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Who needs a website? Will Facebook become a new content provider

Mashable

Go to where the audience is — that’s the common refrain of 21st century media. Consumers are fragmented, and its up to journalists and editors to bring the news to them.

Video startup NowThis News announced last week that it would take that this idea to its logical extreme by eliminating its website. Its audience resided primarily on social media anyway, so that’s where the company now lives. Going forward, it will focus on publishing work directly to platforms like Facebook and Twitter instead of looking to drive consumers to its website.\

For years, the digital media model relied on getting people to come back to a website and then showing them ads. Early on, publishers looked to appear high on the results for search engines (so called search-engine optimization) or on major portals like AOL and Yahoo in order to take advantage of their audiences. The emergence of social as a traffic driver in the past few years has caused digital publishers to put resources into building out their followers on platforms like Twitter and Facebook.

As audiences have shifted to mobile, social media’s influence has grown.

“The reality is all the action is in the stream, whether it’s your Facebook stream or Twitter or Instagram. That’s where you’re spending your time,” said Andy Wiedlin, an entrepreneur-in-residence at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz and the former chief revenue officer atBuzzFeed, in an interview with Mashable.

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Customer Experience Tops Asia/Pacific CMOs’ Investment Agenda

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Customer Experience Tops Asia/Pacific CMOs Investment Agenda

Singapore and Hong Kong, February 16, 2015 – International Data Corporation (IDC) announces today that this year customer experience will become the number one customer-related priority for organizations in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) or APEJ. However, the CMO and CIO will need to partner and align their goals to guarantee success.

“Today, being first to market, having the lowest price, or being the best does not necessarily help. Businesses need to be agile and give customers what they want 24/7. Customers may buy your products or services, but what keeps them coming back is the experience,” says Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Senior Program Manager, Big Data, Analytics, Enterprise Applications & Social Lead IDC Asia/Pacific.

He advises marketers to become savvier about the business, data, and customers to address the “empowered buyer” needs. CMOs are expected to lead the enterprise transformation around customer experience. In fact, IDC Asia/Pacific CMO Barometer shows that 31% of CMO roles are expanding to include customer experience and support.

Jimenez notes, “The CMO role is evolving to incorporate new responsibilities. In other regions, we have seen organizations completely replacing this role with a Customer Experience Head.”

There is no denying there has been a lot of hype around customer experience and many organizations still struggle with the concept, since there are many moving pieces and intangibles. However, customer experience is far from being just today’s buzzword; it is a top priority for CMOs in 2015.

“If you are not already thinking about this then you are not listening to your customers. The idea of delivering greater experiences is not new; but what is different now is that organizations are increasingly focused on ensuring these initiatives are tracked and are using metrics that are closely aligned to the business,” says Jimenez.

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IAB Launches Guidelines To provide Greater Transparency in Digital Advertising

IAB
The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) has released part one of a set of guidelines to help the marketing industry provide more transparency to consumers around ‘native’ advertising.
See the guidelines here
See the research here

The guidelines provide advertisers, publishers, agencies and advertising technology companies with clear and practical steps to make it easier for consumers to spot native advertising – digital ad formats designed to look and feel like editorial content.

Supported by ISBA – the voice of British advertisers – the Association for Online Publishers (AOP) and the Content Marketing Association (CMA), the guidelines meet the UK advertising industry’s CAP code, which is enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Two of the key guidelines for native advertising formats are:

  • Provide consumers with prominently visible visual cues enabling them to immediately understand they are engaging with marketing content compiled by a third party in a native ad format which isn’t editorially independent (e.g. brand logos or design, such as fonts or shading, clearly differentiating it from surrounding editorial content)
  • It must be labelled using wording that demonstrates a commercial arrangement is in place (e.g. ‘paid promotion’ or ‘brought to you by’).

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What’s your content “type”?

IDG GlobalSolutions Color Whats your content type?

Jason Gorud – Vice President – IDC/IDG

I am not a thought leader.

I will not pretend to be one.

What you are about to read is not thought leadership. It’s just something worth thinking about.

My current role gives me access to some of the most interesting, influential, technology in the B2B space. More importantly, it puts me in touch with the marketing professionals and media agencies that sit at the forefront of the promotion of these wonderful solutions. Having had the chance to meet so many brilliant people I consider myself blessed. I am continually amazed by the tactics, strategies and little “tricks” employed by individuals and firms alike as they go about their business of building brand, pipeline and awareness for their respective companies.

My firm is often called into an organization in an advisory capacity to help groups understand a myriad of market complexities faced by tech firm executives; market share, vertical trends, new market entry strategy, channel ecosystem challenges are just a few of the areas where we attempt impart insight and actionable advice.

