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

2m to read /

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

4m to read /

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