Posts Tagged 'digital marketing'

Ashley Madison and the Case for In the Moment Marketing

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Sh*t is getting ready to hit the fan again. Just now on Twitter I was curious about the Ashley Madison scandal. So I did a trending hashtag search on the topic. I found it fascinating how it kind of exposed sunlight to the other side of or the ugly side of the web where people like to play, preferrably in the dark. Pun intended.

Think Bitcoins and Silk Road but in the name of cheating…

For those in the know, this is just another notch in the belt of just how “nonprivate” your privacy is and how your data is, for wont of a better analogy, nothing more than sargassum seaweed. It’s there, there’s a lot of it and it can be found by anyone virtually anywhere at any time.

Except this time, the hack is different because it involves sex and outing some people who might have preferred to have had their dark digital selves kept just that, in the dark. For the uninitiated, you’re thinking might be, Ashley Madison is a website for what? People who want to cheat? Seriously?

At which point, your initial reaction might be:

  • You mean there’s a website for something like that?
  • It’s user base is how many?
  • These people actually thought their data would be safe?

Yea, I’m with you on all accounts. That’s today’s web. There’s a tribe and a site for everyone. Those that play on this side of the tracks and yes those that prefer to play on the other side of the tracks. The digital underbelly.

Meanwhile, what struck me as interesting about all of this, was the usage of in the moment marketing. Particularly, it was a paid search placement on Twitter on behalf of crisis management.

See Below:

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So what was it? Smart marketing PR? Or a troll like activity? A good usage of social media monitoring your key words? Or is it digital ambulance chasing? I haven’t decided yet what it was. Maybe all of the above.

What’s the Sweet Spot for Content Marketing?

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It’s true, the internet has shortened our attention spans. We’d rather watch a video than have to read 400 words or more. As a digital marketer one of the great challenges is to figure out what your audience wants and then to package that into something that’s measurable and moves the needle.

It’s getting harder.

You’d think that with the advent of all the new data tools and analytics packages on the market, that we would know exactly what the customer wants. We don’t really. We have an idea but as the sophistication of our digital world becomes more personalized so does the demands and expectations of the consumers swimming in it.

What I do know is that the content marketing game is drastically shifting. We get our information from so many sources nowadays. It’s insane. Think about it though, each of those sources “needs” content as well as content creators. That content? It could be hit and miss.  We choose to consume it and marketers “hope” you consume it. The latter is a beast. Why? Because consumers are fickle. They’re bored and they have zero attention spans.

We’ve become dependent on digital to entertain us, inform us and babysit us.

Because our devices are always on. Our demand for content, our blood lust for digital content to consume, is all encompassing. Because of this, the challenge for the digital marketer is apparent. Whether the content is educational or is pushing a product or service, how it is created, packaged and pushed out, now matters more than ever. Marketers can’t rely on the “long form” writtern word anymore.

We don’t have time for it. You don’t have time for it.

I don’t see this changing any time soon.

Don’t Mistake Activity for Effectiveness in Social Media

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The world of the content marketer/social media marketer is changing. I had mentioned in a previous post how it resets every day. When it does reset, we no longer are responding to what our readers, followers and fan say as much as we’re responding to what the analytics tell us in regards to consumption habits and trends from the previous day. What that tells us and what a lot of old school social media marketers will tell you (old school being about eight years… ) is that the art of engagement has now become a science. The conversations, have been lost.

How do we get back to our roots, to that happy place, to that place where social is social again?

Mack Collier talked recently about how Twitter just isn’t the same anymore and blames it on a lack of conversation and in a recent New York Times piece on specializing to survive this quote jumped out at me:

“It’s becoming harder and harder to separate the wheat from the digital chaff. The problem with the Internet is anyone can post, so it’s hard to know whether you are looking at a fact or pseudofact, science or pseudoscience.”

Clearly, we are all suffering from a need for speed. A rush to crank the content out. We’re so enamored with the platforms that allow us to say something quickly, or publish or push out a piece of content in just 2-3 clicks, that we have lost our way. We have lost our ability to have conversations and in our desire to want conversations. In fact brands and the companies that monitor brands have even redefined engagement.  Just go look up the definition.

The definition of engagement is that … there is no definition!

