Blog : Marketing

Protect your brand identity

Protect your brand identity

Your brand is the most important asset your corporation possesses. More than money, more than real estate, more than anything – if your consumers cannot identify, define, or respect you, you are dead in the water. Protecting that brand is critical to every interface your organization faces. A brand defines your values, creates an emotional bond between yourself and your customer, and it is the anchor upon which you stand every single moment.

A plethora of voices

Anyone can jump on social media to criticize your products and brand. They can write a blog posting that ranks higher in Google’s search results than you’d like. Control has left the hands of the marketer. The issue is multiplied in the service industry, where review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Angie’s List – all designed to improve customer experience – can seriously threaten your brand’s credibility and identity.

The consumer has a direct voice to connect quality to value. Now branding efforts must address both macro and micromanagement strategies. Companies must be responsive to individual voices of dissatisfied consumers while focusing resources toward broader quality efforts and branding.

This is the price of doing business. Rightfully so, consumers can now put their mouth where their money is. The business community must do the same.

What can you do?

Successful companies leverage positive reviews into word-of-mouth advertising. This remains the single most effective type of advertising today.

If your company is being battered with negative reviews, what can you do? Here are a few ideas to start:

  • Find them. Use focused social media searches to discover what consumers are saying about your company. 
  • Respond diligently. Once you’ve found complaints, don’t just dismiss them. These reviews are actively read by consumers. Consumers are often more likely to embrace a review than an advertisement.  Respond to the feedback openly and solve the issue. Deal with it.
  • Improve. Don’t just make empty promises. Empty lip-service is the worst response you can provide to a complaint. If you have an issue, deal with it. If you get called on the carpet because of poor service – deal with it. If the customer is upset – deal with it. Don’t dismiss the complaint, resolve the issue. Even if it costs you a few dollars and a bit of time – solve the problem. At this point, damage from the mismanagement of a complaint only escalates.
  • Grow from your mistakes. Learn what the consumer wants. It’s that simple.
  • Take feedback. Make this an opportunity to improve your brand – your customers will thank you for it.

Contact Colure’s marketing team. Discover the art of crisis management. Learn from a team that can help you properly manage your corporate image.

Republishing content extends audience reach

Republishing content extends audience reach

Social media is arguably the most crucial outlet to market any product or service. Publishing content on the internet is only the first step to market penetration. The re-publishing or re-marketing of that original content allows for a more specific, finite placement in front of the target audience.

When a company publishes a post it might not initially receive the anticipated web traffic. The next step is to re-post that content onto another social media platform to provide exposure to a new audience. When an idea is marketed multiple times, on multiple platforms, that idea will begin to ‘grow legs’. The danger with reposting is that you do not want to earn the title of ‘spammer’ by an email system. If your reposting is qualified as spam, it will go straight into the trash. All of your republishing efforts will be lost.

Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin are all necessary platforms for a company to reach its audience. When you have successfully connected with your audience, you can begin marketing your company with a specific audience penetration. Pcdigitalmarketing.com had a few interesting words on how to republish across various social media platforms.

When republishing your content you need to keep all facets of the process in mind:

  • Understand the correlation between the frequency of your posting and platforms you are using. If you republish a post every hour on two different platforms, the audiences will probably react in different ways. A Twitter audience may not mind the hourly update. A LinkedIn audience may find that tactic annoying.
  • Develop a tactical move to advance your content. What is the specific reason for republishing? Are you going after a unique demographic which the original platform doesn’t engage? Answer the following questions in regards to your next media move – WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHEN and HOW?
  • When a company decides to republish, it should not repeat the same exact caption. The content title is used to draw in a reader. It should be written differently to keep the audience alive and excited.
  • If a company decides to repost content, they should know their audience and know how many times a day or week they should republish their post. It is important to republish to increase the audience, but also very important to be considerate of the audience.
  • Republishing is the perfect approach to spreading a message, as long as the person reposting knows when and how to proceed.
  • Most importantly, be sure that you are tracking the progress of your republishing with some format of web analytics. If you are not counting the specific hits – where and when they are falling, you are just shooting into a dark room with no idea as to any progress toward your goal.

Communication is an interactive process. Take the time to map the process of moving your message from you to your audience. To help you move your company’s message, contact Colure’s Project Managers.

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Creative social media campaigns are mandatory during the successful release of a new mobile application. During the software development process, the software team will design and create the new mobile app. A parallel process is the development of your social media campaign. This is how you will announce your new app to the world. Both of these efforts are mission critical to your application’s survival in the marketplace.

You must create a demand for your product. The development of momentum and interest in your project is an absolute must-do. Keep your audience focused upon only one thing – why they must have your app. While you create your social media campaign, your focus of purpose must permeate each and every action.

Key social media ideas for a mobile app campaign:
  • Each brand has a unique identity. The individual features that separate you from the completion are yours to use or lose. Be sure that you highlight those differences.
  • Stay consistent. As your media efforts crossover between various platforms and campaigns, be sure that you remain centered upon the original identity of your product. Move your campaigns around your product, not your product around your campaigns. If you lose the focus of your product’s identity, there is no possibility that your audience will ever be able to follow you.
  • Emphasize the benefits. Apps must be the solution to a problem. That problem may simply be avoiding boredom (solved with a game), finding information or saving money. By emphasizing benefits rather than features, you compel your audience to click through and download the app. Emphasizing the features of your app – such as its functionality or the speed at which it operates is important, but it will not create demand. Provide a solution to your user’s problem.
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Native Ads. In-newsfeed ads, especially on Facebook and Twitter, can be effective tools to promote your new mobile app. Detailed targeting methods allow you to push your message directly to a specific audience. Both Twitter and Facebook offer marketing solutions that are especially enticing for app developers. Twitter’s App Card allows you to add rich media beyond the 140-character limit. This extra media changes the presence of your ad, helping to persuade consumers that your app is right for them. Marketers can specify “App Download” as the goal of their native ad on Facebook, which allows them to track how many users downloaded their app as a direct result of the ad.

