18 More Amazing Search & Digital Marketing Takeaways from #MNSummit

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#mnsummit

Personally, public speaking scares the crap out of me. People staring at me for almost an hour, trying to not stutter or talk too fast, and striving to meet the expectations of a session description would turn me red and shaky for hours.

Apparently, none of the MN Search Summit speakers are subject to those nerves (or if they are, they hid it with the skill of a magician).

Since early this morning our team has been bustling around the University of St. Thomas listening to speakers from brands like TopRank Marketing clients LinkedIn and Dell as well as Moz, Distilled and several others. Each session was full of advice, tips, tools, and laughs—no shaking or red faces.

Our team ended the day feeling empowered to take our digital marketing to the next level; eager to get back to client work on Monday.

Below are some of the key takeaways from the afternoon speakers that we just couldn’t wait to share:

Rand Fishkin’s @randfish – Wizard of Moz
“Why Content Marketing Fails”

  • If you forget about the community behind your content, good luck getting shares, traffic, and viral status! People share what’s close to their hearts, ignites passion, and/or lands within their personal interests. Your content, done properly, can reveal the community behind it. And that is what will buoy it to the top. –Brooke Furry
  • “Good enough” content often performs well when a community is behind it. If you know your community and target them in your content, you will receive more likes, shares, etc. –Kate Heithoff
  • Setting the bar for good content should be settled at “good enough.” Focusing content on an audience will slowly build a community. That community will then determine on their own which of the “good enough” posts, which could be 1 in 1,000, are worth going viral. – Andy Thomson
  • Before you create content, ask the question “Who Will Share and Amplify This and Why?” Even great content marketing efforts fail if there is no community that is interested in and invested in sharing the content. –Alexis Hall

Jason Miller’s @JasonMillerCA – Senior Manager, Content Marketing at LinkedIn  (TopRank Client)
“Welcome to the Funnel”

  • “Take your content and treat it like leftover turkey. Slice and dice it and use it in as many ways possible.” Repurpose it! – Ryan Rutz
  • If you’re not promoting your “Good content,” you’re missing the boat!!! The visual is the new headline!!!!! – Michael Bak
  • You need to pay to promote your own “good content.” If you do not set aside money to do so in your marketing plan, your content will not do as well. Setting aside a budget to promote your content on social media channels can help it gain more visibility and reach a larger audience. – Kate Heithoff
  • Think of your content as “Leftover turkey” . . . it can stretch for days into almost anything! – Michael Bak
  • Encompassing the content lifecycle, Jason illustrated the process of creating a focused piece of content which, once it shows merit, can be sliced and diced like a turkey. Those pieces of turkey should be utilized over and over until no one wants the turkey anymore. – Andy Thomson

Adria Saracino’s @adriasaracino – Head of Content Strategy at Distilled
“How to Match Your Marketing Efforts with Customer Emotions”

  • People are not robots. Don’t discount the role of emotions in content consumption and purchases. Consider where your prospects sit on the “consumption matrix” – do they love or hate the process? Is it a low or high investment? Is there potential for analysis paralysis somewhere along the way? Be a sensitive marketer. Appeal to emotions, happy or sad, because content that summons emotion performs better. – Brooke Furry
  • People share because they want to feel involved, or they want to educate others, nourish the bonds they share with others, support a cause, or define oneself. How does your content help them do that? – Eliza Steely
  • Some of the questions you have to ask throughout your efforts aren’t customer focused—they’re you or brand focused: what do you stand for? What problem are you trying to solve? What defines success? Why do you go to work each day? – Eliza Steely
  • We feel before we think, so make content that triggers emotions – Kate Heithoff

Connie Bensen’s @cbensen – Global Social & Content Strategist at Dell (TopRank Client)
“Creating a Culture for Social Marketing”

  • A social business integrates social into the workday. To do this, a company must provide the team with the resources, training and certification to do so. Connie Bensen describes the Dell Playbook for employee social participation to include not just brand guidelines, but also organic keywords, content optimization guidelines and value proposition messaging. This resource gives employees an opportunity to integrate social into their workday in a way that is very beneficial to the business. – Alexis Hall
  • Companies should integrate social media into the workday and create brand advocates for yourself – Michael Bak
  • We need real-time marketing! With intelligent technology, solid strategy, and bold marketers, maybe we can improve the rate of successful content. – Andy Thomson
  • In order to embed social into the fabric of your company, encourage collaboration among your team. Connie Bensen describes creating a core weekly team to drive change at Dell. She also recommends using early adopters to share best practices. – Alexis Hall

Today was an incredible inaugural Minnesota Search Summit. The speakers were dynamic and insightful, the food was nice and summery (brats and burgers are wonderful even if the sun isn’t out) and the crowd was the expected Minnesota-nice.

A HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers, sponsors, and MN Search Board Members that put on the event. It was amazing, and you should be proud!

We definitely can’t wait to come back next year!


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18 More Amazing Search & Digital Marketing Takeaways from #MNSummit | http://www.toprankblog.com

June 28th 2014 Online Marketing

15 Snippets of Digital Marketing Advice from #MNSummit

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#mnsummit @toprank

HOOOOOOOOONK.

That’s how our morning started—honking cars as we inched our way through the rush hour traffic moving towards downtown Minneapolis. The gorgeous peach-colored sunrise coupled with the intoxicating smell of coffee helped us relax despite the stress of a morning commute.

Today’s drive was different than the rest. Instead of driving to our offices with views of Lake Minnetonka and the occasional deer, we headed into the bustle of the University of St. Thomas to attend the inaugural Minnesota Search Summit— an event focused on search, social media and digital marketing.

Fourteen of my TopRank coworkers and I are spending the day hearing advice from local experts, gleaning insights from industry thought leaders, and networking with some of Minneapolis’s savvy online marketers.

So far, we’re halfway through the day. Caffeine has kicked in, the tweets are flying, and the gift bags have been opened. And the TopRank Marketing team is impressed. Between CEO Lee Odden’s opening keynote and the two speaking tracks, we’ve already learned several new things about landing pages, search, analytics…the list is endless.

Well…not endless. Check out the list of advice and tips our team found helpful below—and stay tuned for the rest!