We can fix this though. It’s simple and it’s in the title of this post. Don’t mistake your social media activity for social media effectiveness. Measure your effectivensss in connections made and conversations had and realtionships created; and not on the quantity of what your pushing out and the number of places that you’re pushing it out on. All that does is dilute the message.

The One Mistake Every Marketer Makes with Social Media Every Day

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I promise you that what I’m about to say is worth reading. Before I elaborate though, let me stress that I am qualified to post something so link-baitish as this. I’ve been knee deep in social for the better part of 8 years. So much so, that it seems that not a year goes by now where I either hear or read about how social media doesn’t work or is useless or is dying. Let me put that notion to bed quickly. It does work, it is not useless and it is not dying any time soon. If anything, social media might be the Benjamin Button of digital these days.

But I digress. You’re not here to read about my justifications of all things social, you’re here to learn one thing, so let’s do it.

If you work in social media for either a small org or the largest of the large, chances are, your work life revolves primarily around content. You have tools to discover it and you have platforms to schedule it within and you have ways you can automate it. It’s tailored to your company and it speaks to your audience. You may set it and forget it and then move on to the next task on your social media to-do list.

Additionally, part of your social media manager duties may include looking at the data, i.e. looking at the numbers. What was the reach? How many impressions? How many likes or shares? How many retweets and how many mentions? Yes they are soft metrics, but they still do matter. It’s how you measure the effectiveness of your content, right? They may even be part of your KPI’s. If you are seriously managing a social media campaign, then you may be looking at CTR’s to a specifically tailored page to grab data, to allow downloads, signups and registrations; stuff that actually moves the needle. Or as a lot of CMO’s are looking for these days: Business Outcomes.

The key being that all of your social media activity above, is just that,  it’s ACTIVITY.

But is that enough? Let me ask you a simple question. If I asked you to engage with the people, the followers, the brand champions of your product or your brand, could you do it? If I asked you to be the subject matter expert for your company, product and industry for the social media handles that you manage, could you do it? Can you represent your brand via social without sounding like a novice? Can you hold your own, representing the company, in a space that YOUR company is supposed to own? Do you see what I’m getting at?

The biggest mistake that I see a lot of brands and companies making is discounting the notion that social media activity is not a front-line activity for the brand. Forgetting that sometimes for potential customers, buyers, partners and vendors, their first encounter or engagement with a brand, might be… wait for it… via social.

If you manage a social media team or if you’re the director of marketing or even the CDO or CMO, let’s make sure that some of your most knowledgable people of the brand are doing social; instead of the person who has platform experience but no real world brand experience. Don’t make the mistake of undervaluing the power of educated engagement in social media. It’s tough to influence the influencers if you don’t know what you’re talking about. :)

How do you Measure Success?

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I save way more than I need to. I’ll admit I do have a bit of a hoarder in me, not to the extremes that you see on TV, but only in the sense that the things that I save have a) some sort of lifetime business value or b) a sentimental family value. So, needless to say, there is a bit of an accumulation.

That means not only do I occasionally print things out, but I also bookmark a lot of sites and I also write stuff down on anything and everything. Translation-stacks of paper, folders, random scraps of paper, bar napkins and the backs of envelopes are not an uncommon sight on my desk. For me, when the thought or idea hits I reach for whatever is around to get it down on paper before it flies away!

The takeaway is that I realize that I save stuff, so I’m always trying to weed through and see what I can save and what I can throw away, which leads me to what I found written on a the back of an unopened envelope this past weekend. It simply said:

How do you measure success?

It’s weird but when I wrote it down it didn’t have the same impact as it did at that moment. Maybe it’s the timing of words. The moment has to be right for them to have the greatest effect. Regardless, they were powerful words, if not a powerful question.

I immediately sat down and just started to noodle on it. Maybe it should be your success? How are you measuring your success? My success? Some might tell you that success is relative. And it is. As singer songwriter Paul Simon once sang, “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.” We all can measure success either incrementally or micro-incrementally. The point being that we can measure it no matter how large or how small.

We can call them baby steps. We can call it growth, maturity, experience, whatever. The bottom line is that we can associate success with the smallest of things or the largest. All you have to do is “define” it. Define your success and define it in terms that make sense. I think sometimes we believe that we have failed because we have not succeeded. Perhaps it’s because we failed at looking at success in the right way?

