tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy Latest Content marketing content from Econsultancy 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69424 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 2017-09-20T11:47:17+01:00 Marketers have more data than ever, so why aren’t they better at experimentation? Frederic Kalinke <p>As marketing is being transformed by advances in our ability to collect and manage data, the industry is becoming more ‘scientific’. This is why every day it becomes more important for marketers to heed Feyerabend’s advice.</p> <h3>A hypothesis about data</h3> <p>The crucial element in the recent evolution of marketing has been data. The collection of comprehensive data about customers and their behaviour promised marketers unprecedented insight into the effectiveness of their efforts, including of course <a title="How retail marketers can ensure they deliver the ‘right’ customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67526-how-retail-marketers-can-ensure-they-deliver-the-right-customer-experience/" target="_blank">where they should spend more</a> and where they had been wasting their budget.</p> <p>Consequently, marketing began to worship at the altar of data, eventually giving rise to the fascination with the nebulous “<a title="Ten Ways Big Data is Revolutionizing Marketing and Sales" href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/louiscolumbus/2016/05/09/ten-ways-big-data-is-revolutionizing-marketing-and-sales/1" target="_blank">big data</a>.” Marketers now have the ability to collect data on almost anything they want.</p> <p>The fact that the underlying principles of marketing have remained much the same throughout this process (sell more stuff by putting what you’re selling in front of the right people in the right way) therefore begs the question: <strong>Why aren’t marketers doing better?</strong></p> <h3>How not to do things with data</h3> <p>Marketers have been getting their relationship with data the wrong way round. Simply, the answer is never in the data. In fact, the best way to get answers is to forget about the data.</p> <p>In scientific inquiry, trawling through existing data is rarely conducive to innovation. Trying to piece new things together from the mass of what you already know is an aimless, hopeless endeavour. You become a prisoner of conventional wisdom, reaching ever narrower, less original conclusions, with an increasing likelihood of being wrong.</p> <p>Scientific research shares at least this much in common with marketing. For example, we have data on the most shared headlines for content marketing. (<a title="We Analyzed 100 Million Headlines. Here's What We Learned." href="http://buzzsumo.com/blog/most-shared-headlines-study" target="_blank">Buzzsumo collated 100 million of them</a>.)</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9053/buzzsumo.jpg" alt="" width="750" height="900"></p> <p>According to the data the top three-word phrases to use in article headlines for maximum shares are “will make you,” “this is why,” and “can we guess.” Widely-shared articles also begin with “X reasons why” or “X things you,” and very frequently include appeals to emotion.</p> <p>However, as Marketing Profs’ Ann Handley correctly noted in response, marketers should not “take this information and conclude that the best headline to use forever and always is something like 10 Ways That Will Make You a Better Headline Writer (and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!).”</p> <p>What this demonstrates is a problem with attempting to draw useful conclusions from data alone. While there are many things we can conclude from Buzzsumo’s impressively comprehensive analysis, not many of them are useful for content marketers attempting to come up with headlines.</p> <p>In fact, Handley gets it absolutely right when she urges marketers to “get a little creative with headlines.” Not only will different types of headlines work differently in different contexts (we cannot all be Buzzfeed, and we definitely should not try to be) but it is only by being creative that we actually end up writing better headlines.</p> <p>Simply mimicking the headline formats that currently work well will create not only an artificial ceiling over how successful content can be, but suffers inevitably from <a title="Regression towards the mean" href="https://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/regrmean.php" target="_blank">regression towards the mean</a>. This is what happens when marketers limit themselves according to convention.</p> <p>If the answer is clickbait, you asked the wrong question.</p> <h3>How to do things with data</h3> <p>A marketer trying to come up with more effective headlines for her content does not need an answer to the question, “what are the most popular phrases in headlines?”, she needs an answer to a specific question, “is my content going to perform better if I use this phrase or that phrase?”</p> <p>These questions are easy to confuse. The crucial difference is that our hypothetical marketer cannot use the answer to the first question to make any sort of conclusion about how to act. She will simply learn more about what has worked for others and be restricted to coming up with derivative ideas.</p> <p>Just because something worked for somebody else, it does not mean it will work for you. And when it comes to the over-saturated world of online content, the fact that something worked for somebody else means precisely that it is less likely to work for you.</p> <p>It is the second question, a specific one about some actual ideas, that represents the best way to go about dealing with this problem. It is a practical question that makes data useful and this is because it puts new ideas ahead of old conventions.</p> <h3>What does genuinely experimental marketing look like?</h3> <p>A particularly clear recent example of this is <a title="Why AS Roma revel in being the weirdest football club on social media" href="http://www.thedrum.com/news/2017/08/31/why-roma-revel-being-the-weirdest-football-club-social-media" target="_blank">AS Roma’s successful approach to social media video</a>. In an industry where <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68696-digital-transformation-in-the-premier-league-southampton-fc-s-fan-first-strategy/">all the major football clubs</a> (and a lot of the minor ones) are stepping up their digital marketing and where almost every player transfer is announced with slick professional video on social media, Roma succeeded by doing something different.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Schick?src=hash">#Schick</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ASRoma?src=hash">#ASRoma</a> <a href="https://t.co/JAIvKGYS7P">pic.twitter.com/JAIvKGYS7P</a></p> — AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) <a href="https://twitter.com/ASRomaEN/status/902546975681388544">August 29, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>These idiosyncratic videos embody Feyerabend’s “only principle that doesn’t inhibit progress.” Where their competitors acted like sheep, <a title="Roma fan explains latest transfer announcement video on Twitter" href="http://www.asroma.com/en/news/2017/8/roma-fan-explains-latest-transfer-announcement-video-on-twitter-" target="_blank">Roma chose goats</a>. They forgot about the data on what worked for their competitors and instead asked “what if we do something else?” They chose to experiment.</p> <p>As the categories of data available to marketers have multiplied, the possibilities for experimentation have grown exponentially. However, in practice this has not led to the proliferation of a diverse range of experimental approaches to marketing. Instead, there has been a succession of “next big things” (such as <a title="How AI will impact marketing and the customer experience" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68722-how-ai-will-impact-marketing-and-the-customer-experience" target="_blank">AI</a>), which seem to sweep the industry each year. The prospective benefits of each of these potential innovations and the specific uses for them end up being submerged by the hype. Brands frantically attempt to emulate their competitors to avoid being seen as technological laggards. The appearance of innovation trumps real experimentation.</p> <p>This is because too much marketing data is not collected with a specific purpose, it is simply collected in a way that encourages marketers to emulate their competitors and reinforce the status quo. A successfully experimental approach to marketing therefore requires marketers to put their own creativity first.</p> <h3>How to experiment in marketing</h3> <p>Professor Byron Sharp recently mentioned how important it is for marketers to learn how to run “<a title="Ritson and Sharp reveal their marketing heroes and the biggest challenges facing the industry" href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2017/09/04/ritson-sharp/" target="_blank">proper controlled experiments</a>,” something which most formal business educations dearly lack. He is correct that experiments are only useful if they are carried out according to rigorous scientific principles (with control variables and so on).</p> <p>This emphasises the connection between the scientific and creative aspects of experimentation; marketers cannot truly have one without the other. They therefore require a consistent experimental method that can be applied repeatedly and which maintains a complementary relationship between data and innovation.</p> <p>First, an experimental method requires marketers to come up with hypotheses, i.e. “I think our content might perform better with this sort of headline” or “I think our social media engagement would be improved with this sort of video.”</p> <p>It then requires marketers to collect data for the specific purpose of testing a hypothesis. Generally this is done through A/B testing (and specifically with <a title="Using data science with A/B tests: Bayesian analysis" href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65755-using-data-science-with-a-b-tests-bayesian-analysis/" target="_blank">Bayesian statistical inference</a> rather than frequentist statistical inference, given that it is <a title="What is Bayesian A/B Testing and Why is it the Best Choice for Marketers?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/blog/what-is-bayesian-ab-testing-for-marketing?ast=C8zHl9" target="_blank">better suited to getting answers quickly</a>). This approach to data allows it to inform marketers’ hypotheses in a way that complements their creativity rather than inhibits it.