Your goal is to market the unique identity of your new application. Stay on task with specific goals for your project. Be certain that your media team is in perfect unison with your software development team.

Contact Colure to discover the union form and function. Our development team will bring your dreams to life.

The power of multimedia convergence

The power of multimedia convergence

The diversity of mobile devices has increased the way information is spread across society. No longer do individuals rely on only a single device as their data source. The increasing volume of mobile devices used by any one person allows individuals to constantly want to check the latest trends, follow the latest celebrity, or look at the latest technology across all their devices. The melding of media is starting to be practiced by many.

“Simply put, media convergence is bringing together different media platforms to support one single campaign or promote a product.” – Gerhard Jacobs writing for Target Marketing

What is the power of multimedia convergence?

A vast majority of consumers are cross-device users regardless of age demographic and mobile device usage is on the rise,” according to Millennial Media. Because information is at our fingertips and individuals have to have the latest technology trends in their hands, there is no secret that multiple device users exist. In addition, individuals are more likely to choose a mobile device over a desktop to search the internet or just for enjoyment.

Millennials (Gen Ys) have definitely changed the way individuals view information on the internet. These individuals are at the forefront of the way information is received and will definitely continue to pave the way marketing and advertising companies deliver their product or service to the general public.

Great power lies in combined media sources; it allows for different mediums to display and send the same message. Because of this overlap, individuals are prone to look at multiple devices throughout the day. The question becomes “Why not streamline those messages to show similar images and branding pieces?” From the public’s standpoint, the increased convenience of information provided by converged stories makes using the media a better experience.”

Why is this such a powerful tool for marketers?

Being engaging with the audience is something that every marketer needs to keep in mind when creating content. The audience wants to know the latest, up-to-date information about their favorite product or brand. By displaying the same message across different platforms at different times during the day/week will help reach different audiences at different times in different ways.

Industry revenue resources will drive the deliverance of the messaging and will help marketers to gauge how to reach different audiences on different platforms. Of course, the difficulty will come trying to figure out rotation of advertisements and trying to figure out the best times to display those advertisements.

So marketers are faced with a multifaceted chess game – how, where, and when do place your content in a dynamic marketplace? How do you reap the greatest ROI with constantly revolving players?

Programmatic media buying

Programmatic media buying

The ability to present the right advertisement, to the right person, at the right moment is priceless. Computers have forever changed the advertising landscape. They have brought together all of the key stakeholders in a place of efficiency and finesse. This is called programmatic media buying (sometimes simply referred to as ‘programmatic’). Its simple beauty is founded in highly complex math. This is the computerized, mathematical purchase and sale of advertising space in real time. Fluid and seamless; it presents seemingly effortless connections between the consumer, publisher, and advertiser.

It is more than just the computerized buying and selling of ad space. It’s an interactive relationship between all of the players in the online advertising world. One definition is “the automated method of buying digital advertising in which supply and demand partners make decisions on a per-impression basis and adhere to business rules as provided by the operators of each platform”. Defining the inter-relationships between the stakeholders can be difficult. A group of industry experts offered their insights to help define the process for the layperson.

Simply stated, this process levels the playing field for companies of all sizes. If two companies have the same amount of funds for advertisements, ‘Bob’s Key Shop’ can have the same market reach as a ‘Target’.

This process provides an established pathway allowing all parties to reach highly focused goals. Companies can focus their advertising budgets on an exact audience. If they need assistance in defining their target audience, they system provides the support and data to bring the parties together. Long gone are the guesses of “how do I get my audience to notice my business?” A focused approach delivers data-based results.

Programmatic has dramatically changed the marketplace for everyone. For clients entering the marketplace for the first time, the system is tremendously beneficial. “Programmatic buys are a good thing for our clients when it comes to paid media campaigns, (meaning SEM, display banners, desktop, and mobile marketing) along with traditional tv campaigns. It allows us to get inventory which normally wouldn’t be available to the client, at an affordable rate. It’s definitely a good thing for paid media campaigns.” – William Belle, Chief Colure Advisor.

The system hasn’t always been embraced by everyone in the marketplace. This response is from a blog posting from just five years ago:

“Sounds like another thing for large companies to spend more on staff figuring it out than they’ll ever make/save on ROI, and another thing for scammy marketing companies to sell contract services to small businesses. In 3 to 5 years, the fad will have passed, some lessons will have been learned and the smart businesses will come and implement changes and software then. My ROI is not a beta test.”

Over $46 billion will go to programmatic advertising in the US this year, according to eMarketer’s latest programmatic forecast—about $10 billion more than last year (2017). That means 82.5% of all US digital display ads will be bought via automated channels in 2018.

