Moving On Up!: Hot Button Marketing Jobs To Consider For 2014

The objective of this series is to share insights, experiences and ideas for passionate marketers who want to grasp what it takes to be in charge of marketing, especially in these amazingly progressive times where marketing has attained a more strategic role.

The series could be seen to be oriented towards B2B, but many marketers see the lines with B2C blurring. So grab a coffee, put your feet up and read on.

Digital and the big picture

Let’s first stand back and explore how the emergence of digital channels, technologies and practices have changed the business world in general. After all sometimes it is difficult to see through the smoke when in the midst of a revolution.

Thanks to the evolution and adoption of online communications, businesses are fundamentally changing the ways in which they operate. The number of mechanisms for connecting, collaborating, sharing and executing business has become richer and more powerful.

Immediate access to information, conversation and opinion has created new opportunity for organizations to create value.  If organizations can embrace digitally oriented business models, they stand to gain far more than they lose.

Online communications, especially in the form of social networks, are creating a means of interaction within and between businesses that can vastly improve productivity, performance and organizational effectiveness. The biggest risk is not modernizing your business, particularly your increasingly strategic marketing function, as more agile and sharper organizations are leapfrogging competitors in the land grab for digitally savvy customers.

For businesses, digital adds both complexity and opportunity. Thanks to search engines, businesses can actually be found rather than continually having to go out into the market and hunt for customers.

Of course it takes planning, experience and expenditure to maximize the quantity and quality of visitors who reach your business via search, but it is now one of the fundamentals of today’s business to be able to be found online, 24 x 7.

Search engines also contribute to the planet’s global knowledge-base, providing pinpoint access not only to your information, but your competitor’s too.  So being able to consistently position and differentiate your business when a prospect is researching your industry segment adds an ongoing challenge to marketers.

Additionally, social media and professional networks allow people to break down barriers to knowledge, which means that it is no longer possible to have a gap between what you say and what you do.

Businesses must avoid damaging reviews and negative online sentiment at all costs. It has never been more important than to monitor and manage the reputation of your business online, as this genuinely influences whether prospects and existing customers will conduct business with you.

Over time, as decision makers become used to searching for goods and services online in their personal lives, so they are naturally inclined to bring the power and convenience of online research into their business lives.

Decision makers are open to influence from multiple online and offline information sources. Word of mouth is also important on the internet, not only for online retailing but for all types of business where conversations are occurring.

In many businesses, prospects are not connecting with sales personnel until much later in the decision cycle. Sales has lost the control of acquisition and retention that it once had.

Marketing has assumed more responsibility of the revenue cycle

The internet is gradually enabling the establishment and enhancement of relationships via more convenient research, networking and online collaboration, which in turn is gradually displacing face to face interaction.

Social media, content marketing and online search are turning traditional customer acquisition and retention practices on their heads. As Internet marketing accelerates and old techniques begin to falter, firms that ignore these trends will certainly be vulnerable.

As a CMO, it is imperative to fully understand and continually manage all the market dynamics and business variables in play here, of which there are many.

For campaign marketers, the absolute execution baseline is being able to accurately monitor target markets, understand customer preferences, present a water tight value proposition, attract/engage in meaningful and relevant ways, provide purposeful content along the lifecycle and interact on customers’ terms.

I believe Peter Drucker once said that the only two functions of any organization are innovation and marketing, and that was before the internet!

Marketing’s increasingly strategic role

What we can reasonably conclude is that marketing is central to the remarkable recent change in business models and practices. Given marketing’s understanding of the customer, the modern buying cycle, competition, and market dynamics, it is now most important that the board has a representative from marketing.

Due to the empowering nature of digital business, the customer is way more in control of the initiation and ongoing desire for any business relationship. Organizations must become truly customer oriented and operate every aspect of their company with the customer in mind.

The CMO needs to play a crucial role in constantly updating the boardroom and the CEO about the latest customer preferences and market trends, and how well corporate resources are aligned to meet those evolving customer needs.

