May 082014
 
 May 8, 2014

Digital Marketing Trends in 2014 trends image

Trend #1
This is the year when communication and PR come of age as data- endorsed disciplines. The art of story-telling across all platforms will take a twist with brand communications infused with Data and real-time insights as the fuel of content.

Trend #2
Content has always been the king. But in 2014 content will be fuelled by 3 core pillars – Creativity, Context and Care. There will be rise in Visual Story-telling by increased use of Micro-videos and Infographics.

Trend #3
Brand engagement in all its form will come under the scanner of ROI. It will be much more than “click-throughs, likes and Number of fans”. There will be a requirement of Single ROI Model for business, and the impact will create a chain reaction for brand communication and their media’s strategies.

Trend #4
2014 is the year of Mobile communications in the digital age. With increased use of Instant Messaging (IM) and chat-based social networks – Whatsapp, Wechat, Snapchat, Line and others. Will be the new and dominant way to target and communicate branded content with their audiences!

Trend #5
Brands will continue to struggle to cope with customer’s reactions in real-time. Online Reputation Management shall see some light to this concept, but major impetus shall be given to Social Care.

Trend #6
New Year shall see the rise of Omni-Channel, transmedia campaigns. Multi-channel campaigns will be mapped as to see how branded content is influencing the consumers towards decision making. This new process will be a triumph in communications and Marketing ROI.

Trend #7
In the New Year, communication shall induce commerce across all platforms. Technology-aided interventions will get stronger through compelling storytelling that delivers brand, customer experiences and targeted product content more seamlessly.

Trend #8
Marketing and communications teams within organizations and agencies will become hybrid in 2014 – to bring in diverse skillsets while collaborating across the development of transmedia, omni-channel brand campaigns.

Research Powered by- PR agency Waggener Edstrom has released a list of eight digital trends to watch in the New Year 2014, written by Zaheer Nooruddin, regional studio digital lead, and Soumya Dev, digital lead, India.

Jan 092014
 
 January 9, 2014

Here’s a great infographic created by Digital Insights that covers all the latest Social Media facts for this year, including figures, numbers and statistics.

Some of the highlights cover:

  • 4.2 billion people use their mobile device to access social media sites
  • There have been over 10 billion Facebook apps developed so far
  • 28% of Retweets on Twitter are due to inclusion of “please RT!”
  • Google + 40% of marketers use it, 70% want to learn more and 67% plan to increase activities
  • 42% update their profile information regularly on LinkedIn
  • Every second 8000 users like some or other photo on Instagram

social-media-2013

Dec 052012
 
 December 5, 2012

I love Infographics, so it’s with thanks to Jeff Bullas that I noticed this one from Go-Globe.

Two Significant Trends in Social Media

There are two trends that have emerged in the last two years that have changed the  social media landscape and fabric.

  1. Visualisation of content: This is obvious when you see the rapid rise of Pinterest and Instagram and the evolution of larger images on Facebook and its user interface. Google+ had realised this when it launched last year with its feature and function sets applying a highly visual format.
  2. Mobile use and sharing: Instagram is the leader of this trend and is one of the reasons that Facebook made a $1 billion purchase of a non profitable company (Instagram) with only 16 employees.

These trends have also impacted web design and online shopping with Ebay changing its design and layout to a Pinterest styled home page  ”feed” 

Social Media Statistics

There are some surprising statistics that indicate the growth and impact the social web has created in just a few short years.

  • 350 million plus users suffer from “Facebook addiction syndrome”
  • If Twitter was a country it would be the 12th largest in the world
  • LinkedIn signs up 2 new members every second
  • The average visitor spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube
  • Three million new blogs come online every month
  • 97% of the fans on Pinterest’s Facebook page are women
  • 5 million images are uploaded to Instagram every day
  • The Google +1 button is used 5 billion times every day

Infographic…

social-media-facts

Written by and reproduced with thanks.

Source: Infographic by Go-Globe and the data source is from PRDaily.

Oct 102012
 
 October 10, 2012

A/B Testing has been used by a number of online entrepreneurs for a long time now. With the huge benefits that it promises, this is not that surprising. Small businesses, medium-scale enterprises and large companies all benefit from A/B Split Testing.

