Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’
So you think you’ve finished your studies? You may have graduated years ago, but let me tell you, in today’s economy, school is never out.
If you don’t have it already, you need to develop a philosophy of life-long learning. Things are changing much too fast to rely simply on what you learned at uni or TAFE.
For example, whether you’re a small or a large business, you can’t stick your head in the sand and ignore trends like social media. That means not only mastering existing tools, but staying abreast of emerging tools, as well.
It’s pretty clear that most businesses should have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. But when it comes to using some of the newer social media tools for your business, how do you pick a winner? You need to look at factors such as the take-up rate, how it integrates with other tools, and whether it offers something that is not only different, but hopefully useful, as well.
Google+ is one on the cusp (though, supported by and integrated with the raft of Google tools, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will be there for the long haul).
The location-based tool Foursquare, used by more than 15 million people who check in at locations and share their visits with friends, has had a lot of publicity and has attracted venture capital investment. But how important is it to people to become the ‘mayor’ of frequently visited spots? Are people using it mainly to make their friends jealous about where they can afford to go on a holiday?
A tool that I think ticks more of the boxes is Pinterest, an online pinboard service that, in the words of CBS Moneywatch, “attracts people who need to organize the chaos of Internet-age information overload.”
Pinterest describes itself as a social network meant to connect everyone in the world through the things that they find interesting.
The site lets you create and curate multiple pinboards in any category you can create, as well as following others’ pinboards. It falls somewhere between window shopping and actual collecting. You can log on through Twitter or Facebook, so you can tell your friends and customers about your boards.
At the same time, In contrast to Facebook, Pinterest pinners may end up choosing to follow people they don’t know purely based on the photos they curate, creating seemingly random new networks.
Read the full article on Smarter Business Ideas
- Tags: Australia, content, digital content, e-marketing, internet content, Journalism, Marketing, online marketing, Ray Welling, SMARTER BUSINESS IDEAS, social media, social networks
Posted in Australia, Journalism, Marketing, Ray Welling, Technology, Writing, e-marketing, social media
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By Ray Welling
In the competition between digital natives – Gen Y, which has grown up with online technology and digital immigrants – those of us who can remember typewriters and phones with cords attached – for primacy online, it seems that the digital natives have gained the upper hand.
Think Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook, and a billion dollar online empire by the time he reached his mid-20s) vs. Rupert Murdoch (MySpace, phone hacking scandals, declining dead tree media empire). Or Natalie Tran (24-year old Australian vlogger with 156,000 Twitter followers, more than 400 million YouTube views and a cozy career in the making) against say, Tony Abbott (50-something Australian politician with 56,000 Twitter followers but no YouTube channel).
If you read the media reports on what’s hot on the web, there appears to be a strong relationship between a lack of history and Internet success.
But it’s not that simple.
It can be useful to have a long-term view of the online world, which only a seasoned digital immigrant can have. If you can combine that with knowledge of traditional, pre-Internet business principles, you can look past current fads and build a business model that’s sustainable.
For example, the current obsession with whatever is the latest online application exploding in the public consciousness ignores the fragile nature of web success.
With all the current talk of community-building and developing personal relationships, you’d think the concept was invented by Facebook. Digital natives may be too young to remember, but digital immigrants will recall that when MySpace burst on the scene, it was seen as the long-term future of social media. That is, until Facebook came along.
Early digital immigrants can go back even further and remember GeoCities, an online community where people could create personal pages and create a following of fans, which was all the buzz way back in the 20th century.
And consider the power and ubiquity of the Google empire. It may be hard for digital natives to fathom a time pre-Google, but digital immigrants can remember when Yahoo! was seen as the impregnable leader in search (As an aside, it used its cash reserves to buy GeoCities back in 1999), a crown it took from the equally-invulnerable Alta Vista.
