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Where to Invest Your Digital Marketing Dollars

Whether you own a bricks and mortar or eCommerce business, a major brand or large corporation, businesses of all sizes can benefit from digital marketing.
We take a closer look at some of the digital marketing options to consider for your business and brand.
Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most successful digital marketing platforms for converting leads to sales. Recent figures show for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
Successful email marketers personalise emails to their consumers, offering real value and content of interest to engage the reader and increase that all important click-through-rate. Targeting niche consumer groups by grouping mailing list recipients into certain demographics such as age, gender, and purchase or browsing history, your company can more accurately deliver the content your customers really want, rather than sending generic mass emails to an entire subscriber list. One recent study found 81% of online consumers are likely to make a purchase after receiving a personalised email.
Websites and Landing Pages
Regardless of your industry, your digital marketing strategy should include a website, and incorporate designated landing pages to promote key offerings. In today’s digital age, your website is often the customer’s first impression of your business. So it not only needs to look great, but your website should also offer an optimised user experience (UX) and feature a call to action (CTA). Integrating easy to use CTA buttons such as ‘learn more’, ‘book now’ or ‘join my mailing list’ encourages time-poor customers to act quickly and engage with your brand.
Landing pages and CTA’s do involve an element of trial and error, as results can vary among different industries, companies and customers. Don’t let this put you off though. Capturing web traffic data from your own website through measures like Google Analytics will provide valuable information about the visitors to your site, and their online behaviour. This allows you to further develop and customise your website to accommodate your customers’ needs and organically grow your ROI.
Content Marketing and Blogs
All too often we see businesses neglect blogs or content marketing, because they can’t see the connection between words and dollars.
Content marketing is an extremely powerful, and underestimated sales tool, capable of engaging, informing and entertaining readers while influencing their purchase decisions.
Surveys have found content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and costs 62% less. While digital marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to realise a positive ROI.
Blogs and articles have the unique ability to market to a consumer, without making the reader feel like they’re being sold to. Content marketing allows businesses to position themselves as industry leaders, demonstrating their knowledge and skill in a practical manner instead of merely advertising products and services through a display ad.
Social Media
Social media can be used in a variety of ways to market your business, from simply increasing brand awareness and consumer engagement, to being the core driver of sales.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the milestone of two billion users on Facebook, making it by far the largest social media network in the world. And that trend is reflected closer to home too, with the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report revealing almost eight in 10 Australians now use social media, along with 47 per cent of small businesses, 49 per cent of medium sized businesses and 60 per cent of large businesses.
The report also revealed 64 per cent of Australians are more likely to trust brands that interact positively with customers on social media.
Although setting up a social media account is free, there are costs involved to maximise your page’s content, reach and engagement. You’ll need to consider how much you’d like to invest in a monthly advertising budget, and think about the time and costs involved in managing and monitoring the page, and planning and creating the content – which might include professional videos, photographs and copywriting.
You can measure the ROI by making use of built-in analytical capabilities that can provide valuable data on how people engage with your social media posts, including click through and conversion rates to your website and sales pages. Most businesses however are happy to measure their success by the growth of their followers and likes, as evidenced in the Sensis report.
When Twitter first emerged, it was famous for being the platform with the 140-character message limit. Since embracing more visual and video content, Twitter has relaxed the word count, but it’s still entirely appropriate for users on Twitter to share a brief text-only message – which isn’t suitable on any other social media platform. Twitter claims 85% of its users believe Promoted Accounts help them discover new businesses on Twitter, which is a promising statistic for businesses looking for consumers in the social media space.
Instagram is a predominantly visual medium, allowing businesses to showcase their products and personality on a digital global stage. More than 80% of Instagram users follow a business, and promoted products have the highest engagement rates of all content types.
With more than 467 million users, Linkedin is the biggest social referrer to corporate websites. The platform provides a targeted approach to digital marketing and professional networking, particularly for engaging the interest of potential investors and corporate employees. 
Podcasting
Podcasts are an innovative and influential marketing tool being increasingly used by a growing number of businesses globally. A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research showed that 65% of listeners are likely to purchase a product after hearing about it on a podcast, suggesting consumers are receptive to advertisements delivered in the right context or environment. While podcasting has been around for more than 10 years, the number of podcast listeners is increasing. Listeners tuning into podcasts come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests. Recent surveys have found at least 22% of younger podcast audiences tend to listen to more than 10 hours a week, whilst older audiences aged 55 and above tend to listen to around an hour or so in the same time frame. With this in mind, companies have the opportunity to develop podcasts that target and grow their niche audiences, in order to deliver a desirable ROI. And you don’t have to create your own podcast. Brands can enjoy the same benefits from exposure in collaboration with other podcasters.
Google Advertising
Advertising through Google’s image ads allows businesses to reach all new heights of consumer targeting and engagement. Google’s highly detailed analytical features allow brands to target specific customers based on their online habits, web browser history and search information.
So if, for example you sell jewellery, fashion or car accessories in an online store, and you advertise using Google’s image ads, you can entice leads to become return customers by having your product galleries display on their web browsers, embedded as a display ad on other websites. Perhaps they visited your online store and popped a few items in the cart but didn’t check out? You can give them a gentle reminder by displaying those same items in front of them while they’re reading the daily news.
While a cost per click (CPC) element applies to this form of marketing, using Google image ads returns a 31 per cent click through rate, higher than Google’s text based ads of 23 per cent. These types of ads are displayed across sites that consumers commonly use including Facebook and other websites on Google’s advertising network AdSense, allowing you to market your business on multiple platforms with a single digital campaign.
Ultimately, all of these digital marketing measures work to drive traffic to your website, and can be used alone or in unison to build a synchronised and multifaceted marketing strategy. Web analytics allow you to track results like web traffic and sales conversions, illustrating the link between your marketing platforms like social media or blogs, and making sales. And while there are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to digital marketing, you can certainly consider these options as some of the most popular and successful platforms for marketing in 2017.