How to Increase your Blog and Website Sales Conversion Rate with AB Split Testing

But for you to be able to utilize this tool to its maximum potential, it is a must that you first have even a working understanding of what it is and how it works. This is actually one of the common pitfalls for some online entrepreneurs. They do not reap the full benefits of certain tools because they have not applied it well. Do not be one of them. Do your research and apply the best practices.

What is A/B Split Testing?

This is one of the first questions that need to be answered. Essentially, this is a technique wherein two versions of a webpage, email or personal message is sent to customers. But in these versions, almost all the elements are the same except for one.

The goal here is to track the changes in customer behavior. So when a specific action or change in behavior is recorded, there is only one factor to which the change can be attributed. This is the sole element which was tweaked.

Another thing that you have to keep in mind with A/B Split Testing is that the choice of customers receiving the versions is random. This way, bias or prejudice will affect the results of the test. Also, an appropriate sample size which is well-calculated is also necessary.

The fact is, A/B Split Testing can be pretty simple. You can even do this by yourself if you have the tools. Speaking of tools, there are many available online. A good example would be Google Analytics.

Steps in Conducting A/B Testing

First: Determine why you need to do an A/B testing.

Truth is, A/B testing mimics the nature of scientific method. It starts with definition of the problem. When your website is rocked with decreased conversions and high bounce rates, this signals you to plunge into the procedure. A/B testing may also be run by web developers who observe a small number of visits on landing pages, cart abandonment, shallow engagement, and other adversities that affect their marketing.

Second: Make an educated guess on what could be causing your problem.

Formulating a hypothesis allows you to pinpoint the viable elements that can be used in the experiment. If you think it’s the layout that’s causing your consumers to close your website and shop in another online store, then you can perform A/B testing which layout works best for your niche.

Third: Pick web components for the test.

Here’s some of the elements that you can use for A/B testing:

  • headline
  • banners
  • call to action buttons
  • text content
  • membership/subscription forms
  • layout
  • icons/ images
  • overall theme
  • pricing of products
  • inclusion of special offers in the page

Fourth: Download software and run the test.

As you might have guessed, A/B testing requires the use of web tools. There are several choices for software that can be used for free, such as Google Analytics. You may also opt to purchase programs such as Optimizely and SumoOptimze. These are guaranteed user-friendly with their WYSIWYG page editor. You’ll be happy to know that these tools come with a free trial version.

Fifth: Analyze data.

Set some metrics that can be used as basis for evaluation. For instance, you can assess the performance of the variants by looking into the number of clicks on the page or amount of sales made. The software that you have downloaded can automatically generate analysis based on gathered data. But you can hire an expert to interpret data and come up with a sound conclusion.

Sixth: Implement the ideal design

Then you need to check for changes in the traffic, conversion, and profits and implement the page that obtains the best conversion rate.

What’s in it for you?

Now that you know what A/B Split Testing is, the next question would then be what is in it for you? Why should you spend time and money on A/B Split testing? Can it help your company boost its sales and profits?

One of the biggest benefits that you can get from A/B Split Testing is good conversions. After all, this is the entire point of putting up and maintaining a website for your company.

The point of having a website is to have a good conversion rate. That means as more traffic is generated, the leads are converted into actual sales and profits. The visitors of your web page should no longer remain to be passers-by or passive internet users who stumble upon your website. They should be converted into actual buyers who will patronize your products and services.

But in order for you to achieve this, you have to be ahead of them. You have to know how they act and what will make them act the way that you want them to. This is what A/B Split Testing results are for.

Through the results of the A/B Split testing, you can determine a lot of things. For one, you can know what makes certain visitors or internet users stay longer on your website. You can also point out the specific advertisements and content they click. In the same manner, you will have knowledge on the content they frequently interact with.

But of course you will have to go through a tedious process in order to generate this amount of data. This is mainly because only one element is tweaked and tested per procedure. The good thing here is that the results are more accurate.

 Applying the results of A/B Split Testing to further conversions

Then once you have the results of the A/B Split Testing with you, you can use these to drive your marketing campaign and formulate an effective website design for better conversion.

You can even use the results for future reference; although you must keep in mind that consumer behavior can change every now and then. With that, further testing should also be done every once in a while.

Author: Ruben Corbo. He is a freelancer writer specialized in different topics including technology, online marketing where you can learn more on AB and split testing from Maxymiser and Product Recommendation Engines, music, art, and motivation.