Read the full story on Smarter Business Ideas
- Tags: advertising, Australia, content, digital content, e-marketing, Internet, internet content, Journalism, Marketing, Ray Welling, SMARTER BUSINESS IDEAS, social media, Video, video content, YouTube
Posted in Australia, Journalism, Marketing, Media companies, Technology, Video, e-marketing, social media
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Ray has started a new gig, writing a column/blog for Smarter Business Ideas, a magazine and website for small businesses who use Telstra services. Here’s an excerpt from his first post:
With both his kids following their father down the difficult path of a ‘creative’, Ray Welling offers the next generation some sound business advice that they probably won’t listen to.
When I was at high school, the adults in my life told me I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. By “anything”, they meant a doctor, a lawyer, a professor or a business tycoon.
Instead, I chose to go down a creative path and studied journalism. For this I blame Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman and their representations of crusading journos Woodward and Bernstein bringing down President Nixon.
After graduating from uni I spent months looking for a job, and ended up taking one as a technical writer for a management consulting firm – not at all what I had imagined to start my career, but at least I was using my writing skills.
Since then, I’ve had a series of creative and not-so-creative jobs, in a variety of industries, always related in some way to writing, and now I run my own consultancy. I’ve never regretted my career choice, but I sometimes reflect that life would have been easier if I’d just become a more traditional desk jockey in a more lucrative field.
Fast forward to 2012, and the sins of the father have been revisited upon the children. Both of my kids have just finished uni, with creative-type degrees, and they’re now trying to find a role that fits with their passion and what they’ve studied.
So from the perspective of someone who has worked in the creative space for a generation, what advice do I have for my Gen Y kids as they start their careers? In the spirit of “Sh*t My Dad Says” (but with less profanity), here are my words of wisdom:
• Regardless of what you read about successful people, a creative, stimulating job that starts at 9 a.m. and finishes at 5 p.m. is probably non-existent – at least I haven’t discovered it yet.
• Chances are you will feel caged in by a ‘normal’ job and will want do your own thing. But though you may hate working for The Man, it pays the bills….
Read the full story
- Tags: Australia, business, content, e-marketing, eduction, Marketing, Ray Welling, small business, social media
Posted in Australia, Journalism, Marketing, Writing, e-marketing, social media
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From Ray’s NETT blog:
What are the most important factors to consider when you’re communicating ideas to people? How do you get your message across successfully?
From my days as a journalist writing for newspapers and magazines through to my current work presenting digital marketing messages or lecturing to students, a few common themes have emerged in terms of what works consistently.
Actually, I exaggerate – there is really just one fundamental rule in successful communication: make your concept relevant to your target audience.
This is expressed as a couple of acronyms:
• WIFFM – what’s in it for me?
• WSIC – why should I care?
If you can understand what matters to your audience and work out how to relate your message to their concerns, you’ll get your point across.
This principle isn’t limited to written, visual or verbal communication messages: it extends to the communication of ideas, and can include the dissemination of those ideas through a variety of media.
Take music, for example. My favourite band of all time is the Doors, led by the late great Jim Morrison. The Doors tapped into the Zeitgeist of the 1960s with music that protested against traditional mores.
Their sometimes dark messages about love, fitting in and pushing back against parental barriers struck a chord with young Baby Boomers who were just starting to flex their muscles and question the structures of the world that they were inheriting.
Read the full story
- Tags: content, digital content, digital marketing, e-marketing, internet content, Jim Morrison, Journalism, Marketing, online content, online marketing, Ray Welling, social media, social networking, The Doors, zazoo
Posted in Australia, Journalism, Marketing, e-marketing, social media
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As published in NETT:
When the iPad was released last year, there was a cacophony of ooohs and aaahs as geeks, early adopters and visionaries welcomed Apple’s shiny new thing. But if you listened carefully, you could also hear sighs and mumbles. That was from the people who were saying under their breath, “Oh s@!?# – another new technology to try and master – I give up!”
