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Shoptalk: Don’t Call It Advertising Anymore

Editor and Publisher

Exactly 20 years ago, I was part of the team that sold the very first banner ads on the World Wide Web. On Oct. 27, 1994, Wired magazine flipped the switch that lit up HotWired, the “cyberstation” that ushered brands like IBM, Volvo, MCI, Club Med and—famously—AT&T into the digital age. From the humble origin of a dozen brands paying $15,000 per month for static banner placement with zero analytics, Web advertising is now closing in on $50 billion in annual spending. At precisely the same moment, the banner ad (and related forms like the 15-second video pre-roll and the mobile display ad) has become a social touchstone that evokes a firestorm of condescension and condemnation at every turn. But can the digital ad business really have been built and sustained through such a flawed delivery vehicle? Digital advertising was born to an Internet that people read and watched.  And advertising—well, that was a practice to be grafted onto the Web from other forms of publishing and broadcasting as technology and bandwidth allowed. Those first crude banners eventually gave way to larger, more picturesque ‘magazine’ ads and then to TV-style video spots.  The business grew even as it continued to miss the larger point. Over these two decades, the Web has become something everyone does—not something they watch or read. We look for answers, we pass jokes back and forth to one another, we buy stuff, and we settle arguments. Always on, always in our hands, the Internet has become an extension of us as people. But advertising, mostly, has not kept up. And does content no longer matter? Or does it matter more than ever? The maddeningly simple answer is that it matters when it matters; when it’s closely aligned with the experience the consumer is living at that moment in time. And not for its own sake.

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What Ad Buyers Still Don’t Get About Sponsored Content

Contently

BuzzFeed, valued at $850 million this past August, has invested heavily in sponsored content. Yet as a recent story from The Wall Street Journal reveals, advertisers still aren’t sure what they’re getting out of the new media giant’s primary source of revenue.

While virtually every major digital media property seems to have a branded content studio these days, none has pinned as much of its success on native advertising as BuzzFeed, which does not run traditional display ads on its site.

As such, you would have to think the company’s financial stakeholders were displeased to read that, according to one major ad buyer, only 15 percent of clients who syndicated sponsored content on BuzzFeed in 2013 returned for 2014.

From the sound of things, brands have been hesitant to return to BuzzFeed because they have not yet been able to directly link sponsored stories to product sales—a line of thinking that fundamentally misunderstands the role content marketing plays in a company’s long-term success.

As DigitasLBi’s chief investment officer, Adam Shlachter, put it to The Wall Street Journal, “Social lift and buzz is great, but I have to know if that means I will sell more toothpaste.”

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LinkedIn Ad Services & B2B Marketers Turn to Digital

IDG Connect 0811 LinkedIn Ad Services & B2B Marketers Turn to Digital

In this week’s marketing news roundup I will be focusing on LinkedIn’s new B2B ad services and B2B marketers turning to digital.

LinkedIn Launches B2B Ad Services

Last week LinkedIn launched two new ad products, Lead Accelerator and Network Display. These allow B2B brands to search for sales leads and place ads across various websites as well as its own. The professional social network has partnered with AppNexus to deliver ads based on LinkedIn data not only on LinkedIn’s site and apps, but a network of 2,500 of other business-focused websites.

This announcement follows LinkedIn’s recent acquisition of B2B marketing platform Bizo. The acquisition, which cost the social media company $175 million, looks like it has been busy with its new toy as it’s set to take on the advertising world.

linkedin lead accelerator product image 1 1002x625 LinkedIn Ad Services & B2B Marketers Turn to Digital

Source: Marketing Week

The Lead Accelerator product allows brands to place a pixel on their websites, which uses cookies to identify LinkedIn users so advertisers can get a better understanding as to the types of people visiting.  This captures missing details of professionals who have visited brand websites by overlaying anonymised LinkedIn data over the brand’s site traffic.

To reach these users, LinkedIn’s Network Display will use its targeting insights to retarget visitors to third party websites and on its own platform. This will allow marketers to deliver relevant content to the right audience.

It seems this is just the beginning of LinkedIn’s expansion into the B2B marketing space. With these type of offerings and access to 347 million professionals, LinkedIn’s positioning looks promising.

Read more…

 

Mobile Video Dominates The Medium

nScreenMedia

The keynote panel at the Digital Entertainment World conference in LA on Tuesday gave a great view of the divergent interests of 20th and 21st century media. Mobile video was very much on the mind of web natives, while mainstream media still seems more interested in extending the reach of its traditional television fare.

