Jump on the emerging media bandwagon

Emerging media pic

I read a great article this week from the editor of Target Magazine that provided me inspiration for a fitting topic on my last Blog in IMC 619 Emerging Media. The magazine and article is geared toward direct marketers, which is how I spend a significant amount of time in my job, so it was relevant on several fronts. The article poses two questions to its readers:

  1. Do you feel like you’re innovating in your company?
  2. Do you feel like you’re able to effectively adopt the innovations you see other marketers implementing?

These are important questions for all marketers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of innovation going on but the marketers who can act on innovation are the ones who excel. Today’s marketing emphasis on data, content marketing and new technology may seem like what we as marketers have been doing for years, but they is not. And this is a main reason why I am studying for a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications, because the fundamentals of marketing have changed with the emerging technology and I don’t want to be left behind.

Emerging technology affects all levels of marketing. In a study based on a survey conducted in July 2014 of 402 senior marketers from global companies with more than $500 million in revenue (56% with revenues over $3 billion), some 69% of senior marketers at these companies anticipate an increase in digital spend beyond inflation in 2015, and only 6% foresee a decrease, according to a recent report from Teradata and Econsultancy.

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Also, these same enterprise marketers expect digital budgets to increase roughly 10% annually for the next five years, with average digital spend reaching 40% of total budgets by 2019, according to the report.

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Looking at 2015 budgets compared to 2014, they anticipate significant changes in the area of mobile, content marketing and display ads. To see the full results from this report, click here.

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Also this week, Kirk Perry, Google’s president of global client and agency solutions, told the audience at the Association of National Advertisers’ “Masters of Marketing” conference in Orlando, Fla that he understood marketers’ long dedication to the craft of television advertising, but that these days marketers had to think more digitally. Granted, Mr. Perry works for Google, but his career was made as a TV advertising executive Procter and Gamble and he only recently joined Google at the end of 2013. He told the conference audience about how in one of his last marketing campaign meetings at P&G, the group spent 80% of the meeting time discussing TV and the latter 20% on repurposing the campaign components to place into a banner ad for online. He emphasized that marketers should be thinking about digital advertising first and not just tacking it on at the tail-end of a meeting.

So for the marketers like me who have many years of traditional marketing experience, we need to make our own personal digital transformation like Kirk Perry and know that we will be obsolete if we don’t. If you doubt this, just think about how Google has quickly become an advertising giant in recent years and now accounts for more than 10% of all advertising spending in the U.S., according to eMarketer. Take a look at the following info graphic to see if your marketing skills are where they need to be in today’s technological world:


10 commandments of Keyword management in SEO

The Ten Commandments

The concept of keywords is one of the main components of search engine optimization.

In search marketing, choosing the right keywords and key phrases to place in your website content is one of the most important activities to bringing the ‘right’ visitors to your website. Therefore, keyword research plays an important role and involves determining various words and phrases that people will use as search engine queries when looking for your websites and products. You need to choose words that clearly identify what your business and website is about and also include keywords and phrases used in your industry and in actual search engine queries.

As you can see from a graph taken from the Search Metrics SEO Ranking Factors and Rank Correlations 2014, relevant words in the onpage content still scores the highest at 34%.

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  1. Start with answering (in simple basic terms) the questions of “what products and services do we sell?” and make sure the answer provides keywords that are relevant to your website content. I will use the example of a company I used to work for called Qmatic. They sell what they term “Customer Flow Management” solutions, a.k.a a customer queuing management system.

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  1. Relevant keywords need to be text on the page content, in the titles and descriptions, and in the overall theme of your webpage. For Qmatic, they have the phrase ‘Customer Flow Management’ throughout their website.  Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.25.48 AM
  1. Keywords can include more than one word and actually more likely to be a phrase instead of one word. Using phrases will help pinpoint the target audience and is less competitive since it is a more specific search. For example, if I search queue systems, Qmatic does appear in the first page results, but there are also 61 million results. If I drill down and use a phrase that is more geared toward what Qmatic is selling, for example, a queue management ticket system, the search returns only 155K in the SERP.

