Category Archives: B2C

From destination social to dispersed social

A great little deck from Patricia and Steve at The Social Practice in London looking at ten trends in social media – or more acutely how social media is evolving from a destination to being everywhere.

As mainstream ubiquity gives rise to mobile commerce, sharing, liking, scoring and polling on the move, social businesses push the boundaries.

Baffled? Don’t be. The slides lay it all out. One thing is for sure. The soothsayers who predict the demise of social media as marketing return on investment folly haven’t got a clue.

 

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Outbound vs Inbound marketing

On the face of it, this might appear to be an over-simplification, and it might fail to acknowledge the need for an integrated mix of marketing tools.

But this animation, which first appeared on Hubspot’s always informative blog, actually illustrates perfectly what can be achieved if you take a targeted approach to serving content to the right people looking for a partner like you.

I’m a fan of using your content to drive inbound enquiry but accept that other tools need to be used to. I also don’t agree that inbound marketing is cost-free. A huge amount of time is required to develop, create, host and promote good content.

But it is an interesting proposition nonetheless, especially for b2b marketers looking to position themselves as experts in what they do.

Is Gap an email marketing genius?

Just had to bring this to light. An email from Gap on Friday telling me I only had a couple of days to benefit from 25% off  if I bought some Gap clothing online.

Come this morning, I thought I’d let the opportunity pass me by. But no, a new email popped up this morning, with a new 50% offer!

Great for me as I didn’t take advantage of the first one, but pretty bad for anyone who did. Unless this has been specifically designed to entice me online because they can tell that I didn’t visit over the weekend?

I can’t decide if this is genius, coincidental or really poor. What do you think?

The social media advertising conundrum

You want people to raise awareness in your product and service, so you advertise. Seeking to build credibility, you look to PR to provide some perceived third part endorsement.

You create websites with information on the benefits of your products and services so visitors can self select and seek to engage with you further. And, cleverly, you optimise your websites so people can find them when they go looking on the Internet.

Once you have access to some customer data, you use direct marketing techniques to interact and take some fledgling interest further.

Its all a big investment and a real pain but it’s worth it because you know you can’t please all the people all the time so you set your stall out to talk to those who might be interested in what you do.

Then social media comes along. Big platforms. Huge audiences.  What potential. But its all so… social. If only there was a way to leverage it for my business?

Targeted advertising. Yeah, I can bash people using social sites in their downtime with messages about my brand. I’ll get massive ‘opportunity to see’ and a huge amount of click through. Right?

Wrong. A recent survey by Addvnatage Media in Marketing Week showed that 79% of consumers claim to rarely or never pay attention to adverts on social networks.

There are ways of making social media work but in my eyes intrusive targeted, behavioural advertising isn’t it. You might see a short term spike, but you’re doing a whole long-term worth of harm to your brand and reputation.

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Image: Wired.com

The future of selling

I’ve stumbled across another interesting presentation deck on Slideshare.

This one from Ogilvy explores how the sales function in most companies needs to step up and embrace new marketing, new technology and the new world of communication, collaboration and engagement. There are also some great examples of joined up integrated thinking.

I do think there is still a place for traditional techniques in sales but we have to realise that customers are smarter, more discerning and invariably look to the Internet before shortlisting suppliers or making key capital purchases.

It needs a shift rather than a complete change in mindset, but a willingness to adapt nonetheless.

Has Honda just created app-vertising?

The big consumer brands continue to innovate in the digital arena. Honda this week launched its latest campaign for the Jazz called ‘This Unpredictable Life’ –  a spectacular one minute animated advert which claims to combine App interactivity.

Here’s the ad:

Here’s how the app side of it works:

Kind of mind-blowing. Probably not applicable or affordable to most brands, but it has viral legs, is creative and stands out from the pack.

Five ways to think more creatively about your marketing

Whether you are in the creative business, have a team to motivate or customers to provide creative solutions for, thinking creatively is essential.

But a longer than usual holiday period, coupled with short days, miserable weather and clients and customers slow to get off the mark can all contribute to quickly  stagnating creative thinking.

In the constantly switched on world, how can we create time and space for ourselves to think creatively about the challenges we face and break the cycle of thinking inside the box?

Here are five techniques that I use, maybe they will be useful to you.

1. Upset your daily / weekly routine: Once a week take a different route, look out the window. Take the train or bus rather than the car. If you can, walk. Look at the billboards, bus stops and read the local free paper. The objective is to come off ‘autopilot’ and take in the creative stimulus around you.

2. Use your time more efficiently: Take your lunch hour and use it productively. Set up a Google Reader account, sign up for some blogs and news feeds related to your sector, your speciality and your interests. Or join some Linkedin groups and join the discussions. Or scan content on YouTube or Slideshare. The point of these activities are to open yourself up to available free content and influence.

3. Read something new: Is there anything you don’t understand or want to understand in more detail? Learning stimulates the grey matter and can be powerful in equipping you with greater capacity to think more creatively in the future. Hit the Amazon bestseller list – it doesn’t have to be a business or self help book, but they might be a good start. The reason to consider this is to learn from others.

4. Handle meetings differently: Creative brainstorms can actually inhibit creative thinking. Why? Dull, uninspiring boardrooms are not generally conducive to free flowing ideas, time pressures are usually set, and the loudest or most senior people in the room usually dominate the discussion. Break these conventions be setting an agenda, dishing out the brief in advance, relocating the meeting to a coffee shop, park, museum, the client’s offices and encouraging the involvement of all not the will of the chairperson. The reason for going to these lengths is to achieve creative ‘breakthrough’.

5. Look at brands you like and learn from them: Who is to say that b2b packaging companies, food service or building product manufacturers can’t learn from high profile b2b, b2c or fmtg brands? That professional services businesses can’t learn from coffee chains? What do the brands you trust do well? How do they treat you, how do they communicate, how do they encourage you to engage further and deeper?

Which ever way you view it, creativity is a key differentiator, and the ability to quickly and decisively tackle complicated communications challenges demands creative thinking.

What do you think?

Image MessageMarketing