Marketing can become the glue that bonds any customer oriented business together, by internally nurturing a culture of information transparency and sharing of customer insights.

Employees will feel more connected to the business, and a more natural collaboration between sales, marketing, customer support and other functions will occur as overall customer intelligence increases.

Some execs will be skeptical about this next comment, but over time when it comes to identifying the sales forecast for next quarter the CEO will approach the head of marketing, not necessarily sales.

This will be because marketing is assuming greater control over more of the marketing and sales funnel, to the point where the ratios of targets-to-prospects-to-leads-to-sales become so scientifically predictable that forecasts and future growth will ultimately depend upon the number of prospects (new or repeat) delivered to the top of the funnel.

Do you have the desire and ability to run marketing?

Make no mistake, to be a successful CMO or head of marketing is a tremendous challenge. A past history of juggling should help with the mindset needed as there are way more variables to understand and manage than in previous eras.

The hybrid skill-set needed for today's CMO

 

As Easy as 1-2-Huh?: Link Building…What Is It and How To Do It Correctly…

To keep our guides the best they can be, we go to those working at the coalface of search marketing to get their contributions so they are relevant and up-to-date.

Here are some thoughts from Nichola Stott from theMediaFlow on link building below…

You helped contribute to the Link Building section of the SEO Best Practice Guide. In your experience, where are companies going wrong here, and what could they be doing right?

I believe a lot of companies are being misled or “over-sold” on link acquisition as an end rather than a means. Links and associated signals such as the content-quality, proximal text, site quality and authority and page engagement, are used by search engines as an ingredient in the recipe to determine how well (and with what authority) pages on the company website can answer a user query.

So links are a commonly found side-effect of relevance and authority because people link (via social activity) and writers link (to credit sources, provide additional context or value for readers).

Link ‘building’ therefore is entirely unnatural behaviour and fakes symptoms to effect a desired result.

Instead, companies should be focusing on the desired result itself – which should be growing the online presence and authority of the company and its products or message.

I’d recommend instead that companies focus on developing stories and campaigns that emphasise why their product or mission deserves to be most relevant and authoritative.

Work with a good SEO agency that can devise creative marketing content, educate your PR teams to understand where and when links can add value to media coverage and how to position that to journalists they are working with.

What sort of process should companies have when it comes to link building?

I’d suggest a content development process with the goal being “linked-coverage” (for external media) and amplified content e.g. social shares, engagement and links-attracted for content that lives on the owned and operated sites.

Is it more important to have a structured approach to building links, or be able to seize opportunities quickly?

It’s important to have a strategy that can accommodate both kinds of approach.

At theMediaFlow we have year ahead editorial calendars and a publishing schedule for client content, but in addition we use a lot of monitoring tools that allow us to react to news opportunities and such.

It can take some skill and experience to understand what kind of opportunity is worth dropping everything for and depending on the size of the company we’re working with it can be more effective to empower the PR team to be mindful of link opportunities when taking the lead on reactive opportunities.

What are your preferred tools when it comes to link building?

Knowing how to search the Google index thoroughly is the single most valuable tool for identifying online media to pitch to, and we also find Linkdex helpful in assisting us to identify networks of influencers in the respective social spheres for our client sectors.

Can PRs be valuable for building links? Or is this a job best left to SEOs with relationship skills?

Yes, PR professionals are often best-placed to ensure that writers link where it adds context and value to do so.

However, it seems to me there’s an implied assumption in the question that an SEO with “relationship skills” is somehow unusual.

SEO is quite a broad spectrum and to make most efficient use of an employee’s skills and abilities may mean that outreach isn’t the best use of time for a technical analyst for example, but I think that to reinforce stereotypes around more technical skills going hand in hand with less-developed people skills becomes counter-productive for the marketing industry as a whole.

To go back to an earlier point about having the most relevant and authoritative content on the site in question the work of a technical SEO helps to architect and surface that content so that it can have greater potential to attract links. Focusing on the role of the person who may “seal the deal” creates division and loses sight of the broader marketing objective.

