Our Solutions News Blog was envisioned to gather and share information from the very best to help you and your business to become more effective.
Marketing is an ever evolving combination of art and science, and today marketing's role is growing in importance. The challenges of producing tangible growth and ROI are two trends that will continue to grow as the business climate becomes more competitive, and the opportunities more fragmented.
Market fragmentation is creating a new frontier in terms of techniques, strategies and reach. As niches become more focused, the concept of a “market-of-one” is becoming the new reality. We have to create a “unique” experience for each prospect to drive them to convert, build trust, and finally act.
Focusing On Customer Experience
These trends deserve your attention as you address the complexities and challenges of marketing in the coming year.
1. The Growing Role of B2B Marketing
This year will see marketing expand beyond its traditional role. Businesses are facing new and unique challenges today, like the shortage of talent, commoditization and increasing competition to name just a few. These are enterprise-wide challenges that will require cross-departmental collaboration to solve, and marketing is in the perfect position to take the lead.
Watch for greater alignment between marketing and HR, sales, and operations. Everything from addressing employer branding strategies to recruit talent, to business development will be calling on marketing to increase value and visibility.
2. Balancing The “Customer Experience”
Probably the biggest trend to watch in the coming year will be the task of focusing on customer experience while still driving growth. Marketers have been focusing on “customer-centric” methods, basing their approach on the lifetime value of a prospect.
This year, the focus will be on adding “customer-focused” techniques of providing relevant experiences across all touch points, to deliver what customers most value. Balancing these two approaches can deliver a more personalized approach that will generate higher revenue, while building stronger brand loyalty.
3. Executive Branding: Thought Leadership
In the past few years the focus of branding (thanks to the Internet, mobile, and social media) has shifted to the individual – both in terms of the customer, as well as the “voice” of the business.
As a result traditional branding and marketing efforts aren't enough. Especially when it comes to B2B marketing. Today, executive branding, or developing thought leadership is growing. Buyers want to know the “why” behind the business and put a face to the operation to build trust. In order to really stand out, executive branding will be the fastest growing trend in B2B marketing in the coming years.
4. Formats, Channels and Mix
As marketing refocuses on thought leadership, the need will arise to refine content and marketing mix as well. As more channels and delivery platforms become available, marketing teams will need to better leverage a broader mix of marketing choices and formats.
For example, video both pre-recorded and live is becoming much more prominent as is live streaming of events. Diversification of content delivery formats includes podcasts, interactive assessments (as in the managed print field) and mobile friendly content. Marketing firms will also see a shift from Twitter and LinkedIn to more non-traditional B2B formats like Facebook and Instagram. Along with this shift will come the reliance on paid opportunities to boost distribution away from organic-only approaches.
5. Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning
DRIP Marketing has grown in the past few years, and the "automation" trend will continue as the integration of artificial and machine learning in B2B marketing grows in importance.
According to Forrester Research, “AI will provide business users with access to information and insights before they're available.” By using cognitive interfaces, complex systems and advanced analytics combined with machine learning technology, business decisions in e-commerce, marketing, product management and other areas will be able to happen almost in real time.
6. Experiential Marketing
Imagine being able to give your customers and prospects the opportunity to experience your brand in “real life” or the virtual world. This trend will grow in the coming years, especially in the B2B space. As virtual reality begins to take a greater hold, it will be possible to immerse prospects or customers from anywhere in the world.
A great example in the B2C space is the growing use of virtual reality in luxury home sales. Prospects are able to take an "immersive" tour of properties that have not yet been built. When it comes to B2B, educate yourself about the latest experiential strategies and techniques and how you can integrate them into your marketing strategy so users can “touch," “taste” or “feel” your brand. Internally, experiential marketing is a great opportunity to engage, educate and energize employees.
These are 6 trends to be aware of in the coming year. As marketing continues to become more personalized, the techniques, strategies and channels will continue to evolve. Staying ahead of the trends and technologies that are changing our business will be the key to success moving forward!
