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What is Content Marketing? IDC’s Definition of Content Marketing

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 What is Content Marketing? IDCs Definition of Content Marketing

By, Sam Melnick

If you looked away for a split second you may have missed the rise of Content Marketing from “buzz word” to “must have”. In fact, at the beginning of 2014 CMOs at the largest technology companies reported that “Building out content marketing as an organizational competency” was the 2nd most important initiative, only behind measuring ROI. Since then, they have responded by putting more budget, staff, and energy into the area, yet there is still confusion around the topic. What exactly is Content Marketing? Is it a type of marketing asset? Is it a process or a technique? Or something else?


IDC’s CMO Advisory Service, has seen this issue first hand and to help remedy the situation the group has  published a document, What Is Content Marketing? IDC Defines One of Marketing’s Most Critical New Competencies. Included within is a formal definition for Content Marketing.

IDC’s Definition of Content Marketing

Content marketing is any marketing technique whereby media and published information (content) are used to influence buyer behavior and stimulate action leading to commercial relationships. Optimally executed content marketing delivers useful, relevant information assets that buyers consider a beneficial service rather than an interruption or a “pitch.”

What is Included Within Content Marketing?

A definition is a great start, but the question that follows is, “What is, and is not Content Marketing?” To help marketers become more grounded in this definition of content marketing the CMO Advisory Service has also published a guide for “Types of Marketing Assets.” In the graphic below you can see the break out of marketing assets into three categories:

  • Content Marketing Assets
  • Product Marketing Assets
  • Corporate Marketing Assets

Each is important to the company and within the marketing mix, but only content marketing is new in purpose and new in form. Also, key to remember is Content Marketing Assets are not replacements for Product Marketing Assets or Corporate Marketing Assets.

Types%2Bof%2BMarketing%2BAssets What is Content Marketing? IDCs Definition of Content Marketing

 

Meet the Virtual Sales Rep

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Meet the Virtual Sales Rep

By, Kathleen Schaub

Air%2BTraffic%2BControl Meet the Virtual Sales Rep

Robert sits in an office near Provo, Utah at what looks like the console of an air traffic controller. But instead of directing jets through the airspace, he’s using Twitter to guide a software company’s buyer through her decision-journey. Part marketer, part sales, part tech service, Robert is one of an emerging breed of “virtual” sales reps. Could this be the dream team that B2B has been waiting for?

The B2B “Genius Bar”® as a Role Model

The “virtual” sales rep role in its ideal form provides the personalized, anticipatory, service of a five-star hotel. Think of it as the B2B version of an Apple Genius Bar – using virtual tools. The Apple executive team modeled the Genius Bar after Ritz-Carlton’s customer service. Hallmarks of this exemplary concierge service include a personal touch; a warm, friendly, attitude; and attention to satisfying customer needs at every step. Sales expert Anneke Seley says the “virtual” sales rep culture is a far-cry from the historical “me and my quota” rep.

Sales teams are finally coming to grips with digital age facts. The culture shift recognizes that engagement must be sensitive to the appropriate stage of the buyer’s decision-journey. “Buyers aren’t ready to buy until they are ready to buy”. Marketers all know by now that buyers prefer self-sufficiency and they avoid talking to sales people until the decision-journey is substantially complete.  IDC research shows that for tech products averages this distance averages about 50%. Now sales is also starting to appreciate that buyers are alienated when by placed prematurely into the arena. At the same time sales leaders don’t want to waste an expensive sales resource on someone who isn’t ready to buy.

Digital May Not be Enough

Content marketing is what companies must do to fill the gap when buyers won’t talk to traditional sales people.  Content marketing is a hugely important communication strategy and companies will not be successful without mastering it.

Yet, for B2B companies, a completely digital engagement solution may not ever be the right answer. For one thing, content marketing capabilities in most companies is still ramping. Even when content marketing becomes excellent, digital may never be personal enough. Some B2B solutions are so complex, customized, or require so much trust that a human must intervene for the buyer to be truly served.  It may also be in the vendor’s best interest to involve a good sales person early. One tech CMO told me that although the company could offer eCommerce, a human touch tripled the size of the deal.

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Customer-Focused Teams Are Secretly Daunted By Data Demands

IDG Connect 08111 Customer Focused Teams Are Secretly Daunted By Data Demands

One of the top goals for business leaders today is to better understand, engage with and retain their customers[i]. This involves making the most of the ever-growing volume of customer data available to build integrated, three-dimensional profiles of customers and to identify patterns and trends. Many firms turn to the roles closest to the customer to deliver this insight.

