Content Marketing Altering the Future Predicted in ‘Minority Report’

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Content Marketing Altering the Future Predicted in ‘Minority Report’
by christopherjanb
marketing-2054-how-content-will-save-coverJust 13 years ago, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report envisioned the year 2054 as one in which marketing and advertising are so invasive that holograms make frenzied, customized sales pitches to people as they walk through the mall.

In an unnerving scene, protagonist John Anderton’s eyes flashed as retina scanners identified him from a customer database and pushy holograms pitched him items based on his previous purchases, personal attributes, and preferences.

We still have almost 40 years to go until the film’s setting, but it’s already pretty obvious what the screenwriters got right about the future of marketing (big data, personalized ads) and what they probably got wrong – aside from our endless cultural obsession with holograms. Hollywood often shows us how exotic technologies might revolutionize well-worn concepts like display advertising (or heck, even malls), but how well does it predict the totally new concepts that might replace them?

The inescapable sales chatter in Minority Report’s mall scene was meant to raise privacy questions, making 2002 audiences uncomfortable with how much marketers might know about each consumer in the future. To marketers, the scene demonstrates the potential of big data and why marketers need a complementary personalization strategy to make a better first impression.

Now, cue content marketing, which provides value to people and businesses researching their purchases. Its softer approach may be the thing that spares us from the suffocating ad bombardment Spielberg’s film predicted.

One marketing channel is always on
In 2015, businesses have a content channel from which their target audiences never walk away: mobile.

Last November, mobile ad company Flurry found that Americans now spend nearly three hours per day on their mobile devices – more than they spend watching TV. Even more remarkable is that mobile time jumped almost 10 percent in just nine months. As wearable technology enters the mainstream in 2015 and beyond, one would expect that mobile time would grow.

Today, most of us sleep within reach of our smartphones, continuing to read them late at night and first thing in the morning. If a question comes into our heads as we hit the pillow, we have to Google it before we can fall asleep. It’s not difficult to imagine that these habits may even affect our dreams.

According to a Salesforce Marketing Cloud study, searching for information online is the third most frequent activity performed on mobile devices – surpassed only by checking emails and text messages, and more popular than social networking.

If someone in your target audience has a problem that you can solve, the only important question is whether your content is relevant and comprehensive enough to be the best answer on the web during your prospects’ mobile searches. That is the difference between tons of business and very little.

We know quality content is increasingly important to marketing, and that trend is likely to continue as search volume creeps higher. So how could this affect the way marketing is practiced later in the 21st century? Or is 2054 marketing already here?

Advertising will build a better case for products and services by figuring out whom and what we trust
Unilever Senior Vice President of Marketing Marc Mathieu says, “Marketing used to be about creating a myth and selling it and is now about finding a truth and sharing it.”

Minority Report was right to imagine advertising messages tailored to individuals based on their behaviors, interests, and purchase histories. But rather than using unknown virtual sales assistants to make the pitch, today’s brands highlight social media recommendations from our friends and colleagues. If those aren’t available, they send us the kinds of stats or stories to which we have a history of responding.

Expect this trend to continue as our homes become populated with web-connected technology. In 2054, if you start preparing Korean barbecue tacos with Huy Fong chili paste on your “smart” countertop, the kitchen interface may ask if you want to share this recipe with friends. These friends might receive an ad informing them that you use this brand and a list of the recipes you’ve made with it – or even a video of you putting the meal together.

Big brands will purchase virtually all major media companies
In the short term, media companies will continue to amass portfolios of niche and special interest publications to increase ad revenue. This makes them increasingly attractive to major brands, which are starting to see the media outlets as a way to immediately acquire engaged, targeted audiences to whom they can advertise directly.

Many people might consider this to be a dystopian future for journalism – one that would scare away readership. But the Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi does a good job of explaining why brands might actually do a better job of delivering quality content than today’s media owners.

The things you talk about will influence the type of content marketing you see
If you use Gmail, you know that Google has been serving you ads relevant to the topics discussed in your emails for years. The same concept is expected to be applied to wearable devices that will be able to transcribe your conversations. Advertisers already can tell some of our interests by analyzing our hashtags and follows on Twitter and Instagram. But as image-recognition technology improves, brands will be able to understand what we care about by identifying the subjects of our photos and videos.

Content will be delivered based on our activities and emotions, not just our location
Location will continue to determine the kinds of ads we see. For example, our favorite local retail store may send a mobile notification about a sale to us as we walk by the shop. Wearables also will give businesses plenty of other data such as heart and perspiration rates, and even emotional states so they can determine when content might be welcome and when it might be considered a nuisance.

Some brands will invest in wearable products primarily for the potential to create content relationships that strengthen brand loyalty. Imagine receiving a personal evaluation and video tutorials on adjusting your running style from a fitness brand after jogging in your new Ralph Lauren fitness tracking shirt. Or maybe your future shirt “learns” you typically run between 6:45 and 7:30 a.m., starting at the intersection of Damen and Wabansia streets. So a brand monitoring your wearable-tech shirt emails you a blog post about the best breakfast foods to eat before a run and lists stores and restaurants near the beginning of your route that are open.

And if we leave our Microsoft HoloLenses at home, we won’t be harassed by holograms
After all, public three-dimensional projections look the same to everyone and isn’t mass messaging a bit old-fashioned?

Want to learn more about the future of content marketing? Check out the CMWorld 2014 sessions available through our Video on Demand portal and make plans today to attend Content Marketing World 2015.

