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Today's marketers are missing true customer insight | Marketing Week, 21 aug 2019
How music and sound have evolved over the years in marketing and advertising industry | The Economic Times, 21 aug 2019
OPINION: 'Everyone hates advertising and so we need new ways to cut through' - Digitas's Keith Byrne | Mumbrella Asia, 21 aug 2019
The rise of political branding in Asia | Asia Times, 21 aug 2019
Viewing PR as a marketing tool is missing the point! | Daily FT, 21 aug 2019
Survey: Growing content demands add pressure on marketing to improve cross-functional collaboration | Marketing Land, 20 aug 2019
Marketing In The Digital Age: How To Close The Leadership Gap | AList, 20 aug 2019
Why marketing chiefs have the highest turnover in the C-suite | Becker's Hospital Review, 20 aug 2019
Why tech-driven innovation can help companies adapt to changing consumer behaviours | Dataquest, 20 aug 2019
The Key to Happy Customers? Happy Employees | Harvard Business Review, 19 aug 2019
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 jul 2019
Good content is essential for every content marketing strategy. But, getting requisite return on investment (ROI) defines it's business success. Steven van Vessum, co-founder & VP of Community at ContentKing, suggests ways to maximize the chances of success of content marketng strategy - (1) Best Content Is Not Equal To Most Successful Content: Be selective and start small; Assess competitor's weaknesses and know your strengths and leverage that; Put together a content promotion strategy that works for you. (2) Create Multi-Purpose Content: As lot of research and resources are used to create content, leverage it to create other types of content to get better ROI; An evergreen content piece can be partically repurposed as a conference talk, a support article, a podcast topic or a guest post. (3) Creating the Best Content Is Not That Hard, It's Just Hard Work: Focus on creating content that provides most value to the visitors and fulfils their search intent; Create a content piece that makes you think not to give it for free. (4) Core Content Is the Key to ROI: Core content is content that your target audience is interested in, and that's close to your products and/or services. Helps in transition to soft sale; Create core content, and build related content around that. (5) Control & Protect Your Investment: Social media and content platforms are easy to use and have large audience reach but they provide limited control. Moreover, they may shut down or modify their terms of service as per their convenience; External platforms often don't support adding Call-To-Action boxes or newsletter signup forms. This results in questionable or reduced ROI; Better option is to publish a summary or introduction on these platforms and link it back to the detailed or full content on your own website. Read on...
Search Engine Journal:
Content Marketing: The 5 Most Important Things You Need to Know
Author: Steven van Vessum
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2018
In today's businesses, digital is one of the critical component that defines their growth and success. With digital and related analytics, organizations can easily track and create insights to better understand consumer behavior for their benefits. Gabriel Shaoolian, founder of DesignRush, provides valuable statistics in marketing, website design and branding for efficient online strategy and subsequent online success - (1) By 2021, mobile e-commerce will account for 54% of all online sales. (2) 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. (3) Long landing pages generate up to 220% more leads than above-the-fold calls to action. (4) Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (5) Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. (6) 64% of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. (7) Content marketing efforts receive three times the leads per dollar spent than paid search receives. (8) 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. (9) Facebook Ad revenue in the US will surpass total print ad spending by 2019. (10) Email has a median return on investment of 122%. Moreover, he suggests the following key points to be noted for digital strategy - Create an easy-to-use website that works on all platforms and devices; Design a memorable brand identity that communicates well with consumers; Maintain an honest and transparent relationship with customers; Invest in content marketing and social media advertisements; Test video marketing campaigns to engage users; Don't forget about the power of email marketing. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 oct 2018
Voters have to apply different standards to political advertising and take them with a pinch of salt. According to Prof. Jonathan Rose, Dept. of Political Studies at Queen's University (Canada), says, 'Political ads aren't subject to the same rules as other kinds of advertising. The Advertising Standards Council is a the professional regulatory body that regulates truth in advertising so I cannot say a nonfactual claim in an ad...But that truth-in-advertising doesn't apply at all to political advertising, so, literally, there's no method of enforcing truth-in-advertising.' Even though there can be limits on spending by political parties and by third parties, but it is hard to enforce the limit on online campaigns as the message can be spread for little to no expense and with virtually no oversight. Prof. Rose says, 'A lot of advertising is priming...priming is putting an item high on the public agenda by way of reinforcing a message...Priming is putting the ballot question in the minds of voters.' There are other tricks that third parties can utilize, for example portraying them as amateurish and create a perception of being a grassroots movement but in reality has been backed by big money. He advises people to be aware of political advertising in any form and be critical and do research about the accuracy of the content. He also suggests, 'At least use the ads to have a conversation with family and friends about the claims they're hearing. If you use an advertisement as a sort of a talking point to thinking about these issues then that’s at least better than accepting them without question.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2018
It's critical for the marketers to understand the collective habits of the customers of a particular segment they want to sell. Engineers are one such segment that B2B marketers have to deal with while pursuing their campaigns. Patrick D. Mahoney, President and CEO of IEEE GlobalSpec, explains the IEEE GlobalSpec's '2018 Pulse of Engineering Survey - The Changing Work Environment for Engineers Today' and how industrial marketers can utilize the insights to formulate their marketing strategy. The survey of 2236 engineers and professionals was designed to gather measurable and actionable insight on what they think about their industries and work environments. The survey also includes exclusive analysis on two key segments of the engineering workforce: millennials and technical professionals in the electronics industry. Highlights from the research - PRESSURES: 55% of engineers say the pace of engineering is increasing; 53% are required to do more with less; 40% say that pressure to meet deadlines is putting product quality/rework at risk; Majority also say that designs are becoming more sophisticated and that design cycles are shrinking, while time-to-market pressures are increasing; 44% of companies have increased design involvement from external partners and vendors. MILLENNIALS: Marked differences between mindset of younger engineers vs veterans regarding information. Millennials are information hungry. Concerning information access, 24% of surveyed millennials say they are more likely to use video for educational purposes compared to a much smaller 14% of veteran engineers; While the majority (53%) of all engineers are willing to register on a website for access to specific documents, only 44% of millennials indicated such willingness; Younger engineers tend to believe all content should be free and openly accessible (52%). Read on...
