We are seeing an amazing evolution around how we work, how we lead, and how we structure our companies.From Jacob Morgan’s articles, part of the LinkedIn Newsletter Series.
These are the 14 Principles of the Future Organization
Globally distributed with smaller teams
We are absolutely seeing a shift away from organizations “command and conquering” to instead focusing on small and more widely distributed teams around the world, especially as a result of COVID. Even before COVID it wasn’t unusual to see a single employee working in a remote location just so the company can say they have an “office” there. Talent is no longer dependent on proximity to the corporate headquarters.
Organizations like Amazon are also implementing the famous “two pizza rule.” If a team can’t be fed by two large pizzas, then the team is too big!
A company cannot have a distributed workforce unless that workforce is able to stay connected with the right people and information; anytime, anywhere, and on any device. This means deploying the right collaborative technologies that enable this to happen. Technology is the central nervous system of any organization and EVERY company today is a technology company. I wrote about this in a previous article called The 12 Principles of Collaboration.
The same spirit, passion, and creativity that entrepreneurs have must also be fostered inside of organizations. Employees should be able to test out ideas, run experiments, pitch new projects, and “run” with the ones that have potential. They need to have the scrappiness and resourcefulness that entrepreneurs have.
Operates like a small company
A small company makes decisions quickly, isn’t bogged down by bureaucracy, and is more agile and adaptable. In a rapidly changing world organizations cannot operate as their stereotypical “larger selves” where employees spend all their time checking emails, having meetings about having meetings, and basically operating at the speed of sludge.
Focuses on “want” instead of “need”
Organizations used to assume that employees worked there because they needed to. Today, talented employees are seeing all sorts of opportunities to make a living beyond traditional employment. This means that in order to attract top talent organizations must create an environment where employees actually WANT to be there instead of assuming that they NEED to be there. This is done via employee experience.
Adapts to change faster
Today, “late followers” means “out of business.” Years ago it was acceptable to see what other companies were doing and being a “fast follower,” not so today. Decisions have to made faster and actions need to be more swift. This isn’t just an adaptation to technology either, new behaviors entering the workforce are also crucial to pay attention to and embrace. Remember, that things will never be as slow as they are now.
Innovation no longer comes from a team, a department, or from a few people at the top of the food chain. In order to succeed in a rapidly changing world innovation must have the ability to come from anywhere including outside of the company. “Idea” and “innovation” are also two different things. Ideas happen all the time but the process of taking that idea and turning into something is innovation. Does your organization enable anyone to come forward with an idea and then give them the opportunity to turn that idea into something?
Runs in the cloud
On-premise technologies have a shelf life and their days are surely numbered. How much longer do you think your company can sustain it’s on-premise deployments before falling behind every single other competitor that is able to adapt to technological change faster than you? Three years? five years? Maybe ten years? Stall as much as you want but the “future organization” runs in the cloud.
More women in senior leadership roles
There are nowhere near enough women in senior leadership roles at companies around the world. This means that most companies are missing out a talent pool that brings with it a new set of skills, mindsets, and perspectives. Consider that women have the majority of purchasing power, will soon become the majority of the world’s population, will soon earn more than men, and will quite frankly end up crushing it over the next few years, more than they are now! The forward thinking organizations recognize the value of having more women in senior level roles and are taking actions to help encourage and support this.
No organization that I am aware of has ever embarked on a journey to create a more hierarchical structure with more layers, more management, more bureaucracy, and less collaboration. Yet this is the stereotypical idea of what a strict hierarchy looks like and how it operates. Some structure within an organization is good but there needs to be a balance between being completely flat and being a pyramid. In other words, structure is fine provided that it serves the purpose of helping employees understand where they fit within the company and what the relationship structure looks like. However, this structure doesn’t mean that everything flows “top down.” Communication and collaboration flows up, down, and side to side.
Oftentimes organizations focus on telling stories to customers to build relationships with them, to elicit an emotional response, align with customer values, and get them to buy something. But it’s also crucial to tell stories to employees as well. Employees want to work for organizations that they believe in and whose values align with their own there is no better way to do this than through telling stories about how the company started, why it exists, and where it’s going. Telling stories is also crucial for purpose and meaning.
In most companies today, if you want to learn something you have to book a class or a training session, oftentimes days or weeks in advance. Learning is a very structured and linear process which is completely outdated today. Most corporate learning management systems are virtually obsolete and the content stored on them is scripted, boring, and dated.For the future organization any employee is able to act as a teacher or student that can learn from colleagues anytime and anywhere. Of course, this is largely facilitated through the use of collaborative technologies.
Shifts from profits to prosperity
Profit is just the financial gain that an organization receives and it’s the primary measure of success for most of them. Prosperity on the other hand looks beyond just how much money a company makes and looks at things such as employee health and wellness, community involvement, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and making a positive impact on the world. These are the values and attributes that the future organization must and will possess.
Adapts to the future employee and the future manager It goes without saying that the organization of the future must adapt to the changes we are seeing around how employees work and how managers lead. Both of these are things discussed in previous posts which were mentioned above
Storytelling and useful content are what sell. It really is that simple.
But like anything that makes us better, it has many layers that take us from a starting place to a successful ending place. And, if you are in any area of marketing, there really are no better sources of information than Social Media Today, subscribe and let me know if you find it valuable!
The article below was written my Mark Walker-Ford and I am reposting as he wrote it.
Are you looking for ways to improve your content marketing strategy? Want to know the content marketing tools you can use to grow your small business?
The team from PageTraffic share 35 tools you should consider in this infographic.
They break them down into the following categories:
2020 will forever be considered a pivotal year. We are not only entering a new decade, but a new way of working. That means Marketing will be at the head of the line, and those who bring skills, experience and built-up social capital will win the decade.
First, the Predictions:
It’s all about images – video, Zoom and other streaming media and photography telling the story faster and in a more memorable way than ever before.
Honesty and transparency must be part of the message.
Empathy matters and it must be backed up with action.
Are you listening? Communictions are two or three-way – not exective orders.
New technology will make all of the above a bit easier.
Next, what skills will take marketing farther and faster?
Social storytellers – The ability to break through via social media – that means being a story teller with truth and empathy where appropriate.
Video editing – editing is the key to impact and excellence.
Engagement – that means not only knowing who your audience is, but having a real connection. Like one-on-one.
Change – remember the 1918 Flu Pandemic was followed by the Roaring 20’s – expect the same.
Social capital – some might call this experience and karma – it means that experience and relationships will take you the farthest.
Summary – If you can move quickly, be real and have the experience to know what not to do – you will enjoy what’s to come, post Covid.
At the end of every day it is about people – their needs, fears, wants, hopes and dreams.
The debate about returning to work in office buildings is at full tilt as building owners have big concerns about how many people are enjoying working from home and what that might mean for leasing space in the very near future. Will your employer downsize? Will hours of operation change? What needs to change right now?
Architects and building owners have identified three top areas of concern in most commercial office buildings:
How many things you touch as you go from the street to your office; specifically entry doors and elevators
Air exchange, clean air and surface cleanliness
So, what are the ideas for changing current office spaces to deal with these concerns?
To make coming to work more positive, built-in heat sensors that measure your temperature as you enter a building could replace the manual temperature taking in use now.
To eliminate several touch points, doors will have sensors to open automatically and elevators will go on voice command with limited occupancy. Fewer people and no button touching.
The stairs will now become a feature. Look for carpet, paint and art in these areas to give workers an option to using an elevator. These will have to stay within fire department and evacuation guidelines but offers new options for moving from lobby or floor to floor.
Walls at your floor landing will be removed as possible, so you enter right into your office, works best for full or multi-floor tenants.
Air quality and exchange rate will not only be monitored but reported to occupants via an app.
Outdoor spaces including roof tops and parking lots will be enhanced and wi-fi increased so those areas give a reprieve to being indoors all day.
Outdoor spaces will include awnings, fans and heaters to accommodate weather issues.
Bathrooms, especially men’s rooms, will be reconfigured to have individual stalls
Overall, buildings will have more of a hospitality approach to make coming to work a nicer experience.
One panelist on a recent webinar about this said he believed though many enjoyed being at home, that others found it torture.
“The Wi-Fi, lighting, air conditioning and ability to focus are all better at the office. Add in my ability to be part of my company’s culture and socialize – and we believe people will look forward to coming to their workplace again. After we have a vaccine that is.”
Does it seem like too much of corporate America is just stuck? Still telling us they are trying and how hard it is for them?
I keep waiting for some company to grab this opportunity by the throat and take advantage of the huge opportunities right in front of them.
During this quarantine and all that this virus has brought with it – marketers have a first-row seat to guide clients and their organization on how to flip this whole narrative on its back and taking over as a leader of what is to come.
Like what for instance? Here are three quick ideas for 3 industries… more to come in future blogs.
Realtors – the paradigm has shifted, again. With full-time in-home living and time to analyze and talk about future needs… here are some conclusions buyers are coming to:
Families are looking for new homes that have features previously considered to be for retirees. As one parent of 3 elementary school children told me “if we have learned one thing during this quarantine our retirement is going to look a lot like this, minus the kids. Our dream house is starting to look like our yesterday home. We are thinking of a whole new way of living, and that to us means a house we can grow old in.”
Professionals are realizing work from home is absolutely their future, and the 9 to 5/Monday through Friday schedule will be gone too. That means that offices in quiet sections of the home, with doors and a view of the outdoors will be high priorities. In this case, the office priority might change the open concept mantra, and mean a bigger home.
Deliveries will mean adaptations and structural changes too. Secure delivery areas, maybe even a refrigeration delivery area. That means technology for notifications and security rise up in the features of the next home for many buyers.
Commercial Real Estate Brokers – you have been selling the same thing with a similar message for decades. Location and square feet are just not going to be enough anymore. You need to sell innovation and trust – why should I go to an office or a brick and mortar store when I do not need to? The shopping experience was gone long before this pandemic and offices have simply not kept up with what the worker wants.
Change your story now. Tell me why I should want to come to your location- have you updated the air systems to improve air quality? Have you made it easier or better for me to come to work or shop? How are you showing me you care if I am here? For too many years I would have been glad if someone acknowledged I was even in their store – yes this customer matters more than repositioning that mannequin.
Do you know in Asia businessmen want to have offices near their children’s school and near medical facilities – families matter. What is your location near? Where is their beauty and nature? How is your wi-fi and where are places to eat?
Delivery services – right now you are the most impersonal, personal service possible. No personalization of what we are ordering or when. From your website to the person who drops off the goods and hauls back to their delivery van – there is a different person every time. No communication. You are all looking the same, and more of a necessity than a choice.
Do you want us to keep using your services? Then build a connection! Even a note of thanks in with the delivery, a small sample of something new you sell and some form of uniformity with your drivers and delivery people so you have brand recognition.
There are much bigger ideas, but these are easy to implement, practically free and the window of opportunity for you is closing.
Big flashing light – use this time to think ahead and use what has been presented. All consumers want the same thing – to think it mattered that they chose your services, chose you as their Realtor or worked/shopped in your location.
The opportunities are here, they are big, they are a pivot to a new mind set. You are ready for this – you can be the leader instead of a loser.
This applies to everything — meeting someone new at an event, a post on social media or a cold call to someone you want to connect with.
If the first 20 seconds of your communication is all about you or your products and services, maybe it’s time for a rethink. Why is that? Why do we consider the opening part of the call to be the most important?
The best advice comes from professionals who do it every single day. This advice from mtd Sales Training Specialists focuses on sales and how to start off on the right foot. Here’s what they shared about the first 20 seconds of an initial call.
This is outstanding advice whether you are trying to gain the interest of a journalist, a new client, an event producer or anyone who doesn’t yet know why they need you!
Think: What state or frame of mind is my prospect in when I call?
Think: What might they have been doing the moment before they took my call?
Think: What do they need to hear in the first 15 to 20 seconds that will at least make them listen to me for a further 15-20 seconds?
Whatever your answers, I doubt whether they included anything about being pushed towards a product or service they aren’t using at present.
What can you do, then, to lengthen this first call?
Of course, you grab their attention and interest by talking, not about you, but about them or something that can help them.
That first 15-20 seconds is golden time because it can make or break the next few minutes of the call.
You need to make it personal and specific to your market, but it should sound something like this:
“Hi, this is Bill Smith with Acme Widgets. Reason I’m calling is we recently helped a company in the (customer’s) industry increase their sales by 10% while reducing their marketing spend by the same amount. I wanted to see if we might be able to do the same for you.”
Now you’re talking about them. You’re talking about results. You’re asking if those kind of results would interest your prospect
When you talk about results, that is what the buyer would really be interested in.
It makes them curious and allows you to go into more detail as they are intrigued with what this might be about.
Of course, you need to be honest and truthful. Don’t lie about figures just to get an appointment.
You’re setting expectations that can’t be met if you do, and that will only cause more problems in the long run.
Did you notice that you didn’t mention your products or services in that first part of the conversation? It’s not relevant or necessary.
What you need to do is build their interest to know more.
You may have heard about the ‘AIDA’ principle before. That acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.
Many salespeople go straight to their product pitch early on in the call because they are frightened of refusal or they think the product will sell itself. It won’t.
In any type of marketing, it’s important to get the prospect’s attention straight away. Without doing so, you risk the prospect saying they aren’t interested.
As the acronym states, you can’t build interest until you have grabbed attention. If they reply early with ‘I’m not interested’, it’s because you haven’t attracted attention first.
Think about when you go to the cinema. What comes on before the main feature? That’s right, trailers for upcoming attractions.
Filmmakers do that to grab your attention and build your interest for what’s to come. Treat your call like a ‘teaser’ or ‘trailer’ for what’s to come.
Just as you wouldn’t start off on a journey without knowing your end destination, think about what the end destination of your call needs to be. You’ll then realise that the opening of the call is the most important part.
So, talk about results and solutions, not products.
#4 was the big surprise to me as I read this piece from EMMA the email marketing platform. Below you will see they not only list the spam words that cause your emails to be rejected, but why.
As a marketer, there’s so much on your mind every single day.
Not only do you need to worry about creating content that converts, you need to ensure that your emails are also accessible and GDPR compliant.
And … there’s another concern that all email marketers have: avoiding the email spam folder.
Ending up in the spam folder is basically a waste of the time and effort you expend to put together an awesome email campaign. Not only that, but it can also damage your online reputation. After all, no legitimate company would send spam emails, right?
Actually, it happens more often than you might think. You’ll find that there are many reasons why your emails might end up in your subscribers’ spam folder, but one of the most common is spam words in email.
In this post, we’ll share why certain words can get you tagged as spam and which ones to start avoiding like the plague.
Why certain words can land you in the dreaded spam folder.
The most common place to use spam words in email is in the subject line. However, if you use these words throughout the body of your content, you could still be flagged—especially if you are using other practices that make your emails appear spammy.
Spam filters are a great way for people to protect themselves from unwanted junk email or even harmful emails.
Spam filters definitely have their place. Unfortunately for email marketers, these filters can target emails that aren’t even remotely close to spam.
Spam words in email—even if it’s a perfectly legitimate email that people have signed up for—can land you in the spam folder. These are words commonly used to grab people’s attention and either excite them or scare them into action.
In 2018, three million people reported scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Of those, 25% had been scammed out of money—nearly $1.5 billion (yes, billion) had been lost to scammers.
Fortunately, email filters have helped to reduce some of the more blatant scammers out there. What’s not so great is that your marketing email can end up stuck in the spam folder with the scammers just because of the words used in the email.
Again, these words are used to entice people into taking action, which is the purpose of email marketing in the first place. However, there’s a way to motivate your audience without sounding like a spambot.
Words you should use carefully, or avoid using at all costs.
Here are our top 7 spam words in email that can get you into trouble. Avoid using them and you’ll not only stay out of your subscribers’ spam folder, you’ll actually improve the overall quality of your email content.
1. Dear Friend
Un-personalized emails are one of the first indicators of spam. You’re probably 99% sure you don’t know who is sending you an email when you receive one that simply says, “hi” or something like “dear friend.”
Even if you sent an email this way and it passed through the spam filter unscathed, that doesn’t mean it’s not a big deal.
Personalization is one of the keys of a successful email marketing campaign. You want each person in your audience to feel like you are writing specifically to them.
First of all, it’s just a courteous, professional thing to do. Second, you have to remember that your audience is always wondering “what’s in it for me.” If you can’t even take the steps to personalize an email, your subscribers are probably going to wonder why they should invest their time, attention, and eventually, their money in your company.
Takeaway: Always use your subscribers’ name if at all possible. Personalization is key.
2. Click here
Another phrase on the list of our top spam words in email is “click here.” When it comes to spam and scams, this phrase is a huge red flag. Millions of people have clicked where they shouldn’t have and ended up with a computer virus or losing money.
But isn’t “click here” a call to action? Yes, it is, but it’s not a call to action you want to use. Instead, use a call to action that tells your subscriber what will happen when they click your call to action button.
Take our survey
Schedule an appointment.
Takeaway: Calls to action are imperative to the success of your email campaign. However, you want to avoid using the click-bait call to action of “click here” and guide your potential customers to take a specific form of action.
The word “free” is completely enticing. After all, who doesn’t love a deal, especially one that results in little-to-no money being laid down?
Unfortunately, this is a word that a lot of spammers tend to use.
This isn’t to say that you can’t use it at all. Using it once or twice in the entire body of your email copy is not a big deal, and it’s a great motivator for your audience.
With this word, remember that a little dash will do. Overwhelm the content of your email with it and you’ll definitely end up in the spam folder.
Takeaway: If you have a free offer, make sure you don’t go overboard with your use of this word. Use it sparingly and you’ll avoid being tagged as spam.
When you think of spam words in email, you might not think of “Re:” and “Fwd:” because these are actions people actually take with their email on a daily basis. It’s definitely not uncommon to forward a cool email to a friend or reply to an email that someone sent you.
Spammers know this, which is why they use these words so frequently.
“Fwd:” and “Re:” are used so often that when people see an email with this subject line, they almost always automatically open their email.
Avoid using these words unless you’re actually replying to an email conversation with one of your subscribers. Using them simply to increase your open rate is dishonest.
Takeaway: Avoid “Fwd:” and “Re:” unless you’re actually replying to an email from a reader.
5. Great offer
This is another one of those phrases that scammers know people are intrigued by—just as they are with the word “free.”
Again, use these types of phrases as you would salt—sparingly. It is also good to avoid using it in the subject line, just to be safe.
Takeaway: When using anything pertaining to spending money (free, great offer), make sure to lightly sprinkle the words throughout your email. Avoid stuffing the words in your email or using them in the subject line.
Who doesn’t love a guarantee, especially if the guarantee is related to getting money back or achieving some fantastic results?
Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to guarantee anything. “Results may vary” may seem cliché but it is the absolute truth.
Scammers know that the word “guarantee” feels like a security blanket to many people, though, so they use it often.
You can avoid false advertising, disappointing your readers, ruining your online reputation, and ending up in the spam folder by avoiding the word “guarantee.”
Takeaway: Can you really guarantee anything? If you’re not 100% positive it’s possible, avoid using this word in your emails.
“Risk-free” is often used in conjunction with “guarantee,” especially by spammers and scammers. It conjures similar feelings as the word “guarantee,” which is why it’s one of the most popular spam words in email.
Saying anything is “risk-free” is the same as offering a guarantee to your readers. If you can’t offer that, then don’t say your product/service is risk-free.
Takeaway: “Risk-free” is yet another spam email phrase. If you’re tempted to use it, ask yourself if you can 100% guarantee that what you’re offering is risk-free. If you can’t, don’t add this phrase to your email.
