Co-creation: Halo, Nike and IKEA

Many companies often struggle to connect with consumers on a personal level, this leads to a lack of understanding of the desires of their customers. The video game developer Bungie was a good example of this. Bungie developed the oh-so-popular game Halo, a first person shooter played on the Xbox and Xbox 360, for those of you who have lived under a rock for the past ten years.  Recently the rights to continue making the Halo series were sold to 343 Studios. Who realized there was a growing market in the competitive gaming industry, because 343 is awesome they decided to gather input from the hardcore gamers out there so they could create a game that catered to a more competitive atmosphere. This is a perfect example of co-creation because they used the inevitable consumers of the product in development of the game. Making the gamers who, spend hours daily playing it, much happier. Knowing 343 studios took the time to listen to my needs, immediately swayed my preference to them, (over Bungie) within a matter of days. Talk about a good way to build customer loyalty!

Yet another version of co-creation in Halo is the ability to “forge” your own maps within the game. This makes the creators job a hundreds times easier because it A) supplemented Bungie’s inability to design a competitive map and B) helped to maintain the longevity of the game. It ingeniously allows for the gamers to tweak the gameplay to their liking while at the same time enabling the game to evolve without compromising the brand or mechanics of the game.

Okay maybe not always…

Nike recently released the Magista’s, a revolutionary new soccer boot. When designing this product they took into account the opinions of professionals like Andrés Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo. They felt they needed more comfort, touch and stability in their boot. Attaining these qualities simultaneously is not an easy feat. The rule of thumb with soccer shoes generally is, when lending more comfort and touch you are sacrificing stability, and vice versa. Au contraire soccer Gods! Nike, using technology  previously used in their Kobe 9’s  and FlyKnit Running Shoes, developed the most innovative, touch oriented, supportive boot the soccer world has ever seen. All because they listened to their customers. 

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Nike then released, as they always do before the World Cup , an epic commercial debuting the use of this new boot (this made footballers and content marketers alike giddy with excitement).

Co-creation methods like these make the games, content and/or products more enjoyable for the the target audience while at the same time making the creator’s job easier. By participating in such innovative techniques, both parties are creating a more valuable product than they could alone. This lends a new meaning to the phrase “customer loyalty”.

Co-creation isn’t limited to just product development but also product assembly. IKEA is a great example of this phenomenon, they rely on the customer to pickup and assemble their products in exchange for lower prices.

IKEA-instructions

Co-creation is a way for a company to bring a customer the product they actually want while also building customer loyalty. The fact that a better deal is generally just a click away makes this an even more important concept.

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Are you still paying with card? Psh you old geezer.

Dear Marketeers,

“I’ll take a venti americano with cream, please.”

“Will you be paying with card or phone today, sir?

Believe it or not this could become a common phrase in the next couple of years. Using a card to pay for your coffee could become as antiquated as paying with cash is today.

As use of mobile devices increases in popularity, with it comes innovations in how we use these devices in our everyday lives. One of the many crazes currently, is mobile payment. What is it?

Essentially your phone substitutes for your wallet.

 

 

Within your device you have your credit and debit cards synced with an app that let’s you pay your bill at a restaurant by having them scan a barcode produced by the app. Who are the major players in this new industry?

1. The Google Wallet (of course): this lets you pay by tapping an Android against a terminal which completes the sale. As long as the Android has a current device with a near-field-communication-chip (this can present a bit of a problem that I will discuss later). When you set up your account you link you credit card information with the Google Wallet app and then set up a PIN. When you are ready to pay for something you tap the device against the terminal and then insert the PIN just as if you were paying with a debit card.

Google Wallet logo

 

This brings up a valid point though. How does this different from using a debit card? And with recent hacks on mobile apps like the Starbucks App, why would you possibly want to make your information more susceptible to fraud?

This does not necessarily incentivize consumers to make the switch to mobile payment.

2. LevelUp provides this incentive to businesses and consumers. They try to make the experience of paying to an easier, less expensive one, they essentially try to “Level Up” the paying experience.

