Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The State of Digital Marketing In 2015 - Trends and Analysis


It’s clear that we live in a fast moving, hyper-transparent and digitized age. On all levels. Rapid change is the key defining reality of our era. Companies either drive it, adapt to it, or succumb to it. Some may feel threatened by this trend, but we see it as an excellent opportunity for brands to differentiate themselves.  You just need to know where it’s all going.

It also helps to understand that there are no real boundaries today between digital marketing, design, content, advertising, retail design and other disciplines. The distinctions are artificial. In fact, for the consumer, almost every moment in their day-to-day life involves an interaction with a brand, and all are equally important. Every touch point must therefore be carefully created to provide a rich and consistent experience.

If, as Marshall McLuhan espoused, “the media is the message” then the consumer is the medium today.  Positive endorsement from other consumers is the most powerful media available to brands. This is especially true in today’s content- saturated world.  Audiences are no longer swayed by messaging - it takes coherent, immersive experiences that create conversational capital. Brands must earn consumer attention by providing value in the form of entertainment, information, and utility.

That said, to assist in navigating through this rapidly changing competitive environment here are our predictions for 2015.



Mobile-optimization

Optimizing for mobile has been a significant priority for businesses in 2014, but 2015 will be the year that mobile strategies move beyond simply having a responsive site or mobile app, and focus on mobile-optimized content and social media marketing as well.



We know that Google has been placing additional emphasis on how mobile-friendly sites are; in fact, they’ve stated that mobile usability is now “relevant for optimal search results.” This emphasis is apparent in the recent launch of a new feature in Google Webmaster Tools called Mobile Usability.



2015 will see businesses finally incorporating mobile into all areas of their digital marketing: a fully responsive website, mobile ads, and separate content specifically for mobile website users. Businesses will also begin to realize the necessity of having a mobile social media strategy that considers how mobile users consume and interact with social media posts.



Social media spend will increase significantly

Brands will finally realize the importance of social media marketing.  As organic post reach continues to fall, and as platforms like Facebook further restrict what types of posts can be shown in users’ feeds, paid advertising is only going to increase as businesses struggle to maintain traffic and sales from social media channels.



Some businesses are seeing positive results from their investment in social media (some are not), including increased exposure and traffic, and are seeing paid social ads as the way to scale these results.  Twitter’s new advertising options (beta) for example has transactional payment triggered by specific actions like website clicks, app downloads and email opt-ins.  This will mean small to medium-sized businesses will be far more likely to invest in these objective-based campaigns.  Note also that Micro-sites will also be used far more in 2015 for promotional activities as they help direct traffic to the main site and thus facilitate or bolster it’s popularity.



Inbound + Content marketing will be (even) bigger than ever

According to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report, 93% of B2B marketers said they used content marketing in 2014, and 42% said they considered their strategy effective (up from 36% last year).



As marketers continue to see the benefits of their content strategies, a portion of the money previously earmarked for search engine PPC, SEO and social media reach will be re-allocated to content marketing efforts.  A major struggle, however, will be finding ways to stand out amidst the throngs of other content vying for attention. Case studies, video content, research-intensive content, and authoritative content will be what give businesses an advantage over their competitors.



Businesses will also increasingly be willing to invest in mobile-specific content, including creating short-form content that’s easily readable on mobile devices, understanding their audience’s mobile habits and putting more emphasis on video and visual content that’s easily consumed via mobile.



Email marketing will receive a renewed focus

With social networks reducing the amount of visibility brands and businesses receive and with search engines intimidating business owners and marketers with ever-increasing complexity of their ranking algorithms, businesses will return to the one marketing asset that they can control entirely; their email list. This renewed focus on email marketing will intertwine with content marketing to blur the lines between e-mail and content marketing.



As brands realize the value of content marketing, they’ll begin to discover ways to streamline their email content in order to avoid redundancy.  One way in which they’ll do this is to repurpose existing content into downloadable PDF’s (such as whitepapers or value-added content), which can be offered as opt-in incentives to build an email list.



