Monthly Archives: September 2017

As a marketer, you’re no doubt aware of the constant changes the world of digital marketing is experiencing. You’re also probably well aware of how these big changes force marketers to constantly adapt and add new skills to their marketing stack.

That’s why it’s essential for marketers to have the ability to adapt to new technology and trends to stay afloat in a highly competitive space.

A competitive advantage as a marketer is highly valuable in such a convoluted, confusing job market and is necessary for professionals wanting to set themselves apart from the competition and advance their careers forward. 2017 will be over before you know it, and it’s important to start preparing yourself personally and professionally for what lies ahead. Make sure you’re ready for what the future has in store–and build a little career insurance along the way. Consider list of essential skills nearly any digital marketer will find useful in 2018 and beyond.

 

Content Marketing

The core foundation of effective digital marketing – content marketing still remains the “king.”

Brands have increasingly recognized the need to produce high-quality content in order to attract and keep their audiences interested and engaged. The value of content marketing has significantly risen over the past recent years and won’t prove to die down any time soon. Thus, every company how important it is to have a strong team of content developers on their side.

A marketer who can effectively plan, create, and promote compelling content is in demand now more than ever. No matter what field of the marketing umbrella you’re under, recognizing the value of quality content and being able to deliver it is a tremendously valuable asset.

Social Media

Social media isn’t going anywhere – no one can deny the power of social media as it is one of the most valuable tools brands have in increasing brand awareness and reaching their audiences. Social networks have access to massive and highly engaged audiences that no other channel can provide for brands to effectively share and promote their message.

For instance, being proficient in Facebook advertising and fully understanding what kind of strategy works best on the world’s largest social network proves to be a huge competitive advantage. Likewise, knowing what type of visual content is the most effective on Instagram and knowing optimal times to post is something companies look for in digital marketers, especially social media marketers.

Being able to understand the ins and outs of the social media landscape and knowing what works is a skill that every digital marketer should have today and for the future. This is the type of knowledge companies look for to help effectively boost their social media presence and connect with consumers on a personal level.

Video Production

Video is the most effective type of visual content and can significantly drive engagement with audiences for brands. This is especially true for video content on social media platforms. The integration of video content and social proves to be a compelling way to boost brand awareness and ultimately a brand’s bottom-line.

Thus, many brands are focused on marketers who are knowledgeable of video production.

Having any basic skills in video production, editing, and animation as a marketer are unique techniques that companies look for when comparing candidates.

Does your resume look boring and dull? Revamp it by brushing up your skills with video editing tools such as Apple Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

Data Analytics

The development of sophisticated data analytics tools creates an abundance of data readily available for brands. This information can help businesses get key insights into their consumer behavior, allowing them to effectively improve the customer experience.

Understanding your consumer behavior and tracking the performance of your digital efforts are crucial in ensuring the success of your marketing campaigns. From conversion tracking cookies to GPS data and app activity, the volume of data businesses have access to is overwhelming. Tools like Google Analytics helps you track performance and measure key metrics like conversion and site traffic.

While there may be a wealth of data at hand, effectively knowing how to use it and convert it into valuable information is difficult. Finding marketers who are knowledgeable in reading and translating data serves a huge valuable asset for companies. A data analysis expert who can help businesses sort, organize, and extract meaning and actionable insights from a plethora of data is always in demand.

If you have a knack for crunching numbers, adding data analytical skills to your skillset is a great way to make you more competitive as a digital marketer.

Technical Skills

It’s important to possess technical and analytical skills in an industry that’s being impacted by technology in almost every single aspect.

Technical skills are among the most valuable and highly seeked-out qualities in the digital landscape. Knowing basic HTML and CSS coding languages is an invaluable skill to add to your resume. Sophisticated coding languages like Java and SQL are even more impressive.

Having an understanding of the technical side of a company’s marketing efforts is without a doubt one of the best ways to set yourself apart from the competition.

Design-Forward Thinking

There’s been a huge trend in businesses that are making changes in their organization to adopt a design-first mindset. Whether it’s web, software, or product design; design thinking has become an integral part of effective marketing for a reason.

While it’s important to possess technical skills, it’s essential for marketers today to have the ability to integrate them with creativity to help businesses provide the ultimate customer experience. Marketers who understand and know how to employ design thinking into their work are highly desirable by employers and recruiters who seek to be innovative.

CMS Experience

Almost all businesses use a content management system to help publish, edit and manage their digital content.

