Why Content is Still King

According to the 2014 State of Marketing report by ExactTarget, 98% of marketers plan to increase their spend in 2014. Top areas for increased spending include Data & Analytics (61%), Marketing Automation (60%), Email Marketing (58%), Social Media Marketing (57%), and Content Management (57%).

In fact, 46% of marketers believe social is core to their business.

But success in social media isn’t about posting to your favorite social networks at all. Success in social and today’s new media environment is about creating epic content. Your content is the glue that binds your desired channels of choice. Content should inspire and invite directed effort on the part of your audience.

Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. (Content Marketing Institute)

Simply put, content is intelligence and inspiration made visible.

Epic content spreads and inspires.

In the race for attention, winning content is a mechanism for driving lasting engagement.

We’ve gathered a few solid content marketing resources to help you get started:

  1. Content Marketing Institute (http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/)
  2. Convince & Convert (http://www.convinceandconvert.com/)
  3. Unmarketing (http://www.unmarketing.com/)
  4. Copyblogger (http://www.copyblogger.com/blog/)

Now it’s up to you to create vibrant, liquid, spreadable, and amazing content! Don’t worry. We can help.



50 Content Marketing Predictions for 2014

The following is a great resource from the Content Marketing Institute showcasing perspective on what the future holds for content in 2014. Various thought leaders provide their predictions on what’s going to be top of mind for online marketers looking to make a splash in today’s social, digital, and mobile environment.

The fact remains:

Content creation is a necessary undertaking for today’s companies looking to be relevant online where consumers spend over five hours per day.

Content and context provide a winning combination for crafting relevance and fostering lasting awareness.

(Image credit.)

This Week in Social Media

We’ve scoured the web for some of the day’s and week’s most newsworthy updates in the world of social media. Of particular interest, is Facebook’s recent updates to their page insights, which is another step in making it easy for managers to maintain a handle on what’s happening with their content.

Check out some of the latest news below.

Facebook Removing Old Search Setting. Now allows everyone to look you up.

Twitter search by name

Remember that “Who can lookup your Timeline by name?” setting in Facebook? Well, it’s about to say goodbye! Facebook announced that they have removed this old search setting.

New Twitter Feature Allows Everyone to Direct Message You

Twitter Direct Message Setting

Twitter now allows folks to opt-in to receive direct messages from any follower, including those they don’t follow back.

Facebook Rolled Out Updated Page Insights for Page Owners

Facebook's New Page Insights

Facebook rolls out new page insights that allow admins to get a better feel for how users interact with content. Features include simpler metrics, tools to publish better content, and a new page insights export.

In social media, change is indeed the only constant.

The Power of Epic Branding

A brand is not a logo or tagline. It is the collective essence of tangible and intangible assets. A brand is what your audience says it is. Branding is a journey in creative, intellectual, emotional, and visual excellence. Answering the following questions is critical to building a lasting brand:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • Why do you do it?

Branding separates the winners from the losers. Presentation really is everything.

How can we strive for impactful branding?

The answer lies in our ability to catalyze a lasting emotional connection with our customers through unique content, which can and will lead to advocacy.

Despite the overwhelming number of channels available for communications, uniform identity combined with real-time relevance can catapult an interaction into the realm of activation.

Consumers are led by curiosity, prodded with the stroke of genius, and inspired with the power of why.


(Design is Unique – Image credit)

What We’re Reading and Thinking

The race for new customers and business growth requires a little bit of perspective. For an agency like Hub 81, this comes in the form of exploration. Reading some of the latest blogs, books, tweets, magazine articles, and so forth helps bring a sense of awareness to what is happening in the ever changing marketing landscape.

For startups, brands, NGO’s and organizations of all types, it’s what you know that matters. Of course, it’s who you know and who knows you that also stands as critical to your success. Without further ado, below are a few recommended reads to help your brand activate awesome:

The Impact of the Collaborative Economy

Why the Lean Startup Changes Everything

Launching a new enterprise—whether it’s a tech start-up, a small business, or an initiative within a large corporation—has always been a hit-or-miss proposition. According to the decades-old formula, you write a business plan, pitch it to investors, assemble a team, introduce a product, and start selling as hard as you can. And somewhere in this sequence of events, you’ll probably suffer a fatal setback. The odds are not with you: As new research by Harvard Business School’s Shikhar Ghosh shows, 75% of all start-ups fail. Read more.

A Leader in Latin-Influenced Food Market, Goya Enters Baby Aisle

For lessons in how to appeal to an increasingly diverse America’s changing tastes, just look at Goya Foods.

Facebook’s fastest-growing page in the U.S.? Best Vines

Facebook’s fastest-growing page in the U.S. (in terms of likes) celebrates Instagram’s biggest competitor. The page Best Vines — which started June 1, 2013 — hit 5 million likes on July 10 and is charging hard toward 6 million likes. Read more.

What we’re thinking.

Jargon. You have to love it right? Here’s the gist:

Growing your brand requires an understanding of changing technology, media, and customer preferences.

We’re glad to help you stay up-to-speed with what’s happening in the brand building arena.


(Image credit: Readability on the iPad.)

