"Bite the Wax Tadpole" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue as a memorable moniker for a company. Yet, that's how the brand name for Coca-Cola was interpreted by many when the beverage firm first initiated marketing efforts in China. Worse, Pepsi's former catchphrase, "Pepsi brings you back to life," was translated among the Chinese as "Pepsi brings your ancestors back from the grave." Corporate giants like the cola kings can survive such embarrassing faux pas, but not every brand has the resilience and resources to recover from a major marketing blunder.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Aug 24, 2016
EContent's editor, Theresa Cramer, stopped by SLMA Radio to talk about content marketing, her book, Inside Content Marketing, and why journalists should consider making a career change. Listen to the conversation here.
Posted Aug 19, 2016
Digital experience management (DXM) refers to the marshaling of strategy, process, and technology to provide highly satisfying digital interactions to customers. DXM is relevant across industries, but it has a special place in the healthcare industry--so much so that I'd like to think of it as the digital equivalent of the mandate to "wash your hands." In other industries serving to enhance customer interactions, DXM is the icing on the cake. But in the healthcare realm, DXM can play an even more crucial role in helping achieve better health outcomes for customers. This article focuses on DXM for organizations in the healthcare industry-hospital systems and other healthcare providers, pharmaceutical companies, and medical device makers.
By Kashyap Kompella
Posted Aug 15, 2016
Facebook is striking a blow against ad blockers-and hoping to improve your ad experience in the process. The social media platform announced on its blog that it will override ad blockers, while also giving users more control over their ad experiences.
By Theresa Cramer
Posted Aug 10, 2016
In AOL's 2016 Publisher Outlook report the industry got a look at research that backs up a lot of what we already know. Mobile and video are important, and ad blocking is a problem. But off platform monetization was also part of the digital publishing equation this year, and it seems the verdict is in: Third party platforms are a hit.
Posted Aug 05, 2016
If you have a piece of content marketing that worked wonders on audiences in the U.S., you might think it can also be effective with international decision makers. You figure translating it is the next step, but is it the last step? Not likely. Truly localizing content generally requires significant attention to cultural nuances, brand consistencies, and the unique demands of audiences. Effective collaboration among cross-border content specialists is another piece of the puzzle.
Mobile content distribution platforms like Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP are helping publishers bring their content to audiences, especially on mobile platforms. But many publishers are still wary of publishing on third party platforms. Here are the pros, cons, and everything else you need to know about mobile content distribution platforms.
Ideally, every consumer experience with an organization-regardless of how large it is-should be aligned and seamless. Messaging should be consistent in terms of content and quality. But what about between marketing and sales-two parts of most organizations that are outward-facing? Wouldn't it seem logical to assume that their messaging would be aligned and consistent?
Consumers increasingly demand consistent, delightful digital experiences as they interact via desktop, mobile, tablet, digital signage, in-car, and in-store experiences. But the days when you could create a mobile experience that closely mirrors the desktop are long gone. Brands must create tailored experiences by carefully considering the consumer's preferences. Accomplishing this requires well-oiled and well-managed interconnected technologies. Culling necessary data from various customer touchpoint devices and employing it to personalize each consumer's experience on a constant basis demand a new level of sophistication in content-related infrastructure and architecture.
During the great California gold rush, early prospectors sifted through rocks and streams in the hopes of finding a fortune. But bigger hauls were often claimed by going below the surface and digging deeply into mines, where a treasure trove of gold lay waiting to be unearthed. The gold rush may be ancient history, but there's still potential treasure to be tapped--and crises that can be prevented too-by companies that are willing to delve deep into their dark data.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Jun 27, 2016
Interestingly, a new twist on an alternative revenue generator has emerged: the democratized digital tip jar. Sites like Wikipedia have employed an online tip jar for years in the form of regular requests for donations from its users via PayPal, credit/debit cards, and other payment methods. But now a major player in the digital donations space-Flattr-is partnering with AdBlock Plus to offer Flattr Plus, a browser extension/app that enables users to remove online ads from sites they visit while also contributing a monthly payment in an amount they choose that will be distributed proportionally to publishers of the sites they surf.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Jun 22, 2016
In theory, marketing in 2016 should be a breeze, as companies have access to an unprecedented amount of data about customers, both current and future. But using the data to improve the customer experience requires the right tools. Enter marketing cloud software vendors, which offer solutions that promise marketers a more comprehensive way to reach customers. And yet, companies of all sizes are finding that choosing and using a marketing cloud platform is not a trivial matter, and obtaining and successfully implementing the right one could mean the difference between marketing success and marketing mediocrity.