WordPress and Drupal are two of the most common content management systems businesses use. Having experience with these types of platforms shows that you’re set to go and ready to help the business push out compelling content and drive ROI!

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If you’re looking to add these digital marketing skills to your marketing stack, there is an abundance of tools and resources for you to use. Taking digital marketing courses by Google or simply just conducting your own research are ways to ensure that you keep up with the revolving digital landscape.

Don’t fall behind – continuously working to expand your knowledge and expertise as a marketer is what employers and recruiters look for in candidates. You can never have too many skills so establish yourself as a credible digital marketing expert to successfully advance your career forward in the right way.

The event experience, when done well, can generate leads and build that loyal customer base like nothing else. Over three-quarters of B2B marketers use events – with 67 percent overall citing event marketing as their most effective strategy. Across the board, marketers are devoting between 20 and 25 percent of their budgets to marketing events.

With the technology available today, from mobile event apps to social media wall platforms, VR and AI, brands are even better equipped to create memorable, motivating experiences. The effectiveness of in-person events is so compelling that it has given rise to the experiential marketing movement. In this trend, campaigns use imaginative and unique ways to interact with consumers. Fantastic examples include Lean Cuisine’s #WeighThis campaign at New York’s Grand Central Station and the Carlsberg billboard in London, which offered a working beer tap for people to pull their own pints.

Marketers are also finding useful ways to repurpose all that valuable event content into their content marketing strategies in the months after the big day (or days). They can keep their audiences engaged from one event to the next and create more fulfilling brand communities in the process.

While not all events hit the mark, many are doing much more than resonating with consumers and creating buzz. The best marketing conferences never fail to strengthen and elevate brand-consumer relationships in a powerful way. Want some inspiration? Here are 5 event marketing examples that demonstrate the ultimate capability of an in-person event.

Facebook IQ Live – Strategic

On a quest to offer the most important insights on consumer behavior and thereby position themselves as a valuable partner and resource for marketing agencies, Facebook hit the road with its Facebook IQ Live tour, making stops across New York City and Chicago. Targeting mid-level agency staffers – the people Facebook believes will likely pioneer the marketing of tomorrow – the company used real-life simulations to explain their consumer behavior insights.

Instead of just offering speakers and discussions, Facebook created a fun, engaging event experience. The roadshow concept also makes the campaign more exciting. As Ben Hindman, CEO of Splash says, roadshows are, “one of the greatest ways to build trust and intimacy with enthusiastic fans and to target your next great customers.”

Facebook’s IQ Live events were used to construct a bridge between the company and marketing agencies. Facebook implemented this shift to change the impression that many organizations and small business owners had formed – namely that it was difficult to work with the social media giant. You may have come across this yourself when using Facebook. There’s always something new going on, making it a challenge to leverage it properly as a digital marketing channel.

By targeting mid-level staffers, Facebook is using these events as part of an intelligent, very long-term game. How about planning ten or fifteen years of strategic event marketing down the road?

Glamour Beauty Festival – Community Building

Glamour magazine partnered with Fiat to create a dream experience for beauty and fashion enthusiasts, makeup artists, stylists, entrepreneurs – everyone they want to be devoted magazine subscribers. The Glamour Beauty Festival was held at the London Saatchi Gallery in March 2017.

This is a superb example of a B2C brand creating a fun, inspiring event that everyone who’s interested in the industry would want to attend. It is community building at its best. With celebrity appearances, master classes, and complimentary pampering treatments, the magazine brand has established its marketing event as the Coachella of the beauty industry.

MozCon – Tech Savvy

What industry throws the best events? Marketing! And marketing is what we do best. You can expect a lot of love put into the marketing conferences you attend. Social Media Marketing World, iMedia Summit, C2 Montreal, Hubspot Inbound, the Intelligent Content Conference, MarTech. As marketers, we have the opportunity to fill our schedules with insightful – even career-transforming – conferences.

One that stands out is MozCon. From its debut in 2011, attendance has grown 152 percent. The creators behind MozCon do an excellent job of using technology to help keep the conference affordable and accessible. MozCon uses real-time data to promote – which they start doing a year ahead of time. They created an event app, the Organizer App, to make registration and check-in simple and to cut down on necessary staff. And, as one attendee describes the experience of walking into MozCon, it’s a lot like “being on the Space Mountain ride at Disneyworld.” Music, lights, great speakers, and a lot of action.