As a small business operator, it can be frustrating to try and stay on top of all of the technologies that may or may not be relevant to your business. It’s easy to question the justification for learning new things that may turn out to be a flash in the pan. Why get immersed in Facebook when it might turn out to be the next MySpace? So tablets are buzzing at the moment – didn’t the Palm Pilot have its day in the sun, to end up on a shelf gathering dust next to my Ipaq Pocket PC? Has Twitter peaked? Should I hitch my star to Foursquare, or Facebook Places – or neither? And I just signed up for a long contract with my iPhone 4 – don’t tell me that Android is the next big thing!
No one has a crystal ball that can tell you which technologies and platforms are going to be winners, or how things will evolve in the future.
Classic examples I use with my marketing students include the VHS vs. Beta wars of the 1980s, or the Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD stoush this past decade. Many people – and retailers – who invested in Betamax players and tapes or HD-DVD collections were left with expensive but useless equipment when they lost the marketing battle with their technologically inferior rivals.
It’s an understandable human reaction to say “Enough!” and refuse to adopt a technology until they work out the bugs, or until the winning format becomes clear. When I was a kid, my older brother installed a state-of-the-art 8-track player in his first car. When that technology collapsed soon after, he was so annoyed that he refused to buy a cassette player in case that technology became superceded, too. It did eventually get replaced by CDs, but in the meantime he spent more than 10 years in the music wilderness.
Read the rest of the article
- Ray Welling
- Tags: iPad, Marketing, NETT blog, NETT magazine, Ray Welling, Technology, technology adoption
Posted in Australia, Marketing, Technology, Writing, e-marketing, social media
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Our politicians have shown they could learn a thing or two from small business when it comes to marketing their wares.
You can be the best at something, but if people don’t know about it, that fact won’t get you anywhere.
The federal election brought home for me the importance of positioning and promotion when you’re marketing your business. The shambolic campaign and aftermath showed that you can be running the only western economy to emerge unscathed from the global financial crisis, which should be enough to get you elected a saint, but if you can’t sell your accomplishments – and you let your competitors dictate the agenda – you will be severely spanked.
Policy waffling, backstabbing and leaks didn’t help, but history tells us that Australians give a neophyte government a second chance, even if it’s made mistakes. For the government to have so many runs on the board, the election should have been a walkover. To my mind, Labor’s biggest problems were a lack of firm positioning and an inability to sell itself to its customer base – uh, I mean the electorate.
These principles also apply to running a small business. It’s not enough to be the best-in-class for service, delivery, reliability, range or innovation; if your customers and potential customers don’t know it, you won’t survive.
The first step in this process is positioning. You need to work out what you’re best at; what your salient attribute or point of difference is, and why it’s meaningful to your customers. It’s only worth focusing on a defining attribute if:
Read the rest here: http://nett.com.au/blogs/target-those-who-need-you-most/162.html
- Tags: e-marketing, innovation, Marketing, NETT, NETT blog, NETT magazine, online marketing, targeting
Posted in Australia, Journalism, Marketing, Writing, e-marketing, social media
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In an interview with Zazoo published this week on the HotHouse blog, Econsultancy vice president Rebecca Lieb observed that the Internet is bringing about a fundamental shift in power within companies from advertising to marketing.
She says that “not only has online search technology made it simple for customers to connect with businesses, the evidence shows that most searchers are going straight to a company’s website for more information about their products. In other words, it’s not advertising driving people to your business online, it’s search.”
Companies, she says, need to shift their thinking from an emphasis on advertising to an emphasis on marketing and content creation. That means there’s “lots more media to play with. And it’s free – but that doesn’t mean you can mess with it.”
In the digital age, she says, you need a long-term perpetual strategy. To be able to successfully develop and execute a perpetual strategy, according to Rebecca, “You need to think like an editor.”
“Brands are not just businesses,” Rebecca says, they’re now media companies.”
