2015 Digital Marketing Stories That’ll Make Headlines in 2016

2015 Digital Marketing Stories That’ll Make Headlines in 2016

Digital-Marketing-in-2015-2016

 

As 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at a year that provided a few great advancements, and changes, in digital marketing.

But reliving the past should never be something we do too often; instead, it’s time to start looking forward to the future.

2016 has the potential to bring incredible changes, not just to digital marketing, but the world. With new technologies gaining popularity, older forms of media being forgotten, and the way we search changing, the next year is sure to affect how we market online.

Here are a few of the biggest digital marketing stories from 2015, which will continue to make headlines in 2016.

 

The Rise of Digital Assistants

Digital assistants, like Siri, Cortana, Google Now, and the new Amazon Echo, will change the way we search. Voice commands will trigger information, websites and services to launch automatically. These technologies adapt to the way you speak, and learns about you; to provide the best result for your command or query.

The implications of this on SEO have yet to be discovered. The long-tail keyword has long been promoted as the optimal way to optimize a page or piece of content; and this will likely remain. But additionally, more informal, conversational keywords may gain importance. The purpose of SEO has always been to describe web content in a way that matches search queries. As search queries become more specific, and more conversational, SEO that focuses on the niche, may gain priority placement. It will also become even more important to write for people, not search engines.

 

Google & Twitter Partner

2015 was the year that saw Twitter partner with Google, to provide Tweets within search engine result pages.

In the end, both sides win, as Google receives access to the most revolutionary real-time communication platform that’s ever been created (seriously, think about it – how else can you receive breaking news, contact the President and order a pizza, all at the same time?). There are over 7,000 Tweets sent out every second (as of this writing), and this amount of up-to-date information is vital to Google remaining at the top of the search world.

Twitter, in return, gets massive exposure, which is exactly what it needs. According to Pew, only 19% of adults in the U.S. use Twitter. Facebook has 58%.

Partnerships like these can only continue. Facebook is already trying to become a search engine competitor to Google and Bing, offering Search FYI as an alternative. The race to provide relevant search results to users will intensify, as real-time updates, information and content continue to be shared at light-speed. We live in a culture of immediacy, and the search engine that provides the most updated content will reign.

 

The Cord-Cutters are Growing

According to Forrester Research, 24% of U.S. adults don’t pay for television. Instead, they’re opting to stream content from their computer, mobile device, Roku, Fire TV Stick, Chromecast and video game console. TV is no longer the only way to consume video entertainment, or watch your favorite show. The consumer has options more options than ever. Cable companies, like Comcast, are already implementing data caps for subscribers; hoping people will keep paying, every month, for channels they never watch (though they a very different corporate response).

As more people ditch cable, streaming services will rise. But currently, there are very few ways to brands marketing on these services. Netflix doesn’t have commercials (thankfully), and Hulu goes traditional, showing the same commercials as shown on television. But as more people make the switch, more streaming services will be born. Savvy marketers already see the future, and opt to spend some of their time, and budgets, on lesser-known, but growing, streaming services, such as Twitch, Yahoo Screen and Newsy.

 

Online & Streaming Video Capture Eyes

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live Video, Video on Instagram and Vine are dominating our attention, and eyeballs. More people are watching video on these platforms than primetime television. According to Cisco, 69% of all consumer internet traffic will come from video, by 2017.

Marketing is about appearing in front of consumers, wherever they are. It used to be television, but now it’s more often coming from online videos, and streaming sites. Video content is more engaging and keeps user’s attention longer. Creating and sharing videos about your business, and your industry, are great ways to build brand awareness.

As demand for video content grows, so will the need for brands to invest in talented, and creative, content marketers. These digital marketing underdogs are the lifeblood of marketing in the future. As the cliché goes, “content is king.” But the truth is, it’s so much more than that. Content represents marketing in the 21st century.

 

Don’t Forget, Mobile is (still very) Important

It may feel like ages ago, but “Mobilegeddon” occurred in 2015. Has your website survived? Is it thriving? Or are you still working with your development team to optimize your site?

A new year may be upon us, but t’s the same story as last year (and the year before that, and the year…). Mobile is important. Very important. For the first time in Black Friday history, over half of all online shopping came from mobile devices. Google confirmed that more searches come from mobile devices, than desktops.

