At the Altar of the Future: How to Successfully Wed Creativity to Data

By working in lockstep with data scientists, marketers can better understand who their targets are, what they desire, and what their challenges, behaviors, and motivations are. Marketers can then devise more effective campaigns to influence consumers. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
Source: https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/33256/at-the-altar-of-the-future-how-to-successfully-wed-creativity-to-data

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Four Ways to Build Your Thought-Leadership Influence on Twitter

When you have strong thought leadership content, you want to get it in front of the right audience. Twitter can be a helpful channel when it comes to reaching not just readers, but also influencers who can help create more conversations around your content and your brand. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
Source: https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/33270/four-ways-to-build-your-thought-leadership-influence-on-twitter

How to Manage Marketing Campaigns like a Financial Currency Trader

KPIs are due EOD.

Profit and loss statements need to be generated.

Budget status updates have been requested.

Juggling multiple marketing campaigns is stressful. But more importantly, it’s also incredibly risky.

Soon enough, you’ve depleted your budget to the last few cents, and you have nothing to show for it.

Or worse, you didn’t spot the right trends in a successful tactic before spending too much on the underperforming ones.

And now you don’t have enough money to re-allocate to top-tier mediums.

Curiously enough, adopting the same methodical mindset of a financial currency trader can help you better manage results.

Here’s how.

Start With a Currency Arbitrage Mindset

Here’s the problem with digital marketing.

It changes every day. Old stuff gives way to new stuff.

And you never really know how a campaign will perform until you try it.

That saying (1) is unhelpful and (2) requires extra money to experiment with potentially budget-draining activities.

But it’s true.

You really don’t know which playbook, game plan, or actionable tip is going to work until you experiment. The stuff that worked last year almost certainly won’t work the same this year.

Not to mention that every business is structured differently. Each caters to diverse audiences. So copying your competitors or that awesome tactic you read about is also out.

What works for Company X might bankrupt Company Z.

If there were set-in-stone tactics that produced million-dollar businesses overnight, every dude on GrowthHackers.org would be rich.

PPC might be amazing for your friend’s business. But that doesn’t mean investing in PPC is instantly going to turn you into the next Zuckerberg.

So where do people turn when they hit this realization? A/B testing.

You all know those case studies that promise a mythical pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

I did X and generated a 40000000000% increase in conversions!

Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but it’s not that far off.

Most A/B tests fail, though.

They take too long to get results. Plus that whole “bias” thing. And of course, sample size.

You need a minimum of 1,000 conversions monthly for statistical significance.

So what should you do instead?

Implement a currency arbitrage mindset.

Currency arbitrage is a strategy in which the trader takes advantage of different spreads offered by brokers for a particular currency pair by making trades.

Different spreads imply a gap between the bid and ask prices. Meaning, they can buy and sell pairs to make more money.

What does this mean in English?

Place lots of small bets on different tactics, channels, platforms, and mediums so that you can evaluate their effectiveness in real-time.

Once you see specific trends developing (either positive or negative), you double down on the winners and cut your losses on the rest.

This way, you can test multiple experiments at once without the bias and lack of statistical significance that comes with A/B testing.

You get in and out fast. And you come out on the other side with specific campaigns to focus on rather than a mixed bag.

For example, you can’t always control the end result. But you can control the inputs that eventually get you there. And you can monitor, forecast, or predict where those will fall based on just a few days’ worth of performance.

Then, you can fine tune and adjust each ‘level’ accordingly to squeeze out the best results.

Adjusting Your Budget Based on Market Movement

The first banner advertisement ever appeared on HotWired in 1994.

Look at this gem:

Image Source

By today’s standards, it looks like a joke, right?

Is that tie-dye? Yes, yes it is.

But it gets worse:

See that subliminal “YOU WILL” message on the right???

Super subtle. Lord have mercy on us all.

But guess what?

This banner ad debuted with a click-through rate of 78%.

Yes, you read that right. Seventy. Eight. Percent.

