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Apr

14

2016

How a Knowledge Discovery Program Elevates Your Content Curation

ThinkstockPhotos-488758071-215597-edited.jpgMarketers need to keep their pipeline full of the most relevant and cutting-edge content that will effectively speak to their audience and convert them into qualified leads. The problem; however, is that curating that content takes a lot of time — and if you’re manually searching the web for new ideas, it’s likely that you’re missing some impactful gems.

Content curation tools can help speed up your searching by serving you relevant articles based on pre-selected keywords; however, these tools are missing one vital component of a sound content curation program: internal content.

A strong marketer is equipped with the content ammo they need to excel. Ideally, they’ll leverage the collective intelligence of their organization (Sharepoint, databases, etc.), and integrate that with relevant content from external sources (web, blogs, social, etc.) and premium subscriptions.

The key reason that knowledge discovery promotes this notion is that it naturally allows for an integrated approach to identifying, capturing, evaluating, retrieving, and sharing all of an enterprise’s information assets. Knowledge discovery is the ability to find the right information and deliver it to the right people at the right time, reinventing how organizations discover, collaborate, and share knowledge. By using a knowledge discovery tool, marketers can pull the most relevant content from three primary sources:

  • The web – Blogs, social media, etc.
  • Premium subscriptions – Paid access to premium content (Forrester and Gartner)
  • Internal content – Sharepoints, databases, wikis, etc.

With all of this awesome knowledge at your disposal, not only will you keep your pipeline full, but you’ll be able to ramp up onboarding, training, and continued learning.

Knowing that you need to curate relevant content from a number of sources is one thing, but identifying the most relevant content on an ongoing basis is a whole other beast. Knowledge management is a long-time need, but marketers need to do more than simply “manage” knowledge. Being able to discover and use the knowledge in context is the key.

So, how can you pull the right information at the right time without spending hours upon hours digging through data? Using a knowledge discovery platform is the best way to understand novel topics deeply and quickly. Not only will this help you keep up with current trends, but it will help you gain a competitive advantage. With capabilities like competitive monitoring and faster contextual discovery of knowledge, getting a leg up on your competitors is inevitable.

There are a number of tools in the KM marketplace. Software like SmartSupport and Confluence help organizations find, share, and collaborate on information, connecting people with the answers they need. Brainspace for Enterprise is the only knowledge discovery tool that allows business users to discover the latest and most relevant content from any internal or external sources, spearheading innovation.

Marketers that leverage these tools will continuously receive internal and external content relevant to their industry, roles, and competitors — which will help them elevate their skillsets and capitalize on strategic marketing opportunities for their organization. Teams will then be able to:

  • Understand novel topics deeply and fast
  • Keep up on current trends
  • Continuously learn and develop
  • Gain competitive advantage

Knowledge discovery increases the level of connectedness between people in organizations, thus accelerating innovation. If your company is striving to innovate, they’ll be onboard with implementing KM tools.

If marketers striving to unlock the knowledge trapped within their organizations leverage knowledge discovery, they’ll have all the best content they need, in real time. Knowledge for onboarding, content curation, continued education, competitive monitoring, and other “everyday” marketing tasks will be right in the palm of their hands, saving countless hours of inefficient searching. So, if you think it’s about time to reinvent yourself as a content curator, start discovering!

If you’re interested in a more in-depth review of how knowledge management and discovery can be leveraged for marketing success, continue learning now with this eBook, 4 Ways to Leverage Knowledge Management for Marketing Success.

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Sep

25

2015

7 Game-Changing Marketing Trends To Tackle in 2016

Marketing constantly adjusts and reacts to changes in technology and attitudes. While digital marketing has undergone a substantial transformation in the last few years, the technology that incited the changes is growing at a faster pace than most brands can keep up with.