</p> <p>This process of testing hypotheses can then be repeated in an iterative cycle that allows marketers to try out as many new ideas as possible in order to increase the chances of a major breakthrough. This process aligns neatly with the concept of <a title="What is Agile Marketing?" href="https://amigotechnology.com/what-is-agile-marketing" target="_blank">agile marketing</a>, which perhaps goes some way towards explaining the current vogue for that term.</p> <h3>The balance of power</h3> <p>Technological advance has given marketers access to invaluable quantities of information and as a result marketing and data have become intensely-linked. However the outstanding question about this relationship is simple. Who is in charge?</p> <p>Is marketing led by the hackneyed conventional wisdom represented by existing data or is it led by marketers’ own creativity and critical thinking? Where the balance of power leans towards the data, marketers are inhibited. Where it lies with the marketers, the data can yield genuinely useful conclusions and help marketers to come up with their next great idea.</p> <p><strong><em>Need to improve your own content marketing efforts? Book yourself onto one of Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">upcoming training courses</a>.</em></strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69419 2017-09-18T15:10:00+01:00 2017-09-18T15:10:00+01:00 How Warby Parker’s newsjacking campaign eclipsed the competition Nikki Gilliland <p>Jumping on real-time events <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68433-newsjacking-the-us-election-six-brands-playing-the-trump-card" target="_blank">such as elections</a> or celebrity deaths can also divide consumers. Cinnabon’s tweet in tribute to Carrie Fisher was both <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69081-six-ways-brand-marketers-can-bring-the-funny-without-being-cringeworthy" target="_blank">comical and clever to some</a>, for instance, yet tacky and insensitive to others.</p> <p>One story to dominate the news recently was the solar eclipse, or more specifically, the first total solar eclipse to cross North America since 1918. Unsurprisingly, with nothing to lose, a wide range of brands from Casper to Lipton used the event to capitalise on social conversation. However, the one campaign that stood out as the best of the bunch was from US eyewear brand Warby Parker.</p> <p>So what did it involve? Here’s a run-down of the campaign, along with a few things we can learn from it.</p> <h3>Brand alignment</h3> <p>Newsjacking is much harder to pull off when the event or occurence is entirely unrelated to a brand or its product, but occasionally, something comes along which feels like a gift.</p> <p>For Warby Parker, this was the case with the solar eclipse. </p> <p>With people desperate to catch a glimpse of the eclipse as it happened, the brand created a campaign based on the importance of protecting your eyes whilst doing so. And what better brand to promote this message than one which sells glasses?</p> <p>Surprisingly, not many others in this retail category took the opportunity. Coastal created a few informative posts on social media on what to do during the eclipse, while Zenni Optical only replied to customer tweets. Other big brands like Ray Ban tried to avoid the subject entirely, only sternly warning people that they would not be protected by wearing sunglasses. Safety was obviously a big concern.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcoastal.com%2Fposts%2F10155485974345903&amp;width=500" width="500" height="529"></iframe></p> <p>In contrast, Warby Parker created a dedicated landing page on its own site called ‘The Great American Solar Eclipse’, alongside activity on social and in its physical stores. </p> <h3>Slick design </h3> <p>Using real-life events for marketing can often be rushed, with brands quickly rolling out tweets in response to something that’s already happened. However, Warby Parker clearly planned its campaign well in advance – a fact reflected by the slick design of its landing page. </p> <p>With stunning graphics and informative content, the page offers users a pleasing UX, and also continues its cool and slightly quirky tone of voice that the brand has become so well known for.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8931/Warby_Parker2.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="523"></p> <p>You can read more on Warby Parker’s UX and design features <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68874-27-bold-ux-design-features-from-disruptive-retail-brands" target="_blank">in this article</a> by Ben Davis.</p> <h3>In-store activity</h3> <p>Other brands that jumped on the eclipse did so mainly for the opportunity to insert their name into the conversation, perhaps posting a funny tweet or offering a bit of information about the event.</p> <p>Warby Parker aimed to provide consumers with something of real value, as well as simultaneously increasing footfall to its own stores. </p> <p>It handed out free eclipse glasses (compliant with ISO safety standards) to visitors of its US shops. If people couldn’t make it in person, however, it also offered online users the chance to download a pinhole projector, which is a special eclipse filter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8925/Solar_Eclipse.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="715"></p> <p>The potential for consumers to directly get involved didn’t stop there - Warby Parker also held a special ‘eclipse-viewing party’ in its Nashville store, where the location happened to fall in the path of totality.</p> <p>The event was made complete with music from local artists and food from nearby restaurants. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8926/Nashville.JPG" alt="" width="490" height="805"></p> <h3>Social engagement</h3> <p>Warby Parker is well-known for its clever social strategy, where it fosters loyalty by conversing with users and posting behind-the-scenes goings on. </p> <p>The solar eclipse was no exception, with the brand taking the opportunity to post eclipse-related content across all of its social channels.</p> <p>Capitalising on the visually stunning nature of the event, it worked with professional storm chasers to photograph the eclipse itself – posting the resulting images on its Instagram channel.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8927/warbyparkerinsta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="494"></p> <p>On Facebook, it launched a competition whereby the winner would be flown out to the Nashville eclipse party.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8928/Warby_comp.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="443"></p> <p>Lastly, on Twitter, it continued its focus on customer engagement – ramping up excitement in the run up to the event as well as acknowledging it after it happened with a constant stream of replies.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/WarbyParker">@WarbyParker</a> nailed it for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SolarEclipse2017?src=hash">#SolarEclipse2017</a> advertising. This is perfect and brand relevant! <a href="https://t.co/J0WfZskzzW">pic.twitter.com/J0WfZskzzW</a></p> — Christi Olson (@ChristiJOlson) <a href="https://twitter.com/ChristiJOlson/status/900105830217003008">August 22, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>Humour and pop culture</h3> <p>Newsjacking can often veer into silly territory, mainly because brands recognise that engagement will be short-lived. It’s more about creating a splash in-the-moment rather than serious long-term loyalty.</p> <p>In line with this, Warby Parker took the opportunity to create a rather daft parody music video – set to the famous Bonnie Tyler hit, ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’. </p> <p>The brand's content strategy usually centres on user-generated content, focusing more on feedback and advocacy from consumers. However, it is not averse to using humour to engage and entertain too, with ‘Solar Eclipse of the Heart’ continuing this unashamedly fun and carefree approach.</p> <p>It clearly resonated with the audience, too. The video has gone on to be the brand’s most-viewed video on Facebook, with 455,000 views on the platform. However, it was not created purely in the name of fun. Warby Parker cleverly used it to promote and raise awareness of its Nashville store event and related eyewear offer.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fwarbyparker%2Fvideos%2F10155498749643838%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=476" width="476" height="476"></iframe></p> <h3>What can we learn?</h3> <p>So, what can we learn from Warby Parker's campaign? Here are a few key takeaways:</p> <p><strong>1. Make it relevant</strong>. Unless the idea is super clever, jumping on a real-time event when it has no relation to a brand can seem insincere. Warby Parker recognised that it could offer something of greater value to consumers thanks to the link between the event and its product, instead of merely using it as a shallow marketing ploy.</p> <p><strong>2. Use a multi-channel approach</strong>. Warby Parker is a great example of agile marketing because it created an entire campaign on the back of a cultural event – not just a one-off tweet or Instagram post. This increases the likelihood of engagement, with users being able to get involved with the campaign via a number of different channels.</p> <p><strong>3. Create an experience.</strong> By hosting eclipse parties and offering free glasses, Warby Parker ensured that consumer involvement would transfer from online to offline. In turn, this increased the brand’s connection with its audience, giving them something more memorable than a standard brand campaign might.</p> <p><em>Related reading:</em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65184-what-is-agile-marketing-and-why-do-you-need-it" target="_blank">What is agile marketing and why do you need it?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68433-newsjacking-the-us-election-six-brands-playing-the-trump-card" target="_blank">Newsjacking the US election: Six brands playing the Trump card</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69422 2017-09-15T10:00:00+01:00 2017-09-15T10:00:00+01:00 Four brands that used student ambassadors to generate buzz on campus Nikki Gilliland <p>An increasing number of brands are looking to students to become ambassadors, with the aim of boosting awareness and driving engagement in university campuses and beyond.