Marketing digital. Making results.

7 Shortcuts For Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur

Ask any entrepreneur, successful or not, what it was like becoming an entrepreneur. You’ll get a variety of answers. For some, it started naturally. For others, it was irresistible. For many, it was by necessity. But nearly every entrepreneur will also admit that it was hard. There’s nothing easy about starting your [...]

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A Proven Method For Discovering The Exact Kind Of Content Your Customers Crave

The most effective way to attract customers, develop thought leadership, build a list, improve your SEO, expand your influence, grow your brand, increase revenue, and expand your digital footprint is with content. But what kind of content? Who’s going to read that content? Why would they care? What difference does it make? [...]

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5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Online Business At A Young Age

I first started dabbling in entrepreneurship when I was a freshman in highschool. In the microcosm of my high school business environment, I did alright. But it wasn’t until I launched a “real” business a few years later that I realized how brutal entrepreneurship could be. Many entrepreneurs don’t start quite [...]

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Marketing at the Super Bowl 50 – go hard or go home

The sporting event offers advertisers a huge platform, but without serious commitment, marketers are better spending their budget elsewhere

As the Super Bowl 50 approaches, marketers should be wary of pouring their time and energy into half-hearted real-time marketing attempts to hijack the day, because just like on the pitch itself, it’s a case of go hard or go home.

The 2015 Super Bowl had an average domestic audience of 114.4 million people (expanding to 160 million globally), making it the most-watched broadcast in the history of US television, with 118.5 million tuning in for the Pepsi-sponsored half-time show starring Katy Perry. The event certainly gets people talking, with more than 28.4m tweets sent and more than 65 million people posting, commenting or at least liking something about the 2015 game on Facebook. Viewership numbers are impressive, but to give it some context, the Fifa World Cup final in 2014 attracted over a billion viewers and, in this world of multi-channel television, only a 47.5% share of US TV ratings.

Related: Five things great brands will do differently on social media in 2016

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Top 7 Tips For Surviving Your First Year As An Entrepreneur

The first year of entrepreneurship is always the hardest. You’re scared silly. You’re a nervous wreck. You’re pulsing with adrenaline. You’re running on caffeine. You’re making life-changing decisions every other minute. You’re lonely. And you’re kicking ass. Entrepreneurship is a form of self-punishment that few people dare to engage in, and in [...]

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7 Online Marketing Methods That Have Stood The Test Of Time

Many online marketing trends are just that — trends. They rise, they fade, they die. It’s one of the most frustrating things about marketing. You spend all this money and invest all this time in something, and then —poof! —it’s gone. You feel like you’ve wasted time and effort. In the [...]

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Your Business Plan Is A Failure Without These 5 Things

It’s easy to rush headlong into a business plan with big dreams, grand visions, and fat profits. If you get carried away with your business plan, however, you might miss the whole point — viability. In fact, you might simply end up with words on a piece of paper and a [...]

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How To Upsell Any Customer

Upselling is the lifeblood of many business models. Some companies are even willing to sell some items or services at a loss, banking on the hope of a future upsell. As a leader of several SaaS companies, I’ve discovered through trial and error some techniques that will guarantee upsells. Every business [...]

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15 Marketing Tasks You Should Outsource Immediately

As a busy entrepreneur, your time is your most valuable asset. To make the most of your time, don’t just pile on the hours or work “harder.” Instead, outsource. Outsourcing is often one of the most challenging things for an entrepreneur to do. At the same time, it’s one of the most [...]

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How To Take Your Boss's Position In One Simple Step

You’ve had your eye on the corner office for a while. You know for a fact that your boss makes five times as much as you, has a retirement account in the high seven figures, and enjoys unilateral power throughout the company. You want all of that. You want to be [...]