A Look Into the Mind of the Engineer: For B2B Marketers
Author: Patrick D. Mahoney
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 aug 2018
Nonprofits have to take the cue from their for-profit counterparts for successful implementation of marketing and technology oriented strategy implementations. Content marketing is now a mature field both in B2B and B2C aspects of business. Best practices are available. Gloria Horsley, founder of Open to Hope Foundation, explains the value of effective content for nonprofit organizations to educate, inform and engage with donors, volunteers and those the nonprofits intend to support and help. She shares her mistakes in content marketing in nonprofit realm and the learning from these experiences - (1) Transferring Existing Print Content Online: Offline content is outward-facing and telling rather than sharing or interactive; Written for entire audience and not personalized for specific segments; Online content need to be written in a way to engage audience; Interactive for audience to share their opinions; Utilizes story telling and visual content. (2) Delivering Content That Lacks Educational Value: Merely information and facts are not always valuable content; Specific content that educate different audiences is more valuable; Produce content that answers specific questions; Educational content attracts more supporters, donors and volunteers. (3) Letting Volunteers Run With It: Giving too much control to volunteers for content development risks consistency and integrity; They may create content that is not fully compliant with regulations; Specific rules and guidelines for content must be laid out; Templates and formats must be shared with temporary workers and volunteers; Provide volunteers access to content management system where content is checked and approved before being published. (4) Failing To Focus On High-Quality Writing: Emotion-based writing may not always be the best quality writing; Long sentences, grammatical mistakes, passive voice use etc leads to content exhaustion where audience lose interest; Use online tools like WordPress and Grammarly for appropriate writing; Professional writing techniques need to be adopted. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 jul 2018
Implementing an effective content marketing strategy with original content that stands out from competitors is a challenging task. Online content needs to be continuously updated, should be valuable to the audience and fulfil the required marketing goals. For this hiring a professional writer, full-time or freelance, is a good option. Professional writers can ensure that the content is more engaging, informative, credible, and persuasive. Following are ways in which he/she can contribute to the content marketing strategy - (1) Improve Search Engine Rankings: Professional writers understand search engine optimization (SEO) and create keyword rich copy. They have knowledge of the latest SEO trends and ensure that content meets the standards of search engine robots. (2) Save Money: Outsourcing content can be more cost effective. Companies using inbound marketing generally experience a 61% lower cost per lead than those using traditional methods (HubSpot). The average cost of hiring an in-house writer is US$ 7221 per month (Society for Human Resource Management). (3) Save Time: Creating quality content is time consuming. Outsourcing content as per requirement assists to focus in other essential areas of business. Moreover, multiple expert writers can be hired at the same time. (4) Meet Deadlines: Professional writers can work as needed and maintain schedule. (5) Boost Your Social Media Presence: Continuous stream of content can make businesses focus on their social media strategy, share content timely and create brand awareness. (6) Increase Conversions: The average web user leaves a web page after less than 20 seconds (Nielson Norman Group). Skillful writers can write persuasively to hold audience on website and increase conversions. (7) Communicate More Effectively: Professional writers can write in conversational tone and keep audience engaged. They communicate effectively about products and services keeping in mind the audience's perspective. (8) Deliver a Wide Range of Content Types: Different experts can be hired for providing different type of content. Read on...
Business 2 Community:
How Hiring a Professional Writer Improves Your Content Marketing
Author: Chris Reid
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2018
Basic principles of business success remains the same, but with time new ideas, concepts and rules become game changers and critical to its success. Inspired by David Politis's book '66 Rules for Publicity Success', Sheryl Conner, entrepreneur, author of 'Beyond PR: Communicate Like A Champ In The Digital Age' and co-creator of Content University, explains how public relations has transformed and brought in new dynamics while some of its concepts remain the same. THE NEW - (1) New publishing platforms give more freedom to publish and provide metrics and analytics about how much interest and engagement the content has created. (2) Know the rules of publishing on varied platforms and understand the difference between owned (company blog), earned (national journals and publications), leased and rented (social media platforms) publishing space. (3) Search results are the greatest ally (and one of the most significant risk). (4) Visual content is becoming increasingly important. Text content with video/audio and compelling images provides effective multimedia experience to the audience. (5) Customer feedback is equal (or more) important to purchases than traditional analyst views. THE USUAL - (1) Press releases are still important. (2) Value add educative information for your audience is more valuable than promotion and hype. According to Conductor.com, a consumer is 131% more likely to purchase from a vendor who publishes an educational article they have read. (3) Meaningful and consistent messaging is vital. (4) Authenticity is more important than ever before. (5) Earned media is important. Remember what others say about your company is more valuable and add to reputation, than what you say yourself. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 feb 2018
As streaming video services on internet get popularity, advertising on television is seeing a decline. Now advertisers are shifting their dollars towards digital. In 2016, US revenues from digital advertising exceeded revenues from TV for the first time - US$ 72.5 billion (+22%) compared to US$ 71.3 billion from TV. This trend is also reflected in global markets. Some corporates are even focusing solely on digital advertising. The young (13 to 24 years age) are showing less affinity towards traditional advertising as they spend more time on Internet in comparison to TV. Only 36% of consumers noted that they cannot do without a TV screen. Meanwhile, 67% cannot imagine their lives without YouTube and 51% seem to lose meaning in life without Netflix. The same audience is watching 2.5 times more internet videos than traditional TV. Video-bloggers are the new influencers for the young population as they advocate brands and products while sharing their experiences with them in the form of effective video presentions. Video bloggers are becoming a guaranteed way for advertisers of reaching target audiences and getting predictable results. Influencer marketing is becoming more relevant. Return on investment from online videos is 77% more than from TV promos. The main trend nowadays is native advertising through opinion leaders. Traditional advertising is slowly getting outdated and a personalized Internet, along with personalized advertising, is becoming the real future. Read on...
The Next Web:
Advertising in the digital age - Why online-first is the future
Author: David Geer
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jan 2018
Confluence of sales and marketing is not often seamless. It brings challenges and creates conflicts. Business leaders keep them in silos to avoid friction. But if done effectively, collaboration between the two can bring more benefits and success, saving time and money, and yielding more leads and conversions. Following are ways in which this collaboration can be achieved - (1) Buyer Personas: Both sales and marketing have information about customer segments they serve, albeit from different sources. By sharing the two they can have much better understanding of customers. Together, they can create a precise description of the buyer personas. These descriptions generate personalized content and service delivery. (2) Timing: When the messaging and content is shared is the key to its effectiveness. Through collaboration, marketing can utilize the feedback that sales team receives from customers and time their campaigns, and plan for future strategy accordingly. On the other hand, sharing marketing strategy schedule with sales will help them know when to follow-up with prospects. (3) Content Developent: When sales team creates content it takes away their valuable time from their critical sales activities. By collaboratively developing content, sales and marketing can pool in their strengths and expertise, and focus on customers effectively. This will give sales the content they need and marketing a blueprint to create high value content that inturns generate more leads for sales. (4) Proposals and Agreements: There are software platforms that can help marketing and sales collaboratively create documents like proposals, agreements etc. According to James Kappen, CEO and Founder of Proposable, 'Marketing can go a long way to taking some of the tedious work off the shoulders of the sales team. This includes generating branded proposals with consistent formats and messaging based on the insights the sales team shares with them. That way, marketing can use its expertise in branding, corporate identity, and value-focused content to deliver a more compelling proposal to the sales team to use. The shared information and understanding of the potential buyer elevate the relevancy and engagement that the proposal can offer, enabling more conversions.' Similar tools like Eversign provide the collaborative platform marketing and sales need to work together effectively. The result is that documents can be created, revised, signed and shared between those within the company and the prospect. (5) Analysis: End of the sales cycle can also bring collaborative benefits. Working together of marketing and sales blurs the process of attracting and acquiring customers, thus making the analysis of the role each played in the process difficult. Hence, it becomes beneficial to analyze lead generation data together. This gives everyone opportunity to find out how they are contributing to the whole process and generate the necessary return. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2017
Marketing continuously evolves, and there is always something new for marketers to test, experiment and validate, and bring it to mainstream, whether it be ideas or technologies. Here are expert predictions for 2018 - (1) Zoe Burns-Shore (Head of Brand & Marketing, First Direct): 'Hopefully, more companies will start to realise digital marketing and marketing are one in the same, and the joy of all of that is seeing how everything works together, not in channel-led silos.' (2) Rachel Bristow (Director of Client Partnerships & Collaboration, Sky Media): 'It's no longer enough for brands to be passive about their brand identity as consumers are expecting more from the brands they engage with. Often this means taking a political viewpoint in order to be relevant and engaging...Although having a political voice can elevate a brand's purpose, it comes with a host of reputation risks which brands need to carefully consider. CSR also helps align a brand with a purpose while mitigating some of those reputation risks of being politically vocal.' (3) Harry Lang (Marketing Director at Online Sportsbook Pinnacle.com): '...I'm going with eSports...Now it's getting organised and brands are paying over the odds to jump on the bandwagon - the trend lines suggest it's only going to get bigger.' (4) Aedamar Howlett (Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Great Britain): 'We will add more choice and breadth to our portfolio...tap into macro consumer trends like healthy living, exotic flavours and on-the-go snacking...we will evolve the ways we communicate and engage our consumers. The trend for instant, real-time conversations and connections with brands will continue...also trialling chat bots and AI, as well as investing in editorial-style content-led media partnerships that tap into the mass appeal of social influencers to consumers...(there) is an evolution in the way marketers use and present data insights...(insights) will allow a more personalised, targeted approach for 2018.' (5) Craig Greenberg (Head of Strategic Planning & Insight, William Grant & Sons UK): 'As consumers are constantly bombarded with information across various channels, we will see more brands attempting to cut through the clutter to become memorable...it is brands that have a differentiator aligned with their brand heritage in a credible way that will win in the long term...consumers will seek brands that build on their identity, meaning a bigger push towards 'local' specificity in luxury brands...in a period of uncertainty, big brands may feel detached from a sense of place and strive to get closer to communities.' (6) Ben Rhodes (Group Marketing Director, Royal Mail): '...continued growth in retail ecommerce - and the associated need for more convenience and choice in delivery and return options...consumer trust in messaging received via physical mail to continue to grow, compared with digital channels.' Read on...