Digital experience management (DXM) connotes the coming together of strategy, technology, and process to provide the True North of highly satisfying digital interactions to customers. This fundamental notion of DXM remains relevant across industries, including nonprofit organizations (nonprofits)-although your DXM priorities, approach, and techniques may vary based on your core mission and goals.
Savvy marketers realize that content marketing and personalization are two keys to engaging their target audience. A pair of recent surveys suggests that marketers know this, and yet also believe that measuring the results of their content marketing and personalization efforts is very challenging. Rapt Media's survey, "The Future of Content, Part II: Measuring Content Performance," shows that marketers have significant challenges gaining insights and measuring the ROI of their content marketing efforts.
By Robert Springer
Posted Jun 13, 2016
Now the Associate Dean for Innovation, Research/Creative Activity and Graduate Studies Scripps College of Communication at Ohio University, Dr. Ferrier's primary research focus is how best to address the specter of online harassment. She is also the founder of TrollBusters, a digital tool to combat online harassment against women journalists, bloggers, and publishers.
By Nancy Davis Kho
Posted Jun 10, 2016
Just a few short years ago, it seemed as if the bottom had fallen out for marketing talent-including writers, graphic designers, videographers, and more. In a declining economy, marketing budgets are often the first to feel the pain. But companies have actively looked for less expensive and more cost-effective ways to get the word out about their products and services. Additionally, Google has tinkered with its algorithms to provide SEO rewards to those who can supply rich, varied, and original content on a regular basis. And so, demand for talent has outstripped supply.
By Lin Pophal
- June 2016 Issue
Posted Jun 06, 2016
For marketers who place strong trust in advertising and rely heavily on high click-through rates, these findings can be downright deflating. But many believe there are smarter ways to engage mobile users, including old-school strategies that can be adapted to digital and that aim squarely at consumers' wallets-literally: the coupon and the loyalty card.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted May 23, 2016
Digital experience management (DXM) refers to the combination of strategies, technologies, and business processes to provide highly engaging and satisfying digital services to customers. Across industries, DXM increasingly holds the keys to competitive differentiation and customer retention. DXM has a particular urgency for the financial services sector with the entry of new digital native rivals. This article focuses on retail banks, insurers, credit card companies, and other business-to-consumer (B2C) financial services organizations.
Over the past 2 decades, traditional journalism organizations have seen their market share hammered by startup digital alternatives that use technologies, business models, and channels that were unimaginable in print's heyday. The loss in print ad revenue, the growing appetite for real-time mobile news, and the challenge of engaging an always-on, perpetually distracted audience have exerted significant pressure on the viability of legacy new organizations. But an increasing number of publishers see the wisdom of applying the same startup mindset used by the newcomers as the key to fighting back. Could thinking and acting similar to a startup be the key to ensuring publishing longevity?
By Nancy Davis Kho
Posted May 16, 2016
Rapt Media released a report questioning whether personalization in content creation is being approached in the right way. The Future of Content: Personalizing the Content Experience, suggests that marketers are relying too much on distribution technology and "push" marketing rather than leveraging emerging content creation technologies that could help them customize content at the point of creation.
By Lin Pophal
Posted May 13, 2016
We've been hearing a lot of new titles in and around the digital content space during the past few years: chief content officer, chief digital officer, and so on. We often hear these names associated with upstart brands, but in 2015, Andy Goldberg was named GE's first chief creative officer. "This position was created as the landscape of marketing continues to evolve," says Goldberg. "We, as a company, need to stay ahead and have new perspectives on how to lead our brand." So after serving as the creative director for GE-easily one of the most well-known brands in the country, if not the world-Goldberg made the leap to the C-level suite.
