3 Insights On How Brands Can Create Disruption for a #BrighterFuture

Creating DisruptionI recently attended the iMedia Brand Summit where top brands from around the country come together to share insights, trends and tips. The theme of the conference was “Marketing in an Always-On World,” and couldn’t be a more accurate statement about the landscape brands and marketers are in today.The good news? The scene is set for marketers and brands to really step up.

As marketers, there are a few challenges we are currently facing:

  1. Tackling the content conundrum
  2. How to master the art of storytelling

Great companies not only tell a story, but whenever they can, appeal to the emotions. As Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction stated, “companies have to stop treating customers like lab rats thinking, ‘how can we just get a click,’ and then stalking them around the internet endlessly with no shame.”

Related Article: B2B Marketing in 2014: The Trends, Successes and More

Here are a few things to remember:

  1. If you aren’t intelligently retargeting and running advanced targeting through distribution, you should be. But that’s not enough.
  2. If you aren’t tracking your customers and delivering content that’s relevant to them and their behavior, you should be. But that’s not enough.
  3. If you aren’t a player in programmatic, you should be. But that’s not enough.

All the ad tech in the world isn’t going to build a brand. It may drive more revenue. It may allow you to find like audiences to target after and increase your customers and database. It may allow you to automate lead nurturing campaigns and triggered email campaign spends, but what happens once you stop spending money?

Will your brand be remembered?

#1 In order to create disruption today, you have to create emotion.

At the end of the day, we are all humans. We have emotions. Susan Weinschenk, a.k.a. @thebrainlady, said that “good stories make a concept visual, tangible and personal.” Great brands give customers a taste of what they offer and gently remind them to come back for more.

Apple doesn’t have a gigantic button that says BUY NOW throughout their pages because they don’t have to. They create a great experience and tell a great story so you just want to buy. Credit card companies don’t share images of their credit cards, they share images of beautiful travel locations and yachts and fancy cars. They inspire a feeling of desire in their customers. Just take a look at Capital One’s Pinterest board. Their tagline says it all: “Life’s rewards can be pretty sweet. We’re serving up inspiration and #rewards to help you get more!”

Skincare brand Dove’s mission was to reach more women. After conducting a study, they found only 4% of women think they are beautiful. So what did they do about it? Dove decided to create content around this issue by targeting women’s insecurities, and allowing users to displace negative banner images in social with positive messages. Dove’s Facebook mentions increased by 71% and over 50% of the women who visited the app created a message. Dove disrupted the marketplace by creating emotion in women around the world.

#2 In order to create disruption, brands must combine technology and customer insights to deliver a new experience.

Companies need to innovate. Gone are the days of static articles and :30 second videos. If you are a brand, how can you merge technology with customer insights?

Hellmann’s did it by creating a new experience for customers called “recipe receipt.” If Hellmann’s was in a shopping cart, the POS software created a recipe with the other ingredients that was purchased.

The results? With installation in 100 cash registers around the world in 3 months, sales increased 44%. Take a look at this video clip below.

Kelly Moore Paints similarly built an application that allowed a user to choose paint colors from a palate swatch, and then save that color collection as an image that was sharable on Pinterest and Facebook. This not only created a massive content selection for Kelly Moore to use, but it inspired creativity and sharing. Kelly Moore Paints made it personal by combining technology and customer insights to deliver a new experience.

#3 In order to create disruption today, you have to enlist brand ambassadors.

When BuzzFeed started, their goal was (and still is) to create viral content. They are obsessed with entertaining, substantive content and social advertising. According to the CEO Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed hires people who are tapped into the flow of culture on the web and know how to add their own ideas to the mix and create entertaining posts people love.

BuzzFeed understood that if they were going to be a publisher, than every single one of their employees has to publish. They also don’t believe in only driving traffic where good journalists can’t take the time to create robust stories OR creating content for just ad revenue which forces content creators to write new sections just because brands want to sponsor it (or so they say), and it shows.

There’s growing value in sharing your brand’s unique content on secondary platforms like LinkedIn and SlideShare. And the only people who can create distribute content are people, not brands. In order to create disruption, hire brand ambassadors who share and care.