Source: Adobe Hubspot Blueleadz Written By: Rob Steffen
Companies are spending thousands of dollars on marketing and advertising in an effort to bring more awareness to their brand or to their message. Many collect or buy data about their target audience which they should be able to turn into tactics to drive responses, but 80% still report that their traffic generation tactics are only slightly or somewhat effective. (brighttalk 2015)
Targeting Your Customers Interests
Getting the audience to see their message is one challenge, but getting them to act on it is an even greater one. Some companies are asking for feedback or promoting the sale of products but rarely do they speak directly of their clients specific wants and or needs.
We believe that you can use your audience data along with your marketing message to create a powerfully unique message for each recipient. By specifically targeting your customers interests and by delivering it through a printed marketing piece, you can increase your response rate roughly 35% and increase brand retention by as much as 70%.
If more people paid attention to your marketing and remember your brand, how much more revenue could you generate?
If this is an interesting topic for you, lets talk. We may be able to assist with your next marketing campaign.
Click HERE to Contact Us »
There are lots of reasons to use direct mail, and you may have heard many of them. So here are three statistics on the value of direct mail marketing that you may not have heard...
Go Direct for Best Results
1. Direct mail has higher value in persuasion.
According to a recent study by Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, direct mail generates a motivation score that is 20% higher than digital media. The study found this score to be even higher when direct mail creative uses print enhancements (for example, special coatings, dimensionality, and print-to-mobile technologies).
2. Direct mail is easier to understand.
A wide variety of studies confirm that information provided in print is easier for people to understand and process than information provided in digital form. In the case of the True Impact study, direct mail was found to require 21% less cognitive effort. That means your message is absorbed more quickly and effectively.
3. Direct mail results in higher brand recall.
Not only is information in direct mail easier to process, but it is more likely to be retained. True Impact found that brand recall was 70% higher among participants who were exposed to direct mail ads rather than to digital ones.
Need more reasons to love direct mail? Just ask! Click Here » to learn more.
 “A Bias for Action” (Canada Post and True Impact Marketing, July 2015)
Getting decent sales results can be challenging. With so many ways to communicate it's not as black and white as it use to be. I mean, 30 years ago all you had to choose from was a traditional sales calls or in-person meeting. Should I call them or knock on their front door.
Then came the internet which opened up a whole new ballgame - email communication - and what a revelation that has been. And now, here we are in 2017 and the channels just keep growing.
The birth of social media has made a great impact on how we communicate and today there are more ways to contact a lead than I can count on my own two hands. There is one in particular that I find very effective, especially when it comes to B2B selling, and that's LinkedIn...
6 Creative Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Message Stand Out
Click HERE » To View the Full Article
Source: Hubspot Written By: Michael Pici
It's a bit of a read, but it's one of the top feature articles of 2016.
The last 10 years have seen enormous changes in the acceptance of commercial and institutional landmark signs, both static and digital, as well as urban and community wayfinding systems...
With that in mind, new research undertaken on behalf of the International Sign Association (ISA) and the Signage Foundation—a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding knowledge of the purposes of on-premise signage—has explored the various ways signs enhance cities’ downtown areas, helping to increase tourism, development and consumer spending. By reviewing the importance of different attributes of exterior landmark signs, this research study has compared the effectiveness of different approaches to create a clearer picture of how signs play an important role in their communities.
Click HERE » To View the Full Story
Source: SignMedia Written By: Craig Berger
How to get your ideas to spread
In a world of too many options and too little time, our obvious choice is to just ignore the ordinary stuff. Marketing guru Seth Godin spells out why, when it comes to getting our attention, bad or bizarre ideas are more successful than boring ones.
Click HERE » for additional TED Talks to discover... Where Ideas come from.
Source: TED / Presenter: Seth Godin & Various Others
Advice for achieving and maintaining customer centricity at a time when customers expect nothing less.
Customer centricity is all the rage in today's world of marketing; a world where technologically empowered consumers expect more and more from businesses and their marketing. Fortunately for marketers, technology continues to advance at a remarkable rate for businesses, as well. However, all of the technology in the world can't salvage a marketing strategy that isn't wholly focused on these empowered consumers.