An excerpt from the story:
“…traditional media based their business model on a (mostly) clear separation between advertising and content. What happens when the ‘advertiser’ is also the content provider?
“In the digital context, according to Rebecca Lieb, ‘Being authoritative is more important than being objective – though transparency and disclosure are incredibly important.
“’If, for example, you’re a sporting goods company and you publish information on your site about mountain climbing. That information can be entertaining. The information is not invalid, as long as you know where it’s coming from.’
“Rebecca concludes: ‘The rules aren’t different; it’s the channels that are shifting.’”
Are you ready to act like a publisher with your website and social media program?
- Tags: advertising, content, digital content, internet content, Marketing, online content, publishing
Posted in Australia, Journalism, Marketing, Media companies, Technology, e-marketing, social media
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There may be a disconnect between the types of online content that customers want and the types that marketers think they want, according to a recently-published survey.
Marketing Sherpa and IDG Connect asked both marketers and buyers what types of offers would be increase the likelihood of clickthrough, and there were some sizable differences between the two groups. Marketers placed more weight on the impact of educational content (92%) and free research reports (86%) than buyers did (65% and 64%, respectively).
Marketing Sherpa reported that “While educational content, such as whitepapers or relevant industry research reports have their place, sending too many of these offers can further diminish their impact in buyers’ eyes. You need to create the right mix of offers, timed to stages of the buying cycle and contact role, to encourage continued interaction with your email messages.”
The survey revealed that buyers are receptive to receiving industry news and articles from vendor sources (84%), but only 73% of marketers felt the same way.
Marketing Sherpa recommended that marketers ”consider developing competitive comparison tools or guides to help prospects manage the buying process. Although more marketers than buyers said these tools increased their likelihood of a click, buyers still ranked comparisons and buying guides third on this list.
“….It’s difficult for a vendor to present a competitive comparison in an unbiased way, but at the very least you can provide a framework for doing competitive comparison.”
The survey asked how much more likely recipients were to click on certain types of offers. Surprisingly, buyers gave the highest rank to promotional content.
According to IDG Connect VP Bob Johnson, “Buyers want to see your promotional content. They need to understand what you do as a vendor, and need details about what your products and services offer.”
However, you can’t try to pass off promotional content as educational content. “That angers and frustrates them,” says Johnson.
Email body copy is another area in which marketers can provide more value for subscribers.
When asked which features would make vendor emails more useful, buyers ranked “highlight key words and points” (using bold fonts and hotlinks) third out of 12 options - more valuable than social media links, and more valuable than graphic imagery.
Ray Welling, Content Guy, Zazoo
Daniel Flamberg, managing director of marketing agency Booster Rocket, published his predictions for interactive strategies for 2010 on iMedia.com this week. One of them was about the growing use of online video for business. He wrote:
“Video is the meme of choice online. It seems that everyone has and uses a video camera to upload all kinds of content online. In 2010, if you can’t be found on YouTube and its competitors, you will be invisible. (my emphasis) Look for considerable competition among sites vying to rank second. Watch vertical video sites attempt to increase their visibility, if not their utility or viewership.
“….Also look for new ways to emerge to tell stories in video. There appears to be a very broad tolerance for homemade videos and video with very modest production value. Videos will be shorter and better tagged. Many will be clickable, and some brands will try to create (or re-create) a branded online serial aimed at their psycho-demographic target. The Holy Grail is still the video that achieves altitude and is virally passed to zillions around the world.”
As more companies realise the importance of Internet content to sustaining their business, more and more will turn to low-cost video content for their websites.
- Tags: digital marketing, digital video, e-business, e-commerce, e-marketing, Internet video, Marketing, online video, Video, video content, video marketing
Posted in Marketing, Technology, Video, e-marketing, social media
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Jonathan Salem Baskin, who was the subject of the most recent podcast we produced for HotHouse, has written an insightful post about the continuing importance of text in online communication on his blog.