I have noticed that the aspirational goal of nearly every marketing professional I speak with is to position their firm as a “thought leader”. Almost with out exception the meetings I have with my clients, irrespective of the solution being covered, will meander into familiar territory: a chat about how to ensure their firm is seen as the“thought leader” in the [insert any tech solution here] space. Whether it’s OpenStack, smart cities, Software Defined Networks, mobile devices, printer ink, or cat toys everyone is zealously certain their message (and by extension firm, people and solutions) should, nay MUST, carry within it the holy seed of true THOUGHT LEADERINESS ( hmmmmmmm #ThoughtLeaderiness??? ).

In fairness, some do accomplish this goal, but most do not. Just like good and evil, smart and dumb, beautiful and ugly, Bert and Ernie, normal me and me being terse are mutually exclusive, yet co-dependent opposites, so too is though leadership content and the mundane. In each case one must exist in order to define the other.

So how do tech (actually you could replace tech with ANY) companies establish this coveted pre-eminence in the market’s collective brain? Why through effective content marketing of course! Thought leadership doesn’t simply descend from heaven in the form of an omnipotent alpha-Geek imparting the one, true path to CIOs by doling out wisdom via a series of arcane, magical gestures and select speaking engagements. If only it were that simple and TED talks that productive.

We’ve all heard that content is king. I disagree.

“Content” is this gigantic, nebulous, unchained beast to which all marketers have all become addicted.

Ladies and gentlemen, all you fans of irony in general, I give you the Ouroboros of marketing! King Content is king because we are told it’s king!

Content is not a monarchy, it is a meritocracy where only the best shall rule. Sadly content creation is out of control.

Don’t believe me? As far back as 2010 Eric Schmidt estimated humans created, every two days, as much content (information) as we had from the dawn of civilization until 2003. That was five years ago! Granted this is all content for allpurposes, but you get the point. And since the tech landscape hasn’t gotten simpler, and the range of personas buying solutions continues to expand outside of the CIO’s office, you can bet tech marketers haven’t slowed down in their Sisyphean attempt to keep prospective buyers abreast of the best [insert tech solution here]in the market. On a personal level, one of my clients told me their firm generated over 3,000 pieces of unique content last quarter alone. When I asked why I was told (verbatim): “We want to be the thought leaders in this space.”

So if you want a super-stressed, time and attention span deficient, self-educating, hyper-connected, socially plugged-in customer to actually read and react to your message, you’d best chain this beast. He’s not reading 3,000 pieces. You’re lucky if he reads three. Ask yourself: what am I releasing into the market and for what purpose? Is it worth the time, money and effort to get CONTENT X into the mainstream (and track it’s effectiveness)?

Here’s a handy little chart to help evaluate content types. I call it the Jason’s-Self-Evident-Quadrant-for-Content-Analysis, or the slightly more sexy version for the content cognoscenti the JSEQfCA . It just rolls off the tongue.

01c5ef6 Whats your content type?

NOISE: Do you produce a lot of content filled with jargon, buzzwords, aphorisms and techno-speak? Are your corporate videos super slick, produced by an agency rep that’s trying to channel his or her inner Fellini? Congratulations, you have produced Noise. Of all 4 types, this adds the least value to the market. It is neither informative nor interesting. No one intentionally creates Noise just like I don’t intentionally try and annoy my partner. It just happens. You start out trying to get a compelling message to the market and the next minute you’re being rather aggressively told to stop watching reruns of Escape to River Cottage and take the dog down (NOW) to go pee. This type of content is often created with the assumption that what is being released into the market builds brand. It usually doesn’t.

YOUR ACTION: Lazy marketing. Stop making this all together. How can you tell it’s noise? If you redact logos and any reference to your company in it and a 3rd party has no idea who the content refers to or what action he or she is meant to take after consuming it, then you have Noise.

FACT SHEET: Do you dig tech specs? Is feature/functionality your particular area of strength? Enjoy commissioning 20 page white papers on why your solution performs better than your competitors in a test environment? You’ve got Fact Sheet content! Please note that while this is quite useful to many IT decision makers, and can be quite important in the short-listing process, it does very little to engage the reader. It’s the content equivalent of eating a Clif Bar. Oh sure it has nutrients and keeps you going, but no one ever uttered the phrase “Damn, that was a delicious Clif Bar”. Fact Sheet content educates on specs, but does little to provide the reader with context vis-a-vis the problem your solution addresses. For some reason tech marketers love handing this type of content out at industry events.

