Marketers Toolbox: Designrr

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Marketers Toolbox: Designrr

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: Designrr

Content marketing is a key part of the customer journey and repurposing content into whitepapers or ebooks is a proven way to get people to give their email address. However, designing an ebook or whitepaper is a time consuming process, while paying someone to do it can be expensive.

Designrr creates an ebook pdf in just a few clicks. Choose the content URL and a template and the post is turned fitted into the layout with all visual distractions removed. The templates offer customizable font, color, and style while also offering a large selection of stock photos through Unsplash. There is also a drop in call-to-action element that links back to the site that the content URL came from.

Pricing:

designnr

Designrr makes repurposing content to generate leads easy and cost effective. Allowing for more time to create new content and interact with potential customers.

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How Fox, United Airlines, and Pepsi Dealt with Recent Public Relations Blunders

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How Fox, United Airlines, and Pepsi Dealt with Recent Public Relations Blunders

The basic idea of corporate social responsibility (CSR) advocates for the “triple-bottom line”: economic, environmental, and social accountability (A.K.A. people, planet, profit). In today’s society, corporate business models and their approach to CSR has taken on a darker image in the mind of an evolving public mindset. Moral outrage has been shown to translate into consumer behavior because it can affect the calculation of self-interest. In other words, when companies engage in unethical or insensitive behavior, the public responds swiftly, and without mercy. This “vote with your dollar” trend encourages corporate entities to engage in self-regulation as a business decision, instead of viewing it as an ethical decision.

marketoonist-prcrises

If there is any indication of the value of self-regulation for corporate entities, it’s the recent public relations (PR) crises that major US corporations have experienced. In April alone, Fox News has found itself the middle of yet another sexual harassment scandal, this time centered on Bill O’Reily, not even a year after former founder and CEO, Roger Ailes faced similar allegations; United Airlines came under fire for their treatment of a passenger who refused to give up his seat; and Pepsi faced immense backlash after a controversial commercial that was was deemed as “tone-deaf” by the public.

In basic Crisis Communication Theory, there are three routes a company can take when faced with a crisis: deny involvement, diminish the role they played, or deal with the situation head on.

CrisisCommunicationTheory

Bill O’Reilly and Fox Chose to Deny

Amidst allegations of sexual harassment, Bill O’Reilly has consistently maintained his innocence: “The worst part of my job is being a target for those who would harm me and my employer, the Fox News Channel. Those of us in the arena are constantly at risk, as are our families and children. My primary efforts will continue to be put forth an honest TV program and to protect those close to me.”

The official statement released at Fox denied responsibility as well:

“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously. Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all of our employees at Fox News.”

Despite the fact that The O’Reilly Factor had been one of Fox’s most popular programs, Fox made the decision to cancel the show, while offering O’Reilly a generous exit package. While some view this decision as a form of corporate social responsibility, it’s important to note that Fox’s decision to cancel The O’Reilly Factor came after over fifty advertisers pulled their ad dollars out of the popular cable television show, citing moral reasons as the basis for their decision.

The lesson: Corporate social responsibility plays a role in making strategic business decisions.

 

United Airlines CEO, Oscar Munoz, Diminishes the Role of United in Passenger Debacle

After shocking video footage of a United Airlines passenger being forcefully removed from a flight following his refusal to give up his seat went viral, United Airlines found itself in yet another public relations nightmare. The company tried to distance itself from the situation at first, pointing out the fact that a police officer - not a United employee -  removed the passenger, thus diminishing the company’s role in the altercation.

The reputation repair strategy began with a statement from Oscar Munoz, United Airlines CEO: “This is an upsetting event to all of us here at United. I apologize for having to re-accommodate these customers. Our team is moving with a sense of urgency to work with the authorities and conduct our own detailed review of what happened. We are also reaching out to this passenger to talk directly to him and further address and resolve this situation.”

This statement was met with even more public outcry, this time about his use of the word “re-accommodate,” which people felt further diminished the seriousness of the event.

The lesson: Be honest and take responsibility for the company’s actions.

 

Pepsi Decides to Deal

bernicekingtweetpepsi

Pepsi took a different approach to their own public relations crisis that occurred after Pepsi released an advertisement that featured Kendall Jenner diffusing tensions with the police during a a march reminiscent of the Black Lives Matter movement. Like many other companies engaging in cause-related marketing, Pepsi intended to target young people and appeal to the emergent activist culture… and unfortunately failed.

