Study: Marketers biggest social media challenges in 2015

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One of the latest reports around social media tells us that measuring ROI (60%) is still the most challenging aspect for marketers when facing all their social media efforts. This is the main message from a report by Simply Measured and TrustRadius.

The findings that are based on some survey data from almost 600 social media practitioners between February and March 2015 also show that other top challenges are tying social activities to business outcomes (50%), developing a social media strategy (48%), and securing enough internal resources (40%).

Social Media Challenges Trustradius 2015

Although the main message is clear, there are some small variances between company sizes when separated int small businesses (1-50 employees), midsize companies (51-1,000 employees), and enterprises (more than 1,000 employees). While smaller companies struggle setting up and developing their own social media strategy, enterprises are trying to secure enough internal resources to master their social media efforts.

The integration of social media into the overall business is also a big way to go obviously. First of all is the alignment of social media goals with the overall business goals not fully connected. But even more challenging is the question whether all the efforts generate some business impact. Many marketers are working intensely with data and analytics to optimize their marketing strategies but the proof seems not yet been given.

Maybe this is all based on the missing tool strategy, which is also one of the major findings of the report (not surprisingly based on study makers). How to manage and measure social media activities, is often not a question of whether companies know the tools but still they are predominantly sourcing the monitoring out for example, and then wonder why data gets not interpreted properly. Also, some are not happy with their tool choice.

Social Media Metrics Trustradius 2015

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The findings are not surprising when the targets from all three company sizes is brand awareness. Still, companies should be able to better understand KPIs in the social selling process. It seems that companies and brands still have not yet understood the value of a friend, follower, LIKE, share or a comment. Furthermore, they still do not have the opportunity to link their data findings and their social media engagement back to some CRM database in order to leverage data sets around their customers. Furthermore, the missing social sales strategy combined with a clear lead processing and management is essential, and most companies do not have an answer here. Obviously, a lot of support in the social media set-up is still appreciated.

Not? Then tell us what you think…

2014 Trends in Content Marketing [Infographic]

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The perspective of Uberflip „predicts“ that there are some obvious trends coming up in content marketing.

Not surprisingly, a „director of content“ might be the new team member in companies. This might be nothing new when compared with our job title predictions for web strategy at the beginning of 2013. Some other aspects of Uberflip include: higher quality of content, content curation, multiscreen marketing, and what every consultant will love: bigger budgets for hopefully better content.

„Brands will step up their game by integrating great journalism and storytelling into their strategies,“ states Uberflip.

Let’s hope their predictions proof to become reality. Or maybe, you see some other development in the near future. Why not share it with us…?


The answer to meaning in B2B marketing

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For years, I have been working in the B2B industry and have looked, maybe a bit envious, at those friends who were working for BMW, MINI, Red Bull, LVHM, going to fancy parties with the guys from GQ, or those who enjoyed other sexy lifestyle moments out there in the B2C universe. When I was telling stories about B2B channel strategies, brand campaigns of mainframe providers, B2B community communication, and even if it was around web TV in the year 2000 and around brands like IBM, HP, Intel or Avaya, nobody seemed to be excited about B2B marketing the way I was. Not many eyes smiling (only with a sense of sympathy maybe). Not many questions were raised or asked. Not much fun.

Being a B2B marketer can be a challenging and somehow self-motivating task. But there are reason why I have never lost the energy in being one. And the funny thing with user-generated content and storytelling is that I do not even have to write why I do what I do (maybe good and bad that is). I just had to listen to those like-minded souls out there on Twitter, expressing their inner feelings and their drive for the fun in a B2B world.

Dough Kessler really took his approach to „The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing“ but I would sign this for my career as well… and just have to curate his great presentation in order to make people understand my career and my B2B marketing story.

THX Dough!

The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing from Velocity Partners

Study: Fortune 500 are getting better in Social Media

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They are on increasingly on Twitter (77%), Facebook (70%) and Youtube (69%): Fortune 500 companies. However, in terms of blogs (34%), Google+ (35%) or Pinterest (9%) they seem to be a bit behind or not seeing the value. And the report obviously forgot to look at LinkedIn. This is the findings of one of the latest research pieces of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Fortune 500 Companies Blogs 2013Although from our perspective, blogging is seen to be the essential starting point of a social media strategy, most companies are not there yet. Not all industries see corporate blogging similar. The use varies significantly by industry. It is striking that no company in the pharmaceutical and tobacco section blogs. In contract, 53% of Fortune 500 companies in the telecommunications industry do. Almost 80% of the blogs show regular activity, have got RSS feeds, appreciate comments and offer subscription.