If you don’t have a mobile marketing strategy, and a mobile-friendly website, what are you waiting for?

 

Overall, 2015 was a mild year for digital marketing changes. There were a few new platforms, devices and developments, but for the most part, it was much of the same.

2016, however, has the potential to see massive changes.

Along with many of the topics listed above, advances in technology are expected to change the way we connect, the way we interact, and the way we live. We’re getting close to finally having virtual reality and self-driving cars. Wearable devices are getting more popular, and cheaper. Traditional media will continue to decline, as new online sources continue to gain viewers.

What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comment field below, and let me know what, in digital marketing, you’re most excited to experience next year.

 

Originally posted on “A Working Progress Blog” @ BecauseYouGoogledMe.com 

 

 

 

What’s in a Creative Brief?

A creative brief should be a stand-alone document, which speaks for itself. Often, briefs will be passed from one creative person to another, without any background, context or explanation. If you’re lucky, you may receive an email, or a call, asking for clarification; but there is no guarantee.

This single document can be used to design entire campaigns, or provide direction for a single graphic. All of the research that’s been performed, conversations with the client, and market analysis, must be translated into a 1 – 2 page brief.

But just like getting to Carnegie Hall, all it takes practice (practice, practice).

Here’s an overview of the key components to any effective creative brief. Feel free to use this as a template for your own creative briefs.

Timing and Deliverables

Desks get messy, and sometimes things get overlooked. Putting the most important information at the top will make it easier to set priorities. A quick glance at any creative brief should remind you of deadlines and expectations.
Answer the question, “what and when?” This is where you put the most basic of requirements, and place it prominently.

Overview

People are busy at work, managing multiple projects, answering emails, and attending meetings. Don’t force people to re-read an entire brief every time. Instead, summarize the most important information in the overview section. This section, along with the timing and deliverables section should provide enough info to remind them what’s required.
Explain the work needed and provide only the most important information. This section should summarize the entire brief, for quick reference and recollection. Save this section until the very end; after you know exactly what the rest of the brief contains.

Objective

Every marketing piece has a purpose. Most often, it’s to encourage a consumer to take a specific action. It’s important to know what you want a consumer to do before you start working on it. If you understand what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s easier to stay focused.
Know what you want the consumer to do, and state it clearly. If there are specific calls-to-action, include them. It’s important to understand the goal of each creative piece before starting the work.

Most Important Thing(s)

Similar to the objective, understanding the primary goals is essential. Where the objective details the purpose, the most important thing(s) lists mandatory elements, specific rules or essential things to include.
If there are elements or considerations which must be used, communicated, or included, list them in order of importance. The purpose of this section is to let the creative person know, that any work missing these thing(s) will be considered incomplete.

Target Audience and Insights

When you attempt to target everyone, you end up reaching no one. Know your audience, their pain-points and interests. Messaging should always communicate with audiences the way they communicate.
Briefly define the target audience. Reference market research or reports which can more thoroughly describe the demographic. Explain who the creative is for, and how communicate with them.

Messaging and Copy

Words can be persuasive. They can be controversial. Words can provoke reflection, initiate action, or make a person smile. Know what you want to say, and how it should be said.
If there are specific phrases or keywords that should be included, add them here. Provide direction to the copywriter, by defining communication styles, and the brand’s voice. If the creative will be used online, be sure to add SEO keywords and anchor text.

Design and Graphics

In the marketing world, looks are everything. In a rapidly refreshing environment like the internet, visual elements must stand out, or risk being ignored.
Describe the look and feel of the creative. If there’s a theme, make sure it’s explained. Any required elements, such as logos, trademarks, or product images, should be included.
Try to avoid telling an artist how to design, but give enough information and direction to get them on the right track.

Considerations and References

The structure of this brief places the key information at the top, and provides enough specific details to get started. A brief should be formal and consistent, since this one document may be seen by multiple creatives, who may or may not have context.
However, this is where you should break free from the formalities, and give any other information that may help get the work completed.
If there are previous marketing materials that are similar, reference them. If the client wants the piece to match something they’ve seen from a competitor, add a link. Anything else that can help, add it here. The more information you can provide, the better the final product.

 

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LinkedIn Tips for Salespeople

LinkedIn Tips for Salespeople

LinkedIn is the professional’s social media platform. A great tool for salespeople.