 

 

First off as a small business, allowing a customer to pay with a mobile device allows for instant storage of data by the business. Allowing for analysis of sales trends that are uncommon for small businesses to so easily take part in. On the other side of this, this can be used to benefit the customer, as businesses can use this data to promote special deals that the customer can take advantage of. There is also a rewards-esque program where if the customer spends $50, they get $5 back. A 10% recovery on all purchases made sounds like a pretty good deal to me. On top of this, LevelUp only chooses to charge the business when the customer returns as part of this loyalty campaign. The interchange fees are also much smaller than the MasterCard’s and VISA’s of the world. In essence, if LevelUp isn’t making you money, neither are they.

3. PayPal, seeing an opportunity to expand beyond their antiquated methods of money transaction, has developed a similar method of payment. When you buy something your name and picture that you have linked with the app, appear on the stores point-of-sale screen. If the picture matches the person standing in front of the clerk. The sale is complete. This is all good and dandy but the only problem is that few retailers have adopted this technique of sales transaction, again providing no incentive to the consumer in using the application.

Look at the Google Wallet app, you need a very specific chip within and Android to use this app successfully. IPhone users have to buy a separate case in order for it to work effectively. This seems like a lot of complications for something that isn’t really solving a major problem in the first place.

It will be interesting to see in the next couple years if business begin to adopt this style of transaction or if this is just another fad. My guess would be the former. Although there isn’t much of difference at this point between the current, most popular form of sales transaction. As this phenomenon develops, I’m sure it will become even more innovative and convenient than we ever imagined.

 

– Tommy

 

Why your company NEEDS to go Mobile

Hello fellow Marketeers,

Nowadays most people don’t have time to sit down at a desktop and browse the web. Marketers must engage people across multiple platforms with consistency while still being engaging. By 2017 Mobile Ad spending will hit $41.9 billion a year, compared to the $13.1 billion spent last year. While this is minute compared to the $196.5 billion spent on TV advertising, it still illustrates the power and sway mobile ads can have on a target market. Especially what is likely a younger generation where there is more of an opportunity to build a longterm relationship, maybe even loyalty.

Yet even given this data there are antagonists to the mobile media craze, they say that people don’t buy things online so why should you market online? Well A) you can still influence people’s buying habits on a mobile device just because they don’t make the purchase on a phone doesn’t mean they won’t later on a desktop and B) any chance you get to interact with a consumer in a positive way is a good thing. The best way to interact with a customer using a mobile device, is to do it within an app, if person downloads an app one can assume they are a fully engaged, curious customer. There are five mistakes people make when developing and marketing their apps:

1. Treating the app like it’s a mobile experience.

Desktop website are made for screen that are much larger than a mobile device. It can be frustrating for a customer when he or she has to zoom in constantly to read. The last thing you want is to pair your brand with a customers frustration. Simplify your app, there is only so much a person can focus on, on such a small screen. Increasing usability, will increase the happiness of a customer and along with that the profit of your business.

2. Building an app without a marketing plan for it.

Use your website as an outlet to market your app, let the customers know that there is a way to increase their user experience in a positive way with your app. Don’t be bombastic about it, you can use the the apple brand to bring attention to a discreet location on the page.

Call to action for downloadMost people recognize this logo and share a positive connotation with it, and will therefore be drawn to to it naturally.

"Mobile App" cartoon

 

3. Building a mobile website and trying to pass it off as an app.

Consumers have high expectations when it comes to apps, they want things to run smoothly with four bars and with one bar. This means your app has to be native, you don’t want to build an app that essentially links a customer to your mobile website. This eliminates the benefits of the app experience and can quite honestly be annoying. It may be more difficult to build an app that is user friendly even in the dead-spots of the world, but it will be worth it for the satisfaction of your customers.

4. Assuming people will come back to your app “just because.”

Mobile App Retention Problem

This is, is the sad but true fact that, people get bored, easily. They are constantly being stimulated and if your app doesn’t give them the desire to come back. You have to ask yourself, why would someone want to use your app on a regular basis?

5. Ignoring your app’s customer base.

If you think about it, developing a successful app can be incredible advantage for your business, people have their phone on their person or within his or her vicinity 24/7. This means you have the ability to engage with them in a personal manner. If you acknowledge their existence in a personal way, and respond to their criticisms or issues they will become loyal to your brand.

