Know, Go, Do, Buy – Google’s New Micro Moments

Leave it to Google – the new release on their Think Insights blog is ‘Micro Moments‘ – those moments that encapsulate searcher intent, specifically on a mobile device.  Google defines these ‘Micro Moments‘ as moments where “decisions are made and preferences are shaped…” when consumers turn to “phones with intent and expect brands to deliver immediate answers.”  (aka – the new GMOT, only, less trendy).  Know, Go, Do, Buy Micro moments can be considered when doing planning or strategy on a keyword-level, and device-level – for keyword ‘types’ that fit ‘micro moments’, like;

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Game Changers – New Digital Requirements that will Change Your Marketing Plan

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Mobilegeddon, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Search – just a few of the top digital tactics that have come out in just the first six months of this year have (if you’re already on top of them) or will (if you aren’t) change your entire marketing plan for this year. Here’s a recap of the game changers that will change your marketing plan – and if you’re a good marketer, you’ll change it now, not later.

  • Mobile First. Mobile search surpassed desktop search earlier this year – and then, on April 21, Google released an algorithm update that penalized non-mobile optimized (or responsive) websites. ‘Mobilegeddon’ as it was called, was a flurry of marketers scrambling to figure out how to either; (a) bite the bullet and redesign their website in a responsive / mobile optimized format – or – (b) find a workaround to appease Google in the meantime.
    • Impact #1 – Google continues to release algorithm updates that reward sites with a great user experience. Get it right now, or scramble to catch up with the next update.
    • Impact #2 – Mobile is in the lead for certain metrics, but remain device agnostic. When in doubt, keep user experience and audience interests at the forefront of all marketing decisions).
    • Impact #3 – Channel strategies should shift to accommodate more mobile targeted tactics: Paid Search Campaigns skewed to mobile devices, ramp up Facebook advertising (knowing that Facebook also is a ‘mobile first’ company), optimize for Local Search, and the list goes on.
  • Social Advertising & Content.  Social platforms continue to open up new targeting methods with advertising options, and they’re only getting better. Pinterest now allows advertising, animated (‘cinematic’) pins that can be optimized in the same way you optimize for search (Pinterest’s search team is from Google, so you can imagine there’s some similarity in their search algorithm there). Instagram is opening up advertising options to more advertisers, and can pull in Facebook Advertising targeting capabilities. Facebook Advertising is now critical (and one of the only ways to get in front of your audience), and targeting strategies are getting better, all while advertising costs rise (so get in now, while the gettin’s cheap-er!).
    • Impact #1 – Shift advertising budget allocation towards social channels (not next year, now) to ensure that you’re getting highly targeted visibility in a new channel, while the ‘channel clutter’ is low, and taking advantage of a low-cost awareness and conversion platform.
    • Bonus Point – Social signals still count as a factor in search rank, even with Google’s latest algorithm update.
    • Impact #2 – Optimize your social content both for search engine and native search indexing. We’ve created a culture of ‘searchers’, it’s up to you to connect searching consumers with your brand.
    • Impact #3 – Create relevant content. Start first by defining the specific channel audience, then the targeting capabilities, and develop the most relevant social content possible for that audience.
  • Twitter Counts in Search.  Now that Google & Twitter have a deal to index tweets again, this easy content channel can turn into a long-tail search dream.
    • Impact #1 – Reconsider Twitter in your social channel mix. Consider it as a SEO aide and a social channel, with a focus on driving visibility for long-tail terms and converting that visibility to traffic.
    • Impact #2 – Optimize Tweets. Look to your SEO Keyword Research / Plan to help guide your Twitter content calendar by incorporating target keywords into topics and tweets.
    • Impact #3 – Run Twitter Advertising Tests. There is a solid correlation between highly visible tweets (via retweets, audience size) and the likelihood that your tweet will show up in Google search. Consider running Twitter advertising tests to help boost channel visibility, followers and select tweets.
  • Content is More Than King, it’s the Kingdom. Search, social and paid advertising channels can’t run without content. Yet, if siloed, content development becomes very segmented and inefficient. It’s time we rethink how we look at content as an afterthought, and make it as important as digital marketing is to a business. Reconsider how you look at content. Is it an afterthought, or the leading thought?
    • Impact #1 – Create a master content calendar that aggregates content needs and output on all channels: SEO, Blog, Social Media, Paid Media, Email, PR. Find content gaps where there are missing holes between the ideal customer content experience and what you currently have. Then create the right content, and make it user friendly. If you wouldn’t watch / read / share it – why would your audience?
    • Bonus point: Create a content repository, if you don’t already have one. With needs for content growing, staying organized will be key.
    • Impact #2 – Invest in rapid, high-quality content resources and partners. Content can’t take forever to develop any more, and it doesn’t have to. The right resources and partners can enable you to produce more content that is valuable, visible and trackable. You have to feed the beast, and he’s hungry.
    • Impact #3 – Make content accountable. Every piece of content should have a set of performance metrics attributed to it. Some content will perform better than others, and that success path should be tracked. Consider content like shooting arrows out to your audience: you’ll want to see where they land, and figure out what you did to land the good ones.

