By Paul H. Schoemaker / Inc.com In the beginning, there was just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met with investors, you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others more…
Credit: Mashable The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2018, more than 1.2 million new science, technology, engineering and math-related jobs will open up. This will have far reaching effects on the digital media industry. Professionals must keep more…
Do you realize that most of your tweets may not reach all of your followers? Whenever you put “@name” in the beginning of your message you’re only sending a message to that person and a few select followers. The only more…
78% of Internet users conduct product research online. Your website stands a good chance of being a prospect’s “first impression.” That also means your new business card isn’t a business card—it’s Google. In the past year, Web-based email usage dropped more…
I’m always impressed with Eric Qualman‘s videos. This one doesn’t disappoint, two things jump out at me: 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations & only 14% trust advertisements “We don’t have a choice of whether we DO social media, the more…
In the beginning, there was just you and your partners. You did every job. You coded, you met with investors, you emptied the trash and phoned in the midnight pizza. Now you have others to do all that and it’s time for you to “be strategic.”
Whatever that means.
If you find yourself resisting “being strategic,” because it sounds like a fast track to irrelevance, or vaguely like an excuse to slack off, you’re not alone. Every leader’s temptation is to deal with what’s directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you do that, you put your company at risk. While you concentrate on steering around potholes, you’ll miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you’re on is leading off a cliff.
This is a tough job, make no mistake. “We need strategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: no one really understands what it entails. It’s hard to be a strategic leader if you don’t know what strategic leaders are supposed to do.
After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what’s required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well:
Most of the focus at most companies is on what’s directly ahead. The leaders lack “peripheral vision.” This can leave your company vulnerable to rivals who detect and act on ambiguous signals. To anticipate well, you must:
Look for game-changing information at the periphery of your industry
Search beyond the current boundaries of your business
Build wide external networks to help you scan the horizon better
“Conventional wisdom” opens you to fewer raised eyebrows and second guessing. But if you swallow every management fad, herdlike belief, and safe opinion at face value, your company loses all competitive advantage. Critical thinkers question everything. To master this skill you must force yourself to:
Reframe problems to get to the bottom of things, in terms of root causes
Challenge current beliefs and mindsets, including your own
Uncover hypocrisy, manipulation, and bias in organizational decisions
Ambiguity is unsettling. Faced with it, the temptation is to reach for a fast (and potentially wrongheaded) solution. A good strategic leader holds steady, synthesizing information from many sources before developing a viewpoint. To get good at this, you have to:
Seek patterns in multiple sources of data
Encourage others to do the same
Question prevailing assumptions and test multiple hypotheses simultaneously
Many leaders fall prey to “analysis paralysis.” You have to develop processes and enforce them, so that you arrive at a “good enough” position. To do that well, you have to:
Carefully frame the decision to get to the crux of the matter
Balance speed, rigor, quality and agility. Leave perfection to higher powers
Take a stand even with incomplete information and amid diverse views
Total consensus is rare. A strategic leader must foster open dialogue, build trust and engage key stakeholders, especially when views diverge. To pull that off, you need to:
Understand what drives other people’s agendas, including what remains hidden
Bring tough issues to the surface, even when it’s uncomfortable
Assess risk tolerance and follow through to build the necessary support
As your company grows, honest feedback is harder and harder to come by. You have to do what you can to keep it coming. This is crucial because success and failure–especially failure–are valuable sources of organizational learning. Here’s what you need to do:
Encourage and exemplify honest, rigorous debriefs to extract lessons
Shift course quickly if you realize you’re off track
Celebrate both success and (well-intentioned) failures that provide insight
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that by 2018, more than 1.2 million new science, technology, engineering and math-related jobs will open up. This will have far reaching effects on the digital media industry. Professionals must keep up with the latest developments to stay relevant. So as you reevaluate your career path, here are five key predictions for how you should focus your career strategy in 2012.
