June 06, 2014
/ by Brian Conlin
This post wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of Erin Feldman, Geoff Livingston, Allen Mireles and Adrienne Sheares.
Didn’t have a chance to come to Demand Success or want to revisit your favorite moments?
This post contains highlights of each of the sessions from day one of #Demand14, which includes presentations by founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media Randi Zuckerberg, branding all-star Laura Ries and star of HBO’s hit show Entourage Adrian Grenier.
Without further ado, let’s get to it!
Vocus CMO You Mon Tsang introduced Randi Zuckerberg by asking what happens when you’re the person championing digital change only to find oneself responding to both the expected and unforeseen consequences of it. Randi grapples with the reality on both a personal level as a wife and mother and on the professional one as an entrepreneur.
She presented 10 trends that portray the changes taking place and the benefits and downfalls associated with each of them. The maker movement, for instance, is an exciting one. 3D printing can improve lives, but it can be used to end them. Unplugging, too, has gained in popularity not simply because of a desire to simplify or to go “minimal,” but because apps like BroApp and Breakup Text exist. “Life-logging,” known by terms such as “quantified self,” can be beneficial; wearables like Fitbit allow people to lead healthier lives. What about a wearable like the Narrative clip, though? Is taking a photo every 30 seconds the best way to spend one’s time?
It is a dot-complicated world. How can those complications be minimized so that life is enjoyed rather than riddled with texts, status updates and the pursuit of WiFi and FOMO?
Laura Ries refers to two immutable laws in her presentation about branding: focus and visual hammers. The first has to do with determining who and what a company is prior to sharing its story publicly. Without that focus, brands have to sell on price and end up telling less than compelling and convincing stories.
The second has to do with choosing the visual that best communicates who and what that company or brand is. It’s an important point; not all visuals are the right ones. The right visual is the one that not only connects emotionally but also communicates an idea. The Rolex watchband, for example, communicates prestige. The Target logo is equated with “cheap chic.” BMW’s commercials convey the fun found in driving the automobiles.
For brands to succeed in today’s digital and visual landscape, Laura says brands have to focus on that single message first and decide on the right hammer second. She posits eight methods for doing just that: color, shape, product, package, founder, symbol, celebrity and animal. With that hammer in hand and shared across every medium, brands will see an increase in brand recognition and sales.
If you are not the top company in your industry, you can’t sell to the “unwashed masses,” says Chris Brogan. You have to target your freaks, the customers who are so fanatical about your brand they would get a tattoo of your logo.
For example, Nike, the undisputed leader of athletic sneakers, sells shoes. Reebok focused on its freaks, participants of Spartan Races.
“Connect with (your freaks) and tell the stories about how they can succeed,” Chris says. “Never make that story about ‘our great product.’ That’s assumed.”
Here are Chris’s three basic premises for doing freak-level marketing.
1. Business is about belonging
No one anxiously awaits more brand content. They want to feel that they belong and that you support them their mission for success. Spend time talking to them and helping them achieve their goals.
2. Monchu is the media
Monchu is Okinawan for “one family,” the family you choose not necessarily the one you deal with at home.
Who are your marketing partners? Find the items that you don’t sell and help those brands rise up. For example, Oreos and milk.
Reciprocity often works like magic. Without entering an agreement, you’ll likely find a partner.
3. Commit to clarity and integrity
“Clarity of mission is never your marketing message,” Chris says. “It’s the stuff under your marketing message.
“Customers can’t remember your catchphrase,” he continued. “They want what you do for them to match what you say to them.”
Sponsored content dominates marketing and PR conversations today. Sebastian Turner, of Twitter’s B2B Strategic Partnerships, discussed Twitter by numbers, audience insights, impact of mobile and promoted products. Turner shared several success stories of brands in both B2B and B2C spaces.
Twitter by the numbers:
255 million monthly active users
400 million monthly uniques
78 percent of Twitter users are on mobile
Think about how content can be consumer on mobile—make it easily digestible
1 billion tweets shared every two days
Twitter is able to identify predictable patterns and context and provide marketers the tools to target campaigns, promote to select audiences, take advantage of interests and conversations and more. There are 11 ways to target your Twitter campaigns:
Users like your followers
Keywords in timeline
Keywords in search
The importance of mobile
The average person opens his phone 111 times a day.
Mobile reaches more moments during the day. Marketers benefit from knowing how people are using devices: desktops are used more frequently during the work day. Mobile is used in the early morning and again in the evening, and tablets have low usage in the morning but are the most used device in the evening.
Twitter can identify and target device usage and tailor content and messaging to specific times and devices. Ninety-four percent of Twitter users shop on mobile, so the more mobile-tailored the content is the better.
Twitter’s suite of promoted products include:
Words aren’t out, but visuals are definitely in. How can you tie your visuals into your brand?
Before you run out and post a bunch of selfies or cats, or better yet, cats taking selfies (shout out to Mark Schaefer), stay true to your brand to achieve marketing success.