</p> <p>So, how do they do it, and what are the benefits? Here’s a bit more on the subject.</p> <h3>A lucrative market</h3> <p>Despite the majority of students relying on loans to get through university, research suggests that many will still spend their money on <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/01/05/nearly-third-students-waste-student-loans-shopping-sprees-drinking/" target="_blank">non-essential items</a> such as clothing and drinking. </p> <p>For brands, this presents a clear opportunity, especially considering that many students will be living away from home for the first time - also becoming financially independent, and forging brand affinities in categories such as finance, travel, and lifestyle.</p> <p>So, with many brands in the UK focusing on sales – promoting discounts and deals to capture student attention – many are failing to recognise that they could be building affinity based on defining moments. This means tapping into university ‘firsts’ such as learning how to cook, doing laundry, setting up household utilities, and so on. </p> <p>Meanwhile, brands also forget that students care about more than just money. According to a survey by Chegg, 88% of students said they are more responsive to brands that give back to the community, reflecting the fact that brands need to do more than just overtly sell their product.</p> <h3>The power of influence</h3> <p>According to <a href="http://searchengineland.com/88-consumers-trust-online-reviews-much-personal-recommendations-195803" target="_blank">research</a>, 88% of consumers now trust the opinions of influencers as much as they do their friends. Similarly, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69161-micro-influencers-how-to-find-the-right-fit-for-your-brand">micro-influencers</a> – who have a smaller reach but a more authentic reputation – can generate four times the engagement of larger influencers.</p> <p>Why is this important? Essentially, brands are now recruiting students to act as micro-influencers in universities. Instead of faceless ads, students are advertising to other students, effectively building advocacy for the brand or its products on a more personal level.</p> <p>In this sense, brand ambassadors can also act as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66569-five-ways-to-use-social-proof-online" target="_blank">social proof</a>. This means that if a student sees one or a group of influential peers wearing a particular brand, there's a chance that they’ll want to follow the crowd. The hope is that this could also create a snowball effect, with students going home and influencing friends and family away from their university circle.</p> <h3>Gaining insight</h3> <p>Student ambassadors can also act as eyes and ears on the ground, gathering insight about students on behalf of a company – i.e. what they want from a brand as well as their general perceptions and opinions.</p> <p>One popular ambassador activity is to hand out product samples, which can be effective for gaining instant feedback. This one-to-one communication can enable brands to gather more meaningful insight. </p> <p>Another benefit is that student ambassadors will sound exactly like the people they’re trying to target, taking away the danger of <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67886-word-on-the-street-four-tips-for-using-slang-in-marketing" target="_blank">cringey brand communications</a>.</p> <h3>Long-term loyalty</h3> <p>Another reason to use this strategy is the potential to instil long-term loyalty in student consumers. </p> <p>First, ambassadors themselves are likely to stay brand-loyal long after they leave university – this is because they tend to feel part of the businesses that they are representing. </p> <p>In turn, they can also help to generate long-term loyalty in others. Again, this is down to the fact that students tend to be forming opinions and brand affinities for the first time. So by creating relationships with students at such an important and influential stage in their life, brands can increase the likelihood of sustaining affinity until later on in life, or perhaps even benefit from sentimentality about student days.</p> <p>So which brands have succeeded with student ambassadors? Here are a few examples.</p> <h3>1. American Eagle Outfitters</h3> <p>US retailer American Eagle previously enlisted ambassadors to help new students settle into their dorms at universities across the US. Dubbed the ‘Move-In Crew’, the ambassadors were there to carry and unload boxes, but also took the opportunity to hand out special American Eagle merchandise such as water bottles, pens, and coupons. </p> <p>By doing a good deed, the idea was that American Eagle would stick in the minds of new students, also promoting it as more than just a corporate brand.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8973/AE.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="453"></p> <h3>2. Nestlé </h3> <p>As well as turning students into customers, brands also look to universities to target potential future employees. </p> <p>A few years ago, Nestlé was struggling to attract talent from US universities, specifically in the Midwest. As a result, it used an ambassador programme to generate buzz about Nestlé careers, using a combination of on-campus promotions and events to do so. </p> <p>Nestlé ‘street teams’ distributed Nestlé chocolates along with event information at business and engineering schools, simultaneously promoting happy hour nights and the company on social media.</p> <p>The initiative was a success, resulting in 600 student attendees per event and a 64% increase in annual applications to Nestlé jobs compared to the previous year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8974/Nestle_Academy.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="512"></p> <h3>3. Lucozade</h3> <p>Last year, Lucozade launched its first ever student ambassador campaign to help increase sales of its new Lucozade Zero drink.</p> <p>Recruiting students to be the face of the brand on university campuses across the UK, ambassadors were put in charge of ‘brand stations’, whereby students could taste samples of Lucozade and get involved with a ‘Hit Zero’ game.</p> <p>With 66 events held, more than 100,000 samples handed out, and 330 game winners, it was a successful example of how to increase exposure and build buzz about a new product.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8971/Lucozade_2.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="415"></p> <h3>4. Tinder</h3> <p>In its early days, <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68511-how-tinder-is-encouraging-millennials-to-make-more-meaningful-connections" target="_blank">Tinder</a> took a top-down approach to marketing, recruiting influential college ambassadors to promote the app to friends and fellow students. </p> <p>In fact, Tinder was first launched at the University of Southern California with a birthday party thrown for a co-founder’s brother and his friends (who were students at the time). In order to attend, guests had to download the app – a stipulation that resulted in the number of uses increasing to over 4,000 by the end of the week.</p> <p>From there, Tinder continued to capitalise on the highly social environment of university, recruiting ambassadors to continue promoting the app, often during fraternity parties and big college events.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8972/Tinder.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="392"></p> <p><strong><em>Related reading:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67550-student-com-the-website-set-to-revolutionise-student-accommodation/">Student.com: the website set to revolutionise student accommodation</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67550-student-com-the-website-set-to-revolutionise-student-accommodation/">How ASOS targeted students via ‘Blank Canvas’ competition</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69420 2017-09-14T11:39:11+01:00 2017-09-14T11:39:11+01:00 Inbound marketing vs. Account-based marketing: Diverging or aligning strategies? Riaz Kanani <p>I remember when <a href="https://medium.com/u/a845d2c84c23" target="_blank">Brian Halligan</a> and <a href="https://medium.com/u/d5d49189c3e7" target="_blank">Dharmesh Shah</a> were building Hubspot and created the terminology around inbound marketing. I was International Marketing Director at Silverpop at the time and had just launched its B2B marketing automation platform in UK and Europe.</p> <p>We had a huge content production team there and we knew that the people who consumed our content were much more likely to close than those who came in via other channels. Its biggest challenge though was the time it took to scale up and cut through in a competitive marketplace — we always needed to supplement it with other approaches.</p> <p>Today, most companies have some sort of inbound marketing strategy. Certainly more than have a formal account based marketing (ABM) strategy. Our experience at Radiate B2B is that even more sales teams use an account-based sales approach and have their own lists of prospects separate to marketing that they want to close.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8967/interest_over_time.png" alt="" width="700" height="248"></p> <p>An account-based approach is different to an inbound marketing-based approach. The way you plan is different and the way you implement them is different.</p> <p>It is not a case of either or though. While different, they do not compete. Inbound marketing and account-based marketing are complementary to each other.</p> <h3>What is inbound marketing?</h3> <p>Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers with content that feels valuable and intuitive to the prospect. The major channels used are blogs, search engines, and social media. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8939/0-jAKGj5raA6fjZXlp.png" alt="Hubspot - Inbound Marketing" width="792" height="288"></p> <p>It most definitely does not interrupt or fight for a prospect’s attention. Though with the amount of content being produced by marketers this is becoming harder and harder and requiring higher quality and more personalised content to stand out (though by the nature of inbound this is usually limited to industry level rather than account level).