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  1. If your keyword contains several words, place them in the order in which you use the words does matter. For example, Customer Flow Management will have a different meaning and search results than management flow customer and results in 102 million SERPs instead of 21 million SERPS.
  1. Understand who your ideal visitor is and use the same natural language and terms as they do. For Qmatic, it is a business decision maker who oversees the operation of a lobby where many customers come for service or to purchase products. So they need to use words like queue management, lobby traffic system, improved customer service, customer flow and patient flow.
  1. Don’t overuse keywords on your website pages. This is called keyword stuffing and can have a negative effect on your visibility and ranking. Google looks at them as irrelevant key words and a way of trying to manipulate a site’s ranking. Besides the fact that this can harm your site’s ranking, it will probably also create a negative user experience.
  1. Place keywords in your URLs. It is also recommended to use sub-directory root domains (Qmatic.com/customer-flow-management) versus sub-domains (customer-flow-management.qmatic.com).
  1. Repetition of keywords is fine as long as the meaning of the phrase as a whole is sufficiently varied and relates to the content present on the web page and on the website. For example, Qmatic sells its services to four very different vertical markets including Healthcare, Finance, Retail and Public sector. So it is okay that they repeat the keywords and add the words that represent the different industry solutions (i.e. http://www.qmatic.com/solutions/industry-solutions/public-sector/ and http://www.qmatic.com/solutions/industry-solutions/healthcare/ )
  1. Use available tools to help you manage this process. Some free tools include Google Adwords Keyword Tool, which helps marketers choose the right keywords by understanding what keywords consumers are searching and the demand of each of those keywords, Google Analytics lets marketers review the keywords that are driving traffic organically to a website, and Rank Checker allows users to check the rankings of up to 100 keywords on the fly.
  2. Choosing and managing keywords is an ongoing process; since keyword research reflects both what users are seeking and the way that the search engines (particularly Google) “think” about keywords, and this is constantly changing. So your keyword research needs to be monitored and updated with relevant changes and they need to continuously help to drive the website content strategy.

Finally to understand the value of a keyword, marketers need to understand their own websites, make some hypotheses, test, and repeat – the classic web marketing formula. The magic is in the research and experience.

Why marketers need to seriously consider adding online video to their marketing mix

On the internet today, video reigns supreme. No other form of web content offers the same level of audience engagement and emotional connection. Video has a near universal appeal to connect with a target audience as well as enhance a brand. It is predicted that globally, online video will drive up to 55 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in 2016 and in the same year, online video audiences will reach 1.5 billion globally according to Cisco. With 182 million U.S. internet users watching online video content for an average of 23.2 hours per viewer throughout the month, marketers can’t ignore video as part of their online marketing strategy.

There are several reasons why companies should consider investing in video content. The first is it will improve customer engagement. Embedded video content can increase website traffic by up to 55%. And videos posted on Facebook increase viewer engagement with brand pages by 33% and an amazing 63 million U.S. users watched a video on Facebook alone during 2013. 

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Second, it will increased awareness and with online audiences choosing to watch 13.2 million video advertisements per day, online videos are an advertising tactic that can be easily tracked for ROI purposes.

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Third, there are many SEO benefits. Videos are 53 times more likely than text pages to show up on the first page of search results and website posts with embedded video draw three times more inbound links.

YouTube is the number two search engine in the world and in January 2012, YouTube surpassed 4 billion daily video views. More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, spending more than 4 billion hours watching videos.   2 billion video views per week are monetized on YouTube, and every auto-shared tweet results in six new YouTube browsing sessions.

Finally, videos are emotional and emotions are contagious, and people love to share. 92 percent of mobile video viewers share videos with others.

The graph below illustrates the percentage of marketing respondents that use each content or offer for demand generation. You can see videos rank second overall at over 90%:

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Video and marketing are a perfect pair. 73 percent of marketers plan to add video to their sites, making it a higher priority than Facebook, Twitter and blog integration.  Are you one of the 73%? If not, you should rethink why.

Social media is changing SEO

SEO is increasingly dependent upon social media for how people search, find and respond to information and the extent of social media’s impact is evolving. Let’s face it, everything created on the web is social. There is no escaping the intensely social nature of the Internet as a whole. And we can’t hide from the fact that it is completely changing the world of SEO as we know it.

Companies now need to have a social strategy for SEO just like they do strategies to optimize content, links and website pages. Take a look at the SEO Rank Correlations of 2014 from Searchmetrics and notice how social signals (Google +1s, Facebook shares, Pinterest pins, tweets, etc.) tend to have very positive impact on search rank: 

How has social media influenced the way in which we look for a website or content using Google, Yahoo, or Bing? Because social media has become one of the many factors search engines take into account when indexing content across the web, what are some recommendations of SEO experts of how to effectively position social media in order to boost their website SEO.

