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Social Media

Content Marketing: Quality vs. Quantity

By now, most everyone has probably heard someone harping about the need for businesses to “tell their story” or “engage consumers with content” or “connect with customers on a personal level”. For over a decade, the mantra among marketers has been that Content Is King. Content is meant to attract and keep the attention of customers and potential customers. As the saying goes, “Be careful what you ask for; you might just get it.” Everyone jumped on the content bandwagon. Ad agencies, marketing firms, public relations firms, SEO firms and media vendors all rushed in to help. They all touted the need for “MORE CONTENT.” The goal was quantity. Tell stories. Share information.
Today, consumers are saturated – actually overwhelmed – by content. Social media has enabled and encouraged everyone to share information and tell stories. Methods of storytelling abound. Businesses are sharing more information. Experts are writing white papers. Industry leaders are putting out Forecasts. Charities are telling stories. Teenagers are chatting and tweeting and sharing pictures, videos and stories. Even religious leaders – who used to be confined to telling their stories from the pulpit – have joined the digital storytelling revolution. And the media — the original reporters of the world’s stories — now find themselves vying to be heard above the storytelling din. People are experiencing an onslaught of ‘content’ the likes of which has never before been experienced. The whole of humanity is busy creating content. It is a growing ocean of noise. Now what?
This is where the law of supply and demand kicks in. When there is a glut of supply in the market, then the value goes down. Whereas once upon a time quantity was the name of the game with content, going forward the focus is shifting toward quality over quantity. Welcome to the age of quality content. Continue reading

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How to Become an Industry Insider or Influencer

In general, an “insider” is a member of any group that is limited in number and generally restricted in access. The person – by virtue of being a member of this group – has access to secret, privileged, hidden or otherwise obscure or complex information or knowledge. The insider is a member of the “gang” and hence knows things outsiders don’t, including insider jargon.
The term “Industry Insider” has various meanings. For example, in the world of securities trading, the term “Industry Insider” is generally used to describe someone who works for a publicly-traded company, or trusted advisor to that company, and possesses key information (often non-public information) about that company. They know things because they are on the “inside.” That information, if shared and/or used to influence stock trades, is illegal. The Securities and Exchange Commission considers that a form of illegal insider trading.
However, with the rise of social media, the term Industry Insider has taken on a totally different meaning. In our complicated and information-rich world, the concept of insider knowledge has grown in importance as a source of direct and useful guidance. Today, being an Industry Insider is considered a badge of honor, earning that person considerable respect and influence. So how does one become an Industry Insider, and isn’t this just a new way of saying expert or guru? Continue reading

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Industry Insiders and Influencer Marketing

Reaching customers during their decision-making process is one of the most coveted goals of sales and marketing professionals. Reaching someone at just the right time with just the right information can have a profound effect in influencing a purchase, especially if it is coming from a person of trust. Say, for instance, a man is looking to invest money. There will be many steps that go into the decision-making process of what to invest in. He might read some recent articles about the stock market in reputable investment magazines. He might get some advice from blogs written by investment gurus about investing in real estate. He might hear a radio commercial featuring a celebrity recommending investing in bonds. And he might get advice from friends and family members who have successfully managed their own investments. Some of this advice will be considered and some will be discarded. The man is more likely to listen to someone who is a trusted advisor, friend or colleague, especially if he is in the midst of the decision-making process.
Indeed, this is known as Influencer Marketing. Influencer Marketing is one of the best strategies for successfully infiltrating and influencing the decision-making process. Hence the name. Just how does Influencer Marketing work? And how effective is it? Continue reading

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Marketing Focus: Client Acquisition vs. Client Retention