Lee Odden’s  @leeodden – CEO of TopRank Online Marketing
“Where Does Search Fit in the Digital Marketing Mix?”

  • Your customers can be a gold mine of information. Ask them questions, talk to your sales team–learn what questions are being asked and map those to the stages of your buying cycle. Then create and curate content to address those things in order to optimize user experience.  - Eliza Steely
  • A multichannel customer is worth 2x as much as a customer that shops in one channel. Be sure to create a consistent experience throughout your channels to ensure you’re optimizing all experiences possible. – Kate Heithoff
  • People ask their friends for advice on social channels because social is a discovery tool. Search is a validation tool where people cross-check their friends’ suggestions in order to validate the information. – Emily Bacheller
  • Be eternally curious. Be an eternal student. Set objectives and goals for yourself to learn every day and there’s no better way to learn that to connect with people who are solving similar problems or problems different than you – Eliza Steely
  • Bacon and kittens are not the best approach to digital marketing – Eliza Steely

Oli Gardner’s @oligardner – Co-Founder of Unbounce
“Advanced Landing Page Optimization”

  • In order to create “delightful” landing pages, don’t break the “scent trail.” If a person’s searching for something specific, keep the scent trail strong from search engine to your landing page – so they find what they originally searched for (smelled!) and don’t get frustrated and start the search over again. -Brooke Furry
  • “If you give me cause to pause, I might not convert.” – Brooke Furry
  • People like to be led, so tell them what to do. For instance, after someone signs up for your webinar, ask them to join your email list. Always go for the extra point. – Emily Bacheller
  • Our goal as marketers should be to delight and convert our customers. Oli Gardner describes the Attention Ratio as the ratio of interactive elements on a site (links) compared to campaign goals (you campaign goals should always be one). As the Attention Ratio decreases, conversion ratio will increase. Give people one thing to do – your campaign goal (i.e. watch a video, download white paper, etc.). For the ideal landing page experience remove extraneous elements, including social buttons, links to other relevant content and your top navigation. This will increase your conversion rate. The Attention Ratio is more important than button color, short forms or an above-the-fold CTA. – Alexis Hall
  • 8% of men are colorblind–so don’t rely on colors – Michael Bak

Justin Cutroni’s @justicutroni - Analytics Evangelist at Google
“Moving to User Centric Measurement”

  • You can’t create unique experiences without segmentation. Create segmentation in your analytics and use that as your remarketing list, customize everything for them. Incorporating behavioral data is essential to reach the right type of audience – Eliza Steely
  • Opportunities to engage with customers are growing exponentially, so analytics must grow too – what you measure must become more intentional and people-based. – Brooke Furry
  • We want to thing about the user and the value they bring our company for years to come. For years we’ve been focused on the singular moment of conversion rates. We need to start looking beyond that to help us decide where to allocate funds based on the lifetime value of a customer, not just their singular purchases. – Eliza Steely
  • The secret sauce is identifying your customers through IDs and inputting that into Anaylytics. You can then create a single user profile to identify their interactions through time. – Ryan Rutz
  • In one example Justin shared, Google remarketing campaigns that included a behavior signal were 1300% more effective than standard campaigns. The takeaway? Any time you can gain insights (such as affinity)  and use them to personalize the experience, do it. – Jesse Pickrain

It’s been a great summit so far! More digital marketing tidbits are coming. Check back later this evening for more  insights from the TopRank Marketing team. Follow along on Twitter with the event hashtag: #MNSummit


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© Online Marketing Blog from TopRank®, 2014. |
15 Snippets of Digital Marketing Advice from #MNSummit | http://www.toprankblog.com

June 28th 2014 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News – Goodbye Google Authorship, 1 Minute On Facebook, Videos Dominate

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Content Marketing According To Google

The Marketing Industry According to Google Autocomplete - As you can see in the image above, Google has it’s ideas about what content marketing means.  While we obviously have our own ideas on what online marketing, blogging, and other terms mean, here’s a look a what Google Autocomplete thinks of some common marketing words and phrases.  HubSpot

With 1 Billion+ Travel Pins, Pinterest Gives Place Search An Upgrade - Forget the idea that Pinterest is all about fashion photos, cute animals and inspirational messages. The company says it’s now hosting more than a billion Place Pins across four million Place Boards. Together, all this represents more than 300 unique countries and territories. Search Engine Land

Google Removes Authorship Photos and Google+ Circle Counts From Search Results - Yesterday, Google’s John Muller made an announcement that broke marketers’ hearts: Google Authorship’s about to get a makeover. And it’s not the type of makeover that makes you say “ooo” and “ahh” and “how wonderful” — it’s the kind that could impact your search traffic. HubSpot

What Happens In Just ONE Minute On Facebook [Infographic] - As thousands of new social media users log on every week, the numbers relating to the flow of information on Facebook become ever more staggering. This infographic from SumoCoupon illustrates just how much data is generated in a mere 60 seconds on Facebook. Social Media Today

Social and Native Ads Are More Effective Than Email, Study Says - Marketers say that social media ads and native promotions are better for brands than email, according to Millward Brown Digital’s study for MediaBrix. AdWeek

Study: 56% Of Viewers Skip Online Video Ads & 46% Say Any Ad Over 15-Seconds Is Too Long - After surveying viewer engagement with online video and video ads, data provider Adroit Digital found 56 percent of all its survey participants are likely to skip online video ads, while 46 percent said a video ad should be no more than 15 seconds in length. Marketing Land

Facebook To Revamp Right-Hand-Side Ads Next Week; Warns Advertisers Of Price Hikes - Facebook announced that it will begin rolling out its redesigned right-hand-side ads early next week. The revamp of those ad units was originally announced in April. AllFacebook

Videos Dominate Universal Search Results 65% of the Time [Study] - Since its inception in 2007, universal search results have have morphed to show a multitude of choices for searchers to choose from, like videos, images, maps, shopping results, and news. In its latest research, Searchmetrics studied the universal search results for millions of keywords over the course of one year (2013) to gauge what has recently changed, and how. Search Engine Watch

