What You Need to Know About Email Marketing in 2018

Matt Harris, co-founder and CEO of Sendwithus

Facebook’s latest algorithm tweak, limiting public posts in favour of personal content in the News Feed, has rattled publishers and brands alike, illustrating just how powerful social networks have become.

For savvy marketers, the news is a reminder that time and resources are better spent building their own networks, rather than relying on others, and ensuring they have multiple ways to reach customers directly. One critical component of direct communication is a robust email program. Marketers refocusing their efforts on email are discovering a blank canvas for experimentation and testing.

Set your email initiatives up for success this year by keeping the following strategies and trends in mind:

Interactive Content—2017 was the year marketers started to get creative with interactive content. They moved beyond simply embedding video to include image carousels, forms, and even emailable shopping carts. But the payoff on interactive content is far from guaranteed. The effort involved is also high, since you need developers to create interactive elements. To mitigate that cost, have your developers create reusable templates and/or reusable blocks of code so you aren’t dependent on them for every change you need to make. It’s also a good idea to focus your interactivity effort on high-value transactional emails. I’ve seen some exceptional examples of working shopping carts in interactive emails. These emails offer quick-buy upsells and add-ons. I’ve also seen some extremely low-friction abandoned cart emails with click-to-purchase CTAs.

Mobile-First Communications — Consumers today spend at least five hours a day on their phones. That’s why every email must be optimized for mobile. Missing text or weird formatting will send your customers straight to the ‘Delete’  button, costing you potential conversions. Establish a well-built, mobile optimized template using reusable components so you don’t have to go back to an engineer for every email. Be sure they use a clean, single-column layout, with appropriately-sized CTA buttons, and a suitable text-to-image ratio.

Global Privacy Comes to the Forefront — The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect in May. GDPR requires companies doing business in the EU, or online with EU citizens, to protect those citizens’ personal data and privacy. Businesses will need to protect cookie data with the same care as a customer’s address or birthdate. This means data security and privacy are no longer just IT’s problem. Marketers need to educate themselves on what data they are collecting, how they can use it, and how it must be protected.

To avoid running afoul of GDPR, you’ll need to institute tighter controls on email programs. Your customers will need to take a positive action to express consent, for both the data you are collecting and how you will use it.

Hyper-Personalization Continues — We’ve moved way past just using a customer’s name. Dynamic content, fueled by AI and machine learning, continues to evolve. This means knowing your customer well enough to put the right information and products in front of them at the right time. Marketers looking to better understand and segment their customers can use tools like quick quizzes at signup or ask users to self-identify interests and preferences as part of a double opt-in process.

By far the best way to stay ahead of user expectations is to use your customer’s behavioral data to send more contextualized emails. A boring email at the right time will always outperform a flashy email at the wrong time. To do this, your developers and data scientists need to create a manageable, secure pipeline linking behavioral data and email.

Ideally, this pipeline will allow marketers to write and run their own queries in real-time, on live data, helping them create timely, personalized content.

Double Opt-ins Reign Supreme — This is a hotly debated topic in email marketing. Should a marketer ask a new user to confirm their subscription to be added to a mailing list? Many look down on this approach, saying it’s hard enough to get a customer to give you their info once, let alone ask them to complete another step. But using a double opt-in is simply the right move, for both you and your customers. True, your email list might end up being quite a bit smaller, but it will consist of more invested customers and more qualified sales leads.

If you weren’t doing double opt-in before, do it now. 2018 will be the year of the unsubscribe. People are collectively realizing that they’re being bombarded by far too much online content and unsubscribing or flagging irrelevant email is a fast and easy way to turn down the noise. Double opt-ins ensure you have only interested, engaged, and invested customers on your list, preventing unsubscribes and spam reports, which will, in turn, protect your reputation. Not only that, using a double opt-in will help with regulatory compliance.

From a technical standpoint, a double opt-in requires a simple ‘click to confirm’ auto-response upon sign-up. But you could use the opportunity to collect more data points to further personalize the user experience. Consider adding an optional checklist on the confirmation landing page, to offer preferences for frequency, product categories, or content.

The common through-line here is that email is an invaluable tool for building customer relationships. There are countless ways to demonstrate your understanding of your customers’ needs – from personalizing communications, to double checking they really want to hear from you, to ensuring they can read your communications on the device of their choice.  Bearing these factors in mind, you’ll have a solid foundation for an effective email program in 2018.

 

 

About the Author: 




Small Caps: The Benefits of Growing Your Marketing, PR, and Social Media Presence (On-Demand Recording)

Webinar Overview

Small-cap companies—typically defined as publicly traded companies with market capitalizations between $300 million and $2 billion—are confronted by many challenges, including: raising capital, increasing liquidity, attracting institutional investors, boosting share price, obtaining analyst coverage and a general mistrust of the small-cap market.

Typically, CEO’s of these companies have limited time and budgets, making it difficult to do much more than their primary jobs: manage their companies. And, more than 73% report that investor relations (IR) is managed by the CEO or CFO with only 11% of their time spent on investor outreach.

To make an impact in a crowded marketplace, small caps must strengthen their communications efforts to generate interest in their respective stocks by the investment community and the investing public. In-house investor relations departments (or individuals) can benefit from outside perspectives about how the use of marketing, public relations, and social media can convincingly tell the company’s story, and amplify its value proposition, for the customer or potential shareholder.

Today, companies must have a documented content marketing plan, “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” It’s also essential an effective public relations strategy.

In terms of social media, B2B companies lead generation strategy focuses on customized content interactions that build trust throughout the buyer journey. B2B marketing is hyper-focused and personalized to engage and build loyalty but must be used across a myriad of digital channels. For B2C companies, being mobile-first is the competitive edge since consumers make purchases while on-the-go.

In this free webinar, the speakers introduce small cap CEOs to the tangible value of marketing communications, public relations and social media. The speakers will cover the opportunities and challenges for U.S. small cap companies from a customer-centric perspective. They will explain how to create an ecosystem that benefits your company retains and attracts investors and customers.

Speakers

Gregg Castano - MiFID II Misfits: Small Cap Companies & the New Realities of Investment ResearchGregg Castano
CEO
Castano Communications Consulting

Gregg Castano spent 32 years with Business Wire in various direct sales, sales management and executive management roles, including Co-COO, culminating in his appointment as president in 2009. While president, Castano was responsible for overseeing the sales and marketing functions, was instrumental in much of the company’s international growth strategy and served on its executive committee, which guides company direction and strategy. He performed in this role until his departure in May, 2017. Subsequently, in October of 2017, Castano formed his own independent consulting practice. Castano Communications Consulting, LLC assists entrepreneurs, startups and Small Cap IPOs nationwide with their messaging strategies. He also specializes in offering industry guidance to investment banks and private equity firms exploring acquisition opportunities within this industry segment.

 

How Chat bots Help Developers and Marketers Build New Partnerships - Wendy GlavinWendy Glavin
Founder & CEO
Wendy Glavin Agency

Wendy Glavin is Founder and CEO of Wendy Glavin Agency, based in New York City. Her firm offers strategic integrated communications across marketing, public relations, social and digital media. Wendy’s experience spans B2B2C across a wide variety of industry sectors including, technology, financial services, financial technology, artificial intelligence, software-as-a-sector (SaaS), mobile apps, crowdfunding, customer experience, marketing technology, media, events, creative, publishing, retail and more.
 
Wendy Glavin Agency represents startups, small-medium-sized businesses, and large companies both nationally and globally. She is a 25+ year veteran of corporate, agency and consulting.  Wendy is a published writer and guest speaker.

 




Dynamic Signal Raises $36.5 Million to Transform Employee Communication and Engagement in the Enterprise

CommPRO.biz Editorial Team

Employee Communication and Engagement platform, Dynamic Signal, announced it has raised $36.5 million in growth financing, bringing the company’s total funding to $88 million. Participants in this round include Adams Street Partners, Akkadian Ventures, Cisco Investments, Focus Opportunity Fund, Founders Circle Capital, Microsoft Ventures, Rembrandt Venture Partners, Time Warner Investments, Trinity Ventures, and Venrock. The new funding will help drive company growth and innovation to expand the platform’s capabilities, further providing a solution to the urgent business problem of connecting with the most valuable assets of the enterprise, employees.

“Employees are an organization’s most valued asset and communication with them is mission critical. But in today’s enterprise, communication is broken,” said Dynamic Signal CEO and co-founder, Russ Fradin. “Technology has changed the way we consume information. Eighty-five percent of U.S. adults now get their news on a mobile device, and more than 50 percent of the U.S. workforce does not have a corporate email address. The rapid adoption we’ve experienced is evidence that organizations recognize how significantly employee expectations for communication have radically outpaced enterprise communication practices. We’re proud to be leading this $5 billion market by providing the most comprehensive Employee Communication and Engagement Platform available today.”

More informed employees outperform their peers by 77 percent, but only 14 percent of communicators are confident in their ability to measure their efforts to inform employees (CEB, now Gartner). To solve this, Dynamic Signal modernizes, streamlines and measures all types of employee communication, those created in the platform and those originating in the many integrations already supported by Dynamic Signal – including widely used systems of record (HRIS, CRM, SSO, Identity Management, etc.), Intranet providers and collaboration/social networking tools such as Facebook, Slack and Yammer. The investment will fund an expansion of Dynamic Signal’s product functionality and deeper integrations with enterprise systems.

Additionally, this round of growth capital will support the company’s aggressive hiring plans which include staffing newly established Seattle and Chicago offices, as well as growing existing offices in London, New York, and Silicon Valley. Dynamic Signal expects to more than double its headcount in 2018 to meet the growing market demand for its leading employee communication and engagement platform.

Further, the company also announced the board appointment of Robin Murray from Adams Street Partners, and board observer Donald Tucker, from Cisco Investments.

“Work has changed, making the collaboration market even more important to Cisco,” said Rob Salvagno, Cisco Vice President and Head of Corporate Development and Investments. “We are always looking for innovative companies that are creating technology to improve work, enhance employee performance and drive business impact. We recognize the urgent need for Employee Communication and Engagement Platforms among our own customers and the world at large, so we’re thrilled to invest in Dynamic Signal, and further our commitment to meeting the business needs of the enterprise.”

Additionally, Dynamic Signal today announced:

DySi Open: Available in both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, DySi Open is a free, fully functional Dynamic Signal powered-community that allows communication, HR and marketing professionals to experience the Dynamic Signal platform and connect with their peers in the same way their employees would experience Dynamic Signal within their organizations. Dynamic Signal will create, curate and publish insights on DySi Open about corporate communication, employee advocacy and engagement, inviting the community to share feedback and insights with each other through DySi Open.

Newsletters: Dynamic Signal’s newly released newsletters allow customers to quickly create personalized newsletters by selecting multiple pieces of multimedia content and dropping them into a customized, formatted template. Administrators can distribute newsletters to targeted employee segments in-app and via mobile push notification or email in minutes; ensuring employees get only the most timely, relevant news digests for their role, geography, team, or management level, etc.