Every business wants to increase their bottom line. And every company promises growth in revenue and earnings, but only one in nine companies is able to achieve sustainable, profitable growth. That explains why businesses spend a lot of money on activities to achieve profitable growth! Statista, the Statistical Portal, estimates that over 180 billion U.S. dollars was spent in advertising in the United States in 2015. And that is expected to reach $200 billion this year. Those funds are being spent basically to either acquire or retain customers. Or both.
While some companies focus on customer acquisition because they view it as a quick and effective way of increasing revenue, other companies focus on customer retention because they are marketing to customers who are already engaged with the brand, making it easier to capitalize on their experiences with the company. But which is more cost effective at driving up sales and increasing revenue? And should it be an either/or approach, or should companies focus equally on both? Given the amount of money spent on marketing, it is a question that should be carefully considered. Continue reading

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Be a Better Writer in 2016 – Part 2

For most people, writing is not easy. Converting one’s thoughts to writing is hard, in part, because we don’t speak the way we are supposed to write and we’re not always entirely clear about what we want to say or the best way to say it. That is true in any language.
Writing the English language has even more challenges. For every rule there are always exceptions. Words often have multiple meanings, spellings and sounds. Nevertheless, writing is a skill used daily by most people in their personal and professional lives. While no one expects the average person to be a master writer, it’s important to at least be a proficient one.
Thankfully, technology can help, to some extent. Correct spelling is the easiest part to get right. Spell check on most computers and devices automatically eliminates the most common spelling errors, but it doesn’t catch mistakes that involve homophones, homonyms, homographs or heteronyms. Those are words in the English language have the same sounds, spelling or meanings. These are the cause of many of the mistakes people make in writing. To make it a bit easier, here’s a little “cheat sheet” to keep at your desk for future reference. This can help avoid some of the most common mistakes. Continue reading

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Be a Better Writer in 2016 – Part 1

Despite the recurring diatribes about the decline of the written word, in truth, people write more now than ever. While few pen long letters on scented stationary anymore, people were pouring emails into the digital abyss at an estimated eye-popping rate of about 200 Billion per day in 2015. We also send text messages, tweets, and instant messages and write blog posts and comments, and otherwise fire off words at one another in a near-constant flow of communication. Written communication is a required skill for most any job or profession today. Whether it is composing a memo, preparing a letter, drafting a report, taking notes in a meeting, crafting a business plan, or just pounding out a quick text message, written communication is part and parcel of practically every occupation on a regular basis. People write PowerPoint presentations, business requirement documents, speeches, mission statements, position papers, standard operating procedures, manuals, brochures, package copy, press releases, and dozens of other specialized types of documents. Even salespeople and accountants – occupations often thought to be sans writing — must write reports and sales agreements.
Not everyone, however, is a good writer. The English language has many rules and just as many exceptions to those rules. It is a beautiful but challenging language to master. Nevertheless, business people in English-speaking countries are expected to write clearly, cohesively and concisely. Despite the growing use of slang, abbreviations and urban words, most professionals are still expected to be able to write in complete sentences. Spelling, grammar and punctuation do matter. Using the right words with their correct meanings is also important. Although there is an abundant supply of resources available online – such as dictionaries, thesauri, writing guides, blogs for writers, and the like – writing mistakes persist. Although anyone can make an occasional mistake, common or abundant errors can taint how a person is perceived. Poor grammar or spelling can even call into question a person’s professional expertise. To maintain a reputation as a professional, it’s important to write well. Here are some tips to improve one’s ability to write well in English. Continue reading

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Retargeting: Digital Ads that Hit the Bulls-Eye

Have you ever done a search for a product or service and then seen ads for companies that deliver that product or service later on websites that have nothing to do with that product or service? For example, you might have done a search for lenders that handle commercial property loans and mezzanine financing. You clicked on the websites of a few of those lenders. Then later — hours, days or even weeks later — you did a totally unrelated search for hotels in Dallas for an upcoming conference and you saw an ad for a lender you perused earlier offering mezzanine financing on the hotel aggregator’s website. At first, you thought “coincidence.” Then you saw a similar ad for another lender when you searched for an upscale restaurant to dine at with your spouse and clicked on the Opentable.com site to make a reservation. You thought, “Strange.” Then you saw yet another ad for a commercial real estate lender when you checked accuweather.com for the weather forecast for your golf outing on Sunday. At that point, you felt like “Big Brother was watching.” How could such diverse and unrelated websites know you were looking for a commercial real estate lender? How could those lenders know to advertise on sites that you frequent? The answer is retargeting.

