Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Two New TVs: Branded and Social. Are You Ready?

Just when you thought it was safe to relax in front of the TV, it isn't. In fact, one of your new marketing tasks may involve putting up the content on your organization's own TV channel. That would be called a branded content channel.

Rob Davis, who heads the online video practice at adverting giant Ogilvy, says in this interview that his agency is working closely on branded content channels on YouTube.

Here are some sound bites from Rob.

"We're finding that with a lot of our clients it goes beyond 'I want to have a video and hope it goes well.' [The push] is about making use of the tools YouTube has available. We're focusing a lot of the effort around identifying the opportunities available with a brand channel. The brand channel model itself on YouTube is growing up. It's a place to curate content; it's a place where we're seeing people using the channel for direct marketing.

"Cure Bad Breath, for example, is a YouTube that's all about moving product, moving the Orabrush. We've just done a brand new channel for IBM that's about curating the best IBM content on the web on YouTube and bringing it into one place.

"When we talk about value of video content, we're looking at engagement, at views plus length of view and completion rates. At Ogilvy, we talk about PPI -- post play interaction. We help our clients identify what the next click should be in their strategy. Is it direct marketing, is it lead generation, is it awareness, is it about viewing more videos or going to a landing page and getting into the sales funnel. Different strategies require different measurements.

"Branded content is a major part of what we're doing. We're still focusing on VSEO (video search engine optimization) for a lot of the content we're creating. It's finding the right blend to get the eyeballs to the branded content. We're not leaving out the notion of blogger outreach and influencers, either. [The strategy involves] getting the content into the right hands so your audience finds the content where they are participating, rather than the old method of trying to drive them to a url.

[In branded channel TV] you want high production values. You don't want to cut corners on the content. The industry is ready for it, although the Internet audience may not be totally ready for it just yet. But I think it can happen. Technology is in place for this year -- 2011 -- to be the year."

And then there's Social TV. Even if you're not developing branded content for your own TV channel, you will probably be pulled into Social TV before long. So what is that?

If the MIT Technology Review on Social TV in 2010 is correct, it's coming on strong. In fact, social TV was named by this group as one of the 10 most important emerging technologies.

How about some real-life examples? Maybe you'll recall seeing Twitter integrated into a TV show. Or maybe you were part of Facebook reactions to the U.S. team's rise and fall at the Women's World Cup. Check out these and more at "Social TV," a blog on the subject.

LostRemote is another blog that covers the social TV scene. One story describes integrating TV into socialization via the Dexter app that allows users to set up their own text-messaging group chat surrounding Showtime's "Dexter" TV show.

And then there's Miso, a phone app designed to notify friends which TV shows you're watching. The process works much like Foursquare, as participants "check in" to report viewing.

Mashable gives us a quick run-down of how social TV is faring, according to TV Guide research. Surprise, Smallville, a program that's one of Nielsen's lowest-rated, has a huge social media following.

Content options provide audiences with additional content that is engaging, unique, and innovative, so that the experience is simultaneously available across platforms.

Wikipedia describes the burgeoning phenomenon this way: "Social TV is creating the cyber-living-room and cyber-bar to enable increased interactivity around shared programming, both live and time-shifted."

See you on the telly.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Monday, July 18, 2011

Research Shows Mobile Is the Big Chatter

“Get near any group of marketing professionals and you're likely to hear a chorus of ‘mobile.'” In fact, mobile is pretty much all we think about, according to a press release announcing availability of Mobile Marketing: Plans, Trends and Measurability: What Do Marketers Think?

Some 560 respondents, split between corporate management and marketing/sales management professionals, spilled their thoughts to King Fish Media, Maxymiser, HubSpot, and Junta42, the quartet that partnered to gather and publish the results of an online survey conducted April 12-27, 2011.

Among the key findings:

• The mobile market is very much in its early stages, with corporate plans in a state of flux.
• Companies are faced with a growing base of installed mobile devices.
• Thirty-three percent of companies currently have a mobile strategy in place, and among those who don't, they plan to have one ready within the next 12 months.
• While only about 12 percent of brands' marketing is spent on mobile, 82 percent plans to increase their spending on mobile over the next year, with 30 percent taking the budget from mainstream marketing and advertising.
• Most commonly, brands are using mobile initiatives to build/grow relationships, which explains why the most popular content types are currently: social media, branded, email capabilities, geo-location/maps, and general reference.