Guinness – Innovative

Guinness has created masterful in-person marketing for UK shoppers of the retail brand, Tesco. Partnering with R/GA London, the beer brand is offering consumers the chance to taste – and experience – different Guinness beers with a virtual reality headset and pre-created 360 environments. The environments were designed to enhance the taste, smell, and texture of drinking each beer.

The company used research on food and flavor conducted by Professor Charles Spence at Oxford to help consumers “suspend the senses and transport you to another place.” Talk about evolving the concept of grocery store food samples.

The Kia Dream Chute – Fun

When Kia created a two-story slide for the 2014 launch of the Kia Soul in London’s Westfield Shopping Center, they created a lot of smiles. They fortified their reputation as being a fun, youthful brand during the ten-day event. With a fire engine red slide for adults – maybe the ‘most fun auto manufacturer on the planet’ would be a better descriptor. I’m probably not the only one disappointed I wasn’t walking through Westfield when that slide was up.

With a built-in camera, those sliding down the Dream Chute were able to take home pictures of their slide-ride O-face, just in case they needed a souvenir to remember the ride.

Events Make Brands Come Alive

From mega industry conferences to tasting tables in the grocery store, it’s the live experience that makes brands come alive. Authentic, engaging, motivating. Event marketing etches those impressions of value into our minds that make the brand-consumer relationship all the more worthwhile.

A new global study released by Marketo and the independent research firm, Illuminas, reveals the biggest challenges marketers face on their quest for successful, brand-sustaining engagement.

We may be years into the Engagement Economy – ‘a new era where everyone and everything is connected’ – but that doesn’t mean marketers are pulling off the right type of engagement, or even have the resources and space to do so.

According to the data and insights collected from more than 2,000 consumers and marketers in The State of Engagement, marketers are consistently falling short of consumer expectations.

Whether from a lack of marketing tools, not enough support from C-suite, or just a complete misfire when it comes to understanding customers, marketers and small business owners are going to have to up their game in order to take advantage of all this hyper connected reality has to offer.

The biggest crux of mismatched consumer expectations is the fact that marketers believe they’ve got it figured out. The report revealed that 82 percent of marketers are under the impression they understand their customers. But more than half of consumers beg to differ.

82% of marketers think they understand customers. Most consumers disagree! [Click to Tweet]

How wide is this disconnect? And, how equipped are marketers to overcome these issues?

What Marketers Think

As cited by the report and as experienced in your 9 to 5, you have two main goals:

  • Create a seamless customer experience
  • Achieve business goals

How are marketers doing?

Marketers as a group do believe they are doing a great job at creating a consistent experience across channels. We’ve got this personalization thing down, according to 83 percent of marketing respondents. And, we have a deep understanding of the best ways to engage our customers, say 82 percent.

Globally, marketers see themselves as being moderately effective with their engagement strategies. 61 percent cite being effective with the right content. 56 percent say they are effective at using the right channels.

What could marketers do better?

While we are clearly proud of our buyer personas, marketers do recognize innovation and boundary pushing as a weak area. In Germany and the US, only half of marketers consider themselves to be very or extremely innovative. In the UK and France, it’s slightly less than 50 percent.

What does it mean to be innovative? The marketing perspective on being at the cutting-edge is being able to harness the power of technology for omni-channel interactions, personalized content, and consistently reaching the right audience at the right moment. Basically, if you want to get contextualized marketing right, marketing software is your best friend.

What’s the biggest challenge to forging a more engaging relationship?

When asked what’s in the way of creating a better experience, the elephant in the waiting room is having the right tools and technology. Only 49 to 57 percent of marketers report being satisfied with the current engagement tools. If the ability to manage and get the most out of marketing software is the key to success with contextualized marketing, this level of dissatisfaction with available tools is not just a challenge, it’s a vulnerability.

Without technology that is both dynamic and not too complex, marketers are unable to leverage all that data that is created every time a customer sneezes, nor can automation foster the seamless and personalized brand experience that marketers need to offer.

What Consumers Think

Consumers see The State of Engagement in a different light. Both B2C and B2B customers are actively engaging with their brands or vendors using digital channels. There are two main reasons this interaction takes place:

  1. To learn about products or services
  2. To purchase products or services

About half of consumer respondents engage to request service or support (51 percent), or just to provide feedback (44 percent). Only about one-third are paying attention to your blog, email newsletter, and social media pages on a regular basis.