Some of the concern is based on who the end consumer may actually be. “There is some skepticism of Programmatics because we don’t truly know if a real human is absorbing the content,” says William Belle, Chief Colure Advisor. The focus and delivery are there, but it’s impossible to gain a definitive assessment of the message consumption. The fact that a human is still the ultimate consumer leaves a variable in the equation. The true level of message absorption can never be accurately measured. Like they say, ‘you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make ’em drink’.

Despite voices of concern, the marketplace performance of programmatic purchasing has been well established. The significant growth in market share has provided the viability that few question.

If you want to discuss entering the marketplace with your business, contact Colure’s project managers to see how programmatic media buying can assist your company.

CPE Engagement

CPE Engagement

As consumers change the way they interact with brands, so do the advertising strategies that market those brands. The most common model of advertising is still Cost Per Mille (CPM), in which the advertiser pays the publisher per every thousand impressions (viewings) the advertisement gets. Unfortunately, this model is becoming outdated. We’re bombarded with thousands of advertisements and brand exposures every day, all competing for our attention. With that said, the average person actively interacts with only 12 of those ads.

What is Cost Per Engagement Advertising?

Cost Per Engagement (CPE) is a combination between Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Cost Per Click (CPC) models of advertising. In CPA, the advertiser only pays the publisher when their ad leads to a sale (or acquisition). CPC works by paying per click on the advertisement. CPE acts as a hybrid between these two models, in which the advertiser pays per engagement with the advertisement.

Engagement refers to any active interaction with an ad. What counts as an interaction varies from advert to advert, and can be anything from pressing the pause button on an advertisement video to typing out a word.

Why use Cost Per Engagement Advertising?

  • CPE motivates users to interact with your brand instead of merely passively glancing at it. Whether the interaction is answering a question or sharing a post on social media, you can be sure that they’ve recognized and connected with your advertisement on some level.
  • CPE delivers accountability that other models cannot give. It guarantees you (the advertiser) that the user has interacted and connected with your brand, with no ambiguity.
  • CPE ensures that you get your money’s worth. By paying per engagement, you can be sure that you’re getting value for publishing your ad. If users aren’t interacting, you don’t pay.

In essence, the publisher is offering something valuable to the user in return for their interaction with your advertisement. Hulu, for example, offers users the ability to watch their favorite television series for free in exchange for watching 90 seconds of commercials. This is a particularly attractive deal when considering broadcast networks show an average of 13 and a half minutes of ads per hour.

CPE advertising can be highly effective, especially when paired with audience targeting. By finding the right publisher and efficiently targeting your audience, you can reach users in an innovative way that counteracts the selective attention of consumers.

Big Data Analyitics

Big Data Analyitics

The recent digital explosion has not just been limited to devices and mobile applications. The analysis of large sets of digital data is now more important than ever. The growth and practicality of digital analytics in recent years has made it more accessible for companies to take the leap into data mining.

Big data analytics allows you to assess large sets of raw data to reveal patterns, trends, unknown correlations, industry trends, consumer preferences and other valuable sets of information. You can take that valuable information and use if to generate new revenue, better service, and improved efficiency. Big data is very important because it can give companies the edge they need to give them a leg up on the competition. Leveraging data-driven strategies will lead to increased competition and innovation.

With Big Data, companies can acquire more in-depth knowledge about how their business operates, which in return can lead to improved performance and decision making. If you want to know the quantity sold of a particular product or service, you can track that with big data. If you want to know which products did not perform well you can track that with big data. If you want to the particular demographic of who bought your product or service, you can track that with big data. The possibilities are becoming endless. Amazon has been using big data to take their business to the next level.

The online retailer has been using big data to extract large amounts of data on consumer names, addresses, payments, and search inquiries. They also use this information to improve customer relations. Netflix has also used data analytics to find ways to improve their entertainment streaming service. They have an abundance of data that they use to provide insight when it comes to analyzing the viewing behavior of their subscribers giving them information n what content they should pursue and in which markets, both domestically and internationally.

To get ahead of the competition you have to understand where you are as a company and know how your company stacks up against the industry leaders. Big data analysis gives companies that opportunity to close that gap and create leverage for themselves. Big data, provides insight your market, your clients, and yourself.

Social media provides an opportunity to express your thoughts

Social media provides an opportunity to express your thoughts

Due to social media, a single person’s comment, tweet or like can be amplified on a global scale. No longer are you speaking into an empty space, that voice can be heard around the world.

Since the dawn of time, the way in which people interact and communicate continues to change. For July 2015, the top three social media outlets are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. People share their thoughts in various social platforms. With each form of social media, there is a different purpose, a separation between audiences.

In the world of business, understanding your company’s audience leads toward building a better business. In 2013, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth released a study evaluating the social media activities of the Fortune 500 list members. The study found that 77% of those companies are tweeting and 70% are on Facebook. There has been a heavy increase in blogging since 2008.

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” – Francis Bacon (1560-1626)

In 2013, Oreo Cookies capitalized on an unscripted moment in life. Over 111 million people were captivated, as they sat watching live TV. During Super Bowl XLVII, the stadium lights at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana went black. The power went out – the game came to a screeching halt. Within moments, a wise advertising professional sent out a tweet that captured that moment for their own corporate gain. Oreo sent out the now infamous “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet.

Social media has allowed customers and companies to communicate to each other, directly through a simple comment. Consumers demand companies be responsive to the concerns of their consumer base. Social media has made it easier for people to express what they like and what they don’t like. Being responsive to their customer base is now the expected norm for any company of any size.