The latest ways you can leverage digital marketing

It wasn’t so long ago that marketing for most Australian businesses meant securing a spot in the phone book and a fraction of a column in the local newspaper.
Those with a healthy budget might have had a radio commercial and for the lucky few doing really well, even an ad on TV.
Today, successful marketing isn’t driven so much by the advertising dollar as it is by audience appeal, the right timing, solid strategy and sometimes, just a bit of good old fashioned luck.
Long gone are the days of weighing up the ROI of a ? vs ¼ page printed newspaper ad. When it comes to digital marketing, there is no simple one-size-fits-all solution.
It’s an all-encompassing blanket term for the new era of marketing, extending beyond merely advertising products and services, to focus on connecting and engaging with potential customers.
What that involves, and how to get it right, is unique to each and every industry. And the perfect mix differs for every company too.
Digital Marketing in Media
In fact, it’s the newspapers and media outlets we once relied so heavily upon for advertising, that have had one of the most radical and successful takeups of digital marketing we have seen in Australia to date.
Only it wasn’t so much a tactical decision as it was a necessary response to changing consumer trends.
Print newspaper circulation has been in decline across Australia for the past 10 years as more readers choose to go online for their news fix. The 2018 Reuters Institute Digital News Report reveals the number of Australians reading print newspapers each week has fallen 10% in the 12 months to November 2017, with 82% of Australians now using online news sources and 52% relying purely on social media to read the headlines.
It is here we have seen major growth in the media’s digital presence, with both national and local newspapers, magazines, radio and television news programs all using social media to publish, and now even live stream the news as it happens. This shift has not only changed the way the news is reported and received, inviting feedback and commentary from readers and viewers like never before, but has also paved the way for a new generation of exclusively digital news platforms such as the highly successful BuzzFeed and Pedestrian.TV.
Not surprisingly, advertising revenue from traditional media is in rapid decline, with newspapers dropping from 27% to just 14% of total ad spend since 2009. Meanwhile internet advertising has risen from 17% to 35% in the same period and is expected to account for at least 50% of total ad spend by 2019.
Despite the uptake of digital news, customers simply aren’t paying to get the news anymore. Most Australian newspaper websites feature a paywall and offer exclusive member-only content, but the Digital News Report shows only 10% of Australians are paying for online news content and most of those who haven’t paid for it, said it was ‘very unlikely’ they ever would.
This continues to be an ongoing battle for the media industry as it writes its new digital chapter.
Fashion, Food and Facebook
Small businesses were among the last to embrace the online marketplace. The potential for a customer base outside their immediate postcode was inconceivable, even laughable, for many.
But that soon changed.
Facebook in particular made an online presence affordable and feasible for businesses that had never even considered ‘going online’.
Now it’s the norm for your local corner store to be on Facebook, have a mailing list and even an online shop. Embracing these digital marketing platforms is what has transformed some small businesses into very big success stories, particularly those in the fields of fashion and food.
Women’s fashion store St Frock is just one stunning example, born from humble beginnings in 2005 as a weekend stall at the Bondi Beach Markets.
For four years, it was simply a relaxing escape from a high pressure job in PR and marketing for founder and fashion enthusiast Sandradee Makejev.
But in October 2009, Sydney was hit by a dust storm. That and predictions of increased rain had Sandradee thinking of other more weather-proof ways to sell her garments. Tired and weary from a hellish day at the markets, Sandradee set up a Facebook page, uploaded a few fuzzy photos, invited some close friends to check it out, and went to bed.
She woke to find she’d made $350 while she was sleeping. Within three months Sandradee had 1600 followers and enough income to quit her job, instead spending her weekdays packing orders on her bedroom floor. Within ten months, she was turning over $480,000 every four weeks.
Today St Frock, the former hobby market stall, is an international online fashion boutique with a bustling team of 35 staff, a 500-square metre warehouse in Ultimo and close to 500,000 followers on Facebook from all over the globe.