Thanks to an increased selection and availability of production tools, creating videos has never been easier. Both individuals and brands with even the most beginner-level skills can produce attractive, quality content with little more than a smartphone camera and some free editing software. But until recently, setting up a video subscription service to distribute that content to audiences was a different matter entirely.
By Bree Brouwer
- May 2016 Issue
Posted May 09, 2016
When you think about social media stars, you might think about teenagers on YouTube or the Kardashians on Instagram. But there is a whole other world out there of people who share their expertise and express their creativity through social channels and make a living from it. People such as Tati Westbrook. She's the makeup artist and stylist behind GlamLifeGuru, a YouTube channel with 1,167,897 subscribers (as of this writing), where she posts beauty product reviews, tutorials, hauls, and more.
My aim is always to help our readers understand how to evaluate tools within the context of their particular needs and goals. One of the ways we do that is through EContent's annual Trendsetting Products list. Each year, we turn to our inboxes, our coverage, and to our contributors to find out what products are helping content creators of all kinds stay on top of their game. I hope that you find these tools as interesting and as potentially helpful as I do!
May 2016 Issue
Posted May 02, 2016
While one of the most publicized instances was Amazon's Jeff Bezos purchasing The Washington Post, other prominent acquisitions have occurred in recent years: Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry snatched up the Boston Globe; Wellesley businessman Aaron Kushner bought the Orange County Register and six other dailies; Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes acquired the New Republic; hotelier Doug Manchester pocketed the San Diego Union-Tribune; Warren Buffett lined his portfolio with dozens of local papers, such as the Roanoke Times and Press of Atlantic City; Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor gobbled up the Star Tribune; Alice Rogoff, wife of billionaire David Rubenstein, land-ed the Anchorage Daily News (now Alaska Dispatch News); Las Vegas business titan Sheldon Adelson procured the Las Vegas Review-Journal; and Jack Ma bought the South China Morning Post.
Last year, the buy button hit big, with Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram adopting more enticing ecommerce solutions in an effort to alter the consumer experience on social media and increase revenue opportunities. Since that time, a wider trend has unfolded, as demonstrated by major publishers like Vox Media, The Huffington Post, and Bonnier Corporation pursuing content monetization options: the maturation of shoppable content and the emergence of a universal shopping cart to make that content shoppable.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Apr 20, 2016
Anyone with a stake in the Internet of Things (IoT) was likely gratified to see that the most-downloaded free app from the Apple App Store on Christmas Day 2015 was the sensor-laden fitness tracking device Fitbit. It was one more sign that the lumbering but potentially massive market for connected devices for consumers is gaining meaningful traction. That's not to say that every house on the block has a wearable, a connected car, or a smart lightbulb just yet. The IoT-defined as a state in which everyday objects are networked wirelessly and imbued with the ability to communicate without human intervention-is still clipping along at a markedly faster pace on the enterprise side.
Digital experience management (DXM) refers to the combination of strategy, technology, and processes to provide highly engaging and satisfying digital services to customers. In the private sector, DXM is seen as a competitive differentiator that results in high customer loyalty and higher revenues. In the government sector, the DXM goals are a bit different. The desired outcomes are better service delivery, increased efficiency, and greater inclusiveness.
In January, the global ad automation firm Kiosked released early insights from research that suggests that brands are pulling their programmatic and creative agency expertise inside. This is with an aim toward assuming more control of what's happening with this increasingly important element of their branding and marketing efforts.
By Lin Pophal
- April 2016 Issue
Posted Apr 11, 2016
They say content is king, but measuring the value of that content to your organization's bottom line can be problematic. Sure, it's easy to add up views, shares, and Likes, but deciphering how those numbers translate to dollars is far from simple. And yet, this valuation process-calculating the impact of your content and its ROI as well as linking content marketing efforts to business results-is crucial, say the experts, especially if you want to convert more users into paid customers.