</p> <p>Most of all it builds trust and positive brand equity with a prospect. </p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">range of training courses</a> or download our new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/content-strategy-best-practice-guide/">Content Strategy Best Practice Guide</a></em>.</p> <h3>What is account-based marketing (ABM)?</h3> <p>Traditionally <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/account-based-marketing-a-practical-guide/">account-based marketing</a> has been about marketing to a select few companies that are in your sweetspot and are extremely valuable.</p> <p>Today, technology is helping to scale this beyond a select few and up to a few hundred accounts. This has created a new and upsurging interest in the strategy and has been coined 'ABM', 'One to Few ABM', 'Named account ABM' or 'Industry ABM'. Eventually the terminology will converge of course but not so far.</p> <p>It has long existed in sales and has been growing within customer success teams also. As a result the strategy has moved beyond just marketing to be termed account-based everything or 'ABX'. Alignment across the three raises results significantly though there is detail within each that is not applicable across the board.</p> <p>Like inbound marketing, an account-based approach aims to build valued relationships with the aim of attracting a high value customer.</p> <p>The account-based approach looks to place content in front of a prospect rather than wait for a prospect to go looking for it however, relying on its highly personalised nature to cut through the noise and reduce any feeling of interruption. It then continues the engagement using what we at Radiate B2B believe to be a hyper personalised inbound marketing approach through to close and beyond when the prospect is now a client.</p> <p>As a result, account-based marketing uses offline, highly targeted display (programmatic, but not really), social media, websites, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/admin/blog_posts/69420-inbound-marketing-and-account-based-marketing-friend-or-foe/edit/s">email marketing</a>, direct mail, telephone and face-to-face. Pretty much any channel can be adapted within an ABM approach. It is why ABM is sometimes called just good B2B marketing.</p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, check out Econsultancy’s new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/account-based-marketing-a-practical-guide/">Practical Guide to Account-Based Marketing</a>.</em></p> <h3>Diverging or aligning strategies?</h3> <p>So can they truly work together? There are aspects of both strategies that do align:</p> <ol> <li>The customer is at the centre.</li> <li>Valuable content powers them both  –  though with different approaches.</li> </ol> <p>But for the most part they do differ.</p> <ol> <li>Inbound marketing starts when a visitor looks for your content. An account-based approach requires you to go out into the world and talk to your ideal prospect directly, not wait for them to appear.</li> <li>Typically deal sizes will be larger for ABM than inbound marketing.</li> <li>Despite technological advances, ABM is still limited in scale versus inbound marketing so typically there will be a larger number of deals.</li> </ol> <h3>So which strategy is best?</h3> <p>The right approach clearly depends on who your company sells to. Obviously you are a company selling to businesses, but an account-based approach, even one using the latest techniques, does not work if the average lifetime value of your largest clients is small. In this scenario an inbound marketing approach is still the best approach.</p> <p>But what about in other scenarios?</p> <p>Account-based marketing works to close accounts in your sweet spot. These customers will typically be happier customers as they are aligned with your thinking and direction resulting in higher net promoter (NPS) or customer satisfaction scores. This in turn leads to significant numbers of advocates for your product driving more companies to your website.</p> <p>An outbound marketing approach is therefore the wrong approach and wasteful, but an inbound marketing approach will convert these incoming accounts at a much lower cost than an account-based programme.</p> <p>Combining inbound marketing and account-based marketing is also cost efficient. ABM requires hyper personalised content that speaks to an account’s needs, whilst traditional inbound marketing typically doesn’t have the same level of personalisation, it does aim to provide valuable content to attract prospects to the company. Content can be adapted to the needs of both strategies removing the need to create standalone content for both approaches.</p> <p>A further benefit is that these incoming accounts may lead you to new markets and territories fueling decision-making around expansion.</p> <p>So ABM and Inbound are indeed friends and work well together. In fact Hubspot, the home of inbound marketing, has not been shy investing in account-based businesses.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3247 2017-09-08T11:13:37+01:00 2017-09-08T11:13:37+01:00 Mini Masters in Digital Marketing Online <p>If you want to accelerate your career to take a leadership role as a professional digital marketer then the Econsultancy Mini Masters in Digital Marketing is the course that will give you the practical and strategic skills to step up.</p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;">Econsultancy’s Mini Masters is taught online with intensive, challenging, interactive modules taught by the very best in the business. Formalise your existing skills, and come away with the confidence that you really know your stuff – and how to prove it at the highest level. </p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;"><strong>Book your place now! Next course dates are in April and October 2018.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3246 2017-09-08T11:02:07+01:00 2017-09-08T11:02:07+01:00 Mini Masters in Digital Marketing Online <p>If you want to accelerate your career to take a leadership role as a professional digital marketer then the Econsultancy Mini Masters in Digital Marketing is the course that will give you the practical and strategic skills to step up.</p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;">Econsultancy’s Mini Masters is taught online with intensive, challenging, interactive modules taught by the very best in the business. Formalise your existing skills, and come away with the confidence that you really know your stuff – and how to prove it at the highest level. </p> <p style="background-image: initial; background-position: initial; background-size: initial; background-repeat: initial; background-attachment: initial; background-origin: initial; background-clip: initial;"><strong>Book your place now! Next course dates are in April and October 2018.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69408 2017-09-08T09:24:38+01:00 2017-09-08T09:24:38+01:00 Birchbox's UK Managing Director on content, personalisation & forays into physical retail Nikki Gilliland <p>I recently caught up with Savannah Sachs, who is Birchbox’s UK managing director, to gain more insight into this – plus her perspective on personalisation, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/measuring-roi-on-influencer-marketing">influencers</a>, and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/customer-experience/">customer experience</a>. Here’s a run-down of our conversation.</p> <h3>Using content to shape the customer experience</h3> <p>I first asked whether Birchbox sees content as a key differentiator, and something that sets it apart from competitors. Savannah agreed, explaining exactly how this is the case in relation to the brand’s ‘try, learn, and buy’ business model. </p> <p>It all starts with the monthly subscription box, she said, with customers signing up and filling in a beauty profile that includes details such as skin and hair type, beauty concerns, and individual style. From this data, Birchbox is able to send customers five beauty samples every month. </p> <p>The customer experience doesn’t end there. This is where the ‘learn’ part comes in, as each box contains tips and tricks relating to the products inside. This then continues across all of Birchbox’s social and digital channels, allowing customers to tap into content related to the products they’re using in real-time.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">How To: shape your brows with a brow pencil <a href="https://t.co/AkBr8rfNHu">https://t.co/AkBr8rfNHu</a> <a href="https://t.co/GvxDJ70zWt">pic.twitter.com/GvxDJ70zWt</a></p> — Birchbox (@BirchboxUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/BirchboxUK/status/877188062543065088">June 20, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Savannah explained that this is important because – while beauty is part of their life – customers are also likely to be busy and looking for more convenient ways to make beauty easy and fun. </p> <p>Finally, the ‘buy’ part of the business model is how the brand offers a really seamless path to purchase, with its relating ecommerce store offering an easy way for customers to buy full-sized items they might have tried in a box.</p> <blockquote> <p>We really see Birchbox as offering a 360-degree customer experience, with content being one of its core elements.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Creating personalisation that disappears</h3> <p>So where does personalisation come into play?</p> <p>Savannah explained how the beauty profile allows Birchbox to serve the most relevant content to individual customers. By stipulating what beauty products will suit them or that they’d like to try, Birchbox is able to tailor products and recommendations, also meaning each person will get a different box to their best friend, for instance.</p> <p>Alongside the benefit for customers, this also gives Birchbox’s brand partners a really powerful opportunity to target new customers.</p> <p>For example, Birchbox recently worked with Estee Lauder to specifically target a younger demographic in the UK. It sent products to customers between the ages of 24 and 34, as Estee Lauder particularly wanted to focus on millennials. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8809/estee_lauder.