Monthly Archives: March 2016

Forget Hadoop: Takeaways from #StrataHadoop

Big data crusher Hadoop turned 10 earlier this year and it seems like the birthday party Cloudera is throwing for it may never end. It even has its own hashtag — #Hadoop10. Hadoop co-creator Doug Cutting, who works for Cloudera, started the celebration with a blog post last January.

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IBM Expands Its Digital Agency, Acquires Major Salesforce Partner

IBM Expands Its Digital Agency, Acquires Major Salesforce Partner

IBM continued its spending spree for its digital agency today. It announced plans to acquire a firm that gives it direct access to the Salesforce ecosystem — a deal that it said will help it accelerate cloud-based customer experiences for Salesforce users Armonk, N.Y.-based Big Blue bought a Salesforce Software-as-a-Service

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The Two Types of Programmatic Advertising and Why Programmatic Matters

Before we get to the topic at hand, a definition of programmatic advertising. We define it simply as “Automated advertising buying coupled with machine learning.” Digiday defines it as "ad buying what typically refers to the use of software to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations and manual insertion orders. It’s using machines to buy ads, basically.” 

Marketing Land, on the other hand, says programmatic advertising "helps automate the decision-making process of media buying by targeting specific audiences and demographics.” 

In terms of the different types of programmatic advertising, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)—which is an industry organization geared toward ensuring standards across the advertising ecosystem—there are two types of programmatic buying (the process in which you’re buying advertising):

1. Programmatic Direct
Also known as Premium Programmatic Advertising, this is an automated technology-driven method used for buying, selling, or fulfilling advertising. It provides for an Automated Guarantee Systematic automation of sales process. No insertion order (IO) or master services agreement (MSA) covered within the partnership.

2. Programmatic Real Time Bidding (RTB)
Two types of RTBs are Open Auction (audience targeting) and Private Marketplace Deals—which require a private marketplace and allow for fixed pricing and data overlays. We are beginning to see more and more of this type of programmatic advertising being used every day. 

Why does programmatic matter?

The shift to programmatic tactics means a few things for marketers and the industry as a whole. In essence, it has validated and delivered against the need for data- driven, and accountable ROI-based media delivery. Additionally, it has enabled an efficient method for publishers to monetize core inventory.

That said, some advertisers have struggled with premium inventory falling outside of the standard programmatic categories and are still being required to fulfill unique and exclusive campaign needs.

Regardless, the entire programmatic category is seeing increased spending across the board due to its predictive yield and ROI for marketers and publishers alike, not to mention easy insertion processes and lower barriers to entry for most advertisers. 

In a nutshell, programmatic advertising aligns media with brand lift metrics for real ROI and only spends money where it will be effective. 

Download The Programmatic Guide For Modern Marketers, Publishers, And Media Planners to get the basics of using programmatic advertising and a lot more including the other questions marketers need to ask themselves as well as the needs agencies need to address. 

How to Blog from the Heart

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After a conversation recently with two local bloggers who were thinking of giving up blogging, I wanted to reach out to all of you who find yourself in a similar boat to them – managing the fine line of blogging with heart, but also being successful.

Each of these two bloggers had come to blogging via different avenues, but neither of them were seeing the results they wanted. The first blogger blogged with her heart on her sleeve, sharing personal stories to a virtually empty audience. The second blogger had blogged totally by the book, doing everything that logically meant success would soon follow – but his blog was devoid of personality and soul.

Neither of them were where they wanted to be.

Blogging From the Heart

In today’s episode of the ProBlogger podcast, I wanted to talk about blogging with heart, and how that can help give your blog the edge it needs to stand out from the rest. The next podcast will focus on smart blogging strategies to help you see success, but it definitely takes a mixture of the two to really work.

The 7 ways I think you can blog with heart are:

  • Blogging about your passion, with passion
  • Focusing on storytelling, no matter the topic
  • Building community 
  • Creating inspirational content 
  • Being personal
  • Being playful 
  • Creating content that changes lives and makes the world a better place 

Your blog can be technically proficient, and you may see success with that, but without heart and soul, you’ll never reach the heights you have the potential to.

Further Reading:

The post How to Blog from the Heart appeared first on ProBlogger.

The Art of Finding Ideas

for better or worse, a writer is working all the time

Every writer who has ever lived has lusted after ideas.

Where are they, how do I get them, and how do I keep them coming?

If you’ve been writing long enough, you know that — like Solomon — there is nothing new under the sun.

Try as you might to sweat them out of your head or pull them gently from the stars above, there are no new ideas.

So, relax.

But the page is not going to write itself, is it? Where then do we turn for ideas that work, ideas that move, ideas that persuade?

In short, we “steal” them.

The moment you free yourself from The Cult of Originality, you realize that original ideas do not come from within.

They are given to us, from without.

A writer should not look inside, but outside, at external sources, stories, events, and emotions.

If you’re offended that I’d suggest you “steal” ideas, please get over it. You’re already a thief — you just don’t know it.

