Posts

From Content Marketing to Story Advertising?!

Managers around me get confused about the trend content marketing. What exactly is, and where does it start? A promoted tweet? A long branded status update? An advertorial? Promoted or sponsored content? A commercial that does story-telling? I have decided to discuss this a bit when I came across a great commercial yesterday as Pepsi turns the tables these days again.

But let’s start with another commercial that AUDI launched at Super Bowl this year called “Prom”. Watch it first, so you know what we are talking about. Cool commercial. Nice story. Well thought. No doubt…

Many digital experts defined this in posts or in their presentations at marketing events as content marketing. Somehow, they might have been right as it is telling a story with a beginning, a turning point and an end. And it is not just a well-produced commercial highlighting a product. It is not focused not on pure selling or promoting it.

Former commercials from Volkswagen “Star Wars”, Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” or Blendtec’s ongoing series of product tests on Youtube already went towards the content marketing direction. In their line of mention, they were evolving from a traditional commercial into some form of viral advertising series. These clearly differed from the AUDI commercial as their story-telling was neither epic, nor f(r)iction.

Now, Pepsi comes up with some really clever advertising approach in my eyes. And the question I would like to raise is: Is this content marketing or story advertising?

Most of us have seen the movie “Blues Brothers”. In that film, Elwood must reunite the old band and go on another “Mission from God”. Based on that plot, the Pepsi MAX commercial series gets their food.

After introducing Uncle Drew in the first commercial, the second series starts with a conversation between Uncle Drew and basket ball legend Bill Russell (well played by Morgan Freeman) who sends him on a mission “Get out there and get your team together again!” He shall teach the young boys how to “get buckets” – the claim of the series.

First Commercial

Second Commercial

The third commercial just recently came out and takes this form of story advertising to another level. Uncle Drew visits an underground jazz club in downtown Chicago to convince his old point guard “Lights” to re-live their glory days on the court. Although his wife disagrees, he gets his friend to go out again. What happens thereafter? Just watch it…

Obviously, players and spectators at the basketball courts in all three versions were told that they would be filmed for a “basketball documentary”. However, they enjoyed some special show of basketball magic by Kyrie Irving.

Spot On!
Story advertising could become a new form of content marketing. Pepsi MAX doesn’t even play a supporting actor in these films. It is a series around a brand, but the brand is not the star. It is there but just doing what it’s meant to do: Max taste – sugar-free. Pure enjoyment. By creating a series of commercials with main characters coming back, a real plot around a team reunion, and some really extraordinary testimonials doing what they can do best, consumers feel like being somewhere between the movies and the sports stadium. Illusions made real. They will be waiting for the next part to come out, and hope they become part of it. It’s branded content but not in a traditional way. It is like “24” or “Mad Men”, just in the commercials. It creates excitement for the next version, engages the audience to talk about basket ball (the sports that Pepsi MAX spends their marketing bucks “buckets” on), and will become viral. This is a new dimension. This is what I would call: Story Advertising.

PS: Maybe they could have left it open until the last version when the team is together again, how Pepsi did this human transition. But that is my view, how about yours…?

dmexco 2013 – Flashback in Tweets & Quotes

dmexco 2013 Women Leadership Paneldmexco 2013 is over.

The growth trend of the digital marketing show is impressive and continues to write a promising history.
Visitors: 26.300 – increase by 16% compared to 2012
Exhibitors: 742 – means over 164 exhibitors more than 2012
International attendance: approx. 25% of visitors and of exhibitors
Satisfied visitors: More than 80% were happy with the event and exhibitor presentations

Future of Digital Marketing
1. “The era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead. It’s now just brand building.” Marc Pritchard, P&G http://bit.ly/15eHlWR (Tweet by Armando Alves) – Watch Closing Keynote Day 1

Future of the Moment
2. “Twitter is a reflection of our individual and shared moments, which is why it gives all of us, including brands, the opportunity to engage and to act. In short, it allows us to be in the moment.” (Quote by Katie Stanton) – Watch Closing Keynote Day 2

Future of Programmatic
3. “The client defines the value, not the agency. #Programmatic helps us capture the value,” says Arun Kumar” (Tweet by IPG Mediabrands) – Watch Programmatic vs. Problematic

Future of Content Marketing
4. “Great discussion on the role and meaning of content marketing in the Debate Hall of @dmexco” (Tweet by Roza Tsvetkova) – Watch Content Marketing Debate

5. Future of Creativity & Innovation
“Adding value is to make the complex simple” says Laura Desmond. I agree! #dmexco” – (Tweet by Simon Harris) – Watch Laura Desmond!