Here are just a few more things to add to your “do not insert” list for future email campaigns.
Richard Branson’s “Five rough guidelines for creating a successful business” stopped me in my tracks this morning as it is one of the best summaries I have seen.
Pay special attention to #5.
After five decades in business, I’m often asked if there is a shortcut to success. Unfortunately there isn’t — or if there is, I haven’t found it yet. Creating a successful and profitable business takes time, since you build your reputation as customers learn to trust and rely on you, one by one.
Image from John Armstrong Photography
Also, there’s no guarantee that spending a huge amount of money on marketing will slingshot your business forward. If you spend your time looking for shortcuts, you will find one — right out of business.
While there are no set rules for succeeding in business, I have embraced some rough guidelines that can be very helpful:
1. Create a useful product or service
Image from Virgin Orbit
Above all else, you should not go into business purely for financial reasons. Running a company involves long hours and hard decisions; if you don’t have a better reason than money to keep going, your business will more than likely fail, as many new businesses do.
So it’s important to create something of use that is going to benefit society as a whole. If you do something you truly care about, you will be in a much better position to find customers, connect with them, and keep them coming back.
Once you have decided on the type of product or service that interests you, focus on how to do things differently from the competition: Do your research, find a gap or an area ripe for innovation, and position your business in a way that sets it apart.
2. Simplify your message
Image by John Armstrong Photography
Customers don’t just shop for a brand and its products, but also identify with its core values. Ask yourself, why did I start my business? Be honest – this will help you establish an authentic value and voice. Then break your message into something simple.
At Virgin, we stand for great customer service, good value and innovative alternatives to our competitors’ offerings. Most importantly, we view business as a force for good. Knowing who we are and what we stand for ensures that we don’t waste time or money on messaging that doesn’t represent us or resonate with our customers.
3. Market yourself
Image from Virgin.com
Marketing is a powerful tool, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. My mentor, Sir Freddie Laker, a man who had started a company to challenge British Airways on their home turf, gave me some invaluable advice when I was starting up Virgin Atlantic. Knowing that we couldn’t match the more established airlines in terms of marketing budget, he encouraged me to drive the publicity myself: “Use yourself. Make a fool of yourself. Otherwise you won’t survive.”
I took his advice and I’ve been thinking up fun ways to stand out from the crowd and draw the media’s attention to our company ever since, from breaking world records to pulling pranks.
While I’ve always been interested in sports and physical challenges, that might not be the route for you. Find your tone, know your brand, do things your own way, and create waves. The free advertising will follow.
4. Embrace social media
Image by Owen Buggy
Tools like Twitter and Facebook are wonderful ways to get your message out to a wide audience. Social media is not only more cost-efficient than advertising, but it also offers great opportunities for innovative engagement with your customers. Use it to your advantage.
Remember that there is a difference between selling and marketing. In my experience, selling a product through social media doesn’t always work – it’s better to simply communicate with your customers in an authentic way and have fun. As you build an online profile that people can identify with and trust, you’ll find that they will soon become customers.
The feedback you receive on social media can be invaluable, especially when your business is just starting out. Listen to your customers’ comments about your company’s offerings to gain an understanding of what you are doing right and wrong. You can also use this feedback to sharpen your social campaigns and measure the effectiveness of your calls to action.
5. Keep on enjoying what you do
Image from Virgin
If you genuinely love and believe in what you do, others will take notice and share your enthusiasm.
If you find your interest flagging, it’s time to make a change — switch from operations to management, move on, expand into new territories, anything that interests you. To find success, you need to be fully committed or your work will show it.
Many designers rely on professionals for the publicity needed to grow their business. But is paying for PR the right move for you? – From ADPRO/Architectural Digest
With the litany of tasks and costs that come with running a business, should you prioritize hiring professional publicity? What can you expect to get in return? We asked five publicists and designers, and the answer is more concrete than you think (even the publicists told us there is a wrong time to hire them). Here’s exactly how to figure out when it makes sense to hire PR and when it’s better to go it alone.
Hire a publicist when…
You want to tell the story of your business
“As long as there’s a story to tell, we’ll have PR,” says Ari Heckman, founding partner and CEO of ASH. “It’s about brand awareness.” No matter where you are in your career, a publicist’s job is to tell people who you are as a designer. And there’s more at stake than just reputation. Sarah Natkins, head of Camron US, tells AD PRO that PR is key to growing your business and boosting your bottom line. “Building awareness in a smart and strategic way can have a huge impact,” she says. ”If done in the right way, it can help expand a studio, and drive the right business.”
This doesn’t just apply to emerging designers; the right messaging can also help more established firms reach a new clientele. “A great publicist is especially helpful if you’re trying to speak to a particular audience or get the message out about a product you’re creating,” Heckman says.
How will you know when your PR strategy is working? Laura Bindloss, founder of Nylon Consulting, says although everyone’s business goals are different, you should regularly see your name in a variety of publications. “You want a real smattering and you want it consistently,” she says. “You want coverage monthly that can range from quotes to full features, and you want it in a variety of outlets. You want to be positioned as an expert in your field.”
You have a point of view
In order for a publicist to do their best work, Natkins says a designer needs to have a clear brand identity and know who their ideal client is, although they don’t need every detail hammered out. “A good publicist will work with you to help figure this out, and then develop a media strategy that communicates your vision,” she says.
Sarah Barnard, principal at Sarah Barnard Designs (WELL AP, LEED AP), doesn’t currently work with PR, but she credits a previous publicist with encouraging her to craft a specific message and find a niche in the market. Says Barnard, “We really care about a few specific things and those are the things we repeatedly stand on, come back to, and share.”
Bindloss says her firm, Nylon Consulting, wouldn’t take on a client who didn’t have a strong point of view and a professional website. “The first place we’re going to drive people is your website, and if your website isn’t communicating what we’re trying to pitch, there’s no point in paying us because you’re going to lose the customer when they get to your site.”
You have work to show off (and plenty of projects in the pipeline)
Publicists need finished work to publicize, so wait to hire one until you have plenty of projects under your belt and can hit the ground running. “Ideally, you want to hit a critical mass of work,” says Bindloss. “Enough to give a publicist so that they can run for six months with everything you have currently.” Usually, this means between five and 10 projects that are photographed and ready to publish, with several more lined up over the next six to 12 months. Remember, there’s no benefit to paying a monthly retainer until you can fully take advantage of a publicist’s time and expertise.
You’re better off on your own if…
You can’t comfortably float the fee
“Don’t hire a publicist if it’s a cost that’s going to keep you up at night,” says Bindloss. Although fees depend on the scope of the work, she says, it’s usually about the price of hiring a full-time employee. “Don’t think about PR as a monthly retainer but as an annual cost, like you would be bringing head count into the firm.”
Natkins agrees that monthly retainers tend to vary significantly, depending on what that client needs. “A small firm might start in the 6K range, a more established studio could be upwards of 10K, and a large firm with many projects around the world would go up from there,” she says.
If that sounds too spendy for your business right now, it’s probably best to wait until you have the cash to do it right. Publicity really is a “get what you pay for” service, says Heckman. “Probably like anything else in life, working with a publicist is a good idea if you work with a good publicist. I don’t know that it would have any value if you were just to hire anyone.”
You haven’t found someone you really connect with
A publicist can make or break your reputation, so be sure you take the time to find the right person. “Wait until you find someone you really trust,” says Bindloss. “This is someone who represents you to the press, so make sure you’re proud to have them speaking on your behalf.”
Heckman, whose firm, ASH, has been represented by M18 public relations for the past seven years, says they chose to work together because of a similar culture. “Our companies were aligned, both in their history and trajectory, and shared values,” he says. And, he points out, it’s a two-way street. Just as you’re searching for a firm to represent you, most publicists want to sign clients with a similar worldview. “A good firm is not just going to take on a retainer from any client. They realize that their credibility as a mouthpiece for their clients is based on who their collection of clients are.”
In fact, Heckman says, you can use a firm’s current client list as a guide to help evaluate if it’s a good match for you. “Probably one of the best ways that someone can go about identifying which firm they want to work with, is to find a firm with clients who share your vision, growth strategy, and aesthetic.”
You’re happy to multitask
“There is the small road also, for those who have the fortitude to do it,” says Barnard. As the owner of a small design studio, she prefers the grassroots approach over professional PR, because the authenticity is more representative of the actual experience her clients will have. “The primary benefit is I’ve maintained control over how I present myself to the world because it really is me. An overly polished, less personalized, sterile presence wouldn’t be a match for what they [the clients] are getting anyway. That level of refinement is not real.”
And some social butterflies just love the hustle. Gail Davis, principal at Gail Davis Designs, says she loves meeting people at events, and she’s gotten many opportunities by simply striking up a conversation. “You need to be authentically nice to people, not looking to get something, because you never know who will think about you for a job,” she says. “That’s how it has really worked out for me. We can all benefit by helping each other.”
Both designers stress that, especially if you forgo PR, professional photography is something you should never skimp on. “Snapshots on a job site for your Instagram feed—totally,” Barnard says, “but when it comes time to document your finished work, always hire a professional architectural photographers. A filter can only take you so far.” Davis agrees: “Pictures really tell a story and I want to make sure my story comes across clearly, and that person will think, Yes I need to work with her.”
Thanks to Architectural Digest, from their ADPRO online newsletter.
In Part 2 of learning from other industry marketing professionals – take a look at this 12-month marketing plan that has a focus on “customer touches”.
In this segment from RIS Media, you’ll see how the writer believes closing a sale is just the start of the marketing process and she expertly outlines how to utilize a customer ‘touch’ every 21 days. She gives an excellent list of ways to nurture a customer relationship to impact future business.
Elevate Your Team’s Marketing With a 12-Month Plan
By Sarah Michelle Bliss
The job of a real estate team doesn’t end when the transaction closes. In fact, that is just the beginning. A thriving real estate business depends on two vital components: repeat clients and referrals.
A few years ago, I was contacted by someone in my sphere of influence to help them find an agent to list their house and represent them on a purchase. I knew who had helped them buy the house they were selling—he is a great guy and a solid real estate agent. I inquired with the client as to why they were not using him again, and I quote what his response was: “He was a great guy and we loved working with him, but we can’t remember his name.” His lack of follow-up cost him approximately $20,000 in business that should have been his—if he had only nurtured the relationship.
If your team does a good job in the transaction, then you should expect to do business with the client again in the future, but only if you continue to nurture the relationship, which means you must stay in touch—forever!
At minimum, a 12-month marketing plan should include some kind of touch every 21 days, and should also include:
Birthdays (phone call, video message or a card in the mail)
Relationship anniversary (phone call, video message or a card in the mail)
Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day (phone call, video message or a card in the mail)
Home anniversary (include a reminder about their warranty expiring)
Market updates on their home values (annually or biannually)
Quarterly phone calls followed up with a handwritten card in the mail
In addition, a high-touch relationship marketing plan should also include, at minimum, one client appreciation event per year. It is recommended that you plan 6-8 events throughout the year where you are getting in front of and face-to-face with your top clients and sphere of influence. Some ideas include holiday open houses, movie events, happy hours, Thanksgiving pie giveaways, photos with Santa, sporting events, bowling parties…the list goes on and on.
Lastly, social media has created a unique opportunity for us to elevate our relationships, so pay attention to what people are sharing—they are begging for someone to make them feel seen, heard and appreciated. I will wrap up by sharing one of my favorite quotes from undoubtedly one of the best saleswomen ever, Mary Kay Ash:
“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, ‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.”
Always be looking for ways to connect with your database and you will take your team’s real estate business to a whole new level.
Yes, it’s a fact – as I write this, hoping the power and my internet stay on, the eye of Hurricane Dorian is heading toward Florida. Walt Disney World is closed, the Orlando airport is closed and so are schools, businesses and many others.
Like most publicists when things get serious, we get busy.
Hurricanes and other weather issues, tragedies, unusual circumstances, holidays and other out-of-the-ordinary occurrences are times when our companies and clients need us the most.
Here are a few examples:
You are closing when you are usually open, or the reverse (think Black Friday)
You have a message for your customers on how to stay safe
Your products or services are essential to help others through (think gas stations, grocery stores, tree trimmers, etc.) and you are available.
Times or venues are being changed, but the event is still on. (think sporting events that are held outside )
Because of the occurrence you are doing something extraordinary like donating food or fundraising for others in need.
You want to reach out to your customers to say you are thinking of them and you care – this outreach can go to your entire audience, but be written for those being affected.
Times or venues are being changed, but the event is still on. (think sporting events that are held outside )
Because of the occurrence you are doing something extraordinary like donating food or fundraising for others in need.
You want to reach out to your customers to say you are thinking of them and you care – this outreach can go to your entire audience, but be written for those being affected.
A PR pro knows how to deploy the message – get it out, reach people who need to know and do it visually and with words chosen to have the right tone, at the right time.
Members of the media, social media channels, direct communications and every normal communications channel are all pathways to get the message out, and do it right now.
PR tip: Don’t make your drama the focus – unless you have something useful to offer; don’t add to the noise.
But when possible and appropriate, humor is memorable, and how smart of Waffle House to be the one place we all look to for food and information!
No one has more interaction with a client over a longer period of time, than a real estate professional. All marketers can learn from them and so in this two-part blog I will share with you the advice they have for growing your business.
Some of these tips may be ones you have done for years, others could be new and worthwhile, take a look and let’s continue to learn from marketing pros in many different industries.
In Part 1 you’ll learn how to create your vision, identify your audiences, develop marketing goals, establish your Unique Selling Proposition (message) gain 1,000 impressions with a 3-week Instagram campaign and how to do all this within a budget. Take a look at HubSpot for more excellent ideas.
12 Insanely Successful Real Estate Marketing Ideas from Top Agents
As a real estate professional, you want to grow your business, and marketing plays a large role in capturing the attention of potential clients. A 2018 study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found 87% of home buyers purchase their home through a real estate agent. It’s evident there’s a market for real estate agents. But how can you reach prospects?
Below, I’ve compiled some real estate marketing ideas top agents use to promote their businesses. Whether you’re just getting started or are an experienced realtor looking to attract new clients, these marketing tips will help you create a successful marketing plan.
Unique Real Estate Marketing Ideas
Create a website
Build a blog
Develop email marketing campaigns
Employ virtual staging
Try experiential marketing
Partner with local businesses
Run paid Instagram promotion
Use drone photography
Create a Zillow profile
Ask for referrals
Make Your Own Videos
Co-Host a Webinar
1. Create a website
Many consumers search the internet to investigate products and services before they buy. Creating a website for your real estate business will show prospective clients what you have to offer. Include listings on your site and update them regularly — this will keep prospects coming to your site as they search for properties. And add something a little unexpected to set your website apart. Take this mortgage calculator, and easy value add for visitors.
2. Build a blog
You can also start a blog and create content optimized for SEO. This ensures your posts show up in prospect search results every time. Tools like Google Analytics and Ahrefs can help you find the search terms and keywords your target clients are looking for and will inspire you with fresh topic ideas.
Make it easy for them to navigate to your main website and link to your profile pages on other real estate sites so they can learn more about you and your business.
And don’t forget to create interesting images for your posts. This infographic would make a great addition to any blog post or email marketing campaign.Image source:
Develop email marketing campaigns
Send a monthly newsletter roundup of your blog content, and reach out to contacts when new property listings are available. Include images of the properties that link to the full listing, a video walkthrough of the property, or a virtual staging of the home.
Employ virtual staging
How can you pique buyer interest? Give them a sneak preview of what the home looks like by using a virtual staging website. Online staging saves you the time and money of physically staging the property. And a 2018 study of 4,200+ homes found 85% of staged homes sold for 6-25% more than unstaged homes.
Try experiential marketing
Experiential marketing engages your prospects and “invites an audience to interact with a business in a real-world situation.” Host a tour of the area you’re selling in, hold an event to teach area homebuyers about the process of buying a home, or arrange an open house and invite buyers to view the home.
Partner with local businesses
Use your local connections and partner with clothing boutiques, home decor showrooms, and coffee shops to promote listings, and invite them to participate in an open house event. For a unique way to encourage prospects to visit your open house, set up pop-up shops in different rooms of the house.
This encourages potential buyers to explore each room, and you can work with the local businesses to determine discounts on goods that can be offered to the home buyers.
Run a paid Instagram promotion
Instagram is another tool to get in touch with home buyers, promote your listings, and grow your brand. And your most beautiful images can reach even more people with a paid promotion.
Instagram ads allow you to pick a target audience, budget, post type (e.g. image, video, carousel), and length of your promotion. And you can use targeted hashtags to ensure posts are presented to the people you’d like to reach.
Use drone photography
Take sweeping shots of the home’s exterior and surrounding landscape using drone photography. Purchase a drone or use a drone service, like HouseLensor Sold by Air, to capture the perfect shot.
Use the photos to add an excitement factor to your listings. Video can be used to supplement your virtual tours or walkthroughs and show exterior features like patios and pools.
Don’t have the drone photography chops you need to show your clients’ homes in their best light? Services like Drone Base have thousands of experienced photographers around the globe and specialize in both residential and commercial real estate.
Create a Zillow profile
With over 188 million monthly viewers, Zillow provides the opportunity to get your business in front of thousands of new prospects. This resource from Zillow lists the steps to set up your own profile. Your profile allows you to share your listings with a large audience and connect with potential clients, increasing the likelihood of gaining a new buyer.
Ask for Referrals
Did you know 39% of sellers using a real estate agent found that agent through a referral from friends or family? If you’re not asking for referrals, you should be.
Follow up with buyers a few months after they’ve settled into their new home to ask how they’re doing and include a referral request in your email.
Does it feel like home yet?
Hello [Buyer’s name],
I hope you’re settling into your beautiful home! You picked a great neighborhood to buy it, and I’m so happy to have been able to help you through the process.
I so enjoyed with working with you. If you have any friends or family looking to buy or sell in the area, I’d love the opportunity to work with them. I’m hosting a happy hour next week to talk with people about the current market.
Feel free to share this event link with anyone you think might be interested: [Insert link to event page]
Some realtors will offer to plan a housewarming party for their new homeowners and use the party/guest list to meet with potential buyers.
Make Your Own Videos
It’s no secret that video can be a powerful tool for realtors. And it doesn’t have to cost thousands. Whether you go for a highly produced video like the one below featuring client testimonials, or use video software to record a message from your laptop pitching your services to a potential client, video can be a way to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Co-Host a Webinar
Want to make it easy for potential buyers or sellers in your area to understand the current market? Partner with a local lender, title company, or even your favorite staging service and host a webinar on a topic that will interest those thinking of making a real estate move.
For example, you might team up with a local home improvement service to conduct a webinar on the top five most valuable improvements sellers can make to their home to boost sales price. These changes and tastes can differ per state, so this can be valuable information sellers can’t find online.
Real Estate Marketing Plan
Now that you have some marketing ideas, the next question is, “What’s the plan?” Without clear goals for your real estate business and marketing strategy, it’s difficult to measure success. Consider the following points when developing your marketing plan.
Create a vision statement
What do you want to accomplish in the short- and long-term? Develop a vision statement to identify the goals you’d like to reach. This makes it easier to lay out steps for reaching your business’ vision.
Identify your target customer
Who are you marketing to? Will you be marketing to sellers, renters, first-time home buyers, etc.? Identifying the personas you’re selling to paints a clearer picture of who to target with your marketing efforts.
Set goals for your overall marketing initiatives, and summarize which strategies you’ll use to accomplish these goals. What are the business goals you’d like to reach? And what criteria will you use to decide if these goals have been met?