Surveys: Dynamic Signal’s Surveys allow communicators, marketers and HR professionals to measure efficacy, benchmark impact, and gather employee feedback with easy to execute Employee NPS, custom and pulse surveys to targeted employee segments. Surveys can be sent in-app and via push notification, SMS or email, and employees can respond right from their mobile app or desktop. Survey responses can also be collected anonymously, and administrators can easily resend surveys to those who haven’t completed them. Results update in real-time, are easy to read and exportable in both text and graphical formats.

Video Broadcasting: Video has become an increasingly important tool for authentic communication. With Dynamic Signal’s Video Broadcasting, customers can natively capture, edit, submit, review and share real-time video with targeted employee segments on the fly, to be consumed on the channels or devices most convenient for the way they work.




Lessons Learned From The 2017 Super Bowl

Arthur Solomon - The Not So New PR Crises EnablersArthur Solomon, Public Relations Consultant

There are few certain occurrences that sports fans can look forward to. One that takes place early in every new year is the Super Bowl, the National Football League’s season’s finale of American’s most violent life threatening, life shortening, commercial-laden TV sporting extravaganza.

The next Super Bowl will be number LII. It will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Feb 4, 2018. The teams will be the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. But to the National Football League brass, sports marketers and TV network executives the score of the game is not the most important element of the mega event. Much more important are the success of TV commercials, the conduct of the players and TV ratings. And so it will be this year and forever as long as there is a Super Bowl

As always, the lead-up to last year’s game of carnage between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons actually provided some lessons that could benefit all Americans, regardless of their interest in the sport. One of the most important lessons learned was to be wary of a sales pitch accompanied by numbers and charts provided by a merchant trying to sell you something, because as people in our business know, statistics do not necessarily tell the entire story.

(Editor’s Note) Unless otherwise indicated, all dates below are from 2017 occurrences.)

On Jan. 26, The NFL’s annual report regarding injuries proved that numbers provided by a merchant can be misleading. The NFL said that there were 11.3 percent less concussions in 2016 than in the previous season. But as Michael Powell wrote in his Jan. 27 New York Times column, it’s true that there were less concussions but “…that’s because concussions the previous year reached a five-year high of 183…” His column also detailed how other serious injuries continue to remain high in the NFL. And Matthew Futterman reported in the Wall Street Journal that the stats show that playing football in the NFL “remains a dangerous endeavor.”

While it has been obvious for decades that the NFL’s vaunted shield doesn’t protect players from injuries on the field, an important PR lesson learned for marketers spending millions of dollars for the right to say that they are official sponsors of the NFL is that the shield is equally ineffective against ambush marketing efforts of savvy non-sponsors.

Heinz brands might have had the most successful ambush marketing effort in the lead-up to the Super Bowl, when USA TODAY, on Jan. 27, highlighted a story about Heinz giving employees the day off after the game. It should be a national holiday, said Heinz in a humorously worded petition, because 16 million people don’t show up for work the day after the game.

The analysis by journalists regarding the NFL injury report, which showed how misleading statistics can be, and the Heinz ambush marketing ploy might have been the two most important lessons learned from last year’s Super Bowl. But there were many others.

Here are a few:

Media coverage to the lead-up of the Super Bowl always brings into the spotlight the serious consequences associated with football.

•On Jan. 15, the NYT ran a full page story detailing results to a player’s brain after a hit.
•On January 19,the NYT reported that Mark Gastineau, the New York Jets pass rusher in the 1980s, said that he believes various brain problems he now has was caused by playing football.
•Last year’s Super Bowl also proved that despite what the IOC claims, politics and sports do mix:

An important lesson learned by the NFL and its sponsors is that the days when they could control players from opining on subjects, that the NFL and sponsors would rather they not, went the way of the ridiculous deflated football brouhaha. Comments by players regarding politics and social issues are now a permanent part of Super Bowl week.

•Martellus Bennett, the New England Patriots’ tight end, was probably the most forthright of any player, saying if the Patriots won the Super Bowl he most likely would not go to the White House if invited, “Because I don’t support the person in it.”

Bennett’s remark probably couldn’t have made Robert Kraft, the Patriots owner, happy considering his friendship with Donald Trump. We know it made the NFL unhappy because, the Times reported, it was omitted from the official NFL transcript.

•New England’s Devin McCourty also said he wouldn’t go to the White House because of Trump’s prejudices, as did teammate Dont’a Hightower (although he didn’t mention politics).
•The NFL. Players Association said that it was opposed to temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim- countries.
•Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who is a Muslim, spoke out against Trump’s ban, even though he voted for him.

Another lesson learned is that political and sports journalists have much in common: Political media helped elect Trump by playing up the uniqueness of his calling in uninvited to TV programs and by treating his every tweet as a major proclamation while largely not exploring his actual policy statements for almost two years before the election.

Sports reporters still, too often, glorify players, coaches, managers, team owners and execs. It is most evident in football coverage during the lead-up to the Super Bowl.

Three prime examples of the above from last year:

•A USA TODAY feature on Jan. 29 concerning a Bill Belichick press conference. The non-news story was how the New England Patriots coach conducted himself during the presser.
•A Jan. 30 column in The Record of North Jersey detailing a” heartwarming” story of how proud Phil Simms is to have two sons with NFL connections.
•A USA TODAY feature on Jan. 31 about how twin NFL brothers avoid watching each other’s games.

The stories were reminiscent of those that Hollywood fan magazines used to feature in the days before TV.( Members of the Public Relations Society of America must be envious and wish they were as proficient in gaining major media coverage for their clients when pitching none news fluff.)

But all the PR-like media coverage that passes for serious journalism during Super Bowl week couldn’t conceal the problems facing the NFL, as detailed in a page one WSJ Feb. 1 story. The article said that the league is searching for ways to combat a decline in TV audiences and that officials say a better product is necessary. And a NYT’s story on Feb. 2 emphasized how the NFL tries to stay clear of political issues, even though the Super Bowl “is infused with national politics like never before.”

Of course, marketers and their ad agencies talked up the success of their commercials, as they do every year, even though the cost and effectiveness of Super Bowl TV ads costing millions of dollars has been questioned for the past several years. So was the 2017 cost – about $5-million for a: 30 TV commercial and about a million dollars more to promote the ads.

On Jan. 29, the NYT reported that Mary Scott, a president at UEG, a sports and entertainment marketing agency, recommended that clients spend an amount equal to at least 25 percent of the cost on promotions related to their Super Bowl ads because, “ Even though the spots have incredible viewership — as much as the game itself — you never know.” In the same story, Berta De Pablos-Barbier, vice president of marketing for Mars Chocolate, said, “Television advertising continues to be an important part, but on its own it’s not enough anymore.” An Advertising Age article on Feb. 1 pointed out other opportunities that might be more prudent than spending $166,667 a second on a Super Bowl ad.

(While not directly related to the Super Bowl, three stories toward the end of the 2017 raised red flags for sports marketing execs. The October 30-November 5 issue of SportsBusiness Journal, the bible of the industry, headlined an article, “Study shows drop in fans receptive to sponsors.” And the NYT and WSJ, on December 12, both mentioned declining NFL TV viewership in a story about a mobile streaming deal with Verizon.)

Politics may also have influenced some TV commercials.

USA TODAY, on Feb. 1, ran a story, saying that the political climate affected TV commercials. It highlighted an ad from 84 Lumber that welcomed all good employees. But the original ad was turned down by Fox because it included a border wall and Hispanic actors, which was too controversial for the broadcaster, according to the ad agency.

Perhaps the most interesting Super Bowl ad was Budweiser’s “Born The Hard Way,” which chronicled the “story of our founder’s ambitious journey to America in pursuit of his dream: to brew the King of Beers.” Interesting only because many thought the ad took a swipe at Trump’s anti immigration policy.

Other commercials that were deemed to have political messages were Coca-Cola’s, Airbnb and Audi. For the last few years, I’ve asked a Super Bowl party host of about 20-plus people if watching the TV commercials is still an important part of the gathering. Each year the answer is, “No,”. Nevertheless, one sure bet is that all of the TV sponsors will say publicly how happy they are with the results of the ads and promotions. (As an individual who has worked on many national and international mega sports marketing campaigns, I can assure you that what clients say publicly is not always what the say privately.)

The most intelligent comment I heard about the Super Bowl was from WFAN-AM, N.Y.’s Mike Francesa, who once said that he doesn’t get to the football news until after he’s finished watching the early morning political programs, “because that’s more important.” (In my opinion, Francesa, who recently retired from his daily show, ran the most intelligent of all sports talk programs because he never thought that hits, runs, errors or TDs and three pointers were always the most important element of his program. He would delve into issues like the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, the NFL trying to discredit concussion studies and other subjects that deserved to lead broadcast and print reports.)

For political junkies the most interesting aspect of this year’s Super Bowl will not be the commercials or the game. It will be how the president is received. Your corner bookie will probably take bets on whether there will be football players protesting during the national anthem or if Trump will agree to a half-time interview, as other presidents have. (Note: Since I don’t bet on sports events, all my wagering consists on the ups and downs of stocks and all my bookies have legal status, making book on the New York, American and Nasdaq exchanges.)

During my 35 years managing or playing key roles in national and international sports and none sports PR accounts, which included traveling the world as a media advisor to high-ranking foreign government officials, I have worked on, read and listened to countless hours of commentary regarding the Super Bowl, Olympics and Major League Baseball’s most prestigious events and give the following advice to sports fanatics: Relax. Don’t take the outcome of the events so seriously. The leagues, teams, players and sponsors look at these events as a part of doing business. So should you.

About the Author: Arthur Solomon, a former journalist, was a senior VP/senior counselor at Burson-Marsteller and was responsible for restructuring, managing and playing key roles in some of the most significant national and international sports and non-sports programs. He now is a contributor to public relations and sports business publications, consults on public relations projects and was on the Seoul Peace Prize nominating committee. He can be reached at arthursolomon4pr@juno.com




What Comms Pros Should Expect in the Year of the Dog

Kevin Akeroyd Chief Executive Officer CisionKevin Akeroyd, CEO, Cision

Fact vs. Fiction: Marketers and Media Find Common Ground with Big Data

Media has always defined the context within which marketing works and that context is in flux. The explosive growth of new channels and publishing platforms has fundamentally changed media consumption patterns and threatens to render traditional media models obsolete. And we’re only getting started, folks.

As a new generation of innovations, such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT), continue to go mainstream, an ever-expanding ecosystem of traditional and digital media channels will emerge. Think cars, watches, home appliances, pets and even people. These innovations are powering new types of publishers and now, every individual has the capability to be their own publisher/influencer. However, with this capability – and a premium being put on “speed” to be first with content – the line between fact and fiction is being reshaped. The full impact of this evolution is still to be determined, but one look at our last Presidential election or Brexit illustrates the impact of these changes. This tsunami of technological and societal change has resulted in a dramatic and rapid shift in the way marketers work with media. It has forced marketers to rethink traditional media strategies and broken down existing silos. In the coming year, a higher demand will be placed on a more programmatic, data-driven approach to media investment and execution.

What Comms Pros Should Expect in the Year of the DogThe New Marketing and Media World Order Will Explode

Marketing’s response to this shifting media landscape has been an ongoing process. First it was “paid” media with innovations in ad tech. Then came “owned” media with the emergence of marketing automation solutions. Social media quickly followed. But despite all the progress and innovation, marketers still have a HUGE multi-billion dollar blind spot: earned media.

