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Volkswagen “PoloTag” Social Media Test-Drive Campaign

Here is a social media ‘game’ from Volkswagen that offers its participants the promoted car. as the main prize.

It seems Volkswagen is going all out with its latest campaign. Introducing “PoloTag”, a real-time social media ‘game’ which challenges people to identify the new Polo around a specified route, tag it on Twitter and test drive it. It’s that simple.

The campaign will take six days, across three major cities in South Africa. The participant who drove it for the longest without being tagged will take the new Polo. This campaign is very creative indeed. It has two direct and unique advantages: 1) Creating some social buzz around the new car, and 2) Getting people to test drive the car. Here is the promotional video:

The Key To Successful Real-Time Marketing For B2B

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Online marketing activities in the B2C and B2B sectors are different because of both the clients’ personas and the customer journey specifications.

These differences have a big impact on how businesses develop their marketing and advertising strategies in the new digital realities, especially since the rise of smartphones and latest mobile technologies.

The rapid development of the global mobile industry, including the introduction of new mobile OS versions, fresh models of innovative smartphones and tablets, and people’s growing desire and ability to always be online has shaped the digital marketing sector in B2B within the past years. Thus, the importance of real-time marketing activities has shown magnificent growth not only in the B2C, but also in the B2B segment, forcing businesses in the latter category to reconsider and redefine their applied marketing tactics.

The Real-Time Marketing Activities You Need To Employ

There are some common, yet effective approaches to real-time marketing that can help B2B companies succeed with online acquisition and retention efforts. Some of these include:

1. Taking a real time marketing approach at special events

Unlike in the B2C niche, the use of real-time content distribution plays an important role in the B2B sector. However, one of the available options is to benefit from companies’ presence at various industry-specific events or conferences. You can shoot and share short videos – like interviews, reports or photo reels to provide insights at either the company booth or the conference area.

This tactic appears to be especially advantageous, if applied using innovative location-based technologies. In this respect, if a business applies iBeacon technologies, it becomes possible to share real-time photo/video content with event visitors, when they come closer to the booth.

2. The use of engaging visual elements

One potentially effective real-time marketing strategy for B2B companies is to shift their focus from large research reports, case studies, or whitepapers to more concise, visual and shareable content pieces. Infographic works perfectly in this case. The main goal is to reach customers and target clients on mobile.

In fact, this method turns out to be even more advantageous, if marketers display informative infographics to specific high-value audience segments, based on their tracked mobile behavior patterns.

3. Taking advantage from versatile and agile marketing techniques

The notion of real-time marketing in the B2B niche is closely linked to the use of various agile marketing activities, which include the set-up of automated responses to customers whenever client support/assistance managers are not available. Another way of becoming more agile is to implement modifiable navigation bars on mobile Web pages to display the most engaging content to viewers, based on their particular in-session activities. The described method enables businesses to provide a much more personalized user experience to their potential and existing clients.

Conclusion

Why is real-time marketing worth opting for?

As mentioned above, the rapid development of mobile technologies forces most B2B companies to invest more resources in their real-time marketing activities. This means they need to put much more time, money, and effort in reaching their target customers at the right place and time on their smartphones and tablets.

If executed properly, real-time marketing strategies can potentially open a wide range of opportunities to businesses, regardless of the industry field they are working in. In particular, it becomes much easier to increase customer engagement and retention levels; maintain and improve brand awareness, recognition, and reputation; substantially increase conversion rates and many other advantages.

Five Most Important Principles for Delivering Personalised Experiences

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Turn advanced personalisation solutions into real-time results.

Within this exclusive white paper, you will learn how to:

  • Step away from the extravagant promotion to control the real power of audience personalisation and go beyond reacting to a customer’s last visit. Instead, you will learn on how to proactively shape the current visit.
  • Study the five most important principles for delivering personalised solution around strategic business objectives.
  • Refocus away from the complex mechanics of personalisation by ensuring alignment with strategic business objectives and avoid troublesome solutions that fail to deliver results.
  • Ensure no two visitors will share the same experience with “automapping serendipity”.