Recent research undertaken with PwC[ii] reveals that nearly two-thirds of European and just under half of North American mid-market firms believe their marketing teams have the best skills to extract insight from information, and around half (46% and 57% respectively) say the same for their customer service and insight teams.

Yet conversations with marketing leaders reveal that the teams in question are far less confident about their ability to achieve this.

One study[iii] found that a third of executives believe that being able to use data analytics to extract predictive findings from big data is the top skill required of their marketing professionals. However, just under half admit their own team lacks this skill. Another[iv] discovered that an overwhelming 82% of marketing leaders feel unprepared to deal with the data explosion, and only 59% say they have the skills to analyse and understand customer behaviour across all channels.

Despite this clearly recognised skills gap, only one in five marketing professionals is expected to receive formal training in data analysis this year[v].

In short, many firms could be passing data to teams that are ill-equipped to do it justice. Missing out on rich customer insight is just one of the risks. Our research found that marketing teams are increasingly given free access to sensitive and confidential customer information in order to extract intelligence, but are rarely held accountable for keeping it safe.

We discovered that less than one per cent of mid-market firms think teams such as marketing and customer insight should have a responsibility for information protection. Many (39%) place this responsibility firmly at the door of the IT security manager.

This is all the more worrying when you consider the fact that marketing departments are often at the forefront of flexible working practices[vi], allowing staff to work from home or while travelling – often without providing adequate guidance and support.

We found that one in three marketing professionals works from home two-to-four days a week, more than most other job roles. A third undertake confidential or sensitive work while travelling on public transport; one in four throw documents into insecure bins away from the office – and 48% send or receive work documents over a personal email account, at times using an insecure wireless network (12%). However, just a third of the employers surveyed provide secure remote intranet access for marketing professionals working from home, or offer guidelines or policies on how to handle sensitive information.

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IDC Reveals Worldwide Internet of Things Predictions for 2015

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 IDC Reveals Worldwide Internet of Things Predictions for 2015

Within the next five years, more than 90% of all IoT data will be hosted on service provider platforms as cloud computing reduces the complexity of supporting IoT “Data Blending”

FRAMINGHAM, Mass., December 3, 2014 – International Data Corporation (IDC) today hosted the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Internet of Things 2015 Predictions Web conference. The presentation provided organizations with insight and perspective on long-term industry trends along with new themes that may be on the horizon. The Predictions Web conference series and accompanying IDC FutureScape reports are designed to help company leaders capitalize on emerging market opportunities and plan for future growth. An audio replay of today’s Web conference will be available this afternoon. To access the replay, please visit: http://bit.ly/IDCioTFutureScape2015.

  • ClicktoTweet:  @IDC Reveals #Worldwideinternetofthings #Predictions2015 – Register for the webcast replay here http://bit.ly/IDCioTFutureScape2015

The predictions from the IDC FutureScape for Internet of Things are:

  1. IoT and the Cloud. Within the next five years, more than 90% of all IoT data will be hosted on service provider platforms as cloud computing reduces the complexity of supporting IoT “Data Blending”.
  2. IoT and security. Within two years, 90% of all IT networks will have an IoT-based security breach, although many will be considered “inconveniences.” Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) will be forced to adopt new IoT policies.
  3. IoT at the edge. By 2018, 40% of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon close to, or at the edge, of the network.
  4. IoT and network capacity. Within three years, 50% of IT networks will transition from having excess capacity to handle the additional IoT devices to being network constrained with nearly 10% of sites being overwhelmed.
  5. IoT and non-traditional infrastructure. By 2017, 90% of datacenter and enterprise systems management will rapidly adopt new business models to manage non-traditional infrastructure and BYOD device categories.
  6. IoT and vertical diversification. Today, over 50% of IoT activity is centered in manufacturing, transportation, smart city, and consumer applications, but within five years all industries will have rolled out IoT initiatives.
  7. IoT and the Smart City. Competing to build innovative and sustainable smart cities, local government will represent more than 25% of all government external spending to deploy, manage, and realize the business value of the IoT by 2018.
  8. IoT and embedded systems. By 2018, 60% of IT solutions originally developed as proprietary, closed-industry solutions will become open-sourced allowing a rush of vertical-driven IoT markets to form.
  9. IoT and wearables. Within five years, 40% of wearables will have evolved into a viable consumer mass market alternative to smartphones.
  10. IoT and millennials. By 2018, 16% of the population will be Millennials and will be accelerating IoT adoption due to their reality of living in a connected world.