How are marketers doing?

For both B2B and B2C consumers, only 51 percent view brands and vendors as successful at creating a seamless experience across channels. When it comes to understanding customer preferences, 65 percent of B2B customers believe their favorite vendors could do better. 47 percent of B2C consumers see room for improvement.

Why are marketers’ perceptions so different to what the consumer experiences? The cause of the disconnect is also the solution. Technology is prompting customer expectations to soar. A 2015 poll of corporate executives found that 77 percent believe the internet and consumer app companies are behind the rising expectations. Consumers want access to fast services and 24/7 connectivity, with an increasing number expecting the multi-channel treatment.

It is through better use of both digital channels and marketing technology that we’ll ever be able to keep up with these expectations.

What could marketers do better?

One huge step forward from the consumer’s perspective would be to better integrate all channels – giving the customer the seamless experience they expect and that which many marketers believe they are delivering.

Source: Marketo

What does this look like? Customers want to be able to open their mobile app and ask a service question or present an issue. They want to get a quick response by email, including links to relevant content that will help them solve their problem, as well as any other actions to address the problem.

Then, they want to be able to walk into the store or talk with the vendor on the phone and have the individual customer agent know exactly what their issue is (or was), as well as their history with the company in terms of the length of the customer relationship, frequency of purchase and preferences, and to follow up to ensure their customer complaint from three weeks ago was resolved. A discount at the register or a promise to discount their service subscription next month doesn’t hurt either.

And we’re not done yet. Next, they want to be able to connect with the organization’s social accounts from their mobile device so they can share their positive experience. Two out of three consumers want to advocate for the brands that demonstrate they care about their customers. Now that’s seamless, fluid, convenient and productive. It is walking into the emerald city and having all your needs met with more delights to be found around every corner.

What’s the biggest challenge to forging a more engaging relationship?

Want to know why customers don’t engage more? According to them, the biggest reason they hold back is irrelevant content. They don’t interact as much as they would because both B2C and B2B companies are sending out too much content that doesn’t matter to them. 51 percent of B2C and 34 percent of B2B consumers feel this way.

Also, about one-third of consumers across the board share the sentiment that the brands they do business with simply don’t have anything else to offer outside of their products or services.

Go ahead, take a few deep breaths. We’ll wait.

Yep, all those professional videos you’ve invested thousands into, the weekly blog posts, the though-provoking infographics, the cutting-edge industry news you work so hard to post on Twitter. A good chunk of your customers does not view this content as of any value to them.

And there’s your key. To them. Your content isn’t worthless. It’s just not personalized enough. Some people don’t care about your brand’s inspirational case study that you plop into their inbox every Monday morning. Others can’t get enough. It’s up to marketers to determine what customers want, when they want it, and how they want it. Which can only be done through better use of technology. We have to pull out the ‘wrench,’ our challenges with marketing tools and innovation, and use it to build a better bridge.

Connecting with Consumers

We’ve been getting better at providing the seamless customer experience and proving that our organizations have a lot more to offer beyond what we’re selling. But marketers are going to have to keep working to engage consumers to enhance the customer relationship.

Source: Marketo

We have to get more out of the technology that is available to us and start investing in emerging technologies. We need to align, personalize, and deliver a more streamlined experience with better automation, more refined analytics, adaptive content.

When we look at the customer’s perspective, there’s a clear message: those marketers that do push boundaries, innovate, and fully leverage the marketing tools of today, as well as those that emerge tomorrow, are the ones that are going to win in the Engagement Economy.

As years pass and marketing channels evolve, marketers are held to an even higher standard. The good old days when marketing professionals were labeled as working in either “accounts” or “creative” are gone.

Today, agency and in-house marketers alike are required to employ more integrated marketing tactics to meet the needs of our fast-paced, consumer-driven world. Companies and agencies seek marketing professionals that can provide everything from strategy and public relations to paid search and graphic design.

Enter the “hybrid marketer.” This individual is a marketing marvel equipped with branding expertise, public relations insight, digital know-how and website development best practices in order to meet the many demands of this integrated marketing environment.

To set yourself apart in a competitive job market and bring additional value to your clients or team, be sure to master these top three skills:

1. Website Development

Marketing in the modern age has come a long way from traditional billboards and radio spots. In 2017, the most common place to reach your audience is online. Unfortunately, the basics of creating and maintaining a website are still a mystery to most marketers, aside from their web developer counterparts.