Here are two of the most significant idea repositories on Earth …

1. The modern media is a torrent of ideas

In this information age, you have absolutely no reason to “draw a blank.”

Ever.

What used to take days and weeks to research and learn, can take us mere moments.

In fact, the only problem we have now is one of finding trusted curators. We need to develop self-discipline and discernment in seeking out correct information from reliable sources.

There is no drought of ideas.

Brian Clark once wrote:

“You have more computing power in your pocket than it took to send men to the moon. What are you doing with it?”

Indeed.

Are you wasting it or harnessing it? You don’t need to go to the moon; the crossroads will do just fine.

Research. Read. Compile.

Product manuals, literature, interviews, talk radio, podcasts, magazines, newspapers, television, Twitter, Google Trends, movies, Wikipedia, and on and on and on …

It’s all there, right in your pocket, waiting to be compiled and analysed. And it’s actually more than you’ll ever need.

So use it. Don’t let it use you.

2. People will give you exactly what you’re looking for

Ideas are walking around everywhere out there.

Eugene Schwartz once told a story about a copywriting job he was working on.

He met with the client and asked him to start talking about the product. They ended up sitting together for four hours — the client talking, and Schwartz simply listening and taking notes.

Later that night, while he was waiting for his wife to get ready for a night out in Manhattan, Schwartz sat down and wrote the ad.

The entire ad.

He said about 70 percent of the finished copy was composed of his client’s own words.

The headline itself was a phrase the client had hit on, word for word.

He waited two weeks, mailed the ad to the client, and they both made a lot of money.

You might think this was some kind of dirty trick on Schwartz’s part, but you’d be wrong.

Schwartz knew how to write a powerful direct response ad. The client didn’t.

Schwartz was smart enough to know that the client knew (in this case) his own product better than he ever could, and simply translated that knowledge and passion onto paper.

The ideas were sitting in the client’s head and Schwartz knew exactly what to do with them.

It goes further …

For better or worse, a writer is working all the time.

Phone calls with friends, the plumber, your spouse, your child, your boss, your client, your neighbor — they are all constantly giving you ideas.

They are all constantly telling you what they — and the entire world — truly want.

It’s all grist for the mill.

All you need to do is … listen.

Steal this post

Eugene Schwartz summed this up for me perfectly:

“You don’t have to have great ideas if you can hear great ideas.”

I stole this post from him, and he stole it from many others.

Listen more. Talk less.

Read less. Read better.

The Art of Finding Ideas is then … the act of going out and finding ideas.

Originality? That’ll come from using your own voice, and your voice develops from writing more. And more. And more.

Where have you been getting your ideas?

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on October 18, 2011.

Image source: Jamie Street via Unsplash.

The post The Art of Finding Ideas appeared first on Copyblogger.

Value Focus: Which aspect(s) of your product should your marketing emphasize?

As a MarketingExperiments blog reader, I can already assume a few things about you. You’re an evidence-based marketer. You are an effective communicator. You have an exceptional understanding of marketing. You are skilled at analyzing campaign effectiveness. And you have experience in a wide range of marketing disciplines.

But if you were pitching yourself at a job fair, and could emphasize only one of these elements about yourself, which would it be?

Savvy marketer that you are, I’m guessing you would first size up the company you’re applying to — ask questions of the recruiter, take a look at the booth and read some of the literature — before deciding what value to highlight when presenting yourself.

The way you approach marketing your products and services should be no different.

 

Don’t bury the lead

Almost every product or service has several ways it benefits customers. Your challenge is to determine the value focus — which element of value will you lead with in your marketing.

You may highlight more than one element of value as secondary benefits on your website, in your print ads and in your email marketing. However, there likely is a place within your marketing where you have to choose what the primary value focus should be — the headline of your print ad, the hero space on your homepage or, perhaps, the entirety of an email.

Let me give you an example from my own customer journey.

 

Connect with customer motivation

I recently purchased a Nissan LEAF. In looking at other cars compared to the LEAF, the car I chose offered many elements of value that Nissan highlights on its website:

  • Save money when you use the car — The car is 100% electric, so, as Nissan’s site says, you will “Never Pay For Gas Again. #KickGas” Another benefit is lower maintenance costs since it doesn’t need oil changes, belts, etc.
  • Nerd out — The car has a certain appeal to early adopters, just because it is electric. Plus, you can access several features (like turning the A/C on to have the car cool down before you get in it) from an app or through a portal on a website using something called telematics. It also has one of those wireless keys that you keep in your pocket when you start the car. Nifty. One headline on Nissan’s microsite for the LEAF is “High-Tech. Low-Impact.”
  • 100% fun — This is from a Nissan tagline: “100% electric. 100% fun.” This is kind of hard to quantify since some people will have fun driving a 4×4 pickup truck through a muddy field, which is a very different experience than what the LEAF offers. But I do find the car fun to drive, almost like driving an iPhone.
  • Save the planet — Since it runs on electricity, the car does not pollute directly. In fact, Nissan stamps “Zero Emission” right on the side of the car.

