Dwell on Branding Research Report

| November 10, 2016

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Fraud long has been known to be one of the most troublesome issues on the Internet, with digital advertising increasingly one of its prime victims (Edelman, 2014; Interactive Advertising Bureau, 2015; Springborn and Barford, 2013). The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) in late 2015 estimated that marketers will waste as much as $7 billion globally in 2016, buying online advertisements that people do not see.1 Fraudsters succeed by creating their own websites and using fake audiences to attract advertisers or by charging legitimate publishers to direct invalid traffic to their sites. The ANA findings showed that display and video advertisements bought using automated systems are a big part of the problem, and they have a significantly higher level of fraud compared with advertisements that were purchased directly through human sales forces. ANA chief Bob Liodice criticized the industry for being slow to take action and urged it to do more to fix the vexing problem.

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OTHER ARTICLES

8 Ways to Leverage Content Effectively

Article | November 20, 2020

All business owners know the importance of generating long-term value from company efforts and resources. From marketing campaigns to internal processes, every aspect of operations must work toward providing ongoing benefits for the company. This same concept applies to your company’s content. However, I have yet to see many companies leveraging this thought process for their content marketing efforts. How often does your team create astounding content, only for it to be used once and never touched again? Likely far more often than you’d care to admit! Instead, use or repurpose your company’s content effectively across multiple channels, campaigns, goals, and processes to maximize its value for years to come. Not sure how to do this? Let me show you eight ways to leverage content effectively throughout your business. 1. Build Brand Awareness From social media posts to introductory new client emails, content can be used to generate and sustain brand awareness. Think of this content use as a way to grab the attention of those at the top of your sales funnel. These potential customers are beginning their buying journey and are interested in learning more about your company, products, services, and other related topics. Pro Tip: Be cognizant that much of this content may not even reside on your website! Content management engines like Vestorly or Curata can sort through third-party content that mentions your brand and create an inventory of original and curated content to build a brand awareness campaign. Examples of awareness-related content usage can include: • Social media posts focused on generating engagement • Blog posts about broad, overarching topics in your industry • Welcome emails to new subscribers • Landing pages for pay-per-click campaigns for generic keywords Look through your company’s library of past content and see which pieces you can leverage to create ongoing brand awareness. 2. Generate Qualified Leads Marketing content is most often used to drive qualified leads to your sales team. By creating informative and entertaining content that ranks high on search engines, you’ll attract the attention of potential customers searching for answers online. Chances are that your company already uses content for this purpose. But, have you considered revamping older pieces to function as lead generation content? Transform content into lead generation pieces with a few simple tweaks, like: Adding actionable language and contact forms to blog posts Including a CTA in social media posts and videos Allowing subscribers to respond to emails 3. Educate Your Audience Expertly crafted content is an effective educational tool. When thinking about creating educational content, start within your organization. Ask yourself what content you can create or what third-party content you can share to: Improve hiring and training processes Inform employees on new internal projects, efforts, or initiatives Help strengthen the internal company culture Educate employees on company policies, benefits, etc. Additionally, nonprofit organizations can use content pieces to educate potential donors, volunteers, or advocates about their cause. Businesses can similarly use content to educate users about their product or service. Creating an education hub that pulls your original content in, along with intelligently curated third-party content, is an excellent method for educating customers. Companies like Vestorly and UberFlip provide an efficient and effective solution for this approach. 4. Position Your Brand as an Authority Content can also be used to build your brand’s authority effectively throughout the industry. When it comes to athletic wear and sneakers, brands like Nike and Adidas lead the way. Why? Because consumers think of these brands as the authority on these products. But that authority didn’t happen overnight. It took years of creative and engaging content designed to convince fans of the brand’s leadership and authority on the topic. To escalate your company’s brand influence, start developing content on intriguing and even controversial topics within your industry. From thought leadership articles to in-depth how-to videos, your content can be strategically leveraged to position your company as an industry leader. The most important takeaway is for your audience to trust that you know what you're talking about. Remember, this authority doesn’t appear out of thin air. You have to continuously publish high-level content to break through barriers and become a thought leader. 5. Retain Loyal Customers No one likes feeling forgotten — especially customers. Both B2B and B2C companies rely on customer retention strategies to keep customers engaged. But these strategies require far more content than the occasional email and discount code to operate effectively. Content created exclusively for frequent buyers is an excellent way to retain top-spending customers. Through personalized content, specific blog post topics, fan-only newsletters, and other forms of content, you can work to build a solid relationship with customers who trust your brand. Another tried-and-true way to retain loyal customers is to provide personalized comments with links to curated content related to your buyer’s interests and needs. The Harvard Business Review found that offering customers short tutorial content on product features can reduce churn by 6%. And, Bain & Company reported that increasing customer retention by a mere 5% can improve profits by 25% or more. Plus, through these retention content efforts, you can also leverage your fans to help build your brand authority. Find ways to encourage and incentivize customers to share your brand’s content with others. 6. Communications Tools No matter if you’re a small business or a multinational corporation, an internal communications strategy is the key to success. With this in mind, companies can use their content to seamlessly communicate information internally to stakeholders and external partners. Whether you choose to communicate this information in the form of an interactive blog post or an entertaining video, it’s far more productive than sending an email memo! 7. Analyze Your Industry and Market Effective content usage isn’t restricted to only your content. Collect content from your competition or leading industry publications and analyze it to better understand what’s happening in your market. Additionally, take a look at their content strategy. Is there anything you can replicate or do better within your content marketing strategy? To expedite your content curation efforts, rely on a content engine like Vestorly to filter through relevant results based on keywords, sources, and other criteria. 8. Learn About Your Audience Similarly, you can curate content to gather business intelligence about your audience. Take a look at the content written about your target demographic. What does it tell you about your market’s wants, needs, and problems? Also, comb through content that your audience shares and interacts with. This will provide you with insight into what type of content to create and which topics to focus on. Learn How To Leverage Your Content Effectively Your company’s content isn’t reserved for only the marketing team. Instead, it can be used to: Build lasting brand authority in your industry Communicate important information to internal teams and external stakeholders Gather business and audience intelligence Retain customers and drive up profit If you’re unsure of how to use content effectively throughout your organization, get in touch and I’ll show you how it’s done.

