What Is Branding?

This article breaks down:

  • What a brand is by definition
  • How the term ‘brand’ has evolved into something new
  • The difference between brand image and identity.

When developing your brand strategy, are you thinking about your brand from a marketers point of view or from your customers’ perspective?

Would you like to know which point of view will help you create a better strategy? Check out this great article!

How to Talk-To Your Audience Not At Them

Have you ever wondered “Why did my followers like my Facebook page” or “Do I add value to my audience”? Well, even if you haven’t thought about either of those things before I recommend checking out Nick Martin’s post about how to Talk TO your audience instead of AT them. Social media is not meant to be used to shout your message to your audience, it is about talking to them to start a conversation.

WebTrends Webinar Recap: Adapting to your dynamic customer base

I recently watched the WebTrends webinar “Adapting to Your Dynamic Customer Base” presented by Jeremiah Oqyang and Susan Etlinger of the Altimeter Group, and Justin Kistner from Webtrends. It was a very insightful presentation about what the dynamic customer is, what they expect from you, and how to meet their needs. The following is a recap of the exciting presentation:

In the last few years, there has been a drastic change in consumer behavior. Consumer purchase behavior no longer follows the purchase funnel of

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Intent
  4. Purchase.

Consumer behavior has become more dynamic, and in turn so must business’ marketing strategies. There are three emerging practices in the new dynamic customer journey:

  • Media Shift
  • Multiple Screens
  • New sources of data

These emerging dynamic consumers want to engage with a business through social media, mobile, and websites. The opportunity to reach the new dynamic consumer is found in building brand presence through an integrated campaign. Brands should focus on creating a community using multiple platforms, such as:

  • Main website
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Mobile websites
  • Mobile app
  • Facebook

In order to reach the emerging dynamic customer, use diff media types, new screens, and new sources of info. Using social media as part of your integrated marketing campaign has become vital because consumer’s now view their peers as experts and trust them most. Mobile apps and websites enable brands to reach consumers at the point of purchase. Mobile and social media campaigns are truly intertwined and show not be considered separate campaigns.

“More than 50% of adults are buying on smartphones today, more than 2/3 have the device in-store, still many aren’t being served.”

In order to track and determine success of a marketing strategy that spans multiple devices and channels, businesses need to determine measurements that will expand into all areas of the digital landscape. The following new measurements have evolved:

  • Innovation: Collaborating with customers to drive future products and services
  • Brand health: A measure of attitudes, conversion and behavior toward your brand
  • Marketing optimization: Improving the effectiveness of marketing programs
  • Revenue generation: Where and how your company generates revenue
  • Operational efficiency: Where and how your company reduces expenses
  • Customers experience: Improving your relationship with customers, and their experience with your brand

One of the biggest challenges for measuring how dynamic customers using an integrated campaign is the inability to track users using multiple devices. While cross domain tracking in social media is available, cross device tracking for mobile is not. (Deciding to view site on a smartphone then on a tablet) There is no single ROI for social media or integrated campaigns, ROI will differ by corporation, divisions, and business objectives.

 Have you seen a change in customer purchase behavior? Do you think of yourself as a dynamic customer?


Why Relationship Marketing is Important

Check out this great interview with Mari Smith, author of The New Relationship Marketing and Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day.

In the interview, Mari discusses why relationships are important to businesses (regardless of size or type) and why businesses need to improve their listening skills. She explains that it doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or a B2C business, you should always think of your company as a P2P (people to people).

Relationship marketing involves using multiple medias to communicate with your customer:
– social media
– Blogs
– Email marketing
– Offline marketing

Lessons all companies should learn about relationship marketing:

– Personalize and humanize your brand. Don’t be afraid to humanize your brand even if you are a big or medium size company. Focus on using the first person “I/Me” not “Us”, and using people’s names when replying to customers through social media.
– You do not need to be a big business to do relationship marketing. It is just as important for small businesses to focus on relationship marketing.
– When using Facebook focus on posting great content and having an engagement strategy in place beforehand. Be consistent and don’t get discouraged, it will take a while to for users to become engaged.

Check out the full interview below.

Have you focused on using social media to build relationships with your customers? Have you found other ways to create new relationships or maintain current customer relationships?

Design in Business

Check out this great blog on how thinking like a designer leads to business success. This article breaks down the very interesting relationship between design and business. Have you ever thought that design could impact your business strategy or organization structure. The way that design can spark innovation is they same way it can impact how you make decisions and evolve as a company. This article definitely has inspired be to try breaking away from the way I normally work and take more of a “design” perspective.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing Graph Social Media Examiner 2012

Social Media Industry Report – 2012

The Social Media Examiner recently published their 4th annual social media marketing industry report. Each year they interview marketers about how they are using social media to grow and promote their businesses.