1. Know Your Devices & Know the Trends
It’s all about the consumerization of tech. We’re moving “beyond the PC” as The Economist recently put it, and this will have a far-reaching impact. The enterprise (Blackberry, Windows) once drove tech usage and innovation. Now, how we use our mobile devices begins outside the office. This puts pressure on business to catch up by implementing social platforms for interpersonal communication, along with modified tablets and app stores for the workplace. So you’ve got to get digitally literate quickly. Ask yourself: What device does your family use? How are you communicating with your friends? This is especially crucial in 2012, as we’ll see digital connectivity penetrate into the deepest reaches of our personal lives, from our workout routines to our cars. As you see how these devices hit critical mass, you can think strategically and begin to predict which platforms and technologies will dominate. Picking the winner will allow you to jump ahead of your competition.
2. Go Deep Into Content
The digital age is a great democratizing opportunity: Anyone can broadcast his or her creations to the world. But this has also led to great chaos as professionals struggle to cut through the amateur din. So you will need to use the emotive link of storytelling to grab attention and build a trusted relationship. Learn to tell a powerful story — emphasizing narrative tension through a beginning, middle and end — and translate it into a digital asset through multimedia skills in video, photography, audio and animation. It’s a popular belief that every organization is a now a media organization, meaning that every employee — or potential new hire — needs to master the creation of these media, cheaply and often in-house. In 2012, it’ll be all about immersion — a way to capture the imagination of distracted individuals who need to be convinced that your ideas are worthwhile. The “Any Screen” era is upon us. Consider apps, games, 3D, and transmedia (a cohesive storyline that is segmented and distributed on a multiplicity of platforms) as you try to transport your audiences into a deeper media experience.
3. “Social Networks” Transcend Facebook and Twitter
Airlines, health organizations, museums and entertainment companies are hiring many people in the digital media space — Social Media Marketer, Digital Media Manager, Mobile Manager, Learning Technologies Specialist and Social Games Strategist are a few sample job titles. The names of these positions acknowledge that the people who hold them need expertise in creating, curating and mastering media as way to engage customers, patients and users.
Those who hold these positions possess a literacy in social media platforms and strategies. Rather than getting caught up in the arms race of the latest attention-grabbing technique on Facebook, you need to instead develop a deeper understanding of how these social networks are formed, and how they work. Technology is just the enabler. Fundamentally, social media is all about human interaction. So in 2012, even as you keep experimenting with those online platforms, you’ll develop skills in network analysis (how do you determine the true influencers in a group?), and maybe even revisit Psychology 101 (what motivates human beings?). Ultimately, successful engagement is less about the “what” people are doing on social networks, and more about why they’re there, and how they’re interacting with each other.
4. Go Deep into Data and Learn How to Ask the Right Questions
If there’s one truth about the pervasiveness of digital media in our lives, it’s that our online behavior is producing increasingly massive amounts of data. But few of us know how to glean the right insights from it. The New York Times recently lamented this “digital talent gap” and concluded that “new hires are needed for a variety of tasks, including writing code, creating digital advertisements, website development and statistical analysis.”
In that case, you’ll have to get comfortable with numbers and critical analysis. The smart use of massive date is massively important. Sure, there are tons of plug-and-play analytics tools out there, but you’ve got to get comfortable with research yourself. Learn to ask the right questions and draw informed conclusions from the data at hand. In the comical science fiction book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the supercomputer Deep Thought spent 7.5 million years pondering “The Ultimate Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?” It responded with a nonsensical “42.” In short, you won’t get the right answer if you don’t know how to ask the right question.
5. Behave Like a Media Entrepreneur, Innovator, Connector and Creator
Digital and social media are turning the professional world upside down. Fortune 100 companies, such as Ford, have merged their advertising and public relations divisions into a single entity. Professionals need to wear multiple hats to remain relevant and employable. So as you survey the media landscape, appreciate how to manage risk like an entrepreneur as you continue to experiment with innovative technologies and platforms. Your primary objective will be to take advantage of these emerging channels smartly with influencers and users, through the creation and syndication of compelling stories. By doing so, you’ll give these individuals all the motivation they need to engage with you.
Do you realize that most of your tweets may not reach all of your followers? Whenever you put “@name” in the beginning of your message you’re only sending a message to that person and a few select followers. The only people who can see that message are those that follow you AND that person you mentioned.