Jim Underwood, Head of Entertainment, Global Vertical Strategy at Facebook, threw down the data gauntlet stating that 75% (or 11 hours) of our waking hours are now consumed with the consumption of media. It could be argued that Facebook is a prime mover in this extraordinary statistic. The company has rocketed to the number 2 spot in the delivery of online video, second only to YouTube. In particular, the company has tripled the amount of video it delivers in just 6 months. This is largely on the back of the introduction of autoplay for videos. Mr. Underwood said that, though videos do not play when they are out of the field of view, the mere act of automatically starting the video results in many more people sticking around to watch.

Not to be outdone, Ezra Cooperstein, President and COO of Fullscreen, said that over the last 4 years the amount of mobile video starts the company sees has grown from 20% to 60%. He added some color to this, saying that girls between 13 and 17 years don’t’ even think about a television anymore. Their phone is their TV. Even though much of Fullscreen content is consumed on a phone doesn’t mean it’s cheap to produce. He said that content businesses are capital intensive. To emphasize the point he said a good deal of the cash Fullscreen received when the Chenin Group and AT&T bought the company is going straight into creating great content.

 

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Tech Marketers Embrace Social Media

Screen Shot 2014 07 16 at 10.35.17 AM Tech Marketers Embrace Social Media

According to this 2014 Tech Marketing Priorities study by IDG Research, metrics are key to social media marketing for tech marketers. Although 3/4 of marketers claim to accurately leverage social media as part of their marketing strategy, measurement/ROI is still a top concern when initiating a social media campaign.

This IDG Research survey was conducted of global senior tech marketing leaders providing insights into key marketing priorities for 2015 and beyond.

Smartphone Sales To Stall In Russia

Bloomberg Business

(Bloomberg) — Smartphone sales in Russia are set to stall this year as Apple Inc.’s iPhone volumes decline while households bear the brunt of the blowback from the Ukraine crisis and falling oil prices, according to researcher IDC.

Sales of devices surged 46 percent last year in the country to 27 million smartphones and will remain at that level this year, Simon Baker, a Moscow-based analyst at IDC said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We expect Apple volumes to drop after the boom.”

Apple doubled iPhone shipments to Russia to 3.25 million last year, garnering $2.14 billion in sales, according to the researcher’s Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker.

While Samsung Electronics Co. remained the market leader, shipping more than 6 million smartphones last year, its revenue share was overtaken by Cupertino, California-based Apple.

In the fourth quarter, when Russians rushed to spend their tumbling rubles on big-ticket items including premium handsets, iPhone sales reached $827 million, or a record 46 percent share in the Russian smartphone market, versus Samsung’s 18 percent slice, according to IDC.

“Cheaper Android handsets will undoubtedly do well this year as consumers cut outlays,” Baker said, declining to comment specifically on Samsung. Lenovo Group Ltd., LG Electronics Inc. and Sony Corp. increased their share in Russia last year, according to IDC.

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How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

IDG Connect 0811 How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

Marc Michaels is Director of Behaviour and Planning at the GIG at DST. As a marketing professional and procurement expert with extensive experience, Marc has become a champion for marketing communications for 28 years. As Director of Direct and Relationship Marketing and Evaluation at the COI, he managed a team of 50 professionals delivering hundreds of high profile government behaviour change campaigns involving direct mail, door drops, e-mail, contact centre and fulfilment, household distribution, field marketing, customer relationship management and campaign evaluation across all major COI clients. Now at the GIG at DST Marc now provides ‘end to end’ consultancy across strategy development, planning, implementation and evaluation. 

Marc is a life-time Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and industry speaker. His extensive experience in marketing has provided Marc with a unique stance. He believes wholeheartedly that marketing doesn’t just have to be digital.

In a tough economic climate where competition is rife it can be difficult to generate business exposure. From large businesses to SMEs, companies are constantly trying to market themselves better. Often this will be through the multitude of emerging digital channels that have opened up a wealth of opportunity for the savvy marketer. Channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to name only three, have made it easier and less expensive for businesses to promote themselves, if they have the skills and time to exploit them. However, whilst these new and flashy channels may look attractive and appear cheaper, it is important not to be seduced by them exclusively. Too many marketers are too quick to abandon physical marketing, perhaps because these particular methods are seen as outdated or untrendy compared to an eye-grabbing Vine or promoted Facebook post. Relying solely on social channels exclusively is flawed. Even within our continually and rapidly evolving digital world, offline solutions can still be right for your business.