If there’s one key piece of advice when it comes to link building, what would it be?

Concentrate on why your business, your message and your product deserve to be linked to and ensure that is reflected on your site and in the content you create first and foremost.

Gotta Get Down On Friday?: Are Fridays the best day to Post?

It’s the end of the week. You’re ready to disconnect from the always-connected work world you inhabit Monday through Friday. And the last thing you want to do is open more emails, right?

Maybe not.

According to new information about global daily email click rates, Friday may actually be the best day to connect with current or prospective customers via email marketing.

Fresh industry data suggests that Friday’s worldwide marketing email click rate is now 4.9%. In fact, a recent study found that email inboxes attract the bulk of marketing messages on Tuesdays.

Survey details highlighted back in October by eMarketer indicate that 17.9% of a week’s worldwide marketing emails were sent on Tuesday. 17.3% of emails are sent Thursday, followed by 16.6% on Monday.

So where does that leave Friday?

“For a more effective strategy, marketers might want to consider focusing more on Friday over Tuesday,” the report cautions. “Out of the five days of the work week, marketers sent the fewest number of emails on Friday—just 14.9%. Consumers, however, were highly responsive on the last day of the work week. They opened a whopping 19.6% of Friday marketing emails, giving that day the second highest email open rate of the week.”

Who’s Reading Though?: 10 Next Steps After Starting A Company Blog

Blogging and content marketing are hot digital buzzwords these days for good reason: “92% of companies who blogged multiple times a day acquired a customer through their blog.” (HubSpot State of Inbound Marketing, 2012)

Now that you’ve decided to go ahead with the process, you’ll need to take the necessary steps forward to ensure that you’re getting the most from your content and community.

1. Determine your purpose. The first step in creating your company blog is to determine why you have it — to educate customers, attract potential customers, share company information, sell more, etc. These are all valid reasons, and likely more than one of these describe your intentions. Those ones will dictate the kind of content you read, where you share it, etc.

2. Design navigation around your ultimate call to action: selling. Ultimately, you want your customers to buy or give you their e-mail addresses, so be sure your navigation is always supporting the purchasing process — ads for your products, links to buy, easy navigation to input credit card information, etc.

3. Brand your design. Every bit of your online presence should be branded, therefore making you noticeable. Be sure your logo is somewhere in the header, there are links back to your home page, and the coluor scheme supports your overall look.

4. Formulate a content calendar. A blog needs content, and for a business new to curating blog posts this frequently, it’s imperative you create a content calendar. Not only does this keep you focused on churning out new content, but you can use it to collaborate with sales. Coordinate blog posts with promoted products or promotions.

5. Create 10 evergreen pieces. As you start gaining readers, you’ll want to have 10 evergreen pieces. Evergreen pieces are those which will always be educational, beneficial and relevant. Create five of these before taking your blog public to ensure you have plenty of content for readers as they trickle in.

6. Repurpose other content. Feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of creating all this content? Look to your whitepapers, newsletters and any other content you’ve already produced, and consider how you can repurpose it into a blog post, graphic or infographic.

7. Get social. The most important aspect of your blog is to be sure it’s sharable — while creating awesome content is an integral part of that, no one will share if you don’t give them the resources to do so. You should have sharing buttons at the top of your content, at the bottom and on the side. I find a sliding social plugin for the side works best.

8. Encourage engagement. Other than sharing, you want readers to engage with your content via comments. You have the opportunity to build up your community of readers and customers; this will give them a reason to come back and be invested in the content.

9. Invite your readers. Once you’ve got all the pieces in place, you can invite your readers to come check it out. Share via social networks where you have a strong following and good relationships.

10. Invite your customers. Finally, you want to invite your customers. The best way to do this is to share it via e-mail blasts — introduce the blog in the first one, and then be sure to include a link to various blog posts or the blog in general within each newsletter. It is recommended that you link to the blog from your home page, as well.