To put it simply, you NEED some sort of  mobile app or website if you want to be successful in this day and age. There is too much opportunity to build a resounding relationship with your customers, and you are losing out on a lot of customers if you don’t have a mobile platform. Your company can have the greatest desktop content in the world but it doesn’t mean a thing if this content is only reaching a small percentage of your customers.

– Tommy

Give your Company a Crystal Ball

Hello fellow Marketeers,

What does data analytics mean for consumers? Personalization. A better and more efficient user experience. What about from a marketer’s standpoint? A more efficient allocation of resources, happier customers, more profit. Analytics can be used for literally everything. Hollywood can use them to predict the success of blockbusters (apparently using an actor from a very average television drama, will not lead to a very lucrative opening week in the box office, despite the ludicrous CGI budget.)

How do they do this? An article in the Harvard Business Review summed it up nicely: “It’s all about identifying patterns in past data, melding them with current data points that are readily available, and then taking action to improve business performance.” Marketers have never had more data at their fingertips. We can use this data to predict incredible things.

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 Some not so much.

Point being there is a lot of data out there and it is our job as marketers to use that information to our advantage. Target did this most successfully, developing algorithms using previous purchasing habits, that could predict, not only if a woman was pregnant but what trimester she is in. Whether or not this is considered immoral is irrelevant, it is still impressive and shows the power of data analytics.

Another good example is how the Obama campaign used A:B testing to analyze the effectiveness of different email schemes. They merged old campaign data from pollsters, fundraisers, field workers and consumer databases as well as social-media and mobile contacts with the main Democratic voter files in the swing states. The Obama campaign realized that different people react positively to different things. Just like a business they adjusted their campaign to shape the experience for individual people. This had never been done before in campaign history and one could argue is the reason Obama won his second election.

– Tommy

SQL

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This was the first ever banner ad, on Hotwire in 1994, it had an astonishing click-through rate of 78%.

Sadly, a 78% click through rate is no longer a feasible click-through rate (CTR) or else our jobs as marketers would probably be a lot easier (and boring for that matter). An add on Facebook nowadays averages a .05% CTR, this is probably due the inherent distrust that comes with typical in your face ads and the omnipotence of the ads nowadays, people are either zoning them (banner blindness)out or simply scrolling past them from lack of novelty. Even when you do have unique marketing strategy it never lasts, your competitors will almost always emulate your technique.

On this same note email CTRs are decreasing steadily as well.

Point being (and what I am gathering is the theme of this class) there is a talent gap in the industry of people with the proper technical skills to optimize customer viewership. Leaving ample opportunity for young neophytes like ourselves to properly educate ourselves. What means to be a good marketer nowadays is very different than what it was ten years ago. A great marketer can devise, develop, launch, analyze and sustain his or her own marketing campaign. Talk about a one man wrecking crew.

So how does one become said one man wrecking crew? Knowing your databases and your Structured Query Language is a good start. SQL is the de facto coding language that communicates with databases. Need to find something in a database? Use SQL. If you truly known SQL you can extract the exact data you need from the database. It gives you an advantage in terms of knowledge that only 1% of your so-called marketing gurus have, according to an article by Vault Analytics.

Running a search query is very simple and can save you loads of time scrolling through Excel documents. The information derived from a search query can give you valuable information as to how to allocate your resources. It can be especially helpful when looking to conquer big data where the database can be so massive and overwhelming that it is hard for someone to wrap their head around it.

How easy is it? Very. I just got through the SQL basic tutorial in 15 minutes on W3Schools. Although I much prefer SQLZOO, the layout of the website and it’s approach to learning, for me, made much more sense.

– Tommy

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

Hello fellow Marketeers,

So you have finally learned the language of the internet, you consider yourself a proficient coder and have developed a kick-ass website. You are getting tons of hits daily…you have optimized your content…you have done your research…you know there is a demand for your product, but customers aren’t taking that final step and purchasing your product. What can you do to optimize a customers chances at making a purchase?

People naturally hold different connotations for a variety of things, the color red might evoke a different sensation than the color blue. These sensations or perceptions can drastically shape our buying decisions.

So how do you decide between the proverbial red or blue pill?

A:B testing, that’s how.

