Today's consumer is ready for one-to-one marketing. In a segment of One.

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Forget demographic segmentation – today's consumer is a segment of one. As technology is re-writing the rules of marketing, media and brand communication – and the main driver seems to be mobile – today's consumer is empowered with increasing choices and control, and is really a unique, individual segment. An individual target.

We need to start thinking of marketing and advertising to individuals, not a group or a mass. Focus needs to be shifted from 'audiences' to individuals, and that really changes marketing as we know it. Today's tech savvy consumer is so adept with technology, so focused on their individual need, that we cannot cut through the clutter of a mass audience targeting any longer.

People instinctively tune out messages that don't directly cater to them. This has become so easy with mobile, and in particular with Search. People today are in a 'micro-moment behavior' mode (as Google calls it). It's really personal need based and intent is the new gold in marketing.

Intent is the new black in digital marketing. In-the-moment marketing is what's hot.

When, in my moment of immediate need, I turn to my mobile and find a solution right there, right then, brands really need to focus on delivering both relevance and immediacy. The consumer today is used to information and solutions when they want it, no matter where they are. And, in particular, solutions that are available immediately around them.

Google reminds us that "When it comes to getting trusted advice, most people turn to a friend or family member—someone who really understands them. And now, according to the latest data, that list includes search. Consumers now believe that answers to their most specific questions are out there, and they trust search to deliver the right response at the right time."

Brands need to understand that when it comes to looking for a solution to their immediate need, people turn to search—and they expect content that meaningfully and quickly addresses those needs. Brands that will be able to communicate effectively with the empowered consumer need to anticipate the need and then provide resolution. And the solutions or the directions to them need to be there in the right context – be relevant – in real time and in the right language and the right conversational tone.

Knowing more about the consumer is obviously key. That's the starting point, specially if you are going to hyper target your audience. Data driven customer and target insight is key today – which allows you to develop truly insight driven creative that resonates. Provide something meaningful for that one person - at the right moment and in the right context. And focus on mobile.

Customer Insights is your First Step in Digital Marketing

5 Ways to get your Paid Social Strategy right

3m to read / 

Here are 5 ways to get on the right track for a solid paid social media strategy. As brands are being compelled to turn to paid social, with organic really being forced and downgraded by platforms, it becomes important to remember some basics to getting paid social strategy right as you go.

Paid social is becoming the go-to solution for most brands these days as organic posts are really being downgraded as a viable option by the platforms. Besides, paid social does have its benefits – it provides far better targeting, better optimization and much better tracking of performance overall. But to get it right, a social strategist should remember a few basic steps...

1. Get targeting right

Yes, paid social does offer a far better targeting opportunity, but with hugely increased paid social traffic and increased competition, the costs can really spiral out of control. Because more and more brands are targeting the same hearts and minds (and eyeballs) of consumers, campaigns can get derailed, and the cost per intended action get sometimes really get out of control.

What becomes important here is targeting strategy and getting it right. And, doing it different from what the competition is doing. If your competition is after a typical demographic, and that's how they target, it's wise for you to focus on some other way – maybe different interests amongst your audience, or different sets of behavior. 

2. Cut through with better creative

No matter how you target, getting your creative right is critical. You can only cut through all the noise that the competition is creating with stand out creative that appeals to the right audience, in the right context, and at the right time. Naturally, you'll need to do some serious A/B testing (or even multi variant testing) and optimize your creative according to the results – and this needs to be done in continuum – throughout your campaign's lifecycle, so your message stays on top.

3. Set goals, manage expectations

It's important to set clear goals for your campaign – particularly when you are putting money behind it. Make sure that every one involved, and/or every one that has a stake in the campaign across multiple departments knows what the expectations are – and that goals reflect overall strategy, not just what the sales department, or the PR department is after. Share what metrics you will be measuring success against ahead of time, so every one knows what the campaign is up against. Set clear KPIs and make sure that they cover what the overall goals are.