According to Jayson DeMers, the founder and CEO of AudienceBloom, an SEO and social media marketing agency, he believes that there are two core elements to social media: onsite and offsite. In order to properly establish and grow social media in SEO, both elements must be present and refined:

Onsite elements include:

  • Share buttons (like, recommend, tweet, bookmark, etc.)
  • Connect buttons (Like a Facebook page, Follow on Twitter, Follow on LinkedIn, etc.)
  • A blog

Offsite elements include:

  • Facebook page
  • Twitter account
  • LinkedIn company page
  • Pinterest account
  • Youtube account
  • Guest blog posting
  • Other social media platforms

Marcela De Vivo, the CEO of Gryffin Media, an agency that helps clients improve online visibility, believes that social media and blogging has changed how popularity and relevancy can be measured. She wants companies to seriously consider the impact of Google+ as a game changer in social media SEO. Why, Google+ is the single most powerful social force on the Internet today. Facebook may have a bigger market share, but Google+ has a bigger ownership of search power. Facebook doesn’t write the algorithms; Google does. She feels that by measuring social media data from Google Plus, the disproportionate importance links are given can be corrected, and social media signals can take their place as an essential part of the ranking algorithm. So be sure to share your good content on Google+, and make sure you’ve got a Google+ button wherever you publish social icons.

Brian Honigman, @brianhonigman, a marketing consultant and an active contributor to Mashable, the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and Forbes, has several recommendations, one being to leverage local searches. He states that local search is increasingly important to businesses with a physical location, especially small businesses. Because of rampant mobile use, a majority of local searches for business are now conducted on the go with a smart phone. He suggests that companies should be active where users are searching for certain businesses or service offerings. This includes being active on Yelp, Foursquare, Urbanspoon, Google+ local pages as well an updated location listing on each search engine. Also, ensure that the various local listings are kept up to date as well as all profiles of other platforms like Business on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and anywhere customers in the local area will search for you.

And finally, Apu Gupata, the co-founder and CEO of Curalate he thinks that if the future of social communication is being driven by the consumer through images and videos, then the data-driving SEO, product descriptions, and visual marketing materials should be driven by the way those consumers discuss your products. He suggests three SEO practices:

  1. Evolve from describing the physical characteristics of a product to how the product is used.
  2. Examine how your target audience describes images of your product and improve how you describe these products on your website
  3. Use these two insights and feed them into your visual content creation

SEO and website creation best practices go hand in hand

SEO is a diverse range of Website best practice for raising visibility and discoverability from organic search results. These best practices make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand. When setting up a website, many of the best practices are already essential ingredients for a successful website that impacting your site’s user experience and performance in organic search results. So I thought it would be helpful to look at some of the basic SEO best practices that are also key in building a good website, ones that will not become obsolete in SEO anytime soon.

The first and foremost, we need to remember to build and optimize a website for what is best for your visitors, since these people are the main patrons of your content. This means that the web pages contain content of high quality, compelling and useful content. Well, what constitutes high quality? If you research pages that rank well, they tend to have a number of qualities in common, including comprehensive coverage of topics, easy-to-understand language, easy to read text, more images and videos, and larger word counts, according to the analysis of US Google.com organic search results for 10,000 keywords and 300,000 websites:

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Second, you want your website to be functional and void of errors, as much as possible. When a user experiences an error or missing content, this decreases the user experience. However, Google and other search engines also detect these errors when they crawl your site. One way to check for site errors is to use Google Webmaster Tools (http://www.google.com/webmasters/), under the Crawl section. Since error messages can sometimes be unavoidable, it is wise to have a custom 404 page that guides users back to a working page on your site. Google has a 404 widget that you can embed in your 404 page to automatically populate it with many useful features.

A third best practice is to focus on information architecture, making your site easy to navigate. Good information architecture helps visitors quickly find the content they want. It also helps search engines understand what content the Webmaster thinks is important.

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Always plan out your navigation based on the home page. Create breadcrumb lists to make it convenient for users to navigate back to the home page. Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 9.34.11 PMPages on your site should be linked in an organized, hierarchical way, helping folks find related, relevant information as smoothly as possible. The result should be a clear, organized sitemap that is useful to visitors as well as search engines. Google helped create the open source Sitemap Generator to help us create a Sitemap file for our sites.