So – if you’re following the digital marketing plan that you set in place last year, it’s already out of date. Follow the plan that will work, now – and use an agency to tell the difference.

Google’s Consumer Barometer on Internet Use

Google did it again – they’ve built another great tool to help geeks like me spend hours delving through all of the research they’ve managed to attain and present in a nice, simple, interactive format (that’s a case study in itself!).  This time, with the Consumer Barometer, where you can explore key findings from research or build your own graphs with data collected around;

  • The Multi-Screen World
  • The Smart Shopper
  • The Smart Viewer

For instance, in studying The Smart Viewer, asking the question, “how often do people watch videos on their smartphone?”

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D&B’s Take on Relevance & Responsiveness

Great study & book report from D&B – where digital relevance = marketing relationships (which is directly related to responsiveness).  They highlight a new book Digital Relevance: Developing Marketing Content and Strategies that Drive Results, by Ardath Albee – that has some great ‘lessons to live by’ – applicable to both marketing plannign and daily life;

Marketers know relevance is critical, but they need to understand what it truly means in action and how to accomplish it….With this competency, they’ll help their companies reverse the credibility gap and help their buyers get on the fast track to problem resolution by creating better connections with depth of meaning.

D&B goes on to state that;

Digital Relevance argues that relevance maturity is contingent on how responsive the marketing team is in its execution. For example, a relevance maturity level of “irrelevance” requires the lowest level of responsive execution (the “reactive state”). Conversely, the highest relevance maturity level (“radical relevance”) calls for the “dynamic state,” or highest marketing execution level.

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Converged Content & Media Strategy Checklist

If you remember Altimeter Group‘s Converged Media Imperative when it came out in 2012, you’ll be surprised when you reread the content and realize that marketing as an industry – and most marketers – still aren’t there yet.  Channels are still siloed.  SEO still reigns supreme, Paid is still questionable, Social Media still exists in a bubble – and for most, marketing budgets still match last click attribution.  Reevaluating this Converged Media Strategy – and with a checklist – might be the way to help make a drastic (better late than never) change in your Content Strategy;

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SEO ROI & Opportunity Estimation

Conductor (a top-notch SEO analysis & reporting tool) provides some valuable tools that help to visualize the Opportunity and ROI with SEO tactics – (#1) over time & in comparison with other tactics, (#2) from a market share / potential perspective, (#3) revenue growth, and (#4) growth over time.  Great tools for forecasting available, too.


Content & B2B Social Selling

Altimeter Group‘s Rebecca Lieb provides very simple, yet useful perspective on the role of content in B2B social selling – or – what you could also consider as the most valuable use for social media in a B2B business (supporting sales), where content is key;

Without “content,” all you have left in social sales is “social,” i.e., a platform, a forum or a social network. Devoid of content, all these channels amount to empty containers.

She provides some great tips to start right with strategy first;

  1. Align Content to the Sales Funnel
  2. Empower Staff to Curate & Aggregate
  3. Listen & Respond
  4. Apply Metrics (to measure performance)
  5. Build Social Sales Content into the Overall Content Strategy
  6. Train (and educate internal staff and execs)
  7. Hire Accordingly (you’ll need the extra help)

Lastly, it’s helpful to know that if you are in the conundrum of ‘what to do with social media for my anti-social B2B business’, you’re not alone.  Consider this an opportunity to blast ahead of the competition.


The Digital Future – A Game Plan for CPG

Digital-Future-cvr_190x175_tcm80-167978Great insight from the Boston Consulting Group on the future of digital for CPG – with their very own ‘game plan‘ – a must read for CPG marketers (as a baseline) in terms that any large CPG company exec can understand;

Authority in the Age of Digital Overload

A great new presentation by Steve Rubel, EVP of Global Strategy and Insights for Edelman, featuring Cisco Systems’ new brand redesign – about gaining authority in the age of digital overload.  Here’s the cheat sheet:

  • Elevate your experts: Identify your company’s experts across different subjects, and empower them to initiate meaningful conversations around their ideas.
  • Curate: Sort out the junk, and showcase what you deem to be most meaningful, interesting and valuable.
  • Make data compelling: Make it visual, fun & interesting. Data visualization has exploded for a reason (only one of which being that people that have shorter attention spans when it comes time to read).
  • Propagate what you’ve created: Publish your company’s content, including videos, slideshows and white papers on platforms like SlideShare and Vimeo. Use it to start a conversation.
  • Ask & answer: Starting a conversation can be as easy as that. Use social media to serve as a source of knowledge – not just information. Rubel recommends that companies empower all of their employees to ask and answer questions via social media, instead of putting a few people in charge of that responsibility (think of Zappos and Best Buy’s Twelpforce. It takes a village.