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="516"></p> <p>As well as introducing younger consumers to something they might not have considered before, the initiative was hugely beneficial for Estee Lauder, allowing it to align a new product launch and marketing strategy with a super-targeted demographic. </p> <p>Birchbox also takes a channel-by-channel approach to personalising content. For example, it recognises that Instagram Stories is more fun and playful, so it uses this channel to post raw, unedited, and spur-of-the-moment content. </p> <p>In contrast, it typically uses a more educational approach for its online blog, perhaps taking a deep-dive on a specific product. Essentially, it takes into account how long users spend on a particular channel as well as what they’re looking for from each.</p> <p>Another example of this is how Birchbox recently created a personalised email campaign focusing on skin type.</p> <p>Customers are able to pick a product in their beauty box each month – in July, it was offering the chance to pick between two different shades of a Benefit tint. In order to help customers choose the right shade for them, each email contained an image of a woman with a skin tone that matched the customer’s own, based on data from their beauty profile. From this, they could then easily see which product might look the best on them, without too much thought or deliberation.</p> <p>This is an example of what Birchbox calls ‘personalisation that disappears’.</p> <blockquote> <p>It is seamless, easy and feels right. It doesn’t require any work from the customer other than filling in their beauty profile – we then make use of that data throughout the customer journey.</p> </blockquote> <h3>The importance of user generated content</h3> <p>User-generated content is also critical for Birchbox. Savannah explained how the brand considers its subscribers to be its influencers, and a powerful way to help its growth. This is because Birchbox drives a good amount of acquisition organically, but also because word-of-mouth helps to make its paid acquisition activity much more efficient. </p> <p>In order to generate this type of content, the brand is focused on creating a monthly box experience that customers love and will want to share with friends on their social channels. In also means asking questions like ‘what’s going to make this month's box design super Instagrammable?’ or ‘why would a person feel proud to show this off?’</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8806/Birchbox_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="500"></p> <p>Next, it focuses on amplifying this organic word of mouth – and that’s typically been done via Facebook and Instagram, where the brand focuses the majority of its paid acquisition work. That being said, Birchbox is not entirely against using paid influencers to help attract new customers, doing so on a relatively small scale.</p> <p>Interestingly, Savannah said that the reason that it prefers user-generated content over paid influencers is all down to targeting. It aims to target a different kind of customer than other traditional beauty brands. </p> <p>Instead of the ‘beauty junkie’ – someone who is knowledgeable, trend-aware, and who follows all the top influencers – Birchbox is going after the ‘beauty majority’.</p> <p>This is because while the beauty junkie spends a lot of her disposable income on cosmetics, research indicates that she only makes up about 20% of women. In contrast, the more casual beauty consumer – who is willing to invest but needs help to figure out what’s right for her – makes up the rest. This consumer truly values having Birchbox as a sort of ‘beauty editor best friend’, to recommend and steer her in the right direction. </p> <blockquote> <p>In terms of appealing to this customer profile, Birchbox strives to be approachable, meaning it makes more sense to focus on the everyday woman rather than the expert influencer.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Translating the CX offline</h3> <p>Birchbox has a physical retail store in New York City, with imminent plans to open one in Paris. </p> <p>I asked Savannah how Birchbox is able to translate the customer experience into physical retail, especially considering that part of its USP is all about the convenience of delivery and laid-back discovery. In this sense, will customers seek out physical stores? </p> <p>Savannah assured me that, as a company which is about driving discovery and purchase online, Birchbox will always be digital-first. However, taking into consideration everything it has learned about its customer-base, it also realised that it has something quite unique to offer in terms of a bricks and mortar experience. </p> <p>The main innovation of its physical stores is that it does in fact mirror the online shopping experience. Its stores are merchandised by product type and category rather than brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8804/Birchbox_bricks_and_mortar.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="442"></p> <p>The reason being is that it does not believe the beauty majority has enough expertise to walk into a department store, with tens of thousands of products merchandised by brand, and know where to start. Instead, the beauty majority walks into a store and thinks ‘I’d love to get a new mascara’ or ‘I’ve never used a highlighter – where do I begin?’. </p> <p>It’s much easier to go to a shelf with all the mascaras side by side, to touch and try and compare. And albeit without the touch element, that’s exactly how customers navigate online shopping. </p> <blockquote> <p>An online customer will click into make-up, then eyes, then mascara – they would not typically navigate by brand. Our key innovation is bringing that online experience and navigation into the brick and mortar store – to make it easy for the customer to find the right product for them.</p> </blockquote> <h3>Channels of focus</h3> <p>I finished by asking Savannah where Birchbox’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/content-marketing-and-strategy">content strategy</a> might be heading next. </p> <p>Interestingly, she cited Facebook Live as a big focus. The brand currently streams on the platform once a week, typically using a casual, Q&amp;A-style format to encourage interaction. Videos are always fronted by Birchbox employees to make it feel authentic and approachable. </p> <p>It’s clear the channel is proving successful. Birchbox now sees about 4x the engagement on Facebook Live than it does for other types of Facebook content. What’s more, its Facebook Live content is getting about 5x the views and engagement as it did a year ago.  </p> <p>A recent Facebook Live called ‘Three ways to mermaid’ generated 18,000 views, proving that there is an appetite for this kind of fun and lightweight content. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FBirchboxUK%2Fvideos%2F1415131011870060%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>Finally, mobile is also an incredibly important focus for Birchbox, with 65% of UK traffic coming from mobile devices. Savannah emphasised that everything the brand does from a content perspective has to be mobile-first. While cutting down on copy, making sure images are optimised, and limiting vertical scroll is not rocket science, these elements are vital to the customer experience.</p> <p>Similarly, in order to truly engage customers, the content needs to be relevant to where they’re going to view it, and that is increasingly on a smartphone. </p> <blockquote> <p>Something that’s core to our overall strategy, but specifically in terms of digital content and social, is making sure everything we do is optimised for mobile.</p> </blockquote> <p><em><strong> Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69016-why-beauty-brands-are-betting-on-augmented-reality">Why beauty brands are betting on augmented reality</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68689-how-the-beauty-industry-is-embracing-the-internet-of-things">How the beauty industry is embracing the Internet of Things</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67884-seven-ways-social-media-is-shaping-the-beauty-industry">Seven ways social media is shaping the beauty industry</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69401 2017-09-06T10:00:00+01:00 2017-09-06T10:00:00+01:00 How Lush delights customers with brand marketing, strong values and digital innovation Nikki Gilliland <p>Described as a ‘kaleidoscope of imagination, invention and innovation, with four spheres of creativity spanning music, product, film and technology’ – it’s essentially a chance for employees and fans from around the world to celebrate all things Lush.</p> <p>There were people sliding into foam baths, girls dressed as bath bombs, and Queen guitarist Brian May talking about animal rights. Yes, it was pretty bonkers, but I happened to learn a few interesting things about the brand and its continued focus on improving the customer experience. Here’s a run-down of the day.</p> <h3>Experience is everything</h3> <p>The first thing that struck me about the Creative Showcase was that it felt very much like an immersive event – sort of like Disney-land for Lush fans - and definitely not a bog-standard retail launch. It was in a huge event space in London, filled to the brim with themed installations, stages, pop-up stalls and so on. The design detail was particularly impressive.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">If your phone battery is running low, fear not! The Bubbly river is here to help! Take a break, plug in and recharge! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/creativeshowcase?src=hash">#creativeshowcase</a> <a href="https://t.co/rsi32hJduR">pic.twitter.com/rsi32hJduR</a></p> — Lush Kitchen (@LushKitchen) <a href="https://twitter.com/LushKitchen/status/905017964956717059">September 5, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Last year was the first time the brand made the event open to the public, mainly in order to capitalise on the huge hype that already surrounds new product range launches. It’s now also a chance for Lush to deliver even more of a hands-on consumer experience – something that its younger shoppers are said to crave.</p> <p>One key feature in its stores is product demonstrations, with staff very keen to test out products on shoppers. This was ramped up during the Creative Showcase, allowing visitors to learn how new ranges are made, their ingredients, and what they do – all in a much more immersive fashion.