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Content Distribution

Content Distribution

A successful content distribution strategy utilizes already existing channels such as Twitter, Reddit, or the good old-fashioned email list to promote your content. More importantly, it targets your client demographic and reaches out to them through media that they respond to. There’s hardly any point in putting time into creative Snapchat stories if your client demographic is over the age of 50. You’d be far more likely to make an impact through email.

We spend a lot of time talking about the power of content, and that’s valid. Compelling, engaging storytelling is a huge part of drawing in potential clients. But, you may be wrong if you think a posted article or shared Instagram story will create a new stream of clients. Sharing that valuable content is only half the job; the second half is distributing the content for users to engage with.

5 ways to promote your content:

  • Email subscription lists are vastly underrated. Social media gets all the hype these days, but the reality is email is still hugely effective. Its lack of advertisements and ability to act as a portal to other forms of media means it’s still a huge part of marketing to clients.
  • Influencer marketing relies on social media users with a lofty reputation to promote content for them.
  • Twitter ads are effective because of their conciseness. Their short and sweet nature is attractive to the impatient and hurried consumer.
  • Push notifications offer an immediacy and responsiveness that you just can’t beat. Research shows that they boost engagement by 88%.
  • Facebook dark posts are a fairly untapped medium. In short, they allow you to post multiple advertisements to Facebook, each targeting different audiences, without making your own News Feed look cluttered or spammy.

Millions of tweets, posts, videos, and stories are shared every minute. Being selective about how and when you share is vital to your success. While authentic content is significant to reaching potential clients, the value is moot if no one is seeing it. A distribution strategy gives reach and dynamism to your content.

Your corporate advertising is not for your benefit

Your corporate advertising is not for your benefit

Purpose-driven marketing is a way for brands and businesses to bond with their target audience through their content based on shared need and interests. The ability to connect with your audience is more important than anything you have to say.

Any purpose-driven brand knows how to present their values and it’s “why”. The best brands we know have stories to tell and are relevant to their purpose.

Purpose-driven marketing is more than just content. There’s a “why” behind every brand or company’s content. That is why their content connects people on an authentic level. The content that is created is much more than just sales and marketing. It comes with a bigger meaning.

While most brands are familiar with giving back, they aren’t always familiar with creating content that will both engage their audience and drive them to participate. Success comes from developing content in an organic way that brings mutual benefits to all that are involved.

We all like to feel like we are apart of a bigger audience, and that we’re making a difference in the world. That’s why 6 out of 10 millennials have said they chose to work for an employer based on the sense of purpose. Having a purpose-driven brand has become beneficial for businesses due to:

  • Aligning leaders and team members around a common purpose, mission, and culture.
  • Attracts the right type of customers, employees, partners, and investors who believe in your values.
  • Motivates you and your team to be more productive.

Many brands have collaborated with other brands to bring a higher awareness to their cause. This is where purpose marketing shows the cause but also allows a connection to be made.

Dove is a great example of a brand that utilizes purpose-driven marketing. Their missions have been to empower women through self-esteem and confidence. Their “why” is to make a commitment to women’s well being, yet to also show customers that they’re more than soap and moisturizers.

Dove has stated for their self-esteem project, “At Dove, we have a vision of a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. Our mission is to ensure the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look – helping girls to raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential. Their message comes with a purpose other than just selling bath products.

Purpose-driven content marketing is important for any brand or company that wants to engage with their audience. The audience or target customer’s impact on this content is driven by a cause that is spread throughout larger audiences but also promotes the brand in a positive, relatable way.

What is social media marketing?

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing (SMM) is a form of Internet marketing that involves creating and sharing content on social media in order to achieve your marketing goals. This includes posting text and image updates, videos and other engaging activities. These may include tools such as a hashtag, which drives audience interaction and engagement.

The use of social media in marketing has brought new consumers to businesses by expanding their audience and directly targeting the audience on platforms that they use every day.

Your business type should inform and drive your marketing strategy. When building a social media marketing strategy, it should reflect the following questions:

  • What are you hoping to achieve through social media marketing?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Where would your target audience hang out and how would they use social media?
  • What message do you want to send to your audience with social media marketing?

Gathering data will allow you to pinpoint exactly what the consumer wants and how to engage their social media. When marketing is introduced to social media, consumers automatically participate subconsciously, which then drives sales for a business.

Great content and a consistent brand image are what will drive your social media marketing. By staying consistent with your brand and other forms of marketing, consumers will be able to retain your products and relate it back to your business’s core identity.

Social media marketing has expanded due to the increase in usage of sites that target consumers use the most. The most common social media site include:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Social media marketing is effective whether the company acts alone or has collaborated with others. Back in 2015, emojis became a trend among social media users. Brands picked up on this trend and started to use the emojis as well.

Taco Bell, who has an interactive social media presence among the youthful demographic joined in on the trend. Users simply had to tweet at Taco Bell with taco emoji and another of their choice, and the brand would tweet the user back with a humorous mashup of the two images.

Other companies such as Urban Decay used Pinterest to get users excited about a new makeup collection by creating a contest on the social media site where the winner would win tickets to the sold-out music festival Coachella.

Social media marketing has become a powerful marketing tool due to the usage among its target audience and growing youth population. It is an advantage to businesses on staying up-to-date with its audience, but also increase sales as well.

International markets drive a new definition of service

International markets drive a new definition of service

For many companies, their market has been redefined because of the internet. A good or service offered to a traditionally domestic market can now catch the attention of an international audience. Being able to understand and respond to the needs of clients from any location provides an advantage to a company.

Most nations employ English as either a primary or secondary language. This approach helps to breach barriers to your business. Having a well-designed website and utilizing search engine optimization strategies will allow customers and clients around the world to see what your company is capable of doing.

Refining the scope of the markets that you want to address is critical when taking your business global. According to Forbes, you want to “Develop a disciplined method to expanding your business and ensure that every new market you explore offers at least one of the following advantages over others:

  • A larger customer base, potentially with a higher willingness to pay
  • Access to cheaper supply of labor or raw material, leading to cost efficiencies
  • Legal, regulatory, or other systemic factors that make it easier to do business.”

Successful international marketing is similar to marketing in the United States. You have to identify customer needs that your company can address. Make sure your products and services, can address them more completely than competitors in that market sect.

Customers will base their loyalty to a company based on how well their needs are tended to, especially on an international scale. Global customer service is important to any consumer. A company with excellent customer service is more likely to get repeat business from customers. Consequently, the company will benefit with greater sales and profits.

As you consider global expansion, one thing to keep in mind is that you never want to make a move that will diminish success and hard work on home soil. Domestic sales are what got you to where you are and will be the key to expanding that success.

Neglecting your foundation and home market to pursue global markets can easily backfire. By maintaining a strong balance between both markets, you will create a strong brand image at home while slowly establishing yourself internationally. This will allow a company to maintain their core mission while responding to its international potential.

It will take time for a small company to take their business international. But with the right steps and commitment, a small business can find itself competing with larger known businesses and gain the same amount of success.

Artificial intelligence and SEO

Artificial intelligence and SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of affecting the visibility of a website or a web page in a web search engine’s results page (SERP). Complicated algorithms examine tremendous amounts of data to produce these results.

To facilitate this workload, search engines now employ the use of artificial intelligence (AI). This change has made it necessary for legitimate digital marketers to refine their efforts to maintain quality in terms of technical SEO and content development.

The artificial intelligence learns and uses natural language processing, meaning that AI SEO becomes smarter and more human-friendly. AI is trained by using known data, such as:

  • Content

  • Links

  • User behavior

  • Trust

  • Citations

  • Patterns

The AI systems then analyze that data using user experience, big data, and machine learning to develop new ranking factors. The process is capable of producing marketable results most likely to meet user needs.