    Photo: RACC

  • Performance — Some carmakers sell their cars by screaming about a HEMI or horsepower or overhead cams. Nissan promotes “100% torque, 100% fun.” Because it’s an electric car, the engine doesn’t have to rev and shift gears to accelerate. It has instant torque. Now I’m not a car guy, so I don’t really understand or care about what that means. But for driving on the highway, acceleration is important. And for a small car, it does accelerate quickly.
  • Safety — Again, it’s a smaller car, so safety could be a concern. It does have airbags all over the place — popping out of seats and the roof. Though this would seem to be an important issue to car buyers, I didn’t see any prominent mention of safety on Nissan’s microsite for the LEAF. 

These are just a few of the possible value elements that popped into my head. I’m sure there are many more.

When I was at the car lot, the salesman was able to size me up, ask me a few questions and determine my motivation. This meant he could easily pivot from one value focus to the other based on my responses.

Nissan has a bigger challenge on its microsite for the LEAF. Which points should it emphasize most prominently?

The path Nissan has taken at the top of its microsite is not to include a value focus at all. In fact, there isn’t even really a headline.

 

The closest thing to a headline is “2016 Nissan LEAF®.” This does serve to orient the visitor that they are on the right page, but it doesn’t present any value.

The other two major emphasized elements do not focus on the value either. Rather, before presenting value, the LEAF microsite communicates the cost (in this case, the starting price of its base S model) and an anxiety reducer (in this case, range anxiety, by highlighting how far the car can drive).

Below the fold, the microsite starts communicating value with a rotating animation of six banners (what used to be known as a Flash banner) listing different elements of value.

 

Simply put, Nissan has not chosen a value focus for the LEAF on this microsite. (This is not unique to the LEAF for Nissan; this microsite is a template it uses for all of its car models.)

Now, one could make the argument that visitors to this microsite are already so motivated that they don’t need any value communication and their bigger concerns are price and range anxiety.

However, even if they are already motivated, you should reinforce that value once they hit the site. After all, a car purchase is a major decision, and you want to keep driving them up the funnel. It’s also a way to let them know the LEAF is the car for them. “Hey, we understand you. You’re among friends.”

Also, there are likely many less motivated car buyers who are just kicking the tires on several cars, and thus visiting many car sites. By leading with value (and the right value focus), you have the opportunity to turn those few moments of interest into deeper research about the vehicle you’re selling.

If we take a look at the nearest competitor to the Nissan LEAF — the Tesla Model S — we can see that its landing page does lead with value. (It might be a stretch to consider these two models competitors due to the huge price discrepancy — and therefore, possibly differing motivations of its buyers — but they are the two best-selling all-electric cars in the U.S. and comprise 58% of all pure electric cars sold in the United States in 2015.)

 

Like the LEAF’s page, the headline is pure orientation — “Model S” — however, the copy below focuses on value such as “Highest Safety Rating in America” and “Autopilot with Autosteer and Summon.”

 

How to determine your product’s value focus for your marketing

We’ve discussed how it’s important to communicate value in your marketing. But how do you determine what the value focus should be? Here is a simple process to get you started:

Step #1. Understand the product

Effective marketing merely clarifies the value inherent in the product, so begin with the product itself. What elements of value does it provide to customers? If you weren’t involved with the product creation, talk to product developers, business analysts or business leaders who were. Then read professional ratings and customer reviews of your product to get an outside perspective on how well the product delivers on that intended value.

Step #2. Determine the persona

As I said above, there are many reasons to love a LEAF. If I were running a print ad about the car in “Organic Life” magazine, I would focus on the zero emissions and environmental/sustainability aspect. However, if I were writing an ad for “WIRED” magazine, I would focus on the techie/early adopter aspect. Your products likely has more than one customer segment. Before creating the messaging for a specific customer touchpoint, determine which segment or segments you will be communicating with.

Step #3. Ask the customer

Interview current and previous customers. Those who didn’t buy. And those who are just in the segment you’re targeting who may not even know about your product. Participate in forums and LinkedIn Groups that are popular with different customer segments. Talk to customer service, sales and other customer-facing positions in your organization. Read the magazines, blogs and Tumblrs that your ideal customers read, listen to their podcasts, and monitor their communication on social networks. Conduct focus groups. These are just some examples of ways you can ask customers what element of value most resonate with them.

Step #4. Test

The customer is always right. But the customer doesn’t always know what he wants. So it’s not enough to just ask your customers about value. This data simply helps you create hypotheses to test with real-world customers to see which value focuses generate the best response. Test value focus in your email. Test in your PPC ads. Identify elements of value that could be the most compelling value focus, and then run follow-up tests throughout the customer journey to discover how to best message that value focus.

 

You can follow Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MECLABS Institute, @DanielBurstein.

 

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