In another year as a co-moderator of the dmexco conference program, it was a great honor to moderate
the “Women Leadership Table” for the second time – this year Denise Colella (Maxifier), Noelia Fernández Arroyo (Yahoo!), Anne Frisbie (InMobi) and Ashley Swartz (Furious Minds) attended. Thank you ladies, you were smart and know why analytics, mobile, social, and content seed the future of brand success.

The moderation of the panel “Realtime Branding” (Social Media) was a great pleasure for me. Here we had Sarah Wood (Unruly), Surjit Chana (IBM), Brian Goffman (LinkedIn), Holger Luedorff (Foursquare) and Markus Spiering (Flickr/Yahoo!) at the dmexco bar table. Learnings? If there was a network with a limitation of 50 words, they would be able to manage it perfectly. Just watch the debate until the end to get their expert view on what you as a marketer should invest in to leverage social media.

Spot On!
The challenges for brand marketers haven’t changed massively since 2012. Big Data is still rocking and not yet fully understood in companies in terms of how to make use of it in the future. In case they are seeing the benefit, they still need to hope for a value chain between publishers, agencies and the LUMAscape players to cope with the evolution of adtechnology – and some will still try to find an agency to manage the data for them. Marketing and cloud services might become a new opportunity to analyse and measure the data for a clever strategy between going to market with long-term “content strategy” (community, monitoring, pull) and the short-term “campaign” (banner, SEO, push) approach – whether in social commerce, mobile or social. The digital future will remain exciting – stay tuned.

Looking forward to the next dmexco in Cologne, September, 10. and 11., 2014 – CU there!

B2B: What data lead generation should deliver to marketers

In an era where Big Data rules in many companies’ marketing departments, it is interesting to see where pay-per-lead marketers see the best value in. A recent survey by Business.com conducted in May 2013 of 500 active pay-per-lead advertisers (with SMB market focus) states that most B2B marketers value a buyer’s purchasing time horizon as the most important data point they want (51%). The problem is: They often cannot get that data set.

The second most important data point for leads is the employee size figure of the buyer’s company (31%) which these marketers say would be extremely valuable to get. In the third place comes the industry sector (29%) and then the job title of the business decision maker (20%).

Business.com 2013 Content Marketing Leads
As shown here and here in different other studies, the survey concludes that content marketing becomes more and more valueable for lead generation.

More than half of the people responding (51%) the study said that leads generated via whitepapers are valuable or extremely valuable. Webinars are also on the rise with 34% responding that leads from hosted webinars that feature their company or products are valuable or extremely valuable. Leads generated via sponsored email still find their interest among B2B marketers. Still, 38% stated these are valuable or extremely valuable, followed by case studies (38%) and video (35%).

Business.com 2013 Webinar Leads

Spot On!
If we think of the “old BANT process”, the study lacks some answers and findings in terms of making us understand the importance of budget in these days. Not surprisingly though, the study still mentions that 42% expressed strong interest in “hot transfer” leads (connecting companies immediately with leads as they come in) which probably are most promising in terms of fast lead conversion. When 60% see lead scoring as essential for the lead generation process, individual leads still is assigned a score reflecting the likelihood of a response. Maybe this should serve an answer on the BANT budget topic. For me that was not quite clear though.

SO, what would be your answer: IS the BANT process still valid? And what data set would be important to your sales process?

5% of negative online reviews are deceptive, finds MIT study

© carlos castilla - Fotolia.com

© carlos castilla – Fotolia.com

We all know that ratings, reviews and recommendations -the 3 R’s of the social consumer- rule the modern world of shopping and our daily customer journeys. When we are trying to figure out the coolest holiday hotel, the latest gadget or the cheapest flights, people tend to rely on what online reviews tell them before purchasing whatever they are longing for. Online reviews make a big impact on our life and happiness, and turn the customer journey into a big secret. Nielsen and Forrester have shown in their studies how we find trust in brands and products, and reviews play a significant role in the purchase decision-making processs.