RankBrain is Google’s machine-learning, artificial intelligence system that helps process its search results. The system uses an entirely new way of processing queries. This portion of the search engine’s core algorithm looks at search terms that have not been used before and compares the keywords against other searches to determine what type of results the end user is looking for.

Google’s RankBrain is just one form of artificial “narrow intelligence,” which means that, while it can perform things better than a human in one specific area, it is still a relatively weak form of artificial intelligence.

Yet, AI offers marketers insights that will improve ad campaigns. Adopting AI specifically for SEO efforts presents marketers with tactics that enable them to rank higher in search engines and get their ads seen by more people. The data provides insight that enable you to optimize a website, build links with the high-authority domains, and identifies the best keywords to use for each webpage.

Artificial intelligence has now progressed into deeper learning. While combined with search engine optimization, the list of possibilities to perform tasks has brought a whole new way to produce search engine results.

The execution of SEO has changed because Google, Bing, and all the other search engines are employing artificial intelligence (AI) to evaluate the content of pages.

When SEO is combined with artificial intelligence there are improvements in the results that come from search engine optimization.

Messaging Apps

Messaging Apps

When was the last time you asked someone out on a date, face-to-face? This may sound a bit prehistoric. Doesn’t it? That’s because the simple act of social interaction has been redefined by digital interaction. Mobile messaging apps have revolutionized the way people communicate.

Over 2.6 billion people have at least one mobile messaging app installed on their smartphone device. Today’s global market seems to be defined by a small handful of messaging apps. Each app offers the ability to capture a moment in ways the other cannot. The increased competition for content exposure has forced some mobile apps to implement similar features.

Recently, Instagram integrated a story feature to their app similar to Snapchat. Instagram has a much larger following than the “exclusive” Snapchat. If this new “clone” attempt by Instagram discovers a footing in the market, it shows that market disruption is more useful when one company duplicates the strengths of another and turns them into weakness.

Because of their demonstrated income streams, mobile messaging has changed the way businesses advertise. With these apps, companies are less dependent upon selling their product. Through mobile messaging apps, businesses can establish a presence and create a greater brand awareness.

Profits are often affected by who (or what) controls the information funnel. Corporate giants, such as CNN and ESPN will be distributing original content directly through Snapchat’s new feature.

They’re aggregating people’s attention and linking it to other forms of commerce,” Mitch Lasky told the New York Times. He’s a Snapchat board member and a partner at the venture-capital firm Benchmark.

Mobile messaging apps have changed the way we communicate. They are captivating, exclusive, and unique. They have changed how we share ideas and re-shaped the market, all in the palm of your hand.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality

Augmented Reality is the melding of the real world with the digital world found on your smartphone. Think “Pokemon Go.”

You have more than likely encountered augmented reality, even if the term is unfamiliar. It is not to be confused with virtual reality, another recent development in the tech world. AR is experienced alongside the real world, while VR simulates its own reality.

Charles Arthur, a contributor to The Guardian, describes AR as taking “a real-life scene, or (better) a video of a scene, and add[ing] some sort of explanatory data to it so that you can better understand what’s going on, or who the people in the scene are, or how to get to where you want to go”.

By blurring the line between what is real and what is not, AR enhances the digital experience.

The most well-known examples of augmented reality in today’s market are Snapchat filters and Pokémon Go. While it is more easily recognizable in entertainment, AR has also been utilized in marketing, educational and retail ventures.

Augmented reality is also starting to play a role in the workplace. It has been adapted for certain hands-on training exercises. An employee’s virtual presence erases the need for direct contact with different environments.

Where direct involvement is risky, the immersive qualities of AR allows for otherwise impossible experiences. For example, NASA has started to use it for scientific research. This enables advances in exploration that humans couldn’t achieve. We can’t send a person to Mars, but technology is taking that giant leap for us.

In the near future, you might not even be able to tell who is seeing the world through an AR wearable. Going through a single day without experiencing augmented reality in some way might even be impossible.

As the technology behind AR continues to evolve, its limits will be pushed even further. Think about how Pong and other early video games now seem so primitive, yet they were what introduced many the members of today’s workforce to computing. Their innovations have increased the capabilities of operating systems hundreds of times over.

These same kinds of giant strides in AR are still to come. The next generation might be taught about the game-changing nature of Pokémon Go just as today’s youth learn about Tetris.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has already labeled augmented reality as the ‘next new thing’. Anyone who is familiar with the tech industry will agree: now that AR has captured Apple’s eye, every competitor will be clamoring to take it to new heights.

Corporate transparency vs. sharing too much information

Corporate transparency vs. sharing too much information

Consumer access to information has placed the discussion of corporate transparency clearly before our eyes. This debate is about a company’s ability to be as forthcoming about their brand as possible, in order to gain their customers’ trust. An increasing number of companies are adopting a ‘full truth’ method for a few reasons.

In an effort to increase their public persona, several corporations have made efforts to improve their relationship with their customers. Patagonia, a popular outdoor apparel and equipment brand shows how it provides transparency for its customers.

Patagonia provides its customers with its Footprint Chronicles. This feature allows customers to track the environmental impact of each item sold by Patagonia. The brand offers interviews, PowerPoints, and more, which details the people and history behind the products. For those who are consumers of the brand and advocates for the earth, this feature allows them to be conscious about what affects their purchase will have on the planet. However, this is just one such brand going the distance to provide as much information about the product to the people who consume them. Other brands such as Chipotle and BMW also show a level of transparency with their customers.

 “How much information is too much information? At which point is transparency no longer a viable trait?”

How do you differentiate between transparent communications and tossing out a ‘wall of data’ to justify the request for openness? At what point do you defend your ‘corporate life experiences’ to justify the cost of proactive communication? Every person and corporation have a base of life experiences from which each has grown and learned.

If we were to expose all of our past ‘learning steps’ it could be easily argued that no one may find any one person or corporation attractive. Where do you draw the line between protecting critical competitive data and damage control?

With that said, how we communicate as we move forward is critical. This is an ethical question that every person and corporation must address as move forward. How will they communicate with others? It’s a huge “grey zone” with no defined answers.

Several large corporations are making the shift to transparency. As is so often found in communications, differing perspectives may help to provide a broader insight. Articles from Inc. and Forbes provide an interesting perspective that should be explored.

At the end of the day, how you address this quandary may be defined by a balance you discover between objectives. How do you open your business to your consumer, yet protect the company secrets and interests? Where and how do you draw the line?

Forbes writer, Daniel Newman put it this way “Your consumers will find this honesty so much more appealing than the smokescreen you try to hang over your shortcoming. They will not flinch from giving exactly what you are looking for: their trust and loyalty.”

Project performance and KPI’s

Project performance and KPI’s

Business Basics

The success or failure of any project can be measured if you keep an open eye and know how to measure your company’s performance. You must have measurable data order to understand the significance of any market action. Goals must be set as benchmarks of success or failure. These goals should be realistic and attainable. These measurable benchmarks are referred to as “Key Performance Indicators” or KPIs. These are items that “help an organization assess progress toward declared goals.”-TechTarget.

What is a KPI?

These measurements “are used to evaluate factors that are crucial to the success of an organization,” – TechTarget. KPIs allow organizations to measure the results of their campaigns. These items help to tweak current goals to better sell their product or service. Well set KPIs can determine the success of an organization. Simply stated – if you can’t accurately measure your established performance, there is no way you will be able to modify precisely those behaviors for growth toward your goals.