</p> <p>There was a wobbly stage to showcase its similarly wobbly shower jelly, a giant sink to demonstrate the new bubble spinners, and literal showers so that people could try its new naked shower gel. The people were not naked, I hasten to add.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8747/IMG_1613.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>Obviously, the event itself also provided Lush with digital content for its own channels, with the whole day being filmed and live-streamed on social. All in all, it has created an opportunity for the brand to better connect with fans, and become a source of entertainment as well as a retail brand.</p> <h3>Shoppers are searching in new ways</h3> <p>Alongside new product ranges, Lush uses the Creative Showcase to unveil new experiments and innovations in technology. Two of the most interesting new features it showcased were centred around enhancing the customer experience, as well as making employee’s roles much more streamlined.</p> <p>The first is the Lush Lens – a new visual search tool similar to Pinterest Lens or the <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69358-asos-visual-search-is-it-any-good" target="_blank">recent example from ASOS</a>. Essentially, it will allow consumers to instantly bring up information and content about a product simply from a photo, either with or without packaging. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8748/IMG_1612.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>The second innovation is Lush Concierge – a virtual assistant which allows users to ask anything <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68990-why-brands-should-be-bothered-about-voice-bots/" target="_blank">by voice</a>. For instance, it can be used instead of manually searching to see whether a product is in stock in a particular store, or where the nearest Lush is.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8749/IMG_1611.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="585"></p> <p>Arguably, both these features (which will eventually be integrated into the Lush app) could potentially mean employees have less to do. But then again, its people are central to the customer experience, so I doubt new technology will affect the amount the brand employs – for the time being at least. </p> <p>On the flip side, it will certainly help streamline the in-store and online experience, making it even easier for its digitally-savvy audience to interact with the brand wherever they are.</p> <h3>It’s more than a consumer brand</h3> <p>One of the oddest aspects of the Creative Showcase was that it featured two big name speakers – Brian May and Jeremy Corbyn.</p> <p>But what have these two public figures got to do with bath bombs, you ask? Very little (as far as I know), but they’ve got a lot to do with social issues like animal welfare and human rights – which Lush has famously championed. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Together we can work towards a better, fairer future. That's what <a href="https://twitter.com/jeremycorbyn">@jeremycorbyn</a> put forward at the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CreativeShowcase?src=hash">#CreativeShowcase</a> <a href="https://t.co/3dCJdhQrbQ">https://t.co/3dCJdhQrbQ</a> <a href="https://t.co/PPHf9PWdmH">pic.twitter.com/PPHf9PWdmH</a></p> — LUSH UK (@LushLtd) <a href="https://twitter.com/LushLtd/status/904816265415589888">September 4, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>This is one of the most interesting things about Lush. Naturally, the brand appeals to people who care about its charitable endeavours, but at the same time, it is also loved by younger shoppers who might not even consider environmental or social factors.</p> <p>This fact was evident by the diversity seen at the Creative Showcase, with people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying different elements of the event. This shows that Lush is more than just your average consumer brand – its strong brand values and dedication to equality and fairness mean that it feels warm and friendly to all consumers. And I mean this literally, too. Employees are purposely picked for their personalities, with being happy and smiley a stipulation rather than an option. In turn, its fans feel like they are also part of the Lush family.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Fakey Nakey Crew <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CreativeShowcase?src=hash">#CreativeShowcase</a> <a href="https://t.co/ClYxy2LONl">pic.twitter.com/ClYxy2LONl</a></p> — LUSH UK (@LushLtd) <a href="https://twitter.com/LushLtd/status/904725664976261120">September 4, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>It’s unafraid of reinvention</h3> <p>As well as its over-arching brand, another thing that the Creative Showcase highlighted was Lush’s product innovation, and its ability to keep customers hooked.</p> <p>Recently, the brand announced that it is to discontinue 45 of its iconic products – some of which have been around from the very beginning. However, the reason it has done so is in order to make way for new and even more creative inventions. From ‘naked’ shower gel to ‘toothy tabs’ (which is basically a chewable mouthwash), the brand’s continued innovation helps to keep shoppers interested and excited. </p> <p>One example from the Creative Showcase is how designers are experimenting with 3D printers to create product moulds. Elsewhere, the brand has recently announced that it is to launch a Lush subscription service in the UK – delivering products to shoppers every one, three or six months.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The designers are breaking boundaries with their innovative product moulds. Here's the 3D printer in action! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CreativeShowcase?src=hash">#CreativeShowcase</a> <a href="https://t.co/Pzv9t4MCbe">pic.twitter.com/Pzv9t4MCbe</a></p> — LUSH UK (@LushLtd) <a href="https://twitter.com/LushLtd/status/904746654477287425">September 4, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>While it is focused on reinvention, that’s not to say the brand doesn’t capitalise on the cult status of certain products. Its Christmas and Halloween product ranges are eagerly anticipated each year, with this informing Lush’s social and digital activity in the run up.</p> <p>What’s most important is that it does not lose sight of its customer-centric approach. Whether in-store or online, it’s focused on delivering exactly what its audience wants – and maybe what they never even knew they wanted. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8750/Lush_shower_gels.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="445"></p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67953-how-lush-cosmetics-uses-word-of-mouth-marketing" target="_blank">How Lush Cosmetics uses word-of-mouth marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68308-four-things-to-appreciate-about-lush-s-new-app/" target="_blank">Four things to appreciate about Lush’s new app</a></em></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69387 2017-09-04T10:17:20+01:00 2017-09-04T10:17:20+01:00 Six ways ‘boring’ B2B brands stole A+ social video from B2C Lydia Cockerham <p>Let me tell you something about video: it’s a great leveler. You might not have a gorgeous product to take endless filtered photos of. You might not have millions of followers on social to help make everything you do a viral success. But I bet you can whip out your iPhone, hit record and tell an interesting story about what you do and why it’s important.</p> <p>“But I’m not sure my product/service/brand/team/customers are what Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/Instagram wants to see,” you cry. Don’t worry. On social anything can succeed if you frame it in the right way. That’s why over 17 million people have watched <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjeKw0B8PG8" target="_blank">this video of people and machinery performing repetitive tasks</a> and why <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3yRv5Jg5TI" target="_blank">a woman wearing a mask</a> was the most shared Facebook video of last year.</p> <p>While <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68290-brands-too-dependent-on-facebook-organic-reach-study/" target="_blank">brand reach plummets on Facebook</a>, video is being prioritised and shared more than ever across the entirety of social land. It remains the best way to get seen by your audience on social. And as your competitors start to jump on the bandwagon, it’s going to be more and more important for you to use social video to reinforce <a href="https://www.skeletonproductions.com/insights/video-content-marketing" target="_blank">every part of your marketing strategy</a>.</p> <p>Though we may kind of hate B2C marketers, they’ve had longer to get to grips with video on social — what works and what doesn’t. So if you’re dipping your toes in, it only makes sense to learn from the best.</p> <p>Here are six examples from B2B brands that are destroying the competition with social video, and the vital lessons they’ve learned from their B2C forerunners.</p> <h3>1. Embrace strong emotion: IBM</h3> <p>Powerful, complex emotions have been proven to <a href="https://hbr.org/2016/05/research-the-link-between-feeling-in-control-and-viral-content" target="_blank">make social users engage and share more</a>. </p> <p>We know that high-arousal and high-dominance feelings are more likely to create a successful social video. Basically, we react well to intense emotions that we feel in control of, like awe, delight or inspiration — we don’t react well to weak or confused emotions that we feel less in control of, like distress or disgust.</p> <p>The most shared content on social, if it isn’t extremely positive or surprising, is emotionally complex. As feeling beings we love experiencing a spectrum of emotions. Almost all of the most successful social videos of recent years have put us through a rollercoaster of feeling: just think of the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSxOjBIjyhI" target="_blank">John Lewis Christmas ads</a>, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YDrgoRpic8" target="_blank">Nike’s incredible video content</a>, or the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk" target="_blank">Dove real beauty campaign</a>.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ND2HfNnss3M?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>So here comes IBM with a video about puppies being trained as guide dogs. You know it’s going to pull on all sorts of heartstrings.