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Content Marketing Altering the Future Predicted in ‘Minority Report’ page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Social Media Marketing 2015: Where Is Your Audience?

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Social Media Marketing 2015: Where Is Your Audience?
by christopherjanb
37 Social Media Marketing Facts including Charts.

Social Media Marketing 2015

In 2015, social media is no longer just mainstream. 2015 Social media’s audience is mature in more ways than one.

Social media is not only mature in terms of its life cycle but also in terms of the age of participants.

Specifically, 56% of US online adults 65 and older or 31% of all seniors use Facebook according to Pew Internet’s “2014 Social Media Update,” based on research of the 81% of US adults 18 and above who use the Internet. (As a point of comparison, here is the social media marketing 2014 data.)

Social media marketing 2015: Where is your audience?

To succeed in 2015 and beyond marketers must understand their audience and how they use social media as well as how social media platforms have evolved.

At a minimum, you’ll need to update your social media persona and use a mix of social media platforms. (BTW–Here’s the Ultimate 2015 Marketing Checklist to download.)

Social Media Marketing 2015

71% of US Internet users are on Facebook. Unlike other social media platforms that experienced high growth during 2014, Facebook’s proportion of Internet users remained flat with August 2013.

Facebook users continue interact on the platform.

70% of Facebook users engage daily with the social network, up 9 percentage points from 2013.
45% of Facebook users engage with the social network several times a day.
Facebook acts as a social media homebase for its users.
Who do people consider friends on Facebook?
From a marketing perspective, this is an important question to answer since it yields insights into how deep these relationships are.

93% of Facebook users are Facebook friends with family members other than their parents or children.
91% Facebook users are Facebook friends with their current friends.
87% Facebook users are connected to friends of theirs from the past
58% Facebook users are connected to their coworkers.
45% Facebook users are Facebook friends with their parents.
43% Facebook users are friends with their children on Facebook.
39% Facebook users are connected to people they’ve never met in real life. These people are looking to build their audience.
Primarily, people use Facebook to connect with people that are important to them in real life and whom they view as peers with whom they’ll share unfiltered information. Hence the lower results for parents and children.

Among US Facebook users the median number of Facebook friends is 155, of which 50 are actual friends. These results fit almost perfectly with Dunbar’s findings, where the number of relationships an individual can maintain is 150 and close friends account for a third of that or 50. (Here’s further information on Dunbar via The New Yorker.)

As with other forms of social media and communication, Facebook attracts more women (77%) than men (66%).Facebook Data 2014

What does this mean for marketers?

Facebook’s composition by age is getting older. It’s important to note that this research doesn’t measure “Under 18 year olds,” the key social media demographic. As we said in 2013, Facebook is no longer the cool social media kid on the block.
Facebook is retaining its mass social media audience. It’s an important element of your social media and content marketing plans for its reach because marketers must aggregate a variety of third party platforms to match television’s reach despite its declining advertising effectiveness.
Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:
Keep Facebook in your social media marketing mix. Sorry but size counts. That said, tailor your content and interactions to your Facebook followers.
Use targeted Facebook advertising to reach key prospects. Don’t just boost your posts. Take advantage of Facebook’s targeting potential. Check out Jon Loomer’s blog for specifics.
While the percentage of college educated Internet users using LinkedIn reached 50%, in general, LinkedIn users are visiting the social media network less frequently.

13% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform every day
7% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform several times a day.
25% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform weekly, down from 34% in August 2013
61% of LinkedIn users visit the social media platform every few weeks or less often, up from 52% in 2013.
This reduction in LinkedIn visit frequency points to the use of LinkedIn mainly as a job search tool.

It overlooks LinkedIn’s expanded power as a publishing platform and lead generator/business driver. In our 2015 social media predictions, we call LinkedIn, the must-be destination for businesses of all types.

Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips:

Incorporate LinkedIn Publishing into your 2015 content marketing plans. Create a separate strategy to ensure that your content shines on this platform. (BTW—In terms of 2015 content marketing predictions, we forecast that LinkedIn would grow its imprint.)
Leverage the power of your employees on LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid of making your employees look good on LinkedIn for fear of losing them. Instead think in terms of attracting more business, customers and employees.
Pinterest is social media honey that attracts women. 42% of online women use Pinterest and 13% of online men use Pinterest.

This shouldn’t be surprising since it’s the home of couch surfing for shopping inspiration.

17% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform daily
9% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform several times a day.
29% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform weekly
52% of Pinterest users visit the social media platform less than once per week.
Underestimate Pinterest’s ability to pull in shoppers and readers at your peril! It’s BuzzFeed’s number 2 source of social media traffic!!!

Actionable Social Media Tips:

Curate your content marketing on Pinterest, regardless of your business type. Take your cue from BuzzFeed. Make your content alluring with pin-friendly images.
Display your products on Pinterest where appropriate. Don’t forget to show prospects how to use your products and to show them in context.
Redirect Pinterest traffic for products that you no longer sell. Bear in mind that prospects may be looking at old pins.
Social media marketers should pay attention to Instagram because it’s unlocked the secret code to interaction. In 2015 and beyond, this playbook will be re-written for video, which people find easier-to-understand.

Make your information visual, useful, consumable, and sharable on a smartphone.

49% of Instagram users visit the social media platform daily.
32% of Instagram users visit the social media platform several times a day
24% of Instagram users visit the social media platform weekly
26% of Instagram users visit the social media platform less than once a week.
Don’t assume that Instagram is just for consumer products. General Electric has been one of the early businesses to leverage the visual power of its products and customers.