“Recessions happen, businesses change. Your product offerings may change but your brand should stay the same,” Erin McCahill says.
Great quote, but how can you visualize a brand?
Step 1: Understand branding
What does “brand” or “branding” mean? It’s a term that everybody knows but everyone has a different definition. Is it your identity? Is it what your customer’s think?
It’s how customers experience you. It’s your values. It’s your logo. A brand encompasses everything.
Step 2: Get ready to share your story
Each brand has a story to tell. Although there are legendary brands out there like Apple or Starbucks, you can’t be someone else. You want to engage your audience. Identify what’s unique about your brand and share it.
Step 3: Stay true to your brand
A good way to gauge if you’re off brand is to write down who you are as a brand. Hang the idea, picture or logo in your office, and anytime you create something make sure it aligns with that idea.
Step 4: Love your customers
We’re in business because someone has bought into our products or services. Chris Brogan’s philosophy is if you promise something that your brand can’t deliver, you lose customers because you lose trust. Be honest and over-deliver.
And never forget: “You get one message and sometimes only one chance to connect with your target audience,” Erin says.
Make it count.
Branding may be a concept more familiar to B2C companies, but Tarun Rathnam of Google says branding belongs equally to the B2B world. When leads and acquisitions are few or lessening, new ones can be created and nurtured with strong branding.
Tarun says video can play a preeminent role in building a brand. Video often has an emotional resonance, and it can reach potential and current customers via three levels: “hero,” “hub” and “hygiene.”
Hero content reaches the broadest of audiences, is tied to moments in time and is participatory. Coca-Cola, for example, uses “hero” content in its video of Indians and Pakistanis sharing happiness.
Hub content is episodic and designed for targeted audiences. It needs a permanent home so that viewers can watch and share it. Grainger exemplifies hub content with its “Everyday Heroes” video series. Each video shows an “everyday” person using a Grainger product to get their jobs done.
Hygiene content provides existing customers with ways to do more with a product or service they already use. As such, hygiene content is broad, but it’s only broad within an existing customer base. Like hub content, it’s always on, but it has to be updated regularly and easy to find.
Social media has altered the way journalists and PR professionals work, reflects columnists Gene Marks, Michelle Jaconi and Elyse Dupre. Today is an era of “always on” news. For them, the work is never done. The news cycle doesn’t stop.
When it comes to using social media, Gene, Elyse and Michelle generally use social networks for three reasons. They share information as well as their own stories; they offer insight into the subjects that interest them (Packers for Elyse, LEGOS for Michelle, and absolutely no Mets for Gene); and they converse with sources.
The three panelists still prefer email for pitches. While they applaud “out-of-the-box” efforts on social media, they like the emailed pitch because they can readily reference it, and they don’t have to respond as quickly as they do on networks like Twitter.
Finally, their pet peeves are email blasts. They say it’s important to personalize emails and to let them know that some thought when into the writing of them. They also note that reliability is key; if a source promises a story only to back out at the last minute, they’re unlikely to trust it again.
In two weeks, the United States Olympic Committee will announce whether or not Washington, DC is still in the running to host the 2024 Olympics.
Jeff Bliss, the Senior VP of Partnerships for DC2024, has worked to get the nation’s capital this far in the process. He presented ideas about why sporting events make great targets for brands and how you can leverage the opportunity.
The Big Bang Theory
The Internet superhighway looks more like a traffic jam for marketers these days. Consumers see something like 5,000 brand impressions each day. How can marketers break through the clutter?
“We try to find passion points,” Jeff says. “We try to find areas of relevant content that speaks to our audience.”
A big event that targets and attracts passionate fans enables brands to draw these prospects in.
“Why are sports so important? Sports fans are passionate, they’re consumers,” Jeff says. “Once you find out what they’re tied into, their loyalty is beyond belief.”
How any brand can use sports
It’s not just Visa and Coca-Cola that can use sports, businesses of all sizes can.
The old days of having a CEO who likes golf sponsoring a PGA tournament are gone. The first step is to ensure you do your homework and make sure there’s a fit between your brand and the athlete, event or team you’re working with. Sports events or figures won’t have any benefit for you if the event fails or targets the wrong demographic.
Next, you have to make sure you have the right team in place and integrate the brand’s marketing objectives. Don’t forget to integrate the digital side. Sports fans are active online and neglecting that side decreases value significantly.
Finally, always build a contingency plan. The unscripted nature of sports (and other live-event pitfalls) can derail your plans.
Christopher Penn, VP of marketing technology for Shift Communications, states that we’re not getting the ROI we used to out of any single method of marketing. The ROI of email marketing has dropped from $45 to about $35; a 22 percent drop in effectiveness, according to the Direct Marketing Association.
Social media’s ROI has been on the decline, especially as costs have gone up and unpaid reach has gone down. Digital advertising has required more and more complex strategies just to generate the same results.
Is the answer marketing automation?