Each of these three best practices is aimed at creating the best possible experience for users and visitors. With search engine algorithms changing often, sticking to the basic user-experience web builder best practices can be good start in long-term optimization of your website.

How can LinkedIn be used as a marketing tool?

LinkedIn has 65 million business professionals around the world and is geared toward professional networking with its target demographics being college educated professionals and an average annual household income of $109,000. With  22% of online adults also LinkedIn users and being the only social networking site with usage among 50-60 year olds being higher than usage among 18-29 years old, the potential for business marketing benefits goes well beyond a platform for headhunters and job seekers. With nearly 50% of members have decision-making authority for their companies,  how can I use LinkedIn to effectively market a company and its products to these decision makers without just appearing like I am trying to sell something? This was the question I asked myself when the company I work with wanted to investigate doing a LinkedIn Marketing Campaign.

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Pew Research Center

The first step was to set up a company page, which unlike Facebook, where you have to create a page, if you have more than a few staff members on LinkedIn, you may find that LinkedIn has already created a company page for you or you can just create a company page. This will will require that you become the company’s main contact for the page. The page is basic and will need to add a logo, banner, links, description etc. to get started. With LinkedIn, I can view individual’s full profiles of the people who are following the company’s page, which will give lots of insight as to who follows your company page.

After the page has been created, you need to build your connections and keep the company page and account updated. This will provide you the attention from potential clients and customers. This is also important since the LinkedIn Search engine can offer your company exposure to people who are searching for products or services. LinkedIn will help you with introductions and business connections with people and businesses that you might not otherwise be able to reach. Finally, it is important to get and display recommendations from others on LinkedIn. These word-of-mouth testimonials can deliver credibility that encourages people to do business with you.

There are other more proactive marketing opportunities to use LinkedIn to market your company. Continue to post regular status updates that would be of interest to your target customers and clients. Join and become active in groups related to your business. Participation increases exposure and establishes you as an expert in your field. And send messages and invitations to those in your network and other group members.

Besides proactive participation, LinkedIn offers paid advertising  as well as premium membership like Sales Navigator,  which is a sales tool that helps with lead building and recommendations and real-time sales intelligence.

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Some good examples of companies successfully using LinkedIn to market their brand and products include LinkedIn, Hubspot,  and American Airlines.

Like other social media platforms, successful marketing comes with continuously building your network and becoming consistently active. A great guide you can learn more about marketing on LinkedIn is The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn.


How effective is B2B Facebook marketing?

Like many marketers whose companies supplies and sells products and services only to other businesses, I often contemplate what the real benefits are for having a dedicated Facebook page for Business to Business (B2B) companies. Facebook is primarily regarded a B2C social platform and typically not considered as effective for B2B businesses.

According to research of Pew Research Centers Internet Project, 73% of online adults now use social media, with FB being the most dominant platform at 71% of online users and Facebook also has high levels of engagement among its users: 63% of Facebook users visit the site at least once a day, with 40% doing so multiple times throughout the day. With 1.23 billion users now on Facebook, page has not appealed to many professional contacts. After all the security scares, data on Facebook is fairly well locked down, so unless I know the name personally, it is actually hard to find out why our follower have liked us. From my experience, if a company Facebook page is created and not managed and marketed everyday, it becomes more of a liability than a benefit. For example, customers and end users will post negative comments or use Facebook as a way to seek out attention from customer service. When this happens, marketing becomes the mediator for customers and support, which can drain precious marketing resources and time.

Top B2B Content Marketing Trends in 2013: 



As a B2B company contemplates the issues of whether to be on Facebook or not, they first need to examine what the company’s expectations are. To be successful at social media, you have to determine why you are doing it, and not because everyone else is doing it. What strategic goals and objectives are you trying to reach? You also Are you doing a Facebook site to increase brand awareness, reputation, engagement, leads, sales, traffic to website, loyalty or advocacy? Typical social media business goals:

  • Determine what customers and prospects are saying about your company via social media monitoring
  • Gather competitive intelligence
  • Engage with customers and prospects online
  • Build thought leadership through sharing relevant content
  • Maximize reach of content and messaging in social channels
  • Support existing sales and marketing campaigns
  • Support recruiting and retention efforts
  • Build a customer community to provide support and advocacy

Some tips for starting a B2B Facebook Page:

  • Recruit your employees to like and follow your site. Everyone who liked our Facebook page became a follower and then any content, which I add to our page pops up in their news stream. Facebook clearly has algorithms working out for new webpages, and attention seems to promote the importance to the followers.
  • Promote the new page to friends, business contacts and through our monthly emails to customers.
  • Monitor daily and add content on a regular basis so to keep your followers engaged.
  • Post anything that will ‘humanize’ the company, including photos of employees, trade show photos, pictures of employees working on community service projects, information about company executives speaking, accepting awards, etc.