“The Internet of Things will give IT managers a lot to think about,” said Vernon Turner, Senior Vice President of Research. “Enterprises will have to address every IT discipline to effectively balance the deluge of data from devices that are connected to the corporate network. In addition, IoT will drive tough organizational structure changes in companies to allow innovation to be transparent to everyone, while creating new competitive business models and products.”

The IDC FutureScape report that this Web conference is based on will be published and available within the next 24 hours. To learn more about IDC Predictions and IDC FutureScapes, please visit:www.idc.com/Predictions2015.

For additional information about these predictions or to arrange a one-on-one briefing, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 or sarah@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarah@attunecommunications.com.

Read the original release… 

 

The state of native ads on mobile in 5 charts

Digiday

Mobile monetization is causing a big headache for publishers. While consumers spend more of their time on their devices, the platform isn’t getting a proportionate share of ad revenue:ad rates are nearly one-fifth what they are on desktop.

And while banner ads perform badly on small screens, native ads are showing promise as a way to get consumers’ attention on mobile devices. Consider Facebook’s experience with mobile: according to a study by Marin Software, click-through rates of Facebook’s mobile-only newsfeed ads are 187 percent higher on mobile than on desktop.

There are catches, of course. Native ads’ performance is driven by a lot of factors. Ads do better when they appear on article pages and blend in with the host publisher’s editorial style, but if they look too much like the surrounding editorial, they could turn readers off. Their formats aren’t standardized like banners are, which makes them harder to scale.

Here, then, are five things to know about the current state of native ads on mobile.

Polar, whose native ad platform is used by The Huffington Post, Condé Nast, Bloomberg and others, packaged up a set of benchmarks that show how the format is performing on mobile, tablet and desktop. Polar found that native ads do better on mobile than on desktop, where native ads have to compete with so many other elements for attention. However, mobile devices aren’t all created equal when it comes to native’s performance. Click-through rates are higher on smartphones than on the desktop and tablets, which is closer to the desktop experience than the smartphone.

That trend carries through to engagement. On average, time spent on native ads also is higher on smartphones than on tablets and desktop.

Polar also compared performance of mobile native ads in the content categories of finance, lifestyle and news. The click-through rate was highest in the news category, but time spent was lowest. Finance, meanwhile, had the lowest click-through rate but the longest time spent per ad. (Numbers are averages.)

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Publishers Struggle with Email Marketing Basics

eMarketer

Today’s digital consumers have forced publishers to move some of their marketing efforts away from print and toward online and mobile. However, September 2014 research from FOLIO:, sponsored by Lyris, found that publishers were still struggling with email marketing—a more “traditional” digital channel.

182124 Publishers Struggle with Email Marketing Basics

US publishing professionals’ responses indicated that they were facing challenges with simple email marketing tactics including list growth and list maintenance. List growth was the most common hurdle, cited by the majority of respondents, while 41% had problems maintaining the lists they did have.

Publishers aren’t ignoring their list problems though—good news considering that without the right recipients, email marketers won’t see the success they desire, according to FOLIO:. When asked about their email marketing priorities for the next 12 months, list growth and improving list data and quality were the top two responses, cited by 60% and 58% of publishing professionals, respectively.

When running digital campaigns, marketers can’t forget mobile, another problem area for some publishers. One-third of respondents said that mobile optimization was a challenge, but once again, they planned to make an effort to fix this in the coming year. Fully 39% of respondents said that email optimization across all devices was a top priority—the third most popular response.

182126 Publishers Struggle with Email Marketing Basics

The study found that publishing professionals were making strides toward mobile-optimized emails, albeit slowly. More than one-third of respondents said their emails were fully optimized for mobile. An additional 31% had started working on this and planned to complete mobile-optimized email efforts in the next 12 months. Still, the remaining 35% hadn’t started, and nearly half of respondents in this group weren’t even sure where to begin.

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11 technologies Apple has killed

CITEworld

Out with the old

One of the things that makes Apple so successful is that it’s not afraid to abandon/kill popular technologies in the interest of something new. In doing so, the company often creates a bit of controversy, even if in the long run it seems to pan out well. At the same time, Apple’s revolutionary products have helped bring down entire product categories. Here is a rundown of technologies and products that Apple has killed (or is in the process of killing) over the last 17 years.

