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Jared Childs
Jared Childs
June 12, 2013 No Comments

In the words of Alice Cooper, “school’s out for summer,” which means one thing: fun in the sun. Sounds great, right? Well, if most people are like me after a school year of non-stop studying (or at least that’s what I tell my parents), I’m not quite ready to be in a bathing suit yet. So, for the past month and a half I’ve been making more visits to the local gym. I’ve noticed a greater number of middle-aged males on the weight machines this summer, and to be honest, many of them look like they’re hurting themselves more than helping themselves. They know they need to use the machines, but they don’t know how. This is the case for many B2B marketers in regard to social media.

According to BtoB Magazine’s 2013 Marketing Priorities report, 56% of B2B marketers are increasing their social media budgets this year, but are still trying to figure out which tools to use and why. Despite the increase in spending, a recent article by Wendy Marx suggests that the majority of B2B marketers fail to think holistically or strategically about implementing social engagement or listening tools, much less tracking their efficiency. “Who cares if you have 5,000 or even 25,000 followers on Twitter if you’re not doing anything with the followers?” Marx asks, describing why many B2B marketers are starting to call B.S. on social media marketing (A B.S.-related aside: A must-read book to gut-check your assumptions and call B.S. on what you’re being sold in relation to social media marketing is B.J. Mendelson’s Social Media is Bullshit!)

As a hater of B.S. with a desire to tie effort to positive results, I offer five tips to improve your social media marketing efforts.

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Paige Webster
Paige Webster
June 6, 2013 No Comments

One of my highly successful friends, who also happens to be a small business owner, sighed with weariness to me the other day, “I just can’t do it all.” After consistently publishing 1-2 blog posts per week for six months, she ran out of steam, both in terms of time and topics. “I’m taking a break. There’s too much other stuff going on right now. Isn’t there ever an end? Are you sure I need to blog ad infinitum?”

Personally, I marveled at her ability to keep a blog going that long. Unless you have a team of contributors, how is any small business owner supposed to keep up with the production of content if it’s not part of her job? As a veterinary oncologist, she is already busy seeing patients, following up with patients, and managing a small staff, not to mention the myriad administrative tasks and pressures of running a business. Where is she supposed to find time to write a blog?

It’s a valid question. Has the past six months of blog writing served her well? Has she seen an uptick in web traffic or in client referrals? Has she even had time to look at her blog stats and analyze them to learn anything about who’s reading the blog and whether their needs have been fulfilled?

So I’ve done a little research to help my friend out and try to re-inspire her. Because it IS important for her to have a digital inbound marketing strategy. Below are my top five recommendations for invigorating her blogging – and why she should stay the course the best she can.

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Mark Evertz
Mark Evertz
May 9, 2013 No Comments

If you are a B2B marketing writer and editor or a content strategist you no doubt hit a dry well from time to time on what to write, how to write it or to whom the information should be customized to help.

It certainly wouldn’t be from a lack of people sharing their tips on what works, what doesn’t and how you can get free of the brain tangle. If that works to inspire you, I’d recommend swimming around with the likes of the Content Marketing Institute or Convince and Convert. @JayBaer is flat out awesome and committed to a “help-not-pimp” approach to content (more on this in a future post). But for me, walking where others have been makes me feel like I’m cheating.

If you’ve met me in person or taken the time to read anything I am even remotely satisfied with you know that I feel like I’m failing if I don’t ignite fires in people and get them to do something positive with it.

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Jared Childs
Jared Childs
April 19, 2013 No Comments

April is here, and spring allergies aren’t the only thing coming back with a vengeance.  AMC’s highly acclaimed series Mad Men is back for a sixth season, and with it Don Draper in all of his advertising glory.  Draper’s personal life might be questionable but there is no denying his professional prowess.  He can conjure up a flawless ad campaign and pitch it to the client like a poet, and all this after a fifth of bourbon.

If only it were that easy.  Unfortunately the days of Draper are long gone and virtually everything done in the marketing/advertising industry has changed.  Which got me thinking, what, if anything, is still around that the ad men of Manhattan used?

After some research I found a tactic that even pre-dates the Mad Men era―corporate magazines.  A recent article from Teagarden.Tech suggests that corporate magazines have been around since the 1940s and perhaps even the late 1800s. Early corporate mags promoted their products to consumers through glossy print ads of Hollywood star endorsements.   Over the decades, the magazines shifted from pictures of celebrities to in-depth technology magazines for computer companies such as IBM.  The corporate magazine evolved from a consumer marketing tactic to a B2B tactic.

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Jared Childs
Jared Childs
March 27, 2013 No Comments

As we’re nearing the end of March there is more than just spring in the air.  The craze of March Madness has arrived and with it, bracket frenzy.  The “science” behind creating your bracket and predicting where each of the 68 teams will end up is known as bracketology.  In reality, there is no real science behind choosing your bracket, but good guessing and a bit of luck.  In Vegas, this luck results in millions of dollars trading hands; in my four bedroom apartment, it’s $20.

Twenty dollars might not sound like much, but to four college guys that is a free case of beer.  I spent more time studying my bracket matchups than for my upcoming Accounting test, but hey, there was twenty dollars on the line and I wanted to make the most out of my $5 investment.  And that’s when I realized that marketing, in many ways, can be related to March Madness.  The industry is constantly evolving and every agency has to reevaluate their strategies to get the best return on investment.