Study: Teens heavily use Facebook, Instagram more often than Snapchat - One of the most pressing questions about Facebook’s future revolves around teen usage. However, a new study by Forrester shows that maybe teens don’t hate Facebook after all. Forrester surveyed more than 4,500 U.S. online users between 12 and 17 about their habits on social networks and apps. Among apps they use “all the time,” both Facebook and Instagram finished ahead of Snapchat. Inside Facebook

Owned Editorial Content Claims Majority of Media Spend on Mobile [Study] - A recent report from Sharethrough shows that branded editorial content on owned sites has attracted the lion’s share, almost 70 percent, of editorial media spend. ClickZ

Study: As Facebook reach drops, engagement rises — but not as much for brands - As both paid and organic Facebook reach become harder to come by, many page owners have discovered that engagement has risen or at least remained steady. Inside Facebook

From our Online Marketing Community:

In response to the post Curation and Repurposing to Extend the Life of Your Content Marketing, Ben Bradley wrote, “Great post Lee! I think you alluded to this but I am not sure if it was fully called out, one of the biggest benefits of re-purposing content is to get it to fit different distribution channels. For example, what performs on LinkedIn might not work well on Twitter, SlideShare, etc. I also think understanding which content types will fit each buyer persona, at each buy cycle stage, and on which distribution channel those people will be, can help make sure your re-purposing efforts are as efficient as possible.”

On How SEO and Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your B2B Marketing PerformancePhil Smith shared, “Great post. In my opinion the prime reason businesses fail is because – as outlined in your post – they fail to understand how customers discover information on the web. Get this wrong and the whole inbound marketing process collapses.”

And in response to the post 12 B2B Content Marketing Examples and Case Studies for 2014, UnveiltheWeb said, “I think the humor and videos are huge! People like to engage with content that either helps them solve a problem or entertains them.”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


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© Online Marketing Blog from TopRank®, 2014. |
Online Marketing News – Goodbye Google Authorship, 1 Minute On Facebook, Videos Dominate | http://www.toprankblog.com

June 27th 2014 Online Marketing

How SEO and Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your B2B Marketing Performance

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B2B SEO Inbound Marketing

Call it organic marketing, call it inbound marketing or even content marketing – the practice of creating useful information to generate demand and attract an audience of buyers vs. buying ads to push messages out to them is one of the highest impact, low cost approaches to digital marketing a business can take.

The practice of optimizing content for better search visibility goes hand in hand with the broader approach of inbound marketing. SEO best practices can be applied to content across the entire sales cycle to surface brand content during awareness, consideration and purchase behaviors as well as after the transaction to reinforce retention and advocacy goals.

While SEO has evolved along with the changes search engines continue to make, it’s still full of opportunities. In particular, is the practice of creating amazing content and media only to rely on paid amplification for exposure – ignoring the value that natural search brings to the visibility of content. That said…

The only thing worse than no SEO is “All SEO”

The hubris of only seeing online marketing opportunities through the eyes of search engine optimization creates situations where the mighty keyword takes precedence over customer engagement and conversions. Sure, ranking and referred organic traffic are the KPIs SEOs are most often held accountable to, but using SEO as the sole determinant for content inspiration and promotion is “limiting” to say the least.

Recently I had a chance to elaborate on this perspective with the folks at DGR in an interview about how B2B companies can better understand SEO and Inbound Marketing to boost the performance of their marketing. Here’s most of that exchange:

What are some of the best practices for SEO and Inbound Marketing? 

Like any marketing program, best practices inbound marketing and SEO start with objectives, an understanding of the target customer and a marketing plan with a tactical mix. Defining key performance indicators that track progress as well as metrics that will determine program success are also best practices.

Where a lot of marketers fail with inbound marketing efforts is to view content solely as a link building tactic for SEO. Or they see content as something that only matters for search rankings and not something that can pull customers through from awareness to consideration to purchase.

Inbound relies on content to attract, engage and convert new customers that are actively looking for solutions. Marketers that understand how customers discover information on the web can effectively plan content around topics buyers want information on. Keyword research around those topics will aid in the optimization of the content so it can be found through search.

Best practices SEO is a combination of technical readiness of a website, optimized content and links. Factors like page loading speed, authorship and structured data can improve different aspects of search marketing performance as well. Creating useful information that is optimized for the things buyers are looking for is another best practice. Actively promoting content will attract links from other websites and social networks, driving traffic and serving as signals that can be very powerful for search marketing visibility.

There are many other organic or inbound marketing best practices that range from publicity and media relations to leveraging social media and realtime content recommendation engines for content topics. And we can’t forget email marketing, marketing automation and conversion optimization.

What’s working well with SEO and Inbound Marketing?

Companies that get the blocking and tackling of technical SEO readiness and rich content (text, images, video and audio) plus active promotion to attract links have many more opportunities to refine their search marketing performance. Some of those opportunities include:

Integration of Content, SEO, Social Media and PR: Integrating SEO and inbound marketing efforts with media relations works well since established publications that cover a brand can send traffic and strong link signals that influence rankings.  Creating rich media content like videos, presentations, infographics and interactive tools that are useful and entertaining (and also optimized for keywords) can attract direct traffic, links and social shares that result in improved organic visibility.

Marketing Automation: When there is an active effort to create optimized and socialized content for the interests of specific customer segments, marketing automation software can be very effective for nurturing prospects through the buying cycle. Email communications directly with interested prospects that inform and inspire them to move from interest to transaction has worked very well for many companies, especially in the B2B space.

Brand Publishers: Businesses that take content seriously are becoming publishers in their own right and a robust mix of content design for specific customer segments can be a goldmine for an inbound marketing program. But it takes time to get that kind of momentum, so patience and an ongoing effort to optimize program performance is necessary. Insight from CRM analytics, conversion data, SEO keyword research, social media monitoring and real-time interactions with content can all inform the long and short term content planning for a very powerful inbound marketing program.

How can marketers improve the performance of their inbound campaigns? 

Any inbound program can be improved upon, depending on program goals and the ability to execute on a strategy. The first step is to view inbound as equivalent with overall marketing vs. a campaign with a start and stop. Inbound requires a long term commitment to content, promotion and analytics as well as an ongoing effort to optimize inbound marketing performance.

Understanding the questions customers need answered in order to buy is the most fundamental thing marketers can act on to improve the performance of their inbound campaigns. As my co-worker Alexis Hall has mentioned to me many times, “A shift from product focused content to customer needs focused content provides an amazing difference in marketing performance.” Answering customer questions is the most straightforward way to meet customer information needs.

