content

Your Content Marketing Strategy Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Whether it’s in the latest digital marketing trends or from the keynote at an industry event, we’re constantly being told that “content is king” and that we must “think like a publisher” if we want to stand out online today.

It’s easy to nod along, roll up the sleeves, and dive headfirst into the content marketing business. In the beginning it feels great. We’re creating! Publishing blog posts, videos, podcasts, ebooks, infographics, and more. At the end of the day there’s something that’s there now that wasn’t before as a result of our hard work. According to the latest data from the Content Marketing Institute 88% of marketers use content marketing with another 76% noting that they’re on track to produce more content this year versus last year.

But there’s a problem. Simply producing more content isn’t enough. More isn’t always better, nor is it particularly effective. While content production levels are soaring, the same data from the Content Marketing Institute also shows that only 30% of B2B marketers say their organizations are effective at content marketing, down from 38% last year. That may be because although we’re producing more content than ever, fewer marketers have a documented content marketing strategy compared with last year (32% vs. 35%), even though the same research consistently shows that those who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing.

All of the following merit attention, focusing on why, who, and what is a solid foundation. It also helps us ensure that our content is both business centric and customer aware.

Why — Your reason for doing something. When it comes to your content strategy, your why is your business objective. Why you’re doing this. This is the “business centric” part of creating good content.

Content marketing can accomplish one of six business objectives — branding, community building, public relations, customer service, and lead/sales generation. Simply pick one of these objectives and use it as an anchor as you answer the other questions.

Who — With “business centric” covered we now need to make sure that our content is also “customer aware.” Good content has to solve problems for our audience. It needs to serve a need in their lives.

Start by asking yourself who the audience is that you’re serving? With a target segment in place, really kick the tires. Have you been specific enough? Do you need to go deeper? With that nailed down, start fleshing out who they are and what’s important to them. Include quantitative demographics as well as qualitative psychographics.

What — Finally, based on your business objective and who your audience is, how can you create content that’s of service to both? What form of content works best? It’s about creating the content that’s right for your brand and that serves your customers. We need to get more prescriptive with content strategy in way that focuses on fit. Forget what everyone else is doing — what’s best for your brand?

Why, who, and what provide a simple yet solid foundation for a strategic framework you can use to arrive at the right content serving the needs of both your audience and your business.

From here, you can further flesh out your content strategy using the other questions — when (does this happen? How often?), where (does this take place? Internally or externally?), and how (will we get this done? How will we measure success?).

If we want more effective content marketing, we have to get smart with strategy. No one has unlimited marketing resources today. We can’t afford to do everything — and we shouldn’t anyway, as consumers are already overwhelmed by all of the content in front of them. To blindly create content that further crowds an already noisy online marketplace is irresponsible. We have to be more strategic if we want to produce better content. Even if that ultimately means producing less of it.

Source: Harvard Business Review. Article by Nick Westergaard (https://hbr.org/2016/05/your-content-marketing-strategy-doesnt-have-to-be-complicated)

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paypal

PayPal is shutting down its Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Amazon apps

PayPal is thinning the number of mobile operating systems supported by the company’s flagship app down to just two: Android and iOS. The PayPal mobile apps for Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and Amazon’s Fire OS will be discontinued as of June 30th.

It’s fairly common to see these decisions for Windows Phone and BlackBerry, but a little less regular to see a company of PayPal’s stature just up and abandon Amazon’s fork of Android, which runs on Kindle Fire tablets and the failed Fire Phone. PayPal doesn’t offer much of an explanation for the decision, but claims it’ll lead to better apps for the remaining platforms. “It was a difficult decision to no longer support the PayPal app on these mobile platforms,” said Joanna Lambert, PayPal’s VP of consumer product, in an announcement on the company’s blog. “But we believe it’s the right thing to ensure we are investing our resources in creating the very best experiences for our customers.”

PayPal is quick to point out that despite being left without a native app, affected users will still have full access to PayPal’s mobile website for account management and money transactions. There are other options, too; BlackBerry users can still send peer-to-peer payments with PayPal through BBM. And on the Windows side, Outlook.com users can enable the PayPal add-in to send payments right from the email app.