BTW, here are 4 key types of visual content marketing using Instagram.

Actionable Social Media Tips:

Make your products and customers Instagram-friendly. Encourage your customers to share their images. There’s nothing stronger than seeing other consumers wearing or using your product.
Find the visual beauty in every aspect of your business. Think how you would explain your business to someone who had never seen before.
23% of US Internet users are on Twitter, up 5 percentage points from 18% in August 2013.
36% of Twitter users visit the site daily, down 10 percentage points 2013.
22% of Twitter users visit the site more than once a day.
24% of Twitter users visit the site a few days a week
40% of Twitter users visit the site less often.
Twitter continues to grow, but at a slower rate. Further, the combination of short message longevity and limited participation, translates to publishing your Twitter content when your audience is active and to publishing your content more than once.

Here are 27 super easy tactics to boost your Twitter strategy.

Twitter Users 2014-Pew Internet

Actionable Social Media Tips:

Take the time to understand your target audience’s use of Twitter. The goal is to maximize your ability to reach your prospects when and where they’re focused.
Slice and dice your content for Twitter. Your aim is to present your content differently to reach the maximum audience possible.
Multi-platform social media 2015
Multi-platform use is on the rise: 52% of online adults now use 2 or more social media sites. This is a significant 10 percentage point increase from 2013.

79% of social media participants who use only 1 platform use Facebook.Multiple Social Media Site Usage-2014-Pew Research Center

The percentage of Facebook users who also participate on another social media network has increased since last year. 94% of Instagram users also use Facebook. This is attributable to Facebook’s ownership of Instagram and to easy ability to share events via photographs with people participants are close to.

In terms of non-Facebook social media interaction, there’s significant overlap between Instagram and Twitter users. This is also attributable to the easy ability to broadcast your activity to others.

58% of Twitter users also use Instagram.
52% of Instagram users also use Twitter.
Social Media Cross Platform Usage-Pew Research Center-1
The bottom line: social media is here to stay.
Marketers must figure out where their audience is on social media marketing 2015. Then they must develop strategies to create tailored content and distribute it by platform.

Where is your audience on social media in 2015 and what are you doing to engage them?

BTW–Here’s the Ultimate 2015 Marketing Checklist to download.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.

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Social Media Marketing 2015: Where Is Your Audience page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

10 Predictions for the Marketing World in 2015

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10 Predictions for the Marketing World in 2015
by christopherjanb
Posted by randfish

The beginning of the year marks the traditional week for bloggers to prognosticate about the 12 months ahead, and, over the last decade I’ve created a tradition of joining in this festive custom to predict the big trends in SEO and web marketing. However, I divine the future by a strict code: I’m only allowed to make predictions IF my predictions from last year were at least moderately accurate (otherwise, why should you listen to me?). So, before I being my crystal-ball-gazing, let’s have a look at how I did for 2014.

Yes, we’ll get to that, but not until you prove you’re a real Wizard, mustache-man.

You can find my post from January 5th of last year here, but I won’t force you to read through it. Here’s how I do grading:

Spot On (+2) – when a prediction hits the nail on the head and the primary criteria are fulfilled
Partially Accurate (+1) – predictions that are in the area, but are somewhat different than reality
Not Completely Wrong (-1) – those that landed near the truth, but couldn’t be called “correct” in any real sense
Off the Mark (-2) – guesses which didn’t come close
If the score is positive, prepare for more predictions, and if it’s negative, I’m clearly losing the pulse of the industry. Let’s tally up the numbers.

In 2014, I made 6 predictions:

#1: Twitter will go Facebook’s route and create insights-style pages for at least some non-advertising accounts

Grade: +2

Twitter rolled out Twitter analytics for all users this year (starting in July for some accounts, and then in August for everyone), and while it’s not nearly as full-featured as Facebook’s “Insights” pages, it’s definitely in line with the spirit of this prediction.

#2: We will see Google test search results with no external, organic listings

Grade: -2

I’m very happy to be wrong about this one. To my knowledge, Google has yet to go this direction and completely eliminate external-pointing links on search results pages. Let’s hope they never do.

That said, there are plenty of SERPs where Google is taking more and more of the traffic away from everyone but themselves, e.g.:

I think many SERPs that have basic, obvious functions like “timer” are going to be less and less valuable as traffic sources over time.

#3: Google will publicly acknowledge algorithmic updates targeting both guest posting and embeddable infographics/badges as manipulative linking practices

Grade: -1

Google most certainly did release an update (possibly several) targeted at guest posts, but they didn’t publicly talk about something specifically algorithmic targeting emebedded content/badges. It’s very possible this was included in the rolling Penguin updates, but the prediction said “publicly acknowledge” so I’m giving myself a -1.

#4: One of these 5 marketing automation companies will be purchased in the 9-10 figure $ range: Hubspot, Marketo, Act-On, Silverpop, or Sailthru

Grade: +2

Silverpop was purchased by IBM in April of 2014. While a price wasn’t revealed, the “sources” quoted by the media estimated the deal in the ~$270mm range. I’m actually surprised there wasn’t another sale, but this one was spot-on, so it gets the full +2.