A content plan that maps key questions along the buying cycle for each customer segment can be the roadmap for content that is optimized for search, socialized for networks and publicized for industry blogs and publications.  It’s often an inbound marketing improvement opportunity to revisit the data that informed each customer segment profile and persona, since customer communities can be quite dynamic. Adjusting for changes in customer preferences can result in improved content and inbound marketing performance.

By delivering content that’s actually useful to buyers (instead of how brands define useful) marketers can find substantial performance improvements.

What are some of the things B2B marketers need to consider as they plot their inbound and SEO strategies going forward?

For B2B marketers and longer sales cycles, content that fuels the buyer journey is important and distinctly different than B2C. Studies show that content preferences for B2B marketers can be different, requiring brands to conduct research, produce longer form content and both on and offline events. While B2B is often associated with boring white papers and case studies, the information in those content types is highly valuable for customer acquisition.

What B2B marketers need to consider is the packaging of their content to become both informative and entertaining, aka “infotainment”.  Competition for time and attention is fierce with the rise of content marketing, so brands need to tap into the creative and “human” side of B2B in order to stand out.

Also, many B2B buyers are committees, not sole individuals. That requires some understanding of the committee process and dynamic. You may have multiple personas to deal with and create content for, which is very different than implementing an inbound marketing program directed at a single persona.

What would you add as best practices for SEO and Inbound marketing?

Photo: Shutterstock


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How SEO and Inbound Marketing Can Grow Your B2B Marketing Performance | http://www.toprankblog.com

Online Marketing News – Twitter Gets GIFs, Microsoft Makes Promises, No Budget For Mobile

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Twitter Brings Tweets To Life Through The New Support Of Animated GIFs - Twitter may start looking a lot more like Tumblr soon thanks to the new support of animated GIF files. Across the web, Android & iOS platforms users will be able to view their favorite GIF images in full motion. Marketing Land

Facebook to Use Web Browsing History For Ad Targeting - Through its ubiquitous “like” buttons on publisher sites across the web, Facebook has long been able to watch the web surfing behavior of its 1.28 billion monthly users. Soon it will begin to use that information for ad targeting on Facebook. AdAge

Facebook Posts See More Engagement After Hours, Weekends [Study] - TrackMaven studied more than 5,000 Facebook pages and about 1.6 million posts to uncover the best days and times to post status updates, as well as how to structure those updates for maximum visibility. ClickZInfluence Marketers

How to Get In With the “In Crowd”: Digital Influencer Marketing for Brands [Infographic] - What’s digital influencer marketing and how can your brand use it?  Marketo takes a look in this helpful infographic which includes top digital marketing influencers like TopRank’s CEO, Lee Odden. Marketo Blog

Study: Facebook Great At Delivering Reach — Through Advertising - Facebook can deliver great reach for brands and companies — it’s just becoming increasingly evident that you have to pay for it. A study by Neustar, a real-time analytics firm, shows that Facebook’s advertised reach efficiency exceeds that of exchange services, advertising portals and ad networks. However, reach on Facebook (noted in the report as social) has dipped considerably from Q4 2013 to Q1 2014. InsideFacebook

Microsoft Promises No Targeted Advertising With Updated Privacy Policy - In an effort to reassure consumers, the tech giant states it will not use email, chat, or voice data for targeted advertising. Microsoft has updated its user agreements to clarify how it stores and uses customer data, with a clear effort to position itself in a different light to rival Google. ClickZ

80% Of Marketers Believe Mobile Is Significant, Yet Allocate Just 3% Of Budget [Infographic] - If 8 in 10 search marketers believe that mobile is an important part of the marketing mix, why is it that it makes up just 3% of budget? Marketing Pilgrim

Only 1 in 10 Online Shoppers Say Mobile Is Preferred Method for Making Purchases - UPS and comScore have released their 3rd annual “Pulse of the Online Shopper Study,” based on a survey of 5,800 online shoppers in the US who make at least 2 online purchases in a typical 3-month period. The results suggest that despite the growth of mobile commerce (23% year-over-year in 2013, per comScore), only 1 in 10 respondents prefer to purchase products on mobile devices. Marketing Charts

STUDY: Facebook Ads In Paid Search Campaigns Mean More, Cheaper Conversions - Facebook and paid search are often viewed as competitors for advertising, but a study commissioned by the social network and conducted by Kenshoo, a Strategic Preferred Marketing Developer, analyzed two weeks’ worth of adding Facebook ads to paid search campaigns by Experian, finding better performance and lower costs per acquisition. Inside Facebook

LinkedIn’s New “Galene” Search Platform Offers Broader, More Relevant & Faster Results - Last week, Linkedin announced it had rolled out a newly upgraded search platform Galene, designed to offer broader searches and more relevant results that are now delivered twice as fast. Search Engine Land

New “Google My Business” Simplifies Local Marketing For SMBs - For quite some time since the introduction of Google+ Local, managing local listings and content across Google properties has confused many local SEOs and local business owners alike. Now Google has launched a new, integrated approach called Google My Business. Search Engine Land

Study: Top Performing Email Marketers Earning 9.5% CTR, 6 Times Higher Than Median CTR - A new Email Benchmark Study from Silverpop revealed top performing email marketers are earning a 9.5 percent click-through rate, six times higher than the median click-through rate of 1.5 percent. Marketing Land

The Most Effective Calls to Action for Facebook Posts - Simply asking people to share a post is often the most effective call to action (CTA) for Facebook posts by brands, according to a recent report from TrackMaven. MarketingProfs

From our Online Marketing Community:

On From Antwerp to Bucharest – Lessons Learned About Storytelling and Content Marketing, Kelly Hungerford said, “Nice post Lee! I really like your point about content needing to address business objectives as well as customer objectives. Content needs to be a win for both in order to be a success. And I love the example of content on tap. That’s something I’m going to keep in mind and try to put to practice. I’m not sure I could have pulled out three example in five minutes. You rocked it! For me it’s almost a rethinking of how we learn to “communicate” business, which seems to always be factual and not emotional. On storytelling: Danny’s had my full attention and I’ve told the story about the shuttle about a dozen times now. I can’t remember the height or width of the boosters for the shuttles, but I can remember they are the size of two horses asses and that makes for great conversation. I love the picture you included in this post. It tells a story too: physical events and meet-ups are a stellar opportunity to meet new friends, exchange stories and become a part of other people’s stories. Thank you.”