Determine your unique selling proposition
Think about what differentiates you from your competition. Here are some questions you can ask yourself when developing your proposition:
What can you offer that others can’t?
How does your unique approach or personality create value for prospects?
What are the latest pricing, selling, and buying trends in your market?
How can you discuss these trends (including the numbers) with prospects?
Determine tools and budget for each strategy
Pick the top marketing ideas that will work for your business, selling proposition, and ideal target market. From there, calculate how much of your budget to allocate to each strategy.
Once you’ve identified the tools you’ll be using to market your business, write down key metrics to measure their success. Determine the timeframe for the strategy or campaign and set a goal. Let’s use a paid Instagram ad as an example:
Campaign: Instagram post promotion
Length of promotion: 3 weeks
Goal: The post should gain 1,000 impressions and have a click-through rate of 1%
With these marketing ideas, you’re sure to wow your potential customers and attract them to your services.
Creating a marketing plan will help you set goals for your marketing campaigns and develop the steps to reach these goals.
Maybe this is why our corporate leaders wears so much blue?
What color is the logo of the organization you represent? Do you share qualities with other brands of the same color?
According to Fast Company. “The implications of color’s effect on people’s emotions are far reaching, and understanding your customers’ connections to certain colors could increase the effectiveness of your company’s branding methods.”
Blue is often thought of as a male color, and since my father’s eyes were the most beautiful blue and this is his favorite month – Blue is this month’s color!
Note: Over the decades I have worked on logo design, 99% of my male clients choose blue as their logo color of choice! Women tend to choose from all over the color chart.
Research complied by web design and marketing company WebPageFX, people make a subconscious judgment about a product in less than 90 seconds of viewing, and a majority of these people base that assessment on color alone. In fact, almost 85% of consumers cite color as the primary reason they buy a particular product, and 80% of people believe color increases brand recognition.”
What can be learned here? I’d love to hear what you think!
With thanks to Fast Company for this great article –infographic from WebPageFX, written by Rachel Gillett.
Capturing the attention of millennials and the Gen Z crowd (also known as iGen) has been the holy grail of goals for meeting and event planners in recent years. Old-school methods and formats aren’t effective anymore. This new generation of attendees demands innovation and interactivity and expects social media shareability.
At the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in generational research and solutions, an in-house team of experts, keynote speakers, and consultants work with clients, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups across industries such as automotive, banking, financial services, restaurants, hoteliers, and retail, to figure out what works and what doesn’t. (Hint: PowerPoint, no. Video, yes.)
The center deems those born between 1977 and 1995 as millennials. The center’s president, Jason Dorsey, who, at 40, rides the cusp of this generation, has spoken in front of many millennial-packed audiences at events, meetings, and conferences, including the Financial Brand Forum, GS1 in Mexico, Ultimate Connections Conference, and EO Nashville. Here, he shares his insights into planning a meeting or event that successfully taps into the mindset of this group.
What are the key elements that millennials look for in events?
Millennials want to be included in all aspects of the event. This means not having to sit in the back of the room because they have more junior titles or fewer years of experience. Millennials also want digital integration, fewer PowerPoint slides, more video, and more all-around interactivity. We have come of age in a time of instant feedback and collaboration, and we want our in-person events to include more of this before, during, and after.
What’s the main difference between reaching a Gen Z audience as compared to millennials?
Gen Z are younger than millennials, in some cases 15 years younger, so they are on the very front end of their careers. [Right now, Gen Z is up to age 22.] We find they value training on how to make the most of events, how to use technology to connect with people and resources at events, and interaction that drives new connections—as they likely know fewer people at the event than other generations. Gen Z also looks to other social media platforms, such as Snapchat rather than Facebook, which changes the type of digital interactions they want to create while at an event.
What’s the best way for planners to reach millennials at conferences and meetings in particular?
In our work with planners around the world, the best way to reach millennials is to create the foundation for a great event before the event happens. This includes videos, behind-the-scenes collaborations, and building up the excitement for the event before it takes place. Our work with meeting planners who have events with lots of millennials also reveals that millennials want the event to be tailored to them, when possible, and to give them options to find content and tracks that meet their specific needs including career and life stage. Millennials want speakers that are high energy, engaging, and who pull into the message and meeting, rather than traditional PowerPoint-heavy presentations with someone behind a podium.
Lastly, continuing the conversation after the event is key so that all the great content doesn’t just disappear, but drives engagement, enthusiasm, and action when everyone returns to work. We frequently work with meeting planners to film videos and create other content that is specifically designed to be delivered before and after the event, including live conversations post-event.
What types of speakers are most effective at engaging millennials?
Millennials get fired up about my take on our generation because I explain how millennials are actually two generations [early and late millennials], not one. This is a big deal and why many of us feel like we don’t fit in the generation. Other speakers I’ve seen that resonate with millennial audiences include Jay Baer, Rory Vaden, Erik Qualman, and David Horsager. All of them are very entertaining presenters with lots of great stories and humor, which is important as millennials have very high expectations for entertainment when it comes to speakers.
Is there anything that’s a major turn-off for millennials in terms of events?
Yes, boring speakers with lots of slides, being treated as if they are not as valued an audience member as those with bigger titles, not having diverse food options, and events that are in hotels where they charge for Wi-Fi.
This article was posted here with thanks to the writer Michele Laufik and came from BIZBASH. http://www.bizbash.com.
We should all live like this …. Expedia just released new data about how Generation Z is redefining the world. (Wow that is a big statement!).
Generation Z, are people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, and who make up 25% of the U.S. population,making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers or Millennials.
The study says this group of consumers are YOLO – You Only Live Once. They are open to new experiences, are deal-driven and have a long list of bucket experiences.
So ask yourself – who isn’t? I hope they are right about this group, who are right behind Millennials, and can teach all of us about living in the moment.
Here’s a great chart from Expedia that shows the data as it relates to travel decisions. It applies equally to marketing and PR pros who are defining messages to reach all consumers.
Here are some things you should know about how Gen Z are shopping for, booking, and traveling when you are looking to reach and influence this new generation of travel enthusiasts.
They want a good deal.Seeking the best deals and most value for their money is universal among travelers of all ages, but especially for Gen Z, who are not yet or are just starting to be financially independent – and may still be spending mom and dad’s money. Gen Z are heavily influencing family travel decisions, and in the coming years, as more Gen Z enter the workforce and increase their disposable income, their prioritization of travel and their growing budgets will unlock myriad opportunities for marketers.
They are more open to influence.Two-thirds of Gen Z travelers are undecided on a destination when they decide to take a trip, and their diverse trip preferences illustrate broad opportunities for marketers to entice them. Seventy-seven percent of Gen Z travelers are open to help and inspiration when planning a trip, and nearly 70 percent use their smartphone when looking for travel inspiration.
They are social.Eighty-four percent of Gen Z travelers said social media can be influential, particularly deals or promotions and travel pictures or videos from friends or experts. Appealing deals and images are also impactful for the more than 60 percent of Gen Z who said advertising can be influential, revealing a receptive audience for travel marketers.
They are going to grow the bleisure travel market.Although Millennials are currently outpacing Gen Z in business travel – 6.4 business trips per year versus 4.8 trips – both generations are capitalizing on and saving for opportunities to extend business travel for leisure, or bleisure. Sixty-six percent of Gen Z business trips were extended for leisure, and 88 percent of Gen Z travelers save for bleisure travel. Bleisure travel will likely increase as more of Gen Z enters the workforce in the coming years, illustrating a burgeoning opportunity for travel marketers.
Get the full study, “A Look Ahead: How Younger Generations are Shaping the Future of Travel,” for more data and actionable insights that marketers can leverage to reach Gen Z and Millennial travelers.
Once upon a time, the ‘#’ was a simple pound sign or hash mark. But then the social blue bird flew onto the scene and turned this mundane symbol into an online sensation. Today, whether you are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or any other social media channels, you simply cannot escape the all encompassing presence of the #hashtag. But what exactly is a hashtag? In case you always wondered but were too afraid to ask, we’ve come up with a clear and concise explanation of everything you need to know about this Internet phenomenon.
Not only that: once you’ve mastered the “what”, you’ll probably want to know “how” to use hashtags. Strap in because this article will help all levels of social media addicts. If you’re relatively new to the game, we understand that at first glance, hashtags might seem confusing. But once you understand them better, you will see that they are a powerful tool to grow your social impact and engage your audience – oh, and did we mention: all for the cost of $0.00? If you’re more advanced, you might want to know how to optimize your hashtags, in order to raise brand awareness and get more customers.
As a long time user and fan of WIX, the great advice below, with links left in, is so good I wanted to share with my blog readers.#bennettaboutmarketing #greatPRadvice #marketingnews #lovelabpuppies
Here is a complete guide on hashtags and how to use them efficiently:
What is a hashtag?
With thousands of images published every minute on all social platforms, it can be hard to stand out amongst the crowd. The possibility for your post to be seen isn’t promising, unless they are one of your followers. That’s where hashtags come into play. A hashtag is a keyword or phrase preceded by the hash symbol (#), written within a post or comment to highlight it and facilitate a search for it. Essentially, by including hash marks in your post; it can be indexed by the social network so that it can be discoverable to everyone, even if they’re not your followers or fans. For example, if your company has to do with extreme sports you can add the #bucketlist to your Instagram posts to snag those people with a passion for adventure and fun.
Why should you use hashtags?
Thanks to hashtags, your posts aren’t limited to just your followers. By adding one of these bad boys, your content will be accessible to all other users interested in similar topics who search for your hashtag. Choosing the right hashtag can greatly broaden the reach of your social media posts to thousands of potential followers, fans or customers. For example, if you have a healthy juice bar, it can be tempting to go for the obvious #fruit, but beware! With over a million posts and growing the chances of being seen are as slim as a banana peel. Now if you throw on a more specific tag like #drinkyourveggies, your looking at better odds. This is all the more relevant with the recent update on Instagram, where you can now follow specific hashtags just like you would friends or companies. So it goes without saying: make sure you don’t just slap # on any word.
Three powerful families of hashtags to use on social media
Content hashtags: If you are totally new to hashtags, first consider using some that directly relate to your product, service, market or area of expertise. We can call them the ‘content hashtags’ because they relate to the content that your content would be naturally associated with. As you can imagine, they will greatly expose your brand to potential customers on those social media platforms who weren’t previously familiar with your brand. For instance, at Wix we primarily use content hashtags related to websites – such as #SEO, #Illustration, #Photography or #SMB.
Trending hashtags: Another great way to boost your brand’s visibility is using existing hashtags that have grown popular among millions of users, also known as ‘trending hashtags’. Watch out: before you add the ‘#’ symbol to a trending topic, remember to first ask yourself whether your social media posts are adding value to the existing conversation. Value can be interpreted in many ways: a unique piece of information, an original look or opinion at what’s is going on, or simply a funny statement or image. If your post does not add any value, it is highly likely to be ignored and lost in the plethora of posts. If however your post is informative, funny or viral, it will get re-shared by fellow users ultimately increasing awareness of your brand. Generally, trending hashtags are a lot of fun! It can range from holidays to random spur of the moment games like the Tweet below:
Brand-specific hashtags: Sometimes, the problem with using generic or popular hashtags is that your posts might be lost in the noise of hundreds of messages using the same hashtags. Hence, it is a good idea to create your own dedicated ‘brand-specific hashtags’. These can be used for general branding, promotions, events, contests or other marketing campaigns. The key to creating an effective brand-specific hashtag is to ensure that there is no one else using the same hashtag. It has to be unique and memorable. For general branding, use a short motto or tagline. When creating marketing campaign-specific hashtags, make sure to give users a compelling incentive to use them. For example, you could get users to post with a campaign-specific hashtag to stand a chance to get discounts or win prizes. In return, your brand stands to benefit from major viral marketing publicity. A brand-specific hashtag that we hold very near and dear to our hearts is #WixPhotography, which we use on all of our relevant social media platforms – like Facebook.
How to use hashtags wisely?
To create a hashtag, all you need to do is include a ‘#’ and a relevant keyword or phrase. This, you already knew. But what you didn’t know is that not all hashtags are born equal. In fact, they are only powerful when handpicked and used wisely. Here are two crucial general tips that apply to all social media and businesses:
Keep it short: To save everyone the headache, don’t squish too many words into one hashtag. Nothing turns people off more than overly lengthy hashtags – #YouDontWantToTryThisAtHome.
Don’t overuse: Another thing you want to avoid is writing your entire caption with one hashtag per word. #Because #its #not #really #fun #to #read #like #this #is #it? The number of hashtags you can allow per post depends on each channel. But as a general rule of thumb, only put an hashtag next to word that are really significant.
Think strategically: This applies to the ‘content hashtags’. By definition, since you won’t have created them, they are probably used by other brands. Which is a good thing, since people will look after this hashtag. But at the same time, when a hashtag is overcrowded, you can be sure that your content will go unnoticed. So it’s highly recommended to mix content hashtags with a high volume, with other hashtags that are more specific. For example, let’s say you have a restaurant and you want to post a picture of your latest gnocchi dish on Instagram. #Food is an obvious choice, but with over 258 millions posts using it, you have no chance to stand out. Try and find more ‘niche’ hashtags, such as #gnocchi or #gnocchiday. As always, a little research will go a long way. Hashtagify is a good place to start. And of course, nothing will beat the good old trial and error: experiment, learn and have fun as you go!
What are the best hashtag practices for each social media
How many hashtags per post: Research shows that the optimal amount of hashtags is two. Over that, the tweets have a significant drop in engagement. How to find the best hashtags around: It’s important to make sure people are engaging with the hashtags you use. A great place to start is Hashtagify, it allows you to check the popularity and recent popularity to know if your hashtag is relevant. Where to place them: While you are more limited on Twitter with the amount of #’s you are less confined as to where they should go. It can be used at the end of a Tweet or incorporated as part of the sentence.
How many hashtags per post: The more hashtags you use, the more engagement you see – up until a certain point. After about 10 hashtags, you risk losing out on some of that engagement. How to find the best hashtags around: Head over to the search box and check what your audience, competitors, and industry leaders are already using. Pay attention to the number of posts, and how many likes the first images received. Where to place them: In order to keep everything organized and neat, it’s best to put your hashtags at the end of your caption preferably separated by either dots or asterisks. If you’re a neat freak, you can also add your hashtags in a comment to your post.
Believe it or not, hashtags are not important on Facebook. We recommend limiting the number of hashtags to a minimum. Indeed, concise captions tend to perform better on this platform. Of course, using your ‘brand-specific hashtags’ won’t hurt.
LinkedIn and G+
Same as for Facebook: hashtags can be added, but they don’t really have an effect on your post.
How many hashtags per post: Pinterest themselves recommend you add no more than 20 hashtags per Pin. Where to place them: Hashtags only work within the Pins’ descriptions.
Whether it is a newsletter, a video, a social media post or a cocktail party – the basics remain – think about your audience and be interesting. Below is the recipe for the secret sauce to communicating, and engaging, your audiences.
The New York Times recently announced that it now has 14 million subscribers across its 55 newsletters. According to Elisabeth Goodridge, The Times’s editorial director of newsletters, the “secret sauce” to good newsletters is as follows:
Know your audience
Have an expert write it (or be quoted)
Design it beautifully
Maintain it with best practices in mind
And, perhaps most important, “offer something valuable that you can’t get anywhere else.”
It should also be an intimate and controlled space. “We want it to be a friction-free experience,” said Andrea Kannapell, the editor of briefings at The Times. That means shorter, lighter sentences; a conversational voice; and information that equips readers to take on news conversations at work and at cocktail parties. “We want them to leave the briefing feeling uplifted,” Ms. Kannapell said. “Like their friend in the newsroom made sure they knew what they needed to know.”
Thank you to the American Press Institute for sharing this article. Blog readers: Isn’t this what our jobs are too? Whether it is delivering information TO a journalist, or shareholders, or employees or our communities … these simple steps are indeed the recipe to the ‘secret sauce’.
I am a subscriber to several of these NYT newsletters and usually I take the time to review and read them; they are that worthwhile. This is a free service, delivered online, so I encourage you to take a look, experience their ‘secret sauce techniques’ and see if one of these 55 newsletters might be what you need to know. Laura
Sometimes online sites give you a tool that makes your day … that’s how I felt when the infographic below arrived via Social Media Today. I’ll let the infographic and their introduction tell you the rest. I’ll be doing future posts on which of these work best for me and the team at Bennett & Company too.
The right tools can help you maximize your digital marketing time, and improve performance with less effort – but with so many tools now available, it’s hard to know which is best for which aspect, or even, what each tool does, exactly.
To help, the team from Crello have put together this listing of 100 free marketing tools that you should try. A note: Many of the apps listed do require subscriptions to access their full functionality, but the free versions should provide enough insight as to their value for your business, enabling you to make a proper assessment before committing expenditure.
So incredibly smart! Heathrow airport, offers a ready made Out-of-Office message for travelers. You have to sign into an airport Wi-Fi so while you are at it, why not use their Out-of-Office message too??
This article from ADWEEK, ran July 3, just before Independence Day in the USA – but offers us so many ideas for all the businesses that add joy/special moments of bliss/fun/escape – you-fill-in the benefit to our lives – think of what hotels, recreation, destinations, retails, transportation and so many more could offer.. think about it – how do you add joy to your customer’s life? Now produce a video or message for use not only as an out-of-office message but for social media channels.
Now if you are a toy store, pet shop, ski resort, beach bar or more – you might just go wild with this idea – have big fun!
An entirely new way to send your corporate message!
Though people across the pond won’t be celebrating the Fourth of July on Wednesday, Heathrow Airport still understands the sentiment of a holiday week—as it proved in a new spot that’s all about embracing your vacation days.
Havas London, the British-based agency behind Heathrow’s now-famous ads featuring a pair of bears returning home for the holidays, created this new spot for London’s landmark airport. In it, a woman drafts her out-of-office message while sitting at her gate at Heathrow. As she finishes, she laughs with her two children before the family giddily gets up to board their plane.
“Heathrow is just as much about those longed-for week-long summer holidays as it is about weekday business trips and round-the-world epics,” Lynsey Atkin, creative director at Havas London, told Adweek of the spot. “We wanted to celebrate the small moments that have great significance when it comes to our precious time away with those we love. Setting an out of office is one such moment, where the world of work is packed away and our focus shifts to the really important people in our lives.”
The ad’s approach is simple: A reminder of the feeling that comes along with the seemingly-minute, yet instantly relief-inducing act of setting up an out-of-office message before heading out on an awaited-for vacation. Atkin says that going into the campaign, the Havas London team wanted “to tell a seemingly small story that had big resonance.”
To make the family interactions feel natural and relatable, the spot’s director, Tom Green of Stink Films, worked with the cast for two days of shooting “to allow for natural action and dialogue that feels utterly relatable and part of the fabric of family interactions that play out every single day across Heathrow,” Atkin said.
The campaign aims to highlight Heathrow’s “Closer” tagline, meant to showcase “the airport’s ability to bring people closer together for special moments every day,” according to a release. Beyond the video spot, also included in the campaign are several out-of-home ads featuring images shot by Christopher Anderson. In these ads, close-up photos of different faces are featured. At the bottom of each image, there’s a personalized out-of-office message.
“At its very heart Heathrow is about bringing people Closer to each other,” Atkin said of the message behind the Closer tagline. “And in a time when that seems increasingly rare, it feels fitting that a place that knows the power and emotion of being together should be flying the flag for it, however big or small.”