</p> <p>It does — and that’s why it’s so powerful. In just over two minutes you feel joy, pride, sadness and a whole range of bittersweet emotions. This kind of emotional content cuts through the noise on social media and speaks to people on a deep, honest level.</p> <p><strong>What to copy:</strong> Don’t just focus on educating your followers about your brand and the products or services you provide. Try tapping into emotional stories from your team, your clients, or your work itself. If you get the balance of emotions right this can be extremely effective way of raising brand awareness and sharing your values with potential customers.</p> <h3>2. Use influencers: SAP</h3> <p>Influencer marketing is still an underused tactic for many B2B marketers, though we’ve seen B2C brands <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LS-ErOKpO4E" target="_blank">ramp up</a> their <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNidbHZBPxU" target="_blank">efforts</a> in recent years. But if you want to reach new audiences and boost your following on social media, there are few ways more effective.</p> <p>Yes, these relationships take time and effort to nurture. But not only can they help you target new sections of your audience that were previously unavailable to you — they can also help you create effective social video in the first place.</p> <p>That’s because the best influencers generally want some sort of hand in creating the content they’re agreeing to promote. By working together with influencers on your social video you may find you create something far more interesting than you could have alone.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FSAP%2Fvideos%2F10153514639296770%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="350"></iframe></p> <p>SAP, a business management and customer relations company, teamed up with influencer Brian Fanzo to create a series of live Facebook videos at its annual conference. The result was beneficial for both parties, as they were able to reach each other’s audiences for the first time.</p> <p><strong>What to copy:</strong> There are relationships everywhere that you can cultivate to create outstanding content. This could be another business in a related but non-competing market or a well-known industry expert. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to collaborate and grow together.</p> <h3>3. Teach your audience: Hootsuite</h3> <p>We all want answers to our questions. On socal you can find videos showing you how to do everything from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcoM8PN2G2o" target="_blank">maximising your eyelashes</a> to <a href="https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedtasty/videos/1922870511298922/" target="_blank">making macarons</a>. Your audience are desperate for knowledge right now that will make their lives easier and help them do their jobs better. So why not give it to them?</p> <p>Hootsuite has capitalised on this fact by creating simple, short, but most importantly actionable advice in the form of social videos. This kind of bite-size content provides useful tips in quick bursts, allowing your audience to learn while they scroll through their news feed. Plus, the more you educate the more you’ll be seen as a trusted authority that leads will turn to for assistance in the future.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhootsuite%2Fvideos%2F10154695870678821%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=476" width="476" height="476"></iframe></p> <p>Note how the lesson is expressed through on-screen text rather than a voiceover: it’s a smart decision, because the majority of social media users view videos without sound (<a href="https://digiday.com/media/silent-world-facebook-video/" target="_blank">up to 85% of video content on Facebook is watched silently</a>). Here the message is communicated through visuals and text that’s easy to understand no matter which platform you’re on.</p> <p><strong>What to copy:</strong> There’s a fountain of useful knowledge locked away in every business. Instead of hoarding it to yourself, share it with your audience. Make it consistent and quick to consume and you’ll stay top of mind with those who find what you have to say valuable.</p> <h3>4. Tell your customers’ stories: Squarespace</h3> <p>We’re all doing case studies wrong: we’re making them about us, when really they should be about our clients.</p> <p>Your audience wants to hear how a customer that sounds just like them solved their problems, not how awesome your product is. Let case studies do what they’re supposed to — tell the story of your client. Forget shouting about yourself. This is especially true of video success stories, where the potential for social proof is the highest and you can literally let your customers do the talking.</p> <p>Though case studies are less common in the B2C world, we’ve still seen brands like <a href="https://www.facebook.com/britishairways/videos/10156089336500830/" target="_blank">British Airways</a> and American outdoor clothing company <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhETp5oHEx4" target="_blank">REI</a> using the stories of their customers to get across their values in a less salesy, more authentic way.</p> <p><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BQoEX6wDXS4/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8634/Squarespace_instagram.png" alt="" width="650" height="418"></a></p> <p>Squarespace get many things right with this case study video. First of all, it’s gorgeous, which is an essential for a visual platform like Instagram. Although it’s short, it manages to pack in a lot of information about the client, their passions, and what Squarespace helped them to achieve. By giving the customer space to express themselves, the brand adds credibility and trust to all its social marketing.</p> <p><strong>What to copy:</strong> The best person to resonate with your potential customers is someone just like them. So draw on the honest stories of your existing clients, and allow them to get in-depth about their values, concerns and successes. Remember: this isn’t about you, it’s about them.</p> <h3>5. Act like a publisher: GE</h3> <p>You’ve probably heard before that “marketers need to act like publishers”, but nowhere is that more true than on social. For great B2C examples check out <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4DH5cK37Y8" target="_blank">this documentary from Patagonia</a> and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh9jAD1ofm4" target="_blank">a tribute to Michael Phelps from Under Armour</a>. </p> <p>On social your audience is looking for things to disrupt their daily routine: news that shocks them, stories that inspire them, facts that energise them. To grab your audience’s attention in the first place you need an eye for a story and a drive to create consistently good stuff. In other words, you need to act like a publisher.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/K43cvSgChHQ?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>GE is wonderful at taking the work and research it does every day and turning it into compelling social video. This charmingly authentic Snapchat story follows a scientist into a Nicaraguan volcano — it doesn’t have incredible production values but it doesn’t need them. The story itself is interesting enough to warrant a watch, and it’s indicative of a business that is committed to capturing engaging content wherever it might appear.</p> <p><strong>What to copy:</strong> You may not be exploring volcanoes like GE, but you can still create powerful recordings or mini-documentaries of the events happening in and around your business — from the inspiration behind a rebrand to the things your clients do with your products and services.</p> <h3>6. Be fun: Mailchimp</h3> <p>It’s the simplest advice, but sometimes the hardest to follow. (It’s also the difference between an 8/10 brand on social and a 10/10.)</p> <p>Every so often it’s important to be yourselves and have a little fun. It’s a key part of connecting with your audience and showing them that yes, there really are humans behind the brand. Lots of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlPk91ZqWXA" target="_blank">B2C brands</a> are <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a11wlngpuSY" target="_blank">excellent</a> at <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dA2F0qScxrI" target="_blank">this</a>.</p> <p>Don’t get so caught up in providing value and becoming a trusted expert that you forget to show some personality. Mailchimp achieves a good balance with a blend of educational and fun content on its social channels.</p> <p><a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BS67u34l5xd/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8638/Mailchimp.png" alt="" width="650" height="418"></a></p> <p>Videos like this might seem to serve no quantifiable purpose. But don’t be so quick to discount them — a sprinkling of individuality in a sea of corporate B2B content can do wonders to help you stand out from every other dull competitor.</p> <p><strong>What to copy:</strong> If you’ve got someone willing on your team, let them loose to create social video that’s fun and different while staying true to your brand. Or rotate the job among everyone, so you all get a chance to contribute. This can be as simple as filming your next away day or as complex as creating a custom animation.</p> <h3>Don’t let B2C have all the fun</h3> <p>If you’re a B2B marketer looking to inject video into your social strategy, don’t despair. There are plenty of ways to make your content stand out on social — and plenty of inspiration! Once you start looking you might be surprised at the amount of exceptional videos out there.</p> <p>So keep fighting the good fight for exciting B2B content, you trooper.