Mark Masters, said “Who says that travel doesn’t broaden the mind? It’s interesting that whilst topics that we share and promote are becoming topics that many others are bestowing onto others ie. how to become a ‘rock star/ninja in…’ the big differential is how we weave our own stories and experiences into our perception of the world. The moment when you realise that you don’t have to please everyone, but to have a point of view and stick to it, then becomes a lot easier to find your own path….from my perspective anyway. Enjoyed the read.”

And on Essential Q and A on the Value of Content Marketing, Gerrid Smith said, “Thank you for sharing this translation. I couldn’t agree more on the aspect of growing audiences from niche communities.”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Image: Marketo Blog


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Online Marketing News – Twitter Gets GIFs, Microsoft Makes Promises, No Budget For Mobile | http://www.toprankblog.com

June 20th 2014 Online Marketing

Online Marketing News – Twitter’s COO Is Out, Google Shopping Is In, Are We Smarter Than 5th Graders?

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COO of Twitter Resigns via Tweet - The COO of Twitter, Ali Rowghani, announced his resignation on the social network yesterday. The announcement comes a day after Re/code reported on internal tension over Rowghani’s role at the company. Charged with overseeing user growth, Rowghani has not been able to stem its decline. SocialTimes

Google Introduces New Content API For Google Shopping - Last week, Google introduced a new version of the API that allows retailers to manage product feed content programmatically, as opposed to through manual updates to Google Merchant Center. It’s the first version update of the API since Google first launched it in 2010, before Google Shopping became a paid platform. Search Engine Land

STUDY: 67.3 Percent Of Facebook Posts Written At Reading Levels Of Fifth Grade Or Below - Facebook may have a minimum user age of 13, but 67.3 percent of posts on the social network are written at much younger reading levels — fifth grade or below — according to a study of 5,804 pages with more than 1,000 likes apiece, and 1,578,006 total posts, by digital intelligence firm TrackMaven. AllFacebookDoug Kessler Content Creates Trust

Nearly $12B In Q1 Ad Revs, Mobile Likely Above 20 Percent - This yesterday the IAB released topline digital ad revenues for Q1 2014 in the US market. The trade group said that revenue hit $11.6 billion, representing 19 percent growth over last year’s $9.8 billion in Q1. (The press release reflects $9.6 billion but the full year 2013 report says $9.8 billion). Marketing Land

Study: Millennials Distrustful of Information on Twitter - A recent study appearing in the Springer research journal Psychonomic Bulletin & Review found that millennials don’t trust information they read in Twitter feeds. SocialTimes

Social Media The Most Efficient Channel — Report - Neuster has released its Q1 2014 Media Intelligence Report, based on customer data comprising 28 billion impressions across 152 billion “ad events” from 1300 “inventory providers” in multiple verticals. (Search marketing was not part of the analysis.) On the basis of looking all that data, Neustar pronounces social media the most cost effective channel in Q1. Marketing Land

Twitter Beats Call Centers For Customer Service [SURVEY] - According to two surveys sponsored by Amdocs, there is a gap between what customer service providers and what customers think of social media. AllTwitter

Facebook Revamps Mobile App Ads, Announces Change To Domain Insights - Facebook announced an overhaul of its mobile application ads to make them conform with its other ad units, as well as an update to its domain insights tool. AllFacebook

Facebook Will Soon Leverage Your Non-Facebook Web & Mobile Activity In Advertiser Targeting - Facebook Ads are about to become a much more lucrative commodity to marketers. Today’s Ads changes not only helped users understand why they were seeing ads, but will also allow Advertisers to target users who’ve taken desktop and mobile actions off of Facebook itself. Marketing Land

From our Online Marketing Community:

From New LinkedIn Profile Features: 4 Tips To Optimize Your Presence, Sandeep Rao shared, “In my opinion, Showing best useful information at preferred place on a webpage is very important, and that is the reason for design and structure change made by many of the web platforms. And that’s almost what I felt after reading LinkedIn’s design update post on LinkedIn blog. It seems like LinkedIn is also making it easier to optimize one’s profile as per relevant keywords and skills to stand out in SERP on Google or any other search engine. Well, the new design seems more user friendly and quite attractive too. Let’s see what else is there in the new design.”

Ryan Biddulph said, “Nice tips Evan ;) Branson branded himself perfectly. Thanks!”

And on 140+ Statistics on Content Marketing in Europe, Ryan Biddulph commented, “Neat to see twitter leading in the UK Lee. I dig the platform, and feel you can engage and share on such a large scale thru tweeting. Thanks!”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


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© Online Marketing Blog from TopRank®, 2014. |
Online Marketing News – Twitter’s COO Is Out, Google Shopping Is In, Are We Smarter Than 5th Graders? | http://www.toprankblog.com

June 13th 2014 Online Marketing

New LinkedIn Profile Features: 4 Tips to Optimize Your Presence

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LinkedIn Profile Optimization

Never one to rest on its laurels, LinkedIn recently announced some interesting new profile features that can help you stand out, be found and measure the impact of your LinkedIn presence (disclosure, LinkedIn is a TopRank client).

Here are 4 ways you can take advantage of the new LinkedIn profile updates: 

Stand out With New Profile Image Options

The trend towards getting more visual has taken hold of all aspects of social media and LinkedIn profiles are about to get the same treatment.

Some new image features to be on the lookout for are:

  • Larger headshot photos
  • Expanded profile headers
  • Free gallery of background images

When deciding on which images to include in your profile, think about what kind of imagery could add a tasteful yet personal touch and tell a story about you and your professional background. Some great examples of this are:

  • Richard Branson: His upward gazing profile image on a background of clouds symbolizes his reputation for sky high ideas (and also that he owns a very successful airline).

Richard Branson Optimized LinkedIn Profile

  • Lee Odden: The background header showing his book Optimize speaks to his reputation as an author and marketing subject matter expert.