“If video killed the radio star, wasn’t video supposed to obliterate text?” he wrote. “It hasn’t. Not even close. Who would have thought that 2009 would witness instead the continued resurgence of the written word?
“As opposed to video, text is a ‘hot medium,’ if you buy into Marshall McLuhan’s theories about media (and I do, for the most part). Even when viewed online, words engage a single sense, and thereby establish a direct connection that is richer in specific information and meaning than more participatory, or ‘cool’ multimedia experiences.
He goes on to ask: ”Why do businesses use words so poorly?
“Maybe because words seem free when compared with the cost of producing a video or sound file. Perhaps because social media conversations are so fast and frequent that specific word choices seem less important. One of my pet peeves is that we still use words to satisfy ourselves; we talk to our aspirations for our brands, and not to make those direct connections to readers.
“I think the year proved that what companies say matters, whether as the inputs into social media, or as the tool by which they make those direct connections with their consumers. But it has to be accurate, honest, and credible. It’s harder to get away with a lie when it’s literally spelled out; conversely, if we use words to state truths (and avoid all of the nuances that distract or lessen them), then text is a powerful tool that transports across technology platforms, and works with all age groups.
“I believe that 2010 will give us great and useful opportunities to use video and other media to communicate with our customers, but I suggest that there’ll be even more, better, easier, and more cost-effective chances to wring more impact and value out of the lowly, simple, written word.”
Use of video is growing quickly, but there are some things that will always work best in text format.
Ray Welling, Content Guy
I’ve come across an interesting blog-versation about CEOs who just don’t ‘get it’ when it comes to digital marketing. Mayra Ruiz started the conversation on her Marketing Misfit blog when she asked for some advice about how to deal with a client who wants to turn his website back into a brochureware site, supported by offline-only marketing, because his company’s sales are down and he believes his website isn’t helping. As Mayra explains, the sales problem could have something to do with a change in his sales team. Anyway, she asked for advice via her blog and Twitter, and she’s received plenty of good advice about convincing a CEO to stick with digital. Here are some highlights:
Kari Rippetoe at the Caffeinated Blog writes: “It seems to me that the CEO has the mindset that his product in all its feature-laden glory should be valuable enough for his visitors. Now, I haven’t seen the website myself, so I don’t know how the product is described; but none of his prospective customers are going to care enough about his product to visit the site more than a couple of times…. Why doesn’t the CEO want his website to be one of those go-to places for research and data related to his product? Why doesn’t he want his company to be an authority in its industry? They have an incredible opportunity to build trust and authority around their product through content - they just have to create an effective content marketing strategy and stick with it…. Prospects have to go through the research phase of the buying funnel - they’re looking for the what, when, where, why, and how and gathering as much information as they can (all that “extra stuff”) in order to draw up a well-researched short-list of options…. Prospects expect a website … Offline marketing efforts won’t be nearly as effective on their own without a tandem online strategy to help keep your sales leads warm. Kill your website, and I guarantee you’ll be killing your new business.”
Jonathon Betts at the Bettsonian Blog writes: “For a company that is marketing software it would seem a tragedy to discard the opportunity offered by web 2.0 tools. They could be used to support a company’s positioning as dynamic, innovative, tech-savvy and responsive…. This also demonstrates the importance of being able to demonstrate return on investment…. Does the CEO really understand what web 2.0 is really about? …the social media “market” has been characterised by hype and fragmentation. This doesn’t present a clear picture to your average business person. A ‘3 minute guide to social media’ to give non-marketing execs a snapshot of what’s going on would be worthwhile….Implement new channels incrementally rather than going for a big bang/all-or-nothing approach. Starting with a blog requires little or no cash outlay. The results from this will then support further investment decisions.”
My own 2 cents: take a look at the company’s marketing strategy and provide simple illustrations as to how a digital strategy can help achieve marketing/sales goals. If the CEO can’t articulate the marketing strategy, then heaven help the business.
