The State of B2B Content Marketing [Infographic]

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Five Killer Video Marketing Tips

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No matter what you’re selling or hoping to promote, video should be a consideration for your marketing spend and focus. With easy-to-use platforms like YouTube, nobody can blame technology as a hurdle anymore.

Still, it’s difficult to come up with just the right message, tone, and approach to make video marketing pay off for you.

Every business is different, and finding your niche, and your audience, might take some time. But the great thing about starting under the radar, though, is that you can test and tweak and fine-tune at first before making a bigger splash. When that time comes, you’ll have all the information and experience behind you to help inform your decisions.

Here are five tips to get started.

1. Show personality


You’ve probably seen hundreds of YouTube videos of people talking at you while standing in front of a white wall. Video marketing doesn’t have to be that dry or dull. Indeed, it’s a chance to make your own commercial and to illustrate what makes your company, or service, so stellar. Have the camera move around, shoot from different perspectives, and ensure viewers see movement and colors.

Consider this video from a restaurant that shows satisfied customers while the voiceover makes strategic calls to action. It comes at a fraction of the cost of airing TV commercials, and with the popularity of online video these days… such a video could yield great results.

2. Commit to series

Some subjects, like makeup and beauty (see example, below), perform better on social channels than others. But that doesn’t mean your area of business is a lost cause there. What’s important is consistency, as you’ll pick up followers once you produce some valuable and shareable videos.

Set a schedule for yourself that you will stick to, whether it’s weekly or monthly. Then spend the time in between releases to promote the series and to tease the upcoming ones, too; just make sure to keep these short.

Once people find out, and they like it, they’ll look for more of them in the Related Videos section. If they can digest three or five at once, you’ll have them hooked for longer.

3. Make tutorials

The name of the game on the Web is DIY tutorials. If you can educate your audience and help them achieve new skills they can show off, you’ll become a resource they can’t get enough of.

You’ll note that crafts and cooking are very popular subjects online. No matter what your business specializes in, you’ll want to promote yourself as having subject-matter expertise. Don’t give away all your secrets for free, but you can highlight some of the effective ways that you think different from the competition. If people can walk away with something tangible, that’s even better.

To get started, ask yourself what you can teach that will get customers to think the way you do.

4. Be relevant

A hot topic in marketing these days is how brands should speak to children. Kids can be influenced and manipulated more easily than adults, and some parents have expressed outrage over recent decades about how TV commercials relate to their kids. It’s a difficult balance that all companies must think about if they wish to attract young people to their products and stores.

Rather than back down and hide from the controversial issues, MOM’s Organic Market instead did research and presented a comprehensive video on the subject. Efforts like this one will help assuage the concerns of adults. They’re the ones spending the money, more often than not, and you’ll want to use your video messaging to show that you’re all on the same side.

5. Offer testimonials

We’ve always valued the voice of our peers who recommend products and professionals’ services to us, and now video marketers are capitalizing on that sense of goodwill and endorsements in the shape of video testimonials.

It’s a great solution for the camera-shy business owner or for companies that want to give voice to their customers.

Take a look, below, at how Google marketed Google Wallet. You hear credible executives speaking with enthusiasm about the product and how simple it is to use. You walk away from that two-minute video knowing how and why Google has improved business for these people.

How can you do the same?

For more on video marketing, here’s a video marketing tutorial from Skillfeed (opt-in required).

Five Killer Video Marketing Tips

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No matter what you’re selling or hoping to promote, video should be a consideration for your marketing spend and focus. With easy-to-use platforms like YouTube, nobody can blame technology as a hurdle anymore.

Still, it’s difficult to come up with just the right message, tone, and approach to make video marketing pay off for you.

Every business is different, and finding your niche, and your audience, might take some time. But the great thing about starting under the radar, though, is that you can test and tweak and fine-tune at first before making a bigger splash. When that time comes, you’ll have all the information and experience behind you to help inform your decisions.

Here are five tips to get started.

1. Show personality


You’ve probably seen hundreds of YouTube videos of people talking at you while standing in front of a white wall. Video marketing doesn’t have to be that dry or dull. Indeed, it’s a chance to make your own commercial and to illustrate what makes your company, or service, so stellar. Have the camera move around, shoot from different perspectives, and ensure viewers see movement and colors.