Lee Odden Optimized LinkedIn Profile

Get Found With Keyword Optimization Suggestions

Including the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile is one of the best ways to increase your chances of showing up in relevant search results (for prospects, customers, recruiters, etc.). However, for folks who may not be experienced with keyword research or search optimization, this can be a challenge. LinkedIn is aiming to help by providing personalized keyword suggestions.

Some key areas of your profile to include keywords:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Experience
  • Skills

With the recent rollout of LinkedIn’s ‘Galene’ search architecture that improves the speed, relevance and scope of internal searches, it’s extra important to make sure you are optimizing your profile with the right keywords.

Open Up Your Profiles Accessibility

One of the defining characteristics of LinkedIn has been the privacy of your profile details and inbox from members who are not close connections with you. In what could be a dramatic shift, LinkedIn is introducing a new setting called Open Profile. This option allows you to make your full profile visible to all LinkedIn members as well as allow anyone to send you direct messages.

LinkedIn Open Profile

Whether this update will result in more connections with customers or a deluge of spam remains to be seen, but it’s certainly worth testing Open Profile. After all, you can always turn it off.

Measure and Compare Your Visibility

A popular feature of LinkedIn is the ‘Who’s Viewed Your Profile’ report, and it’s about to get an upgrade that allows for viewing a full 90 day time range of profile views.

Curious to see how popular you are compared to your LinkedIn peers? The new ‘How You Rank’ report will show where you fit into the top 100 most viewed profiles among your company and first degree connections.

LinkedIn How You Rank Report

LinkedIn has been making some major updates this year that impact both members and brands. Smart marketers should take notice.

What do you think about these new LinkedIn features?


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New LinkedIn Profile Features: 4 Tips to Optimize Your Presence | http://www.toprankblog.com

June 11th 2014 Online Marketing, Social Media

Online Marketing News – Mobile-Only Madness, Marketers Top Networks, Fark Beats Google+

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30 Must Read Blogs About Content Marketing - Catherine Pham’s from InfograpgicB2B brings us 30 of the best blogs covering content marketing, including the TopRank Blog.  These blogs provide tons of valuable insight into content marketing and how it fits into the overall marketing picture. SlideShare

Report: 60% Of Social Media Users Vary Their Actions & Connections Vastly Across Social Sites - Looking for proof that you shouldn’t just spray a message out across all social networks verbatim? Well, 140 Proof partnered with IPG Media Lab to find an answer by studying the cross network usage of 500 social media participants. It turns out that users have a strong delimitation between each, something that the study calls “Social Hygiene.” A whopping 60% of users agreed that they connect with different types of people, brands and media based on the platform. Marketing Land

Fark Drives 10 Times More Traffic Than Google+ - It can be tricky to nail down what the top social networks are. Companies use different metrics, and the truth doesn’t always appear readily. So how big is Pinterest? What’s Twitter’s growth rate? And who are the social media upcomers? Some of these questions are answered in a data sheet from mobile publishing company Onswipe. SocialTimes

Study: More Than 30 Percent Of Consumers “Mobile Only” - According to the new “Mobile Path to Purchase Study” from xAd and Telmetrics (conducted by Nielsen), mobile devices continue to grow in importance for consumers. Now in its third year, the study found roughly half of survey respondents believe mobile is the “most important resource” in their purchase decision-making. Marketing Land

60% of Consumers Use Mobile Exclusively to Make Purchase Decisions [Study] - Up to 60 percent of consumers used mobile exclusively to make a purchase decision in the categories of telecom, restaurants, auto, and entertainment, according to the latest research from xAd and Telmetrics in the third annual Mobile Path-to-Purchase report.  Search Engine Watch

Facebook Says It Has 30 Million Active Small Business Pages - Facebook kicked off its summer small business bootcamp tour today in New York and announced that the global total of active small business Facebook Pages is 30 million. Marketing LandContent Marketing Fusion

Almost Half of US Consumers Emotionally Indifferent to Brands - Consumers in the US are among the most emotionally distant from brands, per recent survey results from Momentum Worldwide. The study asked more than 6,500 consumers in 9 developed and emerging markets around the world to classify their feelings about well-known brands in interpersonal terms. Some 45% of US respondents classified their relationships with brands as no more than an acquaintance, with one-fifth of those (or almost 1 in 10 overall) categorizing brands as their “enemy” or “arch rival.” Marketing Charts

The Most Important Social Network for Marketers - B2C marketers say Facebook is the most effective social network for their business, whereas B2B marketers cite LinkedIn, according to a recent report from Social Media Examiner. MarketingProfs

Google Unveils Marketplace For Premium Video Ads - To capitalize on the emerging shift in brand ad dollars from TV to digital video advertising, today Google announced its new programmatic marketplace for premium video ad inventory called Google Partner Select. Marketing Land

Why 61% of Consumers Unfollow Brands on Social Media - One of the most important things a brand can do is understand its target consumer, and social media provides rich data for customer profiles. A new study commissioned by digital marketing firm 140 Proof and digital think tank IPG Media suggests that not only is the data readily available, it evolves over time. SocialTimes

Pinterest Releases A Self-Service Dashboard For Promoted Pins & Upgraded Analytics - Pinterest, continuing its steady progress toward a full-fledged advertising program, announced today the creation of a self-service dashboard for Promoted Pins. Marketing Land

Google To Warn Searchers When A Mobile URL Redirects To The Homepage - Don’t annoy mobile searchers. That’s the message behind a new warning that Google is showing in mobile search results on smartphones. On the Webmaster Central blog, Google alerted webmasters late yesterday that it will let smartphone searchers know if it thinks a website has a “faulty redirect” in place that sends the searcher to your home page, not the page they clicked on. Search Engine Land

From our Online Marketing Community:

From Top 50 People Most ReTweeted By Digital Marketers – What Does It Mean?, ShellyKramer shared, “Great dive into a list – making it exponentially more valuable from a “how can I use this kind of thing to benefit me and my business or my goals” than anyone else has managed to do. Thanks, Lee.”

heyitskarri responded, Hi Lee, Thanks so much for digging in to the lists and providing lots of ideas for how marketers can use the data to drive better marketing. That’s exactly our goal in publishing these reports – to provide data and insights that smart folks will use in their own creative ways to up their game. (BTW, I’ve long been an admirer of what you do here on TopRank, so it’s a banner day for me that you’ve found value in our latest report. Thanks so much!)”