If you're a fan of Serial, Making a Murderer, The Staircase, or any other media that delves into old cases to shed new light, you may want to check out the newest branded content offering from The Guardian. "How to Solve a Murder" looks into the case of Kari Lenander, who was murdered in 1980, via the lens of the LAPD detective who has been working the case nearly 15 years. The main difference between "How to Solve a Murder" and its fellow true crime sensations, is that it is branded content.
By Theresa Cramer
Posted Mar 31, 2016
Even if you missed the Time Magazine cover article last August, weren't able to attend CES 2016, or have overlooked the countless headlines, posts and tweets about it over the past several months, it's hard to ignore the facts: Virtual reality is a reality, and VR technology has captured the awe and imagination of consumers hungry for a disbelief-suspending computer-rendered simulation of the real and the fantastic. And the exciting prospect for digital publishers and electronic content providers both large and small? VR offers viable, affordable content possibilities beyond gaming and simulated thrill experiences, which is where a lot of the early tech investment dollars have been funneled. In fact, it's VR's capacity to seriously infiltrate into offbeat and unexpected niches that has a lot of industry experts paying closer attention.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Mar 23, 2016
Want a happier reader? It's no secret that offering more personalized content can increase engagement. The good news is that effectively executed personalization can yield an enviable ROI. How much? McKinsey research reveals that personalization can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales 10% or more. "Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales" suggests companies that place data-driven personalization at the core of marketing and sales decisions improve marketing ROI by 15% to 20%.
A large chunk of ad spending is already being done programmatically. eMarketer predicts programmatic will make up 67% of total digital display ad spending, or $21.55 billion, in 2016. That's up from 2015, when it accounted for 59% of spending, or $15.43 billion, according to the researchers. The figures include programmatic buying for banners, rich media, video, sponsorship, and additional ad units showing on desktops, tablets, mobile, and other internet-connected devices. Programmatic advertising is creeping into more forms of media too, including television and radio.
Today, many companies' digital efforts have transitioned from simple web publishing to more full-blown customer experience management (CXM), as they seek to take advantage of the web, as well as other channels (such as offline, print, and mobile), to conduct core commercial operations and grow their businesses. Digital experience management is the digital component of CXM. It is a cross-organization discipline and includes strategies and practices to acquire, nurture, and manage users throughout their journeys. Users are customers, employees, prospects, and other people who digitally interact with the firm.
The majority of enterprise-level companies have a content strategy. However, almost half aren't using buyer personas to generate demand, and about 50% don't design content to target buyers' pain points, a recent survey of B2B marketers found. "2015 Enterprise B2B Demand Generation Research Study," conducted by the demand-generation firm, ANNUITAS, focuses on companies in the B2B space with more than 2,000 employees and at least $250 million in revenue.
There is no shortage of content marketing experts these days, and there's no shortage of ideas on the best ways for companies to leverage their content to achieve desired results. The problem is that these ideas are often without context--not grounded in real-world examples that can help would-be content marketers get their arms around what content strategy is all about. Here, through a fictional example of a company that's interested in gaining clients and driving business through content marketing, we apply the advice of content marketing experts to demonstrate how it can be used in concrete ways.
By Lin Pophal
- March 2016 Issue
Posted Mar 02, 2016
The industry had recognized the importance of measuring how frequently an online ad has the opportunity to be seen, not just how often it's served. 3MS enlisted the help of the nonprofit Media Rating Council (MRC), which sets standards for measurement of media and conducts audits to verify compliance with them. Here are six things you need to know about viewability:
By Mindy Charski
Posted Feb 29, 2016
While the overarching goal of content analytics--to capture digital content and then apply business intelligence (BI) in order to glean actionable insights--has stayed relatively fixed in recent years, the continued proliferation in variety and volume of content means that both vendors and users of content analytics solutions must move at a brisk clip to even stay in place. In a 2015 industry survey called "Content Analytics: Automating Processes and Extracting Knowledge," conducted by AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management), the majority of the 238 respondents felt there was real business insight to be gained if they got content analytics right.