So, what does this mean for competitive marketers that are already strategizing for 2016? Brands need to look beyond the usual channels to stay ahead rather than simply jump on the bandwagon. Here, we’ll discuss those trends that are changing the face of marketing (yet again) and give you an eye-opening look at what marketers should be leveraging in 2016.

1) Relationship Marketing

As smartphone adoption continues to rise with an estimated 2 billion consumers worldwide expected to own a smartphone by 2016, the opportunity for brands to be connected with their customers and prospects is set to be closer than ever. Enter relationship marketing.

The goal of relationship marketing is to focus on building stronger loyalty and long-term customer engagement rather than on quick, short-term customer acquisition and individual sales. This helps companies develop strong, emotional customer connections to their brands that drive word-of-mouth promotions and lead generation.

Through meaningful customer relationships and conversations, companies create loyalists and brand advocates. Companies that do relationship marketing well set the bar high for other brands vying for more meaningful connections.

So, how can companies develop community and personalize their outreach efforts? Data. We now have data in easily accessible and interpretable formats through which we can develop strong relationship-marketing plans. In 2016 and beyond, personalized, data-driven marketing will become increasingly important.

Intrusive, mass-target approaches to marketing will slowly dwindle as marketers who focus on relationships grow their businesses. All solid relationships are built on trust. Transparency between customers and brands is essential, so companies must keep this in mind when mapping relationship marketing tactics.

2) Marketing Automation

As marketers today are spending at least 50 percent of their time on content, companies are coming up with more ways to automate marketing. Marketing automation alone is worth $5.5 Billion and is leading the way in lead generation and prospect nurturing.

Using a marketing automation platform makes it easier to schedule emails, segment contacts, automate social media posting, manage your content, and track the lifecycle of customers in your marketing funnel. This automation trend also highlights the growth of convergence, which allows you to stay lean, focused, and as profitable as possible without compromising on quality.

With even more focus on marketing to deliver results, marketing managers and CMOs should be taking stock of their team’s skills, noting the gaps and defining a robust automation strategy to help sales through engaging prospects, qualifying leads, and shortening the overall sales cycle.

3) Location-Based Marketing Technology

How can event professionals and marketers create an interactive experience? They must target users at the point of engagement. Location-based marketing technology, like iBeacons and RFIDs, helps make this possible. iBeacons are small, inexpensive transmitters that use Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to detect nearby devices that can be housed in retail stores, point of sale displays, and merchandising areas.

iBeacons can also help event attendees make the most of conferences through sign up and engagement in talks and sessions. Furthermore, Linkedin integration offers the opportunity to connect with attendees and send messages (including push notifications) about the latest news, reducing the need for delayed email communication.

A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a small electronic device that contains a chip and an antenna, providing a unique identifier for that tag. RFID wristbands, cards, and apps enable event attendees to interact in new and engaging ways. Event organizers can let visitors easily share their experience with their friends online. Brands can increase shares and likes with a simple photo and tap of the wristband to share across social media.

It’s all about location – and the marketer’s ability to make the most of it, in real time.

4) Virtual Reality 

Virtual reality technology, like Oculus Rift, will inevitably have a huge impact on the way that marketers engage consumers in 2016. One of the biggest keys to marketing, especially to Millennials, is personalization. With the ability to literally tell 360-degree stories, companies will be able to engage like never before.

Companies who don’t supply a virtual experience for prospective customers, such as retailers, could see a drop in sales. Adoption of VR in 2016 and beyond will undoubtedly cause some kind of shift in marketing ideology. It’s best to hop on the VR train now to get a first look at what these new eyes will show us.

5) Ephemeral Marketing

Snapchat is already moving into the space of a “standard marketing platform.” In the upcoming year, marketers will come to understand that Snapchat isn’t just a tool for fun marketing experiments; it’s a platform that users are flocking to in order to digest social media in real time.

In order to deliver integrated campaigns that make constituents feel connected, especially the younger generation of consumers (read: Millennials) you need to be offering exclusive content that has an expiration date. This “less is more,” or ephemeral, marketing is all about communication that’s shorter and more to the point. In a world where people have less and less time, this model works.