As of Q1 ‘15, LinkedIn had 364 million users; 107 million in the U.S. alone.

The old, tried-and-true, sales techniques, of cold-calling, networking and prospecting still work. But with LinkedIn as an additional sales tool, these techniques can be improved.

Curated below are a few tools, tips and tricks that salespeople can use to optimize their lead generation skills. Included are some resources LinkedIn provides to members looking to get more out of their social media experience; along with tips from several successful online marketing gurus.

Sales Navigator

LinkedIn offers a (paid) service, called Sales Navigator. LinkedIn describes the service as follows:

LinkedIn Sales Navigator helps you find the right prospects, fast. With LinkedIn’s sophisticated algorithm, this sales tool gives you lead recommendations that are tailored to you. Easily save leads and follow updates of your prospects to turn cold calling into warm conversations.

An investment in this LinkedIn tool will greatly expand a salesperson’s, network and pool of potential leads. With advanced search features, lead-building tools and analytics, the Sales Navigator can enhance a salesperson’s tried-and-true techniques. The potential ROI for this tool makes worth consideration.

LinkedIn eBook

LinkedIn offers its very own free eBook, titled, 7 Social Selling Tips to Drive Revenue and Crush your Quote.

Portions of the eBook, its Table of Contents, and a brief introduction, can all be found in the link above.

The free eBook provides tips, such as:

  • Addressing Changing Buyer Behavior
  • Identifying the Right People in Target Organizations
  • Taking Advantage of Team Buying
  • Identifying the Right Topics to Talk About

The entire eBook can be downloaded, for free, simply by providing some personal information (most of which can be uploaded/auto-filled directly from your LinkedIn profile).

 

The 3 Step Approach

Jeff Molander is an adjunct digital marketing faculty member at Loyola University’s business school, and a self-proclaimed authority on social selling. Across Jeff’s website and social media profiles, are valuable social selling tips, tricks and techniques; most of which can be incorporated by salespeople across industries.

Jeff offers many tips for Using LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting and Leads, on his website. In addition, you can find multiple blogs, articles and online courses published on his site.

Much of the advice Jeff provides is helpful, especially to salespeople; and I suggest reviewing as much of it as time permits. But I’d like to concentrate on one specific tip Jeff offers:

Start using LinkedIn to:

  1. Answer: Answer your target customers’ common, everyday questions in ways that bring them toward your product.
  2. Provoke: Design interactions with prospects in ways that get them to ask you for MORE answers relating to their ultimate goal.
  3. Exchange: Provide comprehensive answers and solutions to prospects in exchange for their email address and/or other qualitative information.

Lead Generation

For the salesperson, LinkedIn can be a valuable a tool; with a very specific, and functional, purpose. But like all tools, with just a little creativity, it can be helpful in ways that go beyond its intentional function..

It is extremely important to fill out your entire LinkedIn profile. Not only will this provide a clear picture of your history, experience and abilities, but will make it easier for others to discover you via search.

Still, there are many more tips for finding LinkedIn success.

In an article written for SmallBizTrends.com, 13 members of the Young Entrepreneur Council were asked to provide creative tips for generating leads on LinkedIn.

The article is titled, 13 Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn for Lead Generation, and offers these tips and more:

  • Participate in discussions: “There are targeted discussion groups on LinkedIn for almost every niche imaginable….Give your expert knowledge freely, and start relationships in these groups.” – Patrick Conley
  • Research profile views: “LinkedIn has a feature that shows you people who visited your profile…Someone who spent time on your profile is likely a lead worth reaching out to.” – Devesh Dwivedi
  • Publish articles: “If you utilize LinkedIn to educate leads, you’ll provide more value and ultimately form stronger relationships.” – Kelsey Meyer

These tips provide a blueprint for how and where to start improving sales via LinkedIn. As the professional’s social media platform, LinkedIn can be an asset, in terms of networking, gathering prospects and nurturing leads.

Contact Me

If you’re interested in additional tips for improving your LinkedIn profile, increasing connections, and being discovered, connect with me on LinkedIn. Follow me on Twitter: @CuzYouGoogledMe and visit my website: www.BecauseYouGoogledMe.com.