Quoted on the document: “To enable this level of personalisation, the first question to ask is never how? It’s why? — and to what end?… Brands that start with why are far more likely to achieve strategic business objectives in the most time and cost-effective way possible.”

Click here to download PDF version of the white paper.

Getting A Better ROI With Small And Specified Advertising Networks

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ROI and Advertising

In the game of target marketing, everybody is aiming for the ROI.

During advertising process, do the networks you market appropriate to your business and industry? Google AdWords and Bing Ads are great solutions, but are your audiences really interested in what you do? Does your brand’s niche perform well on those networks?

Either a small subset of the audience is interested in you or there are many similar businesses advertising on the network, they can create intense competition and drives up bid prices. In both of those scenarios, you are spending big bucks for relatively little return. To be honest, marketing is a all about “optimisation” and improving your ROI (Return on Investment). This is where smaller, more specialised advertising networks shine. The effort of researching these smaller players is worth it to make your investment go further.

Look at your keywords on their network and the traffic each keyword generates. Once you have the reliable data, it should be quite easy to decide. Take a look at the category where you can find prospering niches for your business. If your business is based on the health service, the keywords like nutrisystem, tenuate, phentermine, and diet pills are keeping this niche competitive. Once you’ve defined your industry and figured out where you fit, you’re much more empowered to make correct marketing decisions with the freedom to choose what works for you rather than relying on “catch all” solutions.

The key to improving your ROI is to know where you fit. Choose the correct keywords and use the right ad copy to attract your customers to your website. The bigger potential prospects you have, the more that you will attract. That’s why doing a marketing job with specified networks is so advantageous. Once you have your niche targeted, the desired ROI is just an inch away.

Here are some closing thoughts: Make your advertising dollars go further and improve your ROI. Explore your options. Give a smaller network a try. Choose a reliable and global network that will lead you to a great path of positive ROI.

Five Tips To Start Your Social Media Marketing On The Right Path

five-social-media-mistakes

Social media is an instant way to gain fame and success. However, when poorly executed, social media can become a one-way ticket to your business’ demise.

For the small business owners who just getting started, the vast landscape of social media can be discouraging. Here are five tips to avoid common pitfalls and start your social media marketing strategy on the right path.

1. Branded Social Profile is Important

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If you feel uncertain about taking the plunge into social media marketing, then you should still go ahead and claim a profile with your name on all the major social networks. It will allow you to keep your page private until you’re ready. Plus, you don’t want to run the risk of your business name being taken, as this will make it harder for search engines to find you. Latest research shows that 43% of website owners pick a domain name for their business at or before the time they launch it. Business owners should be doing the same thing on social media.

2. Never Rely on The Organic Reach Alone

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It’s no secret that organic reach (the number of people who see content you haven’t paid to promote on social media) has been declining lately. While several things that contribute to your organic reach are under your control, many factors are simply determined by each social media channel’s algorithm.

If the purpose of your social media marketing is simply to engage with your community of followers and establish a brand presence, you can still achieve that goal with organic reach. However, if your goals include e-commerce and driving traffic to your online store, the premium feature offered by each social media channels are definitely worth considering. For example, since they can be hyper-targeted, Facebook Ads are a relatively inexpensive way to get your content in front of a far greater number of just the right people.

3. Create, Then Curate!

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Content curating has literally become a full time job for some social media marketers. Finding and sharing great content helps you to grow your reach and connect with other marketers in your space. However, content curation at the expense of content creation is a pitfall you should avoid. When you are busy running a business, it’s important to find time to write original articles, create intriguing videos, and design unique posts. If all you ever do is share, the search engine optimization, site traffic, and brand building never comes on your own website.

4. Never Do A One-Way Conversation

Your website is the perfect place for listing your products and boasting about your accomplishments. On the other hand, while social media can help to raise awareness for your brand and your products, it’s not the same way as a website or an advertising piece. The fastest way to lose your social following is talk too much about yourself. People know they can visit your website if they want to buy something. They followed you on social media for a different reason: to connect on a deeper lever. Find a unique ways to work in announcements, showcase your products in context, and create conversations. You will see your audience engagement level increase in no time.