4. Influencers and their influence on your paid social

Influencer marketing – particularly when under the umbrella of paid social can get really tricky – specially because they can play havoc with budgets. Influencers most often have their own social strategies, and your brand has to work with the way they operate across multiple platforms – and usually not the other way around. And again, you need to define for every one how you look at the results of influencer via social – is that earned media, is that paid? At the end of the day, you and the entire team with you (including the ones making the budget decisions and the heavy marketing decisions) need to understand that influencers don't come free, and no matter how much they can do for your brands social results – you are paying for it. So, in that sense getting influencer strategy right in important for paid social.

5. Who's paying for paid social? Who owns it?

That's the final part of paid social strategy. Who is really paying for it and what are their goals?  Is it the overall marketing team that's responsible for the paid social budget? Is it PR? Is the sales team paying for a one-off campaign? And are the paying stakeholders aware of the pros and cons of paid social? Do they really know the potential power of it? Have you walked them through the strategy, the goals, the KPIs, the metrics of success measurement and the on-going optimization and performance improvement parameters? No matter who pays for it, someone in your organization needs to take ownership of paid social, and drive it to its best possible outcome.

Please share this post and feel free to add your comment.

6 Simple Steps to Win with Content Marketing

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Content marketing is still, in some quarters of marketing, a darling of the industry. In fact, it morphs and gets better with time – as types of content change and evolve. Here are six ways to get your content marketing strategy to work harder for you.

1. Start with focus. Focus on the User.

Your clear focus should be the user. Your content should really be out there to benefit the user, and thereby endearing the user to your brand. Whether you get all other boxes ticked, and you have great content from a brand perspective, and it's created well, published in proper context, if you have lost your focus on the user, you've lost the plot from moment one. So make sure your content addresses where your target audiences are, what they are looking or searching online for, what will resolve problems or needs they have, how they behave online – and that your content is after all a rewarding experience for them.

2. How to focus on the user? 

Have clear content goals, research your content and plan ahead.
Content needs to be planned and not written or created on a whim. Have you done your Google keyword planner homework, or are you just hoping and praying your content will resonate? Content needs to focus on user needs, and you need to know those needs first. Does your content have a clear goal? What do you want to achieve? More sales? More awareness? Better engagement with loyal customers? All these questions have different answers, and need different pieces of content. Align internally with your departments and have a feel for what their goals are. Plan ahead and then brief your content creators properly. Properly, so that content is effective and efficient.

3. The content brief is critical.

Coming from an advertising background, I cannot stress the importance of a good brief enough. Be clear in your brief on what you want to achieve, who the content is aimed at, where (which channel) it will appear, the tone of voice it will adopt, guidelines to follow... The brief is a reflection of what you have planned for, what research you have done, and what you know about the target audience segment you want to address. Content for Gen Z audiences cannot be the same as one that young moms will like and share.

4. Great content? Grab attention with great headlines and subject lines.

I've seen great content on YouTube that has pathetic subject lines. I have stumbled upon blog posts that are mega useful, but the headline was all over the map, and had nothing to draw the user in. Content is a first go-to for the fashion and automotive industries, but sadly these scream of poor headlines. What does "For the Love of Mike" have to do with, say, a new model car review? Or a fantastic video on how to apply mascara titled "Good morning ladies"? Your headline or subject line should be standout quality – enough to draw the user in and make sense to search engines as well.

5. Select the right content channels and be consistent across them.

It is not, repeat, not important to be across every channel, every social medium. Again, focus on where your true target audience is going to be, and as well, where, as a brand you could or should be. Do you fit in on Snapchat? Is your message suited for the here and now of twitter? Should you experiment with tumblr? Get your channels to work keeping message, audience and your brand in mind.

And then be consistent. Your message, your content should be suited to both the medium and the audience that's on it. Your story should be the same, it may vary depending on channels, it may vary from a tone of voice perspective, but your content needs to be consistent in what it's saying. And, yes, consistency needs to keep the medium in mind – you cannot use the same tone on twitter that you would on a blog post.