In the digital age, if you’re a marketer you’re also a publisher. Rebecca Lieb has written a great piece in ClickZ which was republished the other day, and is well worth a read.
She argues that “Marketers have been creating content in all sorts of media in all kinds of channels since the beginning. But now that virtually every brand, manufacturer, service, and product you can think of is online (and likely runs its own Web site), content has blown wide open. Almost anyone involved in any type of online business can no longer hope to survive without a solid content strategy.”
In the 21st century equivalent of custom publishing, big brands such as Budweiser in the US even have their own online TV channel. Lieb writes: “Think of it as the online equivalent of a Disney or Warner Bros. theme park. You know the rides and merchandise are selling you something, but few people care about the church-and-state divide on branded territory.
“….Strong, well thought-out and executed content strategies create rewards for marketers. They go viral. They attract community. They can blow out SEO (search engine optimisation) to epic proportions. Rather than a company’s Web page showing up in organic results, content can generate page after page of relevant results.”
She concludes: “As an editor/marketer hybrid, I may have some bias here, but I’d be hard-pressed to think of a marketing problem that couldn’t be tackled head-on with a solid content strategy.”
Couldn’t agree more.
- Tags: content, digital content, e-marketing, internet content, Marketing, online content, online video, Video, viral, web 2.0
Posted in Marketing, Technology, Video, e-marketing, social media
- 1 Comment »
A few interesting links to finish the year:
Feel free to add your own, as well. Happy New Year everybody!
- Tags: 2008 wrapup, 2009 predictions, buzzwords, e-marketing, Marketing, social media, social media measurement, social networking, social networks, twitter
Posted in Marketing, Technology, e-marketing, social media
- 1 Comment »
Here’s a link to a list of the worst TV ads of 2008, according to BNET: http://industry.bnet.com/advertising/1000452/bnets-worst-ads-of-2008/
Warning: includes racism, vomiting and fart jokes!
Following on from my post the other day about the problems of using traditional return on investment (ROI) measurements for web activities, I’ve discovered another useful acronym - VRM, or Value Reference Measurement. Lewis Green, writing in the bizsolutionsplus blog, has produced a concise definition of this measurement, developed by the US Federal Chief Information Officers Council in 2002. He quite properly distinguishes it from ROI and suggests VRM, which is measured over a lifetime of sales and relationships, may be more valuable for measuring the impact of social media and social networking than ROI, which is strictly how much money was returned against an investment.
“Don’t say ROI unless you mean it,” he writes. “Instead, use metrics that measure both ROI and Value, and help decision makers understand how they differ and how each grows a business. ROI hits the bottom line; Value hits the top line.”
“Keep in mind that ROI might be either positive or negative, so to avoid what at first glance appears to have been a bad decision, it is smart to also measure Value through intangible benefits such as customer experiences, customer loyalty, and word of mouth to justify any expense. ROI is an important metric, but it needs to be balanced with a rigorous analysis of all the value factors.”
“….When discussing marketing and communications with C-level executives, do not say ROI unless you mean it in dollars and cents. Instead, offer up both ROI and VRM and then you will be speaking your client’s language. Be patient and know what you are talking about.
“Finally, don’t sell tools, sell goals and strategies to achieve a company’s objectives. Do it in concert with the Marketing, Communications, Sales, and Customer Service departments. Executives and business owners don’t want to buy a tool; they want to buy a plan for success, and they want both ROI and VRM. Some of the tactics (e.g., SM [social media] and SN [social networking]) likely will drive Value more than ROI. Others (e.g., advertising and direct marketing) likely will drive ROI more than Value. Together they will produce dynamic results.”
Social media blogger Peter Kim agrees with Lewis’ assessment, but argues that you need to present ROI measures as well as VRM measures to C-suite executives, writing that “If ROI doesn’t apply to social media marketing, then social media should not be used for marketing.” His views sparked a flurry of comments both supporting and rejecting his position - check out his posting to see them.
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