YOUR ACTION: Important stuff but use it sparingly and never in lead gen or brand building campaigns. This content is best supplied as an “upon request” item. How do you recognize Fact Sheet content? If you hand it to someone not in your industry and they come away utterly dazed and confused, but when presented to an expert they say something like “oh X is .05 nanoseconds faster than Y? Neat!” you have Fact Sheet content.

FAST FOOD: We’ve all eaten McDonalds. Admit it. You have. Once in a while it’s the meal of choice because it’s cheap, easily procured, comes with a toy in some cases, and quickly consumed. It’s (possibly) a little tastier than a Clif Bar but you won’t ever fondly look back on “the best McDonalds ever” that inspired you to eat all the items on the menu because it’s just so forgettable. “Snackable” content such as infographics, “gamified” content, Tweets, this article I’m writing, and the like fall into this category. It will keep the consumer engaged for a short period of time, is great for building awareness, and is excellent for driving potential clients to more “dense” content. Unfortunately it lacks gravitas and usually won’t get people thinking of you as the guru in any field.

YOUR ACTION: This stuff is easy to crank out, easy to burn through, is great if you need to go wide and want your message shared socially. Understand that it does very little to affect a purchasing decision the further down the funnel you go, but it does grab attention. And just like McD’s builds item after item repurposing the same basic materials – really how different is a Big Mac from a Quarter Pounder with Cheese- crafting this content using source material from, for example, Fact Sheet content is a great way to “compound”, improve ROMI and create message cohesion. It works best in social media and ad campaigns. How do you know if you have Fast Food on your hands? If you read it and your response is “Ok cool… So?”

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: You don’t tell the market you’re a thought leader, it tells you. In a recent study my firm completed comprising of nearly 300 CIOs in AP, we found that outside of security and compliance, a whopping 69% of respondents viewed the driving of profitable revenue via innovation as their chief responsibility. For your content and firm to be viewed as “thought leader worthy”, you must speak to this mind-set. Great content doesn’t talk tech or product or market leadership, it speaks about enabling possibilities. It fearlessly sees around corners and inspires new perspectives. People want to buy from thought leaders. They want to work for thought leaders. They want to partner with thought leaders.

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing content form factor with respect to “types” but Thought Leader content can come in all shapes and sizes so there is no formulaic approach. What you say is more important than how you say it.

YOUR ACTION: This is tough. You can’t simply will this stuff into being any more than I could convince the students at my high school that I was cool back in the day. Stupid Northwood HS class of ’89… I digress. This is where you need to fundamentally begin applying the less-is-more approach to your broader content strategy. Focus and refine. Here’s a little trick: try having someone NOT in your industry interact with your content. See how they react. The ability to inspire the uninitiated is often a good litmus test.

So in closing I wish you all good luck in your pursuit of creating amazing content! #ThoughtLeaderiness!

The State of Digital Marketing

Econtent

Ask 10 consumers to define “digital marketing” today, and you’ll likely get 10 different answers. Some consumers may reference irritating browser pop-ups and spam, while others will cite YouTube tutorials and email newsletters. No matter what form it takes, digital marketing is only going to increase–especially in a world where ad-supported free apps and content are more popular than ever.

For George Schildge with Matrix Marketing Group, digital marketing in 2014 and beyond means creating a more connected customer experience via marketing that makes use of every electronic device imaginable to engage stakeholders. “In the past, digital marketing was disconnected. We had sales force automation and email platforms, but the systems weren’t connected. Today, we are beginning to see a full-blown marketing backbone where marketers have greater visibility over consumer habits,” says Schildge.

Consider that marketing leaders will, by 2019, spend more than $103 billion on search marketing, display advertising, social media marketing, and email marketing-exceeding their spend on cable and broadcast television advertising combined-according to Forrester Research. Additionally, a greater majority of industry professionals are taking digital marketing more seriously. Results of a new survey by Demand Metric found that 91% of marketers indicated that digital marketing was “important” or “very important.”

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Linkedin is the Favorite, Internet of Things & The Importance of Email

IDG Connect 0811 Linkedin is the Favorite, Internet of Things & The Importance of Email

While a lot of last week’s spotlight was on Katy Perry’s infamous Superbowl left shark, in the marketing world there was much talk about LinkedIn, the Internet of Things and Email.

Linkedin is the Favourite for B2B Tech Content

IT buyers still heavily rely upon traditional content to educate themselves throughout the customer journey. White papers are viewed as the most popular type of content buyers consume to receive analysis of technology or business issues and trends. However, more buyers are beginning to see the value of accessing content through social platforms.

As buyers are seeing this value, more marketers are beginning to adapt their content to social with 81% of marketers now creating content specifically for social media, according Eccolo Media report. However, when it comes to their platform of choice, their behaviour doesn’t match their expectations.