A:B testing allows for you to test these evoked feelings and optimize your website in a positive way. In layman’s terms, you have two versions of an element (A and B)  and a metric that defines success. Your basic experiment with a control, an independent and dependent variable. Let’s say you have this feeling that the design of your website is preventing customers from making a final purchase decision. So you design two variations of your website, testing what exactly you think the problem is. Once you have set up your variations you want to randomly distribute the new customers to the two variations of your website. Then you have to make your conversion goal; this is the metric you use to measure the success of either website. For instance if you are trying to get your customers to buy a product and are testing the “Buy Now” button. The conversion goal would be the “thank you for your purchase!” page after checkout; someone arriving on this page would indicate that the customer had made a successful purchase, ergo had reached the conversion goal.

DO’s and Don’ts of A:B Testing

Don’ts

  • Do not test the variations separately. Extraneous variables (ones we can’t control for) can effect the results of of sales. If you sell sunscreen lotion and it happens to be extremely hot out that week. One can safely assume your increase in sales were due to the temperature outside, not your purple “Buy Now” button.
  • Do not conclude your experiment too early. Statistical confidence increases with a higher sample size, if you don’t have enough participants then your results become insignificant.
  • Do not surprise your frequent users. Although testing your website is good for the longevity of your brand. Be sure you are only testing new users, especially if you are testing something that will make your website look considerably different. People like consistency, don’t compromise your brand on such a silly error.
  • Results are results. Do not let your gut feeling override the data staring you in the face. You don’t know your customers personally, what makes them tick is different from what makes your tick. For instance, you predicted that a green “get started now” button would cause more people to sign up (green means go, right?) but your results suggest a red “get started now” button causes 20% more people to sign up. It is safe to say red is more effective regardless of your preconceived notions.

 

Do’s

  • Do wait enough time to get significant results. Experiments like these take time, don’t waste your resources because you are being impatient. There are numerous websites that can help you calculate what size you need your sample to be to get significant results.
  • Do show the same visitors, the same variations. This can prevent confounding variables and inconsistencies within your experiment. For instance, if you are testing the variation between two pieces of developed content and a customer sees one piece of content; then comes back the next day and sees another. When said customer makes a purchase, how do you know which piece of content had more effect on his or her purchase?
  •  Along this same note, do keep your variations consistent across the whole website. If he or she sees content 1 on one page and content 2 on another. It is difficult to see what had the most effect on his or her purchase.
  • Do many tests! Not getting results can sometimes be just as good as getting them. It allows you to focus your resources on other avenues. The key to optimizing your website is to do a ton of A:B tests, so all the positive results will eventually add up and boost your sales significantly.

 

An experiment done by the Microsoft employees illustrated how difficult it is to predict the success of a new design. It becomes necessary to test your product in a smaller sample of the population instead of testing a beta website that could negatively influence sales. What I mainly gathered from these articles is that, as much a we try to understand our target market we will never know them fully. Controlled experiments are used for precisely this reason. It removes the uncertainty of a “gut feeling” from the equation and gives a business cold hard data for it base its decisions off of.

 

– Tommy

 

Just like French is the Language of Love, Code is the Language of the Internet

Over the course of human history we have developed many tools, some amplify our physical abilities, a golf club allows us to hit a golf ball much further than any human appendage could. Others amplify our intellectually capabilities, language was the first step in this process allowing us to communicate with one another efficiently and spread our knowledge through civilization. Then came writing, similar to language, it let us transmit our thoughts more effectively with the added bonus of keeping historical records. Which essentially allowed us to accumulate and assimilate a wealth of knowledge which we could then spread across the world. Then we invented the computer, the ultimate intellectual amplifier, information is being processed, stored and transmitted faster than ever, and with this comes coding. Coding is probably the most important second language a person can learn in this day and age. It is the language of information.

Many marketers can navigate the industry well enough but understanding what you are asking a coder to do, or even doing it yourself can take your company and your salary to the next level. A nonprofit in Queens taught people how to write iPhone apps; their average incomes jumped from $15k to $75k. Point being that the marketing industry needs coders, the jobs are their, now people just need to fill them. In some circles, like in Silicon Valley, a talented coder is practically a celebrity. Pampered might a be better word. A good coder in the Valley now has representation just like an actor in Hollywood does. And why shouldn’t they? They provide a very specialized service and deserve to be compensated appropriately. 10X Management is a company that represents freelance software programmers, “dealing with the necessary evils of negotiation”. With this comes specialization, in Hollywood you have certain actors who are better at more dramatic roles, some are better more comedic, some just aren’t good at anything but somehow manage to get leading roles (Keanu Reeves, cough cough), anyways, the same applies for coding. Some coders are better at other languages, so when a client comes to 10X Management and says they need a very specific skill, 10X knows exactly who to go to. This provides 10X with a bit of leverage to increases the coder’s salary but it also provides the company needing the app with a better end result. It’s a win/win. Everyone likes winning.