Floppy Drive

The first product released during Steve Jobs’s second stint at Apple was the Bondi Blue iMac. The all-in-one design was an immediate hit with consumers, and the machine was notable as much for its iconic look and performance as it was for the features it didn’t include. Specifically, the first iMac shipped without a floppy drive. At the time, back in 1997, this was a huge deal. To some critics, Apple was running a huge risk by completely doing away with what was then a common storage medium. Jobs and Apple, though, had the foresight to realize that computing was rapidly becoming Internet-centric, thereby eliminating the need for old-fashioned floppy drives.

Apple’s 30-pin connector

For over a decade, iPod, iPhone, and iPad users alike relied on Apple’s tried-and-true 30-pin connector for charging and to connect their devices with computers and accessories. But Apple said goodbye to the 30-pin connector in 2012 when it introduced the Lightning connector, a superior standard for a number of reasons. In addition to being smaller and more robust, the Lightning connector is reversible, which makes for a more efficient user experience. Naturally, abandoning the 30-pin connector on new iOS devices caused temporary problems for individual consumers and even large companies who had spent lots of money on older iOS accessories.

Netbooks

Remember Netbooks? A few years back, these hyper-small laptops were poised to be the next big thing in computing. In fact, back in 2008 and 2009, netbooks were flying off the shelves. As a result, there was a lot of pressure for Apple to enter the netbook market. Apple, however, went a different route when it released the iPad. Rather than opting for a compromised device, the company entered a new product category entirely with the iPad. The end result was a rather quick demise for the netbook, and in parallel, a reinvigorated market for tablets.

FireWire

FireWire was a proprietary Apple technology which allowed for incredibly fast transfer speeds between devices. Indeed, it was one of the features that made the original iPod so compelling. Beyond that, FireWire was, for a time, the de-facto standard for transferring digital movie footage to Macs.

Unfortunately, Apple ultimately began phasing out FireWire on Macs in 2008 as transitioning to USB expanded the company’s pool of potential users. It’s a shame, though, because USB 2.0, while decent, was vastly inferior to FireWire. The staggered abandonment of FireWire ultimately gave way to Thunderbolt.

View the other seven items… 

7 ways to use social media to attract holiday shoppers

CITEworld

Marketing and social media experts share their tips on how to use social media to get people talking about – and buying – your products this holiday season.

How can social media help businesses drive traffic to their ecommerce or bricks-and-mortar sites this holiday season? CIO.com posed that question to dozens of marketers and social media experts. Following are their top seven strategies for how to use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube to engage customers and get them – and their friends – to check out (and hopefully buy) your holiday offerings.

1. Use a festive cover photo on your Facebook page (Twitter, too). “One of the best pieces of real estate to leverage [this holiday season] is your Facebook cover photo,” says Melissa Ward, managing partner, NewWard Development, which provides social media and Internet marketing and website design help. “Change your Facebook cover photo to [something that you are promoting this holiday season] and be sure to include a link to the URL in the description.”

When choosing a holiday cover image, “consider seasonal photos that will connect emotionally with your audience, highlighting both your brand and message,” says Jay Hawkinson, senior vice president, Emerging Products, SIM Partners, which provides digital marketing solutions. Just remember to “be subtle and discerning with holiday colors and themes, and avoid being garish.”
2. Create holiday-related boards on Pinterest. “Create gift idea boards on Pinterest with gifts from all around the Web and a few of your own products thrown into the mix,” say Michelle Friedman, director of Marketing, Medical Scrubs Collection. “Add Pin It buttons to product pages on your site and feature ‘most pinned items’ on your home page.” And “make sure that your Pinterest pins feature well photographed, [attractive] images” that will appeal to holiday shoppers.

3. Create a fun holiday YouTube video and include a hidden offer code. “Create a fun [holiday] video with a hidden offer code,” for, say, 10 or 20 percent off a purchase, or free shipping or a free gift, suggests Juan Velasquez, marketing specialist, DoItWiser, a provider of toner cartridges and green office supplies. Just be sure to “let people know there is a discount code hidden somewhere in the video to encourage active viewing and sharing” – and include a link to a dedicated landing page in the description.