Corporates, Commercial & Professional Services
If a market stall can find fame on Facebook, anyone can right? That’s the false impression too many businesses have about digital marketing. It’s not a sure thing, it isn’t easy (well not often anyway) and there are no guarantees.
What works brilliantly for one business, won’t work at all for the next. And knowing which digital marketing platforms to employ, and when, requires careful consideration and skill.
Ultimately it’s about delivering what your audience wants, preferably before they even ask for it. This has seen many corporates, commercial ventures and professional services alike offer practical digital tools like client portals, apps and live chat services, as well as audience capture and engagement methods like blogs and content marketing, EDM and e-newsletters, and audio or video presentations now commonly distributed through social media and live streams.
It is within this sector we tend to see the greatest variations of success using digital marketing. There is a sense that many are still testing the waters with a hit and miss approach to finding what works for them and their target audience. But it’s important to remember every adventure on those ‘waters’ is embarking on unpredictable and unchartered territory.
This promo video of a government agency grad program is a prime example. The so-bad-it’s-good video has been viewed over 200,000 times since capturing the attention of the internet recently, with viewers shocked at how three minutes of corny scripting and forced acting could cost $40,000 to make. But, with the digital world being the unpredictable and ironic beast that it is, the value of the media exposure the clip has received means it has already more than paid for itself.
Image Sources:

Digital News Report 2018
Pixabay
Wikimedia

The Importance of Colour in Digital Marketing

Did you know that the colour scheme of your website could be the deciding factor for converting leads and increasing sales?
Colour is an influential but often underestimated feature of digital marketing. Different colours can affect our moods and emotions in different ways, and they hold a lot of weight when it comes to forming an opinion on a brand or product.
There’s an abundance of research confirming the significance of colour, including this study which found that up to 90% of a person’s opinion about a product is based on colour alone. And that decision is made within just 90 seconds of an initial interaction.
If you think back to your pre-school days, deciding on your favourite colour was probably right up there on your list of priorities, along with learning to write your name and trying to keep within the lines of your colouring book. You might have even snuck your favourite coloured pencils and crayons home in your backpack once or twice. We’re conditioned from a very young age to have an emotional attachment to colour. So it’s not surprising when you consider the importance it has in our purchase decisions.
The Biology of Colour
You’ve probably never thought about colour in this much detail, so, bear with us here. When you look at anything, your brain automatically recognises and differentiates between the different colours you are seeing. But it doesn’t stop there. The eyes send a message to the area of the brain called the hypothalamus, which triggers signals to the pituitary gland, endocrine system and thyroid glands. This cascading effect floods our body with hormones which influence our feelings and behaviour – all in a matter of seconds. If you’ve ever laid eyes on a certain colour, be it in a shirt, a shade of lipstick or a new car, instantly fell in love and felt like you just had to have it – this is why.
The Psychology of Colour

Image from playbuzz.quiz
Earlier, we mentioned colours can affect our moods and emotions in different ways. But, the feelings colours evoke are different for different people.
That’s what makes the psychology of colour so complex.
Let’s start with favourite colours. Most of us have a few, and our favourites are likely reflected in purchases we wear or display like clothes, jewellery and vehicles.
Again, there are countless studies and surveys about colour, but this often cited survey reveals some solid findings about favourite colours according to gender. It found that blue was the most common favourite colour of both males (57%) and females (34%), followed by green (14%) and black (9%) for males, and purple (23%) and green (14%) among females.
So, according to this survey at least, blue and green make great unisex colour options if you want to appeal to a broad audience.
But when it comes to how colours make us feel, things get a bit trickier.
Some brands choose colours that naturally make us think of their product, think mocha brown for coffee, or orange for Fanta. But a lot of branding aims to evoke emotions or feelings in the viewer with the use of colour. This colour wheel illustrates the wide variety of symbolism associated with colours in different cultures. For example:
White commonly represents purity, marriage and luxury in Western society, but in Chinese and Hindu communities it’s the colour of death.
Red is symbolic of good luck in Africa, Eastern Europe and China, but more commonly associated with danger in Japanese and Western cultures.
Blue is associated with loyalty in Western, Japanese and Eastern European cultures, love in Africa and creativity in Hindu societies, but it represents unhappiness for Native Americans and trouble in South America.
Sometimes conflicts in colour symbolism can even occur within the same culture.
Green evokes thoughts of jealousy in Western and Japanese cultures, but also represents nature, good luck, and growth in these same countries.
Purple is associated with decadence and flamboyance in Western society, but also modesty, mystery, and cruelty.
And some colours seem to have mostly negative connotations across all cultures  
Yellow is the colour of illness and deceit for Hindu and Japanese cultures, mourning in Eastern Europe, danger for Native Americans and cowardice for Western and Japanese communities. (Just to confuse you even more, yellow represents health in China and happiness in Western countries.)
Black is associated with evil, death, mourning and unhappiness across Western, Japanese, Hindu and Asian cultures. But it’s also the colour of style and authority in Western society.
Confused? Don’t worry, we were too. But we’ve drilled down to find the takeaway message here, which is get to know your audience and define your brand’s identity. Who are you targeting? Where are they from? What should your colour scheme say about your business? And how do you want people to feel about your brand? For best results, limit your colour scheme to just a few colours, or apply several shades of a single colour.
This graphic by The Logo Company illustrates how major brands have embraced this colour psychology:

Graphic by The Logo Company
Colours that make us Click
Marketers are increasingly A/B testing the colours of links and Call To Action (CTA) buttons on websites and digital marketing campaigns.
The aim is to identify which colour combinations are more successful at influencing customers to click.
You’ve probably already guessed, the results are conflicting…
The Button Colour A/B Test by Hubspot found that Red Beats Green, with a red ‘Get Started Now’ CTA button outperforming the green by 21%.
In another case study, a Big Orange Button, affectionately termed BOB, increased conversions by 32.5%.
And in yet another test, a blue button beat orange by 9%.
We’ve analysed these studies and the underlying common factor is this: the most successful CTA buttons are in a contrasting colour that stands out against the background.
Seeing in Colour
A lot of people assume Facebook’s colour palette is mostly blue because it represents dependability and loyalty. But the main reason is founder Mark Zuckerberg is colour blind.
Colour blindness is more common than you might realise. One in 12 men and one in 200 women are colour blind. There are several variations of the condition, but all colour blindness makes most colours appear different to how they actually look.
Given the prevalence of colour blindness and other vision challenges, websites and marketing materials should be optimised for visual accessibility.
Some solutions for improving digital design for colour blind and vision impaired people is simple design elements, limited colour palette, high contrast text, and incorporating the use of symbols and patterns.
Our Conclusions on Colour

Choose colours that represent your product physically OR colours that are symbolic of your brand values
Take into account the cultural interpretations of colour according to your target audience
Limit your colour palette to no more than three major colours or use several shades of a single colour
Vary the prominence of each colour so they aren’t fighting for attention
Embrace white space
Avoid neon and low-contrast colour combinations which can be difficult to see
Test, test and test again. What works for one brand may not work for you.

As you can see, there is no easy answer to the question we’re all asking – what colours get conversions and sales success online?
By studying the psychology of colour and the many surveys and reports about the most influential colour schemes, we can conclude this is yet another area of marketing that should be customised to each unique brand and audience for the best results.
Source: How Colors Affect Conversions – Infographic
Image Sources:

Sourced with permission from

Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

We’ve all seen those marketing campaigns that went, oh, so very wrong. They’re often around to clog up our social media feeds for a couple of days, garner some negative attention, and then they die off.
But the real question for marketers is: how damaging was the campaign to the brand?
We’re taking a look at whether or not all publicity is good publicity, and whether you can expect to recover from a serious popular culture blunder.
Everyone’s Goal: Good Publicity
Logically, no marketers set out to epically fail when it comes to their latest marketing campaign. One company — Dollar Shave Club —ran that risk but nailed it when it made a promotional video filled with swear words (something most marketers would never do).
The Dollar Shave Club is a subscription service that delivers men’s razor blades. The video that we’re talking about featured Michael Dubin, the startup’s co-founder. It cost roughly $4,500 to make and within a week it had three million views.
In this case, the video greatly helped grow Dollar Shave Club’s brand — even though the swearing may have been offensive to some. They started their own YouTube channel, and they now have two million subscribers to their service. Unilever were so not offended that they paid $1 billion to buy the then 5 year-old start-up company.
But not every attempt at twisting humour is so successful. One hugely controversial example is the Protein World campaign that has marketers divided.
Walking the Line: Good or Bad Publicity?
The now infamous Protein World advertisement appeared across London Underground stations. It featured a model in a bikini and the tagline, “Are you beach body ready?”
The relatively straightforward ad led to a huge ‘body shaming’ backlash and marketers today still can’t determine whether running an ad that’s so controversial is a good idea.
Protesters gathered a petition calling for the ad’s removal and collected more than 70,000 signatures. The campaign even collected it’s very own hashtag – #everybodysready – that took off on social media channels.
According to Protein World, they think the ad was a good move. They maintained that they did not mean to imply that everyone should look like the model, and they became a household brand name. They also claim the ad resulted in 30,000 new customers and an extra £2m in one week.
Maybe the ad drove sales, but it’s a very fine line to walk as a marketer when you disregard public opinion in order to generate leads.
You’re Doomed: Bad Publicity
Sometimes, you just can’t come back from your mistakes. They can’t all be spun into something positive like Protein World’s controversial ad.
When Carrie Fisher, the world-famous actress died, Cinnabon tweeted an image that generated a hugely negative backlash from social media.
The baked goods brand posted a drawing of Fisher as her best-known character, Star Wars’ Princess Leia, with her famous hair buns replaced with Cinnabon’s trademark cinnabon product. They commented “RIP Carrie Fisher, you’ll always have the best buns in the galaxy.” The backlash was enormous. And in this case, there’s no public proof that the campaign increased Cinnabon sales.
The problem with these types of campaigns is that hindsight is 20-20. How do you know when you’re producing something that it will be seen as funny, middle-ground or widely negative?

Guidelines You can Follow
While predicting the outcome of sarcastic and cultural campaigns is next to impossible, there are some guidelines you can follow.
First, promoting news to people who aren’t likely to become clients or customers, just for publicity’s sake is almost never worth it. In the event that it creates negative public relations (PR), you might end up reducing traffic to your website.
If the outlet or medium through which you’re distributing doesn’t have the best reputation, you can harm your reputation by association. You can control this by posting your content on your own site where you can take it down if needed — just be prepared to take the full brunt of the backlash should the campaign turn out to create negative feedback.
No one knows your audience and your customers better than your brand. Use your best judgement when it comes to generating the best publicity to help your organization stay successful.
 