6. Don't sell. Create great experiences.

Consistently selling is overselling when it comes to content. You can wrap an entire 600 word post around a single goal – sell your new product – but it won't work if it's all just a disguised buy me now message. Whatever medium you've selected, you need to create a rewarding experience for your audience there. Is your YouTube content too long to sit through. Does it stick beyond the five second click out? Is your blog suffering from poor typography and sheer bad design? Is your owned content (website) totally boring while you are trying so hard to be tragically hip on Facebook?

Check and pre-flight your content. Ensure it is error free. If it's video, it doesn't have to be shot in 4K, but it needs good lighting, clear audio, and the story told quickly and effectively. If it is written content, what's the user experience? Does it deliver on promise? Does the user feel that checking out your content was well worth it?

Good content, in closing is one that resonates, that answers to what the user is looking for, that is precise, that is sharable, and one that endears the user to your brand. It does not interrupt, it allows for participation and enjoyment. Remember, content is king. But apparently, getting the context right is God.

I'm sure there are many more ways to get content right. Please feel free to add your bit in comments...

Now read these related posts:

11 Amazingly Easy Ways to Skyrocket your Content Marketing Results

7 Easy Steps to Launching your Brand's Social Media Campaign

3m to read /

Follow these seven simple steps to launch a successful social media campaign for your brand. Whether you are a SME or a large business, a digital marketer or an agency, these easy to follow steps are essential for a social media campaign that will get you the results.

1/ Start with setting goals and budgets

Social media isn't a stand alone effort. Check with your colleagues and teams as to what their business goals are for the campaign you will launch. What are you building this campaign for? Awareness? Sales? Increasing customers or launching  new product. Clearly define your goals and have a sense of direction. With this in mind have a budget in mind. How much are you willing to spend? What are your conversion goals based on that budget. Work towards your campaign with these parameters in mind.

2/ Assign a team 

Once you have goals, you'll probably know who would be the best people around you – who have a decent amount of knowledge, and ideally both experience and expertise in social media marketing – to be on your campaign team. Remember, not every one will have the same enthusiasm for every campaign. Note that you'll need someone for strategic direction, for content creation and production, and someone who will manage the community and connect with your audience and track progress. Pick your best, before you begin.

3/ Define your channels based on your goals

Your campaign can't do everything for everybody. As set out in your goals, you have a specific task for the campaign. Based on this, select which channels or platforms you want to be on (or should be on). Every kind of content has one or two specific channels that are best to deliver that content on. What you can do on YouTube is very different from what you can do on Pinterest. Or Twitter. Do a proper bit of research on your target audience. and what goals you have defined, and then set a channel strategy for the campaign.

4/ Define the objective in detail and what value will the campaign bring?

The first step in this direction is to get solid customer insights. Once you know more about your target audience, and what value you can provide for them in your campaign, you need to set out these objectives in detail. What is exactly the one single purpose of the campaign? Are you offering a discount or a special offer? Is his a seasonal campaign? Are you trying to create better brand awareness? Is it a 'how to use our products better?' or a customer service oriented campaign? This wil help define the next step – content creation.

Read this: 
Win with Content for your Brand: Give away value and usefulness

5/ Develop your content

Do you have a content strategy? One that will resonate with your goals and your objectives? Is content going to be for long or short term? Does it provide value? Is it useful? Will your audience come back for more?

Ideally, any content you create as a brand should be able to attract your target audience. That's the opening position. You need to come across as someone who's there with the right information for what they're looking for, and that you are the authority on that information, that topic. Your content needs to engage and build a sense of 'need' – that's how you build affinity or loyalty to your content. Finally, a brand's content after all, isn't there for charity. You want your audience to take some sort of action – to buy your product, to share your content, to believe in your brand. You need to drive towards that end game.

Content usually responds to a need. Your content should be there as a solution, as a response to that need. Your content needs to be there in our search driven world.  Before you set out on developing a content calendar or create a content strategy, you need to have a grasp on what your audience expects from you as a brand. A good content plan is built around the customer.

6/ Have a distribution strategy and create a schedule

One important way to succeed with your brand's content marketing efforts is to get content distribution strategy right. You may be creating amazing content, but unless you add the value of 'context' to that content – meaning distribute them across relevant platforms and media, your content will remain distant and irrelevant to your target audience.