Content Marketing Strategy

Why your business needs a content marketing strategy… well put.  Thanks Lee Odden.

Google sites handle about 88 billion searches each month. YouTube is the second most popular search engine second only to Google. Facebook is now over 600 million users. Twitter has nearly 200 millionaccounts. LinkedIn is at 101 million users and FourSquare grew 3,400% in 2010.

10 Strategic Technologies

Gartner has identified what they perceive to be the 10 most strategic technologies that enterprises should track to and plan for leading into 2011. Gartner defines a strategic technology as;

…one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.

A strategic technology may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years.   As such, these technologies impact the organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives.

The technologies include;

  • Cloud computing: The next 3 years will see the delivery of cloud service approaches falling somewhere between the extremes of open/public and closed/private
  • Mobile applications and media tablets: Gartner estimates that by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce; the quality of the experience of applications on these devices – which include detection of of location, motion and other behavioral context – is leading customers to prefer to interact with companies via mobile devices
  • Social communications & collaboration: While Gartner categories social as follows, the broader point is that social technologies will be integrated into most business applications
  • Social networking — social profile management products (i.e., Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Social collaboration — technologies, such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging and crowdsourcing
  • Social publishing — technologies that assist communities in pooling individual content into a usable community repository, such as YouTube and flickr
  • Social feedback – gaining community feedback
  • Video: By 2013, more than 25 percent of the content that workers see in a day will be dominated by pictures, video or audio
  • Next Generation Analytics: Predictive methodologies and algorithms will impact and support real-time business actions
  • Social Analytics: Include a number of specialized techniques such as social filtering, social-network analysis, sentiment analysis and social-media analytics; these tools are useful for examining social structure and interdependencies, as well as the work patterns of individuals, groups or organizations. Social network analysis will allow organizations to evaluate the impact, quality or effectiveness of a relationship
  • Context-Aware Computing: A contextually aware system anticipates the user’s needs and proactively serves up the most appropriate and customized content, product or service. By 2016, one-third of worldwide mobile consumer marketing will be context-awareness-based
  • Storage Class Memory: Gartner sees huge use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems; key advantages include space, heat, performance and ruggedness
  • Ubiquitous Computing: The third wave of computing involves computers invisibly embedded into the world (e.g., the Internet of Things); as computers proliferate and everyday objects are given the ability to communicate with RFID tags, networks will surpass the scale that can be managed in traditional, centralized ways. Computing systems will be imbued into operational technology.
  • Fabric-Based Infrastructure and Computers: A modular form of computing where a system can be aggregated from separate building-block modules connected over a fabric or switched backplane; (admittedly – we’ll need to dedicate some additional time and resources into fully evaluating – and understanding – this one)


Why SM Campaigns Fail

Brand Science Institute, a German think thank specializing in brand management, conducted a study on corporate social media projects during the past 7 months. The research sought to understand why (most) social media projects appear to not meet the expectations for success that were initially anticipated of them. BSI included 560+ marketers in its analysis, representing 52 brands from some of the largest companies across 12 European countries.

While BSI’s end results and observations are recapped in this presentation; we’ve culled some of the key findings below.

  • 81% of companies surveyed lacked a clear social media strategy
  • 73% of social media projects had to demonstrate their financial return after 12 months
  • 72% thought social media must be viral
  • 68% had never heard of the 90-9-1 principle, which states that most people online are viewers, vs. participants: 1% of people create content, 9% edit or modify that content, and 90% view the content without contributing
  • 84% compare social media performance with standard media measures
  • 37% think that social media is a media buy
  • Only 11% have social media guidelines

While we don’t believe this to be conclusive, the research simply provides some insights to consider, learning from the hits and misses of other brands.

Branded Content Beast

How HSN and ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ turn Content into Commerce.

With a common purpose, a common challenge and (potentially) complementary business models, marketers and the entertainment industry need to increasingly work together to jointly develop content that can drive commerce.  Hence, branded content.

To promote the new Julia Roberts vehicle “Eat Pray Love,” the Home Shopping Network is devoting 72 hours of airtime for programming that simultaneously plugs the Sony Pictures film and more than 400 products across multiple categories that are somehow related to the movie.

HSN is using content from “Eat Pray Love” to sell products tied to themes in the film (though the vast majority of products are not in the movie). Brand marketers should also be thinking about ways in which they can package ancillary content from an established property to market their products. It goes beyond product placement or integration and into creating experiences audiences are likely to pay attention to — behind-the-scenes excerpts from shows or movies, cast interviews or additional footage.