Brands will also begin to realize the necessity of differentiating themselves from their competitors when it comes to email marketing. In HubSpot’s 2014 Science of Email report, respondents reported a significant decline in how often they bought a product or service from email messages they had received (35% said “never” in 2014 compared to 25% in 2011). This finding underlines the importance of businesses employing creative, relationship-based strategies to their email marketing rather than just attempting to make a quick sale.  Think “less shotgun, more sniper rifle.”



The lines between SEO, content marketing and social media will become even more blurred

SEO and content marketing will continue to co-exist as two separate but intertwined disciplines that rely on each other for success. That said, content marketing is now the primary influencer of search visibility. Businesses that don’t invest in a solid content strategy will discover that their SEO campaigns are ineffective, at best, and damaging to their search visibility, at worst.



SEO will come to be seen more as a subset of online marketing, dealing with technical aspects such as meta-tags, indexing issues, penalty recovery, and keyword research. Social media, on the other hand, will come to be seen as a necessary amplifier of any content strategy. While businesses have been focused on creating high-quality content, less focus has been given to promoting and distributing that content.



Businesses will also increasingly realize the other important benefit of social media, including increased brand recognition and brand authority, improved customer insights and higher conversion rates.



Brands will scramble to humanize

With the rise of social media, brands will realize that their customers are on social media channels to interact with other people, not with brands and corporate-sounding lingo. Brands that are able to connect with their audience on a human-level will enjoy higher conversion rates, better brand loyalty, faster audience growth, and happier customers.



A company’s ability to humanize their brand (and find their unique brand voice) will be the single most important success factor using social media in 2015. Brands who engage and develop authentic relationships with their fans, followers and email subscribers will see tremendous benefits, all of which will ultimately increase their bottom line and ROI.



Marketers will find new ways of making native advertising more relevant (and less promotional)

With steadily decreasing click-through rates (CTR) over the past few years, businesses are realizing the ineffectiveness of banner advertising for driving sales. While increased visibility is still a benefit of banner ads, small to medium-sized business looking for results will be less inclined to invest in channels that don’t offer a calculable ROI.



With the increase in popularity of native ads, marketers and publishers will constantly be looking for new ways to mimic editorial content while remaining transparent to website visitors. 2015 will see collaborations between publishers and brands whereby sponsored content is specifically created to be shown alongside the primary content; in this way, native ads will not be promotional in nature, but instead will offer relevant and engaging supplementary content.



More and more, marketing and communications must widen their horizons and embrace the fact that, for brands, speaking to “consumers” is just not enough. Yes, we all are consumers and most of us accept this reality. But a more meaningful way of engaging people is to recognize that they are also, if not primarily, humans, fans, users, visitors, or guests (depending on the context). Your ability to develop rich experiences is rooted in this understanding.  Ultimately, focus less on crafting moments and more on creating movements. 



Have questions?  We’re here to help.  Drop us a line at info@goodbuzz.ca or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.


Thursday, 16 October 2014

The Trials And Tribulations of Marketing Alcohol


The global alcoholic drinks industry is expected to exceed $1 trillion in 2014, according to MarketLine. Market volume is predicted to reach almost 210 billion liters in 2014, a 10% increase in five years and the industry is characterized by increasing fragmentation (with the three leading companies holding almost 40% of overall market volume.) Alcohol marketing ranges from mass media advertising to sponsorship of events, product placement, internet, merchandise, usage of other products connected with alcohol brands, social networks etc.

So you think it would be fun to work on an alcohol brand?  We have certainly had our share of experiences over the years with brands like Mikes Hard Lemonade, Molson Canadian, Molson Dry, Rickard’s, Creemore, Heineken, and Coors Light to name a few.  This experience has taught us a number of lessons chiefly that the alcohol industry is a crowded one. 

You're fighting for shelf space where people judge you by your label, it's highly regulated (especially in Ontario and Canada,) and while alcohol marketing might sound a lot more sexy than whatever you're selling, it's really, really hard work.  But that doesn't mean you have a Super Bowl commercial or buy a billboard to get attention or disrupt.  There are a number of great examples of clever creativity from alcohol brands - both big and small.  For example:

Disruption 101: Make a spectacle of yourself
To celebrate their "Anytime Ale," Austin Beerworks created a limited edition 99-pack of beer for $99. At seven-feet long, this thing takes two people to carry out of the store (if you can find it). Since they only released a limited amount of these 99-packs, Austin Beerworks gave clues as to which grocery stores and gas stations around town would have them in stock on their social media accounts. People were lining up outside of convenience stores for hours to be the first to get them.