The statement from Pepsi struck a different tone than United Airlines and Fox, concisely outlining their intent, their apology, and what they plan to do to deal with the situation:

“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further roll out.”

unitedairlines-pepsitweet

Although many were appalled by the advertisement, it may not have been as detrimental to the company as one would think. Stock prices for Pepsi are actually up, perhaps in part due to their effective crisis management strategy.

The lesson: Have a basic understanding of the underlying nuances of an issue before aligning a brand with it.

Courtney Lukitsch, who runs Gotham PR in New York, recently talked to The Guardian about these PR nightmares, saying they were “perfectly avoidable”: “They broke all the rules of PR for beginners: Always be 10 steps ahead, don’t say anything you don’t want broadcast, make sure you have the emotional intelligence to understand how your audience feels and, when in crisis, take responsibility.”

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Marketers Toolbox: Skrapp

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Marketers Toolbox: Skrapp

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: Skrapp

There are few things worse than receiving a bounce after spending time personalizing an email to a relevant prospect. Many tools exist to scrape the internet and replicate corporate patterns to guess email address, but it is a mixed bag and best practices suggest using several tools to find the correct address.

Skrapp is simple to use and has a high accuracy rate. The Chrome extension puts on a button on LinkedIn profiles that once clicked shows what it believes is that person's correct email. There is also the option of finding a list of people's’ email addresses at the same time while exporting them from LinkedIn as CSV files. On the web dashboard, leads can be stored in a segmented directory and existing CSV files of prospects can be imported to find their email addresses.  

Pricing:

  • Free for 200/emails per month
skrapp-pricing

Skrapp has become a valuable addition to the toolbox by saving time and headache.

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A Guide to Working Remotely

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A Guide to Working Remotely

The rise of work-from-home office culture has completely disrupted people’s perception of traditional office environments. Research shows that telecommuting has risen by 79% since 2005, now occupying 2.6% of the workforce. Remote workers tend to put in longer hours and experience increased levels of productivity. (Source: American Community Survey)

When presented with the idea of a work-from-home opportunity, most workers fall into one of two categories:

  • (1) They jump at the opportunity with enthusiasm,
  • or, (2) they express hesitation, worrying that they cannot trust themselves to stay on task.

While research around the relationship between remote work and productivity suggests that in most instances, remote work output is greater than office output, there is undoubtedly an adjustment period for those who have grown accustomed to the traditional office environment. This adjustment period  requires workers to examine their environment, schedule, structure, work-life balance, collaboration tools, etc. to determine their ideal setup. Those who have never telecommuted before should experiment with their newfound freedom to identify the right formula.

Determining the Right Remote Work Environment

Work styles vary significantly: Some people prefer to work in silence, while others enjoy music while they work. Some people enjoy the solitude that a home office provides, while others prefer a co-working space or coffee shop that offers a more social dynamic.

One simple rule dominates remote work: Have a dedicated work space. Aside from that, the perfect work environment depends on personal preferences. When creating this space, consider these factors:

Different colors trigger different emotions. When considering the decor of the home office, one should take into account the psychological effects that each color can have on the brain.
  • Lighting - Lighting that is too dark/too bright can impact people’s moods/ability to focus. Natural lighting is preferable, if possible.

  • Inventory (and elimination) of possible distractions - Whether working in a co-working space or a home office environment, it’s important to understand distractions and combat them appropriately.

  • Temperature - When people notice that their environment is too cold/too warm, it distracts them. Research has shown that drafty work environments correlate with typing errors, while warm rooms can make people drowsy.

  • Colors/Decor - Colors have different effects on brains. There is extensive research on the effects of colors in work environments.

Balancing personal preferences (location, temperature, colors, music, etc.) can lead to the ideal atmosphere for productivity.

 

Creating Structure in the Day When Working from Home

Every successful telecommuter knows that the benefit of work-life balance comes at a price: structure. Without established company processes, it takes organizational skills and self-awareness to create a realistic plan for each day and each week. Without a boss hovering, it takes discipline to stick to a schedule and avoid distractions.