Consider this video from a restaurant that shows satisfied customers while the voiceover makes strategic calls to action. It comes at a fraction of the cost of airing TV commercials, and with the popularity of online video these days… such a video could yield great results.

2. Commit to series

Some subjects, like makeup and beauty (see example, below), perform better on social channels than others. But that doesn’t mean your area of business is a lost cause there. What’s important is consistency, as you’ll pick up followers once you produce some valuable and shareable videos.

Set a schedule for yourself that you will stick to, whether it’s weekly or monthly. Then spend the time in between releases to promote the series and to tease the upcoming ones, too; just make sure to keep these short.

Once people find out, and they like it, they’ll look for more of them in the Related Videos section. If they can digest three or five at once, you’ll have them hooked for longer.

3. Make tutorials

The name of the game on the Web is DIY tutorials. If you can educate your audience and help them achieve new skills they can show off, you’ll become a resource they can’t get enough of.

You’ll note that crafts and cooking are very popular subjects online. No matter what your business specializes in, you’ll want to promote yourself as having subject-matter expertise. Don’t give away all your secrets for free, but you can highlight some of the effective ways that you think different from the competition. If people can walk away with something tangible, that’s even better.

To get started, ask yourself what you can teach that will get customers to think the way you do.

4. Be relevant

A hot topic in marketing these days is how brands should speak to children. Kids can be influenced and manipulated more easily than adults, and some parents have expressed outrage over recent decades about how TV commercials relate to their kids. It’s a difficult balance that all companies must think about if they wish to attract young people to their products and stores.

Rather than back down and hide from the controversial issues, MOM’s Organic Market instead did research and presented a comprehensive video on the subject. Efforts like this one will help assuage the concerns of adults. They’re the ones spending the money, more often than not, and you’ll want to use your video messaging to show that you’re all on the same side.

5. Offer testimonials

We’ve always valued the voice of our peers who recommend products and professionals’ services to us, and now video marketers are capitalizing on that sense of goodwill and endorsements in the shape of video testimonials.

It’s a great solution for the camera-shy business owner or for companies that want to give voice to their customers.

Take a look, below, at how Google marketed Google Wallet. You hear credible executives speaking with enthusiasm about the product and how simple it is to use. You walk away from that two-minute video knowing how and why Google has improved business for these people.

How can you do the same?

For more on video marketing, here’s a video marketing tutorial from Skillfeed (opt-in required).

Five Killer Video Marketing Tips

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No matter what you’re selling or hoping to promote, video should be a consideration for your marketing spend and focus. With easy-to-use platforms like YouTube, nobody can blame technology as a hurdle anymore.

Still, it’s difficult to come up with just the right message, tone, and approach to make video marketing pay off for you.

Every business is different, and finding your niche, and your audience, might take some time. But the great thing about starting under the radar, though, is that you can test and tweak and fine-tune at first before making a bigger splash. When that time comes, you’ll have all the information and experience behind you to help inform your decisions.

Here are five tips to get started.

1. Show personality


You’ve probably seen hundreds of YouTube videos of people talking at you while standing in front of a white wall. Video marketing doesn’t have to be that dry or dull. Indeed, it’s a chance to make your own commercial and to illustrate what makes your company, or service, so stellar. Have the camera move around, shoot from different perspectives, and ensure viewers see movement and colors.

Consider this video from a restaurant that shows satisfied customers while the voiceover makes strategic calls to action. It comes at a fraction of the cost of airing TV commercials, and with the popularity of online video these days… such a video could yield great results.

2. Commit to series

Some subjects, like makeup and beauty (see example, below), perform better on social channels than others. But that doesn’t mean your area of business is a lost cause there. What’s important is consistency, as you’ll pick up followers once you produce some valuable and shareable videos.

Set a schedule for yourself that you will stick to, whether it’s weekly or monthly. Then spend the time in between releases to promote the series and to tease the upcoming ones, too; just make sure to keep these short.

Once people find out, and they like it, they’ll look for more of them in the Related Videos section. If they can digest three or five at once, you’ll have them hooked for longer.

3. Make tutorials

The name of the game on the Web is DIY tutorials. If you can educate your audience and help them achieve new skills they can show off, you’ll become a resource they can’t get enough of.