Communications teams at global brands invest billions in earned media programs yet they still rely on dated engagement metrics and what’s worse, have not been able to measure its true impact on business revenue. Instead, vanity metrics still reign supreme in PR departments across the world. This makes zero sense. Consumers trust earned media more than any other form of media and trust is more valuable than ever in today’s media environment. Why?

Today’s media environment is at the mercy of the ever more-empowered customer. Empowered by digital technologies, empowered by today’s culture of experimentation and empowered by almost unlimited media choices in a real-time world of Instagram and Twitter where they can access anything, from anyone, instantly and consume it anywhere. The customer is king and the need to understand their influence will be paramount in the new year.

The Media Puzzle Will FINALLY Be Solved

Lastly, my crystal ball tells me that 2018 is the year that very expensive blind spot of earned media is eliminated. Just as customers are getting more savvy with the plethora of technologies at their disposal, so are marketers who have struck gold with marketing and PR tools they are using to break down the silos between the different types of media to better reach and engage their audiences.

To do this, marketers will turn to new data-driven technologies that will for the first time ever, enable communication professionals to connect earned media content to consumer action and demonstrate the true return on investment. How? By applying data and measurement at the same level as ad tech. This involves marketing tools that leverage the industry’s leading media data and audience management providers to track any piece of earned media content as well as audience data about the people consuming that content.

All that said, enabling communications professionals to apply data and measurement at the same level of ad tech is just one part of the puzzle. The game changer for next year will be the ability for marketers to gain a holistic view into the performance and impact of media investments across paid, owned, social and earned channels.

 

About the Author: Kevin Akeroyd oversees the Cision executive management team across operations globally. He has more than 25 years of experience in reshaping modern digital, social and mobile marketing globally. Prior to Cision he was general manager and senior vice president at Oracle Marketing Cloud. Akeroyd and Oracle created the Enterprise Marketing Platform category and led it from the onset. Prior to Oracle, he held senior leadership positions at several companies, including Data.com, Salesforce.com, RR Donnelley, and Jigsaw. Akeroyd holds a degree from the University of Washington, Michael G. Foster School of Business and attended the EPSO program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. 

 




Facebook & The Most Important Marketing & Communications Trend in 2018:  Decoding The Matrix

Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO, CommunicationsMatch™

We have spent two decades encoding the world that makes up today’s marketing and communications universe.  Google was founded in 1998, Yahoo in 1995 and Facebook in 2004, and of course, tech companies Apple and Microsoft go back further.

The IT Revolution (such a quaint term now) will be seen as one of the most significant bursts of progress in the history of humanity.

And, clearly the revolution is not over.  Artificial Intelligence, the application of new technologies in health care, and the spread of mobile to corners of the world that were once technology deserts, will continue to weave people into the human-grown Matrix.

In the Matrix we are networked and connected through email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter.  We spend more and more time staring at screens, updating profiles, listening to music, posting messages and watching video.  Putting this in context, Ed Sheeran’s song Shape of You has been streamed more than a billion times on Spotify and the YouTube video has been viewed more than 2 billion times.

For marketers and communicators, the rise of technology has created a plethora of digital opportunities and platforms to reach plugged in audiences.

In the digital gold rush, companies have launched themselves with gusto into social media and digital advertising.

Technology companies – including CommunicationsMatch – are the new builders of towns, tools & platforms, todays’ picks and shovels, to help them find digital gold.

Facebook & The Most Important Marketing & Communications Trend in 2018It’s a brave new world.  Literally and metaphorically.

But as in 1890 California, not every platform or strategy will succeed.  Along the path, the ghosts of VC funded tech companies and platforms will litter the sidewalks.

But this isn’t what is important to pay attention to in 2018.

There are bigger fault lines emerging.

The Matrix is being decoded – by those within it.

The changes we are seeing in attitudes toward Silicon Valley from benign builders of platforms that empower to all-powerful predators that use our data to entrap and enslave marks an inflection point.

The intersection between capitalism, technology and digital naievity – the willingness to give our dollars and information to tech companies (worth more than money) – has propelled us to this point.

But we are no longer digital virgins.

Audiences increasingly understand the code and manipulation of sales funnels designed to ensnare us.

We see the Alexa and Google Home not only as cool tools, but listening devices designed to sell products we mention in conversations.

It’s no coincidence that our biggest tech icons have morphed into the frightful five; “fake news” has exploded into real and imagined consciousness; that “Content Shock” is a thing; and companies and governments are seeking ever more clever (or deceptive) ways to capture attention.

In the same way, Buddha, Socrates and Confucius all developed philosophies that changed perspectives around individual responsibility within a 100-year period as the civilizations blossomed and required new ways of thinking about the world, we are at the apex of a moment in the human response to technology.  The way we look at it from this moment will be different.  Think Nixon after JFK.

This may seem ironic coming from a communications technology entrepreneur.  But this would assume that the loss of Camelot idealism is a bad thing or that technology or its leaders have mindfully led us rather than iterated us down this path.

It is only by recognizing issues and challenges that we can address them.  What was obscured is now clearer.

The most powerful exercise of power is when people do not realize that power is being exercised.  When the tools of propaganda are made transparent – think Russian fake news – the underpinnings of a system that allow this to happen start to crumble.  This is what we are seeing.  Facebook’s announced changes to its algorithm are an evolutionary adaptation.

Knowledge is a powerful thing.  But as in the movie, and the Matrix we are living in, some will choose to ignore the way they are being manipulated and others will rebel.

On this journey, inevitably we reach a tipping point.  A time when the majority realize that they may be being driven to chase fools’ gold.

The more experience audiences have of technology-driven marketing and communications tools designed to engage them – the better they are at decoding and ignoring them.

There are two responses to this.  The first is for companies to engage in a technology-driven arms race to find ever more sophisticated ways to capture audiences.

Companies who have not already established audiences will be tempted to bend rules.  Others will seek to acquire audiences through M&A.  In all cases, acting with integrity will become ever more important – because the spotlight is focused on the industry and audiences increasingly know where to shine it.

Others will stop – take a deep breath and pursue back to basic strategies that look at core value propositions for clients and build relationships one at a time.

These, what I call, “Slow” communications, marketing or PR strategies are about building relationships not mass communications.  It’s the Facebook re-focus.  Which is smart – because advertisers will pay more for engaged audiences.

The unmasking of the manipulation of social media, the slowing of iPhones and awareness that Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa are sophisticated tools to sell us more stuff (with a dose of convenience thrown in) in 2017, have helped make the Matrix we live in more transparent.

The more transparent, the more consumers will resist the tools marketers and communicators use to engage them.

As a result, companies, marketers and communicators will need think harder than ever about the paths they take in 2018.

About the Author: Prior to founding CommunicationsMatch, Locke held senior corporate communications roles at Prudential Financial, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank and founded communications consultancies.  He writes extensively on behavior as it relates to communications practice and interviews industry leaders for the CommunicationsMatch YouTube channel.  CommunicationsMatch offers communications & PR agency search tools and resources that help companies find, shortlist and engage communications agencies, consultants and freelancers by industry and communications expertise, location and size.  The site has 5,000 agency and professional profiles in areas including: crisis communications, public relations, internal communications, government affairs, investor relations, content marketing, social media, SEO, website development, photography and video. 

CommunicationsMatch offers communications & PR agency search tools and resources that help companies find, shortlist and engage communications agencies, consultants and freelancers by industry and communications expertise, location and size.  The site has 5,000 agency and professional profiles in areas including: crisis communications, public relations, internal communications, government affairs, investor relations, content marketing, social media, SEO, website development, photography and video.   Prior to founding CommunicationsMatch, Locke held senior corporate communications roles at Prudential Financial, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank and founded communications consultancies. 

Allowing us as communicators and business leaders to make informed decisions about how we engage with clients and audiences.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




The Doc is Texting: 4 Healthcare Marketing Priorities in 2018

Melissa Baratta - The Doc is Texting: 4 Healthcare Marketing Priorities in 2018Melissa Barrata, Senior Vice President, Healthcare Lead, Affect

Emerging technology is having a dramatic impact on the healthcare industry.  Telehealth, AI and VR are becoming household terms, and according to recent surveys by HIMSS, over 90% of physicians are now using mobile devices to engage patients and over 50% of hospitals are leveraging connected health devices.

Technology is not only advancing healthcare delivery and changing the way patients engage with their providers, however; it’s also impacting the role of healthcare marketers. As the healthcare space transforms at a rapid pace, marketers too are evolving – working to keep up with tech innovation within their industry and organizations, as well as within their own marketing roles.

We recently spoke with senior executives from healthcare and life sciences organizations to understand how they’re adapting to changes in the industry and what’s on deck for 2018. We found that marketers are becoming extremely tech savvy and hyper-focused – drilling down on their customer segments, on metrics and on revenue. With that in mind, here are the key priorities for marketers and PR practitioners in the healthcare space this year:

  1. Tie PR or Marketing to Business/Financial Metrics: This has been a goal for some time, but marketers are looking to tie their programs more closely to business metrics and make a measurable impact on revenue.
  2. Better Segment & Target Key Audiences: “Spray and pray” is over. Marketers want to be more targeted with their outreach and focus on nurturing leads, building relationships, buyer journeys and working towards specific goals with their customers.
  3. Create More Custom Content – for the Right Audiences: Content must be highly customized in order to resonate, so creating more targeted content is a key priority for healthcare marketers in 2018. Using content to educate audiences is also important.
  4. Leverage New/Emerging Tech to Communicate with Stakeholders: Marketers are placing a bigger focus on technology enablement, leveraging marketing automation platforms and emerging technologies like AI to transform big data into actionable insights. Some are also starting to use immersive technologies like augmented or virtual reality in their marketing programs.

Social media seems to be getting the biggest lift in order to meet the needs of target audiences and boost engagement, however. One executive we spoke with said “Harnessing social media to drive awareness and loyalty” is the biggest opportunity for healthcare marketers in 2018.

Other important tactics this year include developing more creative storylines for media relations and launching more emerging tech campaigns.

The marketers we spoke with overwhelmingly agreed that technology is the #1 thing impacting healthcare marketing and PR as we head into the new year. Some even said marketing will soon own as much technology as the IT department. As the industry continues to evolve with the advancement of technology, so will the role and priorities of the CMO along with it.

 

To learn more about the healthcare industry in 2018, register to download: Report: Healthcare Marketers to Focus on Emerging Tech, Audience Segmenting and Impactful Storytelling in 2018 

 

About the Author: Melissa is a Senior Vice President and Healthcare Lead at Affect, where she uses her extensive background working with healthcare and technology companies to raise her clients’ brand profiles and position them as thought leaders in their respective industries. As an expert in stakeholder communications, she is adept at helping clients develop creative ways to communicate thoughtfully with their key audiences. Throughout her career Melissa has led programs for a variety of medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical and biopharma companies, as well as care providers and health services organizations. While she has worked across many therapeutic areas, she has particular expertise in oncology and cardiovascular disease. She has also worked with a wide array of B2B technology companies. She has significant experience handling the complexities of communications programs for the healthcare industry, and a unique understanding of the many ways in which technology and healthcare intersect. Prior to joining Affect, Melissa was a Managing Director at Ricochet Public Relations, where she directed a range of agency operations, marketing and account management initiatives. While there, she also led the PR program for GlaxoSmithKline Oncology, focusing on pre-clinical research and pipeline communications, as well as campaigns for Volcano, Agendia and others. Previously, she worked in the financial services space and began her career as a reporter for local New Jersey publications. 




