Posts

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.

Things that connect us – Facebook started first ad campaign

If you think that Facebook is all about sharing, then you might reconsider this in your marketing plans. Below you can find Facebook’s first advertising campaign with the title “The Things That Connect Us”.

The campaign will be rolled out in over 13 countries around the world. Why Facebook starts going the commercial route? Well, maybe Facebook has got to after their stock market experience. Or maybe they are simply celebrating the 1 billion users by looking back at the physical things that connect us. And with the simple message that Facebook is now enabling the same.

The 90 second production seems to me more like a “branding supporter” than a typical advertising campaign. It is telling us how we are utilising chairs, doorbells, bridges, airplanes to showcase the things that connect people around the world.

Interested to see your views on the video and what you think about them going back in the advertising age…

Social Media & Customer Service? Companies have got 60 minutes max. to react

Many companies and brands are asking themselves (and us): “How fast do we have to give some feedback or answer when somebody is pinging us on Facebook, Twitter and the likes?” Or: Do we have to give some feedback on the weekends? And the answers we have heard were quite astonishing. Many managers in companies still think they have got a day or two to reply to their customers – whether they are speaking with them on email or on one of their realtime streams. Many test we have done so far, have shown us that most companies don’t react at all, some not on weekends, and some after one or two days. Be sure, if you offer your clients a realtime channel, they will use it – and they don’t care if the problem comes up on a weekend or not.

In a recent research by Convince and Convert we can find some clean answer now: 42% of the respondents expect an answer in the first 60 minutes! What comes even worse for companies: 57% want the some reaction time no matter what time of day it is or whether it is a Saturday or Sunday. In total, 67% expect some response by companies in the someday.

Still, many companies don’t have the right resources to satisfy their customers Social Media expectations. And there are many reasons for it: not enough resources, lack in modern process management or lack in technical establishment. Some companies started mentioning their opening hours in the info or biography fields which kind of makes sense and becomes a state-of-the-art workaround for the interim period until companies understand what a full-fledged social business with proper community management means. And this definitely goes away from the “9-to-5” workplace we know from our fathers.

Spot On!
The main challenge for companies and brands is to find out what the deeper demand of the status update, the comment, the review or a rating is. Remember the 3R’s? In the end, what we have learned years ago, is that people want to have the feeling someone is taking care of them immediately. This does not essentially say that companies or brands have to supply the best possible answer or solution. Many managers have still not understood the fine difference between these topics.
What we would like to know is: Do 60 minutes feedback time make sense? Should we try to be more patient as users? Is a quick feedback really that important if our lives are not depending on it? You give the answer…

Study: Largest global corporates get over 10 million mentions a month; Twitter rocks, YouTube grows massively

Companies in the Fortune Global 100 get a total of 10,400,132 online mentions in a month. Twitter is the catalyst for them as it generates the majority of these mentions. However, YouTube is the rising star this year. This is the main findings of the third annual Burson-Marsteller Global Social Media Check-Up, which also includes new data provided by Visible Technologies.

The study states that the majority of the big corporates (87%) are using at least one of the major social platforms. The main growth can be seen at YouTube with 79% of companies now using a branded YouTube channel (57% in 2011). The average performance figures showed more than two million views and 1,669 subscribers. The development is illustrating the importance of integrating original multimedia content that can be shared on the social networks.

Twitter is still the rock-star among the popular social networks in terms of corporate usage. 82% of Fortune Global 100 companies have at least one Twitter account with an average mention of 55,970 times on the 140 character platform. The importance of Twitter ca be seen in the fact that stakeholders are following global companies closely.

Compared to 2011, the average number of followers per corporate Twitter account almost tripled to 14,709 from 5,076. On Facebook, the average number of likes per company page has increased by 275% in two years to 152,646 likes this year.

“People want to interact and connect with these major companies, and these platforms are the bridge directly to the heart of these organizations. What’s even more impressive is how much companies are engaging back with followers. Seventy-nine percent of corporate accounts attempt to engage on Twitter with retweets and @-mentions, and 70 percent of corporate Facebook pages are responding to comments on their walls and timelines.”
Burson-Marsteller, Chief Global Digital Strategist, Dallas Lawrence

Some more findings of the study…

– Fortune Global 100 companies have an average of accounts of: 10.4 Facebook pages, 10.1 Twitter accounts, 8.1 YouTube channels, 2.6 Google Plus pages and 2.0 Pinterest accounts.
– 74% of companies have a Facebook page
– 93% of corporate Facebook get weekly updates
– 48% have joined Google Plus
– 25% are on Pinterest

And whatever else you might want to know about the Top Global 100 you can find here, or within their infographic….