The great thing about coding, is that you can learn it online, for FREE. I spent a couple hours on Code Academy trying to learn the language of the internet. It actually came pretty easy, granted I was just learning HTML, but I kept thinking of it as learning spanish or french. Many of us had to take these language classes in high school and I felt if I approached learning coding from the same perspective, that  it helped ease the frustration. It is even easier than learning a real language because you don’t actually have to speak it. I was able to get through the second lesson of HTML and plan to continue to learn to code. I have always wanted to become “fluent” so hopefully this was enough to spurn my motivation.

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.10.22 PMScreen Shot 2014-04-29 at 11.52.51 AM

 

I will update my post in a bit when I finish learning other languages.

If you need anymore motivation I leave you with this:

 

Native Advertising, Programmatic Ad Buying and mmmmmmmmm Cookies

Hello fellow Marketeers,

Most that have been in involved in the Digital Marketing Era are familiar with the idea of: Earned, Owned and Paid Media.

Digital Marketing is constantly evolving, becoming more efficient by reaching its target audience in the right place, at the right time and with a high likelihood to engage with the content. Is this triad becoming a thing of the past? Most recently, a new paradigm has been presented, that thinks of content in terms of paid and shared advertising. Shared content being shared between marketer and consumer. Essentially collapsing the boundaries between earned and owned media. Why has this happened? Part of it is because of consumer expectations, as social media (and therefore inbound marketing) has increased in popularity so has the consumer’s ability and desire to interact with his or her favorite brands. Platforms like Twitter and Facebook allow the consumers to do the footwork for you, spreading your content throughout the webs of the internet, “earning” you more publicity.

While you initially “owned” this content it is “earning” you more views. The problem is that a lot of marketers do not support their earned media with more content. Essentially allowing it to die. This begs the question..why not continue to support this media when the alternative is paying more to get your content out there? It seems like a now brainer. Given that this type of media is the most credible, cheapest and can most drastically influence the view of your brand; but many marketers are stuck in this antiquated way of marketing. As I discussed in one of my earlier blogs what consumers think of your brand, IS your brand. So if your consumers are creating content for you, it not only means more because of the word-to-mouth principle, but it is a more authentic representation of your brand.

Where does this leave Paid Media?

Many believe that paid media is dying a slow death. Nowadays paid media is a way to connect your consumers to your owned media, because owned media plays the biggest role in most sales. Part of this is creating rich media so your customers will want to interact with your content. Cookies are a big part of what allows marketers to reach their customers in an efficient manner.

.Cookie Monster 2

Sadly no, not those types of cookies…

Cookie Monster

The European Union is passing a law making it so citizens must opt-in to cookie use on their browser; it makes sense why people have such an issue with them. I don’t like the idea of something tracking my every move online. Ostensibly why would you want companies “snooping around” your information? What people don’t realize is how much of their positive experiences online are directly related to having cookies enabled. Having them disabled will lead to poor brand experiences, worse customer service and ineffective Google searches, just to name a few. If you opt out Netflix will no longer be able to “remember” what you have watched in the past therefore it won’t be able to provide you recommendations on what to watch next, and even worse we will have to go back to the stone-age-days of the internet and actually have to fill out forms upon checking out from shopping.

So what if cookies were to become a thing of the past in the U.S.? In comes Native Advertising. Similar to inbound marketing, the advertisement is disguised within the content. In essence, people are more likely to respond positively to media that doesn’t look like an advertisement, so native media takes the form of the rest of the content on the web. This could be in the form of promoted Tweets on Twitter or sponsored stories on Facebook. Whether or not this is deceptive is up for debate. My thought is that the whole point of inbound marketing is creating content that advertises toward people without them necessarily realizing it. This is no different in my eyes.

