Tag Archives: marketing

Periscopes

Is Periscope on your radar?

There seems to have been quite a lot of noise about live video streaming services over the last week or so, since Twitter-owned Periscope launched, inviting us to “Explore the world through someone else’s eyes”.

Video streaming has been hitting the headlines since Meerkat was the talk of this year’s SXSW. I have to confess this totally passed me by, but as a Twitter user, I found out about the launch of Periscope so decided to have a look and see what it was all about.

If you’ve not had chance to download and have a play yet, here are some screen grabs from the iOS app (not available on android at time of writing). I’ve chosen an example from the folks at Mashable to help demonstrate the app’s potential for marketing and engagement.

IMG_5176 IMG_5169 (1) 2015-04-02 17.24.40

You can tell it’s in a very early stage of experimentation by many users, with ‘test’ or ‘view from [location]’ type titles of the streams, but I’ve already watched useful broadcasts from Guardian Tech and Mashable that help showcase its potential. Viewers of these live broadcasts can make comments or show their ‘love’ by tapping the screen and generating a heart which floats up the screen along with those of other viewers.

It’s clearly very early days, and I’d expect to see lots more updates over the coming weeks, but here’s my first take on the pros and cons that I can see a week or so in, along with a glimpse into what the future may hold…

Pros

Even at this early stage, I can see some pretty significant upsides to this platform, including

  • Speed to market: being able to broadcast and view live video streams pretty much ‘on demand’ will be a huge benefit to organisations and brands that want to get a live video in front of their audience fast
  • Authenticity: What you see is what you get…in real-time. No editing or polishing, broadcasters respond in real-time to the comments
  • Accessibility: Without the need to invest in any expensive kit above a decent iPhone, even the smallest of business can use the platform to engage with their target audience using the medium of video

Cons

For the time being, though, these are offset by some pretty significant cons.

  • Search: At the moment, it seems that you can search for users but not content. This seems a pretty fundamental flaw for me, as discovery of new users to follow will be driven by [for me, anyway] by an interest in certain types of content, language or even location. The home screen of the app is too random at present – a list that is crying out to be filtered into a curated list of stuff I actually might find interesting, that I can choose.
  • Bandwidth: On more than one occasion, on separate streams, I’ve seen ‘broadcast too full’ with as few as 157 [see below] live viewers of a stream. Again, I’d hope that this would be something that gets improved over time as more people adopt the platform.

Periscope bandwidth issuePeriscope bandwidth

I’m left with no doubt that the ability to video stream in real time has lots of exciting possibilities but, as with all forms of social media, the starting point has to be in how best to deliver benefits for the audience. One good example I’ve seen is from @pauljholden, a Comic Artist on Judge Dredd who I’ve seen broadcast a couple of times, answering questions whilst you can see him at work.

As with any form of social media channel, I’d always recommend to clients that they should listen, observe and learn about any platform before diving in. The focus on live video streaming (of any flavour) will only gather pace over the coming weeks and months as brands begin to experiment and find the use case best suited to their audience.

I’ll return to this in a later post, but in the meantime I’d love to hear from anyone who is thinking of incorporating Periscope (or Meerkat) into their communications plans. Where do you see the opportunities and potential pitfalls?

The role of trust in content marketing

Life these days can be so complex, we don’t make the time to stop and reflect*.

In a recent piece in The Observer, Why the modern world is bad for your brainDaniel J Levitin opens with

“Our brains are busier than ever before. We’re assaulted with facts, pseudo facts, jibber-jabber, and rumour, all posing as information. Trying to figure out what you need to know and what you can ignore is exhausting.”

Two words immediately sprang to mind as I read this. Content marketing.

In this increasingly content-rich, multi-media, everyone-is-a-publisher world we live in, the rate of increase in additional information available to B2B buyers has exponentially outpaced the increase in the amount of time available to digest and process it.

Maybe it’s because I’m a marketer that I notice the ever-increasing tsunami of lead generation bait-disguised-as-content. You’ve all seen them – “3 reasons why these 7 killer tips will transform your business in 10 ways. Download this white paper today!” I exaggerate for effect. A bit.