Image Sources:

Huffington Post
CBS News

Your Career With (& Without) Digital Marketing Expertise

Expertise in digital marketing may make or break your career today. As for tomorrow however, unless you’re looking to become an avocado farmer, being analogue in a digital world could well prove to not be your smartest career move.
The signs are already clear. What’s the biggest marketing talent shortage today? Senior executives with digital experience.
And it’s going to get worse.
According to the Australian Digital Skills and Salary Survey:
More than half of businesses surveyed anticipated hiring more digital specialists over the coming 12 months. Currently, 30% of the digital talent in Australia are, in fact, expats.
In other words, we’re not growing enough local digital talent to keep up with demand.
Why?
Researchers are quick to blame either the education sector for not adequately preparing students or the business community for not developing talent – and skills – to meet industry needs.
Attention marketers looking to advance your career: the same survey saw an increased demand for some very specific digital marketing skills: programmatic advertising, performance media and marketing, social media and content, search engine optimisation (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM) and data analytics.
Digital marketing experience and expertise can help to propel your career forward in ways other than just looking good on your resume. The ability to understand and leverage digital platforms and strategies will help you to justify budgets, quantify customer engagement, improve business processes and boost profits/ROI. Compelling skills for most potential employers.
So, what’s behind this seismic change?
Digital is an essential component of marketing.
According to recruitment company Hays Sales & Marketing, the way digital marketing is evolving is set to keep growing, and employers are set to take notice and prepare for its growth.
Peter Noblet, Senior Regional Director of Hays Sales & Marketing said “As the business landscape shifts, marketers must evolve with the times to fully connect with their customers and drive business growth.”
 “As marketing becomes more technology-based, harnessing and mastering ‘big data’ will be key to achieving competitive advantage. If companies are to remain market front-runners, they need to integrate their digital and social marketing channels into one customer journey. To do this, they require candidates with integrated offline and online channel experience.”
So, you need digital and online channel marketing experience. The downside is that marketing education in Australia tends to be very broad and is still in the process of evolving to meet these digital demands.
Formal education isn’t necessarily the answer, however. Consider further developing your skills in the digital realm through industry conferences, online workshops or through mentorship with another professional who may have more senior experience.
The other option of course is to do what several of our clients have done which is to volunteer to be the ‘digital contact’ within their organisation. There’s no better way to get digital experience than by jumping in at the deep-end; particularly when none of your peers are willing to move out of their own comfort zones.
The bottom line: digital skills aren’t just important for your employer, they’re important for you too. A background in digital marketing will prepare you to connect digital campaign efforts with business revenue and growth, making you an essential member of your team.
To keep up, the business world is looking for talent abroad.
Over the past few years, the education sector in Australian has looked overseas for cues on how to further educate their marketing students. There are reports of institutions looking to the UK for marketing direction.
The good news is that we Australians have a good track record for quickly adapting to new market trends. Australia has one of the highest social media and internet penetrations in the world, but we haven’t been fast to adopt this trend in business—yet.
For a current or future marketing leader looking to shape his or her career, it will be key to build your digital marketing business case from overseas trends and case study success modelling. The research suggests that once you do, you’ll find the support you need:
According to Ethos BeathChapman, compared to other countries across the region, Australian marketers reported stronger support for digital marketing from company leadership. In Australia, 44% of senior managers provided very strong support, which compares to just 29% a year ago.
As leadership becomes more open to adopting digital strategies and programs, a key part of your job is to build the business case for your organisation to implement them, as well as to invest in your education in the digital marketing arena.
The business case for digital is sound; as long as it’s integrated with traditional marketing.
The good news is that integrating digital with traditional marketing means that you don’t need to learn your job all over again; you’re simply adding to your existing skill sets.
As of right now, however not many marketing leaders in Australia feel prepared:
According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey on digital marketing, most marketers lack the skill sets needed to understand and glean insights from digital data. 82% of marketers state that career skills have changed, with 37% indicating they don’t have the skills required to analyse and understand the vast amount of data available to them.
With data, you can move mountains. You can attribute revenue to certain streams, refine your audience targeting, and reach potential buyers in real-time. Adding an analytical mindset to your arsenal of marketing skills is the most important thing you can do to move your career forward, and ensure the success of digital marketing in your organisation.
Digital marketing will (not) go away if you ignore it
Even now, on the verge of 2017 – some 22 years after the notional start of the commercialised internet – many companies and the people who run them are pretending that the world hasn’t changed.
The problem, of course is that it has. And if you don’t embrace the now not so new digital changes, your career may prove to be very ‘interesting’ in the future.
Having said that, prove me wrong! Perhaps being a digital luddite may just work for you and your career. Just like it worked for the marketers who said that new fangled radio, television and, heck, even computers wouldn’t catch on.
You never know though, you may turn out to be the smart one and prove all of us digital zealots wrong. If not, well, get out the shovel, pull on your boots and start planting those avocado seeds!
Image Sources:

Case Study: What a Nasal Spray Can Teach You About Marketing

Every year, while many products are launched, few survive.
Soon enough, most disappear due to a variety of factors including poor marketing, competitive pressures, distribution challenges and, fatally, market indifference.
So, what can we learn from a launch that worked incredibly well?
To make those lessons even more instructive, we’re going to review how GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in the US created such a successful launch campaign for Flonase, an OTC (Over the Counter) allergy relief brand.
The healthcare industry isn’t always known for its marketing creativity. When everything clicks, however, it clicks big.
That’s why Meredith Herman, GSK’s head of digital marketing was just chosen as one of Adweek’s 10 Brand Geniuses for 2016.
Flonase’s success was no forgone conclusion. There were many established competitors out there fighting for every dollar, customer and share point.
As with most things that work, it always pays to simplify and focus on what’s important:
“From a digital standpoint, we know people are inundated with banners ads and marketing messages, and unlike TV or print, they have the option to skip, scroll past or just X us out. So we understand that we have to provide the consumer with value first,” Herman told FiercePharma.
So, what are the simple steps GSK took:
They coordinated their digital, TV and print campaigns.
This is something brands of all types don’t do enough of—reaching their audience members across all channels in a coordinated fashion.
For their Flonase launch, GSK built a coordinated media approach spanning TV, print and digital. Even though these channels were coordinated, they still had different goals for each, which was key in the success of their campaign.
TV was used to introduce people to the brand, as it provided the most general audience. The digital objective was to explain more about how the product worked, and build a platform for conversation with customers.
This was key for GSK. They needed to create initial brand awareness for their new product, but that wasn’t going to be enough to compete in a saturated healthcare market. By coordinating with their digital campaign, they were able to do both—build awareness, and start a convincing conversation with potential buyers.
They listened to their customers and found the perfect tagline.
Yes, listening to your customers is one of the most powerful and obvious things you can do to boost a marketing campaign of any kind; you just have to do it the right way.
Herman and her team wanted to drive more organic searches so they started researching what allergy sufferers were looking for.
They found that allergy sufferers felt they weren’t getting relief with their current allergy meds and didn’t like missing out on fun activities when allergies were triggered.
From there, Herman and her team developed the tagline and theme, encouraging sufferers to “Be greater than your allergies.”
Healthcare is something very personal, and touches on many powerful, core human emotions. Leveraging the power of your current customer base as a healthcare brand can help you tap into the emotions your customers already have, instead of guessing for every media campaign.
They got visual with social media.
You’ve heard many times that visual campaigns and social media go together. Sometimes you get it right, and sometimes you get it REALLY right. GSK launched it’s first online content initiative with Instagram, and it was an immense success.
GSK used six Instagram photographers with allergies who snapped photos along 24-hour journeys through the outdoors—hay fields, dandelion patches and hanging out with pets.
This visual confirmation that Flonase worked for them fuelled the “24 Hours of Being Greater” campaign, and GSK invited people to share their own photos. They did. Between 5,000 and 6,000 pictures were posted.
Herman and her team didn’t stop there: they came back a few months later with a celebrity dog “Doug the Pug,” and asked people to share their own photos again on Instagram with the hashtag #FallofFame.
It wasn’t just photos, they leveraged videos as well. In spring 2016, Flonase worked with YouTube-famous family the Eh Bees to go on an allergy road trip to 10 of the worst cities for allergy sufferers; she had a great time, and shared her experience online.
In a complicated and clinical healthcare world, humanising Flonase by leveraging the experiences of customers is really what took GSK’s social campaign from good to great. The proof is in the numbers.
According to Adweek, Flonase generated sales of $100 million in the first 16 weeks after its launch. Not only that— they captured 10% of the market just one year after launch.
The key to a successful marketing campaign is knowing your market and your audience. If you have a good handle on both, you can support product campaigns with relevance, creativity and entertainment for your current customers and potential customers.
Easier said than done, of course but that’s why the brand and their owners that do it well reap the rewards initially and for years to come.
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Wikimedia Commons
Wikipedia