Christopher says, maybe. But it depends on what you are trying to do. Marketing automation is an assembled collection of marketing tools like email marketing, landing page optimization, SEO, lead scoring, social media publishing and monitoring. It’s designed to give better results together than they do individually.
Christopher likens marketing automation systems to the tools in your kitchen, reminding us: if you cannot cook—the tools in your kitchen won’t help the situation.
Do you need a marketing automation system? Maybe. Maybe not. But before you purchase, make sure you can market. Learn to think like a machine and analyze the system’s abilities.
Social media feels like it has been around forever, but there are still uncertainties surrounding it. Who better to ask for help than Twitter’s editorial director Karen Wickre?
How should brands develop a social media policy?
Should organizations create a binder full of rules, a one-page list of do’s and don’ts or have nothing at all?
“There’s some intelligence one hopes employees bring to what they communicate publicly,” Karen says.
“I love (the idea of using) your best judgment, but how people interpret best judgment is really a tricky thing,” she continues. “But neither can you make an exhaustive lists of do’s and don’ts. There’s always going to be context.”
Do larger companies face a disadvantage in content marketing?
The bigger, more visible the company is, the harder it is to keep personality shining through content all the time.
“We’re all at the service of the companies we work for,” Karen says. “They’re happy to have individual names and credit given, but it’s not all about that one person.”
Organic reach at Facebook has plummeted. Will Twitter follow suit?
“The Twitter platform was designed to be open and public,” Karen says. “What’s interesting and kind of beautiful about Twitter is that everybody’s stream is a little bit different because it’s a reflection of who you follow.
“We’re not toggling any switches there. You see what there is to see. We like it that way.”
Email can be one of your most profitable marketing channels, but only if your list is on the up and up. This panel, moderated by Harry Kaplowitz, product manager for Vocus, addressed best practices for identifying inactive email subscribers, maintaining email list hygiene, and conducting a re-engagement campaign.
Panelists Craig Swerdloff, CEO of Leadspend and Mark Manross, executive director of PE Technologies, shared their experiences and encourage audience members to ask questions specific to their email marketing list maintenance issues.
At any point, an email subscriber can become inactive and re-engagement campaigns can be an effective method of holding on to potential revenue. One critical issue in email list hygiene is the identification of inactive subscribers, who:
May not appear to be responding (but mobile devices don’t alway register so this may not be a good gauge)
May not open email (but the subscriber may see the email and that can lead to taking action)
Craig, Mark and Harry recommend before removing an inactive subscriber, first check to see if:
No opens clicks 90-365 days
No purchase in 6 months
Another topic touched on were the stats related mobile email marketing. For example, 50 percent of an average subscriber base is reading email in the mobile environment, while 58 percent of email marketers are not designing campaigns for mobile. Yet 80 percent of consumers say that if an email doesn’t look good on mobile they will delete it right away.
Sandy Pell, Hootsuite’s External Communications Manager, says Hootsuite brings social networks together, but making them work for the good of brand recognition and lead generation still takes work. She offers 10 tips:
1. Invest in your channels. Be active where your customers are.
2. Build brand culture; that is, share your internal company culture publicly.
3. Empower your team on social. Give everyone who works in your company the ability to be active on social if they wish.
4. Make social amplification easy. Suggest tweets and updates for employees who want to support your company on social.
5. Filter the noise. Use lists so that you can interact with the people who need and want to hear from you.
6. Be agile and responsive to trends. Use social to identify relevant, hot topics.
7. Be the show, not the commercial. Be the thing that drives attention and traffic, not the blip on the screen.
8. Tell stories with heart.
9. Take risks because they can pay off. Try the zany idea. You might be surprised by the results.
10. Amplify organic into leads. Listen to what your customers are talking about and create content for them before your competitors do.
Actor-filmmaker Adrian Grenier believes in making the world a better place and is building out businesses that reflect this. Nichole Kelly, president of SME Digital, the digital marketing division of Social Media Explorer, interviewed Adrian about his passion for social good and sustainability, companies and excitement about the future of technology.
Adrian, known for his work as the character Vincent Chase in the HBO series Entourage, is also a director and producer and founder of Reckless Productions, which focuses on producing socially-minded films and documentaries.
He is also the co-founder of lifestyle platform shft.com, which operates with a mission to convey a more sustainable approach to the way we live through film, design, art and food. Among the content featured on the site is the “Food Tripping” app, the result of a collaboration between Shft and Ford. Food Tripping makes it easy to find alternatives to fast food wherever you are by locating the closest eateries, juice joints, farmers’ markets, microbreweries and more.
Grenier is also the co-founder of the Churchkey Can Co., born out of the desire to someday experience a great beer in a simple can as the generations before had. Quickly realizing the flat top can was all but a memory, Grenier and his partner set the wheels in motion to found Churchkey Can Co. The company is based in the Pacific Northwest and inside each Churchkey can, craft beer lovers will find a delicious Pacific Northwest-brewed Pilsner-style craft beer.
Want to see even more from the event? Go to the Vocus Facebook page!
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