Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Are Brands Wasting Money on Facebook and Twitter?

Are Brands Wasting Money on Facebook and Twitter?
Following announcements from Facebook that they are going to limit overly promotional posts on newsfeeds, a report from Forrester says that brands might be wasting their time and money on networks like Facebook and Twitter. Analyst Nate Elliot, says that these changes make it even less likely that brands posts will be seen by their fans and that, in effect, the network will become full of display advertising.
For Forrester, brands will be better served if they stop making Facebook the centre of their marketing activity and instead focus on more niche networks and on using social tools on their own sites.
There is little new in this advice – Facebook is (and has always been) a difficult place for many brands to get right. Brands have invested considerable amounts of time and money on building audiences, but have not always focused on how or why they might have a sustainable relationship with this audience on this channel rather than any other. This behaviour leads to a situation where some brands spend even more time and money crafting the ‘perfect’ post – typically one that performs well against Facebook’s own metrics.

But in none of this are we really thinking about the audience, or the story, or questioning exactly what role a channel like Facebook or Twitter can play in the relationship between a brand and an audience. We’re just playing the game that Facebook has made for us – attracting audiences, writing posts, and using their analytics to measure success. It is only when the rules of these games change that brands step back and question why they are playing in the first place.
Facebook and Twitter are hard for brands to get right. They are not always the right channel. And rather than putting considerable time, effort and money into trying to make them work, brands should go back to basics. Think what we want to communicate, and to whom, and then to use the right channels for the right purpose. Sometimes this will involve channels like Facebook and Twitter, other times it won’t. But rather than blindly trying to make these channels work with endless streams of content, brands should let the message and the story guide what channels are used.
It’s not that this kind of thinking is new or different. But too often networks like Facebook and Twitter drive unusual behaviour in brands and the agencies they hire. Of course they have a role to play in the comms mix, and of course brands shouldn’t abandon them. But they probably are wasting money – trying to make Facebook and Twitter work for them, when other channels would be much better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Social Media Commerce Tools Will Have Bigger Role in 2015

The primary attraction for businesses using social media has traditionally been the ability to organically grow their audience and raise brand awareness on the platforms. However, with Facebook’s blunt announcement that organic reach is on the decline, if brands want to be visible on user newsfeeds, they will now have to pay to be seen. Businesses are faced with the reality that dominant social media platforms have become oversaturated with content from businesses of all sizes, with brands generating content faster than users can consume them.
New Social Media Commerce Tools Will Have Bigger Role in 2015With the increase in sponsored posts and paid ads on Twitter, brands are now also competing with news companies for visibility. This is not particularly surprising coming from Twitter, a company that wants to redefine itself as an alternative news platform, with their combination of personal communication and real- time newsfeed a remarkably useful tool for those working in the media and entertainment industry.
In response, Facebook and Twitter have both announced the arrival of new commerce tools, designed to give businesses a ‘call to action’ option that will help to drive sales through social media. Twitter has also moved to give businesses more flexibility when paying for advertising, and according to’s Jayson DeMers:
“These objective-based campaigns, which are still currently in beta, will offer more flexibility including tweet engagements, website clicks or conversions, app installs, new followers and leads. These campaigns will be particularly appealing to small business owners who want to pay for results, not just for brand visibility.”
It is early days yet, and businesses are sure to be testing this option out this holiday season, however it also represents a shift in how businesses may now view the role of social media in their marketing/PR strategies.There is a new focus on social marketing, with marketers using social media to drive “sales over status updates and commerce over engagement.”
The average holiday consumer is now more likely to go to social media for information that will influence their purchasing decision, and Facebook and Twitter’s new ‘buy’ buttons would help facilitate smooth online transactions. If Facebook and Twitter’s new commerce capabilities prove to be useful for marketers, this may help to counteract the growing difficulty of organic reach experienced by businesses this year.

Friday, November 21, 2014

4 Ways Facebook Remarketing Will Improve Your ROI

What Is Remarketing?