Differing from group to group

Because organizations in every industry vary, the KPI’s need to reflect those organizations must differ . Each KPI is relevant to a specific purpose. While the basic premise is the same, the goals for each team will be dependent on what the result needs to be. KPIs for a mobile marketing campaign can measure the lead generation and the capture of a customer, but those KPIs will differ from a hospital’s patient ER wait time. The goal of a KPI is to find the best possible way to gain success without spending enormous amounts of time, effort, and money to get there.

Why use a KPI?

When an organization thinks up a new idea, product, service, or campaign, the result and their needs goal has to be assessed. Which means, “before you start assigning KPI’s to everything you can think of, there needs to (be) a clear understanding of your business objectives and strategic directions,” Intouch Marketing. Organizations must ask questions before, during, and after the launch of the campaign to determine the importance of their KPIs.

For KPIs to be successful, an organization must know how to translate the data. “If management cannot translate the importance and understanding of the businesses KPI’s to their employees effectively, they will most likely fail,” Intouch Marketing. Management must be able to quantify the statistics to their employees, so those individuals can execute the campaign to drive success.

Success is something that every organization wants and needs. Measuring KPIs is a key tool to reach those achievements. Organizations must always have an action plan for end results whenever initiating and executing something new into the mix. Otherwise, not setting goals will inevitably end in failure. Be wise and use those KPIs!

If you need guidance on measuring your corporation’s growth and performance, contact Colure’s Project Managers to help you define your next step for corporate growth.

Set your mobile marketing strategy on fire

Set your mobile marketing strategy on fire

When you want to set your mobile marketing strategy on fire, you have to understand your audience. You have access to your customers in an instant through the use of SMS mobile marketing. This is a powerful tool, once you learn how to unleash this power your marketing efforts will show significant results. Whether your business is small and just getting started, or you have numerous locations, you can develop a mobile marketing strategy that reaches customers and boosts sales both online and in person.

Your Opt-In Texting Campaign

You need to develop an opt-in campaign that allows you to send marketing text messages to your customer base. Customers sign up, either in store, through a text, or through email. Once they opt-in, you are allowed to send text messages. The messages must contain language that makes it clear how to stop receiving messages to comply with regulations. You can send customers texts about time-limited deals, send links to your blog content, and offer insider information to your business through text messages.

Make Sure Your Website is Ready for Mobile Use

How your website is designed matters. Optimizing your website for use on mobile devices is essential when you are trying to improve your mobile marketing strategy. There’s no point of getting customers to visit your website if it isn’t easy to navigate on a mobile device.

Develop an App for Your Business

Smartphone users love apps when it comes to interacting with a business. For example, opening up a Dunkin Donuts app, the customer can drive up to the window, order a coffee, and then pay just by having the app on their phone scanned. This makes purchases for the consumer easier using their mobile devices. It takes time, effort and money to develop an app for your business, but the payout is worth it.

Allow Shoppers to Pay With Mobile Devices

When you make paying for your goods and services easier on your customers, they aren’t going to go somewhere else to make the same purchase. This means you need to set up a way to accept mobile payments. This is done by finding a payment processor that can accept payments on behalf of your business for a nominal fee. Look around to find the right provider for your specific needs.

Engage on Social Media Platforms

When you want your mobile marketing strategy to work, you have to engage on social media. Facebook, the number one social media platform, offers businesses a variety of tools to engage with potential customers. You will need to build up a base of followers, but also provide relevant content to your followers. Whether you create links to your blog, or you have great deals you want to share, they won’t mean anything if the posts aren’t seen by anyone. To engage your customer base, ask thought-provoking questions, reply to all comments, and be mindful of what you share on a daily basis. Keep changing up your strategies and try different deals to see what works.

 

Author Biography:  Joel Lee is the SEO marketing specialist at Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their coordinated marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms.

Exploring the consumer purchasing journey

Exploring the consumer purchasing journey

The traditional purchase decision process has been transformed into the new buying decision journey. What used to be a narrow funnel of steps taken by the customer to reach an investment decision, has evolved into a circular path that takes into account diverse consumer experiences. The purchase decision journey has been compressed, but this compression does not mean that the trip is now simpler. In fact, it means just the opposite due to today’s technology that has evolved within the purchasing cycle. It is a series of consumer experiences, without a defined beginning or endpoint.

The purchase decision journey described by McKinsey begins with consideration, followed by evaluation, then enters the continuous cycle, also known as the loyalty loop. The components of the circuit include the purchase, experience, advocacy, and the bond, which will lead back to the acquisition. The cycle will repeat in a never ending circle, until the consumer leaves. A marketer’s goal is to lock the customer into the loyalty loop. To do this, marketers have to forget about traditional strategies and now must proactively personalize the consumer’s next step in the purchase decision journey.

The mission has changed for consumers and companies. For consumers, McKinsey proposes that the systematic narrowing of the initial consideration set no longer occurs. This is a result of businesses taking advantage of the purchase decision journey. Many companies who understand the buying decision journey have eliminated the steps of consideration and evaluation that consumers would typically undergo. Marketers can optimize competitive advantage by using automation, proactive personalization, and contextual interaction throughout the journey to create and maintain loyal customers.

Advertising and promotion alone cannot suffice with the recent purchase decision journey in existence. To reach success, companies must come to this realization and work toward innovation. As the presence and utilization of marketing, media expands, companies’ approaches must change to reach the consumer before the journey begins. The efforts of marketers do not stop there; it is necessary for them to continue to engage with the customer throughout the cycle to create a personalized experience.

Lastly, communication has shifted into a conversation. Originally, marketers were the sole communicators and consumers were the receivers. A relationship between marketer and consumer has now formed because of the presence of two-way conversation that replaced one-way communication.

The path of the consumer purchase decision is no longer a process that comes to an end. Rather, it is an endless journey. Where the buyer steps on or steps off is unknown. What is known is that the marketer can no longer take the consumer for granted.

Geofencing in mobile applications

Geofencing in mobile applications

Allowing a mobile device to recognize environmental elements can truly make an application dynamic. Because consumers live and breathe by their mobile devices, having environment-awareness available in mobile devices keeps users on their toes and engaged in their environment. This concept is called geofencing, also known as context awareness. 

Awareness of their physical environment for mobile applications brings more depth and attractiveness to an application’s user experience or UX. It engages the user by sending individually tailored data to their phone based on their geographical location. This plays a critical role in executing in-app mobile marketing and mobile app retargeting campaigns. 

Context awareness is a property used in mobile devices to identify where the user is using an application and how that might affect what the user is doing,” – Matt Carver at Bigspaceship.

In a context-aware environment, wireless devices such as environmental sensors, radio frequency identification tags, and smartphones send location, presence and other status information across the network. Specialized software captures, stores and analyzes the data, sending it back over the network to provide context to the end device as needed,” – Computer World. Having a mobile device react to its environment and offer advertising suggestions in terms of retail therapy or even a coffee shop facilitates the needs of each user.

Goals of context awareness

The ultimate goal of a context-aware system is for the system to arrive at a representation of the surrounding world that is close to the perception of the user,” – Interaction Design Foundation.

The layering of data allows the use of time of day and GPS coordinates to create a customized, ever-changing source of space and time relevant content for the consumer. They might provide breakfast suggestions in the morning, clothing suggestions relevant to elevation and weather, and locations for cocktails in the evening.

Geofencing is the ability for a mobile device to pinpoint the context of the user’s geographical location. “Context-aware applications look at the who’s, where’s, when’s and what’s (that is, what the user is doing) of entities and use this information to determine why the situation is occurring,” – GA Tech.

Challenges of context awareness

Mobile devices allow consumers to always be connected to the world around them. These connections can have difficulties. Computer World sheds light on challenges involving context awareness. One challenge of context awareness is privacy issues. Because context awareness uses data from the mobile device as well as environmental data, data breaches can occur. Being able to balance the security risks against the rewards is something that will be answered in time.