You’ll note that crafts and cooking are very popular subjects online. No matter what your business specializes in, you’ll want to promote yourself as having subject-matter expertise. Don’t give away all your secrets for free, but you can highlight some of the effective ways that you think different from the competition. If people can walk away with something tangible, that’s even better.

To get started, ask yourself what you can teach that will get customers to think the way you do.

4. Be relevant

A hot topic in marketing these days is how brands should speak to children. Kids can be influenced and manipulated more easily than adults, and some parents have expressed outrage over recent decades about how TV commercials relate to their kids. It’s a difficult balance that all companies must think about if they wish to attract young people to their products and stores.

Rather than back down and hide from the controversial issues, MOM’s Organic Market instead did research and presented a comprehensive video on the subject. Efforts like this one will help assuage the concerns of adults. They’re the ones spending the money, more often than not, and you’ll want to use your video messaging to show that you’re all on the same side.

5. Offer testimonials

We’ve always valued the voice of our peers who recommend products and professionals’ services to us, and now video marketers are capitalizing on that sense of goodwill and endorsements in the shape of video testimonials.

It’s a great solution for the camera-shy business owner or for companies that want to give voice to their customers.

Take a look, below, at how Google marketed Google Wallet. You hear credible executives speaking with enthusiasm about the product and how simple it is to use. You walk away from that two-minute video knowing how and why Google has improved business for these people.

How can you do the same?

For more on video marketing, here’s a video marketing tutorial from Skillfeed (opt-in required).

Facebook aims to simplify advertising for marketers

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Facebook is gearing up for a new project to simplify its advertising platform, making it easier for marketers to decide how to place ads across the site.

One of the plan’s major goals is to reduce redundancies in the 27 different types of ads that Facebook currently offers to marketers, by either getting rid of some options altogether or merging some tools into one product. Many of the types of ads that                           Facebook currently offers do a lot of the same things, such as encouraging online sales, in-store sales, or in-app downloads, the company said.

For example, Facebook provides an online Offers product to advertisers to let them drive traffic to their website or product page, but many companies just insert a link into a Facebook Page post to drive traffic, so the option to create a dedicated online offer will disappear under the changes, Facebook said.

Details forthcoming

Because the program is still in its very early stages, many of the changes either were not disclosed or are still being worked out. The company announced the project during a briefing with reporters on Thursday at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. Most of the new advertising tools will not roll out until late summer or early fall.

For Facebook users, the project is designed to provide a more unified set of ad formats, so advertisements appearing in the News Feed, in the right-hand rail on the desktop, and on mobile devices will look more consistent.

The new program is based on what Facebook has learned over the last year or so from marketers as more of them have opted to advertise on new areas of the site, such as the News Feed.

“A couple of years ago, the question was, ‘Do Facebook ads work?’” said Brian Boland, director of product marketing at the company. “We now know that they do,” he said.

When Facebook sells advertising today, it presents marketers with a long list of options for how to advertise on the site. The marketers then choose which ones to use to target their audience.

What’s coming

In the future, Facebook will present a more streamlined set of options based on specific marketing objectives, such as getting users to go to a company’s physical store or encouraging them to buy an app.

So, instead of choosing among various ad products, companies will be able to tell Facebook they want to create an ad that, say, drives awareness of a message, or gets consumers to look at a video. Facebook will then put together a type of ad that will accomplish that.

“Facebook is starting to realize it needs to really simplify what it offers to marketers and make what it offers actually social as opposed to traditional display advertising,” said Zachary Reiss-Davis, an analyst with Forrester Research.

The project is aimed at reducing complexity, not control, for advertisers, according to the company. Companies will still be able to target and personalize their ads to certain audiences, but it will be easier to align those ads with their objectives, Facebook said.


Finding new ways to target ads to the right users is a perennial goal for Facebook. The company last year rolled out its Custom Audiences tool as a way for marketers to target people they’ve previously done business with by using their phone number or email address.

The program was expanded in February to third-party marketing firms to give advertisers even more data for targeting their ads.

Earlier this year, Facebook also announced its acquisition of Microsoft’s Atlas Advertiser Suite, an ad analysis platform. The acquisition was intended to increase Facebook’s ad revenue and give marketers better information about their campaigns on both desktop and mobile.