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12 Things Happening In SEO Right Now That You Absolutely Must Know

Want to master SEO? Good luck with that. SEOs today realize that it’s a vast and varied field, with opportunities galore for pitfalls and perils. If you’re a busy marketer, leader, or businessperson, you don’t have time to acquire the latest cutting-edge knowledge. Instead, you need up-to-date answers on what’s hot [...]

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The Shocking Truth About E-Commerce Conversion Optimization

When it comes to ecommerce optimization, most people just don’t get it. In the vast and varied field of ecommerce, many marketers are blinding by misconceptions. They mistakenly think that they can’t compete with Amazon. They mistakenly think that paid search is the solution. They mistakenly think that cut-and-paste product descriptions [...]

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7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Know About Google Analytics

Business demands data. Entrepreneurs do business, but they do so much more. They build businesses. It’s important for entrepreneurs to get their hands on the best data possible to turn build their businesses rapidly, sustainably, and effectively. Google Analytics is an essential tool for this kind of data. Here’s what every entrepreneur [...]

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5 Up-and-Coming Social Media Platforms You Need To Join Right Now

By now, you’re probably sick of social media. In fact, you’re sick of people telling you what social media platforms you need to join. You’re already on fifteen! What more sources of clutter, confusion, and distraction do you need? Well, I’m going to mention a few more. Give it a moment. [...]

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From Medium to Slack: five tools for better marketing

Paul Armstrong examines the platforms and products you might’ve overlooked in the hunt for the next big thing

It’s around this time of year that people start looking at the next 12 months (and beyond) and asking what’s the next big thing? It’s a fine question and one we enjoy speculating about but it ignores what’s staring us in the face: there’s already a lot out there. But are we using it well enough? What platforms should we know but don’t? With that in mind, here are my top five marketing tools.

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Insect ice-cream? Experiential marketing just got tasty

With a recent event netting the Economist 10,000 subscriptions, marketers should embrace experiential marketing to amplify their presence

Experiential marketing builds on traditional promotional campaigns in an age of immersive theatre and pop-up retail. Defined by Creative Guerilla marketing, it is, “a form of advertising that focuses primarily on helping consumers experience a brand... [immersing] the consumers within the product by engaging as many other human senses as possible.”

Promotional advertising has served the media industry well but now we can integrate it with our digital and real-world marketing, content, social media and PR.

Related: Marketing risks becoming mechanistic without imaginative ideas to animate it

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What's the key to a marketing hit: an original sound or the same old tune?

The Beatles struck a chord with the right combination of originality, creativity and innovation – a lesson that marketing creatives should bear in mind

The Beatles weren’t that good when they first formed.

Don’t take my word for it, Paul McCartney said in a recent radio interview: “We obviously weren’t that good. We were formulating it all.”

Related: Marketing risks becoming mechanistic without imaginative ideas to animate it

Related: Big data – a marketer's dream or dilemma?

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What the Facebook video debate really means for marketers

With video set to dominate users’ newsfeeds, marketers need to consider how to make their content work on the platform

Whether for hitting 4bn daily views, or with accusations that they “lied and cheated” their way to that number, Facebook’s video offering has certainly been grabbing headlines lately. All the updates, debates and comparisons can, however, be a little overwhelming. What does it really mean for marketers and how can we maximise this opportunity?

Facebook’s biggest change has been autoplay, the process by which videos automatically begin silently playing in your newsfeed. Much like the moving images in Harry Potter’s newspaper, this motion does bring the newsfeed to life, but it also slightly removes the user choice on whether they want it to play at all.

Related: What's the key to a marketing hit: an original sound or the same old tune?

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Marketing risks becoming mechanistic without imaginative ideas to animate it

The new digital marketing machine is increasingly concerned with data but we need to remember that great brands are built on ideas

Over recent years the marketing and communications community has raced to build a new marketing model for the digital age; a model that is more connected, more agile and less wasteful; a model that transforms the way we market brands to consumers. The industry has made real progress and the opportunities for efficiency and effectiveness seem limitless. But the model should not become an end in itself. Once we’ve built the perfect marketing machine, we’ll still need ideas to animate it; and ideas will remain largely intangible, irrational and irregular. We still need to plan for the ghost in the machine.

