Category: Content

Disruptors in 2017: What’s on the Horizon for Marketing Technology | MarTech Advisor

If 2016 is any indication for 2017, it will be the year of the customer experience. Jamie Anderson, Senior Vice President & CMO at SAP Hybris explains how with the surge of new technology and, with it, the increase in the number of different channels available to connect with consumers, customer experience has taken on an entirely new meaning. There are more ways than ever for the customer to touch the enterprise

In order to be successful in the coming year, CMOs must understand the technology that works behind the scenes to create a seamless customer experience. Recent research from the CMO Council and SAP Hybris showed that 39 percent of marketers believe their technology investments have met expectations in areas such as measurement and customer interaction, but they appear to be falling short when it comes to connecting content, commerce, conversation, and campaigns with back-end operational realities, supply chain logistics, and organizational capabilities that will ultimately impact the customer experience.

This year, marketers must advance their pools of intelligence from being largely marketing-focused into those that are entirely customer-focused. This demands that the entire organization – from HR to operations and the supply chain – be digitally connected and aligned around a live view of the customer as an individual –  a view that takes the past, present, and future state of that individual into context in real-time.

Understanding this underlying technology will become even more critical once virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and general machine learning become a standard practice within marketing technology – something I believe will come to fruition this year. VR and AR have the potential to completely transform the way that consumers interact with technology and, therefore, a brand. This year we saw furniture companies implement VR to allow consumers to visualize what a piece of furniture would look like in their home and retail brands use smart changing rooms to more easily connect the consumer with sales associates. These are two examples of how the shopping experience can be augmented by virtual reality to enhance the customer experience and help retailers make smarter merchandising decisions. With this technology at the core, machine learning will begin to drive customer engagement.

Which brings me to my next prediction: in 2017, physical and digital retail will merge entirely to create one consistent shopping experience. It’s become clear that consumers expect to interact with a single brand, while jumping across in-store and online touchpoints to research and make purchases. Therefore, retailers shouldn’t think in terms of individual channels. For a truly connected retail experience, they must embrace technologies that bridge the physical and digital divide.

For example, in-store sales associates should have access to customer data, including past behaviors and preferences to help personalize the shopping experience. Taking it one step further, brands can offer online ordering for in-store pick-up and vice versa. Consumer shopping behaviors are drastically changing year after year and retailers must keep up with this evolution. With approaches available to help blend the retail experience, shoppers will be able to more easily control their experience, pursuing a variety of tools and channels to complete a purchase. It is the duty of the brand to make this journey as easy and seamless as possible.

This type of connectivity of back-end systems requires a marketing automation system that uses current, relevant data to drive engagement – something all companies will need in order to compete. If their data is out of date, marketing automation is a waste of time. This year, marketers must learn to use automation systems to apply intelligent algorithms to the context of the consumer interaction that has taken place. It’s not about mass outreach – instead, automation can be used to touch each individual customer based on their past behavior and general propensity to buy. AI and machine learning will play a big part in the success of marketing automation systems next year.

Lastly, microservices will be a major disruptor in 2017. At a base level, microservice is a new software that will fundamentally change the agility with which businesses can operate. In the short term, microservices will be most prevalent at the front-end of the business (i.e., the way that brands interact with customers). Microservices can easily be integrated into organizations’ existing technology stacks to create an end-to-end solution that will set a higher bar for engagement between brands and consumers.

If there’s one key area that marketers should focus on in 2017, it is leading the digital innovation that drives change. Once businesses are fully acclimatized to operating in the digital world, they will learn to use it to use it to their advantage – by following consumer journeys from beginning to end, determining what engages a target audience, making predictions about what’s on the mind of customers – and ultimately using this information to form deeper relationships.

9 B2B Marketing Trends Agencies Must Watch in 2017

It’s an era of digital transformation, and 2017 will only see digital impact on marketing and advertising accelerate. In this climate, the most effective advertising agencies stay one step ahead of the trends that are affecting their clients. Here are the 9 B2B marketing trends that will be transforming the industry — and wreaking some havoc — in the coming year.

1. Balancing the short and long term

The best brands don’t focus only on generating leads, nor do they focus only on building brand; they do both, and they do so with a 60:40 ratio in favor of brand. If buyers don’t know and trust your brand, you won’t make it into their consideration set, and they won’t become leads.  

2. Understanding the true value of thought leadership

The products and services that people buy in B2B are more expensive and impact many people in the organization. Because of this fact, B2B purchases are inherently risky and expensive emotionally. That means that buyers want to buy more a thought leader who helps reduce risk in the buying and implementation process. So what actually sells is thought leadership, not products and services. What sells is the emotional power of risk reduction. The strength of old maxim that nobody ever got fired for buying IBM is more potent than ever.