#5: Resumes listing “content marketing” will grow faster than either SEO or “social media marketing”

Grade: +1

As a percentage, this certainly appears to be the case. Here’s some stats:

US profiles with “content marketing”
June 2013: 30,145
January 2015: 68,580
Growth: 227.5%
US profiles with “SEO”
June 2013: 364,119
January 2015: 596,050
Growth: 163.7%
US profiles with “social media marketing”
June 2013: 938,951
January 2015: 1,990,677
Growth: 212%
Granted, content marketing appears on far fewer profiles than SEO or social media marketing, but it has seen greater growth. I’m only giving myself a +1 rather than a +2 on this because, while the prediction was mathematically correct, the numbers of SEO and social still dwarf content marketing as a term. In fact, in LinkedIn’s annual year-end report of which skills got people hired the most, SEO was #5! Clearly, the term and the skillset continue to endure and be in high demand.

#6: There will be more traffic sent by Pinterest than Twitter in Q4 2014 (in the US)

Grade: +1

This is probably accurate, since Pinterest appears to have grown faster in 2014 than Twitter by a good amount AND this was already true in most of 2014 according to SharedCount (though I’m not totally sold on the methodology of coverage for their numbers). However, we won’t know the truth for a few months to come, so I’d be presumptuous in giving a full +2. I am a bit surprised that Pinterest continues to grow at such a rapid pace — certainly a very impressive feat for an established social network.

SOURCE: Global Web Index

With Twitter’s expected moves into embedded video, it’s my guess that we’ll continue to see a lot more Twitter engagement and activity on Twitter itself, and referring traffic outward won’t be as considerable a focus. Pinterest seems to be one of the only social networks that continues that push (as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube all seem to be pursuing a “keep them here” strategy).


Final Score: +3

That positive number means I’ve passed my bar and can make another set of predictions for 2015. I’m going to be a little more aggressive this year, even though it risks ruining my sterling record, simply because I think it’s more exciting 🙂

Thus, here are my 10 predictions for what the marketing world will bring us in 2015:

#1: We’ll see the first major not-for-profit University in the US offer a degree in Internet Marketing, including classes on SEO.
There are already some private, for-profit offerings from places like Fullsail and Univ. of Phoenix, but I don’t know that these pedigrees carry much weight. Seeing a Stanford, a Wharton, or a University of Washington offer undergraduate or MBA programs in our field would be a boon to those seeking options and an equal boon to the universities.

The biggest reason I think we’re ripe for this in 2015 is the LinkedIn top 25 job skills data showing the immense value of SEO (#5) and digital/online marketing (#16) in a profile when seeking a new job. That should (hopefully) be a direct barometer for what colleges seek to include in their repertoire.

#2: Google will continue the trend of providing instant answers in search results with more interactive tools.
Google has been doing instant answers for a long time, but in addition to queries with immediate and direct responses, they’ve also undercut a number of online tool vendors by building their own versions directly into the SERPs, like they do currently for queries like “timer” and “calculator.”

I predict in 2015, we’ll see more partnerships like what’s provided with OpenTable and the ability to book reservations directly from the SERPs, possibly with companies like Uber, Flixster (they really need to get back to a better instant answer for movies+city), Zillow, or others that have unique data that could be surfaced directly.

#3: 2015 will be the year Facebook begins including some form of web content (not on Facebook’s site) in their search functionality.
Facebook severed their search relationship with Bing in 2014, and I’m going to make a very risky prediction that in 2015, we’ll see Facebook’s new search emerge and use some form of non-Facebook web data. Whether they’ll actually build their own crawler or merely license certain data from outside their properties is another matter, but I think Facebook’s shown an interest in getting more sophisticated with their ad offerings, and any form of search data/history about their users would provide a powerful addition to what they can do today.

#4: Google’s indexation of Twitter will grow dramatically, and a significantly higher percentage of tweets, hashtags, and profiles will be indexed by the year’s end.
Twitter has been putting more muscle behind their indexation and SEO efforts, and I’ve seen more and more Twitter URLs creeping into the search results over the last 6 months. I think that trend continues, and in 2015, we see enter the top 5-6 “big domains” in Mozcast.

#5: The EU will take additional regulatory action against Google that will create new, substantive changes to the search results for European searchers.
In 2014, we saw the EU enforce the “right to be forgotten” and settle some antitrust issues that require Google to edit what it displays in the SERPs. I don’t think the EU is done with Google. As the press has noted, there are plenty of calls in the European Parliament to break up the company, and while I think the EU will stop short of that measure, I believe we’ll see additional regulatory action that affects search results.

On a personal opinion note, I would add that while I’m not thrilled with how the EU has gone about their regulation of Google, I am impressed by their ability to do so. In the US, with Google becoming the second largest lobbying spender in the country and a masterful influencer of politicians, I think it’s extremely unlikely that they suffer any antitrust or regulatory action in their home country — not because they haven’t engaged in monopolistic behavior, but because they were smart enough to spend money to manipulate elected officials before that happened (unlike Microsoft, who, in the 1990’s, assumed they wouldn’t become a target).

Thus, if there is to be any hedge to Google’s power in search, it will probably come from the EU and the EU alone. There’s no competitor with the teeth or market share to have an impact (at least outside of China, Russia, and South Korea), and no other government is likely to take them on.

#6: Mobile search, mobile devices, SSL/HTTPS referrals, and apps will combine to make traffic source data increasingly hard to come by.
I’ll estimate that by year’s end, many major publishers will see 40%+ of their traffic coming from “direct” even though most of that is search and social referrers that fail to pass the proper referral string. Hopefully, we’ll be able to verify that through folks like Define Media Group, whose data sharing this year has made them one of the best allies marketers have in understanding the landscape of web traffic patterns.