Fortune 500 Companies Social Media 2013Twitter is used in eight out of the top 10 companies (Apple, Chevron, Exxon, Ford Motors, General Electric, General Motors, Phillips 66, and Wal-Mart). All these companies offer frequently status updates on Twitter. Just Berkshire Hathaway and Valero Energy are missing out. Interestingly enough, Facebook has got most followers on Twitter. Google comes in second, then Starbucks, Whole Foods Market, Walt Disney, JetBlue Airways, and Southwest Airlines. 

On Facebook only Exxon is not showing up with an account. The rest, nine of the top 10 companies (Wal-Mart, Chevron, Phillips 66, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple, General Motors, General Electric, Valero Energy, and Ford Motors), has got a Facebook page. Obviously, the special retail shows strong use of Facebook (96% with a Facebook fanpage) versus 44% in the utilities sector. That Facebook has most Facebook fans is not surprising. Coca-Cola is number two with 66 million fans, followed by Walt Disney, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and Target. These companies all collected more than 20 million fans. 

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What we found interesting in the report is the mention that 59% of companies link to the social platforms from their corporate homepages, whereas for the other companies it required the research team some additional searching. Looking at further social networks and results shows the different strategies. From companies ranked in the top 10 just Berkshire Hathaway has got its own YouTube account. In terms of Google+, 35% use their Google+ accounts actively while 19% set up corporate accounts which are unactive. 50% of the top 10 companies got actove Pinterest boards (Apple, Exxon, Ford, General Motors and Wal-Mart). And although Instagram is now a part of Facebook, only Ford Motors opened an account here, as Wal-Mart is the only top 10 company making use of Foursquare.

Online trolls are simply bored, study finds

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trolling road signMany brand managers ask themselves (and us in seminars) how a shitstorm begins. We most often tell them that many shitstorms are not real business problem but more a „verbal foul-mouthed fart“ as we called it some weeks ago in one of the courses at the Executive Campus of the University of St. Gallen.

However, it is obvious that trolling increased in recent years with the rise of Facebook pages, online communities and newspaper comment which spread across the web with insults and provocations. Now, a recent academic study by Dr Claire Hardaker of Lancaster University of almost 4,000 trolling cases states that internet trolls travel on the anonymity of the web and can come from all ages on backgrounds.

„Aggression, deception and manipulation are increasingly part of online interaction, yet many users are unaware not only that some of these behaviours exist, but of how destructive and insidious they can be. The image of trolling is that it is mainly the work of young people, but the fact is trolls come from all ages and backgrounds. They will use different strategies to trigger the response they want from people. Some of these are a lot sneakier than others. It is not just about personal abuse.“ Dr Claire Hardaker, Lancaster University

In an article of the Journal of Language, Aggression and Conflict soon to be published, Dr Claire Hardaker warns that trolls have become more sophisticated. Still, she gives advice on how to identify troll attacks. She shows the detailed approach that trolls make use of and makes clear that the trigger is often amusement,

Here are the seven deadly sins of trolling and how they are effective
1) Digressing from the topic at hand, especially onto sensitive topics.
Not necessarily overtly argumentative, this tactic frustrates its targets with its pointlessness and circularity. Digression onto sensitive topics triggers the strongest reactions.

2) Hypocriticising, especially for a fault that the critic then displays themself.
A simple tactic, often this is pedantic criticism of grammar, spelling or punctuation in a post which itself contains proofreading errors to provoke exasperated responses from others.

3) Antipathising, by taking up an alienating position, asking pseudo-naive questions, etc.
This tactic is heavily reliant on deceiving the group it is aimed at and covertly manipulates egos, sensitivities, morals and feelings of guilt, usually to trigger emotional responses. It can also create moral dilemmas.

4) Endangering others by giving dangerous advice, encouraging risky behaviour, etc.
A trolling strategy designed to masquerade as help or advice whilst actually causing harm and/or forcing others to respond to prevent harm. It relies on the target’s social responsibility and moral obligation.

5) Shocking others by being insensitive about sensitive topics, explicit about taboo topics, etc.
This appears to succeed mainly due to the strength of feeling provoked by the deeply personal and extraordinarily hurtful nature of the troll’s insensitivity. It triggers a desire to retaliate that is stronger than the desire to deny the troll the satisfaction of a response.

6) Aggressing others by insulting, threatening, or otherwise plainly attacking them without (adequate) provocation.
This is open and deliberate aggression without any clear justification with the aim of antagonising its target into retaliating.

7) Crossposting – sending the same offensive or provocative message to multiple groups then waiting for the response.