Once you know where and how you will engage with your audience, define when. Do you need to post once a day? Twice? Or does your campaign feel right for just once a week? And when also means on which platforms at which time of day.

7/ Publish, engage, track and follow up

Once you launch your campaign – across the platforms and channels that you have defined as best suited for the purpose and detailed objectives, you need to track your performance, you need to continuously engage with your audience – following up, listening to what they say, answering back, and tracking your performance. And you then use what you are learning either to replenish your campaign, perhaps revise it, fine tune it, and keep at it.

Please share this with your friends and colleagues, and do feel free to add your comment. Thank you.

2018 Trend: How AI will drive ad targeting and frequency to improve efficiency

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How many times does your brand's message or ad needs to be exposed to your audience for them to act on it? While there are no definitive numbers out there, and many marketers use tools such as econometric modeling to figure out an "effective frequency" number for exposures, Artificial Intelligence is going to come into play to help you decide. That's what will trend in 2018.

Research has shown that the minimum number of exposures for a good recall is around 10. There's a school of thought that states that repetition is essential to generate audience response*. And then there's the audience who gets really turned off seeing a message over and over again. It's called 'copy wear out' in media terms. So where's the middle ground?

With consumer attention being the currency that every marketer is trading in today, we need help. And, like in many other areas of marketing technology, AI will probably rise to the occasion and come to our aid.

With multi-channel marketing now common across digital and social (and, traditional offline as well, of course), there's a huge amount of exposure that our message can actually get. Provided, of course, the media dollar is behind the push. But how much is enough? We are seeing advances in AI powered technology and tools that are able to predict ad effectiveness and the right frequencies on programmatic media exercises. AI is also playing a role in cross-targeting, remarketing and bringing a much needed sense of consistency of message to a particular audience. Even, one by one. One pair of eyeballs at a time. That's the magic of ad tech.

Ad tech works with data and targeting, using clever algorithms (sometimes generated on the fly) to empower brand marketers and publishers to improve the effectiveness of their campaigns by getting frequency right. The beauty of AI is that these Intelligent are learning every second – increasing and building on their intelligence. And because of this, they can modify and customize the campaign and the exposure quotient based on the learning. Rather than relying on intuition, these AI based algorithms are based on actual experiences.

They are also capable of quickly learning from not just exposure, but time of exposure, frequency within a certain time frame, and response levels. So, they can actually change creative quickly, on the fly. Or simply stop targeting a non-responsive member of the target group to make the spend a lot more effective. Overall, that's a lot of dollars and sense for marketers. The intelligence may be 'artificial' but for us, it is very much real.

Please share this post with your friends and colleagues, and feel free to add your comment below.

Now read these related posts:

How AI and VR will disrupt and shift your brand's digital marketing

Top jobs in Digital and Social Media at agencies and Brands for 2018

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The number of job titles and descriptions at agencies that deliver digital marketing solutions is an ever increasing list. What are the roles involved and where do they fit in in the digital product cycle? Ever day in this connected age of marketing, we see new points of engagement come to the foreground, and naturally new positions are created, or current roles are customized to address the new areas of focus. 

Here's a starting-point list of the most common job titles and roles at advertising, media, social media and specialized digital services agencies...


Channel Neutral Planners, Brand Managers, Strategic Planners (non digital specific)
Integration Director/Manager, Integrated Content Manager/Coordinator

Digital Strategy

Digital Strategists – define the role of the brand in digital specific channels 
Audience & Insight: Insight specialist, data analysts, Analytics Managers,
Content Strategy Managers/Directors, Engagement Strategy Managers, Campaign & Eco-system Planners, Social Voice Strategy Managers, Behavior Analysts, Trends Analyst,
Performance Marketing Director/Manager/Specialist, Usability Engineer/Strategist
CRO Specialist (Conversion Rate Optimization), CRO Director, CRO Analyst, CRO Data Specialist
Data Planner, Affiliate Marketing Manager/Specialist, 