Room for Growth in Real-Time Marketing

Oreo is perhaps a leading case study in rapid response to customer events via on-time and relevant messaging. Their tweet following the blackout at the super bowl was a real winner. Mostly because of the timing and creativity of the response. In case you missed it:

What this confirms is that brands must be ready at the spur of the moment to respond to market activity in a manner that sparks conversation and brand relevance. eMarketer recently released some data on the number of companies engaging in this practice known as real-time marketing.

Creating real-time responses to customer actions is still a relatively new practice. It requires an understanding of how real-time marketing works, investment in the proper tools and technology, and ideally, integration of the marketing program across all channels.

In this type of environment, first-mover advantage is huge. The companies that move fast in response to trends, customer feedback, and marketing opportunities will find unique windows in which to pioneer custom engagement.

“The key to real-time marketing is to then use data and analysis to deliver real-time messaging through automated technology, which can rapidly respond to customer actions by pushing out ads, marketing collateral and other content to the appropriate channels.”

Listening tools and active participation across all channels is critical for timely and relevant brand engagement. Those who embrace this reality will face a real chance to shine across all devices.

Timing is everything.

(Image credits.)



Journeys in Integrated Marketing Communications

The American Marketing Association defines integrated marketing communications (IMC) as “a planning process designed to assure that all brand contacts received by a customer or prospect for a product, service, or organization are relevant to that person and consistent over time.” Integrated marketing communications is built on a cohesive storytelling telling approach at every point of customer contact. Let’s expand a bit upon the idea of touch points. It’s no surprise that mobile and tablets are increasingly becoming the tools of choice for entertainment, networking, and access to the information highway.

Today’s plethora of new technology means a landscape of multiple options for changing tastes and evolving markets. IMC specialists call this fragmentation. The available channels for reaching new customers are numerous with each commanding a strategic approach to capturing interest and attention. New tools mean new lingo and legitimate marketing challenges. How can brands expect to be all things to all people? Enter emerging ideas and techniques like responsive design, growth hacking, real-time marketing, and device agnosticism. These are fancy terms for the simple truth that individuals, brands, and organizations must accept today’s communication reality of increasing channel options.

Flurry, a mobile app analytics and advertising platform, measured 224 million monthly active users of mobile apps in the United States in February of this year. During the same month, comScore counted 221 million desktop and laptop users of the top 50 digital properties in the United States. From this, Flurry was able to conclude that the U.S. audience that is reachable through apps, albeit more fragmented, is now roughly equal to that which can be reached on laptops and desktops.

Let that soak in for a moment.

In terms of brand relevance and standing out from the crowd of marketing noise, choosing the right communication channels is critical. The good news is that an increasing number of students, industry specialists, and IMC champions are rising to the challenge of uniformity across multiple mediums. One such example is West Virginia University’s INTEGRATE conference.

It’s billed as the largest professional integrated marketing communications conference offered by a university program. Whether you are a seasoned professional, or someone who is considering enrolling in an IMC program, the INTEGRATE conference is a unique opportunity to explore the hottest topics in IMC.

In addition to industry events, there are numerous ways to build your IMC toolkit. The following are a few tips for becoming well-versed in the arena of integrated marketing communications:

  • Join the conversation on twitter by following the #IMC hashtag.
  • Expand your horizons. Think beyond traditional media.
  • Know the tools available at your disposal.
  • Focus on uniformity across all advertising.
  • Read. Read. Read. (One recommendation is A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.)

With the right mindset and appreciation for channel orchestration, businesses can move into a position of strength in understanding the new meaning of ‘Place’ in the 4 P’s of marketing.




Building Brand Engagement in Under Six Seconds via Vine

As a digital marketer, your role is to create awesome content that captures interest and builds lasting resonance. There are a myriad of tools including Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Storify, and now Vine among others. The right approach in a digital engagement strategy is built around knowing which tools to use and why.

Social platform selection should be based on a collective set of objectives brand wise.

Vine, as a relatively new entrant into the social space, has created a buzz for its short but oftentimes engaging content. It is a video platform that offers its user base the opportunity to create meaningful content in six seconds or less. One such example is Lowes and their recent approach to using the video platform.

Talk about a creative approach to content development! This post is an example of coolness made shareable.

How are you using Vine for inbound marketing?

Here are a few tips:

  • Be creative.
  • Have fun.
  • Know your audience.
  • Solve a problem.
  • Demonstrate expertise.
  • Ask why?

About Hub 81

Hub 81 is the Central Coast’s freshest integrated marketing communications agency blending a focused approach to engagement and building meaningful experiences. We are your partners in all things digital + multicultural + creative. Helping customers launch lasting brand awareness from Santa Maria, California.


Nonprofits More Likely to Be Present On Social Media

According to eMarketer, nonprofit organizations operating on tight budgets want to generate as much publicity and excitement as possible surrounding their initiatives—and at a low cost. To do so, a considerable percentage are turning their attention to social media to communicate with constituents and encourage sharing among fans supportive of their cause.

An October survey of US nonprofits by VerticalResponse, a self-service marketing platform for small businesses, found that more than three out of five nonprofit organizations reported spending more time on social media than they did a year ago. Only 4% of respondents said they spent less time.

And nearly two out of five nonprofits reported devoting 6 or more hours per week to social media. Respondents cited finding content to share as the most time-consuming aspect of social media engagement, a point of view that seems to cut across businesses.

For the full article, click here.

Hub 81 is a digital marketing agency based in Santa Maria, California helping clients activate awesome brand experiences. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your marketing and communications needs.