One creative way to get your audiences engaged is by creating an intriguing campaign that attract users’ attention:

5. Maximise The Visual Aspect of Your Business

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These days, social media is all about visual. Twitter’s new profiles allow viewers to sort by photo and video posts, Instagram and Pinterest are raging successes, and Facebook’s new layout features increased image post sizes and shows cover photos above every tab. If there is one particular area of your social media marketing strategy where you should not take shortcuts, it’s the image quality. Take advantage of all this new visual features by creating attractive, engaging posts and cover images for all your profiles.

The Art of Raising Prices: Three Practical Strategies That Will Change Your Perspective About Pricing

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Raising prices is one particular topic that almost every business owner is afraid of. The reason is quite common: they are scared of losing prospects and loyal customers.

However, along with that fear comes a big question: Why do so many entrepreneurs and startups lose their way at the game of business?

One of the biggest reasons why businesses fail is, simply, because their prices are too low. They don’t sell their products at higher prices, then they operate on small margins that are unable to expand. That said, unless you are extremely well capitalised, you should not attempt to offer the lowest prices in your market. The old marketing tactic that you have the most competitive price in the market will not work anymore. Trying to match or beat your competitors on price is a suicide mission, not a wise business practice. Your business needs the increased margins in order to expand and deliver better services to customers. Appropriate pricing is essential and, if necessary, you must raise yours.

Here are three practical tips to successfully increase your prices without hurting anyone:

1. Just Increase Your Price

You don’t need a reason or justification to raise prices. Just do it and see the result. Try increasing your prices, even a little, and see if it works. If you are still scared to raise the price,you can bundle your products and services to increase your average sales price.

2. Give Them Options

Choices allow buyers to rationalise the price. When you show the price of a desired product or service, always offer alternative products or services to help them understand the logical sense of your price. Provide a higher and lower offer on each side of every offer.

3. Menu Pricing

Organize your services on a menu with pricing from highest to lowest. People believe what they see more than what they hear.

Conclusion

These three strategies work whether you sell a product or a service, tangibles or intangibles, expensive luxury products or entry level trinkets, in any and all industries. Contrary to popular belief, selling your products or services at the lowest price doesn’t make your customers more loyal or happier. In reality, customers that cause you the most trouble typically are the ones who paid the least. Customers must get what they pay for, so sell your value and the overall exceptional experience associated with what you have to offer. People will always pay more for something they love that solves a problem. Never be afraid to raise price.

Five Most Popular Myths in Digital Business (Infographic)

Slowly but sure, the digital business has overtaken the dominance of direct transactions. However, many people are still reluctant to use Internet as the base of their business.

With the rapid development of Internet for business and social media, the expectations for digital business are higher than ever. Yet, many companies often assume that they are still doing well without being digital. On this infographic, you will learn the reason why every business can benefit from a strong digital strategy. Also, we will unfold the story behind five most popular myths of driving sales in the digital age.

five-popular-myths-in-digital-business-infographic

Click to Enlarge

 

Six Best Practices for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

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Content marketing is the linchpin of demand creation – the link between brand awareness and lead generation. Done well, it builds familiarity, affinity and trust with prospective and current customers by providing information that resonates – in the right format, through the right channel, at the right time.

Search queries for the term have more than doubled in the past two years, supporting the notion that content marketing is being seen as its own discipline. This places new emphasis on content creation and quality. it also spotlights a very real need for organisations to rethink their go-to market plans by adding content to their marketing mix, or refining an existing strategy.

But a content marketing strategy doesn’t create itself. it’s the result of clear intention, careful planning and focused execution. The question is, how does a company get started? Here are six best practices that can help you develop and deploy effective strategies for content marketing across channels and buying cycles.

1. Get Stakeholder Support

Content marketing is not a short term affair. It’s a long term commitment that requires continual collaboration and engagement to succeed. This means you’ll most likely need to sell the idea to the executive team, as well as other key people or departments within your organisation.