Facebook’s ad revenue for the quarter ended March 31 was $1.25 billion, representing 85 percent of the company’s total sales and a 43 percent increase from 2012’s first quarter. Mobile advertising revenue accounted for 30 percent of total ad revenue.

Four Email Tips for Marketing Professionals

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If you think you’re the only person slammed with email, you’re wrong. Whether it’s working with colleagues, setting up meetings, or closing a deal, email is the main means of work-related communication for everyone.

According to a study by a study by McKinsey, the average “interaction worker” spends 28% of their workweek reading and responding to emails. For most professionals, that is a huge distraction that gets in the way of getting actual work done.

Many books, articles, and blog posts have been written on sending effective marketing emails. There’s a ton of advice on optimizing the subject line, day of week, time of day, font, and pretty much every other imaginable detail.

But little attention has been paid to the importance of being better at receiving and processing email.

Here are some tips to help you process email more efficiently, free up hours of otherwise wasted time, and reduce your stress level.


1. Don’t let email control you

The inherent instant gratification of clearing your inbox provides a brief feeling of accomplishment, but it’s really not productive. Doing email is just one part of work. Determine how much time you want to spend in your inbox on a given day, and don’t exceed it.

When you first open your inbox in the morning, star/flag emails that must be dealt with today, but make sure to focus on your top priorities first before diving into your inbox.

Dedicate 30-minute blocks every two hours to staying on top of email. If you need more time, make it 45-minute blocks, but it’s critical to not let your Inbox control you.

2. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

When you do make it to your Inbox, it’s key to remember that not all emails are created equal. Most email clients give each email the same amount of real estate on the screen, making it hard for our brain to be discriminating, creating a tendency to give each email the same amount of attention upfront.

In reality, not all emails are created equal. Some need to be read and responded to right away (important and urgent priorities). Some can wait until later (important but not urgent priorities). Others should be archived or deleted in bulk.

Yes, some emails will never be responded to, and that’s OK in the world of limited time and resources. Start with your top opportunities, and make sure you dedicate enough time to them. Even if you don’t get to the smaller stuff, you’ll feel great that you went after your top leads and gave them your best.

3. Be decisive

When checking your email, decide what to do with each email immediately:

  • Respond if it’s absolutely necessary or takes less than two minutes.
  • Delete it.
  • Archive it.
  • Defer it and respond later.
  • Develop a plan of action from the email.

That approach is called Inbox Zero, and it has become a popular email management method. It prevents looking at the same email twice, which is one of the greatest time wasters (and something we are all guilty of!).

4. Use email tools

Though everyone complains about email overload, few realize excellent tools are available to make things better. Some of my favorites:

  • Rapportive shows you everything about your contact right inside your Inbox
  • Awayfind sends you SMS notifications when you get an email from important senders, so you don’t have to keep checking your Inbox.
  • ToutApp offers templates and helps you track open rates on emails you send.
  • SaneBox filters out and summarizes unimportant emails. It has lots of other tools, such as reminders when an email you sent was not replied to by a certain time (Note, I work at SaneBox).

Putting these four tips to work will not only make you more productive but also reduce your stress level as well!

The 5 Essential Resources Every Chief Marketing Officer Needs

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While so much emphasis has been placed on the importance of CMOs managing big data, measuring marketing outcomes, and adapting to new responsibilities, there has been little discussion regarding the critical behind-the-scenes resources that can enable a CMO to more effectively manage their job performance, career progression and overall success. In a conversation with Dave Minifie, a prior executive from Procter and Gamble and the current EVP, CMO and Business Integration Officer for Centene Corporation, a $10B multi-line health care enterprise, we identified 5 key resources that every CMO – and future CMO — needs to navigate both their career and jobs effectively.

KEY CAREER RESOURCES

Executive Recruiter: As Dave suggested after having spent 12 years at Procter Gamble, people approach executive recruiters differently. Some tend to cultivate relationships and on the other end, others consider them a problem. Of course, executive recruiters are only a problem until the CMO needs to find a new job. I’ve found over the years that having a strong relationship with a handful of recruiters in executive search is critical. These individuals can provide information regarding the marketplace, specific industries, a particular company, and even insight on individuals. They spend all of their professional time creating successful firm-candidate matches and therefore have a unique bird’s eye view of marketing jobs. As a result, they can provide critical insight that can help a marketer more successfully navigate their career.

