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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

Content is the No. 1 Marketing Priority for 2013

Content is paramount for marketers looking to make a splash in the eyes of consumers. Relevance and on-time engagement are an important element of a cohesive content marketing experience. Successful inbound marketing is fueled by quality content. Recent data highlights a growing focus on the importance of content marketing.

A “Quarterly Intelligence Briefing: Digital Trends for 2013,” report from Econsultancy and Adobe provides key information related to what’s becoming an increasingly important avenue for brands looking to channel their resources into relevant experiences.

“The report, which surveyed client-side marketers worldwide, found that content marketing had climbed to the top of the list of importance in terms of emerging digital trends, named as a top priority for 2013 by 39% of respondents. That compared with 29% in 2012. The other area to see a significant year-over-year jump was conversion rate optimization, which was named as a priority by 39% of respondents, compared with 34% the previous year.”

Content a priority.

Creating useful content is part of a much larger digital strategy that companies can utilize to capture awareness and increase customer consideration.

5 Key Trends Impacting Your Business in 2013

As we move toward closing the curtain on 2012, a few ideas and important trends remain top of mind and play a critical role in making sure your brand is fully primed for success in 2013. How many predictive posts and articles have you read lately? They’re sprouting up all over the place. So, without further ado, here’s our list of 5 trends to be on top of in 2013:

Integration

Targeting customers is becoming increasingly difficult thanks to a growing number of technologies and communication channels. If you’re not working on an integrated approach that unifies your brand communications across all of these touchpoints you’re on a direct path to irrelevance. Customers demand meaningful experiences at every point of interaction with your brand.

Content

Everyone from newspapers to brick and mortar shops are now being described as media companies. Gone are the days where marketing is just about offering information and making a pitch. Enter the all important area of content development. Marketers are now required to create unique content that is inspiring, entertaining, and informative.

Responsive Design

Device agnostic experiences is a fancy term for making sure that your website looks beautiful across multiple platforms such as desktops, tablets, and smartphones. How, when, where, and when users interact with your content is super important to making sure your brand stays relevant in today’s changing new media and technology environment.

Entrepreneurship

New players arise everyday and are changing the makeup of almost every industry. Think open education models and crowdfunding. These two areas alone are responsible for billions of dollars in new industry. Crowdfunding (a term that’s not even in the dictionary yet) is now a $2.8 billion dollar industry and is on pace to hit $6B plus in 2013. Open education startups such as Coursera, Udacity, and edX are new players that are sure to continue to make headlines. Smart marketers are aware of these trends and are seeking ways to create their own innovations that answer the call of progress, purpose, and social impact.

The Hispanic Market

Latinos are the fastest-growing and youngest demographic in the United States. They are trendsetters, increasingly mobile, and early to adopt new technologies. If your brand isn’t looking for ways to engage this audience you’re missing out on a $1.2 trillion dollar opportunity for impact and business growth.

At Hub 81, we are excited about what the future holds and are looking forward to continuing our work in activating awesome brand experiences.

Cheers!

Bye Bye Marketing

Have you ever seen the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? (The original 1971 version.) The story is engaging built around a young boy who gets the opportunity to explore the most eccentric and wonderful candy factory of all. Remember the scene where all the golden ticket winners introduce themselves to Willy Wonka himself? Well, there was one dude who, without invitation and hesitation, pulled out his business card and gave it to Mr. Wonka. Game over.

That’s the problem in today’s business environment. Over indulgent self promotion. The businessman’s gesture is now a 40-year-old lesson in what not to do when you first meet someone. We’re not against handing out business cards. Winning friends and influencing people is built by placing the spotlight on others. The same can be applied to today’s new marketing environment.

The problem is that many marketers, small business owners, community leaders, politicians, and (insert desired title)s are stuck on outdated technology, medievel institutions, and relentless self-speak as opposed to shifting their focus on strategies that influence and engage consumers. The right mindset has the ability to literally break the bank and foster a customer base of advocates and satisfied patrons.

A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) article entitled, “Marketing is Dead” by Bill Lee, is a timely piece and a rallying cry for individuals and brands to move beyond business as usual. Complacency hasn’t just killed the cat, it’s hindered the productivity, efficiency, and impact of communities, municipalities, governments, market sectors, nations and institutions of all shapes and sizes.

Traditional marketing — including advertising, public relations, branding and corporate communications — is dead. Many people in traditional marketing roles and organizations may not realize they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are. The evidence is clear.

The Industrial Revolution brought about mass production. Marketing presented consumers with options and competition. We are experiencing a much bigger shift where the saturation of sales messaging and unending pitches bombard consumers to a point of immunity. This might be hard to grasp but consumers really don’t want to be sold. There’s a reason DVR is so popular. Consumers are happy to fast-forward through any form of relentless advertising. Technology, social media, and the power of purpose (think social responsibility meets cause marketing) has created a whole new marketing landscape.

Consumers are not the only group feeling tired and adverse towards business as usual.

73% of CEOs think Marketers lack business credibility and are not the business growth generators they should be: they are still too far from being able to demonstrate how the cross-channel marketing strategies and campaigns they deploy grow their organisations’ top line in terms of more customer demand, more sales, more prospects, more conversions or more market share.

Marketers need to slow down and smell the roses. The allure of bright and shiny new objects combined with business constraints and a lack of real strategy makes it difficult for marketers to achieve what really matters. Results.

So, what’s the solution for success in the new media arena of marketing and communications?

A Change of Mindset

When radio first came out, people were quick to shoot it down as a weird device with lots of buttons that everyone seemed to be glued to. They deemed this new technology as waste of time. Sound familiar? That’s the mindset that individuals have towards new media. Communication platforms and social networking sites such as Facebook, Medium, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest are popular for a reason. Engagement and peer influence! Leaders that embrace these new tools of communication are sure to outshine the competition.

The Power of Community

Traditional marketing has given way to a new approach where community-oriented buying experiences and social connections influence the purchase decision life cycle. We trust our friends, family, and associates for purchase decisions. Peer influence has a huge impact on where we invest time, money, and resources. Tap into the power of the crowd by building bridges with connected audiences and watch business priorities turn into a reality despite the existence of any real or implied constraints. Build networks, identify influencers, and empower them with the opportunity to build social capital.

Speak the Language of Value not Gibberish

“Until Marketers start speaking the P&L language of their CEOs and stakeholders, and until they start tracking the business effectiveness of all their strategies and campaigns to prove they generate incremental customer demand, they will continue to lack credibility in the eyes of their CEOs and will continue to be seen more as a cost centre than an asset” said Jerome Fontaine, CEO & Chief Tracker of Fournaise.

Talk in terms of your audience’s pain points and things will become much easier. The following is a good formula for capturing attention of key stakeholders:

Did you know, according to ________ your company can ________ because ________?

Knowledge empowers the willing into a whole new arena of impact, influence, synergies, and business success. Embrace it. Pursue it. Share it.

 

Hub 81 is a strategic branding and digital marketing agency based out of the beautiful Central Coast of California helping individuals and brands engage today’s hyper-connected consumer throughout Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and beyond. For more information, say hello.

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