Do you have any hints and tips how to work with internet trolls? Share them, we are sure most readers will enjoy your advice.

Mobile Advertising: Performance gets better, and Google takes 50% of revenue

18.06.2013 von  
Kategorie Mobile

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mobile-webThere are different views on why mobile advertising is performing. However, some new studies might spread some light: one form TNS and one from SessionM which did their study in cooperation with Millward Brown. The study SessionM published today shows that consumers react positively twice as often to mobile ads… but only as long as they get some value out of it.

Mobile banners are most used from smartphone owners when they get a gift card, coupon, events tickets or loyalty points. Although this gives some good insight in the ranking of the preferred mobile engagement options, consumers want to know what benefit they get out of the digital experience. It means that marketers need to be clever and having some good approach. The surveyed consumers replied that the way mobile ads are presented was crucial to their feedback.

The study makes clear that the mobile strategies need to be clear to the consumer, said Lars Albright, CEO of SessionM: „The questions are, ‚What value am I bringing to the consumer?‘ And, ‚How am I doing it?'“ It asked 1,000 consumers in a digital survey, as well as a dozen participants in each four hour interviews. 93% of respondents said they had the opportunity to choose a reward in exchange for their smartphone time was „important“. This comes as no surprise after the latest Adobe study telling us that often digital advertising is found „annoying“.

The difference between rewards-based mobile ads and different types of on-the-go promos was that rewards-based mobile ads performed better for purchase consideration (+65), the brand in brand interaction (+14%), branded website traffic (+13%), web searches (+8%), in-store shopping for the brand (+6%), and approaching the brand’s social media pages (+5%). Obviously, the user can be handled and does not always see banners as „annoying and invasive“.

Finally, while a lot of industry players see location-based services as the key to mobile’s future, Joline McGoldrick, research director at Dynamic Logic, Millward Brown’s digital practice, spoke about how interest-level marketing can be a huge help to the space. „Targeting is getting better in mobile,“ Joline McGoldrick, Research Director at Dynamic Logicsaid, „but it is still not perfect.“

eMarketer 2013Now, although mobile ad revenue is far from reaching big amounts of ad spendings, many marketers see it as a growth area. Whatever the number that is attached to total mobile ad revenue worldwide is, Google is the leader with over half of surveyed people according to eMarketer. And if you see the numbers it seems that Gogle is still not happy with the budget chunk they do get, reaching out for more it seems. But also Facebook investors will see some light at the end of the tunnel with mobile ads on the rise. However, Google might like the competition but all that market dominance simply making way for some more challenging competition.

It will be interesting to see who will come up as the leader in this cmpetition, who can compete with Google in general, and will Google continue to grow their business? You tell us your views….

A New Don: How the sales profession has evolved from the Mad Men era

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As a fan of the series „Mad Men“ TV series, I have to share this comparison of the sales profession development with you. When we compare the decades from 1950-2010, we realizte that there were some significant differences. From Don and his friends‘ wild office parties and massive whisky as well as martini consumption to a straight organized reality where sales automation has taken over and social media rules the communication between people.

Although, we still here at the universities and in seminars from the advertising Gods like Leo Burnett and David Ogilvy, Don Draper’s world has seen a radical shift in sales profession. But in which direction…? The guys from Leads360 have created an infographic that defines the main trends we saw lately…
– 1960: In-person pitch.
– 1970: Door-to-door vacuum pitch.
– 1980: Not really specified in any direction…
– 1990: In the beginning email messaging, later customer relationship management (CRM)
– 2000: Social integration (Social Media)
– 2010: Intelligent sales automation

„Over the last 50 years, many of these fundamental sales strategies have remained incredibly valuable,“ states the infographic. Maybe you find the reasons why when reading through it.

Today, we are talking of Facebook as the barbeque with „friends and fans“ and of Twitter as the chatter at the toilet. Well, it seems that we haven’t moved away from socializing. Maybe we just need to add some drinks next to our screens…


Study: Content Marketing is becoming big in B2B, focus is shifting…

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A recent study by Curata identified the main drivers of content marketing activities in B2B companies. The findings are based on Curata’s poll of 465 B2B marketing professionals in October 2012 from business owners, VPs of Marketing, CMOs, managers, marketing consultants and agencies.

The study explains that content marketing continues to become more and more important for B2B marketers. However, the drivers for content strategies are shifting towards thought leadership and market education.

The results show that 87% of responding B2B marketing professionals use content marketing for business goals targets (5% increase to 2011). Content marketing gets followed by SEO (67%) and event marketing (60%) as further leading channels in marketing strategies in 2012.