Then there is “Programmatic Ad Buying” which is when ads are automatically bought and deployed online when an event happens according to a set of rules applied by software/algorithms. This eliminates the need of the marketer to analyze data and choose the appropriate websites to advertise.

“The media buying process has completely outstripped human capabilities,” he says. “We’re using millions of fragmented places and data sources. So you’ve got to figure out how to put something together. We’re literally talking pedabytes of data.” —Mike Shields

What was once an incredibly time consuming process is now as simple as a click of a button. It used to be that companies would run a campaign for a month or so, then optimize it based on the date they collected. With programmatic ad buying this can happen in real time.

Using Amazon as an analogy, Eric Franchi put it succinctly: “I like the Amazon analogy,” he says. “You have two choices in buying baby diapers. There’s the grocery store, where you drive, get a cart, walk through the aisles, wait at the cashier, etc.—it’s a pretty manual process. Or, you can pull up Amazon, navigate the site and with one click, it ends up on your doorstep. That’s a lot more efficient. Programmatic aims to do the same for media, with a touch of eBay added for the auctioning of impressions as in RTB.” (Real Time Bidding) The genius part is it is also cheaper for the advertiser; because the advertiser can bid for more ads based on data that supports that the ad is reaching customer in the right place and at the right time. This is more efficient than the Pay-Per-Click cost which is typically placed on the website for a set cost.

Although this is a relatively new phenomenon, it shows promise. Ideally it will allow marketers to worry less about delivering the content to the right people and more about making quality content.

-Tommy

Google Profit

Hello fellow Marketeers,

Google Plus: the most underrated social media website for a business looking to optimize its authority online. Bold statement? I think not!

When you think social media, you think Facebook, Twitter, maybe even Instagram, but do you think of Google Plus? Do you know that currently Google+ is the second most used social media website on the internet? Although this statistic should be taken with a grain of salt (I’ll explain later). Second only to the paragon that is Facebook. Now supporting 359 million active users Google+ is a force to be reckoned with. In terms of optimizing your content, Google+ gives you the best opportunity. It is as simple as getting a +1 on your page, similar to how a “Like” on Facebook will make you more likely to appear in other people’s newsfeed. Except with Google+ this +1 will make you more likely rank high in an organic search on Google. This in of itself is a reason a business should invest time into Google+. As a business if you are already producing engaging content, it is sort of a no brainer for you to be involved in Google Plus.

An article from Business Insider illustrated Google+’s benefits perfectly: whereas Facebook is the go-to service for connecting friends, Google Plus is more often used to meet strangers who share common interests. This may be where google can find it niche in the constantly evolving social media market. Facebook while good for connecting with new and old friends, does not necessarily spurn the most intellectual of conversations. While it is always interesting when Suzy posts a status on diffusing the ongoing crises in eastern Ukraine, she loses a bit of credibility when the next morning there are pictures floating around of her pounding AMF’s at a sketchy dive bar. While this is a very specific example it provides a larger point: that Facebook is not the place for someone looking to build a community around his or her interests. Google Plus is. As a business this is very opportune.

A quote from an article on social media today sums up the idea of a community on Google Plus quite nicely: Google+ however introduces the concept of ‘circles’, essentially allowing users to group followers according to interests or any other criteria they wish to assign, for example work colleagues, business contacts, or customers; which makes targeting your content far easier to achieve than it is on either Twitter or Facebook.”

As much of a tool Google+ is for creating a community among users; it is also a way for Google to unite the different social media platforms it controls into one single page.

Google integration

Recently there was an uproar from YouTube users when Google replaced its original commenting system with one run by Google+, essentially requiring its users to make a Google plus account. This eliminated the anonymity behind commenting on YouTube, angering the so-called trolls of the internet. This would seem like an attempt to create more respectful community among users of Youtube, while also a sly attempt to integrate the various platforms that Google controls into one location. 

Google Plus Gif

To add to this debacle, Google will soon allow its Google+ users to email anyone they follow. How this differs from Facebook is that on Facebook you accept friend requests from an individual, it is mutual. On Google+ you can follow pretty much anyone that you please, essentially allowing anyone to spam you with email when ever you please. Although an “opt-out” option has been added.