Exlore your market potential

Exlore your market potential

A potential market is the sector of the market that you can gain in the future. People may not be buying from you at this time, but could potentially become customers. This audience might buy future products that are not made yet or buy improved products that may be branded more effectively in the future.

Identify your current audience within the potential market. Look outside of your current audience you may look at expanding the group that you already sell to, or find a new customer group that you never considered before.

It’s a good idea to identify the mediums where you can have the greatest effect on both finding and attracting your audience.

Here are three simple ways to identify potential market opportunities:

  • Check your numbers. Explore the history of popular search-engine queries related to your business, but for products or services that you don’t sell at this time.
  • Understand where your new audience “lives.” Use data from the US Census Bureau to identify the demographics to define your target audience. This understanding helps you understand your consumers and to see if a specific market would help you benefit from promotions.
  • Understand the mindset of the generation you’re trying to attract. See what motivates either a younger or older audience to include them as part of your audience. Think of how your business practices could attract the audiences you want.

Exploring new markets will help your business grow. Business owners must be able to focus on their new venture without neglecting their core business. Stay in control of everything without spreading your resources too thin.

In 2011, John Bentley launched his Lancashire-based portrait and landscape photography business FourTwoGraphs. He soon discovered that he was entering a crowded marketplace. “Photography is a very competitive local business, and I realized that to become better established I needed to do something different, and the answer to what that came from my customers,” John explained.

Diversification can open up entirely new market potentials but can be costly. Explore new markets and target customers who may not engage with your brand. Ignoring this group could be a costly exercise.

Market potential and opportunity can give your business the chance to grow and expand, but only if your team appreciates the focus and understanding of that potential.

Business transparency

Business transparency

Business transparency is the practice of making all company information available to the public. This can include anything from data to revenue to future plans, but the bottom line is that it’s available to everyone — customers, business partners, and employees. While transparency isn’t a new concept in marketing, its popularity continues to increase. In 2014, 68% of consumers said that business transparency was important to them. Just two years later, that number had jumped by 26%. Business transparency is becoming more of a priority for consumers, meaning businesses are starting to take a long look at shifting over to a transparent business model.

If you choose to offer more transparency to your customers, it might start off with the feeling that you’re airing your undergarments to the public. However, transparency has the potential to work miracles. In fact, a whopping 94% of consumers say that company transparency affects their likelihood of buying a product. Truth is, consumers are tired of being treated as “targets.” Business transparency shows your customers that you value them as humans and not as dollar signs.

One of the most well-known successes of a company utilizing transparency is McDonald’s Canada’s ongoing campaign, “Our Food. Your Questions.” The campaign aimed to debunk rumors regarding the quality and production of their food. The company has answered over 42,000 questions and increased customer trust by 46% since its launch.

Buffer went even further. Company transparency is such a core part of their values that they’ve even received some backlash. The company makes all of their information, from salaries to code to emails, open to the public. The result? An increase in revenue by one million in less than a year.

Other than the initial shock of baring it all for your customers, transparency marketing is one of the easiest ways to turn first-time customers into long-time returners, especially for small businesses. It builds the reputation of your company at no extra cost or manpower. Making company practices accessible and visible to customers develops brand loyalty and distinguishes you from the masses. Consumers today are slow to trust, so making information available to them from the get-go establishes rapport and assures them of your authenticity.

Integrity in marketing

Integrity in marketing

Marketing integrity is not just a virtue; it is a driver of choice. The main role of a marketing agency is to find ways to increase brand loyalty and customer sales for any given company, but a false advertisement could lead to a loss for the company.

In today’s society where fake news is everywhere, customers will stick with companies based on integrity and loyalty. Unless it is a last resort, no client will stick with a company that has lied to him or her. Yet, numerous companies have been known to be misleading in their marketing efforts.

In 2006, more than 75% of Opinion Research respondents said they preferred to buy from a company that operates ethically, even if they have to pay more. Yet how can an agency use expert writers to promote itself or provide clients with integrity? By taking a step back and analyzing their practice with these simple steps, a company can raise their loyalty and sales:

  • Prepare ahead by informing yourself, your staff, and your clients of the importance of integrity in marketing.
  • Look for evidence that integrity is important to a writer before you hire them, and emphasize that it’s important to you as well.
  • Give the writer only facts you can prove.
  • When reviewing a writer’s work, make sure that everything they say is true. A good writer will know how to phrase truth creatively, so the message is interesting as well.
  • When you find a good writer, commend them and keep going back to them with future assignments.

In his book, John Blumberg acknowledges that a great leader will take risks in not knowing and will be grounded with a core set of values, “we don’t go running away from our values, we go drifting away. And one day we wake-up in a place we never meant to be drifting in a direction we would never have chosen.”

The greatest loss of a company is the missed marketing of an unleashed set of core values. Customers base their choices on a guaranteed product. The false advertisement could lead to problems such as government agencies that have reportedly fined the pharmaceutical industry in excess of $3 billion in the past few years because of allegedly misleading marketing and sales practices. 

According to the adage, “A leading medical-device company admitted not long ago to failing to inform doctors about a potentially fatal flaw in their aggressively marketed heart defibrillators. The company’s stock price plummeted and the firm was eventually sold and rebranded”.

This could cause potential harm to the consumer but will cause more harm for the company. Integrity marketing is based on values that companies should abide by, yet not all feel that morals matter with business.