What's in store for 2018? Marketers share their predictions
Author: Lucy Tesseras
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 oct 2017
Over the years the dynamics of relationship between patients and healthcare providers have evolved into customers and healthcare businesses type. Rising cost of healthcare, multiple providers, privatization and technology are some important reasons for this transformation. Brad Dodge, President of Dodge Communications, and Andrew Pelosi, President of Partners & Simons, provide in detail what the patients as consumers of healthcare services expect from providers and how healthcare businesses can develop robust customer oriented strategies and fulfil the role of trusted partner in providing care services. They explain, 'Healthcare consumers have come to the realization that they have options. They don't have to settle for poor service, long wait times, limited hours, or confusing bills. Customer loyalty has to be earned - as in any other business. And consumers make it perfectly clear that if a provider can't deliver a better and more personalized experience, then they will switch to one that can. Moreover, the shift in mentality demands that providers be transparent and personal as much as possible. And from generation to generation, consumers are demanding clear communication and a trusted connection with their providers.' According to the Solutionreach Patient-Provider Relationship Study, 'The Ripple Effect Starts with Boomers', 43% of millennials are likely to switch practices in the next few years, 44% of Generation X are likely to switch primary care physicians in the three years and 20% of Baby Boomers are likely to switch in the next three years. Also, 70% of patients desire the ability to text the doctor's office, and 70% would like to receive text messages from their doctor, especially about appointments. Healthcare providers have to keep in mind expectations of these consumers and provide them personalized experience if they want long-term continuous relationships. Authors suggest - (1) Communication Drives Experience: 'The essence of creating a positive experience is making customers feel that they are heard and important — before, during, and after a transaction. Consistent, relevant communication between your company and customers is the answer to optimize that experience and engender trust. Honest communication with an emphasis on personalization builds the trust that all companies need to grow in this new information-driven, engagement economy.' (2) Entering the Engagement Economy: 'Consumers are demanding a more personalized relationship that requires a depth of knowledge of their wants, needs, and buying behaviors - and, ultimately, the best ways to engage them. Brands that succeed are the ones that manage engagement across the entire customer lifecycle. In most instances, the lifecycle and trust-building process starts very early in the customer's buying decision, even before they are considering a purchase.' (3) Who Are You Talking To: 'Creating a positive customer experience requires knowing your audience, engaging interpersonally, and meeting their needs. Answering those questions helps you develop an understanding that will be reflected in how you communicate with them across all channels, as well as what content you deliver. Also, organizations must be clear and concise; they must also offer up a valuable story; and they must be prepared to tweak that story as the marketplace changes.' (4) Focus on Delighting Customers: 'Focusing on ways to delight customers will go a long way in nurturing engagement and trust in your brand. Again, communicating and delivering valuable information to potential and existing customers can please them, especially when that information demonstrates an understanding of their pain points and goals.' (5) Harnessing Engagement: In an environment where trust is in short supply and customer engagement is spread across a broad digital ecosystem, companies must focus on their customers and on nurturing relationships through effective, relevant communication. Focusing on customer experience, needs, and preferences will not only enable brands to differentiate their products and services in a competitive market but also build the trust that results in loyalty.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2017
Team of researchers - Anatoli Colicev of Nazarbayev University (Kazakhstan), Ashwin Malshe of University of Texas at San Antonio (USA), Koen Pauwels of Northeastern University (USA) and Peter O'Connor of ESSEC Business School (France) - in their paper 'Improving Consumer Mind-Set Metrics and Shareholder Value through Social Media: The Different Roles of Owned and Earned' published in Journal of Marketing, describe the impact of social media on stock market performance via three consumer mindset metrics: brand awareness, purchase intent, and consumer satisfaction. According to the research all the social media posts are not created equal. Owned social media (OSM), i.e. company's own posts, is likely to increase brand awareness and customer satisfaction but not purchase intent. While earned social media (ESM), i.e. what consumers say about brands on social platforms, is even more valuable, potentially increasing all three consumer mindset metrics. Prof. Koen Pauwels says, 'Consumers look to their peers before making purchasing decisions, which is why earned social media is so valuable. Both investors and consumers distrust companies who boast about themselves, because it's hard to know what weaknesses they're trying to hide.' The researchers also found that consumer satisfaction and purchase intent are primary contributors to firm value. While higher consumer satisfaction was found to increase stock market returns, greater purchase intent was shown to both increase stock market returns and lower idiosyncratic risk - risk that is endemic to a particular stock and not a whole investment portfolio. The researchers used time series analysis to decipher the link between social media posts on various platforms consumer mindset metrics, and shareholder value. Prof. Pauwels suggests that research findings could assist marketers to develop more effective social media strategies. He says, '...marketers and social media managers should craft their OSM messages to target customers to improve brand awareness and customer satisfaction. Due to the value-relevance of customer satisfaction, OSM that is targeted toward helping customers post-purchase, addressing their concerns, and reinforcing their purchase decisions is much more valuable than OSM crafted to persuade customers to buy the firm's products.' The research also found that brands with high credibility (reputation) are far more likely than brands with low credibility to increase purchase intent with their own posts. Read on...
