The big picture — how to make all the pieces of your marketing plan, as well as your agency or brand team, fit together into a harmonious, effective whole.

Creativity Unbound: How Current Digital Publishing Spotlights Brands

kid_game_table_shutterstock_144561377 Think about the last truly bold and memorable campaign you saw. Did it change the way you think about the brand? Do you still remember the product or service being sold? Don't be surprised if it takes you a minute to answer this question. So many marketing messages pass before our eyes that they often merge into a blur of promotion. In an age dominated by digital engagement, today's brands pump out an endless stream of content to reach customers and leads scattered across devices and platforms. The result is a blizzard of marketing messages in which consumers frequently feel overwhelmed, [...]


Marketing Apps: Where Media, Messages & Mechanisms Converge

Media, Messages, and Mechanisms One of the overarching trends in our industry is that marketing is shifting from being in the business of delivering communications -- advertisements and content -- to being in the business of delivering customer experiences. It's not just what we say. It's what prospects and customers experience when they connect with us, in digital channels and in the physical world. This is one of the seven meta-trends that I covered recently in my book, A New Brand of Marketing. It's possibly the most transformative of all the changes that are rippling through our profession, because it fundamentally [...]


CMOs, Keep Your Company On Track And Avoid “Communication Debt”

Branding It happens. We get busy and all of a sudden we realize that the words we've been using to talk about our products or brand internally weren't quite right and somehow made it up on the website, into our marketing material and ultimately into the minds of our consumers. This is communication debt, and it's a scary thing. Most of the marketers (and definitely all of the startup lovers) reading this are familiar with the concept of "technical debt," which refers to "the eventual consequences of poor software architecture and software development within a codebase." It's particularly dange [...]


In Interactive Marketing, The Goalposts Always Move — And That’s Good

marketing strategy You may have heard murmurs about the newly released IBM study, “Stepping up to the challenge: How CMOs can start to close the aspirational gap,” that came out last week. It was conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value and was based on in-person interviews with 500+ CMOs worldwide, delving -- as studies of this nature and in this day and age often do --  into their takes on the changing digital economy. Among other findings or validations of our current industry state, the study indicates that 94% of CMOs feel advanced data analytics will play a significant role in hel [...]


Putting The “R” Into E-Tail: Adopt A Holistic Retail Marketing Approach

Tablet There are a few "signs of the times" that most retailers would agree on: Online sales as a percentage of total sales is growing for all retailers Amazon is a competitor for all retailers Showrooming -- the practice of looking at something in a store and then buying it cheaper online -- is becoming increasingly common However, the strategies for online and offline sales are often completely different, and companies are struggling to create a cohesive experience within the two. Even Apple only brought its offline and online stores together in Q4 2013 when they hired Angela Ahrendt [...]


10 Ways To Squeeze More From Your Interactive Marketing Budget

money-budget-squeeze-600 As marketers, we're always striving to get the most from our budget without compromising the brand or the customer's experience -- not an easy feat. It benefits us to remember how much money can be saved by making subtle changes to marketing strategy and program execution. Here are ten ideas across all segments of your marketing budget that will help you do just that. 1. Enter New Markets Through The Affiliate Channel Instead of incurring the overhead costs of opening new offices and hiring additional staff, look to the affiliate channel to help you enter new markets. Along with provid [...]


The Key To Growth Hacking: Never Stop Testing

never stop trying I'm often asked by business owners about online marketing best practices. They want to know what will help them gain an advantage over their competition or simply drive more leads and more sales. They often want to look better than their competitors, rank higher in search engines and pay less for advertising. The answer I give them isn't necessarily what they want to hear, but it is fundamental to their success. Don't Stop Growing, Don't Stop Experimenting The key to digital success and growth hacking is to never give up. That seems like a simple tip -- but more often than not, compa [...]


In Lead Gen, Sometimes Broader is Better

lead generation Today's marketers are laser-focused on targeting. It makes sense -- the idea of picking out who is most likely to buy your product is the ideal situation. In the all-you-can-eat data buffet, reaching our audience and only our audience is relatively easy, and it has become the definition of efficiency. Unfortunately, in lead generation, targeting that narrowly isn't always the best solution. Let's say, for example, that your target (like everyone else's) is the CMO. You set up filters to ensure you're reaching that most senior marketing executive and no one else. Decision makers only. Bud [...]


Static Assembly Lines Don’t Work In Interactive Marketing

shutterstock_180665672-assemblyline Your company makes money by scaling what you do and limiting the costs associated with whatever you provide. With any product or service, scale depends on the systematic completion of a series of tasks -- think of the efficiency brought about by the adoption of the assembly line. As a result, we use technologies to assist in scalability and definition of process to ensure the consistency of delivery. Process is great. It's the rock in monetizing service delivery. But in interactive marketing, change is the status quo and over-developing a process can lead to competitive disadvantages throu [...]


It’s Omni-Channel, Stupid! Don’t Adopt Mobile-Focused Marketing

shutterstock_133481336 Some of you may remember James Carville's famous slogan, "It's the economy, stupid," coined during Bill Clinton's successful 1992 Presidential campaign. The purpose of the slogan was  to remind campaign workers to focus on the economy, given the fact that the country had slid into recession during then-President George Bush's time in office. Meant to be used as an internal phrase, the slogan took on a life of its own and was mimicked often. In the world of mobile, it's time for a similar cry. The plea is this: let's stop focusing on "mobile" as a channel or marketing strategy and sta [...]