If you want to make sure your message reaches ALL of your followers, put something in front of the “@” symbol. A Period, quotations, anything will work. Watch the clip by Gary Vaynerchuk below:
78% of Internet users conduct product research online. Your website stands a good chance of being a prospect’s “first impression.” That also means your new business card isn’t a business card—it’s Google.
In the past year, Web-based email usage dropped a staggering 59% among 12-17 year olds, who prefer to communicate via text, instant messaging, and social networks.
Web-based email usage has been on the decline among ALL Internet users under the age of 55.
78% of business people use their mobile device to check email. So that means pretty much everybody that can check email on a mobile device, does. Is your email newsletter optimized for mobile devices?
40% of US smartphone owners compare prices on their mobile device while in-store, shopping for an item. Is your business website optimized for mobile devices? If not, you may be missing out on hundreds of sales opportunities.
200 Million Americans have registered on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list. That’s 2/3 of the country’s citizens.
91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted-in to. We’re getting savvier with technology and less patient with unwanted solicitations. And it’s just so easy to hit ‘delete’.
84% of 25-34 year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.
57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their company blog. Finally, some good news! Blogging is good. Intrusive ads are bad.
41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook. Facebook is useful for B2B AND B2C companies.
The number of marketers who say Facebook is “critical” or “important” to their business has increased 83% in just 2 years.
Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic.
The more you blog, the more pages Google has to index, and the more inbound links you’re likely to have. The more pages and inbound links you have, the higher you rank on search engines like Google—thus the greater amount of traffic to your website. Blogging is good.
Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing.
The average outbound lead costs $373. The average inbound lead costs $143.
E-marketer published a report showing that approximately 34% of US corporations are now blogging. This is a significant jump from 16% just three years ago. Although there are a number of reasons to blog, below is a list of key reasons to start blogging:
Blogging gives the brand an ability to disseminate information to the public. It can serve as a reference point when the public wants to investigate more about the brand and its product. Key executives can inform the public of the company’s future plans and recent developments. Like Twitter and Facebook, the comment section of the blog allows the public to voice their complaints or approval of the company and its product(s). The comments section allows the company to respond in this somewhat controlled environment.
Increases Your Organic Search Ranking
Writing a blog builds your content, which helps with SEO ranking. This content helps increase the organic indexing of the brand throughout the numerous search engines. Including pictures and videos will assist with optimizing blog as well. An optimized blog will help bring in more traffic as more sites and people point to it for it’s content.
Increase Site Traffic
If posts are consistent, relevant, and informative, people will continue to come back for more. You can encourage people to subscribe to your RSS feed or sign up to your e-mail newsletters. Optimizing your the content will help increase its reach via social sharing.
The company is able to establish itself as an expert in their field/industry. In the ever growing quest for knowledge, people always seek trustworthy information. The more informative and helpful the better.
There are many more benefits of blogging such as lead generation, customer service, and brand marketing. Every day more and more companies are realizing the value of blogs and are increasing their use. Are you blogging? If so, please post your blog (company or personal) in the comments section below.
The practice of promoting products and services using digital distribution channels to reach consumers in a timely, relevant, personal and cost-effective manner. (per Wikipedia)
Such a loaded question. One could sit down and write a book about the complexity and vast number of layers that cover the amazing range of answers. In fact many people have, ranging from inbound marketing, integrated marketing, mobile marketing, search engine optimization (SEO)/search engine marketing (SEM), and the most popular one, social media.