This is yet another attempt on Google’s part to integrate all of its product into a single useable platform. Whether or not it is becoming annoying to users is up for debate. Whenever Facebook has an update there is always an initial uproar, but it always eventually subsides. People are allergic to change, perhaps as business, especially in social media this is a necessary evil from time to time if you realize the longterm benefits behind your actions.

-Tommy

In the spirit of blogging about social media and content marketing. Here is, yet another ingenious combination of both (check out this one about Game of Thrones if you have not seen it yet) from Hootsuite:

Thank you Hootsuite, we love you.

 

 

Respect my Authoritay!

Hello fellow Marketeers,

 “These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.”

People tend to put up this defensive shield when they feel someone is trying to sell a product to them. The proverbial annoying salesman at your front door. With the internet gaining so much influence, information has become readily available to literally everyone, because of this people are more likely to take initiative and seek out information. They want to educate themselves. They key here is being the tool they use. People crave a better understanding of the entire arena of knowledge. This is why content marketing works, because you can provide them with what they want and if you are doing it right be entertaining as well.

Content + Social + Search = Content Marketing

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Content: This is the foundation of inbound marketing; but it can’t just be any content. It must create value for the customer, inform them of the product, and entertain them while simultaneously addressing the reason they came to search in the first place: the problem. This is your chance to make the ultimate impression and shape your brand in the mind of the consumer. Think of this like preparing yourself for your first day of high school, this is really your first opportunity to show your new peers what you’re like. People may already know about you from middle school, or previous experiences, but now is your chance to really make a good first impression. The clothes or how you choose to present yourself are your content, everything from your shoes, to how you do your hair. All items of clothes represent or draw out an emotional reaction from within people. Same thing applies to the content within your market strategy. These strategies should be consistent all of the time and with your brand. People won’t know what to think of you if you are constantly changing your content. Most importantly though, you want to create content that creates a stir in your specific niche when you walk into the hypothetical cafeteria.

look

If you are looking to add to your brand but feel that drastically changing your website or marketing strategy could potentially compromise the identity of your brand. You can create a Microsite, which is a site that concentrates on a narrow topic featuring rich content. If done correctly a microsite can position a brand as a contributing member of community. Nike did this most effectively with their Nike Better World campaign, making athletes faster, stronger, better with less impact. That’s not sustainable. That’s unstoppable. Notice they still remain loyal to their brand but add to it by relating to their customer on a more personal, reciprocal level. There is no drastic change to their brand, they just make it seem more valuable to the community.

Social: Two words. Content distribution. Again with the first day of school analogy. Pretend you have just walked into the cafeteria for the first time. You don’t really know anyone. Who do you approach first? How do you go about doing it? How do you (the content) share yourself with everyone else? You have already created your identity, now you have to appropriately distribute it. Does your content make enough of an impression to where you are the talk of the lunchroom or are you sitting in the corner sulking eating your sub-par cafeteria food? Using the appropriate outlets is crucial especially social media which can provide a network of word-of-mouth publicity.

Search: are you the person everyone wants to hang out with? Will people search out your company, invite you to their parties? Share a funny experience they had with you? Although this all stems from having great content; optimizing someones ability to find you has become one of the most integral parts of content marketing. No matter how much people love your content, it is your job to tweak said content so that search engines, like Google, know who the right people are for your content (read last post on SEO). What it boils down to is ranking high in search engines (most importantly Google) for the words that people are using to find what you have to offer.

One of the most important aspects of being found by users, is creating authority online. The genius part is Google already knows if people find you important. They can tell if people are linking your website through the webs of the internet. Google follows these links, indexes them and then ranks them. This places even more impetus on having good content and a consistent brand. In order to create more authority, you need to show your expertise which is demonstrated in your content.

“What people say about you is more important than what you say about yourself.”

The key to becoming authoritative in your particular niche is to learn all you can and to share all you can. This is not where you will make your money. People naturally feel a natural tendency to give back, this is the norm of reciprocity. If you give them good content they will return the favor. This is where you tie your content in with the product you are trying to sell. If people associate good, entertaining content with your brand and product. Then they will be more likely to purchase said product. Your authority is granted by your audience, what they believe about you is what your brand is.

How you are perceived by others is far more important than your opinion of yourself.

-Tommy