Project name: Out of Office Client: Heathrow Airport Limited: Simon Eastburn – Director of Marketing, Modupe Adeboye – Senior Marketing and Brand Manager, Kellie Heath – Campaign Marketing Manager, Silvia Cardinale – Campaign Marketing Manager Creative agency: Havas London ECD: Ben Mooge Creative Director: Lynsey Atkin Creative: Tom Manning Account team: Caroline Saunders, Oliver Lester, Claire Petzal, Naomi Hollowday Agency producer (film): Kiri Carch, Adrianne Godfrey Agency producer (print): Hatty Middleton Planner: Clare Phayer Media agency: Carat Media planner: Hanna Puggaard Production company: Stink Films Producer: Ray Leakey Director: Tom Green DoP: James Laxton Editor: James Forbes-Robertson at Whitehouse Post Post-production: The Mill Soundtrack composer: Roots Manuva ‘Fighting For’ Audio post-production: Jon Clarke at Factory
Thank you ADWEEK for another smart and creative story. Laura
10 Creative Marketing Ideas for the Holiday Season
Yes it is the holiday season, and nothing matters more the other times of year than our social media efforts, so include them in the holiday spirit too! #BennettHolidayMarketing #HappyHolidays2018
As a long time PR professional, I am always looking for really great ideas, that are business-like yet have impact.
Thanks to Wix (where I host the wwww.BennettandCo.com website), here is a list of 10 great and creative marketing ideas, and examples of how they were implemented for the Wix brand:
Months ahead of the holiday season, retail stores start decorating shelves with tinsel, candles and festive lights. It seems that every year, the holiday prep starts earlier and earlier. Call shop owners overeager, but planning ahead actually has its perks. This is especially the case when it comes to marketing. Planning for these predetermined dates can prevent your business from getting hit with unexpected snowballs – like last minute promotional campaigns, holiday re-designs, and battles with creative blocks.
As a small business owner, it’s worth taking a lesson or two from these retail giants. Although you’re going to need to put in some work, we promise that it will be nothing short of fun. That’s because we’ve included inspiration for holiday content for your website, decked-out social pages, creative newsletters and much more to dress up your business in festive and seasonal attire. And after you’ve implemented these holiday marketing strategies, your business will be just as jolly as a proudly-standing snowman (carrot nose and scarf included). So without further ado, here are 10 effective and fun marketing ideas you can implement on your site for the holiday season:
01. Decorate your social media channels
Just like putting up lights in your front yard or garnishing your front door, the point of decorating your social channels is to signal that your small business is well aware the holidays are in full swing. So, how will you begin? Pull out your digital arts and craft supplies and start creating some holiday content. For social media, upload a new cover photo that features a design of a simple festive image, a holiday wish written over a patterned background, or a promotion of a holiday sale. If you want to create your own designs, you can use a graphic design tool, like Canva, which allows you to choose your social media image size, then easily layer that base with customised photos, shapes, and text. Once you save your design, you can simply upload it to the corresponding social channel.
You can also use your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles to post some holiday cheer. To create social posts, one effortless tool is Wix Social Posts because it enables you to simply pick a pre-sized, flawless design, then drag and drop your text, and add stickers (graphics) and images for a personalized look that speaks to your brand identity. Then, save and upload your design onto the social channels of your choice – or even onto your website. The type of content you can share is anything from upcoming events to promotions for the holiday season, such as contests, themed sales, and blog posts full of holiday inspiration. And don’t worry, we’ll cover all of these points and more in the tips to come. Just focus on filling your pages with joy and spirit for now.
02. Create a themed version of your logo
A logo certainly holds the core position of your business and branding efforts. It also represents your business’ personality – like Google’s playful color palette, for example (learn why they chose a green ‘L’ with this cool article about the stories behind famous logos). As an ambassador of your personality, it only makes sense that your logo reflect that your business is also celebrating it up during this holiday season. This holiday version can be as simple as replacing the dot on an ‘i or the letter ‘o’ with hanging lights or candles. Even if these letters don’t apply to you, you can incorporate a tinsel or glittery border into any design. Get as creative as you wish here.
If you don’t have a logo, not to worry we’ve got a solution. You can always turn to a trusted logo creation platform that can create a professional logo for you in seconds: Wix Logo Maker. All you need to do is simply answer a few questions about your company, industry, and style preferences. Then, watch the artificial intelligence technology work its magic and generate numerous logo options faster than you can wrap a present. And the best part is that they’re all completely customizable, which will allow you to make it as cheerful as you wish.
03. Invent a festive hashtag
One proven way to get people talking about your brand is by creating a unique hashtag. In short, a hashtagis the combination of a ‘#’ symbol followed by a keyword or phrase that allows the accompanying post to become searchable. There are millions of popular hashtags that can certainly help with post engagement, particularly on Instagram and Twitter. However, a self-created seasonal hashtag or one related to a specific holiday date will stimulate a potentially viral campaign.
But first, let’s take a step back and discuss the phrase ‘user-generated content (UGC).’ This is the concept where everyday users create content for your business and share them online – essentially advertising your brand for you. Typically, these online posts are accompanied by hashtags, which funnel all of the UGC content to one central location. So, let’s make up an ultra specific campaign idea. For example, say you have a business, Ruth’s Vintage Apparel, and you want to host a costume contest. There are two requirements: participants must wear a clothing item from your online shop, and they must post about it using the hashtag #RuthsCostumeContest. This will generate hype around your brand because consumers will be enthusiastic to participate and check out the competition (hence, they will browse more of your posts for items from your store via the hashtag). It will also benefit your business by expanding your promotion reach much more than physically possible to do on your own.
04. Hold a competition
Anything from an ugly sweater contest, to a race to sign up for a free scented candle, will generate buzz around your business. It’s similar to the previously mentioned concept of creating a hashtag. User-generated content is certainly relevant here, as well, in order to spread the word about your company. Yet, the main difference between a hashtag and this strategy is that a contest needs to be incentivising. Whether you’re giving away a product, gift card, or featuring a customer on your website, you need to offer something in return to the chosen winner of your contest.
While the options of the type of contest you hold are endless, there are a couple of basic competition guidelines you should consider:
Set a clear goal: All that you do regarding your marketing strategy should have one clear goal in mind. Is it to get more followers on your Instagram account and Facebook page? Or is it to promote your newest holiday product? You’re going to want to come up with a game plan of how you can reach that goal. This includes everything from choosing the platform to researching the guidelines of hosting a contest there.
Entice your audience with a prize: Let’s face it. This is the entire reason consumers will be interested in playing. Whether it’s a gift card to your online store or a holiday gift (really, everyone loves scented candles), keep it relevant and in the spirit of your chosen festivity.
Include all of the rules: For legal purposes and overall transparency, this step cannot be neglected. Think about all the possible factors that go into your contest and write them down somewhere. It can certainly take up a lot of room on your social feed, so it might be worthwhile to make and link a PDF at the bottom of your contest post, include it as a section of your website or even create a one page website dedicated to the competition.
Promote your competition: Some promotional efforts are free (like email marketing), and others might cost you a bit of money (like Facebook advertising). Decide on your budget, content, and design. Then, throw your flyers into the wind.
Post about your winner: The final place you can truly make sure your first goal is met is by sharing the results. It’s the last opportunity you have to generate more content from your activity. So, make sure to create exciting content centered around your winner and company, and share it all around – your website, your blog, a newsletter, your social media, and more. Just don’t forget to get the winner’s permission first.
The most effective form of marketing proven again and again is email marketing. In fact, over 80% of retail professionals claim that email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention more than any other form of digital marketing – and yes, that number even takes social media into account. And the last, most important reason, is that it’s free or extremely cheap to send effective newsletters.
Have we convinced you to implement this holiday marketing idea yet? If so, send out a beautiful, easy-to-design and fully customisable email from your business’s own custom email address in order to make sure that your business looks as professional as possible to consumers this holiday season. If you’re a Wix user, you can easily send out a newsletter right from your account thanks to the all-in-one email solution, Wix ShoutOut. This tool allows you to customise your templates, sync your contacts, send out newsletters, then go back and track your stats to learn more about your community and how you can improve based on feedback and statistics.
When you prepare your email, include everything from the subject line, CTAs, and content, to themed images. (Here are some email marketing tips to get you started.) While crafting your email plan, make sure to think creatively, as you certainly won’t be the only business sending out a holiday email this year. You’re going to have to put in some work to stand out. Here are some creative examples for your inspiration:
Launch a countdown leading up to a specific holiday date: For example, you can list X number of products (with links to your online store) in descending order to entice readers to scroll through the whole email.
Animate with videos and GIFs: These are two engaging forms of content that will get visitors interested in your email.
Send a holiday gift: Anything from a voucher for an actual product to something much simpler, like a coupon or printable greeting card that they can share with their loved ones.
Give out warm holiday wishes: Create a digital greeting card with a festive photo of you or your team – including your pets if you have any (because really that’s what people care about the most).
06. Highlight a sale on your website with a Lightbox
No, we aren’t talking about the box of string lights you stored away from last year, although we are sure that you can find something festive to do with those, too. Digitally speaking, a lightbox is an interactive message that appears on your website immediately upon a visitor’s arrival and then prompts them to take a specific action. So, if you’re hosting a sale, this is the perfect way to ensure that you’ve grabbed your audience’s attention. When you create a Lightbox for your Wix website, you can customize everything, including content, colors, fonts, layout and background images. This way, you can create a specific design to suit the holiday theme that you want to target. In addition, it’s possible to personalize the call-to-action (CTA) for your lightbox, such as a signup form to receive your sale discount or a link to your store’s sale page.
07. Write a festive blog post
Hmm… We wonder where we got this idea from? You can certainly take this article as an example for a holiday marketing blog post idea. Furthermore, not only is blogging a great practice to increase your SEO efforts, it’s also something that your customers will appreciate. If you don’t have a blog already, creating one is easy with this step-by-step blog guide. Here you can highlight anything holiday related at your company: a sale, a holiday gift or recipe guide, or a countdown of something. Then, once you’ve completed it, make sure to share your posts on your social media channels and marketing emails.
08. Wrap up your year with content
We can all learn from Spotify’s Wrapped Campaign. The music streaming platform used an algorithm to compile playlists for the top songs and artists of the past 12 months in order to ‘wrap up’ their year. You can use this awesome marketing campaign as inspiration for your business, whether it’s a list of best-selling products, the top social media posts, or other successful stats like new email subscribers and followers on Instagram. You can proudly display those results in any form you choose: an infographic, a blog post, Instagram Story, video, or Facebook post. This is one piece of content that can be promoted everywhere. It’s your time to flaunt the outcomes of your hard work and celebrate what your company has done this year.
09. Shoot a themed video
Consumers are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. This and many other video marketing statistics explain why video content is the way of the future. If you’re scrambling to find a topic or theme to create a video about, then the holidays is the perfect excuse. Some ideas include describing a product, giving a behind-the-scenes look at your business, or ‘writing’ a blog post in video form. Just remember to make it festive 🙂
Based on the latest social media trends, it’s apparent that short videos are much more effective than their long-form counterparts. So, don’t stress about creating one longer than a minute, or even 10 seconds for that matter. You can turn to one of the many different video creation platforms to start building your mini film, like Magisto and iMovie. Once you complete your creation, save it, then share it on YouTube, Facebook, and your website. With Wix Video, you can effortlessly upload videos from YouTube or Facebook to your site, showcase them in stunning layouts, and then track their success through detailed stats.
10. Create a holiday Pinterest board
Pinterest and holiday inspiration go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows. That’s why the holiday season is one reason to create an account on the platform and start using it for the excellent benefits it provides, like growing a community, increasing brand awareness, and driving traffic to your website. Pinterest is a visual discovery tool that allows you to find and share ideas for projects. Here, users can follow accounts, brands, businesses, and boards.
Pinterest Boards are the backbone of the platform, and each one represents a different category. You can create as many as you like on any topics you like. That’s why filling a holiday-themed board is an excellent way to bring in the festivities. Use this as a chance to share anything related to your company in holiday version, from recipes to beauty products, gift guides, infographics, design inspiration, and so much more. New to Pinterest? This guide explains everything you need to know about using Pinterest for your business.
Note from Laura:We’ve always known; writing is a master skill and much needed. The ability to communicate, story tell, sell, divulge and engage are the ingredients of public relations, marketing, advertising and sales – not to mention management.
When I saw this 3 MINUTE READ – from Co.Design – I knew I had to share. We have THE UNICORN SKILL – add that to your resume and be so proud!
Forget Coding: Writing Is Design’s “Unicorn Skill”
In a new report, John Maeda explains why writing is a must-have skill for designers.
[PHOTO: HERO IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES]
BY KATHARINE SCHWAB
In his “2017 Design in Tech Report,” John Maeda writes that “code is not the only unicorn skill.” According to Maeda, who is the head of computational design and inclusion at Automattic and former VP of design at VC firm Kleiner Perkins, words can be just as powerful as the graphics in which designers normally traffic. “A lot of times designers don’t know that words are important,” he said while presenting the report at SXSW this weekend. “I know a few designers like that–do you know these designers out there? You do know them, right?”
Design is changing fast, and design schools risk producing students without fundamental skills needed in the industry today. Writing is one of them. After all, content is still king.
By pointing to writing as the next most important skill for designers, the report suggests a corrective to an overreliance on the interface–to the extent that writing itself has been left behind as a design skill. “A core skill of the interaction designer is imagining users (characters), motivations, actions, reactions, obstacles, successes, and a complete set of ‘what if’ scenarios,” writes designer Susan Stuart, in a blog post highlighted in the report. “These are the skills of a writer — all kinds of writers, but particularly fiction, screenwriting, and technical writing.”
Learning how to write isn’t just an important skill for the future: It’s applicable right now. Trends in digital design emphasize clean lines and few words–giving language itself more weight. “Art direction and copywriting are as fundamental to the user experience as the UI,” as Paul Woods, COO of the digital design firm Edenspiekermann,wrote here on Co.Design. “Sure, you can have a beautiful UI/frame, but once you have that (we all know a great UI is an invisible UI), all the viewer cares about is what’s inside: the artwork, the story.”
It’s not just that designers should treat their copywriters better, as Maeda mentioned at his Design in Tech SXSW talk. As chatbots and conversational interfaces become more popular, writing becomes the vehicle for experience design–so much so that writers are being integrated into those design teams. Companies are already starting to use AI to customize language for users on a mass scale. This writing-based design could transform the very nature of UX.
“We talk about the power of words—both content and style—all the time,” writes R/GA brand designer Jennifer Vano in blog post featured in the “Design in Tech” report. “When it comes to friendships, romance, work dynamics, and, dare we even mention it—though nothing is more telling, more relevant—politics, words have the power to change our opinions, incite action, divide or unify us, move us. Words can shape reality.”
As a well-known voice in the design world, Maeda’s report will help cast light on the issue–but design schools also have a role to play, as well. The report details how design education is falling short in other areas, as well. For instance, the top three skills needed by designers in practice–data, business, and leadership skills–are not available to them in most basic coursework.
Feeling swamped by the endless ‘things-to-do’ for social media? Think of it this way… the more you do the better you do… the bigger and better the results. So start with a little organization and things will be smoother.
TIP: Saturday is one of the best days for getting your posts read, don’t limit them to weekdays only.
See the terrific chart on this blog? It’s from Social Media Today, one of my go-to sites for smart advice. Print it out and use it for a week and see the difference.
Now you can go beyond this and think bigger and better. Like what? Consider these additional bits of guidance:
Your starting place – do a quick communications audit. Are your colors right? Do your key words line up on all platforms? Establish a benchmark number of how much engagement you are really getting… and then beat it, and elevate it and be proud of the difference this is making in sales.
Exhale, remember success of any kind does not follow a straight line, and enjoy the process.
The Importance of Holiday Marketing in October – Less Cost +More Results
According to recently published research from Adroll, marketers should definitely consider launching their holiday campaigns in October (or mid-August for PR) in order to maximize performance and response.
The findings, based on data collected from Adroll’s 37,000+ customers, show that over 40% of consumers in the US begin holiday shopping in October – yet the average CPC is 12% lower than November and December. The average CPM is lower also, which points to some key opportunities for those who are able to get in early with their campaigns.
Adroll provides a more comprehensive look at its data in the infographic below, which also highlights specific opportunities on Facebook and Instagram.
It’s not just about Black Friday – instead focus on October where you will capture more consumers and spend less.
The media and the communication vehicles that reach our customers, are the partners of businesses, especially marketing and PR.
When the Associated Press gives out advice on how to handle negative commentary – it is something to heed. Thank you AP!
NEW YORK (AP) — A bad review can seriously hinder a small business’ reputation, but dealing with negative social media and online posts is now essential.
The popular online review site Yelp.com recently won a case in California where an aggrieved law firm tried to force it to remove negative posts. Such an action would run afoul of freedom of speech, according to internet companies, but business owners say it could leave the door open to spreading falsehoods without consequences.
There are several measures a business can take to respond to negative reviews to mitigate any potential damage.
“This is something you simply can’t ignore,” said Columbia Business School professor Jeremy Kagan. “The best defense is a good offense.”
Here are some key points for business owners:
ASK HAPPY CUSTOMERS TO POST REVIEWS OF THEIR EXPERIENCE
It’s important to be proactive and have staff ask customers to post their experience. The offensive part of this strategy involves having a base of good reviews from happy customers. It’s even more important because people who are upset are usually more motivated, Kagan said.
That can leave a skewed picture of a business. A solid base of good reviews will help give a potential customer a broader view.
RESPOND IMMEDIATELY AND POLITELY
People want to know that the owner is professional and cares about fixing legitimate problems. Simple things, like saying “I’m very sorry you didn’t enjoy” the meal or product can go a long way with potential new customers checking out your reviews.
“You will often find that you’re playing to the audience, which is sort of neutral,” Kagan said.
PROVIDE A FACTUAL REBUTTAL
While owners should acknowledge a person’s feelings, there are some issues where a factual rebuttal is necessary.
For a restaurant, this could include providing a link to a health department grade or report if somebody falsely accuses the restaurant of being unclean. For some companies, it could mean posting a statement on steps being taken to improve a product or service.
“You’re not necessarily going to fix an upset person,” Kagan said. “What you can do is limit the impact.”
I am often asked if I can make a negative comment “go away” – the answer is no. But what I will do is reposition the comment with the facts as we know them, remember the audience is wide and large, respond directly to this one comment, and treat everyone’s opinion as valid. Just because we are responding to one comment, it is imperative to remember many others will be reading what you say too.
Instagram for Business: Everything You Need to Know
With thanks for an exceptional article written by Saige Driver, B2B Staff Writer
Instagram is a mobile photo-sharing app and social network. It was created in 2010, and in 2012, Facebook purchased it for $1 billion. According to Instagram, more than 500 million people use it daily, and it has more than 800 million monthly active users.
Instagram is photo- and video-centric. Users can edit and post images and short videos, record Instagram stories, and go live with video. Before using Instagram for your business, here is what you should know.
Although it can be viewed on a desktop, Instagram is primarily a mobile app, so you need to download it before you can sign up for an account. Instagram is free in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play store.
To sign up, you can either connect your Instagram account to Facebook or enter your email.
You will want to convert your brand’s Instagram profile to a business account to receive access to analytics and insights. To do this, you’ll need to connect the account with your business’s Facebook page by following the in-app prompts from the Switch to Business Profile option under Settings.
Once your Instagram account is created, you can go to the Profile tab and tap the Edit Your Profile button to change your name, username and profile picture, or to add a website and a short biography. To change the app’s settings, tap the gear button on the top right corner.
When you open the app, you’ll be taken to the home page. Here, you’ll see an endless stream of posts from the users you follow, sponsored posts based on your interests and your own posts, if you’ve added any.
Home button: This takes you to your home page or your feed.