The lesson: Austin Beerworks didn't change their product or spend a ton on advertising to spread the word. Instead, they relied on the exclusivity to build up excitement and the spectacle of a seven-foot-long box of beer to keep it going. Even better, a 99-pack of beer is a perfect excuse to have a party and tell even more people about Austin Beerworks.

Exclusivity 101: Send them a golden ticket
We've talked about Maker's Mark's amazing Ambassador program before. It's all about helping their biggest fans take ownership of the brand and take pride in talking about it. When you sign up, you get your name on a barrel plaque. Once the bourbon in that barrel matures, they send you a golden ticket for the opportunity to come pick up your personal bottle from the batch and hand dip it in their iconic red wax.

The lesson: It doesn't get much more personal than that for a distillery churning out mass quantities of bourbon every day. Your customers love feeling a personal connection to your stuff, and Maker's Mark proves you don't have to run a small shop to pull it off.

Gamification 101: Product as Conversation Starter
Did you know that Pabst Blue Ribbon's beer bottles have playing cards printed underneath their caps? Or that Lone Star bottle caps have riddles written on them? These aren't just fun little gimmicks. They're conversation-starters. You can make a game out of the PBR "cards" you collect or ask your friends to help you solve Lone Star's bottle cap riddle (because they're not always easy).

The lesson: The more excuses (aka opportunities) you give your customers to talk to other people, the more they'll talk about your product.

For more unique insights in the world of participatory brand marketing please follow Goodbuzz on Twitter or Facebook. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

A Brief History Of Social Media

For those of you living in a cave, SOCIAL MEDIA are Internet sites where people interact freely, sharing and discussing information about each other and their lives, using a multimedia mix of personal words, pictures, videos and audio. At these Web sites, individuals and groups create and exchange content and engage in person-to-person conversations. They appear in many forms including blogs and microblogs, forums and message boards, social networks, wikis, virtual worlds, social bookmarking, tagging and news, writing communities, digital storytelling and scrapbooking, and data, content, image and video sharing, podcast portals, and collective intelligence.  

From a marketing standpoint however, the history of Social Media probably looks more like this:

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Understanding 'Pain Point' Positioning


In our modern era of information overload, consumers are only able to accept and absorb messages consistent with prior knowledge or experience. 'Positioning' therefore helps break through the message clutter by offering a simplified message consistent with what the consumer already believes.  This is achieved by focusing on the perceptions of the consumer, rather than on the reality of the product.  Identifying consumer’s pain points is critical to effective positioning.

The consumer’s perceptions are largely determined by existing pain points.  Have you identified customer ‘pain-points’ for your products and services?  People spend money on two things; to fight pain and to pursue pleasure. It’s likely that the worse the pain or the problem, the more chance you have of selling a solution. The better the solution you offer, the quicker the customer will pay. Generally there is more staying power in ‘pain-solving businesses’ than there is in ‘pleasure businesses’.

So, look for pain. Look for things or situations that people find uncomfortable, annoying or frustrating. Focus on a ‘cure’ and let this help you as a guide to develop a business that will ‘make the pain go away’. You should also focus on trying to assess when it is that people feel the pain most. It’s easier to sell a solution to a current, severe pain than to solve something less intense.

Questions to ask when testing whether or not your business is addressing a real customer pain:
  • What pain does your company solve?
  • Why should people care?
  • Can you do this in a few words?
  • Can you persuade people to purchase your product using an elevator pitch?

The Importance of Identifying Customer Pain Points
To put it very simply, pain points are ‘cries for help.’  Collecting a list of pain points helps you understand what your prospects truly desire.  Referring to these same pain points in your promotion and advertising and in your one-to-one meetings with customers and prospective customers help them better relate to your offerings. It almost instantly builds rapport that leads to a higher trust factor.