Remarketing is a tactic that lets you advertise to people who have visited your website and shown interest in your product or service. The way it works is relatively straightforward: Visitors come to your website, you segment your website visitors and create custom ads and then show those ads to those website visitors via Facebook.
improve roi with facebook remarketing
Learn how using Facebook remarketing will improve your ROI.
Generally, remarketing on Facebook helps boost conversions and lowers the overall cost per customer acquisition.
However, the biggest advantage of remarketing is that you’re only showing your ad to people who are genuinely interested in your product. You can remarket to people who have visited your website, but haven’t purchased yet; customers who have completed a sale; and people who may not know about your product, but are likely to be interested in it.
expedia facebook ad
Brands use remarketing to target website visitors on Facebook.
For remarketing to work, you have to do your best to determine which users visited your website organically or via paid search traffic, and then find them on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t worry—it’s easier than you think!
Read on to find out more about the advantages of Facebook remarketing and how it can help your business.

#1: Lower Cost per Click

Remarketing on Facebook usually has a lower cost per click when compared to remarketing on search engines. The reason for the lower cost is that Facebook traffic is supposed to be less targeted than search engine traffic.
On search engines, users are looking for a given product or service, and therefore they are asking for your service (pull marketing). On social media, you are exposing users to an ad while they are doing something else, and therefore they might not be as likely to convert (push marketing).
The result is that Facebook ads have a lower price point than search engine ads, because technically, Facebook users aren’t looking for your product or service right now.
granular custom audience creation in facebook
Create a custom audience with a combination of attributes.
But as you probably know, targeting via Facebook can be as granular as you like. Use that to your advantage. A hyper-targeted audience guarantees cheaper traffic from the audience you’re after—in this case, users who have visited your website, but have not converted yet.
The way to convert the audience you’re remarketing to is to have consistent, quality marketing. Customize your message in a way that includes relevant and additional information to what customers already know about your product from visiting your site.
Not only does targeted Facebook remarketing give you more bang for your buck, but you can also expect to see a higher click-through rate than other general Facebook campaigns, lower cost per acquisition than first-time visitor conversion cost and higher engagement.

#2: Drive Higher Conversions

Converting first-time visitors into buyers takes time. If your industry is competitive, people are more likely to browse multiple sites before completing a purchase.
In most cases, people visit your site, and then click away so they can compare your prices with someone else’s. When they’ve gone, some visitors may forget your name and you end up losing a sale because they can’t find their way back to your site. Or maybe they missed that one selling point that could have made the difference.
custom audience creation in facebook
Create a custom audience to target website visitors who didn’t convert.
Remarketing to your website visitors who didn’t convert works to remedy those situations. When those visitors see your ad on another site (e.g., Facebook), you become more recognizable and that boosts your chances of completing the purchase cycle.

#3: Capitalize on Social Proof
You can exclude users who have completed a sale by simply creating a custom remarketing segment for people who have visited your thank-you page, and then preventing them from seeing your campaign.
You don’t have to limit your remarketing to potential customers. Showing ads to a wider audience—like those who have already bought from you—allows current customers to interact with potential ones. Happy customers often share positive comments and engage with your content.
target ll bean ad with social proof comments
When current customers comment on and share your ad, it’s more appealing to new customers.
When a potential customer sees those comments via remarketing, he’s likely to have a more positive impression of your brand and that can maximize your chances of conversion.
That connection also increases brand loyalty—and loyal customers are worth more than new customers, because they’ll continue to buy from you at no additional (or at least minimal) cost per acquisition.
Speaking of loyalty, when you extend your audience to include current customers, upselling is much easier, more social and more engaging. When customers see your familiar company on Facebook and Twitter, the chances you’llgenerate engagement and additional conversions are much higher.

#4: Expand Market Reach

I’ve talked about remarketing to potential and existing customers, but you can also broaden your remarketing audience to those who share characteristics with those groups.
You can do that by using an offsite pixel to create a custom audience in your Facebook Ads Manager that includes people who have visited a particular page on your website. As discussed, those lists can include potential and existing customers.
lookalike audience creation in facebook
Create a lookalike audience to broaden your reach.
You can leverage those lists to create a lookalike audience. The advantage of using lookalike audiences is that you’ll reach relevant potential customers you were missing out on, and who are also likely to be interested in your product or service and ultimately convert.
Leveraging the Facebook data and tools available to you, you can remarket precisely to the audience you need to reach—potential customers, existing customers and even people who have never heard of you. And since there is no minimum investment, it fits easily within all budgets.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Digital in Retail: What Does It Take to Get It Right?