The report found while 21% of buyers receive vendor collateral through tweets, only 6% expect Twitter to be a source of content. Similarly, when asked which social channels they have received vendor content through, more respondents say Facebook than LinkedIn. But when asked which social channels they’re most likely to consume vendor content from, LinkedIn is the most popular platform. In other words, technology buyers actually receive more vendor content through Facebook but perceive LinkedIn as the more likely channel to receive such content.

This perceived preference for LinkedIn is supported from IDG Enterprise’s recent research which shows three-quarters of B2B technology buyers rely on LinkedIn, while less than half turn to Facebook. Demonstrating a brand victory for LinkedIn and opportunities for marketers in the future.

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The Power Of Location Is In Sharpening The Marketing Mix

MediaPost

Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker, founder, Wanamaker’s

The 2014 CMO Digital Benchmark Study from Leapfrog Online says CMOs’ lack of experience with emerging mobile technology is keeping their organizations a step behind the modern consumer. While that may be true in some cases, it’s not the intricacies of mobile technology that matter most. CMOs are in a position to know and do more in mobile than they may think. Why? Because the real power of mobile is revealing what to do to sharpen the entire marketing mix and get the right 50% working for them.

This comes from mining location for a deeper understanding of consumers and the dynamics of advertising. Since many marketers haven’t yet established the systems for getting the real value out of the medium, they tend to overlook location as an organizing principle.

This is where CMOs can set up for advantage. With a simple shift in perspective and using readily available mobile data, they can increase intelligence on what’s working, improve performance based on insights (re: when and how to reach people), and stretch resources further.

 

Continue reading here… 

Time to Celebrate: YouTube’s 10th Birthday

PewResearchCenter

On Valentine’s Day 10 years ago, a group of former PayPal employees founded YouTube as an easy way to find and share videos. Today it’s one of the most visited websites in the world and is widely used by news organizations, politicians and music artists. (Psy’sGangnam Style has over 2 billion views, making it the most watched YouTube video of all time.)

Besides big brands, some regular users have amassed a large following. Recently, a trio of YouTube content creators interviewed President Barack Obama on his policy goals. Overall, the video-sharing firm says that 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTubeevery minute.

On the company’s 10th birthday, here are 5 facts about YouTube and online video sharing:

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B2B Focuses On Revenue and Customers in 2015

Mediapost

According to the release of the 2015 B2B Marketing Trends, Predictions and Forecasts report from Regalix, B2B marketing leaders in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, are looking closer at deploying a mix of content and channels to get the best yield from marketing efforts. The research indicates a gradual shift among B2B marketers toward investing more in digital channels to meet their marketing goals.

While the traditional channels of marketing aren’t going away, they will see reduced investments in the coming years. In the digital marketing space, Search, Email, and Social continue to dominate, signaling a clear need for further innovation that digital agencies and content providers need to address. In addition, videos and webcasts are growing in importance.

According to the release of the 2015 B2B Marketing Trends, Predictions and Forecasts report from Regalix, B2B marketing leaders in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, are looking closer at deploying a mix of content and channels to get the best yield from marketing efforts. The research indicates a gradual shift among B2B marketers toward investing more in digital channels to meet their marketing goals.

While the traditional channels of marketing aren’t going away, they will see reduced investments in the coming years. In the digital marketing space, Search, Email, and Social continue to dominate, signaling a clear need for further innovation that digital agencies and content providers need to address. In addition, videos and webcasts are growing in importance.

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Download the 2015 State of B2B Marketing Report

Screen Shot 2015 02 13 at 2.28.31 PM B2B Focuses On Revenue and Customers in 2015

Are US companies using social media better than UK firms?

The Drum

UK companies are one step behind their US compatriots when it comes to corporate communications and social media, according to a report from Investis.

The study reviewed more than 500 leading US and UK companies to score their use of eight social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube and found that US companies were far more active and engaged on social media.

The average volume of tweets from a US corporate account was 2,979 in a year dwarfing the UK’s 738. On LinkedIn, US firms saw three times as many posts as UK firms. YouTube saw a similar trend with US firms boasting 141 videos in comparison with the UK’s 45.

Similarly, on Facebook, US companies achieved an average of 45,111 likes, compared with the UK’s 1,177. LinkedIn proved to be the most popular social channel for companies with 93 per cent of studied firms owning such an account, in comparison, only two thirds of companies had Twitter accounts.

The highest-scoring company across all eight channels was Cisco Systems. However, the UK claimed two of the top ten firms with Royal Dutch Shell (fourth) and BP (tenth). Are US companies using  social media better than UK firms?

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