Monday Mornings with Madison

Top Sales and Marketing Terms of 2015 – Part 1

Ever heard the term storyscaping?  How about snackable content?  What about beacons or beacon-triggered marketing or proximity marketing?   Conversation marketing.   Promoted chats.  Omnichannel.  Native advertising.  Programmatic Marketing.  Growth hacking.  Newsjacking.  If it feels like you’re reading Chinese — in English – you’re not alone.

These are just some (not all) of the latest sales and marketing terms making the rounds this year.  The typical business owner, manager or professional is probably not familiar with most (if any) of these terms.  Even some marketers might not be familiar with all of the strategies and ideas behind this terminology.   But anyone running a business must stay current because, in today’s business world, the fast eat the slow.  These terms reflect the ever-evolving face of sales and marketing today, and he who understands the opportunities best is best able to maintain an edge over the competition.  So here’s a quick ‘cheat sheet’ to bring you up-to-date fast.

The Latest Marketing Buzzwords and Strategies

As the late great comedian Gilda Radner used to say “If it’s not one thing, it’s another thing, but it’s always something.”   That’s certainly true for new products and strategies in sales and marketing.  In just the last few years, a garden of new social media / idea sharing sites have sprouted offering tools for connecting, spreading and cataloguing images, videos, stories and ideas.  Technology delivers new marketing tools and software on a daily basis.  New strategies emerge.  For small and mid-sized companies, keeping pace and making sense of it all can be a Challenge, with a capital C.  Understanding which strategies and tools can provide tactical value and drive results for a particular industry or company can be daunting, but it’s a must to stay current.  So here’s a little help understanding some of these strategies and concepts.  They are in no particular order.

*  Storyscaping

At first blush, one might think storyscaping is just a cooler way of saying storytelling.  Wrong.   This term was introduced by Gaston Leorburu and Darren McColl at a marketing conference as a way of integrating storytelling into the overall brand experience.  The idea caught fire and was later turned into a book.  Specifically, they define storyscaping as a way for a business to create immersive experiences that solve the challenge of connecting their brand to their consumers. They describe this powerful new approach to advertising and marketing for the digital age that involves using stories to design emotional and transactional experiences for customers, both online and offline. Each connection inspires engagement with another, so the brand becomes part of the customer’s story. Storyscaping helps a company identify and define the core target audience segment, define the brand’s purpose, and understand the emotional desires of its customers.  Storyscaping is storytelling 2.0 for the entire business, on steroids.

*  Snackable Content

A term dubbed by the Halo Group, this phrase aptly refers to the portion size of information desired by today’s noise-filled, attention-deficient audience. As attention spans decrease, consuming media in bite-sized pieces has become more favorable. People prefer to snack on bite-sized media to fill the gaps and keep the attention occupied during the small segments of time between activities…. Such as standing in a line, waiting for an elevator, sitting in a doctor’s office waiting-room, riding a cab to an appointment, or picking up the kids from their after-school activity.

*  Beacons (and beacon-triggered marketing)

A more accurate form of proximity marketing (which gets a device’s location from GPS and WiFi signal to deliver a message), beacon-triggered marketing works by looking for the bluetooth signal from a beacon located in a store or business.  Though similar to proximity marketing, beacon-triggered marketing is much more precise because WiFi often place devices at the neighborhood level and GPS doesn’t always work within a building such as shopping mall or office building.  But beacons ensure that the right message reaches the right customer at exactly the right time. It’s the equivalent of hitting the bulls-eye instead of just the wall.  Beacon-triggered messages can often include limited-time offers that can be redeemed in a business, store or restaurant at the time-of-purchase.

Originally, beacons only worked with the branded app of the store which meant only people who knew about and used in-store beacons got the messages.  However, recent advances that let beacons interact with other apps, including Facebook, have increased the range and effectiveness of beacon-campaigns. Beacon technology is inexpensive and relatively easy to deploy. The beacon itself costs from $20-$40 and the only other cost is the time and resources needed to create the content.  Retailers see immense opportunity in beacon-triggered marketing, but it will be other industries who have the vision to see how to leverage this technology beyond the traditional storefront setting that will benefit most.

*  Conversation Marketing

Overwhelmed by inbound marketing from every brand under the sun, customers are looking for something more genuine and connected.  Conversation marketing is a different approach than typical inbound marketing.  But, it actually isn’t a new term.  In fact, the phrase first made its appearance in 2007 with Joseph Jaffe’s Join the Conversation. Jaffe’s goal was to teach marketers and businesses how to reengage their media-drenched customers in their business through community, partnership and dialogue.  And what was true in 2007, is a thousand times truer today.  Today, consumers are even more saturated in marketing initiatives than ever before, and they’re basically tuning it out. They want something better.