Digital marketing has been around for years. Basically ever since cable networks were born. Ever since cell phones came into existence and grew exponentially with the creation of the internet. Only recently has it become the first thing out of executives’ mouths in their weekly marketing meetings. I remember a few years ago working for an entertainment company when the head of our digital marketing department was brushed aside in our meetings by the president. The meetings were never about what our goals will be five years from now, let alone 5 months from now! They were always about what is going on right now. They never saw what hit them, the explosion of web tools that allowed people to skirt the system and share content was like a body blow to the industry. The kind of blow that leaves your opponent dazed and out of breath. To some companies/industries, these blows keep coming as they refuse to change their stance. These companies will continue to flail, downsize to keep their inflated salaries, and eventually be surpassed by the companies who adapt. Don’t be the company that refuses to change with the times. Educate yourself and your employees. Change up the meetings, make them more creative and progressive. Pay attention to what your consumers want. The more you fight with them, the more they’ll look for a better alternative. Embrace digital marketing, this is the future. It won’t replace traditional marketing but it will continue to grow and be the best indicator or listening tool for businesses. Do you really think that brands know what their consumers want from airing a commercial on TV or the radio? Or do they get more info from a SMS campaign, a tweet, or even a post on facebook? Think about it…
Each month, I plan to recommend a book. They won’t all be marketing or business books but hopefully they’ll help you balance your life. It’s so easy to get caught up with work and spend an entire day at the computer. Take a break every once in a while, whether it’s educating yourself on new businesses and tactics or escaping in a action packed thriller. Here are a few books to get you started:
A recent study by Forrester showed the the number of people using location-based networks is too small for major marketers to bother with for now. If you’re a forward thinking business who continues to look for growth you should note the following reasons why you SHOULD use location-based networks to promote your brand/product:
People are already visiting your establishment
Why not track this information and offer benefits to your existing customers? Besides sales transactions, most establishments don’t have a way to track who enters their store. By registering your business with Foursquare you can track these early users and offer them incentives to come back. This also allows your visitors to evangelize your business to their friends. These users tend to be more influential and vocal about their favorite venues/products.
Major brands have already partnered with Foursquare
Companies have already establish partnerships with Foursquare and implemented incentives for people who use the application. Some have even added Foursquare to their advertising. Vh1 offers you a chance to win a year’s worth of concerts
Wouldn’t you rather be a brand that’s known for rewarding early adopters/trendsetters?
These are the people who will help evangelize your brand if they like what you have to offer. The typical marketing curve goes like this:
It’s more advantageous to be on the front end of this curve than behind it. To quote Sarah Hofstetter, “Size doesn’t matter. Influence Does”.
It doesn’t cost you any money
Web 2.0 offers so many tools to help companies reach millions of people without spending a dime. With a little bit of planning and effort, you can promote your brand and actually track the results. Once you’ve registered your business, you can track each day when a visitor checks in and how often. If they have a twitter linked to the account you can even communicate with them through twitter. You can also create “specials” to entice people to visit.
Invest in growth
Again, I have to credit Sarah for this subtitle. Foursquare started in March 2009. In one year they grew to over 1 million users. In five months they are now over 2 million users. Major companies like Facebook and Google are looking to expand in this area which helps to increase the vast marketing potential in this area. Since the barrier to entry is low for businesses it’s extremely easy to establish early and grow with this explosive trend.
Foursquare is the most popular brand in this space but there are several location-based networks that are competing with them. The three biggest behind Foursquare are Gowalla, My Town, & Loopt. Foursquare seems to be the most business friendly at the moment.
Whenever I discuss digital marketing with potential clients I always ask the question, “What sort of offline marketing are you doing?” I ask this because it gives me a gauge of what direction the conversation will take. A lot of people assume that if you just do digital marketing you’ll see significant changes and you can scrap offline marketing all together. This only happens as an exception, not the norm.
There’s no doubt about it, we live in a digital world. Game consoles are wireless, mobile phones are becoming mini computers, laptops are becoming smaller & lighter (hello iPad), and EVERYBODY is on some sort of email list. Having said that, we need to understand that we still watch TV, we still read books & magazines. We still drive or ride in cars, listen to the radio, look at outdoor advertising, and actually walk into buildings. The ratio of online/offline interaction may vary but we co-exist in both worlds.
Digital marketing at this point is the hot topic button of business meetings. Everybody wants to be on You Tube, Twitter, and Facebook. It’s great that people want to finally incorporate these digital tools into the marketing plan but they have to understand that radio, TV, and print still have a role in how successful their efforts will be.