Search tab: This tab helps you find interesting content and users to follow. Using the search bar, you can look for certain content, users or hashtags. If you don’t tap a category (People, Tags or Places), the app defaults to Top, which shows the most popular results for that search term. You will also see a horizontally scrolling row of photos called Trending Tags and, below that, a feed of popular posts, called Explore Posts. These features are great ways to find other people and brands whose interests align with yours, and following users with similar content may even earn you some followers.
Add button: With this button, you can add a new photo from your gallery, take a photo or shoot a short video.
Heart button: On the activity page (heart tab), you’ll see two tabs at the top of the page: Following and You. The You tab is the default; this is where you can see recent notifications showing who has followed you or liked your photos, comments other users have left on your photos or mentioned you in, and posts you’ve been tagged in. When you switch to the Following tab, you’ll see recent activity from the users you’re following – other photos they’ve liked or commented on and users they’ve followed.
Profile: Your Profile tab is where you can see all your posts and story highlights, edit your profile and update your settings.
Geotagging: Instagram allows you to add your location to your photos when you post them. Adding your location to photos displays that location above your photo in each post that has been geotagged. You can toggle your location on and off before posting an image.
To post a new photo, tap the add (camera) button on the bottom of your screen. This will open your phone’s camera, and you can either take a new photo or record a short video, or select one from your camera roll.
Upon clicking Next, you’ll be taken to a screen with multiple options, including Instagram’s filters and an Edit button, which allows you to adjust the photo by changing the brightness, contrast, structure, warmth, saturation, color, fade, highlights and shadows. You can also add a vignette or tilt-shift the picture.
Once you’ve edited the photo to your liking, click Next. Then you can write a caption to describe the picture, add a location to geotag it, tag people and share it on other social media platforms. You also have the option to turn off comments, found at the bottom of the Advanced Settings page.
Before posting public photos, business owners should consider adding hashtags to their picture for optimal exposure. If you want to change or add something after you’ve published a post, tap the ellipses (…) button on that post and select Edit to update the caption or add a location or tags. You can also share the post on other social networks or delete the post if you’re unhappy with it.
Now that you know how to create a profile and post photos, here are the different ways you can use Instagram to promote your business.
1. Use Instagram stories
Instagram Stories are photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. At the top of the home page is a horizontal bar featuring photos of the people you follow and one for yourself. When you select the photo of yourself, it opens another screen with eight options to add to your story.
Normal: With the normal option, you can take a regular, still photo.
Live: This is for live videos.
Type: Type is the only option that doesn’t require a photo or video. Instead, you can choose from different background colors and fonts and type whatever is on your mind.
Boomerang: This option creates a GIF.
Superzoom: Superzoom allows you to zoom in during a video with dramatic sound effects.
Rewind: Rewind lets you post a video to your story that’s in reverse.
Hands-free: Records a video without requiring you to hold down the record button.
Stop motion: With this feature, you can take a long series of photos and Instagram turns the photos into a GIF.
With all options, you can draw, type and place stickers and polls on photos and videos. These features are very similar to those on Snapchat, so if you’re familiar with that platform, it should make it much easier to navigate. Instagram stories are a great way to promote a new product, give a behind-the-scenes look at your business or show a new blog post.
With Stories Highlights, you can group stories together into highlights and feature the groups on your profile below your bio. Highlights stay on your profile until you remove them. To edit or remove a highlight, just tap and hold it. Instagram also automatically saves your stories when they expire and keeps them in the Stories Archive, which is accessible on your profile.
2. Use live videos
In addition to Instagram Stories, users can take and stream live video that disappears – sort of like a combination between Facebook Live and Snapchat. You can give customers a live look behind the scenes of interesting aspects of your business, show products or answer live questions through the comments.
Once the video ends, it lives on your Instagram stories where it stays for 24 hours. If you want video that remains on your Instagram feed, you can upload video you’ve taken or shoot video directly through the app to post. If you choose to shoot or upload video, you can still add filters and change the cover. You also have the option of including sound.
3. Interact with other Instagram users
There are many ways to interact with other users on Instagram. For instance, you can tag other users in your photos or privately message people.
Liking: Liking is a simple way to connect with other users. To like a photo, either double-tap the image or tap the heart button under the post.
Commenting: Next to the Like button is a Comment button – just tap it, and the app will take you to the Comments page for that photo with a text box where you can enter what you want to say and hit Post when it’s complete.
Mentioning: As on Twitter, you can use the @ symbol to tag other users in your Instagram comments or post captions.
Tagging: Instagram allows you to add tags before you post an image or video. To do so, tap the Tag People option before sharing your photo, and then tap where in the photo you’d like to add a tag. The app then prompts you to type in the person’s name to search for his or her account. Once you’ve tagged other users in your photo and shared the image, other users can tap on the photo to see the people who are tagged.
Direct messaging: To access Instagram Direct, go to the home page and tap the button in the top right corner. Here, you can send private instant messages, photos and videos to other users. To send a new direct message (DM), tap the + button in the top right corner, and select Send Photo or Video, or Send Message. Once you’ve sent the message, you and the recipients can message back and forth. Users who are not already following you will be asked whether they want to allow you to send them photos and videos before they can view your direct message
4. Use hashtags
Using hashtags is a great way to help other users find your content on Instagram. Hashtags can include letters and numbers, but they can’t contain any non-numerical characters. For example, #DaveAndBusters works as a hashtag, but #Dave&Busters does not.
Because users can both search for hashtags and click on hashtags they see in posts in the app, using relevant hashtags can be a highly effective tool for getting noticed. However, make sure you’re using the right hashtags for your brand and don’t go overboard.
Hashtags such as #nofilter (a photo that hasn’t been heavily edited with filters), #selfie (a picture of yourself) and #tbt or #throwbackthursday (old photos) are all incredibly popular on Instagram, but they may not work for you or your brand. It’s a good idea to look at other established brands or even personal users and bloggers in your industry for examples of what to do when it comes to hashtags.
Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags in a post or comment, but using that many would be excessive. The fewer hashtags you can use to get quality responses, the better. Using a lot of popular hashtags might earn you a lot of likes from other users, but it probably won’t increase your following all that much, and the interactions you get will likely not be from people who are interested in your brand but rather those who just saw and liked your image.
Once you understand hashtags, you can branch out and experiment to find which ones work best for your brand. It’s also smart to create a custom hashtag for your business or even an event you’re hosting. This way customers can use hashtags, and it’ll be easy to find their posts as well.
5. Advertising on Instagram
Like other social channels, businesses have the option to advertise on Instagram. There are three formats for advertising:
Photo Ads: These look like regular photo posts, but they have a Sponsored label above the photo. They also have a Learn More button in the bottom-right corner, under the photo.
Video Ads: Like the photo ads, these look like regular video posts, but with a Sponsored label on top.
Carousel Ads: These ads look identical to photo ads but feature multiple photos that users can swipe through.
All three ad formats appear in users’ home feeds. These ads support four objectives: video views, click-throughs to your website, mobile-app installations and mass awareness.
For more information about advertising on Instagram, go here.
6. Be creative
Not sure how you can use Instagram for your business? Try some of these cool strategies:
Show off your products or services. Take pictures of cool new products as you get them in, or share pictures of your most popular products. Or, if you run a service business, like a hair salon or a restaurant, take the time to take photos of your work.
Go behind the scenes. Take pictures and videos to show how your products or goods are made, especially if the process is unique or interesting, or something customers ask about often. This not only provides interesting content for your Instagram account, but it shows your customers and followers exactly what goes on in the background.
Include your employees. Make your brand’s Instagram page more personal by including your employees in your posts. Share pictures of your team members hard at work or having fun at company outings.
Ask your customers to show off their photos. Put your Instagram handle and custom hashtags on your products or promotional materials to encourage customers to tag you when they share photos of your product, service or work. This way, other users who want to know where it came from can find you easily. Just make sure you’re checking them out, liking them and commenting on them.
Post exclusive deals on your Instagram. Give back to your Instagram followers by offering them discounts for following you. Share an image with instructions on how to use the deal. For example, you can create a coupon code users input when purchasing something on your website. Another option is you can ask users (when they’re paying for a product or service in-person) to show that they follow you. This will make your followers feel special, and it’s likely to get them telling their friends about your business, too.
Instagram tips and tricks
To get the most out of your Instagram account, keep these tips in mind:
Links don’t work in Instagram captions. The only place you can share a working link that actually takes users to a website is in your profile. Links don’t work in captions or photo comments, so if you’re trying to direct people to a specific web page, you can change the default link in your bio to that particular page and note in the caption that the link is on your profile.
Make sure your posts relate to your brand. It can be tempting to share photos of food, fashion and animals because they’re so popular on the platform, but if your business has nothing to do with those things, this could make your social marketing look disjointed and confuse your followers. However, if you can find a way to incorporate pictures like these while still making them relevant to your business, it could make your social marketing strategy more successful.
Run giveaways and promotions. Post an image advertising your giveaway, sale or contest, and ask users to repost that image with a specific, custom hashtag to enter. You can then search that hashtag to see who has reposted it and pick a winner. Promotions like this allow your customers and followers to market your brand for you by talking about your promotion on their personal pages, and it drives more people to visit your profile.
Respond to other users’ comments. When people comment on your photos, reply to them. Interacting with customers and followers shows that you are paying attention and that you care about whether they see your photos and what they say. They’ll be more likely to continue following you and interacting with your pictures if they feel like they matter.
Embed Instagram posts on your website. From the desktop version of Instagram, you can get an embed code to add specific images and videos to your company’s website. This can show visitors that you’re active on Instagram and help you gain more followers. Just select the photo you want to embed, click the ellipses button in the bottom right corner and select Embed. This pulls up a box with the embed code and gives you the option of whether you want to display the caption. From there, copy and paste the code where you want it to go on your website.
Use Instagram influencers to promote your business. Influencers are people who have a large following on Instagram. You can pay influencers to market your products to their followers in a natural way. These sponsored posts typically are subtle and don’t look like an ad. This is helpful because people typically hate advertisements.
WHY aren’t advertisers and marketers focusing on this huge and important market?
As a female marketer I have long wondered why so many brands and services are so clueless.
Look at the photos on this blog – both groups of women shop in similar ways, both groups are having fun – and both groups are either researching or purchasing online – but when you look at the photo of the older women – you should think to yourself, now they are spending money! p.s. I had a hard time finding photos of women over 50 in any venue, and that was on paid photo sites!
Who is in the photos on your website and in your ads and posted on your social media? If they are all men or a mix of men and young women – you are missing a huge, inclusive message – a message that says ‘you are our buyer’. And please be sure to have diversity too!
Your company and your marketing can be the smart ones, be data driven and go where the money is! Take a look at this research:
72% of women aged 53 to 72 – dubbed ‘babyboomers’ – don’t pay attention to advertising, according to a report examining the evolving relationship between women and marketing.
Elastic Generation: The Female Edit sought the opinion of women aged 53 to 72 from the JWT London Innovation Group, in an effort to pin down an accurate depiction of this key demographic.
It found that 91% of respondents wished advertisers would treat them as people and not as stereotypes with 90% agreeing with the statement ‘I’m not going to start dressing in beige just because I’m over 50 now.’
In a similar vein 71% stated they were still a ‘kid at heart’ while 73% expressed displeasure at how their generation was patronized with regards to technology. Adding weight to these findings 81% of women polled said they did not recognise themselves in advertising supposedly targeted at their generation.
As such brands are encouraged to think beyond age as a number and get to the bottom of what really motivates their target audience while ensuring that depictions of older people in advertising are authentic – binning outdated stereotypes once and for all.
Such findings will be highly worrying for marketers given that 78% of over 50’s command the purse-strings in their households, with the age group accounting for half of all consumer spending.
But not all moderators are great. You need to focus on finding a moderator who will create the best experience for your audience by educating, entertaining, and interacting with them.
At your next event, implement a BDA (that’s just my way of saying before, during, and after) process, and ask your moderator to consider the following strategies:
Before the panel:
Create bullet points for discussion and share with the panelists.
Organize a conference call so the panelists can connect.
Get photos, social media information, and short biographies of panelists.
Provide three questions to panelists in advance to help them prepare.
Keep those questions contextual so panelists can be flexible in their responses.
Prepare case studies and examples you can add to complement panelist input.
Manage logistics: i.e., make sure everyone has water, individual microphones, and seating, and advise panelists to silence their cellphones.
Determine the social media strategy: What hashtag are you using? Who will manage questions that are tweeted by audience members?
Determine the seating and speaking order; begin with a strong panelist.
During the panel
Kristin Arnold, a Certified Professional Facilitator, says, “Start with something interesting to get your audience to lean in to the topic. A simple tactic is to take a poll so that you and the panelists can focus attention on what really matters to the audience.”
Make the first question easy, and allow the audience to get to know your panelists.
When asking a question, direct your attention to the panelist and then look out into the audience (that will encourage the panelist to look at the audience when they respond).
Advise the audience about social media guidelines and what the hashtags are.
Encourage the audience to share learnings from the panel on their social channels.
Project the panel’s contact information, social media profiles, and conference hashtag on the screen for people to easily connect and tag them.
Managing the panel
Keep questions contextual—don’t let panelists stray.
Ask them to focus all their responses to benefit the audience.
Shut down any sales pitches of products and services.
Provide a variety of good and bad examples and case studies for the audience (don’t just share good news case studies).
Allow the panel to talk to each other (and over each other a little, but not to be rude).
Allow debate, not stage hogging.
Managing the audience
Always repeat the question for the benefit of the audience and the panelists.
Ask audience members to state their name before they ask their questions.
Ask audience members to ask questions that the whole room will benefit from.
Use microphones for all questions.
After the panel
Share the panelists’ contact information with the audience again.
Encourage the audience to meet the panelists one on one.
Send thank you notes to the panelists.
Having just been at a conference that schedules one panel after another, the ones that prepare like recommended above are the ones that WOW the audience, and are memorable.
Whenever possible use visuals on dual screens beside the panel stage – tutor your panelists to have slides and images that can be photographed, use large type and have lots of definition. Please no gray type and gobs of copy – remember if you are wowing the audience they’ll be using their cell phones to photograph these images and posting across the web.
Think about what you ask them to wear, seating arrangements, microphone testing, sound levels and signage – all the better for those social media posts that will amplify your message and give you reportable results!
We have a glimpse of what’s to possibly come in the USA, so let’s learn from the best in Europe and how they are handling this change… read on to learn much more and additional resources.
What Is the GDPR?
On May 25th 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation—known as the GDPR—will come into effect. The aim is to protect the personal data of all EU citizens. Whatever the location of your business, if you own a website with EU visitors, or if your marketing campaigns target EU citizens, these changes affect you.
From the National Association of Travel Journalists Association: The law applies to anyone who has customers and/or contacts in the EU and failing to follow the law comes with a hefty fine. Need some guidance on how or if this new regulation applies to you? Here is a link for more details: Check out this article for a primer on GDPR.
How some of our European contacts have approached GDPR – with the goal of maintaining their customer list.
From a luxury hotel in Italy: Under new data protection regulations (GDPR) we need to confirm we have your permission to continue sending you updates by email. Please click the appropriate link below to let us know. We would love to stay in touch with our occasional emails, containing our favourite stories from the Amalfi Coast, recipes, special offers and updates from Le Sirenuse, but we will be unable to as of the 25th of May 2018 without your permission. Don’t let this be goodbye.
From ScotlandsPeople: We are committed to protecting your personal information and ensuring your privacy. In preparation for 25 May 2018, when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into force, we would like you to confirm that you are happy to continue to receive marketing e-mails such as our newsletter.
Please click on one of the buttons below and you will then be taken to a page confirming your choice. No further action will be required.
Whether you choose the warm and friendly approach like the Italian hotel, or the more straightforward approach like Scotland’s People – use this as an opportunity to reach out to everyone on your list and send a message reflecting who you are.
Influencer marketing is without a doubt a trending area for marketers and public relations professionals.
In retail, travel and entertainment, savvy marketers are connecting with people who have a great number of followers — and influence — and compensating them with cash, gifts or an experience, such as a stay in a resort or a cameo in a show.
The idea of connecting with the right people and working those relationships is both a refreshing and seemingly simple approach. However, how does influencer marketing apply to complex selling environments, such as within regulated industries (financial or healthcare, for example) or with enterprise software sales?
Without exception, a pithy Instagram post or a Tweet from an influencer is not going to have a meaningful impact on shortening long sales cycles or getting a chief security officer (CSO) to narrow solutions they’re considering for their global operations. In my experience, there are, however, people and organizations that have pull with buyers and industry organizations that are worth investing in relationships with.
This article comes with thanks to Forbes and Scott Mills, a member of the Forbes Agency Council.
Your team’s success is made easier with positive relationships with outside influencers.
To use the financial industry for illustration, which is one I’m quite familiar with, reaching and persuading bankers to buy into new concepts, strategies and solutions is without a doubt a difficult assignment. When selling something that represents a sizeable investment for the financial organization, it is likely that the company has to accomplish several things. It must:
1. Sell the business-side leader (head of retail banking).
2. Satisfy a host of people involved in the decision, which may include the board of directors, IT department and procurement.
3. Assure the bankers they will remain in compliance (not run afoul of regulators).
4. Demonstrate that your company is financially stable enough to satisfy the client.
For technology sellers, companies are also faced with demonstrating integration with at least one other existing critical system, such as a “core” platform and demonstrating that the company is operationally mature and disciplined enough to handle the prospect’s business.
Marketing to everyone within a bank who needs to buy — or at least sign off on — the agreement requires a highly coordinated effort. It is made easier by reaching third parties who have influence with the prospect and the industry as a whole.
Who are the super-influencers?
Super-influencers are people who advise or provide services to your prospects. They are trusted industry authorities or other vendors that are already serving the bank. Some examples of super-influencers include:
• Attorneys who advise bank boards.
• Accountants who serve the risk committee and CFO.
• Consultants hired to manage a transition or guide strategy.
• Executives of industry associations who drive education and governmental affairs.
• Industry analysts covering specific operational areas.
• Regulators who advise what changes would be acceptable to them.
• Key vendors that are already entrenched in the bank.
• Media who drive conference agendas and what topics are elevated within their channels.
While media is often the target for public relations outreach, trade media is frequently made up of industry experts in their own right. These people deserve an intelligent approach to building relationships.
Super influencers typically have the power to sway a decision. As such, super-influencer marketing is a programmatic approach to identify them, reach out and build relationships.
A super influencer’s value is based on their reputation.
Just as you expect a trusted friend or mentor to provide sound counsel, so do those who turn to their accountants, attorneys and key executives for professional services. As such, these super influencers continue to invest in their development and understanding of forces shaping their industries. Doctors read about new treatments. Researchers seek answers to challenging questions. And educators study, write and publish to broaden their understanding and to influence others. This quest for knowledge is the basis for connecting with super influencers. So is the story you want to deliver. When determining the story, consider the following:
• How are you changing the industry?
• Is there an example of a client company that is achieving outstanding results?
• Are you applying lessons from another industry?
• Do you have research that suggests a shift in the market?
• Is your solution reducing risk? If so, what kind?
Regardless of the channel or communications tactics, the underlying strategy for reaching super influencers has to be based on appealing to their curiosity, helping them broaden their understanding of their industry and doing a better job for their customers and business community.
Many super influencers are paid to recommend the right solution or company or provide an informed opinion or guidance. Consider the people and organizations you know with strong reputations — protecting their reputation drives their actions and decisions. The bottom line is that tactics found in retail or entertainment influencer marketing programs do not translate well to business-to-business (B2B) super influencers because they do not trade their reputation for short-term profits or trivial gifts.
