5 Tips to Ensure Digital Marketing Success in 2014

ClickZ-Live-Logo-NewIn early April I had a great experience at the ClickZ Live Digital Marketing Conference in New York. During the three-day event I was bombarded with glorious amounts of information, stats, “aha” moments, head scratchers and confirmation that what I’ve been reading hasn’t been a bunch of malarkey. It’s impossible to synthesize all the information I ingested into one blog post, but I hope this synopsis provides some high-level insight into and provokes thought about how brands and marketers currently utilize the digital environment.

The State of Digital Marketing

zettabyteThere is no magic marketing bullet: I’ve spoken about integrated marketing in past posts, but this conference really confirmed that success in the online world will rely on a multitude of tactics, strategies, devices and channels to ensure that marketers reach their target audience. In a landscape where 2.7 zettabytes of digital data exists, campaigns that solely focus on paid, earned or owned media will easily get lost in the noise created by this continual and exponential growth of digital data.

Ensuring Digital Success in 2014

To cut through those zettabytes of digital noise, great content needs…

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Digital Marketing

Cereal Killin’ It: How General Mills Used its Corporate Blog to Go for the Jugular against Cornell Research

Trix memeDid you know that cereal companies are trying to subliminally brainwash kids into becoming lifetime cereal loyalists? That’s what a recent study from Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab concluded based on findings that kids’ cereal characters tend to look downward toward children in an attempt to make eye contact.

The study unleashed a flurry of mainstream media and blogger attention. A quick Google search pulls up a bevy of scintillating headlines from the likes of Forbes, NBC, ABC, CBS, USA Today, Huffington Post and many others. While some will certainly find the study thought-provoking, the interesting story, in my opinion, is how one major food processor chose to respond.

Cornell released its study on April 2, and media coverage hit a fever pitch the next day. Less than 24 hours later, General Mills’ VP of Global Communications, Tom Forsythe, took to the company’s blog to defend Trix Rabbits’ honor, and to poke a few giant holes in Cornell’s approach. Whether you agree with Mr. Forsythe’s position or not, the way he responded is a great example of how brands should be using social channels to be…

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Digital Marketing

A Must-Have Guide to Creating a PR Plan that Doesn’t Suck

I’ve been reading the Spin Sucks blog for over four years. Yes, four years, the same amount of time it took me to earn a college degree! A four year commitment may sound like hard work, but it doesn’t feel that way.

anigif_enhanced-7462-1391636269-16It was 2010; I had recently left my first big girl job after college to embark on my next career adventure. I was hired for a brand new position as the social media manager for an association. My purpose was to build the organization’s social media presence and strategy from the ground up, alone. Working in a marketing and communications department of three, I was starving for the opportunity to learn from others in my industry so I could become a better communications professional.

Then, I stumbled upon Spin Sucks.

Reading Spin Sucks every morning was a dose of PR inspiration and just the practical knowledge I needed to continue to take my work and career to the next level. Spin Sucks connected me with a community of other readers, PR professionals and marketing enthusiasts that kept me on my toes and encouraged me to become a better PR professional.…

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Digital Marketing

New Research: Do Industrial Pros Use Social Media?

Social Media Research for industrialIHS GlobalSpec recently released research findings from its annual survey of technical professionals in the industrial sector. Overall, the findings don’t reveal anything too earth shattering – social use continues to increase, but overall time spent on social for work purposes remains relatively low. However, there were a few key points worth paying attention to if you’re a marketer in this space.

The study surveyed 1,177 industrial professionals, the majority of whom are engineers or other technical professionals (77%), the remainder work in technical/support services (5%), and R&D (4%). The report looks at how these professionals are applying social media to their daily work, and examines challenges in using social.

A few key findings:

  • 56% spend less than one hour per week on social media for work-related purposes.
  • 74% maintain a LinkedIn account – it represents the most popular network among this audience. The majority (79%) belong to at least one group.
  • 48% use video-sharing sites like YouTube for work-related purposes. Demos and how-to videos are the most popular…
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Digital Marketing

How Many Facebook Pages Does One Company Need?

Three companies who have it all figured out

Facebook-Like10A single company can have a million services, but they only have one brand. Maybe that means one Facebook page, too. But what happens when consumers want to connect with only some of your services?

Take a medical group, for example, which consists of different practices in different locations. The medical group provides healthcare services from pediatrics to women’s health to physical therapy. These disparate target audiences are thirsty for content just for them. As a brand, you must choose between a consistent master brand presence and a meaningful and targeted connection with customers. How do you win a war against yourself? If the medical group’s women’s health practice wants to start their own Facebook Page, you have to decide if this dilutes the brand’s social media presence or enhances it. Some are inclined to say this splinters the brand, but the proof is in the engagement.