Aug 172012
 
 August 17, 2012

I came across this slideshow (link here) a few months ago, and thought I’d drop it into my blog, as colleagues that I’d mentioned it to were impressed by David Skok’s clear presentation on how to “Build a Sales & Marketing Machine”.

The simple and easy to follow logic still applies to current day thinking, and even if you take just some of the more relevant processes in the sales funnel and utilise them in your campaign, you will can be more productive and “leaner” in your lead generation.

The presentation describes how to build this Sales & Marketing Machine, and optimize the sales and marketing funnel.

 

Source: http://www.slideshare.net/DavidSkok/build-a-sales-marketing-machine

 

Aug 132012
 
 August 13, 2012
Mobile Coupons and Geo-location merged…

When Foursquare started attracting press coverage around 2009, their co-founder Dennis Crowley confessed his dream was to one day know users well enough to target smart coupons on the fly.

He wanted to send push notifications that essentially said, “We know you like pizza, and it’s supper time right now, so your nearest pizza place is 100m away, and they have a special on today!”

That day has finally come. With 1.5 billion check-ins, 750 thousand merchants, 20 million users and millions of geo-tagged tips, Foursquare now has the ability to deliver hyper-relevant coupons to its users.

LevelUp and other mobile services are digifying the in-person coupon space as well.   Expect this field to mature rapidly now that geodata infrastructure is in place and nearly half of all mobile phones are smartphones.

Social Media Discounts on the fly…

Handing a coupon to the waiter after a meal can be embarrassing for customers and time-consuming for employees.  American Express has figured out how to bypass both challenges using social media.

The credit card company recently launched Twitter and Foursquare integrations that allow cardholders to sync their plastic with a social account, then take advantage of in-store coupons with no more effort than a tweet or check-in.

For example, many Foursquare locations have “$5 Off” AmEx specials.  If a user checks into a location with the special and uses an AmEx card, the store’s credit card machine pings AmEx, which verifies check-in with Foursquare and then credits $5 to the user’s card.

http://mashable.com/2012/04/19/hot-media-trends

Aug 052012
 
 August 5, 2012

The Olympics are in full swing now in London. They are taking over fashion, the TV, and of course social media.

(For Olympics 2012 read #LondonGames or the #summergames or #London2012)

However there are significant restrictions re. Social Media for the participants (Olympians), and authorities have not made it so simple for everyone involved to be sharing everything…

Restrictions on audience includes that social posts must be in “a first-person, diary-type format,” and video from the event is not to be shared at all.

Olympians restrictions: Lets just say the Olympians are not taking it well that their usual rights to social media have been restricted by the IOC.  They can’t upload video, but can upload photos.  They can’t talk about their sponsors, but can talk about basic items of the day.  Twitter, an instrument that allows people a larger voice, has become an instrument against the IOC rather than in tune with it lately.

Unlike the restrictions on participants and the audience, the Olympic hub and many other social media outlets allow Olympics fans to keep up with all the happenings via their mobile and/or computer. Why do you need your TV when you have the Olympics at the palm of your hands? Especially with the recording delay on TV?

Can we say this is all a little contradictory to how social media strategy is normally implemented and works?  Definitely.

As Mashable stated, these social media guidelines for Olympians and the audience “are in stark contrast to the robust social and digital strategy the IOC rolled out to build its brand.”

If you made it all the way to London for the Olympics, wouldn’t you want to tweet, share, videotape, and more?  Definitely.

http://www.vocus.com/blog/three-brand-and-social-media-lessons-from-the-olympics

http://mashable.com/2012/07/25/follow-olympics-online/#view_as_one_page-gallery_box6655

http://hub.olympic.org

http://www.bitrebels.com/social/olympics-and-social-media

http://www.socialnomics.net/2012/08/03/the-olympics-on-social-media

Jul 302012
 
 July 30, 2012

Very interesting article from Eric Ries, where he  discusses Lean StartUp with past winners of the “Shopify Build-A-Business”…

Eric, who is the leading proponent of Lean StartUp recently teamed up with Tim Ferriss, Daymond John, and Tina Roth Eisenberg to help you launch a business from scratch.  It’s called the Shopify 2012 Build-A-Business Competition and it launched July 10.

Remember, DOING > TALKING.  So if you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship, but are stuck on the fence, let this be an excuse to get started.