One effective technique for getting internal buy-in begins with not talking about content marketing at all, at least not initially. Instead, focus on your stakeholders’ goals and pain points, even their bonus systems – those areas that affect their own success. Then introduce content marketing as a valuable way for them to get better results.

2. Understand Your Audience

Content marketing isn’t about selling. It’s about educating, entertaining, or otherwise delighting your readers in order to earn their trust over time. To be successful, you need to understand who your audience is – and what they want and need from you – in order to gauge how much viable content you already have and what content you’ll need to create.

There are two key activities here, both of which require stakeholder commitment and participation to be most effective:

1. Develop customer personas

This is an effective ways to uncover who your target customers are, which helps identify what  topics your content should be covering. Start by asking yourself and your sales stakeholders these questions:

  • Who are our ideal prospects and customers?
  • How do they go about making a buying decision?
  • What are their questions? Pain points? Objections?
  • What gaps in information are they lacking that my content can fill?

2. Map your content to the buyer’s journey

By assigning content to the most appropriate buying stage, you not only make the best use of existing content, you also discover maps that need to be filled. Typical steps include:

  • Map your sales cycle to the buying cycle, doing this by persona if it makes sense. A typical buying cycle is: need, learn, evaluate, negotiate, purchase, implement, advocate. A shortened version may be: awareness, interest, consideration, purchase intent.
  • Set up a spreadsheet that helps you visualize and track your mapping process. This does not need to be complex. It can be as simple as simply listing the buying cycle phases in the top row.
  • Audit and evaluate your existing content – tools, case studies, solution briefs, white papers, videos, demos, webinars, etc. – based on which persona it addresses, which questions it answers, and which stage of the buying process it will serve.
  • Create your content matrix by adding each

    asset – title and link – into the appropriate spreadsheet location. Focus on creating a  

    sequential flow where each content asset “continues the conversation” by building on  

    the previous content.

3. Identify the Right Content Formula

Content marketing is about helping your current and future customers solve an issue that’s important to them. To do this, your content needs to facilitate conversations among influencers, stakeholders, and decision makers, giving them the confidence to take the next step. If it doesn’t, your content marketing strategy will fail. (Or at the very least under-achieve its goal.)

These three steps will help you uncover the optimum content formula:

  1. Create content your customers want. Many organizations make the mistake of investing heavily in pushing marketing messages that are important to the company, rather than providing information that’s important to the customer. When planning content, always take a customer-centric approach to best ensure you create something of value for your readers.
  2. Develop an array of content to deploy across multiple channels and devices. Take the time to understand which channels and formats your customers prefer, and then diversify how and where you publish your content to extend your reach. In addition to printed (or PDF’d) content, consider other formats such as HTML-based articles, blogs, social media sites, webinars and videos. Given the steep adoption rates of tablets and smartphones, make deciding what you will optimize for mobile part of your strategy.
  3. Don’t just create content, curate it. There’s enormous value in not only creating original content, but in curating “best of” content from across the Web. By showcasing and sharing relevant content from other thought leaders – from magazines, blogs, research, etc. – you demonstrate independence and credibility, which can increase customer affinity and loyalty.

4. Create an Editorial Calendar

Every good content marketing program begins with a carefully planned, proactive editorial calendar. It’s the execution plan for integrating content into a cohesive story that you want your audience to see. You probably won’t follow it verbatim, but if it exists up front you’ll be far more consistent and successful at publishing the content you need and generating the results you want.

Your editorial calendar should:

  • Enumerate your customer-centric themes, aligning content with appropriate buying cycle phases and audience personas.
  • Provide a tentative outline of when different pieces of content will publish, on what platform, and via which syndication and social channels.
  • Clearly articulate cadence; that is, the date each piece of content will be developed and distributed. Publishing your content in a consistent, timely fashion is critical.

Additionally, since social promotion and content go hand-in-hand, be sure to map social campaigns to your editorial calendar. Work with your social team during the calendaring process to align the respective publishing schedules and help drive traffic to your website.Include social and share links in your various content – papers, webpages, emails, blogs, etc. – whenever appropriate.