If you told any marketer today that your banner ads are getting a 78% CTR, you’d get laughed out of the room.

Why? It’s inconceivable. It’s probably impossible in today’s world.

Today, the average display ad CTR is 0.05%.

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This all brings me back to one concept coined by Andrew Chen:

The law of shitty click-throughs:

All marketing strategies over time will result in shitty click-through rates.

As more and more people use these tactics, the market becomes saturated.

Users get sick of it, and they don’t click. Or they go banner blind.

You can see trends that follow this concept with almost any marketing activity.

Remember the good old days when Facebook organic reach was insane?

You paid nothing and reached thousands or millions of eager users.

Now, organic reach is almost nothing:

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As more and more marketers use the concepts put in place, it results in fewer and fewer results.

This is a perfect example of market movement and active management in currency trading.

You can’t hold certain trades forever and expect exponential performance.

Just because something is generating an insane ROI now, doesn’t mean you can ride it off into the sunset.

Markets are constantly shifting, just like marketing tactics.

What was hot one day (banner ads) isn’t now.

If you don’t adjust your strategy based on analytic research and forecasts, you risk declining performances associated with passive management.

Passive management is when you sit idly by and attempt to cruise to the finish line on your current strategy.

Active management relies on analytical performance data over time to spot trends and make informed decisions about what needs to change.

If you notice a decline in organic reach on Facebook, you probably shouldn’t be dumping your campaign dollars into it.

Unfortunately, us marketers (including me) fall into this trap more often than we’d like to admit.

You log in to Google AdWords or Analytics and see some great conversion data:

Your plans are working as you’d hoped.

But that doesn’t mean you can sit back and let the good times roll.

Sure, you can do that for a little bit. But over time, as markets, tactics, and consumers shift, you’ve gotta take an active role in managing campaigns.

Adjust based on trends.

A great way to do this is by analyzing specific topics on Google Trends:

Or even keeping up to date with the latest studies on popular marketing tactics by conducting a basic Google search:

Stay up-to-date with market movement and look at the underlying trends or patterns. Because when people are blogging about it, tweeting it, favoriting it, or liking it, it’s already too late.

Be Cautious in a Bull Market

When everything is running smoothly, it’s referred to as a bull market.

Investor confidence and financial optimism are at an all-time high.

On the surface, everything is running like a well-oiled machine.

Unemployment is low. The economy’s GDP is growing steadily. Stocks are rising.

And your marketing tactics are getting more traction.

But with all of this surface-based optimism comes serious potential side effects:

It now becomes difficult to predict potential shifts and trends or when tactics might change.

Facebook’s organic reach was booming just a few years ago. Until, of course, it didn’t.

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Now? Good luck. We’ve crapped out.

There is actually a pretty easy explanation for it. Simple supply vs. demand.

User growth is slowing while the number of content pieces has exploded exponentially. Too much supply, not enough demand.

Guess what’s going to repeat now on Instagram?

Right now it’s the place to be for your content. Just give it a minute.

And don’t get swept up by the bull market.

Find your own Big Short

Have you ever seen The Big Short?

If not, I highly recommend it. It’s a great movie.

Not just because it’s an incredible, intense account of the 2005 housing crisis.

Mainly because it features Steve Carell:

via GIPHY

Inspirational as always, Prison Mike.

In all seriousness, it’s a great movie that heavily relates to digital marketing.

The main concept of the movie was based on the true story of Michael Burry, a hedge fund manager who shorted the housing crisis of 2005.

He believed there was a housing bubble, leading him to short sell and bet against the banks who thought he was a chump, taking his deals like candy.

The idea of short selling is motivated by the belief that a security’s price will decline, enabling it to be bought back at a lower price point for maximum profit.

And people thought Michael (Burry, not Prison) was insane.

Who in their right mind bets against the housing market when prices are nearly doubling year after year?