For hybrid marketer hopefuls who can’t always rely on busy IT and development departments to handle every website task, it’s a good idea to learn a few website basics to fix issues on your own.

Luckily, the dawn of the content management system (CMS) has significantly simplified tasks such as changing photos, adding and removing posts or pages, adjusting URLs and updating copy. WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are common CMS platforms that are easy to learn and manage on your own.

If you haven’t already, start to familiarize yourself with your company’s CMS of choice. Being autonomous with website tasks is valuable, especially when time is of the essence and minor website changes need to be done as soon as possible.

Another element of website development to become familiar with is hosting. In order for a website to exist on the Internet, it must be hosted on a server. There are many service providers that offer hosting for a monthly charge such as GoDaddy, Rackspace and Media Temple.

Some hosting terms to note are file transfer protocol (FTP) and secure sockets layer (SSL). FTP refers to the communication and data swapping between client and server channels that allows for file sharing and downloads. SSL adds a layer of encryption to a website, which is especially important for ecommerce sites that are processing payments.

Many marketers see the world of development as a smattering of code, but there are many fundamentals for the hybrid marketer to understand beyond HTML and CSS that can allow them to communicate intelligently with clients or execute simple tasks on their own.

2. Digital Marketing

Digital marketing takes on many forms and many marketers’ first interaction with digital is email marketing. Whether you’re actively involved in creating email campaigns or aspiring to start, there are a few metrics you should be aware of.

  • Open rate represents how many users from your contact list have opened your message
  • Click-through-rate is a percentage of your audience that clicked on a link within an email
  • Hard bounce is an error message received because the email address you sent the message to no longer exists
  • Soft bounce is an error message that occurs when a recipient’s mailbox is full or the message goes to a spam folder

These are just a few of the terms that an email marketer needs to know. Learn more about how to craft the perfect email experience to further boost your email marketing skillset.

The remainder of the digital marketing space is sometimes referred to as “search marketing” and can generally be split into two categories: search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM).

SEO involves utilizing a host of different tactics in order to improve keyword rankings on search engine result pages (SERPs) to achieve the end goal of increased website traffic.

SEM is the paid advertising arm of digital marketing. Ads generally take one of two forms: pay-per-click advertisements, which are text ads at the top and bottom of page one of Google, and display advertisements. Display ads are distributed by the search engine and are shown on various partner websites such as Blogger and YouTube.

In order to be a successful hybrid marketer, you need to look beyond the meaning of SEO vs. SEM to learn the associated analytics terms and tactics.

  • Sessions are synonymous with website visits
  • Clicks vs. impressions, an important statistic for SEM, compares clicks that lead to sessions and impressions that indicate the number of times your ad was seen but not clicked on
  • Conversions occur when users complete a desired goal such as filling out a contact form, making a purchase or completing a download
  • Organic traffic originates from a search engine
  • Direct traffic is earned when a user types in your URL directly or accesses it from a bookmark or favorites list
  • Referral traffic is obtained from a referral link on another website

Digital marketing can be seen as a formidable opponent when considering it for the first time. But the more you learn about this marketing space, the more valuable you’ll be as a modern hybrid marketer.

3. Creative Marketing Elements

Although they may seem simple on the surface, copywriting and graphic design are more than just words and pictures.

The modern marketer must understand the various types of copy that certain mediums demand. For example, a blog can require a very different writing style and format than an email or whitepaper.

Beyond that, copy must speak to the needs and challenges of the buyer persona it aims to reach. Copywriters are challenged with producing compelling copy that doesn’t just comply with the buyer’s journey but also turns pain points into solutions that convey empathy and understanding.

In addition, graphic designers need to be aware of including elements of responsive design and the considerations of user behavior. Generally, copywriters and graphic designers work in sync to create the perfect user experience – which is what our modern marketing landscape demands.

If you’re an aspiring hybrid marketer without creative experience, become familiar with new developments in copywriting best practices and graphic design capabilities. It can help complete your understanding of the intricacies of the industry and guide your own specialty.

Becoming a hybrid marketer is difficult task, but keep in mind that the more versatile you become, the better you’ll be able to serve your employer or potential clients.

An easy way for marketing managers to help raise hybrid marketers in their agency is to train your team on various specialties through interactive group tutorial sessions. You’ll provide your coworkers with a more well-rounded perspective on marketing best practices, foster a greater sense of teamwork and encourage top-notch work.