9 Monstrous Copywriting Mistakes, care of Halloween’s Michael Myers

My favorite things in life are writing and watching the original masterpiece, Halloween. And today I get to combine the two!

Viewing after viewing, I’m consistently impressed by the fact that Michael Myers, the fictional psychopath of the cult classic Halloween, is able to slay so many victims without saying a single word. I’m equally perplexed at how many content marketers persuade customers to buy their product by using terrible copywriting tactics.

We don’t like to shame specific businesses, but if Michael Myers were a copywriter, we’d gladly point out his creepy copywriting mistakes (that marketers are guilty of too). Here are the 9 most horrific copywriting offenses as demonstrated by the monster himself, Michael Myers. (more…)

9 Monstrous Copywriting Mistakes, care of Halloween’s Michael Myers

Monstrous Copywriting Mistakes

My favorite things in life are writing and watching the original masterpiece, Halloween. And today I get to combine the two!

Viewing after viewing, I’m consistently impressed by the fact that Michael Myers, the fictional psychopath of the cult classic Halloween, is able to slay so many victims without saying a single word. I’m equally perplexed at how many content marketers persuade customers to buy their product by using terrible copywriting tactics.

We don’t like to shame specific businesses, but if Michael Myers were a copywriter, we’d gladly point out his creepy copywriting mistakes (that marketers are guilty of too). Here are the 9 most horrific copywriting offenses as demonstrated by the monster himself, Michael Myers.

No Value for the Reader

This is big. Copywriters should always be thinking about the customers. Sometimes we marketers get in the habit of thinking, talking, and writing about ourselves and “our” customers. Instead, try switching from third-person to second-person, utilizing “you” and “yours.” Don’t tell your followers why “our customers love the new product”. Tell them “this is why you’ll love it”.

Michael Myers’ Facebook Post: People are scared of me. I’m big, I wear a white-mask, a navy janitor’s uniform, and I murder people for a living.

Crafting Vague Headlines

According to Copyblogger, 80% of people read headline copy but only 20% will finish the article. You can’t blame them either, they’re bombarded with marketing messages each day. It’s your job you craft a headline that’s specific and communicates value to the reader. Pack as much information as you can into a sentence, for example: “If you’re on the hunt for a new office copier, download our new eBook and discover which machine fits your budget and needs” is more direct and descriptive than “Are copiers necessary?”

Michael Myers’ Blog Post Headline: “I’m Michael Myers. Where are you?”

Related Article: 3 Words That Will Instantly Boost Call-to-Action Conversion Rates

Using an Improper Tone

Sometimes it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it- even when it comes to copywriting. If something is said sarcastically in a serious situation, readers can be offended. Likewise, tone should fit the context. Your CTA button on your home or checkout page should have a persuasive tone, but Twitter and Facebook should remain conversational.

Michael Myers’ Checkout Page CTA: Yo’ @LaurieStrode! Tell me where you’re at kid sis.

Incorrect Punctuation and Spelling

Nothing says “thought leader” like grammatical errors. I’ve seen (and unfortunately created) many social media posts with spelling and/or grammar mistakes. Which is the last thing you want to do with social posts, because for one, you instantly get bombarded with spell-checking remarks, and two, you sound less professional. And if you’re tagging someone in your post, definitely get all the details before you press ‘post’.

Michael Myers’ Tweet: Hey @LooorieStide, I’m leeving you’re friends house and coming for you. Hows babysitting going?

Too Long

Too much text can hurt. Even in cases with no character limit, lengthy language can bore your reader. Our friends at Buffer created a guide listing the ideal copywriting length for everything online. They found that, although the max is 140, the ideal Tweet is 100 characters long. Facebook posts around 40 characters receive 86 percent higher engagement than lengthier posts. And when it comes to crafting the perfect email subject line, stick to 28-39 characters.

Michael Myers’ Email Subject Line: If you’re in the mood for the some Halloween fun, and your name is Laurie, and you’re babysitting kids right now, and you’re eating popcorn, and you’re bummed you’re not hanging out with your rebellious friends, and you’re really brainy, then open this email.