Check out his tips here… 

 

The 4 trends the mobile market will focus on in 2015

Venturebeat

2014 was the year that mobile stopped being the next big thing and became THE BIG THING. Investors poured money into any app that showed the slightest signs of traction, new service providers popped up like mushrooms and most importantly, app developers started seeing some serious profits.

Just thinking back to two years ago, everyone and their neighbor had an idea for a new app. Today, these apps have funding, development teams, and slick demos. The success stories like Flappy Bird and 2048 alone were an inspiration to this generation of app developers showing them how far an original idea can take you.

Generally speaking, in 2015 we can identify four types of apps, each with their own characteristics and challenges.

1. Mobile ecommerce — Shifting the focus from market share to engagement

Ecommerce giants have been adapting quite fast to the mobile world. Most of the major players with a significant desktop operation in place spent millions of dollars in 2014 in paid distribution to secure their customer base and to acquire mobile market share. Nevertheless, there is still a large portion of users who use mobile primarily as a ‘discovery channel,’ browsing apps, and mobile web to get inspired — and are then migrating back to desktop to complete the purchase.

 

Read more trends here… 

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.

 Read More… 

Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Story

ResearchLogoBLACK no 2nd IDG Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Story

By Jen Garofalo,

Many years ago in my old neighborhood, a woman around my age moved into the small apartment on the second floor of the house next door. We gradually got to know each other, and one day the obligatory question about what we each do for a living came up. I explained that I work in market research and gave her a few standard lines about my job that I typically reserve for these types of situations. Then I paused, waiting for her to jump in and tell me about herself.

“I’m a professional storyteller,” she said. I blinked. Wait, what?
Did she just say she’s a storyteller?

I was intrigued.  “Oh, are you a writer then?”  I asked.  “No, not exactly,” she said. “It’s oral story telling. I visit area schools and I tell my stories to the kids. The stories are factual and have been compiled by my family over many generations, but I try and tailor them to make them relevant for the kids and the issues they’re facing – for example, overcoming fears or dealing with bullies.”

Well, I thought to myself, a storyteller! How cool is that? That’s miles apart from what I do in the office every day.

After some thought though, I realized that what I do really isn’t so wildly different. As a market researcher, my job is also to help tell stories; stories about brands, to be more specific. A typical client’s goal – much like my storyteller friend – is to connect with their target audience and to be as relevant as possible to the world that audience lives in and works in every day. In other words, find out whaStoryTeller Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Storyt issues their target audience is facing, and tell their brand’s story in a way that will make sense to that audience.

Market research, when done well, can be a very useful tool in the storytelling process. Like most storytellers, when beginning a new project I start off in search of answers. I want to know about your brand. Why was it created? What is your brand’s mission? What problems will your brand help to solve? I also want to know about your target audience. Who are they? What are they trying to accomplish? What are their most pressing challenges?

Maybe you can answer this first line of questioning pretty easily. But in some cases, as with a new brand or entry into a new market, that might not be so. Broad-based industry research, market segmentation and customer or prospect surveys can help you learn more about your audience’s needs, so you can better understand where you need to focus the most time and energy.

All good stories follow a pattern – you get to know the characters and their history, you learn about their intentions and motives. Once you have that information, the story picks up momentum and things chug along pretty well. But then – plot twist! –unexpected challenges arise. There’s a conflict. For a brand, this could be a bold move on the part of a competitor, a new development in the industry, a data security breach, or a change in popular trends or opinions. Now we get to the climax of the story. How will your brand respond to this conflict? How will your customers respond? You’re making decisions in real time, and you need information fast. Custom research can be a valuable tool in times of change or crisis. Understanding emerging market trends, as well as customer mindsets and strategies, can help your brand respond appropriately to change and come out looking like a hero. Producing content fueled by third-party market research contributes to the image of your brand as a thought leader and a voice of authority and reason in uncertain times.

There is one big difference between a brand’s story and the kinds of stories that my friend tells. A brand’s story never ends, it’s always evolving. It’s a continuous cycle of learning about and connecting with the people who need your brand right now, in this moment – of discovering who those people are and what their needs are today.

Here are some ways in which custom market research can help you along that journey:

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