In broad strokes, utilizing super-influencer marketing requires you to build and prioritize audiences, determine what assets or content you’ll need for them and continually foster mutually beneficial relationships.
So, what is fair game for leveraging these relationships?
While some relationships can be based on information sharing or leads, others can provide opportunities to work together on projects that would reflect well on both parties. For example, an attorney and PR practitioner could collaborate on articles about crisis planning and responses. An accountant and consulting firm might create webinars that address operational risks associated with new regulations. And two complementary software companies might create co-branded educational materials about transforming a segment of the industry.
If you are a B2B marketer operating within a complex environment or regulated industry, you know there are no shortcuts. Embrace the complicated and practice these super-influencer marketing tactics — together they represent your competitive advantage.
Note from Bennett – there is a fine line between paying someone to support your PR campaign, and finding mutual benefits with no payment. This is not a new trend as celebrity endorsements have been around as long as we’ve had speech – an outstanding tool, maybe even SUPER if used with intelligence and as one portion of a well-considered campaign.
We all know that marketing and sales are rarely aligned, right? I can see your heads nodding in agreement now. In fact, you don’t have to spend more than two minutes on Google to find numerous articles written about the cost of sales and marketing misalignment to businesses.
Factor in the new interest surrounding account-based marketing and you quickly realize that, despite entrenched thinking that marketing and sales will forever be at odds, it’s time to consider that we might need to find a way to align them.
According to Grad Conn in Adweek, “the relationship with the prospect is [now] based on value—through relevant content or through tailored experiences which have value to the prospect. It’s a ‘give/get’ model, with the seller making the first value move. This pay-it-forward approach to sales is anathema to the cold-calling Glengarry Glen Ross-style selling of the past.”
It has become clear that sales and marketing alignment is necessary today, particularly for business-to-business (B2B) enterprises.
We live in a post-consumer world.
Business-to-consumer (B2C) but also B2B companies have to compete on the value they offer in our post-consumer world — a world in which there are more products and services than there are people and companies to buy them. That’s why value, not false promises or merely good-enough products and services, is what will ultimately sell consumers on your goods.
What do companies need to do to communicate value from the first touch to the last? At my company, we call it “smarketing” (sales + marketing): the combined and aligned effort of marketing and sales to communicate the value of any product or service from the first touch to the last. Smarketing is the idea of marketing and sales working together so closely that it merits a new word. It is the antithesis of the standard and assumed misalignment between marketing and sales.
It’s time to kill the trope.
Companies can no longer afford to tolerate the push and pull between marketing and sales. Gone are the days of marketing bringing in leads with clever headlines and unverified promises and then throwing them over the wall to sales. Cutting through the noise to grab the attention of and engage with prospects is too expensive for marketing to neglect after sending them to sales.
Add fierce competition to the hard reality that marketing must touch a prospect 13+ times to achieve engagement, and you’ll suddenly be willing to kill the trope that marketing and sales never see eye to eye, let alone work together.
Thank you Sprout Social for this well written article about engaging your customers through creative hashtag campaigns. #lovethis!
The hashtag frenzy has been an important element in the rise of social media. It’s hard to achieve true brand awareness without at least one or two hashtags in your repertoire.
Not only does the right hashtag help you to connect with targeted audiences on social media, but a branded hashtag can also help give life to your digital identity, providing additional reach, impact and personality.
With approximately 81% of Americans using social media in 2018, companies can’t afford to overlook one of the most important resources in social.
But it’s not always as easy as it looks to craft, create and strategize your hashtag campaign. But don’t worry–we have you covered. To help inspire you for your next hashtag campaign, let’s look at eight creative campaigns in the last year or so:
1. #KnowYourLemons: Worldwide Breast Cancer
Often the best branded campaigns on social media are those with an important and meaningful purpose. In 2017, the Worldwide Breast Cancer organization launched its hashtag campaign #KnowYourLemons to convince women to check their breasts for signs of cancer more frequently.
The catchy concept went viral almost instantly. It was a fun and interesting way to give women the important information they needed to spot the lesser-known symptoms of cancer. The charity launched its own Facebook member’s page where people could take part in conversations about the subject. This extra step made the experience more engaging for everyone involved.
What We Loved About It:
The creativity in this hashtag campaign was a fantastic way to raise awareness for an important cause. However, the most exciting element of the strategy was that it made crucial information accessible to everyone. You didn’t need a doctorate or a high literacy level to learn more about breast cancer.
Using a light-hearted concept to convey a message about a serious subject, the Worldwide Breast Cancer group exceeded their Just Giving fundraising target by 317%.
2. #TeamVisa: Visa
At the beginning of 2018, Visa jumped on the Olympic fever bandwagon for the winter games. Since 2000, Visa has earned a reputation for accepting athletes around the globe into its “Team Visa” program. The program provides people with the resources they need to achieve their sporting ambitions. Ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, Visa launched a special campaign to demonstrate how athletes can get involved with #TeamVisa.
What We Loved About It:
The great thing about Visa’s campaign is that it takes advantage of a trending topic to draw attention to an existing product. The company teamed up with influencers who were sure to get plenty of attention around the winter games. Everyone from Billy Morgan to Elise Christie got involved.
3. #BrandBowl: Twitter
While there are 330 million monthly active users on Twitter, some experts suggest this social media platform isn’t seeing as much growth as its competitors. Fortunately, the channel decided to tackle this problem with a hashtag campaign of their own at the beginning of 2018.
Twitter announced at the end of January they would launch their #BrandBowl campaign alongside the Super Bowl. This was perfect timing to be involved with one of the most talked-about events on social media. The #BrandBowl campaign was a social contest designed to award companies for different achievements, like:
The brand with the highest number of tweets
The brand with the highest tweet per minute score
The brand with the most retweets
What We Loved About It:
To help improve engagement, Twitter combined the excitement of a social media contest with the appeal of an important trending topic. #BrandBowl gamified the concept of talking about companies, to ensure that everyone was chatting on Twitter during one of the most important sporting events of the year.
4. #ORIGINALis: Adidas
2017 was a highly successful year for Adidas. The company managed to cement its position as both a fashion icon and thought leader with its #ORIGINALis hashtag campaign. The promotion centered around the new Adidas Originals line, and asked people to re-think the concept of being unique.
Adidas partnered with some of the biggest names in the hip-hop world, including Stormzy, Snoop Dogg and ASAP Ferg to promote their new lineup. The brand even created a video to help link its products back to the idea of hip-hop culture.
The first thing that makes the #ORIGINALis hashtag campaign so effective is it’s targeted appeal to Adidas fans. On top of that, in a world where influencer marketing is one of the best ways to generate trust for a company, Adidas managed to partner with some of the most influential figures in the hip-hop environment.
Overall, Adidas just goes to show that the best brand hashtags can help to establish credibility for a company and elevate its position in any marketplace.
5. #WeAccept: Airbnb
Sometimes the best brand hashtags are the simplest. And that’s certainly the case with Airbnb’s campaign from 2017 revolving around the hashtag #WeAccept. This popular branded hashtag was a great way for the travel giant to share the universal nature of their company while showing their support for a crucial ethical issue.
The campaign began with an inspirational video posted on the Airbnb branded social media feed. It continued with a selection of emotional photos delivered by people from different backgrounds and places around the world.
It’s not always easy to produce an effective political campaign. This is particularly true on social media where everyone has an opinion that they’re ready to share. Fortunately, this hashtag campaign saw an incredible response, with hundreds of thousands of supportive likes and comments.
The theme of acceptance helped Airbnb to present themselves as a more approachable and authentic company on social media.
6. #WhatsInYourBag: RYU
People don’t just visit social media for information and news. We also use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to add a little bit of fun into our lives! That’s why building an Instagram hashtag campaign around a giveaway or competition can be such a great idea for building engagement. Ryu did this with #WhatsInYourBag campaign.
Ryu’s campaign was a great example of a social photo contest that leveraged the trend of Instagram Stories to increase their follower count to well over 20,000.
Hashtag campaigns with gamified elements like competitions or giveaways are a great way to build engagement for a company and encourage your customers to share user-generated content on your behalf. Ryu’s branded hashtag prompted people to share more photos in relation to the brand. This instantly expanded awareness for the company and helped to add a little fun to their identity.
7. #TrippinWithTarte: Tarte Cosmetics
It seems like everyone is investing in the power of influencer marketing lately and Tarte Cosmetics are no exception. In 2017, the company flew a gang of fitness and makeup influencers to an island off the coast of Australia and followed up with them with plenty of Instagram-able excursions like candlelit dinners, yoga, hikes and more.
The hashtag #TrippinWithTarte also encouraged followers of the makeup brand to get involved with their own outdoor experiences, sharing photos that highlighted the versatile nature of the company.
Not only did this creative campaign give Tarte Cosmetics plenty of great content to share on social, it also presented a great opportunity to reach out to new audiences. The influencers were all picked carefully based on their follower count and industry niche, meaning that Tarte could connect with thousands of new users within a matter of weeks!
8. #OpenYourWorld: Heineken
During 2017, Heineken decided to follow the trend of using social media to shed a light on important social concepts by conducting their very own experiment. The beer company used #OpenYourWorld to see how easy it was for people with opposite social and political views to accept each other when they went through a series of team-building activities together.
When everyone at the end of the experience shared their political or social views with the other, Heineken offered them the opportunity to share a beer and discuss their differences–something they all chose to accept.
What We Loved About It:
The #OpenYourWorld hashtag campaign addressed a meaningful concept in a new and heartwarming way. The first video achieved around 3 million views within the first week of its launch and around 50,000 shares in its first month too.
Heineken shows how addressing an important idea with your social media campaign can help to get people talking about your brand and strengthen new relationships.
SproutSocial.com is one of my go-to resources for smart writing and great ideas – consider adding them to your must-read list too.
Today is a holiday! And, it seems as if there are national holidays, a national day or national month for everything. In fact, there are over a thousand national holidays, national weeks and national months. Add bank holidays and major religious holidays, and you have one crowded calendar!
National days of observance have become trendy and popular in part because companies have learned to use them for marketing. Just look at social media. Judging from the hashtags for various food days, people days, pet days, medical condition days, military days or industry days — it seems like every single day is a national holiday or national day of observance on Twitter and Instagram.
How to Use a List of National Holidays for Marketing in a Small Business
Are you in a pet related business, such as dog grooming or pet treats? If so, your customers may be interested in a special spa day you host on National Love Your Pet Day.
Own a coffee shop? Then National Coffee Day could be an awesome opportunity to run a sale on lattes or do a flash Facebook promotion to drive some foot traffic to your cafe.
Or perhaps you do financial planning or business succession planning. In that case you might want to highlight National Employee Ownership Month on your blog to get some attention for your thought leadership in that niche.
Some national observance days are more popular than others, of course. You’ve probably never heard of National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (December 30), and probably never will again. On the other hand, every business owner knows Valentine’s Day — especially florists and candy shop owners.
However, for small businesses, some of the lesser-known national holidays might be your best marketing opportunities. Here’s why.
On a smaller national day you’re less likely to have your marketing campaign overshadowed by Big Mega Corp’s humongous marketing budget.
Some funny national holidays just make people smile, like National Make Your Bed Day on September 11. The fun factor alone could get you mileage (particularly if you run a furniture or mattress store!).
And weird national holidays like National Handbag Day on October 10 grab attention through their sheer … weirdness. Yet a day like that is perfect for marketing in a boutique or fashion eCommerce shop.
Smart Ways to Use National Holidays for Marketing
Here are some idea starters for how to use national holidays for marketing:
Use National Holidays on Social Media and in Content Marketing:
Create content for your blog highlighting a national holiday, national week or national month relevant to your business. You can publish the content on the day in question, but if you’re looking for potential search engine traffic, publish a post ahead of time. People may be searching in search engines before the holiday arrives. Then post another when the national holiday starts, linking back to your first one.
Share that content on social media, using the relevant hashtag. Others may find it when they search the hashtag on social media.
Include an image in your social post. Use a tool like Canva or Picmonkey to superimpose the name of the national holiday, the date and any relevant hashtag on the image, too. People love to share images to visibly show their support of national holidays, so a properly labeled image can increase shares.
Use National Holidays As a Reason to Run Sales and Specials:
Put something on sale or offer a special deal in honor of the national day observance.
Publicize your sale, by putting signs in your physical location if you have one.
Distribute details about the special deal to your email list and social media channels in honor of the day, week or month being commemorated.
Use National Holidays As a Theme for Events:
Hold a celebration at your office or physical location in honor of the national holiday.
Invite customers to attend along with your team. It gets both groups more engaged with your business.
Take pictures celebrating the national day (or national week or national month).
Take the celebration online. Load pictures to social channels like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, using the related hashtag such as #FarmersMarketWeek.
Repurpose the pictures along with a bit of background text about the celebration and use in your next customer newsletter. Or use the pictures to create an engagement-building post for your company blog. Put a blurb and picture in your website’s About page, too, about your celebration and support.
The above quick and easy tips for using national holidays in marketing should get you started. Research Chase’s Calendar of Events or nationaldaycalendar.com for more ideas.
But you know you can also make your own! Be creative, be fun and put your customer first, that works every single day!
And the survey says… communication matters, and those two-way conversations whether by phone or via email are still the winners. You can’t build a relationship, or tell a story, with one-way communications … so focus on the people you are trying to reach on the other end!
Email is holding its own in B2B sales despite minor slippage, according to State Of Inbound 2017, a global survey by HubSpot. Of 6,399 professionals surveyed in 141 countries, 86% prefer email for business communications — a loss of two percentage points from last year.
That drop doesn’t mean much when you consider the gap that follows, however: Face-to-face communication is a distant second, falling from 61% to 60% Phone communication comes in third, holding steady at 56%. And social media has fallen from 42% to 39%.
No wonder HubSpot concluded that “when it comes to communication channels, email is the clear winner.” It added that it had seen “slight decreases in people’s preference to communicate in nearly all channels.” The only one to grow was messenger apps — from 29% to 31%.
At the same time, email was rated the second-most effective channel for sales reps to connect with prospects, falling from 29% to 26%. The telephone, holding steady at 36%, was first. Facebook came in fourth, having risen from 9% to 12%. These results were consistent around the globe.
Communication methods depend on the person’s seniority. The telephone is the most popular way of reaching everyone from VP/director on down, with email second. For example, the phone was cited by 42% of respondents as the preferred way to reach managers, and email by 24%.
But email has parity at the C level — it was selected by 25%, compared to 26% who chose the phone.
The most daunting chore was getting a response from prospects (38%). That was followed by closing deals (35%), identifying good leads (30%) and engaging multiple decision makers at a company (27%). Connecting via phone was listed by 20%.
Of course, these findings are about tactical channel choices. Asked for their wider marketing priorities, 70% mentioned conversion of contacts and leads — nothing else even came close. Second was driving traffic to the Web site (53%), followed by increasing revenue from existing customers, at (43%).
Inbound practices produced the most high-quality leads, and outbound the least.
Overall, 61% of the respondents say their marketing is effective, while 39% say it isn’t. But it depends on the person’s rank. CEOs are most likely to feel that way (69%), and individuals/contributors are less so (55%). And while all regions are upbeat, North America is the most positive, while Asia is the least.
That said, these executives are moving into social media. Their marketing teams “will maintain or increase their presence on YouTube and Facebook video and focus on figuring out how to market on messaging apps such as WhatsApp,” HubSpot writes. “Snapchat is still a mystery for many businesses, and we see a dip in focus as marketers opt to spend their time on larger emerging channels.
Here are two more tidbits:
44% claim that marketing and sales “are generally aligned.”
Salespeople are flummoxed when doing manual data entry – 23% say it’s their biggest hassle using their CRM tool.
What are these leaders’ sale priorities for the next 12 months? The answers were closing more deals (71%), improving the efficiency of the sale funnel (44%), social selling (29%), training the sales team (27%) and reducing the length of the sales cycle (26%).
But none of this will be easy. B2B marketers face these challenges:
Generating traffic and leads — 63%
Proving the ROI of our marketing activities — 40%
Securing enough budget — 28%
Identifying the right technologies — 26%
Managing our Web site — 26%
Targeting content for an international audience — 21%
Training our team — 19%
Hiring top talent — 16%
Finding an executive sponsor — 7%
Thanks, HubSpot. Let’s catch up again next year – originally published in Media Post, a commentary written by Ray Schultz, columnist.
The Science Of Gratitude And Why It’s Important In Your Workplace
Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout.
Gratitude is absolutely vital in the workplace, says UC Davis psychology professor Robert Emmons, author of The Little Book of Gratitude: Creating a Life of Happiness and Wellbeing by Giving Thanks, and a leading researcher on the subject. “Most of our waking hours are spent on the job, and gratitude, in all its forms, is a basic human requirement,” he says. “So when you put these factors together, it is essential to both give and receive thanks at work.”
Gratitude has been the subject of numerous studies, and the findings could be beneficial to your workplace:
GRATITUDE IMPROVES CORPORATE CULTURE
Lack of gratitude is a major factor driving job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and often, burnout, says Emmons. “In many organizations the workplace culture is toxic,” he says. “Symptoms of this are exploitation, complaint, entitlement, gossip, negativity.”
Expressing thanks is a remedy against these symptoms, says Emmons. “Grateful individuals live in a way that leads to the kind of workplace environment that human beings long for,” he says.
Gratitude also reduces aggression, according to a study by the University of Kentucky. Participants who practiced gratitude were more sensitive toward others and less likely to seek revenge or retaliation when given negative feedback.
GRATITUDE STRENGTHENS TEAMS
Gratitude takes people outside of themselves and to a place that is part of a larger, more intricate network of sustaining relationships, says Emmons, relationships that are mutually reciprocal. “In this sense, it, like other social emotions, functions to help regulate relationships, solidifying and strengthening them,” he says.
Gratitude also leads to reciprocity. “It is not only a response to kindnesses received, but it is also a motivator of future benevolent actions on the part of the recipient,” says Emmons. “Serving these functions, gratitude enhances our own well-being in that we are built for relationships,” he points out. “Gratitude is the high-octane fuel that, without which, we’d be in relational ruin.”
IT’S A BETTER MOTIVATOR THAN MONEY
Researchers from the London School of Economics found that financial incentives can backfire when it comes to motivating employees. An analysis of 51 separate experiments found overwhelming evidence that “incentives may reduce an employee’s natural inclination to complete a task and derive pleasure from doing so.”
Appreciation is a much better motivator. A study by Glassdoor found that 80% of employees would be willing to work harder for an appreciative boss, and 70% said they’d feel better about themselves and their efforts if their boss thanked them more regularly.
A study done at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania underscores this point. Researchers divided participants into two groups, and asked them to make fundraising calls to solicit alumni donations. One group followed the traditional method of making calls while another group was given a speech by the director of annual giving, who expressed gratitude for their efforts. The group who received the pep talk made 50% more fundraising calls than those who did not.
HOW TO DO IT
There is no limit to the way in which gratitude is expressed, says Emmons. “We are hungry for genuine expressions of gratitude,” he says. “Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued, recognized.”
Employee recognition programs are a common way gratitude is demonstrated in workplaces, but little micro-expressions of gratitude are easier and can be delivered more frequently. “Just saying ‘thank you,’ acknowledging a kindness, or engaging in a helpful act are all ways of expressing gratitude,” says Emmons.
Particularly important is sincerity, adds Emmons. “With something like gratitude in the workplace, we know that it works, but we also know you have to keep gratitude authentic,” he says. “If, for instance, a leader tries to offer gratitude for purely cynical or instrumental reasons, it’s unlikely to work.
