Marketing

  • The Immense Power That Virtual Reality Can Have for Your Brand

    If you’ve been paying attention, you know that virtual reality is being used for a whole lot more than scaring the pants off of gamers with apocalyptic zombie games. Manufacturers are using VR and its cousin, augmented reality (AR), to help employees learn how to operate high-tech machinery. Medical universities and hospitals are using VR for training and surgery simulations. But perhaps more than any industry (after the gaming and entertainment industries, that is), it’s marketing that is embracing VR and AR with open arms. It didn’t take marketers long to discover that VR has incredible applications for brands, whether they’re selling shoes or pitching the next season of a popular TV show. It’s easy to think “Hey, we should be using VR too!” when you’re brainstorming ideas for your next big marketing campaign. But how exactly do you employ VR effectively? How do you create something authentic, rather than gimmicky? You’re not alone in asking that question. Lots of brands are struggling to figure out what VR can do for them, and how to use it organically to spread their message. And while the medium will certainly continue to evolve with time, here are a few pointers on how…

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  • 20 Things You Had No Clue Google Analytics Could Do

    In 2017, more than ever before, data drives every aspect of business. From predictive analytics powered by artificial intelligence, to data-based operating systems that allow businesses to perform just about any task with an immediate backdrop of company data, businesses are growing increasingly savvy about how to use data to guide their every step. The story is no different in the realm of marketing. The most effective marketing decisions are data-driven these days, based on which tactics garner the most traffic, the most engagement, or the most conversions. And where does most of that marketing data come from? Google Analytics. Everyone knows that you can get website traffic information from Google Analytics, but what many people don’t know is just how much it allows them to drill down into the details of that data, and how they can use that nitty-gritty to inform every marketing decision they make. Here are just 20 of the things that Google Analytics can do – and how you can use them to your advantage. 1. Import data from other sources. Wondering where your social media stats fit into the big picture presented by Google Analytics? Need one central dashboard with all your marketing data…

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  • The Ultimate Guide to Buyer Personas

    Conventional wisdom used to hold that buyer personas were something only large businesses needed to bother with. Small and mid-sized companies often didn’t (and still don’t) develop buyer personas, for a variety of reasons. They’re time-consuming, for one thing, and some managers feel that time spent on a buyer persona could be better spent actually selling. For another, they can be very difficult to do correctly. Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself: you sit down, ready to create your first buyer persona, when you realize that you know a lot less about your customers than you thought you did. Naturally, this can be a disheartening feeling. What do you do with this feeling? Do you tamp it down and switch to working on something else – analyzing data from your company’s latest social campaign, or writing a new whitepaper, perhaps? Or do you get down to business figuring out what you don’t know, and making the best buyer persona your company’s ever seen? If you’re in the latter group, then this blog post is for you! First, what is a buyer persona? If you’ve never created a buyer persona before, then you may not know where to begin. Let’s start with…

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  • Sharing, Citing, and Stealing: Content Etiquette Rules for the Digital Age

    The Book of Ecclesiastes and Shakespeare said it long, long ago: “There is no new thing under the sun.” That was true then, in the days of stone tablets. It was true when Shakespeare was writing his sonnets. And it’s most definitely true now, in the age of the internet. It seems sometimes that you can Google anything – a dream you had last night, a thought that ran through your head this morning – and find 15 people who’ve not only had that same dream or thought, but written about it to boot. When you’re writing content for your brand, this can become a little disconcerting. How do you make sure you’re not inadvertently plagiarizing? When and how should you cite sources? What rules govern how you share images or content from other sites? If you’re new to writing for the web, it’s easy to get paralyzed by all these questions and not write anything at all. To keep that from happening, take a look at these content etiquette guidelines for some of the situations we often find ourselves in when creating or sharing content. Doing research for a blog post, whitepaper, or other long-form piece of content When…

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  • Marketing to Millennials – 10 Things Every Company Must Know

    Much is said about millennials, both positive and negative. They’re simultaneously valorized as innovative social justice warriors and disparaged as being self absorbed, entitled Peter Pan prototypes. Whichever camp you fall into, it is helpful to know how to communicate with them, how to market to them, and how to relate to them through the prism of their own values. 1) “Millennial” represents a diverse body of individuals. As obvious as it may seem, it’s worth underlining that the trends of a demographic do not equal hard and fast rules. And millennials are exceptionally diverse, even in comparison to other generations. For example, 45% of millennial adults identify as Hispanic or non-white, compared to 39% of Generation X, 27% of Baby Boomers, and only 17% of the Silent Generation. To complicate matters further, many of the millennials who identify as non-white are second-generation immigrants with complex histories who are striving to balance two or more different cultural heritages. (23% are bilingual) In addition to their cultural variability, millennials range from 16 to 35. That range is indicative of different tastes in everything from music to politics. And though that doesn’t mean there’s no common ground, it’s important for advertisers and…

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  • To Rebrand or Not to Rebrand: A Guide for Businesses at a Turning Point

    Even rock stars have a difficult time rebranding. When – in an effort to wrestle back control from Warner Brothers – Prince began to go by a mysterious symbol, or ‘The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,’ fans reacted with annoyance, and the population at large reacted with mockery. Though his fight for artists’ rights may have been laudatory, the abrupt execution of this new moniker alienated just about everyone. Rebranding represents a pivotal moment of transition for a company or an artist, and whether superficial or totally transformative, it can highlight the fact that a brand’s identity is always a negotiation between popular opinion and the interests of the brand itself. Lesson One: Don’t Neglect the Value Proposition There are many good reasons to rebrand, and a few lousy ones, as well. The important differentiator and the one that customers will be most sensitive to is whether there’s been a significant change or merely a surface re-design. For example, when Radio Shack, in an attempt to regain relevance, changed its name to “The Shack,” the public response was a mix of confusion and apathy. The problem was that the value proposition hadn’t been updated, so consumers felt like they were…