In this Q&A, captured during the 2016 Direct Marketing News Marketing&Tech Innovation Summit, Vivek Sharma, CEO and cofounder of email marketing technology provider Movable Ink, a Summit sponsor, spoke with DMN's Editor-in-Chief Ginger Conlon about the opportunities in customer-centric marketing, the balance between marketing on a contextually relevant level, and relying too heavily on marketing technology.
Source: Direct Marketing / Written By: Perry Simpson
Cheetos Made Lip Balm? 18 of the Weirdest Product Releases From Famous Brands, and 16 of Them Flopped!
When it comes down to it, the underlying goal of any type of advertising or big idea is to solidify a company’s brand identity in the minds of consumers. Brands who succeed in doing this become virtually synonymous with goods or services: Starbucks to coffee; Coca-Cola to soft drinks; Nike to athletic equipment.
Sometimes, though, a brand’s identity is so intertwined with a type of product that any attempt to branch out can be, well ... really weird. Like, is-this-an-April-Fool's-Day-joke weird.
Take Colgate, for instance. Long associated with toothpaste, toothbrushes, and all things oral hygiene, it made the unfortunate decision to try its luck in the ready-to-eat dinner market by introducing a line of frozen foods called "Kitchen Entrees." Needless to say, these products didn’t stay in grocery store freezers for long, as consumers were unable to disassociate the minty fresh taste of Colgate toothpaste from Colgate spaghetti.
But this wasn’t the only instance of a brand launching a disconnected product line. In fact, it’s happened a number of times and surprisingly, not all have failed. Check out this interesting infographic from Plumbworld chronicling the weirdest examples of brands branching out.
Source: Hubspot / Written By: Matthew Kane
Social media advertising is a great tactic to use to supplement your other inbound marketing efforts. That said, each comes with its own strengths and weaknesses, and acknowledging these can help you put out the most suitable, engaging content possible.
Social media has become a cornerstone of marketing strategy; it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, social media is a tool you should be using everyday to interact with consumers.
Let’s dive in and examine the pros and cons of advertising on each of the four major social media platforms.
The Good: One major benefit to using LinkedIn is its user base, which consists mainly of business professionals. Over LinkedIn, your ads are almost always seen by business-minded individuals, like yourself. This makes it a social media platform with high conversion rates. Like Facebook, you can also target to niche groups in categories like demographics, employee title and location.
The Bad: Don’t expect a high click-through-rate for your ad here. However, while you’ll rack in less overall clicks on LinkedIn, the users behind the clicks are much more qualified than they are on the other social media channels. On Facebook, you may get as many as 1 in 200 impressions; on LinkedIn, it’s common to receive 1 in 500.
Another downside using LinkedIn is the cost of running an ad campaign. It’s normal to pay up to four or five dollars a click. The extra cost may be worth it you, however, because you’re reaching a higher-quality audience for your business and bypassing those who aren’t interested automatically.
Example: Here’s a perfect example of effective LinkedIn advertising. MarketShare used LinkedIn display ads to drive traffic to their site by targeting an audience of marketing professionals they were looking for.
The company garnered significant results by utilizing this method: the ad received a .10% click through rate, which was double the number MarketShare expected. They also reported seeing more qualified leads coming in through from different verticals. Success! You can view the MarketShare case study here.
The Good: Twitter allows you to target people based on their current interests. Every time someone sends out a tweet with a hashtag, you have the ability to target them via social media advertising; this is just like keyword targeting on Google AdWords.
Another way you can effectively target a particular audience on Twitter is by honing in on a particular user. Find someone, like an industry influencer, and target their set of followers to extend your ad’s reach.
The Bad: Even though Twitter has a great ability to target users through keywords and hashtags, targeting by interest isn’t as easy. The selection of interests to choose from are extremely limited. The closest interest category for a B2B inbound marketing agency to choose from is “Marketing.”