“Gratitude is the ultimate performance-enhancing substance at work,” says Emmons. “Gratitude heals, energizes, and transforms lives in a myriad of ways consistent with the notion that virtue is both its own reward and produces other rewards.”
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, you are very much appreciated – Laura
Will you be “out of office” over the upcoming holidays?
While traveling recently with a large group of travel writers, the discussion turned to the importance of travel and maximizing your vacation time. Which led to me to thinking about the best way to manage your “out of office” communications.
I have an attorney friend who constantly has the same message up when she travels for business, and she does that weekly it seems.
In my case, I rarely post an out of office message, because I answer my phone and email anytime and from anywhere.
Are we both missing an opportunity to continue building our brands? Yes I think we are, and as of today I am changing my ways!
Are you looking to add some personality, humor and information to your response? Here’s an excellent piece from the New York Times on how others are managing this opportunity. Click here to be inspired.
Christine Mau, named one of Ad Age’s “Women to Watch” and a former design director at Kimberly-Clark, says design must be brought into an organization’s full conversation, rather than considered an output.
American Marketing Association does an exceptional job of bringing us stories of people who we can learn from, emulate and follow. A recent story in Marketing News gives insight into Christine Mau, read on!
Mau’s work has included the redesign of Kleenex boxes into oval and triangular formats, as well as the U by Kotex launch. The tampon brand presented its product in black and neon colors, a massive departure from the typical blue and white found in the feminine hygiene aisle.
This ability to talk about and design for what are sometimes considered taboo topics made her the prime candidate for co-creating the logo for No More, a movement for raising awareness and engagement around ending domestic violence and sexual assault.
The logo (pictured at right with Mau), which consists of a blue circle with a disappearing center—intended to evoke the concept of reducing the number of such experiences to zero—has been part of a global public service announcement effort that has received more than $2 billion in earned media.
Micro moments are the intersection of sending the right message at the right time and you reach the consumer just when they are ready to buy. The good news is that consumers are actively look at ‘media’ on their cell phones and computers – nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Remember when advertisers were sure no one was ‘listening’ on holidays or weekends? Thanks to the mobile consumer there is a fundamental change and we now have thousands of these ‘moments’ available to us as marketers.
How best to find these micro moments? Think With Google posted this story below and I had a micro-moment just reading it – hope you do too!
Consumer behavior has changed forever. Today’s battle for hearts, minds, and dollars is won (or lost) in micro-moments—intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey. Read more about this new mental model for marketing.
Every day your customers are checking the time, texting a spouse, chatting with friends on social media.
But then there are the other moments—the I want-to-know moments, I want-to-go moments, I want-to-do moments, and I want-to-buy moments—that really matter. We call these “micro-moments,” and they’re game changers for both consumers and brands.
Real-time, intent-driven micro-moments are the new battlegrounds for brands.
Micro-moments occur when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something. They are intent-rich moments when decisions are made and preferences shaped. In these moments, consumers’ expectations are higher than ever. The powerful computers we carry in our pockets have trained us to expect brands to immediately deliver exactly what we are looking for when we are looking. We want things right, and we want things right away.
Consider these findings from some recent research we conducted:
• Of leisure travelers who are smartphone users, 69% search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they’re standing in line or waiting for the subway. Nearly half of those travelers go on to book their choices through an entirely separate channel.
• Of smartphone users, 91% look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task.
• Of smartphone users, 82% consult their phones while they’re standing in a store deciding which product to buy. One in 10 of those end up buying a different product than they had planned.
• Of online consumers, 69% agree that the quality, timing, or relevance of a company’s message influences their perception of a brand.
The successful brands will be those that have a strategy for understanding and meeting consumers’ needs in these micro-moments.
With a burning desire to open an agency and think big, do things differently, follow my instincts and have the freedom to make a difference, I took a leap of faith and my savings and opened Bennett & Company on the easy to remember date of 8/2/82.
I’ve never looked back and for the life it has given me, I could not be more grateful.
Thirty-five years ago I opened what is today Bennett & Company PR and Marketing. Miami was a new city for me and alive with possibilities. There was no better place on the planet to open this agency and thanks to that beginning it has thrived. Together the wonderful people who have been part of Bennett & Company have evolved, prospered and made a difference for one another, for our clients and our community.
Also in 1982: The smiley, the very first emoticon, was introduced
The Weather Channel premiered and so did USA Today
EPCOT opened at Walt Disney World
and the average purchase price of a home was $67,800
The second office in Orlando turned into the main office in the late 1990’s as the internet allowed the team and the clients to be connected from anywhere. New professionals from as far away as Poland and Spain joined the team as clients had needs and we became a 24/7 operation with the freedom to be global. Experiences have included working with a President and a Pope as well as start-up entrepreneurs, some of the largest companies in the world and others who had big visions and allowed us to help them come to life.
For me there is no greater satisfaction than knowing as the world has changed, so did the agency, and so did I. My mother often said “Let me get this straight, you are doing what you love and people pay you?” Yes Mom that pretty much says it all and I wish you were here to celebrate with us.
Thank you to all those who have played a part in this ongoing journey.
What is a “Social Media Consultant”? It could be anyone with a personal Facebook Page and a large number of Twitter followers wanting to sell you on their services.
I too often see someone touting this service (for far too high a cost) who have only a Twitter account or not much of a personal or business presence anywhere on the web. And while these “consultants” might be available the question is are they right for you?
You ONLY want someone who knows your industry
and has the maturity to know what NOT to post too.
Once you make the decision to outsource, you’ll want to strongly vet potential consultants and/or agencies.
Here are 10 things Social Media Today recommends you ask or consider:
1. Can they demonstrate a proven track record?
Ask what brands the person or agency has worked with and is currently working with (to ensure they’re not working with a competing brand).
Don’t be shy about asking for references. Ask about a brand they worked with where something didn’t work out – how did they handle that? Were they able to quickly adapt and change course? Do they have the necessary experience in your industry to properly advance your business?
The more they know about your industry, the less of a learning curve there’ll be, and the more resources they’ll bring to your brand. What are their first steps when taking on new clients?
2. Where can I find current and past examples of your work?
Anyone with experience will be readily able to show you a portfolio of work as well as links to initiatives they’ve either run or been involved in creating.
Look for campaigns that have been repeated. You know things are working when you keep doing it.
Have the campaigns led to brand exposure? Sales leads? Will this experience help your market?
3. Who will be handling my account and what background does this person come from?
This is the biggest question – don’t buy into a sales pitch and then get a very junior person.
The background of each person working on behalf of your brand is important. If you’re looking for marketing, PR and/or social media help, you want people that have leveraged those skills working with prior companies.
Do these people have knowledge and experience with trends in these areas?
4. How will we track ROI?
We know that not everything has immediate return that’s trackable when it comes to social media. But you can track most things.
You want to know that this consultant or agency isn’t simply looking to add likes, followers or fans, but is actually able to analyze conversion rates.
Brands that hire an outside agency will want to know that the agency or consultant is consistently monitoring results, and is being held accountable. You’ll want to know there’s a standard monitoring and reporting process in place that works for both you and the agency or consultant.
5. What is their process for reporting?
How often will you meet with them? How often will you be provided status updates or check-ins?
If the agency doesn’t have a method to suggest immediately to you on how they’ll communicate, it might be a red flag that the agency isn’t as connected with their clients as you’ll want to be (or that they haven’t even thought of this yet).
6. What will you do if something goes wrong?
How would you handle a social media crisis? This is the question that will give you real insight into their value.
Marketing campaigns that look great on paper can go wrong in application, no matter how seasoned the consultant is.
How will they react? How do they respond to negative reviews? Tweets? Negative Facebook comments?
7. How do they come up with strategic plans?
How much does writing content figure into their experience and plan for your business? A good consultant will have a workflow that works for them and you.
They’ll know how to integrate social media with PR and traditional media.
They’ll want to talk to your sales team and find out what plans they have and will know how to integrate them into all they are doing.
8. How will content be developed?
And, will you have to approve all of the content written on behalf of your brand? Will it all have to be planned, or will you trust this person or agency to create on-the-fly content for you? Does this person have the experience necessary to understand the nuances of writing content specific for each platform?
Content developed for your brand needs to be likeable and shareable. A consultant or agency should be able to show you examples of previously created content for other clients, as well as their content calendar, or what their content creation process looks like.
9. What does success look like, and how will we measure it?
Brands that are investing in consultants and agencies must have clear goals in mind when starting this process. An agency should be able to help you achieve your KPIs. The consultant or agency you choose will help you establish these KPIs and will (with you) write strategies and tactics to hit those goals.
10. What will this cost?
Outside of the monthly retainer or fee you agree to with the consultant or agency, you want to know that your budget is being kept in mind in all they’re doing.
Do a quick Google search for AI and you get a new definition from WikiPedia: Artificial intelligence is being defined as Intelligent Agents. Let that sink in.
AI is becoming part of all businesses and part of nearly every part of our lives. From the way your communications are answered to the way you get to work – everything is changing thanks to artificial intelligence. Having just attended three different conferences for clients; one on real estate, one on travel and one on school nutrition – I can tell you all three had at least one seminar on how this technology is changing our world. As one speaker said: “Ten years ago we did not realize the impact of social media, AI is already here and moving into the marketplace at warp speed.”
As communicators we are the front line. We need to embrace this technology, understand it deeply and be able to explain how it is impacting our companies and clients to others.
As machines become intelligent there will be great ethical debates and concerns – be ready as you will be needed to shape the conversation.
The post below came from AdAge, here is a direct link to the full article: http://adage.com/article/agency-news/chief-ai-officer-big-title-media-agencies/309667/?ito=792
Any time an explosive new technology takes hold, agencies have to navigate how it fits into their business. While some may be waiting until it has taken a deeper hold, others, like New York-based Crossmedia, are bullish.
The independent media agency just hired a new executive director of cognitive solutions, who will head up the agency’s work in that area — covering everything from client projects that use AI like chatbots or Alexa skills to other areas of cognitive solutions. The field includes data-driven creative work that might change according to weather, stock fluctuations or time of day, and data science, which encompasses deep learning and pattern detection.
For Karim Sanjabi, who’s taking on the new role, it’s a step agencies are going to have to take. Sanjabi previously started Freestyle Interactive, which was acquired by Carat Interactive in 2003, and most recently was CEO of Robot Stampede, a creative tech company based in San Francisco.
“If agencies don’t make this kind of change right now, and really understand they have to really commit to it, we’re going to have an evolutionary separation,” he said. “We’re going to have two different species of agencies: One that evolved with AI and one that didn’t.”
He said snubbing AI would be akin to an agency turning its back on social media 10 years ago.
Though Sanjabi has taken the top seat at Crossmedia’s new cognitive consulting practice, he wants to handle it in a way where the work bleeds across the entire agency, instead of siloing AI off into a separate business unit. His mandate, he said, is to help the agency sift through the tech options and find ways to improve internal operations and client solutions using these new concepts.
“I want our existing media buyers and planners, I want everyone in the company to think in terms of cognitive solutions,” he said.
“I just want to be a resource to everyone in the agency to help empower them to come up with this kind of stuff. This isn’t a standalone, separate thing — this is the core of the agency. We’re changing the way everyone thinks about this.”
Champions over chiefs
As the possibilities of AI are becoming known, agencies are grappling with the best way to bring in that knowledge.
“The power of this stuff is such that it surpasses traditional agency shiny object syndrome,” said Dave Meeker, a VP who focuses on innovation at Dentsu Aegis Network-owned digital marketing agency Isobar. “We see really the capabilities of what a well-trained or well-designed AI is capable of.”
Isobar doesn’t have a head of AI, but does rely on employees’ expertise to understand how it can help the business until it’s more deeply ingrained. Meeker said employees work on the forefront of new technologies, and once it really catches on, the company starts more formalized training across all employees. The company has an “Isobar Academy,” an online curriculum available to its 6,000 employees.
“Right now, we’re in this age of understanding this stuff. You need people with really specific domain expertise,” he said. “In time, that expertise becomes cooked into a lot of the software and things that we’re doing, to where it’s not like you then have to have an AI person because all of us kind of have the tools at our disposal that do that.”
Whatever the approach, the key to success, say agency vets, is incorporating the new technology in ways that everyone across the agency can master it. Which in turn could ultimately render the need for a chief of AI obsolete.
Tom Kelshaw, director of innovation at GroupM shop Maxus, said agencies have a history of hiring executives to head up areas like data, digital or innovation. The risk there, he said, is that “it tends to become stale.” Kelshaw pointed out that transformational new ideas should be absorbed across all leadership once a topic is understood, instead of letting it live with a sole executive or business unit.
At Maxus, Kelshaw said when it comes to AI and innovation more generally, his company relies on employees to figure out where tools and techniques can deliver operational efficiencies and improve clients’ business.
“It’s about getting champions, rather than chiefs, into the business,” he said.
Some agencies may feel it’s on the early side to make big investments into this area. Though digital agency PMG does a fair amount of work using AI, the agency doesn’t have any defined titles relating to cognitive or machine learning or artificial intelligence.
“Advertisers and brands realize the need for artificial intelligence, but very few are at the point where they’re going to the board and saying, ‘We’re betting everything on artificial intelligence,’ said Dustin Engel, head of analytics and data activation at PMG. “They know the risk of not being part of AI, but they’re not quite willing to bet the farm on that risk.”
He said factors like data quality make some areas of AI still relatively immature. PMG does work with clients on data onboarding, cleansing and standardizing so it will one day be useful in AI applications. It also uses AI when it come to data science and data innovation.
Engel added that AI appears to be polarizing with advertisers.
“Some are excited about it but don’t have clear use cases. Some are skeptical of the hype of AI being the business disruption panacea. Some are cautiously optimistic — stressing cautiously. So it may be early for advertisers as opposed to the agencies,” he wrote in an email. “As for PMG, we not only see AI possibilities in our client media programs but also in managing the operational complexity of our fast-growing business.”
New Study Shows Brands Expect to Invest More in Events
The research surveyed more than 1,000 marketing professionals across the globe for insights on budget, technology, and more.
Looking for a top notch dose of what’s new, cool and works? subscribe to Biz Bash at bizbash.com and you will find event nirvana! Photos in this post are from a global tourism summit recently produced by Bennett & Company. From chocolate cake for breakfast to a live social media wall it was the kind of brand building experience that accelerates awareness and is worth every minute of planning.
Brand experiences—from trade shows and sponsorships to virtual- or augmented-reality experiences and pop-ups—are an essential part of the marketing mix, and one in three chief marketing officers expect to spend as much as 50 percent of their budget on such experiences, according to new research from Freeman.
The 2017 Freeman Global Brand Experience Study, which the company commissioned from research firm SSI, surveyed more than 1,000 marketing professionals from North America, Asia, and Western Europe. Released Tuesday, the research shares insights on how marketing professionals view events and experiences, budget, digital and technology integration, and more.
According to Freeman, the results show that “more than nine out of 10 of them agree that brand experiences deliver stronger face-to-face interactions and more compelling brand engagements.”
As a provider of brand experiences, Freeman’s business is built on creating these types of events, and the company believes in their effectiveness, but it commissioned the study because “we wanted to validate that externally,” said Chris Cavanaugh, Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer at Freeman.
“Experiences, when integrated with the marketing mix, build brand affinity, bringing people into the tunnel and dimensionalizing the brands,” Cavanaugh said.
While marketing professionals value experiences and plan to invest more in them in the next three to five years, the research showed that they have yet to make the transition. The top three ways brands are connecting with their audiences are their website, social media, and email marketing.
As brands look to invest in experiences, Cavanaugh said they should plan “highly personal, in-real-life experiences.”
The survey also asked about technology. It found that brands involved in more events—20 or more a year—are more likely to integrate technology into their experiences. Among this group, nearly 30 percent use touch-screen technology, 21 percent use location-mapping or beacons, 16 percent use virtual reality, and 15 percent have added gamification elements to events.
“These are highly engaged people who want to lean into events,” Cavanaugh said.
A cool office is worth every penny, and can bring revelations to you too as your design is a reflection of not only who you are but what you aspire your agency to be!Putting time and money into your office attracts employees who are right for your culture, spreads the word about the agency (you’d be surprised how many people the FedEx guy talks to in a day and others who come to your office) and all studies show your employees are just happier and more productive.
This was written by Karla Cook | @krla_cook and posted on http://www.hubspot.com, thanks for great information!
If you’re spending over 40 hours a week in a single location, shouldn’t you at least be comfortable?
Our offices are often our homes away from home, and a good office environment can help employees stay engaged, productive, and happy throughout the day. In fact, a 2003 study from the California Energy Commission found that just giving employees access to a window in the office had a significant impact on their work performance.
If just providing a window can make a difference, imagine what intentionally designing an office space with employee comfort in mind can do.
To showcase how marketing and advertising agencies around the world are accommodating their teams, we’ve compiled a list of 15 amazing offices. Ranging from minimal and clean to downright kaleidoscopic, these agency work environments are sure to inspire some office feng shui (even if that just means getting a new desk plant).
15 Examples of Cool Agency Offices
1) Leo Burnett Moscow
In early 2016, global advertising agency Leo Burnett found an unexpected place to house their new Moscow digs: a former Bolshevik confectionery factory. They converted the historic factory — originally opened in 1885 — into a sleek, modern space for their Russian team.
“We envision our office space as а modern art gallery,” the folks at Leo Burnett wrote in a blog announcement. “We wanted to keep everything simple. Every design element is integrated naturally into the space.”
The new space is anchored by an enormous sculpture of Leo Burnett’s iconic glasses — an homage to their founder and namesake, the late Leo Burnett.
Image Credit: Leo Burnett
2) Mono Minneapolis
When Minneapolis-based advertising and marketing agency Mono grew too large for their old office, they converted a 20,320 square foot urban space into a stunning open-concept location for their entire team.
The new Mono office balances industrial elements with cozy, collaborative spaces, such as a design library and kitchen.
Image Credit: Office Snapshots
3) 22squared Tampa
22squared wanted their new office space to be reflective of Tampa, so they made a point of using as many Tampa-based services and supplies as possible during the design process.
“It was crucial that this was a Tampa-led, Tampa-inspired space,” 22squared’s chief administrative officer Mike Grindell said to Adweek. “All of 22squared’s design partners were local Tampa companies, other than national suppliers like Knoll.”
The end result is a beautiful space with lots of natural light and comforting, casual elements like hammocks, bean bags, and womb chairs.
Image Credit: Adweek
4) 360i London
Collaboration is key for creativity, and 360i’s London location was strategically designed to encourage cross-departmental interactions and the exchange of new ideas.
The agency’s 11,000 square foot space is set up without permanent desks for employees. Instead, team members are free to roam between the office’s modular work spaces, which include noise-cancelling felt booths and a community kitchen.
“It might sound obvious, but it makes our staff so much more mobile than before,” James Townsend, 360i London’s CEO, said to Digiday. “When you’re anchored to a desk, often you feel you can’t get up.”
Image Credit: Digiday
5) TBWA Los Angeles
This is about as far from a traditional office space as you can get. TBWA\Chiat\Day’s Los Angeles home is decked out in otherworldly details, such as a massive gargoyle sculpture, a 1,000 gallon fish tank on wheels, and a bar made entirely of surfboards.
The eclectic space isn’t just fun to look at — it also suits a wide variety of working styles. Employees can work everywhere from recycled shipping containers to an expansive atrium nicknamed “Central Park.”
The agency converted this former pharmaceutical manufacturing plant into an unconventional daydream with help from Clive Wilkinson Architects.