BTW – I’d already estimate that 30-50% of all “direct” traffic is, in fact, search or social traffic that hasn’t been properly attributed. This is a huge challenge for web marketers — maybe one of the greatest challenges we face, because saying “I brought in a lot more traffic, I just can’t prove it or measure it,” isn’t going to get you nearly the buy-in, raises, or respect that your paid-traffic compatriots can earn by having every last visit they drive perfectly attributed.

#7: The content advertising/recommendation platforms will continue to consolidate, and either Taboola or Outbrain will be acquired or do some heavy acquiring themselves.
We just witnessed the surprising shutdown of nRelate, which I suspect had something to do with IAC politics more than just performance and potential for the company. But given that less than 2% of the web’s largest sites use content recommendation/promotion services and yet both Outbrain and Taboola are expected to have pulled in north of $200m in 2014, this is a massive area for future growth.

Yahoo!, Facebook, and Google are all potential acquirers here, and I could even see AOL (who already own Gravity) or Buzzfeed making a play. Likewise, there’s a slew of smaller/other players that Taboola or Outbrain themselves could acquire: Zemanta, Adblade, Zegnet, Nativo, Disqus, Gravity, etc. It’s a marketplace as ripe for acquisition as it is for growth.

#8: Promoted pins will make Pinterest an emerging juggernaut in the social media and social advertising world, particularly for e-commerce.
I’d estimate we’ll see figures north of $50m spent on promoted pins in 2015. This is coming after Pinterest only just opened their ad platform beyond a beta group this January. But, thanks to high engagement, lots of traffic, and a consumer base that B2C marketers absolutely love and often struggle to reach, I think Pinterest is going to have a big ad opportunity on their hands.

Note the promoted pin from Mad Hippie on the right
(apologies for very unappetizing recipes featured around it)

#9: Foursquare (and/or Swarm) will be bought, merge with someone, or shut down in 2015 (probably one of the first two).
I used to love Foursquare. I used the service multiple times every day, tracked where I went with it, ran into friends in foreign cities thanks to its notifications, and even used it to see where to go sometimes (in Brazil, for example, I found Foursquare’s business location data far superior to Google Maps’). Then came the split from Swarm. Most of my friends who were using Foursquare stopped, and the few who continued did so less frequently. Swarm itself tried to compete with Yelp, but it looks like neither is doing well in the app rankings these days.

I feel a lot of empathy for Dennis and the Foursquare team. I can totally understand the appeal, from a development and product perspective, of splitting up the two apps to let each concentrate on what it’s best at, and not dilute a single product with multiple primary use cases. Heck, we’re trying to learn that lesson at Moz and refocus our products back on SEO, so I’m hardly one to criticize. That said, I think there’s trouble brewing for the company and probably some pressure to sell while their location and check-in data, which is still hugely valuable, is robust enough and unique enough to command a high price.

#10: Amazon will not take considerable search share from Google, nor will mobile search harm Google’s ad revenue substantively.
The “Google’s-in-trouble” pundits are mostly talking about two trends that could hurt Google’s revenue in the year ahead. First, mobile searchers being less valuable to Google because they don’t click on ads as often and advertisers won’t pay as much for them. And, second, Amazon becoming the destination for direct, commercial queries ahead of Google.

In 2015, I don’t see either of these taking a toll on Google. I believe most of Amazon’s impact as a direct navigation destination for e-commerce shoppers has already taken place and while Google would love to get those searchers back, that’s already a lost battle (to the extent it was lost). I also don’t think mobile is a big concern for Google — in fact, I think they’re pivoting it into an opportunity, and taking advantage of their ability to connect mobile to desktop through Google+/Android/Chrome. Desktop search may have flatter growth, and it may even decline 5-10% before reaching a state of equilibrium, but mobile is growing at such a huge clip that Google has plenty of time and even plentier eyeballs and clicks to figure out how to drive more revenue per searcher.

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10 Predictions for the marketing world in 2015 page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

5 Tips to Help Your Colleagues Become Successful Content Creators

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5 Tips to Help Your Colleagues Become Successful Content Creators
by christopherjanb
Help-Colleagues-Content-Creators-Cover ImageLike many others, I’ve faced challenges when it comes to content marketing, but one of the most frustrating was getting my colleagues on board with content creation. No matter how much we discussed the importance of their input, it was rarely smooth sailing for one reason or another.

Fortunately, that changed. It’s taken several years, but I now feel confident that I have an almost foolproof method of ensuring colleagues not only get on board with the strategy, but also become key contributors who truly want to create content. These five points (used together or individually) create the environment in which in-house success is achieved.

1. Don’t force people to be involved.
Not everyone can effectively transfer thoughts from their head into a document. Until I realized this, I decided who should be involved in content production based on their role within the organization. I didn’t take into account whether they could actually produce content – or even whether they wanted to produce it.

When people don’t want to produce content or find it to be a struggle, they’re instantly going to consider it a chore – doing it reluctantly, leaving it until the last minute, or creating something that isn’t what was intended. They are likely to produce content that is unsuitable for publishing.

Instead, you need to have discussions with your team to identify who can – and wants to – produce content. Talk to potential contributors either in groups or individually to explain the importance of content marketing, what you are looking to achieve, the type of content to be produced, and how they can play a role. Then ask who wants to help. By taking this passive approach to signing up content creators, you’ll find people who are willing to be involved and are more likely to produce valuable content.

2. Understand you have colleagues who can write effectively.
Don’t limit your conversations with potential content creators to people whose roles naturally lend themselves to writing. When I started as an SEO specialist, I developed the content marketing strategy under the impression that I and the brand and communications manager would create the vast majority of the content. However, after some general discussions unrelated to the strategy, it became apparent that we have a number of people in-house who have a wealth of information to share.