Snapchat is the ultimate platform for making consumers feel connected and at the same time, unique. Brands such as ESPN, Vice, and Comedy Central already use it to push their messages to voracious consumers of media. With Snapchat, the advertisement becomes the product – something that competitors won’t be able to ignore. Take advantage of this huge opportunity to connect uniquely using just a small window of your audience’s time. Be organic, speak their language, and just cut to the chase.

6) Search Past Search Engines

With Facebook already working on tests for its own search engine, it seems inevitable that search capabilities will go far beyond Google, Bing, and Yahoo. As search capabilities improve within social media, brands will get an automatic boost. In addition, when buy buttons and payment messaging appear on social in 2016, an all-in-one-type platform will manifest (more convergence).

With advanced search capabilities, integrated payment methods, and the social impact that empowers sites like Facebook and Twitter, consumers will be able to make purchases, chat with their friends about what they bought, and post the social proof of their new purchase. Advanced search will bring a more integrated social experience that expands to the e-commerce realm. If you cater your marketing efforts to this all-in-one, buy-and-share social media search, it’s clear that your brand will realize returns. Make the buying process easier, but also make it an experience.

7) The Internet of Things (IoT)

Wearable technology will see a user adoption rate of 28 percent by 2016 – even more data for marketers to mine. So, will this data be derived from people’s day-to-day habits? It looks that way. Every year from now until the foreseeable future, we’ll see the IoT become a bigger tool that marketers can use to engage with customers.

Maybe this means that ads will soon have the ability target people based on their every move. For marketers, this means that your data will have to become more behavior-driven and, although the power of devices may seem unsettling, you’ll be right on target. At the end of the day, people will what they want.

These 7 game-changing trends should be essential elements in your 2016 marketing plans. By 2017, we’ll have a whole new bag of tricks to share with you – but for now, get ahead, keep thinking ahead, and see how things evolve from there!

If you’ve got a tough decision to make for the upcoming year – like deciding whether to hire an in-house marketer or outsource a team of specialists – look no further. This free comparative white paper will help you weigh the pros and cons and ultimately determine which is your ideal route.

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Aug

12

2015

8 Modern Tips for Marketing to Millennials

There are currently 80 million Millennials in the U.S. – nearly one-fourth of the total population. And, with an annual buying power of $200 billion, they are the most lucrative market. Plain and simple: Nearly every marketer today is making Generation Y a priority – or at least working to understand what drives and delights this instrumental group.

One key element that justifies Millennial domination of the marketplace is the fact this new marketing style – which we’ll delve into in just a minute – isn’t just a fad. Here, we’ll discuss 8 important tactics for marketing to the demographic of the hour and explain why these tactics are lasting ones.

1) Authentic Content Empowers Them

According to AdAge, Millennials are spending an average of 25 hours per week online – and they’re craving content-driven media. They’re scouring websites, blogs, and social media because they feel empowered by all of the remarkable content they’re discovering. They’re also sharing, liking, pinning, tweeting, snapping, forwarding, and commenting on all of their findings to impart this sense of empowerment to the online community. So, what makes this type of content really resonate with this group? Millennials trust what they feel is authentic.

Interacting in a user-centric environment is what engages them, as 43 percent of Millennials rank authenticity over content when consuming news. Today, young shoppers’ attitudes and behavior are largely inspired by people they know in person or online, or even strangers who share their interests on social networks. Millennials carry these “advisors” with them on their smartphones and everywhere they go. They trust relevant, authentic opinions from real product users they can relate to. In fact, 84 percent of Millennials say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy, and 73 percent say it’s important to read others’ opinions before purchasing.

For brands that want to successfully reach Gen Y-ers, they simply need to speak their language. People ages 18 to 34 will perk up when hearing or reading words that could have come from the mouths of their peers, as these messages warrant comfort and trust. When you offer your audience content they would proudly share with others, you’re building a real brand-consumer relationship.