Image Credit: Where We Design
6) Bubble Prague
Bubble, a content agency, might be on the smaller side, but their Prague office makes a major statement. The open, 3,552 square foot space used to be a printing press before it was converted into Bubble’s offices in 2016.
They retained many of the original area’s industrial touches, such as exposed beams, recycled wood, and massive double-pane windows that allow for free-flowing natural light. Chalkboards suspended from the ceiling offer employees daily inspirational mantras.
Image Credit: Office Snapshots
7) M&C Saatchi Mobile New York
M&C Saatchi Mobile’s New York office may look spare compared to some of the other offices on this list, but it was designed with “brutal simplicity” in mind.
“It’s not about cluttering the space with more things but keeping it simple, and that’s reflected in our culture too,” Eric Mugnier, the senior vice president of M&C Saatchi Mobile North America told Digiday.
The 8,000 square foot open office space includes minimal furniture, neutral colors, and exposed brick walls.
Image Credit: The New York Egotist
8) TM Advertising Dallas
This Dallas-based agency needed a fresh, flexible work environment for their growing workforce, and the architects at Gensler and HKS Architects, Inc. certainly delivered.
The bright, sprawling, 46,000 square-foot space is lit mostly by natural light, and features open, collaborative spaces conducive to employees who are always on the go. Pops of unexpected color on staircases and furniture contribute to the office’s aura of “casual, creative professionalism”.
Image Credit: Work Design Magazine
9) BICOM Communications Montreal
When this Canadian PR agency needed a new look for their office, they turned to Montreal-based designer Jean de Lessard.
The unique space is populated with house-shaped work pods that provide employees with a wide variety of different work environments. The houses, according to de Lessard’s website, “were customized according to their specific function, and randomly positioned to break the monotony and encourage spontaneous interaction.”
Image Credit: Creative Bloq
10) Zion & Zion Arizona
Zion & Zion’s office creatively balances industrial elements like concrete floors and unfinished wood with playful touches, such as a chalkboard wall, florescent pink panels, and vivid, minimal decor.
“This was an amazing opportunity to collaborate with a diverse creative team to design an innovative and energetic space,” said Rachel Usher, the lead designer on the project.
Image Credit: Zion & Zion
11) RPA California
RPA’s Santa Monica, California office is chock full of quirky details intended to inspire their creative staff, including a hanging cloud sculpture that lights up whenever an RPA client is trending on social media.
“We’re a creative agency, so we looked at the redesign of our space as an opportunity to provide inspiration — even in often overlooked areas like hallways and meeting room walls,” RPA’s COO Pete Imwalle said to Adweek. “Our favorite parts are the small details that you sometimes don’t even notice right away.”
Image Credit: Adweek
12) CP+B London
This stunning office in the heart of London was designed to accommodate CP+B’s busy creative team, with plenty of space for communal work, a mezzanine cafe, and quiet lounges complete with cozy, whimsical furniture.
The cavernous King’s Cross location underwent a major redesign in 2014 by the talented workspace designers at Trifle Creative. They replaced the flooring, designed a new seating system, and refurnished the space to better suit the agency’s needs.
Image Credit: Office Snapshots
13) FoxP2 Johannesburg
A departure from the bright and minimal aesthetic becoming common among agencies, FoxP2’s Johannesburg office takes full advantage of the building’s spatial limitations and quirks. Narrow rooms were converted into areas for library-style desks and vintage lockers for employees to store their belongings. Ceilings were left with their original piping and outfitted with exposed-bulb fixtures.
The core design inspiration behind the space was Thomas Edison’s research and development laboratory.
Image Credit: Office Snapshots
14) Merkle / Periscopix London
Merkle / Periscopix wanted to create an environmentally friendly space that also impressed visitors, clients, and prospective employees. The new entryway features reclaimed timber paneling, poured concrete floors, and places for potted plants. The unfinished wood is incorporated throughout the office’s many communal spaces to continue the environmental motif.
Image Credit: Office Snapshots
15) Dentsu Aegis Network Shanghai
Walking into global communications group Dentsu Aegis Network’s Shanghai office is like stepping into a kaleidoscope. Every inch of the space is covered in bright, inviting color, from the boldly patterned floors to the vibrant hanging light fixtures.
To prevent the color from appearing gaudy, designers added plenty of neutral elements into the mix, including polished wood floors and walls covered in high oxygen-omitting plants.
Take a look at more visuals below which tell the story of Visual Content Marketing – and ask yourself if your video, photography and graphics budget might need an increase?
General Visual Content Stats
1) Researchers found that colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%.
2) When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
3) 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies.
4) 34% of marketers selected visual assets as their most important content, behind blogging (45%) and before videos (19%).
5) 65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets (photos, video, illustrations and infographics) are core to how their brand story is communicated.
6) Content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images.
Image Credit: QuickSprout
7) Only 27% of marketers have a process in place to aggregate, organize, and manage the visual assets being used across their marketing teams. Tweet this stat! (Source)
8) 39% of marketers believe that more of their budget should be allocated to the acquisition or creation of compelling visual assets. Tweet this stat! (Source)
9) 73% of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content in 2016, and 55% plan to prioritize creating visual content. Tweet this stat!(Source)
Image Credit: Content Marketing Institute
10) 51.9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
11) Shoppers who view video are 1.81X more likely to purchase than non-viewers.
12) Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65% and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
13) Midway through 2015, mobile video plays exceeded 44% — up 74% from 2014 and up a whopping 844% since 2012.
Image Credit: Ooyala
14) Between April 2015 and November 2015, the amount of average daily video views on Facebook doubled from 4 billion video views per day to 8 billion.
15) In July 2015, Periscope users were watching 40 years’ worth of videos every day.
Image Credit: FastCompany
16) In Q2 of 2015, mobile phones (34%) and tablets (15%) combined for 49% of video ad impressions — up from 38% in Q1 of 2015. Publishers saw PC impressions drop from 62% to 50% in the previous quarter.
17) Syndacast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video.
It’s easy enough to think anyone can run social media for your brand or company since it’s such an ingrained part of our daily lives and culture now – after all, it’s not like there’s a degree in it yet (or is there?).
As a long time marketer I counsel my clients to give this task to a senior level person – that old theory that someone over 30 doesn’t understand social media is not only wrong it is a branding mistake on multiple levels. Anyone in charge of the “voice” and “face” of the company should deeply understand your company, your goals and most importantly your audiences – from the board of directors to the buyer and future buyers too. Be certain they have excellent grammar and spelling skills too.
Laura Phillips Bennett
We understand the hesitation to invest in social properly, but we’re here to provide you with five signposts for that crucial time when you have to finally admit you need a social media team.
Mature woman with short grey hair texting on cell phone in modern office. Female professional using mobile phone at work, smiling.
Here are the 5 signs you need to watch for:
1. Your engagement rate is less than 10%
Simply speaking, engagement rate is a calculation for measuring a brand’s effectiveness on social media – it’s the number of people who engaged (liked, commented, shared, pinned, favorite, etc) divided by the number of people reached. As teams post on social, the goal is to generate high engagement. High engagement allows the algorithms to rank a piece of content as more relevant (and better) than others which then reaches a larger audience. (Read: higher chance of conversions to sales, reads, etc.)
2. Your average cost per click on ads is greater than 10 cents
Social media advertising is one of the most popular tools for growing an audience, building brand awareness and increasing sales. But all too often, business owners are paying too much and their budgets are being spent too quickly.
As a guide, on Facebook, your cost per content engagement should average less than 10 cents per engagement, less than 4 cents per video views and 50 cents for new fans.
3. You aren’t using the information you have properly
As social platforms moved from purely social networking to a marketing platform, there’s been a significant focus on creating powerful tools for small business owners. Custom audiences, for example, enable you to target people who already know and love your brand. Lookalike audiences enable you to reach a targeted population that’s similar to your current customer based off of lifestyle choices and brand interests. Say hello to a wider audience to love you and interact/buy from you.
4. You’re not tracking how activity impacts overarching business goals (ie: sales)
If you’ve invested in social media activity and left feeling like it didn’t work, it may be less about the platform and more about tracking and alignment.
Successful social media campaigns begin with a plan that aligns with wider business goals, continues with tracking progress on those goals and goes through to refining the process based on those metrics as the campaign progresses.
Simply put, companies who track goal progress have most success on social.
5. You’re a company leader
Company leaders can most certainly have a presence in their social media strategy but generally speaking, there are other roles and duties that the leader could focus on to move the business forward without decreasing social media success.
Is it time to invest in a social media team? If you can tick even a few of these boxes, the changes are high.
This post came from Social Media Today – if you are not already a fan like I am – go to: www.socialmedia.today.com
‘Who shared it?’: How Americans decide what news to trust on social media
PUBLISHED 03/20/17 8:00 AM
This research was conducted by the Media Insight Project — an initiative of the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research
When Americans encounter news on social media, how much they trust the content is determined less by who creates the news than by who shares it, according to a new experimental study from the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Whether readers trust the sharer, indeed, matters more than who produces the article —or even whether the article is produced by a real news organization or a fictional one, the study finds.
A trusted sharer results in more trust for the article
People who see a social media post from someone they trust evaluate the article more positively
As social platforms such as Facebook or Twitter become major thoroughfares for news, the news organization that does the original reporting still matters. But the study demonstrates that who shares an article on a social media site like Facebook has an even bigger influence on whether people trust what they see.
The experimental results show that people who see an article from a trusted sharer, but one written by an unknown media source, have much more trust in the information than people who see the same article from a reputable media source shared by a person they do not trust.
The identity of the sharer even has an impact on consumers’ impressions of the news brand. The study demonstrates that when people see a post from a trusted person rather than an untrusted person, they feel more likely to recommend the news source to friends, follow the source on social media, and sign up for news alerts from the source.
All of this suggests that a news organization’s credibility both as a brand and for individual stories is significantly affected by what kinds of people are sharing it on social media sites such as Facebook. The sharers act as unofficial ambassadors for the brand, and the sharers’ credibility can influence readers’ opinions about the reporting source.
This new research by the Media Insight Project is part of an effort to study the elements of trust in news at a time of turbulence in the media. The results offer important new insights to publishers whose digital content increasingly is reaching people outside the domain of their own websites and apps. Indeed, the findings suggest that publishers increasingly need to think of their consumers as ambassadors for their brand. The findings also carry implications for people concerned about so-called fake news and for advocates of “news literacy,” the spread of consumer critical thinking skills. The findings also have implications for social networks that might be able to alter the presentation of content to give consumers more information about the source of the news.
A news organization’s credibility both as a brand and for individual stories is significantly affected by what kinds of people are sharing it on social media.
The new findings come from an experiment involving 1,489 Americans and their trust in news on social media.
The new target demographic is Gen Z or iGen, those born between the mid-1990s and 2009.
They are a unique bunch, with unique tastes and habits that brand managers and marketers should get up to speed on.
Some marketers are already rolling; others have to play catchup. Here are some of Gen Z’s principal characteristics and how brands can reach them:
First, they have more available funds.
Members of Gen Z are in their late teens or early 20s. About half support themselves; the other half rely on their parents for financial support. This duel dependent/independent status makes them influential in household purchases, and some are consumers themselves.
Millennials are the most weighted down by student loan debt; Gen Z’ers aren’t quite there yet. Of those with student loan debt, three-fourths have not yet begun paying it off, so they have disposable income for purchases.
Second, Gen Z is an idealistic bunch.
They want to help make the world a better place and are more concerned with doing so than they are with making money. Don’t ignore this generation’s desire to sync up with “brands on a mission,” such as Toms Shoes, which implements a “one-for-one” giving model. For those who grew up in a time of instant gratification, the immediacy of giving back while making a purchase is very satisfying.
Add a charitable incentive or movement to your efforts. Make your plans to give back clear, and—equally important—make it easy for the buyers to give back. They want to change the world but don’t want that to be a complex process.
Last,they are online all the time.
Gen Z doesn’t know life without social media, smartphones and instant access to just about everything online. Unlike millennials, they don’t remember a time when being offline was a thing.
When targeting this cohort, marketers must make campaigns that worked for millennials must more persistent and technologically sophisticated. Go beyond Facebook and Twitter—your brand should have a Snapchat presence and a robust YouTube channel.
McDonald’s beefed up its Snapchat marketing efforts, and who followed? Gen Z. Filters enable the user to interact directly with a brand. Brand managers should tap into the platform’s geo-tagging filter opportunities.
Also, enlist a more relatable spokesperson or brand ambassador. Consider a YouTube star or Vine personality rather than a traditional celebrity. Most of us may not have heard of MagCon or know who Lele Pons is, but Gen Z knows who they are. They may not be “mainstream famous,” but members of Gen Z value their opinions and follow them online.
Phil Ahad is a senior vice president at Toluna QuickSurveys. A version of this post first appeared oniMediaConnection.
Here’s What To Expect From Generation Z in the Workplace
Very competitive, accepting of others, a focus on quality over quantity
Given their focus on financial security, it’s not surprising that generation Z is poised to be cutthroat when it comes to getting jobs and establishing careers.
Jonah Stillman, a 17-year old from Minneapolis who, with his father David, wrote GenZ@Work, a book about how his generation will fare as members of the workforce. The pair conducted two national studies of 4,000 teens about workplace attitudes and preferences. They’ve discovered that these young people are in “survival mode” and believe they will have to fight for what they want. They would feel lucky to get a job, which contrasts with the common perception of millennials as feeling entitled to a job. Sixty-six percent of gen-Zers say their number one concern is drowning in college debt, and 75% say there are ways of getting a good education besides going to college.
“Generation Z is a very independent and competitive generation, having been taught by our parents that there are definitely winners and losers at life.”
“Millennials are the most collaborative generation, launching applications like Facebook and sharing everything with everybody,” Stillman says. “But Gen Z is completely different: They are a very independent and competitive generation, having been taught by our parents that there are definitely winners and losers at life. Millennials, on the other hand, were told that if you work together, everybody can be a winner.”
But even though they see the workplace as a battlefield, they are inclusive and tolerant of difference.
They grew up with a black man as the leader of the free world, with women in positions of power in the workplace, and with openly gay celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres, Anderson Cooper, and Neil Patrick Harris. “As a whole, gen Z is a very accepting generation,” Stillman says.
This was a “remarkable” year for hiring, according to Glassdoor’s chief economist, Andrew Chamberlain. He says that the U.S. added an average 180,000 new jobs per month, well above the “break even” pace of job growth of 50,000 to 110,000 economists estimate the economy needs to keep Americans fully employed.
Nontraditional offerings don’t boost employee satisfaction as much as health insurance, 401(k) matches, and paid time off. Pay is also on the rise. Median base pay for U.S. workers was up 3.1% from 2015, the fastest pace in three years. Can we top all that in 2017?
According to Glassdoor’s newest report on job trends, there are also a record number of unfilled jobs—5.85 million as of April—which represents the most since the BLS started tracking job openings in 2000. That’s compounded with the fact that every employer is hiring for tech roles, Chamberlain observes, and there are just so many talented candidates out there.
2017 JOB TREND #1: HR WILL TRANSFORM ITSELF
Which is why he’s predicting that 2017 is going to be the year human resources transforms itself into “people science.”
Chamberlain argues that the rise of big data has infiltrated and transformed everything from product design to finance. As businesses generate more data from their employees and customers, good analysis of that data can lead to smarter decisions, shorter project time lines, and happier consumers.
Unfortunately, HR and recruiting have been largely absent from this evolution, says Chamberlain. Data scientists, one of the most in-demand positions for the past two years, haven’t been much of a presence in HR-related tasks. But as Chamberlain points out, “Using data science in HR to make even small improvements in recruiting, hiring, and engagement has the potential for huge benefits to organizations.”
A good place for HR to start is by tapping into workforce analytics that can track every stage of an employee’s progression through a company from on-boarding, through training and promotions. These are available at low cost through a number of third party providers.
Another solution is to use a sentiment tracker to gather feedback in real time. Amanda Moskowitz, founder of the startup leadership sharing resource Stacklist, told Fast Company in a interview[/url] that founders of companies that don’t have formal HR departments are using tools like Glint and Small Improvements. Other available tools include platforms for A/B testing to experiment with different methods of workforce management. Chamberlain points out “there are many low-hanging fruit today for better data science in HR” and they don’t cost much.
2017 JOB TREND #2: MANY THINGS GET AUTOMATED BUT WE DON’T LOSE OUR JOBS
There’s a lot of talk about automation and how much its advancement will make human workers obsolete. Chamberlain cites research from the Journal of Economic Perspectives that indicate mass layoffs due to automation are unlikely. This correlates with findings from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) on the potential for automation across 54 countries and more than 2,000 work activities. The report found that the number of jobs that can be fully automated by adapting currently demonstrated technology is less than 5%. That number could go as high as 20% in some middle skill categories.
Says Chamberlain: “The jobs that will be most affected by automation are routine jobs that need to be done the same way and that don’t require much flexibility or much creative judgment.” As such MGI found that about 60% of all jobs have a least a third of activities that could be automated based on current technology such as answering email or scheduling meetings. “Workers increasingly need to build skills that are complementary to technology—learning to run the machine, not doing the same work the machine automates,” Chamberlain observes.
2017 JOB TREND #3: NONTRADITIONAL BENEFITS WILL BECOME LESS POPULAR
From assistance with paying back student loans to unlimited food and beverages, the benefits packages at many companies have altered the standard health insurance and 401(k) matches. However, Chamberlain sees a move away from the more exotic perks and benefits.
That’s because Glassdoor’s research revealed that perks such as gym memberships, charitable giving, and other nontraditional offerings don’t boost employee satisfaction as much as health insurance, 401(k) matches, and paid time off. If the goal of the compensation package (including both pay and benefits), says Chamberlain, is to “serve as a targeted investment, delivering great employee engagement, and keeping talent on board long term,” then companies should be rethinking their offerings in 2017.
2017 JOB TREND #4: WE’LL MAKE PROGRESS NARROWING THE WAGE GAP
Chamberlain believes this is the year the gap will narrow because we’re at a tipping point. More data is available than ever, transparency is a core value for many companies, and business leaders are recognizing that equal pay isn’t just a compliance issue, it’s a necessity to retain talent.
Sixty seven percent of U.S. employees said they were not likely to apply for a job at a company where men and women were paid unequally for the same work, according to Glassdoor’s research. Expect to see wider adoption of building analysis into companies’ pay practices in the coming year, says Chamberlain.
2017 JOB TREND #5: THE GIG ECONOMY WILL SLOW DOWN
Chamberlain expects the growth in the gig economy will taper off in 2017. He offers three reasons for the slowdown.
Despite the visibility of Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, Task Rabbit and others, their impact is still quite small. A J.P. Morgan Chase Institute study found only about 4.3% of U.S. adults had ever earned income from an online “gig” platform as of June 2016, a figure that’s been declining over the last three years. Another study from the EPI made a similar discovery, that the freelance economy isn’t growing as much as we think. Gig work is inherently based on demand, and in times of less demand, those gigs dry up, further gutting potential growth.
Another limit to growth is that gigs by nature have to be simple and discrete projects or transactions. As Chamberlain notes,
“The fastest growing jobs today are ones that require human creativity, flexibility, judgment, and ‘soft skills.’ That list includes health care professionals, data scientists, sales leaders, strategy consultants, and product managers. Those are exactly the kind of jobs least likely to function well in a gig economy platform.”
Therefore he says, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to get legal, financial, medical, engineering, or other services through a gig platform in 2017 and beyond.
It’s a great time for both employers and workers to set themselves up to take advantage of the opportunities represented by these trends, says Chamberlain, so “Invest in skills and technology now while times are good.”
Thanks to Fast Company for their The Future of Work reporting!