Never assume colleagues who aren’t officially on your content marketing team won’t, can’t, or don’t want to write. You may not always have experienced writers queuing up to be involved, but you may find at least one or two contributors who can be coached and can produce content regularly outside of their daily roles.

3. Don’t ask for complete blog posts.
I’ve worked within organizations whose staff possessed a vast amount of knowledge to share, but simply didn’t have the time to produce a completed post by assigned deadlines. After chatting with the contributors who were finding content creation difficult, I discovered that developing the key messaging for the content wasn’t the issue. The problem was finding the time to take the key messaging and turn it into a full-fledged blog post.

So I stopped asking for complete blog posts. Sure, I had to be more involved in the creation of the content, as I only received 200 words of notes or bullet points, but it was like my past ghostwriting work. I took their list of points, produced the content in full, and then sent it back for approval before it went live.

Contributors were happier, as it was much quicker and easier to get down their initial thoughts than it was to produce a complete blog post. We received more content regularly, and it didn’t affect the end result because more often than not I already had to edit posts for the “readability” factor.

4. Make it clear what you need and by when.
Set accurate and realistic deadlines for all of your contributors. As humans, we’re creatures of habit. If we know we have to do something by a set time every week or every month, we get into the routine of doing so. In addition, understand contributors’ other work responsibilities and priorities to determine deadlines that work for them as well as your production schedule.

5. Remember that a bit of competition can be healthy.
One of the things I’ve found is that contributors really have enough time to do it, but they push it so far down their list of things to do – usually because they don’t realize the importance of it (no matter how many times it’s discussed) – that it never gets completed.

Open up your content production schedule spreadsheet to all contributors so everybody can see who’s done what and who hasn’t done what they were supposed to do. Seeing this information can spur colleagues to compete against each other, striving not only to meet deadlines but also to submit content before their colleagues do.

Note: This method isn’t suitable for everyone. It depends on everything from personalities to your way of working. Don’t just implement this point without research and analysis first.

If you’re struggling to find in-house contributors who want to create content, try some of these tips. You may not need to look at all five and you may find your own ways (please share in the comments). As Joe Pulizzi said, “There is no one right way to achieve content marketing goals.”

Want more expert advice on how to improve your in-house content creation? Check out the fantastic 2014 CMW sessions that are available through our Video on Demand portal and make plans today to attend 2015 CMW.

Cover image by acky24 via

The post 5 Tips to Help Your Colleagues Become Successful Content Creators appeared first on Content Marketing Institute.

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5 Tips to Help Your Colleagues Become Successful Content Creators page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

4 Reasons Why You Are Not Developing Strong Sales Leads

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4 Reasons Why You Are Not Developing Strong Sales Leads
by christopherjanb

One of the fastest ways to get bigger sales results is to get better at developing your sales leads. Instead of taking a scattershot approach and pursuing lots of sales leads, even if many of them are not the right fit, it’s more efficient and more profitable for your company if you can learn how to sort, rank, prioritize and focus on the sales leads that are the strongest – most ready to buy, most receptive to speaking with you, most likely to be a good fit for what your company sells.

If your sales development pipeline is lacking strong sales leads or if you feel like you’re spending too much time chasing sales leads that are never going to pay off, then take a look at these four common reasons why your company might be struggling to develop high quality sales leads:

1. Targeting the wrong types of companies
Before you start gathering prospects, do you know if they are the right fit for your target market? Are they the right size of company and in the right industry? Does your solution really add value for them?

It can be enticing to generate a big list of prospects, before you know it your list is overloaded with poor matches for your product/service. Too many weak prospects may slow you down in your effort to find the strongest sales leads.

Instead of taking on all the sales leads that you can find, be more rigorous. Do your research in advance to make sure you really know enough about the companies that you are contacting, and make sure they are really a good fit for what you sell.

2. Mismatch between service and website
Prospects often might not fully understand what you do – customers might not speak the same industry jargon or be aware of the latest features and benefits of your solution. Even if it’s important, exciting, industry-leading technology, you can’t assume that people outside of your company know about it yet, or care about it as much as you would prefer. Sales teams should be prepared to identify the customer’s level of knowledge about the solution that you offer. Better-informed customers often make better sales leads.

3. Not a lot of need
If you’re seeing lackluster demand from customers, it might not be your fault as a sales person; perhaps there just is not a lot of demand in the market right now for what you’re selling. Are you doing the business-to-business sales equivalent of trying to sell snowblowers in July? Is there a seasonal push for your product category, or is your solution best suited to companies that tend to have a different fiscal calendar (and so will not be ready to buy until next year’s budget is set)? Perhaps weak demand is a sign that your product is outdated or that your service offerings are out of step with where the market is heading. Sales slumps are always great opportunities to reflect on the mission and vision of the organization and realign your priorities and how you stand out in the market. Take a hard look at your product development team – are you really delivering a product/solution that is the right fit? Or do you need to go back to the drawing board?