Paul Gunning: This Is the Most Exciting Time to Be in Advertising (VIDEO)

When it comes to assessing the future of advertising, most executives sound concerned citing shortened attention spans, ad-blockers and other signs that audiences are just not that into commercials anymore. But Paul Gunning, CEO of DDB Chicago, is not one of them.

“I do think this is the most exciting time to be on this business,” he told WHOSAY President of Sales & Marketing, Rob Gregory, when they sat for a conversation about branded content, influencers and the challenges and opportunities faced by brands and marketers in the ad-blocker era.

“The level of innovation is truly exciting,” Gunning told Gregory, adding that “the ability to see our work and its impact almost immediately in terms of consumer behavior and in terms of our clients’ business results, and having the levers and the experiences to pull on that see what’s working” is what makes him excited about this volatile era.

Make no mistake, Gunning is well aware of the fact that, as Gregory said, “The mobile advertising experience […] it’s been increasingly blocked and docked and avoided [especially] by younger consumers.” However, for Gunning, the adoption of video on mobile devices, and the user experience derived from it offer a world of opportunities to marketers able and willing to evolve with the times. “Our ability to create sound and motion on the phone is at a fantastic stage right now,” he said.  

He believes the user experience has to “embed itself with the actual content.” Gunning thinks that on top of the great experiences happening right now there’s even more room for experimentation given the innovation that’s already here along with what’s yet to come, including talent-based storytelling, which Gunning doesn’t think is new at all.

“We’ve been doing celebrity-based work for decades,” he told Gregory citing work with the likes of Anheuser Busch and, more recently, Miller Light and Jeep. “We’re using celebrity and it’s a great way to reach and connect the audience,” he said.

And it looks like at DDB they have gone a step further when it comes to working with influencers by hiring someone like Wendy Clark who Gunning says is an influencer “in her own right.” “And she’s had a dramatic effect on the agency because of her position in the industry, because of her experience, and so I think we’ve sort of turned the tables and not just use celebrity for our clients but in this case using it for ourselves,” he shared.  

Gunning’s vision is multi-layered. While being aware of the industry’s challenges, the DDB Chicago CEO adopts a holistic approach. “There are other ways of us to communicate that are also becoming more innovative,” he told Gregory before citing things such as driverless cars, which “open up a whole other level.” “Storytelling environments might get shorter in other environments [such as mobile ads]” he said. “In other cases, our ability to deliver value and to connect so that so we’re having a relationship with the brand through things like utility [can] overcome areas that we get challenged with such as attention deficit.”

And experience is, indeed, the name of the game for Gunning. “We’re thinking holistically about that user journey or that consumer experience. So it’s just not how they see the advertising when our job is done but we’re looking at the entire connected platform if you will of what is happening at the service level, what is happening at the retail level, what’s happening at the purchase level and then after purchase as well as the communications,” he explained.

Gunning’s multi-layered approach also favors multidisciplinary and collaborative environments. “What I think it’s interesting these days is how agencies are coming together in a pretty unique way on behalf of a client to now connect all of their independent dots with the sheer goal of making our clients customers consumers interested in buying our client’s brands,” he said.

And that includes not only data but also creativity. “Competition has become so tough not only in our industry but in all of our clients’ industries that we have to come together in new, unique and better ways so we can make our clients’ brand the one of choice,” he told Gregory.

This strategy obviously includes data but the DDB Chicago CEO urged us to look beyond. “We’re not gonna let ourselves get pulled into a pure data environment only,” he explained. “We go by the notion that creativity is the most powerful force in business and that remains centric to what we do.”




#2 MOST-READ REPORT in 2017: Influencer Marketing: Why it’s Critical and How You Can Get Started [GUIDE]

Influencer Marketing: Best Practices for Getting StartedJenny Force, VP of Marketing, Sysomos

Influencer marketing has huge pay-offs, but getting started is hard. We’re here to help. Download our guide below and read on to see how our upcoming content series will enable you to build an influencer program that drives results.

Introduction

Consumers are constantly being bombarded with marketing messages every day. Because of the growth of social media, mobile messaging and traditional advertising, we can’t escape the constant barrage of videos, short messages and images vying for our attention.  Let’s face it, there’s too much noise and not enough signal.

For brands and agencies, getting your message through the varying array of filters is a huge challenge. The most effective form of advertising is word of mouth. Yes, this is common knowledge but in the 21st century, how do we do word of mouth in these modern, connected times?

Cue influencer marketing, which is the practice of building mutually* beneficial relationships with conversation leaders in key verticals, thereby expanding the reach of messages and introducing your brand and topic to new audiences in a scalable and cost-effective way.

This all sounds great, but let’s consider some figures to drive home the point:

  • 95% of consumers trust recommendations of others, even strangers online, over branded content (Nielsen)
  • When a brand prompts consumer led, word-of-mouth messaging, the ROI increases 2x over paid advertising and has a 37% higher retention rate
  • 81% of marketers say influencer marketing is effective

Welcome to Our Influencer Marketing Series

We’re so excited by and passionate about influencer marketing that we’ve developed a series of materials that will help you find the right influencers, engage with and establish trusted influencer relationships and ultimately reach your audience in the best way possible – through voices they trust.

From eBooks to infographics and helpful blog posts, our series kicks off today. Get started by downloading our A-Z Guide to Influencer Marketing.

Start By Downloading Our Guide!

From Advocating to Zeal, we cover 26 tips you should consider when engaging in an influencer marketing program. The guide will start with finding the right influencers to building relationships and advocacy and can help brand and agency influencer marketers alike.

But, Please, Stay Tuned!

We believe in influencer marketing so passionately that we’re dedicating the coming weeks to the cause. Also, we love you, our readers and customers, so we want to arm you with tips, tricks and tactics that will enable you to build a kick-ass influencer campaign that drives results, impresses your CMO and nets you a dedicated group of influencers who will have your back.

Stay up to date by checking back here!

*Notice we said “mutually beneficial” here. It’s our position that influencer marketing needs to aid the influencer in the relationship as well. Many agencies and brands view influencers as just another outlet for their messaging or pay influencers to merely mention their brands on their social channels; but effective influencer marketing magic happens when influencers and brands work hand-in-hand to create fantastic content and messaging that’s most relevant to the audience originally targeted.




DuJour Magazine: The Superlative Of Luxury Magazines

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Jason Binn, CEO/Publisher

Dujour Magazine Interview with Jason Binn“It was time to create something that didn’t exist, that conformed to what 2012 was bringing on and what 2017 today has really embraced, which is publishing a high-quality product on the highest-quality paper stock; a quarterly book. Obviously with print, no one can deny or challenge that print is really where the majority of the ad revenue still comes from. And I don’t believe, whether it’s the bigger media companies or whomever, they are feeling anything different. And there’s the power of print to create your community, your brand, in a physical and meaningful way.” Jason Binn…

DuJour is the luxury magazine that makes no apologies for its exquisite tastes. The magazine promotes and revels in the intoxicating lifestyles of the rich and famous. And does it with style and class. Since 2012, when the word magazine was becoming more and more taboo, DuJour burst through the publishing door and dropped a print diamond in the middle of a plethora of pixels. And the man who stepped over that threshold and brought the magazine to the targeted audience with a smile and a flourish was Jason Binn.

Jason has been in the publishing business for almost 25 years, so he knows something about magazines and magazine brands, having launched Ocean Drive in 1993. But with DuJour he has tapped into a very elite market that appreciates his efforts of bringing them a quarterly magazine and a digital monthly. I spoke with Jason recently and we talked about what he feels is and will continue to be a hot topic in the months and years to come: staying in front of your audience both online and offline, playing that dual role. And so far, DuJour is everywhere their readers want them to be. And that’s exactly the idea.

So, with the confetti and pomp that Jason’s DuJour cover parties are known to feature, I bring you the Mr. Magazine™ interview with a true entrepreneur, a man who believes that if it doesn’t come to life, it just won’t work, Jason Binn, CEO/Publisher, DuJour magazine.

But first the sound-bites:

Jason Binn, CEO/Publisher DuJour Magazine

Jason Binn, CEO/Publisher
DuJour Magazine

On how life changed for him as a publisher/CEO of luxury magazines since his launch of Ocean Drive magazine over 20 years ago: Having the opportunity to launch a multi-tier platform; a digital, print, hybrid publication that was in a sense responsible for getting the audit by BPA for my digital distribution, and leveraging the data and transparency of accessing the most affluent individuals in 10 markets that are responsible for the affluent consumers and/or the majority of the sales and purchasing power, was amazing. It was a great time to evolve, not just personally, but as a business.

On what he has learned in his almost 25 years of being in the publishing business: I learned that while everyone is playing so many channels, everyone is also chasing their consumers and ways to message the audience, but when I go back and look at the evolution of media and social media, I look at how people feel content. And whether it was 1999 when it was an advertorial, or 2000 with Myspace, or 2001 with QR codes, or even 2002 with Google+, or 2004 with Twitter; Tumblr in 2007, or Pinterest in 2010, and native advertising content just a few years ago; you learn that you are in control of your audience and your messaging. And your success is to maintain and retain your audience and build your community.

On why he thinks no one has ever been able to do what he does with the cover parties, events and the success of DuJour’s glitz and glamour-type business model: I think people try to do it, but I think it’s no different than the business model of distribution of content and leveraging your platforms. If you look on DuJour.com at our media kit, we have these robust channels, and what I’m doing today through my social distribution, whether it’s our million followers – and by the way, Departures has 34,000 followers on Instagram, Robb Report has around 60,000, and DuJour has 60,000 , so between Robb Report and Departures, that’s 100,000 followers. And those businesses have been around for 100 years.

On whether DuJour is a reflection of himself: You see the people. Our job is to access and make these people accessible to our readers and consumers. The amazing thing about DuJour now is that everybody who gets the magazine and opts in on and offline, self-collected; those people also get to be a part of our community and our events. And when we do events, whether we have 100 people or 200 people, or 30 people, I always know those people are the best potential audience for our clients, because they have the three highest filter-checks that exist today with the most prominent and prestigious data mining companies.

On the biggest challenge that he’s facing today and how he plans to overcome it: To keep going deeper into the mindset, lifestyles and behaviors of that one-percent that we own. To constantly communicate and win them over and make them partake in responsible and more meaningful ways, so our advertisers can communicate their brands or their messaging, or expose their products to these people. We’re going deeper into the one-percent and evolving the platforms more and more.

On anything he’d like to add: It’s important to be a dual audience, lifestyle magazine today that focuses on a fashion issue, an arts issue, and a music issue. When you’re a lifestyle and you’re focusing on fashion, art, entertainment, accessories; you have all of these constant columns on and offline. And you’re thinking toward a dual audience and it’s great to be in their homes and invited to sit on their coffee tables, because yes, today, there aren’t as many magazines in people’s homes. And to be invited and accepted into their homes, and to be a magazine that caters to all, 80 percent of our readers are female, but we still walk a very responsible line, so that it is something that men and women can enjoy in their homes and that speaks to everyone.

