, context, purpose and design.

audience content purpose design

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Digital Marketing: Quick insights from Adobe Summit on perfecting the art and science of marketing

March 11th, 2015
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From the opening General Session at Adobe Digital Marketing Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, the speakers reiterated, in one way or another, the thesis statement made by Brad Rencher, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Adobe:

Consistent and continuous experiences only happen when marketing goes beyond marketing, and the reality is that brands have to earn it every day, with each experience. With each touch point, we either win or we lose.

Marketers need to fight every day to be personal with consumers — this isn’t a plane you can reach or a level to be achieved. It’s a consistent struggle won through consistently building up small interactions.

If those word choices — fight, struggle — sound harsh, forgive me. With Adobe Summit’s gigantic main stage, complete with three towering screens, impeccable design and A/V feats, it’s easy to lean into the theatrical feel of the event.

Adobe-031115

 

Digital marketing is certainly not real war or strife, but each speaker takes the stage not unlike the speech in “Patton,” commanding attendees to work for a better (marketing) world. The marketers here begin to feel like foot soldiers who believe they can engage customers with genuine interactions.

These aren’t actions savvy brands should be shirking from because they’re difficult, but running toward. There are an overwhelming number of opportunities to understand your customers in digital marketing.

These three takeaways are just a start.

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How to Harness the Power of New Technology to Personalize to Your Audience

February 13th, 2015
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We are in the midst of an informational and technological revolution. It is constantly changing the way we communicate. There is an unspoken drive deep down in the collective psyche of humanity that is pushing us to make communication faster and universal.

Being able to express complex ideas is vital to our species’ survival. It’s taken us from caves to high rises. From wall paintings and smoke signals to emails and international phone calls, the way we communicate is versatile and fluid. What’s the norm yesterday could easily be archaic tomorrow.

As marketers we have to communicate our companies’ ideas, products and values to potential customers in any medium they communicate in.

As we move toward more instant communication, the marketer has to evolve with consumers. Just like the shift from direct mail to email, the savvy marketer must know when to move to a new technological medium and how to market correctly in that medium.

 

Mobile email

For several years there have been predictions about the end of email.  While email has changed significantly in the last 20 years, we now send more emails than ever before.

According to emailisnotdead.com, there are currently 4.1 billion email accounts that send 122+ billion emails per hour — and 53% of those emails were opened on a mobile device. The future of communication is mobile email, and there is already a lot of it going on.

In order to get ahead of this curve, email service providers (ESPs) are developing algorithms that automatically sort your emails. Google unveiled their answer to the overcrowded inbox late in 2014. A consummate innovator and leader in the email space, Google has developed a system that automatically sweeps your emails into three easy to manage subfolders: Updates, Social and Promotions. They have allowed more design elements to be featured in the subject line space and have made it even easier to clear a whole inbox in seconds.

So what does that mean for marketers?

It means that as ESPs move into the future, they will use bundling to sort people’s emails. This will most likely lead to the average clickthrough rate decreasing. However, the quality of the leads will go up because emails, instead of being cookie-cutter sends, can be personalized for individuals based on data marketers accrue. In the future, designers will have to work with content writers to make sure their emails stick out visually, alongside personalization.

Effect of Gmail Tabs

Chart courtesy of: MailChimp

 

Marketing efforts will need to work in conjunction with all the other marketing options the company is using. We have to move away from thinking about individual campaigns and towards holistic, cohesive marketing tactics.

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