</p> <p><em>For more on B2B, check out these Econsultancy resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-2017-digital-trends-in-b2b"><em>Digital Intelligence Briefing: 2017 Digital Trends in B2B</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/video-marketing-strategies"><em>Video Marketing Strategy Training</em></a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69384 2017-09-01T10:00:00+01:00 2017-09-01T10:00:00+01:00 SEO David vs. Goliath: How travel sector minnows can overcome their big brand competitors Richard Marriott <p>Perhaps the reason it intrigues me so much is the huge opportunity to grab traffic from the typical head terms, right through to capturing the long tail search queries at the awareness stage in the buying journey. Alongside this is the challenge smaller brands face competing with the giants in the market and having to get smart with leveraging search. </p> <p>During this post, I want to take you through an example overview of part of the travel market and give an understanding on how smaller brands are capturing search traffic against the bigger brands in the industry. </p> <h3><strong>The Goliath Challenge</strong></h3> <p>So, Google has a patent in place in regard to brand weighting and how it is calculated. However, it’s <a href="http://www.seobythesea.com/2015/05/google-site-quality-scores/%20">pretty difficult to understand</a>.<br></p> <p><em>'The system determines a site quality score for the particular site, and might be determined by computing a ratio of a numerator and a denominator, where the numerator is based on the count of unique queries that are categorized as ones that refer to the particular site, and where the denominator is based on the count of unique queries that are just associated with the particular site, just don’t refer to it in the same kind of way.'</em></p> <p>Perhaps something easier to digest is <a href="https://moz.com/blog/rankings-correlation-study-domain-authority-vs-branded-search-volume">this piece</a> by Tom Capper over on Moz, around a ranking correlations study which compares domain authority against branded search volume. Basically, bigger brands seem to rank better and have an uplift due to their authority in the market which is certainly a challenge in the travel industry with giants such as Virgin, Thomas Cook and Thomson.</p> <p>Now I could list at least 20 brands here, but for the purpose of this example I have selected a few that have appeared in a particular SERP that I’m going to be talking about later, with a mixture of big brands, specialists and aggregators.</p> <p>The scale of this can be seen from a simple bit of keyword research along with monthly volumes:</p> <ul> <li>Thomas Cook: 1,400,000</li> <li>Thomson: 992,000</li> <li>Virgin Holidays: 224,000</li> <li>Travel Supermarket: 139,000</li> <li>Lastminute: 75,000</li> <li>Kuoni: 43,000</li> </ul> <h3><strong>Market Landscape</strong></h3> <p>I’m sure you all know how to see where you are in comparison to your competitors, with tools such as Sistrix, SEMrush and Searchmetrics allowing you to see your visibility vs. competitors. We prefer to export all of the keywords that each of the brand ranks for, and then categorise, strip out branded terms and then drop it into a graph to give you a visual.</p> <p>So, for this example we’ve taken a sample set of just over 3,000 keywords, which would equate to just over half a million visits if you were fortunate enough to rank first for them all with conservative CTR assumption.</p> <p>We then pulled just a few of the brands with visibility for these terms, and below you can see the output:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8639/Competitive-Landscape-Image-1.png" alt="" width="650" height="249"></p> <p>To summarise this, the higher you are the better your average rank across these terms, and the further to the right means the site ranks for a higher number of terms.</p> <p>However, looking at a whole market is perhaps a bit too broad, especially with so many locations and resorts, so if you’ve categorised your keywords well you’ll also be able to run graphs for individual categories. Below is an example for Thailand which contains 480 keywords, which again would equate to 69,000 visits, so still a significant amount of traffic:</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8640/Competitive-Landscape-Thailand.png" alt="" width="650" height="249"></p> <p>We can see that Virgin is out in front with a brand presence of more than five times that of the smallest in the list, Kuoni. So how does Kuoni start to compete or even take market share away from all the other brands with pretty much double the awareness?</p> <p>Let’s take a look...</p> <h3><strong>Links</strong></h3> <p>Like everyone else with any SEO knowledge, I know that it’s not just about number of links. However they are still a very important ranking signal.</p> <p>Below I’ve simply the taken number of referring domains and domain trust from Majestic and charted this in... you’ve got it, another graph:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Travel-Domain-Trust-and-Linking-Domanins.png" alt="" width="938" height="385"></p> <p>When you correlate the size of brand vs. the volume and quality of links then it’s not representative at all, with Kuoni appearing to do well at earning links and having a higher volume at the same quality as Virgin Holidays. This starts to show that if we took the brand weighting out and relied on authority and links, the market landscape would certainly look different.</p> <p>Next, I’ve looked at links into the key destination landing pages. Interestingly this is a slightly different picture: Virgin Holidays only has nine referring domains and a lower quality of links into its Thailand holiday page and Kuoni has three times the volume of links and significantly more domain trust from those domains.  </p> <p>So more links into the whole domain, individual location directories and a better quality from the smaller brand which is competing against these giants:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Giants-Domain-Trust-and-Linking-Domains.png" alt="" width="939" height="390"></p> <h3><strong>Engagement</strong></h3> <p>After looking at links I wanted to understand engagement metrics, and for this I used time on site and bounce rate taken from Alexa.  <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Time-on-Site-and-Bounce-Rate.png" alt="" width="938" height="263"></p> <p>Here’s where some of the bigger brands start to excel and should really be a focus for Kuoni. Interestingly, as they are very bespoke holidays, it links off to a subdomain page potentially making bounce rate inflate and time on site decrease, so would benefit from being all on the same subdomain.</p> <h3><strong>Pages indexed</strong></h3> <p>Next I wanted to understand content depth for pages indexed relevant to Thailand on each of the sites.</p> <p>Here’s how it stacks up (to get the volume simply type site:<em>{url here}</em> inurl:<em>{location}</em></p> <ul> <li>Thomas Cook: 18</li> <li>Thomson: 579</li> <li>Virgin: 136</li> <li>Travel Supermarket: 49</li> <li>Last Minute: 4,440</li> <li>Kuoni: 349</li> </ul> <p><em>**slight caveat alert: lastminute.com has the most amount of pages indexed for /Thailand/ simply due to its broad hotel offering.</em></p> <p>As we saw earlier Kuoni is significantly smaller in terms of overall branded search volume. However, it has the second highest volume of pages ranking for the Thailand keyword set. This shows the brand is making content work hard in order to drive visibility into the keyword set that’s been sampled, and I’m sure if we were to broaden the number of terms then Kuoni would in fact rank for more terms than a lot of the larger brands.</p> <p>A good example to look at is perhaps its multi-centre holidays. This has a reasonable monthly search volume of 590 searches per month. For this term, it outperforms the competitors looked at in this post, and when you look at the pages in comparison to each other you can see why...</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.kuoni.co.uk/thailand/multi-centres">http://www.kuoni.co.uk/thailand/multi-centres</a></li> <li> <a href="https://www.virginholidays.co.uk/destinations/asia-and-far-east/thailand/multi-destination">https://www.virginholidays.co.uk/destinations/asia-and-far-east/thailand/multi-destination</a> </li> <li> <a href="http://www.thomson.co.uk/holidays/multi-centre">http://www.thomson.co.uk/holidays/multi-centre</a> </li> <li> <a href="https://www.travelsupermarket.com/en-gb/holidays/thailand/pattaya/">https://www.travelsupermarket.com/en-gb/holidays/thailand/pattaya/</a> </li> <li> <a href="https://www.thomascook.com/holidays/signature/multi-centre/">https://www.thomascook.com/holidays/signature/multi-centre/</a> </li> </ul> <p>Not only has Kuoni written more content on the main landing page, it has also created lots of other landing pages surrounding this term for each location <em>(Koh Samui/Chiang Mai/Bangkok etc)</em> <em>+ multi centre</em> and along with an internal linking strategy to this content.</p> <h3><strong>Summary...</strong></h3> <p>If you are running the digital strategy for a large brand then you have the ability of exploiting the power of the patent that’s in place for brand weighting in your favour, but don’t rest on your laurels of simply having “the brand” as being enough. </p> <p>As we have seen, despite this patent, smaller brands still have a huge opportunity to capture traffic through building and creating relevant landing pages and driving authority into deeper pages of the site.</p> <p>Below I’ve summarised the findings in a simple table. As we have seen Kuoni is managing to compete with the ‘giants’ of the industry when it comes to visibility of specific locations. While we can see that it is only really competing in the ‘site specifics’ on overall domain authority, Kuoni is focusing on driving deeper authority and creating more location specific content on the site to drive location specific visibility.</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://www.zazzlemedia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Screen-Shot-2017-08-29-at-11.52.09.png" alt="" width="894" height="152"></p> <p>Despite this relatively small sample keyword set and list of brands analysed, it's clear to me that between them they all could be driving further awareness visibility through content output. While a lot of them are ranking for ‘I want to know’ micro-moments they are all appearing much further down the SERP for these types of terms.  </p> <p>For example, ‘things to do in Phuket’ delivers an average of 3,600 searches per month giving the Davids of this world an opportunity to capture lots of this traffic, right at the top of the purchase funnel.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, check out these Econsultancy resources:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/seo-best-practice-guide"><em>Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practice Guide</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/seo"><em>SEO training courses</em></a></li> </ul>