 

Tips for Creating Structure when Working from Home:

  • Create a schedule for each day and a rough outline of tasks for the week. It helps minimize time wasted jumping from task to task.

  • Schedule blocks of time throughout the day for emails so that incoming requests don’t supercede the established plan for the day.

  • Set boundaries for friends and family members to ensure that the temptation to disengage from work is minimized.

  • Allow breaks throughout the day to prevent burnout. Set timers to help prevent a short break from turning into a long break.

  • Create to-do lists to provide a tangible record of completed tasks help to keep remote workers motivated and accountable to their progress.

 

Collaboration across Teams Working Remotely

Coordinating across time zones, creating a company culture, and collaborating across teams all serve as big challenges for remote workers. In a traditional office environment, workers can simply walk to their boss’ office to get their questions answered. With remote work, it’s important for telecommuters to write down questions as they arise and utilize conference calls/virtual meetings to get questions answered all at once.

Lack of face-to-face interaction can be a challenge for remote workers, but new technologies are emerging to help meet the increasing demand for collaboration across remote teams. Project management apps like Meistertask help organize the flow of work across teams, and messaging apps like Slack facilitate a more open dialog within remote teams. Undesirable effects of remote teams are minimized when these technologies are coupled with a conscious effort to interact with coworkers.

 

The Benefits of Working From Home

The challenges that remote workers face can understandably cast a shadow over the real benefits of working from home. 82% of telecommuters surveyed said they’ve lowered their stress level since they started working remotely… and 80% of telecommuters said their morale is higher. (Source: Baseline) These are tangible benefits! The flexibility and balance that telecommuters have gives a whole new meaning to work-life balance.

 

How to maximize productivity when working from home [infographic]

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Marketers Toolbox : MeisterTask

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Marketers Toolbox : MeisterTask

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: MeisterTask

There are no shortage of project management tools out there, but many of the offerings are for very large scale teams or too simplistic to be effective. Finding a tool that is simple to use, offers a wide array of usability, and works for the entire team can be difficult.  

MeisterTask combines an aesthetically-pleasing dashboard, easy interface, and all of the most important features that help teams collaborate on projects effectively. The dashboard is fully customizable to each user, integrating seamlessly with other collaboration apps like Slack, and provides an overview of open projects. Inside projects, there are tasks, checklists, and tags that team members can assign to one another.

Meistertask features

MeisterTask is a great option for small to medium-sized teams or remote workers.

Meistertask-pricing

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New Service Offering From AgencySparks: Speed Dating for Brands and Agencies

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New Service Offering From AgencySparks: Speed Dating for Brands and Agencies

Clients today want experts (read: specialists) rather than generalists to help them solve marketing challenges. Increasingly over the last 3+ years clients have asked AgencySparks to help them find reputable agencies that have been vetted through the Marketing Readiness Report™ (link to services page)  process.

Last month we announced a shift in our model to offer clients more marketing agency choices. Recently, a large financial services client asked us to conduct a unique event designed to help them select a new performance marketing agency partner. The client and I had spoken in the past about conducting a “Lunch & Learn” session where we invite many agencies of different disciplines into their office to expose them to multiple agencies in a short period of time.

This particular request was for three agencies of a similar discipline (pay-per-click, conversion optimization, and analytics). We obliged by inviting three qualified AgencySparks partners to the client’s office where they were each given 15 minutes to outline their organization, their approach, and a few case studies relevant to the client need. Each of the three agencies knew which agencies they were competing against in this process.

The resulting event garnered rave reviews from both the client and the agencies. The client loved that they were able to get a “taste” of three highly qualified agencies during the span of a single hour. Conversely, the agencies loved that they did not have to prepare an extensive pitch paired with spec. creative. The event was analogous to a “speed dating” event in that the participants have a few minutes together to suss out whether there is initial chemistry without wasting an entire dinner.

Here is what the client had to say about the experience: "AgencySparks listened to our specific needs and saved everyone time and energy by introducing us to several highly qualified marketing agencies in a casual environment. Our entire team felt that this format was hugely beneficial to help us find the right partner."

They were so impressed with all three agencies that they invited them back to continue the initial conversation. Moving forward, the agencies will be proposing how they can solve the client need and one of those three agencies will win the business.