Winners don’t always have the best product, the biggest name, or the deepest pocket, or even the most loyal customers. Many times the winner does the best job in understanding and meaningfully addressing customers’ pain points.
In sales and marketing circles you will hear a lot of advice about finding a prospective customer’s ‘pain point.’   A pain point is the when and the why, the reason customers choose you – the point at which they realize you offer the solution to their need – their “pain”.

The choice of the words “pain point” is clearly intentional: only something that is severe enough to be painful to your customer will cause them to act to relieve the pain.  This pain doesn’t necessarily have to be in a negative sense; the pain can easily be that of the frustration of wanting a product or service to do even more than it does right now.
If you’ve established good communications with your customers, they’ll tell you their pain points.

Define the ‘Pain-Point’
It’s important to define the pain point that drives your business. Sometimes this can be obvious.  A car supplies transportation, solving the pain of getting from A to B.  However some pain points can be less obvious. Does anybody really need an extremely expensive car that carries only two people and goes three times faster than the law allows? No, but some people want that, and businesses that supply it do very well.

Take restaurants for example, some solve the problem of getting food cheaply and fast. Others provide a service for people to go out and celebrate an occasion with all the trappings. Out of the two which would you most likely find at an airport or train station? Not all restaurants have the same mission. Does the high-end restaurant solve a problem as much as it fills a need and supplies a want?  Check out how Papa John identified and leveraged positioning based on pain point.

There are four questions you should seek to answer when identifying ‘pain-points’:
  • What is the true source of pain?
  • Who sees the most value in having that pain removed?
  • Who will ultimately pay for a solution?
  • Is there a substantive market that will benefit from your solution?

Define the pain point that drives your business. What customer problem, need, or want does your business address?  This is a core concept you’ll need to establish within your mission statement. Who is better off because your business exists, and why are they better off?

Need some help defining your Pain Point's (or your competitors?) Give us a shout. 


 






NOTE:  FOR MORE ARTICLES AND POSTS FROM THE LAST WEEK PLEASE VISIT US ON TWITTER @GOODBUZZ.  IF YOU HAVE INFO, ARTICLES, CASE STUDIES, OR OTHER EXAMPLES OF PARTICIPATORY MARKETING BLISS - PLEASE FEEL FREE TO EITHER POST VIA FACEBOOK OR SEND VIA E-MAIL AND WE’LL TAKE CARE OF IT FOR YOU. ;) PLEASE IDENTIFY IF YOU FIND A DEAD LINK (AS THEY WERE ALL LIVE AT THE TIME OF THIS POSTING)

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The Undeniable Value Of Branded Utility



Smart brands today recognize the power of BRANDED UTILITY - giving consumers something they actually need without demanding an immediate return. Branded utility is about creating something that people need.  Something that makes their life better, easier, or more efficient - any gadget, wearable, widget, app, or gizmo that the consumer believes extends real, tangible, value (and seamlessly integrates into existing platforms.)

This shift is largely because, for the same budget and energy as we expend on current forms of advertising, we could be making something more tangible, useful, relevant, and reusable that plays a far more integral part in the consumer's life.