Choosing this category will not prove to be very effective, since it includes such a vast industry. Twitter has the potential to being a great channel to advertise on, once they expand their categories for advertising.
Example: Even the most traditional companies can benefit from advertising on social media. Take for example, the Girl Scouts organization. Girl Scouts had developed a new mobile app that helped customers better find where products were sold, which, in effect, will drive sales.
The outcome of this ad campaign was a victory for Girl Scouts. Over 19,500 viewers downloaded the app; which was much more than expected. The key takeaway from this: use photos of your products to supplement tweets and entice visitors. Just like with tweets, an advertisement with an image is multitudes more effective. View their success story here.
The Good: Since the search engine giant created this social media platform, it’s no wonder they added SEO benefits to it. Any activity on your company’s page is calculated into your search optimization. For someone in your circle, your company’s page will appear before others that are not in their circles. People using Google+ are usually more tech-driven than those on Facebook or Twitter. If you think this is the right audience for you, it could be advantageous to use your marketing tactics there.
Google+ features “+Post ads” that post on Google’s Display Network, which increases the reach of your advertisements considerably. This is a major plus, because visitors don’t have to be directed to another website to with their clicks.
The most unique aspect to these ads is that an advertiser doesn’t pay for an ad if someone doesn’t click on it. They only pays for as many clicks as it gets. The one downside of this is that Google counts hovering over the ad for more than two seconds as a click.
The Bad: This social media network hasn’t received nearly as much engagement as the other three sites mentioned in this blog. It only has 540 million users; compared to the others, this is very low. It also doesn’t support advanced targeting options like Facebook does. On here, you can segment ads based on demographic targeting, contextual targeting and device targeting.
The promotion policies are also very restrictive, so contests, promos and giveaways aren’t a possibility, which stops many companies from advertising here. For this reason, the best way your business can use this site is for its SEO feature. This feature is also limited, however; if you’re not in someone’s circles, it won’t help Google get your website seen by those users.
Example: Toyota has been noted for its impeccable use of advertising on Google+. Toyota not only ran a campaign on +post ads, they also used hangouts to their advantage.
They used hangout to connect dealers with potential customers, so they were able to nurture them through the sales funnel at the first point of contact. Toyota experienced dramatic results from this campaign, including a 50% higher engagement rate than industry averages. See the complete success story here.
The Good: Facebook has the largest audience, at over 1.19 billion registered users. The major plus with advertising here is the visibility it could give to your company. This makes Facebook a great choice for a small businesses. With the option to advertise based on location, you can easily increase your reach. Unlike LinkedIn, it’s a very cost-effective option. You can spend as little as a dollar a day per ad.
Another pro with Facebook ads are their advanced targeting options. When advertising on Facebook, you can target viewers based on six different categories: location, gender, likes/interests, relationship status, workplace and education.
They also do their own form of A/B testing for you. Facebook lets you create multiple ad variations and uses the best performing ad set from those variations. This gives you very valuable information into the effectiveness of each ad your company is producing.
The Bad: Facebook as an advertising only has one crucial drawback you should keep in mind: the metrics that Facebook provides regarding ad performance are (currently) pretty miniscule compared to other sites.
Example: BarkBox used Facebook’s targeting abilities to their advantage and has greatly benefited from it. The company received half of their daily conversions and one-third of their daily traffic from Facebook.
They did this by targeting dog lovers with Facebook’s custom audiences option. Using targeted keywords of people who “liked” different dog breeds, they expanded their business and grew their subscribers to 5,000 per month from Facebook alone. You can see the full success story here.
The Bottom Line
Paid social media advertising can be very beneficial to your business. For best results, use this along with other inbound marketing tactics to really take your business (and profits) to the next level. Learn more about the perks of social media advertising in our ebook, “Social Media Paid Advertising” below.
Free Download from Hubspot...
Learn How to Advertise on The Big 4
Written by Lindsay Kolowich / Hubspot Blog
"By using every available channel, businesses are able to reach customers no matter where they are. But balancing the perfect media mix to maximize their efforts and sales opportunities is an art."