4. Use holiday-related hashtags on Twitter and Instagram. On both Twitter and Instagram, “be sure to research and use appropriate holiday hashtags, e.g., #HoHoHo and #Christmas2014, with your posts,” says Michelle Garrett, owner, Garrett Public Relations. “Experiment to see what works best. And include a dedicated URL to track those who click through.”

Other popular holiday Twitter and Instagram hashtags include #holidayshopping, #christmasgifts, #stockingstuffer and #wishlist.

5. Blog or post about holiday-related topics of interest to your audience. “Write blog posts that tie into the holidays,” suggests Garrett.

For example, you could “provide advice on what to wear and/or bring to family parties or corporate events or [provide suggestions on] gift giving,” says Adam Forrest, senior director, Americas Marketing, Demandware, a scalable commerce platform for enterprise retail.

Continue reading… 

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues Accelerating In The Enterprise

Forbes

A recent study by IDG found that 69% of enterprises have either applications or infrastructure running in the cloud today, up 12% from 2012.  The IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study 2014 found that cloud investments have increased by 19% in large-scale enterprises (1,000+ employees) spending on average $3.3M MMM -0.96% a year.  In 2015, 24% of IT budgets will be allocated to cloud solutions, with the highest percentage being allocated to SaaS models.

These and other findings are from the IDG Enterprise Cloud Computing Study 2014 published earlier this month. You can download the study and methodology here (PDF, no opt in).

Additional key take-aways from the study include the following:

  • 69% of enterprises have at least one application or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud, up from 57% of enterprises in 2012. 18% plan to use cloud-based applications and/or computing infrastructure via the cloud in the next 12 months, and 13% are planning to use cloud-based applications and/or computing infrastructure via the cloud within 1 to 3 years.  The graphic below compares three years of survey data:

cloud adoption business staple Cloud Computing Adoption Continues Accelerating In The Enterprise

  • Enterprise investment in cloud computing have increased 19% since 2012, with the average investment of large-scale enterprises (+1,000 employees) reaching $3.33M in 2014. Mid- and smaller scale enterprises with less than 1,000 employees spent $400K this year on cloud solutions and technologies.  The following graphic shows the spending breakouts by size of companies:

cloud spending Cloud Computing Adoption Continues Accelerating In The Enterprise

 

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How technology is changing the way we plan and experience events

Mashable

Events and event planning are evolving into new, dynamic formats. Old models are falling away and technology is giving both planners and event participants an opportunity to grow and revisit the underlying ideas about how event spaces work.

“It’s been fascinating watching just how fast things have changed,” said Brian Solis, principal at Altimeter Group, at a New York conference this year. He spoke about next steps and generational shifts in the ways we approach and interact with the events we attend.

“We all have to think — as planners, as organizers, as experience-architects — what that will look like,” Solis said. “There was a time we’d ask you to turn your phones off. There was a time when we wouldn’t provide Wi-Fi. And there was a time when we actually expected you to make eye contact with the person on a stage. Now, I’m actually better off if I just see your foreheads lift up. It means you’re sharing the experience.”

Let’s look at some of the new roles technology is playing in the events landscape — key fronts where it’s changing the planning and experience we’ve come to expect.

1. From passive to engaged

The ways attendees’ expectations have changed is due largely to technology in the event space.

“Event planners have mostly embraced the shift of thinking about attendees as passive audiences to engaged participants,”

“Event planners have mostly embraced the shift of thinking about attendees as passive audiences to engaged participants,” says Brent Turner, vice president of solutions atCramer. “The expectation for attendees is that they can be engaged. From the easy stuff — polling, contests, social curation — to environmental changes, such as how IBM has changed their product-demonstration approach at events, or a recent augmented-reality experience we created for UPS … to nuances like RFID tags that personalize digital signage, people expect to see themselves as part of an event.”

2. Social media as a shared planning tool

Event participants already share their in-event experiences in real time via Twitter, Facebookand the like. With that as a given, now comes a newer drive on the planner’s side: To place more control of events in their audience’s hands.

TwitterFeed1 How technology is changing the way we plan and experience events

South by Southwest, for example, allows registrants to interact in the social space to pick panelists; some 30% of its panels are crowd-chosen in this way. Twitter contests can push for conversions by offering prize registrations, sure — but at your event, social platforms can create opportunities as well. Place prizes or gift cards at key locations and tweet a photo of them, for example. Attendees who find the rewards will be pleased, but perhaps even more importantly, planners can use the tech-augmented action to direct traffic to spots and programming that they want to emphasize.

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