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Noted scholar and teacher, W. Edwards Deming, is incorrectly attributed to a quote that gets used each and every day. It’s as follows: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” Most people have the quote wrong and yet it continues to be an extremely popular saying. In its present form, it fits for the sake of this discussion. However, what Dr. Deming really said was that one of the seven deadly diseases of western management is “Running a company on visible figures alone.” This makes complete sense and yet runs counter to the quote, but is a perfect segue’ into how we all measure success in digital and social marketing.

I read Dr. Deming’s “real” quote to say that you need to trust your gut and trust your instincts. In other words, know that though the numbers may say that you have a “successful” company, if everyone is miserable and everyone hates you? Is that success? Is that a visible figure?

For a lot of large companies and even the small ones, it’s all about measuring the impact of their efforts, right? Whether it is sales, leads, deals closed, online orders or prospects identified etc., companies can’t really keep the lights on without this type of quantifiable data. Some will call this ROI and still others will simply break down these efforts as, “Here’s the money coming in, here’s the money going out and here are the expenses.”

However, the bottom line is that in business or in life, what we all do, whether we realize it or not, is we measure the outcomes. Maybe not so much in an analytical way but we do measure our daily outcomes. Was it fun? Did we lose? Was it worth it? Did you have a bad experience? Did they like you? Was it your fault? Did you win? Did you buy it? Did you get the promotion? Lose your job? Did you diet? How was your workout? Are these successes? Sure they are!

Yes, like it or not, it would seem that we do measure all of our engagements and experiences. Things that we manage it would seem, Dr. Deming notwithstanding, can be measured. We are indeed, measuring our success.
But maybe we’re missing the big picture? Maybe, just maybe, we’re getting the definition of success wrong? Or maybe we’re just not defining it properly? Perhaps if we realign our definition of success, we can achieve more?

Two questions that I always ask of every friend or client who either wants to get themselves or their company in to the digital game, whether it’s social media, mobile marketing, web design, search engine optimization or otherwise:

What do you want to do and why do you want to do it?

Be clear on those 2 objectives and then be clear on how you’re going to measure your success. Little wins are just as important as the big ones!

The State of Digital Marketing 2014

Thanks to the folks over at  Web Marketing 123 for this Infographic.

How Digital is Changing the Consumer Experience

Let me give you a few real world examples that happen every day.  You’re at a stop light for all of 30 seconds and you start to get antsy because the light hasn’t changed.  You are going to make a right on red and there is someone in front of you who does not turn right away, and you lay on the horn.  You’re in line at the store waiting to check out and it’s taking forever.  Forever being about 3-4 minutes.

Why are we so impatient?

Maybe these examples will help. You’re surfing the web and a page doesn’t load quick enough so you try another website.  You want to buy a product online so you do a search and you click on the first result and it doesn’t load quick enough, so you go to the second result.   You load an app and it takes forever (10 minutes) and you immediately start thinking of your next computer purchase with more memory and more processor speed (whatever that means).

What’s happening here?

The web has conditioned us to want everything quicker and faster.  We are become a bi-product of always on.  Meaning that when we are on the web, we expect the delivery of the experience to match the level of our expectation.  The result?  That expectation starts to bleed into our offline universe.  Our consumer experience is on hyper please

The result?

Everyone suffers.  Think about it like this. The more it takes to satisfy us, the more we need- and the less it satisfies.  In a sense we’re becoming junkies for a good web experience which again as I said earlier is starting to bleed into our personal offline lives.  Is that a good thing?  In a sense it is but it’s also unrealistic to think that waiting at a light for a whole 1-2 minutes is unacceptable.  Just as it is unreasonable to think that just because it took 15 seconds for a page to load-is a bad user experience.  The web experience, and I’ll include mobile in this, is now as much about the pulleys and levers as it is about the finished product.  So how do people respond to a bad online customer experience?  They click and go somewhere else.

Too bad for the visually appealing site that is hampered by it not possessing what the user wants- Be it access to the proper social channels, free stuff, or the right check out page, or access to a contact page that provides a direct link to customer service.  If you don’t have that, you’ve crashed and burned before you’ve even taken off!  Consumers indeed.


The Deets

Marc Meyer is a Digital and Social Media Strategist at DRMG. This is my personal blog where I share observations, thoughts and opinions that are all my own.

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