And on How To Make A Blog Post Go Viral, Frank Strong said, “This –> “the answer is to work your ass off until you get lucky.” I’m with you Lee. Base hits is a far better strategy for winning more games.”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


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Online Marketing News – Mobile-Only Madness, Marketers Top Networks, Fark Beats Google+ | http://www.toprankblog.com

June 6th 2014 Online Marketing

Disruption in Digital Marketing and Communications – Insights from 19 Major B2C and B2B Brands

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Digital Convergence Marketing PR

I recently had the pleasure of presenting at an Integrated Marketing Communications conference called INTEGRATE with an audience of Master’s Degree students and faculty at West Virginia University.

It was an impressive conference because of the passionate and talented faculty presenting but especially the students – most of whom work full time jobs as they earn their Master’s Degree in IMC.

Here is the presentation I gave: Digital Convergence: The Integrated Marketing and Public Relations Imperative - Disruption in the digital media world has reached every aspect of marketing and communications. Brands compete with publishers and consumers are empowered to publish and influence like never before. The convergence of marketing and PR creates all new opportunities for brands to build authority and grow business while competitors continue to work in silos.

For topics like this I like to bring in outside voices of authority and in the process of that research, I was able to tap into some serious brand marketing firepower through digital marketing and communications executives from: General Motors, SunTrust Bank, Salesforce.com, LexusNexus, Inova Health System, Intel, PTC, US Bank, Dell, Century 21 Real Estate, Intel Corporation, Marriott, Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, Cisco Systems, Motorola Solutions, an eco-beauty company, a Fortune 20 corporation and Rutgers University.

The goal of this inquiry was to surface the major disruptive forces companies and organizations are facing with today’s modern digital media - especially amongst major B2B and consumer brands. I asked:

“What would you say is the most significant disruptive force in the digital media world affecting marketing and communications?”

From changing news media business models to the sheer volume of content, options for publishing, pressure to engage customers on their terms and rate of speed, there are multiple dimensions to this topic. There were a number of distinct themes in the replies. First: social and media platforms are both a challenge and opportunity. Second, consumers are empowered more than ever and brands need to organize, communicate and engage on their terms to succeed.

Below are excerpts from their responses. Full responses are being compiled into an eBook.

Mary Henige GM
“The decline of media, and consequently positions for journalists, has changed true news consumption, but conversely has posed an opportunity for multimedia journalists who can tell visual stories – at media companies and organizations.”
Mary Henige (@maryhenige) Director, Social Media & Digital Communications at General Motors

Heather Lockwood Aveda
“The fragmentation of storytelling across multiple touch points is disruptive to ensuring a common thread and a consistent brand presence, voice and tone across all digital (and non-digital) efforts that connect the work and grow the brand.”
Heather Lockwood (@hlockwoo) Director, Global Digital Marketing at a major Ec0-Beauty Company

Matt Gentile Century 21
“The explosion of mobility and connectivity is the most disruptive force in marketing communications today. Today’s consumers are interacting on screens of all types and sizes and they are ready to connect with your business at any moment. That’s a huge opportunity, but only if you are prepared to interact.”
Matt Gentile (@MattGentile) Global Director, Social Media at Century 21 Real Estate

Jennifer Lashua Intel
“The biggest disruptive force I’m seeing is how data is enabling more granular content targeting which in turn drives a need for more customized content. With today’s customized targeting and re-marketing capabilities, combined with consumers having more control, content marketers have an opportunity to serve customers content that feels more customized to their individual needs.”
Jennifer Lashua (@runningjen) Editor in Chief at Intel Corporation

Frank Strong LexisNexis
“Shiny object syndrome distracts communicators from creating core content.  New channels are useless without something useful to contribute. Content marketing forces the integration of the marketing and PR silos to hit two top objectives that previously required divergent tactics: awareness and leads.”
Frank Strong (@Frank_Strong) Communications Director at LexusNexus

Barbara Soifer Rutgers
“The need to keep things short and very to the point eliminates the ability to tell a story in one medium.  It’s more about having a compelling lead and engaging the target in 140 characters or less and then leading that target to the full story in another channel/medium. The ability to convert a target to a lead to a customer has become a multi-media process.”
Barbara Soifer (@soifer428) Senior Director, Campaign & Development Communications & Creative Services at Rutgers University

Rob Birgfeld Inova Health System
“The dirty secret of the internet / social web is no one reads any more. You’re lucky if they skim. This is why imagery and pictures have become everything and sometimes the only thing.”
Rob Birgfeld (@robbirgfeld) Senior Director, Digital Marketing & Communications at Inova Health System

Stephanie Losee Dell
“Everything we’re seeing now is a product of the disruption of the distribution model for marketing and comms. If brands are going to speak to their audiences directly, they need professionals to help them do that. Brands must offer their audiences content as a service rather than using their platform to crow about themselves. Quality will have to rise drastically, which means that the people who do it best–traditional publishers–have an opportunity to shift their distribution model accordingly.”
Stephanie Losee (@slosee) Managing Editor at Dell

Gary Spangler DuPont
“The huge numbers of retiring baby boomers in the USA will be disruptive in multiple ways from the influx of technical-savvy employees over a short time, accelerating how companies communicate though social and mobile to new roles in Integrated Marketing, Digital Marketing and Communications, Brand Protection, and Legal Compliance.”
Gary Spangler (@garyfspangler) Corporate Digtial Marketing Manager and Leader Social Media CoE at DuPont

Ken Kaplan Intel
“The challenge in a faster paced, mobile connected world is to move faster and create quality stories more quickly that hit people’s interest. You have to pay for people’s attention or have robust, growing distribution channels/discovery points.”
Ken Kaplan (@kenekaplan) Editor at Large at iQ by Intel

Fortune 50 Brand
“The ability for everyone from companies to consumers to “publish” content on the fly makes it difficult for a large B2B company that has legal processes to go through to be fast and first with a unique message.”
Anonymous Product Marketing Manager at a Fortune 50 Corporation