News @ Northeastern:
When it comes to social media, consumers trust each other, not big brands
Author: Jason Kornwitz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 31 jul 2017
2017 'Consumer Email Habits Report: What Do Your Customers Really Want', a study of 1003 online respondents commissioned by Campaign Monitor and conducted by Market Cube, finds that nonprofit email marketers are lagging behind peers, and the preferences of constituencies, in their ability to provide personalized, relevant messaging. 81% of consumers in the report want touches of personalization in emails they receive from nonprofits. In terms of relevancy of emails to supporters and potential supporters, nonprofits lag behind substantially with only 42% respondents stating that they regularly receive relevant emails. Andrea Wildt, chief marketing officer for Campaign Monitor, says, 'Email personalization can be based on either personal demographics or behavior - how an individual is interacting with an organization...personally relevant emails resonate better with recipients - building a trust that is sometimes hard to foster when recipients are bombarded with so many contacts from so many senders.' According to Ms. Wildt, 'Nonprofits struggle to provide personally relevant emails due to overall lack of ability to capture data and use that data to segment. Resources available to nonprofits are often far more modest than those of retailers.' Further complicating matters for nonprofits is the disparate ways various age groups interact with emailed material. Ms. Wildt suggests, 'Nonprofits must take a multi-pronged approach to marketing (using different tactics/strategies/technologies to target specific age groups)...They are just not quite as mature at leveraging some of the technology. There is so much noise that nonprofits really need help cutting through. The competition for donors' wallets is still fierce.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jul 2017
According to 'Instructional Design Report 2016' funded by the Gates Foundation, there are 13000 instructional designers in US. The field is increasing in popularity as online education proliferates and the need to translate content into digital forms rises. Designing online learning experiences is becoming essential training employees, mobilizing customers, serving students, building marketing channels, and sustaining business models. Instructional design has deep roots in distance education, human computer interaction, and visual design. ontemporary instructional design sits at the intersection of three core disciplines: learning science, human-centered design, and digital marketing. Following are some lessons and resources for those starting out in the field of instructionl designs - (1) Start with a deep understanding of your learners: Start by developing an Empathy Guide similar to one put together by Stanford d.School or reviewing the free book 'Talking to Humans' by Giff Constable; Conduct observations and interviews with target learners; Synthesize finds into learner archetypes; Test instructional concepts and product ideas by building rough prototypes; d.School 'Protyping Dashboard', Design Thinking process courses by IDEO.org or free resources offered by IDEO's Teacher's Guild. (2) Ground yourself in the fundamentals of learning science: Research on learning and teaching; 'The ABCS of How We Learn', a 2016 book by Daniel Schwartz; 'How People Learn', the 1999 foundational text edited by John Bransford, Ann Brown, and Rodney Cocking; Online Stanford lectures on Education's Digital Future. (3) Determine the 'powerful ideas' you want to teach and build your curriculum using backwards design: For education technology read Seymour Papert's 'Mindstorms: Children, Computer and Powerful Ideas'; Then use 'Understanding By Design Framework' (ascd.org) to structure your curriculum. (4) Go study other great teachers and other great learning experiences: altMBA program by Seth Godin that runs using Slack; Angela Duckworth's delivery of messages on camera; Animations produced by Amnesty International; Interactive lessonas produced on Oppia; Screen-based technologies produced by groups like Paulo Blikstein's Transformative Learning Technologies Lab; Explore multiple approaches from diverse instructional materials available online. (5) Get a lay of the technological landscape, but don't let your LMS hold you hostage: Get familiar with various platform options, particularly with most popular ones - Coursera, Udacity, Udemy, and EdX; Check out the list of global MOOC platforms curated by Class Central; Read some critical perspectives from the likes of Digital Pedagogy Lab or the MIT Media Lab; Check out the blogs of online learning pioneers like Connie Malmud. (6) Don't try to migrate an in-person experience into an online format: Read 'Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology' by Allan Collins and Richard Halverson; Explore perspectives and research of Mitch Resnick and the late Edith Ackermann of the MIT Media Lab. (7) If you build it, they won't come. Understand the fundamentals of digital marketing: Check out blog post of Alex Turnbull (Founder of Groove) that explains 6-step marketing strategy for selling online course; Udemy has also created a great toolkit to help online course instructors market their learning experience. (8) Collect student feedback. Iterate. Share what you learned. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 jul 2017
Time management is a critical component of work-life balance. Content marketing is a busy and stressful job. Following are valuable tips for content marketers - SETTING THE STAGE: Make a plan before you start creating content; Use to-do lists; Set clear goals; Know who your audience is. INCREASING PRODUCTIVITY: Work when you feel alert and creative; Do similar tasks in groups; Do one thing at a time; Reuse your content; Take breaks. USING TIME WISELY: Find productivity tools that work for you; Automate chores; Delegate when it's appropriate; Prioritize tasks that give you the most ROI; Drop unnecessary tasks; Create evergreen content; Spend time on the right social media channels; Curate content; KEEPING THE WHEELS TURNING: Make an idea bank; Have a backlog of content; Listen to your audience; Stay on the same page as the rest of your team. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jan 2017
According to eMarketer's Sept'2016 ad spending forecast, digital will overtake TV ad spending this year for the first time (Digital - US$ 72.09 billion; TV - US$ 71.29 billion), and will represent 36.8% of US total media ad spending. Scott Symonds, MD of media at AKQA, 'In 2017, digital will become the single largest media investment channel, passing television for the first time...digital is no longer just a test or an innovation budget. It needs to be expected to work as hard or harder vs. every other investment channel.' Experts from across the industry suggest ways digital marketing will evolve in 2017 - (1) Artificial intelligence gets smarter: Tom Edwards, Chief Digital Officer at the agency within Epsilon, says, 'From leveraging machine learning to accelerate sentiment analysis and domain-specific insights to cognitive computing solutions that automate experiences without human intervention to the rise of voice-based user experiences that will continue to expand in 2017 to deep learning that will fundamentally change how brands approach SEO to predictive API's that will expose access to predictive models to further create seamless experiences for consumers, cognitive and intelligent systems will play a key role in how we approach marketing in 2017.' (2) Measurement takes priority: Brigitte Majewski, an analyst at Forrester Research, says, 'The fundamentals have to take priority. Measurement and data are the only way for marketers to get control of a situation they have completely lost control of. They have to understand what part of the mix is truly working and that takes measurement...Once marketers get control of their measurement and connect the dots with the data, they can really start to do orchestrated branded experiences told in a sequence that makes sense.' (3) Turning up the volume: Audio-driven experiences will become mainstream in 2017. Trevor Guthrie, Co-founder of Giant Spoon, says, 'Giant Spoon believes the rise of voice-based AI - Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc. - will have a profound impact on computing and how consumers interact with technology. The next wave of computing will be driven by voice, and clients need to begin to build a voice strategy for their brands.' (4) Reestablishing trust: Forrester's Majewski says, 'The biggest difference in 2017 is going to be a focus on transparency. But now marketers have gotten much smarter and they can legitimately ask hard questions that they might have let pass before. They will really dig into the numbers from agencies and platforms - they are not going to let things slide.' (5) A clearer picture for digital video: AKQA's Symonds says, 'As video becomes untethered from television in terms of its primary investment opportunity or most likely viewing occasion, we believe it will continue to have exciting emerging opportunities in and around the space including augmented and virtual reality, 360 video, live video, programmatic innovations, etc.' (6) Social pivots back to sharing: David Song, MD at Barker, says, 'It will no longer be about paid, earned, and owned social but rather, how a consumer engages with a brand through its social channels. Social channels are and will continue