Here are tips from 3 health focused brands that have it figured out:

1.       Aetna
I had the opportunity to meet Lauren Vargas, Head of Social Media and Community at Aetna, a few weeks ago at xPotomac. Lauren…

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Digital Marketing

Drink better wine

there are so many great stock photos about bad wine but, ugh, this photo is just amazing. Courtesy

Last week I attended my very first meeting of a book club set up by a friend. We’re all in our 20s and pretty universally broke, so when my friend suggested everyone bring $5 to cover the cost of wine and cheese, I jumped at the opportunity to get the wines. There’s nothing worse than facing a table of bad cheap wine after a long day at work (except maybe the hangover the next day).

When it comes to cheap wine (here defined as under $10), my general rule is to always avoid the familiar grapes. There is NOTHING worse than cheap Pinot Noir. I, for example, spent $55 (including tax!) on a Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, Barbera, Zweigelt and Minervois. Sometimes knowing about wine is associated with snobbishness – the more you know the better you are at spotting the gems among the cheap stuff. Knowing what wines can be both affordable and drinkable takes some serious wine skillz.

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Digital Marketing

3 TED Talks that Should Shape your Social Strategy

I’m addicted to TED Talks. When I first started watching them I was actually looking for examples of effective public speakers. But then the ideas drew me in, not to mention the brilliant people making complex topics like microbiology and metaphysics accessible. TED is all about spreading ideas to better understand the world and talks run the gamut from science to business to global issues. While there are a few talks that address social media directly (here’s one on reputation management, one on online crowds, and one on how social media can make history), I wanted to share a few of my personal favorites that don’t actually mention it, but rather contain ideas we can incorporate to make our strategies more effective.

Talk 1: The Technology of Storytelling by Joe Sabia

What I learned: If you take a look at brands succeeding in social media, it becomes abundantly clear that we as content marketers can no longer expect to simply push our messages out to the masses and hope they stick. We must pull. And we must do so with useful, engaging content. Joe Sabia’s talk about…

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Digital Marketing

3 Booze Marketing Lessons the Suburbs Taught Me

After six years of the Big Apple grind, my husband and I relocated to the ‘burbs of Richmond, Virginia. Working in beverage marketing, I am fully aware this is media no-man’s-land. For nearly a decade, I had been so busy catering to major market influencers that I rarely thought about the best way to engage the other half of the country (aka, the more than 115 million people living in suburbia today).


Image: Zazzle

Luckily, smaller markets offer communication professionals great opportunity to score big and perhaps hit a homerun long enough to benefit activities in major markets and the overall marketing campaign at the same time.

Here are three marketing lessons I learned from suburban living:

  • A Good Idea’s Shelf Life is Longer Than You Think: A good idea, like good wine, lasts a very long time. After a hot trend cools down in the big city, it can still be the next big thing in the burbs. Pairing wine with comfort food or exploring mixology with herbs from your garden for your next cocktail party may sound old to marketers, but they’re still novel for next-door neighbor.…
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Digital Marketing

The Second Screen: Keep it Simple – Jimmy Fallon Gets it Right

Twitter, Facebook, Google, Amazon – these are where most of us are spending our time on the second screen. The second screen is the chronic TV watcher’s dream. Commercials come up? Back to Facebook. Boring plotline? Buy those headphones you’ve been eyeing on Amazon. Plot twist? Talk about it on Twitter in real time.

Marketers have been hard at work creating apps to take over the second screen – using it as another touch point for their TV shows, and another opportunity, of course, for advertising money. But, it’s taking some time to crack the nut… the app has to be engaging enough to keep people interested, but it’s important for it to connect to outside networks, particularly Twitter, to continue the global conversation.

The first TV show to do a clean, good job with a second screen app is the Tonight Show AppTonight Show. The key? It’s simple. It doesn’t try to do too much.

This is what I like about it:

1)      Direct Twitter integration: Twitter integrates live within the app, providing fun opportunities to follow his hashtag games. Jimmy announces his favorites during the show. Want to tweet? Just scroll to the bottom…

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Digital Marketing

A Look Back at 5 Digital Marketing Trends of 2013

In late 2012 I created a blog post that highlighted 5 digital trends that would be prevalent in 2013. Now that 2013 is long and gone, I wanted to take a look back and see how these trends panned out in 2013.

1. Responsive Design Kills the Mobile Domain

responsive web designIn 2013 Google posted that responsive web design is their preferred method to serve content in optimized formats for both desktop and smartphone users. This statement was also reiterated at SMX East in October of 2013 by Pierre Far of Google so it’s pretty safe to say that if you have SEO and multiple devices in mind responsive web design is here to stay. 

2. Focus on Conversions Lighten Up

In my original post I referenced a 2012 SEMPO Report that showed that paid search objectives might be trending to less conversion orientated goals like, “increasing web traffic” and “increasing brand awareness.” In the 2013 version of the same SEMPO report, it looks like the responses are trending away from these goals altogether.
While previous years have seen a gradual fall in the percentage citing selling…

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