Geofencing is an interesting feature for mobile devices and applications. This functionality advances the capabilities of the smartphone for the specific user’s advantage. By having a more dynamic experience with your mobile device, it is no wonder that consumers fill every moment of the day looking at their phone. Advertisers and marketers will continue to take advantage of this desire for customized content and hyper focus audience targeting.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the cost of information

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the cost of information

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a growing field for decades, but the uprise in virtual assistants in the home has opened a new channel of advertising. With it comes new challenges. Virtual assistants, like Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa, give consumers a hands-free, hassle-free way of looking up information, keeping track of their plans for the day, or even trying new recipes. But the marketing industry has been hit hard by consumers’ new ability to make purchases or browse the internet without being exposed to a traditional advertisement.

AI brings both benefits and pitfalls to the marketplace. Marketers have new tools at their disposal, but they’ve also been given quite a few hurdles to jump through.

Pros of AI:

  • Virtual assistant devices offer better, more precise data that’s willingly volunteered by consumers. For example, Amazon gets detailed, individualized data with every task Alexa takes on.
  • AI creates a discrete form of advertising that doesn’t feel like a marching band of business owners trying to sell you their products. For example, ask Alexa to buy you a soda, and she immediately suggests the top two products, one of them being a 24-pack of Izze Sparkling Juice drinks. Izze drinks are getting quick advertising to interested customers disguised as a casual conversation. Consumers don’t recognize advertising as easily in this new and unmarked territory.

Cons:

  • Now that consumers are able to order a new product or search something on the internet without even pushing a button, the emphasis on digital marketing is threatened. Desktop and mobile devices have been the biggest platforms for reaching consumers. Only time will tell how AI will modify the relationship between customers and new businesses.
  • AI devices are always listening to all sound sources in the home, waiting to be activated. AI marketing is supposed to be the next big leap in marketing, but what information is gathered, how, and what happens to that data? What price are customers willing to pay for those advancements. Privacy in our homes is guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Will consumers give up that right by agreeing to a software licensing agreement? Sometimes, with no marked path to follow, a fresh line will need to be drawn when it comes to what is ethical and what is business-savvy.

AI emphasizes the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) more than anything. Recommendations by virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are based on the top results in search engines. Making sure that your service or product is at the top of the list will allow your business to wedge its way into those recommendations. AI management of various details in our lives can be a great asset. The question becomes, “what will be the cost of that growth?”

The importance of online micro-communities

The importance of online micro-communities

Online micro-communities help to define a customer’s needs and definition. If you follow a fitness ‘guru’ on Instagram, you have probably seen sponsored posts promoting health supplements or gym memberships. This reflects the prevalence of micro-communities in social media. A brand can most easily gain traction among people with relevant interests.

Focused content means targeted engagement. Sticking to what is pertinent to your industry will lead to higher revenue. The best way to grow and keep your following is to only promote relevant content.

A critical action is discovering which social networks your target market. Seeking out popular users in relevant industries is also vital. Their support will direct followers to your page.

Using the power of micro-communities is a straightforward way to find your target consumer group. Once you have cultivated an audience, that user following will expand out. Those with similar interests can be introduced to your brand through social media engagement, such as their peers’ ‘likes.’

“Likes” are not the same as engagement.

Engagement should be valued over community size. 5,000 Facebook Likes is nice, but 5,000 people on a mailing list or using your company’s hashtag is even better. Promote your brand, not just your business.

Having 10,000 to 100,000 followers is statistically proven to be an influencer’s sweet spot. As a page’s follower count grows, their interaction levels tend to decrease. The term is ‘micro influencer’ for a reason.

The effects of going viral are short lived. It rarely leads to continued success. Broader recognition can mean easily getting lost in the sea of other huge brands. It is therefore vital to recruit influencers with a more specific demographic.

Asking Kylie Jenner to promote your investment firm will get you some clicks. Will they convert to revenue and continued engagement? Probably not.

When promoting your company, stick to what makes sense. Utilize the right kinds of social media. If you don’t know how to engage, find people who do. The benefits of finding the right niche will be invaluable.

Application Programming Interfaces (API)

Application Programming Interfaces (API)

When companies go design their new shiny corporate app, a software engineer might tell the boss that the proposed mobile application will have to ‘talk’ to other computers. In order to facilitate this digital chit-chat, an added program may be needed to facilitate that electronic conversation. These coded exchanges are often facilitated by an Application Programming Interface (API). These may sound complicated, but they really aren’t. An API is just a way for one software system to interact with another. APIs form a set of rules and protocols that are designed to help programs communicate. Through an API, different software solutions can be integrated and work together. This is incredibly important for all levels of software development. 

How Does an Application Programming Interface (API) Work?

Imagine that you are from France and you only speak French. An acquaintance of yours is from Italy and only speaks Italian. How can you talk to each other? Many programs interact exactly like this; they have their own internal methods and processes that they use to complete tasks. A third-party program will need to learn to “speak their languages” and help the first two programs to understand each other. This is needed if they are going to complete a task.

You’re probably most familiar with APIs through eCommerce portals: online shops. When you’re buying something online, you’re often given the option to pay through PayPal. But how does PayPal know how much to charge you? How does it know what items are being purchased and who to send the money to? The website is using PayPal’s API: a series of directions that PayPal has published for interacting with their system.

When you buy a shirt through an online shop, the online shop sends that data through PayPals API. PayPal then collects the information, which has been formatted properly for its use, and uses it to charge you. It then sends information back to the online shop, regarding whether or not the transaction was successful. To you, the user, this transaction will appear quick, easy, and seamless. But there’s a lot going on in the background!

How Can APIs Be Integrated Into Mobile Devices?

Mobile applications often take advantage of APIs for advanced features. One of the most common examples is the Google Maps API, which includes all of the information that Google Maps does and is available for both Android and iOS. The Google Maps API has been the foundation of many critical apps. Other commonly used APIs include weather services, social media integration, and local directories. Through APIs, developers can gain access to a suite of features and a wealth of data that they would otherwise have to collect themselves.

Can an API Be Dangerous?

By now, you may be wondering whether an API could be used against you. Can it take you places without your knowledge? Can it transfer your information without you knowing? Put simply, yes: once you hand your information over to a software system, it can use that data as it wants. If you load an app that has a Google Map API, then Google may very well be able to see your location. And an API itself can become a vulnerability within a system.

This underscores the importance of maintaining your own security and using only reputable software vendors. In fact, many recent security leaks have occurred due to third-party software solutions. That being said, most software today contains some element of API usage, and it is impossible to avoid. For mobile devices, security settings can often be managed to control what you do or don’t give out — to anyone.

APIs provide an incredibly useful and necessary method of communicating between programs. For developers, they allow project teams to take advantage of resources that they would otherwise have to build themselves. For users, they ensure a better overall user and are often seamless in integration. Either way, APIs are an essential part of software development.

Live streaming video

Live streaming video

Live stream video is the superpower of the video marketing world. It offers the potential of a memorable marketing video while multiplying engagement with its interactive nature. Viewers can respond to the video in real-time, creating a conversation between customer and company. Unlike other forms of media that are strategized, planned, and produced, live stream video has a natural feel that allows customers to see a company in an organic environment.

Why use live stream video?

Live video ultimately creates the illusion of face-to-face interaction. You may not have time to sit down individually with each of your customers, but through live video, you can make them feel as though you have. It embraces conversation and develops a dialogue between a company and its customers. Unlike the thousands of other advertisements that consumers are exposed to daily, live streaming doesn’t leave room for edits, coverups, or patches. The format provides transparency — a characteristic that continues to hold more power with each year.