Related Article: 14 Resources to Reference When Writing a Blog Post

Over-Complicated Language

Sometimes B2B marketers, and writers in general, can get too caught up in fancy lingo, using ornate phrases like “at the present time” instead of “now” or “we’re here to facilitate the transformative framework of your intelligence-based business” instead of “we’re here to help.” The reader shouldn’t have to break out a thesaurus or a grammar guide to understand your offering. Do the brainwork for him and simplify your words. Be conversational.

Michael Myers “About” Page: With my distinguishing psychotic characteristic, I envisage a night of titillating consternation, ultimately realizing my intention of annihilating Laurie’s friends, resulting in undiscriminating bloodshed.

Forgetting to Flip Negatives into Positives

You can communicate the value of your product or service with a glass half-full or half-empty language. For example, when you’re promoting a new discount, you have two ways of communication the offer: the customer is told he is “getting 50% off the sales price” or “50% extra with the new promotion” Marketers are quick to communicate the reduction, but sometimes buyers feel more upbeat about getting something for free.

Michael Myers’ Promotional Copy: Special Discount: If you scream, I’ll take 50% of your arms off. For a limited time only.

Using Weak Verbs and Too Many Nouns

Social media scientist and expert, Dan Zarrella, analyzed over 200,000 tweets and found that the ones with less nouns and more verbs or adverbs received higher click-through rates. I hear this from writing gurus all the time: Use strong verbs!

Michael Myers’ Tweet: The dead arm is in my hand.

Never Using Numbers

Research shows that numbers stick, meaning headlines like “10 reasons to click here” resonate with readers more than “Ten reasons to click here”. Don’t underestimate the power of listicles. Takipi analyzed over 100 blogs to determine which headlines were shared the most. They discovered that readers prefer headlines that begin with digits rather than numerical words.

Michael Myers’ Headline: Seventy-five Reasons You Should Stop Running From Me

In Michael Myers’ case, the pen was not mightier than the sword. Maybe he should’ve spent a little time A/B testing.

You, on the other (less creepy) hand, can run a proper A/B test and start to engage potential customers. Don’t let the right ones get away from you.

Now, cue the Halloween music.

The SMB Guide to Mobile Marketing

To say that mobile marketing is exploding is an understatement. With consumers and businesses alike utilizing their devices for everything from playing a game to making major business purchases, marketers cannot ignore that mobile has to be a part of their plans and budget. Mobile is not only a different animal than traditional forms of marketing, but also than it’s older digital sibling. The game has changed once again, so we’ve created a guide to help you navigate the waters ahead.

Overview

Mobile marketing is advertising via cell phone, smartphone, tablet, or any other such device connected wirelessly to the Internet. Unlike traditional mass marketing, mobile marketing is most likely to be user-initiated; consequently, you are already targeting an audience interested in and predisposed to buy your products and services.

Another unique characteristic of mobile marketing is that it targets consumers based not only on their personal buying patterns and interest profiles, but also their geographic location. Thus, diners interested in Indian cuisine can receive an alert whenever they are near an Indian restaurant when it’s time for lunch or dinner. (more…)

The SMB Guide to Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing OpportunitiesTo say that mobile marketing is exploding is an understatement. With consumers and businesses alike utilizing their devices for everything from playing a game to making major business purchases, marketers cannot ignore that mobile has to be a part of their plans and budget. Mobile is not only a different animal than traditional forms of marketing, but also than it’s older digital sibling. The game has changed once again, so we’ve created a guide to help you navigate the waters ahead.

Overview

Mobile marketing is advertising via cell phone, smartphone, tablet, or any other such device connected wirelessly to the Internet. Unlike traditional mass marketing, mobile marketing is most likely to be user-initiated; consequently, you are already targeting an audience interested in and predisposed to buy your products and services.

Another unique characteristic of mobile marketing is that it targets consumers based not only on their personal buying patterns and interest profiles, but also their geographic location. Thus, diners interested in Indian cuisine can receive an alert whenever they are near an Indian restaurant when it’s time for lunch or dinner.

Fast Stats on the Mobile Market

The mobile audience will include an estimated 196 million smartphone users in the U.S. by 2016. According to local marketing experts BIA/Kelsey, while most local commerce is conducted offline, it is greatly influenced by online searching and ad messaging.