One of my projects, The Mixtape Comedy Show (Full disclosure: I’m a partner), recently saw the success of how a strategic online and offline marketing plan can impact a brand. Ever since we created the Facebook page, we’ve increased fans at the rate of 15% per month. We only marketed ourselves online through Twitter, You Tube, and email marketing. In March of 2010, we incorporated two syndicated radio interviews into our mix and saw our fan page grow by 46%! That’s three times the rate of previous growth. All we did was have Anthony, one of our co-hosts, mention the show and the Facebook page several times during the interviews. The dramatic increase was a direct correlation to these two radio interviews.
To really be successful utilizing digital tools you have to make sure the offline efforts coincide with what you’re doing online. What good does creating a Facebook page, that offers discounts or information, do for the brand when people don’t even know you have a page? Sure you can advertise online and suggest the page to friends but think about how much more these tactics would help if you actually promoted the page within your store? Took out a print, radio, or TV ad? The ad should always mention the page, its address and why people should visit your page. You will see significant results immediately.
If you’re a brand, you spend a lot of time talking to potential fans/clients. You can mention your website or fan page in any conversation when discussing your business. You have a captive audience whether they are reading an article, listening to an interview, or watching a performance. They are listening to what you have to say. Online you can still reach that audience but odds are they have other banners, emails, IMs, & other push notifications to distract them. Your competition for their attention becomes that much greater.
Give your audience a reason to visit you online. Give them a sense of purpose, even if it’s as small as clicking the “like” button. Once they come to your website or page it’s up to you on how you want to continue captivating them.
Peter Shankman made a very short video to help you guard your privacy within the new “Facebook Places”. I’m a fan of location-based services, I actually use quite a few but there’s one feature in Facebook’s Places that puts me on edge. I don’t want to others to have the ability to check me into a venue without my option to approve or reject. This post shows you how to adjust your settings so others won’t be able to “check in” for you.
A recent study by eMarketer reports that US mobile phone penetration will reach 80% by 2011. That means over 246 million people will have mobile phones throughout the country. Nielsen predicts that smartphones (iPhone, Droid, EVO, etc) will be in the hands of half of US mobile users by the end of Q3 2011.
If you’re not already incorporating mobile marketing into your plans here are a few reasons why you should:
Studies show that one of the main reasons people follow brands is to hear about bargains. Companies like Starbucks are experimenting with aggressive tactics. Through their Starbucks Card Mobile application, customers can pay for coffee in the shop with their phone. The initial tests saw a 60% redemption rate.
More Advanced Location Based Deals
Location based networks are increasing exponentially every day. Since the launch of Facebook Places, current market leaders Foursquare, Gowalla, and Booya have all recorded significant user growth. Brands like MTV are realizing how to use these networks to their advantage like this year’s VMA contest.
Higher Consumer Engagement
Consumers give you permission to communicate to them on a personal level. You can run a SMS campaign and gather additional information including their mobile number and email address. This allows you to continue your conversation with the consumer through two methods communication thus increasing your chances of engagement.
Increasing Demand For Mobile Content
Increased ownership of smart devices (including iPad and other tablet devices) is driving mobile internet growth. Users’ mobile activities consume a lot of data rich content such as accessing social networks, mobile games, listening to music, and streaming video.
If your consumers are moving more towards digital why aren’t you joining them?
E-marketer just published a report showing that approximately 34% of US corporations are now blogging. This is a significant jump from 16% just three years ago. Although there are a number of advantages to blogging, below is a list of key benefits:
Blogging gives the brand an ability to disseminate information to the public. It can serve as a reference point when the public wants to investigate more about the brand and it’s product. Key executives can inform the public of the company’s future plans and recent developments. Like Twitter and Facebook, the comment section of the blog allows the public to voice their complaints or approval of the company and its product(s). The comments section allows the company to respond in this somewhat controlled environment.
Writing a blog helps the company build content. This content helps increase the organic indexing of the throughout the numerous search engines. Including pictures and videos can assist with optimizing blog as well. An optimized blog will help bring in more traffic as it climbs the organic search ranking.