Based on the success of this event, we would like to offer a similar opportunity for any client that wants to engage a succinct group of well-vetted agencies able to solve a specific problem. The investment from the client would merely be a tightly defined brief or a quick interview with AgencySparks to ensure that we match the right agency partners. The investment from the agencies is a few minutes of their time to show off agency capabilities and a case study or two. The result is a less expensive, less time-intensive agency selection process.

Speed Dating Cartoon

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Marketers Toolbox: ViewedIt

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Marketers Toolbox: ViewedIt

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: ViewedIt

marketerstoolbox-viewedit

The average office worker receives more than 121 emails a day. Seeing as it could be a full time job to open and reply, many emails get shuffled to the bottom or deleted without ever being opened.

ViewedIt is a tool by the team at Vidyard that allows the user to capture videos through a Google Chrome extension and put them directly into an email. Video messages have a personal feeling about them that differs from the impersonal text blocks that many emails have devolved too. 

The max length per ViewedIt video is one hour and the video will last forever. Best practice is to write the intended recipient's name on a whiteboard so that it is obvious the video is for them by looking at the thumbnail.  

Viewedit faq - marketerstoolbox

ViewedIt is a free service.

Using video as a tactic to succinctly explain a complex issue or cut through the clutter of someone's inbox is gaining traction.

 

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Is Office Culture Dead?

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Is Office Culture Dead?

In 2017, the traditional office environment faces an imminent threat: the rise of remote work. A 2012 poll by Reuters cited that one in five members of the global workforce work remotely… and that number was predicted to rise at a faster rate in the future. That predicted future is here! The fact that cutting-edge, affordable collaboration tools like Slack, Google Hangouts, and Trello are readily available, combined with the decreased limitations and overhead costs of having a physical office, leads people to wonder… is office culture dead?
 

There are several trends that support this shift:

  • 68% of millennials say that remote work options significantly increase their interest in a particular job.
  • Millennials put more emphasis on work-life balance than previous generations, and will soon be the largest segment in the US workforce.
  • 30% of telecommuters say they can accomplish more work in less time, while 24% of telecommuters say they can accomplish more work in the same amount of time.
  • 82% of telecommuters reported lower stress levels.

 

People now challenge the idea of the traditional 9-5 office job as the popularity of remote work and the freelance economy continues to rise. However, office work may not die off entirely. Office environments play a crucial role for businesses who rely on teamwork. “People are more productive when they’re alone, but they’re more collaborative and innovative when they’re together,” says Yahoo chief Marissa Meyer, who recently called Yahoo’s workers back to the office to contribute to the “energy and buzz.” Besides that, millennials often cite company culture as an important element of their career.

This dichotomy of people wanting flexibility and work-life balance on one hand, but also wanting a connected company culture, makes finding a happy medium between remote work and in-office work a more viable solution.  


Pros and Cons of Employees Working Remotely

 

Pros 

  • More agile workforce - Employees who are able to work anywhere, anytime have more agility and a greater degree of responsiveness. Rather than being fully connected for the entire work day, employees are somewhat connected 24/7.
  • Less money spent on overhead - Employers who are remote-only experience significant cost-savings on paying rent/overhead on an office space. 
  • Promotes work-life balance for employees - With the ability to work from home, employees are able to get back valuable commuting time in their day.
  • Promotes employee engagement - The added layer of freedom and control that remote work offers leads to increased job satisfaction. In certain people, the elimination of office distractions and commuting annoyance leads to an increase in overall productivity.
  • Performance-based work environments have been gaining steam.

 

Cons

  • Prone to miscommunication/misaligned goals - Due to the various differences in the ways that people process information, remote teams are vulnerable to miscommunication and/or a disconnection of expectations.
  • Prone to take advantage - It takes a self-starter to work from home diligently - and it’s hard for leaders to evaluate whether or not someone is being productive while they work from home.
  • Communication is less secure - The constant security breaches in big tech companies can make any company leader squirm when someone decides to use their personal device/home WiFi network.
  • Less control for leadership - Leadership does not enjoy as much control over workflow, processes, and outcomes.
  • Glitches - Inevitable technology glitches make it harder to collaborate across teams.