to become more important than client websites.' Epsilon's Edwards says, 'Marketers will need to shift their strategy from one of personification of the brand to a seamless experience that is about simplifying and predicting needs while also empowering consumers to create their own stories.' (7) Cleaning up the landscape: Anna Bager, SVP and GM of mobile and video at Interactive Advertising Bureau, says, 'The days of static display banners are numbered. Consumer expectations for rich, relevant ad and content experiences are growing.' Gabe Weiss, digital experience and transformation leader at SapientNitro, says, 'I feel like there's been a significant maturation of understanding within leadership that the old-normal approaches no longer work. They have bought into designing approaches that work for their brand and for their customers. They will be more committed to delivering their messaging in all forms of content and fragmented channels to make an impact. They will offer engaging and unique experiences and not just yell at their audiences.' (8) Getting the message: IAB's Bager says, 'In the U.S., the rapidly evolving messaging space represents a tremendous opportunity beyond social media platforms to engage with consumers in a native way.' (9) Mobile evolves into people-based marketing: Kurt Hawks, SVP of cross-device and video, at Conversant, says, 'Additionally, as the digital and physical worlds continue to converge, a focus will be placed on the intelligent and responsible use of location data to better understand and anticipate consumer needs and track in-store visits. Mobile will finally evolve from a device to a set of behaviors that inform people-based marketing.' Giant Spoon's Guthrie says, 'We're finally starting to see UIs truly built for mobile instead of just converting what we're used to on desktop. I don't simply mean 'make it vertical' or 'make it short and snackable.' A few companies are completely reworking the structure - not just the details of the content pieces.' (10) Looking towards a post-broadcast, post-digital future: Giant Spoon's Guthrie says, ' The digital media bubble will pop this year. Media will bifurcate into massive networks that roll up many properties for scale and synergy or niche publications charging premium prices based on the strength of their brand. Media's middle class of independent venture-backed digital publishers will either get acquired or fold.' Jeff Liang, Chief Digital Officer at Assembly, says, 'Digital marketers can no longer think inside the box to reach and engage with digital consumers effectively. They must quickly adapt to how audiences are using new forms of digital media to avoid getting lost in the sea of change.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2016
According to Mapp Digital's whitepaper, 'Consumer Views of Email Marketing', more than 98% of consumers, aged 18-64, check emails at least one to three times a day. The survey for whitepaper included a national panel of 1765 consumers between the ages of 18-64, 70% had a household income of over US$ 35000 and participants were evenly distributed by gender and geographic region. The findings point out the importance of age in receptiveness of email marketing. Nearly 2/3rd (64%) of respondents aged 55-64 said that they will delete email, as opposed to 38% of 18-24 year-olds. 91% aged 18-24, and 83% aged 25-34 said that they use smartphones to view emails. It suggests that for effective email marketing, optimize for smartphones. Mike Biwer, CEO of Mapp Digital, says, 'Email marketing is still very relevant to brands, specifically for the hard-to-reach 18-34 year-old audience. The survey results suggest that this group of consumers are engaging with fewer brands on a more intimate level. Millennials and Gen Y are strong audiences for email marketers, but now more than ever, the email marketing experience needs to cater to what they want and how they want it.' Read on...
Email marketing still vital for targeting young US consumers
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 sep 2016
Comedian John Oliver in one of the recent episode of 'Last Week Tonight' on HBO described journalism industry's 'dire straits' and analyzed the depressing financial state of journalism in 2016 and the subsequent tendency for news outlets to focus on stories that get the most traffic. Moreover, he emphasised the importance of traditional reporting via newspapers that often get quoted by TV news channels. He says, 'It's pretty obvious without newspapers around to cite, TV news would just be Wolf Blitzer endlessly batting a ball of yarn around. The media is a food chain which would fall apart without local newspapers.' On the current financial situation of journalism, falling print advertising revenue and digital journalism, he says, 'A big part of the blame for this industry's dire straits is on us and our unwillingness to pay for the work journalists produce. We've just grown accustomed to getting our news for free and the longer that we get something for free, the less willing we are to pay for it...If journalists are constantly required to write, edit, shoot videos and tweet, mistakes are going to get made. It is clearly smart for newspapers to expand online. But the danger in doing that is the temptation to gravitate towards getting the most clicks.' Read on...
John Oliver examines journalism's many problems: The blame is on us
Author: Adam Gabbatt
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 sep 2016
Journalism industry faces numerous challenges and is going through a difficult phase, as comedian John Oliver recently expained in his show on HBO. But there is also a ray of hope as the demand for good content is high and there is need of editorial skills. Journalism aspirants, who aspire to be Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein, may not feel happy about it though. Kayvan Salmanpour, chief content officer at digital marketing agency iCrossing, says, '99% of brands struggle with content because they publish without an editorial mindset. So I think (editorial is) hugely important - now more than ever.' He explains what brands can learn from media companies when it comes to content and suggests the following - (1) Hire an editor in chief who can have ultimate control of the content produced and can assure it's quality. Content represents the brand. (2) Create an editorial mission statement before anything else. There is need for clarity of objectives and everyone in the organization should be aligned to it. (3) Put the audience first as compared to brand/product first. Create content that is audience focused. Find the intersection between what the audience wants to read and what the brand stands for. (4) Don't try to be everything to everyone. Good content fits seamlessly between the brand and its target audience. It may even require conducting psychographic studies of the target audience and thinking about their habits in excruciating detail. Read on...
Journalists, take heart - Content marketing needs you
Author: Lisa Lacy
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 jun 2016
Creativity and innovativeness are some of the most sought after skills and qualities that are required in all types of industries. These abilities keep the wheel of businesses and organizations running, and stay competitive. Fast Company developed a list of 100 most creative and innovative professionals for 2016. The list includes individuals from 13 countries and has 50% representation of women. Here are selected few in MARKETING, BRANDING, ONLINE COMMUNITIES, MEDIA and ENTERTAINMENT (The numbering is retained as in the original list) - (1) Lin-Manuel Miranda (Composer, Lyricist & Performer. Rap Musical 'Hamilton'): For making history in entertainment. (2) Divya Nag (Head of ResearchKit and CareKit, Apple): For moving Apple into the doctor's office. (3) Jill Soloway (Writer, Director, Producer at Topple, Amazon Studios): For televising the revolution. (4) Jean Liu (President, Didi Chuxing): For building China's biggest ride-sharing business at breathtaking speed. (5-6) Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli (Co-Creative Directors, Valentino): For turning a storied fashion house into a US$ 1 billion juggernaut. (7) Cindy Holland (Vice President of Original Content, Netflix): For offering Netflix viewers a lot more to binge on. (10) Amit Agarwal (VP and Country Manager, Amazon India): For extending Amazon's reach, one vendor at a time. (12) Katie Nolan (Host of Sports-Comedy Show Garbage Time): For shaking up sports. (13) Mark Fields (President and CEO, Ford): For steering Ford in a more adventurous direction. (15) Carlos Mario Rodriguez (Director of Global Agronomy, Starbucks): For keeping Starbucks and farmers everywhere, full of beans. (17) Rachel Tipograph (Founder & CEO, MikMak): For making infomercials binge-worthy. (18-19-20-21) Sarah Schaaf (Community Director, Imgur), Alex Chung (Founder and CEO, Giphy), Adam Leibsohn (COO, Giphy), Nick Bell (VP of Content, Snapchat): For creating and curating the most clickable content on the Internet. (25) Kakul Srivastava (VP of Product Management, GitHub): For seeing the people behind the code. (27) Baba Ramdev (Founder, Patanjali Ayurved): For disrupting India's US$ 49 billion consumer packaged goods market. (28) Martin Lotti (VP, Global Category Creative Director, Nike): For stretching Nike in new directions. (29-30-31) Will Ruben (Product Manager, Facebook), Laura Javier (Product Designer, Facebook), Jasmine Probst (Content Strategy Manager, Facebook): For seizing the moments through