Three Major Marketing Trends to Watch This Year

New Year 2015With the end of 2014 quickly approaching, and 2015 marketing budgets already mapped out, it’s time to start looking back at where we came from to see where we are going.

This year, it was no surprise that marketing was harder than ever. Jay Baer, a New York Times best-selling author and president of Convince and Convert, attributed this to increased competition, marketing and customer service becoming codependent. He noted how marketers are blind to customer needs, in a presentation on the difficulties of marketing during the Outreach Marketing Summit hosted by GroupHigh.

Expanding on this idea, businesses can no longer buy a prime-time television advertisement and expect to hit their customers. There should be an integration of traditional marketing tactics such as television, print and radio ads with newer tactics like content marketing, outreach marketing, digital advertising, native advertising and social media. With multiple brands using multiple marketing platforms, there is increased competition to be heard and it does not just lie among brands, but also with our friends, family and loved ones.

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It’s Be-Pinning to Look a lot Like 2015: Social Advertising in the New Year

“Partnerships [with brands] aren’t just, ‘Go get ad dollars.’ That’s not how we think about it here. We’re really about teaching partners how to be their best on Pinterest and connect consumers in a very authentic way.”

Joanne Bradford, head of partnerships at Pinterest

Joanne Bradford, head of commercial and content partnerships at Pinterest, made the above statement to ReadWrite in an article that ran on May 30, 2014, outlining her “slow and steady” plan to help Pinterest monetize – a task she’d been brought on to help drive around six months earlier. As the third largest social network helping more than 44.5 million users get crafty, plan parties and organize their wants and self-improvements into neatly curated and stylistically clean, digital bulletin boards, Pinterest has exemplified Bradford’s sentiment by remaining ad-free since it’s 2010 debut, aside from a Beta program that opened to select marketing partners in June. Having promised brands the year before that it would be making its first finely-tuned and tested advertising product available to the public by the end of 2014, the company cut their self-imposed and eagerly anticipated deadline pretty close by announcing the official availability of Promoted Pins to all U.S.-based partners beginning January 1.

Pinterest Search with Promoted PinPromoted Pins will look and feel almost exactly the same as organic pins, appearing in search streams with the words “Promoted by X” below the pin’s image as their only ad identifier. They can be targeted by pinners’ interests and purchased on a CPM model with advertisers only paying for clicks through to their websites – something the Pinterest people also like to promote as “free impressions!” The launch announcement also included some interesting findings from their last few months in beta testing such as:

  • Promoted Pins were repinned an average of 11 times or higher, on par with repin performance of organic pins, and
  • Brands outside of the social network’s core categories, like financial and auto companies, found success in the program. Pinterest’s core categories are crafts, drink, food, home décor and women’s fashion.

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A Few Lessons in Integrated Marketing

IMG_3275Here at M/C/C, we’re no stranger to integrated marketing for clients and have experienced great results from converging digital marketing with IRL experiences for clients like FairLease and the promotion of the company’s “Random Acts of Fairness.”

FairLease is not your average car dealer. They’re more interested in helping people which is why M/C/C helped them launch a “Random Acts of Fairness” campaign around Dallas offering free food to the masses. For this campaign, we utilized several tactics that include: spreading the word through FairLease’s social media accounts that we built and managed, teasing the events to influential news sources and nearby businesses, providing event management and onsite support, generating real-time event updates, leveraging popular Twitter users and hashtags, capturing social photos and producing videos from the events. For many, it was their first interaction with FairLease, and thanks to M/C/C it wouldn’t be their last. As a result, more than 1,600 new friends engaged with FairLease like never before, and FairLease received almost 20 leads directly from this successful campaign.

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1. Over-Promise and Over-Deliver
Listen to customer feedback and decide what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve what you offer. Depending on your businesses, you can use various social media and review sites like Yelp to hear from customers. Focus on customer service above all; constantly surprise customers with how far above and beyond you’ll go for them.

2. Mix Your Energy with Commitment
Look at the big picture by taking a few minutes to write down what your goals are for the next year. Think about the skills and support you’ll need to attain them and then a few small ways to start working on achieving your goals. Don’t let a little success distract you from working hard on your business.

3. Be Open, Real and Flawed
When it comes to social media and customer reviews, don’t delete what your customers have to say. No company is perfect or has a 100-percent satisfaction rate, so don’t hide the few unhappy customers. Admit your mistakes when they happen, and in general, conduct your company’s dealings with honesty and candor. Your customers will notice and love you for it.

4. Care About the Little Things
Focus on the little things your company can do to surprise and serve your customers. Don’t take an immediate ROI or bottom-line look at this one. Happy customers will lead to gains in the long-term.

5. Stand Out and Find Your Niche
Think about your target market, look at what your competitors are doing and embrace your uniqueness! There’s only one of your company in the world.

Now that you know what others are doing as well as what we can accomplish for you, get up and give us a call! Remember, we’re experts in everything integrated.