Pros and Cons of Employees Working in an Office Space

 

Pros 

More channels of communication - In addition to all of the technology that remote employees use, office workers enjoy the best communication channel: face-to-face interaction. This leads to a clearer operational direction for employees.
Culture - When a company has a physical office space, employees have more opportunities to interact with one another and build strong relationships, which leads to more team unity, collaboration, and contributes to employee retention.
More control for leadership - Leaders have more visibility into employee’s day-to-day actions.

 

Cons

More Costly - A physical office space adds several line items of operational costs. And having an office space does not ensure that employees will work more diligently. Disengaged employees that simply “show up” to work often just go through the motions and end up costing more money than they’re worth.
Traditional office distractions - Whether these distractions fall into office politics, gossip, or just plain noise, they affect the overall productivity of employees.
Inefficient - For employees, the time spent getting ready for work/commuting could be allocated to more productive tasks.
Too much communication - The benefit of communication can quickly become too much of a good thing if meetings are occupying a large proportion of employees’ time.



A valid argument exists for both remote work and in-office work, but the pressure for employers to offer remote work options will only increase as more people experience its benefits. According to a study published by Stanford University, offering remote work options reduces employee turnover enabled job attrition rates to fall by over 50%.

The traditional idea of an office space will continue to evolve. Every company is different - so company leaders have to assess their organization and experiment in order to strike the balance of remote work and office work. 

When considering some form of remote work policy / telework options, consider:

  • What roles will allow for telework options? Some positions would benefit from working remotely, but others may not.
  • What kinds of people work in the organization? Can they be trusted to handle their workload remotely?
  • How will the company evaluate whether this new policy is beneficial?
  • How is employee productivity against deliverables being tracked?
  • How are soft outcomes like engagement or quality of ideas being tracked?
     
remote work

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive content updates from AgencySparks, click here to subscribe!

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Marketers Toolbox: Outbrain

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Marketers Toolbox: Outbrain

Note: The Marketer’s Toolbox series teaches our readers about new technology we’re using (or experimenting with) that proves to be useful, productive, or just plain entertaining. As a marketer’s secret weapon, AgencySparks believes that the tools we use are vital to our success, thus, a marketer’s toolbox is truly one of our most important resources.

Marketers Toolbox: Outbrain

Spending on re-targeting is not an exact science and requires quite a bit of trial and error. This is a time consuming and frustrating endeavor for smaller businesses.

Outbrain seeks to remove the mystery and expand the reach of companies that otherwise would be overlooked. For brands and agencies they find the premium audience most interested in the content on offering to provide maximum value for money spent.

“It's the value of bringing audiences and content together. We delight readers, create revenue, drive engagement and breed consumer insight, bringing premium publishers and marketers of all sizes into the world’s most vibrant content marketplace.” direct quote from about page

Pricing

 10% of cost-per-click spend

Outbrain removes the guesswork and time to place retargeting ads.

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive the #MarketersToolbox weekly, click here to subscribe!

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The Evolution and History of Content Marketing

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The Evolution and History of Content Marketing

The evolution of content marketing is often debated amongst marketers. Some say content marketing has existed since humans had the ability to write. Others describe the first instance of content marketing as early as 1732, when Benjamin Franklin first published his first annual Poor Richard’s Almanac with the goal of generating interest in his printing business.

And while Benjamin Franklin was a content creator, it’s hard to say whether his content qualifies as “content marketing.” It may have been intended to help his printing business, but the publication was more of a collection of Franklin’s interests combined into something that resembled a magazine. It included a calendar, poems, sayings, astrological and astronomical information, and stories told in serial format. The Poor Richard’s Almanac lacked a central topical focus and a clear target audience.

This points to an important question: What is content marketing… and how has it evolved over the years? Clearly, it takes on many forms, exists in many mediums, but all content marketing strategies share a few common characteristics:

  • Content marketing provides value to the target audience. Valuable content can take on different forms, like education, entertainment, or a resource.
  • Content marketing intends to position a brand as a thought leader/passionate advocate for a particular subject matter that aligns with the brand.
  • Content marketing intends to strengthen relationships and trust between customers and a brands. It should be shareable to maximize its reach.
  • Content marketer’s focus is on “pulling” new customers into a brand rather than “pushing” towards a sale, which makes it a particularly useful tool in cross-selling. This is also referred to as “inbound marketing.”