Case «» Study
Chick-fil-A® Has The Recipe for Success
Announcing the opening of a new store, Chick-fil-A achieved a phenominal response by combining print and digital marketing tactics. The strategy was simple, yet effective. 5,000 mailers were sent out to advertise the new store, offering free food promotions that require online validation. Recipients claimed their coupons online by completing a short survey. Upon completion, they could then share this offer with their friends via social media
THE RESULTS? On opening day, more than 14,000 customers walked through the doors, with 2,800 attributing their decision to the direct mail campaign. Furthermore, Chick-fil-A was able to captue key demogaphic information for future marketing campaigns.
"Clients are beginning to associate the tactile experience of print with luxury. Digital is cheap, fast, and easy. Who want's to be identified with any of those things?" MARY-FRANCES BURT, Creative Director, Burt&Burt
"Print communications have potential to bring a more unique, engaging and memorable experience to the audience than digital communications. Personally, I prefer the printed page for certain information because of the flexibility in presentation, the tactile qualities, the construction and the protability...I find digital presentations too repetitious and boring after a short period." PHILIP MCCORMICK, Owner, Design Works
" Print still has an impact on communication. In a fast paced digital world where things change every minute, the tactile presence of a printed piece feels more permanent and special." SUE TAUBE, Art Dirctor, Taube/Violane, Inc.
Consumers Still Trust Traditional Media Over Online Ads % of North American consumers who trust the following forms of advertising:
Click HERE »» to Discover Ten Top Reasons to Print
Source: The Modern Media Mix / Written By: Domtar / GDUSA 2014 Print Design Survey
When it comes to spending time marketing on social networks -- whether you're marketing your company or marketing yourself -- you're constantly deciding where to spend your time, and how much time to spend. How much time should we spend on each network for it to be worth it?
It turns out that LinkedIn is one of the most powerful (yet often underutilized) social networks today. With a reported 313 million members, 40% of whom log in daily, LinkedIn is not a network to write off. It's an extremely powerful and fast-growing professional networking tool.
To make sure we're all using it to its full potential, Ethos3 pulled together some very useful, very tweetable quotes in the infographic below.
Source: Hubspot / Written By: Lindsay Kolowich
Businesses continue to integrate social media into their marketing efforts at an impressive rate and many report that they have used social media to get more brand interactions, contacts, and new customers.
As companies continue to rely on social media sites to reach their business goals, it is important that they pay attention to the way social media demographics are growing and changing. Who is using social media? Which social networks do people use -- and how do they use them?
Search Engine Journal created the infographic, featured below, to help you answer all of these questions and more. Take a look at the infographic to discover a number of facts and statistics that you should know about how social media usage is changing.
General Social Media
> Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are the top three social media sites used by marketers.
> 93% of marketers use social media for business.
> 72% of all internet users also used social media as of May 2013.
> 71% of users use a mobile device to access social networks.
> There are now more than 1.15 billion Facebook users.
> 70% of marketers have used Facebook to successfully gain new customers.
> One million web pages are accessed using a Facebook login.
> 47% of Americans say Facebook is their #1 influencer of purchases.
> 23% of Facebook users login at least five time a day.
> 215 million people use Twitter every month.
> Twitter is currently the fastest growing social network with a 44% growth from June 2012 to March 2013.
> 34% of marketers have used Twitter to successfully generate leads.
> There are 1 billion registered users on Google+.
> 70% of brands have a presence on Google+.
> The +1 button from Google+ is used 5 million times per day.
Source: Hubspot / Written By: Sam Kusinitz
With more than 259 million users, LinkedIn is the most popular social network for professionals as well as one of the top social networks overall. Are you using it to its fullest potential?
While new social networks are sprouting up constantly, LinkedIn is a powerful platform that often gets underutilized or put on the back burner.
But the truth is, LinkedIn can be extremely powerful -- especially when you're aware of all the little hidden tricks that don't get nearly enough exposure as they deserve. To help you master LinkedIn, below is our ultimate list of 35 awesome tricks you may have been overlooking.