Digital in Retail: What Does It Take to Get It Right?
Most serious retailers are now looking deeply at ways to go “digitail” - i.e., exploit digital in retail. In other words, they are looking for ways to use and manage digital tools, devices and platforms in the retail space for good business effect. To the surprise of many companies, the transformation required for digitail is not anecdotal. Digital is a strategic consideration because it involves three vital components of brand building:
  1. Communications. Digital now plays an integral role in communicating with the customer and building a relationship. After all, relationships are based on communication.
  2. Data. Call it big, small or intelligent data, but brands who understand their customer base and have earned the trust to gain the customer’s data, have a significant foot up.
  3. Loyalty. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is fundamentally about creating loyalty. However, a loyalty programme without the purchase information is nothing. Digital is creating many new ways to establish a relationship, to foster trust and to collect payment.
But, where to start? And what skillsets are needed to implement “digitail” (digital in retail) effectively?

Start with the objectives in mind

There are many digital options for a retailer to consider. And, the challenge is far from a technical challenge only. The process requires marrying the business objectives and business model (ROI) with the human interactions (store personnel and customers), and finding a technological solution to satisfy these criteria.
Digitail Design - myndset digital strategy
Once you have established clear objectives for the digitail initiative, there are three important ingredients that a MARKETER should bring to the table in crafting a digitail strategy.
  1. First, make sure the right team is in place. Having the right technical partner and/or agency will be fundamental. This means synchronizing, in particular, with the store staff, IT and customer service. Providing the right support and training for the instore staff is also essential.
  2. Secondly, the C-suite and brand MARKETER must have an obsession with the customer experience. What is the customer journey? Is the UX well done? What role should the store staff have? How will the experience be evaluated and measured? For this, it would be highly recommendable for the person(s) responsible for the project to spend a considerable amount of time observing customers and staff in the store. Importantly, is there data to support any insights?
  3. Thirdly, it is important to consider the duration of the program. Not all initiatives need to be long-term. However, it is vital to consider in advance the end game and/or next steps, according the initiative at hand. This means budgeting the necessary resources for v2, the next generation or the next promotion, etc. The more forward thinking can be done, the more chances the (bespoke) technology will be appropriately scaled to cater to new programs down the road.

Contingency planning is essential

Also, since the technology is typically new, it is essential to have a back-up plan for when (not if) it bugs. Bottom line, a MARKETER who is intent to use digital in retail must have a test-measure-learn-and-iterate approach, just as in the development of a website or an app.

Control your destiny

Meanwhile, there is another great challenge for brands when they are exploring the use of digital in retail: the wholesaler or distributor. These partners — feet on the street — hold the reins in front of the customer (relationship, data and loyalty). To the extent that digital opens up new avenues and options, the wholesaler is a key link in the chain. However, in part due to burgeoning mistrust between wholesalers and brands as well as insufficient synergies for effective brand building, brands and their distributors are often at odds with one another. With the arrival of digital, the opportunity (need?) for brands to control their destiny has become strategic. Apple has made a well-known business case out of its approach. Many brands, in different areas, have been exploring this avenue: owning their own distribution up and down the channel. Here are a few examples (albeit not involving digital per se):
  • Loreal outlet digital in retail - the myndset digital strategy
    Nike in India has asked the government to open its own stores (India softened its laws to allow foreign enterprises to have 100% owned subsidiaries)
  • Adidas in Russia decided to distribute only through its own stores (1,100 or so, at last count) — although economic uncertainty and weakness in the Rouble has clouded this program’s future. (Yahoo News)
  • L’Oreal, in France (Roubaix and Troyes), will be opening ‘outlet’ stores to sell through product that is no longer available through the classic distribution channels (LSA News — en français).
When you own your distribution, implementing digitail initiatives removes one potential thorn. However, it certainly does not guarantee success if the organization behind it is not galvanized around customer centricity, understand the omnicanality of the customer experience nor the need for motivated and well-trained employees to activate the instore initiatives. Digitail is just another part of the retail experience.
Three things to bear in mind in promoting the digitail agenda:
  1. retail is detail
  2. do not forget the human interface
  3. and a robust wifi is no longer optional. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to Improve Your Brand Impact Through Color

How to Improve Your Brand Impact Through Color
Want to make your product or service really stand out from the competition? Looking to increase your sales? Chances are you need to review your colour palette.
Our minds instinctively respond to colour. Have you noticed how the bright blues and greens of spring have a more positive psychological effect on us than the bleak grey tones of winter? We also automatically associate different colours with particular circumstances. For instance, red with danger and heat, blue with cold and calmness, and so on. As well as influencing our mood, colour has the power to impact our purchasing decisions, with many of the major brands using it to evoke very specific emotions.