Here is the 2011 winner “Coffee Joulies

1. How to keep the first product minimal:
I think Coffee Joulies actually exists because we decided to keep the first product as minimal as we could. Dave and I had both tried to start other companies in the past that had a thesis, but did not provide concrete assumptions and lacked the discipline to identify and test them effectively. I was working in manufacturing studying lean principals on the factory floor when I came up with the idea for Coffee Joulies and asked Dave if he would help me. There were two things that made this idea different. The first is that it was ‘the simplest idea I had ever had,’ a Joulie has only two parts and no moving parts, and the science behind it was so simple I knew it would work. The second is that we strictly enforced a framework that we called ‘Original Vision’ early on. Basically it said that we had this idea that we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that we could achieve (make some coffee joulies) and that even though we might come up with some additional good ideas along the way while trying to make them a reality, we were going to focus all of our efforts just to get some Coffee Joulies made and into the hands of customers as fast as possible. It’s only the customers opinion that matters, not the opinions of all of your friends who you talk to about your idea. Not even your own additional ideas you come up with along the way are necessarily better. It took months before we could test our original assumption; that people would like a little metal coffee bean filled with phase change material. The reason we were able to make some Joulies on such a small budget and relatively quickly is because we had this framework that allowed us to focus and spend our time only doing things that moved us towards testing that idea. Looking back none of the effort we put into Joulies early on turned out to be wasted.

I compared it to taking a long hike. We knew just where we were going, and that we could easily get there. There were a lot of steps we needed to take along the way. Each step is easy and must take them one at a time, adjusting your balance and foot placement each second. You can’t skip ahead and you cant plan more than a few steps in advance, but you still know that by the end of the day, you will reach the summit. Hiking is a piece of cake and its always fun. Very similar analogy to Eric’s ‘driving the car’ from his book.

2. Things that wasted time that seemed necessary at the time:
After we had successfully funded our business on Kickstarter, we had proof that people liked the idea of Coffee Joulies. It was also no longer a hobby, it was all of a sudden much more serious and important, and became both of our full time jobs. The opportunity to waste time and money was way bigger than it was before. We were still very careful to take small incremental steps in order to fulfill our Kickstarter orders. It was obvious that we had to test and iterate on our manufacturing process in the absolute smallest batches, as fast as possible. This helped us get a great and robust manufacturing method figured out relatively quickly, without spending large sums to learn the same lessons using large batches. One thing that we did waste some time on was all of these little details that exist when starting your own business that have these old and ridiculously wasteful methods built up around them. Now we just know how to avoid these. In retrospect it obvious that we can simply look at something and think ‘is this a batch for no reason?’ and ‘is this the fastest, closed feedback loop to test this assumption’ but early on it was not so clear.

I’ll give two examples. First: product packaging. Packaging salesman would come into our office and take up tons of our time. We would go through weeks of ‘iteration’ on samples so that we could get a quote at the end of it all that was too expensive and had huge minimum order quantities (batches) and long lead times. Working with a great and creative packaging salesman is fun, and can feel great. At the end of the day you’re making a cardboard box. Now we get all of our packaging from ULINE which ships next day, has tiny minimums and we print stickers that we design ourselves and can change in one day. The idea of working with someone else to do a simple task like make a box that literally takes weeks to do, and at the end gives you the privilege of ordering in huge batches with long lead times is just crazy. We are still coming up with ways to improve our packaging that can keep the process lean but make an even better finished product. Meanwhile we’ve already shipped 20,000 little MVP ULINE boxes to our customers.

Second: Web design. Dave and I are both mechanical engineers. We’re not web designers and we don’t know much about hosting a robust website. Since we had all the kickstarter cash in the bank we hired a designer and a developer to make us a good looking Shopify template. Same kind of thing happened with the packaging, a couple weeks turned into a couple months of development. When we finished with Kickstarter orders and decided that the Shopify store HAD to be opened and taking orders for the holidays, the designs were still not done and the store was inoperable. We launched with a bone stock template that Shopify provided instead. Real MVP. The next week we had done tens of thousands of dollars in sales through that template, and not a peep from our customers that it ‘looked bad.’ We ended up going right through the holiday season and then some, over $300k on that bone stock template. Now if there is ever a choice between a minimal SaaS product and a more custom and powerful solution that requires working with designers or salesman to use, we always pick the off the shelf option to try first. It can feel counter-intuitive but I think people have a tendency to undervalue their own time and the cycle times of installing new parts into their start up.