According to the Google/Nielsen Mobile Search Moments study, only 17 percent of mobile searches are conducted on the go; 77 percent take place at work or at home. While the ability to target users while they are on the go is important — shopping and food-related queries are twice as likely from inside a store than anywhere else — the overriding opportunity is tapping into a sizeable audience that increasingly relies on a mobile device versus a PC to search.

Related Article: 3 Big Shifts in B2B Marketing: How Marketers are Reacting

According to mobiThinking, typical consumer mobile usage averages nearly three hours a day, versus just a little over two hours daily on a PC. (more…)

Up-and-Coming Digital Agency Scenes

When you think creative hubs, Manhattan, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are some of the long-deemed cities that come to mind, but that is changing. With established, traditional agencies losing business to smaller, more nimble digital agencies, the advertising landscape is being reshaped, as are the cities that they call home.

Portland and Minneapolis are some of the hottest up-and-coming digital scenes. Below are some of the agencies that are putting them on the map, and the incredible work they’re putting out.

Portland (more…)

Up-and-Coming Digital Agency Scenes

mobile apps conceptWhen you think creative hubs, Manhattan, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are some of the long-deemed cities that come to mind, but that is changing. With established, traditional agencies losing business to smaller, more nimble digital agencies, the advertising landscape is being reshaped, as are the cities that they call home.

Portland and Minneapolis are some of the hottest up-and-coming digital scenes. Below are some of the agencies that are putting them on the map, and the incredible work they’re putting out.

Portland

Screenshot of The Real PSL Tumblr by Swift agency

Swift

Winner of the Northwest Gold for Ad Age’s Small Agency of the Year Awards in 2014, this digital creative agency is 70 percent women. Though Swift has the ability to do traditional advertising, their sweet spot is social media and emerging networks, particularly with the millennial crowd.

In order to usher in the season of their most popular drink, the Pumpkin Spice Latte (or PSL to those in the know), Starbucks called on Swift. Knowing their audience, Swift gave PSL its very own Tumblr, called The Real PSL. Fans of PSL can “Ask a Latte” anything their heart desires, and re-blog PSL’s Pinterest/Instagram-worthy pics.

Roundhouse

Another Portland agency receiving honors from Ad Age, Roundhouse recently took home a Gold Award for Agency Culture. That’s not the only thing they’re doing right—Roundhouse has a slate of clients that top traditional agencies would be jealous of, including big brands like Adidas, Red Bull, and Xbox, just to name a few.

In an effort to help msnNOW reach the millenial audience they were hoping to capture, Roundhouse created a series of ads featuring viral video content to roll out on YouTube. According to Roundhouse, “the videos received over 64 million ad views and 130,000 click-throughs while contributing to the more than one billion impressions.”

Minneapolis

screenshot from Olson website of the

Olson

Though it might not seem like a hub for all things cool, Minneapolis’s creative scene is paving the way for a full-blown boutique agency takeover. Just a few years ago in 2009, an article in Ad Age revealed that boutique agencies had all but taken over. In 2013, Olson brought in a staggering $90m in revenue (which is $30M more than any other Minneapolis agency) with massive brand clients Target, General Mills, and GoPro.

Projects like Cereal Wars and The Strudel Düdeler, social media campaigns used to General Mills’ cereal and Toaster Strudel, show Olson’s creativity in creating compelling brand content and using social media avenues to share it with the world.

mono

After years at some of the biggest names in advertising, mono’s founders decided to strike out on their own in 2004 and open an agency “with the belief that simpler is better.” Since then, they’d been pulling in business from some of the country’s most significant brands like Target, Honeywell, Herman Miller, and more.

Modern furniture company Blu Dot and mono created the Real Good Experiment, where they placed 200 of Blu Dot’s Real Good Chairs throughout NYC, free for the taking. What resulted was 130 million media impressions with a grand total of $0 spent on a media buy. Talk about virality.

 

19 Pieces of Great Marketing Advice from the Pros

The work of a marketer is never done, but with a little advice from the experts, your marketing efforts can be more inspired, effective and engaging. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, these insightful tips from the pros will get you thinking about marketing in a different way.

Here are 19 of our favorite words of wisdom from some of the great minds paving the way, especially in the digital landscape.