I asked Leanne Fesenmeyer, who led Talent Management for Heidrick Struggles’ CMO Practice and was a marketer prior to becoming an executive recruiter, to provide some specific advice.  She suggested the following. “Cultivating a relationship with a recruiter involves a combination of sincere outreach and meaningful introductions from individuals who are respected by that particular recruiter. In conducting this outreach, it is critical to remember that it is never about you … it’s about them”. Leanne went on to suggest that it’s best to apply a version of the golden rule: “Don’t ask … give, don’t boast … compliment, tell … but don’t dwell”. A clever tactic is to ask what other searches they are working on so that you can suggest potential candidates. Not only is this a great way to get in their “good graces” but it gives you valuable insight as to what opportunities exist in the market.

Mentor / Coach: This resource is obvious. However, it is amazing how many people don’t have somebody that they can turn who is more experienced, knowledgeable, and on their side. Career and business challenges can arise and it’s critical to have somebody, especially outside of your firm, to talk with. Dave indicates: “I’m fortunate to have a few key mentors who have provided critical counsel when I needed it.” When asked how he cultivated these relationships, he indicated: “Like most relationships in our lives, ‘fit’ is the most important aspect of any mentoring relationship – either up or down.  I tend to mentor people that have worked for me, and want to continue that relationship.  Likewise, my best mentors have been people with whom I have crossed paths.  Some have been reporting relationships, while others I have met through community involvement.  Regardless, the relationship needs to be on-going and salient to both parties to be worthwhile.”

Social Media Manager: At some point, it will be beneficial to create a social media imprint. Many CEOs / boards are looking for marketers who can demonstrate some social media / digital savvy. While twitter followers are not necessarily a good proxy, they can convince senior executives that at least you are engaged in the social universe. One option is to manage this yourself. However, you can also outsource this for a very reasonable fee with firms like Social Media Guardian, who charge a few hundred dollars a month to create and implement a strategic plan.

KEY JOB RESOURCES

Presentation Expert: At some point on the ladder, marketers start pulling together internal, external, and board-level presentations. Once this occurs, the need to escalate from satisfactory presentation (i.e., powerpoint) skills to expert skills becomes critical for success.  Identifying an external expert who can turn work around on a dime and has the requisite ability to turn a conceptual vision into a spectacular visual reality is quite difficult – yet critical for presentation success.

To identify such a person, I turned to LeAnne Fesenmeyer who always seems to know how to find the best external support resources. She suggested talking with Derrick Waylen who is the founder and CEO of Right Aligned, a firm that specializes in creating C-level presentations that sell ideas. Derrick suggested: “It is amazing that there aren’t more services focused on helping managers create superior presentations. We’ve seen a significant increase over the past 5 years in the need for exceptional presentation skills. We are fortunate in that we tend to work with large, global firms who require a certain quality of presentation, even for internal meetings. It has enabled us to retain a top class team that can provide around the clock services to meet needs anywhere in the world.”

The reality is that even managers who are proficient with powerpoint can take a lot of time to polish a presentation. That time would likely be spent better on their primary job. The key is to find a trustworthy and competent expert.

Speechwriter: At some point, senior level managers have to present. They may present to the organization, to the board of directors, to analysts, or at industry conferences. And yet, not many managers are natural speechwriters, comedians, or storytellers. To help compliment the presentation support, it’s great to have somebody who can help craft a great script. To find a ghostwriter for a book, I went to the association of ghostwriters (link here) to find somebody with the right experience. Leanne Fesenmeyer suggests: “I hired Armin Brott to ghostwrite books and Andy Montgomery to write speeches. Both were great, but the key is to find an expert who understands your industry, subject matter, and preferred style.”

In a world where marketers are increasingly asked to take on broader responsibility, it’s critical to export projects that can be easily outsourced…especially when the quality and results will be much higher. If you have any thoughts on additional resources that marketers must have, please add a comment or join the discussion (@kimwhitler).