Digital Creative

Creative Technologist
Digital Creative Director, Digital Art Director, Digital Production Artist, Graphic Designer, Digital Identity Development Art Director, 
Video Director, Videographer, Video Editor, Video Producer
Digital Content Director, Content Creation Manager, Copywriter, Content Editor
SEO-relevant writer, SEO specialist
UI/UX Designers, UI/UX analyst
Digital Programmatic Creative Specialist/Manager/Director
Pre flight manager, Traffic Manager, 
Project Manager

Social Media

Social Media Director, Social Media Manager, Social Media Account Handler/Associate
Social Media Strategists (Director/Manager), Social Media Planners, Social Calendar Developer
Community Manager
Social Media Data Analyst, Social Media Monitoring Manager/Director, 
Social Media Distribution Manager, Social Content Publisher
Social Specific Content Manager, Social Content Art Director, 
Paid Social Manager, Paid Social Planner

Customer Experience

Web & Mobile Experience Architect, Website Designer, Website Developer, Mobile Apps Strategist, Mobile App Designer, Customer Engagement Analyst, UI/UX specialist,  CMS specialist, 
Programmers, Specialist Programmers, Mobile Code specialists, Applications Designers, Loyalty Specialist Designers, CRM designers, Website Pre-flight Analyst, QA&QC Manager, 
Experience Strategy Director, Digital Activation Manager/Director, 
e-Commerce Director, e-Commerce Strategy Director, e-Commerce Designer, e-Commerce Creative Director/Art Director, e-Commerce Content Analyst, e-Commerce Code specialist, e-Commerce Product Analyst, e-Commerce Content Coordinator
eMail Marketing Specialist/Manager/ Creative Director, eMail Marketing Analyst


Innovation Leads, Digital Product & Service Development Manager/Director, Innovation Lab Director, Innovation strategy Director, IOT Specialist, IOT interface designer, Wearables Strategist, Wearables interface designer


Digital Media Director, Digital Media Strategy Director/Manager, Digital Media Engagement Director, Digital Media Data Analyst, 
Digital Media Associates, Media Planners, 
Digital Media Buying Manager/Director, Digital Media Buyer, 
Digital Media Dashboard Manager, Programmatic Director/Manager, Digital Media Content Analyst, Digital Media Pre Flight Manager/Associate, Digital Media Distribution Manager, 
Media Creative Director, Media Art Director, Media Engagement Manager/Director
Media Content Manager, Media Content Writer
RTB Director/Manager, RTB Specialist (Real Time Bidding)
Paid Social Planner, Paid Social Buyer


SEO Analyst, SEO Specialist, SEO Consultant, SEO writer, SEO Coordinator, SEO tag specialist, SEO specialized Web Designer/Developer
SEM planner, SEM strategy director, SEM Buying specialist/Manager/Director, PPC Director, PPC Analyst, Keywords Analyst, Trends Analyst,  Growth Specialist, SEO Editor, Bidding Director, 
Demand Generation specialist, 

Account Management/ Client Interface / Agency Management

CEO – Digital, Digital Managing Director, Digital Group Director, Digital Account Manager, 
Client Services Director/Manager/Associate, Digital Services General Manager
Social Media Director/Manager/Associate, CRM Manager, Experience Director, 

I haven't even mentioned niche job titles like "Snapchat Content Strategist" or "Digital Culture Analyst" – those jobs are either super niche and fall into the "invented here" bracket, or are just ways of luring brands through the front door.

If you're a brand looking for an agency and have really specific needs, you need to figure out if they are equipped to handle what you want, or are they just going to get someone within their staff to just try and "talk the walk". The roles above cover a wide spectrum – some are highly specialized roles needing unique skill sets – the others simply evolve from current roles and job descriptions. Either way, that's how agencies and brands today are defining and rising to the needs of digital marketing. And just knowing about these roles is basic knowledge – its Digital Marketing Strategies 101

Please add your comment if I have missed a role or job title that you feel should be included in this list.
Here are some posts that address digital marketing needs and how they are best addressed by key people in the roles above:

Insights & Data/Analytics

Customer Experience & Social

and one transformative development that's redefining roles at agencies:

9 key Digital Marketing Trends for 2018 that you need to follow

3m to read / 

Just about a week into this new year, and we can see some clear trends emerging for digital marketing. Yes, 2018 will see quite a few new trends emerging, although some of them will really be reiterations of some trends we have seem emerge across the last couple of years. Here are some trends you need to follow and keep track of, to stay on top of your brand's digital marketing game.