Optimizing Your LinkedIn Presence
1) Customize your public profile URL.
Make your profile look more professional (and easier to share) by claiming your LinkedIn vanity URL. Instead of a URL with a million confusing numbers at the end, it will look nice and clean. Customize your URL by going here and clicking Customize your public profile URL down on the right-hand side.
2) Create a profile badge for your personal website.
If you have your own personal website or blog, you can promote your personal LinkedIn presence and help grow your professional network by adding a Profile Badge that links to your public LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn has a few different badge designs to select from, and you can configure your own here.
3) Make your blog/website links sexier.
Instead of using the default "Personal Website"-type anchor text links in your LinkedIn profile, you can change the anchor text to make those links more appealing to people who view your profile. So if you want to increase clicks on the website links you display on your profile, change those links' anchor text to something more attention-grabbing than the standard options LinkedIn provides.
For example, if you want to include a link to your blog, rather than choosing LinkedIn's standard "Blog" anchor text, customize it to include keywords that indicate what your blog is about. Each profile can display up to three website links like this, and they can be customized by editing your profile, clicking the pencil icon next to your website links, and selecting Other in the drop-down menu.
4) Search engine optimize your profile.
You can also optimize your profile to get found by people searching LinkedIn for key terms you want to get found by. Add these keywords to various sections of your profile such as your headline or in your summary.
5) Show work samples.
Did you know LinkedIn allows you to add a variety of media such as videos, images, documents, links, and presentations to the Summary, Education, and Experience sections of your LinkedIn profile? This enables you to showcase different projects, provide samples of your work, and better optimize your LinkedIn profile. Learn more about adding, removing, and rearranging work samples here.
6) Add, remove, and rearrange entire sections of your profile.
LinkedIn also enables users to reorder the sections of your profile in any way you prefer. When in edit mode, simply hover your mouse over the double-sided arrow next to the Edit link for each section. Your mouse will turn into a four-arrowed icon, at which point you can click, then drag and drop to another position on your profile.
You can also customize your profile with sections that apply only to you. Find a full list of sections to add to and remove from your profile here.
7) Take advantage of Saved Searches.
LinkedIn allows users to save up to ten job searches and three people searches. After conducting a search, clicking the Save This Search option on the right allows you to save a search and easily run it again later. You can also choose to receive weekly or monthly reminders (+ daily for job searches) via email once new members in the network or jobs match your saved search criteria.
8) Quickly turn your LinkedIn profile into a resume.
Job seeking is one of the most common -- and beneficial -- uses of LinkedIn. Were you aware that LinkedIn enables you to turn your profile into a resume-friendly format in seconds with its Resume Builder tool? Just choose a resume template, edit it, and export it as a PDF that you can print, email, and share.
9) Find a job through LinkedIn's job board.
Now that you've generated that awesome new resume from LinkedIn's Resume Builder tool, you can use it -- and LinkedIn's Job board -- to help you land an awesome new position. LinkedIn allows you to search for jobs by industry and location. It even suggests jobs you might be interested in based on the information in your LinkedIn profile. Save some job searches like we suggested in number 7 to get alerted when new jobs pop up, too!
10) Get endorsed.
Back in 2012, LinkedIn launched a feature called Endorsements, which enables users to endorse their connections for skills they’ve listed in the Skill & Expertise section of their profile -- or recommend one they haven’t yet listed. These endorsements then show up on your profile within that same Skills & Expertise section, as you can see in the screenshot below.
Okay, so you can't guarantee your connections will endorse you for those skills, but because it's so easy for your LinkedIn contacts to do (all they have to do is click on the + sign next to a particular skill on your profile), you'll find that many of them will do it anyway. Just make sure your profile is complete and you've listed the skills you want your contacts to endorse you for. It will definitely give your profile a bit of a credibility boost. You can also remove endorsements if you find people are endorsing you for skills that aren't very applicable.
Source: Hubspot / Written By: Pamela Vaughan