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  • 7 Digital Marketing Mistakes That Can Kill Your Brand

    Everyone makes mistakes. You type “Helo” instead of “Hello” in one of your email newsletters. You forget to create a custom URL for one of your blog posts. You mistype an email subject line. These are small things that, while certainly undesirable, probably won’t have a long-term negative effect on your brand (unless you do them habitually, of course, in which case you probably need to talk to us!). But then there are the mega-mistakes. The things that can take a brand from being generally liked to generally loathed, or The snafus that are incredibly difficult to come back from. Chances are, you’ve seen some or all of these screw-ups played out online in all their gut-churning glory. And goodness knows, you don’t want to be the next brand sacrificed at the altar of social media public opinion (which is even more cutthroat than public opinion IRL). But mistakes don’t have to be public to be major. In fact, perhaps the worst mistakes you can make are the ones that get you…indifference. The campaigns you shell out thousands, even hundreds of thousands, for, that get almost no results. Without further ado, here’s a list of the mistakes that you really,…

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  • 15 Writing Tips to Make Your B2C Blog Posts Shine

    What’s the difference between a blog post that makes your reader feel curious, laugh, and empathize and one that informs, but is otherwise lackluster? The difference is a sense of connection, a sense of humor, and a wittiness that admits the subtleties of irony and nuance. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be J.K. Rowling to tell a great story. Literary genius is not a prerequisite for making your B2C blog posts shine. It certainly helps, but it’s not necessary. There are several simple things you can practice and keep in mind before, after, and while composing your posts that will showcase your creativity and cause readers to take notice. 1. Surprise your readers. The element of surprise lends novelty to your post, and it can inspire readers to lean in. One of the most common reasons we tune out or dismiss a blog post is because we think we already know what it has to say. We’re protective of our time and weary of the redundant. Note that this doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel. What you have to say may have been said before, but it may not have been said in the way you’re saying it. Leverage…

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  • 6 Ways to Make Experiential Marketing Work for Your Brand

    Any teacher can tell you that kids learn better when they get to participate in their learning. Whether it’s as simple as pouring vinegar onto baking soda to watch a chemical reaction, or as complicated as creating a business plan for a hypothetical business, experiencing something is almost always more effective at helping us retain information than just seeing or hearing that information alone. And guess what? Teachers aren’t the only ones in on this secret. Savvy marketers have been applying this truth to their marketing efforts for years. It’s called experiential marketing, and used correctly, it can be a powerful way to amplify your brand message. If you’re new to experiential marketing, here’s an overview – along with ways you can make it work for your brand. In experiential marketing, experience > marketing. Experiential marketing is a marketing tactic that directly engages consumers, inviting them to participate in a brand’s ongoing story. Some examples of experiential marketing, for example, include: Heineken’s “Departure Roulette,” which gave airport travelers the chance to “drop everything” and commit to a trip to an unscheduled location. The Aston Martin On Ice campaign, which invited journalists and industry insiders to test-drive the new Aston Martin…

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  • 7 Ways to Update Your Digital Marketing Strategy Right Now

    Your digital marketing strategy should change with the times, but often, businesses get stuck using the same tactics over and over – even if they don’t provide the kind of results we’re looking for. But the great thing about digital marketing strategies is that you can change them quickly – today, even. Here are a few ways that you can update your digital marketing strategy right now. Do a quick audit of your social media profiles If you set up your social media profiles some time ago, it’s probably time for a quick audit of each. This is a time to reevaluate each and decide what’s working and what’s not. Are you spending lots of time writing posts on Medium, but not seeing much ROI? Maybe it’s time to reallocate that effort somewhere else. Are your Instagram followers growing steadily? That’s probably a platform you want to focus more on. As you’re doing your audit, remember that you don’t have to have profiles on every social media platform, especially if keeping up with them all is becoming a burden. Dump the ones that are sapping your time and energy, and put all that effort into the ones that are really…

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  • Social Media Marketing by the Numbers

    The social media world is huge, with networks boasting hundreds of millions (even billions!) of active monthly users. Each site has its own style and rules, which can make it difficult for brands to get started with social media marketing. Here, we do a breakdown some of the most popular sites and the best way to start making them work for your brand. Facebook Active monthly users: 1.79 billion. Demographics: Facebook has users of every age and gender, but women do slightly favor the site, with 76 percent of women with Internet access using it, compared to only 66 percent of their male peers. Young people use the site more than middle-aged individuals and seniors. The best place to start with marketing your business through Facebook is by actually having a Facebook presence to begin with. A Facebook presence gives your audience a place to interact with your business. They can post their experiences with your product, and interactions between your users on your page are likely to show up on the news feeds of others. Other ways to utilize the site for your business include: Using SEO and keywords in your Facebook description. SEO is important for more than…

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  • 6 Tips for Creating Content That Converts

    Whether it’s getting your audience to purchase your product or subscribe to your YouTube channel, creating content that converts can be a challenge. What seems like a clear and crisp blog post or newsletter might fail to have the impact your company truly wants. What are some steps you or your company can take to engage your audience and steer them toward the result you really want? 1. Utilize lists. From Buzzfeed to Listverse to our own Marketing Zen blog, there’s a reason so much online content comes in list form. Articles in list-form are like finger foods for your brain. They are small, bite-sized, and easily digestible. Readers who skim are more likely to pick up the main points, and readers who don’t skim are more likely to stick with an article until it’s complete. In other words, lists increase the likelihood that your content will be read and understood by your audience. On top of that, science says that lists help with memory, meaning your content is more likely to stick in the head of a potential customer. 2. Take a psychological approach. While most of us were taught at one point or another to ignore peer pressure,…

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