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How to Drive Sales as Share of Spend Shifts Across Industries

Article | August 13, 2020

In the months since states first declared shelter-in-place orders and economic uncertainty gripped the country, consumers have reprioritized their spend. As they spend more on some categories and less on others, it can be hard for marketers to gauge whether these represent permanent or temporary shifts in behavior. To help answer this, we’ve taken a look at how share of consumer spend has shifted between industries over the past few months. The results are both expected and surprising.

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Thought leadership insights from Ted Grigg of DMCG LLC

Article | October 16, 2020

Q.1. As more platforms become available, generating traffic and leads seem to get harder instead of easier. What should marketers do differently to increase leads and traffic? A.1. Testing, tracking responses, and evaluating all lead generation methods is the best way to reduce your cost per sale. The increasing options for traffic and lead generation can do nothing but increase your opportunities for improving your effectiveness. A marketers’ preference for using one tactic over another by eliminating the channels or not considering all available methods reduces your chances for making the most of your marketing spend. By deciding not to use email, direct mail, phone support, Google ads, social media, or any combination of these methods reduces your company’s effectiveness. Above all, become channel agnostic. Even if it didn’t work before, continue to modify and test all channels during the height of your selling season. Do not prejudge any technique just because you and your team may be unfamiliar with it. Channel and market fragmentation continue to challenge all marketers. This particularly aggravates the marketer’s ability to find a reliable attribution model by channel. That’s why the evaluation process has evolved to include campaign spend rather than channel spend. Q. 2. For many businesses across various industries, there’s just not much room in the budget, and marketing is not a major priority. From your experience, what should marketers do to justify marketing spend, and where should they spend more money on? A.2. Budget allocation has always been a challenge for marketers. Nothing new there. Most companies budget according to the overall budget’s percentage increase. If a company spent $10,000,000 on advertising, then they might add 3% or $300,000 to the new year’s budget. There is often little to no correlation to the budget and net revenue growth plans. The whole thing becomes more of a political exercise than real financial planning. In my opinion, marketing budgets should include all marketing activities. This includes - advertising - inbound telemarketing - sales, and - customer support. All such areas should integrate and become almost invisible to the customer. All company marketing activities speak with one voice and exist to serve the company’s customer for maximum return on investment. If this is done, then the company must determine an allowable marketing cost for each new customer, and possibly an allowable new customer acquisition cost by channel. For example, if a company wants to add 10,000 new customers, and the allowable marketing cost per customer is $250, then the marketing budget becomes 10,000 X $250 = $2,500,000. A similar approach should be applied to customer retention. Eventually, customer retention and growth are merged into a single budget. This is all an oversimplification, but it shows the potential for taking the guesswork out of marketing budgets. Some client companies have used this approach for the last 40 years. I think this approach to budgeting leveraging today’s sophisticated big data should be used to reduce the politics and emotions driving budget decisions. Q. 3. How effective are digital marketing campaigns in these times? Should marketers complement their digital strategy with SEO and social media? A.3. Marketers should increase their budgets based on testing. Yet, evaluation relies on accurate sales attribution. Social media, SEO, and mass general advertising, all require a long-term view when compared to direct response strategies using both digital and traditional advertising. Direct response is easily tested and evaluated in all channels. Social media, on the other hand, works like general advertising to support site visits, and leads from other marketing activities. SEO is directly attributable to sales if the site is an ecommerce site. For other company websites, SEO is usually seen as necessary to support all other marketing activities similar to inbound sales support, customer support, and retail outlets. Just like social media and general advertising, SEO budgets are not directly attributable to sales. Yet marketers know SEO drives considerable sales volume. SEO is not as easily evaluated as an ecommerce site, direct response mail, print, and broadcast. Yet SEO has become more important as overall web volumes increase the competition for customer views. General advertising and social media do not work in a vacuum and should be supported with direct marketing strategies. I think general advertising and social media should blend in with the overall marketing budgets and prove their worth by improving overall marketing performance. Q. 4. What kind of content do modern consumers seek? Is there an ideal content mix you would suggest in terms of videos, infographics, and articles? A.4. The content for all channels require what they have always required. The writer must answer these basic questions in clear and emotionally persuasive language (as appropriate). 