Increase Site Traffic
If posts are consistent, relevant, and informative, people will continue to come back for more. You can encourage people to subscribe to your RSS feed or sign up to your e-mail newsletters. Bottom line blogging will increase site traffic.
There are many more benefits of blogging such as lead generation, customer service, and brand marketing. Every day more and more companies are realizing the value of blogs and are increasing their use.
Are you blogging? If so, please post your blog (company or personal) in the comments section below.
Ever wonder how to improve your SEO on the video content you produce? Below is a quick video introduction from Google to help you develop your video sitemap and improve your rankings in search results.
I’m a big fan of infographics. You can usually learn a lot from them and help decide what’s best for you and your business. Hear’s one to start the new year, I found some interesting notes from this recent US study:
Facebook has over 500 million users while Twitter has over 100 million (both are growing significantly and have recently surpassed these numbers)
Only 25% of Twitter users follow a brand vs. 40% of Facebook users BUT;
Twitter users are more likely than Facebook users to purchase from the brands they follow
76% of Twitter users are college educated vs. 40% of Facebook users
Do you utilize either or both of these platforms to market your business? If so, which gives you better results based on your efforts?
This chart will help you understand which social media site will best suit the needs for you and your company. You can learn which ones help increase your SEO, site traffic, and customer engagement (click image to enlarge):
There seems to be a heated struggle between mobile phone manufacturers and mobile carriers. In a recent article by Mobile Commerce Daily, both sides are furiously trying to position themselves as the primary model in which consumers utilize Near Field Communication (NFC).
NFC is the future of the mobile industry. With such a high penetration rate, you’d be hard pressed to find a person in this country without a cell phone. When NFC is released in the US en masse (Apple is rumored to incorporate it into their new iPhone) it will revolutionize how the public will use their phones. People will eventually be able to make quick purchases (gas, movie tickets, fast food, etc.) with the wave of their mobile device.
The US mobile carriers announced ISIS, which is their bid to create a standard for enabling payment at retailers’ point of sale. Several handset manufacturers are exploring alternatives to this model. Both sides want control over the transactions and all the data that comes with it.
Ultimately it’s not up to either to decide which is best. The consumers will dictate what model will succeed (think VHS vs. beta; Blu-ray vs. HD DVD). The consumer has to feel comfortable about the security of these transactions and the set up has to be very easy. If I have an NFC enabled phone I want the freedom to make sure anytime I purchase something it is taken from my bank or credit card. I don’t want an extra bill to have to deal with. I also want to know that when I make these purchases, my accounts are not going to get hacked.
NFC is just the next step in transforming our mobile phones into the most important device we own. Think about it, we can already control our electronic home devices from our mobile phones, we can start our cars with our phones, we pay bills with our phones, just imagine using your phone to buy that double scooped ice cream cone at the fairground by waving it next to a mobile reader.
Would love to hear your thoughts on NFC and it’s future.
A recent study rom SMB DigitalScape indicates just 19.5 percent of SMB websites have a link to a Facebook page, and even fewer have links to Twitter and LinkedIn.
“SMBs worldwide are falling behind consumers in the digital commerce arena,” said The Kelsey Group’s Neal Polachek. “There’s a tremendous opportunity for SMB aggregators and resellers to bridge this gap, but it will require strategic commitment and solid execution.”
Developed by vSplash, SMB DigitalScape has analyzed more than 1 million SMB websites around the world in 14 countries, including more than 700,000 in the U.S. BIA/Kelsey and vSplash recently announced a strategic partnership for the distribution of SMB DigitalScape data in the United States.
BIA/Kelsey and vSplash previously released the following findings from SMB DigitalScape:
- Six out of 10 SMB websites in the U.S. are missing either a local or toll-free telephone number on the home page to contact the business.
- 74.7 percent of SMB websites lack an email link on their home page for consumers to contact the business.
- 65.7 percent of SMB websites lack a form-fill option to enable consumers to request information.
- 93.3 percent of SMB websites are not mobile compatible and will not render successfully on mobile devices or smartphones.
What does this all mean for those in the ad industry? It means you had better ratchet up for social media/business offerings and target the SMB space.