“The biggest titles don’t always have the biggest brains. Instead, go after key influencers.” Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva (Tweet This!)

“A story is at its best when it’s not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.” Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO, Vayner Media (more…)

19 Pieces of Great Marketing Advice from the Pros

marketing advice illustrationThe work of a marketer is never done, but with a little advice from the experts, your marketing efforts can be more inspired, effective and engaging. Whether your business is B2B or B2C, these insightful tips from the pros will get you thinking about marketing in a different way.

Here are 19 of our favorite words of wisdom from some of the great minds paving the way, especially in the digital landscape.

“The biggest titles don’t always have the biggest brains. Instead, go after key influencers.” Guy Kawasaki, Chief Evangelist, Canva (Tweet This!)

“A story is at its best when it’s not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.” Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO, Vayner Media

“On any job, be 100% present until you decide not to be … [and] [n]o moment of anger or frustration is worth the negative long-term impact it can have on your own marketability.” Stephanie Fierman, Global CMO, MediaCom Worldwide

“In the world of B2B, your professional network is everything. Because your business is about business, the potential of you know and who they know is where powerful connections happen.” Amber Naslund, Brass Tack Thinking

Related: Social Ad Spending will Grow to $11 Billion by 2017

“Always be problem solving! Don’t think about how to be a “cool” marketer. Think about how you can help.” Carrie Kerpen, CEO, Likeable Media

“People share, read, and generally engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.” Malorie Lucich, Product Communications, Pinterest

“Branding is not just about being seen as better than the competition. It’s about being seen as the only solution to your audience’s problem.” John Morgan, Author of Brand Against the Machine

“Often, B2B content is written to represent the company. Swell. Except your audience is most likely your customer base and prospects. To that end, write your posts with your customer’s usage in mind. Think about what they will want to know, and how you can be useful.” Chris Brogan, marketing expert & Author of Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust

“Instead of a one-way interruption, web marketing is about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that the buyer needs it.” David Meerman Scott, Marketing Strategist & Author of The New Rules of Marketing & PR 8

“There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy and determination, you can get there.” Darren Rowse, Founder, Problogger

“The biggest mistake we see companies make when they first hit Twitter is to think about it as a channel to push out information” – Tim O’Reilly and Sarah Milstein, Co-Authors of The Twitter Book

Related: Educate Yourself with Online Marketing Tools and Tips

“Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” Mike Volpe, CMO, Hubspot

“What makes content engaging relevancy. You need to connect the contact information with the content information.” Gail Goodman, President & CEO, Constant Contact

“People shop and learn in a whole new way as compared to just a few years ago, so marketers need to adopt or risk extinction.” Brian Halligan, CEO, Hubspot

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey, Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®

“When creating content, be empathetic above all else. Try to live the lives of your audience – think about what influences them, what drives their passions, what makes them want to share, and how they consume content, too.” Rand Fishkin, Co-founder, Moz

“Keep ideas and communication simple. The very best ideas in marketing that convince consumers and ignite passion can often be explained in one word and one picture. Keep it simple!” Stefan Homeister, head of Sales and Marketing for SAB Miller Europe

“Customer Experience Management is on the rise for a simple reason. Happy customers inspire prospects and drive up brand reputation. Fast response to problems does exactly the same.” Axel Schultze, founder and CEO of Society3 Group Inc.

“Data is the new currency. So marketers need to date their IT mates.” Deanie Elsner, CMO, Kraft Foods

How to Make the Most of What You Have: Lead Conversion Optimization Tips from Jim Wang of Microblogger.com

What is top-of-mind for B2B marketers right now? According to a 2013 survey from The B2B Technology/Marketing Community on LinkedIn, 61% of responders said the biggest challenge they face is generating leads. And not just any old lead, but quality leads that actually convert.

For the B2B marketers who feel held to time-consuming and expensive campaigns, there’s good news: the same study also found that the most effective lead generation tactic used by marketers is the company website, and another survey from MarketingSherpa found that marketers are increasing their spend yearly, with most of the focus on website optimization.

Despite the additional spend, lack of resources in staffing, budgeting, and time makes it difficult for marketers to efficiently optimize business’ web pages. Luckily, there are some simple and inexpensive tactics you can apply to your business website conversion efforts. (more…)