Often, the content is flimsy and doesn’t live up to the hype of the headline. Yes, you’ve got my attention but is what you have to say worth hearing? Will it add real value to my day-to-day life? Does it address a common issue or problem faced by people like me? No? Then you’ve lost me and you’ve lost my trust. And if I don’t trust you I’m certainly not going to buy from you.

shutterstock_134893019 (2)

Worse still, your actions may have made me a little less trusting of content I see from other brands. So poorly conceived content marketing has the potential to undermine the trust  in (and thereby the effectiveness of) the technique for everyone.

Insights from the excellent Edelman Trust Barometer 2015** suggests trust may already be a barrier to overcome for brands seeking to acquire new customers – with over 2/3 of respondents distrusting content created by brands they do not currently use:

Edelman trust barometer - content creators

So what can marketers do to build trust into their content marketing efforts?

Here’s 3 thoughts to get the ball rolling:

  1. Make sure the content truly lives up to the promise of the headline – think more broadsheet, less tabloid.
  2. Make sure the headline addresses a known, real customer issue or pain point – not only will this help achieve cut through, this will also help your target audience to find it online (search engines were the most trusted source of general information and news in the Edelman survey)
  3. Make sure you understand the buyer’s landscape – do you know what trade publications or academics are relevant to your target audience? Can you partner with them to co-create content? Such a third-party endorsement from a trusted source will help provide validation of your content (and keep you honest in generating truly excellent work to boot)

How is your organisation using content marketing to build trust with your prospect base? Have you seen any particularly good examples of content marketing in practice? I’d love to hear from anyone with experiences and best practice to share.

**Here’s the Edelman Trust Barometer 2015

*with thanks to the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy

34 minutes that should change the way you look at social media

I love facts, me. Hard, numbers-based evidence. As marketing professionals, it’s this objective assessment of the relevance or performance of campaigns and channels that stops us being perceived as ‘fluffy’ by our colleagues in other functions.

Which is why I loved every one of the 34 minutes of Mark Ritson’s recent speech at Melbourne Business School. The scope of his presentation was how social media is used by brands to communicate to target customers in Australia.

According to Mark, social media has been the “Greatest act of overselling in the history of marketing” – meaning that its value for brand communications has been drastically overstated for what is a primarily social (person to person) media.

I’d highly recommend investing 34 minutes to watch this video, but as a taster here are my top three facts from Mark’s presentation:

  1. If you look at the top 10 brands in Australia, the number of Facebook likes as a proportion of their total customer base was 2-3% – so 97% of customers are not engaged (have hit ‘like’ at some point) with the brands on Facebook.
  2. It gets worse. The proportion of the customer base that had recently engaged with the brands’ content on Facebook in the last 7 days was just 0.02%.
  3. Twitter is no better, with at best 0.7% of brands’ customer bases as followers on Twitter

Add to this the fact that as few as 20% of users turn to social media to research brands (meaning 80% don’t) and the picture starts to build that for all the fanfares, noise and excitement about the growth of social media, the jury is well and truly out on its use as an effective brand (b2c) communication.

Take a look for yourself – I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Creativity alive and well in print advertising – Blackberry

It’s rare that press advertising wows me with its creativity these days, but Blackberry’s ad in today’s Daily Telegraph really impressed me.

Promoting the ‘Time Shift’ functionality of the new Z10, the ad appears on the face of it to be a standard full-page press ad…

Blackberry press ad for Z10

…until it becomes clear that there is a half page covering a second part of the 1.5 page spread, which reveals as below:

Blackberry press ad for Z10

There’s no doubt that Blackberry have a huge task ahead of them to catch up with the likes of Apple and Samsung when it comes to smartphone market share, but with innovative ways of promoting innovative features such as this, I wouldn’t write them off just yet.

Nice work.

What’s your career game plan?

I was recently interviewed by B2B Marketing Magazine for a feature they ran in the January 2013 issue, entitled “Game Plan”. For those of you that aren’t subscribers to the magazine, I’ve included the article on my Slideshare account, embedded below with kind permission of B2B Marketing.

If you’re in B2B Marketing and not already a subscriber, I’d strongly recommend checking out the benefits of B2B Marketing membership. The article is also now live on the B2B Marketing Knowledge Bank, where you can see lots of other useful articles.