4. Not qualifying leads correctly
Once you have a new sales lead, what are you doing to make sure the prospect is really a valid sales lead, is truly a good fit, and is ready to buy? If you answered “nothing,” unfortunately, you’re in good company. According to statistics cited by Hubspot, only 56% of B2B sales organizations take any action to verify valid sales leads before passing them on to the sales team. There are a few common causes for this lack of sales lead qualification:

Assuming the prospect is immediately ready to buy. This is a mistake because you might be putting pressure on the client without even realizing it.
Not asking enough questions. The first time you talk to a new prospect, you should really drill down and make sure that you are finding out if you are a good fit for what they need.
Not ranking your sales leads. Develop a clear system (the simpler the better) to scale and rank sales leads based on their likelihood of buying – how soon, how high priority, and who are the decision makers.
Keep in mind that strong sales leads are made, not born. The most successful B2B sales organizations create a consistent process for qualifying sales leads – by asking questions and getting to know the prospective customer better, before they ever try to set a sales appointment. Instead of chasing too many bad leads, spend some more time sorting and focusing on the best sales leads – and watch your sales grow.

Author information

Gregg Schwartz
Director of Sales at Strategic Sales & Marketing
Gregg Schwartz is the Director of Sales for Strategic Sales & Marketing (SSM), one of the industry founding lead generation companies established in 1989. Gregg developed and manages the social media lead generation service line offered to SSM clients. He is also a published game designer, patent holder, and novice guitarist.
The post 4 Reasons Why You Are Not Developing Strong Sales Leads appeared first on SteamFeed.

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The 4 Reasons Why You Are Not Developing Strong Sales Leads page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

How To Conduct Qualitative Market Research That Helps You Compete Globally

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How To Conduct Qualitative Market Research That Helps You Compete Globally
by christopherjanb

It’s the old research question (no, not the one about the chicken and the egg) – which is more helpful: quantitative research or qualitative research? Quantitative research is based in hard facts and figures – surveys, analysis of trends, statistical results. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is a much broader field of study that collects data through more unstructured methods.

It falls squarely in the realm of ethnographers and anthropologists, those researchers who conduct field studies, observe behaviors and research documents to understand cultural mores and motivations, and understand reasons for behavior. They focus less on the details of what happened and instead try to understand why something happened.

This article will help marketers who want to learn more about competing successfully in a global marketplace by:

Learning how to truly understand prospects and customers as people, not just numbers or trends.
Showing the benefits of obtaining a cultural understanding.
Providing a step-by-step process for conducting qualitative research.
Applying qualitative insights to marketing decisions.
For years business decision-makers and marketers have followed the siren call of quantitative research, but these days more and more are being drawn to the qualitative side of the equation. With the global economy, quickly-evolving demographics, and the digital world changing our communication and buying patterns, savvy marketers are rapidly learning how to gather useful insights that will help guide their decision-making.

A 5 Step Plan for Marketers Conducting Qualitative Research
To put the same “oomph” behind qualitative research results, marketers will need to design their research with the same rigorous standards associated with quantitative research. These five steps should serve as a helpful guideline:

Define an Area of Inquiry: As with quantitative research, you need to start with a description of what you are attempting to study, but in qualitative research these questions tend to be more focused around the “why” of a particular behavior. Why do consumers in the east prefer one brand of soda more than those in the west? What drives people of certain cultural heritages to make specific purchasing decisions? You are looking for information that will help refine your marketing strategies.
Determine a Method of Study: Ascertain how you are going to go about collecting this information. Perhaps it will be necessary to bring in an anthropologist or ethnographer to assist in this stage of the inquiry. Think about how you are going to gather data, who you will need to interview, where these interviews should take place, whether they should be in individual or group sessions, and how you are going to document results.
Gather Input: Collect data based on the method of study identified. Perhaps this stage will consist of simple observation, or it could require an inter-generational interview session to obtain cultural perspectives. If a group being studied is large enough, it may necessitate having an ethnographer immersed in the culture for a specific length of time to obtain a deeper understanding of cultural norms and influences. You are trying to identify patterns of behavior, and understand why this specific individual or group behaves in that manner.
Generate Insights: Assess the data that has been collected with both a quantitative and qualitative approach. Try to assign numerical values where appropriate, but be open to the broader observations and trends that have been uncovered. Many times, a narrative analysis or content analysis is helpful in narrowing down results. Look for the cultural insights that cause you to stop and say, “Aha, so that’s why this group isn’t responding to our current marketing efforts.” When possible, try to validate these findings in some other way.
Make Marketing Decisions: In today’s marketing world, we are moving away from the constraints of mass marketing and focusing on a more personalized approach. Qualitative research will assist in this process by identifying what is important to specific groups, so marketing strategies can be developed to specifically communicate and engage with them.
In this day and age, marketers need all the information they can get about the “why” and “how” of making a purchasing decision. Consumer emotions, beliefs, cultural norms and opinions form the driving force in their buying decisions.

Qualitative and quantitative research, when used together, will give marketers the opportunity to better understand the complex nature of the buying process. It may take a bit more interpretation, but the results of a properly conceived and implemented qualitative research study should be enough to provide valuable insights which drive marketing decisions that make sense.

photo credit: fallentomato via photopin cc

Author information

Jure Klepic
Jure Klepic is Digital Strategist who is willing to say what others leave unspoken.
He leads social media and marketing adoptions for global brands and continues to drive change and spearhead innovation. Throughout his career he worked with global brands from USA to Asia.

Jure is recognized business and marketing thought leader, he is a speaker and a regular contributor to Huffington Post.

The post How To Conduct Qualitative Market Research That Helps You Compete Globally appeared first on SteamFeed.

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How To Conduct Qualitative Market Research That Helps You Compete Globally was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Introducing an Amazing list of 20 Sensational, Quick & Easy to use Influential Marketing Words for you to use Now!