On what he would have tattooed upon his brain that would be there forever and no one could ever forget about him: When it comes to DuJour, my work or my art, I’m a passionate, engaged and responsible entrepreneur.

On what someone would find him doing if they showed up unexpectedly one evening at his home: For me, it’s work and family. When I’m not working I’m at home with the kids and the family, and that’s it. To me working is playing. I enjoy what I do. I’m on the frontline with my team. And I think that’s important today. A lot of people hide behind their titles or their businesses, and then there’s people who go out there and really fight for what they believe in and what they have. And I have been fortunate enough since 2012 to have people want to go on this mission with me, this journey. And win. And we only win.

On what keeps him up at night: I just want to make sure we’re always ahead of the competition. It wasn’t any different than when I started Niche Media. National advertisers didn’t do regional; they just didn’t do it. And they didn’t do a network in markets that multiple magazines were in for many years. And redefine it and see where those city magazines ended up later in the game. It’s great to know that what you do has purpose and that it has staying power. We’re not here to do what everyone else is doing, because that wouldn’t make us different.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Jason Binn, CEO/Publisher, DuJour magazine.

Samir Husni: You’ve come a long way since Ocean Drive magazine, so between Ocean Drive and DuJour; how did life change for you as a publisher/CEO of luxury magazines?

Jason Binn: I was very fortunate. Do you know many luxury magazines that launched in 2012?

Samir Husni: (Laughs) I think I could count them on one hand.

Jason Binn: Having the opportunity to launch a multi-tier platform; a digital, print, hybrid publication that was in a sense responsible for getting the audit by BPA for my digital distribution, and leveraging the data and transparency of accessing the most affluent individuals in 10 markets that are responsible for the affluent consumers and/or the majority of the sales and purchasing power, was amazing. It was a great time to evolve, not just personally, but as a business.

Just because back in the old days when I first started, data was leveraged to intellect with things and learn about homes, etc., eventually we’d get to know their names. But in 2012, I had a whiteboard and I was able to build from the bottom up and look at what the advertisers and the readers wanted. And back then, in 2012, when I called the Magazine Publishing Association, and I wanted to find out what the recommended frequency was, or the least amount of frequency you could publish, and they said to me quarterly, if you had won awards and accolades, which we had the hottest magazine by Adweek and we got the Webby Award, 60 countries, 50 states, 14,000 applicants, and we won the Webby for homepage and navigation, beating out Google and Condé Nast.

So, it was time to create something that didn’t exist, that conformed to what 2012 was bringing on and what 2017 today has really embraced, which is publishing a high-quality product on the highest-quality paper stock; a quarterly book. Obviously with print, no one can deny or challenge that print is really where the majority of the ad revenue still comes from. And I don’t believe, whether it’s the bigger media companies or whomever, they are feeling anything different. And there’s the power of print to create your community, your brand, in a physical and meaningful way.

And there are other platforms, no different than maybe a Refinery29 or Vice, where these platforms complement each other and are strategically aligned so that you’re messaging people through newsletters, data mining, events; through content and photography. It just becomes more channels and creates more communities and interaction and experiences with your readers and consumers.

DuJour MagazineSamir Husni: In 2018, you’ll be celebrating 25 years in the publishing business, that’s when you launched Ocean Drive in 1993. Then 20 years later came DuJour; you’ve set a standard for luxury magazines, both in print and digital. What have you learned in those 25 years?

Jason Binn: I’ve learned that the rich stay rich or get richer (Laughs). I learned that while everyone is playing so many channels, everyone is also chasing their consumers and ways to message the audience, but when I go back and look at the evolution of media and social media, I look at how people feel content. And whether it was 1999 when it was an advertorial, or 2000 with Myspace, or 2001 with QR codes, or even 2002 with Google+, or 2004 with Twitter; Tumblr in 2007, or Pinterest in 2010, and native advertising content just a few years ago; you learn that you are in control of your audience and your messaging. And your success is to maintain and retain your audience and build your community.

And quarterly magazines if done right, are timed with the seasons: winter, spring, summer and fall. And being a lifestyle book, to be invited into a home, to the opt-in selected audiences that we have, where each recipient has opted in for the digital with the print. But if they opt out, we don’t send the print.

So, we have this engaged audience on and offline, and we leverage our platforms; we don’t sell against them. We don’t break it up by digital emails, social media, events; we don’t breakdown those channels of distribution and different P&L’s or revenue streams. We actually work hard to integrate them all and create a budget that has monthly or quarterly billing where these assets are laid out and clients can use it at their leisure when they want to.

I think the more that we can put our business model and audience, and shape it around the readers and the clients, and then give them the affordability and access to choose those assets when or how they want over the fourth of their contractual agreement, it gives the advertiser more freedom and flexibility. Because what’s going on today is everyone is creating assets for distribution no differently than someone who creates a movie and is looking for distribution. And the luxury brands’ clients are distributing these assets through their own distribution channels, whether it’s their websites, or their social media outlets.

And what I’m seeing is that they’re getting zonked after the first eight months or a year; they don’t really see a building of their community or audience on or offline. They keep distributing their own assets through their own channels and messaging the same people over and over again. And what DuJour has become to many clients is a distribution channel of content and assets. I’m not here to create native content for our clients. I’d rather distribute content through our unique channels that’s on-brand with them, and what we do. I think that’s the point of differentiation.

I also think a point of differentiation in where we’re heading is print and digital need to be bundled, which is how DuJour has been packaged since its launch in 2012. We were bundled up into one buy. Or you can buy us individually, but 80 percent of the clients that came in our first issue in 2012, bought the combination buy of print and digital. And to me that was a revelation. There were only a handful of clients that just said we don’t want to be in the digital sense.

I also find that our digital lines push content out sooner and aren’t beholden to print when it comes out. Many times the magazine’s stories come out and they’re great, but they are great sooner online. Sometimes the companies are competing with themselves. It’s no different than a publisher or an editor, knowing who’s on the cover and how to market those people, whether through cover parties or through integrations that are meaningful. Where the advertisers can connect with the consumers in a social environment and be a part of what that media company does.

Samir Husni: Many people say that you’re the whiz of social parties around the magazine and having all of the events; can DuJour’s model be duplicated or does it have to be Jason Binn that makes it work? Why do you think no one else has succeeded in doing what you do? Is it because of you and your “Binn” there skills?

Jason Binn: I think people try to do it, but I think it’s no different than the business model of distribution of content and leveraging your platforms. If you look on DuJour.com at our media kit, we have these robust channels, and what I’m doing today through my social distribution, whether it’s our million followers – and by the way, Departures has 34,000 followers on Instagram, Robb Report has around 60,000, and DuJour has 60,000 , so between Robb Report and Departures, that’s 100,000 followers. And those businesses have been around for 100 years.

What that shows me is a rich desire or appetite on social and Instagram with affluent people, especially when their brands are on-brand on and offline. I think very key to your business is being defined on and offline. Not moving your message or your audience on your different platforms, which I believe is one of those things that helps make these events get bigger and better every year, and makes us keep doing them.

The other thing is DuJour’s knowledge; the business model that I created at Niche and the mindset when I was there; everything needs to come to life, else it doesn’t work. It’s a very simple idea. Everything must come to life. I don’t care if it’s bringing the people on the pages to the parties; I don’t care if it’s posting the screenings for the films of the celebrities on the cover; whatever it is. Editors have to think like marketers. We spend millions of dollar a year, millions, on creating great content. If we don’t bring it to life, whether it comes off the screen, the mobile device; off the magazine, whatever platform; if we don’t bring it to life it’s not successful to me. It’s not a win. And my editors have always known that from day one.

Samir Husni: Are your magazines a reflection of yourself? Do I see Jason on the pages of DuJour or on the pixels on the website’s screen?

Jason Binn: You see the people. Our job is to access and make these people accessible to our readers and consumers. The amazing thing about DuJour now is that everybody who gets the magazine and opts in on and offline, self-collected; those people also get to be a part of our community and our events. And when we do events, whether we have 100 people or 200 people, or 30 people, I always know those people are the best potential audience for our clients, because they have the three highest filter-checks that exist today with the most prominent and prestigious data mining companies. They have a million dollar-plus home, $250-plus income, and they have a net worth of $5 million.

A consumer today lives in the money, makes the money, and has the money. They’re not saving up to buy a home; they don’t have money in the bank to earn income off their investments; these are people who can go on their devices and buy products. And that’s a unique thing. If we talked about building something like that today; I definitely would question myself today. Would I be able to do today what I did in 2012, because 2012 was such a point of challenges for print. And so when people ask what’s going on today, 2012 was worse. No one was even talking about magazines. All of the big layoffs were coming the year before and into 2012. All of the big layoffs. It was the first time that people had said the big companies were human and actually could bleed.

So, for me today, what I see now is I’m going deeper into the one-percent; I’m getting to know them better. And I see that the other media companies are going wider and farther out there to reach more and more people through more and more channels, which has become an exercise where I know 95 percent of the people in our universe.

So, our wheelhouse between all of our platforms is six million people a quarter. That’s using the magazine, the quarterly rhythm of the magazine, and then plugging in all of the newsletters, direct mail, and email. We have 400,000 people that are responsible for over 70 percent of the nation’s wealth and purchasing power. It really does come down to, 25 years later, the one-percent. It comes down to a small select group of people and when you hit six million people a quarter for your wheelhouse, that’s 24 million people a year. So, I’m not reaching what a traditional national book has of 250 million maybe over the course of a year, but I know out of 24 million people, 95 percent of those people could actually afford the products and services that we do business with.

Samir Husni: What’s the biggest challenge that you’re facing today and how do you plan to overcome it?

Jason Binn: To keep going deeper into the mindset, lifestyles and behaviors of that one-percent that we own. To constantly communicate and win them over and make them partake in responsible and more meaningful ways, so our advertisers can communicate their brands or their messaging, or expose their products to these people. We’re going deeper into the one-percent and evolving the platforms more and more.

Today to be a lifestyles, dual audience magazine, and have access to the homes and coffee tables of these people, we break it down this way – Tier-One distribution: Miami, New York, L.A., and Chicago., which gets anywhere from 15 to 20,000 books direct mail. Tier-Two markets are: San Francisco, Dallas, the markets you would assume, Orange County, and then Houston. The sizzle markets are Aspen during the summer and winter; the Hamptons during the summer and fall; and Palm Beach during the spring and winter. So, it’s not super-complicated, and everything we do is transparent, so what you see on the magazine’s spine are the markets we’re in.

The business model hasn’t been touched since we launched, which to me is a good thing. The business model we set and announced in the summer of 2012 and went live in the fall has not changed course. I was fortunate enough to have access to these people who have really wanted to be a part of our world. And it’s been accredited and documented all over, so I don’t really know who does what I do, because it’s kind of something that I had the luxury over the last 25 years to understand each market and the styles and sensibilities of these communities. So, 70 percent of the magazine is national and 30 percent is the New York City section.