“We remain committed to partnering with mobile device providers, and we apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers,” Lambert said. PayPal claims that putting a sharper focus on just the two apps will allow the company to “innovate and make enhancements to PayPal’s mobile experiences to give our customers the best possible ways to manage and move their money.”

Source: The Verge, Article by Chris Welch (http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/25/11777422/paypal-killing-windows-phone-blackberry-fire-os-apps)

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To go with Asia-telecom-SMS-technology-Internet by Martin Abbugao
This photo, taken on June 21, 2012, shows a person using a mobile phone touch screen keypad to write a text message in Singapore. Text messaging, the humble telecoms service that turned into a global phenomenon, is under threat from free smartphone services and operators need to find alternative revenue streams, analysts say.  AFP PHOTO / ROSLAN RAHMAN        (Photo credit should read ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/GettyImages)

Texting could save customer relationships

Ovum and Tyntec have partnered on a new study that indicates mobile, specifically texting and chat apps, could save brands’ customer relationships. According to the data about half of consumers surveyed say they ‘are interested’ in texting options for customer service.

Why text? Researchers surveyed more than 1,000 consumers and found that speed of communication is becoming a bigger factor for consumers . 80% say their top priority is reaching a customer service agent while 74% say the speed of resolution is a leading factor for them. Mobile, when done correctly, answers that speed question, and also allows consumers to be reached when it is convenient for them.

That said, brands don’t necessarily need a brand-specific app for customer communications.

“Brands that focus solely on developing their own mobile app for interacting with their customers may well become victims of app fatigue in that, no matter how rich an experience it provides, most consumers now need to be convinced to download yet another app,” said Pamela Clark-Dickson, lead analyst, Digital Communications and Social Networking, Consumer Services, Ovum. “Brands should consider adopting an omni-channel strategy for customer care, which would enable them to use a mixture of communications services during each individual interaction with the consumer, including mobile messaging as well as apps.”

Other interesting findings from the report include:
• 56% of consumers want the ability to text back to customer service agents via SMS but many brands only offer one-way texting (brand to consumer)
• 54% of consumers are interested in chat app options to contact etailers
• 18% are already using chat apps for customer service, 50% say they ‘are interested’ in chat apps for customer service

Source: BizReport, Article by Kristina Knight (http://www.bizreport.com/2016/05/study-texting-could-save-customer-relationships.html)

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How Mobile Marketers Can Build Brands via Coupons and Loyalty Programs

A study, commissioned by Retale that polled American adults, reveals that 60% click on mobile banner ads by accident due to a finger slip or small screen size; merely 16% intentionally click on mobile banner ads because they like the product, service, or company being promoted; 66% believe mobile banner ads have little to zero value; and 68% find accidental clicks to be annoying.

For marketers who place strong trust in advertising and rely heavily on high click-through rates, these findings can be downright deflating. But many believe there are smarter ways to engage mobile users, including old-school strategies that can be adapted to digital and that aim squarely at consumers’ wallets-literally: the coupon and the loyalty card.

According to the “2016 Mobile Consumer Report” by Vibes, coupons and loyalty programs provide compelling incentives for consumers to engage with brands via mobile. Here are some of the report’s important findings after polling smartphone owners: 82% reveal that digital coupons are convenient versus printing out paper coupons and taking them to the store; 59% indicate their estimation of a retailer would be improved if they began to receive offers and coupons that could be saved on their mobile phone. Additionally, 32% currently use a mobile wallet, such as Android Pay and Apple Wallet, and 82% are inclined to save personalized mobile wallet coupons and offers. Another 73% are very or somewhat interested in saving loyalty cards to their smartphones, and 87% have at least one loyalty card.

Should you fear the fat finger and cater instead to the coupon-clipping faithful and rewards-seeking repeat buyer? That seems like sound advice to Stacy Smollin Schwartz, instructor of professional practice in the marketing department at Rutgers Business School. “Mobile-enabled coupons and loyalty cards work beautifully because they offer the benefits of both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar shopping for today’s omnichannel shoppers and give the consumer control over which bits of each to use and when,” Schwartz says.