Facebook Moments photo app. (35) Sara Wallander (Concept Designer, H&M): For putting a new face on H&M through eco-conscious beauty products at low cost. (37) Kathleen Kennedy (President, Lucasfilm): For restoring the Force to "Star Wars". (38) Dylan Field (Co-founder & CEO, Figma): For redrawing digital design. (39) Alex Wolf (Founder & CEO, BOSSBABE Inc): For leading a millennial girl gang. (40) Chance The Rapper (Musician, Chance The Rapper): For generating music that's priceless. (41) Jennifer Bandier (Founder, Bandier): For turning leggings into art. (42) Dani Rylan (Founder & Comissioner, National Women's Hockey League): For giving women a shot at a professional sport. (43) Jill Szuchmacher (Director, Google Fiber Expansion, Alphabet): For shaking up the hidebound business of broadband. (44) Zainab Salbi (Host of The Nida'a Show): For being a voice of change and foster frank communication in the Middle East and North Africa. (45-46) Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer (Co-founders and Co-Chief Executives, Everplans): For helping us make arrangements through a mobile-optimized consumer platform to build a digital vault of everything. (47) Chris Young (SVP & GM of Intel Security Group, Intel): For expanding Intel's arsenal through products with focus on bettering customer's security infrastructure. (50) Quincy Delight Jones III (CEO, WeMash): For fostering harmony between mashup artists and copyright holders. (51) Jeff Turnas (President, 365 by Whole Foods Market): For lowering the grocery bill. (52-53) Heben Nigatu (Social Producer, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), Tracy Clayton (Co-Host, Another Round, BuzzFeed): For mixing comedy with commentary. (55) Adam Grant (Professor of Management and Psychology, The Wharton School, U. of Pennsylvania): For pinpointing the secrets of success. Author of the book 'Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World'. (60) Ryan Coogler (Director, Marvel Studios): For being a knockout filmmaker. (63) Emily Oberman (Brand Designer & Partner, Pentagram): For giving Snoop's product line some California cool. (64) Amy McDonough (VP, FItbit Wellness, Fitbit): For bringing exercise to the enterprise. (65) Neha Narkhede (Co-founder & CTO, Confluent): For teaching businesses to read Kafka. (66) B. J. Novak (Co-founder, Li.st): For putting everything in order. Allowing people to create and share content in the form of list on Internet. (69) Ricardo Vice Santos (Co-founder and CEO, Roger): For being a fresh voice in messaging. Lets users exchange recorded sound snippets. (71) Ivan Askwith (Founder, Askwith & Co.): For knowing how to get fans more of what they want. Specializes in community building and crowdfunding projects that empower fans. (76) Susan Salgado (Managing partner, Hospitality Quotient): For spreading hospitality. (80) Asako Shimazaki (President, Muji USA): For importing the cult of Muji, Japanese housewares brand, to the United States. (81) Cassidy Blackwell (Brand Marketing Lead, Walker & Company Brands): For combining razor-sharp storytelling with product marketing. (82-83) Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson (Co-founders, ATX Television Festival): For getting television fans off the couch. (84) Nicole Van Der Tuin (Co-founder and CEO, First Access): For turning mobile phone payments into credit histories. (91) Kamasi Washington (Jazz Saxophonist, Kamasi Washington): For breathing new energy into jazz. (94) Moj Mahdara (CEO, Beautycon): For seeing beyond the cosmetic. (96) Sally-Ann Dale (Chief Creation Officer, Droga5): For energizing brands. (98) Ahmed Abdeen Hamed (Research Assistant Professor, University of Vermont): For discovering drug links in hashtags through computer program that data mines social media. (100) Lilly Singh (Entertainer, YouTube): For creating a unicorn business. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 apr 2016
As web technologies continue to evolve along with user expectations, businesses have to keep pace with them for successful digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO). User experience optimization (UXO) and user experience design (UXD) are at the core of online marketing and SEO strategies. UXO keeps customers hooked to the website and UXD is the process that is used to create the website with customers in mind. Optimal UXD utilizes best usability principles to provide best user interface by keeping customer interactions at the core of design. Dan Makoski, VP of Design for CapitalOne and most currently Chief Design Officer at Garage Partners, says, 'Experiences are personal moments felt by people, something that can't be owned by designers; however, we can design for it. The experience of the people we design for is what determines the success of the products, services and relationships that we create.' Don Dodds, Managing Partner and Chief Strategist at M16 Marketing, suggests a list of 38 tips for website design, content creation and online marketing strategies for better user experience. Here are some selections from the list - (1) Top of the page is critical for user attention. (2) Make sure content is visible and readable for everyone including colorblind users. (3) Provide symmetry in object placement. (4) Place objects in logical order for better user flow. (5) Keep site navigation panel consistent. (6) Design for ease of use and easy comprehension. (7) For better loading use content before images. (8) Keep pages as short as possible for ease of content utilization by user. (9) For long pages use sticky menu that moves with the scrolling. (10) Make sure your pages load quickly, preferably in couple of seconds. (11) Make it easy for users to undo an action or back out of a navigation option. (12) For mobile content, do not require a double-click to activate an element. (13) Pay attention to contrast when designing your mobile content. (14) Link anchor text should tell the user exactly where the link will take them. (15) Use fonts that are easy to read. (16) Most website visitors scan your content first before reading it. Use elements like bold text, headlines etc to attract attention to the content that is most meaningful to users. (17) Avoid pop-ups, banners and slideshows as much as possible. (18) Always be truthful regarding what you can offer. Avoid false advertising and misleading information. (19) Use icons that are simply designed and easy to understand. (20) Establish a brand image and include it everywhere you've established a presence online. Read on...
38 Design Tips for Creating an Amazing User Experience
Author: Don Dodds
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 apr 2016
Businesses apply different set of strategies and tactics when they market and sell to other businesses or directly to consumers. Daniel Scalco, CEO of Digitalux, provides 5 important B2B (Business to Business) marketing strategies that should be considered to increase leads, ROI (Return on Investments) and finally sales - (1) Dig deeper when targeting your demographic: Use 'hyper-targeting' to narrow down audience. (2) Get feedback: Strategy should be data driven; Use survey process into marketing methods. (3) Extend your funnel: B2B marketing strategy cycle to go from a prospect, to lead to consumer is much longer than B2C; Nurture leads by extending funnel through better content, webinars and social media to engage with target audience. (4) Invest in an explainer video: eMarketer study found that B2B buyers consider video as top 3 most useful content for marking purchases; Inform potential customers through a story-based video. (5) Create goals and milestones: Break down the journey to reach marketing goals into smaller steps or milestones for effective execution. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 feb 2016
Reviews and recommendations related to products and companies are an important part of consumer buying decisions. Nowadays, technology has transformed word of mouth into word of clicks and taps, bringing consumers closer to other consumers and brands. Online communities around interests, products, and brands have mushroomed. Social media has further brought quality, quantity and speed into the recommendation and review process. According to a study by McKinsey, social media recommendations induced an average of 26% of purchases in 2014, that's up from 10% in 2013. Kishore Kumar, serial entrepreneur and CEO of AllThingsMine, explains how social media networks are assisting cosumers in their buying and purchasing decisions and what companies need to do to effectively utilize these channels for their product marketing and competitive strategies. According to him three aspects of social media influence consumers, and companies have to incorporate them to expand their product sales - (1) Social Referrals: Brands have to encourage and invest in social media referrals. Adweek infographic suggests that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Recommendations from friends and trusted sources are more valuable than product advertisements. (2) Access to Reviews: Consumers research before buying products and reviews are an important source. Companies should provide product reviews and give incentives to those consumers that leave a review. (3) Social Media Accessibility: Social media is freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Consumers can now purchase products directly from their social media feeds when people in their network recommend them. Companies need to effectively tap this potential and reach out to larger public through influencers. Read on...