How you can use colour to improve your marketing

o   Brand recognition

Studies have revealed our brains prefer recognisable brands, which is why colour is key when creating your brand identity.
Colour increases brand recognition by up to 80% (University of Loyola). For example, Apple introduced colour to unchartered territory. By introducing its colourful, eye-catching range of iMacs, Apple was the first to say ‘it doesn’t have to be beige’ and reinvigorated its brand (it’s since brought us iPods and the iPhone 5c in a range of colours).

o   Standing out from competitors

Many organisations specifically focus on logo colours to ensure they stand out from the competition. For instance, if your competitors use blue, then you can improve your chances of standing out from them by using purple instead.

o   Target audience

If you’re targeting women, then research has revealed they prefer purples and greens, while blues, greens and black are most preferred by men.

How to choose your colour palette

Before you start selecting or rethinking your brand colours, think about these useful common colour characteristics:
  • Highly versatile colour
  • Can be modern or traditional
  • Often used for luxury products
  • Used by the likes of: Chanel, Nike, Mercedes-Benz
  • Is the colour of power
  • Grabs people’s attention
  • The most effective colour used by marketers to attract consumers’ attention
  • Symbolises good luck in Asia, which is why it’s one of the prominent colours in Japan Airlines’ logo
  • Used by the likes of: Virgin, Christian Louboutin, Coca Cola
  • Is the easiest colour for eyes to process
  • Warm and inviting
  • Represents environment, health and good will
  • Used by the likes of: Starbucks, BP, Land Rover
  • Viewed as a professional colour
  • Can have a calming effect
  • Creates the impression of trust and security
  • Often associated with corporate companies
  • Used by the likes of: Twitter, Samsung, PayPal, Barclays
  • Has the same power as red in capturing people’s attention
  • Conveys confidence, happiness and optimism
  • Often used to attract window shoppers
  • Used by the likes of: McDonald’s, Nikon, Kodak, DHL
Branding and colour are inextricably linked. Once you know the emotions you want to inspire in your target audience, then you can select the colours that will enable you to achieve this.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

SEO Is Dead! Long Live USEO!

SEO Is Dead! Long Live USEO!
Ever since we started in the internet marketing game, we’ve heard warnings about the death of SEO. And frankly, we’ve always hoped that these warnings would come true.Wait what? Why would an online marketing company want SEO to go away? Read on and we’ll explain the method to our madness.

The “Death” of SEO

You could read dozens and dozens of articles dating back almost a decade claiming that SEO is just about on its last breath. But we’ll spare you the boredom. The point every one of these articles makes is the same: Google doesn’t need your help anymore to optimize sites, they can figure out how good your site is all by themselves, thank you very much.
And actually, this is pretty darn accurate circa 2014. Google is damn good now about interpreting what you really want when you type a query into its search engine, and it’s getting better every day. If you search “bike shop,” chances are very good that you are going to get listings of bike shops near you, along with hours, customer ratings, and other info. This means that if you run a bike shop in Seattle, you don’t need to stuff your site with artificial and dumb-sounding keywords like “bicycle bike store Seattle WA” so that Google knows what you are about.

The Birth of Something New

So if the Goog doesn’t need all of these marketing geniuses helping it to figure out what a page is about, it sounds like game over for the online marketing biz. But actually, not so much. Thankfully, all the “marketers” that were really only hawking backlinks or working on other tricks to game the search engines are indeed a dying breed.
But there’s still a lot of marketing you need to do on the web to grow your business, even if SEO is dead as a doornail. Just keeping the focus on your website, you very likely need a more advanced marketing service that we like to call USEO.

What Is USEO?

USEO is the next wave of marketing help for your website. We came up with the term USEO, figuring that if we’re going to keep throwing around acronyms, why don’t we stick with something pretty close to what we already know? Here’s what we’re talking about:
  • OLD: SEO – Search Engine Optimization
  • NEW: USEO – User Site Experience Optimization
What we love about USEO is that we aren’t focusing on what some algorithm thinks about the text or layout of your site – we’re focusing on the actual users.