Digital Marketing Disaster? Hope You Have An Emergency Plan!

thG4VD10Z8 With 54 inches of snow so far in New York this year, we have officially broken into the top ten worst winters on record. It's been one snow emergency after another. Enough already! That said, being prepared has definitely made this harsh winter much easier to handle. The same goes for marketing disasters. Whether it's a PR crisis, a search algorithm update or a major technology change, a marketing disaster can strike at any moment. Yet, few marketers are prepared for it. Instead, the response often looks like this: ...which is usually soon followed by something like this: B [...]


Content Marketers: Concrete Steps To Finding Your Brand’s Voice

tone of voice video Take these two groups of words: "High octane," "shine adrenaline," "super-charged." "Fortified," "amino acids," "neutralize." Funnily enough, both are used to describe shampoo. The first set – from Bed Head – positions the brand’s hair care products as expressions of a fast, exciting lifestyle; we picture ourselves strapped to a speeding motorbike, possibly while checking for split ends. In contrast, the second set – from Nicky Clarke – frames the products within a dependable world of science, innovation and men in lab coats. The above example shows how two compa [...]


The Hazards Of Love: Keeping Mindful Within Long-Term Engagement

relationships No matter your side of the business, you've been conditioned like the rest of us to strive for long-term engagement. If you're an agency, you're bred to eschew the one-off project or single campaign and pitch for Agency of Record status, or at least a retainer-based arrangement. If you're on the sell side, you know how to skillfully sweep aside the pilot or the test proposition and angle for the longer-term contact. Tests are for wimps. We need skin in the game to understand our own capacity for success. There's a lot to be said for having the time and space to conceive, execute and deli [...]


5 Killer Marketing Strategies Your Competition Isn’t Using…Yet

marketing strategy Small business owners don't typically have the time or resources to design and execute cutting-edge marketing strategies; that's the way of the marketing world. Big corporations like Coke and Microsoft test out new ideas in big ways, and then smaller companies adopt the new strategies that proved worthwhile. Because of this "trickle down" marketing process, insights often come to small business owners after enough time has passed to analyze the results of the big firms' efforts. In this article, we'll discuss new marketing ideas that are proven, but still fresh -- fresh enough to put your b [...]


What Does Omni-Channel Brand Marketing Look Like?

Marketing Strategies We live in a world where marketers have more tools and channels than ever. That can be good news when they understand how to use them for one unified brand impact; it can also be bad news, when print, digital and social teams operate in silos. It's not hard to understand why silos lead to a weakened brand impact. Today's customers shift between marketing channels within moments, and can view a microsite, digital banner and TV ad all while sitting on the living room sofa. If those campaigns present a fractured brand image and disparate messaging, they won't have as much power to penetrate [...]


20 Traits Of Successful CMOs

Marketing Strategies Being a CMO is… well, a lot of things: amazing, hard, exhausting, fun, challenging and about a million other adjectives. While I've only carried the title for just over half a year, I have spent those 8 months researching what it means to be a "successful CMO." It's been quite the learning curve and an exciting ride. To help me along the way, I've thrown myself into the art of being a CMO. I've had dozens of coffee meetings with other CMOs, read books on leadership and management and talked for days on end about the traits that make a CMO successful with my executive team and professional [...]


Why And How Brands Must Go Omni-Channel in 2014

ML Display Stats Jan 2014 copy You visit your favorite retailer's website. Upon your arrival, the site drops cookies on your browser. Next thing you know, you're seeing a television ad promoting deals available via the retailer's mobile app. And before you know it, you are accessing information on your mobile device and then visiting the brick-and-mortar store. As you browse through the store, you look up products online and perhaps even scan a QR code in search of a deal. Meet the omni-channel consumer -- you. In MIT's recent report, "Beyond the Checkout Cart," the omni-channel consumer is the central force shaping the [...]


Strategizing Direct-To-Consumer E-Commerce: When Should Manufacturers Dive In?

Widget Costs Over the past few months, I’ve had the opportunity to help a few prominent manufacturers strategize direct-to-consumer e-commerce experiences while balancing their relationships with their retail partners. Entering the engagements, my thought was that any brand should strive to capture their sales through direct channels in order to maximize margins. But politics are fascinating in the manufacturer/retailer ecosystem; and as a result, the economics don’t always make sense. By the end, I came to realize that there’s a time and a place to sell direct, but there are some very particular [...]


Don’t Give Up On Past Customers, Re-Engage Them With These Tips

customer engagement Let's face the facts: customer lifecycle marketing is hard. Traditionally, the acquisition stage of the customer funnel kept marketers busy, but it appears the tides are turning -- the majority of marketers interviewed in a recent 2014 State of Marketing survey said retention and re-engagement are now a key focus. So, how can we re-engage our past customers? There are a number of authentic and mutually beneficial ways to reach out and reconnect with those customers that have departed -- cancelled their product subscription, uninstalled your app, etc. Let's jump into some of the more pop [...]


Digital Audit: What To Keep, What To Discard & What To Change For 2014

Maximize Return on Your Investment Arrow Matrix It's never been easy to keep up with business and marketing trends. Conflicting information abounds online, and new digital tools arrive so frequently that many marketers find themselves operating in a tangled web of programs and strategies. Not all of these tools deliver -- but knowing what to leave behind in 2013 and what to create or continue in 2014 can be daunting. Let's face it, you can find a self-professed expert to pronounce almost any trend dead or effective. For this reason, a lot of people go for the easy answers. But the intersection of new technologies and consumer preferences [...]


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