Behavioral retargeting (also known as behavioral remarketing, or simply, remarketing or retargeting) is a form of online targeted advertising in which online advertising is targeted to consumers based on their previous Internet actions, in situations where these actions did not result in a sale or conversion. This type of online advertising has been around for a few years and is highly effective and yet not widely used. That makes it a great tool for businesses that want to stand out in the crowd. Continue reading

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The Changing Face of Search

Most people use search engines with little or no understanding of how they actually work – such as why one listing ranks higher than another or what cookies do or even how search engines are monetized. This is partly the fault of the search engines, who keep a lot of what they do a secret. But it is also partly because most people don’t really care how it works. As long as it provides a wealth of information easily, accurately and quickly, the functionality hasn’t really mattered much. However, business owners, managers and professionals should care, if they want their products or services to be ‘findable’ on the World Wide Web. Without understanding how search engines work, it is impossible to ensure that a company’s desired messaging will be found by potential clients or customers.

What is interesting is that, while search engines may seem static and unchanging to users, the reality is that search engines and the world of search is constantly changing. Search engines adjust their algorithms (the step-by-step functions to be performed to find and deliver information) regularly to stay a step ahead of those who manipulate online information for their own needs or wants. Updates are rolled out periodically that alter how information is ranked. Moreover, the search engine market is constantly evolving to meet the needs and concerns of those using search engines. And the search engine market is growing exponentially. But how will all this affect business? Continue reading

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Converged Media: A Mix of Owned, Earned and Paid

It used to be so much simpler to market a company 25 years ago. That was before a computer programmer in Switzerland named Tim Berners-Lee introduced the World Wide Web in 1991. In the days before the Internet, search engines and smart phones, marketing consisted primarily of campaigns to targeted audiences using a controlled number of channels and a controlled message. Practically all marketing efforts were paid for and directed by the company. That’s not to say that getting the message across or selling a customer on a product or service was easier. It wasn’t. But for companies trying to communicate a message to a customer, the approach was simpler and more direct. There was less messaging ‘noise’ to distract and confuse audiences.

Today, we are overwhelmed by sales and marketing messages coming at us from every direction. To be heard, companies must use a variety of approaches and a multitude of channels. This includes Paid Media, Owned Media and Earned Media efforts. Today’s marketing efforts must converge these to create a mixed approach. Each is a different way for potential clients or customers to learn about a business’ message. Each functions differently. And each has its pros and cons. In order to reach a target audience, a company has to understand and determine the right mix of its owned, earned and paid media efforts. Let’s look at how they work. Continue reading

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Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 2

Last week, we explored some of the latest terms trending in sales and marketing in 2015. Some may have felt lost in lingo limbo, but most probably learned a thing or two about the emerging myriad of strategies and products available for businesses today to reach customers. Knowledge is power. But that doesn’t mean that a company should adopt every strategy, product and approach. Quite the contrary. When it comes to sales and marketing, it is different strokes for different folks. What works for one company may not have any value for another business. The goal is to be discerning. While early adopters embrace every trend, haphazardly trying each new thing, and late bloomers wait until a marketing strategy is thoroughly vetted and ubiquitous before even dipping a toe in the water, both extremes can be dangerous. The key is to be knowledgeable of all the approaches exist and determine what might work best for a particular business in a particular industry.

With that in mind, here are a few more 2015 trending terms to add to the sales and marketing vocab. Responsive web design. Adaptive web design. QR Codes. Click fraud. H2H. Nueromorphics. Media agnostic. Advertainment (not related to Advertorial, a much older but still useful marketing term referring to an article (instead of an ad) that is written to inform but with a slant/bias). Twinternship. mCommerce. Here’s what they mean. Continue reading

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