Some Elements of USEO

Here are just a few of the factors we consider when evaluating USEO:
  • Easy to use navigation
  • Intuitive layouts (akin to what car designers call ergonomics)
  • Engaging interactivity
  • Unique, sharable content
  • Captivating messaging
  • Clear paths toward information, resources and products
  • Social proof

Measuring USEO Success

USEO is all about creating a positive feedback loop for your online marketing. Build a great site that people love to use. Google sees this and sends more people your way. Those people have a good experience, Google finds out through site metrics, social shares, reviews and more, and the cycle builds upon itself.
Not surprisingly, a key metric for USEO is visitation. If you are offering a good user experience, we expect to see Google reward you with more traffic. But that just scratches the surface. We also want to look at metrics such as your conversion ratio (a higher ratio indicates that you’ve built more trust with more users), top landing pages (which represent the key first impression of your business among users and need to be a showcase) and even user experience surveys (such as group-based usability testing or eye tracking studies).

Burying the Dead

So we’re glad to see that SEO is on the decline for realsies this time. And we’re excited to help our clients in the ongoing transition toward making the most of the user experience on their sites. After all, your business still runs on serving people, not robots.

Monday, November 17, 2014

5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2015

5 Digital Marketing Trends for 2015
I know, it’s always a tricky thing to (try to) predict the future but it’s also a fun exercise. It’s a sound way to reflect about the past year and seeing bits and pieces that amount to, sometimes, an upcoming trend. With the social and mobile web and its fast evolution and adoption rates worldwide, digital marketing is indeed under transformation and the earlier we see and embrace emerging trends, the better off brands will be in seizing the moment and gaining a potential competitive edge.
With this preamble in mind, here are the five trends I foresee for 2015 in the digital marketing world.

1. Google+ dies and goes to Heaven

RIP Google AuthorshipSome of you may actually say 2014 was the year that Google+ went under, but truth be told, I am not even sure there ever was a time when Google+ was the “cool kid” of the social media landscape. When it launched in 2011, and folks had to be invited to try it out (sounds familiar? Pinterest, Ello and many others have used that technique as well…), there was a real buzz around Google’s social platform, even though Google itself kept saying it wasn’t a social media, but rather a social layer to Google.
During the past few months, Google backtracked on its Authorship functionality, and no longer requires (or forces) users to create Google+ account when using YouTube, Gmail or other Google tools. Even one of its best functionality, Hangout, is now a stand-alone application that can be used outside of Google+. So is Google+ officially dead, then? Not yet, and I am not sure Google will kill it off like it did with Wave and many others, but for brands prioritizing their social media accounts and strategies, given there is very little usage and interaction on Google+ (save a few notable exceptions) I would think many will think it over and may pull the plug altogether.

2. Mobile payment goes mainstream

Mobile payment with Google Wallet
Mobile payment with Google Wallet
Nobody can deny the meteoric rise and penetration rates of smartphones on a global scale. In travel & hospitality, we have been seeing both mobile search and revenues increasing to double-digits percentages of online travel in general. But to what extent do we use our mobile devices to actually pay for products and services? Google Wallet has been around for a while, and there are some great examples of brands, such as Starbucks cafés, that are at the forefront of mobile payment with in-store capabilities and loyalty programs making transactions frictionless.
Yet, mainstream uptake has been slow for various reasons, from various technologies (NFC, QR codes, Square, etc.) to privacy concerns. Many experts have been waiting to see if and when Apple would step to the plate, since its Passbook application seemed poised for mobile payment expansion.  Finally, this is now a reality with the new iPhone 6 and the Apple Pay ecosystem. Considering Apple’s influence and its avid fanbase worldwide, we can expect some interesting developments in 2015.

3. Smartwatches

While I remain skeptical about the “internet of things” and wearable technologies in general – how are those Google Glasses coming along, anyway? I do believe 2015 may sound the beginning of a new era with smart watches, here again following in the footsteps of Apple’s new watch, due to hit markets in January.
Various smart watches available for purchase on the web
Various smart watches available for purchase on the web
If smart watches indeed make it into prime time, we can expect marketers from various industries to seize this opportunity to reach customers on the move, perhaps coming closer to that ever elusive goal of “reaching the right people, at the right time, in the right place”. It will be interesting to see how advertisers adapt as well to this new format, much smaller yet much intimate than any other device up until now.