But Burry noticed a few troubling trends. He saw that subprime home loans were in danger of defaulting. And many adjustable rate mortgages with balloon payments were all adjusting around the same time.

He decided to throw more than one billion dollars into credit default swaps.

It’s safe to say that the banks weren’t too happy in the end.

Here’s the moral of the story:

Very few people believed him. But Burry discovered the mystical unicorn that most marketers strive to find.

The main point as it relates to marketing campaigns is this:

You need to find your own big short.

Your own diamond in the rough that you can tap into before anyone else.

Your own display ad invention that generates a 78% CTR.

Finding the tactic that brings your conversions up by 10x.

Sounds wonderful. But you know it’s not easy. Because it hasn’t been blogged about or shared at conferences just yet.

But examples of it do already exist in the marketing world today.

For example, Brian Dean of Backlinko raised the link-building bar with his skyscraper technique.

He took a spin on a classic link-building tactic that increased his search traffic by 110% in just two weeks.

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On top of a massive increase in traffic, he generated countless backlinks from thousands of different referring domains:

referring domains from backlinko blog postImage Source

He effectively took his link-building strategy to the next level by going against the grain.

He didn’t sit back and ride the wave of guest blogging or other outdated, declining strategies.

He found his own big short.

While small marketing tactics like A/B testing and creating new ads or creative for your campaigns is a step in the right direction, it isn’t the end-all-be-all. Small bets don’t move the needle.

They merely help you figure out if you’re on the right track (or not). And help to show you when it’s time to go all-in.

Conclusion

Managing marketing campaigns is a stressful task.

Big, splashy, high-budget campaigns have high expectations. Bosses and clients expect big, lofty performance to go with it.

Money can get away from you fast if you aren’t careful.

Even worse, you can get so caught up in data that you miss the right trends.

Trends that tell you which aspects of your campaign are winning and which are losing.

Instead of flying blind or crossing your fingers, think like a financial currency trader.

Analyze the data with a currency arbitrage mindset. Keep up with market movement by taking an active management role in your campaigns. Be cautious in a bull market when everyone’s saying the same things.

And don’t be afraid to bet big when the time comes.

About the Author: Brad Smith is the founder of Codeless, a B2B content creation company. Frequent contributor to Kissmetrics, Unbounce, WordStream, AdEspresso, Search Engine Journal, Autopilot, and more.

Source: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/financial-currency-trader/

5 Reasons Why a Website is Essential for Your Small Business

If your business can’t be Googled, then, for most people, it doesn’t exist.

5 Reasons Why a Website is Essential for Your Small Business

You may be able to create leads via word-of-mouth, social media, or through speaking engagements. But if you don’t have a website or if your site cannot be found online, then you’re missing out on a tremendous amount of business.

You see, the vast majority of people begin their search for a product or service online. In one study, they found that 81% of shoppers search online before they make a purchase decision. In a different survey conducted by PowerReviews, they found that 38% of shoppers start their product searches with Amazon, whereas 35% begin with Google. What is more, the average number of sources people consult before making a purchase decision averages 10.4.

So let’s face it: People search before they shop.

Adapting to this change in consumer behavior is vital to the long-term well-being of your business. In other words, you need to help customers find you online.

In connecting with your target market, there are many tactics you can pursue. But before you do anything, the first step you need to take is to build a solid foundation with your website.

Now, I know this will sound like a no-brainer for many of our readers, but many small business owners do not have a website. According to a report by Clutch in 2016, they discovered that half of the small businesses they surveyed did not have a site.

From their research, there were several reasons provided why these small business owners did not have a site, such as costs and lack of technical abilities. However, the number one reason listed for not having a site was relevancy. Basically, many small business owners do not believe a website is relevant to their business or customer.

In this post, I want to counter this belief and share five reasons why a website is essential for your business—regardless of your industry.

1. Websites let you control your audience’s experience

Instead of building a website, many business owners lean toward connecting with their customers exclusively on social media. But there’s one harsh reality when it comes to building your business or brand on social media. It’s like building a house on rented land. You don’t actually own it.