What I’ve learned is 47 percent of the people that go to Miami are from New York. Aspen gets people from Dallas, Chicago, Houston, and New York. The Hamptons, that resort market gets Philly, Boston, and that area, the East Coast and New York City and Miami. And then Palm Beach gets a different crowd, it’s a very ancestral kind of community, where people are first cousins or second cousins.

So, those 100 or 200 influencers are the ones that move each market. Their families and/or themselves have primary, secondary and third homes in these markets. And the news that we cover comes a lot from New York and L.A. These seasonal markets and second Tier markets, there’s news, but not a lot of it, but we’re responsible to cover each market in our DuJour cities. Obviously, the Tier-One cities get more coverage; Tier-Two markets get less; and then the sizzle markets we cover during the seasons. It’s a glocal magazine. It just feels to me like a very responsible magazine that’s engrained in these markets editorially and promotionally.

Samir Husni: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Jason Binn: It’s important to be a dual audience, lifestyle magazine today that focuses on a fashion issue, an arts issue, and a music issue. When you’re a lifestyle and you’re focusing on fashion, art, entertainment, accessories; you have all of these constant columns on and offline. And you’re thinking toward a dual audience and it’s great to be in their homes and invited to sit on their coffee tables, because yes, today, there aren’t as many magazines in people’s homes.

And to be invited and accepted into their homes, and to be a magazine that caters to all, 80 percent of our readers are female, but we still walk a very responsible line, so that it is something that men and women can enjoy in their homes and that speaks to everyone. Younger people want to feel a little more sophisticated, and sophisticated people want to feel younger, and we’re fortunate enough that we own DuJour, the name, on every level.

Samir Husni: If you could have one thing tattooed upon your brain that no one would ever forget about you, what would it be?

Jason Binn: When it comes to DuJour, my work or my art, I’m a passionate, engaged and responsible entrepreneur.

Samir Husni: If I showed up unexpectedly at your home one evening after work, what would I find you doing? Having a glass of wine; reading a magazine; cooking; watching TV; or something else?

Jason Binn: For me, it’s work and family. When I’m not working I’m at home with the kids and the family, and that’s it. To me working is playing. I enjoy what I do. I’m on the frontline with my team. And I think that’s important today. A lot of people hide behind their titles or their businesses, and then there’s people who go out there and really fight for what they believe in and what they have. And I have been fortunate enough since 2012 to have people want to go on this mission with me, this journey. And win. And we only win.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

Jason Binn: I just want to make sure we’re always ahead of the competition. It wasn’t any different than when I started Niche Media. National advertisers didn’t do regional; they just didn’t do it. And they didn’t do a network in markets that multiple magazines were in for many years. And redefine it and see where those city magazines ended up later in the game. It’s great to know that what you do has purpose and that it has staying power. We’re not here to do what everyone else is doing, because that wouldn’t make us different.

By looking at the playing field of lifestyle magazines at the big media houses, there’s only three or four of them in the country, and when I look at the market, it comes out at the end of the day, 25 years later, those top markets that I’ve been fortunate enough to work and play in, it’s great that I was able to evolve my brand and put out the highest-quality content on the highest-quality paper, and work with people that I’ve never worked with before. Being able to work with Bruce Weber or Peter Lindbergh is another level.

Even the guy in the magazine with the navigation bars at the top and the page numbers on the side, where your fingers hold the magazine; all those little things, those details, are important. Why are the page numbers on the side? Someone a thousand years ago put them on the bottom right. It’s almost like the monthly magazines come out two weeks before the month. September comes out in November. My digital monthlies come out on the first and goes through that month, whether it’s January or February; it’s the entire month.

And today to be a monthly digital with a quarterly print is exciting too, because you want to keep active and engaged with your audience, and to be able to have this audience that we talk with every month, and do covers and activations; it just keeps your brand out there and keeps people talking about what you’re doing. And then we do the quarterly print, which wraps ourselves around that season. I think many magazines, as we have seen, are reducing their frequency, but they’re not leveraging that distribution of content and creating a digital magazine every month. Magazines were trying to sell digital subscriptions on their own and charging premium for them in 2012, and then they were charging print a different price, and then they did the combo, and now they just do all access and wrap it all in together. I think people are still trying to find their way. And I believe we’ve found our way and we just keep beating to that beat.

Today, being in a controlled environment and dictating and shaping around the right audience is important. We’ve laid out the map and we’ve built it and people have come and embraced it.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

 




Why AI is Critical to Black Friday and Cyber Monday Success

Why AI is Critical to Black Friday SuccessKaren Krivaa, VP Marketing, GigaSpaces

Black Friday is traditionally the biggest holiday shopping day of the year in the United States, and Cyber Monday is closing fast in terms of volume. In 2016, more people shopped online than they did on stores over the holiday weekend, which typically spans from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday.  In just the first two days of that weekend, shoppers spent more than $5 billion and $36.5 billion over the entire weekend. This year is promising to be even bigger; Adobe predicts that online sales will top $100 billion throughout the holiday shopping season, while Salesforce is forecasting that 40 percent of all purchases made will be mobile, potentially beating last year’s $1 billion in purchases on mobile.

For IT and marketing leaders, Black Friday and Cyber Monday used to be about “surviving the day.” Over the years, a wide number of retailers have hosted post-holiday earnings calls explaining that projected earnings missed because of an outage on these critical shopping days. Today, however,  it’s not only about “surviving.” It’s about thriving.

To capitalize on the holiday, retailers are relying on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to boost sales and improve customer experiences. This is manifesting as marketing looks to scale both acquisition and retention efforts:

Personalization

In the past, consumers would comb through circulars, hunt for deals, and plan their Black Friday based on where they thought the best offers would be. Today, the offers are coming right to them, personalized for their tastes and interests.

Thanks to machine learning and automation, we have now entered the age of mass personalization. To be fair, this concept has been around for several years now, but typically meant creating a handful of customer segments and personalizing an email with their name and possibly a few products.

Now, however, marketers have access to the technology that can create messaging, special offers, and even a customized shopping experience for  each specific consumer. Using machine learning to comb through hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pieces of consumer data, retailers are developing models that predict buyers’ behaviors. That means analyzing each individual consumer’s purchasing patterns—where they shop, when they shop, what they buy, how much they spend, etc.—and then using that analysis to create personalized, individualized offers for each customer. Because of the highly customized nature of these campaigns, typically conducted through email and social media, retailers are likely expecting a significant ROI boost in their holiday campaigns, improving conversions and increasing the efficiency of their ad spend.

Customer Retention

The best way to increase sales—over the holidays and throughout the year—is to increase the number of repeat customers a business has. And to do that, it’s important to identify when a customer is potentially unhappy, either because of a bad experience or otherwise. But when selling online to millions of customers, it can be a real challenge to identify when that happens before it’s too late. Machine learning can play a key role in keeping customers coming back by predicting when a customer may be dissatisfied and offering timely incentives to retain their business. Check out this interesting case study on the Amazon Web Services AI blog for a great example of this. Retailers should be able to use their own proprietary customer data to identify potentially unhappy customers, and then use their own purchasing habits—and potentially discounts based on those habits—to predict the likelihood of retaining that customer.

This holiday season, retailers of all shapes and sizes are looking to bolster their approaches to obtaining and retaining customers. The days of “let’s make it through Black Friday” have been replaced with “let’s make it through Black Friday and provide the best customer experience this season.” Many of the best known retailers are successfully incorporating new technologies such as machine learning and AI to accomplish this goal.

 

About the Author: Karen Krivaa is the VP Marketing for GigaSpaces. Karen brings over 20 years of high-tech marketing experience in product and portfolio solutions marketing in companies including RADVision, Alvarion, NICE and Applied Materials. When not worrying about leads and brand awareness, Karen loves kickboxing and reading actual printed books. 




Online Advertising Award Winners to be Named by Web Marketing Association

CommPRO Editorial Staff

The Web Marketing Association has announced the Call for Entries for the 16th annual Internet Advertising Competition (IAC) Awards. The IAC Awards are the first and only industry-based advertising award competition dedicated exclusively to online advertising.

“Online advertising outlays worldwide are expected to surpass $583.91 billion this year,” said William Rice, President of the Web Marketing Association. “We created the IAC Awards to highlight the best in this unique advertising medium by industry, and also to help advertising professionals validate their efforts to clients and senior management. The IAC Awards can provide independent third party confirmation that clients are getting the best creative for their ad dollars. Winning awards is a great way to demonstrate your creative potential.”

The Internet Advertising Competition Awards are open to all organizations and individuals (advertising and interactive agencies, corporate marketing departments, small business owners, etc.) involved in the process of developing Internet advertising. Entries may be submitted online at https://www.iacaward.org. The deadline for entry is January 31, 2018 and will be judged on creativity, innovation, impact, design, copywriting, and use of the medium.

Awards will be presented within each of the industry categories and advertising formats including:

  • Best Social Media Campaign
  • Best Online ad (including banner, pop-up or interstitial)
  • Best Email message
  • Best Online newsletter
  • Best Website (including best landing pages and best microsites)
  • Best Online video
  • Best Mobile applications
  • Best Integrated ad campaign

Best of show award for each format will be selected from among the industry winners. Ads eligible for entry in the competition must have run during the period from January 1, 2017 through January 31, 2018.

Interactive agencies that win multiple awards will also be in the running for Top Agency Award. Each entrant will be awarded points based on the level of award for each award received. A Best of Show will be worth 5 points, Best of Industry 3 points and each Outstanding award 1 point. The agency with the most points will be awarded the Top Agency Award. Agencies winning an IAC Award will also be automatically included in the Award Winning Agencies Database.

In an effort to recognize those organizations that demonstrate exceptional development skills across multiple entries, agencies that win more the 6 awards will also be recognized with an Outstanding Advertising Developer award from the Web Marketing Association. In 2017, seven agencies won this honor.

Visit the competition website for more details. The deadline for entry is January 31, 2018.




Driving Consumer Preference: Examining How Customer Brand Loyalty Impacts Engagement

CommPRO.biz Editorial Staff

A new study shows that marketers are able to drive consumer engagement with a brand by focusing on consumers’ reasons for being loyal to that brand, including their experience, convenience and payment process.

In the survey, Blackhawk Network examined why consumers are loyal to brands and how that loyalty impacts their engagement with those brands.

The findings come as evolving consumer demands and technology continue to change the way consumers shop, creating challenges for marketers looking for new ways to engage current and potential shoppers.

“Many marketers understand that building brand loyalty can have a positive impact on driving customer engagement, and our latest research supports that thinking,” said Teri Llach, chief marketing officer, Blackhawk Network. “While the amount of choice that consumers have today is making it difficult for brands to bond with customers, our research found that nine out of 10 consumers surveyed said they engage with brands that they are loyal to, and nearly half identify themselves as ‘very engaged.’ Marketers looking to increase customer engagement should be seeking to maintain and acquire devoted customer relationships by focusing on the factors that are already driving loyalty, like creating a positive customer experience and a seamless payment process.”

The key research findings, published today in an ebook entitled, “What Makes Customers Loyal?”, include:

Positive customer experiences drive loyalty: Surveyed consumers name a consistently good customer experience (94 percent) as the main reason they remain loyal to a brand. However, other factors, such as convenience (77 percent) and an easy payment process (76 percent) are also important. Surprisingly, lower prices (57 percent) was one of the lowest ranking reasons for loyalty according to surveyed consumers.