Fundamentally the age of technology affords us an opportunity to harness the vehicles of persuasion (advertising) more directly to the mechanics of consumption (purchase) and of relationship management (CRM). Modern brands will be built around data rich, adaptive digital platforms that take consumers on a seamless journey from seeing relevant content, to selling an experience, to securing a relationship.

Related: Mad men, meet the algorithm: the art and...

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How You Can Prepare Right Now To Dominate Marketing In 2016

Change is the one constant in marketing. As we enter 2016, you can rely on one thing: marketing is going to change. How is it going to change? The fact is, we simply don’t know how marketing will change; however, we can take measures to ensure we are prepared for [...]

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What Does A Brand Evangelist Do, And Do You Need One?

If you’re unfamiliar with it, brand evangelism might sound a bit gimmicky. We’ve all seen marketing stunts that completely turn us off and have us looking for the man behind the curtain. Brand evangelism, also known as evangelism marketing, is different. It’s less gimmick and more strategy. In this article, I [...]

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Five things great brands will do differently on social media in 2016

It’s easy to be distracted by the latest shiny innovations, but a focus on quality content and media planning are key for successful social media marketing

Social channels have become walled gardens, offering meaningful mobile reach and relative safety from fraud and adblockers. Ironically there’s never been a better time to invest in them, not because of some new promise of engagement and conversation, but because they’re starting to deliver on traditional media and marketing objectives. There are however still plenty of ways to completely waste your time and money on social media marketing, and no reason at all why every brand should “have” to use it.

Related: Five brands that got social media right in 2015

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How brands can break into Snapchat

From taking risks to offering exclusive content, here’s how marketers can tap into one of the fastest-growing social platforms

The past year has seen organic reach in social media – reach not supported by paid advertising – decline further. Simultaneously more users, particularly younger ones, are spending more time in private spaces, harder to access by brands, including WhatsApp, Yik Yak and Snapchat. The latter has emerged as the leading dark social channel with over 700m snaps shared every day. How can brands be part of the conversation on this ever-growing platform?

One defining feature of these platforms is that they’re private and, unlike other social media, are almost completely unmeasurable. This is key. The adults of tomorrow are actively avoiding channels where they feel like they have to care about how liked and appreciated their content is and gravitating to places where they can be their true selves without that pressure to gain approval.

Related: Brands only measure the tip of the social media iceberg

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Linking music to consumer behaviour strikes a chord with marketers

Connections between people’s taste in music and what they do mean that playlists will become a powerful predictor of consumer habits

“Show me your top 100 music tracks and I’ll tell you where you buy your clothes, where you shop for food, which brand of beer you prefer and where you like to go on vacation.”

In my dreams. As a marketer with a music buff for a partner, having that kind of superpower would be a hoot. Just imagine casually scrolling through somebody’s MP3 player, then confidently declaring: “From your taste in music, I can tell you like Gap, street markets, Dos Equis and staycations with days at the beach.”

Related: Mobile apps could save the music industry

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Five brands that got social media right in 2015

From Lexus offering 100 different ads on Facebook to Clash of Clans’ video storytelling, here are some of the best social media campaigns from 2015

It was the year social media marketing finally started to grow up. In 2015 advertisers began switching serious percentages of their total media investment into channels such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, and alongside that came a new degree of scrutiny and best practice. By the end of the third quarter, Facebook’s advertising revenue had jumped 45% year on year to $4.3bn , while Twitter’s was up 60% to $513m (which confusingly still disappointed investors).

It is, however, a hollow victory for many early social evangelists – the shift hasn’t happened because senior marketers finally bought into a new world of conversation and “engagement”, but because social platforms started to show they could play by the rules of traditional advertising. Facebook went so far as to launch a TRP tool to sell its reach in the same way as TV, and just about every platform you could name went heavy on video, an inherently passive and one-way format.