1.     Stiegl Beer - Free public transportation ticket on beer bottles
2.     Vodafone – Pocket Power – clothes that charge smartphone
3.     Scrabble – Scrabble sponsored gamified (solve word puzzle) free WiFi
4.     IBM Smart outdoor advertising (curved billboards/poster doubles as seat, ramp, awning)
5.     Brazilian Blood Bank “Donor Cable” donates smartphone battery charge to a friend
6.     Audi Start-Stop app – uses the same start-stop energy saving principle in Audi cars to save battery life
7.     KLM Your Must-See Map – personalized travel map with friends tips
8.     Babolat Play + Connect – a connected racquet that tracks technique and performance
9.     Nike Golf 360 – Nike+ for golfers, score rounds, track stats, compete with friends
10.  Getty Images Watermark Projects – not just the logo on previews, but useful image information
11.  Ray Ban - Bright Light (Concept) – geo-locational app to find sunny spots in your city
12.  Starbucks Early Bird (concept) alarm app that rewards early risers with coffee discounts
13.  Adidas Runbase – branded showers and lockers near Tokyo subways stations
14.  KLM Meet and Seat - stalk people on Facebook and grab a seat next to them on a flight (perhaps not)
15.  Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap – app that produces paint palettes based on photos (Adobe Kuler for interior design)
16.  Clorox Glad – Trash Smart – app from trash bag brand that locates nearest recycling centres
17.  Kodak Picture Spot – real world signs showing photo opportunities (could an AR version of this have saved Kodak?)
18.  Betty Crocker TV – YouTube recipe channel
19.  Delta Bag Tracker – Fedex style tracking of your luggage
20.  Kalles Kaviar Egg Timer app - scan egg for info (provenance, metrics) and perfect cooking instructions
21.  Adidas miCoach – personal training app from Adidas
22.  Asics Marathoner app – personalized messages from supporters on billboards throughout course – triggered by RFID
23.  IKEA pop-up nap station – sleep pods for weary drivers on the autoroute - featuring IKEA beds
24.  Jimmy Fairly – French glasses brand take on TOM’s (buy one, give one)
25.  AT&T phone charging lockerbox
26.  Google wedding planner – uses Google tools to plan, budget, share a wedding
27.  Google person finder – used after Japan quake in 2011, helps people reconnect with friends and loved ones in the aftermath of natural and humanitarian disasters
28.  NestlĂ© Dessert – Chocolate recipe idea app
29.  Maruti Suzuki – Indian Suzuki car brand hosts second-hand buy/sell/exchange site
30.  MUJI productivity apps – branded calendar, notebook and travel apps
31.  Google Teach Parents Tech – helping children tech-educate parents
32.  Broke Bike Alley – bike shop metal business card that works as a bike spanner
33.  Diageo – cocktail recipe site featuring Diageo brands
34.  Nike+ – iOS running app, track performance and compete with friends
35.  Toms  - buy-one-give-one pioneer – shoes and glasses
36.  Virgin Atlantic taxi2 – app links up people to share cab from an airport
37.  NestlĂ© – Devenir maman – pregnancy guide app
38.  Puma - clever little bag, replacing bulky shoe boxes with bags
39.  Mini – roadside assistance app for Mini owners
40.  Kodak share button – didn’t save it from bankruptcy, but Kodak's 'share button' cameras was smart.
41.  Charmin -Looking for public restrooms when you are out and about? Search, view, rate, and add bathrooms.   
42.  Johnson & Johnson - Bedtime baby sleep app.
  
[ via Digital Intelligence Today ]  
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Goodbuzz is a digital agency based in Toronto, Canada. We help brands create and capture value from emerging trends in technology, society and the workplace. We prototype the future - and believe the best way to predict it - is to create it.  Follow us on Facebook or Twitter or if you have any questions contact Goodbuzz directly.
 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Connect - Cultivate - Convert | A Model For The New Marketing Paradigm


This deck reflects an attempt to present a simple to consume and communicate model of how to approach the complex new marketing environment. Of course many experienced marketers will know much of what is contained here, but they may not have a simple way to think about it holistically, or more importantly to communicate to those less sophisticated than themselves. With that in mind we offer up Connect, Cultivate and Convert, a model for the new marketing. 
 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Who is Goodbuzz?


FIGHTING FOR AUDIENCE PASSION AND LOYALTY IN A FRAGMENTED LANDSCAPE OF DISTRIBUTION OPTIONS. 

Goodbuzz Inc. is an independently owned advertising agency founded in 2008, with long-term business relationships based on exceeding our clients' expectations. Our focus has always been the work, the people who create it, and the people we create it for.
 
We are a community of artists, strategists and technologists, bound together in a quest to engage and inspire consumers.  After more than 20 years of entertainment marketing, we understand the power of story to influence and motivate consumers, and create an emotional connection between them and your brand.

Goodbuzz help brands create and capture value from emerging trends in technology, society and the workplace. We prototype the future and believe the best way to predict it is to create it. More on Goodbuzz and it's principles.