3. Hollywood comes to B2B: content franchises

Businesses struggle to produce always-on marketing that maintains focus on key business topics and connects content and business strategy. By studying B2C Content Franchises such as “Star Wars” or “Batman,” B2B Marketers can understand why investing continuously and aggressively in your own content brand produces consistent results over time. At LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, for example, our own “Sophisticated Marketer” guides, podcasts, and videos have driven value for four years. As Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Inside Group, says, a committed investment in quality content marketing will deliver increasing value over time just like a 401K

4. Everyone is a marketer

Every employee interaction with the public is a branding and thought leadership opportunity. LinkedIn data shows that professional networks of an organization’s employees are, collectively, 10X bigger than the reach of the organization’s LinkedIn Company Page. Additionally, employee shared content gets 10X the engagement that an organization’s post does. By unlocking the hidden power of employee advocacy, organizations can potentially generate 100X today’s results.

5. The rise of multi-dimensional media

People want to work, meet, and learn from the thought leader in a space. However, traditional metrics, such as CPCs and CPMs, do not reflect this. Organizations need to move beyond traditional metrics and embrace the new metrics that matter. And what metrics matter? Short-term metrics do not matter as much as these three long-term metrics that build your business for the future (and drive revenue):  

  • key talent hires
  • key business meetings
  • key brand attributes that benefit the entire organization in a way not reflected in a superficial metric like a CPC. 

6. The death of hyper-targeting

When you hyper-target, you don’t save money. What you do when you hyper-target is ignore potential buyers and hidden members of the buying committee and other influencers. Smart marketers are now realizing that what was previously considered digital media “waste” is not waste at all. In fact, reaching a broader audience of potential influencers (from the C-suite to the factory floor) helps build brand, thought leadership, and ultimately preference. Instead of hyper-targeting, marketers, particularly in B2B, should be optimizing for reach.

7. Recognizing the power of the 80/20 rule

Marketing on the Internet today means that you’re competing for the attention of your buyer with everyone else online — other companies, the buyer’s friends and relatives, celebrities, the press (fake and otherwise). It has never been more difficult to break through. By recognizing the concept of the 80/20 rule, marketers know 80 percent of their results are driven by 20 percent of their content. Marketers must identify the 20 percent of their content that is driving results and put budget behind that content to amplify it via paid digital and social advertising.

8. The CPG effect: maintaining touchpoint consistency

CPG marketers understand the importance of maintaining the same brand identity in the offline world to build brand recall. Look at Coca-Cola: From the bottle to the website to the TV spots, the company uses the same red and white color scheme, the same font, and consistently talks about “happiness.” Then why do online marketers – in B2B and even B2C and certainly lacking the budget of a Coca-Cola – not practice the same disciplined “touchpoint consistency” to build brand recall?

9. Build your talent brand

Marketers (and ad agencies) tend to be reasonably effective at building the brand they present to customers and prospects. They are less effective at building their talent brand, which is the brand they present to employees and prospective hires. In this fast changing, digital world, having skilled, resourceful talent is more important than ever. A strong talent brand pays dividends in limiting turnover, reducing the cost per new hire, and boosting the number of applicants to job posts on LinkedIn

Consumers are ready for media via IOT

Brands and marketers may want to take a tip as to why people own smart or Internet-connected devices.

The operative word here is useful.

While the majority of U.S. consumers own at least one connected device, the top characteristic of the most popular devices is that they are useful above all else, based on a new study.

While most 97% consumers are aware of connected devices and 62% of consumers own at least one, the reasons for ownership vary.

The study comprised a survey of 1,200 adults representative of the U.S. population conducted by Maru VCR&C for the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

The most popular connected device in the home, of course, is the connected or smart TV with smart glasses at the tail end. Here are the connected devices owned by consumers:

  • 47% — Connected/smart TV
  • 24% — Wearable health tracker
  • 17% — Internet-enabled home control devices
  • 16% — Connected car
  • 13% — Smart watch
  • 11% — Internet-enabled voice command systems
  • 11% — Internet-enabled appliances
  • 10% — VR headsets
  • 7% — Smart glasses

Without the smart TV, the connected things market would not look so robust.

Most significantly the key driver of popular devices is usefulness. In the top four most popular connected devices, that characteristic is number one, ahead of convenient, innovative, luxury item or cool. Here are the top attributes of the top products owned, according to ownership level:

  • 47% — Useful: Connected/Smart TV
  • 24% — Useful: Wearable health tracker
  • 17% — Useful: Internet-enabled home control devices
  • 16% — Useful: Connected car
  • 13% — Luxury item: Smart watch
  • 11% — Luxury item: Internet-enabled appliances
  • 11% — Innovative: Internet-enabled voice command system
  • 10% — Fun: VR headsets
  • 7% — Unnecessary: Smart glasses

For brands and marketers, the Internet of Things is going to lead to new ways of advertising and many consumers seem OK with that.