Loyal consumers are a brand’s biggest ambassadors: Of the consumers surveyed, most engage with a brand they are loyal to by recommending it to others (86 percent). Just 50 percent of non-loyal consumers would do the same. Marketers might also consider finding ways to build upon their loyal following using their website, social media, targeted branded offers and rebates, which are the other top ways consumers prefer to engage with brands.

Consumers are more engaged with the brands that they are most loyal to: When comparing surveyed shoppers who are brand loyal with shoppers who are not loyal, the findings indicate that loyal shoppers engage with the brand more often through different marketing vehicles. Of the loyal consumers surveyed:

  • Sixty-three percent receive emails from their favorite brand or store about the latest deals and products, compared to 39 percent of non-loyal consumers.
  • Sixty-two percent watch for or take advantage of rebates from their favorite brand or store, versus 44 percent of non-loyal customers.
  • Forty-four percent use their favorite store’s gift cards or egifts, compared to 31 percent of non-loyal customers.
  • Forty-two percent use targeted offers from their favorite store, versus 27 percent of non-loyal customers.

Millennials are more likely to engage with brands: According to the research, millennials (aged 18–34) are more likely to engage with brands they are loyal to—and in more ways—than any other generation surveyed. Marketers can consider using branded value solutions, such as gift cards, loyalty points, and targeted offers—to help acquire more loyal members of the coveted generation of millennial consumers. For instance, of the loyal consumers surveyed:

  • Fifty-nine percent of millennials used gift cards or egifts for brands or stores they are loyal to, compared to 43 percent of Gen Xers and 32 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Fifty-five percent of millennials signed up for the reward and/or loyalty program for a brand or store that they are loyal to, compared to just 41 percent of Gen Xers and 36 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Fifty-two percent of millennials used targeted offers from a brand or store that they are loyal to, compared to 43 percent of Gen Xers and 31 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Fifty-three percent of millennials have used a mobile app for a brand or store that they are loyal to, which is significantly higher than the number of Baby Boomers (27 percent) and Gen Xers (39 percent) who have done the same.
  • Thirty-two percent of millennials have purchased or used prepaid offers for brands or stores they are loyal to, compared to 19 percent of Gen Xers and just seven percent of Baby Boomers.

To download the complete “What Makes Customers Loyal?” ebook, visit: https://blackhawknetwork.com/examining-brand-loyalty-impacts-engagement




Millennials Are Comfortable with Retailers Tracking Their Purchasing and Browsing Behaviors

CommPRO.biz Editorial Staff

Many retail companies have begun to shift their omnichannel marketing efforts to focus heavily on online shoppers, especially for younger tech-savvy millennials. But according to a new report from SmarterHQ 50% of millennials actually prefer shopping in-store.  This means some retailers could be missing the mark in engaging this 80 million strong demographic.

“While we’re seeing much more mobile traffic than we ever have in previous years, especially with the younger buyer, our survey found that brick-and-mortar is alive and well with millennials, and the need for a strong, well-executed and cohesive omnichannel presence beyond online is key when capturing millennial spend,” said Michael Osborne, CEO of SmarterHQ. “Another finding that stood out was that while security may be a concern with older shoppers, 70% of millennials are actually comfortable with retailers tracking their purchasing and browsing behaviors, if it means they’ll receive more relevant communications. This further emphasizes the need for strategic personalization, in an industry still plagued by mass marketing techniques.”

Additional survey findings retail executives and marketers should keep in mind:

Millennials are distracted: 95% of this demographic are doing other things while shopping, including working, watching TV, or talking to friends. Real-time, personalized communications can break through the distractions.

Don’t bombard millennials with marketing tactics: 74% of millennials said they are frustrated with too many marketing communications, and the majority prefer 1-3 marketing emails per month. Quality not quantity – with relevant content – will make those emails truly count.

Brand loyalty is limited: Only 6.5% of millennials respondents considered themselves brand loyal, however, those who prefer personalized communications have a 28% higher brand loyalty than those who do not.

Personalized emails trump batch and blast: 70% of millennials are frustrated by brands sending irrelevant emails, and prefer to receive personalized emails offering certain info like sale notifications for previously carted items, sale notifications for previously browsed items or categories, and recommended products based on their interests.

To review all of the survey findings and additional tips that retail marketers should know to help create effective personalized marketing campaigns, you can download the report here.




PR Council Webinar: Dealing with Digital Disruption

PR Council Digital Disruption Sign Up

How leading brands & agencies are gaining advantage

In an age of relentless digital marketing buzzwords it can be difficult to see what’s real and what’s fake news! At AVADO we have been working with marketers for over 10 years and helping them make sense of and gain advantage from disruption.

As a PR agency, you already know there’s no doubt the technology genie is not only out of the bottle, but speeding down the freeway and smashing tradition in its tracks. The breakneck pace of change in technology and alarming rate at which consumers seemingly adopt new habits means that us marketers must be wise to what is going on, how it will affect us, and what we can do about it.

When it comes down to it we really care about how we can use technology to drive effectiveness or to have more impact, or both! Today’s convergence of processing power, cloud computing, mobile devices & IOT, and AI is merging with new consumer interactions and codes of communication in social, video, AR, VR, touch, and speech.

This short talk will headline some of the most disruptive trends, share examples from around the world, framed in the practical context of what you and your organization can do about it.

The webinar will cover:

  • The latest digital transformation trends impacting clients and agencies
  • How clients are investing in digital talent to gain advantage
  • How you can rapidly deploy programs to ensure you have the skills to succeed

Who:

This webinar is aimed at senior agency staff, but will be valuable to anyone in agency who wants to understand the trends disrupting agency business.

This session will be led by Nick New, Managing Director of AVADO. Nick is currently overseeing talent transformation programs across clients such as GSK, Vodafone, & Ferrero, as well as various WPP & Omnicom agencies.

AVADO is a world leader in transforming talent for digital, with 300+ employees in 8 locations globally.




Can Influencer Marketing Performance Be Guaranteed and Measured as Media?

Can Influencer Marketing Performance Be Guaranteed and Measured as Media?Alex Marin, WHOSAY

Before you even start trying to engage influencers, think about your objectives.

The best practice was shared by WHOSAY CMO Paul Kontonis, who joined Havas PR CEO Marian Salzman and Cision Sr. Director of Growth Marketing Daniel Watson at “The Art of Influencing Influencers” webinar.

“We like to start every campaign with selecting your objectives: awareness, engagement, sentiment or action,” Kontonis said at the webinar, aimed at better targeting, identifying and engaging influencers with an eye on building long term relationships and measurable results. “Focus your efforts on your main objective.”

Kontonis explained that WHOSAY takes full control of the creative and production processes to ensure proper brand messaging and full FTC compliance. “We do everything from casting the influencer/talent to producing, distributing and measuring the campaign content,” he said.

He added that by leveraging first party data through its apps and platforms, and by getting the talent involved in the creative process through a mutually trusting and respectful relationship with the brand, WHOSAY is able to guarantee performance. “We look at the performance of the campaign and optimize it in real time,” Kontonis said. “At the end of the day, this should be a predictable performance.”

The WHOSAY CMO emphasized the need to measure content as media, meaning that instead of simply reporting the progress of a campaign in terms of “likes, comments and shares,” marketers can be looking at effective CPMs, CPVs, CPCs and CPAs instead.

Furthermore, WHOSAY acknowledges that measuring influencer marketing as media helps solve its clients’ main problem: how to deliver a successful campaign on a mobile device. “We look at what we do through a different context, which is the mobile device,” he said. “We are solving for the mobile advertising format through influencer marketing because it is what it cuts through the clutter.”

If you missed the webinar you can access the on demand presentation to discover valuable insights discussed by Paul Kontonis and Marian Salzman during the webinar.




What Does it Take to Influence an Influencer?

Why Eroding Trust in Traditional Ads Is Increasing the Value of Influencers

Alex Marin, WHOSAY

WHOSAY CMO Paul Kontonis will join Havas PR CEO Marian Salzman, one of the most-awarded female public relations executives in North America as well as one of the world’s top five trendspotters, and Cision Sr. Director Marketing Daniel Watsonon Thursday, July 20 at 2 p.m. ET at Cision’s “The Art of Influencing Influencers” webinar.

“Every marketer, agency, and media publication is talking about influencer marketing, and 2017 has been deemed as the gold rush year for the marketing approach,” said Kontonis, who added that “approximately two-thirds of marketers are utilizing influencer marketing as a core marketing strategy, and the rest have tried it and are looking to increase their spend.”

Amid the growth, it is not a secret the influence marketing is undergoing growing pains. Dove’s trolling of prospective influencers via frantic social media comments is one of the most recent examples. But with an industry projected to grow exponentially within the next few years, the focus is on how to best engage influencers so they can deliver successful campaigns.

The goal of the webinar is to deliver actionable, real world tips for marketers to help them better get influencers on-board with their brand, stories and pitches. To that end, the webinar will focus on how to better target and identify influencers, better engage and build longer term relationships, and deliver measurable results.

“Since this marketing approach encompasses so much more than just the influencer, it’s important to discuss how to target and match your campaign to right talent from every level,” says Kontonis. “Influencer marketing can be forecasted and measured just like media and it can deliver superior results to most other forms of media, especially on mobile.”

Kontonis, a 20-year digital media veteran, will be joined by Marian Salzman. Marian Salzman has been named one of the world’s top five trendspotters (bringing “metrosexual”—the 2003 Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society—to the world), Marian is one of the most-awarded female public relations executives in North America, currently listed in PRWeek’s Global Power Book and a PR News Top Woman in PR, as well as an honoree of the 2017 PRWeek Hall of Femme.

Since Marian took over at @havasprus in late 2009, the agency has become one of the most awarded of its size. She has executed award-winning thought leadership, reputation management and social media programs, and she gives lectures around the world on topics from health trends to branding to generational differences and more. Author or coauthor of many books, her latest (written with the Havas PR team) is now available: Agile PR: Expert Messaging in a Hyper-Connected, Always On World. Marian is an honors graduate of Brown University.

For more information about Cision’s “The Art of Influencing Influencers” webinar, including how to register, go here.




How to Reach Reporters with Top-Shelf Headlines

Raschanda Hall, Director of Global Media Relations, and Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social and Evolving Media, Business Wire

Every year, the teams at Business Wire look at changes in the industry that impact news release distribution and usage. We review the technical changes and the behavioral changes that directly affect the visibility and consumption of information. Once we gather this information, we make tactical suggestions that PR professionals can use to increase the success of their work. Still the most frequently asked question we receive is:  What makes a good news release headline and how long should it be?

The key to writing a good news release headline is to be both compelling and informative. Do not just say what the project is, explain the importance to your end audience. Don’t just tell reporters you’re opening an office in a new city, highlight the effects of the move on the neighborhood, your overall business, and the industry. This is what piques their interest, the implications of their news on their readership.

While headline writing isn’t an exact science, a common formula includes the use of a number or trigger word + adjective + keyword + promise.  Trigger words can be question words like what, how or why?  They can also be persuasion words like imagine, if, and new.