Case Study: How Digital Marketing Took a Business to the Next Level

Having an effective digital marketing strategy is central to creating a successful and recognisable brand in today’s digital age. With so many markets in a state of flux, being able to pivot in real-time to adapt to changing market needs is one of digital marketing’s key benefits.
SolarQuotes is a company that used digital marketing to do just that. The company helps Australians buy solar power for their homes and business.
Finn Peacock, CEO and Founder, started SolarQuotes with just $500 for Google Ads using the free wi-fi at his local public library. The company’s website now contains over 17,000 reviews of solar installers, solar panels and inverters.
Thanks to a strong digital marketing strategy, SolarQuotes now turns over about $3 million per year. While still a small business, there are several valuable lessons brand owners can learn from SolarQuotes’ success.
Invest in Valuable Content.
To build those first Google Ads, SolarQuotes needed something to advertise. Over time, the company has built up an arsenal of articles, blog posts and practical tools to help its users navigate the solar market.
These types of articles aren’t just general information about the industry, they contain useful and actionable advice and tools for their audience. You can read about how a specific product like The Sonnen Battery has an unclear warranty or about how leaders in the industry, like Tesla, are faring.
These articles highlight the key thing your content needs to perform well both organically and with paid ads: real value for your target audience. Don’t get too excited though—it’s not enough to just provide value. Your content must end up in front of the right eyes.
Leverage PPC ads wisely.
For SolarQuotes, these paid ads came in the form of Google Ads. There are many other options, like working with advertising technology that re-targets prospects, or social media ads that find a home for your content in already built niche audiences.
The SolarQuotes team has spent six years building up their Adwords account into a “highly optimised machine,” and therefore can rely on their ability to successfully target the market.
That initial $500 I told you about earlier—that went towards design, coding and the cost of clicks.
Peacock explained his strategy to The Sydney Morning Herald:
“I put up the website, tested the concept and when it looked like it had legs, I started spending on the credit card.” His next outlay was around $3,000 on advertising. “I only did it after I was confident that I would get a return,” said Peacock.
These Google ads helped him drive traffic to his website, but once these audience members were there, he had to figure out a way to keep them there.
Grow your Audience and Keep them Happy.
The company kept their audience with organic (in other words free) strategies. In addition to its website, SolarQuotes has several social media channels for which they have built a pretty robust following.
Their Facebook (26,000 likes), Twitter (791 followers with tweets every day), Google+ (423 followers), RSS, YouTube and Pinterest accounts all work toward distributing their content and allowing them to engage with their highly-active audience.
Build Media Relationships.
They didn’t just stop with content. SolarQuotes developed a mobile strategy that would allow them to harness the power of technology via apps.
The company featured several ‘Current Solar Incentive’ apps on various media websites like The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, Weather Zone and more. They didn’t just talk about their product either, they grew their audience by talking about their success story, and putting a face behind their brand.
Customer Testimonials
Most importantly, SolarQuotes saw huge digital marketing success with their customer testimonials.
Their website features numerous testimonials from real customers and includes a blog that focuses solely on solar panel issues that customers may experience.
These testimonials and articles help build trust with new prospects that find SolarQuotes on the web and drive more leads for their business every day.
SolarQuotes’ success makes for a great story, but it isn’t unique. Businesses across the world are finding success by taking their digital marketing strategies to the next level.
There is one thing you can do to ensure your digital marketing success—ensure that the content, messaging and media coverage you promote is valuable to your audience. It’s through them that your business will inevitably grow.

How to Make Your Content Actionable

Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you.
The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer.
So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they can – and should – apply that information to their own problems and experiences.
To begin your journey towards making your content more actionable you need to start by understanding what actionable content isn’t. It’s not condescending, it’s not obvious and it’s not something your reader can easily Google and find somewhere else. Actionable content gives your reader assurance that they best know how to use the information you’re giving them.
Content, of course comes in many styles, shapes and sizes but the most important thing to remember is that it has to be useful. Check out this great example for marketers, helping them build a comprehensive strategy, step by step.
At its core, actionable content has a few key steps that give you the best possible chance of succeeding every time.
Get your story straight — create and keep a good narrative.
Good writing is essential to all content, of course. The trick to making your content actionable is taking your good writing a step further and framing a narrative for your readers.
The proof is in the science. Researchers at Washington University in St Louis found that instead of just being able to produce facts presented to them, listeners of a story were living the narrative right alongside their protagonist.
This is a powerful tool for brands who want customers to understand how their product fits into their audience’s own narrative, not just communicate what they do.
You can differentiate yourself through your voice, relatability and the delivery of useful content.
The Humane Society of Silicon Valley had this dog adopted by telling a, yes humane and entertaining story about him—shaping a narrative instead of the traditional sad angle taken by most pet adoption societies:

Here’s what some of their readers had to say:
“[I]f you’re looking for a floor-sleeping, speed bump of a dog that minds his own business, strike Eddie clean off your list.”
“Actually he’s kind of a jerk. But he’s a jerk we believe in. We’re not expecting you to want to meet him but if you must, we really can’t deter you.”
This organisation urged their readers to take action through their narrative, and accomplished their goal because of the way they framed their content.
Speak directly to your customers and prospects.
If you’re wondering how to make your audience act, look no further than those who already have. Tapping into the minds of your customers and prospects is the perfect place to start, as many of them have already taken the action you’re looking to obtain from others.
Lean on your customer service and sales teams and find out what experiences they’ve had with your current customers. What questions do they ask? What problems are they facing every day?
Directly addressing these concerns is a powerful step towards making your content actionable.
Barry Feldman of Feldman creative told Forbes how this has worked for him:
“A client asked me to give her and her staff an SEO 101 in 15 minutes. I responded with a post that did exactly that and it caught fire and became one of the biggest drivers of traffic to my site ever.” — Barry Feldman, Founder, Feldman Creative
Getting to the right pain points and questions is just the first step. To make your content actionable, you must know how to ask them what you should do next. And then do it.
Get your audience to connect with you in person, not just through an email newsletter.
The most common call to action that marketers use in their content is a mechanism to get the reader to fork over their email address. They ask prospects to sign up for an email newsletter, subscribe to a blog or possibly another content series.
If you’re looking to connect with your audience on another level, try getting them to meet you online at a specific time and place.
There, you’ll be able to interact with them directly, and create a platform that will better allow you to drive the conversation towards moving them down the funnel.
“Trish Witkowski the Chief Folding Officer at Foldrite invites website visitors to sign up for her 60 Second Super Cool Fold of the Week every Thursday afternoon. She’s set an expectation for her audience and delivered on it every single week for years. And it works.” — Andrew Davis, author of Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships told Forbes.
Think about promotion first.
The last step should be your first. Before you even begin writing, designing or recording, you need to think about how you’re going to get this piece of content in front of your audience.
The #1 downfall of brands when trying content marketing is producing excessively promotional content. Boring. No one (and I mean no one) wants to promote your product unless you make it relevant to them.
Start by researching different publications that your customers frequent—find out who the industry experts are and build relationships with them. Shape content that they might want to share.
Another tactic is leveraging social media listening for topic distribution. Spend a day or two on different social media groups, hashtags and topics to find where your content might fit best, or find the most traction.
The goal is to create a long-term relationship between the content creator and content consumers.
To transform your content from bland to actionable include strong narratives, direct customer/prospect feedback, in-person call to actions and a rigid distribution strategy.
Images:

bannersnack blog
Humane Society Silicon Valley

What to Do When Your Brand Goes Up in Smoke

Last year, reports of fires and explosions led to a massive recall of the Galaxy Note 7, making a few customers look at their cell phones with wary eyes.
This is more than a big deal for Samsung, a company that has tried to build a brand built on quality and trust:
“Samsung has built a brand based on quality, and all products used in consumers’ homes require a level of trust. The company has taken a hit to its image for both quality and trustworthiness.” – Globe and Mail
They did what any company would do, they issued a recall and tried to fix the damage as fast as they could by issuing replacement phones—and then came nightmare number two.
The phones weren’t fixed. Customers started reporting that lithium batteries in the new phones went up in flames, and Samsung had to kill the Samsung Note 7 completely. It really doesn’t get much worse than that:
“This is a calamity,” said Srinivas Reddy, director at the Center for Marketing Excellence at Singapore Management University told Bloomberg. “The threat for Samsung is how soon they can get back. If they don’t get back soon, it provides a vacuum for others to creep in.”
Brand disasters like this can happen to anyone, from a small scale to a larger one like Samsung’s phone disaster.
Here are five steps you can take to repair the damage when your brand goes up in smoke.
Step 1: Listen and be a part of the conversation.
The first and most important step to reputation management is to listen and be part of the conversation. If your customers don’t feel like you’re taking steps to right any wrongs you may have made, their trust in you and your products will plummet quickly.
The Gap and Comcast are two victims of such customer service blunders—simply because they weren’t prepared to handle customer service through popular channels like social media.
Use social media to listen and respond quickly to customer service concerns. Have your finger on the pulse of the issue at hand before it grows to the point where it’s out of your control. Even responding with a something like a simple link to the correct website page is helpful—and shows your customers you take them seriously.
Step 2: Establish a crisis management team.
When the going gets really rough, you need a team in place to handle the damage. In cases like the Samsung disaster, digital chatter around the issue soon gets out of control, and can become something that can outgrow the bandwidth of your customer service team.
Consider forming a team from your public relations (PR), human relations (HR), legal and marketing teams. Appoint a spokesperson from each department to handle situations where your brand’s reputation could be at stake.
This doesn’t necessary have to be a single team dedicated only to brand reputation management, but having a plan in place developed by key stakeholders in your organization before disaster strikes will help you respond in a timely manner.
Step 3: Let customers know when the problem will be fixed, honestly.
The biggest mistake that Samsung made was jumping the gun on telling customers and the media that the problem with the Galaxy Note 7 was fixed—when it clearly wasn’t.
If you have a small team, and don’t have enough bandwidth to stand on call and respond to customers in real-time, set expectations on when they can expect to hear from you, and when they can realistically expect their problem to be resolved.
The most important part of this tactic – you need to be able to stick to your timeline. Worst case scenario, you can lose your credibility when a second problem backfires (in the case of the Galaxy Note 7— literally).
Step 4: Have a plan to talk to the media, and a back-up plan if their coverage is negative.
After you’ve addressed your customers directly, you should make plans to structure a conversation with the media — especially if they’re already contributing to the negative image of your brand.
If they’re not interested, become the media yourself by aggressively publishing new content about your company. Include reviews and testimonials to regain control of how potential customers view your brand in search engines.
Step 5: Do something positive to put yourself back in the positive spotlight.
When you’ve done all you can do to mitigate the damage done to your brand from your misstep, start building a plan to bring the media’s attention to a more positive story about your brand—something valuable and trustworthy for your audience.
Consider participating in community events, linking your next product release to a social cause or mission, or make a big donation. Highlight any positive project for your customers to combat the negative image they’ve been seeing and hearing.
Bonus Step: Don’t be afraid to seek outside assistance if it gets really bad.
In some cases, your business team might just be too small to handle a major brand reputation disaster on their own. In these cases, consider bringing in outside help to build or repair your brand reputation when needed.
Start with your executives — having an expert handle the persona of your executives can go a long way in helping your audience reconnect with your brand on a personal level, and bring your human story to the forefront.
The bottom line — bad brand impressions stick. Dragging your feet or not following through on your word can do horrible damage to a brand. Getting ahead of the game could help save you in the future from any unseen problems.