For example, of those who own any IoT device, the majority (65%) are receptive to IoT advertising. The receptivity to advertising differs based on which device. By device, here are the percentage of consumers receptive to IoT advertising:

  • 95% — Smart glasses
  • 89% — VR headsets
  • 89% — Internet-enabled appliances
  • 87% — Connected car
  • 86% — Smart watch
  • 84% — Internet-enabled voice command
  • 78% — Internet-enabled home control
  • 72% — Wearable health tracker

As might be expected, nearly all connected home devices are currently connected to the Internet. This is true for Internet-enabled voice command systems (88%), home control devices (80%) and Internet-enabled appliances (69%).

Despite all of the new home connectivity, the smartphone remains the hub, at least for the short term. Almost all devices connect with smartphones, computers or tablets at least once a day.

More than half (55%) of consumers are willing to receive ads on their devices in exchange for coupons or discounts, which is consistent with other studies. Of current connected device owners, 65% are open to such ads.

Interest in getting a connected device by those who don’t already have one is pretty high (65%). The top connected device of those most interested in getting one is the connected or smart TV.

Television is not being replaced by the Internet of Things. It is becoming part of it.

10 Social Media Predictions For 2017 (And Where You Should Be Spending Your Time) |

It is utterly mind-blowing to me that big brands that are in such obvious positions to succeed are still allocating their budgets the same way they were 10+ years ago. No one’s primary budget should be spent on TV or print. Because here’s a story: Family finished Thanksgiving dinner. We all went into the living room to watch something on TV together. Do you know what my mom was doing while your commercial was running? Checking Facebook. On her phone.

202 Million ‘Connected’ Appliances Projected; Fridge Seen As Hub Of Smart Kitchen 11/02/2016

A flood of connected home appliances is on the way.

There has been a limited number of new products and market movement recently, but that is about to change, based on a new study.

The number of connected home appliance shipments will hit 202 million units globally by 2021, up substantially from 17 million this year, according to the Smarter Kitchen, Smarter Shopping study by Juniper Research.

Smart appliances will be dominated by large vendors, unlike the smart home ecosystem that was developed by small startups, according to Juniper.

The Google Cast app is getting a new name and purpose

Fire up the Google Cast app – which is used to discover content to stream on Chromecast-connected TVs and speakers, and to manage them – and you’ll spot a message indicating that it’s getting a new name: Google Home.

The rebranding makes sense, as Google officially launched a new voice-activated speaker (also called Home – yup, it’s kinda messy) at its hardware launch event yesterday and will need an app to manage it.

Non brand created content has more value than we thought

CONSUMER-GENERATED CONTENT HELPS DRIVE ONLINE SALES: Consumer-generated content (CGC) is on the rise as e-commerce continues to grow thanks to social media and product review sites. Shoppers are able to more readily spread the word of their favorite brands and products, and retailers are taking advantage to drive sales, according to a report from BazaarVoice.

Shoppers that interact with CGC are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who do not. Brands see a 78% lift in conversion rates when customers interact with CGC.
Revenue per visitor for retailers increases 106% when customers interact with CGC versus those that do not. For brands, revenue per visitor sees a 75% lift due to CGC.
Average order value among retailers gets a 10% lift when shoppers interact with CGC. For brands, AOV sees an 8% lift.
Taking advantage of the high volume of CGC is vital to retailers that want to win over potential shoppers and their trust. US consumers are heavily reliant on online reviews before making both in-store or online purchases, according to a separate report from Bazaarvoice cited by Internet Retailer. In addition to including shoppers’ social media posts in their own campaigns, brands and retailers can reprint positive feedback in brick-and-mortar locations, print advertisements, and other online ad campaigns to help drive sales.

54% of US shoppers read online reviews before making an e-commerce purchase.
39% of shoppers read online reviews before buying in-store.
82% of shoppers read reviews while inside a store immediately before making a purchase.
The most read reviews are for electronics, with 58% of shoppers performing research before buying anything in this product category in-store.
bii cgc on purchase journey

Do you have or know someone who has kids?

Two very good friends (who happened to be married) have followed their passion and started a small craft-publishing business. As an entrepreneur, I applaud their willingness to bring a vision to life. As a fellow creative-minded person, I am jealous of just how great their first few projects are.

I encourage anyone who has kids, knows people with kids or knows what a kid is to buy their books.


Discovery Taps Virtual Reality For Show Promo

Discovery Communications is venturing into the supernatural for its latest virtual reality production: The Destination America network show “Ghost Asylum” is at the center of a new VR video that Discovery released simultaneously on, Littlstar and the Discovery VR Android and iOS apps Friday. Shorter version of the clip will also be distributed on Facebook 360 and YouTube. The six-minute clips take viewers straight into Preston Castle, a former reform school in Ione, California, where they will be hunting ghosts and spirits with the team of the Tennessee Wraith Chasers. The clip is an extension of an episode of the show’s next season, which will debut on Destination America on April 3. “You are immersing yourself right in a ghost hunt,” said Destination America GM Jane Latman during an interview with Variety this week