When the University of California-Berkeley's (UC-Berkeley) School of Information asked 43 industry professionals for their definition of "Big Data" in 2014, it received 43 different answers. Most answers touched on the "three V" parameters of Big Data popularized by Gartner, Inc.: high-volume, high-velocity, and high-variety information assets requiring advanced forms of information processing to fully unlock their potential.
Remember when the digital content industry was convinced that audiences would never pay for content as long as they could get it for free? Gloom and doom were common among publishers that found demand for their traditional content formats declining, as more and more people went online to find information. And, yes, some publishers have failed. Others, however, are thriving in this new environment.
After years of go-go growth, the ebook market has matured into a slower-growth industry. However, slower growth doesn't mean that substantive changes are occurring. "The days of triple-digit growth are probably behind us," says Tina Jordan, VP at the Association of American Publishers (AAP). "Ebooks have been launched and are here to stay. Growth trends are typically incremental, with sales generally driven by bestsellers in all formats."
Sure, posting trip photos, tweeting links, and networking with old co-workers is fun. But online citizens want to tap into the pulse of the world around them, belong to a community, and be recognized. "Social media has evolved into a personal online identity. Before, it was used to connect with friends and update your status," says Jesse Till, social media coordinator for Chatter Buzz Media. "Now, it defines a persona. It's a chance for a person to express and broadcast themselves to the world."
"Today's users seek online video content on the screen of their choice. They should be able to access the video anywhere and virtually anytime they desire," says Matt Smith, chief evangelist for Anvato. "The models may vary, but every screen is the new normal." The new normal also includes more "snackable content" in the form of shorter videos that cater to smaller consumer attention spans. To wit: Snapchat, which limits user videos to 10 seconds or less, now has 6 billion video views per day.
With several obvious trends standing out, determining the direction the digital marketing winds are blowing isn't exactly rocket science. But the work of actually marketing a product or service sure feels as if it is. Despite the light-speed pace of advancing technology, plotting the launch and trajectory of an emarketing missile targeted at consumers is increasingly complicated.
With the release of a series of algorithmic updates over the past few years, Google has upended the internet landscape and the world of website owners. Suddenly, website owners discovered that they could no longer drive traffic through the use of generic, bland, and repetitive content. Suddenly, quality content was king once again. Content mills--such as Demand Media--quickly gave way to sites such as Contently and content marketing firms willing to pay top prices for unique, high-quality content specifically created to address niche audience needs.
It's almost time for nachos, hot wings, commercials, and football. It's Super Bowl weekend, a good time for marketers to grab the attention of millions of Americans-even if you don't have $5 million for a 30-second ad. The sheer ubiquity of social media and, more and more, social video, make it possible for DIY marketers to get their fair share of Super Bowl attention.
By Theresa Cramer
Posted Feb 05, 2016
Apple is widely credited with introducing the smartphone, and there is no doubt that its iPhone took the world by storm in 2007. But IBM actually had the first smartphone--the Simon Personal Communicator--which was introduced in 1992. Unfortunately, it was just a tad expensive: $899 with a service contract. Because few are even aware of this precursor to Apple's successful launch of the iPhone, it's hardly relevant--except for the fact that Apple and IBM continue to duke it out for dominance in the smartphone (and tablet) space.
According to Gartner, Inc., web content management (WCM) software has outgrown being only a tool for creating web content. In addition to serving content, WCM vendors have set their sights on helping companies manage customer experiences and are delivering software to help them realize that ambition. This shift is due to the fact that consumers are harder to reach and more discerning, according to Mark Floisand, VP of product marketing for Sitecore.
A similar challenge faces publishers today seeking to convert existing readers/subscribers into multichannel users of both their digital and print products. For proof of this uphill climb, consider recent industry data: Approximately half of newspaper readers only consume the paper's print edition, per a Pew Research Center survey. Ask the experts and they'll tell you it's crucial for content providers to get their readers to use both print and digital editions, if possible.
By Erik J. Martin
Posted Jan 27, 2016