At Mercedes augmented-reality lets gestures communicate

Some weeks ago, we have discussed the opportunity for car manufacturers with in-car internet access that KPMG sees as the “norm” in the near future. If this is to come true, then concepts like the Mercedes’ Dynamic and Intuitive Control Experience (DICE) is not far of, and the car windshield might get potentially more impact in terms of delivering essential contextual driving information.

The system was shown at CES for the first time and seems not to be too far away bearing in mind that we have seen smart windows from Samsung that become TV screens. Wether this is fiction or reaality soon, I definitely like the idea and the vision that Mercedes has…

The car manufacturer envisions complete new data transfer through windshields like seeing who is driving in front of you or getting relevant traffic data or restaurant tips. What sounds promising, might also become a challenge for the driver who needs to avoid being distracted by all that data. The Mercedes concept touches all new technology options that we know from smartphones and tablets in favor of gesture-based controls that communicate information while driving.

“With the DICE sculpture Mercedes-Benz provides a visionary perspective on how the vehicle becomes an intelligent mobility partner in the future. For this Mercedes-Benz uses a combination of Augmented Reality and natural gesture control to realize a completely new form of communication between people and their environment.”

Well, just have a look and decide if you like it or not..

Pay a Blogger Day – How to reward a blogger's work?

Have you ever paid a blogger? Paid for your content love? I mean not for writing some good PR for your business. Just for them being bloggers, sharing valueble content, thoughts, ideas, and providing new food for thought. In some days you can do that. The “Pay a Blogger Day” is here to come. Some thoughts that came to my mind with it…

Some months ago, Flattr started their outreach program to bloggers. And some months ago, they were on their way to revolutionize the monetization of blogs. Those days, the Flattr button went live on my blog, and in every post. I rewarded blog posts, and got some rewards. Just the way Flattr works. They had the idea for the “Pay a Blogger Day”.

On Flattr Cents pass from bloggers to bloggers to… Well. Companies never paid anything. They have the biggest budget pockets though. And I asked myself if bloggers want companies to engage in the monetization process, or if reputation is of higher value for them. And why should companies pay a blogger for something they produce for free. Still trying to figure that out…

Some blog posts generated some Cents immediately through Flattr, never enough for some nice ice-cream in a week though. Somehow the activity to “donate” for a well-written piece of thought or idea felt like an act of charity. Some Cents felt like a pat on the shoulder. Sometimes, I discussed with bloggers if that is encouraging, or frustrating? Every blogger argued differently about this gesture. Many were not convinced. I have seen not many buttons on blogs since.

And often when I wanted to spend some Cents, those bloggers did not use Flattr. So, my reward for them often ended in a Retweet. Maybe Retweets are the killer of positive blog comments

The main problem many bloggers saw in Flattr was that it will be challenging to get attention for this payment theory outside the bloggosphere. Sounded like: “Bloggers will pay themselves and thus reward their work within an inner circle of the blogging community.” One of the reasons why I finally decided to remove the button from my blog.

Now, Flattr starts -in cooperation with Bambuser, Twingly and Posterous– the “Pay a Blogger Day!” on November, 29th. They intend to start a movement with the mission “Give something back to bloggers!” A good idea…

How to reward a blogger’s work?
If I may inspire you -companies, marketers and managers- with reward opportunities for bloggers, then maybe you want to read this…

a) Companies that have used shared knowledge to improve their business could write a reference quote for the blogger why and how they benefit from reading a blog. It could be a comment, tweet or a blog post on their blog. Just be creative…!

b) Managers that have used shared knowledge for their career purposes could send a present when they think the blogger has deserved it (does not need to be on the “Pay a blogger day!”). A flower (digital or real), a freebie of your products or an invite to a paid for workshop about corporate blogging. And hey, chances are high, bloggers might write about it. Just be clever…!

c) Marketers that have used shared knowledge for their campaign ideas could start thinking about whether they shovel money into a print grave, rely on TV reach or hope for radio commercial payback. Maybe they want to start sponsor a blogger who is worth it as they act like brandvangelist, testimonial or brand advocate for a brand or company. And why are not many marketers trying to make use of bloggers in the offline world? Just be curious…!

d) Followers, fans, “plusers” and bloggers that have used shared knowledge could start discussing the monetization of their work in an authentic collaborative manner. Do you want banners ads, text links, affiliate programs, brand advocate prgrams, or…? What is authentic blog monetization? Or is it reputation only? In short: money, products or reputation currency like Floout.me?

Here is how Flattr wants to inspire you to reward a blogger…

Think about the thoughts and then start acting! I am sure, bloggers know how to say “Thank you” and all bloggers would love to see some of these rewarding opportunities. Right…?

Cost per User – the next digital currency?