Some great examples of B2B companies who have successful Facebook pages that can provide inspiration and ideas for how you might use Facebook more effectively for your business:


For a B2B business, Salesforce are brilliant users of Facebook with quality content and great use of pictures making for a highly engaged community and a valuable page.

American Express

American Express OPEN is a really great business resource. Facebook initiatives such as using Membership Rewards points to pay for Facebook ads and Small Business Saturday also make them one of the best users of Facebook around.


Social media experts, HubSpot would be expected to have a top Facebook page. Good use of tabs and great content ensure that they deliver!

The Perfect ‘Ice’ Storm

A few weeks ago, I noticed on Facebook that many old friends and relatives from my home town of Boston began posting videos of themselves pouring a bucket of ice over their heads in the name of awareness and charitable donations to the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association. The person then openly challenged a few friends to do the ice bucket challenge or donate $100 or both, and post a video of it on Facebook to take place within 24 hours.

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At first, I wondered why this was happening only with my Boston area Facebook friends. I found out that a former Boston College baseball player Peter Frates who has ALS began posting about the challenge on Twitter. He is a patient advocate who has been active in fundraising and advocacy work for ALS. Boston, being a huge sports town and Frates’ connection to Boston College sports helped spread the challenge around bean town Facebook. A few days later I notice the same ice bucket challenge had hit my Facebook friends in my present town of Asheville, NC, and realized it was now viral, with everyday Americans, celebrities, politicians, CEOs, sport figures and teams, national news figures etc. all taking part. Boston has been called the epicenter, according to Facebook.

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The ALS ice-bucket-challenge epicenter is Boston according to Facebook

The results speak for themselves. According to the New York Times, the ALS Association had received $41.8 million in donations from July 29 until August 21 from more than 739,000 new, which is more than double the $19.4 million in total contributions the association received during the year that ended January 31, 2013. If you think about it, social media has leveled the playing fields for non-profit organizations that have limited funds to spend on marketing but still need to generate mass awareness. But why did this social media campaign become a national and even international phenomenon in only a few weeks and help an organization spread ALS awareness and increase funds for their one cause?


First, success in social media begins with creating content that engages and captures the attention of your audience and motivates them to spread the word. The ALS ice bucket challenge created a different way of sharing, with people directly participating, sharing their participation via a video, and then encouraging others in their social circle to do the same. So instead of one video spread by many people, it became many people sharing many videos within their circle of friends. And with our connected world of Facebook, it spread across the nation quickly.


Second, this social media campaign is fun and lighthearted. Who doesn’t want to see their friend’s reaction to an ice bucket poured over their head. The videos were short, usually only a few seconds, and funny. People also were encouraged to be creative and put their own spin on their challenge video.


Third, the #icebucketchallenge rules are simple- and require only a bucket, ice, hashtag and video postLow commitment is important when trying to move masses of people to participate.


Fourth, this challenge makes people feel good about their actions and fits right into the Facebook culture of telling everyone how wonderful you are. Plus, the public challenge puts pressure on friends to keep up with your wonderfulness and  contribute or look like a cheap uncaring pathetic person. Shame is always a good motivator, especially on Facebook!


Finally, it was the first to try this tactic. Just like the LiveStrong yellow wrist bands, the first one to create something that goes viral will experience many copycats with their own slight twist on the activity. But like the wristbands, the copycats just don’t have the same impact.


The ALS ice bucket challenge not only has raised awareness and donations in record time for ALS with no marketing cost to ALS Associations, but it shows the power that social media can have to create mass participation of a national conversation about an cause. More than 15 million people have joined in on the conversation about the ice bucket challenge on Facebook, including posting, commenting or Liking a challenge post.  Plus it received an abundance of other media coverage including Twitter and traditional media.