What’s your career game plan for 2013? How will you drive your career forward by implementing a personal action plan? What have you found to be effective in your own career to date? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Giving marketing a rebrand- step 3

Ivory Towers

Ivory Towers (Photo credit: James F Clay)

In previous posts on the theme of ‘giving marketing a rebrand’, I have suggested a number of steps marketers can take to raise their profile, credibility and effectiveness. I have called for them to Fight the Fluff and Manage the Magpie.

In this third and final post in the series, I feel it’s time to Trash the Tower.

Marketers are sometimes perceived by other functions as living in an Ivory Tower which, according to Wikipedia, is a place “where intellectuals engage in pursuits that are disconnected from the practical concerns of everyday life”.

Sometimes we are worthy of the ‘ivory tower’ perception because we have become internally focused and disconnected from the customer. Sometimes workload and organisational politics conspire to make it harder than it should be to spend more time with front line staff and customers, but how else will we get to hear firsthand accounts of how the products and services we are marketing solve (or cause) customer problems?

Does this sound familiar? If so, when was the last time you were able to escape the confines of the head office ivory tower and hear the customer’s voice at firsthand?

And I mean truly firsthand, not sitting through a 72 slide debrief on ‘wave 58′ of the latest customer satisfaction survey (showing a 3% improvement from ‘wave 57′ but with a +/- 5% margin of error!).

Here are three practical ways in which you can reconnect with everyday life in your customer’s world and learn some actionable insights to improve their experience:

  1. undertake regular customer site visits with front line staff and witness firsthand how your product or service is used in their business – look for new ways in which you can tell these stories to prospective customers
  2. listen to customer calls in contact or service centres – your colleagues in these teams have more experience of the day to day client experience than most in the organisation, so make sure you tap into it when developing new initiatives and campaigns
  3. read the 10/20/50 most recent customer complaints – look for emerging patterns and identify an issue you can own and solve, even if this means stepping outside of your organisational silo to do so

How do you gain actionable insights in your team? What are your best practice tips for getting out of the ivory tower and listening to the customer? Where have you seen innovative techniques employed that you wouldn’t expect to see being led by a marketing team?

Giving marketing a rebrand- step 2

Last week’s post on giving marketing a rebrand coincided with a piece on a similar theme in Marketing Week and was picked up and included in their Storify.

I suggested that there are three steps marketers can take to raise their profile, credibility and effectiveness. Step 1 called on them to Fight The Fluff.

English: Oriental Magpie Robin മലയാളം: മണ്ണാത്...

Image via Wikipedia

In Step 2, I’m suggesting that marketers should Manage the Magpie.Some are afflicted by the desire for the latest shiny new thing, whether it’s the latest technology gadget, social media platform or marketing technique. With advances in technology disrupting many traditional business models, there’s no doubt it’s an incredibly exciting time to be in business, never mind marketing.

Yet for many, this excitement causes a common sense bypass! Some are blinded by the brightness of the new thing, whilst others jump onto the ‘me too’ bandwagon to seek the reassurance that if other/bigger/more interesting brands are doing something, so should we.

Expectations and excitement skyrocket as early successes from case studies (most likely from outside your sector and country, but don’t let details like that get in the way) start to emerge as ‘proof’ that the cynical doubters are wrong. But of course what goes up must come down and when the glitter fades and the post-hysteria hangover kicks in, you wake up in what Gartner call the ‘trough of disillusionment’.

Which is why, more than ever before, marketers need to be better at managing the magpie within themselves and others. They should make a focused, objective and dispassionate assessment before leaping in. Yes be curious. Absolutely be alert to changing trends. But always be asking ‘how will this improve the customer experience’.

To put an objective structure around your thinking, try the following

  1. build an informal, cross-functional group from sales, marketing and operations so that you can draw upon the wider experience in the business when a shiny new thing comes along
  2. get them to help you define at least three ways in which it will measurably improve the customer experience.
  3. the harder you find this, the easier the decision not to jump on

Do you look before you leap onto the latest shiny new bandwagon? How do you decide which new technologies to adopt and at what speed? Or maybe you work for a magpie and have some coping mechanisms to share here?