Here are several examples that demonstrate the evolution of content marketing:

1895 - John Deere’s The Furrow leverages content marketing to educate its target audience

The Furrow - 1897 - John Deere
The Furrow 1959 - John Deere

Most people in the marketing industry have arrived at the consensus that the first, real instance of content marketing came in 1895, when John Deere released its first issue of The Furrow, a magazine designed to be a resource for farmers. It taught them about how to become more successful business owners in the agricultural industry. It’s still in circulation today!

1900 - The Michelin Guide leverages content marketing to create an entirely new level of demand

1900 Edition - Michelin Guide

It’s the early 1900’s in France… and The Michelin brothers faced a problem: they did not have enough demand for their high-quality tires. This lack of demand was because there simply were not enough people driving cars in France during that time. Instead of spending money on traditional marketing techniques, the Michelin brothers used an alternative approach of focusing on travel rather than tires.

Hence, the brothers published The Michelin Guide, intended to assist French people in their pursuit of discovering new people, places, and experiences. Using “Michelin Stars” to convey a level of excellence and quality, they elevated their brand while helping people have better travel experiences.  As a result, The Michelin Guide readers discovered the joys of the open road… and the demand for Michelin tires grew. Until this day, the Michelin star is a highly coveted award.

1930’s - Procter & Gamble “Soap Operas” introduce the first instance of “native advertising” through branded entertainment

Procter&Gamble-SoapOpera

The term “soap opera” stems from a time when soap manufacturers sponsored radio (and eventually, television) story-form dramas. Programming partnerships emerged as a means for advertisers to reach the main consumers of household goods (which, at that time, were stay-at-home wives and mothers). Instead of educating customers to drive demand, Procter & Gamble entertained its customers to generate brand loyalty. 
 

Mid-to late 20th Century - Mad Men-style advertising throws content marketing aside

madmeneraads

Starting in the mid-20th century, mass advertising campaigns dominated the marketing space. Television and print ads reigned during this time. This era of mass, multi-channel marketing left little room for content creators who engaged in one-to-one marketing. Marketing tactics devolved into a means to convert more sales, faster.
 

 

 

Present Day - Content marketing makes a comeback in the digital age

Since the dawn of the internet, content marketing has made an astonishing comeback. As consumers become more and more disenfranchised with advertising (interruption), combined with the lack of barriers that the internet marketing landscape offers the power of Google, people are consuming more content than ever. Today, content marketing comes in many forms: blog posts, eBooks, white papers, reports, infographics, podcasts, visual content, webinars, user-generated content, etc. 

Credit: Tom Fishburne - Marketoonist.com

Credit: Tom Fishburne - Marketoonist.com

These new opportunities come with new strings attached. In 2016, 88% of brands cited that they engaged in some form of content marketing. The “content is king” mantra that marketers follow has led to an extremely cluttered information space. Some marketers, in their pursuit of creating content for content’s sake, have lost sight of why content marketing was so successful in the first place: it created value for the audience. Disingenuous content marketing is increasingly prevalent and sponsored content is becoming a new source of distrust among consumers.

Content Marketing Trends Moving Forward

While the content marketing landscape is cluttered, creating valuable content for a target audience is still an extremely effective campaign strategy. To break through the clutter, brands must have customer-centric content with a smart channel strategy. 

Current Trends:

  • Influencer marketing continues to grow as a way to break through the digital landscape’s never-ending clutter, by aligning content with established and brand-independent thought leaders via social media.
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) is a coveted skill amongst marketers, enabling branded content to rise through search rankings and thus, gain more visibility.
  • Cause-related marketing helps brands build trust with their consumer base while aligning with a cause they believe in.
  • Interactive Content and Virtual Reality (VR) will continue to grow, offering consumers a full-on experience that aligns with a particular brand.
     

The "Golden Rule" of content marketing comes down to empathy: Market to others as you would have them market to you. Provide content that YOU would value if you were in your target audience's position. 

Credit - OutBrain

Credit - OutBrain

AgencySparks ignites meaningful connections for marketers that help drive business. Contact us for introductions. To receive content updates from AgencySparks, click here to subscribe!

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