Please find 20 of the most influential words in marketing:


The Introducing an Amazing list of 20 Sensational, Quick & Easy to use Influential Marketing Words for you to use Now! page was posted “By Mike Armstrong” – The Voice of Social Media


Introducing 20 of the most influential words in marketing

Please find 20 of the most influential words in marketing:


The Introducing 20 of the most influential words in marketing page was posted “By Mike Armstrong” – The Voice of Social Media


Popular Cardiff Blog Posts from Yesterday, Tuesday and Last Week!

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The popular Cardiff blog posts from yesterday and last week page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”


10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015

New post on Online Marketing Hub

10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015
by christopherjanb

Over the past 5 years we’ve published over 380 articles about content marketing here on Online Marketing Blog. It’s a big topic after all and there’s plenty of opportunity to help.

Digging in to our web and social media analytics, I’ve identified 10 of the most popular posts on content marketing that I’m sure you’ll find useful. From our Content Marketing Maturity Model to tips, tools and measurement – the 10 posts summarized below will help you finish off 2014 in style and put your planning for 2015 in the right direction.

Content Marketing Maturity Model from TopRank – Every business goes through an evolution of sorts as they mature in their content marketing skills. While not every business needs to make it to Monetization for every content marketing program, no one should be satisfied with Stasis. This post breaks down the journey from creating more content, to creating meaningful content to creating content experiences that will inspire your customers to buy and advocate for your brand. What else could a budding content marketer ask for?

5 Steps to Content Marketing Awesome: You Can Do This! – Content marketing can seem overwhelming when getting started, but not with this handy guide. Start with identifying audience segments, then map the customer journey as you embark on your own journey to content marketing awesome. Map the essential buyer questions and brand answers to your content plan and then get ready to optimize your content performance. Is that awesome? We say yes!

What is the One Most Important Skill for a Content Marketer? – Information overload is giving us all a headache, so let’s boil it down to that one most important thing to soothe our minds towards content marketing success. What is it? To find out, you’ll need to finish reading this sentence and click the link above. Go!

Visual Content Marketing Strategy eBook – As part of a foursome of content marketing eBooks produced for the 2014 Content Marketing World conference, this collection of visual content marketing strategy tips from content marketing gurus like Pam Didner, Mark Schaefer, Maggie Burke, Carla Johnson and Jason Miller from LinkedIn really resonated with our readers. I think you’ll like it too – information plus entertainment. It’s infotainment Alice in Wonderland style.

Modular Content – Creative Repurposing for Content Marketing – So much content and so little time. Plus that content has to be great or no one will read, share or be inspired by it. Enter the notion of “modular content” to help savvy content marketers create and repurpose high quality content that attracts, engages and inspires customers to take action. You’ll learn how to plan for content efficiency that’s both social media and search engine friendly.

5 Ways To Create Great Content Without Writing A Lot – Writing is not a skill all marketers are experts at and yet the demand for content from customers continues to rise. The solution? This liveblog of Marcie Hill’s presentation at NMX revealed her approach to using photos, infographics, video, audio and animations to engage customers – without writing a lot. In this case, a picture really is worth a thousand words!

What is the Difference Between Content Marketing and Content for Links? The Wrong Answer Could Cost You – Don’t let the chubby Spanish Spiderman fool you – he knows exactly what the difference is between acting in a way that gets tips and acting like a fool. That’s a great analogy when comparing the difference between content marketing for customers and content marketing just to attract links. It’s a must read for SEOs and marketers alike.

Mobile Content Marketing – What You Need to Know: Pros, Cons, Examples, Best Practices – As part of our series on content marketing tactics, this post about mobile content marketing really resonated with readers. And why not? Content discovery, consumption and even commerce via mobile devices is skyrocketing. Are you ready for mobile content marketing? I didn’t think so. Read on.

5 Content Marketing Best Practices Most Businesses Aren’t Doing, but Should! – The godfather of modern content marketing, Joe Pulizzi, shares his smarts at Social Media Marketing World on some of the most important content marketing best practices that just aren’t being practiced. Which are you missing?

Attract, Engage, Convert: How to Better Measure and Optimize Content Marketing Performance – No successful marketer creates content just for the sake of creating more content. Content Marketing by definition means creating content for a specific audience to inspire a business outcome. The model for content marketing accountability presented in this post (Attract, Engage, Convert) will give you a clear line of sight to the performance metrics that will help you understand content marketing ROI.

With hundreds of content marketing posts to choose from, this was no easy task, to narrow it down to 10. Depending on where you’ve matured your content marketing skills to, this collection of posts is either a great primer or a great confirmation of the best practices being used by some of the top marketing brands on the web.

We’ve been busy this year at TopRank Online Marketing with a wide variety of content marketing programs for numerous mid-market and Enterprise clients. We can’t talk about many of those due to NDAs.

But there are a few projects that I can share with you that are both great examples of our content marketing work and super useful collections of marketing advice. Below are a few examples of content marketing projects that we produced this year for Social Media Examiner, LinkedIn, Content Marketing Institute, and MarketingProfs – a fine collection of marketing authorities that know great content.

These eBooks include practical tips and advice from over 120 marketing experts and industry thought leaders. In fact, there are also over 50 major brands represented as contributors ranging from Adobe to Xerox and John Deere in between. Collectively, these eBooks have been viewed over 290,000 times on SlideShare in the past 6 months. I hope you enjoy them too.

For more about the 10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015 or content marketing in general see :

The 10 Must Read Content Marketing Posts for 2015 page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”