Each year a new marketing tactic can change the spectrum of a company’s strategy, a Cinderella tactic if you will.  I don’t think anyone expected Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) to win a game in the tournament, let alone be in the Sweet Sixteen.  Much like FGCU’s surprising explosion in the basketball world, infographics have become one of the hottest content sharing tools in the matter of a year.  In fact, Content Marketing Institute’s esteemed Content Marketing: Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report didn’t even have infographics as a usage tactic in 2012.  A year later, infographics are at 38%, used more than 8 of last years tactics.

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Paige Webster
Paige Webster
March 13, 2013 1 Comment

My indoor cycling class (a.k.a. “spinning”) makes me want to puke. Literally. The instructor pushes us so hard, I can start to feel my lunch coming back for a visit. I finally figured out what made it so hard: it’s the cadence.

And THAT made me think about email frequency. If a cadence is too fast—in spin class or with email marketing – it can make you sick. Don’t you feel a bit queasy when you open your inbox after a short break and there’s a deluge of emails?

How do you determine the best email send frequency? Have you tested your assumptions?

Fortunately, Flint McGlaughlin of Marketing Experiments did a webcast, “When Should You Send An Email?” on this very topic. As you might have guessed, there is no one-size-fits all approach, but there is an overarching principal: synchronize your email’s delivery with the cognitive psychology of the customer’s purchase cycle.

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Melanie Erickson
Melanie Erickson
March 7, 2013 1 Comment

“Social selling” is getting a lot of press these days. Unfortunately, that means there’s also a lot of bad advice out there.

Google the term and you’ll get numerous hits on the imperatives of social selling along with strategies for building social presence to reach prospects, and software that mines social media for their digital footprint. Despite the numerous posts that urge sales to use LinkedIn, or caution sales not to misuse it, in my experience, some sales groups struggle to keep their LinkedIn profile updated, much less have a Twitter account or strategy to use either for social selling.

But, social selling is not just about salespeople connecting with buyers on LinkedIn (though that’s important) or sending out tweets that demonstrate thought leadership (though this can help.)

Social selling is about leveraging social media and technology to do things both sales and marketing should already be doing in order to do them faster and more effectively. It requires deep collaboration between the two departments around gathering and sharing data about prospective buyers, as well as using that data to engage them through social media. At its core, social selling requires you to do these three things:

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Mark Evertz
Mark Evertz
February 28, 2013 No Comments

A SlideShare link from Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam caught my attention, stirred up some emotion and made me want join the fight against marketing hackery.

In How to (not) Fail presenter Martin Weigel speaks to the idea of “Dropping Truth Bombs on Marketing’s Bulls***!” The B.S. in question? The false logic of brand-first marketing in the digital age and calls for all of us to get real. And by real, I take Weigel to mean get relevant. Love me some truth and I couldn’t agree with this take more.

And, true to form, Weigel, W+K Amsterdam’s Head of Planning, delivers a tautly worded, visually engaging, and, at times, funny 110-slide manifesto for how we all can be a little more real in our LIKE-hungry marketing worlds.

Don’t let the 110 slides scare you … it’s a breeze and well worth the effort.

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Jared Childs
Jared Childs
February 21, 2013 No Comments

Survey of college students by Leftbrain’s Jared Childs aligns with recent Harvard Business Review discovery that most social activity on mobile devices is done at home and not on the go.

 

It’s safe to say social media has changed the way the modern world works. If you weren’t convinced by LL Cool J’s repetitive Twitter plugs during the Grammys, then here are some stats for you: The number of Facebook users is predicted to climb to 1.5 billion this year, Twitter is putting out close to 500 million tweets per day, and, as of November of last year, the number of daily Pinterest users has increased 145% from January 2012.

After immersing myself in usage statistics, I was curious as to how my peers compared to national trends. So, I put on my lab coat and goggles in search of 50 guinea pigs (no animals were hurt in the making of this survey) and surveyed my friends on their social media use.

What better way to put out a survey on social media than by using social networks? I sent out the survey through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The respondents’ ages ranged from 19-51, with 76% in the 19-24 range. The majority (64% ) were female.

It seems my peers are, in many ways, on par with national trends when it comes to using social media. Much like the rest of America, smartphones were the device of choice (84%) for viewing social networks amongst my peers. Despite the heavy use of mobile devices, however, the respondents aren’t using social media on the move. The majority of people were most likely to use social media either while watching TV (49%) or in bed (26.5%)!

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Mark Evertz
Mark Evertz
February 8, 2013 No Comments

I’m back in the saddle here at at the Content Desk after a brief stint living the Rock N’ Roll lifestyle in Los Angeles to see legendary rockers The Who.

A great show at the Staples Center, as evidenced by my phone video below. That said, as many of us in the information creation and dissemination business are wont to do, I found myself breaking down why this thing I had just experienced was so great and how it could apply to what I do for a living.  This time, however, I was having this pensive moment in a stretch limousine.

Don’t hate.


The Who — Staples Center — Jan. 30, 2013

What I came up with  are really five things The Who have done exceptionally well with their audio, video and live performance  content that you should emulate.

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Let’s work together
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