Nancy Pardo PTC
“Text format in digital media is becoming obsolete. Consumers hunger for “human” connection and meaning in a sterile digital world and visual storytelling through video and image hits the spot. In the future more corporations will be collaborating with, buying up, or creating their own media production houses as a way to hone and amplify their storytelling to rise above the blah.”
Nancy Pardo (@PTCPardo) Content Marketing Director at PTC

Julie Horns US Bank
”There is an expectation that brands will meet consumers when and where they have interest in them.”
Julie Horns (@lachicajulia) Marketing and Social Media Strategist at US Bank

Heather Meza Cisco
Technology and cool shit like the Internet of Everything (IoE) will help us marketers keep up with new tools and resources that will enable us to truly market person-to-person (P2P). Brands will start focussing more on culture and employee engagement because doing P2P well requires that your employees ARE your brand.”
Heather Meza (@heathermeza) Conversion Content Marketing Coach at Cisco Systems

Jennifer Mesenbrink Motorola
“Social networks have completely changed the digital media equation where power now lies in the hands of consumers and customers. Hashtags in particular can shine a light on one specific topic and tie together whole streams of conversation uniting many users in sharing one view.”
Jennifer Mesenbrink (@EditorThink) Senior Manager, Digital and Social Content Strategy at Motorola Solutions

Michelle Lapierre Marriott
“Social platforms can change their policies whenever it suits them which can be disruptive when you’re integrating across platforms, channels and devices.”
Michelle Lapierre (@mmlap) Senior Director, Customer Experience & Social Media at Marriott

Corinne Kovalsky Raytheon
“The ability to develop social profiles for small, niche audiences means you don’t have to “hope” you’ve reached your audience anymore.”
Corinne Kovalsky (@kovalskyc) Director of Integrated Communications & Public Affairs at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems

Darlene Ford  SunTrust Bank
“Email marketing is the most disruptive force in digital media affecting marketing and communications, because people are overwhelmed with the volumes of emails they receive each day. Over time it’s become a very ineffective way to each our audience.”
Darlene Ford (@dford28) Digital Marketing Strategist at SunTrust Bank

David B Thomas Salesforce
“The most disruptive force is the hype surrounding click bait tactics used in content marketing and the inevitable backlash that will hurt brands, destroy credibility, and destroy upper management’s faith in content marketing.”
David B. Thomas (@DavidBThomas) Senior Director, Content and Engagement at Salesforce.com

As you can see there are quite a few perspectives on what constitutes “disruption” in the digital media space, especially as it relates to digital marketing and communications. I think it comes down to the rate of change in technology, consumer behaviors and the ability for corporations to adapt and innovate.

What do you think are the most significant digital media disruptions affecting modern marketing and communications?

Top image: Shutterstock


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Disruption in Digital Marketing and Communications – Insights from 19 Major B2C and B2B Brands | http://www.toprankblog.com

Online Marketing News – Twitter Heading Over The Pacific, Facebook Gets Private, Most Don’t Automate

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Facebook Adds Audio Matching to Get You Posting More About TV - Facebook wants you to post about TV so much that it will now start writing the posts for you. The social network today announced a new feature that uses a phone’s microphone to identify a show or movie airing on one of 160 TV channels. AdAge

Only 16% of B2B Companies Use Marketing Automation: Study - A paltry 16% of North American B-to-B companies use marketing automation technology, according to new study by SiriusDecisions. AdAge

Facebook Introduces Privacy Checkup Tool, And New Default Privacy Settings - Today, Facebook announced some changes to their default privacy settings for new users, as well as a new privacy checkup tool for current users. Search Engine Journal

Facebook Introduces A New Way To Share Structured Status Updates - Facebook on Wednesday announced an innovative way to share what you’re listening to or watching in a status update. Soon, iOS and Android users will be able to use their phone’s microphone — similar to Shazam — to get the app to hear a song or hear a show or movie and post that the user is doing that. Inside FacebookContent Creates Value J-P DeClerck

40% Of Twitter Users Will Be In Asia-Pacific By 2018 [Study] - Twitter’s user base will increase rapidly in the next few years, largely driven by growth in the Asia-Pacific region. By 2018, Twitter will reach approximately 400 million users worldwide, with more than 40 percent of them in Asia-Pacific, eMarketer estimates. ClickZ

YouTube Introduces New Features to Empower Creators - YouTube creators, those who make the videos that populate the site and participate in revenue sharing, haven’t always had it great. The pool of content creators gets larger every year, and dealing with the infrastructure can be problematic for some. But it looks like things are about to get a lot better, with new tools and crowdfunding options on the way. SocialTimes

Facebook Will Show Fewer Updates Automatically Posted By Third Party Apps - News flash: People don’t like it when apps post Facebook updates on their behalf. As Facebook continues to clean up the news feed, the social giant said Tuesday that it will begin deprioritizing “implicit stories” that are automatically posted by third parties. Fast Company

Twitter’s Annual User Growth Rate Will Continue To Fall, According To Reports - Even though Twitter continues to add new users, its year over year growth is dropping according to a new report from eMarketer. According to eMarketer’s first-ever forecast of global Twitter users, Twitter’s user base will increase by 24.4% in 2014. If that number ends up being accurate, that means Twitter’s annual growth will continue the declining pattern it has been on for the past couple of years. Search Engine Journal

From our Online Marketing Community:

On Brand or Customer: What’s Your Content Marketing Center? #fusionmex, J-P De Clerck shared, “Thanks Lee for having made this! Glad you liked the Copernican view too :) Here’s the full foreword – Copernicus rocks and so do you ;)

On the post How Content Curation and Tools Can Fit In Your Digital Marketing Mix, Dadie Host posted, “Lee Odden please accept my thanks and congratulations on the success of your recent work. I think your article is a great motivator for many students who need a little extra push. Our schools are doing a good job with limited resources, and they appreciate all the help we can give them. Thanks again for such uplifting coverage.”

The360man added “Great Article about how curated content needs to be done!”

And Ryan Biddulph said, “Curation rocks Lee because it gives my readers a change up. Variety, the spice of life and blogs ;) Thanks for the share.”

What were the top online and digital marketing news stories for you this week?

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!


Email Newsletter
Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the
TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

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May 30th 2014 Online Marketing