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Spray Febreze Upon Exit: The Story of a Misplaced Worker

 

My desk at work is right next to the bathroom. And I don’t mean a restroom with stalls. I’m referring to a broom closet with a toilet. Five feet from my keyboard, people are making bodily noises I wouldn’t wish upon the ears of my enemies. Worst of all, the acoustics of the bathroom lends itself to echoes. Repeatedly reminding me I need new headphones.

Sometimes the noises are lighthearted; liquid ricochets and clanking belt buckles. Other times I am treated to what can only be described as meatballs blowing into trumpets, as they fall into a well. All the Febreze in the world couldn’t cover the injustices done to my nostrils on a daily basis.

The location of my desk has led me to being nominated as the unofficial bathroom attendant. When the toilet paper is near its end, I get the blame. “The soap dispenser is empty,” they’ll say. As if I keep a supply of toiletries next to my computer. “Why are there no paper towels?” they’ll ask. “Because your co-workers are too lazy to replace them,” I’ll think to myself with a shrug and a sympathetic smile.

But I’m stuck here; left to defend my senses from such putrid atrocities. Wishing I could work outdoors, like it’s a warm summer day and the teacher asked if we’d like to have class outside.

It would be nice, just once, if someone could walk out of the bathroom, look in my direction, and apologize. Say “sorry,” for what they made me experience. Have regret for forcing me to participate in their intestinal strife. Feel remorse for torturing my nostrils and tormenting my ears. But like the homeless man begging for change as you’re late for work, they just keep moving. Saying nothing to avoid  embarrassment. Avoiding situational recognition so as not to acknowledge the abuse.

They just go about their day, eating bean salads for lunch. Drinking that extra cup of coffee. Snacking on cheese sticks and onion rings. Without a care in the world. Because when they leave that bathroom, their life goes on. While I am left trying to cope all alone.

My hope is this tale reaches those unaware of the person with the desk near the bathroom. It is too late for me. My fate has been determined. But it’s not too late for you to make a change. To think about the co-worker sitting next to toilet. To consider their senses. Admit they have feelings. Remember they’re just like you, regardless of their unfortunate location. And if you remember but one thing, please make it this: spray Febreze upon exit.

 

 

The Elfie: The Selfie’s Best Friend

 

The Elfie – Infomercial Script

Are you tired of not getting enough likes on your selfie? Is your phone blocking too much of your good stuff? Are you so over relying on un-trustable mirrors to capture your beauty? Not anymore!

 

Introducing the Elfie. The magical elf who lets you take hands-free selfies. Simply attach the Elfie to any mirror, put your phone in his arms, and like magic, beautiful hands-free selfies. No more bad selfies. No more selfies with your cell blocking the good parts. No more awkward arm positions. The Elfie is the selfie’s best friend.

 

The secret to the Elfie is our patented, revolutionary suction cup technology. Simply moisten the suction cup 3000 with your tongue, and attach the Elfie to any mirrored surface. That’s it!

 

But that’s not all. The Elfie now comes in 3 different colors. Pick your favorite. Or choose them all. The Elfie comes in white, black and mixed.

 

Order now and receive the Travel Elfie. Fits perfectly on rear-view mirrors and windshields. Never worry about driving with one hand again. The Travel Elfie is the best way to take selfies while driving.

 

But don’t take our word for it. Ask Academy Award winning actress Jennifer Lawrence.

 

Jennifer Lawrence:

I love the Elfie. I own one for every mirror in my house. I’m not one for exaggeration, but it’s definitely the greatest invention of the 21st century. No question. I never worry ‘bout my cell blocking my cleavage. And to be honest, without going into too much detail, the Elfie has literally saved my life on 3 separate occasions. I love the Elfie.

 

Jennifer Lawrence uses the Elfie. And she’s rich and famous. Which makes her better than you. So you can trust her.

 

Order now. Only a limited supply remain. And once these sell out, you’ll have to wait until China builds more. So don’t wait. Call now.

 

V/O:

The Elfie is not responsible for you not getting likes on your Selfies. Some people are just ugly. The Elfie will not make you pretty. Using the Elfie is not recommended for seniors or pregnant woman. Taking selfies in general is not recommended for seniors or pregnant women. Do not attempt to swallow the Elfie. You will die.

 

Call Now!