Taco Bell successfully speaks to Millennials with their creative “Millennial Word of the Week” tactic. The brand incorporates the lingo of their young consumers, which is curated by company employees in their 20s, into its messaging. Here’s an example of how Taco Bell works to speak to its young audience in a relatable way.

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2) Outbound Marketing is Out

Millennials want to feel connected and involved when it comes to their purchases, and traditional marketing does not encourage this. Outbound marketing methods, like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots, do not impress Millennials. In the mind of a young consumer, these campaigns are impersonal and company-focused, filled with logos and void of any real substance. This generation demands more customer-driven, personalized marketing. A 2014 survey, Engaging Millennials: Trust and Attention Survey, reveals that 84 percent of Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising.

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This Medill Northwestern University pop-up ad is an example of outbound marketing that comes across as disruptive, annoying, and unsolicited. Millennials know what they want and, since they’re so digitally savvy, know how to find it online. That’s why these young consumers do a lot of their research via blogs, forums, and YouTube videos. If they decide they want to go for their master’s degree, odds are that an in-your-face pop-up ad wasn’t the deciding factor (not to mention they’re surely taxed by student loan debt). While the ad is relevant to the person’s search history and may put the idea in the their head, seeing it wasn’t their choice. Millennials feel empowered to make their own online choices – which are usually inspired by their peers or other authentic content.

3) Inbound Marketing is, Well, In

Millennials support businesses that are dedicated to improving their customers’ lives with informative content. Rather than product and service listings, Millennials want e-books, whitepapers, blog posts, videos, and other how-to information – and that’s inbound marketing. They appreciate thought leadership and expertise, so this is your company’s chance to provide killer content that ranks highly in Google and show young consumers that you’re the industry buff – especially since Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts (who happen to be strangers); they are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.

Mac Cosmetics’ YouTube page is a great example of how brands can offer their audience how-to’s from the experts. People want helpful guidance, and when your company takes the time to provide that, they appreciate it and respect what you stand for. Mac is giving young viewers exactly what they want, where they’ll find it. 60% of Millennials (vs. 29% of non-Millennials) are engaged in uploading videos, images, and blog entries to the Web – so utilizing YouTube is perfect. A Millennial makeup lover is much more likely to tell her friends to check out Mac’s makeup tutorials than show her friends a print ad of Mac talking about how great they are. 

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Mac Cosmetics’ YouTube page is a great example of how brands can offer their audience how-to’s from the experts. People want helpful guidance, and when your company takes the time to provide that, they appreciate it and respect what you stand for. Mac is giving Millennials exactly what they want, where they’ll find it. A Millennial makeup lover is much more likely to tell her friends to check out Mac’s makeup tutorials than show her friends a print ad of Mac talking about how great they are.

4) Organically Made For Them = Notable

Millennials want to feel like your content was created with their interest (not their wallet) in mind. When this is the case, they are more organically introduced to purchasing your products or services. Without ever being “pushy,” your educational content helps build strong brand-consumer relationships. People appreciate honesty, and brands with transparent campaigns win.

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And, what’s more transparent than encapsulating the spontaneous adventures of travellers in hostels – with skinny dipping? Hostelworld’s new Meet the World advertising campaign, which features genuine travellers that are strangers upon meeting and share a once in a lifetime adventure of skinny dipping, celebrates real travellers in real places who crave adventures, not souvenirs. This successfully speaks to Millennials because it screams “Live!” instead of “Buy!” – and that’s something that’ll stick with them. Most young people would rather have an unforgettable experience than seek out luxury, and Hostelworld gets that. 