Real-Time Marketing and your audience

Real-Time Marketing and your audience

With technology changing daily, consumers’ need for immediacy has become an expectation. Communicating with your clients through social media isn’t just a leg up, it’s a necessity to keeping your company ahead of the game. Although real-time marketing has been around for a few years, its appeal kicked into top gear during 2016 with multiple social media companies introducing real-time sharing to their sites. These new features offer businesses a cheap and distinctive way to communicate with customers and deliver content of value.

What is real-time marketing?

Real-time marketing is a strategy that focuses on adapting content to fit with current events or timely topics. Before the recent influx of live video features, real-time marketing showed itself mostly through memes or Instagram photos. Now, you’ll see it more regularly through Facebook Live webinars or Instagram stories.

Why use real-time marketing?

Real-time marketing ultimately allows you to humanize your brand. It creates an organic feel to communicating with your clientele. Customers are seeing your brand advertised on the same medium that they see pictures of their niece or videos of an old friend on vacation. This unique aspect of real-time marketing creates an authenticity that you won’t get elsewhere.

How does real-time marketing work?

Real-time marketing primarily works through social media. It allows your company to respond to events or topics related to your product immediately. Although this doesn’t mean that it needs to be a lengthy blog post. Something as simple as sharing a photo can offer an authentic contribution to the conversation that creates a bond between the company and its customer. For example, when the power went out during the 2013 Superbowl, Oreo responded with a Twitter post: “Power out? No problem.” The attached image was just one oreo, spotlighted, with the tagline “You can still dunk in the dark.” The clever post received over 15,000 retweets.

Within the last year, Facebook and Instagram both introduced real-time sharing features, and more and more companies are taking advantage of this platform. In addition to helping build relationships with customers, using real-time marketing creates a sense of urgency, encouraging consumers to act immediately. Many major brands have benefited from this strategy. Marc Jacobs, for example, introduced its 2017 fashion line via live video streaming. Fortunately, you don’t need high-tech equipment or an endless budget to utilize this strategy. Social media alone can help you use real-time marketing to build company-client relationships and provide unique, diverse content.

How much time do we spend on mobile devices?

How much time do we spend on mobile devices?

Society is addicted to the use of their mobile devices. Developers and advertisers need to understand these behaviors to compete in the marketplace.

A recent study has shown that the average person spends 90 minutes a day on their phone. When added up, it amounts to 23 days a year. U.S. adults spend 20 minutes daily in apps, while only spending 11 minutes per day via mobile websites. Nearly 80 percent of social media time is spent on mobile devices.

Time is money.

According to emarketer, five trends will influence the amount of time spent on mobile devices:

  • Efforts to make the mobile web faster and slicker
  • Messaging apps evolving into platforms
  • Retailers investing heavily in mobile advertising
  • The rise of mobile video viewing
  • Upgrades to smartphone operating systems

There are now nearly more mobile phone subscriptions (seven billion), than people in the world. Those who have access to the Internet, access it with more than one device.By the end of 2010, mobile data had grown twice as much as voice data. From the beginning of 2014 to the beginning of 2015 mobile data usage grew 55 percent.

Consumers now own an average of five devices. The time that consumers spent on those devices grew slowly over the course of 2016.

Not all the time spent online is distributed equally across platforms, apps, and websites.

Companies have to compete for a single consumer’s attention across an average of five devices. The result is that publishers, brands, and business must accept that apps need to be designed for cross-device usage to get the attention they desire.

Contact Colure’s Project Managers to discuss your visions for successful software development and marketing to move your project forward.

Examine your User Experience (UX)

Examine your User Experience (UX)

A user experience is “the totality of the experience of a user when visiting a website”.

In recent years, improving the user experience (UX) has been prioritized by many companies. Shop Direct CEO Alex Baldock has said that when it comes to retail, “relevance wins”. A personalized online experience holds an appeal that is impossible to replicate in a physical store.

Recommendations or specific content based on details like previous purchases pique audience interest. This increases the likelihood of future visits and higher revenue. It adds a human element to the online experience.

Improvements in UX are intuitive. For example, an online retailer will learn to stop recommending winter coats to a customer if they begin to browse swimsuits. This kind of reactive change based on consumer behavior has been implemented by Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, LinkedIn, and nearly every other major online presence.

According to Invesp, retailers that utilize customer information to cultivate an individualized experience see a 56% boost in repeat sales. When done discretely, customers appreciate the increased ease of use that this provides.

Yet, 71% of companies do not use this technology. This is a missed opportunity for wider consumer appeal. In this crowded market, appealing to one’s audience over the competition is extremely important. Failing to adapt to new technology can lead to obsolescence.

The data harvested by mobile apps only heighten a company’s ability to tailor a personalized UX. Location-based advertising and push notifications allow for more opportunities to attract customers. Discovering when and how a customer interacts with your content help you to learn how to market to them. Targeted content helps your brand in becoming relevant to any user.

What consumers want most from a company’s online faction is ease of use. Flashy graphics and interactive content can be nice, but do nothing to simplify the experience. Your site or app only needs to succeed in selling itself. Working to create a user-oriented experience should be your main focus.

Advertising and the Olympic Games

Advertising and the Olympic Games

The 2016 Olympic Games are upon us. This year, Rio de Janeiro plays host to the world’s finest athletes. They have converged upon Brazil to discover who is the best-of-the-best. While this venue remains the largest stage for national pride, corporations have established a long history using these games to highlight their dominance in the advertising marketplace.