Whether you choose to use this formula or not, you want to make sure the most compelling word, or phrase, in your news release is also in the headline.  This is why, when it comes to news releases, you write your headline after you write your news release. This will ensure that you include important keywords or data in your headline because they are relevant to your news.

The Key to Selecting Keywords

Keywords are the words and phrases frequently used by your colleagues, industry peers, customers and reporters to describe specific products or services. Once you write your news release, go through and underline the words and phrases you included that are popular right now in your industry.  Pick the keywords that help explain the real impact of your news to your readers. Don’t focus on keywords that are irrelevant to your overall story goal.

Confirming Your Keywords Have Impact

Once you have selected the keywords or key phrases from your news release that showcase why this is news, you may want to use a keyword tester to see how popular that word is with your audience. Google Trends is a free service that Google offers to show writers, content creators, marketers and PR pros what information people are looking for within Google search. By going to Google.com/Trends, you can type in and search the words and phrases in your news release to see which term or terms may be most useful to reach and activate your audiences.

How to Reach Reporters with Top-Shelf HeadlinesHow to use Google Trends:

  1. Go to com/trends
  2. Set the location to match your country
  3. Set the timeline to match the last 7 days (for blog posts, try 30 days)
  4. Identify the keywords in your news release that ladder up to your headline goals
  5. Type in each of your keywords or phrases
  6. Write down which keywords or phrases have the highest search terms
  7. Add the most popular words to your headline
  8. Review your headline to ensure maximum readability
  9. Distribute your news release
  10. Monitor results and make modifications as needed for your next release

Once you have identified your most searched keywords or phrases, craft several different headlines and use a headline tester to confirm your new headline is both interesting and relevant. Here are three free, online headline testers for your files:

How long should your headline be?

While shorter headlines are preferred, it is important that your headline provide key information to your reader. Depending on keywords, your headline may be short, or it may be longer than usual.  The URL string of the Business Wire version of your news release will showcase the first 5-8 words of your announcement so make sure your most impactful words are included here.

Keep in mind, ideal headline character counts can vary by platform and news partner.

  • Many editorial systems show the first 55 characters of your news release headline.
  • Search engines showcase the first 70 characters of your headline.
  • Social channels tend to pull in the entire headline (along with your Business Wire news release summary)
  • Don’t forget about mobile devices. Keeping your headline to 40 characters may be tough, but some think that is the ideal headline length for mobile readers.

This means you have between 8-15 words in your headline to entice your readers into opening your release. 

Tip! Let Your Coverage Be Your Guide!

One way to see if your news release headlines are working is to see how reporters revise them in their coverage pieces or how consumers translate your news in their social updates. Did they use your language or your angle? What did they change? Why? Taking the time to review your past coverage pieces is a fantastic way to guide you to crafting a better release next time.

Once you have your news release headline, don’t forget to include the other required news release elements!  Include hyperlinks to provide reporters with instant access to back up materials, add a photo, infographic or video that visually tells your story to activate visual learners and include social prompts in your news release to allow fans to advocate on your behalf.

And once your release has crossed Business Wire, monitor your NewsTrak report (clicking on the Compare to Recent button) to see how your revised headline compares to past releases.  You will also want to monitor social media channels via your NUVI report to see if your newly revised headline message resonates with individuals.

Have questions about using keyword research for crafting news release headlines? Let us know! We would love to set up a time to review your news releases and show you the small changes you can make to drive larger results. Email us at serena.ehrlich@businesswire.com to get started.

 




Warriors are the Odds Pick to Beat the Cavs

Rhonda Adams - Warriors are the Odds Pick to Beat the CavsRhonda Adams

Basketball prognosticators are already signing the demise of the mighty Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors have too many weapons. They’re too fresh, too hot, too tough on D and too strong beyond the arc to be beaten. At least that’s the narrative. Some are even making the bold prediction that LeBron James’ Cavs won’t make it four games against Durant and Curry.

Now, that particular prediction might be a bit too presumptive, but after the first game of the series, Warriors fans are daring to dream of a sweep. Golden State absolutely dominated Cleveland on both sides of the court, turning rebounds into points time and again. Even shooting an abysmal 40ish percent from the field didn’t diminish the dominance.

So, is this going to be Golden State’s year? Well, history is against them. Remember last year, when the Warriors went up by three games before King James led his team on a historic comeback, to take the series and the crown. Of course, last year, the Warriors didn’t have (triple) double threat Durant on the floor. KD is already being talked about as one of the top five small forwards in NBA history. James is also in the discussion, along with Bird, Dr. J., Baylor, and Pippen. Most say James is better than Durant, but what happens if Durant is the Difference Maker that dethrones the King? ‘Bron is probably still “better,” but it would sure be good for basketball.

In the post-Jordan era, the NBA suffered a bit of a slump. Kobe and Shaq were marquee players, but the completion just wasn’t what it had been when the Lakers and Celtics were battling year after year, followed by the Bulls and Pistons against all comers. James entered the NBA when the league was looking for a resurgence. It needed a star to help it rebuild its brand. And that star needed a foil, an opponent who could bring out his best and, potentially, bring him down.  

Enter Durant. OKC fans howled in dismay when KD left middle America for the coast. But, for basketball fans, the move was the missing piece on a machine that might actually bring down a King. Now, even the oddsmakers are daring to say Cleveland is going down…and going down fast.

ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy told the Associated Press that Golden State was the definite favorite: “I think when you’re the prohibitive favorite against LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, that means you’re a heck of a team, and they sure are.” And Coach Van Gundy is hardly the only basketball Swami to make this call. But, really, is GSW really that much of a shoo-in? Well, that’s why they play the game, and you can bet, no matter what, LeBron James will have a say in the outcome. Will he show up like he did last year, or will this be the year and the team to steal his throne? Who knows…

One thing is absolutely certain. These are the two best teams in basketball, meeting for their third consecutive title tilt, another unprecedented event. Should be fun to watch … great public relations for the NBA and it’s already great for basketball.

 

About the Author: Rhonda Adams is NYC based, and a major sports fan. 




The Future of Communications Means Leaving the Past Behind

Robyn Hannah - Stop Being a Vendor and Start Being a PartnerRobyn Hannah, Senior Director of Global Communications, Dynamic Signal

There are many things about HR communication that we’ve accepted as “the way it is” for far too long. As practitioners of HR-oriented communications, and as employees ourselves, we should expect more. But giving up on how we’ve done things for decades isn’t always so easy. We get stuck in habits and patterns and analog methods of communication that should have been retired with acid-wash jeans and hammer pants.

Signs of the Past

Exhibit A- our continuing use of print as a means of disseminating important messages to employees. Print!

In 2017, breakrooms around the world are covered with the byproduct of technology invented in 1440 by Johannes Gutenberg to inform employees about everything from company policies to company picnics. The printing press is great for art work and inspiration, but not for ensuring employees know about open enrollment or the new COO. When it comes to time-sensitive information… we can do better.

I’ve toured some of the world’s most advanced factories and coolest agency offices and I’ve seen how various companies pin up posters or set out those table tents in hopes that their messages will be seen and absorbed. But we only read table tents for Happy Hour specials, and most employees aren’t even hanging out in the break room to survey what’s new on the bulletin board. When employees are in the lunch room, they’re glued to their smartphones snacking on content of the digital variety.

Exhibit B- SUBJECT LINES IN ALL CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLAIMATION POINTS AND THE WORDS “PLEASE READ”!!!!!!!!

Despite good manners and the extra exclamation points, open rates on those bad boys are dismal. And many organizations still aren’t tracking internal open rates and click-throughs to understand for sure the extent of message penetration.

Beyond that, our inboxes are crowed and noisy. We prioritize internal content last, focused instead on project and customers and deadlines that impact revenue and job security.

Internal Communicators and HR professionals aren’t marketers, of course. Theirs is a completely unique discipline and we celebrate the differences in goals and objectives. But it doesn’t hurt to borrow some of their tactics- with our own touch of communication magic, of course.

Take the Path a Marketer Might

CMO’s are predicted to outspend their CIO counterparts this year because  the innovation applied to today’s MarTech has proven to have major impact on our top and bottom lines.

So let’s take a page from their playbook and get a little dirty digging into the date. That means looking at email open rates and interactions on social media. It means considering which media employees spend most of their time consuming. It means assessing the frequency of our messaging and determining when the law of diminishing returns sets in. If we are to make the case that what we do does matter, we need to come to the table with the data to prove it.

Run surveys and an employee NPS. Take the pulse of your company’s most important asset and figure out how to drive satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. And most importantly- do it in a way that is mobile-first.

Drive with Data

HR professionals are no stranger to metrics. Standard measurements include hiring ratios, retention and resignation rates. While those are, of course, crucial to assessing the relative health of an organization, communication often gets the short end of the stick.

That’s a shame because the current state of HR-based communication is woeful. Some 75% of employees only use the company intranet exclusively for payroll information or to see their vacation time. Such narrow use of communication channels is a missed opportunity. Ideally, HR departments can use intranets and email to humanize the company, share the vision and company ethos, and remind employees that they’re a critical component of the company’s lifeblood.

The truth, however, is that most HR executives and internal communication teams don’t really know how effective their communication is because they don’t use software to gauge their success. If they did, they could start tinkering with the forms of media they use, like marketers do. Track, measure, and optimize. A little A/B testing applied to internal communications could go a long way in better understanding what makes your workforce tick.

Smartphone or Bust  

According to research firm Dscout, the typical cellphone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every single day. (And the average consumer now spends about three hours a day with her mobile device, which is an hour more than she spends on desktop.)

Ask a group of your millennial employees how many of them use their phone as an alarm. Hands will fly up. Most of today’s workforce will look at their phones before their feet hit the bedroom floor. If you’re not using mobile to communicate your message—you don’t exist.

But proceed with caution. SMS is a fantastic option for urgent or important messages but like any other messaging platform it will become less effective if overused. If you’re using SMS to offer tips about how to start a 401(k) and to advertise open positions, then people will begin to disregard those messages as well. Creating balance and platform hierarchy is key to successful communications.

The Future is Flexible

The best way to disseminate messages that people will actually read is to consider your customer-  In this case, your employees. Learning how employees want to hear from you, and which channels are best for different types of content, is as important as a marketer’s understanding of a consumer’s path to purchase.

A single, mobile-first platform that will integrate with the channels and systems your workforce already uses daily is usually the best bet. Say that Sales loves Chatter, but maybe younger, retail employees prefer Facebook Messenger, and your global product teams live and die by Slack or Yammer. It’s important to meet those teams where they want to hear from you. Time sensitive messages like a power outage at your factory may require an SMS and your exciting media coverage begs for a mobile push notification.  Delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time, on the right platform is as important for HR and Internal Communications as it is for marketing.

Let’s leave the idea of a single medium of communication in the rearview mirror and take a modern approach to connecting with our workforce of today.

Moving Forward

Marketers make a clear case for why their outreach matters — it impacts the bottom line. The same is true for HR communication. If an organization can’t make employees feel informed, important, and connected, they’re going to lose time, talent, and money since it takes as much as six- to nine months’ salary to replace an existing employee.

With the right tools and testing, measurement and messaging, our HR communication can be as sophisticated as our customer marketing. And we’re more than up for the task.