How to get started with live streaming video:

  • Ditch the script. Micro-organizing everything can make your video appear stiff and rehearsed. Take advantage of the organic nature of live video by finding a healthy balance between preparation and improvisation.
  • Bring in a fresh voice. Do interviews, ask others’ opinions, or create a mock panel. Changing things up gives a unique perspective and keeps consumers engaged and interested.
  • Have fun. It’s okay to crack a joke or stumble over your words. Be willing to be spontaneous, and let your customers get to know you.

Top trends in live streaming video:

  • Q&A sessions give the illusion of a face-to-face conversation. Consumers have a short attention span, but live video creates an environment that fosters immediacy. They’re much more likely to ask a question in this type of environment than they are to email someone and wait for a reply.
  • Special announcements — Announcing a new product or feature via live video helps build anticipation and excitement. Your customers are much more likely to get pumped about the big news when they see that you are.
  • Live events — Giving consumers a glimpse of a live event builds excitement and encourages customers to celebrate with you.
  • Behind-the-scenes looks — Giving a sneak peek of what goes on behind the curtain not only peaks curiosity; it also develops loyalty because customers feel knowledgeable about the company.

Research shows that consumers will watch a live video eight times longer than an on-demand video. Its unique personality cuts through the clutter of other forms of media and likely will continue growing as digital technology develops.

Using market segmentation

Using market segmentation

The internet creates useful technologies for personalizing your marketing content. This is market segmentation. The medium allows you to address your audience by name, give them specific recommendations based on their interests, or send them discounts that they’re more likely to respond to. These technologies allow you to utilize market segmentation and develop strategies to personalize content like no other medium can do.

What is market segmentation?

Market segmentation is a form of targeted marketing that allows you to personalize your marketing campaigns to the taste of the individual client. It uses information about your consumer audience—such as demographic or psychographic—to personalize your marketing strategy. It also allows you to automate this campaign strategy instead of analyzing every client profile individually. You might want to send different email campaigns to clients of different ages, or varying advertisements to clients in different locations. In short, consumers get specified advertisements, and your business wastes less time targeting the wrong audience.

Why use market segmentation?

In addition to leading to an average 19% increase in sales, a personalized web experience allows you to develop strong relationships and client loyalty. Do you know that appreciation you feel when your barista knows your drink before you order? That works for marketing too. Users are constantly bombarded with advertisements. Personalizing your campaign to the individual develops a unique and valuable human connection.

Four points for market segmentation:

  • Determine what your most valuable clients have in common. Age? Zip code? Education? This can give you hints about what they value and what they will respond to. It also gives you insight into what consumers you should be targeting to bring in new clients.
  • Use dynamic content—HTML content that changes based on the viewer. Dynamic content might recognize them by name or change the content of a form based on their occupation. In short, it makes the client feel recognized and valued.
  • Collect data before you collect an email. Doggyloot, a retail company that sells products for canines, asks subscribers how big their dog is before they sign up for emails. The idea is that products for big dogs are only sent to customers with big dogs. The result? Their click-through rate for these personalized email campaigns is 410% above average.
  • Utilize social media. While automation can be great for setting up campaigns, it can also be frustrating for clients when used too much. Social media allows you to create real person-to-person interaction. The consumer feels cared for when they’re not forced to talk to a robot to get their question answered. Plus, talking with your customers helps you know what they need and personalize the marketing campaigns you send them.

Ultimately, market segmentation works for the benefit of the consumer and the business. The consumer is only getting advertisements that they’re interested in and the business is getting the most from their marketing campaign. Although working to target demographics can take a little more work, it ensures that your marketing strategies are worth the work you’re putting in and will bring the best results.

Data visualization

Data visualization

Data visualization tools create graphic representations of business data to make information understandable and meaningful. By doing so, they can bring insight to your marketing strategies and shed light on trends, patterns, and possible changes that affect your business. These insights change with growing technology. The modern visualization tools make viewing data simpler, more accessible, and easier to apply to your marketing strategy.

These tools essentially allow you to look at data from a bird’s eye view. The wider scope means more accurate results. So instead of taking a small sample of data and applying it to your larger consumer audience, you can rake through your entire customer database for more precise results.

Data visualization also gives you the freedom to uncover trends within highly specified categories in your customer database. You can analyze customer data based on purchase history, demographic, or response rates to campaigns and use it as you fine-tune future strategies. The tools even give you the ability to study correlations between specific services or products so you can personalize future offers to your customers.

One of the primary reasons data visualization is important is that it helps to draw meaningful conclusions from the data and make the most of the numbers. By doing so, it can reveal patterns and trends and give hints into upcoming opportunities to interact with your consumer audience. This is especially significant because it not only gives you a direction in which you can move forward; it also gives insight into previous campaigns. Getting a more granular knowledge of your strategy can show you where you’re wasting money and where to focus your spending in the future.

Data visualization tools do all of this while cutting down on time and resources. There’s no longer a need to hire a specialized IT worker to sift through the numbers. Even marketers with a very basic knowledge of analytics can easily navigate and react to the system.

As technology rapidly advances, data visualization allows for more complex analytics at an almost instantaneous rate. Quite literally, it allows you to do more with less by giving you a more comprehensive analysis of your data with fewer resources.

The function of ad servers

The function of ad servers

Business Basics

When we pull up a webpage, the page in front of us appears to be a single, seamless webpage, seemingly created by a single computer. However, that page is actually the end product of several computers working in concert with each other. Together, these computers or servers, each provide content that is compiled to create the final webpage that a user sees.

Ad servers provide a specific set of advertisements to a web page. Websites provide content that draw an audience to a specific web page. Publishers monetize this content by running ads for companies looking to reach that audience. Those advertising spaces on the web pages begin as an empty space that are filled with the appropriate advertising only milliseconds before it loads. Ad servers make that selection possible.

In generic terms, each server has its own function. The publishing server provides the bulk of a webpage’s content. The ad server provides the specific advertisements that have been selected for that user at that moment. The function of an ad server is to place the most efficient advertisements in front of a user. The conversation between these computers is the function that creates the displayed webpage.

An ad server is a platform that stores information and manages the display of ads. It works in the background to determine which ad is selected through a process of analyzing the targeting criteria. The marketer has established these criteria and the performance goals of the campaign. In addition, ad servers provide a way to test which ads perform better, helping marketers optimize the campaign. Publishers, or content-producers, use ad servers to determine which advertiser will be promoted while advertisers use ad servers to select which specific ad from the campaign to show to each user.

Ad Server functions:

Ad servers provide several functions that make the marketing process convenient and efficient:

  • First, they allow marketers to specify which ads to run on which sites and provide them with an easy way to edit the creative elements. Instead of contacting every publisher to update an ad, the marketer can provide updates to a single server.

  • Secondly, they are useful in targeting advertisements based on user’s geographical location and time of day.

  • Third, ad servers let the marketer set a start and a stop time for a campaign. This time-limit is then used in the algorithm that determines which ads will be shown.

  • Finally, ad servers provide all the statistical reporting of performance in one place, making it easier to analyze than getting several reports from different websites.

How ad servers assist agencies and clients:

A person at the marketing agency, called a trafficker, will upload the ads onto the ad server before listing the ad space their buyer has reserved and the specific targeting criteria. The ad server will store this information and provide the trafficker with an ad tag (an HTML code) for the trafficker to send to the publishers. When the publishers decide to serve the tag, the ad server is called upon and selects the most relevant ad to pick based on the criteria. It takes into account the format of the ad (banner, mpu, etc), how many impressions, and how much time is left, amongst other factors. After the ad is published, the server tracks the impression and any associated clicks to establish how people are responding to the ad.

Several ad server systems are available for your business. The system you select will be determined by a number of factors including your products, market share, budgets, and other variables. Ad servers aid marketers by making trillions of decisions a year at a speed difficult to comprehend. The process is as complex as it is effective. The end result is a crafted page that loads in a blink of an eye.

Unlike print, websites allow for the ads that appear on a page to change based on who’s viewing it. This advantage makes online advertising a customizable and more cost-efficient experience. It allows marketers to bypass some of the steps in the purchase decision chain by targeting people closer to the end of it. The better you understand the function of an ad server, the more you’ll understand the process of placing an advertisement online. 

Vital customer engagement (or how not to leave your customers at the door)

Vital customer engagement (or how not to leave your customers at the door)

Customer engagement (CE) is the living and breathing relationship that exists between a customer and a company. This critical relationship is a critical factor that helps to determine the success or failure of a company. The challenge to every business is that almost all buyers have different needs and wants. Consumers aren’t unanimous, even within similar demographics. There are different ages, lifestyles, ethnic backgrounds, etc. There’s an excellent chance that the motivating factors for one middle-aged customer may differ significantly from another. It’s incredibly important for a business to operate with their customer base as individuals.

So how do we go about the act of engaging a client? Here’s a few starting points to orient your mobile app marketing and digital advertising efforts:

  • An engagement marketing strategy is crucial. How will your company reach out to potential customers? How will you respond to their inquiries? Detailed analytics are necessary to help answer these questions. Actively learning about a customer’s lifestyles, rather than lumping people together based on a singular demographic. Remember, numbers are cold, your customers are real people. Think of them in that fashion. The more accurate and detailed your customer database is, the stronger foundation you will have for engagement.
  • Learn to predict consumer behavior. When looking at the unique lifestyle of your consumers, where can you see areas where they can benefit from your service or product? Big-box retailers like Walmart and Target do so by using data mining to notice trends in purchases. Walmart used data mining and discovered that Strawberry Pop-tart sales increased sevenfold before a hurricane in southern states. The reaction? Place Strawberry Pop-tarts at the cashier area of a store. More exposure to the pop-tarts increases sales even more. In the end, all parties benefit. Walmart and Kellogg’s experience increased sales, while customers have an emergency food source in case of natural disasters.
  • The benefits of customer engagement are limitless. Customer retention is critical. Customers can see the value in a company that puts the effort into satisfying their customer base. Satisfied clients can be the most powerful form of marketing. The family and friends of current customers are potential future customers. Nothing is more valuable than a recommendation from peer-to-peer. One survey even concluded that 92% of customers trust peer recommendations, compared to 47% trusting TV or magazine ads.

Customer engagement is beneficial, if not necessary, to a company’s success. Perhaps one of the most satisfying aspects of customer engagement is the company-client relationships built upon it. Increasing interaction cultivates and grows these relationships. Knowing that your company makes a positive difference in the life of your customers is a huge reward.

What is the difference between a web app vs a mobile app?

What is the difference between a web app vs a mobile app?

In a day when there’s an app for almost every need or function, companies providing these digital problem solvers often ask “do I need to develop a mobile application just to provide a simple function?” The answer is no. An application that operates on your web browser may be the answer. Web apps have filled the void to provide those functions. Web apps provide the feel of a mobile app with the power, accessibility, and stability of web-browser.

From a technical viewpoint the web is a highly programmable environment that allows mass customization through the immediate deployment of a large and diverse range of applications, to millions of global users.” – Acunetix

One user defined the differences as:

a website is defined by its content, while a web application is defined by its interaction with the user. That is, a website can plausibly consist of a static content repository that’s dealt out to all visitors, while a web application depends on interaction and requires programmatic user input and data processing.” – kerrek-sb 

Defining you needs is the first step to deciding how to proceed. Many variables will affect your selection. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you progress:

  • Design with the user in mind. This decision may mean thinking beyond your personal opinions. An aesthetically pleasing won’t satisfy customers if it’s hard to use. Think simple. Sensory overload with images and options will only turn customers away. Try to keep the app’s main functions first, with more advanced settings tucked away. Ask yourself: if my app only did one thing, what would it be? Build off of the main focus, adding additions only where it enriches the customer’s user experience (UX).
  • Balance personal creativity with traditional functions. Colors have meaning and emotional responses. Choose a palette that represents your goals and functions. Experiment with different color schemas before the app is released. The color blue may give your app a calming feel and is the choice of many social media giants. A red color scheme may elicit strong emotions like passion or urgency but also serves as a warning color. Decide how you want your users to feel when they use your app.

It’s important to beta test your app. Try to seek a large group of beta testers to help define the strengths and weaknesses of your app. The benefits of a solid beta-test have been well established. It may be a cost, but an untested app will lose profits in the future. Your goal should be to have the best performing, most efficient app in your field. Otherwise, why would customers choose yours over a competitor?

Develop your app to fulfill the needs of your clients and to answer those questions you seek to conquer. Proceeding with the proper format for your app will facilitate greater function for everyone involved with the process.

Micro-communities and Influencers

Micro-communities and Influencers

Marketing to micro communities – or niche marketing – is an effective method to place your company directly in front of a specific audience. Focusing your efforts to a limited segment of an audience can often create momentum from within a community.

Niche communities tend to be relatively small, tight-knit, and interconnected. Within these communities, there are certain individuals who are more pronounced than other members. These individuals are usually well-respected trendsetters with many followers. Their trendsetting ability earns these people the nickname of ‘influencers.’ Targeting these influencers is key to niche marketing. 81% of companies who use influencer marketing report positive results.

The jewelry company Benique saw a 300% increase on their return on investments (ROI) after starting their campaign. They provided free samples to influencers in return for reviews to their audience. They then collaborated further with the influencers who truly loved the product. Although finding influencers took time, the results paid off.

Context matters when seeking the right influencers. Don’t base your search on a given number of followers only. Katy Perry may have 62 million Twitter followers, but her approach to marketing her music may not be the best choice to promote a software company. Her mass following may actually be a disadvantage. Her overall engagement with followers is low and many of these followers are probably teenagers who are not interested in software. Search for influencers who can create action within your intended audience.

Working with influencers is a business relationship. Popular influencers may receive offers from your competitors. There should be some compensation from your company. The compensation doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary. The web hosting company Cloudways had trouble creating relationships with influencers when they began their marketing efforts. After several unsuccessful attempts, they tried a new approach. Cloudways offered to interview influencers and feature the interview on their website. This allowed the influencers to receive promotional exposure from Cloudways. The business-influencer relationship ended up being beneficial to both parties.

Traditional marketing techniques have moved from their role as a primary tool to augmenting the specific application of niche marketing techniques. The function of each marketing method becomes an additional tool in the ever evolving, media-based world. Creativity is essential to drive your brand’s success. Using influencers in a creative way will keep your business ahead of the competition and in front of those community members who lead the pack.

MAUs: Monthly Active Users vs Driving Downloads

MAUs: Monthly Active Users vs Driving Downloads

Business Basics

Online businesses need to identify their customer base to understand the relationship between themselves and their clients. How do companies measure success? Why do businesses keep track of their performance? How often should companies even keep track of certain information? These are questions critical to a business’ survival. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) allow companies to measure almost every facet of their respective businesses interactions. With this data, they can understand their performance relative to the marketplace.

For some companies and mobile apps driving app downloads is the KPI but for those companies that operate solely digitally, a central KPI measurement is the Monthly Active Users (MAU). A standard definition of the MAU is defined as the number of “unique” users over the course of 30 days. This performance indicator is commonly used by social networking sites, digital gaming platforms, e-commerce businesses, and mobile apps. MAU measurement allows digital services to know who is using their product and how they use that product.

An active user is not just a person that may randomly access a site/service. An active user is determined as an individual who has created an account through email or username to access a site or service.

There are also two types of active users. There are first time users and recurring users:

  • A first time user is a new user who has accessed a site for the first time.
  • A recurring user is a user that frequents the site. It is important to clarify data to this extent when you are trying to track performance.

Ultimately it is up to the site or service to distinguish who they believe is an active user. Traditional social networking services like Facebook and Twitter have both have differing definitions:

  • Facebook defines a Monthly Active User as anyone that is a registered Facebook user, who has accessed the service through the website, messenger app, or mobile app at least one time in the last 30 days.
  • Twitter employs a slightly more complicated approach than its competitor. You must follow a minimum of 30 accounts and be followed by a third of the number of accounts you follow to be considered an active user. To put that in simpler terms, if you are a registered user who follows 30 accounts, with at least ten followers, and uses the site at least one time in 30 days, you are considered an active Twitter user.

It is crucial to measure user activity on digital platforms when examining performance, especially with mobile app marketing. Calculating the metrics of Monthly Active User data is a practical industry practice. The proper manipulation of this data will help companies find the information they need to succeed.

If you need help tracking your audience’s habits, contact Colure.

What is Native Advertising?

What is Native Advertising?

Consumers have become increasingly adept at either ignoring or electronically blocking advertisements from their screens. To battle this trend, “Native Advertising” was created to grasp the readers’ attention. This is the practice of crafting a SEM (search engine marketing) advertisement to look specifically like the content already on a site.

This advertisement is often added into a news feed, blending in with the endless stream of stories from that day’s events. In this way, the advertisement tries to slip past the reader’s defenses, in the area of the web page readers often see as reserved for “real news content”.

This type of advertising is dressing a paid advertisement in the “clothing of content”. Often you will see this if you read a newsfeed, such as Yahoo! News. In their newsfeed, you’ll see a long line of stories. Interspersed with the news articles, there will be great articles and content pieces, with interesting headlines and eye-catching images. All look like original content, but state that they are “promoted by” or “sponsored by” a particular company. This is the separation between sponsored advertising content and news content.

Mashable promoted an article touching on summer music playlists created by a new upcoming pop group.

For those interested in that pop group or in music, in general, this would probably look worthy of reading. Compare this article to an advertisement that interrupts your browsing experience by flashing on the side of your screen or that makes you click out into another window. The native ad experience is executed by “cloaked choice”, not by force.

While native advertising is a popular option, it does have it’s setbacks. Traditionally, news articles are not directly sponsored by an advertisement. However, the ads do often closely surround the news. There is a level of trust that goes into visiting a website and reading content that you believe has been placed there by journalists. These are reporters who value your readership.

If that relationship is tainted by paid advertising, it can taint that brand, but more importantly, it could damage the trust the consumer has for that site. The site must balance the funds raised by the advertisement against the cost of the consumer’s trust.

Parallax responsive websites increase user experience

Parallax responsive websites increase user experience

Parallax scrolling is an incredible tool used to ramp-up your mobile application’s user experience (UX). Keeping the user engaged and focused is part of developing a quality experience that will bring the user back to your app time and again.

Parallax scrolling is a computer graphics technique which creates a 3-D environment using 2-D elements. By establishing a differential between the display of foreground elements and background elements, a sense of depth (parallax) is created. In the end, it’s visually entertaining. The visual applications are endless.

Here are 2 websites that entertain us using this technique. They demonstrate the incredible power of parallax scrolling. Look at this example that takes you under the sea, and here we see an infographic of your brain!

The amount of displayed parallax often differs between platforms. A website viewed on a desktop may show a tremendous amount of the scrolling differential between visual elements. That same site, viewed on smaller platforms, will probably reduce the amount of displayed parallax. What you see on a desktop probably will be a much richer and fuller UX than what is presented on a smartphone. This is the nature of responsive website elements. The use of this tool is currently a strong growth trend for both responsive websites and mobile apps.

Regardless of the size of your company, creating a responsive mobile website and mobile app is a smart way to market your service or brand. Today over 50 percent of American adults own a smartphone, and 80 percent of Internet users use a smartphone. These statistics show how mobile applications have become a necessity rather than a luxury. In order to stay relevant with today’s online marketplace, quality engagement is key.

Due to an abundance of mobile applications, deciding how to differentiate yourself can be a challenge. Tools like parallax scrolling can help overcome those challenges. Parallax scrolling creates depth and movement of images that add to the application design and sophistication.

Developing an application that grabs user’s attention is the key. The developer’s goal is to engage the individual. The experience itself is meant to impress the onlooker, tell a story, but also to clearly state the benefits of that service or company. This tool is designed to make your web and mobile applications stand out as a ‘one-of-a-kind’, one to be remembered.

Parallax scrolling provides a new fun way to experience a mobile app. It is a tool that developers use to provide depth and texture to their content. By carefully structuring content, users may not mind spending time exploring your app or your business. When you are ready to explore the graphical world created by your next mobile application, contact Colure’s project management team.

Keep your brand relevant

Keep your brand relevant

Manipulating a corporate brand to be a part of the news cycle and not the “background clutter” requires timing, social acuity, and the ability to read the pulse of the public. This is known as “agile marketing”. This marketing technique is the opposite of crafting a large project. This requires being aware of current events, trends, and having the ability to act on them swiftly to appeal to your audience and/or to the masses.

Six years ago, the infamous Oreo Cookie Dunk in the Dark tweet went viral, taking the 2013 Super Bowl Blackout headline. A single marketing team used that event to their brand’s advantage. Here, Oreo saw an opportunity to comment on trending news. Since then Kit Kat has taken the agile marketing spotlight with its tweet and trending hashtag #bendgate, which referenced the past iphone6 bending fiasco.

“In today’s fast-paced, multichannel world, marketers no longer have the luxury to spend months crafting large projects; they must innovate and produce on the fly and respond immediately to market disruptions.” – Forbes staff writer Jennifer Rooney

No matter if your company is large or small, relating your brand or service to noteworthy information can draw attention to your company. Agile marketing demands your business be able to adapt and to be flexible to the outside noise-makers.

Many of these agile marketing examples can be seen utilizing Twitter and Facebook to express their one-liners. However, agile marketing is still a fairly new marketing tool. In 2019, we are sure to see more brands use this technique. Recently, during the ESPY’s, a television advertisement by Airbnb grabbed viewers’ attention. Airbnb is known for its home sharing service decided to use the theme of “trans kind” in their advertisement during the awards show. This ad smartly aligned with the ESPY’s choice to award Caitlyn Jenner for her contribution to sports and her relationship with the transgendered community.

With company demands to be relevant, so are the needs of flexibility and speed. These needs make agile marketing a necessity today. Because of the “always-on and always-connected” individuals, agile marketing may one day become the norm.

Marketing is an interactive process that brings together the breadth of both the advertiser and the public. Being able to read the pulse of both parties is critical. Once more, being able to appreciate the space they both occupy marks the difference success and nothingness.

Marketing shift from globalization to personalization

Marketing shift from globalization to personalization

The latest marketing trend consists of shifting from globalization to personalized interaction. Personalization means getting closer to your audience, getting to know them and touching their hearts. Personalization is the current path to success. Personalizing is transporting your consumer to another place, giving him something to think about, making them crave better engagement. Personalization means engaging and embracing your customer.

Today’s business world has automated much of the process of communication. It is mission critical to make the consumer feel genuinely needed and desired. When a company creates a personalized experience with the audience, the trust level between the consumer and the company usually increases. This is the User Experience (UX). This relationship will be the mechanism by which a company may very well sink or swim.