Blogging is a great way to provide value to your current customers and invite the casual reader to become a customer, as well. With so many blogs out there, be sure yours is focused on the call to action, has been well-branded, and is ready for your eager readers.

Now What: 12 Musts Do’s After Writing A New Blog Post

Writing a blog post is not just about slapping up some content and crossing your fingers. It is about strategy, implementation and execution. There is a reason why some blogs are so much more successful than other blogs.

The folks at DivvyHQ recently put together this helpful infographic piece showcasing all the major steps each blog owner or writer should be taking when constructing new blog posts.

Here is a quick break down of the info below:

  • Always use keywords in your post
  • Use syndication to further spread the word
  • Keep your URLs short and sweet
  • Custom craft status updates
  • Use other sites to your advantage
  • Social bookmarking still works
  • Leave comments on other blogs
  • Use Twitter
  • Add it to your email signature
  • Stick them in your newsletter
  • Ask other bloggers to mention

Writing Blog Posts

Take Me To Bedrock: 56% Of All Email Campaigns Opened on Tablets

Following a thorough analysis of billions of marketing emails, a recent study found that more than half of all conversions (56%) produced by these emails took place on a tablet.

Desktop has long been considered the favorite of email marketing, but as more consumers than ever flock to mobile devices, it seems only natural to see a shift in these numbers. And, for email marketers, it’s vitally important to keep this in mind when creating email campaigns, which all but require optimization for the mobile screen today.

Researchers have found that it’s the larger size of the tablet screen and the device’s general portability that make them ideal for reading email. Unlike smartphones, which may have a screen too small to effectively display marketing emails, much less the webpages they link to, tablets offer plenty of screen real estate to accommodate these emails.

In terms of the most popular platforms, Apple reigns supreme when it comes to how many marketing emails are opened. 82% of all opened emails on tablets take place on the iPad.

Less than one percent of purchases are made on Android-based tablets, even though Android smartphones account for 41% of smartphone sales.

With the holiday shopping and marketing seasons now upon us, targeting email for the tablet screen is a must for email marketers hoping to have their messages read and acted upon in a hurry.

How’d They Do That!: What you can learn from Chipotle/Oreo/McDonald’s and More’s Video Campaigns On Vine/YouTube

I suspect that even internet marketers and video content producers watched a little too much television on Thanksgiving. Am I right? According to an article by Jason Lynch in Quartz, “Thanksgiving is a day when more than 100 million Americans will observe the most honored of traditions: gathering with family and friends to watch as many as 15 straight hours straight of TV.”

So, I’m confident that many of us consumed a ton of TV commercials starting at 9:00 a.m. while we were viewing the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC, or the unofficial coverage of the New York City event, billed as The Thanksgiving Day Parade on CBS. Unfortunately, most advertisers don’t make Thanksgiving ads the way they create Super Bowl commercials, despite the fact that Thanksgiving Day, like Super Bowl Sunday, is one of the few times a year that advertisers can depend on a dedicated, sizable audience that will watch TV.

That’s why “Twerk Your Turkey – Thanksgiving – LogoTV” would be the top ranked among brands’ social videos if we put together such a list just for Thanksgiving 2013.

State Farm® Turkey Fryer Safety: Hang On A Minute with Si & Jase Robertson” would be ranked second.

And we wouldn’t be able to find another brand’s social video to rank third….talk about slim pickings. But, let’s not dwell on this missed opportunity. Instead, let’s take a look at a branded vertical category that remains relevant long after the last leftover has been consumed and the final member of our extended family has gone back home. Today, let’s examine the top 5 food and fast food brands by their total Facebook, Twitter and blog shares throughout 2013. 

Fab Five Food and Fast Food Brands

1. Cornetto

With the 5th most shared ad of 2013, and 13th of all time, Unilever’s ice cream brand has been exceptional at cross-platform marketing – utilizing social video and social platforms, including Vine, seamlessly. Cornetto Cupidity series has been extremely effective – creating incredible love stories of everyday people from around the world. This series combined these long-form love stories with music videos from lesser-known artists.