Related: The golden days of free, mass social media reach never really existed

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Is mobile marketing destined to be deleted?

Unsolicited SMS messages are designed for our mobile-focused world, but they could face a similar fate to email spam

A prescient episode of The Simpsons (season 12, episode 14) referred to advertising as a three-pronged attack – subliminal, where the message was hidden; liminal, which was conventional advertising; and superliminal, which was shouting the message at random people in the street.

Today, some companies choose to take the superliminal concept further by effectively shouting at us via SMS. If your number gets onto an advertiser’s list, you are on the receiving end of a relentless stream of calls and texts. Many of these do not involve other people, since the calls are generated by automated software and if you pick up, you hear a recorded message.

Related: Data, technology and creativity in marketing: 10 things we learned

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Marketing in China: a five-step guide

Western practices won’t cut it for Chinese consumers, with more using social media than in the US and Europe combined

To say this hasn’t been the greatest couple of months for China would be an understatement. But, despite the current gloom, innovation still stands strong. Regularly unique, sometimes surprising, often completely different to anything you’ve seen in the west, China’s approach to marketing and social media has been an incredible journey over the last few years. We’ve been following this progress closely, with the team in our Shanghai office, and we’ve recently published a report into the digital, social and mobile landscape in China.

There were some big numbers in there, with the headline stats focused predominantly on mobile and social growth. There are now 574 million mobile social media users in China, up 15 million since this time last year, as well as the fact that there are now 659 million social media users – more than the US and Europe combined. But what does all this tell marketers about China, and how to approach it? Here are the five key points to consider when communicating with a Chinese audience.

Related: Luxury brands must redefine the way they do...

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Data, technology and creativity in marketing: 10 things we learned

We round up the best insights and tips from our recent webchat on the impact of technology on marketing

  • Read the live Q&A in full

Geoffrey Colon, group product marketing manager, emerging and social media, Microsoft

Related: Digital has failed to solve adland's problem with measurement

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Social media offers a solution to online advertising's biggest challenges

Concerns around viewability and ad blocking are plaguing digital advertising, but social channels could prove vital for marketers willing to rethink their approach

Social media marketing in its original form is dead. This isn’t news: Facebook killed it off nearly four years ago, although many marketers don’t seem to have noticed yet. Ironically, though, there’s never been a better time to invest advertising budgets into social platforms – channels which have moved on from the fans, engagement and conversation metrics they were once built on.

Online advertising is starting to command meaningful ad budgets and with that comes a new level of scrutiny. Current skeletons in the closet include viewability (whether ads show in full to a user or are hidden down the page when a robot visits the site) and ad blocking (software which stops adverts appearing for users at all).

Related: The golden days of free, mass social media reach never really existed

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How To Find Out If A Social Media Channel Will Benefit Your Business

Social media platforms are as plentiful as bestie selfies at a high school prom. The “new,” “hottest,” and “latest” platforms roll out ad nauseam. As you were just getting the hang of Twitter, someone is telling you to join Path. Once you thought Instagram was the bee’s knees, you’re now told [...]

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A Failsafe System For Social Media Success

Sometimes, you need to have confidence that something you try will work. Social media is one of those areas where success is imperative. For social media marketing, the days of throwing mud on the wall and hoping it will stick are long gone. The combined expertise of millions of social media professionals [...]

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How The Internet Of Things Is Changing Online Marketing

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to a phenomenon and an entity. It refers to the way Internet connectivity has expanded to include everyday objects and to how those everyday objects interoperate with our daily lives. No longer do we “access” the Internet. The Internet is ever-present. It operates as an [...]

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Maths versus magic: is there an optimal balance in brand building?