Given the small screen sizes and task orientation we are used to with our smartphones, traditional ad banners often don’t pass the test for effective mobile marketing. “Banner ads seek to distract consumers from adjacent content-not add function, convenience, or seamlessness to their task at hand,” says Schwartz. “They often serve to be clunky road blocks-the antithesis to the invisible blending of online and offline worlds that mobile is so good at. We may trip over them trying to click on something else, artificially boosting click-through rates.”

 For publishers, not only does this potentially inflate their mobile ad inventory value and performance-creating an awkward situation with brands and marketers-it also means a site’s visitors are generally not having an optimal experience. “Instead, they’re accidentally clicking banner ads, which our data found to be very frustrating for customers,” says Pat Dermody, president of Retale.

Unlike a banner ad-which serves as a delivery vehicle that could lead to a coupon or other enticement, but is more often used to deliver a brand message-a coupon is a promotional tool that incentivizes the consumer to engage and transact. And a loyalty/rewards program can be an ideal second tool to wield, after you’ve gotten the user to engage at least once; loyalty program apps can also be effective digital coupon delivery instruments.

“A good loyalty program will offer things to the customer that will make their life more convenient, save them money, help them recognize their value to the company, and reward repeat purchasing,” says Jess Tiffany, president of the Marketing and Networking University.

Many cite the success of Starbucks’ My Starbucks Rewards as a prime example of how successful a mobile loyalty rewards program can be. Using the company’s mobile app to pay for an in-store purchase, patrons earn Stars that can be redeemed for free drinks and edibles. Following its most recent fiscal quarter ending late last year, the coffee giant reported a 23% increase in its loyalty program, which now boasts more than 11 million active members in the U.S.

Digital wallet apps on smartphones-as well as loyalty card locker apps such as Key Ring-make it easy for consumers today to collect, manage, and use mobile coupons and loyalty cards and advantageous for marketers to push their products with inducements. “Mobile wallet apps provide great opportunities for brands to promote their coupons and rewards programs right there on their customers’ phones, just centimeters away from a stored credit card,” says Mark Tack, Vibes’ VP of marketing.

Based on findings from Vibes’ aforementioned study, 49% of respondents prefer to land on a mobile coupon page after clicking on a mobile ad versus a mobile commerce page (26%) or app download page (25%). “Why not use a mobile wallet coupon page or loyalty card splash page as the post-click destination for the mobile ad, which would provide a far better experience for users?” asks Tack.

Dermody agrees that mobile coupons, rewards cards, and ads can work together to support the customer experience. “Mobile banner ads are essentially a high-level branding tool, bringing customers into the funnel and increasing awareness and lead generation,” says Dermody. “Mobile coupons and loyalty programs are mid-funnel down, driving purchase and buying decisions after the initial lead is generated.”

When creating an electronic coupon campaign and/or loyalty program, differentiation is crucial. “Be as unique as possible, and make sure your program is a little bit better or more creative than your main competitor’s,” Tiffany says. “Also, make it easy and convenient, and add value to motivate the customer to use the program.”

Schwartz, on the other hand, preaches caution when crafting any mobile marketing plan, maintaining her faith in omnichannel marketing that blends ecommerce and brick-and-mortar strategies. “Don’t set out to create a ‘mobile coupon program’ or a ‘mobile loyalty program.’ Rather, create a loyalty or coupon program that integrates aspects of online and offline and that makes the most unique sense for your customer,” says Schwartz. “It may make sense for a coffee shop to integrate payment with its mobile loyalty program, but it might not make sense for a warehouse store.”

The key takeaway? “Don’t design mobile programs for the sake of having mobile,” she says. “It needs to seamlessly connect to your customer’s larger omnichannel relationship with your brand or store.”

Source: EContent, Article by Erik J. Martin (http://www.econtentmag.com/Articles/News/News-Feature/How-Mobile-Marketers-Can-Build-Brands-via-Coupons-and-Loyalty-Programs-110560.htm)

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