For the 2012 report, they interviewed over 3,800 marketers to determine:

  • The top 10 social media questions marketers want answered
  • The time commitment
  • The benefits of social media marketing
  • Commonly used social media services
  • Social media sites people want to learn more out
  • How B2B vs. B2C companies use social media
  • How marketers are using other forms of marketing
  • Outsourcing of social media management

Benefits of Social Media Marketing

One section of the report that I found most interesting was the benefits of social media section. The top 5 benefits of social media marketing that marketers have seen are:

  1. Increased exposure
  2. Increased traffic
  3. Provided marketplace insight
  4. Generated leads
  5. Developed loyal fans

Below is a graph from the annual report that shows the percent of marketers who have seen specific benefits from using social media marketing.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing Graph Social Media Examiner 2012

An interesting change from the 2011 to 2012 report is the percent of marketers who said social media marketing helped to improve search rankings. In 2011 62% of the marketers interviewed said that their search rankings improved, but only 55% of the marketers interviewed in this year’s report saw a benefit. I found this change very interesting since I have experienced improvements in search rankings using social media campaigns in the past. After examining the report further, it appears that those who saw improved search rankings were investing more than 10 hours a week in social media, have at least 3 years experience, or are selling to other businesses (B2B companies). There appears to be a direct correlation between the amount of time invested and experience on search ranking. However, industry is a large factor, as only 50% of businesses who sell to consumers saw a significant increase in their search rankings.

Benefits of Social Media Takeaways:

  • B2B companies are more likely to grow business partnerships using social media than B2C companies.
  • Spending 6 hours or more a week on social media shows a significant increase in lead generation.
  • Small business are more likely to see an increase in lead generation than large companies.
  • Those with 3 and more years experience managing social media see a significant increase in all the measured benefits compared to those with less experience.
  • Over a third of all mid-sized and large companies have not seen a reduction in their marketing expenses. This is very interesting, I wonder if social media is seen as an additional marketing effort not a replacement for other marketing at this time.
  • A not surprising find, social media is great for generating site traffic. 74% of marketers saw increases in site traffic when investing minimum 6 hours a week in social media.
  • B2B companies use social media for gaining marketplace insight much more than B2C companies.
  • B2C companies have a much larger increase in their loyal fan base when using social media than B2B companies.
  • There is a direct correlation between amount of time invested in social media and acquiring loyal fans. More Time Invested = Increase in Loyal Fans

Check out the full 2012 Social Media Marketing Industry report on the Social Media Examiner site.

Jobs Are Like Boyfriends (and Girlfriends), It’s Okay to Get a New One

“Look job, it’s not you, it’s me. I don’t think we’re as compatible as I once thought.”
I don’t think I have read an article that explains the relationship with one’s career better than this one. Kayla Cruz does an excellent job explaining why sometimes you need to leave your job to be happy; in the same way you sometimes need to walk away from an unhealthy relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend.
My favorite aspect of this article is that it is very positive. Not finding your dream job right away is not a bad thing, it is just one stop on your career path. Kayla states that “It’s okay if you graduate and your first ‘dream job’ turns out to be an epic fail. CONGRATS! You’re one step closer to finding something you DO like…So don’t be afraid to acknowledge that what you’re doing isn’t the right fit for you and that you need something different. It doesn’t make YOU a failure.”
No matter where you are in your career, I recommend reading this article.

Who Does B2B Marketing Better: Facebook vs. LinkedIn

Facebook is the go to social media platform for advertising to consumers. Whether it is an ad in the side bar or creating customer relationships through posts on company pages, Facebook reaches the final customer. The great thing about Facebook ads, is that it allows businesses to create a custom targeted campaign to reach their customers regardless of company size.

While Facebook can target a select group of people for an ad to be shown to, LinkedIn is a unique group of business. LinkedIn is a specialized network for the business world, which is composed of users who are passionate about their industry and are looking to network. For companies looking to utilize social media to reach their customers, the platform they choose to use will be based on which site their customers are already using. If a company is looking reach women looking for a great summer dress, Facebook would be the way to go. However,  interactive agency would have much better luck using LinkedIn to connect with potential clients than Facebook.

The infographic below from San Diego Web Design & Marketing Agency breakdowns the differences between the two social networking powerhouses.

B2B Marketing Facebook Vs. LinkedIn Infographic

Future of Branding – What Goes into a Branding Framework

“The future of branding is marketing with people and not at them.” This is one of the great quotes included in this new article from BrandGrowth. This post is based around the book Brand Against the Machine (which I am definitely downloading onto my Kindle when I get home).
This article does a great job explaining the 6 Steps to Building a Branding Framework from the book and how they apply to your brand:

  1. Know your audience
  2. Define your position
  3. Create a solution
  4. Content
  5. Promotion
  6. Over-deliver your value

I highly recommend checking out the full article, and I can’t wait to write about what I learn from this book as well.