1. Phygital marketing

This is my big one for 2018. Digital will no longer stand alone as a separate discipline. It really just cannot anymore. In order for 'digital' to work, it will need to be seamlessly integrated into real-life experiences – and this will really be this whole 'experiential' trend that everyone is talking about. In particular, at sporting events, at concerts, we are seeing the online and mobile experience leading into the actual physical – and, as well, blending the two, often with AR and VR playing a key role. This will become big.

2. AR (Augmented Reality) will be a lead in Social Media

Brands on social media will need to take a serious look at using AR. With our smartphones becoming increasingly powerful, social platforms will start to integrate AR technology, and this will enale brands to use AR and social in interesting new ways. Pokemon Go did this a couple of years back, and it's only now that we'll see wider scale adoption.

3. Data to drive most aspects of marketing

For brands, understanding their customers and their target audiences have never been as important as now. And, data – converted into intuitive marketing insights – will be at the core of this. Understanding the customer journey – across all aspects of the multi-channel marketing spectrum – will be key. And data science will become a key aspect of marketing. This will lead to better targeting, better and cleverer remarketing and, on to better loyalty.

4. Targeted ads with real power

The days of pray and spray marketing are done. This year, we will see a far more focused energy being driven into creating advertising that's resolution driven for the consumer and customer. Campaigns will be micro-targeted and hyper-personalized – speaking to individuals at their very moment of need – focusing on their need, their experience and with conversion in mind. 

5. Again, video. Video marketing has arrived and here to rule.

I said this last year, as did Cisco and many leading pundits: video marketing is going to be very, very big. Video is  the most popular and influential form of digital content for digital marketers today, and it holds the power to persuade better than any other content medium. With attention becoming an expensive commodity, what with multi-tasking, brands will need to re-focus energies on video content – to get better search ranking, better engagement and better content recall.

6. And, make that Live Video.

Every social platform now offers some form of live video – and most are trying to out-gun each other will various new features and ways of using live video. To really best utilize the power of live video, it will need to be high quality, delivering content that has value for the consumer, and be structured and organized – while still, of course with the reality of it being live. That's going to ba a challenge, but with advances in technology, and better pre-planning, I'm convinced good content creators will win this game.

7. Conversational experiences

Chatbots and their conversational use in marketing is becoming rather common. Watch out for more adoption of brand-customer or brand-audience conversations (see voice marketing, later) using platforms like Google Home, Amazon Alexam Microsoft Cortana and more. I'm beting that this aspect will become part and parcel of our lives – and speaking to a connected device in our moment of need (Google calls these micromoments) will be commonplace. As technology better grasps natural language processing, this will make it second nature for us.

8. Voice as marketing tool

With voice search increasingly taking over the the way we search, with our mobile phones now almost surgically attached to us, voice as a marketing tool should really come into its own this year. We are increasingly going to ask our phones, our cars, our smart fridges to do things for us, and brands have a huge opportunity to stand by, and become a handy resolution provider at that time of query or need. This will be a whole new kind of content marketing.

9. Humanize, personalize and win the game

I mentioned hyper targeting. But we really need to believe in, and adopt true personalization of our brand communications across all aspects of our marketing. From landing pages that are made-for-one – instantly, and on demand, to apps that are micro-developed in the instant using clever algorithms, to even digital OOH applications that speak to an individual, true personalization will change the game this year, and make brand communications genuine, interesting, engaging, and human.

That's just the top trends for 2018. And there are several other areas that will break out and become important to keep track of. Do share this, and comment below. Thanks. Have a wonderful and meaningful 2018.

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