The history of these games date back as far as 776 BC, but the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 AD, appropriately in Athens, Greece. There, we saw the Olympic Games generating revenue through advertising for the first time.

Traditionally, the rules surrounding the relationship between athletes and advertisers were quite tight. During the Rio Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has provided more breathing room for advertisers. As a result of the negative feedback from athletes, regarding the advertising restrictions during the 2012 London Olympic Games, the IOC revised the restrictions contained in IOC Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter.

According to Rule 40, “except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer, or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture, or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games”. The rule was established to prevent over-commercialization, protect official Olympic sponsors, and focus on the athletes performances, not ads. Under Rule 40, only official sponsors had complete ownership of advertising during the Games. In addition, athletes were banned from tweeting or publicly mentioning their unofficial sponsors.

The Rule 40 revision still bars athletes from posting about their sponsors but allows unofficial sponsors to feature their sponsored athletes in ad campaigns during the Games. However, the ads cannot mention Olympic terminology. These terms include Olympics, Rio, summer, medal, victory, gold/silver/bronze, and performance.

Yet to qualify for these changes, U.S. athletes and unofficial sponsors had to submit waivers to the United States Olympic Committee by January 2016. In addition, the ads must have been in-market by March 27, 2016; for unofficial sponsors, this can be a problem. In order to stay relevant to the Games, those campaigns had to start in March and keep circulating until August. That can get extremely costly for brands, especially for small businesses.

Big corporations, like McDonald’s, Samsung, and Visa are all Rio official sponsors. These official sponsorships can cost as much as $200 million. This limited list of big brand sponsorships hold contracts with a select, few Olympians. The restrictions imposed by Rule 40 may do damage to the lesser-known athletes who don’t have as much recognition as other competitors.

During the Olympics, athletes tend to be at their earnings peak. Without being able to fully leverage their Olympian status, athletes cannot financially capitalize upon their global publicity. The Rule 40 change has allowed athletes and sponsors to think creatively on how to market themselves in ways that comply with the restrictions.

Under Armour, an unofficial sponsor, sponsors 250 Olympic athletes. The brand created a widely circulated ad with Michael Phelps that has been airing throughout the Olympics. The ad revolves around Phelps swimming to a song with the lyrics “the last goodbye”. The ad alludes to Phelps last Olympics while promoting the Under Armour brand. With Phelps’ Olympic prominence, it doesn’t matter that the ad is not an Olympic sponsored ad. The ad exudes Olympic undertones.

Although official sponsorships can use the Olympic ring logo and terminology, if an ad has a prominent Olympian people will think of the Olympics. Now that unofficial sponsors can now run ads with Olympians during the Olympic Games, the value of official sponsors may be devalued. With everyone on a more evenly leveled playing field, each marketing campaign fiercely competes to capture the consumers’ attention.

Projected advertising revenue trends for 2016 – TV vs. Digital

Projected advertising revenue trends for 2016 – TV vs. Digital

As new types of mobile devices are introduced, digital advertising and mobile app marketing are projected top television advertising trends and revenue in 2016. Previous advertising trends are becoming mundane as new kinds of technology are introduced to the public. Smart watches and virtual reality goggles have made their way into the mainstream. Users of all demographics are excited about them. Shifting mediums equate to shifting advertising markets.

The way in which information is delivered will be a driving force for the future of digital advertising. Device users are devouring both the flexibility and the speed at which information is provided. The choice of format and flexibility is driving users to change their buying habits.

Millennials

Millennials, also know as Gen Y’s, will shift advertising trends more towards digital than television. Prior generations had to park themselves in front of the tube to get their fair share of publicity. Millennials are taking those mobile ads everywhere, in every format. Marketers need to move their ads to where their audiences are going. Millennials like to be involved in a brand and a product. Advertising agencies can use this type of behavior to their advantage. “Millennials want their agencies to stand for something more than pushing products on consumers.”

Predictions

Forecasting trends and predictions are showing digital advertising surpassing television advertising. “Digital media will continue its meteoric rise. Digital ad spending will grow 17.2 percent this year, to nearly $160 billion, and 13.5 percent in 2016, and is expected to overtake TV as the biggest advertising category by the end of 2017,” according to Sydney Ember of the New York Times. One reason for this is how often an individual uses their mobile device. Advertising companies have taken full advantage of habits of consumers by engaging them where they spend most of their attention.

New Mobile Devices

Smart watches and virtual reality goggles are two of the new mobile devices to make their debut in the market recently. For something as small as a smart watch, advertising companies have taken advantage of it. “Smart watches advertisers grab consumers’ attention immediately, no matter what they are doing.” Even though it is a small space, advertising companies have utilized the space to their benefit. They have the ability to keep their brand/image fresh in the consumers’ mind by being able to consistently display ads on the smart watch. Companies will have to discover the users’ boundaries, learning to not overly advertise and annoy a consumer. Even though the medium is ready and available, doesn’t mean it should be overused. Be engaging, but not bothersome.

A new mobile “toy” debuting this year is the “virtual reality goggles.” These goggles attach to most smartphones and allow for a virtual world to be seen through the goggles. What is expected to rise out of the virtual reality world is a new evolution of video ads. Even though video ads are not new, many still think of them as time-consuming and irrelevant. However, Google is incorporating video-based advertisements in their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), rather than just pictures and text. By doing this, consumers are more susceptible to accepting video ads. Eventually, those ads will be second nature to users, not perceived as the annoyance they may be viewed as today.