For example, social media networks will not ask for your permission to make changes to their services. Often, the changes social media platforms make are beneficial in general, but they may adversely affect your relationship with your customer. However, building a website for your business puts you in control.

For your website, you have complete control, you can customize it however you see fit, and you don’t have to battle with any distractions.

What is more, it’s easier for you to lead your potential customers and hold their attention as they go through the buying cycle — first becoming aware of your product or service, then considering its value, and finally deciding whether or not to make a purchase.

2. Websites let you reach your audience without a gatekeeper

The promise of reaching billions of people on social media is just a promise. You can amass a huge following on social media, but you will not be capable of actually communicating with every single individual unless you pay to play.

For instance, Twitter says you can freely reach 30% of your followers, whereas Facebook puts you in a position where you have pay to be seen by more than 5% of your followers. (Some brands with 500K likes on Facebook report only 2% organic reach.)

Since social media platforms limit your potential reach (and third-party apps sometimes block your ads), it doesn’t make a lot of sense to primarily promote your business on social media.

3. Websites will lead to more in-store purchases

Do you want more people to visit your store’s physical location? Then build a website and optimize it for local search results.

Recent studies have discovered a growing trend in what’s called “webrooming.” For many people, they prefer to search online before they make a purchase offline. So, before entering your store, they will search online for their product of choice.

What does this mean for you?

Simple, it means your website is your company’s virtual front door.

4. Websites are what customers prefer

Where is the best place to interact with your audience?

Facebook?

Twitter?

Pinterest?

Elsewhere?

Answering with “social media” is usually the way people respond. And it makes sense, too. Social media platforms are where billions of people around the world go to connect with their family, friends, and even brands online.

But here’s the crazy thing.

When it comes to engaging with you and your brand online, adults online are three times more likely to visit your website than your Facebook page. (This is just one example among many.)

People may like your updates, retweet your tweets, or even leave a comment, but when it comes to engaging with your company online, they would rather visit your website to learn more about your business and offerings compared to social media.

5. Websites are a better way to collect data

On social media, the connections you have and the data you collect belong to the social media platforms, which isn’t the case when you build an online audience through your website. You are in charge of the connections you make. You own the data. And you can take it with you wherever you go.

On the surface, this may not seem like a big deal. But the data you accumulate over time can help you exponentially. From possessing comprehensive analytics, customer contact information, and purchasing history, you can place yourself in a great position to meet your customer’s needs.

Your turn

Do you want more business?

Then let me ask you this question: Do you have a website?

If yes, then great. You’re well ahead of the game. But make sure your site is optimized for keywords relevant to your business and that it works on mobile devices.

If no, then you need to build a website. Don’t allow the misplaced fear of costs or technical skills get in your way. There are many cost-effective options you can choose from to build a website for your business

 

The post 5 Reasons Why a Website is Essential for Your Small Business appeared first on The Copybot.

Source: http://thecopybot.com/small-business-website/

#SocialSkim: Facebook Messenger for Kids; Instagram’s New App: 10 Stories This Week

Facebook launches Messenger Kids app; Instagram tests standalone messaging app, adds Stories features; Twitter Lite expands to conquer new markets; Facebook allows pre-roll video ads; Pinterest’s president is stepping down; and much more… Read the full article at MarketingProfs
Source: https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2017/33273/socialskim-facebook-messenger-for-kids-instagrams-new-app-10-stories-this-week

Consumer-Bank Marketing: Types of Messaging Customers Want [Infographic]

Bank customers want personalized ads across channels, according to a report that asked consumers their thoughts on how banks advertise online. Check out the infographic for more tips on how banks can speak to their customers effectively. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
Source: https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2017/33136/consumer-bank-marketing-types-of-messaging-customers-want-infographic

Four Tips for Using Video Content in Social Media

Video is ever changing–from ’90s video clips on MTV to vanishing Snapchat Stories–and the platform that airs the content helps shape and refine both video and how it’s used. So when you’re considering using video in your next social media marketing campaign, also consider this advice. Read the full article at MarketingProfs
Source: https://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2017/33269/four-tips-for-using-video-content-in-social-media

What Happens When Your Startup is Acquired by a Big-Name Brand?