4. Social Media Advertising

Up until now, social media marketing has been mostly about engaging with communities of fans and followers, except perhaps for Facebook which has developed a pretty sophisticated advertising tool, either through its native campaign tool or with Power Editor. Other social media are now being a lot more aggressive in appealing to advertisers, namely Twitter and Linkedin which have both developed more sophisticated advertising tools allowing savvy targeting and intricate performance measurement.
Promoted Posts coming to Pinterest
Advertising is coming to Instagram and Pinterest, not to mention Snapchat and, most likely in 2015, Whatsapp as well. By now, most brands understand that social media is no longer “a free ride” and that organizations must invest in some shape or form in order for their social media efforts to perform and complement their overall digital efforts. That’s not to say that all platforms will spin towards a “pay to play” approach as we’re witnessing with Facebook, but it will certainly mean that savvy marketers ought to plan accordingly with increased budgets for social media marketing and advertising in 2015.

5. Accessible Analytics

Last but not least, we’re seeing social media analytics finally becoming more accessible, and not just for advertisers. We have long been used to the depth of indicators provided by Google Analytics, and Facebook has been improving its Page insights over the past two years. Linkedin, Twitter and Pinterest are finally giving access to interesting indicators about a brand’s performance, even though breadth and depth varies from one platform to the next. Interested in Instagram analytics? That’s still unavailable, unless you go through a third-party application such as Iconosquare.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How Facebook Left the Business of Social Media

How Facebook Left the Business of Social Media
For the last 10 years, the topic of ROI in social media has sort of been a running gag. On one side, social media specialists were fighting for a deeper measurement equation (action A + action B do not necessarily drive to a result C, but to many other consequences). In a sense, they inherited the burden of what all advertisers had not been able to prove in a whole century: the impact of communications in general on sales.
On the other hand, direct marketers were sophisticatedly demonstrating why social media was at best a gimmick for cool kids, and at worst, a waste of time.

Simplifying social media measurement generates consensus, business… but it’s wrong.

Yes, social media specialists still have a problem explaining the tangible impact of actions to their clients. Even if facts-proven case studies can a posteriori demonstrate the usefulness of a good social media framework, there’s a problem to put a figure before the value chain and another figure at the end.
As marketing is integrating all specialties in a “digital first” model, it’s a Pandora box for simplistic models. Basically, before Facebook advertising, marketers had to split what they were doing in content strategy and what they were investing in media buy. Whereas now, things seem easier to explain: as media-buy and content to feed Facebook pages or Facebook ads are on the same equation, the justification to invest is obvious - you get what you invest.
A lot of stakeholders seem pleased; direct marketers own a tangible figure, media-buyers justify their salaries and social media specialists are finally busy working on other topics.
But this is just absurd and wrong.

Automation is killing real ROI.

As Dao Nguyen (Buzzfeed) recently explained:
"Every piece of content is judged by itself. Did it reach an audience? Were people interested in it? What was the best way of it getting there through sharing? So that's why we use social as a metric."
This very clear statement goes totally against the current market trend. As all measurement models should be tailor-made to what a brand has to say and to who it has to say it, there’s a tendency for homogeneity. Good sense would forbid brands to invest all their money in a one-stop social network shop. Yet, 92% of brand marketers plan to spend the majority of their social media marketing budget on Facebook during the holiday shopping season. 
At this game, if Facebook is a big winner, brands are the big losers.
The reason lies in the summary of a brilliant L2 report, comparing community size vs. engagement:
It’s a paradoxical fact: brands are going to invest massively in the platform where ROI might be the lowest ever in terms of engagement.

The Facebook long-term affair: time to think beyond immediate results.

Marketers have been discussing for the last couple of months about the end of “free” organic reach. Facebook created a system that Don Corleone would love: you make clients less numerous and you impose the business owners you racket to pay to get your clients back.
I haven’t met a client in the last six months who was happy with this matter; big Fortune 500 as well as small business owners. For the latters, the issue is so bad that they’re now going back to good old direct marketing, with a twist of in-store digital activation. Good news, but the change is a bit brutal for them. For big brands, millions are less of an issue as it’s now part of a balance between investing in display banners or Facebook reach. And unsurprisingly, Facebook is no longer in the business of social media, but in the industry of media.
The big issue might rise in the next 2 years - the goal is not to justify if buying Facebook is better than investing in banners or other media offers. The objective is to convert and generate sales. As salesmen are keener to understand “social”, they might quickly realize that if you don’t grab emails, mobile phones, digital identities beyond a Facebook avatar, the millions that have been invested are random. Have you recently visited Kit-Kat Facebook page? On a 23 million fan-base, there are only a few hundred likes here and there, despite a great attempt to go bold from a creative perspective. It’s not because what the brand does is bad - it’s actually very good.