But what if reviews are simply wrong, or bought from people that don’t flag these reviews as hidden content marketing derivates? Years ago, we might have asked our friends or close people where to go for dinner, what music tape to buy, or which book to read, we now just go online and read what some foreigner might have said. No matter which mentality this person has, which preferences, which background, which age and gender. The 3 Rs make our decisions easier, we think.

Although we might have all guessed it, the proof of wrong online reviews now comes with a study from the MIT and Northwestern University that examined over 400,000 reviews in 6 months. The study states that many reviews were simply deceptive, untrue or even written by people who never tested or bought the product or service. In 5% of all negative reviews people get paid to hype products. Most of these people are writing bad and often untrue reviews but are actually newcomer to the business they are talking about. 

The good part of this study is that the study offer some advice for us and tells us how to detect deceptive story-telling.

“What is most compelling is most reviews tend to be too detailed. Another easy clue look for is repeated use of exclamation points. Two, three or four for emphasis, is often associated with deception,” Eric Anderson, Northwestern University Professor and co-author of the study said. “At the end (of the study) we concluded that many of the negative reviews came from customers who were trying to act as self proclaimed appointed brand managers.” Anderson summed up.

Spot On!
However, many reviews might be untrue or bought, it is probably a good way to try to understand what negative reviews are basically saying and balance it against positive reviews. Seeing the positive reviews makes us get out of the bad tonality which often is simply based on anger and frustration around bad services and untrue or bought reviews. And the more people are trying to dive deeper into the intention and personality of the reviews, the faster they might detect if the review is deceptive.

“Really what you have to do is read a lot of them. Don’t just read the 2 or 3 negative ones which may or may not be real–read alot of the reviews.” Ken Bernhardt, former Professor of Marketing, Georgia State University

Questioning banner efficiency? Native ads perform better than banner ads, says eye-tracking study

A recent eye-tracking study called “Benchmarking the Effectiveness of Native Ads” states that the visual attraction of native ads (52%) is more frequent than with traditional banner ads. The study which used eye-tracking tools was conducted by Sharethrough and the IPG Media Lab with the aim to identify the impact of banner ads of top brand on the web.

The main findings of the study were..
– 71% of respondents described native ads -based on the fact they had previously had a purchase intent- as “personally identify with”; this number stands against only 50% for banner ads
– 32% of respondents argued that a native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend or family member”. However, only 19% would do so with a banner ads
– 25% of respondents looked more on in-feed native ad placements than on banner ads
– Native ads achieve a 18% increase in purchase intent versus banner ads that get a 9% upside for brand affinity. 

Number-views-native-banner-ads-Sharethrough

Spot On!
The interesting point about this study or me was that native ads and editorial content move closer to another. Almost the same percentage of respondents said they looked at native ads (26%) next to editorial content (24%). However, they potentially spend more time viewing the content still compared to native ads.

Engagement-native-ads-content-Sharethrough

Is this another proof for the fact that content marketing is increasingly becoming important and moving in the spotlight of companies and brands? Maybe the infographic helps you find an answer to this question…

Native-ads-vs-Banner ads-infographic-sharethrough-2013

Study: Content Marketing – a challenge? B2B hiding behind false excuses…?

We had written about a Curata content marketing survey some months ago. Now, I came across another research which is making it’s way through the web, and I am glad as I have been asked at a University St. Gallen event for some new insights on the topic today.

The Content Marketing Institute’s 2013 benchmarks shows what the challenges for marketers are: producing enough content (64%), producing the kind of content that engages an audience (52%), or producing a variety of content (45%).

Sounds like we have heard that before, right…?

If you think lack of budget is still the issue, you might find yourself being in the wrong corner. Just 39% of the respondents said that they lack budget. Furthermore, traditional restrictions and limits like buy-in/vision (22%) or finding trained content marketers (14%) is falling out; not even senior level buy-in is their biggest challenge (7%).

All lies? Well, seems like that… And when just 14% say, they are having problems hiring in this field, i would suggest some clever journalists or PR managers have found a way to market themselves.

Challenges For Content Marketing 2013So, a questions arises that also came up today in my moderation: What is the real issue, why marketers don’t challenge the content marketing business?