Editor’s Note: Jeff Seibert spoke at Stanford University to discuss what he learned by building and selling startups. This post is a summarization of the talk.

It finally happened. Your promising little startup finally found its niche, got noticed, and got acquired by a big-name technology company. So what’s next? One need only look at Jeff Seibert, former senior product director at Twitter, to learn valuable lessons about how to proceed when your startup is acquired by a larger brand.

Jeff’s first company, Increo, was sold to Box in 2009. His second startup, Crashlytics, was sold to Twitter in 2013, and then, when he became the senior product director at Twitter, he got to see things from the other side of the table. What happens from the big brand’s perspective? How is the startup integrated as smoothly as possible? Jeff played a major role in several notable Twitter deals as well – Periscope being the largest of those. Here are just a few of the many lessons he learned.

Start by Building Tools to Help People

Increo was a company founded on the sharing of ideas and collaboration. The company’s first product Feedbackr, was build around the simple premise of uploading a document, and then getting feedback on those ideas and making changes to the file accordingly. Feedbackr was designed during Seibert’s senior year of college, and was launched in May – just a few weeks before graduation.

The product was featured on TechCrunch, where it enjoyed an initial spike of traffic, and then flat-lined. Seibert mistakenly thought that getting showcased on TechCrunch was their big break into the world of startups — but it was only the first step on what would become a long and ever-changing journey.

Throughout that summer, Seibert and his team continued to work on and refine the product – eventually paving the way for it to accept 100 different file formats — a feat that was fairly complex for the time. Since everything was in real-time, people could be drawing on the document while others left comments and notes. The product was immensely popular with freelancers, but never really broke the 20,000 user mark.

Back to the Drawing Board

The pressure was on to keep the company afloat. Despite over three dozen interviews around Silicon Valley to acquire funding, nothing was happening. Keep in mind that this was 2009, a time when investors were wary of spending a lot anyway because of the lessons learned from the first dot-com bubble burst.

The team went back to the drawing board to look at their core product. There were lots of companies out there that dealt in documents, but very few of them would let you display those documents in the browser, much less add markup and such to them. So the team theorized that instead of having a standalone product – they could partner with other companies to allow their document conversion to power their own platform.

Not a Partnership – An Acquisition

The companies that Seibert and his team approached had a few notable constraints. They wanted exclusive use of the technology and they had to be able to host it themselves, since using a third party would’ve opened them up to all kinds of legal snafus.

Jeff and his team stepped back — realizing this looked a lot less like partnership and more like an acquisition. Suddenly, offers were on the table. Pros and cons were quickly hashed out, and some really pertinent issues percolated to the top. Most importantly:

  • The technology had to be right – One of the companies Seibert was considering used Ruby on Rails to power their platform, whereas Feedbackr used Java. It would take over a year to rewrite the product.
  • The culture had to be a good fit – If the company culture isn’t quite right — for example, the business is older and set in their ways about how to do things, it may not work out to everyone’s benefit.
  • The roadmap for the future had to be clear – One of the companies was looking to build a presence in the Wiki space, whereas the team at Feedbackr really didn’t see the potential or the purpose.
  • The company had to have growth – A company that was fairly stagnated wouldn’t show much promise for the future of the product. They had to need the product as much as the product needed them.
  • The product had to be scalable – Where would the product be five years from now? Could it grow to accommodate demand?

All of these questions helped the Increo team rule out different offers before finally being acquired by Box. Not only was Feedbackr Seibert’s first experience with having a company acquired, but it was also Box’s first experience acquiring another startup.