Join the Discussion: @kimwhitler


 

 

Facebook, LinkedIn Are Top Social Platforms for Marketers

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Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategy and content consultant. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His experience includes working as a strategist and producer of digital content for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and AOL.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

How Senior Marketers Are Using Twitter

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Ayaz Nanji is a digital strategy and content consultant. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. His experience includes working as a strategist and producer of digital content for Google/YouTube,nfl the Travel Channel, and AOL.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

Content Marketing: Beyond Gutenberg

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The Future of Content Marketing: 5 Beyonds from Velocity Partners

When Ann Handley saw those slides, she asked me to write an article that explored any one of the Five Beyonds. And since I want to be Ann Handley when I grow up, I waited a dignified period (3.2 nanoseconds) and accepted the challenge.


So here’s my take on the first trend in the presentation: “Beyond Gutenberg.”

The ink has dried

Gutenberg’s invention has had a fantastic run.

It changed the world more profoundly than any other invention in history (with the possible exception of penicillin and the Internet). It democratized literacy and increased by many orders of magnitude the number of people with direct access to knowledge.

His basic invention—movable type—lasted more than 550 years almost unchanged. (Can you think of any other technology you can say that about?)

Not bad for a guy who died bankrupt and unknown.

So, OK, now you know I’m a book guy. But even I have been forced to admit an inescapable fact: The writing on the wall isn’t writing, and it’s not on a wall; it’s digital type, and it’s fizzing across a touch screen.


In short: it’s time for content marketers to cut the ink-stained umbilical cord.

It’s 2013.

The Internet as we know it has been with us since the mid-nineties—more than twenty years. Broadband has been with us for more than a decade. The first iPhone is five years old, and the first iPad is three. And yet…

  • We’re still producing dense white papers that people are supposed to download, print out, and read.
  • The blog is the core of every content marketing strategy and the e-book eats up most of our budgets.
  • Most infographics are really just magazine-style editorial graphics that are best consumed on paper.
  •  SlideShare is still full of documents instead of stories designed for the screen.

OK, I understand that every new medium takes a while to find its place in the human communications ecosystem:

  • The first TV shows were radio guys reading radio scripts on camera.
  • The first search engines tried to be directories (how quaint is that idea?).
  • And, yes, the first movable type looked an awful lot like a scribe’s handwriting.

But, eventually, people figured out what each new medium was especially good at, and we were able to let go of the old paradigm. The new medium didn’t replace the old; it just found its sweet spot and settled in.

Well, for content marketers, the new medium is the Internet, and though we don’t yet know what that really means… we can be pretty sure that it’s more than one big, distributed pile of text.

Gutenberg has left the building.

Let’s become digital content marketers

We need to start telling stories that are made for the screen, not just ported over from the page.

We need to start mastering scrolling sites, tablet experiences, smartphone apps, and personalized content. We need to get to grips with microformats (once we figure out what the hell they are) and start to turn e-books into fully interactive content toolsets (the fourth of the Five Beyonds).

When we do that, we’ll be telling stories that play to the strengths of their delivery medium instead of taking what was made for ink and paper and shoving it onto a screen.

Keep the baby, ditch the bathwater

Of course your content marketing playbook still has a place for e-books and even whitepapers (though, to me, the very term signals “Do Not Read This”).

Words—and the ideas they carry—still matter most. But you have so many ways to inject words and ideas into the minds of your target audiences; yet, you’ll discover them only if you let go of the print mindset for a while and explore other approaches.

Print will make a comeback

The good news for us Gutenbergians: print will be back. Not as a mainstream medium, but as a special treat.

Already, printed marketing pieces are getting pretty rare. And, when things get rare, they regain their power to surprise and delight.

Once we all get used to living in digital land, we’ll be ripe for some new spins on old-school print. (At Velocity, alongside our scrolling sites, we’re working on a project that involves woodcuts and hand printing.) What goes around, comes back to hit you in the back of the head.

But remember: When print does make a comeback, it will be on paper, not as a bastardized, screen-based pseudo-book.

Bottom line? Embrace digital

Unless you’re 12 years old, the transition to a totally digital mindset won’t come naturally.

But it will come. As long as you get out there, play in the digital sandbox, and let go of the printing press.