This is where Yalın comes in; with close to 3 million shares and 26.5 million views, the music video not only travelled around the virtual world, but also made the artist himself a household name across Turkey. The love story itself achieved an incredible 144,310 shares itself, making it the fifth most shared of 2013. The series itself continued to perform strongly, with Kismet Dineattracting 140,000 shares, with its companion music video gaining an impressive 88,570 shares.

Cornetto also has an active profile on Vine, with impressive short-form techniques, especially good at stop-motion. Examples below:

2. Chipotle

Having started to make their way over to the UK, the American burrito chain has been a giant in the social video sphere, following on from their incredible Back To The Start campaign in 2011 and 2012’s Meat Without Drugs, with the unforgettable spot The Scarecrow. Just shy of the year’s top 20 videos, the ad garnered a tidy 452,000 shares and almost 10 million views since its release in September.

Though not equaling the success of their yearly viral installment, Chipotle also achieved 15,600 shares with its self-congratulatory 20-year anniversary spot – with just 25,289 views. Chipotle has also have started to build influence on Instagram Video, with its trailer for The Scarecrowgame, as well as its coverage of a live performance from Walk The Moon.

3. McDonald’s

Unlike Chipotle and Cornetto, McDonald’s takes the third spot through consistency and volume – but still boasts some brilliant stand-out ads. McDonald’s brought in tween heart-throb Austin Mahone into the fold, gaining 40,000 shares with his What About Love sessions. Their collaboration with YouTube’s Bad Lip Reading channel spawned a hilarious Super Bowl spot, featuring NFL superstars such as Joe Flacco aching for some Mighty Wings. It boasts over 32,500 shares since its September release. Looking like something more at home at the end of Kubric’s 2001: A Space Odyssey than the world of advertising, McDonald’s released a great campaign surrounding their flagship burger, the trusty Big Mac, with Dream racking up the most shares, with over 14,000. McDonald’s is also a strong short-form brand, with some brilliant content, including a 6-second Vine that showed the world how to make fine cuisine with McD’s ingredients and this Toy Story-esque Instagram Video4. Oreo

Oreo has had an incredible year in the social space, with multiple brilliant social videos; an incredible presence on both Vine and Instagram; and one of the best real-time pieces of advertising to date during the Super Bowl in NOLA earlier this year.

Fab Five Food and Fast Food Brands on YouTube, Instagram and Vine

Not only did Oreo have a good Twitter Super Bowl day, its Whisper Fight video also performed pretty well, gaining over 63,000 shares on the World Wide Web. Finally, Oreo showed their musical skills, with collaboration with Owl City for its Wonderfilled Anthemgaining the brand an extra 29,300 shares towards their impressive 2013 total. Though Oreo has performed well in the social video space, it is on Vine and Instagram where the brand has truly flourished, with an exceptional Halloween campaign, numerous stop-motion tricks and their ever popular #OreoSnackHacks. A few of the best examples are shown below.   

5. Taco Bell:

Taco Bell was another Super Bowl winner with their incredible Viva Young and Grandpa Goes Wild spots, gaining 285,000 between them. Following up behind was a number of videos with its Doritos joint venture – the Doritos Locos Tacos. Taco Bell, like Oreo, has really taken to the world of short-form, with brilliant pieces for World Hunger ReliefDoritos Tacos Locos andThanksgiving.

So, even if the turkeys created for Thanksgiving 2013 aren’t worth a second look, there’s a parade of great content on YouTube, Instagram and Vine that’s been created by the Fab Five Food and Fast Food Brands. And for that, let us all give thanks.

We’d like to give thanks to Scott Mitchell and Eddie Tomalin of Unruly Media for pulling together this custom set of data for us. Although Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated in the U.K., we’re truly grateful that our Unruly friends in London didn’t tell us what Americans heard on Jimmy Kimmel Live last week in “A Thanksgiving Message from Gary Oldman.”

New Age Digital Marketing Gurus // Because digital marketing is too important to be left to a marketing department