1. What customer problem the product or service solves? 2. What are the customer benefits (not just features) from buying the product? 3. How is this product superior to competitors? 4. Prove that the benefits are real through customer testimonials and objective external evidence. 5. Make an offer as required to generate a sale or inquiry. 6. Use photos rather than drawings to support the product, or customers using the product. 7. Make minimal use of reverse type and only with short headlines. 8. Avoid small type and fancy font styles that are hard to read. As for the mix, videos are hot right now. I think bloggers and social media should continue to test the length and impact of video, audio, and pure text. Q. 5. How important is blogging in generating revenue for a company? A.5. Blogging definitely builds website traffic if the content contains interesting information for the targeted market. As words continue to grow on the Internet the relevance is on the decline. This applies to many blogs. Not everyone can write compelling copy or has sufficient subject matter knowledge to keep things interesting for the long term on a blog. Blogs require a lot of time and consistency. Successful blogs may require more energy and company consistency than small companies can sustain. I think that relevant blogs are almost impossible to assign to external bloggers without considerable customer input. The more complex the service, the more difficult it is to outsource successfully. It always helps if the writer knows the subject intimately. Otherwise, the reader doesn’t gain much from reading the post. Another challenge is the proliferation of posts, podcasts, videos, computer games, and the whole environment that competes with blogs for attention. I question the long-term viability of blogs’ ability to warrant the writer’s efforts. But I continue the effort knowing that consultants generally get good response to their writings. Q.6. What are the trends influencing the direct marketing industry? A.6. I don’t really view direct marketing as an industry. Just like positioning advertising and public relations, direct marketing is a strategy. Direct response/direct marketing have always used all available channels well beyond direct mail. There is direct response TV, direct response radio, outbound telemarketing, ecommerce, mail order catalogs, direct mail fundraising, and direct response email. In fact, the Internet as a whole is probably 95% direct response driven. The direct marketing strategy budgets have easily overtaken general or awareness advertising spending. The trends that made this a reality is that companies are demanding accountability from their advertising dollars. This puts downward pressure on marketing activities that cannot be tracked such as general advertising and social media. In fact, sales for these strategies may never be attributable. The same applies to SEO even though the reality is that all of these activities are essential. Marketers must discover more accurate ways to attribute actual sales by strategy, if not by channel. Showing accurate sales accountability for marketing activities has become essential in today’s highly competitive environment. Q.7. What factors are used to test and optimize email marketing campaigns? A.7.The greatest response predictors for email are the same as they are for direct mail. Here they are listed by priority. 1. The list source 2. The product’s ability to solve the customer’s problem 3. The offer 4. The creative execution such as benefit copy, promise support, format, and design 5. Ongoing testing of all of these elements singly, or in combination as A/B/C… splits Once these basics are understood, implemented and tested, then the marketer is well into email optimization. Beyond this, optimize email campaigns by overlaying support channels such as landing pages, outbound telemarketing to existing/high value customers, print, and direct mail.

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7 WAYS MACHINE LEARNING CAN ENHANCE MARKETING

Article | March 15, 2020

Exploiting the immense potential of artificial intelligence to excel in business is no longer a far-fetched pipe dream. Many companies have already discovered this, and as technology advances at a rapid rate, it’s clear now that machine learning and marketing go hand-in-hand. In this age, to do one without the other is a mistake no business can afford, not if they want to remain competitive. Data insights are more valuable than ever before, enabling for better customer engagement. It comes as no surprise that there is an increased reliance on data. Gartner research projects that more than 75% of companies will invest in big data in the next two years. For businesses today, being able to anticipate customer behavior is key to optimizing marketing campaigns. In this article, we’ll explore just how machine learning can help companies improve and enhance their marketing efforts.

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Spotlight

CP + B

App makers, rule breakers, artists, scientists, aspiring guitarists, technologists and anthropologists. We like to take a deep dive into your brand, swim around in your numbers, re-think your in-store experience or rebrand your ID from scratch because no convention is sacred here and the status is far from quo. That's what happens when you fill a building with philosophers, pop-culture nerds, engineers, snowboarders, architects, problem solvers, heavy metal drummers and everything in between.

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