3. How did things change along the way?
We actually lucked out. The general concept of Coffee Joulies is written down in a gchat in June 2010, almost exactly as it exists today. When we were able to test the assumption, ‘do people want/like using this?’ We heard a resounding ‘yes.’ There were a couple of instances along the way where we had to alter the idea in the absolute minimum way possible because our original idea was putting up unnecessary road blocks. For instance, the original idea was for the material to be copper, and be gold plated. We switched to stainless steel because a factory, and a manufacturing method fell into our lap to make stainless steel parts. The impact it had on the product was immediately measurable and good: it looked better and it was way less expensive.

2010 Winners: DODOcase

1. How to keep the first product minimal:
Focus, focus, focus! One of the best pieces of advice we received during our first months in business was to make a list of the 10 most important things we wanted to achieve in the first year, then tear off 70% of the list and focus doing the remaining 3 things exceptionally well. We applied this philosophy DODOcase and for the first 5 months of business we focused on product simplicity by offering only one color (black/red http://www.dodocase.com/products/dodo-classic), as well as focusing local scalable manufacturing and building the story and the brand. This allowed us to simplify our production efforts and focus on telling the story that makes our product so special. This ‘less is more’ approach allowed our eventual introduction of individual specialty cases followed by full collections to be all the more powerful.

2. Things that wasted time that seemed necessary at the time:
At DODOcase we made the unique decision to manufacture locally in San Francisco and originally thought we’d handle everything pertaining to the business in-house.  We quickly realized we had our hands full just managing production of the physical product, so we immediately identified and outsourced ‘non- essential’ components of our business to local partners. We found accounting and fulfillment resources that could integrate closely into our business while operating outside our day-to-day infrastructure. We stayed laser focused on building our product offerings and overall brand while leaving the less critical functions to trusted partners. This proved to be the smarter approach overall and to this day we operate in this model.

3. How did things change along the way?
We have not pivoted from our original vision of protecting bookbinding from extinction.  Our product and manufacturing techniques have evolved over the last two years to include an in-house bookbindery and wood shop operation, but the basic premise of the product and promise of the brand remains the same.

 
And, last, here are a few thoughts from me about the contest:
 

Jul 252012
 
 July 25, 2012

Days after Gabrielle Dlaougs, the American gymnast, made the US Olympic team, the 16 year old posted to Twitter a picture of flowers, cake and a giant plastic tub filled with paper towels, soap, deodorant and mouthwash.

The package was a congratulatory gift from her new sponsor Procter & Gamble, the consumer packaged goods company.div
“I love all of my goodies thank you so much for everything!” she tweeted to her 29,000 followers.

The message represents a new wave of athletic endorsements, where a star’s presence on Twitter, Facebook and the like factors into which athletes marketers choose to sponsor. Those endorsement contracts often require that athletes share messages, photos and videos about the brand with their social media fans.

Several of those relationships are taking centre stage during the 2012 London Olympics. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt recently posted a photo of a refrigerator filled with Gatorade sports drink to his 620,000 Twitter followers. Michael Phelps, the American swimmer, mentions Visa, Head & Shoulders shampoo, and Hilton Hotels amid the training updates he shares with his 5.4m Facebook fans.

“It is an absolute phenomenon,” said Lowell Taub, the global head of sports endorsements at Creative Artists Agency talent agency who is representing several athletes competing in this year’s games.

“With almost every single deal that my group puts together, sponsors ask, ‘Can you tell me about the athlete’s social media footprint, how many Twitter followers do they have? How many Facebook fans? Will they do some tweets for the campaign?”

The online sponsorship battle is just one reason some people are dubbing the London Olympics the Social Media Games.

For more please see the original article from the Financial Times here.

Jul 202012
 
 July 20, 2012

A new Irish start-up based in the Digital Hub, Dublin, is attempting to make gathering and viewing data from a website’s online performance a lot easier.

“Bring together all your digital & social media marketing data into one dashboard and learn from customised action plans and recommendations designed to improve your performance”

New Social Media Analytics tool BOSS Metrics has received positive media coverage over the past few weeks with various articles being written about it.

 

 

By using the BOSS Metrics application, you will be able to bring together all your digital & social media marketing data into one dashboard and learn from customised action plans and recommendations designed to improve your performance.