Taylor Swift: 1.287 Million Reasons Why Marketing Works

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As lines between advertising, public relations, social media and SEO continue to blur, integrated marketing has become one of the best ways to market a brand. Encompassing all four disciplines successfully markets to target audiences both in real life (IRL) and in the bustling digital world. One personal brander and one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time has perfected this practice with the recent release of her all pop album, 1989. Let’s explore some of Taylor Swift’s brilliant tactics that’s leading the artist to break the record for most sold copies of an album in a single week since 2002:

Brand Partnerships

Swift is no stranger to partnering with big brands, but for this release she capitalized on not only one but two! With Swift becoming commonly known as someone who loves cats, especially her two — Meredith and Olivia, she launched a partnership with Diet Coke that features a spot with her and plethora of kittens that begin showing up in her living room each time she drinks her Diet Coke. What’s brilliant about it is that the spot, which appeared on TV a few days before the album release, featured an unheard, new song from 1989, and Swift herself voices a call-to-action to buy her album at the end of the spot. With only about 20 seconds of this new song used, fans couldn’t get enough and were only left guessing what the song was discussing and what more would come. It was simple, cute and very branded for Swift’s personality and interests.

dietcoke

Additionally, Swift partnered with Target through an exclusive Target-only edition of her 1989 album that included three bonus tracks and content. Also, a certain number of this special edition featured a special code that could be used to enter to win the SwiftStakes — a chance to get two tickets and a meet and greet to a future show or one of 1,989 other prizes.

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Filter This: Facebook and Instagram Face Off

As social platforms continue to create one-on-one connections between brands and consumers, it is important to look at all of the social media options available. Most brands grasp Facebook and Twitter by now, but as these networks become pay-to-play platforms thanks to discovery algorithms and as visuals become more important  in cluttered news feeds for boosting engagement, brands should start looking into highly active and visual platforms like Instagram.

In a recent survey on the state of corporate social media use (where 36 percent of the participants were B2B companies, 23 percent were B2C companies and the rest had some aspects of both) the adoption of Facebook by companies has stalled in the last year-and-a-half, while the adoption of Instagram has skyrocketed from 20 to 45 percent in the past year. It’s important to note the data shows most companies have stopped adopting Facebook because 90 percent of those surveyed already have a Facebook page. More companies have started adopting Instagram because it is a newer social platform that is not oversaturated with messages yet. In fact, Forrester recently reported that Instagram’s engagement rate is 58-times better than Facebook’s. While ours is not quite that high, we have noticed our Instagram engagement is indeed higher than that metric on our Facebook content.

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Why It’s More Difficult To Reach Facebook Audiences (And What To Do About It)

Facebook Audience ReachFacebook was at one time the Holy Grail of social networks. Companies invested millions of dollars in the development and maintenance of business pages. Every person was using it, and every brand wanted to reach its clients on Facebook — but this may no longer be the case.

About 50 percent fewer fans saw brand content from October 2013 to February 2014, according to a recent paper published by Social@Ogilvy, the social arm of advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather. Because of an algorithm change, average organic reach (anyone who sees a brand’s content in their newsfeed) declined from about 12 percent in Oct. 2013 to a little over 6 percent in February 2014.

That’s a lot of people not seeing the content that marketers continue to work hard to create.

According to the study, Facebook has unofficially advised some social marketers to expect organic reach to decline to zero percent in the near future, making Facebook a pay-to-play platform.

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How to Choose the Right Social Platforms for Your Business

As an agency that has fielded inquiries from existing clients as social networks rose to prominence and continues to serve as a social media expert across consumer and B2B struggles, two of the top questions we get the most are, “Which social networks should my company be on,” or “Which platform should I choose to start my business’ social media presence?” While it may make sense for us to claim that the answers to these questions are quickly changing every day as each network evolves – sometimes for better or for worse – and new ones are introduced and adopted, that’s not in fact what we’d tell you. Instead, we’d tell you that social media is not a one-size fits all practice. Then we’d start to grill you on your objectives and your audience. And you thought you’d be asking all the questions, eh?

Social Media Experts Medium

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Facebook and Instagram Video Ads – the Way of the Future?

Late last year, Facebook announced it was beginning to test out video advertisements for brands. Then, earlier this year, Instagram jumped on board this video ads train. (Makes sense considering the photo-sharing platform is owned by Facebook.) If you’re thinking “so why haven’t I seen any video ads yet?” you’re not the only one. The majority of the advertising world is patiently waiting for this new option to be available for their brands. But before advertisers begin segmenting some of their budgets to social video ads, there are a few things they may want to know first:

What will be the parameters for video ads?

The video ads will be 15-second video spots that will automatically start playing as the user scrolls over them. This is similar to how the user-generated videos on both platforms auto play. We know that on Facebook, there will not be sound playing until the user opens it up to a full-screen view.

What will they cost?

A lot of dough! For Facebook video ads, it’s expected to cost between $1 million and $2.4 million a day. Instagram says it doesn’t have a rate card and CPMs are based on factors like targeting, reach and frequency. However, some ad executives are saying that a month-long buy could be anywhere from $350,000 to closer to $1 million.

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Should Marketers Engage in Reddit?

Most people have heard of Reddit. The platform has become a hot topic during major news events such as the Boston Marathon bombings. In the hours and days that followed, Reddit users acted as citizen journalists to report breaking news on the spot and working to identify the suspects. But when compared to other social media sites, it seems that most people don’t really understand how the Reddit community works or how their company could engage with it.

What is Reddit?

Original fan art by M/C/C

Original fan art by M/C/C

To start with the basics, Reddit is a completely user-driven social platform. By its own definition, “users provide all of the content and decide, through voting, what’s good and what’s junk. Links that receive community approval bubble up towards #1, so the front page is constantly in motion and (hopefully) filled with fresh, interesting links.”

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Haters Gonna Hate: How Brands Should React

In today’s world where blogging and social media provide multiple platforms for activists and customers to voice their opinions, businesses (big and small) are continually feeling pressure and hearing overwhelming amounts of criticism not for anything the company has necessarily “done” but for who they are or what they believe. It makes me think about these three important questions:

  1. Should brands correct their haters or let the criticism fizzle out?
  2. How can brands not get consumed by the negativity and survive the heat?
  3. What are some real-world responses from brands under attack?

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