2016 is proving to be a very exciting year for digital advertising. Millennials have set the stage for mobile advertising and will continue to do so for years to come. They want to be involved in the ‘life-cycle’ of a brand. Millennials want to be engaging with companies. This generation will lead the direction of new trends in digital advertising. As new mobile devices introduced, they will become a gateway to how mobile advertising will surpass television advertising. We will just have to wait and see how virtual reality and smart watch advertising will affect the future.

Advertising Budgets 2016: 4 Trends You Need To Know [Infographic]
Infographic
by MDG Advertising

Top Tech Conferences in New York City during 2016

Top Tech Conferences in New York City during 2016

As the forum for culture and innovation, New York City is the destination for all technology enthusiasts and professionals alike. Every year this bustling city hosts some of the country’s best tech and digital conferences. 2016 is definitely not an exception. If your interests span content marketing to all things digital, we have narrowed the endless list of conferences down to five diverse and spectacular tech shows you surely do not want to miss.

Five outstanding tech conferences in NYC for 2016:

Digimarcon: East – May 12-13

Held at the Crowne Plaza Times Square Manhattan, Digimarcon is the conference for digital marketers. With discussion topics spanning Content Strategy, Mobile Marketing, Targeting & Optimization, and so much more, Digimarcon is the tech show for attendees who want to develop better digital and overall business strategies.

Advertising Week – September 26-30

Spanning four days with over 95,000 attendees, Advertising Week is designed for Marketing and Advertising professionals with seminars and workshops drawing from all media industries – including technology, start-up, and agency communities. The gathering is an immersive experience in venues covering four city blocks, including The Times Center, NASDAQ, and Thomson Reuters. Featured speakers range from Warby Parker CEO, Neil Blumenthal, to Hip Hop artist Big Sean.

Ad:Tech New York – November 2-3

Headlined as the “event for modern marketing and media”, Ad:Tech is aimed towards a wide range of attendees. Located at The Javits Center, the conference gathers talent from the marketing, technology, and media communities. It brings them together to provide opportunities to share ideas and build strong relationships in the industry.

New York Business Expo and Conference – November 10

As the LARGEST business conference on the Northeast, the New York Business Expo and Conference is the perfect show for small to mid-size businesses looking to expand their networks. Sessions include essential topics such as Sales & Marketing, Social Media, Entrepreneurship, and more. The conference is located at The Javits Center in Manhattan.

Fast Company Innovation Festival – November 9-13

If you are looking for more than just tech talk and want an overall incredible gathering, Fast Company Innovation Festival is where you want to be. Over the span of three days all over New York City, the festival showcases the best innovations in business, design, entertainment, and technology. Innovation Festival was designed with creativity as its focus and features speakers in fields such as Music, Media, and of course, Technology.

Located right in New York City, these events are excellent opportunities to build a bigger network for your business and open many doors. There are always opportunities out there – you just have to go grab them! When you make it to the Big Apple, be sure to explore our home town, one of the greatest cities on earth! Happy 2016 everyone!

Ad blocking: Who will pay for the Web?

Ad blocking: Who will pay for the Web?

Display advertising has long been the driving financial force behind the Internet. Ads pay for the consumer’s seemingly endless appetite for the content they consume each day. The market forces created by profit margins and the ever increasing power of market leverage are staggering. Together, they have driven advertisers to peruse an ever-evolving set of techniques and technologies to grasp either the user’s attention or information.

A growing opinion amongst users is that internet advertising is out of control. It occupies too much space, data, time, and invades too far into our privacy. Users have now been given the opportunity to block most of the advertisements that fill their screens. A critical problem created by blocking all of those advertisements is that ‘no ads equal no cash flow.’ With this new shift in power, who will pay for the web? How will the current economic model of the internet survive?

At the heart of the issue lies the following dichotomy: while practically everyone wants free access to almost all internet content, they want to yield profits from their own internet endeavors. They don’t want to have to pay, however, they do want a pay-day. No matter how you cut it – there is no free lunch. If you are on the internet, you are paying a price to someone.

With this cost in mind, several questions come to mind. What is a just and equitable compensation for ‘free access’ to content?  At that point of full and just compensation, do the data harvesting and advertising behaviors of the advertisers change accordingly?

There is no question the internet is a capitalistic environment. Publishers should be compensated for their efforts and content. The question then becomes ‘what is a reasonable price for their product?’ Should users be given a price or simply subjected to endless mining of their resources and data simply in exchange for access to content? These questions have established a blurry synergy established between the users and providers. How many advertisements are enough? At which point has the consumer fairly compensated the publisher for the content they have consumed? When has enough data been mined?

In the past few years, a growing debate has given rise to the concerns of excess. It is virtually impossible to access any online platform without being, for the lack of a better description, attacked by advertising or silently data-mined. The scary part of the equation is that while consumers are aware of the advertisements that are flashed endlessly in front of their face, they have no clue as to the nature, amount, or depth of the data about that is silently harvested behind the screen.

Bluntly, this is the price of doing business. If you access the internet, you will pay the piper.

There is a growing backlash over the increasingly invasive nature of net advertising. At the forefront of this battle are two corporate giants – Apple and Google. One corporation has built their business model upon the mining of data, the funds generated through online advertising, and content management. The other has provided the consumer with the ability to limit the access of that reach.

The recent release of Apples’ iOS 9 and OS X operating systems include “content-blocking extensions” (AKA  “ad-blocking software”). If users can now effectively remove advertisements from the ‘free web’ who will pay the bills?