Know your audience

To personalize, the marketer must know their audience on a personal level (names, gender, age and more). What’s more, they must engage that audience on a meaningful level. This means engagement in a way that is meaningful by the consumer’s standards – not the business’ standards.

Personalizing means looking for something that will have an impact upon the client at a personal level. This calls for constant creativity, as the marketer has to predict the wants and needs of the consumers. Clearly, this is a critical challenge for corporations of all sizes.

Personalization affects every company these days. Because it has become so popular, companies that do not practice it may very well lose their audience share. As personalization has revolutionized communication, each communicator must take an active role in order to keep their audience alive.

How to calculate an advertising budget

How to calculate an advertising budget

Every company must stake its own space in the marketplace to survive. In order to successfully interact with your customers, each business must decide on the best course of communication. This function is facilitated by your company’s marketing budget.

Each business owner is an expert in their given area of practice. Everyone needs customers, yet often, stakeholders haven’t been provided with a game-plan of how to reach those customers through advertising.

We’re providing a roadmap for your future marketing budget. The purpose is to help the business owners focus their resources for the best ROI on their investment. If you begin with a focused process, your odds of success greatly increase.

Dollars and sense

When deciding on a typical marketing budget, there is no definitive answer on the dollar amount a business should spend. How much you plan to allocate depends on a number of variables including the industry you are in, the size of your business, its growth stage, your annual revenue goals, your projected sales, your cost per acquisition, whether you are willing to spend on websites, mobile apps or some other long term project.

It may be helpful to examine some methods of determining marketing budgets and average percentages that companies use in their calculations. You need to determine your marketing budget wisely and not depend on what is left over after your business expenses are covered. We are here to give you some guidelines that you can use to determine your marketing budget.

As a general rule of thumb, Colure Media suggests that the marketing and advertising budget should be on an average 10% of the company’s overall revenue. This budget should be split between brand development costs including the channels you use for marketing and the costs of promoting your business (campaign, events, and advertising etc.). The percentage of revenue calculation should account for possible additional factors such as new product launch, new market entries, and mergers/acquisitions.

Calculate your CPA

For companies who are unsure of their revenue goals or don’t know their exact overall revenue, we suggest calculating their marketing budgets using cost per acquisition (or CPA). Using a CPA, we help companies reverse engineer their budgets by understanding their sales goals. For example, if a company wants to sell 10000 units of something and if they know their CPA, they can calculate their marketing budget by multiplying their sales goals of 10000 by CPA.

It is very important to re-examine your CPA, as this is a number that you want to optimize. Your goal is to make it lower since you want to receive a higher rate of return on every dollar you spend on marketing. Continually look around for new and more effective methods of reaching out to your target market. The use of new and improved technology can help you optimize your cost per acquisition.

If you are seeking out the development of projects like mobile applications, website development, and mobile marketing (or some other long term project), our advice is that you pull that project out of your total budget and calculate its own budget as a separate line item. The reason being is that these long-term (5 to 7 years) marketing tactics require an initial heavy investment and small investments later on. You are better off doing an initial investment of around 8 to 10% on these large projects and then 2% of your annual revenue toward web development for the next 3 years. After that, you need to put money only for updates and maintenance for the next couple for years.

These values are not set in stone

Once you have set your marketing budget, remember that it is not a fixed value. There might be times when you will be throwing in another unplanned event or campaign. The main thing is to know whether your spending is giving you your required ROI.

One of the biggest issues facing new and existing businesses is that they may not know what their marketing and advertising budget should be. Often, businesses don’t understand the process of media planning. Many times budgets are set blindly, with a number just being thrown into the air and hoping that it lands on the success outlined in their business plan (if they have created one).

There are three components to every business:

     1. Unique product/service

     2. Profit

     3. Marketing/Advertising/Sales

At the end of the day, a business with unlimited funds can spend plenty of money and time running test after test, but they may sacrifice market share to competitors (who may have inferior products/services) who are knowledgeable and have navigated these seas time and time again. Blindly throwing money at your advertisements is not the answer. Define your goals. Examine your numbers. Start with a solid plan that can be modified, with purpose, as time passes. We hope that this will help your gain a better perspective on your marketing efforts.

If you want to discuss your advertising needs, contact Colure’s Project Managers to help you reach your target audience.

Analytics in business

Analytics in business

Analytics is a multidimensional field that uses mathematics, statistics, predictive modeling and machine-learning techniques to find knowledge and patterns in recorded data. It studies past historical data to find patterns and potential trends to analyze the effects of certain decisions and events.

Social media is an example of a platform that can produce its own analytics. Most social media sites will provide users with analytics, but will also provide data to other websites through big data as well.

Analytics contains a data that can help us identify what happened, how, or why an event happened, what’s happening now and what is likely to happen next. There are many ways to gather data through graphs and charts and even numerical data

This can pertain to any field or industry that rely on data to understand the data as it progresses. It is often most useful for many businesses and companies due to its predictive qualities. Analytics can be used for websites to determine how well or not well their business is doing.

The most popular form of analytics within businesses and companies is predictive analytics. Predictive analytics have surged in popularity due to the desire to predict customer behavior. Web analytics are important to a companies’ website because they deliver data about the website, the traffic from its visitors and their behaviors, so they can measure what is and isn’t working. This helps to improve your website’s performance rates.

By using analytics, you are able to track where your traffic is coming from, what attracts the most visitors, and what days of the week are the heaviest with traffic. This information has value in helping you to improve and maximize your online marketing and sales leads and to improve the user experience.

Analytics can open doors to new information that have never been seen before. They provide a deeper insight into the behind-the-scenes of your business to see much more than revenue. Companies often don’t realize the need to improve or change things in order to be more successful until they see that data that suggests otherwise.

If a company or business doesn’t analyze the current state of their website and business, then they won’t be able to identify areas that need further development and improvement. It is critical for businesses to understand the analytics of the numbers and graphs that pertain to their company. Without understanding, the data means nothing to a business.

A company must understand and be able to discuss their companies’ analytics to experts even if they aren’t experts themselves. This shows that they have basic knowledge of the information that they are receiving on how their business is doing so they know where to improve, whether it is their online presence and marketing or physical revenue.

What is cost per registration (CPR)?

What is cost per registration (CPR)?

In order to measure the fiscal health of a company, businesses must measure key performance indicators (KPIs). One critical measurement is determining the cost to acquire one new paying customer. For subscription base companies this model is known as cost per registration (CPR), or cost per acquisition.

The New York Times is in the media industry. In a simplistic model, the media outlet sells subscriptions as one of its revenue streams. For every subscription that the Times sells, some money is spent to cover the cost of advertising. Their net gain is the amount spent on advertising subtracted from the funds raised by the new subscriptions purchased.

No business can avoid this cost. To stop all advertising is to lose subscribers. Subscriptions cannot be attained without advertising. Yet, if there is no reliable consumer base, the Times cannot afford to spend money on ads.

Casual readers who have not purchased a subscription cannot be counted upon as a revenue source. Their inconsistency does not allow them to be relied upon for long-term sales. However, they can be persuaded to become subscribers. Special promotions that are tailored to their situation or lifestyle will increase subscription sales.

For example, repeat visitors to the Times’ website could be re-targeted for a free trial to the print version of the paper. If enough of these readers decide to continue with the service, the Times will have made more money in the long run. Or, existing subscribers could receive a discount flyer for the New York Times’ weekend edition. The revenue lost by giving a discount will hopefully be negated by a wave of new subscriptions.

A careful balance between advertisements and subscribers is the only way to maintain a successful, profitable business. If properly organized, any additional costs taken on in this model will be negated through sales revenues.