NO HIDING PLACE: A Plan To Assess Your Personality From Your Tweets

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sigmund freud

en.wikipedia.org

Your Twitter tells me more than your dreams!

IN AMERICA alone, people spent $170 billion on “direct marketing”–junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties–last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result.

If the bumf arrived electronically, the take-up rate was 0.1%. And for online adverts the “conversion” into sales was a minuscule 0.01%. That means about $165 billion was spent not on drumming up business, but on annoying people, creating landfill and cluttering spam filters.

Which might, in the modern, privacy-free world of sliced and diced web-browsing analysis, come as something of a surprise. Marketing departments gather terabytes of data on potential customers, spend fortunes on software to analyse their spending habits and painstakingly “segment” the data to calibrate their campaigns to appeal to specific groups. And still they get it almost completely wrong.

A group of researchers at IBM’s Almaden Research Centre in San Jose, California, however, is here to help. According to Eben Haber, the group’s leader, the problem is that firms are trying to understand their customers by studying their “demographics” (age, sex, marital status, dwelling place, income and so on) and their existing buying habits. That approach, he believes, is flawed. What they really need is a way to discover the “deep psychological profiles” of their customers, including their personalities, values and needs. And he and his team think they can provide it.

Modern psychology recognises five dimensions of personality: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to experience. Previous research has shown that people’s scores on these traits can, indeed, predict what they purchase. Extroverts are more likely to respond to an advert for a mobile phone that promises excitement than one that promises convenience or security. They also prefer Coca-Cola to Pepsi and Maybelline cosmetics to Max Factor. Agreeable people, though, tend to prefer Pepsi, and those open to experience prefer Max Factor.

People are, of course, unlikely to want to take personality tests so that marketing departments around the world can intrude even more on their lives than happens already. But Dr Haber thinks he can get around that–at least for users of Twitter. He and his team have developed software that takes streams of “tweets” from this social medium and searches them for words that indicate a tweeter’s personality, values and needs.

The personality-profiling part of the software is based on a study published in 2010 by Tal Yarkoni of the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr Yarkoni recruited a group of bloggers and correlated the frequencies of certain words and categories of word that they used in their blogs with their personality traits, as established by questionnaire.

Some of the relations he found were commonsensical. Extroversion correlated with “bar”, “restaurant” and “crowd”. Neuroticism correlated with “awful”, “lazy” and “depressing”. But there were also unforeseen patterns. Trust (an important component of agreeableness), for example, correlated with “summer”, and co-operativeness (another element of agreeableness) with “unusual”.

Inspired by Dr Yarkoni’s findings, Dr Haber and his team are conducting research of their own, matching word use with two sets of traits not directly related to personality. These are people’s values (things they deem to be good, beneficial and important, such as loyalty, accuracy and self-enhancement) and their needs (things they feel they cannot live without, such as excitement, control or acceptance).

In a test of the new system, Dr Haber analysed three months’ worth of data from 90m users of Twitter. His software was able to parse someone’s presumptive personality reasonably well from just 50 tweets, and very well indeed from 200.

At the moment the system is being tested by a financial-services company. If all goes well, Dr Haber hopes to launch it commercially by the end of the year. He says the new software has the potential to serve people as individuals rather than “vague demographic blurs”. Whether they will actually wish to be “served” in this way, when the price of such service is having strangers build up intimate psychological profiles of them, remains to be seen.

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Big Pharma Learned The Wrong Marketing Lesson

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Google co-founder Sergey Brin demonstrates Google’s new Glass, the wearable internet glasses shown at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, June 27, 2012. (Paul Sakuma/AP)

Large pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer Pfizer and Merck Merck are often celebrated for their marketing acumen. But, when compared with really successful marketing companies like the Internet giant Google Google, their performance is less than stellar.  True marketing leaders must innovate continuously to stay ahead of the market, by creating needs, rather than only responding to them.  To them, marketing begins with choosing which products to develop and ends with the sales process. That is what Google has
accomplished with Google Glass.

With the advent of the Information Age, marketing has been transformed from mass distribution to targeted, individualized communications aimed at smaller and smaller demographic groups.  Recipients of marketing messages are chosen based on criteria such as age, income level and the last item for which they searched on the Internet.  Eventually, marketing efforts could become unique to the individual for whom it is intended.