As media consumption becomes more complex, agencies urgently need to invest in both their programmatic and creative capabilities

Discussion at the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda summit confirmed what marketing organisations have been experiencing and talking about continually with clients; the current pace of change is faster than ever, relentless even, and agility and collaboration need to be hardwired into the organisational DNA of every future-proof business.

Related: Changing Media Summit 2016 programme

Related: The beginnings of advertising created by artificial intelligence

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How to Optimize Your Brand's Presence on LinkedIn

Let me throw some statistics at you. (Hold on.) LinkedIn has 380 million users. LinkedIn is attracting new users at the rate of 2 every second. Linkedin gets 35 billion pageviews each quarter. LinkedIn reaches 37% of the total U.S. digital population LinkedIn users spend an average of 17 minutes on the site per month. LinkedIn [...]

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How To Harness The Power Of The Hashtag As An Entrepreneur

Today’s entrepreneurs have to start businesses in a culture of intense social media activity. In case you haven’t noticed, this social media thing is kind of a big deal. One thing that every social media platform has in common is hashtags. The hashtag, that  ubiquitous pound sign followed by a keyword, [...]

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12 Ways To Deal With A Financial Disaster In Your Startup

The real startup life is brutal. Money loses meaning as you earn it, spend it, and lose it. Relationships teeter, falter, and then disappear. Days fade into nights, which fade into mornings, which fade into who-knows-what. Your overworked, underslept, undervalued, underestimated, and think you can’t take another step in this entrepreneurial journey [...]

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7 Traits To Look For In A Startup Cofounder

Choosing a cofounder is kind of like choosing a life mate. Your future success, happiness, and fortune depend on the person you tap for the job. Often, your cofounder will present himself naturally in the hustle of daily work. Other times, you’ll have to look hard for the right person. Here [...]

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The 5 Traits Of A Truly Memorable Brand

It’s more important than ever to create a memorable brand. Creating new business is a fad that has erupted beyond control. If the statistics are accurate, more than 100 new businesses will have been born by the time you finish reading this article. Those businesses have brands, websites, products, entrepreneurs, blogs, logos, [...]

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Networking Guide For Beginner Entrepreneurs

Some see it as smarmy; other see it as smart. Whatever your views on the issue, networking is important. For entrepreneurs, it’s essential. There are some occupations in which you can clock in, do your thing, clock out, and be fine. If you’re an entrepreneur, life doesn’t work that way. Entrepreneurs [...]

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4 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do Before Breakfast

How do the extraordinary successful people rise to the top, achieve great things, and accomplish so much? They wake up early. This could sound like an overstatement, especially since there are dozens of other systemic, genetic, geographical, and cultural factors that produce success. But don’t dismiss the power of mornings. Early in the [...]

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Personal Branding Secret No One Wants You To Know

Let me explain an amazing irony. Most people want to be themselves — to express their uniqueness and true identity. We admire people that are bold enough to stand out from the crowd and live with authenticity. But no matter how much we admire, aspire, and yearn for that kind of independence, we [...]

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5 Life Hacks For The Bootstrapping Entrepreneur

“Bootstrapped” is code word for “dirt poor.” But, since ”bootstrapping” sounds sexier, that’s what entrepreneurs call it. Bootstrapping is the process of launching a business using only your existing resources. In other words, nothing. Radical growth might call for radical action in the beginning. You will have to do some crazy things in [...]

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6 Basic Skills Every Marketer Should Possess

In the wide world of marketing, there are a ton of things that you could learn how to do. The explosion of digital marketing has left us with hundreds of specialized roles, skills, and niche areas for marketing professionals. One marketer might know all there is to know about setting up a [...]

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Why Google's Knowledge Graph Is Actually A Big Deal Right Now

If you play around in the digital marketing world, you’ve probably heard of the Google Knowledge Graph. You may even know a thing or two about what it is and how it works. In this Google-dominated era of search, marketing, and discovery, the Knowledge Graph is a massive force. Some trendspotters [...]

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