The discussion about the best advertising currency is long-lasting. It may never be ending. Still the discussion needs to be continued. The web publishing space had all the options on the table: cpm, cpi, cpc, cpl, cps and so on. And each and everyone of those failed in a way that makes all sides of the publishing and web value chain happy. The only currency that did not seriously come up as a currency ratio in media is cost per user (cpu) although every company follows this metric to evaluate their website costs.

Advertisers love to purchase ‘cheap’ quality space of extraordinary target groups. Platform owners need premium-price compensation models in order to provide high-quality content to their users. The users don’t care. Although they are the stumbling block, the center of attention, in this issue between platform providers and advertising clients. Now that web 2.0 and social media comes into the ‘cpx-game’, everyone gets a chance to rethink digital currency models. What is missing in this discussion is the cost per user model.

A Retrospect on Controlled Circulation
If we go way back to the beginning of this century, there was an interesting discussion about controlled circulation going on in the publishing industry. This discussion indicated that the best value of a medium is the registered or qualified user. Someone who gives away a lot of personal data in order to receive a medium for free. And there were numerous print magazines in the market that do and did controlled circulation. And today? There are hundreds of community-based business models on the web – all of these are to a huge degree controlled circulation orientated. Only a few of these businesses know about it, or see the premium value of controlled circulation media in this advertising space.

Now, what exactly is controlled circulation?
In a lot of meetings with clients, the question came up a thousand times when we explained our old community model. Controlled circulation is a distribution model, usually free of charge, for newspapers and magazines that wanted to have a deeper control of their target group. Thus, controlled circulation magazines offered the ideal targeting of the best quality audience for their advertisers. The benefit was quite obvious if we read the articles here and there. Advertisers spend more money for an ad in the controlled circulation arena than for the classical news-stand magazine. In booking controlled circulation media advertisers know in details what target group get for their money. This premium model could have been applicable to business models on the web. But only a few saw this option and took advantage of the ‘closed’ access door idea.

Why is controlled circulation a winner?
The big benefit of controlled circulation is that non-profit organizations audit the reader database of magazines or web platforms in terms of database quality and quality reach: for print BPA and for web platforms ABC Electronic. Both independent ‘controllers’ double-check in the means of the advertisers what kind of target group quality content providers ‘pretend’ to offer to the advertisers. Advertisers love the audits as there is some reliable data that marketers could show to their bosses or the management team after the sales people had captured the marketing-office for their sales pitches. It needs to be said that the audits were based on projections – only 10-20% of the total database really was tested, but still the quality check was much appreciated by the advertisers.

Controlled circulation and the modern web communities
The question is: Why did the controlled circulation discussion ‘die’? Why was it not carried on as an idea for a premium-priced advertising currency in the web world? Why did the focus on the high-profile individual user registration get lost when there was such a huge benefit for the advertising industry? Did it get killed alongside the top-valued personalization idea which got stepped down by the advertising cpm valuation? Maybe…

Nevertheless, in days where social media, social networking and community-building is exploding, is it not the right time to focus on the value of the registered user in terms of digital currency and critically scrutinize the ‘odd’ cpm valuation? Does not the individual need to be in the center of attention of the modern web 2.0 world? The modern web individual that communicates with companies. The one that reads, comments, blogs, publishes, networks, rates or reviews?

A vision
Just imagine there was a kind of database that all magazines and platform owner have to use who want to earn advertisign dollars. That database is held by a non-profit organization or the government. A system where all users unite, active and inactive web users. Every user could define their most interesting platforms and status of activity which would lead to a cost per user index for each online magazine or web platform, based on consumption intensity of the average user, social networking value of the active user and staying-time frequency of each individual. In the end, the combined data of the website generates a platform coefficient which leads to a cost per user. This is the cost that advertisers want to book, right?

Spot On!
In the modern social media world registration processes become daily business for users. If it was one database as described above, the users would be held responsible. They would be more careful on how to define access and care about their data. From day to day, users get more open minded about showing their data on other media including registering their preferences, interests and hobbies. And platform owners benefit from that. In the future, it will become a state of the art for publishing houses and digital platform owners to have their own web community visible on the side-bar for new visitors. This is a huge success for web platform owners. What could be a better reference if you can show your audience, visual and accessible for everyone with avatar picture that the users upload themselves? Bloggers already use this option to attract more interest. The single user will become the reference for each platform.

So, what if the best targeting measurement of a platform becomes the cost per user (cpu)? If we think about how connected (via Google, Facebook or Yahoo) these platforms are becoming and see all the website and social media metrics we could monitor, the question rises: Is there an option to standardize registration on web platforms and communities plus integrating all the generated data of these platforms into one non-profit system or organization which calculates a cost per user index based on targeting criteria like b2b or b2c and different demographic data? Is Cost per User the next digital currency? The discussion is yours…