How Social Networks Impact Buying Decisions And The Modern Consumer Society
Author: Kishore Kumar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 jan 2016
Social media has provided opportunities for publishing industry and their reporters, editors, journalists and columnists, to promote and market their content. In many cases this has resulted in the elevation of individual personal brands to iconic status with huge following, immensely benefiting the individuals and their employers. In some other cases it has also created challenging situations and adversely affected their careers. There are a number of academic studies that has been done to understand the role of company branding and personal branding. But Prof. Avery E. Holton of the University of Utah and Prof. Logan Molyneux of Temple University, assert that questions about the trend's impact on journalists' personal identities were largely left unanswered. Their study, 'Identity Lost? The Personal Impact of Brand Journalism', explores this issue and is based on interviews of 41 reporters and editors from various US publications. The authors suggest that publishing groups may need to reconsider how social media is used for branding, promotion and identity creation. Journalists find it challenging to balance their jobs and personal online identities and often have to choose one over the other. According to the authors, 'This choice presents a paradox: If journalists choose to present too much of a personal identity, they risk punishment by their employers. If they present only a professional identity, they risk offending their audiences.' Read on...
Journalism branding - Impact on reporters' personal identities
Author: Denise-Marie Ordway
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 dec 2015
The technology-enabled interactions of consumers and businesses have provided opportunities to capture data and utilize analytics to improve business processes and enhance products and services for customers in variety of industries. The analytics industry ecosystem is mushrooming with numerous vendors, from niche providers to one-stop solutions that include capture, storage, access and study of data for valuable insights. Suhale Kapoor, Co-founder of Absolutdata Analytics, captures various aspects of the analytics industry and its evolution in 2015 and explains what are the expected trends in the year ahead. Trends in 2015 - Growth of new startups and digital marketing tools; Increased use of analytics and Business Intelligence (BI); Rise in use of social media and social advertising on mobile; Rapid expansion of Internet of Things (IoT); Video content; Content marketing and predictive analytics; End-user experience and integration of online and offline content to improve service standards. Trends for 2016 - Shift towards cloud; Streaming architectures will hasten data computations; Visuals will come to rule; Data integration tools will assume more importance; Centre of Excellence (COE) will equip a business in understanding the peculiar needs and challenges for a data scientist; The Internet of Things (IoT) is all poised to bring about a data revolution; Non-analysts will start to dabble in data. Read on...
The Analytics Sector - Emerging trends and forecast for 2016
Author: Suhale Kapoor
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 dec 2015
Public relations need to continuously evolve with the changing behavior of society, advancement in technologies, and new ways of communication and reaching out to public. The industry is undergoing shifts in business models, traditional firms are finding shrinking revenue streams and there is excessive competition along with the wave of consolidation. To navigate successfully in this environment, PR firms have to move ahead with the latest practices and technologies. John Hall, co-founder and CEO of Influence & Co., explores 7 digital PR trends that firms should keep into consideration in 2016 - (1) The traditional press release is no more: Utilize social media. Develop relationships with industry leaders and influencers. Attract journalists and other outlets through quality visuals in the messages. (2) Thought leadership will become a growing PR budget priority: To position as a leader in a particular space is not an easy task. Need to build original content around the brand. For thought leadership the content has to be valuable, educational and engaging. (3) Content amplification will become (even more) critical: First focus on the quality of content. Then amplification for the targeted audience will be easier. Distribution avenues will also expand. (4) Negative brand advocates will be prevented through content: Train the PR team to handle all types of situations and experiences. Learn from the book 'Hug Your Haters' by Jay Baer where he advocates a proactive approach to handle negative people. Moreover use content to educate and engage the team. Give them knowledge to effectively tackle clients and avoid negative brand advocacy. (5) Online reputation management will be necessary: Create and publish quality content to achieve better online reputation management and getting the message to the right audience. Credible online reputation will attract publishers and journalists to use your content. (6) True influence will win over number of followers: High quality smaller network wins over ineffective large following. Focus on developing a network and building influrnce among a targeted, valuable audience and social following. (7) Use of paid promotion and social ads will continue to rise: Content Marketing Institute's 2016 content benchmark report found that more than 50 percent of B2B marketing professionals use social ads and promoted posts to distribute content. The effectiveness ratings for each of these methods have increased since last year. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 oct 2015
According to Pew Internet Project's research on social networking, as of January 2014, 74% of online adults use social networking sites. While as of September 2014, the usage statistics of popular social networking sites is - Facebook (71%); Twitter (23%); Instagram (26%); Pinterest (28%); LinkedIn (28%). Moreover research by Full Impact Studio found that social media has surpassed Google as Americans' 'number one daily activity'. All these stats point towards the relevance and importance of social media to reach people. Brands and businesses have to carefully carve out their marketing strategies on social media, and engage with their target audience accordingly. Social media can be utilized to gain subscribers, promote a service or sell a product, and helps build a business's social brand. Following are the five social media branding strategies for business suggested by Full Impact Studio's infographic - (1) Choose channels that best support your brand image: Facebook (For brand awareness and promotion. Biggest and most influential); Instagram (For heavily visual brands. Targets young adults); Pinterest (For Visual brands. To reach women); LinkedIn (To connect with corporate influencers and promote business-related content) (2) Provide exemplary customer service: Timely engage with customers and provide effective answers and solutions. (3) Don't forget about Google+: Still relevant considering that its part of Google ecosystem. Posted content's visibility on Google search. Connected to YouTube. Acts as free ad space for each post when searched on Google. (4) Deliver interesting and engaging content: Regularly update. Keep content fresh and relevant. Include articles, updates, audios, videos and visuals. (5) Get involved and make connections: Attract audience and build relationships through relevant engagement tactics like contests, giveaways or meaningful advocacy. Make them feel part of the community. Read on...