Social Media Usage at World Travel Market 2014

Social Media Usage at World Travel Market 2014
Last week was the 35th annual World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry.
To mark the occasion, we looked at how the four-day event at ExCeL London played out on social media.
With more than 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international press in attendance, we analysed social media activity around the official #WTM14 hashtag on Twitter and Instagram from the 3-6 November.
The Umpf team created a daily social media report which looked at the previous day’s most influential contributors, hot topics, most shared tweets and images, as well as day-on-day trends (see more: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4).
Now that WTM has ended, we have produced an in-depth, 12-page report which looks at social media usage at the event in more detail.
The data tracking, research and analysis was managed byEllie Hallsworth and Matthew Balmforth. It was produced by Umpf in association with TTG, the UK’s leading media business for travel agents and the travel and tourism industry.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Importance of Consumer Insights in Today's Marketing Strategies

The Importance of Consumer Insights in Today's Marketing Strategies
It may sound funny to even ask this question, but how many businesses really understand their consumers when it comes to developing new products and services, or marketing those products to potential customers? This does not refer to just understanding consumers in the traditional sense of how a product appeals to a specific demographic group. It means really getting down to the nitty-gritty of understanding why consumers act a certain way, how they share information with each other, and what cultural influences are at work in shaping their perceptions and understandings.

This is one area in MARKETING that is grossly under-represented in contemporary academic and media discussions. Today's consumers have changed dramatically in how they choose to work with the companies and brands they patronize. They have different backgrounds and cultural foundations, receive and process information in new ways, and want to interact on a more personal level. Businesses and MARKETERS that do not search for consumer insights, or who fail to understand their anthropological backgrounds, will not be able to connect or engage with prospects and won't be able to motivate them to become customers.

The anthropological approach to marketing is all about understanding culture. Instead of trying to change behaviors, marketers can learn how to play into them and utilize them to their advantage. Since building a brand is based upon establishing an intellectual and emotional relationship, business planners, product developers and marketers must all take the cultural context into consideration. Culture is not just language, but a combination of historical, tribal and mythological characterizations. A greater understanding of cultural insights and anthropological factors increases the marketer's ability to motivate action and effect behavioral change.

The Forces Behind the Rise of Consumer Insights

As business has grown and evolved, marketers are all well aware that we can no longer try to give consumers "any color they want, so long as it's black," as Henry Ford was so fond of saying. Companies now realize that they need to offer a wide variety of products, services, colors and fashions to appeal to an ever-changing customer base. But why do some products fairly jump off the shelves while others languish in obscurity? Each company may assert that it has done in-depth market research, but have they truly looked for consumer insights which would make their product more desirable?
The make-up of the buying public has changed dramatically in the past decade or two. Consumers now represent a complex mixture of Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Gen Yers, all vying for the attention of corporate planners. Each group has its own specific needs, wants and desires. Without gaining insights into these groups, businesses will never be able to develop products they want, or to promote them in a way that gains attention. Even within these groups, there can be a wide diversity of characteristics. A Baby Boomer who is just approaching retirement has an entirely different mindset than someone who has already been living in Florida for ten years.

Businesses need to culturally understand why each group is different. What was going on as each generation was growing up? What shaped their values and morals? How do they interact with each other and corporations? While an older generation might have been more open to accepting Ford's brusque evaluation, younger consumers will certainly not consent to any such arrangement.

Added to the complex demographic puzzle is the new global economy where consumers can virtually come from any part of the world that has an Internet connection. This will take a massive understanding into the consumer insights that shape buying patterns in various countries. While American consumers might value certain traits, Europeans may have different needs and desires. Even Europe can't be looked at as one giant market; anthropologists will be needed to study the differences from country to country, and even within the various regions of each country. Businesses need to understand how each population relates to the products and services it uses before marketing plans can be set in place.