Further findings of the study show that although engaging customers (81%) has top priority for their content marketing efforts, thought leadership and educating the market are increasing in their importance for the business. More than half of B2B marketers (56%) state thought leadership as a key objective (13% increase to 2011). Also, educating the market (47%) increased by 3% to last year. Just 24% see SEO as a key objective (still a 5% increase to last year). Former top marketing tactics (print/TV/radio) went down from 32% to 26% this year.

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Lead generation is still one of the key marketing goals for B2B marketers according to the survey. Most B2B marketers (82%) see driving sales and leads as their top marketing goal. Establishing thought leadership (42%), increasing brand awareness (40%), or increasing Web traffic (32%) follow in the next places. Content curation is also getting traction as the next step in content marketing. 57% of B2B marketers see it as an important evolution step. However, content curation is in it’s infancy when only 34% of curating content marketers have done it since six months or less. Quite scary I found that a staggering 43% of B2B marketers don’t measure the efficiency of their content marketing efforts. I found interesting that the topic brand advocates was not on the spot in terms of content marketing in this study.

B2B Study: Impact of Social Media and Industry Analysts on B2B Technology Sales

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The long discussion whether Social Media impacts sales in the business-to-business (B2B) space gets some new basis. According to the Technology Decision-Maker Study by Hill+Knowlton Strategies, many executives and IT managers are in exchange with their peers when it comes to making B2B technology purchases. The study shows the increasing role Social Media plays in driving revenue and reputation for technology companies. Although traditional media is still leading the bunch in tech, word of mouth drives B2B technology revenues in terms of comments from peers and experts.

The research conducted by Research+Data Insights (RDI), a division of H+K Strategies, interviewed 813 IT purchase decision-makers in the US and UK. The basic intend of the study was to understand which communications channels had most impact on purchase decisions, and tried to figure out how much participation theses decision makers put in Social Media, and what makes them contribute content and opinions online.

These were the main findings from the respondents…

– The top two drivers of technology purchase decisions are word of mouth from peers and industry analyst commentary.
– Financial analyst reports, corporate web sites and traditional media sources (both online and offline) followed close after.
– 48% responded that word of mouth from peers frequently changed their decisions about their business priorities, not just their purchase decisions.
– 76% said they actively post opinions and comment on what they read online at least a few times per month, with 49% saying they actively comment at least weekly.
– If marketers want to generate most effective online commentary from B2B decision-makers, the best option is to publish a thought-provoking question related to current events.
– Most impact on final purchase decisions have analyst commentary and consultations.

„We’re seeing a change in how technology purchases are being influenced. Word of mouth from peers and industry analysts has grown in influence significantly since the 2009 study, and social media is the carrier signal for that influence. These findings lead us to strongly recommend communications programs for B2B tech companies that integrate reputational research, social media, analyst relations and traditional media.“ Joshua Reynolds, Executive Vice President, H+K Strategies.

Content Marketing, Brand Perception & the Content Omniverse

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Some years ago I remember saying to my boss: „Content marketing will become the future“. Well, here we are…

Companies create their own media, attracting their customers through content services in different shape or form: text, audio, video or image. Marketing strategies are getting their turns with new social media opportunities by customers contributing to what brands are shaping for them. Paid is „out“, owned is „in“.

By creating their own digital publications inside their websites or with hubs through Facebook pages, Linkedin groups or Twitter accounts, the world of media has turned around as more and more consumers use the possibility to generate and add content to brands. Brand perception, compared to brand awareness in the past, gets some complete new impact that we never had in marketing history.

Some weeks ago, The Content Marketeer created some slideshow on content marketing which gives guidance and shows best practice to marketers from different companies like American Express, IBM or L’Oreal.

Furthermore, the guys from Copypress have now conducted a nice infographic that illustrates the Content Omniverse, as they call it. It offers facts and figures of YouTube, Facebook and other platforms which makes clear the power that these platforms have to leverage brand perception. The most interesting facts on this sheet come in the end – The Copy Content Universe.

– There are 7.38 Billion web pages indexed.
– An average day at WordPress gets 500.000 new posts but only 400.000 new comments.
– By 2013, user-generated content producers will increase from 82,5 to 114,5 Million.

Spot On!
The challenge to increase brand awareness through content marketing efforts will increase. But do the figures in the Content Copy Universe suggest that comments will go down while word-of-mouth will go up? What’s of more value for brand perception then? What does it mean from a user point of view? Will users be able to follow the big content marketing offering, or simply shift their attention focus in fast intervals? Will brand perception still be handle for brand marketers, and how will the value change through user generated content? Many questions. Maybe you have got some answers…

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