Business 2 Community:
Infographic - 5 Social Media Branding Strategies for Business
Author: Deanna Zaucha
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2015
Marketing strategies for startups are different from established companies as they have limited budget and resources. Over the years SEO (Search Engine Optimization) has evolved due to changes and improvements in search engine technologies. SEO strategies for today require a fresh look to keep business relevant in search engine results. John Rampton, entrepreneur and president of Adogy, provides 10 suggestions for startups to develop effective SEO to market their business - (1) Figure Out Your Target Keywords (2) Mobile Friendly is a Necessity (3) Simple is Usually Better (4) Develop and Follow a Marketing Strategy (5) Leverage the Power of Infographics (6) Prioritize (7) Figure Out Your Social Networking Channels (8) Link Building (9) Keep Your Content Relevant (10) Analytics are your Friend. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 apr 2015
Marketing strategy need to be communicated, accepted and implemented by the whole team to get the expected results. Oftentimes it is observed that a good plan and strategy fails due lack of understanding and support by the members of the team. John Rampton, president of Adogy, provides three innovative techniques to bring the team on the same page regarding the marketing plan - (1) Make it a Game: Allen Graves, a content marketing strategist, suggests making the marketing strategy a game. The idea is based on Joe Pulizzi's 'Epic Content Marketing'. Make four small teams and a team is constitued with 4-5 members who don't generally work together and use a 10-step process to create strategy (i-Decide on a single product to market; ii-Research & document general audiences, buyer personas etc; iii-Define goals of the conent; iv-Detail the buying process and engagement cycles; v-Define the conent niche; vi-Develop a content mission statement; vii-Create a comprehensive content marketing plan; viii-Build a content calender to include at least 12 pieces of content; ix-Develop a strategy to market each piece of content; x-Define key performance indicators and how goals will be measured). Finally team answers the 10-steps in a PowerPoint presentation. (2) Implement an Internal Communication Plan: According to Kris Prendergast, a communication expert, 'Internal communication is the strategic process of gaining employee support for external branding efforts and marketing campaigns.' This can be achieved within the organization by internal newsletter or blog; internal social network; sales conferences and marketing conferences; team building/training events; and digital interactive capabilities. (3) Hold a Strategy Planning Day: John Jantsch, author of 'Duct Tape Marketing', suggests scheduling a strategy planning day, preferably on an offsite location and including a facilitator for the session. Brainstorming sessions would include a team leader, who assembles his own team & resources, and creates a framework and plan based on key themes like objectives, results, constraints, goals, projects and tactics. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 mar 2015
Web design is a constantly evolving field. New concepts, technologies and designs give rise to new trends, that some time stay and catch on user's attention while at other times they just fizzle out in popularity. But there are also designs that stay too long in use due their popularity at one point of time but in actuality they have already lost their shine. Repetition of old ideas and trends just because of being comfortable and familiar with them may lead to loss of customers and business. Ilya Pozin, CEO of Pluto TV and Ciplex, explains why the following five web design trends have become obsolete and should be replaced by new concepts - (1) Mobile versions of websites are not cool anymore. Innovative designers are using responsive design that allows the layout to adjust based on the contextual experience of users. It provides fully integrated experience irrespective of the width of the user's device. (2) Text-heavy websites are unable to hold user attention. More designs now have precise text integrated with visuals like images and videos alongwith interactive functionality. (3) SEO copywriting, which was large part of web design and promotion at one time, is now should be replaced by developing keyword informed and user-centric content. (4) Pay-per-click advertising is losing its popularity as new technology tools are available that utilize new mediums and new targeting capablities to reach precise customer segments. Some new concepts are contextual advertising, online video and highly targeted product ads. (5) Designs below 200 pixels per inch (ppi) is getting obsolete as new devices are adopting retina displays. If the design resolution is low it gives poor quality on these displays. Moreover most web design is now more simplified with flat user interface and avoids use of gradients and shadows that provided three-dimensional look. Read on...
Let It Go - Say Farewell To These 5 Web Design Trends
Author: Ilya Pozin
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 mar 2015
Generation Z, cohort of people born after the Millennials, is now getting attention of marketers. According to research by Global Messaging, some of defining characteristics of this generation include - 86% use some kind of social media; 72% want to start their own business; 25% left Facebook in 2014; 66% list gaming as their hobby; 1 in 2 will be university educated; Communicate with images, emoticons and emojis. Marketers have to target this generation with innovative, directed and focused strategies to have an impact. Here are few suggestions - (1) Agile Marketing (2) Programmatic Mobile Marketing (3) Snackable Content Marketing (4) Text Message Marketing . Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 oct 2014
The recent study regarding use of content marketing by B2B marketers by Content Marketing Institute found that 93% of B2B marketers use social media for content marketing, up from 87% in 2013, while the use of blog and website based long-form articles has declined from 83% to 81%. Similar trend was observed in a Didit survey of top 100 social media influencers where only 34% of them maintained active blogs. These findings may not mark the end of traditional blogging for content marketing as it still have certain advantages over social media facilitated microblogging. Kevin Lee, cofounder of Didit, explains these benefits - (1) Control: Customized look and feel of the website and freedom to tweak and change (2) Ease of Measurement: Myriad metrics and analytics available to establish content marketing ROI (3) Page Rank and Domain Authority: SEO benefits like merit-based article rank and link worthy articles lead to enhanced domain authority. This improves the visibility of the content on website (4) Accessibility: Flexibility to provide mixed content categorized according to various topics and headings. Moreover he also suggests use of 'hub and spoke model' for effective content marketing, in which main content residing on a blog or a dedicated website can act as a hub while content can be shared in various formats on multiple social media platforms acting as spokes, driving traffic back to the main website in addition to exposure to specific social media audience. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 oct 2014
It's been 20 years since the blogging pioneer, Dave Winer, began scripting his blog stories via DaveNet and Scripting News. In the continuous evolving field of individual publishing, innovative technologies bring shifts that keep on transforming the way people share their content. Microblogging platforms and mobile-based content sharing being the most recent ones. Text-based blogging is now been changing to sharing of visually enhanced content like pictures, inforgraphics etc. Year 2012 saw the rise of visual content sharing sites like Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram and a study same year concluded that 44% of users engage more with a brand with visual posts. Author, Christian Adams, explains the visual information processing as quicker and better in his ebook, 'InstaBRAND'. There are number of platforms and websites that are pursuing the collaborative storytelling and blogging with visual content. The next wave of blogging thus might be concise, aggregated, dynamic, visual content shared effectively on myriad of mobile devices. Read on...
Is Collaborative Storytelling the Next Generation of Blogging?
Author: Andre Bourque
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 may 2014
Companies are utilizing content marketing strategies to attract customers and it is now possible, with numerous analytics tools, to measure and assess the ROI (Return on Investment) on content. But there is a challenge that arises due to lack of cooperation between the marketing and sales and the resulting gap. This gap is further exacerbated when there is one way communication, from marketing to sales, through lead information. According to Hubspot's '2013 State of Inbound Marketing Report', based on a survey of 3300 marketers from 128 countries, only 24% of marketers had a formalized agreement for lead handoffs, implying low level of marketing-sales cooperation. On the other hand, average cost per lead for marketers with a formal sales agreement is US$ 24, versus US$ 49 for those without. Content marketing strategy should further focus on buyer personas throughout the sales cycle and emphasise solving customer's challenges with relevant content. Hubspot suggest SLAs (Service Level Agreements) to ensure cooperation between marketing and sales that finally results in better content results. Author suggests the following content marketing challenges, from most difficult to least - Creating truly memorable content that reinforces brand and expertise; Bridging the sales-marketing gap for accurate personas and better/cheaper lead generation; Establishing content marketing ROI; Building a robust opt-in distribution platform; Measuring/analyzing the success of content marketing campaigns. Read on...
Content marketing ROI and that dangerous sales-marketing gap
Author: Jon Reed
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 feb 2014
Content Marketing Institute defines 'Content Marketing' as "Marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action." Over a period of time the content has grown enormously in all media like internet, TV etc and so do challenges related to differentiating and competing on the basis of content for brand development. In the article author provides strategies to have effective content marketing on the internet - First, Stop Calling it Content (brands need to become publishers); Define Your Mission (for successful brand publishing define what is being offered to the world); Strive to Hold Attention, Not Grab Attention (think in terms of delivering experience that not only brings the users back but also motivates them to share the content with their circles); Creating a True Value Exchange (focus on value proposition to the world alongwith the specific benefits of the brand to users); Forget About Content Strategy and Focus on Content Skills (develop skills that provide useful and meaningful content experience). Read on...
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