All of this must also be accomplished in the blink of a virtual eye because the social media universe has made the consumer response swift and unrelenting. Products or services that are brought to MARKET without delving into the reasons why consumers might want them are quickly and unceremoniously laughed off the internet shelf. Social media influencers and advocates can quickly build up a product they like to their circle of influence, or just as easily tear it down.

Consumer-centric MARKETING is more than just a buzzword. The world has changed dramatically, and continues to evolve rapidly. What appeals to customers one day may not work the next. Businesses need to wake up to this fact and improve their insights into consumer behavior.

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to Create Awesome Infographics Without Being a Designer

How to Create Awesome Infographics Without Being a Designer
If you’re anything like me, you learned how to use programs like Photoshop and Gimp out of necessity to do minor changes to photos. You might have even dabbled in some easier graphic design projects for your own website, but it takes you hours to get the image or the design looking just right and you’re left exhausted. You might even spend time looking up tutorials on how to achieve a certain effect and still have trouble re-creating it.
In short, while you do know your way around the programs like Photoshop to a certain extent, it takes you forever and there’s absolutely no way you’d call yourself a graphic designer. But then, you’re surfing around the web and you noticed some really cool infographics on things like fashion, music and food and you can’t help but wish that you could create something like that; even if it’d take you a week.
Well, I’m here to tell you that it’s definitely possible to create some awesome infographics in any category that you choose, EVEN if you’re not a designer. In this blog post, I’m going to introduce you to three awesome tools to create the best infographics, tell you how to use them AND how you can share your infographics in different channels all over the web. So, let’s get started!

First of all, I love the name of this tool, it’s a great play on words using easel (as in drawing pad) to play on easily’.

Launched two years ago in 2012, has hundreds of awesome infographic templates and design objects that even the most design novice can customize and share online. You can drag and drop design elements however you see fit or even upload your own background image from scratch as a template. The best part? is free! is super popular with students, teachers and business owners who need to put together lesson plans or concepts in easy-to-follow visual forms. In fact, received the 2013 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Award from the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

So how does it work? Simply go to and click on ‘Create an Infographic’. Once you land on the page, you can pick a blank template or one of the other several hundred and get started!

Choose a category to find the best template that you want and then work your magic, dragging and dropping different backgrounds, themes, shapes, objects and putting in text. Then you can save it and share it through a browser link, a web link you can embed into your blog and share it via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

In terms of going the extra mile in sharing your awesome infographic via social, you could even try attracting new audiences on LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram and even using new tools like Glossi to create a new platform like an online magazine featuring cool infographics before sharing them. Creativity and a little out-of-the-box thinking can go a long way.

How to Describe Piktochart
Piktochart is another awesome online tool for creating cool infographics. It’s little more in-depth then in that it’s a software platform that allows you to embed videos, change the fonts, colours, add different line elements and even charts.

You can even import Google or Excel spreadsheets to create your own charts and customize the infographic by uploading your own images or using the more than 2000 high-res, print-ready graphics in the Piktochart library. Note: While you can change the colors of the icons and graphics from the Piktochart library, you can’t use the program to change the colors on your own images. You’d have to make the changes on an external program first
When it comes to sharing your Piktochart infographic, you can choose the size and the orientation, down to the paper size that you want to print it on. You can embed it in an email campaign and send it through your email campaign client such as MailChimp, MyEmma or Constant Contact and share it via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ just by uploading it to your status update.

You can even include it in online Flickr galleries and share it in your Google+ communities, LinkedIn groups and Google Hangouts to help MAKE ONLINE collaborations a little more creative and visually informative.

How ReciteThis is Different
OK, so up until this point, I’ve been sharing a couple of really cool infographic tools with you that help you make IMAGE-based infographics. So they’re all a little more visual. But, what if you want to create a cool infographic using quotes or proverbs?

That’s where ReciteThis comes in. You can turn a quote into a masterpiece simply by typing whatever quote or proverb into the text box, or choosing a quote from the ReciteThis database. Then you select a background from a slideshow at the bottom of the page and press ‘Create’.

Afterwards, you have the option of posting it to Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or StumbleUpon to share with friends, downloading it for printing purposes or to share with other platforms like LinkedIn or e-mailing it to anyone you want.
So now you know how to create some amazingly fun, creative and detailed infographics-even if you’re NOT a graphic designer! Keep it locked here for more great tips on content MARKETING new social marketing and online tools AND tricks on how to better reach your audiences.