Large pharmaceutical companies have yet to catch up to the trend.  For decades they have thrived on a one-pill-for-all model and an old-fashioned, door-to-door marketing approach, where so-called “detail people” hand out starter-dose samples of new drugs they want doctors to prescribe.  In the past several years, big pharma companies have also begun advertising directly to consumers on television and in print, telling potential patients, “ask your doctor” to prescribe a variety of powerful medicines that can often have multiple and potentially dangerous side-effects.

Big pharma needs to learn to stay ahead of the marketing curve — to innovate targeted products for specific populations and to focus its marketing on those populations.  Yet big pharma seems locked into the quest for billion dollar blockbuster drugs that can support large bureaucratic organizations.

One way big pharma can learn from companies like Google is to give old products new life by improving the products themselves or by improving the delivery systems of existing products.  New delivery systems provide an opportunity for drug companies to repackage tried-and-true drugs and regain market exclusivity based on the innovative delivery process.  That is what Google is doing with Google Glass.  Glass delivers existing products, like mobile telephony, the Internet, global positioning systems and more, through a new, wearable system.  In this case, Google is applying new technology to enhance the effectiveness of existing technology, something big pharma rarely does.

What big pharma shuns, little pharma sees as an opportunity.  We have followed two companies with new delivery systems for previously approved drugs.  These delivery systems make administration of the drug easier, increase the speed the drugs become effective, reduce side-effects and promise to deliver healthy revenues to their developers.

Source: www.alexza.com

One such company is Alexza Pharmaceuticals Alexza Pharmaceuticals.  It has developed an aerosol delivery system for already-approved drugs, called the Staccato system.  The company’s first product, ADASUVE was approved in January 2013. It combines a 1974-vintage anti-psychotic drug, loxapine, with the company’s new delivery device.

The $33 billion Israeli pharmaceutical company Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited must have seen significant potential for the Staccato system when it signed a deal with Alexza in early May worth up to $235 million, including $40 million up front.  Under the deal, Teva will be responsible for all U.S.development and commercialization of ADASUVE, including the U.S.post-approval clinical studies and any

Source: www.alexza.com

additional clinical trials for new indications. Alexza will manufacture ADASUVE and supply it to Teva for clinical trials and commercial sales.

The broad implications of this technology reflect a logical paradigm shift in critical emergency room and acute-care medical settings.  Teva’s foresight is that it is not acquiring just an individual drug, but a platform for many new drug combinations.

Thomas King, President and CEO of Alexza says, “The Staccato system is potentially a disruptive new technology because it increases speed of availability and action of known drugs.  Staccato exemplifies the benefits of changing the method of drug delivery to address critical unmet medical needs, where speed of action and ease of administration are key to the meeting the patient’s need.”

NuPathe NuPathe is another company with a unique and new delivery system for already approved drugs.  NuPathe created a system called SmartRelief.  It delivers medication using iontophoresis, which transports molecules through the skin using mild electrical
stimulation.  It is sometimes called an injection without a needle.  The company’s lead product, ZECUITY, delivers sumatriptan, which became a
generic drug in 2009, to treat acute cases of migraine with or without aura in adults.  ZECUITY was approved by the FDA in January 2013.

Armando Anido, CEO of Nupathe said “Zecuity is the first and only FDA-approved migraine patch and is a game-changing treatment option for millions of patients who suffer from migraine headache pain and migraine-related nausea. We look forward to securing commercial partners and preparing for the launch of Zecuity, which is expected in the fourth quarter of this year.”  The fact that NuPathe continues to negotiate for partners reflects a major lack of understanding in the greater pharmaceutical industry.

The point is that corporations like animal species, must adapt or die.  The business world is replete with examples of corporations that failed to adapt and are no longer in existence. Western Union telegrams, Woolworth’s five and ten-cent stores, Sharper Image stores and  Commodore computers are just a few examples of once successful dominant businesses that failed because they became stagnant and were overtaken by competitors.  Companies using new technology and evolving marketing techniques to capture markets and displace predecessors, like Wal-Mart in retailing, Zappos in footwear, Volkswagen in cars, and others, were late entrants into existing markets but eventually surpassed their competitors.  Big pharma, beware, the same could happen to you.

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