Additional findings:

• About 75% of companies are planning apps using the iPhone platform vs. Android (45 percent), iPad (41 percent) and BlackBerry(41 percent).
• Looking out 12 months, interest in iPad (76 percent) and Android (75 percent) rises significantly, while iPhone and BlackBerry stay flat.
• Interestingly, 68 percent of companies have no plans to develop apps using the Windows operating system.
• Social media, branded content, email, geo-location/maps and general reference are most often mentioned as applications being executed as part of a mobile initiative.
• Original branded content, ads, expert content, and videos are the types of content used most often in mobile format.
• Commerce over mobile channels is slow to take hold among respondents. Less than 20 percent of respondents said they are currently conducting mobile commerce, mostly over a mobile website. Interest does rise for 2012.
• Relationship marketing (customer loyalty and retention) is at the heart of the perceived benefits of mobile marketing.
• In terms of ROI for current mobile programs, 24 percent report that it has exceeded or performed as expected and a full one third have not measured it at all.
• Forty-one percent say future mobile marketing programs will need to show a positive return to continue the program and 34 percent say they will be tracking it, but a positive return will not be required at this time.

“The mobile marketplace has gotten the attention of marketers as a valuable media platform, but it is also still taking shape and in its early stages,” explains Gordon Plutsky, director of marketing and research, King Fish Media. “This report will hopefully offer some clarity on the direction of this developing communications channel, so that marketers can react in ways both prescient and strategic.”

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Today’s “Show Me” Website Is A Content Marketer’s Dream

A content marketer’s job is to share what an organization knows. We can do that piecemeal in blogs, videos, slideshows, whitepapers, articles, and so on. But nothing puts it all out there like a “show-me” website.

I just finished writing a short ebook (free for the asking) that describes how to launch a show-me website in 30 days, from concept to launch – and that’s starting with zero content and no background in the topic area.

To demonstrate this could be done, starting on May 17 with only a topic in mind, I developed enough original content for Home Invasion News to go live on June 17. When I searched the generic term “home invasion news” on Google this morning, the site had moved up from seventh place, to fifth and sixth positions on page one, just behind recent TV news reports. We’re also ranking on the first page for “home statistics,” and “FBI home invasion statistics.”

Is this some sort of extraordinary achievement? I don’t think so. If you are still reading this article, I am absolutely certain you can do the same.

But why bother? I mean, why is launching this sort of a website so important right now? Ho-hum websites without color and a profusion of choices for the visitor are worse than ineffective. They are a detriment to the content itself.

Information consumers today are used to splash and dash. They don’t want to think about how to find and navigate content. That part should be easy. The show-me website is the architecture content marketers need to make their work shine and succeed.

To clarify, the following list presents a quick run-down of ways a show-me website makes content marketing so much more effective.

1. Offers Instant Choices. At first glance, a show-me website offers a visitor many, many intriguing content choices.

2. Creates Information Categories. Navigation of a show-me website is intuitive because information is so beautifully organized.

3. Ignites the Imagination. The visuals on a show-me website are dynamic, shifting, changing, sliding, and colorful. The user gets excited deciding to what to look at first.

4. Dances As a Unit. On a show-me website, all content marketing options harmonize. Rather than appearing to be separate “chunks” of information, video, slideshows, podcasts, images, articles, and stories create a tight symphony.

5. Facilitates Natural Advertising. Show-me websites can be constructed to make ads a seamless part of the presentation.

6. Encourages Play. We may be used to information delivered in static columns when we’re reading, but when we’re playing on the Internet, we want a dynamic grid that’s more like a movie than a book.

7. Invites Infographics. Infographics as content are growing in popularity. Show-me websites incorporate options for presenting and cycling through multiple samples of these popular visuals.

8. Makes the Content All About the Visitor. Because of the way a show-me website organizes and displays content – by content category – the focus remains on what the visitor is looking for, not what the organization is selling.

9. Matches Contemporary Information Delivery. The show-me website breaks the typical Internet website static-column gird. The show-me website helps content marketers emulate the information presentation tactics employed by leading magazines and newspapers.

Finally, if you’re wondering what a show-me website looks like, the book gives 30 examples, including these: GQ Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, and National Geographic. You’ll notice right away that these and so many other amazing show-me websites are loaded with content, delivered within a framework that makes information pop.

If you’d like a copy of the ebook “How To Launch Your Own Show-Me Website in 30 Days,” please send a request using the button on the right.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo