IDG’s Tech Marketing Priorities Survey was conducted from 200+ senior marketing leaders around the globe to provide better insight into the state of marketing among technology marketers. This infographic focuses on the top challenges facing tech marketers and how media companies can better serve their needs.
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Harvard Business Review
It is quiet and dark. The theater is hushed. James Bond skirts along the edge of a building as his enemy takes aim. Here in the audience, heart rates increase and palms sweat. I know this to be true because instead of enjoying the movie myself, I am measuring the brain activity of a dozen viewers. For me, excitement has a different source: I am watching an amazing neural ballet in which a story line changes the activity of people’s brains.
Many business people have already discovered the power of storytelling in a practical sense – they have observed how compelling a well-constructed narrative can be. But recent scientific work is putting a much finer point on just how stories change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
As social creatures, we depend on others for our survival and happiness. A decade ago, my lab discovered that a neurochemical called oxytocin is a key “it’s safe to approach others” signal in the brain. Oxytocin is produced when we are trusted or shown a kindness, and it motivates cooperation with others. It does this by enhancing the sense of empathy, our ability to experience others’ emotions. Empathy is important for social creatures because it allows us to understand how others are likely to react to a situation, including those with whom we work.
More recently my lab wondered if we could “hack” the oxytocin system to motivate people to engage in cooperative behaviors. To do this, we tested if narratives shot on video, rather than face-to-face interactions, would cause the brain to make oxytocin. By taking blood draws before and after the narrative, we found that character-driven stories do consistently cause oxytocin synthesis. Further, the amount of oxytocin released by the brain predicted how much people were willing to help others; for example, donating money to a charity associated with the narrative.
In subsequent studies we have been able to deepen our understanding of why stories motivate voluntary cooperation. (This research was given a boost when, with funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, we developed ways to measure oxytocin release noninvasively at up to one thousand times per second.) We discovered that, in order to motivate a desire to help others, a story must first sustain attention – a scarce resource in the brain – by developing tension during the narrative. If the story is able to create that tension then it is likely that attentive viewers/listeners will come to share the emotions of the characters in it, and after it ends, likely to continue mimicking the feelings and behaviors of those characters. This explains the feeling of dominance you have after James Bond saves the world, and your motivation to work out after watching the Spartans fight in 300.
With digital content so widely consumed online it’s important to create relevant and interesting content for your audience. These four insights from our Principle Analyst, Bob Johnson, will help you build a content strategy that works for your brand.
1. Do You Have a Digital Content Strategy?
Today many are clamoring for a content strategy. The trouble most organizations do not understand that it is a lot harder to implement than it is to conceptualize. Read more >
2. Do You Follow these Five Senses?
What does your content tell you about the people who consume different assets? Is each asset a good listener, does it have a sense of taste, can it smell a buyer from non-buyer, does it see where the buyer’s interest lies and can it feel the readiness of a buyer to engage with sales? Read more >
3. Do Misuse Your Content?
You spend so much time, money and effort on creating digital content but too much of that effort goes wasted as we see multiple issues. See you if stand out from the crowd by thinking about your content against these common mistakes. Read more >
4. Do You Organize Your Content Effectively?
As you focus on how to organize your digital assets on your website, you face a multitude of options. But when you ask buyers how they prefer to see content organized, they speak very clearly that they have a primary preference. Read more >
Remember when newspaper print ads were practically a cultural institution? Stroll to the end of the driveway on a Sunday morning for that several-pounder edition and pore through the articles and the ads. Scan the sales at Macy’s, look for a new job, find a matinee time, decide which store has the best price on rib eyes — the Sunday tome was practically the gateway to the world. Then the Internet relentlessly and almost instantaneously stole print advertising’s relevance, leaving publishers searching for new ways to connect with readers and, just as important, generate revenue.
The New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT ) may have finally found that cup-of-coffee-worthy formula for advertising, infusing its smart editorial style into content that resonates with an advertiser’s audience in a way that preserves its integrity as a news source.
It’s been a long road back
It’s safe to say that the heyday of traditional newspaper advertising is over, but looking back at what once worked it seems there are a few ingredients for success: The advertising must be compelling and relevant enough to get consumers to spend time with it. But it must also fit its platform — that is, not compromise the spirit, tone and even journalistic mandate of its publication.
The Times recognized the need for innovation early, building one of the smartest and most clickable Internet portals for its flagship newspaper. Like many of its contemporaries, the company has replaced some lost ad revenue with digital advertising, but not nearly enough. It seemed something was missing. Across the Web, digital ad sales climbed dramatically in recent years, but stayed fairly flat at newspapers. Though moderately successful, banner and display ads and pieces from the ad exchanges never found a comfortable seat in the traditional news format. Ad perusers had plenty of other choices, after all, and consumers had left behind the notion of the newspaper as a place to shop.
With video consumption on the rise, audiences today expect to able to receive information that is easy to digest and also engaging. It is predicted that by 2016, 1.6 billion people will be watching video online, and the growth of video traffic on the web will rise from 57% to 69% by 2017. As a result, a million minutes of video content will cross the network every second in 2017.
Given the eminence and influence video content will have over the next few years it could become one of the marketing department’s most powerful tools. Videos can be shared as compelling content that can help attract new customers, encourage existing ones to upgrade to a new product or spread product information quickly and efficiently.
Short videos can even be used as an alternative to lengthy text descriptions, telephone calls and face-to-face demonstrations to help a customer chose the right product for them. James McQuivey from Forrester Research believes that one minute of video can be equivalent to 1.8 million words. Video can provide easily accessible, on-demand information that is also engaging to a wider customer base.
Creating video content that is audience-tailored and accessible across multiple devices can keep digital marketing initiatives on the road to success. One quick and easy method of content creation is screencasting. Screencasting software records everything on your screen from applications and mouse clicks to your audio commentary. Screencasting technology is efficient since little investment is required for equipment and unlike working with video cameras or other videography equipment, very little training is needed.
To make successful screencasts, there are a few factors any marketer should consider:
Know Your Audience
With any video marketing initiative, understanding what makes your audience tick should be a priority. One video might be the right hook for a particular viewer, however could completely miss the mark for someone else.