5. Get Maximum Mileage Out Of Your Content

Developing the volume of content necessary to fuel a content program is a challenge. Try using the Rule of 5 – use one piece of content in five distinct ways. Five may not always be the optimal number, the goal is to extend the life of your content by using it in multiple ways, offering it in multiple formats, and distributing it everywhere.

Plan to break long content up into smaller pieces and different formats. For example, after putting time and energy into a fantastic webinar, convert it into a video and publish it on YouTube. Post the presentation deck on SlideShare. Make a PDF of the transcribed audio track available. Break the transcript into a short series of blog posts. Create a Q&A from the session.

Have a robust white paper? Extract two main ideas and create short articles. Take two more ideas and create blog posts. Promote them all through social media channels. Link them to each other, inviting readers on an information journey with your brand. Use the articles in lead-nurture campaigns.

Maximize the visibility of your content and brand by including social and share links in your various content pieces – papers, web pages, emails, blogs, etc. – whenever and wherever appropriate. And don’t forget about search engine optimization. Use keywords and metadata to make your content findable by the people you’ve created it for.

By planning your content for scalability, you’ll reduce resource overhead while increasing visibility and providing value to your audience.

6. Develop a Process for Measuring and Reporting

Decreasing costs and increasing profit margins are as important as increasing sales and revenue. An effective content marketing program can do both. Make sure you track that and measure it over time.

A recommended method is to develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that are tied to the business value of your content marketing program. Take a look at everything you’ll need to execute the strategy you’ve created.

  • Do you have enough resources?
  • Do you have the capabilities – in-house or outsourced – to effectively execute?
  • Do you have enough budget?
  • What else is on your plate or in development that may affect program deployment?
  • Have expectations been set – and bought into – among stakeholders?
  • What are the leading indicators of success? The lagging indicators?
  • How can the program’s financial impact be measured?
  • How can we compare the financial impact relative to other programs that may be more costly?

Expert Content Has a Bigger Impact on Product Purchase Considerations Than User Reviews or Branded Content

Today’s consumers are not supposed to believe in branded content or user reviews when making buying decisions. Instead, they are likely to be influenced by third-party expert content providers.

According to latest research, expert content providers, like product reviews or articles from third-party websites and blogs, was 83% more effective at lifting product purchase considerations than user reviews. They are also 38% more effective than branded content.

The research surveyed 900 consumers, measuring their responses to different forms of content marketing for nine separate product types, ranging from smartphones and video games to car seats, new automobiles and auto insurance. The study analyzed how the different types of content marketing (especially expert content, branded content and user reviews) impacted product affinity and familiarity, as well as purchase considerations. The result is quite surprising: not only were consumers more likely to be influenced by expert content when making purchases, the study also found that expert content from third-party sources also had a greater impact on product affinity and familiarity. Here is an excerpt from the result:

On average, expert content lifted familiarity 88 percent more than branded content and 50 percent more than user reviews; they lifted affinity 50 percent more than branded content and 20 percent more than user reviews.

expert-content-effectiveness

While expert content had a greater influence overall, the study revealed that branded content had the most impact in categories where product specifications were a critical component of the evaluation process, such as smartphones or TVs.

On the other hand, user reviews were most valuable for products where users were considered to have a “higher degree” of product expertise. For instance, although expert content was most effective at increasing familiarity and affinity, user content provided the strongest lift to purchase intent in car seats.

Here is the detail of how expert content, user reviews and branded content impacted the different stages of the buying process for all nine product categories:

positive-lift-by-content-and-product-type

Click to Enlarge

Pepsi “Unbelievable” AR Bus Shelter

Pepsi has done another cool campaign. The promotion takes on New Oxford Street, London, where they have altered a bus shelter to create a seamless augmented reality experience for the people who happen to stop by. From crashing meteorites and aliens to lions and balloons, this ‘Unbelievable’ Bus Shelter Installation from Pepsi is a a little bit of branded fun (and expensive). Amazing stuff indeed!