Making Up for Lost Technology

One of the biggest lessons Seibert (and Box) learned from this acquisition was that even though the deal was small and simple, they couldn’t afford to rest on their laurels. Other companies, like Crocodoc, were leveraging new technology to make document conversions and previews even more user and technology-friendly. Not one to be left behind, Box purchased them as well.

If you’re the purchaser – the one place you don’t want to find yourself in is making up for lost technology — by concentrating too much on what you have, and not what else is out there, it gives your competition time to seize upon something newer and fresher — and being an afterthought is not what you want to be.

Ideas in Sync

Jeff’s second product was actually born out of a frustration with the complexity of syncing systems together. After some time working with document previewing technology, he began working on Box’s sync project to help users keep versions of files neatly synced up and updated. Working on systems to make this happen is highly complex, buggy and cumbersome. These kinds of clients crashed constantly — which in turn lead to the idea of Crashlytics.

In short, Crashlytics detected crashes and uploaded reports to the server. In the beginning, it was cryptic at best, but through further refinement, the process could be automated: detect when the crash happened, where it happened, and save it to the server. As you might imagine, developers and programmers loved the idea — the waiting list was long and people couldn’t stop talking about it.

Happy Tweets

One of Crashlytics big brand customers was Twitter. They became very attached to the technology and used it in their apps. So focused were they on how useful Crashlytics was that they continued to invite the team to come out to their headquarters and consider working for Twitter. Seibert and his team had no intention of leaving Crashlytics or even selling it to Twitter. They were 100% focused on their own goals and creating a product that people loved.

With a bit more prodding, a few of the Crashlytics team, including Jeff, met with Twitter executives. That’s when it became apparent that Twitter had a set vision for the future of mobile and software development kits — a vision that perfectly gelled with Crashlytics own vision. Here was this complete strategic alignment that meshed together so fully that it was impossible to deny.

Yet Crashlytics was still its own company. Twitter invested heavily in the company and helped them further build and refine their own product, while the Crashlytics team helped Twitter reinvent their brand and rework their focus on bringing in the very developers that helped make Twitter great.

So here you have one person with two very different acquisition perspectives — one of having their product become part of another brand that needed what they had created, and another where the result is less of an acquisition and more of a “melding of the minds” to create something bigger and better than either could have done alone.

What Big Companies Look For in Startups

Beyond the cultural and technology fit, as well as future plans, there’s the team. It may sound like a small and insignificant piece of the puzzle, as there are countless highly qualified individuals out there. But they must be willing to work within the established company’s culture and brand.

Can they build a solution that’s powerful, scalable, and elegant to solve a pressing need? Have they already built such a solution? And perhaps most importantly, can they, and the solution they’ve built, help win over this market? There’s a big focus on building a team that’s highly energized, highly intelligent and highly productive. The people are what makes the product, and the product is what solves the need. If some of these things aren’t in alignment or agreement, the deal doesn’t happen — which is more often than not.

That’s right. According to Seibert, almost all deals fail. This is just something you come to expect as you do it a few times. From the startup’s point of view, you can’t afford to be burnt out, tired or simply floating about day-to-day, unsure of where or how to best spend your energy. From the company’s point of view, they can’t afford to invest in something that’s just a hobby or an experiment. They need a long-term solution because they have strategies in place both today and well into the future. If both groups aren’t completely committed – things are not going to end well.

Striking the right balance is the bottom line. Making sure everyone is clear and amenable about the path forward is what’s going to make or break an acquisition. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t — and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Have you been part of a startup that has been acquired, or were you the one involved in the acquisition? We’d love to hear your perspective on buying, selling or valuing a startup. Share your thoughts and comments with us below!

About the Authors: Sherice Jacob helps business owners improve website design and increase conversion rates through compelling copywriting, user-friendly design and smart analytics analysis. Learn more at iElectrify.com and download your free web copy tune-up and conversion checklist today!

Source: https://blog.kissmetrics.com/acquired-by-a-big-name-brand/