This clash of titans was eloquently described in a recent posting. I’ve posted an excerpt from it here:

The central philosophical dispute over ad-blocking goes something like this: Publishers have no right to force readers to be exposed to certain kinds of ads or allow numerous third parties to collect their information without a prior agreement; readers have no right to read or view content that they don’t pay for in one form or another, be it with money or data. What is not in dispute is that if ad-blocking becomes ubiquitous (and there’s nearly every reason to think that it will be!) it will be devastating for publications who derive much or all of their revenue from advertising—which comprises most of the professional publications on the internet. When Murphy first posted about “an hour with Safari Content Blocker in iOS 9,” he asked, rhetorically, “Do I care more about my privacy, time, device battery life & data usage or do I care more about the content creators of sites I visit to be able to monetise effectively and ultimately keep creating content? Tough question. At the moment, I don’t know.” (With the impending release of Crystal, it seems he’s resolved that tension.) When I spoke with Chris Aljoudi, lead developer on uBlock, an extension that tells users how many third-party scripts are active on a webpage, and asked how sites should sustain themselves if all of their ads are blocked, he replied, “I’m not an expert on whether it’s a business model, I don’t think we need to know as developers of a tool like this.” Even if they don’t have solutions, “users need to be able to control what they are forced to come across,” Aljoudi said, using the example of nytimes.com, a website for which no known mandate of visitation exists.                                                                                                                                                                                                      – Casey Johnson writing for theawl.com

In order to provide “free access” to content, publishers rely upon heavily inserting code scripts that too often invade users space, take control of the window, or harvest an unknown amount about data about the user. Providers do this to pay the bills. A broader question for everyone is ‘how and when can equity be found for all parties at the table?’

At Colure, we are well aware of this consternation and provide a balanced approach to advertising:
The way we differ from our competitors is that we help our clients with a balanced advertising portfolio. Within this picture, display or PPC advertisements would only be a single component of the greater picture. We also recommend SEO, app store optimization, blogging, syndicated or sponsored blogging with influencers. Digital PR is critical; let us not forget our recommendations for social media with content management. At the end of the day, we move forward to find a proper, working balance between the needs of our clients and those of the public.

Communications with your client and their customer base is an ever evolving game of chess. If you would like to discuss your project needs, contact our project managers.

To many, video is the king of content.

To many, video is the king of content.

Chris Trimble, writer for The Guardian asked, “If it were five years in the future, would you be reading this article or would you be watching it?” Good question. Today, video is being selected by users as the preferable format of content on social media. “In 2015, video is predicted to dominate as the social media content format of choice.” In August 2014, Facebook surpassed YouTube in the number of video views via desktop according to ComScore. It’s important to note that YouTube still has more views on mobile apps and across all devices. As of September 2014, Facebook attracted a billion video views per day, a roughly 30-fold increase since July.

Video content is critical to anyone building a business or brand, big or small. Video has the ability to entertain and inform in a short amount of time. Currently video usage, “more than half of companies are already making use of video”. According to a Neilsen Neilson study, not only will 70% of brand marketers increase their usage of social media, but 64% of individuals indicated that video content will dominate mobile advertising strategies in the future.

As the information overload continues to pile on, the use of video will continue to play a vital role in relaying more information in a short amount of time. On many platforms, video is already a necessary format of content. Today we have the likes of Youtube, SnapChat, and Vine. All of these platforms depend upon video to deliver their services to their customers.

Most individuals use the internet to interact, consume or create information. How we choose to use the tools available to us will be critical to our success as storytellers.

“Mobilegeddon” and Google’s algorithm update

“Mobilegeddon” and Google’s algorithm update

On April 21st, 2015, Google will release a major update to their search engine algorithms, significantly expanding the role of mobile-friendliness. This is widely considered by many, to be one of the largest game-changing events in the history of internet analytics. The announcement was made officially on Google’s blog in February of this year.

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

Mobile access has already dominated the marketplace. Companies who have not integrated a mobile-mentality into their marketing plan are already being hurt because of the lack of customers who can view their website. The new shift in search results could significantly limit the remaining market share available to these companies. Companies without a mobile design will drop dramatically in the search engine rankings.

The purpose is to be sure that companies are adopting a mobile-friendly mentality to meet the expanding demands of the consumer. This event is about more than just having website with a Responsive Web Design. This is about companies embracing an entirely different mentality toward their marketing efforts. Next week’s shift will be monumental in the marketplace.

The event is significant enough to have been dubbed “Mobilegeddon” within the industry. This change will firmly establish what the industry already knows – mobility is not an “option”. It is a “must have” feature at the core of every application. The cost benefit of this move will re-enforce what many companies are already experiencing. Those who have not embraced the mobile movement will pay a significant price for not keeping up with the demands of the market and the consumer.

What will be changed? Google is keeping that a pretty tight secret. However, a recent post by Cindy Krum and Emily Grossman of MOZ, provides one of the best explanations I’ve seen of the upcoming changes. They discuss, in depth, how this will affect you and your company.

To assist companies in gauging these changes, Google has provided a test page for you to check your website’s mobile-friendliness.

Whether or not you have already modified your marketing plan, website and approach to mobile-friendliness, there’s an outstanding chance that next Tuesday should be pretty interesting. It’s sure to grab the attention of many CEO’s and stockholders.

Contact Colure’s Project Management Team to discuss your mobile concerns.