 

Say Goodbye to Father-Son Bonding; A Sam & Cat in the Cradle Tribute

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Playing catch. Going fishing. Sharing that first beer. Father-son bonding is a cherished tradition. But today, that tradition has taken a tragic hit. Watching Sam & Cat was an experience fathers and sons could share. As a children’s show on Nickelodeon, turning on Sam & Cat wouldn’t get Mother asking questions. It’s a kid’s show. On a kid’s network. About babysitting. What’s the harm?

“Sonny Boy is in good hands,” Father would say to Mother. “I’m just taking an interest in the things Sonny Boy likes,” he’d continue. And Mother would be pleased. “I’m just happy their spending quality time together,” she’d think to herself. And then she’d leave the room, off to tell her network of gossipers what a great Father he was.

So Father and Son would enjoy the show, together. Chuckling alongside the artificial laughter of the audience. Getting caught up in the suspense of yet another babysitting dilemma. And Son would enjoy the adventures of Sam & Cat. And Father would enjoy the double entendres. Son would take pleasure in whacky high jinks and low-brow jokes. And Father would take pleasure in whack-able short shorts and low cut shirts. And both Father and Son would bond. For different reasons, but nevertheless together.

And isn’t that what truly matters. Regardless of how creepy Father is, as long as he’s creepy with his Son, at least they’re bonding.

But today we say goodbye to father-son bonding, with a Sam & Cat in the Cradle tribute.

 

 

Say it First and Make it Wicked

It’s those people, and brands, willing to be the first to say today, what we’re all thinking, that will win tomorrow. 

Have you experienced live-tweeting? You know, the digital version of note-passing in class. The act of telling ‘Yo Mama” jokes to strangers watching the same show. A cultural phenomenon which involves being the first to troll the entertainment you choose to watch.

The concept is unique. Unlike anything we’ve seen throughout communication history. Real-time discussions about the topics we care about. No other medium allows people to share their thoughts, opinions or jokes to mass audiences, instantly. Unfiltered. It’s theoretically and technically revolutionary.

So of course businesses see dollar signs. Wherever people go, and whatever they see or hear, will attract advertising. Live-tweeting is today’s untapped advertising resource. Brands are joining the discussions; getting involved and trying to attract and engage. But just because brands are learning to show up to the party, doesn’t mean their invited inside.

The 2014 Billboard Music Awards aired this past weekend. ABC was smart enough to know they need to be part of the discussion. #Billboards2014 and #BillboardAwards were trending hashtags all night. And ABC made sure to stamp the entire broadcast with their hashtag of choice; encouraging viewers to join the conversation and live-tweet. Viewers listened. Topics, thoughts and jokes streamed throughout the Twitterverse. On paper, it worked.

But what ABC missed, or more specifically, couldn’t have predicted, was an even bigger trend.

Lorde-Performing-at-Billboard-Music-Awards-2014

When Lorde performed, Twitter went crazy.

 

Was everyone making the same exact correlation simultaneously? Was Lorde so obviously a Wicked Witch of the West clone that the analogy created itself? Or did one person make the joke and everyone followed? Probably a bit of both.

Neither ABC nor the Billboard Music Awards could have predicted this trend. No marketer could. It was fluid. Organic. Original. Memorable. Obvious. People saw the joke and understood, immediately, there was truth behind the punchline.

Live-tweeting, and social media as a whole, is filled with these examples. Brands spend money trying to get people talking. And then some random person, with no real influence one-ups the pros and finds success.

For the digital marketing and advertising industry to find success on social media, pre-packaged and planned messages will never work. They’re too safe. Too scripted. Too perfect. And in business, the safe way almost always gets chosen.

Which works out for the few people and brands willing to cross the line. To make the insight, joke or observation we’re all thinking, but not quick enough (or brave enough) to post.

Let’s hypothetical:

If the first person to post the “Wicked Witch of the West,” comment was secretly a marketing advocate for the release of a new, re-mastered version of the Wizard of Oz, how many extra DVDs would they have helped sell?

Or, what if this person was actually the social media marketer in charge of promoting WICKED the musical? And the day after starting the “Wicked Witch of the West” trend, you saw a commercial for the musical. Would you be more inclined to buy because it was fresh in your mind?

Business and brands can’t plan for these unscripted life moments. But when they happen, and people are willing to listen, an unrivaled marketing channel opens. It’s those people, and brands, willing to be the first to say today, what we’re all thinking, that will win tomorrow.