Enter conversation marketing, a concept that actually dates back in time decades, perhaps centuries, to when shopkeepers and local merchants got to know their customers on a very personal level.  Think of the local bakery, pub or salon.  Just as the name implies, it involves having real conversations with customers.  It means listening to their struggles, stories, and lives; listening to their joys and their troubles. Conversation marketing is about making connections with the community and then using that information to make better-informed marketing decisions.  This is where small and mid-sized businesses have a huge advantage over global corporations and impersonal conglomerates.  After all, people do business with people they know, like and trust.

*  Promoted Chats

Promoted chats is a new feature that Kik has rolled out on the very popular app, Snapchat.

Promoted chats allows Snapchat’s 150 million-plus registered users to opt-in and connect with brands   The way it works is that a range of companies take up official accounts on the service which can be used to converse with users who opt in to follow them.  Kik says there are initially 25 across fashion, retail, non-profit and others.  Since replying to large numbers of people manually isn’t possible, Kik’s ‘Keywords’ feature lets brand accounts create stock responses based on ‘trigger’ words in chats from users following them.  The concept is that brands have interesting things to say and share so, rather than generic ads for everyone, Kik users can pick which companies that they want to hear from or just opt out altogether. Using the right messages, this can direct users to offers, promotions, new content or feedback.

* Omnichannel

Omnichannel sales and marketing is a multichannel approach that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone, catalog or in a bricks and mortar store or office.  It is supposed to be a 360 degree approach.  It is sometimes referred to as multichannel or cross channel marketing.  It signals a significant shift in how companies need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device.

* Native advertising.

Native advertising is a form of online advertising that matches the form and function of the platform on which it appears so as to seem as if it isn’t advertising.  It’s an ad that doesn’t look like an ad.  There are at least five types of native advertising.

1.  Feed Ad Units are ad units that are located within the website’s normal content well. The content may have been written by or in partnership with the publisher’s team to match the surrounding stories. It is measured on brand metrics such as interaction and brand lift.

2.  Search Ads, generally found above the organic search results, are sold with a guaranteed placement on the search engine page, and they are measured on conversion metrics such as a purchase. They have the same appearance as the other results on the page with the exception of disclosure aspects.

3. Recommendation Widgets are delivered through a widget, hence the name. They are generally recognizable by words like “You might also like” or “You might like”, “Elsewhere from around the web” or “From around the web”, “You may have missed”, or “Recommended for you.”

4. Promoted Listings are websites that carry ad units which are typically not content based but rather are typically e-commerce sites. Promoted listings are presented to look identical to the products or services offered on a given site.

5. In-Ad is in a standard IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) container that is outside the feed. It contains contextually relevant content within the ad, links to an offsite page, and is measured on brand metrics such as interaction and brand lift.  It is also sold with guaranteed placement so that the ad appears in the slotted location.

* Programmatic Marketing or Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic Marketing is the algorithmic purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. It is the use of data to make decisions about what ads to buy, and doing it in real time. It creates a new layer of transparency and ownership for advertisers.  Ad dollars spent on direct programmatic initiatives reached $9.8 billion by the end of 2014.

*  Growth hacking

Attention startup businesses.  Growth hacking is a marketing technique developed by tech startups which use creativity, analytical thinking and social metrics to sell products and gain exposure. Growth hackers employ techniques such as search engine optimization, website analytics, content marketing and A/B testing.  They focus on low-cost and innovative alternatives to traditional marketing, e.g. utilizing social media, viral marketing and other organic techniques instead of buying advertising through more traditional media such as print, radio, and TV.  Companies that have used growth hacking include Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Dropbox, and Linked In.

*  Newsjacking.

Crossing the terms news and hijacking, newsjacking is the process by which a company injects its ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for itself.

It’s a Wrap.

As the saying goes, “If you always do what you’ve always done, then you’ll always get what you always got.”  To reach the multitudes, marketers must use a variety of strategies from the very traditional, such as print ads, PR, flyers, mailers, billboards and signage, to the latest in digital marketing, such as social media advertising, content marketing, mobile advertising, search engine optimization, and automated customer relationship management systems.  When it comes to marketing, there is no one-strategy-fits-all.  It is important to use a mix of mediums and methods that speak to and reach all audiences where they live, work, play and shop… and that is always evolving with the times.  Thus, marketing must keep pace with change… a rapid pace indeed.

Quote of the Week

“Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” Mike Volpe


© 2015, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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