We have probably all heard what Outbrain told us today in their speech that push is the new pull, advertising becomes marketing, creation the modern editorial, campaigns are the always-on of tomorrow which makes sprints the new marathons. Still, the question is whether marketers understand why this should become the new budget engine for a change in an emerging shift towards content marketing and away from advertising?! Maybe marketers need to understand what makes them a media-house? Content curation, distribution and measurement might be more of a big bang theory to address…

Measurement for B2B Content Marketing Success 2013Spot On!
The challenge might actually arise in the definition where content marketing gets propelled. Many marketers see still search engine advertising (SEA) their wholly grail. If companies get turned around into SEO engines, the whole result-driven aspect of the fluid content marketing world would not be questioned any longer. It just depends on getting the right people engaged inside the office and to find the commitment that lets the formerly outsourced world stand in the shade. And have companies ever understood the value of content? Content is not a test budget! It is an attitude towards business, towards communication, towards social business. Or have you ever put into question why you send out newsletters, flyers, whitepapers, or even company brochures? Blogs, status updates, tweets… written in an intelligent way, is increasing the way your conversations will arise…

Are you really hiding in the content marketing fields, marketers – or is it a real challenge…?

Study: Content Marketing is becoming big in B2B, focus is shifting…

A recent study by Curata identified the main drivers of content marketing activities in B2B companies. The findings are based on Curata’s poll of 465 B2B marketing professionals in October 2012 from business owners, VPs of Marketing, CMOs, managers, marketing consultants and agencies.

The study explains that content marketing continues to become more and more important for B2B marketers. However, the drivers for content strategies are shifting towards thought leadership and market education.

The results show that 87% of responding B2B marketing professionals use content marketing for business goals targets (5% increase to 2011). Content marketing gets followed by SEO (67%) and event marketing (60%) as further leading channels in marketing strategies in 2012.

Further findings of the study show that although engaging customers (81%) has top priority for their content marketing efforts, thought leadership and educating the market are increasing in their importance for the business. More than half of B2B marketers (56%) state thought leadership as a key objective (13% increase to 2011). Also, educating the market (47%) increased by 3% to last year. Just 24% see SEO as a key objective (still a 5% increase to last year). Former top marketing tactics (print/TV/radio) went down from 32% to 26% this year.

Spot On!
Lead generation is still one of the key marketing goals for B2B marketers according to the survey. Most B2B marketers (82%) see driving sales and leads as their top marketing goal. Establishing thought leadership (42%), increasing brand awareness (40%), or increasing Web traffic (32%) follow in the next places. Content curation is also getting traction as the next step in content marketing. 57% of B2B marketers see it as an important evolution step. However, content curation is in it’s infancy when only 34% of curating content marketers have done it since six months or less. Quite scary I found that a staggering 43% of B2B marketers don’t measure the efficiency of their content marketing efforts. I found interesting that the topic brand advocates was not on the spot in terms of content marketing in this study.

Nielsen study: People trust in peoples' word of mouth

Now, I have used this Nielsen graphic in seminars and conferences for two years and always wondered when the next study is going to be published.

Finally today, I came across the latest Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report. And again, the results are similar to what they where back in 2009. People still don’t trust advertising. Well, let’s say… at least not as much as they trust recommendations from people they know like friends, family and peers. However, it is still somehow scary to bear in mind that people trust consumer opinions expressed online… very often without verifying who say what in which scenario and which stage of life.

According to the Nielsen findings, which surveyed over 28,000 Internet people in 56 countries, 92% of the respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. This equals an increase of 18% compared to 2007. Consumer opinions posted online come in at the second place of most trusted source. Of the consumers surveyed globally, 70% indicated they trust messages from online platforms. This makes up an increase by 15% in the last four years.

Publishing houses and platforms still get a lot of trust from their users. Editorial content (58%) finished in the thread place, just before branded websites (58%), and opt-in emails (50%). The traditional platforms for advertising like print, television, and radio are significantly lower from a trust point of view. The drop in value since 2009 goes down by 24%.

Spot On!
The results show the importance of content marketing carrying the truth about your company, brand or products. Openness, authenticity and transparency are still rated very high amongst your customers. They want to “know what they get”. They want to engage with you but also being told the truth if there is something bad or uncertain to say about brands and their development. And above all they want you to respond to their input. They want you to give them some attention, some feedback, some credit for the time they spend. Then you will earn their trust, and then they will share your voice.