5) Content Marketing is Forever Enticing 

If you think content marketing is a passing trend, think again! Here are some key examples of how content marketing has succeeded over the years:

  • 1895: John Deere introduces The Furrow, a free publication with tons of farming tips and techniques to help farmers become more profitable. Today, it’s available in more than 40 countries and in 12 different languages.
  • 1900: Michelin Tires released a 400-page auto maintenance guide with everyday drivers in mind, and also included travel tips. 35,000 copies were distributed free of charge before the company started selling the manual for a profit.
  • 1904: Jell-O circulated free copies of its own cookbook, highlighting creative ways to use the unique product. In 2 years, the company saw sales increase to over $1 million annually.
  • 1966: Nike released a 19-page booklet titled Jogging. It was filled with advice on enjoying running as a recreational activity, including posture and striking tips. This brought running, as a sport, to America, and it never once mentioned a Nike shoe.

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We know that Millennial consumers value awesome, authentic content – so it looks like content marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. The inbound methodology, with its emphasis on strong and consistent content creation, is not a fad and will continue to win over your ideal customers. 

6) Collaboration is Key 

Today, Millennials are interested in having a say and becoming product co-creators. In fact, 42 percent said they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services. In our society, companies usually create products and hope that their target market will consume them. When it comes to Millennials, they want to be more involved with how products get created. So, companies that enable them to be part of the product development process will be more successful. Marketers need to focus on building relationships with consumers by fueling their self-expression and helping them establish their own personal brand.

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Coca-Cola used online co-creation to gather expressions of its brand promise “Energizing refreshment.” They prompted their audience to unleash their creativity by interpreting Coca-Cola as an energizing refreshment in whatever style or format they wished. Coca-Cola gathered these videos, animations, illustrations, and photographs to use in its marketing campaigns worldwide. This method was mutually beneficially in that Millennials all over the world got to pour a bit of themselves into a product made for them, while helping Coca-Cola bring fresh authenticity to the market. 

7) Use > Ownership

Millennials prefer use over ownership, with 35 percent of respondents in a 2014 report from The Intelligence Group saying they would rather pay full price to access an item when they need it as opposed to owning it. These shoppers would rather rent, share, and barter than buy.

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In this new “sharing economy,” mobile services and apps such as Spotify and Airbnb, and fashion sites like Rent the Runway and Relapse Clothing, have taken advantage of this crucial opportunity. This is also a new trend in the automotive industry. According to an analysis recently released by car-buying platform Edmunds, Millennials are acquiring cars – they’re just not buying them. Instead, they’re opting to lease more luxurious, tech-forward cars than they could otherwise afford to buy, such as Ram, GMC, and Lexus models. Capitalizing on this “sharing” mentality is a smart move for modern businesses, especially those targeting Millennials. Offer more creative and feasible options so that, in case consumers can’t yet buy, they can at least try. 

8) Millennials Just Want To Have Fun

Young consumers increasingly see the act of researching and browsing for a purchase more compelling than the purchase itself. Millennials tend to crave the experience of shopping more than the purchase. In other words, online exploration is becoming more than a means to an end, with many young shoppers viewing e-commerce as a form of entertainment. This phenomenon has been coined as “Fauxsumerism.” Pinterest is a perfect example of how the shopping journey can also become an act of personal expression. This social platform, which helps users catalog prospective purchases by curating collections of items of interest, accurately reflects the facts that 40 percent of Millennials make wish lists of products they want to buy (The Intelligence Group).

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Successful companies understand that young consumers want to have an enjoyable online browsing experience, which is why brands like Etsy show off their products on Pinterest, making perusing and pinning fun and social. No matter what platform you use, you should market to Millennials in entertaining ways in order to effectively engage them and inspire activity.

These 8 tips when marketing to Millennials will endure for years to come because this group is wired for authentic, content-driven, honest experiences that cater to who they are and their voices they yearn to share. Empower them with the pieces they’re looking for in this puzzling world and remind them that, because of their generation, the bigger picture is looking brighter.

Want to effectively engage Millennials? Then delight them where they’re hanging out: social media! Check out the Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing to learn how to do it right! 

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